It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging, how many subscribers you have or even if you’re still waiting to get your first comment — we’re all want to become better bloggers. You want to continually increase your reputation as someone who knows their stuff and set yourself as valuable to readers. With that in mind, here are six tips to help you instantly improve your blog. That’s right; you can significantly improve your blog today.
Grab a pen.
Hone in on your goal: You started your blog for a reason, right? What was it? Often when small business owners blog they’re doing it to increase their search presence, create new content to attract users, increase sales, build a community, become an industry authority, etc. Whatever your reason (or combination of reasons), make sure that stays in the forefront of whatever blogging strategy you create. It’s really easy to fall off course and blog for the sake of blogging, but that attitude isn’t going to help you reach your goals or build your blog. Know why it is you want to build your blog and make sure you’re staying true to that.
Know your audience: Regardless of your goal, your blog can’t survive without an audience. These are the people who are going to soak up your content and help you accomplish whatever it is you’re after. And because of that, it’s in your best interest to really know who they are.
- Who are they on the Web: What sites do they visit? What other blogs do they read?
- What information are they looking for: Will they respond best to How Tos and tutorials or are they looking for meatier, more advanced topics? If you’re not sure, checking your analytics can help answer this for you. Which posts get the most traffic or links?
- What are their buttons: What gets them going? What do they believe in? What industry issues are they concerned with?
Know your topic: The best way to improve your blog is to up your knowledge about your topic. That’s what great bloggers do – they dominate their niche and provide value that readers can’t get anywhere else. Become an expert and then share that. Share what you’re working on right now. Read what everyone else is talking about and then offer something completely different. Become the expert on what you do and give people a reason to seek you out.
Commit to a voice: I’m a firm believer that it’s a blogger’s voice that finds them an audience. You are what makes your blog interesting. There needs to be something about you that draws people in and keeps them on your blog. And you need to be consistent about the voice you’re putting out there to people. Ask yourself:
- Who do you want to be as a blogger?
- What are your strengths? (Humor, journalist, etc)
- How would other people define your blogging style (Don’t guess, ask them!)?
- What kind of personality are you comfortable creating? What kind of personality are your readers most likely to appreciate?
It will take some time to perfect your blogging voice, but as you keep blogging your own personal style will emerge. The trick is to trust it (and not squash it) when it does.
Tell stories: People respond to stories. When your writing has a beginning, middle and an end, it makes it easier for people to follow along. We’ve been trained that way. Make sure that each one of your posts has a point to it (novel, I know) and that you’re taking the proper time to construct a story around the message you want out there. Doing so helps people understand your message and keeps them engaged with your content.
Edit, Edit and Edit Again: The more you edit, the tighter your posts are going to be, and the better they’re going to read to your audience. It’s that simple.
Below are six tips that I think can immediately increase the value of a blog if acted upon. What are some of your blogging best practices?
More in: Content Marketing
Good series of simple tips.
I would also add that there’s no harm in asking your audience directly what they would like to see in the future. You can open up the conversation via a post or through your email list if you have one. Maybe there’s some insight or knowledge that you take for granted that you audience may want to know more about.
I would add “Be articulate and Crystal Clear”. Some topics are complex. The posts that I share the most are those that are written in easily digestible nuggets.
If it is a process that you are trying to explain, break it down into actionable steps. If you are presenting a number of items that will help you achieve a goal, write it in list form.
And finally, don’t try to introduce more than one point per blog post.
If you truly know your subject, you will find an audience as you share your expertise freely. Have an abundance mentality.
All great tips, Lisa. But the one item that resonates the most for me is: “Read what everyone else is talking about and then offer something completely different.”
As a community manager for a PR/social media agency, I read a lot of blogs every day. One thing that bothers me is that everyone in my space is pretty much saying the same thing. We do our best to stand out and be different on our blog, but it’s not an easy thing to accomplish within a particular industry.
Your “tell stories” advice is one good solution for this problem. Everyone has their own personal experience to draw from, and this is where the stories come from. Naturally, they’ll be more original than just repeating the same tired trends in your industry.
hey Lisa, your small blogging strategies are amazing. thanks for sharing information.
Great list of tips to help bloggers stay on track and keep it interesting toward the intended audience.
“It will take some time to perfect your blogging voice, but as you keep blogging your own personal style will emerge. The trick is to trust it (and not squash it) when it does.”
That is some great advice. It disappoints me when I see some great bloggers give up because they didn’t have great traffic numbers yet their writing style was phenomenal. They just hadn’t been spotted yet because they hadn’t ‘done their time’.
I think another point you could add to that list is getting readers involved with your blog. As Mojave suggested, asking the audience what they would like to see but also asking them questions that can be answered in comments. Then taking those answers and making into a blog post of its own whilst citing the people that made the comments. Of course there are many ways to expand on getting your readers involved.
@DanielHindin you can talk about the same topic but take a different angle. If everyone takes the approach of authority (as most tend to in social marketing), take the approach of cool insights and ideas. There are many ways to tell the same story, the film industry is evidence of that.
Daniel Hindin: I like your contrarian approach.
Jay Turn: You gave a good advice to Daniel.
I have been blogging since 2002 at EGO and I have been focusing on spreading better ideas in thoughtful way. My new blog and business will concentrate on giving ego sole traders (sole proprietorships) and business minded individuals moral and practical support. My approach is to look at the whole supply and value chain.
Great post! 🙂
I try to keep my posts as informative yet as concise as possible. Once a week I also try to inject a little humor through posting about wacky stuff like 5 of the worst jobs in the world…or what the worst things people have actually put on their resumes thinking it would get them a job. Am not a stuffy person (though it is my job to make sure your resumes and cover letters are perfect!) so I want this to be reflected in my writing. Hope that helps!
Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter if you need me)
Must read 🙂 RT @claudinerenee Good stuff: RT @DanSchawbel: ADVICE: 6 Tips To Instantly Improve Your Blog http://ow.ly/24kU2
This comment was originally posted on Twitter
Robert Scott Lawrence
Nice post. The last two points are definite keepers — if you can’t tell a story then your chosen audience is eventually going to leave you for someone who is more interesting, funnier, more compelling, etcetera etcetera. And edit edit edit should be everyone’s mantra before posting anything.