B.Y.O.B.

Building Your Own Blog

Building a blog for the first time was definitely experience, but linking it with one of my greatest passions in life and the industry I am currently in made it completely worth while. It is also amazing to put some good use to my Twitter instead of just posting random tweets for only a select few to see. There are many do’s and don’ts that I have learned so far and so I’m going to lay out some of what I think are the best practices for blogging and Tweeting.

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The start is to define why you are creating your blog in the first place. What is your purpose? Is it to force yourself to write regularly? To get your name out there as a freelance graphic designer? To show what you know as an expert in the field? Whatever you’re reason is, one of your main goals is to try to build a community of like-minded people around a common interest(s). The blog is yours, but more importantly it is about the followers you gather. Think of yourself as a curator of ideas.

Not using your blog as a soapbox, but an area to relate and share ideas and opinions. This tactic draws more readers in and helps create a regular audience that you can even pose questions too and will receive answers back from. It helps create dialog.

Use links, tags, and embed videos early and often. All of these increase traffic with search engine optimization. Anything beyond plain text will help readers find you as well as others and this creates a greater sense of community.

Plan ahead and be timely. I know now that blogging on a regular basis can be stressful it’s just about finding that blog rhythm. Also, no one can tell what is going to happen each day in the world, but adding a reference to a current news event helps spike discussion.

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The last three tips come from my social media grad class. Be brief, you’re not writing a novel, so keep it at 400-800 words. As a graphic designer I cannot stress enough how incredibly important using visuals is. Finally, making everything cohesive is key. From each catchy title to the over all message of your blog, consistency matters. (If you are looking for a more business related list you can find a great run down here.)

“Twitter is excellent at providing rapid, real-time information. It’s a great source for news people. There’s a place and value for Twitter”–Chris Brogan. The list of top exercises for Twitter is just as extensive and varying as blogging. I found the best source to go to is Twitter itself. They go through how to be the best at what, when, and how you Tweet:  Creating Tweets that resonate, keeping Tweets short (how could you not with only 140 characters?), Tweeting often, following interests, utilizing @reply, and staying on top of trending topics are all keys to success.

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There are many other “best” practices, and you can find quite an extensive list touching upon all categories such as tips for blog design, writing, commenting, and much more here. Also, I have had the pleasure of coming across three extremely insightful books: Groundswell, Google+ For Business, and The Tao of Twitter. In Google+ author Chris Brogan discusses how the social platform changes everything. Brogan, who began blogging in 1998 when it was still called journaling, talks about how “Google+ isn’t a blog and it’s more than Twitter”. He also discusses how, “…your blog is your home base and Google+ is an outpost” and “Google+ is more open than Facebook. It is more deep than Twitter”.

If you’re looking for a book with a wider focus, BusinessWeek bestseller Groundswell by Li and Bernoff, is your ticket. It is a groundbreaking book on the true business worth of SM. Lastly, Tao of Twitter (my personal favorite) by Mark Schaefer can turn your individual and business Twitterverse around. He not only gives you Twitter strategies, times savers, and tips to live by, Schaefer talks about building influence, audience, and competitive advantage. He even discusses how Twitter is in fact not for everyone, despite popular belief.

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“Blogs and Twitter fit like a hand in a glove. Twitter is like the trailer to the blog’s movie”–Schaefer. Most have blogs and/or Twitters in my industry and across all the different avenues one can take comes those who employ the best and worst practices through these social media networks. There are those graphic design individuals and businesses that carry out and hone all that I discussed above.  As in any industry that uses social media, there are also some learning the ropes and others who are still failing miserably. The point is to take the initiative and do the research, so that whatever industry you maybe in you can Tweet and blog your absolute best.

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6 responses to “B.Y.O.B.

  1. “Whatever you’re reason is, one of your main goals is to try to build a community of like-minded people around a common interest(s). The blog is yours, but more importantly it is about the followers you gather. Think of yourself as a curator of ideas.”
    Great quote!
    Sometimes this can be overseen when it comes to followers and who you follow. I think a lot of people, including myself before Marketing 555 at SNHU, thought to being “good” at twitter meant getting shout outs from professional athletes, recieving news, and racking up the amount of followers in volume. I think having a cirlce of like minded people is crucial for business networking, community understanding, and on going learning in life.

    • Thanks Mark! I agree that it can be easily overlooked or forgotten. Many people who blog and tweet sometimes fall into the soap box effect. Yes others want to hear your ideas and opinions but that is not what its all about. Your readers want to be engaged and encouraged to comment, not read some overly long rant or bashing session.

      Before MKT 555 at SNHU I too had a misperception of Twitter. I rarely used it compared to Facebook and when I did I tweeted whatever was on my mind and threw in a few hashtags. Now my Twitter is public, I’m connecting with others, and posting about more than just what I ate for lunch.

  2. I am definately enjoying Groundswell and I definately think that Blogs and Twitters are good ways to get your message out there espcially for companies. Good information. This course has definately change my view on Twitter and I think it has helped me.

  3. I think that your first tip to define what you are creating is great. The first thing I did for my own blog was decide on a topic that I could relate each post to. I chose what a passion of mine was and what I had a lot of knowledge in and went from there. I know not everyone is interested in social media in the banking industry, but some people are and I enjoy writing about it. It is important to create a theme and to bring your raeder back for more.

    • You are absolutely correct Heather! I could not imagine writing a blog about a topic that I had no interesting in. The great thing about blogs is that they can be about anything and each one attracts a different community of people. There is something for everybody.

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