As some of you already know, I recently attended the Families in Global Transitions (FIGT) conference in The Hague.
In September last year, I didn’t know that there was an organization called FIGT, never mind that they hosted an annual conference discussing topics relevant to families in transition. I had all these questions and ideas, but very few people to share them with. I was frustrated and a little unfocused.
Since then, I have connected with an amazing group of people; online and in person. I have discovered that I am not alone with my questions and interests. I am incredibly thankful, to Jo Parfitt, the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Resident program and my fellow writers, as well as to FIGT for welcoming and including me.
I am also thankful to all the people out there, who share their thoughts, ideas, insights and resources through their blogs. One of the themes I had the great pleasure of covering at this year’s conference was blogging, and how blogging can help us connect. I know several people who attended FIGT didn’t get a chance to attend all the blogging presentations. I also know a lot of my other friends are keen bloggers. So, to all you bloggers out there, established or still on the fence – this is for you.
With their presentation ‘Connecting with your online tribe through blogging when abroad,‘ Terry Anne Wilson of Notes on a Boarding Pass and Mariam Ottimofiore of And Then We Moved To… brought their audience up to speed on the ins and outs of connecting to others through a blog.
‘I resisted blogging for the longest time,’ recalled Mariam, and had the room laughing. ‘I thought it was self-indulgent and I couldn’t believe people would be interested in reading about me.’
‘However,’ she continued, ‘the reason I blog today is that it helps me connect with all of you. It is the best thing I could have done, and I don’t know what took me so long.’
The importance of finding a passion
Terry Anne started off telling us about us the importance of thinking before starting a blog. ‘It is important to have a niche for your blog,’ she stated, ‘a passion that you can sustain.’
When you blog, you write about things that are important to you. You share of yourself – and you do so well, if you are passionate about your topic. Saying that, don’t let your niche define you or limit you. You grow and develop; so will your blog.
Connecting to people
‘Own your blogging,’ we were advised. Reach out to people. Tell them who you are and what you do. Call yourself a writer. Give of yourself, offer help, build connections for you and your blog.
Join online platforms
‘Join up with online platforms,’ Mariam told us. ‘Reach out and and submit your blog; make sure other people know about you.’
If you write about travel, how about joining Matador Network? If you write about raising children abroad, consider Multicultural Kids Blog? Submit your blog to be featured on InterNations, and look up local platforms where you live.
Who are your audience?
By figuring out who reads your words, you can determine the best way to own your blogging and connect with your readers. It may be Facebook, but it can also be Instagram, Twitter or podcasts. Find out how to reach your audience.
This tip comes from Marilyn Gardener of Communicating Across Boundaries. There is so much material available out there. If people take the time to read and comment on your work, make sure you take the time to reply to their comments. By replying, you also open a dialogue and build connections with your readers.
The feature image
I don’t know about you guys, but I am attracted to visuals. I look at books partly based on their cover, and I certainly read online content based on the feature image. I struggled a little with this today. Having discarded several photos of laptops and notebooks, I ended up featuring my youngest daughter capturing her older siblings on camera in the Grand Mosque here in Muscat.
She had a clear image and idea in her mind, and she wanted to communicate it to her world. That’s what I do through my blog; I try to communicate the ideas in my mind with you all.