Blogging: How to Start and Maintain a Youth Services Blog

So, you want to start a blog related to librarianship? Great! Here are some thing to keep in mind as you get started.

Choose your platform.

You’ll need to decide what platform you want to use for your blog. Blogger and WordPress are two popular options, but there are scores of others, and if you’re handy at coding, you could even create your very own platform. Figure out what platform you want to use and become familiar with the different aspects of writing posts, scheduling them, and formatting the look of your blog.

Choose your focus.

Readers come to your blog for information, and they will stick around if you give them more information, but it helps if you have a particular focus. Do you want to post reviews of books you’ve read? Do you want to write about programs you’ve done at the library or ideas you have for future programs? Will your focus be more specific – reviews of a particular genre of book or details about one type of program you do?

Choose your schedule.

I was selected for one of my previous library jobs specifically because I had a blog that was up to date and showed that I was aware of what was going on in the library world. If you start a blog, it is essential that you keep it going. You may want to think ahead about how often you can reasonably write posts. For a while I was able to post something five days a week, but at this busy point in my life I have cut back to once a week. Once a week may not seem like much, but that does mean that your content will be kept current, which will satisfy your readers and impress potential employers.

Preset some posts.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Write 3-4 weeks’ worth of posts (or more) and get them preset on your blog before you go live. It will take time to get used to having another item on your already full to-do list, so make sure there are posts preset as a buffer between you and the next needed post. When I am able, I try to set up as many as two months’ worth of posts in advance. This way when things get busy, my blog stays alive and active. If I find something timely that I want to write about and publish, I can always bump another post to a later date. But do have posts preset before your blog goes live.

Promote, promote, promote!

Tell your colleagues. Tell your friends. Post links in relevant Facebook groups. Tweet about it. Make sure your voice is heard. You will probably not get thousands of hits immediately, but it is important to promote your blog so that people know it’s there. Add tags to your posts to help you find them again so you can link to relevant posts when needed.

Don’t be afraid of change.

I used to teach middle school. My blog started out as funny stories from my students, but morphed into book reviews as I left teaching behind, and then became more program-oriented as I started working as a youth services librarian. I always had a focus on my blog, but the focus itself, and the frequency of the posts, changed as my life, priorities, and other duties changed. And that’s okay. I still read as much as I used to, but I don’t take as much time to write reviews, which is why I now post more on the programming aspects of my job than I used to.

Do you have a blog already? Is there a library blog that you regularly follow? Let us know in the comments!

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