So you have been dealing with this pressure for a while and it’s about time you made up your mind. From watching the younger crowd texting and Facebooking and Twittering and heaven only knows what else they’re capable of doing on their phones, to listening to some “expert” on TV talk about the only relevant means of communicating with the younger generations being digital media, you have reached a communication junction. To blog or not to blog?
Let’s make something clear…digital media is not a one stop solution and your coolness points won’t go up simply because you have a blog, a Facebook page or a Twitter account. They are simply different and expanded channels for communication designed to expand rather than replace existing channels. For all of these things you get what you put into them.
Whether you want to begin blogging from your own website or use an existing blog site, if you’re serious about this endeavor, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind for your digital experience.
Know Thy Audience – This is the golden rule of communication. From the beginning, you need to ask yourself who are you writing for? Is it for your congregation? Your community? Peers? The world at large? From topics to examples, that answer can and will guide your writing. Whomever you’re intended audience, you need to write in a way that people can relate to what you’re saying.
Don’t Proselytize – There is a temptation to use your social media space to shout and scream about everything you dislike and adore. These things add flavor and are good in moderation, but don’t overdo it. If you do, what eventually happens is your audience becomes the proverbial choir you’re preaching to. The rest of the population simply goes elsewhere. Consider rather, writing from particular perspective or worldview. In other words, write honestly about issues and events from your particular perspective.
Time Considerations – Blogging takes a considerable amount of effort and time. When I was a regular blogger, I typically spent a minimum of an hour per day, five days per week writing. That doesn’t count any research surrounding the blog, just writing. A good blog takes planning and research. Know what you want to write about in the coming weeks and work from there. Don’t just sit down and front of the computer each morning and ask yourself what you want to write about. If you’re not willing to dedicate enough time to a blog, then it might not be a good idea to start one.
Strength in Numbers – Just like any newspaper or television news program, there are often a lot more people involved with a professional blog than you realize. Many professional blog sites have teams of people, researching and writing content for the site. This may be something you want to consider for your ministry site. If you know who you’re writing for and what the overall ethos of the site is, then you may want to consider looking at a blog as a collaborative effort with multiple people involved. But once again, this takes time, structure and preparation.
Consistency – Good writers must practice a high degree of self discipline when it comes to the number of pages they turn out. Let’s be honest, good writing is a creative art that takes consistent focus. There will be days that you simply don’t feel as if you have anything to write and you must write anyway. On one hand this is much like a muscle that needs to be trained, but on the other hand it’s for the sake of your audience. Imagine if you turned on the TV for the evening news and the show was a rebroadcast of yesterday’s news, or if your favorite show came on haphazardly throughout the week. You would find it very frustrating and before long stop looking for it. Blogs are the same way. If you aren’t providing new and consistent output for your readers, they won’t stick around very long.
Once You Post It, It’s There To Stay – There are probably a lot of young people who are going to be kicking themselves later in life due to a photo or something else they posted online. The internet offers a very fast way to publish anything. Unfortunately, it does not offer a way to remove it as effectively. It just takes one copy and paste into an e-mail and harmful or embarrassing information can be well on its way around the world.
Keep It Simple, Short And Charming – I know you have a lot to say. You’ll keep more readers if you get to the point in a candid straightforward fashion and then call it a day.