I’ve been teaching and speaking a lot, and the subject of Tips for New bloggers comes up all the time.
Here is what I share with many of my classes.
Blogging is meant to be personal. A blog with a ‘corporate’ or ‘PR-speak’ tone does not become popular or well read. People associate blogs with authenticity and conversational tone.
Your blog is a conversation. You say something, and people have the ability to say something back, either in the comments, or by referencing your post on their blog and responding. By allowing this back-and-forth you learn new things, and keep your audience engaged.
Blogs are great places to conduct interviews. Is there someone you want to meet and talk to, but never knew how before? Call and ask for an interview. Everyone likes to talk about him or herself!
Add pictures, they’re worth a thousand words. But make sure you’re using your own pictures, or pictures you have a right to use. Don’t take the copyrighted works of others. Review Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/ licensing, where you can use people’s work if they allow it, as long as you attribute it to them. Photo sharing sites such as Flickr.com allow people to tag their photos for sharing.
Finally, don’t blog angry. If you’re upset or believe that you’ve been misrepresented, write your copy and show it to someone, or wait one hour and re-read it before you post it. You’re a publisher with a world-wide audience. You may not only damage your own reputation and the reputation of anyone you write about you may also commit libel (and search engines are able to keep original versions of remarks around.) The legal definition of libel is “a written statement unjustly damaging someone’s reputation.” (source: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/libel ) Can you be sued for blogging? Sure. This is America – they can sue you for anything!
Seriously worth looking at is the Legal Guide for Bloggers. I am not a lawyer but the guide has useful ideas.
- Be careful when republishing ANY information from another site or source, (copyrighted or not) and always provide a citation to where you found the information.
- Watch for guidelines about the usage of logos, trademarks, and other protected and valuable items of intellectual property.
- Learn the differences between being a publisher and being an editor.
And of course, if you have questions, ask an attorney!
How do you start a blog? Check this article I wrote about 8 Options to quickly build a web presence.