By Jonathan Howe
In last week’s post, I shared five reasons you really should consider blogging in 2017. I received several responses from readers who felt inspired to either start or renew a commitment to blogging next year.
I was excited to hear from so many pastors and church leaders who were looking to use their personal blogs to better shepherd their church congregations. But there seemed to be a theme to the responses—many of them wanted to know not just how to blog, but how to blog well. If you’re considering blogging again in 2017 or are just looking to improve your current blogging, here are five tips to help you blog better in the new year.
- Be consistent. Whether you choose to blog one day a week, three days a week, or seven, be consistent. This might be the most difficult part of blogging. But if you set a schedule that allows for some flexibility in what you post and when it’s posted, your likelihood of staying consistent will increase. I would suggest you begin posting three days per week with two of those being original posts. The third post can be either a links post, a video, or a book excerpt that relates to your blog topics. The consistency helps your audience know what to expect and when to expect it.
- Content matters most. Once you decide on a schedule, start formulating ideas for content. The more enthusiastic you are about your content, the easier blogging will be for you. So when you are brainstorming for content, start with things you are passionate about, have a respectable amount of knowledge about, and can be seen as an expert on. If you try to write on topics about which you have little interest or little knowledge, blogging will be much more difficult.
- Consider the medium and the audience. Writing for the web is much different than writing sermons or print articles. Keep that in mind when you blog. Not every sentence has to be pithy, but succinctness is often rewarded. Don’t waste words or try to use so much imagery that you find yourself chasing rabbits in your writing. We use short posts with numbered lists at ThomRainer.com for a reason. They fit the medium and serve the audience better than any other style of content.
- Be professional. Remember when you write that you represent your employer online whether you would like to think so or not. More importantly if you’re a pastor, you’re representing your church—and your Savior. Tone, word choice, and accuracy matter. Also related to professionalism is the use of correct grammar and spelling in your posts. I’ve seen articles that I’ve wanted to share on other sites but the grammar or spelling were so poor that I chose not to. A lack of professionalism in your blogging will cost you readers, and could cost you your current job—or even a possible next one.
- Be patient. Blogging is rarely an overnight success story. I know bloggers who toiled for years before “catching a break” with a viral post. With blogging, as it is in ministry, fruitfulness is often the result of faithfulness. Don’t buy into the lie that your toil is in vain. Be faithful in your blogging and be confident that your efforts are ministering to those who choose to read and share your insights.
What other advice would you have for bloggers? Have you seen any of these factor into your own blogging?
Jonathan: I’ve had a blog on WordPress for almost 7 years now. I have been surprised how many readers I have overseas! My blog is not really written for the “Christian” even though I rely heavily on apologetics in order to communicate godly & biblical principles. I have had overwhelmingly great responses…..yet being a pastor of a small church where I am the pastor, teacher, electrician, carpenter and general contractor in order to save money, consistency of publishing is a struggle. I am relieving myself of many of the extraneous duties in 2017! Thanks so much for you guys taking the time to post these, I have a separate folder in Mail for all of these! Oh yeah, for your amusement, my blog is “www.jimgrieme.com!” Thanks again!
That’s a great point about overseas audiences. When things are online, they can attract readers from all over the world.
I blog 3 times a week at NewCommandment.org. I find buffer.com invaluable for scheduling posts , both new and old, to Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
Buffer is a great tool for scheduling.
Thank you for the great post. I’m learning to write the best I can without checking the stats.
Yeah. Don’t let stats own your direction. However, they can inform you as to what works and what doesn’t.
Great post. I started blogging this year. I have found that it is also important to visit other blogs and comments on their posts. If you want people to read your material you need to invest time and effort in the work of others. I also have a lot of overseas readers many of the are in India and Africa surprising enough. My blog is not targeting Christians but has a strong Biblical foundation. I am at http://revheadpin.org
That’s a good point. Building community is very important.
Great advice. I blog regularly at benmooreonline.com and some great resources I recommend are WordPress sites – it’s free and it has an option to schedule posts. Also Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins have great step by step content for bloggers.
Hyatt’s info on blogging and his book, Platform, are great.
I have a personal finance blog for pastors, pastorswallet.com. I have found that having an email list that people can opt into to get your posts is very helpful in keeping people engaged.
Also, I use grammarly.com to proof all of my writing before publishing it. Grammar mistakes ding your credibility with some people and make your posts hard to read.