Today I’m giving you a sneak peek at some of the curriculum of “Writing Compelling Blog Posts,” a six-week workshop I’m leading at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, starting next Tuesday, April 17th. Unlike most classes on blogging, we won’t be discussing SEO optimization or social-media promotion. The course is, instead, a true writing workshop, in which we read and critique–all in real time–potential blog posts authored by each other.
The class is intended for experienced bloggers as well as those who have never authored a single post. Regardless of your comfort level with blogging, however, I maintain there are five questions you should always keep in mind when you blog. They are essential to ask before you begin a blog:
- Why am I blogging? It’s important to be honest with yourself here. Is it because you’ve been told you need a “platform” as a creative? Then that’s your answer. You won’t be able to maintain the pace if you don’t know why you’re doing it.
What inspires me? Whatever it is that interests you, that is what you should blog about. You can tie your subject matter to universal themes that any reader can relate to, but trust that you’ll draw me in with the power of your passion for the subject. Conversely, if you don’t care about your topic, I won’t.
- How will my blog be different? You know that “elevator pitch” you’ve been told you need when you pitch your novel to an agent? If you have one for your blog–one that goes beyond “It’s by a writer and is about writing”–you’ll find it much easier to stay on course and harvest return readers.
- What value do I bring to my readers? It could be formal instruction. It could be shared moments of your personal life. It could be anything in between. Just remember that readers are giving you a precious gift; their time. Be sure to give back.
- What commitment can I truly make? I maintain that the strength of any blog is in the writing; thus, we workshop the writing in my Writer’s Center class, not SEO optimization. It takes time to write well, and you need to be honest with yourself about how much time you have to spare, and if you can maintain that pace long-term. On the plus side, you’re writing, and that counts as practicing your craft, even if you’re a fiction writer or poet.
What questions have I left out? Are some of the above more critical than others? Let’s discuss that below. I’ll be back on Friday with a follow-up post, “5 Things to Remember While You Blog.”