Many a valiant would-be writer has set out, full of optimism, to start a blog, with visions of becoming the next Goop or LifeHacker; only to find their only followers are their overly enthusiastic parents and a guy named Al who keeps sending inappropriate pictures.
So if you have great stories that you want to share with a web-based audience, how do you make it work?
Here are four tips to get your blog firing on all cylinders; and we’d love to know what’s worked (and what hasn’t) for you, too.
Passion pays off
Storytelling is a powerful influencing tool because it’s about connecting with audiences at an emotional level. When people feel moved, they are more open to being persuaded, are more likely to share and will be more loyal over a longer period. A story told with genuine passion will really foster meaningful connections with your audience.
When I look back at my own portfolio, the pieces that have performed the best and that still resonate all have one thing in common - they’ve come from the heart.
So before you begin, make an honest assessment - do you love what you plan to write about? Do you love it enough to write about a LOT? Blogging is about an ongoing conversation so maintaining your own interest will keep your audience’s interest, too.
Keep it real
People have an incredibly accurate radar for authenticity. Online, as in person, being real is more important than being clever, funny, or grammatically perfect.
Don’t worry about what you think other people expect. If you’re a business person with an exuberant, youthful style, let that shine through in your blog. False gravitas will just bore those you want to connect with most. Likewise, if you bake cupcakes with unparalleled seriousness, be SERIOUS about those cupcakes when you write.
If you’re trying to be something you’re not, your audience will know - and they won’t stick around for more.
Divide and conquer
New bloggers often make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. This can result in content that lacks depth and focus, rather than incisive pieces that meet a specific need.
The best approach is to spend some time on audience segmentation: consider where your expertise and interests really lie, and where they intersect with a need or a problem to be solved. This will help your blog to resonate with audiences that will truly listen to what you have to say, rather than falling on more, but deafer, ears.
Have a plan
Writer's block is not just for Dickensian creatives holed up in an attic writing by candlelight!
Starting out with a content plan will help your blog stay on track in those crucial early months. A content plan should include:
Who your audience is - a brief persona statement may even help
How often you intend to blog
A topic and a short summary for each planned post
When, where and how you will promote each post
Bloggers - what do you find has worked best for you in creating a successful blog? (Whatever success means to you). Does anything particularly put you off when reading blogs?
Here at AlphaJuliet, we’ve experienced the best and worst of blogging in both the corporate and private spheres. We can help you to plan a new blog, review and advise on current blogs and even support you with creating or editing your content. Please get in touch if you think we can help or would like to talk through some options.