8 great tips for parents who blog
[Photo by Kristina B]
Mumsnet has just posed the question “Why do parents blog?” on the opening page of their website and parents from all over the globe have been quick to take a break from blogging and explain their motivation.
The answer posted by Jo seems to sum up the feelings of many Mummy and Daddy bloggers; she said: “I blog because I find it cathartic, also I like it as a way of recording family memories and days out for the children.”
I also liked the response from babychanged me, who confided: “Because being a mum gave me something to say.”
Others mentioned that blogging was a good way of reaching out and sharing knowledge about one of the most challenging jobs in the world – being a parent.
Such reasons do much to explain the popularity of blogging among the parenting community so how can parents ensure that their blogs achieve their aims as effectively as possible?
Here are some tips you might find useful:
1. Write about what you know
There is some dispute about which person first came up with the piece of advice “Write what you know”although American writer Mark Twain is widely-credited with this pearl of wisdom. It is certainly good advice –save yourself some time and write about the subjects you know and avoid the issues you’re not sure about.
2. Take care not to cause offence
Take a good look at what you write and put yourself in the shoes of the people you mention in your blog post. If you were them, would you be offended by what you wrote?
Humour can well be misinterpreted so if, for instance, you’re writing about how you have to lock up the biscuit tin every time your babysitter calls round, bear in mind that your babysitter might well be reading the article and might not see the funny side of your wit.
If you’re writing the blog as a record to show your children in future years, make sure you stay positive with your blogs. No child likes to read misery stories about their upbringing years later.
3. Make it engaging
Have a good think about whether your blog is interesting enough to post. One way of gauging the interest level of your blog is to think: if I told this story at a coffee morning would it hold people’s attention? The fact that you spilled some milk when shopping in the supermarket aisle might be interesting to you but will it be interesting to the readership of the website you are posting it on?
4. Know your readership
Many blogging websites contain information about the typical demographic of their readership (e.g. female, married, 30s, professional). These profiles can help you tailor your blog to your readership. The blog categories of websites can also give you inspiration regarding which subjects to write about.
5. Give credit
If you are using information you have taken from another source don’t try and pass it off as your own. For instance, if you are quoting statistics taken from a BBC article about parents who work from home then include a link to the article in your piece.
Readers will find these resources useful should they want to find out more about the subject you’re writing about. Likewise, always put picture credits on the photographs you use. You can take advantage of a whole library of free-to-use photos at the Creative Commons section of Flickr’s website or, better still, take your own photos to add a personal touch to your articles.
6. Invite comment
Make sure your article is like a two-way conversation, rather than a monologue, by inviting comment from the readers at the end of an article. A sign-off line like “I’d love to hear your opinions about this subject so drop me a line in the comment box below” can lead to a fruitful exchange of knowledge.
7. Check and double-check copy
Readers will lose trust in you if your blog post is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes so check and double-check it before letting the wider world see it. I find that reading content out loud reveals mistakes which the naked eye didn’t pick up on.
8. Keep it short
Break up your text with bullet points, photos and sub-headings and it will look easier on the eye; meaning that more people will read the whole article. It is also a good idea to come up with a word count before writing a blog post and stick to it.
Get rid of any sentences that aren’t adding anything to your blog post and you will ensure that your writing stays ‘on-message’.
I’ve exceeded my word count now so I will sign off.
James Christie writes for Baker Ross.