Whether you’re blogging for personal reasons with the intention of monetizing and turning it into a business in the future, or you’re blogging as a means of lead generation for your business, there is always room for improvement. With tens of thousands of blogs created on just WordPress.com alone, every single day, the competition is always fierce. Granted, many of these blogs are soon abandoned, but with persistent effort and dedication, you can become a better blogger.
Check out these tips to help you get started.
Read Other Blogs
One of the best ways to learn is through reading other blogs. Choose a few of the top blogs in your niche, and see what those are doing. Watching the competition can help you see what your audience is most likely to respond to.
Does this mean copying what they’re doing? No, not at all. You are unique – and so is your voice. Can you cover the same topics? Yes, of course, but if competitor A just wrote about a topic yesterday, you don’t want to cover it today. (There are some exceptions to this rule, like when the topic or subject matter is time sensitive and must be addressed quickly. If you’re a news blog, then clearly you don’t want to wait too long before breaking or covering a story.)
Keep Up with the Industry
Blogging, and internet marketing in general, are constantly changing. What worked five years ago, doesn’t work now. And what worked even a year ago, may or may not pack the same punch as it used to. It’s important to read industry news and blogs to keep up to date with the latest changes in Google’s search engine algorithm changes, and to stay up to date with the latest trends in blogging.
Add these to your RSS reader so you can stay in the loop.
- Copyblogger: This is an excellent blog, focused on helping you create the best quality content you can to use in content marketing, so you can develop a killer content strategy. Beyond that, you’ll learn about the craft of writing, editing (which is great if you don’t have your own editor on staff), and more.
- Problogger: This a blog completely dedicated to helping you learn how to make money with your blog. There are a wide variety of blog posts and podcasts to help you learn. You’ll find everything from advice on how to start a blog, creating the killer content you need, finding reader, building a community, making money blogging, improving your productivity, understanding the technology, and even using your blog to get work.
- Content Marketing institute: A blog dedicated to all things content marketing. There’s even a section for research, broken down for the B2C and B2B markets, to help you adjust your strategy according to the segment you’re trying to reach.
- Search Engine Journal: SEJ is a website dedicated to all things search engine optimization related. It also covers social media, content marketing, internet marketing news, and paid search.
- Moz Blog: This blog is dedicated to SEO and online marketing. Posts come from some of the industry’s best experts, so you’re always going to learn something.
- Marketing Land: This blog covers everything from email, retail, to social media, SEO, and more. It’s run by the same people who do Search Engine Land.
- Search Engine Land: This is a great blog that stays on top of the latest trends and news in SEO, search engine marketing (SEM), mobile search, local search, social, retail, Google, and Bing. No matter what you’re looking for, you can expect to find the latest research, case studies, and information to help you fine tune your marketing approach.
Create an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar will help you keep track of the ideas you’re going to write about over the course of the week, month, or year. It gives you a place to write down everything from the title to the keywords you’re going to use, and even a description of the post. You can keep track of sources you want to link to, and the image you want to use, if you so wish. If nothing else, it’ll keep you on track, but if your blog grows to the point where you want to add additional writers, it can help make sure everyone is on the same page.
If you want to post one day a week, fine. Just make sure you post one day a week, every week. And do your best to make it the same day every week. If you want to post every day, that’s fine too, but you must be consistent. Many bloggers find they bite off more than they can chew – so it’s better to start small and make sure you can handle the consistency, adding more as you feel comfortable, than it is to start out hammering out five to seven posts a week. Less is more – as long as the content quality is there.
You, and your audience are far better served by one piece of well written, researched, and valuable content than they are by five sloppy pieces of content churned out for the sake of a higher number of blog posts each week.
Plan on spending at least a couple of hours on each post you write – from the research and writing to the image creation. This doesn’t even include promotional activity, which should be separate from the creation process.
If you can’t a decent chunk of time to the development of each post from start to finish, start with one post a week and work your way up.
If you want to build an audience, and you say you’ll be posting once a week, but then go weeks without posting at all, you’ll ruin your consistency. Eventually people will stop coming to the blog to see if you’ve posted anything.
One way to circumvent this issue is to use the scheduling feature in WordPress to schedule your posts to go live even when you’re not there to push the button. Designate one day a week to writing and scheduling the posts for the next week. This way, even if something comes up, you’ve got content ready to go for your audience.
Keep a Running List of Post Ideas
You never know when inspiration will strike. Keep a notebook around you so whenever an idea hits, you’ll be able to write it down before you forget. You may not b able to work it into your editorial calendar right away, but you can refer to this list whenever you’re feeling like you’ve got nothing to write about.
Feeling stuck for ideas? Inspiration is everywhere – magazines, other blogs, TV shows, movies… news stories… you can always find something. And if you can’t – take a look at my post on content hacks you can use to break through writer’s block.
Promote Your Content
You could have the absolute best blog post on the internet, but it won’t do any good unless people know about it. Share your posts on social media. If you’re a member of any groups that share link love, put your best work forward in those groups to gain some traction there. If you’re particularly proud of a post, you may want to consider running some social media ads to drive traffic to it.
There are countless ways to promote your content, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative.
Promote Other Bloggers
Success in blogging comes, in part, from networking with other bloggers. You build relationships with them, and promote work that your audience will also find valuable. Then, when the blogger discovers you shared their work with your audience, they may be willing to do the same for you. Blogging is a part of the social media world, which is build upon theories of reciprocity. Promote others selflessly – however. Never expect them to return the favor. Some will, some won’t. If you don’t come into it with any expectations, then you will be pleasantly surprised when your content is shared with another audience.
Write Killer Headlines
According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will only read the headline. Only two or so will go on to read your entire post. So, that headline becomes your first, and quite possibly the only chance you have to make a positive impression on your reader.
The good news for you is that even if you suck at headlines, there are plenty of tools on the internet to help you take a basic title concept and turn it into something more compelling.
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer: Enter your title and you’ll get a grade. It looks at the number of words, types of words, and sentiment to make sure you’ve got a winning combination.
- Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer: See what kind of emotional power your headline has. This is valuable because we know emotional connections help drive shares.
- Inbound Now’s Blog Title Idea Generator: Get some basic templates to throw your keywords into – like “Back to [Keyword] Basics” or “This Method is Helping [Blank] to [Blank]
- Tweak Your Biz Title Generator: Simply enter your keyword and press submit. You’ll get hundreds of titles. You’ll get a variety of options, including motivational, listicles, and more broad title suggestions.
- Thrive’s Headline Optimizer: This one’s not free, and must be installed on your WordPress website as a plugin. But, it does give you an advantage – allowing you to split test titles to see which ones your audience responds to the best. Spent $67 for a single site, $97 for a five license pack, or $147 for a 15 license pack.
What I like to do, when I’m feeling a little less than inspired is to take ideas from the blog title generator tools, and then test them in the analyzer tools, tweaking until I get the results I am the happiest with.
A note about headlines: People know a clickbait title when they see it. Don’t write a headline like, “She was about to give up… and you wouldn’t believe what happened next!” unless you can for sure deliver on that promise.
Your headline should always be written to entice people to click on it, but it should also always deliver. If it doesn’t, you may get people reading your content the one time – with no desire to come back. To build a strong audience for your blog posts, you must capture readers who will come back to your blog again and again.
Experiment with Different Types of Content
The standard blog post, with text and a photo or some kind of image is what you see the most of. It’s because it’s often the easiest kind of content to produce. But, it’s not the only thing that will grab readers attention. If you have the budget and means to do it, explore using different kinds of content – like videos, infographics, quizzes, and the like.
If you’re not too keen on the idea of getting in front a camera, there’s always the option of doing a screencast video, to demonstrate how to do something, or to share a presentation. If you’re not a graphic designer, you can find one to work with on a freelance basis to help put an infographic together, Plus, with tools like Canva and Visual.ly, you can put together a decent quality graphic with relative ease, if you are on a budget.
Always Strive for Progress
Applying some of these tactics can make you a better blogger almost instantly. Others, will take time before you will see the results. What matters is that you keep working to be better – and you keep trying. If something doesn’t work the way you expected, that’s not an excuse to give up. Keep experimenting with different types of content and promotional options. You’ll eventually find what works best for your audience. If you’re struggling to figure out what readers want – just ask. Conduct a survey with something like Survey Monkey, or a poll or on Facebook.
What are some things that have helped you become a better blogger?