A blog seems like an easy thing to do.
All you need to do is write a couple of articles a week, maybe produce some visually engaging content and post them for people to enjoy.
Easy peasy, right? Well, not always.
Marketer and blogger, Jeff Bullas believes a blog that works “can just be a place to share your passion, thoughts, and creativity with the world or it can be a source of revenue, a return on your investment in time and focus with cold hard cash”.
According to Bullas, in order for a blog to work you need to do three things.
“Create engaging content and attract traffic.”
And the third step? “It needs to convert that attention and engagement into leads and sales.”
Bullas says if you don’t complete the last step, you will fail as a blogger.
While that seems pretty straightforward, many blogs suffer from lack of traffic.
So, why isn’t your blog working?
Content can be hard to get right. Take, for example, an inforgraphic or similar data-driven piece around the topic “What is a continent?“It can be too complex for some readers, too simple for others and the biggest issue, it can be boring. In this age of information overload, generic content is being churned out time and time again.
Readers need a reason to return.
Use your blog to offer readers something unusual, something that only you can offer. By giving them useful information that they can’t get elsewhere, you’ll grow your readership more quickly.
A big problem with blogs is that the content isn’t shared. It’s important to publish content across a variety of social media platforms. By doing this, you’re able to cast a wider net, which results in more potential visitors and influencers.
Wizard of Moz, Rand Fiskin is big on sharing content.
“My biggest problem with the overwhelming majority of blog posts – and content overall for that matter – is that creators don’t take the time to ask a critical question before they start making something. That question is: ‘who would amplify this and why?’
“Content doesn’t just succeed because it exists. It succeeds when people care enough about it to help it spread.”
“Your job as content creator is to set yourself up for success by ensuring there are individuals who will willingly broadcast what you’ve created. That willingness is also a terrific test of whether the content is worthy of effort overall.”
A major problem when it comes to blogging is creating regular content. Bloggers run into trouble when they leave large gaps of time between posts. Bloggers need to realise that the internet is full of information and readers are often impatient. If your blog isn’t regularly providing the information that they crave, they will look elsewhere.
If you’re serious about blogging you need to stop slacking and keep the fresh content coming. It doesn’t even have to be every day. Choose a couple of days a week when you’re free and throw a few posts together then.
If content is going to be successful and well received by readers, it needs to be engaging, shareable and of a high standard. If you don’t want your content to be considered rubbish, you need to take the time to carefully plan it from start to finish and make sure it includes the following:
It might be your blog, but that doesn’t mean you can flood it with posts that are all about you and your business. That doesn’t attract readers. Let’s face it, readers don’t care too much about how your business is doing. They care about themselves and issues that are affecting them. So, using your blog to promote your business is a no go. You need to interact with your readers. This will help you discover what’s working on your blog and what’s not. It’ll help you find out what they want to learn about and what they want to read on your site.
A reason why many blogs struggle to produce content is because there is no content plan. The best content comes when there is formal planning behind it: the topic is researched well, and the sections in the article are planned well in advance. While you can get lucky, and produce a brilliant piece of content that just comes from the top of your head, don’t rely on luck. Those streaks can be exhausted pretty quickly.
Plan everything. For example, produce an excel file with a list of article titles. Assign dates and times when they’ll be written, assign writers to various titles and tick off tasks once the article has been published. By doing this, you’re giving yourself goals, deadlines and targets. It’s much easier to control the quality of content when there’s a set plan in place.
There are blogs that just write everything and anything. They have no sense of consistency in their articles. Why? Because the writers have no idea who they’re writing for and that’s a big reason why their blog isn’t working.
Plenty of articles claim that when it comes to writing, audience is key. Yet, the same problem arises time and time again. When creating content, ask yourself who would read this? Who would find this information useful? Who needs to read this article? Once you have a target audience in mind, it’ll be easier to develop a tone that appeals to your audience, and this will encourage readership growth.
Getting readers to your blog is step one; step two is keeping them there. Obviously creating great content on a regular basis is key to keeping them there but another way to do this is to get them to subscribe.
Email subscriptions are one of the best methods of doing this as readers are getting fresh content delivered straight to their inbox. You can also use email subscriptions to deliver a monthly newsletter which consists of all the must-reads of the month.
Similar to content not being shared, a big reason why blogs fail is because the content and the blog are not being promoted. Remember, competitors are everywhere. Promotion is essential to get your content and blog noticed among the countless journalists and bloggers competing for eyeballs. Think SEO, outreach and link building. But also include sponsored social promotion, targeted advertising and participating in online community forums.
– This post was written by Emma Vince – former Digital PR Lead at Tinderpoint.