Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re probably aware that blogging is all the rage. But unlike most things that are (all the rage, that is), blogging isn’t just another fad. There are some significant, lasting benefits to blogging that make it a vital piece of any good online marketing strategy. First of all, creating a blog as part of your website enhances your search engine optimization (SEO), as blog content is indexed by search engines very quickly. What that means for you is that your content could be found by web users within a day or two, and sometimes even within hours. (Case in point: Our Top 50 Inspirational Quotes for Women Entrepreneurs (by women!) post hit the first page of Google in less than 12 hours.) More than anything though, blogging is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field and connect with those interested in that expertise.
So, what does it take to be successful at blogging? There are a few critical factors every blogger needs to implement in their blogging efforts to get their blog noticed, followed, and shared. Here are six tips that will make a huge difference in the success of your blog:
1. Focus on building a community, NOT a following
Of blogging’s many advantages, one of the biggest is that it’s a great way to build a community around your brand. I always think of blogging as a social media tool, because it can help you connect with your community in much the same way as the popular social media platforms. To truly harness the community-building power of blogging, be sure to respond to the comments you get on your posts. Start a dialog with your commenters, and let them know there is a real person behind the writing – a person who cares about what they have to say and appreciates that they took the time to say it.
2. Post as often as you can
Research has shown that there is no such thing as “blogging too much.” In fact, some of the most popular blog sites out there publish multiple blog posts each day. Now, most of us are way too busy to devote that much time to blogging, so what are the alternatives? First, find time to create your own posts a minimum of once a week. But don’t stop there. There are plenty of talented people in all fields who would love any platform to present their expertise. So invite people to become guest authors. Set your standards high, and create guidelines (which we’ll go into in a future post), then use social media and your blog itself to solicit guest writers. It’s a great way to offer your readers consistent, interesting content without dedicating your life to writing!
3. Leverage your social media presence
Social media is a fantastic tool for getting eyeballs to your blog posts. It’s likely to take time to see big results, but if you’re posting information that your target audience finds valuable, it will begin to get shared by others. The power of social media to make a single post go “viral” is like nothing else out there. The key is to use social media the right way. Don’t just post links to your blog – engage with your audience by having conversations and nurturing relationships. Again, it’s all about building a community – not a billboard.
4. Comment on Other People’s Blogs
You probably read other people’s blogs, right? But how often do you leave a comment? One powerful tool for bringing traffic to your own blog is to comment on the blogs of others you admire. This accomplishes three very good things:
- It could result in clickthroughs to your site through the link tied to your name. (Tip: Don’t put a link to your site in the body of your comments. Many blogs automatically mark these as SPAM.)
- It can boost your SEO by creating a backlink to your website.
- And most importantly, participating consistently could (and should) help establish your expertise and result in a good relationship with the blogger – the benefits of which are so numerous, they deserve a blog post of their own.
5. Stay creative and interesting
Doing all the above won’t get you very far if your content isn’t worth reading. You don’t have to be the best writer in the world to build a blog following, but you do have to have something interesting to say. When you’re writing about something you are passionate about, your love for your topic will naturally come through in your writing, so be sure whatever you write is something that means a lot to you. Then find creative ways to present the information, such as personal stories, interviews, or… lists of steps, keys, or factors for success!
6. Keep at it!
If I had to provide one tip that’s the most important key to successful blogging, it would simply be: DON’T QUIT. The Internet is littered with thousands of blogs that were started and then abandoned by their creators. In many cases, these blogs provided quality content, but the blogger gave up before the blog took off. It takes time for your blog to gain a following. In fact, you’re likely to experience very little traffic and sporadic sharing of your blog posts in the beginning. Don’t distress. (read: Let the Crickets Chirp and Blog On! for more on this) Take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. Virtually every blogger starts out wondering if their blog will ever take off. Follow the steps above, remain focused and consistent, and you will achieve success.
What are your biggest blogging challenges? What tips can you provide for other bloggers? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments below!
Photo credit: alamodestuff