Pardee Hall

Blogging 101 for the College Grad

Wow! It feels like 2014 has flown by so quickly already. I’ve finishing up the busiest (and last) semester of my college career, and preparing to graduate next Saturday!

Now that I have all the wisdom of a soon-to-be college graduate, I want to share some of the tips I’ve learned both as a blogger and as someone who has gotten involved in social media marketing in Twitter, Facebook, and beginning with Pinterest and Instagram! I’m hoping I can share some of my exploration with the rest of you, which I’m going to term as part of my “101” series in online marketing.

This week’s series is on one of my favorite platforms: blogging. I’ve blogged in WordPress primarily, but I’m familiar with other platforms as well. Simply put, I want to make a quick guide of tips for those who are hoping to find their niche within the blogging world. If you’re struggling to figure out exactly what you want to get out of your blog content, here are a few ideas to get to you started with some follow-up actions to boot.

Sometimes having a quick, 5-minute activity is all you need to start creating amazing posts. So what exactly do you want to do to create great, open blog content?

Try out a bunch of things

If you’ve been blogging throughout college or are just starting post-graduation, the early stages of blogging rarely have a clear focus. When I first started producing online content, I wrote about everything from sustainable farming to dating advice – and I personally think that I’m much better for it. If you have an idea in mind of what you want to do, and you think that you can push forward in it, definitely go ahead. But if you have mixed feelings on what content you want to offer, it’s OK to “play around” for a bit. At some point, you’ll start to discover exactly what you want. And that’s when you’ll find your niche. Just don’t spend those first 3-4 months or so panicking because your blog doesn’t have a set theme. You might end up splitting it off into multiple themes, and that can end up being an incredibly valuable experience.

Action: Make a list of topics that interest you, and see if you can think of any sample blog posts to go alongside that.

Read other blogs

One of the best things that happened during my blogging career was to join the HerCampus Blogger Network. When I was trying to figure out exactly how to structure my blog, I looked at many of their styles to figure out what I wanted to offer, and just how interesting I could make it. It was so helpful to look at those who had witty, well-organized, and incredibly fun blogs such as Lady Unemployed and Flawlessly Flawed to see what kind of content that I could be providing to others. I always recommend looking at the work of those who are one or two steps above you – sometimes the best muse is browsing the ideas of those who have already become incredibly accomplished.

Action: Set up Google Alerts for your topic (or topics) of interests. See if any common new sites or blogs come up, and browse their sites for design and content ideas.

Write for others – share your content

When I first started blogging, most of my content was created for others. While I had been writing for a variety of sites since at least my sophomore year, it wasn’t until I met Kira Sabin at a Lafayette Sex Week talk that I decided to write for the College Crush. It was an exciting experience for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I got to establish an online voice that wasn’t simply talking about academic criteria or summarizing the works of others. Though I am nowhere near a dating expert, I enjoyed creating content that would be applicable for an area of focus that I was actually familiar with: college women. Also, it helps to create an established online presence and gain traffic for your own blog.

Action: See if any of your favorite blogs are looking for guest writers. Make sure that your blog will be listed either in the post or in the summary section to gain traffic.

Though these are just a starting base of tips, use them to push forward in creating a unique voice for your blog. Blogging isn’t easy work if you plan to really focus in on it, but push forward and see what kind of amazing things you can come up with!

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