Want to become a journalist? Then become a blogger!

In March 2017, 87,611,786 blog posts were published on WordPress alone, and they were viewed by 24,567,344,460 people.

That’s a lot of people who could be reading your words. But you don’t become a blogger overnight.

If you’re starting out as a journalist then blogging is highly recommended – it shows commitment, helps you build a portfolio and gives you something to discuss in an interview. But it’s got to be good.

We’ve outlined below why you should start a blog, followed by some top tips for writing a successful blog.

There are so many reasons to start a blog if you want to become a journalist. Here are just a few:

  1. It gets you into the habit of writing every day and you will also notice yourself getting quicker and quicker which is great practice if you want to become a journalist.
  2. The more you read and write, the better your spelling and grammar will become.
  3. If your writing is of a high quality you might get spotted by a potential employer.
  4. You can add posts from your blog to your journalism portfolio and take it to job interviews.
  5. A blog shows dedication which is something all employers look for – just make sure you update your blog regularly.
  6. You can use your blog as a platform for videos, infographics and pictures that you might not be able to get published elsewhere but you can then send it to employers to showcase your talents as video skills are now vital for anyone who wants to become a journalist.
  7. One of the biggest decisions if you want to start a blog is deciding where you want to host it, and the most popular platforms are WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. A lot of journalism jobs ask for knowledge of WordPress so if you get used to building pages, uploading and editing then you will have a good understanding of it by the time you are applying for jobs and that could give you the edge over another candidate.
  8. Having a blog with open comments shows you are willing to interact with your audience and can accept criticism – something that you will encounter as a journalist.

© Louis Jones

Blogosphere magazine commissioning editor Albertine Brandon said: “I started my blog four years ago as a hobby while I was studying at university.

“Having a blog, and maintaining it for so many years, has definitely helped to show just how committed I am to writing and photography.

“My blog has always come up in job interviews, and it was definitely a huge part of why I was hired to join the Blogosphere team.

“Bloggers are finally beginning to be taken seriously, and are now regularly used in advertising campaigns.

“Maintaining a blog is a big commitment, but it’s definitely one worth making if you’re serious about pursuing a media-based career.”

Write the perfect CV

© Markus Spiske

In true School of Journalism style, we’re here to help, so below are some top tips for anyone looking to become a blogger:

  1. You need your blog to have a niche and you need to tell your audience something they don’t already know.
  2. Network with other bloggers and share their blogs as they will probably repay the favour and help you reach a bigger audience.
  3. Use comments and tweets to get ideas from your audience and write blogs on the topics they want to read.
  4. Include a call to action getting people to subscribe or follow you on Twitter at the bottom of each post.
  5. Be consistent – if you want to become a blogger with a strong following you need to post regularly.
  6. Optimise your blog using relevant SEO and keywords to drive traffic to your blog from Google.
  7. Know your stuff – there’s no point trying to write about something you don’t understand as your readers will realise this very quickly and find a more reliable source, so make sure you do your research.
  8. Your writing needs to be of a high quality – there is A LOT of competition out there so don’t get caught up worrying about SEO and social media until you have found your voice and can write well.
  9. That also means no spelling and grammar mistakes! People are fickle and will click off if they don’t deem what they are reading to be of a high standard.
  10. Until you have made a name for yourself, people only care about the content, not you. So have links to your other relevant posts at the top of the sidebar and links to your social media lower down.

There you have it, building up an audience of more than just your friends takes time and commitment but at the end of the day having a blog shows dedication to the industry and is invaluable when applying for university and jobs.

How did you become a blogger? Share your tips in the comments.

Featured image courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr, with thanks