How to Blog – Content

Having recently written an article about starting a blog and another about blog maintenance, I got great feedback. This made me think that it would be useful to share my thoughts about blog content creation. I am still relatively new to blogging but have learned so much in my six months of creating posts.

Feel free to share your own suggestions about how to create blog articles below. I really love the blogging community and the way everyone is willing to share ideas and make connections. Here is a previous post about what to do when starting out in the blogging world.

Five Things About Blog Content

1) Make sure you enjoy it

One of the biggest lessons I have learned since establishing a blog earlier this year is that writing content that I don’t honestly care much about is really draining. I almost became a sellout and started writing articles selling irrelevant stuff because I thought that was the right thing to do. Thankfully I realised that I can only sell things that I am interested in myself and I find blogging much more fun when it is organic rather than forced.

I have written a few promotional articles about products that I have actually used and relate to my lifestyle. I was tempted to write about activities that I would not do myself, such as using matched gambling websites, and realised that this just didn’t feel right for me. I am more than happy to promote goods but they have to mean something to me, relating to the things I like writing about (books, movies, the environment, Prosecco – I just have a thing for it, in moderation).

2) Genuine Interest Beats Niche

Although a niche is important to many bloggers and to sponsors, I sometimes feel as though an issue is worth writing about which might not fit my into usual subjects. I have felt happy to write about news issues in the past which do not relate to the environment, yet were really interesting to me.

My own niche is basically three things – books, climate change and general entertainment (theatre, TV, movies). From day one I wrote articles about reading and writing as well as global warming. Now I love to share my top TV watches and a few movie reviews as well.

3) Reading Other Blogs

I get a lot of inspiration from other blogs. I don’t copy them but I do believe that reading their content helps me to feel motivated and enables me to see how successful bloggers work their magic.

Some notable favourites are:

Confidently Kayleigh

Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

NotSoModernGirl

The Grumpy Olive

Smorgasbord

There are so many more but these I read almost daily.

4) Sometimes You Need A Break

I would say that blogging can take over your free time. There is no getting away from this, but if you are passionate enough about it, you will find ways to cope. One of the most useful tips I found somewhere was to have a few articles on evergreen content ready to go, just in case you get too busy or life takes over.

Evergreen content is that which is not only relevant on a particular date. Some topics work well at any time of year and can be dropped onto a blog any day. These are good to have as back up for those days when you lose motivation or need a chance to rest.

5) Not Everything Is Complex

Some bloggers spend hours and hours researching key words and trending topics but I find my most successful blog posts have been off-the-cuff ones which stemmed from fleeting thoughts or random conversations.

Don’t overthink it. When writing comes from the heart, it is always more readable. Not only that, but it makes your blog feel more natural and genuine. Forcing writing around certain trends is actually quite off-putting.

So, there we have it. If you are getting into blogging, there are plenty of articles to read about getting the best out of it. This is just my take on things but I hope that you enjoyed reading it.

Christmas Gone Crazy – Extract Two

This is the second part of my Christmas short, but weird, story. For the first part, click here.

Making my way through airport security, a few hours later, I thought I could sense snow coming. The sky looked heavy and the airport was dark. I found a spot on a bench and took out my iPad. Perhaps I could find out a bit about this freak and begin coming up with an angle. I managed to get a clip of him declaring his village the new ‘Jerusalem’. Just as I began watching his rant, a voice butted in.

“I know who you are. You’re the only person likely to know about this.”

I turned round to see a brown haired woman, about the same age as me, peering over my shoulder.

“And you are?” I said, half guessing.

“Fiona,” she said reluctantly. ‘Your camera girl.’

“Well, you may as well take the weight off your legs. The plane isn’t due for an hour,” I said, half smiling, half disappointed. Disappointed mainly because I wanted some time alone. Smiling slightly because she was a lot better looking than the last camera man I had.

 

Grabbing her a coffee, I found it obligatory to try and make conversation and see if we had anything at all in common. She turned out to be fairly left wing and quite a thinker. I did enjoy her retelling the last assignment she had. While waiting to get footage of a movie star emerging from a London nightclub, she had spent hours, in the rain, poised with her camera focused on the club door. In the two minutes that she snuck inside to the loo, the actor had not only come out, but made an announcement that he was having a sex change operation, and no longer wanted to be known as a male. She had got back from the bog, to find that the other camera guy had an exclusive and she had missed everything. Neither of us had much luck at all. That was the main thing we would discover about each other. We were both riddled with bad luck.

We queued up for the plane and were soon high above the clouds, sipping cheap wine and making the most of the on-board entertainment. She was watching old episodes of ‘Friends’ while I opted for a couple of episodes of ‘Fleabag.’ We both liked trash TV. The man who was sat at the end of our row kept getting up and going to the toilet and every time we got settled again, he seemed to want to make us stand up. Fiona tutted after a few times and he looked at her with disgust. Thankfully I was between them and could keep her from retaliating. The smirk on her face showed me that she was enjoying the challenge.

 

“Next time I’ll step on his toes,” she whispered.

She reminded me of my little sister and the way she used to torment me. We used to laugh for hours about anything and everything. I missed those days. Sadly, she had been gone five years now. I suddenly became somber.

 

“Cheer up,” she said, revealing a picture she had taken on her phone. It was the moody guy and she had edited it so that he looked like the devil.

I tried to smile. “You know, the Christmas Jesus guy is going to wind you up like mad,” I said, showing a picture of him riding a reindeer, with no clothes on.

“Think of all the fun I can have with him,’ she replied as she changed the photo so that it looked like Donald Trump. Somehow the guy really suited the yellow hair, comb over and pale blue suit. His face was already plump enough to pass as the President.

AD – If you enjoyed this, keep looking out for the next instalment or check out my book below. This book of short stories is about first impressions being often misleading.

Christmas Gone Crazy – Extract One

It was in Zurich that I thought of this tale.

Today I wanted to share one of my stories from my book, ‘Second Glance’. It is my Christmas story with a difference, about a journalist sent to Switzerland to meet a guy claiming to be a messenger from God. I intend to share the rest of the story over time.

I woke up to find my phone ringing repeatedly. Without my contact lenses, I couldn’t even manage to press the right button to silence the damn thing. Last night’s festivities were taking their toll. I could taste the foul onions which must have partnered the kebab we had before grabbing taxis home. I felt happy that I had finally got my own place, otherwise by now my mum would’ve been on my case, giving me grief about drinking too much, and chasing me around, making me clean up and shoving me into the shower.

 

My flat felt empty and still. When I went to feed the puppy, it wasn’t in its bed. Instead it was sat, diligently looking out of the window, no doubt eyeing up the pooch that walked by every day at about this time. This puppy had better love prospects than I ever did. He turned his head to me and stuck out his tongue. I patted him gently and filled his bowl with meat. I knew that as soon as the posh neighbour’s fancy dog had walked past, he would be lapping up the treats.

 

Returning to my phone, I could see there was a message waiting for me. It was from my boss, Lauren. She needed me to ring her back urgently. The TV had just come on, loudly blurting out Christmas music while trying to sell me a compilation of holiday tunes. I pressed mute and rang work. The conversation was weird. Lauren picked up and told me that I had an assignment. She was sending me to Switzerland straight away. It was a very quirky challenge. Literally every job I was given by Lauren was full of weirdness. After all, I was working for a small media firm which specialised in documentaries and investigative journalism. They tended to sell stories which were out of the ordinary and often went beyond the realms of believability.

 

I rang my brother and asked him to look after the pup. He agreed, thankfully, knowing he owed me a favour after I acted as his alibi when he had a random one night stand with his body pump coach. My bags were always partly packed and it didn’t take me long to add a few woolly hats, a scarf and an emergency supply of Pringles. Half a bottle of Jack Daniels was the finishing touch before I closed the case and parked it by the door. My brother picked up the dog and gave me a lift to the train station.

 

“So where you going this time?” he asked as he drove at high speed through the empty streets of my sleepy little city.

“Well. I didn’t get all the facts. But apparently a guy has declared himself the new Jesus and started a Christmas commune in the middle of the Swiss Alps,” I said, chuckling to myself.

“That is one hell of a story!” he jeered.

“Hey! It pays the bills,” I sniggered. “I reckon he’ll give a great interview.”

“You can say that again. I’ll have some of what he is having. I bet he is surrounded by hot women and everyone is high as kites.”

“Let’s hope so,” I laughed as I unpacked my case from the boot and patted the dog farewell.

AD – If you enjoyed this, keep looking out for the next instalment or check out my book below. This book of short stories is about first impressions being often misleading.

For another extract from one of my books, click here.