One of my most frequently asked questions is how to start a blog or write about mental health.
I’ve been blogging for a few years now, this website is not yet a year old but it is not my first. I started out a while ago, I am not sure when but then I am awful at remembering things nowadays!
I believe I began by doing a daily diary on my life online and the things that were on my mind but I quickly became bored and stopped, it just wasn’t in my heart. Who else has started like 100 diaries and given up within the first few weeks?
The blog that I use now, this one, was not originally intended for blogging, rather than to inform readers of my books and written work. However, I soon found that, after writing my book and becoming a mental health advocate. I wanted to do more and I really loved writing, so it was a no-brainer to attempt again at blogging. I suppose I just fell into the blogging scene and I am glad I did, it just made sense.
I recently decided that I will be sticking to a schedule, as I now have a small following (of the best followers ever #fam) and believe routine will be nice, so readers can expect a post every Sunday from now on.
However I do not believe that everyone needs to upload on a certain day, I began by just writing as and when I had an idea and it would not affect my stats. Though I do feel like some blog posts would get forgotten as I swamped my website with blog posts.
The truth is that writing all the time will not mean that you will gain recognition, so don’t exhaust yourself with trying to upload all the time. Getting your blog out into the world is about persistence, determination and a good mixture of quality posts as well as that all fun marketing.
With any blog, it’s a good idea to stick to a theme or one category, this is just so that people know what to expect from you. After all your blog is your brand.
I know a lot of people like to plan their blog posts, for me though, I’ll start a new draft on WordPress whenever I get an idea, then keep working on it for weeks – perfecting it until I am ready to post it. I very rarely stick to a routine so my content may be written at 2am or 6pm, just whenever the inspiration hits – this works well for me.
When writing about mental health, it’s important to be honest and raw with your feelings. As this is how stigma can be challenged as well as allowing people to relate and learn from your experiences.
Mental health can be a sensitive subject as some topics may be triggering or upsetting, so make sure to put in your post that there is triggering content. This way you can write without risking upsetting people – though still try not to be too explicit in details as there is no need, you can still get a point across without the gory details.
As mentioned, your blog may become your brand, so finding a style to suit you is important.
Style is the way you write your work, which should be unique to you, I always say to people that they need to write now and worry about formatting later. Don’t focus on the nitty-gritty over your raw emotions – as these make the best blog posts.
The most important thing about a mental health blog is that it is mental health friendly, meaning that the author of the blog isn’t losing sleep over it. Writing is fun and is a great form of therapy – keep it that way.
I have found though, that blog posts seem to do much better with visual imagery and broken up writing. This works for me because I can’t read block text anyway! It’s always a good idea to make your style clear and easy on the eyes.
Style is also how you have set out your blog, the theme and appearance that people will notice as soon as they visit your blog. This is your first impression, think about when you meet someone for the first time. They will judge your appearance before they judge whats on the inside, which is your writing.
It is so important to make sure your blog looks professional and up to date, make sure any social links are correct and that the website is easy to navigate. However you also want your blog to reflect who you are and style is a good way to show that, try to use your theme to express rather than be plain – unless you like minimalism which is fine!
I never worried about marketing to begin with, because I simply did not have a platform to market to. However over time, I have grown and though I am still a tiny spec on the internet, I now can update those who are interested in reading my posts regularly.
The great thing about WordPress is that when people follow you, via email or through the website, they will be notified whenever I upload a new post and will always be the first to know. This tool is valuable for those who are interested in my work and want to be updated – they are my favourite people!
Most of my marketing is on Twitter, as this is where my platform is but I try not to overwhelm my social media in blog posts. It makes sense that you want as many people as possible to read your posts but do not become one of these spam accounts that only ever post about their blogs, people will not want to follow you.
Your followers want to know who you are as a human, get to know you, who is the person behind the blog? Followers do not want 20 posts a day on the same blog post you just published.
When it comes to marketing for a mental health blog, and I stress this, make sure you are trying to get the views from people you know will benefit from your words. Don’t turn mental health into a cash grab or a trip to fame as that adds to the stigma and trivialises what so many other mental health bloggers work so hard to end.
Writing is not supposed to be a chore, it is therapeutic and allows you to get lost in your own little world. The great thing about writing about mental health is that you help yourself as well as helping others.
If you are writing because you want to be the next Zoella, then you’re probably going to struggle as this can impact the quality of your work. Write because you want to not because you need to.
People want to read posts by a real person with passion and genuine interest, when it comes across false or trying too hard, then people will lose interest. There are already a billion blogs on the internet and you just won’t stand out.
Your individuality and values, your interests and dreams are what will create your niche and brand, if you stay true to them and have fun writing. If you enjoy what you do, then people will start to become engaged in your work.
I hope this helps anyone who wanted to know about this sort of thing, I know this isn’t like my usual blog posts but I hope it is appreciated! And you know what? The internet needs some more mental health bloggers! So link yours below if you have one!