My guest post today is the amazing Gigi from Kludgy Mom. Gigi has certainly made a name for herself in the blogosphere and has quickly become a sought after freelance writer. She knows just how to utilize the social media stratosphere to her advantage so she’s sharing some advice on how you can find your own blogging/social media groove.
If you’ve ever visited my blog, you’ll know that I like to blog about blogging. A lot. I find the interplay of so many different elements of business, the creative process and social dynamics so very fascinating.
There are some principles of blogging that I try to adhere to – commandments, if you will. Some are to extend courtesy to another blogger; some are to advance the growth of my own blog. Some are just ways to help me sleep at night. They’re practical guides by which I run my blog and my business. They may not all work for you, but it might give you a starting point to think about your own blogging principles.
1. Thou shalt not be afraid to ask: In order to make your way in the blogosphere, you need to NOT be afraid to put yourself out there and ASK for stuff. Ask to guest post. Ask for technical help. Ask for ideas on how to grow your readership. Ask brands if you can send them your media kit. Ask whether Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is better. Ask, ask, ask. Most people are more than willing to accommodate you. I’ve asked some of the largest bloggers for help and advice and they’ve given it willingly and kindly.
2. Thou shalt not schedule posts on guest post days: Guest posting is supposed to be a win-win. If a blogger has willingly given you his or her readership by letting you guest post, you should be repaying in kind by introducing YOUR readers to HER blog. If you have a post on your own blog + a guest post somewhere else, chances are that people are not going to read both.
3. Thou shalt thank people for RTs: It’s not always possible, but if someone retweets one of your blog post…try to tweet them back with a thank you. If a lady at the grocery store said that you had nice hair, would you walk away from her and ignore her? No.
4. Thou shalt think outside the box: Strive to find ways to be different and stand out. Read as much as you can and draw inspiration from others, but always do things with your twist, your voice and your perspective.
5. Thou shalt pay it forward: Blogging is all about being part of a community. Do what you can to pay your good blogging karma forward to someone else. It can be a retweet. It can be allowing a newer blogger to guest post on your site. It can be sending on a PR opportunity that is not a good fit for you. Remember, you were a beginning blogger once, too.
6. Thou shalt edit your posts: I have a motto, “To blog is human, to edit, divine.” Don’t dash a post off and hit submit. Read it. See if you’re repetitive. See if your paragraphs are too long. See if you can approach the post in a more effective way. Try reading it out loud…how does it sound? Your readers will notice and appreciate your attention to detail.
7. Thou shalt produce quality: Each person has a different standard of quality. Make a personal commitment to yourself, your blog and your readership that you will always strive to publish quality posts.
8. Thou shalt stand up for bloggers’ rights: I can’t stress this enough. We are all part of a larger whole. While we all have different goals, motivations and ideas about what constitutes success, remember that everything you do affects the perception of our community as a whole and can work to set precedents. If you fail to disclose a relationship with a brand, it tarnishes the reputation of the blogging community. If you agree to work for a brand for no charge, companies will start to expect all bloggers to work for free. Conversely, if you always strive to operate your blog with a solid ethical compass and with a value for your own hard work, you benefit ALL bloggers.
9. Thou shalt give credit where credit is due: Err on the side of caution. The blogosphere, while huge, is a place that is actually very small and word travels fast. Even an innocent mistake of not crediting another blogger’s work can backfire into an ugly situation. I’ve credited other bloggers for the format of posts I’ve written before even though the content was completely different…just to be safe.
10. Thou shalt not please all people all of the time: For me, this is the hardest commandment to follow. I want everyone to like me. I want everyone to find my content useful, funny, and enjoyable. I want to never make anyone angry. Despite my best intentions, this is an impossible feat. I’m still learning, but a little thick skin never hurts. As long you are not hurtful to an individual, be proud and comfortable of what you are saying.
Do you have any other principles of blogging that you follow?