There are numerous reasons that blogging is beneficial and profitable for businesses of all sizes, regardless of what those companies are selling to their audience. Creating and regularly posting to a blog is an excellent way to build and strengthen relationships with your target audience, and it allows you the freedom to do so in a more casual, conversational, and personal way. In addition to deepening engagement and connections with your audience, it also gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as a reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative expert in your market, niche, or industry.
As an added channel of your marketing line-up, a blog can provide support and reinforcement for other platforms through which you distribute marketing material like social media, email newsletters, video content, or your company’s website or landing pages. When combined with the opportunities for consumer engagement and relationship building, these functions work together to help you increase visibility and traffic, attract more leads, and boost the profitability of your business.
If you do have a blog that is not as profitable or effective as you believe it should be, don’t give up on it just yet. You can give it a new lease on life with a variety of expert-driven tips that have been proven to help even the worst blogs go from “blah” to “bang!” Here are 20 winning ways to be a better blogger and start seeing more success with your blog:
1. Do some research before crafting a blog post, and make sure the subject is something your target audience would be interested in or find valuable. Writing blog content just for the sake of saying something is never the right way to attract or maintain the attention of your readers.
2. Read other blogs before writing your own. That is especially true if you are preparing to create a blog post about a subject that has likely been discussed and written about a great deal. You don’t want to go over the same key points and facts that other bloggers have already covered, so read what others have written and strive to keep your content as unique as possible.
3. Know who your target audience is, and what they want, before creating blog content. Defining your audience is one of the most important aspects of developing a successful blog, because you cannot create content that provides value, creates engagement, or attracts interest if you have no idea who you are writing for and what information they want to hear from you.
4. Never create blog content about you or for you. The people who visit and read your blog do so because you are providing meaningful, valuable, or engaging information that relates to their interests and concerns. They care about their wants and needs, not yours, and you should, too.
5. Whenever possible, restrict each post to a single subject or theme. Not only does this help you keep your content organized and manageable, but it also helps your readers by giving them highly specific data relating to their subject-specific interests. That is crucial to on-the-go readers who access your blog on mobile devices while they are out and about (and likely pressed for time).
6. Make sure your chosen keywords and phrases are as specific and relevant to your subject or theme as possible. Vague, broad, or generic keywords are a dime a dozen, which means the amount of content using those keywords is equally plentiful. You should perform diligent keyword research and select keywords and phrases that reinforce your blog content and strive to match the long-tail, conversational, and natural language queries that searchers are using today when looking for content.
7. If you are using curated content in your blog post, make sure you avoid plagiarizing the work of other people. Never copy-and-paste unless it is a direct quote, and always cite sources if you are using more than just a few key points. Regardless of what and how much content you curate from existing material, always make it your own by rephrasing it in your style or adding your unique point of view.
8. Work on building your reputation as a dependable and authoritative subject, market, or industry expert by providing readers with credible, topical, and relevant material. You should always avoid deceiving or misleading your audience, even if you do so inadvertently. That is especially important when citing facts and figures or quoting other sources. Double-check the data before including it in your post, and provide a bibliography or source links wherever possible.
9. Make your blog post easy to scan, read, and navigate by including sub-headings where appropriate, and break up paragraphs or sections with white space (blank lines). A blog post that is a messy jumble of words with no apparent beginnings or endings to paragraphs and sections is a blog that no one will bother to read, so don’t lose potential readers simply because your blog looks confused and confusing.
10. Put extra effort into giving your blog posts a captivating and irresistible title. The best content can sometimes get ignored simply because the title or subject line was vague, generalized, or failed to convey the “reward” for reading the material.
Another thing to keep in mind when creating titles is to front-load the title with the most important or actionable words. Often, search engines truncate this information and only display the first five or six words in search results.
11. Add at least one original and relevant image to your blog content, preferably at the beginning of the post. Some indexing systems will include this image and certain social media networks, like Instagram and Pinterest, are image-based, which means you can expand your cross-channel marketing efforts and reach potential readers on those social networks, too.
12. Try to keep each post in the 700-1,000 word range, despite the dire warnings from SEO experts that search engines will ignore anything under 2,000 words. In reality, search engines have become adept at weeding out thin, duplicate, and devalued content, regardless of length, which means the usefulness and value of your content (to your readers) is far more important than word count. Also, most people are searching and surfing while they are on the go, which means they want to-the-point content that deals with a topic as succinctly as possible.
13. Focus on creating blog content that is evergreen, meaning that it will retain its value and relevance for a reasonably substantial period. A lot of online content has a very short shelf-life and quickly fades into obscurity as its timeliness or topical relevance fades. By developing evergreen blog content, you will be keeping your information in front of more readers for a longer period.
14. Proofread and edit your blog relentlessly before publishing it. When doing so, you should not only check the content for typographical errors or other grammatical mistakes, but also look for facts that need sources, words or phrases that you could eliminate without detracting from the content, and errors or inconsistencies in form or format, to name a few. You may think a missing punctuation mark or misspelled word is a trivial matter, but it can speak volumes to your readers about your level of interest and investment in them.
15. Make sure the comments section of your blog is user-friendly and encourage readers to share their thoughts. When they do so, you should strengthen the engagement by responding to their comments (positive and negative).
You can also request that readers provide suggestions for future blog posts or ideas on how you could refine existing material to make it more valuable, meaningful, or informative.
16. Most blog platforms offer the option to include social sharing buttons, icons, or links on each blog post. Use those social sharing features and encourage your readers to share noteworthy posts with their friends, peers, social communities, or on their blogs (but be careful about getting low-quality backlinks, which can negatively impact your search ranking).
17. Once you have published content on your blog, don’t expect to see earth-shattering results immediately. Successful blogs with solid reputations and a large following of loyal readers won’t come overnight. Be prepared to invest time and effort to see your blog through on a long-term basis.
18. Make use of analytics tools to keep track of the performance of your blog posts. There are many different performance monitoring and measurement applications and programs available, so spend some time evaluating them and pick the tool that offers reporting data that best fits your needs. Some of the data you can obtain from blog analytics tools includes the number of readers, where visitors got referred from, keywords used to find your content, and how much time visitors spend reading your blog posts.
19. Publish content to your blog on a regular basis to prevent it from looking out-dated, stale, or inactive, which can cause search engines to down-rank it or remove it from search results altogether. Also, a blog that appears active and has a regular infusion of new information will bring readers back time and again so that they can check out your new material.
20. Create a thorough marketing plan to guide you in creating, publishing, and promoting the content you post to your blog. A well-rounded and well-defined marketing plan will include provisions for publication schedules, variations to a blog format to enhance reader interest (video, image, infographic, text-only, etc.), and maintaining an inventory of your published and unpublished content, among other things.
Creating and maintaining a successful blog involves just a bit more than putting together some information and publishing it to your blogging platform. A large part of the success or failure of your blog depends entirely on you and the amount of effort you are willing to make.
With the right amount of commitment and dedication, you can take full advantage of the benefits blogging can provide to your overall marketing strategy.