I have been blogging for a really long time – like a ridiculously long time. The platforms have changed, the people have grown, and the topics have evolved. As I have moved between these platforms and grown myself, and have turned my passion for blogging into a career, I’ve learned there are a few essentials that every blogger needs to be successful – whether personally or professionally.
A smartphone. The goal of blogging boils down to one key directive: write about your thoughts. Blogging is not a place to copy and paste other news, nor write out your thesis. Every blogger has personal thoughts about even professional topics, and it helps to know what is going on in your world, however you define it, to stay inspired and on top of trends. A smartphone can keep you up-to-date with latest and breaking news, gossip, other blogs and your friends’ thoughts via Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or other feeds. It also helps that most smartphones are shipped with a basic note taking app so you can always jot down your thoughts on-the-go.
A notepad and pen. Inspiration has no limits to where it strikes. I always keep pen and paper next to my bed in case my mind starts to wander as I fall asleep. I’ve often written a 300 word blog post in this environment, where the idea might have been lost should I have waited until morning. (I might have also stayed up all night thinking about my idea otherwise as well.) If you don’t like taking notes on your iPhone or Android, having a small notepad and pen in your purse or bag can help you capture ideas or remember events while out and about to blog about later.
A whiteboard. Ideas really can strike anywhere – such as in the kitchen, or in the bathroom. A notepad isn’t always ideal to write out or diagram a blog post, but a whiteboard can make it easier to jot down an idea or sketch out the flow of a blog post in the event an idea strikes and a pen and paper isn’t accessible. Crayola even makes special markers just for shower and bathtub walls for those who find their genius in the shower.
A camera. If you have an iPhone or Android, you already have a camera you carry everwhere. Pictures help explain the story behind your blog post even better, resolving the old adage to “show, don’t tell”. If you’re inspired and out-and-about, take a picture, then email it to yourself to upload to your blog. If you don’t have a camera on your phone, or the quality of the pictures is relatively crappy, make sure you always have a camera with you. Bonus tip: Learn how to use picture editing software. Even free apps like Picnik can increase the impact your pictures have in your blog.
A calendar. A successful blog requires dedication, which you can define. Whether you want to blog every day, or only once per week, you need to be able to set aside time to write, edit and post your blog. Consider drafting your post when you have the most time on a weekend and scheduling a half hour on a Tuesday to review and post it. The key is to make sure you give yourself time on a consistent schedule to devote to your blog to keep not only other people interested in reading it, but yourself interested in writing it, too.
What are your essential “must-haves” for blogging?