Should Writers Still Blog in 2021?

Jennifer Brown Banks

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In a perfect world, writers wouldn’t have to practically “stand on their heads” or sell their souls to get noticed. We wouldn’t have to prove our worth by how many social media followers we command or how popular our blogs were. Talent and hard work alone would be enough to ink publishing deals, share our stories and earn what we deserve.

In fact, in former times that was the way of the publishing world. Not any more, my friend.

A tough economy and the relative ease of making money online has changed the game. The talent pool is larger. The bar is higher. The industry has changed.

I was faced with this sobering reality back in 2006, when an editor with whom I had worked for quite some time as a columnist suggested that I write a self-help relationship book. So I eagerly put together a few chapters, mailed it off, and envisioned my guest appearance on Oprah. Much to my surprise, when I submitted it to a New York agent for potential representation, she wrote back, "You have obvious talent as a writer, but not a big enough platform." Ouch.

Back in my day "platforms" were sexy shoes that added height to our stature and jiggle to our strut. Hello? I had been writing for over a decade, had made thousands of dollars, and had no real concept of why I needed a platform and how to get one.

Enter blogging...

WHAT EXACTLY IS A PLATFORM?

A "platform" refers to an author's following and fan base. Ideally it should include more than your mom and members at church. Publishers and agents use it as a basis for determining your reach, your influence, and potential book sales.

For example, it could include people who are members of your writers' groups, your college sorority, folks on your job, subscribers to your newsletter, or blog followers.

WITH THIS IN MIND…

Here's how Blogging can help to elevate your platform and your bottom line even in 2021!

1. Blogging increases your visibility.

Websites are static; blogs are not. Their very nature and constant updates means that Google will pick your blog up through "crawlers" and reflect them higher up in search engine listings. The easier you are to find, the more potential eyes to view your work. Additionally, blog posts are often Tweeted and shared through popular social media sites. Here's a case in point. I have been writing professionally for many years.

Comparatively, I have been blogging "seriously" for only a fraction of that time. Yet, Google lists my blog posts first, above all my former publishing credits.

2. It helps to hone your voice.

Unlike other genres of writing, blogging has few rules and restrictions. As such, writers can speak in a conversational tone, court controversy, experiment with different forms of expression, try their hand at humor, and discover what works best for their style, preference and personality. Blogging also allows you to address a multitude of topics, which can build your portfolio and your knowledge base.

3. Blogging makes you more versatile as a writer.

Search any of the current job boards for writers, and blog jobs are abundant. Regardless of your genre of specialization, having blogging skills simply makes you more marketable to editors, potential clients, and publishers. (Think along the lines of the value of speaking multiple languages.) Since my career in blogging started, I have blogged for businesses, dating sites, and online magazines. And you can too.

4. It can create more networking opportunities through guest posting.

Guest posting is when a blogger writes a piece for another blog site, upon approval. Oftentimes this fosters working partnerships, mutual admiration, and future collaborative projects with fellow bloggers. It promotes good karma to boot.

5. It often requires less research and typically takes less time than other genres.

As they say, "Time is money." Successful blog posts can run from 300-800 words; which means that good writers can construct posts relatively quickly, and work on more projects in a shorter span of time, increasing overall efficiency. Consider too that it can help to prevent burnout.

6. It can be more profitable than article-writing.

Experience can vary. But depending upon the client, the nature of the project, and your blogging skills, pay can be around a hundred fifty bucks for a 500-700 word post.

7. Blogging helps to develop a "thick skin".

If you have difficulty with dealing with editors' rejections, blogging can help you to handle criticism and feedback better in your professional career. The interactive nature of blogging allows readers to express their views right on the spot, in the form of comments. Sometimes audience members can be like "hecklers" are with comedians. Comments can be cruel and unfair. But, it comes with the territory, and calls for the savvy blogger to "take the high road" and not personalize things.

Here are a few Do's and Don'ts to go the distance:

TIMELY TIPS

  • Recognize that success as a writer today requires more than facility with words; it's about being strategic and smart. As such, do consider the many benefits blogging has to offer, and strive to add value to the blogging community.
  • Don't mistakenly believe that because blogging is considered informal writing, you should take a less than serious approach, or that your writing can be inferior in quality. Blogging can make or break your online image.
  • Study the habits and techniques of successful bloggers in your niche. What's their appeal? Their style? Their advice? Assess then apply.
  • Don't be discouraged if your blogging doesn't take off right away. It took me three attempts and several years before I got it right. "If at first you don't succeed..."
  • Newbies will find blogging platforms like Blogger.com and Wordpress to be easy to follow, with attractive designs and templates. Tutorials can be found online to master the learning curve.

Final Thoughts

Blogging has become the new black. Even real estate tycoon and former president Donald Trump has had his own "virtual spot."

Don't miss out on the opportunity to make the most of your writing career. Blog your way to a bigger platform, future book deals and bigger paydays with these timely tips.

Image credit: Pixabay.com

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL
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