We have all been there before. You spend hours and hours making your blog page as impressive as it goes, and you devote your time and energy to writing mini literary masterpieces reimagined as blog posts. You add a touch of humor, a bit of sarcasm, throw in some smart punch lines and a lot of emotion….and you press publish.
You give yourself a pat on the shoulder because of all the fantastic job you did and pour a glass of wine while waiting for your blog to become viral. And then...nothing happens. And you wait some more. And more. And before you know it, you are drowning your sorrow in wine and bidding your fruitless efforts goodbye while watching your blogs die a slow and painful death.
Ok, I might be a little bit melodramatic here, but drama queen or not, seeing your blogs go unnoticed, unshared and unliked, is a horrible feeling to experience. So, from one blogger to the next, here are 11 strategic blogging tips, rules, and etiquette for success, with love.
1. Good Blogging Needs Great Planning
If you want to succeed as a blogger, you need to start by planning it thoroughly. You need to define your goals and determine what the purpose of your blog is. For instance, is your blog meant to help sell your products and services? Is it a personal blog that will be monetized by offering third-party products or services? Is your blog supposed to be just for fun or personal fulfillment? Will you allow advertising on your blog to earn extra money? These are only a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you even begin writing. Once you have your goals set, you will know how to best approach your writing.
2. Decide Who You Are Writing For
For your blog to be a success, you need to narrow it down to your niche audience. Who is your targeted reader? What is the best way to engage them? You cannot reach out to everyone. Your style and your writing cannot appeal to all readers. So, decide who you are writing for, craft accurate buyer personas, and make sure you are writing in a way that will reach out to them specifically.
3. Do Not Run On Different Tangents
Your blog should have a specific focus, and you should decide on a single topic from the beginning. If you want to write about Content Marketing, you can touch on other related issues such as SEO, social media, buyer personas, trust-centered marketing, and so on. Your posts must complement each other and have a similar baseline. However, you cannot write random unrelated posts and run on different tangents because you will instantly lose credibility. Add a blog post about hunting with spears in the wild in the pre-historic ages, and your readers will leave your blog page in no time.
4. Be Personal
Add your own personal touch to your blog. No matter what the purpose of your blog, adding your signature writing style to it is very important. Share your own experiences on the matter, show the person behind the words, the human behind the page. Remember that information and insight are two different things. People are no longer searching for information; they can find that on literally thousands of other pages. Instead, they are looking for that personal insight, the real-life experiences, the blog that has its own unique voice. So, do not be afraid to be personal and put yourself on the table.
5. Acknowledge Comments
When you write your blog, you are essentially putting yourself out there for everyone to read and criticize. It is good etiquette to reply to all the comments, especially the negative ones. True, there are mean people out there who just want to give others a hard time, but chances are you will get some constructive criticism amidst all the negative comments. Take a deep breath, and be a good blogger and respond to each one with dignity and respect.
6. Encourage Conversation
Blogs are all about building a relationship with your readers, forming a connection, and nurturing it through honesty and trust. For your blog to be successful in this department, you need to encourage conversation. You need to provide your readers the opportunity to converse with you and amongst themselves. Ask questions like “What do you think about this?” “What other tips do you have to offer” and prompt them to take part in the conversation. Make sure that you install a good blog commenting system that will not require your readers to set up an account just to comment.
7. Be Professional, Respectful, And Polite
You will undoubtedly write posts at some point that are controversial. Not everyone will agree with you 100% of the time. You will find that even amongst your niche, arguments will exist, and opinions will vary. If you do write a controversial post, make sure that you do it in a polite, professional way, taking care not to offend anyone. If you are well versed in persuasion skills, you may even draw a couple of readers on your side, as long as you remain respectful of differing opinions.
8. Respect Other Writers’ Work
A good blogger is one who respects other writers’ work. You wouldn’t want other writers to steal your work and pass it on as their own, so why do it yourself? Ethics aside, copyright breaches can wreak havoc on your work and your finances. So be careful, respectful, and do not take advantage of others’ labor.
9. Cite Sources and Reference Links
When you do use other people’s work, whether it is images, graphs, research, or writings, make sure that you cite them and credit them appropriately.
10. Don’t Overstep Your Boundaries
As a blogger, you need to respect other bloggers’ pages. When you post comments, do not use their page as your personal advertising space to guide readers back to your blog. Be a good guest, and respect other bloggers, just as you expect them to respect you.
Feeling Burned Out?
It is easy to feel frustrated, burned out, and disappointed when your blog posts do not receive the traction you expect them to. Worry not. Take a deep breath, step back and re-assess your writing. Follow these tips and make a fresh start. Are you ready?