6 Top Tips To Start Your Own Blog

Recently I’ve been asked by several friends of mine how I started my blog, how they could start their own and if I have any advice for them. I told them all the tips and recommendations I had, but I thought it would be useful for me to write a blog about it as well. Hopefully through this post I can encourage others to take the somewhat intimidating leap of starting their own blog!

Here are my top tips on how to create a blog that is sincere, interesting and relevant, so let’s get blogging!

Make It Yours

First of all choose your perspective and the main topics you’ll include. I focus on a range of student life material to PR, all stuff I can relate to on a personal level, but everyone has a different perspective and skill set. Maybe you’re studying abroad, or maybe your a creative writer in your spare time. We all have characteristics and skills that are great to focus blog content on and create a unique blog. People will also notice if you know what you’re talking about, so make sure you’re commenting on a topic that you would feel comfortable answering questions on or talking in more depth about.

Also, make sure you aren’t following in other people’s footsteps and really try and be unique and fresh with your content. People aren’t going to follow or return to a blog where they read the same content 10 other people have posted about. If you’re the first on a breaking topic regularly or are always original in your ideas your following will increase and just keep on growing!

Content Marketing

This is a great way of drawing more readers in and if you’re similar to me and either studying or working in the PR industry you’ll know this is an incredibly useful tool for raising awareness. Basically the idea is that you create or compile content that relates to the ‘product’ that will encourage people to view your page and therefore your product. For example, in my case my product is me, I use my blog to engage with others in the PR industry. To content market myself and encourage PR professionals to view my blog I post about the top PR successes and fails and relevant events I’ve attended, for example the PRCA debate. By sharing relevant and useful content (check out my LinkedIn top tips) and compiling information that otherwise people have to hunt around for, I increase my chances of people checking back in or following my blog.

Also people love a good list. So add a number to the title (obviously only however many points you’ve included, don’t say there are 10 top tips when there are only 5!) and break up your post into key points with subheadings, similar to what I’ve done here.

Images

Always include visual aspects to your blog, but please, please, please make sure they have a high resolution. The amount of times I have seen professionals 10x more experienced than me post a pixelated feature image and it just makes me cringe. There is nothing eye-catching and engaging about a pixelated image, so trash it and find a new one! There are plenty of stock image sites that have free, high resolution images that are perfect for blogs and feature images or even simple and easy ways to create your own!

Timing 

It’s all about the timing. Decide how many times you want to post a month or a week, set a day or days that you’ll post on and do your very best to stick to it, especially when you’re starting out. If people know when your blog will be going live they’re more likely to check back in at the same time each week.

Also, time your blog posts so that they go live when people have the time to check in and actually read them. Posting at 3pm on a Monday obviously isn’t feasible, so think weekends, lunch breaks or evenings around commuting time.

Be Confident

The beginning is always the most nerve-wracking, but have faith in your self and to begin with stick within your comfort zones. Obviously when you start out it’s normal to feel a little nervous, but if you’re writing about a topic that you are worried about posting chances are you shouldn’t be posting about it. Make sure you’re confident in your content. If you have knowledge or an opinion on a topic someone will be interested and may even find it useful then post away! However, if you aren’t very knowledgeable on the subject or it’s likely to offend someone it may be better not to post it. Most people stay away from religion and politics as a rule, but obviously use your common sense and stay away from anything that may offend others.

Share It

Finally, always share your content, especially when you’re starting and not many people know you’re blogging. I tend to share my content on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even on my LinkedIn. Sharing at the beginning is what gets you your views. People will follow your blog, but how can they follow it if they don’t know it’s there. Regularly sharing your content on social media and linking back to older posts when you get a chance is a great way to raise awareness of your blog.

 

So give it a go! Use your common sense and trust in yourself. Who knows, you may be the next best blogger! If you have any more questions for me, please get in touch and let me know how you’re blogging goes. I’d love to have a read!

 

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5 Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Star Quality

At some point everyone should have a LinkedIn profile, it’s a great opportunity to broadcast all your experience, give plenty of detail on what you’ve done and even share pieces of your work. With a LinkedIn profile you can share with your potential employer so much more than you can share with a CV, especially if you’re going for the minimalistic but eye-catching approach.

Despite the opportunities on LinkedIn, there are so many profiles out there that have so much potential, yet aren’t given the time and love they need to shine and stand out from the crowd. Everyone’s been there though! When I first started my profile I had nothing on there apart from my name, my photo and my university and course.

Then, over the past couple of years I’ve slowly started to dedicate more time to it and as a result it has grown and I have built up a network of contacts. I’m going to share with you a few of the tips I learnt over the time I’ve built it up, so that hopefully you can make your profile star quality in half the time!

Add Everything….

….Within reason, of course. If you are looking for a job in communications and you’ve worked in retail, add it in! You’ve built up customer service skills. If you’re looking to go into business and you worked at the local Fairtrade shop, you may have picked up management skills and book-keeping. If you picked up any transferable skills along the way, whether it’s touch typing, learning how to manage accounts or even another language add it all in, because it shows you are aware of how these placements and experiences have benefitted you and what you’ve gained from them.

Give Details

So many accounts will just list their job title, place of work and dates, but LinkedIn gives you a whole text box completely free to add in any details you want. Give examples of briefs you’ve worked on, what skills you built in that placement and a little bit about your role there. Others will engage with you and your profile 10x better if they can get a sense of what you’ve actually done and who you are. Think of it more as a conversation. If someone asked what you did while you worked somewhere, what would you say? It’s also a great opportunity to add in all those extra details that might not fit on a CV.

Get Recommendations

You probably know this already, but you should always try and get a recommendation from any placements. If you’ve only been there a week they may be reluctant, but anything over a month you should get a recommendation from. LinkedIn has a great feature which lets other users, in this case your boss, post a recommendation on your profile. These are great because they are easy to find and read and you immediately know who’s written and what their qualifications are. If you get the opportunity always ask for their recommendation to be posted on LinkedIn and you can always copy it down from there. There’s also a brilliant little feature that lets you ask for a recommendation, so get asking soon after you’ve finished your placements, while you’re still fresh in their memory!

Add Everyone

This is again within reason, but whether you only briefly met them at a networking event, or you spoke to them on the phone, pretty much anywhere where you’ve spoken to someone in your industry and mentioned your name, add them on LinkedIn, especially if you’re a student. LinkedIn is a great way to build a network of connections for when you graduate or for in the future whenever you’re looking for experience or a job. People often advertise jobs on there so connecting with anyone you’ve met in your industry is obviously a bonus. If you want to make more of an impression I would also recommend sending them a message, even if it’s just ‘Hi, thank you for connecting with me’. You can ask if they have any tips about getting into the industry, what their company does (or if you’ve researched you could comment on what their company does and if you’re interested in joining). There are so many opportunities to build your network and surround yourself with connections who may prove helpful in the future.

Finally, Share Your Content

I used to only promote my blog posts over Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus (a great SEO opportunity I will go into in more detail in another post) and what a mistake that was. Posting over LinkedIn may not give you as many views as you get through Facebook and Twitter but it’s a great opportunity to share your content with like-minded people and prove your writing skills to potential employers. Obviously if you’re going into economics or something mathsy then proving your writing skills isn’t as important, but if you’re going into communications it’s vital. Through LinkedIn you can not only include a link to your blog in your experience, but you can also share each of your new posts and draw in potential employers, showing an interest in the  industry and showcasing those spectacular writing skills.

So give your profile that extra little bit of TLC and you’ll be a shining star amongst all the other profiles. Don’t let those contacts pass you by!