No one creates perfect blog posts all the time. Even the top influential bloggers will have a dud here and there. We’re not shooting for perfection; that’s not what your goal should be. This quick guide will help you make sure ALL your posts aren’t duds.
Make sure you’re writing for your audience
I know this has been said to death… but there’s a reason for it. You have to know what it is your audience wants to hear, or they won’t listen.
It’s impossible to post something every single day that resonates with every member of your audience. It won’t happen and to aim for that can only bring you heartache. But, you can try to reach the majority most of the time. To do that, find out who exactly makes up your audience.
For instance, if your audience consists mostly of marketing professionals, web designers, and graphic designers, there are definitely many different topics that all three would appreciate (adobe products, color, etc.), but if you offer topics that only relate to web and graphic designers one day, and only marketing professionals the next, that’s OK too. Just try not to single out one of the other too much or you’ll lose that portion of your audience.
So get to know your audience, listen to them, learn what they like, find out who else they listen to, and provide content they will find helpful, valuable, and worth remembering.
Be careful when paying someone else do write your content
Don’t be lame and just hire people randomly to write stuff to fill the white space on your website. You will go down in flames.
I’m certainly not opposed to inviting guest bloggers or hiring someone to write some of your posts for you. Just be careful doing this and keep these few things in mind:
- Make sure they’re familiar with your industry (or willing to learn about it), especially if you dabble in a highly technical or specific field (i.e., SEO, Healthcare, Genetics). If someone writes for you and they don’t know anything about the people you’re talking to, it will be obvious and it could kill your brand.
- Guest bloggers should be from your industry and have points of view similar to yours.
- Freelance writers – check previous work and make sure it matches your style and quality. Does it meet your standards? Does it match the level of experience they claim to have?
- Make sure guest bloggers understand expectations up front. Many times, new bloggers may not understand that most guest blog opportunities aren’t paying gigs (and a word of advice: take care of your guest authors with links, recognition, and good bio space so you’ll have a good reputation among the blogger community).
Show your personality
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. If you’re not being yourself, you will burn out and more than likely not even last a year. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you get obnoxious and never show multiple facets of your personality and personal life, it could become one-dimensional (read: Boring).
Don’t even start a blog unless you can commit to consistent content and engagement. If you only post once each month, just save yourself the trouble and type save post in a word document on your desktop because anyone that’s going to read it will have access to it there (if you didn’t get that, that means you’re the only one that will be reading it).
If you’re all over the place, you’ll lose your readers. Make a schedule and stick with it. Your audience will begin to look forward to your new content and know when to expect it.
Provide external resources
Obviously link to other pages or posts throughout your own site, but provide external content, stats, tips as well. Link to sites you find educational or helpful in some way and make it relevant to your post. The reader will also know you’re not just pulling this stuff out of thin air.
The meat of the post
Here are some basic rules of engagement that you should try to follow to give your readers a great experience:
- Bullet point long lists – too many commas will make a reader’s head spin
- Always use graphics but make them web-friendly. If you don’t know how to do that, check out this tutorial here. It’s extremely helpful!
- Use section headers to break up longer posts (like this one); it’s easier to find your way
- Don’t try to use a lot of flourishy, annoyingly large or complex words. If you think it will make you sound more competent or professional, it won’t. It will typically just make you sound like an ass.
- Occasionally we all want the “rant” post, and that’s OK. But don’t make all your posts negative (bitching about your industry, your job, your coworkers, your kids, your neighbors, your cheating boyfriend). Unless you’re Grumpy Cat, no one wants to hear you bitch all day. Don’t you want your readers to feel good when they finish reading your post?
Make it good, but don’t let perfection keep you from actually posting your work. That dreaded fear of the “obvious mistake” can keep even the best from pushing “publish.”
I’m certainly not suggesting that you NOT edit or proofread your work. Just don’t ponder for hours over a post, frozen with fear. Eventually, you’ll get used to pushing right past the nagging worry of imperfection.