So You Think You Can Blog
I am proud to write for such a successful website as Chip & Company. This family of writers is truly a group of regular people who happen to be crazy about all things Disney. Some are a little more fanatical about it than others, but, you know, we love them anyway!
Several of us C&C writers run blogs and fan sites of our own, and we are often asked how to go about doing that. So I thought I’d share some tips of the trade, let you in on a few secrets, and maybe inspire you to pixie dust the internet with your own Disney passion.
Find your niche. We already know you’re an avid Disney fan—you’re reading Chip & Company! What do you have to say about The Happiest Place on Earth (Disneyland) or The Most Magical Place on Earth (Walt Disney World)? What makes your voice stand out? What can you offer that’s different from what’s already out there? An average, run-of-the-mill blog wouldn’t be very Disney-like. How can you plus the experience?
Write regularly. Daily content is best, but it can be difficult to publish fresh material every day. At the very minimum, write one post per week, and publish it the same day each week. Your subscribers will get to know your schedule and will be looking for new material from you, so be consistent. Keep your articles between 400 and 600 words in length. Grab your reader, give him what he’s looking for and give him a reason to come back.
Be accurate. Go back and read the first tip. If you didn’t know Disneyland and Walt Disney World have two separate nicknames, you might think twice about running a Disney fan site. Know your facts. Check them before you publish anything. As you develop a fan base, your readers will trust you to be their source of Disney information. Make sure you tell them the right stuff.
Interact with your followers. Converse with them through blog comments, Facebook pages, and Twitter posts. Build relationships with them. Not only will you find some great new friends, but they will also learn more of what you’re about and will be better able to recommend you to their friends and followers.
Write well. Sloppy writing is unprofessional and turns people off. Yes, we all misspell things and use the wrong word here and there, but if you always present your highest quality work, you are sure to get return readers. I’m a freelance editor by trade. Online publication is considered periodical, like magazines, and falls under the authority of AP style guides. Below are some common grammar rules I see broken all the time. Follow these simple rules, and you will kick your writing up a Pooh-sized Disney notch.
- Use Times New Roman or similar 12-point font. Cutesy fonts are fun, but they’re hard on the eyes.
- Use single line spacing and left-justified block paragraphing.
- Limit ALL CAPS, italics, underlining, ellipses… and em-dash— to specific areas you want to emphasize. Overuse is overkill.
- Do not use a comma before the word “too” unless it is absolutely necessary for sentence clarity.
- Place only one space between sentences.
- Do not—don’t—omit apostrophes in contractions.
- Remember “its” shows possession and “it’s” means “it is.”
- And finally, although it will not catch all errors, run a spell check before publishing any article.
Be consistent, be yourself and enjoy what you’re doing. If you do that, your passion will shine through, and in a short time, we’ll all be following you.
Jodi Whisenhunt’s MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort is now available in print and can be purchased at CreateSpace and Amazon. (Kindle version coming soon!) Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!
- Disney Dooney & Bourke Wristlet GIVEAWAY (magicalmouseschoolhouse.com)
- Disney Family Movies “Play at the Next Level” Sweepstakes (chipandco.com)