Blogging Best Practices—Don’t Give Up on Content Creation Until You Read This!

Small Business

Whether you’re a blogging veteran or just thinking about wading into the content creation pool, you want to get the most out of your original content. Blogging is an awesome way to tell the world what you’re thinking and what you’re up to. But if the world doesn’t seem to notice or care, it can feel more like shouting into the wind.

This can be really disheartening. Plus, you’re really f*cking busy trying to change the world and carve out your legacy. You don’t have time for shouting into the wind. I can think of no less than 589 ways to be more productive than publishing to your blog.

However, before you declare content creation a total waste of time and become a dedicated Dark Tourist (Yes, it’s a thing and it’s totally binge-worthy. I don’t care what the haters say), I recommend giving blogging a real chance. Don’t give up on content creation until you get serious about content creation. Then you can come back and tell me I’m wrong.

Why is Blogging Important?

It’s always a good idea to examine your goals whenever you take on a new business project. So if you’re interested in upping your content creation game, ask yourself what you expect to gain.

Are you blogging…

  • To build your brand?
  • To generate more leads?
  • To promote a product or service?
  • To increase traffic to your website?
  • To create revenue by selling advertising?

Blogging can help you accomplish these things. Now, I could bombard you with statistics to prove blogging is important. But I’ll let you Google blogging statistics on your own if you want to be totally overwhelmed by average word counts, the amount of time people spend writing blog posts, and the number of posts per month the most successful marketers publish.

If you’re feeling burned out or overwhelmed by content creation, know that it’s okay to take a step back. The last thing I would suggest is that you should use a list of 101 blogging statistics to guide your blogging plan.

Blogging will only work for you if you can find a content marketing plan that works for you. So figure out why blogging is important TO YOU and your business. Then create a plan around that complete with incentives and celebrations for even the tiniest wins.

Getting Started

Once you have a content creation plan that you can commit to, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Always start by considering your audience. Who are you trying to reach? What do these ultra cool individuals like to read?

Figure out what you can realistically commit to. Consistency matters more than frequency. So if there are weeks where you can create a new piece of original content every day, great! Save up those posts for weeks where you can’t find your mojo. You do not need to write or post 5 blog articles per week to hit your content goals. You can repurpose content. You can repost content. Feel free to make this your mantra.

Remember most of the time, people are not paying attention to your marketing strategy or process. No one is anxiously waiting and obsessively hitting refresh on their browsers until your blog post goes live, unless you have intentionally created some sort of incentive for them to do so. And if this is the case, please share your black magic with the rest of us plebs.

Set aside all of your perfectionism baggage (I know it’s hard!) and just start. Please. Cool? Cool.

5 Components of an Engaging Blog Post

You want people to find your blog posts and to engage with them. So let’s talk about how to make this happen.

1. You want a descriptive and eye-catching title.

You can find all kinds of advice about this all over the Web. Here’s a good article. I have nothing brilliant to add. But do remember that headlines formulas are not magic. Give people great content and they’ll keep coming back for more. Give them click-baity titles and they’ll start ignoring you.

2. You want a fun topic.

I have some tips for choosing topics below. But in general, try to choose something unique. I know it’s hard. After you’ve been blogging regularly for a year or more it’s hard to come up with new ideas. You can do it though. Life can get really monotonous if you let it, but only if you let it. Apply this principle to blog topics.

3. You want an angle or opinion.

This should help you with choosing topics. No one on earth thinks exactly the way you do, so let your light shine! Seriously. If someone is surprised by something you say, write down what you said. That’s blog topic gold and it’s all you.

4. You want some bullet points.

Writing a blog post is pretty simple if you make it simple. Come up with something surprising to say about a topic and make a list of reasons related to that angle or opinion. It’s obviously better if your bullet points are useful to your target audience.

5. You want a commanding call-to-action

Always link back to another page on your website in your blog posts. What do you want your audience to do as a result of reading your article? You can probably get them to click on your services page or better yet, share your blog with their network, which is a good thing. If you want to get really fancy, here are some really fancy call-to-action suggestions.

How to Use Blogging to Increase Website Traffic

1. Set up an Editorial Calendar

I know what you’re thinking: How will setting up an editorial calendar increase my website traffic? Well, I think of my editorial calendar the same way I think of my bank account. While I could stash my cash in a shoebox or under my mattress or in the freezer (like my grandma used to do), when it’s all in my bank account I can figure out how much I have and what I can spend at a glance.

So, how does having a bank account increase my cash flow? It doesn’t, but it’s a psychological tool. An editorial calendar is also a psychological tool. It allows you to set content goals and see your next steps at a glance.

Here are some tips for setting up an editorial calendar for content creation:

  • Keep it Simple: I use Google Sheets or an Excel spreadsheet. For each month, I create columns labeled: TOPIC, DRAFT DUE DATE, PUBLICATION DEADLINE, STATUS, and NOTES. Then I fill in the blanks.
  • Brainstorm topics quarterly: I recommend writing 2 blog articles per month. This is a very reasonable pace for most small business owners. If you brainstorm quarterly, then you only have to come up with 6 topics once every 3 months. Easy peasy.
  • Choose 3 or 4 themes: Themes are broad categories under which your ideal client might seek out your products or services. For example, if you’re an image consultant, your themes might be: the psychology of color, closet editing tips, how to dress for success, and fashion trends.
  • Evergreen topics: In line with your themes, choose a mix of evergreen topics (topics you can write about any time) and trendy topics. Evergreen topics for the image consultant could be: what your clothing color choices say about you, 5 quick tips to create the perfect mix & match wardrobe, and going beyond clothing to create visual impact.
  • Trendy topics: It can be fun to mix things up with a blog about something in the news. Perhaps an article about how to dress like Meghan Markle in the office would be of interest.

2. Create Content with Impact

To increase website traffic, you want to create fresh, high quality, original content. Search engines favor websites with fresh content. The average word count of top ranked content on Google is 1,140-1,285 words. 2 things here: that’s an average and there’s clearly no rule that impactful content needs to be of a particular length. Create original content you’re proud to share and you’re probably doing things right.

Visuals pack a good punch. For blog posts make sure to add at least one image. Adding visuals throughout the article entices readers to keep scrolling down, so investing in a good tool to find images for your blog is not a bad idea. I love 123rf.com for blog images. There are some pretty good free stock image sites out there too.

Videos and infographics can also make for some really cool, impactful content. I created this infographic during an unusual burst of productive creativity at the end of last year. Don’t be afraid to try new platforms and experiment with the types of content you put out. Mix things up and make it fun!

3. Promote Your Blog

Finally, if you haven’t seen the ROI from your content creation you’ve been hoping for, do some research about promoting your blog. There are a lot of ways to promote your blog posts, but the important thing is that you choose what works for you and stick with it.

  • Email newsletter: Sending out an email newsletter once per month is a good way to get eyes on your website and blog. If you don’t have a good list of subscribers already, you might be back to the shouting-into-the-wind feeling. Set a goal for the number of subscribers, create a simple PDF download to offer new subscribers, add everyone who has ever expressed interest in your business. Really. They can always unsubscribe or you can scrub the dead weight in 6 months.
  • Social media: Your blog posts are the ultimate social media post. They are branded, shareable, engaging, and impactful. This article has practical tips for doubling your social media traffic. The bottomline: you can repost more than you probably think you can.
  • Guest blogging: You and I both know, everyone is looking for fresh content. So, don’t be afraid to reach out! Do someone else a huge favor by offering to do a guest blog post and you’ll gain instant access to a new audience. Want to make sure you get invited back to guest blog again? Make sure your post is relevant to the new audience. And be sure to include the link to subscribe to your email newsletter.

Wow! That was a lot. If now you’re thinking, “who has the time?” Well, that’s what ghostwriters like me are for. Turns out, you don’t actually have to create all of your own original content (this isn’t college anymore). While you’re out there changing the world, find the right people to support you. Contact me and let’s grab a refreshing beverage. I love to help business owners turn their big ideas into bold content!

Photo credit: vadymvdrobot / 123RF Stock Photo

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