If you are thinking about starting a blog that follows you through your college years, you’re not alone. Many students have found that writing their own blog helps them get their creative juices flowing as well as gives them a healthy outlet to express themselves. If you’re a bit stuck on how to get started and how to keep it going, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
I actually started my blog just after finishing college. I was working my first post-university job and wanted a way to encourage myself to write. Having a platform and an audience gave them the encouragement that I wanted. Since then, my blog has followed me through my marriage, the births of my children, my second stint at college, our many moves, and more! It has been a way to find community and to learn and grow.
Write What Interests You
Nobody wants to read a blog (or book or magazine article) when the author is clearly not into the subject matter. For instance, if you are not into sports, it makes little sense to write about March Madness or the World Series. Your lack of knowledge will shine through and readers will go elsewhere. This leaves your blog dead in the water before it even gets started.
Decide what you are passionate about. That may be your university major or perhaps extracurricular or volunteer activities you’re doing while in university. If you’ve moved to a new city to start university, you could write a travel-style blog that gives you a good excuse to get out and explore your new home. Think carefully about your goals, dreams, and interests and what you’ll want to spend a good amount of time sharing with others.
Write About You
Readers, especially those of a younger generation, are interested in what’s going on in each writer’s head. Some of the most popular blogs focus on what’s going in the writer’s life and advice based upon those experiences. For example, other teens getting ready to head to university may enjoy reading about your experience and what you’ve learned in your years of post-secondary education.
You may want to write honestly about the ups and downs of university life. How do you deal with the stress of exams? How do you make new friends? What challenge face you each week? How do you plan to finance higher education and pursue life goals?
Know Your Audience
If you are looking to monetize your blog, you’ll need to know what specific audience you are writing for. Are you writing for your family who wants to keep up with your post-secondary adventures? Are you writing for fellow college students? I’ve often heard that you should have one particular person in mind when you sit down to write. That person could be a real person or a person that you’ve created—a kind of “avatar” of your ideal reader. If you think of that person (or that group) each time you sit down to write, your writing will be more focused and interesting and you will likely attract that sort of person as a reader.
You’ll also want to think about what sort of writing your audience enjoys. Do they want to read a Dear Sugar-type column or a Vinyl Cafe-type story? Do they want the newspaper report or the diary entry? The way that you choose to tell your story will attract different audiences. Do you write in a funny, sarcastic, or factual tone? A blog gives you a bit of space to experiment with voice, but you likely won’t want to try anything too crazy. When you find something your audience responds well to, try to stick to that style or voice.
Once you know your audience and you’ve started to develop your platform, you can start monetizing your blog. There are numerous ways to make money from a blog so make sure to explore them all. For example, affiliate links to products or services you are recommending is one of the easiest ways to monetize. Do some research to decide which monetization options fit your blog and your audience the best.
Choose a Platform
There are many different platforms that you can use to write your blog, many of them providing the service free to most users. Each one of them, however, has a different look and feel. Try each one out and see which one is the best fit for you. If you’re really tech-savvy, you can even mirror them across platforms so you can increase the footprint of your blog on the web.
Check out My Recommended Resources for Bloggers!
Unless you are writing about your life or things you already know inside and out, you will want to take a bit of time to do research on the subject matter. If you lure in readers that can tell you have no idea what you are talking about, you may very well get called out on it. Once you develop a poor reputation as a blogger on the internet, it can be hard to shake. Do remember that the Internet is public; in ten years, are you going to be embarrassed or proud about what you are posting now?
Write well, write often, and write with conviction and you should have no problem building a successful blog while in college.