Taking that first blogging step

Last time out, we discussed whether or not you should even start a blog. On the assumption that you’ve decided to move ahead with it, you’ll need to go through a number of due diligence steps before your site sees the light of day.

We touched on what you would write about, who would read it, and why. Write these out on a large piece of paper and post them somewhere visible, because you’re going to be mulling them over for quite a while.

WHAT: There are a lot of voices on the Internet talking about a lot of different issues from a lot of different perspectives. Is your voice one among many or do you have something unique to say? Would you be able to sum up your blog’s reason for existence in a 30-second elevator pitch. Stop here and really think this through before you do anything else, because if there’s nothing unique and uniquely compelling about your message, there’s no point in reading – or writing.

WHO: It’s a given that we all want lots of people to read us, but you still need to understand who would be most interested in what you have to say. Separate readers by age range, gender, geography, ethnicity, income level…or any other point of differentiation that makes sense to you. Research your target groups online to see what else they’re reading. And if you remember nothing else, resist the urge to be all things to all people, because nothing is more vanilla than a broadly focused blog.

WHY: This explains why they’ll take time from their busy schedules to read you. It speaks to the value that you’re bringing to the table – to their table. If you can’t articulate it, chances are your readers won’t, either – which means they likely won’t become readers.

Take a stab at answering these. Bounce your responses off of people you trust. We’ll dig deeper into each of them in future entries.

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