Last month I spent a week doing work experience in a newsroom, and it was something of an eye-opener.
I don’t really have a career path in mind to pursue when I graduate, I just know I want to be able to write non-fiction in one form or another. Local journalism, however, is not the one. The hours are long, it’s stressful, and, with a couple of exceptions, you can’t be creative in the way I like to be.
That said, the week was by no means a waste. First of all, I have a clearer idea of what I want (and don’t want) from post-grad life. And second, I noticed you could apply the way journalists approach their news website to running a blog.
Here are three things I learnt.
They monitor how many views and shares each story is getting, and if they’re not as high as expected, they look at the story again to work out why.
How to apply this to blogging:
I tend to judge the success of a post by how much I enjoyed writing it and whether people chose to comment on it. But it’s still interesting to see what gets the most clicks, and it can help you to plan future posts if you know what works.
I go to Google Analytics, then scroll down to Behaviour. You can find out how many views each page has by clicking on Site Content and then All Pages.
They spend time planning everything for the site each day — what goes up and at what time. Imagine every blogger is contributing to a monster blog, with lots of posts going live at once — it’s scheduling on steroids.
How to apply this to blogging:
This is different for everyone, but personally I find having a schedule really helpful, especially when I’m busy.
I post twice a week because it’s regular and manageable (it used to be three until uni got busier). I plan out my posts for the month, colour-coding them to see if I’m being too repetitive, and then I tick each post off once it’s been scheduled.
Everyone likes to organise things different, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that having some kind of plan works wonders for stress levels.
Journalists are always working. There were people in the office when I arrived in the morning, and there were people still going when I left at half five. News stories don’t stop for anyone.
How to How not to apply this to blogging:
Unlike the news, blogging can stop if you need to take a breather. A break can do the world of good, and loyal readers will always be there when you come back.
I want to devote a good amount of time to my blog, but I also want to prioritize my degree and have some time to relax, otherwise I’ll just burn out. Others might juggle their blog with a full-time/part-time job and/or a family (I salute you in all cases). Hell, I’m sure every person on this planet is trying to find a happy medium for everything in their life. It ain’t easy.
What have you learned from work experience/internships/your job? Did any of those lessons apply to blogging? Let me know in the comments.
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Beth, 26, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!