Got a blog? I’m sure you’ve got one, and I’m equally sure you’re not happy with it.
Here’s why: there are millions of blogs in the world. The image above is taken from WordPress.com’s stats page. Today, June 25, 2012, there are almost 75 million WordPress sites. Just WordPress. We’re not counting blogs on other platforms: Blogger, TypePad, LiveJournal, etc.
According to WordPress.com’s stats, “WordPress.com users produce about 500,000 new posts and 400,000 new comments on an average day.” That’s just blogs hosted on WordPress.com; it doesn’t take into account the many millions of self-hosted WordPress blogs.
I’m sure you’ve got the picture: there are too many blogs for you to get your share of the attention! :-)
Jokes aside, you CAN get the attention you deserve if you energize your blog.
Let’s look at ten easy ways you can do that.
1. Decide what you want your blog to do
When I’m working with clients on their blogs, assessing what the blog’s supposed to do for the business is the first step.
Maybe you want to build your mailing list. That’s a good strategy, and it’s a job your blog can do for you. So you have a multi-step process right there:
Assess your target audience;
Figure out where they hang out – do they read blogs, or Web content related to their interests?
Blog to capture their attention, and to get them to sign up to your mailing list.
2. Explore your blog content options
There’s no one-size-fits-all method of creating blog content. Yes, blog content can consist of text. However, it can (and should), include images, videos, audios – and even infographics, if you believe they would appeal to your audience.
When I’m working with a company on a business blog, I like to chat with anyone who comes into contact with customers. Blog content can inform, persuade, and entertain.
Your customers buy your products for a reason. If you’re selling cosmetics, for example, your customers want to look great. If your blog can help them to do that, they’ll read your blog.
There are a mile of “create a look” videos on YouTube. Why not create these kinds of videos for your customers? It’s what they’re looking for, and makes great blog content.
Make a list of the kinds of content you think your customers would appreciate, end enjoy.
3. Create an editorial calendar
Once you’ve decided what kinds of content you’ll post on your blog, it’s time to create an editorial calendar. If you’re using the WordPress platform, I like the plugin which is called (amazingly enough) Editorial Calendar. It’s useful if you have several people working on a blog; everyone knows what they should be working on.
I’m always asked “how often should we post?” There’s no definitive answer. The more you post, the more traffic you’ll get. However, the quality of your posts is important, especially if the blog is new.
If you have several products, you may decide to create a blog for each product, and blog once a week, or once a month, for each product.
Think about your audience, always. Techsmith, the Camtasia company, has several Techsmith blogs. I use their products, and find myself reading their blogs whenever I want to get up to speed on a specific product, or find new ways of using a product.
Techsmith is a software company with several blogs because they have several different products, with different audiences, so multiple blogs work for them. Multiple blogs can work for you too, if your products and their audiences are disparate.
You’re creating an editorial calendar to ensure that you blog regularly, on a schedule. Of course, if you want to blog outside your schedule, you can do that too, but make sure that your content is regular, so that your audience knows what to expect.
4. Create great blog content
Easily said, right? :-)
Of course, creating great content, consistently, is far from easy. “Great content” is subjective too, so it can mean almost anything.
Remember your goals for your blog. If you ask your writer to create a link-worthy blog post, you’ll be thrilled with 1,000 Twitter retweets and a few thousand Facebook Likes. However, you may not be as thrilled when you realize that this blog post did nothing to help you to achieve what you wanted the blog post to do.
On the other hand, you may write a series of blog posts which receive zero social media recognition, yet manage to cut down on customer service calls, because they’re focused on common questions your customers ask.
So “great content” is definitely in the eye of the beholder. In a nutshell, great content helps you to achieve the goals you set for your blog.
5. Reach out – join the conversation on blogs
Your blog’s target audience is out there: they’re reading other blogs. You should be reading those blogs too. Moreover, you should be commenting on those blogs, as well as writing your own.
Commenting on others’ blog posts is a way to make other bloggers and your target audience aware of your blog.
You won’t get results from your comments overnight. As you create content on your blog, and reach out and interact on others’ blogs, your own blog will build its audience, and you’ll achieve your blogging goals.
You’ve got five ways to energize your blog. Here are five more, in Part 2 of this article.