A couple of weeks ago, I wrapped up my first ever talk on Fire Service Blogging for the North Carolina Society of Fire Rescue Instructors. Sure, I have spoken about it during social media classes, but never a stand-alone class. It was fun putting the class together and delivering it.
This article is some of the content from the class to show you how and why you might want to get started blogging.
I have been blogging since 2005, when I started RoanokeFire.com (originally a longer blogspot url). Several years ago, I changed formats and created FireCritic.com. Much of what I know about blogging I have learned on my own or asked other bloggers about.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Blogging…What is it?
By definition – Discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). (Wikipedia)
But basically blogging is…
A web site of articles by one or more authors delivered in reverse chronological order that is typically about a singular topic which offers commenting that in turn creates dialogue. Blogs were created around 1999 and hit mainstream around 2004.
Types of Blogs
- Personal Blogs – online diary or commentary
- Group Blogs – written and published by more than one author
- Microblogging – small pieces of digital content (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Weibo)
- Corporate and Organizational Blogs – Might be run by the company or by marketing/public relations firms
More than likely, you won’t decide what type of blog you will be creating, that part of the puzzle will already be answered when you look into blogging for the reason(s) that interested you. Most bloggers ALSO do a lot of microblogging (social media) to create a well rounded footprint online.
Bloggers Code of Conduct
- Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
- Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
- Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
- Ignore the trolls.
- Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
- If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
- Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
Much of this goes without saying…Do The Right Thing!
Some of my favorite Fire Service Blogs (with Alexa Rank in the U.S.)
- http://FireCritic.com – 230,766
- http://STATter911.com – 18,718
- http://backstepfirefighter.com – 806,437
- http://IronFiremen.com – 749,288
- http://ModelCityFirefighter.com – 731,951
Blog Hosting Sites (free)
- Blogger: http://blogger.com
- WordPress: http://wordpress.com
- Typepad: http://typepad.com
- Technorati: http://Technorati.com
- LiveJournal: http://www.livejournal.com
Fire Service Blog Networks
- Http://firstarriving.com (where FireCritic.com currently resides)
- FireEngineering Blogs
- Firehouse.com Blogs
Some of these networks will set you up turnkey in the beginning. Some others might have you create your blog and once you get it up and running they can migrate your content over. The only way to find out for sure is to contact them.
Social Media is MicroBlogging
- Facebook Pages
- Video blogs – Youtube & Vimeo
Probably 75% of my blog traffic comes from Facebook. Others have more luck with Twitter. I use many forms of social media to ensure I am reaching as many readers (or potential readers) as I can.
- Why Instruct?
- To teach people
- Do you have a message to share?
- Share it!
- Make a name for yourself
- Market and Brand yourself
- Create the BUZZ
- Make people WANT to read your content
If you have a message, and are willing to put in the time…blogging might be for you!
- Pick a topic
- Pick a blogging medium (wordpress, facebook, several)
- Start out smart
- Don’t share everything you know in one article
- Share your content with your friends
- Comment on other blogs
- Rome wasn’t built in a day
- Pay attention to other bloggers…what they use and what they don’t
- Ask them for help
- Create relationships
- Share other blogs/content
- Listen to your readers
- Ask questions to create conversation
- Be concise in your message
- Get Ideas from your audience
- Understand your audience
- Write for yourself first
- Build your email list
- Love your existing readers
- Focus on building an amazing call-to-action
- Give stuff away
- Be consistent
- Give away your knowledge
- Be true to your voice
- Give it time
- Give your email list priority
- Write catchy headlines
- Be yourself
- Keep it short
- Make it worth referencing
Read the entire article here: https://blog.bufferapp.com/blogging-advice-for-beginners-from-16-experts
Additional Tips to Help you Start Blogging
- Be different
- Be original
- Don’t copy
- Be creative
- Write like you talk
- Good content is key
- Use images & video to capture attention
- Stick to a consistent format
- Understand legal issues about blogs
- Expect Critics
- Stand up for yourself
- Know when to ignore and when to walk away from an argument
- Read other blogs
- Be humble
- If you are an expert, let others say that you are an expert…not yourself
- Don’t try to be perfect
- Don’t do it for the money…wait…what?
- Pretend you have an audience, always!
- Don’t publish everything you write…sometimes it’s just therapy
- Always spellcheck and use proper grammar
- Target top fire bloggers and offer to guest post or see if they will share your content. Share their stuff first!
Some even greater tips to start with!!!
- Pick a custom URL
- Spend a little money on a professional theme
- Create social media surrounding your blog
- Build backlinks to previous content on your blog
Product reviews are a great way to share products, and get products for free. We are talking about free topics to write about and free products you get to keep.
I found this link when I was doing research for my class. I never saw this link originally when it was posted in July, 2013. Every backlink counts!
Guest blogging goes both ways…Offer to write an article for another blog AND offer other bloggers to write content for your blog. This is something new for me that I will be trying in the near future. I may not write for other blogs too much, but I will be offering others the opportunity to write on my blog.
Depending on how this article goes, I might continue to write more articles on the topic of blogging in the future!
The Fire Critic