In previous blogs we have highlighted the importance of blogs and how they can be helpful with most aspects of your website, marketing and SEO efforts..
A blog is effectively an online personal diary that is regularly updated. It is where you can express yourself, where you can share your thoughts or passions. So basically it is whatever you want it to be.
But from a business perspective here is how to get the most from your blog:
1.) Understand Your Audience
Time and time again have we expressed the need to know and understand your audience, it is vital to every component of this online marketing machine.
You must be able to understand your audience better than they understand themselves. This will come from upfront research, asking questions and experience, however when you know what your audience will expect from your blog it will become much more simple:
- What they would enjoy reading?
- What would they like to understand better?
- What questions need answering?
- What do they value your opinion on?
- Who would they like to read about?
If you can answer these questions for them then you really are on the right road to fulfilling their needs, establishing yourself as the ‘expert’ and raising awareness of what you can do.
2) Get ideas From Your Audience
A great technique to understand your audience (believe it or not) is to simply ask your readers…
You should be engaging with your prospective and current clients through social media and in person anyway so why not on the likes of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn ask them what they would like to know or read?
Don’t look to prioritise the technical aspects of blogging, when the most important part of blogging and your business will always be the PEOPLE, this is what makes the most profound difference.
If you a running a restaurant and are running a weekly blog and each week maybe you share a different recipe and ‘secret tips’ by simply asking what type of food they would like next you will get engagement but also be able to give the reader what they really want – building loyalty.
The most successful bloggers listen to their audience, they get to understand their drives and needs, they answer their questions and solve their problems. It’s people who read, share, link and comment.
3) Value, Value, Value
At the end of the day, people are going to read and keep reading your blogs, share them, recommend them, comment on them if they enjoy them and are gaining some form of value and / or enjoyment from your writing.
All of these point interlink and just moving on from the first two if you understand your audience and you have listened to them and know what they want it is much more simple to add this value to your writing as you know exactly what they want and then you only have to fulfil that.
When you are consistently delivering high quality, useful content, infographs and videos then you are delivering added value for your service and establishing yourself.
Love the readers you already have. A lot of bloggers get quite obsessed with finding new readers – to the point that they ignore the ones they already have. Yes – do try to find new readers but spend time each day showing your current readers that you value them too and you’ll find that they will help you grow your blog.
4) Build Your Email List
One common goal for people’s blogs is to build their emailing list of people who have a genuine interest in what they are talking about and usually therefore what they are selling / providing, this then gives them the opportunity to email these people on a more regular basis with information, updates and offers to look to make more sales / build more interest.
This can be done very simply with a small web for at the bottom of each blog just asking for the name and email address of the visitor, if you want you can add an extra incentive ( giveaway ) to get this information such as a how-to guide or a discount code to a product but you might find if they really enjoy your writing they may register regardless.
A blog without an email list is similar to a city without any transport links. People might fly in or turn up by accident, but they’ll find it difficult to find their way back after a first visit.
When you turn up once a week in a reader’s inbox, he can get to know you, like you, and trust you.
Make it clear to any visitor all of the benefits of signing up to your emailing list:
- What will they learn?
- How will you help them save or make money?
- How can you help them become happier or more productive?
Consider a relevant bonus like an ebook, video, or free e-course.
Consider it an honour when people allow you into their inbox. Build a relationship with them over time, and you’ll earn the opportunity to sell to them.
5) Write catchy headlines
As we have said if your content isn’t valuable but they have to have the need to click onto the article in the first place. No matter how great your content is, it might not matter unless you have an amazing headline.
People’s time is valuable and they will make a split second decision on whether to click on your post or not, and your headline is what will make them decide.
The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines simple, powerful, useful and bold.
To get more tips on how to make your writing go further to grab people’s attention. Such as:
“Include Celebrities In Your Title
Whether you agree with it or not, in the modern day the pop culture or celebrities are a huge attraction and will bring interest along with it. You can use these singers, sportsmen or even someone like Paris Hilton. My example here is “21 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Justin Bieber” as a way to make people curious and more likely to read your content whether they like the person mentioned or not.”
6) Guest Post
Writing and maintaining a blog, like your pay per click, social media and your website takes time and effort, should you be short of time at any point or if you are struggling to come up with your next blog idea why not seek out a guest blogger.
Inviting other industry professionals, can have a positive impact for both you and them, they may enjoy it, it may help them get attention or to grow themselves.
But from a business and selfish perspective it may also help you as it offers your audience a fresh perspective, possibly provides you with future guest blogging opportunities and may bring new eyes to your blog if the guest blogger has a following of his or her own.
This works both ways, if you get a chance to blog write for someone else then it could work tremendously well for you, you could get new visitors, clients and opportunities but it also helps your websites search engine optimisation if you can get some backlinks from similar, quality, relevant websites.
Guest blogging is a surefire way to grow your audience as it is maybe the quickest way to raise your profile and gain an audience.
7) Do Interviews / webinars
Following on from a guest blog it is definitely worthwhile considering interviewing someone awesome who will provide a lot of value for your readers and who will then share the article with his or her community.
The person who you interview (especially if they aren’t regularly interviewed) will be excited to share the post, as long as they are showed in a positive way to the public.
Then as long as you are interviewing the right people you will also be getting solid content for your readers and subscribers.
Then depending on the intentions of your blog you could use webinars however whilst looking to increase your subscriber base, you could also offer the webinars to be available when they subscribe through your signup boxes on your blog to filter traffic to super high-quality content.
From doing these interviews / webinars you will have a great source of content and allow you to tap into others networks to really grow your followers and subscribers.
There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of blogs out there, business men and women sharing their thoughts, opinions and advice. Therefore if you want to have any chance of standing out then you need to create your own content, with your own personality.
- What style will be unique to you
- What’s your angle?
- What’s your view?
- How can you differentiate yourself from others who are blogging in your niche?
Your personality should help to make the post more interesting and to keep people coming back. You could include.
- Personal stories,
- Lessons learned
This makes for much more effective writing as it creates a more personal touch for your reader and allows them to connect with you. Whilst showcasing your personality, passions and interests.
Even if you get really effective at writing and build up a huge amount of followers, people may copy some of your content or ideas but they wont be able to copy your personality, that will be unique just to you and your writing.
9) Commit to the writing and a schedule
Sometimes adding writing to your to-do list might be slightly off putting to say the least however if you start the blog you need to commit to it, for whatever schedule that you choose whether that is one post each Monday or Tuesdays and Thursdays or 3 a day.
Your regular visitors need to be aware of when you will have fresh content for them to read.
Maintaining this consistent schedule ensures that there is fresh and interesting content on your blog. You definitely don’t have to write a new blog each day but do be flexible so that you are ready to jump on breaking news stories in your industry if something important happens. Being the first to cover a story and being ‘in the loop’ will make you look very knowledgeable and relevant to your audience which may give you and your blog a competitive advantage.
10) Don’t look to sell
This might sound strange to some of you as your main reasoning and goal for writing a blog might be to generate more leads, so to not try to sell this might seem counter productive.
However if you are using the blog solely to spread sales messages, you will struggle to find readers, especially readers that will return. A writer who is providing information and a good read rather than a sales message will definitely attract more attention, encourage more shares and in turn, end up with more interest and leads than one who just promotes his or her business.
Most people aren’t interested in your sales messages. Most people aren’t even interested in your business. They want to know what’s in it for them.
- What would you rather read?
- Why would the reader want to know this?
- What value am i providing?
If before this chapter you hadn’t got the impression that a blog can be really effective for your business then you should now, from improved SEO, establishing yourself as the expert, providing value, returning visitors, the list goes on and on.
If your blogging is done right then it can definitely become your secret weapon, remember the ‘So What?’ test throughout, thinking why would your reader want to know this? How does it benefit them?
Keep your content fresh, get guest bloggers, webinars and interviews and you are guaranteed to have a great blog.
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