It is because our special guest loves all things pink that I have decided to declare this day an “International Day of Pink” throughout the entire blogosphere! In the Pink means to be the very pinnacle of something, and that something would be none other than Natalie Harford.
Natalie, back away from the Bedazzler! I said back away! Whew, okay, now where was I?
Natalie comes to us from the beautiful province of New Brunswick, Canada where she lives with “the Hubby”, an 18 year old step-son “the Dude”, her furry baby, a 10 year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named “Tess” and lots of snow.
No, I said no glitter, remember Natalie? Now put it down. Thank you.
Writing and journaling have been an essential part of Natalie’s life from just about as long as she can remember. She has since embarked upon her first novel, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and at her day job she moonlights as a communications specialist.
No surprise there! Hee, hee! Oops, I’m sorry Natalie. I didn’t think you were paying attention.
Natalie is a previous graduate of Kristen Lamb’s “Blogging to Build a Brand” workshop. She has been blogging for just over a year and is here today to share some of that Urban Redneck inspiration that she’s so famous for, along with tried and tested “What to do and what Not to do” recommendations for blogging.
So without further ado, may I please introduce to you, the always uberlicious Natalie Hartford!
Thank you Karen! I am delighted to be here.
I was super pumped and honored when Karen invited me to do a guest post on her blog! But then the anxiety set in. What would I write about? Should I write about something funny, maybe a little urban word fun or a post on a ridiculous gadget? Or maybe her readers would be interested in something poignant about my greatest inspiration; my Mom? Yikes! It’s a lot of pressure to “guest post” and this is only my second time, so I feel…well…like a newbie!
So what did I settle on?
Five pieces of Intimidating Blog Advice I Somewhat Ignored and Made My Own
Tip 1) Determine what your blog will be about. It is important to have a solid idea. Try to be as specific as possible. This can make your blog distinctive and stand out from the rest in that category. Also, the blog subject should be something that you are interested in. If you can’t produce content regularly on that subject, it is a good idea to think of something else.
Yikes! Talk about pressure. I have to have one solid idea that is specific, distinctive and will stand out from the rest while still being a subject I am interested in and can produce regular, great content on. Good lord. Do they know how many blogs are out there? Honestly, I’m not sure it’s possible. The elusive totally unique, never-been-done blog?!?!
This will be difficult. Not to mention, I really don’t have any specific interests that are totally unique and different from everyone else that I can blog about and really “wow” people with. I’m just an urban redneck with a serious addiction to anything pink and sparkly. I like to write about typical things in life and add my own humorous spin. I like to think I am funny (actually hilarious…I am surprised no one has scooped me up to be a standup comic yet?!?! Weird!).
In the end, I took Kristen Lamb’s advice and made ME the topic! Definitely distinct. Certainly specific. And I think I am totally a stand out! Voila!
Tip 2) Start planning. Determine the number of pages you will have and what will go on them. Generally, the home page will be where you’re recent blog posts go. A page should be made for what the blog is about. The rest is up to you. Be creative, but remember to stick to your subject. Don’t stray too far.
Ahhhh shikes! I messed this one up as well! Dang it! My plan—to write a blog. BAM. That was it. I figured inspiration would hit constantly. I mean, when I’m with friends and family you can’t shut me up. Surely to God I’ll have something uberliciously amazing to say every single day and the readers will FLOCK to me, right?
I started with my Main Blog page and About Me page. Then a few months later I saw someone had a Contact page so I got me one of those. Then a few months after THAT, I added my Disclaimer page – everyone’s gotta that to protect their fab content. My last two pages were added recently; one on Impaired Driving and one for ROW80.
Tip 3) Produce a good foundation of content. It is a good idea to do this first before creating the blog. If you have a lot of content, you can make your blog substantial before it’s even launched. Try to have at least 5 to 10 blog entries written before the launch.
Oops. Well it’s not my fault. I didn’t read this tip until just now and I launched over a year ago so?!?! But I mean really—who does that? I launched my blog with my hello world post, an About Me page, and not much else in the Hopper. Then I waited for inspiration to strike.
Ok. So that didn’t work out so well. This is actually a good piece of advice. Inconsistency is something I have learned (by my stats) that readers do NOT like. For nearly a year I posted sporadically at best. And it led to a dismal downward spiral in readership. When I started writing consistently, numbers went up. So now I have drafts for each day in the Hopper for those weeks when I get busy. Not posting on my scheduled days is not an option.
Tip 4) When writing your blog entries, remember who you’re writing for. Write for your target audience, not for you.
DANG. Can I do anything right? Seriously? Write for my target audience and not me? I’m not sure I can do that since if I don’t enjoy the writing, I doubt I’ll keep up with it. Ok. Wait. Let’s see—who would be my target audience?
I’d say anyone with a pulse and a sense of humor. Hmmmm…not very “targeted,” eh!? Well, I guess I could go further to say its likely people like me: primarily women, ages 30 to 65, urban or rural, single or hooked up, and with a good sense of humor. There. Voila. I will write for me and in that way, I AM writing to my target audience. How convenient!
Tip 5) Update your blog daily. It is acceptable to update once a day, but aim for more. Blogs that update four to six times a day are the ones that become popular. If you are struggling to come up with content every day, take the weekend to plan out your blog entry schedule.
Seriously? Every day but more like four to six times A DAY!?! Give me a break. Who ARE these successful bloggers? Do they have a life? Who writes this advice? I think they’re on crack! When I started out, I blogged on average of twice a week. Now I am blogging five days a week and I can tell ya, that’s my maximum.
I will say I learned from Kristen’s course to create themes for each post day and that’s helped me immensely in creating content and staying consistent (in blog post frequency and style). My overall tone is funny and quirky.
As with any advice I dispense, I think it’s important to take what’s useful for you and ditch what isn’t. Besides, I know I’ll be a famous blogger someday regardless. I just know it! I mean…have you SEEN my blog…its inevitable!
Thank you everyone! It was an uberdelight to be here and I hope y’all enjoyed the post!
Visit me at: nataliehartford.com
Talk to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on: @NatalieHartford
No, thank you sooo much for coming Natalie!
This was an awesome post full of helpful advice for everyone! Whether you are just starting to blog or have blogged for several years, we can never learn enough. And to have the benefit to learn from someone else’s mistakes and successes is a real gift! No, thank you Natalie Hartford for your most kind, ubergenerous post!
What about you? What fahhhbulous blogging advice have you taken, made your own, or totally ignored? What tips or mistakes have you made along the way that you can you share with others?
If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to follow by email. And thank you all for your many kind thoughts and salutations!
A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new WANA classmates and friends. And to all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post, take care and make it a great day!