I know, I know, here I go talking out of both sides of my mouth with my recent post why you should n0t be “compelled” to blog, and now a post on being a better blogger?
Honestly, as you might guess, I’m actually a huge fan of blogging.
- Your blog is an excellent venue to explore ideas and develop your voice as a writer (and possibly expert on your subject matter).
- Blogs extend a personal, human voice to your readers.
- My friend Alice made this point clearly in her comment on the previous post: “Blogging is where idea sharing happens on a larger scale.”
- Done well, your blog builds great content that is indexed by search engines
Here are a few best practices for blogging:
1. Define the Focus of Your Blog – What is the purpose of your blog? Keep your blog content within a well-defined focus area. For example, if you are blogging about “The New Era of Marketing and PR,” at least 80% of your posts should be about marketing and PR. Journaling is great, but if you use your blog as a journal, you won’t build a focused community.
2. Sweat the Headline – The Heath brothers suggest spending 75% of your time writing the headline. Think about headlines that are:
- Easily sharable on social media
- Attractive to the reader
- Present some direct benefit to the reader – How To articles provide great benefit
3. Write Easy to Read / Scan – Use Bullet Points – Make your blog post short enough to read in 30 – 120 seconds.
4. KISS – Keep it Succinct
Stupid. The people on your site are caffeine induced, attention starved, content rich, click junkies looking for any reason to click BACK and move on. Take the content that you think you need to write and cut it half.18 Make that point, don’t wax.
5. Be human – Blogs, unlike most marketing speak, are written by humans for humans. When writing your blog posts, use the first person, be real and be interesting.
6. Use Compelling Images – A blog post with all text is, well, boring. Mix it up with multimedia.
- Use free images – Creative Commons – Flickr (creative commons license)
- Buy royalty-free images – (istockphoto/getty images/etc.)
7. Invite Comments – One goal of your blog should be to have a conversation with readers. Invite comments in your posts. This may be accomplished by taking a controversial position on something, or you may invite your readers to respond to your post with specific questions.
8. Keep it Coming – Writing is a discipline. Build your blogging into your daily or weekly schedule. If you get into the routine of publishing a minimum of two posts per week, you will improve as a writer and build a bigger audience.
9. Always Be Drafting – Have an idea? Draft it. Sitting down to the blank page can sometimes be daunting, but as Mark Schaefer suggests, keep about two dozen drafts going in your blog–even if it is only a headline. As you turn the ideas over in your mind, writing the post becomes faster and easier.
10. Participate In Your Community – Find other bloggers within your focus area, add them to your RSS reader, and engage with them in the comments of their blog, on Twitter and on LinkedIn. There is no better way to get readers on your blog than interacting with them with meaningful conversation. Spark their curiosity and get them to click on your blog.
What about SEO you may ask? If you follow these 10 steps, SEO will happen naturally. Good luck! You can do it!