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How to Think Outside the Blog "Box" to Increase Your Productivity and Creativity
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Return to Blogging & Social Media · Print/Mobile-Friendly Version

Sold on the benefits of blogging, many writers today construct sites with all the bells and whistles, and believe it will be the "magic bullet" to a successful career.

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.

Enter 2014...

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:

  • A writing prompt
  • A recipe (often used by food bloggers). You can use family recipes or food as a metaphor for another concept even.
  • Photographs or images
  • A You-Tube Video
  • A book review
  • A music review
  • A rant (often used by younger bloggers or recreational bloggers)
  • An info-graphic
  • A how-to/tutorial (often used by tech sites or teaching sites)
  • Links to other interesting sites/ resources
  • A listing (top 10 reasons)
  • An interview
  • A guest post (provided by other writers in your niche)
  • A survey or poll
  • A debate on a current issue or controversial topic (school reform, immigration)
  • A poem
  • A contest (to promote a book, product, or service and to increase traffic)
  • Quotes (TinyBuddha.com attracts a mega-following based upon this simple practice)
  • Quick tips (decorating, gardening, shopping)
  • A success story or failure - for example, "10 Mistakes I Made in 2010", a post I penned on my writing site, was a big hit.

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.

Find Out More...

How to Evaluate a Good Blog Gig and Earn What You Deserve! - Jennifer Brown Banks
http://www.writing-world.com/blogs/blog-gig.shtml

How to Leverage Guest Posting to Get (Paying) Writing Gigs - Jennifer Brown Banks
http://www.writing-world.com/blogs/guestblog.shtml

Seven Reasons Today's Writers Should Blog to Build Their Platforms and Their Bottom Lines! - Jennifer Brown Banks
http://www.writing-world.com/blogs/banks.shtml

What Grocery Shopping Can Teach us About Branding Our Blogs - Jennifer Brown Banks
http://www.writing-world.com/blogs/blogbrand.shtml

Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Brown Banks
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

 

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors and may not be reprinted
without the author's written permission, unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor

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