• How to Write a Blog

    Whether you already have a blog or are thinking about starting a blog, the seven tips outlined in this post should help you! If you have any questions {or additional tips!}, don’t hesitate to comment.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    If you are interested in any of the project tutorials on the TPK blog, I can assure you of this: you are creative enough to make a successful blog yourself. Today’s post is dedicated to tips on how to write a blog. It is my hope that you can either implement these ideas to your existing blog — or that it will give you the push you need to start a blog from scratch! If you’re not interested in blogging, you may still find this enlightening; you can apply some of these tips to everyday casual communication such as emailing.

    I follow seven self-made rules when I blog:

    1. Write about topics without fear or abandon.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    Sometimes, you might hesitate to write about a topic because you’re not sure if you have the expertise to write about it. My passion is art and calligraphy; however, I was initially wont to write about these two things because I don’t have a college degree in either subject. I basically thought readers wouldn’t respect my opinion or — horror of all horrors — I would make myself look like a fool on the internet. So, at first I wrote blog posts that didn’t disclose a whole lot {like this one from October 2012}.

    Watercolor Lettering + Free eWallpaper | The Postman's Knock

    Eventually, I started dipping my toe into the waters of tutorials. What I found was people seemed to really enjoy tutorial-type posts, and no one said anything discouraging or negative. In fact, quite the contrary: readers were very encouraging and curious. Now, I write without hesitation for a few reasons:

    • If my knowledge is limited on a topic, there is always someone who knows more about it and adds to the conversation in the comments. For example, check out the blog post A Guide to Calligraphy Inks and its comments. I learned so much from people telling me about what inks they like and where to purchase them!
    • I know that there is someone out there who watercolors better than I do, calligraphs better than I do, and/or illustrates better than I do. But: chances are, he or she isn’t writing about it in a tutorial-focused blog. So: I keep on doing what I’m doing … because it’s a great feeling to help people in their own creative journey.
    • It’s fun to be able to write about things without worrying about anything. Everything I write about is something I genuinely love doing, and I am a better writer if I’m not second-guessing myself.

    2. Have a conversation.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    I have noticed that there seem to be two types of blogs out there. The first I call “coffee shop blogs”. This type of blog is the kind that is written with genuineness, and it speaks to you personally. The vernacular reflects this with use of “you” versus terms like “you all” or “everyone”, and the post may ask questions that are not rhetorical. In short, reading a “coffee shop blog” makes you feel like you just had a one-on-one coffee date with the writer.

    The second kind of blog is a “demo blog”. This is the kind of blog that conjures the feeling of observing a Vitamix demo at Costco {if you’re based outside the US, this reference may not make sense … here‘s what I’m talking about}. The writing talks at you with words like “you all” and “everybody”, and doesn’t encourage interaction on the reader’s part — in short, it doesn’t foster a connection between the writer and the reader.

    When you’re writing, it’s always good to keep the reader in mind. Try to imagine that you’re talking to a friend who has expressed interest in your topic. Think of the questions they may have, and preemptively answer them. At the same time, try to write exactly as you talk when you are interacting with someone one-on-one. The reward for this style of writing will be a blog that garners a large following and readers who are truly interested.

    3. Provide a benefit for your readers.

    Printable Valentine's Day Card and Envelope | The Postman's Knock

    Reading your blog is a conscious choice that readers make, and no one is obligated to read it. It’s important, then, to give incentives to your readers. Make sure you identify the incentive for each blog post before you write, and keep it in mind as you are writing. This post’s incentive, for example, is inspiration/knowledge concerning how to write a blog. Other posts may have a more obvious incentive: a free printable {like the printable card/envelope pair above}, a giveaway, etc.

    To be sure, you can certainly write about your life and what’s going on in it; but make sure someone can read that blog post and learn something from it. We as humans are naturally curious creatures who are always looking to expand our knowledge.

    4. Choose one general topic to write about.

    Top Ten List of Art Essentials | The Postman's Knock

    It is tougher than it sounds to choose one general topic. Of course, you’re interested in all kinds of things, but your focus will be on this one thing … which is kind of intimidating. Whatever you choose to write about, make sure you’re passionate about it. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about, examine your daily routine: what do you do to feel happy? Do you cook? Read books? Create art? Work with wood? You can blog about virtually any topic.

    The Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock{I, personally, blog about anything pertaining to art/creativity. The image above comes from this blog post.}

    The reason for sticking to one topic is simple: people will find you by looking for information on the topic you write about. It’s jarring for readers if most of your blog posts are about baking, then you whip out a blog post about metalworking. You can write about more than one topic {lifestyle blogs do this often}, but if you do, it’s a good idea to keep the topics clearly separated and organized.

    10 Ways to Draw Laurel Wreaths | The Postman's Knock

    My fear, initially, was that I would run out of things to blog about with my chosen topic — which is art and calligraphy, and, to a certain extent, business development pertaining to those topics. The truth is, though, there’s always something to examine further {like laurel wreaths!, above} or look at from a different angle. So: don’t let fear of running out of things to say hold you back. If you like something, blog about it!

    5. Be consistent with your posting.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    Ill-maintained blogs make me sad. Every time someone starts a blog, there are big ideas and potential behind that blog. If the blog is abandoned, usually that means the writer has set aside his or her big ideas for whatever reason. The message from the writer, which trickles down to the reader, is “I don’t care enough about this blog to maintain it.” Effectively, the reader will give the same amount of priority to the blog as the writer does; that is to say, none.

    The fact of the matter, too, is people gravitate toward blogs that are always churning out fresh content. As a reader, I know that if I find a blog that has several posts I like, chances are I will like future posts as well. That makes me more likely to return to the blog and support its writers. I, personally, always blog twice per week. I shoot for Wednesday and Saturday, but if that doesn’t work out, I just blog another two days. Blogging can be done wherever you are; for example, my last five or so blog posts were written from my in-laws’ home in Peru; and today I am writing from my mother’s house in Kansas.

    6. Take good, original photos. 

    Top Ten List of Art Essentials | The Postman's Knock{This is my favorite photo on the TPK blog; it was created for this blog post.}

    I remember scorning photography as an art form. I mean, it takes true skill to draw something, and how hard is it to capture the subject with a lens? Right? No, totally wrong. Taking photos is tough, and it requires skill. Taking a good photo almost presents more difficulties for me than making a reproduction of a Monet painting would.

    You can learn photography with classes or just by trial-and-error. I went the latter route. My photography developed via rejection critiques by craftgawker and becoming more comfortable using Lightroom. My photography set-up is nothing fancy — and I truly mean that. Usually, I just open up a sketchpad for light to bounce off of, put the object I’m photographing on a piece of paper, and take a photo with my Nikon Coolpix S9100 camera. Then, I edit the photo in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I’m done.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    With a few exceptions, good photography is vital for a successful blog. A lot of people — myself included — are highly visual, and they will respond better to a paragraph, then a photo, and a paragraph, then a photo, than paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of writing.

    7. Practice good SEO.

    How to Write a Blog | The Postman's Knock

    “SEO” is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. The whole concept sounds like rocket science, but it’s really not. I learned about SEO while interning at a publishing company, but it only takes a few hours to learn — not a semester. The general principle is this: choose a key phrase, then repeat it several times in your blog post. Make sure it’s in your intro paragraph, your title, and a couple of places in the body of the post. The key phrase for this blog post is “how to write a blog”. You will notice I have used this exact phrase a couple of times throughout this post, and that’s so Google will know to connect people looking for information on this topic to this specific blog post.

    What I just described is the general principle of SEO, and there are a few other factors that impact your SEO as well. These include your website speed, ease of navigation within the website, how many visits you get per month, etc. Because of this, I do recommend you do some Googling to educate yourself on how to improve your blog’s SEO. But, in general, as long as you are writing a quality blog that is enjoyable for your readers, your SEO will continue to improve, even if you don’t have a great understanding of exactly what SEO is.

    The Beginner's Guide to Calligraphy Part II | The Postman's Knock{Different strokes for different folks.}

    Of course, everything I just told you is subject to your own discretion. Following these seven tips have helped the TPK blog, but nothing is one-size-fits-all. At the very least, I hope this post got you thinking about your own current or future blog and what you can do to make it unique and successful.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I’d love for you to ask in the comments {because others probably have the same question}, but I understand if you are not comfortable asking publicly and would prefer to email me directly {[email protected]}.

    Thanks again, so much, for reading the TPK blog!

    Warmest wishes always,

    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock