I am always trying out new things; I don’t like repetitive work and always chose unusual jobs, often ones people say are difficult. I took up blogging because I didn’t understand it; in truth I didn’t understand the power of social media back then either.
I started blogging because I couldn’t talk about social media without a broader experience of what it was all about. It was good to be on Twitter and chat away but I wanted to do more than that and gain some reflective space beyond 140 characters.
So back on 9th September 2012 I posted my first blog.
I wrote about having a tooth out and reflected about stoicism and how it might affect the way we nurse. I read it now and cringe – but I also do that for my later blogs. But what has happened is I have gained confidence in the writing, I can now work out more easily what I want to say and the points I feel I want to make.
You can read that first post here:
Since then I have added 29 more posts and am amazed to say I have had 12,000 visits to my blog. I know this is a crude measure as many people just click past but I have also had more than 200 comments – all of which are part of the conversation. My blogs have also stimulated many discussions on Twitter.
I sometimes enjoy blogging more than tweeting. It’s different – it has created a space for me to think out loud and enjoy the conversations and responses I have had as a result. The most popular blog has been this one which got such an amazing response. The people who responded to it recounted a similar experience to mine – a shared history of experiences in nursing which I seemed to tap in to.
But another blog got an unexpected response was about my diabetes where I wrote about something that made (still makes) me feel uncomfortable but again high numbers of visits. POMPOM days also seemed to resonate and the responses I got from people made me cry.
I have blogged about 3 themes; nursing, diabetes and leadership. All three topics seem to have people who read them but I suspect I’m diluting possible impact through the eclectic nature of my blogs.
When I started out I set my self a goal of a blog every 2 weeks. I haven’t quite achieved that but not so far off.
So what have I learnt? Here are ‘anniecoops’ top blog tips!
- Write about something you genuinely love or feel passionate about – let the reader feel that through your words.
- Be yourself – don’t try to write ‘posh’ just write how you express yourself or how you talk in your mind.
- Don’t try to be too ‘clever’ expressing thoughts and feelings and recounting experiences has its own magic too.
- I always try to have a beginning, a middle and an end.
- Check your spelling and grammar over and over again (I always miss something).
- Respond to comments and encourage people to comment on the blog (I’m getting better at this).
- Pimp your blog – I learnt this from @therealbaglady – basically if no one reads it there will be no conversation! So point people at it in any way you can.
- Try to use photographs and illustrations where you can. I now try to take ‘interesting’ shots with my iPhone that I can use as I don’t want to break copyright law by using images that I don’t have permission to use. Just click away 🙂
- Learn about Creative Commons – look here http://creativecommons.org/
- If you are not sure ask a trusted person to read a draft of your blog. Let them tell you if it’s OK or not – it’s easy to blog without thinking and then regret.
- Practice makes perfect (or improves at least) – learning how to write down your thoughts doesn’t come easy but it does get easier!
- Blog regularly if you want to build the number of people who read your blog.
- Watch the stats – its gratifying once you get going to see people reading your blog but don’t be obsessive!
- Be patient with yourself – some of the blogging sites are harder than they look to use!
- Show your personality. I have found that ‘anniecoops’ has suddenly got a life of her own. I was never called Annie till Twitter – not that long ago someone I had never met stopped me in the street and said ‘You are anniecoops’ – so be prepared for possible impact if you blog as yourself.
- Finally read other peoples blogs and respond to them too.
Blogging has been a great experience for me and I will be continuing. I have re-discovered a love of words and writing that had got lost after leaving school. Long may it continue!
Great blog Anniecoops! Really helpful. I’ve been blogging but just inhouse, sort of feels like a safer testing it out place. Even then it can feel quite exposed, vulnerable even until you gain confidence. Thanks for the tips, i’ll save them for reference.
Ha! You have so much to offer! Get out of those corporate shackles and lets see Liz!
I stole your “Pimp Your Blog” 48 hour strategy when you mentioned it on Twitter a few months ago – thanks Annie, and you too @therealbaglady
Oh Annie you’re such an inspiration I don’t know how you find the time to do it all :)) x
Glad we helped! It works I think once you get over saying it 🙂
Great blog Anne. Congratulations on your first year.As you know I’m new to tweeting and blogging but learning day by day. Have enjoyed telling my recent stories and making great new contacts. #rolemodelling
I love your anniecoops blogs. They have inspired me to write myself. Thanks for sharing your top tips with us!
Another blogging tip is to use short URLs. Using WordPress (I don’t about the others) in edit mode, you can make a custom URL. WordPress is set to use the blog post title as the URL, which, together with the automatic date thing that Wordpess does, can result in a very long, complex web address. It gets hard to share.
So, here’s the trick: edit the URL to something short and memorable, ignore to date and, if required, modify capitalisation to make your URL look like you want (web and email addresses are not case sensitive).
To illustrate/demonstrate, this short URL http://meta4RN.com/mobile
takes you to this address http://meta4rn.com/2013/06/29/mobile/
And this short URL http://AnnieCoops.com/About
takes you to this address https://anniecoops.com/about-anniecoops/
so does this one http://anniecOOPS.com/about 😉
What a timely blog Anne, thank you……some great advice. I blogged my journey as an adult with braces back in 2011 which I found easy to do as I was able to reflect personally. But I’ve always been too ‘scared’ to blog as a nurse for fear of not using the right language or not being academic enough – I tend to write as I think! But as you advise, this is how it should be. Maybe soon I will return to blogging, from a nurse not teeth perspective 🙂
Looking forward to that but would love to see the teeth blog too! How about showing us? Tweet the link :)))
Easy to read and understand, as always – demonstrating willingness to learn and explore #rolemodelling.
I think the eclectic nature is a strength, in that it reflect who you are, and opens up readers to opinions they may not otherwise experience.
I’m looking forward to year two.
Annie you’ve taken to blogging like a swan-blogger to water 🙂 I love your blog, and I love it for precisely what I think Jo France may be a little worried about – for it’s authenticity, for how real it is, how engaging. Blogging isn’t (necessarily) writing for an academic audience, nor should it be IMHO, I also love the eclectic nature, my own blog is a mish mash, in no way strategic but hopefully engaging. If anyone is still thinking about blogging and not sure, what do you have to lose? I look forward to year two Annie 🙂
ps I’d *love* to see the teeth blog too – sounds awesome.
Great as always Anne C. :))
Thank you. I sometimes worry people come expecting one thing – and get a completely different ‘other’!
Thank you – you clearly heard my messages this time loud and strong – thank you for sticking with me 🙂 x
Another great blog, thanks. I’ll take note of your tips and hope I can keep at it now I’ve got the first hurdle out of the way 😊
Congratulations on your first year as a blogger, Anne! You’ve stimulated some great conversations along the way which will have helped more people than you’d expect, in ways you couldn’t possibly have anticipated when you published that first post.
Thank you Andrew. I had no idea what was going to happen! Its been fun so far.
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