I take for granted the things I learned a while back. What I call basics are not basic if you are just starting. I spend a lot of time researching things that I want to learn. And with the Internet, there is a ton of information available for anything you want to know about.
But it is like a black hole that sucks you in and steals your time.
Blogging was one of the things I researched forever and still do. I write all of the time, but when I started blogging, I realized there was a different art form here. I had to make all kinds of changes, yet try to maintain my style and voice.
I have written close to 1,000 posts on a few different blogs now and I have found my own rhythm.
It used to be that blogs were more like online journals; if you wanted everyone to know every thought you had, then you shared it with those who were interested on your blog.
Blogging: The Command Center for Content Marketing
Things have changed. Now a blog is like the command center for content marketing. And content marketing is the epicenter for social media marketing. Content must be good, unique, and relevant to your reader or none of it will work.
Plus you have to write in sound bites and have really great headlines that catch people’s attention. Getting your blog read used to just require being a talented writer. Now, we must all be marketers too.
Here are my best tips for beginning bloggers that I gleaned from coaches, reading, and trial-and-error:
1. What you write must reflect you. Your style. Your voice. Even if you are writing about a topic everyone writes about, it can be unique if it reflects you. Why? Because no one else is you! The best way to find your voice is to write everyday. Just write streams of conscious and see what comes out. You will start to find posts you particularly like. Then you hone in and write more like the ones that you are “feeling it” with.
2. Choose a niche for your blog. Just like a business, having a niche builds momentum much more quickly. It builds momentum because keywords are more targeted and you will come up higher in the search engines. When someone does find you, it is more likely that they will share because the content is just what they were looking for. Your content will be richer and more in-depth because you are not writing about everything under the sun.
3. Make sure the niche is something you are super passionate about. I was asked by a marketing coach I hired, “What could you write about every day and not run out of stuff to say?” For me, it was Spiritual direction (my Christian faith) and business. This is why you have this site you are reading right now.
4. Change everything you learned about writing from your English college professor. I am sort of kidding but sort of not. My most popular posts are when each paragraph is 2-3 sentences max and headlines every couple of paragraphs to describe the next two paragraphs. People on phones, and on the internet in general, are fighting through all of the info and noise online. So they scan articles first. They need to be able to speed read down the page until they decide it is something they want to read and slow down to actually absorb the content. When a reader pulls up an article on a smart phone and the whole screen is filled with one paragraph, they don’t have the patience to read the whole paragraph to see if they are interested. It is the sad and true state of today’s reading. You can fight it and maybe win, but only a few do.
5. Spend as much time on the headlines and pictures as the blog post. Because of number 4 above, people need intriguing titles or pictures to draw them in and get them to click on your post. I have actually tried a trick I learned somewhere, but can’t recall where. I had a post I loved that didn’t get very much traffic. It bummed me out because I thought people would really like it. So, I changed the title and re-posted it all over social media. There was a huge difference the second time around.
6. Write on a consistent schedule. If you write a few posts one month and then don’t write anymore for a few months, people will think your site is dead and not come back. If you change your writing schedule all of the time, people won’t be able to anticipate when they can look for a new post. Some people post every day, others once a week. There are many different philosophies about post frequency. I do believe the minimum to gain traction is once a week. I post twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is better to start low and grow then to start everyday and peter out in a month.
Blogging: Written Words, Videos, and More
There are a million other things to say about blogging. But it can be overwhelming, so I will start here. If writing isn’t your best communication method, video blogs are really popular these days, or even podcasts.
For me, there is something tangible and lasting about the written word. I feel like as a reader I can personalize the posts as I consume the words. I emphasize what speaks to me the most. I choose the order when I, too, scan like everyone else. I pick my favorite lines and share them.
But that is me and we are all different.
The Space To Create
I also believe it is important to have space to create. Space can be a mindset or a place. If life is too busy or our space isn’t our happy place, the stories may not evolve. Choose your space. A place where you can sift through the stories of your life and add this unique perspective to whatever topic you have chosen as your niche.
If you have any questions about blogging, feel free to add to the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Blogging is a passion of mine that I would love to help others discover.