Starting A Blog: Find A Mentor

As a new blogger, one of the best things you can do is find a mentor.  A mentor is someone that has been in the blogging world longer than you have been and can help you with the learning curve.  A mentor can help you with many aspects of blogging and here's a few:

1. Product Reviews - the ins and outs of reviewing products.  A veteran blogger knows what type of companies welcome new bloggers and can also share with you what type of companies you should not try to pitch.  A veteran blogger knows what companies are looking for and may even be able to help you design your pitch letter, help you the beginnings of your writings, and they may even have a couple of emails to share with you.

2.  Writing Skills - a mentor can help you hone your writing skills.  A mentor will never try to change the way you write but can give you some valuable insight into what may detract from your writings.

3.  The Rules and Etiquette of Blogging.  Many bloggers have learned the hard way what you should and shouldn't do when blogging.  Ask them what they wish they hadn't done and they'll probably give you a list of things to avoid.  A mentor can teach what other bloggers will not like you for or what other bloggers find annoying with new bloggers.  Trust me, as new blogger, you are going to do things that us older bloggers are going to roll our eyes over. 

4.  Build your SEO.  If SEO sounds like a different language, get a mentor!  You need to know about SEO so that you can start building yours.

5.  Teach you what Google Page Rank, Alexia, Stats, and Technorati all mean.  These are bloggers worst enemies but you still need to know about them and how you can use them to your best advantage.  Pick the brains of a veteran blogger. 

6.  Website Design.  While your mentor, may not know everything about web design - they may be able to share with you how to number comments, what things cause your site to run slowly, and what things you should have listed on your site for both readers and PR reps. 

A mentor can be invaluable and I highly encourage you to find a blogger who you respect.  If you read their blog and respect their work, send them an email.  Not all bloggers want to be mentors so they may not email you back but there are other bloggers who would love to help.  These bloggers remember what it was like when they first started and want every blogger to succeed because they know that gives bloggers a good name when newbies succeed.  So many newbies fail and when they do, they help those that want to look down on mommy bloggers do so. 

If you do ask a blogger to mentor you, here are few things you should do:

1.  Don't expect your mentor to be available 24/7.  Most likely your blogger has 100 - 200 emails a day.  Your mentor will get to you when she can but don't expect an immediate answer.  She may be able to give you one day but not the next day. 

2.  Respect your mentor's time.  Your mentor is taking valuable time away from her blog and even her family to help you - respect that!

3.  Give your mentor linkbacks.   Put your mentor's button on your site and even mention your mentor in a blog post.  This gives your mentor valuable SEO but also shows your mentor that you value the time they are investing in you.  They are really getting nothing to mentor you so this will be an unexpected but wonderful payback for them. 

4.  Do not expect your mentor to share with you all their pitches or PR rep information.  #1, it is unethical for them to do this and your mentor has worked very hard to get some of the information that she has.  If you are only asking a blogger to mentor you for her PR reps, then you have the wrong motives and the person mentoring you will notice that and probably stop answering your emails.

5.  Overall, be courteous.  This person is giving you so much valuable information and saving you some failures and probably is giving you some traffic that you would not have gotten without them. 


Rachel said...

EXCELLENT list/tips. I've been blogging for five years, but I could still use a mentor.

Hello? SEO? Wordpress? Yeah, no clue.

(Following In My Shoes)

Tatum said...

Great post & yes I am so new to the bloggiong world. I have emailed so many different bloggers I enjoy but nothing back yet. There is so much to learn & I learn something new everyday. Thanks

Frugal Science Gal said...

I have been thinking about starting a blog for a while and I finally got the courage to start one today and I am really excited about it! Thank you so much for all of the posts about starting a new blog!