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?