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5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Journalism School

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There is little doubt that journalism is facing some very serious challenges. Newspapers across the country, and even the world, are facing declining readership and, in many cases, are closing down.

Though the role of journalism is changing in the Internet age, that doesn’t mean there is no place for the techniques and tools that journalists use and have used for decades. Though blog writing differs greatly from journalism writing in many ways, there are still elements of journalism and journalism writing that still apply.

Though a blogger certainly doesn’t need to go to a j-school to do well, there are some lessons from a journalism school that could help out. Specifically, here are five things that bloggers could pick up from a journalism school, or even just a journalism class, and not lose what makes them unique and personable.

5. The Inverted Pyramid

Even in the most traditional of newspapers, the inverted pyramid is not the correct format for every story, but there are many cases where it is the ideal way to present the information.

The inverted pyramid is a system that works by having the general synopsis of the article in the first paragraph with more and more details in subsequent paragraphs, working to the least important details at the end. The idea is that, if readers are not interested in a story, they can read the first few paragraphs and get the big idea, but those who want to know more can read more can read to the bottom and get the full story.

Though it isn’t ideal for all or even most blog posts, understanding the style and how to use it can help you convey information in the fastest and most accurate way.

4. Interviewing Skills

Some people are naturals at asking questions, others aren’t. Likewise, some people are naturals at answering questions while others make it feel like pulling teeth to get a quote.

Knowing how to put people at ease, how to ask questions that get people talking and what the role of an interviewer is is critical when trying to get information out of another person. Also, being comfortable asking tough questions and knowing when to press on an issue is important to getting the whole story.

As with any skill, there are those who do this well naturally, but for others, learning the ins and outs of the interview may be very helpful.

3. Radical Clarity

Radical clarity is a writing style taught in many journalism schools, though it often goes by other names. The premise is to not write so that you can be understood, but write so that you can’t be misunderstood. It’s about writing so that people, no matter what biases they bring to reading your story, will get your exact message.

Though not so much a specific style, it’s a way of rereading your own work with different viewpoints in mind and actively deconstructing your own words. The idea is to reduce, though not always eliminate, cases where people misinterpret what you are trying to say.

2. Copy Editing

Grammar rules may be taught in English classes, but the art of editing writing, especially one’s own, is covered much more thoroughly in journalism classes as it is a critical part of any reporter’s job.

Editing one’s own work is surprisingly difficult to do. Most people have a tendency to skim through their writing as they are already familiar with it. Journalism schools teach reporters how to slow down when reading their work, often by reading their writing out loud to themselves, and objectively editing it.

Mass Media Law

Though the medium has changed, the laws have not. Those who publish on the Internet are still responsible for being aware of the laws that they will be held accountable to. Copyright, defamation, libel, trademark and privacy are just some of the areas of law that are critical for bloggers to know about and are all covered in basic law and ethics classes in most journalism schools.

The EFF has created a great Legal Guide for Bloggers that goes over many of these areas, still there is no substitute for an actual class on these issues and a robust understanding of the law.

Just because you, as a blogger, may not write like a journalist doesn’t mean you can’t be sued like one. It happens all the time.

Bottom Line

For bloggers who have studied journalism, the key is to find ways to incorporate the important parts of their education into their blogging without hurting their voice or personality on the Web. For those who haven’t studied journalism, it is important to find ways to integrate the most important and more relevant lessons from journalists into their writing.

In the end, no matter what kind of blogging you are doing, there are ways that at least some education in journalism can help you improve it. Fortunately, these days you can likely get much of that education informally and on the Web.

After all, you don’t need a degree in journalism, just a basic understanding of some of its key components.

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Why Does It Take Time to Be a Successful Blogger?

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Successful bloggers implore you: it takes time to succeed.

I advise following your fun, helping people generously, trusting the process and seeing the blogging journey through. I mention in my eBook how time saving tips make your journey easier.  But in the same regard, this journey takes time. Impatient bloggers weed themselves out. Generous, patient, persistent bloggers succeed. Sometimes, successful bloggers realize not the time element and how it works, and never explain in detail why it takes time to succeed. Why do you need to be patient? Why does it take time to succeed? I uncovered 3 reasons why it takes time to be a successful blogger.

1: It Takes Time to Practice a Skill So You Become Really Good At It

Today, I can write 10 to 20 blog posts daily if I so desired. I could easily create 20 videos daily.

10 years ago, I could write 1 blog post weekly and feared doing videos, to where, I never recorded videos as a newbie blogger.

Generous practice plus time made me prolific. Nobody gains skills in 1 day. Humans gain skills practicing 1 craft daily for months, then years. I love basketball. A handful of NBA players disclose how terrible they played after picking up a ball for the first time, 5 or 10 years, prior. Patient, persistent practice and time polished their skills to the point they became successful enough to go pro. Blogging is no different. Successful bloggers practice daily for years before being skilled enough to become a pro.

2: It Takes Time to Gain Big Exposure

Gaining big exposure for success takes time. Every creative act expands your presence a little bit more but those little bits add up over time. New bloggers blind themselves to this concept, believing 1 day and 1 blog post gives them successful exposure enough to make money and gain clout. Nope. Time reveals persistently generous bloggers because getting massive exposure requires months to years of generous, patient, persistent service.

No human can begin blogging at 8 AM as a new blogger and land a Forbes appearance by 12 noon. Nobody knows you. You have no exposure. Humans require time to create and connect in enough spots to gain success promoting exposure. Relax. You are on the way. But allow for time and generosity to leverage your presence. Time is required to be seen in many places.

3: It Takes Time to Uncover and Feel and Release Fears

Do you want to know why I wrote this post? I uncovered this reason a few moments ago. I noticed one income stream yield lesser amounts over the 2 days prior and felt a tiny but palpable surge of fear. Aha! I got you. Feeling fear, I released it and proceeded. I blogged for 10 years. I still feel tiny fears if an income stream yields less money, day to day, based on my expectations. But I needed to face this fear to make more money. New bloggers generally have deep fears concerning money, success and freedom. It takes time to feel and release fears concerning making more than $1 a day until you vibe at the $100, $1000 or $10,000 monthly – or more – level of blogging income.

Time unearths fears for feeling and releasing, to reach the next level of blogging success.

Be patient.

Time is a great blogging ally.

All you need flows to you over time.

Generously create, connect, follow your fun and nudge into fears.

Success is yours.

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What Does Your Blogging Network Look Like?

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I do nothing on my own.

Everything is a team effort.

As I teach in my blogger networking eBook, the way to increased, ever-expanding blogging success is to look for, grow and tap into a huge, loyal network of blogging friends through the power of generosity. Be generous. Help people. Shout out fellow bloggers. Release expectations. Get super connected. Most of us understand this is how to succeed online; be generous and get connected because 100 is better than 1. 100 friend efforts are far better than your effort alone.

One basic problem arises for most new or struggling bloggers: overcoming the deep fear of networking. For odd reasons, humans cling to pulsating fears concerning reaching out to other human beings. Bloggers fear being rejected, failing, being criticized or giving up credit for their blogging success. Honor that fear. See how far you get on your own steam. Not only that, the agony of micro-managing makes you sick, broke and quite dumb, if you are honest with yourself. How silly of you! Why do everything on your own today? Why not comment genuinely on a few blogs, retweet a few blogger blog posts and mention a few bloggers on your blog? Begin networking. Build a network. Succeed online.

What’s It Look Like?

Be honest, my blogging sweet robbins. What does your network look like? Is it even there? Do you even have a network? Many bloggers publish a post, share it to Twitter and Facebook and sit there, dumbfounded. Do you honestly believe your network just materializes out of thin air? Nope. But if you buy my eBook, follow my 13 steps and build your blogger buddy network by being generous, you can land on famous blogs, earn coin and drive traffic to your blog, too. Everything hinges on your honesty. Admit having only 1, 3 or zero blogging buddies. Truths set you free to network generously and successfully.

How to Grow Your Network

Simple. Be generous. Begin now. Publish a thoughtful, personalized comment below. Be seen. I cannot read all comments but the thousands of people who read blogging tips tend to read comments. Somebody eventually reads your blog comment if you comment genuinely and generously every day on Blogging Tips after reading posts. Someone clicks your link because they love your comment and want to meet you. One visit to your blog later, you may have a blogging buddy, or even a client or customer. Or maybe you have a loyal reader. This is networking 101; be generous, engage people and you build your network.

But do not stop after commenting on Blogging Tips. Branch out. Go wide. Read and comment genuinely on other blogs in your niche. Make more friends. Life gets easier and easier if you have more blogging friends in your corner because these folks inspire you to keep going, plus your friends amplify your presence exponentially.

Be generous and genuine. Reach out to more bloggers every day. Networking is a bit uncomfortable sometimes if you look for immediate returns but gliding through these temporary feelings helps you tap into something special with your blog. Connected bloggers have no issues growing their blogging business because 100 is better than 1. Remember that they next time you try to go lone wolf with your blogging campaign.

 

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Are You Leveling Up with Your Blog?

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Play up.

Every time I reach a new level with my blog, I notice another level invites me. I do not work harder. I never work longer. I love what I do and keep generously helping people but think of how to go wide as I level up. Think of that one for a moment: consider how to go wide, and what it means.

I write and publish multiple posts to my blog. Each post gains views. Going wide. 4 quality posts beats 1 quality post. But I go even wider by writing and publishing multiple guest posts daily. I speak to 2 or 3 or more different blogging audiences, going wider and wider, increasing my exposure and expanding my presence online. But I go even wider as I level up; I contribute on Quora and on the Warrior Forum daily. Leveling up is uncomfortable sometimes but always freeing. Leveling up helps you see greater success versus hitting blogging ceilings.

Be More Generous to Make More Money and to Avoid Lulls

I speak to bloggers who suffer lulls. One client signed up 4 months ago but no clients signed up since. The appearance of a 4 month client drought, or lull, simply indicates a lack of leveling up and a lack of generosity. Even if no clients signed up during your 4 months of leveling up, your eBook sales would triple. Audio book sales would jump, too. Plus you would open 2 new income streams. This just happens. Be generous and blogging will be generous to you.

Being more generous by helping more folks across multiple platforms feels uncomfortable sometimes. Who wants to go wide when doing so means leaving your comfort zone on a daily basis? I love blogging. But I feel uncomfortable writing my third post on a  train ride to Connecticut. I will go super wide when I reach the destination though, publishing a combo of posts and guest posts to level up effectively, reaching more people in less time.

Most Bloggers Never Level Up

Most bloggers write and publish a post to their blog weekly. Struggles ensue because they never level up after publishing weekly for 3-6 months. Be more. Serve people generously. Go wide. Publish blog posts and guest posts more frequently to expand your reach. Increase blogging traffic and profits.

Why do you think most bloggers never make $100 during their careers? Few bloggers regularly level up, playing small to be comfortable, dodging their fears. Of course, their fears manifest as 0 dollars and 6 blog visitors daily for the next 12 months UNTIL they level up, go wide, be generous, leave their comfort zones and face their fears. This is not a fluffy, pleasant process but we all pay a fear tax to level up and to become successful bloggers.

Pay Up to Level Up and to Play Up

Pay up by spending time and generous energy reaching as many people as possible through blogging. Guest post. Publish more frequently to your blog. See increased blogging responsibility as more fun and freedom and service. I enjoy freedom offline because I level up online. I pay up, level up and play up in higher blogging circles because all top bloggers paid the same dues to reach the top. Why do top bloggers hobnob with one another? Top bloggers respect how other top bloggers pay their dues on this blogging journey and connect deeply with one another, co-promoting each other’s success.

The fun and freedom you experience through blogging is well worth the effort and discomfort of leveling up.

If you need a guide for facing blogging fears, grab my blogging mindset eBook on the way out.

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