I have heard blogging referred to a couple of times recently as a mixture between an art and a science. If this is true (and I think it is), there’s no ‘right way’ to approach blogging if you want to be successful.
There are plenty of people who’ve done a great job of it though, and I thought it would be useful to learn from them.
These ten (10) tips will probably prove to be useful.
- Get Ideas From Your Audience
Create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with on social media.
This can be a great way to gather ideas of what topics people would most like to read about, which will help your blog grow! One of the best ways I’ve seen this in action is through blog comments or Tweets. In one example, here on FastCompany a lot of people requested a post that features more women entrepreneurs:
Now, a few weeks later adding such an article where just women contributed and built great businesses was a big hit:
- Understand your audience
Understanding your audience better means you’ll have a better idea of what blog content will resonate with them, which is a good start when you get to writing blog posts.
A great technique for doing this is to simply ask your readers first on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn with an engaging quote. If people respond well to it, than this is probably a great topic to write about.
- Write for yourself first
Write for yourself first & foremost. Ignore the fact that anyone else will read what you write; just focus on your thoughts, ideas, opinions and figure out how to put those into words. Write it and they will come.
- Build your email list
Start building your email list from day one. Even if you don’t plan on selling anything, having an email list allows you to promote your new content to your audience directly without worrying about search rankings, Facebook EdgeRank, or other online roadblocks in communications.
When you’re asking readers to sign up for your email list, you might want to try experimenting with different language.
5 Keep it short
Biggest lesson I learned in my past year of blogging. Keep it in the 1–2 minutes read-time length.
Working out the best length for your blog posts can be tricky. You generally need about 300 words minimum to get indexed by search engines, but otherwise the length of your post is up to what you think feels best.
When I read books, I often feel bad for the brilliant idea buried on page 217. Who will hear it?
Present a single idea, one at a time, and let others build upon it.
A blog post is like a miniskirt, it has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.
- Write catchy headlines
No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter unless you have an amazing headline. People have a split second to decide if they should click on your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold.
Something we do at Buffer is to test several different headlines for each of our blog posts to determine which ones works best. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
- Give stuff away
Give away free content that adds value to people’s lives “until it hurts” and they will love you and become loyal fans.
A great example of this is the research done by Incentivibe, who found that adding a giveaway contest pop-up to the bottom-right of their website led to 125% more email subscribers.
- Be consistent
Consistency is one of the most important things that bloggers tend to forget. It’s much easier to lose your traffic than it is to build it up, so make sure you consistently blog.
A study by Hubspot showed that consistent blogging actually leads to higher subscriber growth rates:
Over a two-month span, businesses that published blog entries on a regular basis (more than once a week) added subscribers over twice as fast as those companies that added content once a month.
- Give away your knowledge
Don’t be afraid to showcase what you know. Too many bloggers hold back the good stuff out of fear of giving away the “secret sauce.” There is no secret sauce in a world where everyone has high speed Internet access at all times. Today, you want to give away information snacks to sell knowledge meals.
- Be true to your voice
Stay true to yourself and your voice. People don’t care to follow sites so much as they care to follow people.
Writing isn’t about picking the right topic; it’s about finding the right voice. What matters, what readers really resonate with, isn’t so much what you say, but how