For those of you who are confused and wondering who this “mighty African” is, his name is Ato Ulzen-Appiah. Sounds familiar? Yes, Ato Ulzen-Appiah is an entrepreneur, manager, social media champion and of course a blogger. Ato studied at MIT and Stanford in civil engineering and management disciplines. He’s the director at the GhanaThink Foundation which mobilizes and organizes talent for the primary benefit of Ghana. He’s a Global Shapers Alumni, part of the World Economic Forum community. He worked at Rancard as product manager building new revenue services off its platform. He worked at Google as a program manager building sustainable tech communities in Africa. He co-founded Museke.com -an African music website and blogs at mightyafrican.blogspot.com.
Quite an impressive resume to be honest but today we are talking to him about blogging and his secrets to becoming a successful blogger. This is what he had to share:
1. Be consistent with what you blog about
I started my first blog in 2005 on GhanaThink’s GhanaConscious platform. I was really passionate about Ghana’s development at the time. Hiplife had also become the dominant genre in Ghana and I love it, especially Obrafour. I wanted to marry development and music so I came up with Abocco’s blog – sounds on da ground and see-ins on the scenes. From the blog name, sounds have to do with music while ground means relevance. See-ins was a play on words about what I am seeing and was related to scenes which signifies what was happening in Ghana. I always blogged about Ghanaian songs and how they related to society. An example was a post about Obrafour’s Ako which touched on politics and verbal battles.
I blogged often, at least once a month so that the blog didn’t become stale. You do not want a disappointed reader who has nothing new to read. Once you have many blog posts, this becomes less of an issue. I blog about particular topics too: youth, music, sports, tech, etc.
2. Leverage relevant and timely topics
From my first blog, I always blogged about popular songs and trendy issues. I continued to do the same in my next blog dubbed MightyAfrican’s blog. On my GhanaConscious blog, I blogged about Sidney’s Abuskeleke & Mzbel’s 16 years and its relation to female child molestation. My most recent post was about Ghana’s Independence Day which also marked Ghana at 60. Even though I blogged about Ghana60YearsOn, the post was also about something that had happened in my life.
It is important to blog about trendy topics because people who go online often google about these topics. If your content is unique, relevant and has some good views already, your blog post would be found.
3. Have an engaging and entertaining writing style
Many people go to websites to read news and get information. They tend to choose popular websites too. For people to choose yours, yours must be special and different. I love to read and love to read entertaining pieces that are not like pages from a newspaper or a text book. I adopted an entertaining style for my writing and it has worked for me. This is because many people like to read entertaining pieces. I live an interesting life so it also shows in my blog and writing style.
Some of my best blog posts were part of a series about things that actually happened to me. I had my wallet and phone pick-pocketed on March 6, 2013 and within a week, I had the contents of my wallet and my phone back. You may be asking how. I blogged about it and called it – Retrieving pick-pocketed items in Accra, Ghana – the series. I released the posts one by one and people were clamouring for the next chapters!
4. Build a following on your blog and engage them
It’s important to interact with people who comment on your blog in the comments section. It shows you care about your readers and what they think. It also keeps them coming back to respond or read other blog posts. Similarly, it is important to find out where your blog posts have been referenced or shared on social media. You should comment on those articles or social media posts to show care for people who appreciate your writing or blogs.
It is also important to link various blog posts of yours with others by mentioning them. Every now and then, you can write a blog post just for your readers, I once wrote a blog post telling my readers I was changing the name of my blog. It’s also good to write a blog post mentioning other blog posts. You could also try writing a blog post showing others talking about your blog posts!
5. Adapt & leverage media and tools around you
In 2012, I realised that I had become a huge fan of Twitter. I was tweeting all the time. A lot of the content I wanted to share or stories I wanted to tell were hitting the world wide web through Twitter. As the years went by, I was tweeting more and blogging less. That’s when I realised, I could leverage my tweets to do blog posts. I started tweeting about things happening with the mindset that I would use those tweets to do a blog post later. In my later blog posts, readers could see my tweets and how I was feeling at the time the blog content was unveiling. They could also find me on social media and follow or share posts.
It’s also important to use images and videos in your posts because unless your writing is extremely entertaining like mine normally is, readers would get bored. Pictures and videos bring emotion out of readers and they enjoy seeing these.
These are some very important blogging tips form #TheMightyAfrican that will get you started or will help you develop great content as a blogger.
Don’t forget to visit his blog www.mightyafrican.blogspot.com for more interesting posts.
Follow him on Twitter —> @abocco
Learn about GhanaThink & its programs here.