“But why do I need to buy a new computer?” my 60 year-old dad asks.
“Well, dad, your computer is 15 years old and, well, that means it’s really old.”
“Can’t I just buy a computer once and not have to replace it … ever?”
This conversation almost mirrors some talks I’ve had with online teachers. “So you’re saying that having a website isn’t enough? I have to have a blog as well and update it regularly?”
Blogging may seem mind-boggling. It knocks us out of our comfort zones. I almost envy those people who began blogging about 25 years ago. When you start doing something new, and your competition is relatively low, you can have all the audience you want.
Not so these days. These days it’s a series of confusing messages.
Today I’m taking you back to the basics of blogging.
Blogging as that one thing that you dread the most.
Blogging as that one thing that you hardly have the time for.
Blogging as the only way to promote your content free of charge.
Blogging will be your only tool to use when all other resources are exhausted. It is a stress relief and a motivation boost. It is your business card, your expertise, and your experience, all condensed into 1,000-or-so-word chunks, aka posts.
Still wonder why you should blog as an online teacher?
Here’re my 21 reasons:
- increase your visibility.
- share your personality.
- share your passion..
- share your expertise.
- respond to your students/readers.
- get ready-made explanations for the students you’re currently teaching.
- offer specific deals.
- share your opinions.
- learn to write quickly and powerfully.
- find clients.
- grow the list of your subscribers.
- collect various topical materials that can later be organized in new blog posts.
- interact with your readers.
- create something authentic.
- raise your ranking with search engines.
- develop trust.
- show your strengths.
- reach people you wouldn’t have otherwise.
- do more research and development.
- save time during your teaching (instead of explaining the same topic, point your students to a specific blog entry).
- increase extra-class involvement of your students.
Are you already a blogger but are getting tired of doing so much writing?
Consider these 5 additional formats and helpful tools:
- Writing different types of content. Your content doesn’t have to be informational all the time. Even if the only goal of your blog is to share some great tools with your readers, you may break the routine by adding a written interview with an expert in your area. You can express your opinion about a certain product/service and perhaps once in a while do a personal blog post about what’s happening in your life. To improve your writing and make it more easy to read I encourage you to use Hemingway app.
- Podcasting. Podcasting is on the rise these days. Podcasts are short (or long) programs that are recorded and broadcast online. Your listeners can hear them on the go (at the gym or in the car) and stay in the loop about your work, services and products even if they cannot always read your posts. I’ve tried different platforms for podcasting, and personally like Sound Cloud.
- Making videos. Creating videos is now much easier than you may think. Obviously, it may not be your way of transmitting information, but some of your readers will appreciate seeing you, not just hearing or reading. If you’re still uneasy about recording yourself, there’re different options for you out there. Services like Slidetalk for instance can convert your text to voice, and you can add a Powerpoint to go with your explanations. Alternatively, Present.me is a resource for those who enjoy “talking heads” synced with powerpoint presentations.
- Video/audio interviews. You can conduct a video interview using Google Hangout or just record an audio interview via Skype with the help of Skype recorder.
- Tutorials/lessons/series. When finding ideas for your next blog entry gets tough, consider creating a series of posts/lessons on a specific topic. You can write/record posts that will answer specific questions that your students or readers might have.
Have you been blogging for a couple of years and have attracted a great number of readers?
Then consider these 4 ways of monetizing your blog:
- Create an e-book. If you have a series of posts on a specific topic, you don’t have to create content again. You may need to edit what you have and then publish it!
- Create an e-guide. An e-guide is an e-book and a workbook that goes with it. You may create a set of questions or some activities that will help your readers apply the material they’ve learned from reading your e-book.
- Create an e-course. You can post it on either udemy or wiziq.
- Create content for e-mail marketing campaigns. While this may not necessarily bring you money up front, but it’s a good way to invite your readers to subscribe. Instead of “get my newsletter” you will ask them to sign up for a course or you can send your e-guide as a thank-you gift for subscribing.
So what now?
As a practical application of everything you’ve read so far I’m going to share with you a simple checklist to help you blog more consistently.
- Record your ideas. You may come across an idea for a blog post very unexpectedly. You will think it will stick with you, but believe me it will be gone before the end of the day. So keep a notebook on hand or use the Evernote app to jot your ideas down.
- Write an outline. Before you even sit down to blog about something, take one idea and develop an outline for a blog post. You’ll be amazed at how much more quickly you will complete your blog post when the time comes for you to write, if you have a ready-made outline.
- Research. If you’re writing an informative post you might need to do some researching. Your readers will appreciate all the information you can give them on a specific topic, and the more additional resources you include, the better response you’ll get.
- Schedule your blogging time. Find the time in the day to blog. It doesn’t appear magically, and usually gets shoved to the side. So be proactive in creating that time when you can just write.
- Edit. There is nothing more annoying than re-occurring typos in blogs. While I understand that many of us bloggers are probably tired and anxious by the time they finish typing, but try to resist the temptation of posting your material right away. Re-read. Edit.
Blogging is a wonderful way to introduce yourself and your business to the world. No longer do people just post an ad on google hoping that those who “click” will actually “buy.” In a highly customized, experience-oriented economy, our goal is to gain the trust of your readers long before you ask them for their money.
Such long, trust-building relationships that blogging fosters will eventually lead to higher sales because with time you will have established yourself as an expert and your brand as a to-go platform.
You’ve been reading a guest post by Elena Mutonono