Blogs are free, and everybody’s got one. Well, at least 4 million of us do, and that number is on the rise.
That is all well and good… except if you’re a would-be blogger. The world is overflowing with content, so if you want to blog for a living or make a name for yourself in your industry, you need an edge. And as boring as this may be, I’d like to suggest that your edge be simply this: a plan.
I know, I know – a schedule brings to mind the dullest parts of corporate accounting, carpool duty or chores, and it’s not sexy. It is, however, one of the three most important steps in the blogging process behind 1) having something to say, and 2) saying it well. And there are a lot of people who are skipping steps one and two, so you’ll be three steps ahead if you just make a plan.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the good fortune to pick many a blogger’s brain at Content Marketing World 2011 last month. I’ve mulled and culled, and here I present to you the top three tips that will – if practiced diligently – boost your blogging ability.
- Create a “Do Loop.” Alison Bolen of SAS suggests you categorize your blog posts so that each one has a type.
- Every Monday, you blog about “topics that you know you know.” You exploit your knowledge so you can publish a quick post that requires minimal effort.
- On Wednesday, you blog about something new you’re learning about.
- On Friday, you blog about something humorous related to your topic or industry.
Basically, you select post types that maximize your expertise and satisfy your audience, and you schedule things in a way that ensures variety (which will keep you interested in what you’re doing) and consistency (which will keep your audience coming back for more).
- Publish news now. Post timely content in between your scheduled posts about whatever people are talking about at the moment. Consider Google trends, or harvest content ideas from Twitter or Facebook. Find out what’s hot and connect it to your industry. That’s not playing dirty; it’s just good capitalism.
- Make your titles shareable. Research has proven that certain attributes drive clicks, and these five tips from OutBrainwill help you optimize your output:
- Titles with eight words have a better click-through rate than any other number.
- Readers like content that has images, and they prefer photos to logos.
- Lists and photo galleries increase the number of clicks.
- A colon or hyphen in a title boosts performance.
- Titles ending with question marks have higher click-through rates.
And there’s the short version of Blog Camp. Capability, content and consistency are the keys to blogging success, so try a few and boost your blog to the big-time.