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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Of the links that our participants are reading with the birthdays and the homecoming for both the personal blog and for PreemieBabies101, what are the major differences between those posts, specifically in this case?

Skip to 0 minutes and 29 seconds Generally, when I write on my personal blog, I do try to keep in mind my audience, but I think that’s especially important for the PreemieBabies101. I have a responsibility to that organisation. Hand to Hold is the name of the organisation that supports the blog. And so I do feel a responsibility to try to make my posts as - though they’re kind of focused and targeted - as helpful I think as possible to our community. Whereas sometimes on - especially with the dark days post - that was something on my personal blog that I needed to get out. I felt just really icky, and it was a way for me to work through that.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds Once I wrote the post, I realised this is - one of the reasons why I am feeling so rotten is that this is the marker of a very difficult time, and this is the marker of a beginning of a very difficult time, because having a baby in the hospital is traumatic. And so I felt like some of the posts that I wrote on my personal blog then prepared me to be able to say those things to a larger PreemieBabies101 audience. And so sometimes I think that that’s what I’m doing with my personal blog is working through some things and coming to some conclusions about the experience. And then I try to share those to the broader audience on PreemieBabies101.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 seconds I would say that usually my personal blog posts are a little bit shorter, because I don’t write as much for PreemieBabies101. Some of those blog posts tend to be a little bit longer, because it’s not a topic that I’m going to revisit several different times. So that’s a difference. I would say between the two of them, the intention is the same, which is to help others. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to help others and to get information out there about our cause, which is prematurity.

Skip to 2 minutes and 33 seconds But how I go about it is a little bit differently - definitely more personal on the personal blog. So what advice would you give to people who want to start their own blog, and they’re hesitant about it - not sure where to go with that? Do you have any advice, having been down that road already? I told you this is something that I thought about right after Jacob was born, and it took me a couple of years to decide. For a long time I thought, you know what makes me any different from anybody else? And then I decided, well, I love to write, and this is a way that I can give back.

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 seconds Some people go and they volunteer in the hospital. I can’t do that right now. So this is one thing that I can do. And so I feel like most of the people that are going to be interested are probably writers at heart. They want to write. There’s something that they want to share with the world. So I would say, you at least need to find something that you’re passionate about, whether it’s a cause, or like I said, we all have different experiences in life, so it’s something that makes you different or unique or an expert, and then to run with that. To be passionate about it is a big part of it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 seconds If you’re not, you’ll blog for a month or two months or six months, and then you’ll quit. You’ll find other things to do. So I think that would be part of it. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that even some of the people who have the most beautiful websites and obviously spend a lot of time thinking about how to bring readers in and make a living off of it, which I don’t do right now, they all have, they all started small, and they started with the writing, and then most of them invested more and more as their blog grew. So I definitely don’t think you can expect a whole lot of readers in the first few weeks or months.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds It takes a long time to develop your niche in your area and to get the traffic that will encourage you to do more with your blog in the future. So what you’re saying, if only your mother and your closest friends review in the beginning, don’t despair. That’s right. Even, like I said, some of my favourite bloggers - the people who are really successful at it, it’s not like they started yesterday. They started years ago and have their own unique brand, and it’s developed over time.

Skip to 5 minutes and 2 seconds So yes, if just two people are reading to begin with - and kind of the, the point that or the mission that I have is, I decided a long time ago - I’m writing, one, as a form of therapy for myself, and two, to help others. Now if others includes just one other person, then that’s me and somebody else. So it was definitely worth my time. I’ve had a couple of people respond to a post before and hardly anybody else read it, but they were really impacted. And so that was enough for me. Me and one other person would be plenty. So it’s rare to have overnight success with blogs, right?

Skip to 5 minutes and 44 seconds In my personal opinion, yes, it is - in my experience. It’s not like you are a journalist writing for the mass media - that you have thousands of readers by default. That’s right.

Skip to 5 minutes and 58 seconds I have a blogger in mind. She blogged for years. It started out as a little blog for her family and friends, probably 10 years ago. And she just had a cute writing style. And I think that’s probably what attracted people. But then her blogging took a turn when she had a preemie at 25 weeks. And that experience and how harrowing it was has really launched not only her blogging career, but her writing career. I think she has a book contract. So sometimes it does turn into more long-term careers, and it includes more permanent publishing or traditional publishing beyond just blogging.

An opinion on blogging - part two

Watch the second part of Dr Hill-Vinson’s interview above.

What kind of person decides to blog? Why do they do it? Is the process a difficult one to maintain?

Post your thoughts in the comments area.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introduction to Journalism

University of Strathclyde