Blogs have proven their potency when it comes to connecting with audiences.

In a recent study conducted by HubSpot, 92% of companies who blog many times a day have acquired new customers from their blog.
InsideView also states blogs generate 67% more leads for B2B marketers who use it.
These numbers show why you should be investing your time and effort in blogs. The question is how do you start?
Lessons about blogging

NextStep Workshops recently worked with serial entrepreneur Evrim Kanbur in “Blogging for Business” last August 26, 2016. She discussed the basics of setting up your own blog, choosing content and how one can create opportunities from blogging.

Evrim is a globetrotter and blogger who founded While Travelling, showcasing her world travels. One of the communities she also helps bring together was Expat Neighbors, a support group for expats in Shanghai. She also helps a group of aspiring writers want to tell great stories, Shanghai Story Tellers. With her ability to inspire people, there’s no better candidate to learn from.

Here are some of the best lessons we have learned with our session with Evrim Kanbur.

1. Define your purpose.

What's your why?

The first thing you need to do is identify the purpose of your blog. Once you do, it will be easier for you to decide which direction to go and what kind of content you want to create. It will also help you identify your goals and measure them. It also helps get you to the right audience with the use of the right keywords and aligning it to your brand.

2. Create your content.

Content is king

As they say, content is king. Your blog is a reflection of who you are, and it’s a way for your audience to get to know your values. Evrim gave some strategies on how to create the best content for your blog.

a. Categorize your thoughts – List down topics that interest you. Create a chart where you can jot down the things you want to write about.

b. Create your mind map – Mapping your ideas can help you be more creative. It’s easy to create, visually driven and lets your ideas flow. This will help you identify possible content you might want to discuss in the future.

c. Just start writing – Well, there’s no better way to start than to start now. Get your drafts going by writing every day. Get feedback from family and friends to see how your writing comes across. What’s important is that you start writing.

3. Build your community.

Know your audience

If content is king, then engagement is queen. If you want your blog to be a success, you would need to have an audience to read and interact with. The key to building your community is to tap into your network for support. Share your posts, pictures, and videos on social media. Ask your friends and family to share it to their networks. Get to know the trends in the industry. Attend workshops and training to help improve your writing skills. Join groups of bloggers and expand your network by getting to know the people in your industry. Write guest posts for other blogs, comment and share their blog posts in your network.

4. Work on your blog’s brand.

On Branding

a. Choose your blog’s name – Choose a catchy name for your blog. Your name must give people a clear idea of what to expect. Some people use their name, others use catch phrases or terms related to their niche. Make sure to check if there are blogs with the names you chose to avoid any legal or copy write issues.

b. Choose your niche – When you start a blog, you also have to decide who you are writing for and what you are writing about. Niches have jargon that you would need to learn too. The right selection of words will help establish your authority in the subject.

c. Choose your domain name – Check your options for your domain name and make sure it’s original. Most bloggers recommend BlueHost for their great package and also for being the most reputable shared hosting companies on the Internet. Plus it also comes with free email and is compatible with WordPress and other plug-ins. This will make it easier to keep spam off your blog, add direct ads and engage with your audience.

d. Make your blog look professional – WordPress is a great choice for bloggers for its simple, easy to use platform. It also comes with great choices for themes you can install and edit anytime. Choose a theme that will align to your brand’s image. Pick colors that suit your personality. Add plug-ins likeAkismet to stop spam. Yoast also helps you rank better in Google searches. WPTouch to help your site perform better on phones and tablets. Easy Social helps share your content through social media.Contact Form makes it easy for people to get in contact with you.

5. Monetize your blog.

Endless possibilities

You can also earn through your blog. Get paid by letting ads show on your page using Google AdSense. Do product reviews, social media sponsorships, and offer your services as a freelance writer. Offer online courses and speaking engagements to help others achieve their dreams. The possibilities are endless, as long as you know where to look.

Blogging can be tedious and time-consuming, but it can also be fun and rewarding. It’s your voice, a venue for clients to get to know you and what you hold dear. It also increases your audience’s loyalty and helps reach those who are looking for the service you offer. It’s where you can tell your unique story, so take the chance and do it well, because you’ll never know who you’ll end up inspiring.

So, are you ready to blog?

Get in touch with Evrim Kanbur. Sign up to her blog While Travelling, or be a part of Expat Neighbors and Shanghai Storytellers. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.



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