Blogging has arrived at OfferingTree!

Blogging is a funny term that crept into usage in the 1990s. “Blog” is the shortened form of “weblog” and it refers to websites that routinely provide postings that contain new or updated information (often written in an article or, historically, journal-style format).

Just as the term “Weblog” evolved into “blog” so to have many bloggers evolved the craft of blogging.  For those of you really interested in some of these recent trends, check out the 5 Most Important Trends in Blogging for 2016.

Below are some of the key tips for creating what most people would consider a well-written and engaging blog. This information was gathered from fellow bloggers. We hope you find these tips useful. Happy blogging!

Blogger-to-Blogger Tips
Many of us are not in the habit of frequently writing for a public audience. In fact, we might get cold sweats just thinking about writing a post that we publish to the wider world. Below are some simple tips from fellow bloggers to help make your blogging less stressful:

Tip #1 – Inviting others into the conversation
One of the most important writing tips for a good blog post is to make your post approachable to your audience. Generally speaking this means adopting a conversational style that includes personal references to make the content more relatable to your readers. For example, while drafting this post, I was sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of tea asking myself: “what would new bloggers find most helpful about starting a new blog?” I jotted down a number of ideas and then asked a fellow blogger for other suggestions — blogging alone is generally less fun (<– that’s the human relatability piece).

What if I’m feeling stuck?
If you’re feeling stuck, then try taking some time away from writing to create a mind map of topics that you are passionate about in your life (e.g., the outdoors, family, cooking, wellbeing). Once you create this mind map, you can then start to look at all of the branches off your main topic areas as a place to start. Each of the branches on your mind map is a good candidate for a blog post.

I’m still stuck, now what?
Seek out inspiration from others. Find a topic that you might be interested in and then search the web for existing blogs that cover this topic. As you read other blogs, pay attention to how the blogger writes about the topic and what you find interesting about their post. After reading several blogs, come back to your own blog and spend some time answering the question: “What’s my take on this topic and how does it differ from what others are saying?”

Tip #2 – Readable for the web
You may be an incredible writer and yet you’re still not getting traffic to your blog. If this is the case, it means that you’ve likely skipped a critical step. The way information is shared on the web has changed how we all read – I’ll leave out the question of whether this change is for the better 😛  When posting a blog, this means we have to remember the medium and not just the message. For the web, knowing that search engines (like Google) require a minimum post length (often 300 words) before they will even give your post a rank is critical information. Also, many of us surf the web by skimming rather than reading, which means including some basic formatting (e.g., titles, sub-titles) within all of your blog posts is essential, otherwise readers will get frustrated and leave your blog a few seconds after visiting.

Tip #3 – Relevancy reigns supreme
Beyond good writing and some basic formatting, a blog needs to be relevant for its intended audience. For most OfferingTree users, this means posting content that is relevant for your students or clients. For example, if you’re a meditation teacher you might post about creating a daily routine for meditation practice and how to overcome common challenges (e.g., “the procrastinating mind”). If you’re a life coach, then you might try posting about the latest findings about growth mindset with simple take-away exercises for readers to try.

Tip #4 – The credible, big fish in a small pond
Try staying within an area you know well. If you have expertise in a certain area, then be sure to leverage your expertise to increase your credibility. For example, if you’re a warm-weather, sandboarding enthusiast who lives in Australia, then you have some specific expertise that few others will be able to match – this makes you much more credible. By contrast, if you’ve never been to Canada, however, you’re trying to write a blog about Poutine, then you might have a credibility gap.  Lastly, you can try visiting and commenting on other blogs that are in your topic area – this will increase the likelihood that these people will comment on your posts, which is another way to increase credibility.

Tip #5 – Once upon a time …
There is interesting research to suggest that we’re wired to remember stories. Another way to engage readers is to craft your message in more of a story format. You can try thinking about your post in terms of a story: who is the main character? What challenge or problem do they have? Who or what helps them solve their problem? What’s the takeaway message from the story of the character’s journey?

Tip #6 – Short posts now vs longer posts later
Carissa Tobin, the blogger and founder of Good Work Great Life, recommends shorter posts on a consistent basis (e.g., weekly, biweekly or monthly) as a key factor in successful blogging. “Short is fine,” she says, “Your readers are going to be most interested in regular, consistent content.” If you’re worried about sticking to a regular schedule, then build up a backlog of content and then schedule it to release over time – OfferingTree’s “schedule it” feature is great for this kind of approach.

Based on Carissa’s advice of “short is fine.” I’ll stop this blog post here as it’s getting a bit lengthy.  

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our tutorial video about blogging on OfferingTree and then try out the feature to help you meaningfully connect with your students and clients.