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The Art of Blogging

Chantelle Fiddy looks at where her own blogging experience went wrong and offers up her top tips for getting started today…

At least once a day someone will send me a video with the commonly posed question, “Can you post this?” ‘Where?’ I rhetorically ask myself. The vigilant will have clocked I haven’t actually posted on my blog since November 2011, Josh Osho’s cover of a Kanye classic sitting atop, collecting that good ol’ virtual dust. It wasn’t a conscious decision to leave Osho residing there on a pedestal of imaginary sorts; as lovely as his take on ‘Jesus Walks’ is, it was not intended to herald the end of a (blogging) era. But, with hindsight, it rather fittingly does.

“Yo, We at war/ we at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all we at war with ourselves…”Kanye West

Like the majority of blogs around these days, I suddenly had nothing to say. Did I ever? To a degree, this feeling hasn’t left, redundant screen staring a habit less fair. And if you’re going to do it, you’d better do it properly.

My blog had served me well since its birth in 2004. Early on it secured me work with NME, Arena (RIP), The Ave (USA) and beyond. Here was a place for the unpublishable, the unwanted, the undesirable, the whatever. The hits were high, Tinie Tempah would send you tunes himself, we had blog battles (shout out Prancehall), I made The Vibe Magazine cool list for best blogs. I just didn’t know how to monetise my minor offering in the world of online music commentary. Did anyone back then?

Nearly a decade on I look back and shake my head in disbelief; the opportunities I missed, the ideas I didn’t formulate, but now I know why. Time, in its many faces, wasn’t on my side. With life woes and responsibilities a reality, money became a bigger motive than creating for personal satisfaction. And THAT is life. But most importantly, digital narcissism replaced previously used attempts at self-promotion and the end became nigh for those who’d rather a nod of respect for their work than a ‘like’ on a ‘fan page’. As great as the Internet is, we have lost so much of value – in terms of content, ourselves, and the greater good of society and community.

In the same way Osho wasn’t meant to be left at the top, my writing this today is also unintentional – and something of an achievement. Having been on a personal journey (of sorts) over the last year, writing anything for personal gratification has proved near impossible (unless you count two eulogies in the last five months). Writing to order has never been a problem; self-employed my entire career, respecting the deadline has become a built-in essential. But today I’m turning a corner. I want my voice back.

THINKING OF STARTING A BLOG?

Here’s 10 tips to get you started

– Think of a unique selling point, what is going to make your blog stand out amongst the many others? Is there a gap in the market you can fill?

– Not a very good writer? Fear not, with so many mixed media services on offer your content choices are endless. Why not look at a video or photo-led blog?

– Look at the blogs you read – and don’t – what makes a good blog? Draw up a list of all the things you want to be and refer back to it when you’re hitting brick walls.

– You will need a name that sticks, preferably one that does what it says on the tin. Get creative.

– Which blogging service should you use? Tumblr is great for image sharing whereas WordPress and blogger will offer a more traditional format.

– Once you’ve started your blog, how do you get people to read it? Make sure you’re tagging posts to improve your SEO and use social networks to directly connect with the awaiting audience. 

– Google Analytics is a free service that will allow you to monitor the content on your blog that works, who’s reading it and how they’re getting to you. Use it.

– If time is of the essence why not start a blog with multiple authors? A team of you can create a whole more than a one-man army.

– However you communicate – words, visuals, audio – say SOMETHING.

– Write it how you say it, your voice is your biggest tool. If you’re not sure you’ve nailed it, read your work aloud to ensure it flows.

Chantelle Fiddy
This article was originally published online by UD in 2014

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