Last time on the blog (see below) I talked about getting started with blogging. Hopefully by now some of you will have set up your page and given it a go. In my last blog I also said that the whole point of a blog was to put yourself out there and have others read your words. Publicising your blog is part of blogging – you can just publish and leave it to chance that the people you want to reach will find you, but far better to deliberately target the people you want to reach and the ones you think might be interested in what you have to say. Once you’ve found your ‘Voice’ then you need people to hear it. You need to try to do what’s called ‘driving traffic’ to your blog.
First I have to say that I am no expert at this. I really only use two mechanisms for publicising my blog – Twitter and LinkedIn. Before I started blogging I had already built up a following on Twitter, so I knew that if I tweeted a link to my blog it would reach quite a few people and some of them might actually read it. I also found that if I blogged regularly then some people signed up to follow the blog and so received any new blog automatically. There is a setting on a WordPress blog where you can put a ‘Follow’ button (see my sidebar), there is also a setting (Post Settings) where you can automatically share your blog to Twitter and to LinkedIn, so it’s worth doing that. I also might send the blog via Twitter to a few specific people. If they like it, or think it may resonate with their own followers, they will often retweet it to all their followers. This builds up a fairly substantial reach. But there is no point just tweeting it out once. For the first couple of days after I’ve published a blog I will tweet a link to it every few hours – especially at the times when I know my followers will be likely to look at their Twitter accounts – lunchtimes and evenings. I then retweet the link a couple of times a day for the next few days and at the end of a week I will do a couple of Tweets with ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) and the link. This way you will catch more of your own followers and they will in turn catch more of theirs in a retweet. Some people I know feel slightly uncomfortable about ‘pushing’ their blogs in this way – I did at first – but if you don’t keep resending, then you simply won’t reach as many people. Just think how much stuff rolls through your timeline that you don’t ever see – that’s your blog tweet rolling through there, unseen.
I also allow comments on my blog – again you set this up when you start. I allow comments but I always see and approve them before I let them appear on the blog. I respond to comments if they need a response, and even if they don’t, I always respond to say thank you, or to ‘like’ a comment. I think that not enough people comment on blogs – I love it when my blogs attract a comment!
My blogging process goes something like this:
- Write the blog. Publish. Tweet a link to the blog saying something like “Here’s the latest on the nursing blog…(link)”
- Tweet a link to the blog to individuals who I think might be interested in it, so it appears in their Notifications rather than just in their Timeline
- Retweet a link to the blog every time I use my Twitter account over the next day or two and retweet a link to the blog every day for a week
- Retweet a final ICYMI link just a few hours before I post my next blog. I do this to keep me fresh in their timelines as a blogger.
And that’s about it really. You just have to start doing it, and see what works for you. It takes a while to build a followership, but if you’re interesting, then you will get readers and if they like what you say, they will become regulars. In summary then, here are my points for blogging about nursing:
- Read blogs by other nurses to get a feel for how they approach subjects, style, format etc.
- Think about your subject matter – topical, controversial, educational, illuminating, musing – be focussed, then go for it.
- Be careful about unintentionally identifying people or patients. Be mindful of your professionalism and don’t blog anything you wouldn’t say out loud in a public place. Because you are saying it out loud and in a public place. Follow the NMC Code of Conduct and their social media guidance.
- Check your blog before you publish it and edit and format it properly.
- Be part of a social media community/ and build some followership BEFORE you start blogging if you can. That way you have a ready-made audience.
- Respond to comments positively.
- Remember that what goes out there, stays out there.
Go on – give it a go! And tag me into your first blog link!!