Recently I set myself a challenge: to blog once a week for the following 12 weeks. Eight blogs in seems a good moment to reflect… and offer some ideas about how to blog regularly.
Never mind the quality, feel the width? Hardly. You’ll also be aiming to write better blogs, of course, getting more and different eyes on your website in the process.
Attracting the readers you want to know about your expertise… that’s why you need a strategy. That reflection will also help you to find your blogging voice.
1. Finish one blog? Start another
You’ve published a blog, which may have taken you quite a long time. Great stuff, your blogs are on the way to being read, commented on, shared… Start another one right away.
The fact that it exists in draft, even with a few words, will spur you on to get back to it. Why not include the publication date in the draft too, as another incentive to meet the deadline you’ve set yourself.
What’s more, I encourage my clients who want to blog more often to have several drafts on the go. For instance a few weeks back I tried out a round-up of events in April and May. What better time, straight after I published that blog, to create a draft blog for the June and July version of the same thing?
2. Strategy: clarity, motivation
Why are you blogging? Who is your ideal client? Who are your referrers?
Clarity about why and who will help you both to create your blogs and then promote them.
I recommend this blog by White Heat Design, who kindly created this website for me — and are helping me to develop it, for instance with an events page.
The blog includes this reminder, which can easily get lost amid the countless demands that business owners face:
…[it’s] about changing your mindset from that of a business owner to that of your perfect customer. What are they looking for and why are you the right fit?
Want to delve deeper into creating a content marketing strategy? There’s an e-book (you’ll need to give your email address to get it) by the Content Marketing Institute that may help you think things through.
Arriving at that clarity will add to your motivation because you’ll be clearer about why you’re investing the time and effort to create blogs.
3. Promotion: think ahead
Creating a blog is one thing, promoting it is another? Yes and no.
Thinking about how and why you will promote your blog while you’re creating it will help you to:
- keep your ideal client in mind
- structure your blog in “digestible”, readable and engaging sections
- create a so-called virtuous circle:
- you invite and get a comment on your blog;
- you reply (as soon as possible) to the comment;
- you tweet your thanks to that person, and a network they’re part of;
- that gets more and different eyes on your blog;
- … encouraging more comments.
Remember, too, that much of your blog content will be timeless, at least to a great extent.
As an accountant or bookkeeper are you offering tips about how to get started with accounting software Xero? As long as the information in your blog is still valid, you can “re-serve” that blog two or three months after you first create it.
I specialise in creative digital content and have lived and worked overseas. My blog Adventures in language: around the world in eight… expressions is still valid now and will be later this year too.
4. Targets: views, comments
Set yourself a target for the number of views you want for the blog you’ve just created. And another target for the number of comments at the end of the blog.
(For instance I set a target of at least three comments for each blog I publish. Five? Even better.)
With that in mind, be sure to include a call to action that encourages readers to give their views.
When you send your blog post to those who might find it interesting and/or useful and/or entertaining, ask them to add a comment.
Your reply to each one will encourage further engagement from readers — among them your ideal clients.
You may want to offer to add a comment of your own to your readers’ blogs. After all, that will help you understand more about what they do and allow you to develop the relationship.
5. Images (think social media)
This blog is about 1,100 words. Imagine it without images.
However much people love reading, they can quickly be put off by a wall of text on a screen, especially if there’s very little white space.
Including images – try to think laterally, also choose photos that nod to the feel and design of your website and branding – will appeal to a wider readership.
(Please get in touch if you need help co-creating a blog, e.g. this one for a client.)
There are plenty of free photos available (please credit the photographer and add a link to their profile page whenever you can). I use Pixabay and Unsplash, but there are many more possibilities.
Images will also help you promote your blog on social media.
Attractive tweet, fine Facebook…
all linking back to your website.
You can include your own photos too, of course, although you need to be careful with the resolution – very big files can slow down the speed at which your web page will load on a reader’s device.
Here’s a handy guide by Hootsuite on optimal image size for social media including WordPress.
You may also want to add a link from e.g. Instagram or Twitter.
(If the image is too big when you paste a link in to your blog from e.g. a tweet or an Instagram post, take a screenshot.
Remember to give the source unless the image is clearly from your own account. This is what I did with the clock photo in the Promotion section above.)
It may not suit you to blog every week; once a fortnight or once a month might be more manageable. But setting yourself a challenge – and telling people about it, plenty of people – will help you to stick to it.
Give yourself the chance to get into your stride. Posting consistently useful, interesting and engaging content to your website – finding your blogging voice – can be a process of trial and error.
As you develop your blogs and thinking about the best way to apply a strategy that attracts your ideal client, keep reading as many different blogs as possible.
Chances are you’ll need some thinking time as you develop a regular blogging habit. What better excuse for a walk in the great outdoors?
(Faulkner screenshot from www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/writing; lead photo by paulleminh1959, final image by Free-Photos, both on Pixabay.)
*What techniques help you to blog regularly?
Please add a comment below, including any reaction to this blog.
I’ll be sure to add a reply. Many thanks.*
Thanks, useful tips.
Many thanks, Rebecca. Glad to know you found this blog useful.
An excellent example of what you are writing about. Great content, useful and relevant. Thanks!
Thanks a lot for your comment, Hilary. Great to know that you found this blog useful. Encourages me all the more to write the 9th in my series of 12!
Thanks for another fantastic read Brian. And thanks also for all the useful hints and tips.
Thanks a lot for your kind comment, Allison. Great to hear that this blog was useful.
Great article, Brian, and particularly liked your comment about setting a target for the number of likes and comments. Blogging, like any other marketing activity, should be measured and reviewed on a regular basis. After all why waste time on something that is not working?
Thanks a lot for your comment Lawrence. Yes, measure, review, tweak as necessary… Aiming for a targeted number of comments — and responding to each and every comment — helps get more and different eyes on a blog. Writing and researching content is one thing, promoting it another!