How To Create A Blog That Does Not Suck
A recent webinar has convinced you that you need to start blogging to generate more leads or web traffic to your business. So you get all set up on WordPress and have a couple topics that you are going to dominate. You keep blogging every now and again, hoping that the leads and traffic would just start falling into your lap.
A couple more months go by and you are not seeing anything. Your only readers are your mom, best friend, and some guy in Alaska (and you thank your lucky stars he is reading). It seems that you have been doing a ton of work, but you are not getting the type of traffic the webinar promised, in fact, you are not getting half the traffic the webinar promised.
So what’s the problem? How do you create a blog for success?
Reasons Your Blog Sucks!
I will only assume that because you are still reading this blog post, that you are interested in learning about some of the pitfalls of your blog. I will be the first to acknowledge that there are some bloggers out there that are gifted and can kill any post they create and many times these bloggers start blogging because they enjoy it. Maybe they enjoy talking about their struggles of being a mom or they have a warped view of the world. However, I know you can use your blog to create leads by the truckload. It will take time and a lot of effort, but you can do it. From the startup to the fortune 500 company, your blog can be epic.
Have you ever been on a blog that was last updated over a month ago? It sends a message that you don’t have enough time or effort to really make your blog work. People are looking for fresh content all the time, and if you don’t have fresh content, well you may as well close up shop. It is hard enough competing with the blogs that publish multiple times per day, but if you are not consistently publishing something you have no chance.
Give your readers a reason to come back to your blog and make consuming your content part of their normal ritual. I am not saying that you have to blog every day, but you do need to be consistent with the amount of content you are producing. Once a week is fine, but make every Monday a day that your new content goes out. If you can squeeze in another post per week, great, do it. Just make sure to commit to a schedule.
Consistency will tell your readers when to come back and consume your content. I know that when you first get going you will have the urge to write about everything that interests you, but eventually, you will burn out or life will happen and slow you down. So make sure to put a posting schedule in place and stick to it.
Find Your Tone
Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? We have all read the blog post that is full of great content but lacks the personality to make the post great or the style to set it apart. As you start to write your blog posts make sure not to sound like the economics teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
There are thousands of blog posts produced at this minute. You have to find a way to “Break Through The Noise” and be different, the tone of your post is important. The tone will help you differentiate yourself from all the other blogs out there.
My best advice here is to be yourself. If you are a quirky stay at home mom, play into that. If you are a great storyteller and can weave your message into a well thought out story, do it. The point is simple, find what works for you and stick to it. A unique tone is what made the great writers, like Hemmingway or Shakespeare, great.
You Don’t Know Your Audience
As a business owner, I read a lot of business blogs. There are a few that jump out at me and make me think the author wrote the article just for me. While reading the article I am talking to myself out loud, “yeah, that’s what I am talking about”, “great point.” The article is hitting me in a way that it feels like the author knows me. I know that this is not the case, but it sure feels like it. These are my favorite blogs and I check back to consume their content on a regular basis.
This is hard at first because you don’t know who is reading your blog. As you continue the process and build a following you will start to see who is interacting with your content and begin to develop content that speaks to them directly.
One of the best ways to get to know your audience is to ask questions on social media. What are your daily struggles, what questions do you have about ________, or what books are you reading right now? This will give you an idea of the questions you should be answering your articles. Get to know your followers and continue to create content for them, not for you.
No Original Content
As you are on your social media platforms you come across a tweet that looks interesting. The tweet says, “10 ways to improve your health in 10 days.” You click because you are still working on your New Year’s Resolution to get in better health. You read the article and the 10 tips are just repurposed content that you already know. “Eat more greens, get 8 hours of sleep, exercise daily, the list goes on. There is no way you are going to subscribe to that blog.
Original content does not mean that you have to recreate the wheel, but you do have to put a spin or personal touch to the content you produce. Let’s face it, this blog post is nothing original, I admit that, but I am trying to present it in a way that will stick with you and help you create a better blog.
If you are going to create a piece of content that you have read before, try to add more to it. I like to add personal stories to the content to give it a little more “Punch” (yes, pun intended). Go beyond what others have done and drive the point home, do it better than the others.
You Only Talk About Yourself
One thing that bothers me about many blogs that I read is the constant talking about themselves. In my business, I generated x amount of revenue by doing XYZ, or I would do ZYX. I know I am talking about myself here and maybe being a little hypocritical, but that okay it is my blog.
Remember who is reading your blog, the reader, not you. Talk about how to help them, not how you did something. You can have the best content out there, but if you are creating the content for you and not the reader, you might as well hit the reject button for them.
Bring in examples or stories from others into your writing. Give your reader the facts about a situation, not the facts about yourself. This will also help you build a better relationship with the reader and help the content stick.
No Social Media Presence
Here we go to the “social media”. You did not think that I would not mention everyone’s favorite form of marketing, did you? The bottom line is a social media marketing strategy is a great way to promote your content. It is an even better way to ask questions and determine what your follower’s struggles are. This way you can answer their questions and direct them back to your blog or website.
The bottom line is you have to get out there in the social world if you want your blog to be successful. Your mom, best friend, and that dude from Alaska can’t be the only ones promoting your blog to the world, you need some help.
No Email List
Email marketing is dead, right. A big fat wrong! We have been hearing how email is dead for the last 5-6 year. The reality is that every company, every small business, every mom and pop shop use email marketing. The majority of the emails we receive every day are garbage, I could not agree more. I hate spam as much as the next guy, but companies are still loading up the inbox with this garbage for a reason. It works!
Make no mistake about it, your email list is your third most powerful marketing tool, right behind your website and you of course. Building your email list is critical to growing your blog because it is the only way you can directly place an eye on your articles and we all want more eye on our content.
Make sure to include a way to subscribe to your email list on every blog post. There are many ways to collect an email address. You can go the straightforward approach and place a form in the sidebar of your blog, you can provide an offer (best way) that collects the email before you give the offer to them, or you can set up a popup. Get as many email addresses as possible to drive traffic to your blog.
You Are Only Writing For Google
All Bacon Lovers like Inbound Marketing, Blogging, Social Media, and Cookie Recipes. What does that even mean? It means you are stuffing keywords into your blog title to drive more visits. However, this does not make sense at all. Not all bacon lovers like inbound marketing and how do bacon lovers and cookie recipes go together. I don’t know, maybe you can enlighten me.
You are creating your blog for your readers, not keywords (I hope). While you might get more organic views to your website because someone is looking for cookie recipes, the content will not be for that reader and they will leave in a hurry.
I do admit that keywords are important to your blog, but make sure that you are not only writing for the search engines. Write for people, too. Here are a couple questions to ask yourself before you hit the publish button.
- Does the article create an emotional response?
- Does the content answer the reader’s question?
- Does my audience even care about this topic?
- Who is the targeted reader of the article?
Make sure that you have a purpose to write the article, don’t just try to game the search engines to drive traffic. It is about getting the right traffic anyway.
Topics Don’t Make Your Reader Think or Take Action
We have all come across the blog article that gives us a direct punch to the face. It makes us think, it makes us go out and do something different. These are the articles that are going to attract readers and generate a buzz on your blog. For example, my hope is, as you are reading this blog article you are thinking of ways to improve your blog, you are getting ideas to get better.
Think about how popular TED Talks have become. It did not happen just because they got some speakers together and started talking about just any topic. They are talking about topics that make you think, challenge the way you have done tasks in the past, they make you take action. Your blog should be the same.
Challenge your readers to take your advice, ask them to report back, give them a call to action. I would love to hear back from you about what you are going to do to make your blog better going forward. What are steps are you taking in order to be better at what you are doing?
Stop Creating Sucky Blog Posts
The bottom line is there is a lot of noise out on the web, there is no room for another mediocre blog. Writers are creating thousands of articles every day, every hour, every minute. If you are going create a blog that stands out, you have to do things differently than the other 10,000 writers talking about the same topics. Blogging for business is no joke so, create a blog for success.
If you are looking to increase leads, generate web traffic, or just having fun, you can do this. I want to know what are you going to do to get more out of every blog post and ensure that they don’t suck? Leave your comment below. It is your turn, go make your blog better!