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Monday, 2 May 2016

So you want to be a museum blogger?

We are so thrilled and excited to be featured in this month's Museums Journal in their feature on museum bloggers. It's odd to think we started this little blog in November of 2012, and we are still at it! The MJ's piece is such a great opportunity to meet the people behind the blogs and get to know a little bit more about what interests them. From comedy and natural history, to autism in museums, and art crime news, each blogger brings something new to the community. If you read this issue and thought, wow I'd like to do that! - then just let us say, you definitely should! But if you wanted some pointers before you start out, here are some of our top tips!

1) Think about your hook- What makes you different than anyone else writing about museums? What struck is reading the MJ article is the very different takes all the bloggers had on the field. At the Ministry we focus on young people working in museums, registry and collections issues, and women in museums. If you want your blog to get some traffic, then you have to have some kind of hook that makes people interested in your opinion. Just writing exhibition reviews probably won't get you much of a following.

2) Create your voice/brand - Ok so you have a concept, how are you going to make that consistent? You want your readers to know they are reading a blog by you each time, so think about your unique writing style. Once you've thought about the tone you want to take - friendly, informal, or critical and hard-hitting, then stick to it. Your blog should be unique to stand out from the crowd.

3) Have a content plan- How frequently are you going to post on your blog? Try to make it realistic. We aim for once a week, although twice a week would really be ideal! Very frequently bloggers start out with daily posts that peter out after a month or two. If you have so many ideas, save them up and schedule them to go out at more even intervals! If are you posting new content, be sure you let your readers know. Which brings us to...

4) Snap up those social media accounts- Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all great ways to keep your followers up to date and drive them towards your site. The museum community on Twitter is amazing and really supportive. Be sure whatever site to use hashtags like #museums #culture #museblogger to get some attention. 

5) Get to know your community- Even before you get started, have a look around on twitter and instagram for bloggers you admire. Then FOLLOW FOLLOW FOLLOW - the best way to get followers on twitter or anything else is to follow other people. But not just anyone, the kind of people who you want reading what you right. Get stuck in on online conversations like #museumhour or visit an event like Museums Showoff to get your name our there. Some museums like the Wallace Collection offer museum blogger only events, so do your homework. 

6) Just keep swimming - Blogging can be harder than you think, especially over a long stretch of time. Life find a way of getting in the way of your ambitious plans. Maybe you had a fantastic idea for this week's post, but your boiler broke. C'est la vie. Either try and have some posts saved as drafts, or just leave it til next week. Just don't get disheartened! 

Our number one tip however is that if you want to blog, make sure its for you. Don't set up a blog because you think you have to, or its the 'done' thing. Blogging is hard, and the only way to sustain it is your passion for it! If you haven't quite figured out what drives you, maybe leave it for a bit until you find something that makes you excited! 

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