As a personal finance blogger, I was so nervous at first.
Am I a good enough writer? Will the people I know in-person laugh at me? What will the internet trolls think?
You can obsess about all the things that could go wrong. Or, alternatively, you can just do it and see what happens.
Here are 5 tips that I wish I knew when I first started my blog.
1. Determine Your Niche
What do you want to write about?
I have several interests but, for the sake of marketing, I only focus on three things: Millennial money, career and personal development. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “Stay in your lane.”
Once you figure out what you want to talk about, you’ll begin to get a clearer image of what sort of content you can write about
2. Determine Your Audience
This is the most important, and one of the most overlooked, aspects of creating a blog.
Who are you writing for?
People who love fidget spinners?
Because you better know.
You must be able to close your eyes and picture the target reader, hunched over their laptop and reading your newest blog post. When you determine your target audience, you’ll be able to research what sort of interests they have and what issues they care about. This will all be useful for your content.
3. Diversity Your Content
Don’t be afraid to seek help.
On top of publishing content 3–5 times a week, I’m also a full-time lawyer. During busy weeks, I ask some of my personal finance blogger friends to write guest posts, or I “interview” some of my friends about their money habits. “Listicles” are also relatively quick to write, and they tend to be very clickable.
Not every single blog post needs to be 2,000 words and have 10 academic citations.
4. Read. A lot.
Whenever I feel uninspired, that is my brain telling me to go read a book. As Nicolas Cole has advocated — you need to balance input vs. output. If you’re struggling with new content, immerse yourself in books on different topics. Inspiration is everywhere. If you’re not a good writer, read books from great authors!
“But Jen, I don’t have time to read!”
Read during your commute.
Read while you’re eating lunch.
Read for twenty minutes before bed.
Just like sitting before your laptop every single day, you must take the time to read good books.
There is no excuse.
If you want to become a great writer, you must become a voracious reader.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot
Finally, if something isn’t working out for you, don’t be afraid to pivot the focus of your blog. I’ve done it several times.
My blog started out as a personal finance blog for Millennial women. After a few months, I decided that I wanted to take a step back and talk about the intersection of money, work and happiness. Now, my blog is aimed for Millennials who want advice on money, career and self-development. Not to mention, it’s seen some cosmetic changes and content updates.
In other words, don’t be afraid of trial and error.
You have permission to tinker with your website after it’s gone live.
In The End…
Like any other profession, being a content writer involves nurturing multiple skills. No one, obviously, comes out of the womb as an excellent blogger.
It takes discipline, persistence and, of course, practice.
Don’t be afraid of where you are right now.
Be afraid of quitting before you become really great.
Don’t overthink. Just start.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this story, you should check out www.jenonmoney.com where I write about the intersection of money, work and happiness. — Jen