Today in my capping class we started end-of-the-semester presentations. Watching the bloggers of From the Court and From the Bench present got me thinking about things I need to work on with my blog. I came up with three things that I thought would be good to share:
- Putting your own advice into action - Several of my posts are opinion- or advice-driven. For instance, I've written about when to use headlines versus titles, journalism ethics, and grammar. I've even done a video post about how to get a new blog going. But what I've realized is that as a blogger/writer you can preach all you want, but it doesn't mean jack unless you follow your own advice. I have said more than once that to generate loyalty you have to post consistently, and look: 11 days since my last post. When this blog was in the earlier stages I said that a blog should not be too text heavy. Surprise: I have one video post, three pictures, and everything else is text. The blogs my class saw today, From the Court and From the Bench, had much more multimedia than A Write Hook. It made realize that if I'm going to posting about how to improve, I'd better take my own advice or why would anyone take me seriously?
- Google Alerts - I was introduced to Google Alerts at my internship at NetPublications, Inc. and now it's my blog's best friend. Go to Google, find Alerts under the "more" tab at the top of the page. Here, you can type in keywords or phrases from which Google will generate a search that will constantly update in Reader. This has been super helpful, especially when I don't have any ideas for postings. Say you have a blog about graduate school, such as Grad School Insider. You could create Google Alerts for the phrases: "graduate school," "applying to graduate school," "top grad schools," et cetera. Then, thanks to SEO, Google generates a continuous list of results based on the keywords. Some of my Google Alerts include: "AP style," "media regulations," and "Twitter."
- Using other people's work as a jumping off point to create an original idea/post - There is a fine line between being inspired and copying another person's idea because you're too lazy to think of something yourself. This may sound hypocritical since I just praised Google Alerts, but that is to find prompts, not to steal from other bloggers. While it is excellent to look at fellow blogger's sites, do not be tempted to rip something off. If you are inspired to write about something similar, do your own research, create your own angle, and reference or credit the site you started at. For example, I just saw that @JournScandals (the Scandalism blog's Twitter) tweeted the link to a new post about Stephen Glass. As it happens, I was recently thinking that it would be fun to do a post about him. However, since @JournScandals is a colleague and has a great blog, I will refrain from a writing a post about the same thing since she produced it first. But I could write about something like notorious journalists and reference @JournScandal's blog when I mention Stephen Glass. See the difference? Check out @JournScandal's Stephen Glass post: "Stephen Glass Scandal: Learn from the lies."