So, you're ready to write an awesome Imagine Northeast Iowa blog post. Fantastic!
Here are some useful tips and tricks to get you on your way to blogging glory in no time.
- Edit It Like You Mean It: While we don't want to play the role of Captain Obvious, editing your blog for spelling, grammar, and punctuation is key. Making sure your Imagine Northeast Iowa blog is clear and in proper English not only helps to ensure we'll feature it on the site, it increases the likelihood folks will follow and vote for you.
- Quality is Crucial, but Quantity Matters: A blog is meant to share a story or point of view. While brevity is beautiful, your piece should be approximately 250 words, unless it's a recipe, which can be shorter, but should still be accompanied by a solid paragraph or two. Don't shortchange yourself.
- Grab 'Em!: Never, ever underestimate the power of an excellent title. Did you know that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline? And only 2 out of those 10 will read the rest? For a fabulous article on how to create magnetic headlines, (including examples) check out this article on Successful Blogging.com.
- Stay Relevant: We mean this in more ways than one. First, it's important that all of your Imagine Northeast Iowa posts be site specific. What does that mean? This site has a particular theme-- Northeast Iowa! And in particular, the following six counties. Stay true to that. Check out our site categories or read through our top posts if you want more on what we're all about. And speaking of staying relevant, a good tip for writers of all stripes is to incorporate into your piece relevancy in a broader social context. References to popular culture, current events, or popular online memes are examples of this. Staying relevant gives your work a higher likelihood of being a compelling read. That often equates to success. YES!
- Picture THIS: Choose a GREAT Photo!: The research is in, and great photos do wonders for getting your blog the attention it deserves. You only have a few seconds to grab a readers attention. They'll often decide whether or not they're going to read your work based largely in part on the corresponding image. This also really boosts interest when you post your blog link across social media sites. Be sure the image you use is clear, attractive, and appropriate for your piece. Then sit back and watch the readers swoon. Using “Creative Commons/Commercial Use Allowed” licenses on sites like Flickr.com, can be a great way to do this, but there are no shortage of places across the web to find free (or inexpensive) legal images. Be sure not to violate current copyright laws, and you’re good to go. Not to mention, you can always snap one yourself!
- Add a Video: In this age of constant information, people simply adore ingesting that information through images and video. Boost your votes and traffic by including a related video with your blog post. Imagine Northeast Iowa bloggers can easily achieve media glory by embedding media right in the body of their blog. Click the film strip icon in the blog content box and follow the easy instructions thereafter. You'll enter the URL for the video, and the rest will be history.
- Easy as 1,2,3: We can't tell you how much people love numbered lists! If it's appropriate for your idea, explore the notion of creating a blog that quantifies it's information for your readers. For example, the article "20 Ideas for Local Summer Fun!" might go over like gangbusters on the internet, and get pinned all over Pinterest, Tweeted, and shared like nobody's business via Facebook.
- Share It! Pin It! Tweet It!: So you've written a GREAT blog post. That's awesome! But in a world swimming with blog content, you're your own best advertisement. So jump on your social networks and share that awesomeness! As soon as your post is published, widgets will appear next to it featuring Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest icons, making it easy for you to share the love.
- Tell It Like It Is: One of the most important things you can do when you blog, is be honest! Readers appreciate and gravitate to authenticity, so speak truthfully and from the heart. Cliche? Maybe. But it's true, and it works. The value in being candid can carry you a long way.
- Say it with Style: While the blogosphere might be a busy and populated place, there's only one you, and your voice is unique. We're not going to insult you by calling you a snowflake here, but for Pete's sake, be yourself. Reading other blogs for inspiration can be useful, but be sure it doesn't influence you to use someone else's voice. Give rise to your own, and your blogs will be as individual as you are. Now that's saying something.
- Voting & Commenting: Be cool, man! We're a platform for community and open communication. And we expect that everyone play nice. Vote for what you love, and please leave comments for fellow bloggers (like you, they love it!). Please do not, however, use the comment section below any blog to solicit for votes or bring down other bloggers. Your work will shine through on its own.
- Play Fair: Remember that your votes should be authentic. Bloggers caught violating GoodBlogs voting policies (outlined for you when you signed up) will be asked to leave the site and may have their posts blocked from promotion. It's not worth it! We want you around! And anyway, we heard you were too legit to quit.
- Get Inspired: There's so much to see and be inspired by across the interweb and in life. If you feel stuck and want some quick ideas, there are plenty of idea lists on the internet you can turn to getting a feel for the community by reading your fellow bloggers' work. Sometimes that's where inspiration lives. If you're feeling blocked or uninspired, here's our best piece of advice. Writer Anne Lamott once said "Write what you would love to come upon." We love that. Think of what you would love to read at this moment. Is there a voice in the crowd you'd love to hear, covering a topic you're yearning to explore? Be it. You're already off to a great start.
Happy blogging! We believe in you!
The Crew for Imagine Northeast Iowa
P.S. This information can always be accessed right here on Imagine, at this link.