When people ask me what they should do to get started on blogging, I rarely talk technology or even blogging. While those are important elements of blogging, they are next steps. Things you do after you decide you want to blog and have found your tribe and your voice.
Ask yourself this when you decide you want to start blogging: Who am I blogging for? If your answer is everyone, you are not going to be happy. Nor is anything you are about to read going to help you.
When you are right, you are looking for an audience. I want you to go online and find a person that embodies that audience for you. This should be a person, not a brand or a company. At the end of this little exercise, you should have just one name.
Now go online and learn more about that person. Look for the following things: Are they reachable online? Do they write online? Do they use social media? Do they follow other people?
If the answer to the majority of the above questions is no, forget that person for now and find another person until the majority of these criteria are going to be met.
This person should be your goal.
You will follow them, connect with them and ultimately get them to follow you. If you fail on that front, don’t worry, what you pick up in the meantime in terms of knowledge and other people to connect with, will make it worthwhile.
So what do you need to get started? The person from above, an email account, an RSS reader like Feedly, a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account.
Check out where this person writes. Do they have a newsletter you can subscribe to? If so, sign up. If they have RSS on their blog, subscribe to it.
Now head over to social media and follow them on Twitter first. It is the easiest entry point. Do not fill your Twitter account with noise. Try and make it a useful tool. Not a reflection of who you are, but who you would like to become.
After you have checked Twitter, visit Facebook. Some people use their Facebook accounts more casually than others. See what they have publicly available. If it is not much, odds are they are using it for just family and friends. If that is the case, move on for now. You can always revisit them later and reconnect.
Facebook is a powerful tool. People use it differently than both Twitter and LinkedIn, but people are also a lot fussier about their Facebook accounts. So be thoughtful. Don’t rush to friend somewhere there unless they are appear to be very open with their friending policy.
With LinkedIn, connect with them, but make sure you tell them why. You are not using a shotgun approach here. Be thoughtful in a note with your connection request.
Alright now comes the fun part. Start to learn from what you just did. Read their work. See who they share with. Are those also people you would be interested in following? If so, repeat the above process.
Now start liking and sharing their work. Where possible make thoughtful comments.
After establishing a rapport with a person, they will most likely follow you back. If not keep at it and keep looking for people who meet the same criteria of the first person you followed and repeat the process. Eventually your tribe will begin to grow.
Congratulations! Without even typing a single post, you have taken your first step toward ensuring that when you do start blogging, you will reach the people that matter to you.