Equipping Writers for Success
The Writing Life
The Writing Life
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by Jennifer Brown Banks
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If only it were that simple.
The problem? With millions of blogs launched into the blogosphere, it's an extremely crowded and competitive field. In fact, "Google" writing blogs and you'll receive over 1,500,000 search results.
Adding insult to injury is that in order for blogs to help build a platform and sustain a popular following, updates must be made on a regular basis. Experts recommend weekly. That's a tall order.
So how can bloggers infuse their sites regularly with interesting, informative, engaging content to capture an audience, avoid burnout, and stand above the competition?
By redefining what a blog post is. It's time for a paradigm shift...
First let's examine the "original" definition of a blog post. Once upon a time, blog posts were considered "textual" entries appearing in reverse chronological order on a blog (also known as an online journal). Bloggers would often use posts to rant, raise awareness of important causes, and even to showcase their creative poetry.
With hundreds of niches, themes, approaches, and professional goals, a blog post can differ depending upon who's doing the blogging and the blogger's objective.
For example, a food blogger, seeking to promote and sell her recently launched cookbook, might share a "blog post" in the form of her favorite recipe. Here's some "food for thought:" you can too.
But before we discuss how, here are four key things to consider in crafting blog posts that will resonate with your audience (no matter what your niche), and allow you to work "smarter, not harder".
1. Who is your target audience? You need to identify who they are. Are they stay at home moms? Other writers? Business owners? Teachers? Aspiring photographers? Male or female, or both? What's your demographic? And more importantly, what's your goal in connecting with them?
2. Your expertise. What types of posts will allow you to showcase your creative strengths and expertise? Are you a technical person? A "how-to" guru? Skilled at expository writing? Assess and apply.
3. Your lifestyle. How much time can you realistically devote to coming up with ideas, posting them, and responding to comments and answering readers' questions? Given your other creative projects and personal commitments, can you update your site once a week or even once a month?
With that in mind, what types of posts will help you deliver high quality content and achieve your goals, without being extremely time consuming or taxing? The clearer you are, the more focused and strategic you can be.
4. Readers' expectations. Different blogs fulfill different needs. For example, I read some blogs for their entertainment value, and others for educational purposes, to expand my knowledge base and my bottom line. What will you provide for your readers? These are guiding factors you'll want to keep in mind to make the most of your blogging efforts.
What Are the Criteria For a Blog Post?
To diversify your blog content and provide for more innovative posting, here are some examples of different techniques and tools used by today's successful blogger. Try one or all of these to expand your blogging horizons.
A blog post can be:
Get the idea here? A blog post is limited only by your imagination.
Darren Rowse of Problogger.net goes further to suggest that bloggers should "experiment with different types of posts" to help battle with what he calls "blogger's block".
Now that you know the different types of blog posts that are potentially possible, here's how to deliver.
Recognize that a blog post doesn't have to be of epic proportions. Size doesn't always matter; substance is equally important. For example, sometimes I will share motivational quotes and a beautiful image on a Monday, to help inspire other writers for the rest of their week.
Remember that passion is a prerequisite to successful, long-term blogging. Choose a topic that excites you, and most times your readers will be excited too! A good approach here is to consider a blog based upon your hobby or profession.
Consider the benefits of guest bloggers to help you to keep up with the demands of blogging. You can either pitch people you admire and ask for a guest post, or create general guidelines for guest posters and place the information in a prominent place on your site. Make sure to include the length, acceptable topics, and desired format.
Make sure to encourage reader feedback to determ
ine what method/technique works best for your particular readership and goals. For greater blogging success in 2014, think outside the blog box and follow these timely tips. By increasing your productivity and creativity, you can ultimately increase your bottom line.
This article is not available for reprint without the author's written permission.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran blogger, freelance writer, popular relationship columnist, ghost writer and Pro Blogger with over 600 published clips. She is the former Senior Editor of Mahogany Magazine and is on the board of the CWA. Visit her website at: http://penandprosper.blogspot.com