Strategies for Blogging and Podcasting
Boost your career and get noticed by blogging and podcasting.
Posted Aug 16, 2018
- Why am I writing this blog or producing this podcast?
- Do I have the knowledge base or skills to create a blog or podcast?
- How can I develop my ideas?
- Do I have the time to devote to a blog or podcast?
- What could I do instead?
Assuming you answered those questions to your satisfaction and you have a clearer idea of your interest in blogging or podcasting, here are five steps to get you started:
1. Research, research, research.
Discover what’s already out there. Start by identifying the blogs and podcasts related to your field of interest. Who is producing them? How often do they post? What topics have they already covered? What could be covered in greater depth? What do you know that they haven’t mentioned yet?
In conducting your research, pace yourself. It’s easy to Google “blogging” or "podcasting" and immediately become overwhelmed by the myriad books, posts, blogs, etc. There is a ton of info out there, but you don’t need to read it all. Select a few key bloggers or podcasters and maybe one (or two) books and let it go. You can easily fall in the rabbit hole of reading about blogging/podcasting and then never actually creating your blog or podcast.
Before you start a podcast, listen to as many as you can—both in your field of interest and elsewhere. You will learn the different styles of podcasts and decide what format you prefer: interviews, human interest stories, news, etc. That will help you shape your podcast’s theme. Here’s a great article on how to start listening to podcasts.
Here are some sites to learn more about getting started with blogging and podcasting:
- Blogging basics
- Starting a blog
- Starting a blog
- Starting a podcast
- Intro to podcasting
- Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice about marketing and podcasting
- MIT’s advice about podcasting
- If you’re looking to monetize your blog, check out ProBlogger.
2. Inform your employer of your plans, if your blog or podcast relates closely to your career. Hopefully you will get their permission or maybe even support. Unless your blog or podcast is considered promotion for your company, write and produce your output on your own time.
If you’re working for any branch of the government (local, state, federal) or at a public organization (such as a public university), always get clearance before using any company time or equipment to produce your blog. If your topic is pertinent to your work or good publicity for your office, your employer might allow you to write during work hours and use your company equipment. But always check this out—using public equipment for a private enterprise can be grounds for dismissal at some organizations.
3. Regardless of your topic, keep some basic guidelines in mind.
You can produce material about whatever subject you have expertise in, not only your profession. Just keep in mind: Even if you publish anonymously, and about a non-work-related subject, your identity can likely be uncovered. Whether your blog is specifically attached to your company’s name or not, you are responsible for what you say. (Those Twitter writers who like to put “my tweets are my own” will often find that their employers might disagree—and their posts can affect their career.)
Keep your posts positive and focused on solutions. This is relative to your topic and field, of course. If your blog is about a social issue and there are bad things happening out in the world, you will want to cover that. But always keep in mind the potential ways to mitigate or solve whatever the problem is. Give your readers a call to action: What they can do to fix this situation, whether personal or at a group level.
And stay in control at all times. While it’s tempting to respond to a snarky reader response with equal snark, it’s best not to. Either write a positive reply or say nothing. Often other readers will come to your defense anyway. And, when you control your blog, you can remove any comments you don’t like. It’s your blog or podcast; you get to own what is permitted on your site.
Copyright and trademark rules apply, so always cite your sources or ask permission as needed.
4. Build up a library of blogs and podcasts.
Before you publicly produce your first podcast or blog, create at least 5 potential posts. You’ll need them for periods when you don’t have the time to create fresh content. Plus you’ll get a much better idea of how hard/easy they are for you to produce, and how much time they take.
Consider your starting topics and formats.
- Lists are always popular (you’re reading one now!), and you can use numbers like “Ten Tips…” or “Five Must-Read..” or whatever.
- Provide links to helpful websites or resources, so your reader can learn more.
- Review helpful books or websites.
- Assume some of your audience won’t know anything about your field and are trying to learn. Provide the basics. What should someone know about your topic? If your topic is astrophysics, for example, you might want to consider a post about “The top 5 things a layman should know about astrophysics” or “Myths about astrophysics”, etc.
- Interviews are another great idea: If you don’t know what to say, find someone who does and interview them.
- Consider sharing your own experiences—what did you learn the hard way? How did you improve your situation?
- What does a new person in your field need to know? Do you have advice for someone still in school?
5. Consider space and time.
How many words are you going to write or how long will your podcasts run? We’re all busy and no one has a lot of time to read/listen to everything. And how much time do you have to do this?
The previous exercise I recommended should help. By creating five posts, you should have a better idea of the time commitment.
It’s difficult to estimate how much time your blog will take. Your level of expertise in using a computer, your writing skills and your broadcasting expertise will greatly affect the time you will need to devote to this project. Know that the learning curve will likely make your blog take longer in the beginning, but writing should go more quickly once you get into it. (My average post on Psychology Today takes about three hours from idea to posting. I get the idea, research it if needed, and then I start drafting. Once I finish drafting, I edit it, add in links to other sites, proof it, find a copyright-free photo, and publish it. Of course, the minute it’s published, I usually find an error and edit it as needed.)
I hope this is enough information to get you started. There are lots of great books and resources online to help you. Here are just a few:
- Melyssa Griffin on books about blogging
- Lifewire's top blogging books
- Podcasting Hacks
- Goodreads on Podcasting
Blogging and Podcasting can be a lot of fun—and you just might find a new passion and new career opportunities.
©2018 Katharine S. Brooks. All rights reserved.