Blogging is a brilliant tool to share information, make you an authority in your field and communicate key messages. However, I have a very serious LOVE/HATE relationship with it.
My blogging experiences started around 10 years ago when I started writing a little blog on Posterous (now not in use). I started this blog because someone else had one, it looked fun and to be honest, I wanted to be like him!
I posted about cycle rides I went out and included pictures in these blogs. They probably had more pictures than words but I got me writing and telling my own little stories.
And it was fun!!! I used to go out for a ride, take pictures and write about it. Looking back, these blogs had so many spelling and grammatically mistakes that they now make me cringe. But it got me noticed.......
One of my work friends loved canals and her and her husband set up a website all about them. I was asked to have my blog on his website as a cycling reporter!! This was amazing and I had so many ideas for it but sadly life got in the way and at that point, I stopped blogging but kept the cycling.
It is funny how things stop when you are busy!
I then decided after the 2012 Olympics to do a crazy sporting challenge. This involved cycling between Oxford and Bonn in Germany (over 300 miles) on a static bike in a shopping centre in Oxford to raise money for Marie Curie. During this, I blogged every day (it took 5 days to complete it) and I started to use social media to spread the word and connect with local businesses (the Networker was being born at this point but I did not realize it!).
More challenges happened afterwards (cycling 100 miles in a day, Arch to Arc Challenge and Wolfrun) and more blogs were posted. With each one, I learned something different and learned how to use blogging to advertise events. The only problem was they each still had spelling mistakes, poorly phrased paragraphs but they did the job (at the time) and got the message out there.
Fast forward to 2014, I started Leamington Hour and I knew that blogging was going to be really important. All the key influencers in the area blogged each week with hints and tips rolling off their tongues. It seemed easy for them and I hated the fact I could not be part of that group.
I then decided that I could share their blogs under my banner and Grow Leamington was born. It was a platform where if you had a blog, I could promote it. Simple concept and now it has over 100 articles on a range of different topics from over 30 contributors. Doing Grow Leamington was a great way of me learning what makes a good blog.
A good blog is made out of 5 things:
- A great title (you need to hook people in).
- Great content (You need to add value to every reader).
- The topic needs to appeal to many people.
- It has to be written honestly and have the personality for people to hear you speak while they are reading it.
- You have to market it!! You can write the most amazing blog but if you don't tell people about it, people won't know about it and won't read it.
I dabbled with a few of my own blogs at Grow Leamington but the demons came back. Spelling, grammar and wrong choice of words all stopped me from hitting that publish button. I also resented how much time it took me to write something that in my mind was a piece of garbage (now I realise it is better to release something rather than not).
Basically, I kept thinking to myself that my blogs weren't good enough and people wouldn't read them. I was also afraid that they would send emails with all the mistakes in (actually when they did this soon realised that it meant they are reading them!. People still do this!
This stopped me from releasing blogs for a few months. I then set up my new website and I wanted great content that people would want to read. I started to come up with new ideas for different series of articles, one-off blogs, and even 3 different E-Books and then something strange happened, they started to get better and I enjoyed them.
Don't get me wrong, they weren't perfect but they got better after each blog I wrote. I then got into the habit of blogging after every networking event and posting it on different platforms.
I was having fun again! I then started having ideas of what other blogs I would like to write and I am in the process of writing a book!!!
These are a few key points that I have learnt along the way-
1. Even if you hate doing something because you suck at it, keep doing it until it gets easier.
2. Plan each section of the blog then you are writing statements inside of a blog.
3. Check for spelling and grammar and if you can't spot it (like me), get someone to do it!
4. Keep a list of potential blog ideas that you could write.
5. Make sure you release it on the same day each week to make yourself accountable to do it.
It might seem that I do love blogs but in reality, I love to create content! Blogging is a way of getting a message out there quickly and easily. I get a buzz from seeing a blog, newsletter, video or podcast come out.
The thing I hate about them is that I am not a natural writer and struggle with the grammar. To solve this, I now have someone who checks all the blogs and newsletters that I send out. This is the one blog she isn't going to check this. Why? I want to prove that even if this isn't perfect, it is a piece of content that could give someone the kick up the bum to start blogging.
If I let my insecurities stop me, I wouldn't be in the position that I am now in.
Don't be afraid and just do it!!!
Grow Media and Marketing