What’s a blog?
Because I blog and I know that some of you do, too, I wanted to share what I’ve been learning about here at the Blog World and New Media Expo 2009 (new media as in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube).
The first question I get a lot when I tell people I blog is, “What’s that [blogs]? Like a website?”
Yup, you got it. The word’s just a contraction of the term “Web log.” They come in countless shapes and sizes but usually contain regular entries (articles/journal entries) of commentary, descriptions of events or fancy stuff like graphics or video. Most (but not all) of them display content in reverse-chronological order.
I came to Blog World 1) because it’s held here in Vegas :), 2) because I spend a big chunk of my life blogging, 3) because I’d like to be able to express myself in new and more creative ways, 4) because blogging is more fun for me when I know that it’s also fun for my readers and 5) because I’d like to grow the blog’s traffic and find out about income opportunities/blogging for a living.
I’ll report more specific tips than the ones in this post as the Expo progresses, but one of my favorite sessions so far has been Stimulating Conversations with Women in the Social Mediasphere, with Aliza Sherman, author of The Everything Blogging Book.
Aliza and some of the speakers talked about the differences between how men and women tend to communicate and how those differences are reflected in blogs and social media (speaking very generally, women tend to appreciate building relationships more than most men do).
That blogs are about community and interaction are growing themes. The social aspects of the web have taken the internet by storm. Specifically, what can bloggers do to tap into an increasingly social internet?
They can focus on building authentic relationships with readers, which I read to mean being honest, respectful, useful, and speaking with people vs. talking at them.
But what if you want to start a blog in a highly competitive niche (like beauty)? Is it too late to start?
No, none of the experts thought so, but competition can impact the size of your audience. It may be harder to reach thousands of readers/day (if that’s even your goal), but it’s still possible.
When you want to blog
Figure out what you want out of blogging or Twitter or Facebook (but not necessarily the day you start). If you’ve never blogged before, take it slowly, remembering that you’re putting yourself out there in front of the entire planet (only share what you’re comfortable sharing with the world). Eventually, though, the experts agree, know your goals and objectives. It’ll help you get where you’re trying to go.
I started MBB back in 2007 not really knowing what I was doing or what my goals were. Within six months, though, I’d decided that I wanted to blog daily, to grow my audience and to earn some blog rent from it if possible.
While fun, blogging can also be hard work.
It depends on your goals, but since 2007, 2,100 posts later, I’ve read through my camera’s manual at least 10 times (to learn how to take vibrant, sharp pics), have spent thousands of dollars on camera equipment and computers (I recommend Macs), have completed dozens of Photoshop tutorials and have spent thousands of hours writing more than 1 million words online. All of that’s just to restate the obvious, “Know what you’re getting into and why you want to do it.”
Other quick tips from yesterday’s event:
- Keep an editorial calendar — I’m a firm believer in ‘em. Mine helps me plan what I’m going to blog about. I also use it to jot down the release dates of makeup collections to help me remember.
- Are you speaking with your readers or talking at them? — Remember that there’s a real live human being on the other side of that connection, someone who doesn’t like to be talked at.
- Build relationships — The experts seem to agree that success in blogging (unless your goal is to use your blog as a journal) comes down to building relationships with people and doing something that both you and your readers find rewarding.
Absolutely love Problogger.net
Growing your audience
I’ll have more to say on this later, but an overarching theme yesterday had to do with marketing and how people just hate being sold to. We hate cheesy advertising that treats us like we’re just a statistic in a demographic category — i.e. women aged 25-35, single, no children, college degree, moderate income. Just tell us the truth about things, and let us make our own decisions.
Well, that’s all I have for now. Have a great Friday.
I hope that even if you don’t have an interest in blogging or social media, you still found this a little interesting.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,