Over the past couple of weeks I’ve developed an obsession with Twitter! It’s really good for finding other bloggers and baby related companies that are willing to work with me on my blog. One topic that I keep noticing in various forums is, ‘How to Start a Blog’. So I thought I’d write about why I write a blog and a few questions to ask yourself when you start writing.
1. Who is Your Audience?
This is a really basic writing rule but blogging is often very personal so the audience isn’t always clear or there might be more than one audience or it may change over time. My original audience was my close friends and family and I was blogging weekly to keep them updated on my pregnancy. I planned to stop blogging or at least slow down to monthly once Ollie was born.
After my dramatic birth my sister said, “Imagine if you would’ve actually died, all Ollie would’ve had was the blog to know about his Mommy!” I decided to keep blogging for Ollie. If I do end up dying young then my blog will give him a pretty good idea of his Mommy and what I liked and what frustrated me. If I go on to live until I’m 100 then how nice will it be for Ollie to read about the world when he was a baby and growing up? Imagine how much technology is going to change by the time he’s 11, 18, 21… He’ll read my blog and it will be a time capsule! “Haha people actually took brelfies?” “Woah, that’s what prams looked like‽” “Aww I almost had a little brother/sister a year younger than me?” I think that will be pretty special! I would love to read about my moms frustrations as a new mother or what crap she bought for baby me and never used!
Of course Ollie isn’t my audience now, so I am writing for friends, family and other mothers as well but it’s all with the intention of giving it to Ollie one day.
I’ve always wanted to publish a book, one day I’ll turn my blogs into a book for Ollie! With the little MommaBoss logo as the front cover and his feet at whatever age I give him the book as the back cover.
So rule number one, who are you writing for?
2. Do you Want to be Controversial?
It’s no secret that some mothers do love a drama. Since I’ve been blogging I have been the subject of a few rants where some people do not have the intelligence to realise that we are actually allowed to have different opinions and hey, guess what? If you choose to read my blog, you choose to read my opinion! That being said, I don’t actually want to be a Drama Queen. (I’m already an 80’s Queen, I can only wear one crown!)
I am aware that some of my opinions will spark a negative reaction, all I can say to that is – I’m not writing about you! It is incredibly self-absorbed to read a blog and assume you are the target. However, it is an indication that I’ve hit a nerve. No working mom is offended by my opinions on Full Time Mothers. No one with a good job is offended by my opinions on Statutory Maternity Pay. No one with the money to buy a designer pram is offended by my opinions on prams on finance. So if you do find yourself getting worked up by my opinion, stop and think about what you’re saying about yourself before you say anything about me! Remember, I am writing about my life, for my baby to read one day!
I don’t want to be controversial. When I write about a topic that might offend some people I always try to consider both sides so that I don’t come across too critical because I don’t know everyone’s story. If you do want to be controversial though, you are likely to get a lot of traffic to your blog but it will be people slagging you off which can be quite hurtful sometimes. Some people do it on purpose and it isn’t always necessarily their personal opinion, it’s just purposely to stir reactions. If that’s what you want – go for it!
3. What are the ‘Side Effects’ of Your Blog?
You can have intended and unintended side effects of your blog. My intended side effects are to keep my family and friends up to date on Ollie’s development and I also write Baby Product Reviews as a way to connect with other mothers, bloggers and companies.
My unintended but very welcome side effect are:
Advising other mothers – some people ask me for advice based on things I’ve written in my blogs! I’m very happy to keep doing that. I don’t claim to be some kind of advice forum but I’m always happy to hear that somebody has tried something I do with Ollie and I love answering questions! I’ve recently been asked to write for a daddy blog which is great!
Staying connected with old friends – I’ve had a few people that I worked with years ago message me or see me out and about and say that they follow my blogs! People that I never expected to be interested so it’s great that old friends can read about me and Ollie!
An unintended and partially unwelcome side effect is:
Annoying people – I don’t write to piss people off. Refer back to my previous comment about being self absorbed… However, I would like to thank the people that I do seem to piss off because when you share my blog in forums and Facebook groups solely to slag me off, my stats boom for the day. That is a welcome side effect!
4. What is your Theme?
I follow some great blogs but every now and then there will be a post on something unrelated to the blog. I love mommy blogs but if there is a random review about something unrelated to motherhood, I kind of lose interest. I like reading about opinions on motherhood and baby products but if something pops up at random it just makes it look like you’ve been paid to put that in. Don’t get me wrong, you can make a lot of income from blogging and it’s great to work with companies to raise each other’s profile. I know I’m not an advice forum, but I’d advise bloggers to try and keep it relevant to your theme.
For example, a blogging assignment that came up recently was to work with a paint company and blog about making a room over. If you’re a mommy blogger – make over the nursery if you want to accept the assignment! If you’re a food and drink blogger – make over your kitchen. At least then it’s relevant to your readers. It just doesn’t fit when a wedding blogger has suddenly reviewed the latest crime novel!
If you want to blog about a variety of topics then make sure you state that on your welcome page or Twitter/Facebook info. That way your readers know that you cover a variety of topics and it doesn’t seem out of place when something different pops up.
5. What is Your Intended Tone?
Are you trying to be funny? Stressed out? Advise? A lot of bloggers are just being them and will tell you it’s just their voice. That’s how I feel most of the time, I write because I prefer to express myself through writing than speaking. I’m the sort of person that will write an essay birthday card telling you how amazing you are but I won’t say I love you to your face. I’ll write a massive email to my boss telling him my frustrations at work but when he rings me and says are you alright I just say, yeh! Most of my blogs just come straight out of my head because I’ve been over-thinking about a certain subject and need to get it out of my head.
I do write blogs with an intentional tone like when I write my silly blogs, yeh it’s intentionally being funny. Even with an intended tone it is often the result of an over-thinking session. Good writers know how to select words to create a tone and I do sometimes purposely create a tone. These are my four P’s! My main writing tones.
1. Philosophical – I do like a good literary quote to inspire my ramblings and yes, I do think too much… Or do you not think enough?
2. Playful – I like to be silly and take the piss out of myself. I do to try and be funny sometimes.
3. Political – Inspired by current affairs and parenting politics.
4. Personal – All of my early blogs are personal, just a diary really with me chatting about my feelings being pregnant. Now I write about my feelings as a new mother.
So a good way to start blogging or if you’re a blogger with writers block – think of a tone then it’s easy to get a flow for writing. When I get ideas for a funny blog it’s usually because I’ve made myself laugh by doing something really simple, then I write it down and wait until I do something else silly and add to it. Before you know it you’ve got a long blog. If you’re worried about something, start writing a kind of diary entry and there you go, a personal blog! If you want to write some advice create a step-by-step guide for something whether it’s making up a bottle or getting baby to sleep.
That’s how and why I blog! Feel free to comment with any extra advice. Or ask me any questions if you’re new to blogging!