Happy Anniversary! Julie’s Top 6 Blog Tips

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc
I love milestones.  They are a time to reflect on the good, bad and ugly, and to look ahead with excitement and optimism.  Today marks the one year anniversary of the launch of this blog.  What started as an opportunity to spread the word about all things occupational therapy, has morphed into a new passion, a positive outlet, and hopefully one more way I can help others and matter in this world.   The result?  77 pages and over 41,000 words in original post writings, and an excess of 12,000 blog views.  Not bad!  But the biggest excitement for me are the conversations I have had with others – comments, positive feedback, ideas and emails that help me to stay inspired and think of stories to tell and things to showcase.
So, in celebration, this week will be “The Best of the Blog” where we will highlight the most popular posts from the year – the ones that were shared and read above all others.  But I wanted to launch the week by answering the question I am most commonly asked:  “what are your secrets to blogging and how do you do it?”  Well, here are my Top 6 Blog Tips:
1.       Like writing.  If you are not a writer, don’t enjoy it, or find it immensely time consuming, chore-like or difficult, blogging may not be for you.  Personally, I love writing and find the process of putting my thoughts on paper therapeutic, fast and easy.  This makes blogging for me a natural fit. 

2.       Be okay with criticism.  Blogging, like public speaking, is essentially “putting yourself out there”.  This exposes you to comments, sometimes ridicule and nastiness.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion and you can’t take it personally when that opinion differs from yours.  I actually love a good debate and enjoy hearing multiple perspectives on an issue. 

3.       Be inspired.  Like anything in life, success comes from being impassioned.  If you truly love something, and want to share that with others, then blogging about it is easier.  I am so inspired by the profession of occupational therapy, and by stories of amazing people who say and do amazing things, that it makes it effortless to tell these tales and to find sharable greatness everywhere. 

4.       Have help.  While I write my posts and proof and edit all my blog content, I am personally not responsible for posting and monitoring the end result.  Erin, my blog manager, keeps this organized, sends me stats, helps me to find awesome stuff, and reminds me of the things I should be mentioning or celebrating in different weeks or months.  While I love to write, I don’t love technology so if needed, find someone else to handle that part. 

5.       Keep it personal.  I know people (and companies) that have blogs that they don’t write (or even read) the content that is posted in their name.  While that is an effective way to be on social media and to build online presence – is it genuine?  Does it reveal anything about who they are or what they know?  The most fascinating thing about this world is the people in it – their experiences and knowledge.  Share that! 

6.       Blog often.  Personally, I think you are better to NOT start a blog at all if you can’t maintain it.   Nothing to me looks worse than a blog that was started and then ignored.  Don’t put a marginal effort into it as that just negatively reflects your own brand personality.  Or, if you do start a blog, and realize it is not for you, shut it down, lick your wounds, and move on.  But before you even launch it, write 8-10 posts so you have a head start.  If you can’t do that, or don’t enjoy it – red flag! 

Rightly or wrongly, these are my personal blog pointers.  And revealing that begs the question:  “What is next for me and this site”?  Well, as I said, this one year milestone has me looking ahead with excitement and optimism.  More guest bloggers, original posts, controversial content, and video.  Stay tuned! I have a few fun projects in the works that I hope to launch here in the next few months.  And as always, I would love your feedback.  Ideas?  Comments?  Bring them on!