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Writer, Retreat Leader, Resource Creator
I’ve been asked now and then about how to get started in a blogging ministry, so here are my top ten tips for starting your own blogging ministry!
1. Get started on one of the free blogging websites–Blogspot and WordPress are among the most popular. WordPress is very easy to use with your own domain should you want to go that route now or in the future. Start a WEEKLY discipline of writing. When I started out, I didn’t have a weekly discipline, and it’s easy to fall out of habit and suddenly you haven’t written anything in a month. If you don’t write, people don’t visit your blog and don’t know you’re there. Start a weekly discipline and stick with it as much as you can. For example, I blog on the lectionary on Friday’s (we all know, though, that sometimes I don’t get to it until Sunday, but I really try to keep it on Friday’s).
2. Link your blog to your Facebook page, Twitter account or other social networking site. You are your best advocate and PR system!
3. Find Facebook sites of organizations and publications you are interested in and, when appropriate, occasionally link your blog there. For example, if you are writing about children’s ministry, find the Facebook pages of children’s ministry websites and organizations and post the link to your blog. Again, as with #2, you are your own PR and your best advocate.
4. Find other blogs similar to yours and read what they are writing. See if they take guest submissions and/or write to the authors and find out if you can be a guest contributor. Be sure to link blogs similar to yours on your own, and be sure to promote any blog or site that you contribute to, or ones that you hope to contribute to. People searching for what you have to offer will find it if you link to similar blogs and seek out similar voices.
5. How is your voice different? In looking at what is out there, in linking to similar blogs, look at how you might approach the topic differently or bring a uniqueness to the subject. It’s hard to do–even now when I write, sometimes I think that my blog isn’t very different from others, but I try to write from my own voice and heart, bringing my unique experience into my reflections on the lectionary, for example.
6. Keep a journal–not necessarily online–but a notebook of sorts to keep ideas for blogging topics. Plan out articles when you can, knowing that sometimes great ideas will just come upon you but there will be times of drought in your writing and your notebook/journal can help keep you moving when your ideas run dry.
7. READ. Read, read, read! Read blogs, read online journal articles, read up on your own ministry field–Christian Education, liberation theology, social justice–you name it. Read up on your topic of interest. Write book reviews on occasion as well–that’s a great way to get your blog noticed!
8. Make FREE offers. Offer free resources, tips, advice for those in Christian ministry or whoever your audience is. The word will not only get out but your ministry will reach the people you are trying to connect with. Promote your blog and free resources/tips.
9. Special blog entries: when something major happens in the world, write on it. Don’t let it pass by. People are searching for views, opinions, prayers, reflections and ideas when major events occur.
10. Finally, there are old-fashioned tried-and-true ways to reach out to others–have your blog address on your business cards. Submit articles and editorials for your local paper. Tell your family and friends about your blog. Again, YOU are the best promoter, PR and advocate for your blog!