Well, I did it. I conquered my self-challenge by blogging Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and now Friday. And what I've learned is that blogging is more difficult than it seems. I'm a senior in college (as I have mentioned several times), so finding the time to eliminate distractions and just sit down to write was challenging. I worked on posts at work, during class, and now I'm writing this on my lunch break at my internship. So what I want to talk about today are tips for novice bloggers--hopefully other bloggers who are just getting started, like me, will find this helpful.
First, outwardly commit to something, whether it be what you're going to post about, a deadline, or whatever. I tweeted about posting Monday through Friday this week because I knew it would force me to do it. If it's out there on your Twitter, Facebook, etc., then you are more accountable. You do not want to disappoint your readers or yourself by not delivering what you promised.
Second, labels are your best friend. On Blogger, labels are the words or phrases at the bottom of each post (they might be called something else on a different website). Use these! Choose words that relate to the topic of the post, or have to do with things that you mention, even if they're not the main idea. Over time, posts will start warranting similar labels, which is good. This is what happens: a reader finishes reading a post and sees the labels at the bottom. One of the label is "media." They think: "I liked this post, I want to read more about media," and they click on it. If you've used that label more than once, those posts will pop up and thus the reader reads more posts.
Third, don't just post or tweet the link to your most recent post, say something interesting about it to get people intrigued. Loyal readers might click on the link without any description, but anyone else is probably going to pass over it. It's the difference between: "Please read my post" and "If you've been keeping up with the Herman Cain scandal, you'll love this post about the most notorious sex scandals."
Fourth, if you want to build relationships with other bloggers/professionals, it is not enough to just "like," "connect with," or "follow." By retweeting, @mentioning, hashtagging (is that even a word?), commenting, linking, etc. other bloggers/professionals will appreciate you more. Not only will you be on their radar, they'll feel more inclined to do the same promotions for you. For example, my first video post was about Joanna Penn's (http://www.thecreativepenn.com) webinar about blogging. I tweeted at her about it and she ended up commenting on the post.
Those are the four most important tips I can give at this point. I'm going to try to make "A Novice's Blog" a little series, posting more tips as I come up with them via my own experiences (look! I just used the first tip!). But for now, I hope these tips are useful for the other novice's out there.