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Professional bloggers, social media mavens, and speakers from all over the country packed the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture this past Friday and Saturday, June 21 – 22, 2013, for the annual Blogging While Brown Conference held in New York City.

Attendees heard from dozens of speakers on topics ranging from blogging and branding to podcasts and crowdfunding. Former Essence magazine Executive Editor Tamara Jeffries was among Saturday’s expert panelists. The 20-year media veteran offered advice to up-and-coming bloggers on how to improve their blogging skills with her ’10 Ways to Turn Your Blog Writing from Basic to Brilliant,’ presentation.

Jeffries emphasized that the most important thing to remember when it comes to blogging is to find one thing you love to write about and stick with it. “If your work is well written and has a voice, it will appeal to other people,” said Jeffries. Check out her top ten tips for stepping up your blogging game, below.

1) Focus your blog. Jeffries recommends finding one thing you’re really good at and make it the focus of the blog. Keep it clear and concise.

2) Give each blog post an angle. Each post you write about should be about one specific thing. Don’t bog down the post with multiple ideas and tangents.

3) Don’t “write.” Talk to your readers, don’t write to them. Jeffries recommends writing in a way that is similar to how you tell stories to people in person. Keep it conversational.

4) Do some reporting a.k.a. call for back-up. See what other experts are saying about the topic you are discussing and quote them.

5) Keep it short, but shapely. Establish a premise, support your idea and bring it full circle.

6) Write with a scalpel. Cut out unnecessary words/details that are weighing down your post. Less is often times more.

7) Get the words right. For goodness sake, proof read your work!

8) Read it out loud. What looks fine to your eyes can sound completely wrong when read out loud. When editing, be sure to read out your post to catch for awkward wording.

9) Wait…Never, EVER post the 1st draft. Pause, preview, print then post.

10) Write for you and one other person. Even if only one person ever reads your blog post, make it something that will have them wanting more.