Becoming a better blogger requires discipline and a commitment to change, but it is possible.
Blogging can sometimes feel like an endless cycle. You work and work, and the results don’t always occur fast. Below are 9 tips for seeing those results. Make sure you are seeing results come into fruition.
How to Become a Better Blogger
Develop a Plan – What are your blogging and content marketing objectives? What do you hope to accomplish by consistently creating more content? If you are looking to truly stand out in your industry and become a thought leader, you may have to blog somewhere between 3-4 times a week and every day.
If you are looking to provide your customers an answer to their questions, and create a better resource, once a week might be enough.
Your content can also help with your larger marketing objectives. Now for instance, might be the time to start writing about your holiday offerings. Blogging requires a significant amount of effort. Make sure that your hard work is helping your larger business objectives.
A few things you can do include: Brainstorm blog post ideas, do some basic level keyword research to understand what people are searching for, ask your customers and readers what kinds of topics they want to know about, and use an editorial calendar. All of these things can help keep you organized in your quest to become a better blogger.
Isolate Your Brain – We live in a world of distractions. At the end of the day, the process of sitting down at the computer and committing your ideas to the screen is an isolating activity. It’s important to retrain your brain for a level of deep focus.
If you are the type of person who is easily distracted (SQUIRRELL!!!!), there are a few things you can do. Close out of your email and your Facebook tabs. Both will be there once your blog post is done. If your distractions are in your physical space, close the door on your office. Pick up a pair of headphones and find some soothing music. Tell the people around you that you don’t want to be interrupted.
We are social creatures, and we want to know, the very second that someone has contacted us. But the truth is, unless you’re a heart surgeon, most interruptions can wait just a few more minutes.
The ability to focus on your content for an extended period of time will make you a better blogger in the end. Our brains just lack the ability to readjust to a condition of deep focus after consistent interruptions every two minutes.
Create Realistic Expectations – What do you want your blog to do for your business? Answer the question honestly, and realistically.
For example, if you wait a month to publish a post, and then another three weeks after that, it’s going to be difficult to build momentum. Again, that editorial calendar, and carving out a blog plan can help you.
If you build momentum and publish once a week for months or years, your customers will begin to look at your site as a valuable resource. You’ll garner the reputation for someone who can solve their problems. Your website will likely see a corresponding bump in traffic.
If you are looking to be the tops in your industry, you’ll need to be creating high quality content closer to every day. This is difficult for a small operation to do – but it is possible.
Whatever you set out to do, make sure you understand that blogging is a process. It’s not something that will create immediate results overnight. Try new methods or strategies and give it time.
Do the Research – If you want to differentiate your business, you’re going to need to offer top notch content. There is simply no getting around that. Whatever topics you choose to take on, make sure you are doing the research.
Read industry books and blogs to become a better blogger. Keep up with the latest trends, but more importantly, make sure you are filling any gaps in your current blog post with the most up-to-date detailed information that you can possibly find.
Your readers will grow to appreciate your attention to detail. They will love the added value. Your work will eventually get noticed.
Whatever You Write, Make it Count- Sometimes bloggers take on over-ambitious content schedules. In an effort to attain industry significance, they might bite off a little more than they can chew. Instead of being noticed for frequent high level content, they may still fly under the radar.
The alternative is to make sure that everything you publish is held to a high standard. Make sure that the idea is truly in line with what your audience is looking for. Make sure that the post is written to a high enough quality to represent your business. (Remember, everything you publish has the potential of being someone’s first exposure to your business!)
Don’t just rushing to publish something for the sake of having it out there. Slow down. Concentrate. And make sure that there really is a value in what you are adding to the conversation.
Creativity in Every Step – Blogging is a creative act. Any additions to your marketing are creative. Remember, this is your chance to stand out. This is your chance to differentiate. There is always going to be a temptation to write something because your competition wrote it.
There is always going to be an urge to just spew information onto a page. But you have to see beyond these temptations in order to truly become a better blogger. Ask yourself how you can adopt an idea to the voice and culture of your business. Ask yourself what you can do to truly make an idea yours.
Every page, every blog post, every picture every word is a choice. Your reader is going to find you amongst a competitive heap of competitors either through search or social. Make sure you are doing enough to stand out.
Informal, But Professional – A blog post is a conversation with your audience. Whether you are B2B or B2C, it should be written in the true voice of your business. Write as if you were sitting across the table from your ideal customer. For the large majority of businesses out there, that means a professional, but informal voice. There’s personality there…don’t let it crawl under a rock.
Sometimes there is a temptation out there to write a blog post like it is an academic dissertation. A white paper might be highly technical, but a blog post should educate your customers. Don’t treat it as an opportunity to use $10 words to prove you’re smart. You’ll chase readers away, and they’re likely not coming back.
Write how you would talk. You can keep a conversational tone and remain professional. It’s not an excuse to let spelling and grammar go out the window, but instead a way to relate to your customers.
Experiment with Promotion – Experiment with your promotion methods. Do you know the platforms that your customers are using? Naturally, that’s the place to start. If you have social media groups that allow you to promote your blog posts, this is a good place to start as well – but make sure they are relevant, and you’re not just spamming.
You can try publishing in new locations, and adjust to feedback. Everything with blogging and marketing can be treated as a series of experiments. Keep what works and discard the rest.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus are all good places to start with blog promotion. You can develop a new audience with sites like Medium as well. Look for other sites out there related to your industry. For example, my posts are frequently syndicated on Business2Community – a marketing site.
Talk to People – Content should not be created in a vacuum. Ask those around you what they think of your blog posts. This can be coworkers, employees, customers, readers, friends or anyone who may have an opinion.
These are the people who are able to give you valuable feedback in order to be able to adjust your strategies. Make sure you are good at accepting feedback. If someone doesn’t like what you have written, find out why. If there is a sound reason or logic, thank them, and consider making the adjustments.
If they cannot tell you what they don’t like, thank them and move on. Keep your bigger purpose in mind, and keep doing what you do.
Implement these tips before you hit publish, and you can become a better blogger.
Matt Brennan is a Chicago area freelance marketing writer and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right – Sell Now: How to Create Content That Grows Your Business.