Monday, September 1, 2014

Blogging Advice and Tips from the Rock and Roll Chemist (PART 2)



Welcome to Part 2 of this series of articles about blogging. With the huge growth of the Rock and Roll Chemist blog over the past year and the numerous opportunities it's opened up for me, I thought it would be fun and beneficial to both readers and myself to share what I've learned from the whole experience. I also thought it would be fun to engage with fellow bloggers so that we could exchange advice and knowledge with each other as we all work to make our blogs as successful as possible going forward. Part 1 dealt with the foundation of blogging, the classic (and still relevant, in my view) maxim which states that content is king. This second part is going to have the overarching theme of "DO IT" which will then be split into two subsections. Let's get going with Part 2!


PART 2: DO IT!

"Do it." It sounds simple enough, and in reality it's as easy as what those two short words command. If you want your blog to become more successful and you want to produce great content, you need to buckle down and do it. That means you need to write a lot, and whether you're good at it or not, practicing is the only way to continually get better. I touched on this as one of the major parts of my series of articles on How to Write a Book, and it also applies here. Thus, the first subsection of DO IT is to practice your writing, and then practice it some more. It's the only way to get better, and by continuing to write for your blog, you'll be killing two birds with one stone: a) you'll be getting better at writing, and b) you'll be creating content for your blog.



With luck, as you get better at writing, the content you'll be producing for your blog will also improve...it's a win-win proposition! When I started writing books and blogging in earnest in 2009, I was already a very good writer. It's something I'd always done as a hobby and was always really good at throughout school. During my graduate school and postdoctoral studies, I had to write a ridiculous number of journal articles, research proposals and papers, and my PhD degree culminated with a massive dissertation. It was a lot of writing and all of it was invaluable practice which was definitely a huge benefit.

 If you want to be a Paperback Writer, you've got to work at it!


Like anything in life, there is never a point where someone decides they're as good as they're going to get and says "I've maxed out...no more practice for me!" Whether it's an athlete, musician, writer, painter, sculptor...you name it, there isn't a single person on this planet who will ever be good enough at their craft that additional practice won't improve their skills. At the very least it will allow those skills to remain sharp and keep them from diminishing. Blogging is no different...if you're not constantly writing and writing for your blog, you'll never get better and neither will your blog.  Even if many of the pieces you write for your blog end up falling by the wayside and never get posted, that's okay! I've written countless pieces that, for one reason or another, I decided I didn't like and didn't post. Even so, I'm glad I wrote them because it not only gave me practice writing and the ability to continue honing my craft, but many of the ideas from these discarded pieces ended up making their way into subsequently published posts where I was able to finally convey them in a manner I was proud of because of the experience I'd gained earlier.  The best artists, writers, and musicians don't create their masterpieces with the first draft, and blogging is no different. PRACTICE!

As for the second subsection of DO IT, while it may seem unrelated to the first, if you'll bear with me, I think you'll see that they're intimately related. That second subsection is to take advantage of any blogging opportunities you're offered (within reason, of course). SEIZE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES! 

Here's a great (and long) song with the message of Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) 

What is meant by this is, at some point in your blogging career, you are (hopefully) going to attract the attention of someone somewhere who might be interested in having you do some blog writing for them. In this current online climate where blogging has become an important component of journalism, marketing, branding, promotion, and client/customer engagement, if you have a quality blog, an expanding audience, and broad exposure, chances are you'll get noticed for it. If that's the case and you receive some interesting offers, unless you object for some reason, why not go for it? It will only give you more practice, exposure, and experience and who knows? It just might lead to something bigger down the road.  I've been fortunate over the past year to have gotten several chances to do just this. I've had posts sponsored by other companies, I was invited to write a piece about the Beatles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of their arrival in America, I was invited to write a piece about sports and family for a social media campaign run by a major sports apparel retailer, and I have other opportunities in the pipeline. In each case, my blog was recognized and its impact and influence valued enough that I was approached, and the resulting pieces not only gave me more practice writing but also brought even greater exposure to my blog. Besides all of that, they were fun to do and they allowed me to write about subjects that I'm passionate about and which are near and dear to me.  I hope that, if and when any of you out there are presented with similar chances, you seize upon them and take advantage of the opportunity to get better as a blogger, get some more exposure for your blog, and have fun to boot! 

Even though I've been at it for several years, it's only been since I started putting real, dedicated, and focused effort into my blog that I've started to reap the rewards from it. Launching a side career as a book reviewer, getting new blogging opportunities, and engaging with brands, musicians, and others in a way I never could have dreamed of a year ago have been amazing experiences.  Who knows what the future may hold as far as opportunities? I sure don't, but I can't wait to find out! I wish this for each and every one of you, my fellow bloggers.  With that in mind, the only way to get there is to sit down and DO IT!

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