Over the past several weeks, Merlin Mann of 43Folders.com has appeared on Spark to present a special series all about blogging. His series goes beyond tips and tricks, and gets at some of the underlying principles of creating quality work online.
We know some Spark listeners have blogs, and we also realize that many don't. If you do have a blog, we hope you'll find some helpful suggestions and guidance here. And if you don't have a blog, we hope you might be inspired to give blogging a try. And if you know someone who might benefit from hearing this series, send them a link to this post. They'll thank you.
We're pleased to present Merlin's entire series below. You can download and listen to individual segments, or you can get them all as a .zip file (Note: you will need a software program to un-zip this file). Enjoy!
Based partly on his 43Folders.com post What Makes for a Good Blog?, Merlin talks about voice, obsession, and the importance of trying.
Homework: Think about what your obsession is, and write a short 2nd post for your blog. Don't write the introductory post. Write 500 words that lay out your excitement about your obsession, and explain why your perspective is different.
Merlin says that one of the keys to writing a good blog is identifying your audience, and asking, "Who is it that I think is going to be following what I do, and who specifically do I want to reach with this?"
Homework: Identify 10 humans beings whose names you know that you wish read your blog. Then imagine, imagine if only one person in the entire world read your blog. Who would that be?
Merlin looks at one of the most overlooked aspects of having a sustainable blog: managing expectations about tone, post length, frequency, etc.
Homework: Look at your favourite blog or community site, and ask yourself, "What do I hope never changes about this?" Then, ask yourself, "What do I hope never changes about my blog?"
Merlin takes things to the next level to talk about getting better: writing better to think better, becoming a great editor, and the importance of spelling and grammar.
Homework: Go back to something that you've posted in the past (a blog post, or photo, or video), and think about how you could improve it through a bit of editing.
In a sea of advice on how to "supercharge your blog," Merlin offers some wholesome and ethical ways to organically attract an audience to your online presence.
Homework: Consider getting outside your URL. Meet some real people who share your interest.
Merlin answers your questions about starting a second blog, citing other blogs, and if it's worth blogging at all.
Homework: Just get out there and try it. Blogging has never been easier.