Ever think to yourself "why do I need a blog?" or "how can a blog help my creative business?" The term "blog" comes from "web log" which can best be described as an online journal. I used to think that blogging was reserved for authors and newspaper columnists, although in the past year I have completely changed my tune and realized that blogging is one of the best things you can integrate into your online business especially if you’re an artist, photographer or handmade crafter.
Customers want to hear the story behind your work and the process of creation. A blog gives you the opportunity to share your story and the 'how and why' you create your work. Sure, it also takes some effort to maintain a blog, but it’s definitely worth it! Here are 3 advantages of having a blog for your creative business:
1. A blog gives you an online platform to share your story about your products and the process you go through to create such unique pieces of work.
2. A blog gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and connect personally with your customers and fellow creatives to build a larger network and grow your business.
3. A blog gives you the ability to teach others about your craft and share your knowledge so we all learn from each other and grow together.
So, how do you create a blog?
It has become very easy (and FREE) to create your own blog these days through Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad and now even Meylah! The only thing you need is your own creative thoughts and an internet connection and you're all set. Just follow the instructions to set up your own blog through any of the providers above.
So, what makes a good blog post?
There are several things that make a good blog post and now that we know why you should have a blog for your creative business, let’s cover the basics of what to include in your blog posts:
- Plan Your Posts: A great way to maintain your blog is to create an editorial calendar to plan your upcoming topics. This not only gives you a well organized list, but allows you to create themes around your posts so you keep your readers interested and the information rich. And remember to be flexible with your editorial calendar topics because you never know when a hot topic might need to be your next blog post.
- Use Compelling Titles: The title is the first thing to grab the reader's interest and it should also highlight the main story of your post so make sure to be creative and informative with your titles.
- Find Your Voice: Be creative and showcase your personality in your writing. The key to a good blog post is to find your own unique voice and don't be afraid to speak (write). A trick a friend told me about is to use a voice recorder to first record your blog post verbally and then transcribe it. This allows you to find your voice while avoiding the 'formal' nature of writing.
- Spelling and Grammar Check: Make sure you proofread your work before publishing. We all make mistakes and this one can be easily avoided by simply proofreading your post for spelling or grammatical errors.
- Link To Other Resources: A blog is a great resource of information and one of the best ways to provide great information is to link to other blogs for useful information. This creates an information-rich post and will help you build up your network connections with like-minded folks.
- Foster a Discussion: A great way for readers to continue to read your blog post is to ask questions to your readers and foster a discussion through the comments section. As we learned from Courtney’s post on “Why You Should Comment on Blogs...5 Tips to Remember”, comments result in a number of benefits to both the reader and the blogger.
- Use Images: One of the best ways to grab a reader's attention is to use great images and best of all…it’s easy to do. You can either use your own images, get permission from another owner to use their images or use Flickr to search for images with a Creative Commons license for "free use, sharing, repurposing and even remixing depending on the owner's choice." To understand the proper rules for image use, see the post Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts of the Arts and Craft Community written by Dionne Christiansen.
- Remember The Rules: Be creative and make it your own, but remember to follow a couple rules. First, don’t plagiarize (copy) somebody else’s work or make other’s work available for download if you don’t own it and second, don’t give out too much personal information as that is always a risk.
A good blog post is one that you make your own and the list above is to provide guidance…not limits. Some blog for fun, some for money, and some for both. Make your blog unique and unlike anything else out there...and of course share your blog with us as we’d love to connect to you!
Here are some other great blogging resources that you can use for your creative business:
- Blogging for Bliss: Crafting Your Own Online Journal: A Guide for Crafters, Artists & Creatives of all Kinds
- Blogging for Business: Everything You Need to Know and Why You Should Care
- Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters
- The Everything Blogging Book: Publish Your Ideas, Get Feedback, And Create Your Own Worldwide Network (Everything Series)