When the time comes that you decide to really dive deep into your blogging, you really want to start off on the right foot. You take the time to find out which platform is best, which plugins will help you make the most of your visitors’ experience – but you get stuck when it comes time to create the actual content for your blog.
You’ll find that many marketers who teach this topic are always talking about themes and plugins – but that’s often because they make a significant commission on the promotion of those tools!
When it comes time to instruct you on creating content, they’re often just as lost as you are about the process, so you’re left struggling in front of your audience. It can be embarrassing and it can hurt your blog traffic if you start abandoning your blog frequently to wait for inspiration to strike.
You have to take a three-pronged approach to blogging. First, get everything organized. If you’re scattered on your blog, it confuses the readers, search engine spiders – and even you.
Then you want to map out a schedule for your blogging efforts. Having a deadline for yourself can benefit you and help you work towards a specific goal, not just something vague.
Last, you want to begin creating your content – and we’re going to cover three options for you to choose from – a series, an individual post, or a guest blog post (and you can mix these up – you don’t have to choose from just one).
There are two things you can do to get organized. The first is a planning calendar and the second is an editorial calendar, which is for completed work that you are doing on your blog.
You can either buy a calendar or print one out from a site like this: http://www.pdfcalendar.com/monthly/. Print one out for the current month, and possibly the next month. You can schedule it as far out as you like.
This is your planning calendar. You can use this to fill in the days with whatever you’ll be blogging about (and we’ll go over that shortly). This helps you plan what needs to be written, and when.
This is perfect for using yourself or for whenever you’re using a freelance ghostwriter to create your blog content and you want to share it with them so that they can plan for publishing dates.
Once you have the blog posts created, you can use a different type of organizer to help you schedule them for publication. A free plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar makes this a simple drag and drop process. This is the one I use for my WordPress blogs, and I just love it.
As soon as you upload a new post, you can drag the post around on your calendar to wherever you want it to be for it to go live. This can help if you have some timely information that needs to bump a previously scheduled topic.
By using a calendar plugin, you can glance quickly at your blog schedule and see where there are gaps. Sometimes I will simply scan my calendar, and without worrying about what to write, I will simply allow thoughts and ideas to stew for a day. Then I can go back to my first draft later on, with fresh information to write with and excitement about it. You want a consistent publication schedule, and we’ll look at that in depth next!
How Often Should You Be Blogging?
Many people want to know how often they have to blog. Well if you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be blogging in the first place! Blogging should be for someone who can’t WAIT to wake up in the morning and share more information with people.
If you lack that, it could be a sign that you’re in the wrong niche. But let’s talk about traffic and authority. You’ll see some leaders in a niche who blog very infrequently.
This is sometimes because blogging is a side tool for them. They primarily use other things like television, radio, webinars and live, in person seminars to attract and cultivate an audience.
For bloggers who want to use this platform as their primary source of audience engagement, then you need to make a commitment to show up and share on a regular basis.
The more, the better – but there’s an asterisk to that*
* It’s only better when there’s more if there’s something valuable that you’re sharing. In other words, don’t blog just to blog. Don’t slap up meaningless content that dilutes the truly valuable blog posts you have just because someone told you to blog 3 times a day.
What you ought to do is go through and develop your editorial calendars to see how much content you can conceivably create. You’ll be surprised at how many ideas you generate once you understand how to look for good blog ideas.
As far as search engine bots (spiders) are concerned, they like to see a certain amount of “freshness” in your blog. Something I’ve only just learned myself, is that they typically start off visiting your blog once every couple of weeks, but they narrow their visitation schedule to index your site if you blog regularly. This looks good and helps your content get indexed quicker.
It’s also helpful to your blog subscribers if you blog frequently. If this is a topic they’re interested in, then perhaps you want to be a go-to authority figure in your niche – the person they know will have continual updates and fresh information. So again, be sure that you choose topics you love to write about.
A daily schedule is best. Some people post several times and day, and this is great too. However, it is not worth it to stress yourself out trying to reach that particular goal. Just be consistent.
If you can only manage to post 3 times a week, then adhere to that rhythm. That said, there is such a thing as blogging too little. If you go for weeks or months without blogging, don’t expect a blog audience to stick around and become subscribers and fans of your content. In fact, they won’t even know who you are!
Scheduling a Series for Your Blog
A series is a good way to keep people tuning back in for more. It works the same way on television – you tune in weekly to see what happens next after you’ve seen a cliffhanger or an upcoming episode snippet.
But what can you do a series on for your blog?
Reviews make a good series. If you buy and implement a digital product, then you can go through the entire process in a series of blog posts. For example, your posts can include blogs about why you bought it and how the order and download or access process went (including sales copy review).
Then you can break down each step of your implementation process over the next several days. If it’s a text product, do a chapter a day. If it’s a video product, do a video a day.
Always link to the previous and subsequent blog posts so that a new visitor who happens to land on your blog in the middle of it can find their way back to the beginning. WordPress even has a wonderful Post Series plugin which helps with the organization of previous and subsequent post, while keeping readers informed of what else to look for in your blog, and what else to look forward to.
Step-by-step tutorials also make a great series for you to blog about. You could go through a different topic on your tutorial each day.
Q&A sessions with your audience work well for a series, too. Invite your subscribers to ask any questions they have – you can even schedule certain days to be “Mailbox” days where you answer audience questions.
7 Ideas for Individual Blog Posts
If you’re not doing a series but posting individual blog posts, there’s a whole host of options for you! Make a list of these and try to mix it up on your blog so that you’re not using the same old approach on a continual basis.
Top tip lists make great blog posts. These are tips you gather and then blog about, explaining each one. For example: 7 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster, 6 Ways to Say No to Sweets When You’re on a Diet, the Top 3 Tips to Help You Save Money at the Grocery Store, etc.
Tips like this are easy to digest and people can usually come away knowing they’ve absorbed a few good tidbits of helpful information, even if they didn’t necessarily appreciate, or plan to use, all of the tips you put forward.
Reviews can be done for a blog post series, but they can also be done for individual blog posts. You don’t have to draw it out if it doesn’t call for it – or if it’s for a tangible item that you want to go over.
Rants about a topic can generate a buzz for your blog. You don’t want to be nothing more than a person who rants all of the time, but if you find something in your niche that needs to be exposed or discussed, don’t be afraid to talk about it!
Curated content is something that everyone is buzzing about in the blog world. You can use short snippets where you quote or reference something from a magazine, news site, book or other blog and launch a discussion about it on your blog.
Usually, you’ll do something like present a snippet or portion of something someone else created (not a swipe of their material, but a very small piece, and always with proper accreditation and a link back to their site). Then you add your own commentary about it. Imagine yourself having a conversation with a friend about a certain topic, and begin writing from there with your insights, thoughts, opinions, and even your personal issues about the topic. It’s this personalisation that readers will keep coming back to you for.
Categorized posts will help you develop content for your blog. Some people map out the categories for their blog as they go. But if you have categories ahead of time, it can help you develop content just for that purpose.
Breaking news is always beneficial when blogging. Be sure if you are doing this, to choose topics that are intriguing to YOU. This is even more beneficial when it is a topic that you hold a lot of feeling or ideas around, and it can really get your creative writing juices flowing.
You might wish to set up a Google Alert so that you get notified when news happens about certain topics. But also go out and search Google and specific news sites for breaking topics yourself.
Finding Guest Bloggers for Filler Content
Guest bloggers will often seek you out once your blog becomes a traffic hub for a particular niche. You won’t want to accept everyone who requests a spot on your blog.
That said, you may want to use a guest blogger from time to time, as long as they continue with the purpose and direction of your own blog. You can approach people or post blog topic jobs – sometimes you’ll pay for the post and sometimes the blogger will be happy with a link back to their own site.
You may even wish to ask someone who is an authority figure within your niche to provide a guest blog post – this reflects well on you as a blogger because you’re pulling in valuable resources for your own readers, which they’ll appreciate greatly. It is also a nice gesture to show that you are willing to collaborate with others.
One thing to be sure of – resist the temptation to approach someone simply for their rankings, in order to increase yours. Be sure that their voice, and their topics, complement your own. You want to be one hundred percent comfortable with everything you publish.
Lastly, you may wish to find new bloggers who are eager to get some experience under their belts and have them offer some posts or write something just for your blog. Either way, make sure the piece is suitable for your audience, and for you.