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How WJMC Got Me to Start a Blog (And Tips to Start One)


the Washington Journalism and Media Conference logo

A few months ago, a letter arrived in the mail for me. I had been getting a lot of mail from colleges lately, and they were all trying to sell me on going to their amazing, perfect-for-me college. They've even sent me a Christmas Card wishing me happy birthday. But this letter was different. Something about it just seemed more official, more important.


I opened it and found out I was invited to the Washington Journalism and Media Conference in Washington DC that summer.



My Experience at The Washington Journalism and Media Conference

So I’ve already made a vlog series on Youtube if you want to see my day-by-day experience, but this article is focused on how WJMC inspired me to make professional content.


On Day Three of WJMC, the focus was on having a career in journalism. We had breakout groups near the end of the day, and I chose Buzz McClain, the Communications Manager of George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government. We talked about a few topics. He was a movie critic for a long time, so the conversation mainly revolved around his opinions on various movies and TV shows.



But even though we talked about the horrible TV shows we watch or Buzz trying to sell us on a CBD energy drink he sponsors, one of the things he talked about was how people nowadays get jobs in major news outlets.


He said that when he asked young people working for the Washington Post how they got there, they usually replied by saying that they had a blog and posted their professional work for all to see. This would lead to someone at one of the big new outlets noticing them and offering them the opportunity to work for them.




How Do You Even Start a Blog?

So the obvious question to ask now is, "How do you start a blog?" Funny enough, this was the only question I asked a speaker during WJMC. Buzz gave these tips for starting a blog:

  • Ask Yourself What You’re Interested in

  • Come Up With a Catchy Name

  • Start Reading Trade Publications

  • Study The Community and Connect With Them

  • Reach Out Through Your Blog

  • When You Find Something Interesting, Write About It

  • Market It

  • Get a LinkedIn and Link Your Blog

  • Use The Keywords the Industry Uses

  • Ask Yourself Who Are You Writing For



Ask Yourself What You’re Interested in

Write about something that you know a lot about or want to learn more about.


Come Up With a Catchy Name

You want to pick a name that people can easily remember. Keep it short and simple.


Start Reading Trade Publications

If you want to write academic or informative blogs, read trade publications that keep up with the latest news in the industry.


Study The Community and Connect With Them

Are there any other blogs that talk about the topics you’re interested in. Reach out to them and join the community of your niche.


Reach Out Through Your Blog

Now that you have a blog, you can use it to reach out to people, and experts in your field. Interview them for your blog, and use your new connections to talk to successful people and learn from them.


When You Find Something Interesting, Write About It

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. You come across a topic you're interested in, you write about it. Make sure it falls under your blog's niche/topic.


Market It

This one’s a no-brainer. Your blog needs people to read it, and marketing it on platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be really effective.


Get a LinkedIn and Link Your Blog

Another platform to market your blog is your online resume: LinkedIn. When people see your profile, they’ll also see your blog which can showcase your professional work.


Use The Keywords the Industry Uses

This is one of the most important tips. Using the keywords the industry uses can help your blog rise to the top when people search for your topic. However, you need to pick keywords you can rank for. Most blog posts never get found on Google, and people really only click on the top ten results. So you have to be smart about what keywords to use.


Ask Yourself Who Are You Writing For

Who is your audience? Old veterans, who love to relive the past? Single young women, who are looking for unique places to visit? Defining who you’re writing for can be useful when you don’t know what to write. Ask yourself, "What would be helpful or interesting for who I’m writing for?"



Why Did I Decide to Start a Blog?

But why do I want to write a blog? To be honest, I’ve never considered being in the journalism industry in any way. I’m interested in many different things. I’m an animator, a photographer, and an editor, so why add a blogger to the list?


One random and interesting thing about me is that sometimes I like to read someone’s entire Wikipedia page. It’s like a detailed biography summarized into a 10–20 minute read. One day, I decided to read about Winston Churchill. With men like Churchill, it’s really interesting to read how they went from obscurity to becoming one of the most well-known figures in history.



What most people don’t know about Churchill is that he was a journalist during the Boer War. The Boer War was fought in South Africa between 1899-1902 between the British Empire and the Dutch "Boer" settlers who had already settled regions of South Africa. Churchill also wrote various books on his other war experiences.


This is when I realized that almost every great man in history was also a great writer.

"It’s very interesting. It turns out that a book is more durable than stone. It’s more durable than a castle. It’s more durable than an empire. And that’s really interesting. " —Jordan Peterson

Our words can outlive us. Great men have used words and writing to solidify their legacy. Julius Caesar wrote about his campaign in Gaul and exaggerated a little here and there to make himself appear grander. Hitler formed the essential ideas of his ideology in Mein Kampf.


So that’s why I’ve decided to write. I probably won’t be great, but that’s not the point. I’m writing to learn more about our world and to share it with everyone else. I’m writing to be able to understand ideas outside my own. I’m writing because it’s a skill that has lost its importance in the world today. Writing is something that has been influential and will be influential for thousands of years.


I hope you all stay along for the journey.





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