How to Start a Running Blog
So you want to create a must-read running blog? Good for you. Bloggers play an increasingly important role in our society. Most runners also like to keep some sort of blog to share their races and running progress throughout the year.
The Internet has done a wonderful job of democratizing information. No longer do you have to jump through the traditional hoops that prevented the masses from having a voice. There are no gatekeepers on the web. There’s no need for a journalism degree or even training as a professional writer.
Of course, this removal of minimal requirements has a serious caveat: there is absolutely no quality control. The information available on the Internet ranges from spectacular to abysmal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It creates a situation where the populous determines what prospers and what fails. Following these 10 tips can help assure your running blog gets noticed.
1. Use topics that will interest others.
Interesting blogs get read. More importantly, they are shared. This creates traffic. Try this simple method to make sure you’re writing about interesting topics: think of one specific individual, then write to them. Don’t make the mistake of trying to write for everybody. Pick a smaller audience and write about the topics they want to read.
2. Include variety.
There are several themes that often appear in running-related blogs. These include product reviews, educational posts, giveaways, opinion pieces, and race reports. All are good because they serve a specific purpose. Reviews are good for driving traffic, giveaways can bring in new readers, and opinion pieces encourage interaction via comments. If you use any one of these too much, you cheapen the blog. Variety is a good thing.
3. Express your opinion.
Don’t be afraid to occasionally ruffle feathers. Controversy is interesting and may stimulate some good discussion. Express your opinions and stay true to them.
4. Network often.
Build relationships with other bloggers, corporations, organizations, and your followers. Get to know them personally. Not only is this rewarding, it helps you understand your role in their universe. This can ultimately help give you a more relevant voice. For running, go to great lengths to talk to as many people as you can from every facet of the running industry.
5. Stay away from negative people.
There are many who think that blogging is dumb and self-centered. Simply ignore them. If this is someone very close to you, explain your goals. If they still object, that’s their problem.
6. Write with care.
This idea comes from Hugh MacLeod’s excellent book Ignore Everybody. In the beginning, you can write anything without consequence. As your blog increases in popularity, so do the consequences of your actions and thoughts. Be careful what you post and make sure you can defend it.
7. Remember that success comes slowly.
The very nature of blogging is gradual growth. You slowly accumulate more followers. Of course, they tend to snowball. The more followers you have, the more they share. The more they share, the faster you grow. Still, it can be discouraging in the beginning. Keep at it. Those that persevere are those that succeed.
8. Develop a set of principles.
As you grow, people and companies may ask you to do a variety of things. Companies may offer you money in exchange for positive reviews. Others may demand that you change negative reviews. Remember that your reputation is on the line. Respect the trust of your readers and have a definitive set of ideals to help you make difficult decisions.
9. Set priorities you can live with.
The more popular your blog becomes, the more time it consumes. The more time it consumes, the less time you have to interact with others. You may find you have less time to contribute to forums or other online activity. Set your priorities according to your personal goals.
10. Forge your own path.
Instead of just standing out from the crowd, avoid crowds altogether. Experiment with your blog. You may end up with something decidedly different—and better.
Are you a blogger? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.
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