How to Build a Better Blog
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of topical blogs on the Internet. You might want to start a blog of your own and wonder how to go about it. At first glance, it seems there is some pretty stiff competition; how do you intend to stand out with your blog?
For starters, use a different theme or if you’re going to use the same one, dress it up to make it look unique. You can gear up any blog theme simply by varying the colors, including exceptional graphics, and knowing where to place your advertisements.
Content can be served up in various forms. While blogging was once considered a means of journaling through the written word, it has blossomed to a higher level. Bloggers are building new relationships with the use of audio and video. Offer a combination of each to make your blog exceptional.
Competing bloggers may understand the popularity of video and audio, but may not own the necessary equipment to create either one. Give marketers permission to share your free audio and video products. Mention your blog URL throughout your presentations to lead new viewers and listeners back to your web properties.
When offering an opt-in freebie, up your game and share something super special. It should be a no-strings-attached gift that isn’t being offered by hundreds of other bloggers. If it is, get busy creating a brand new handout that your target market needs and wants.
In short, your blog should be the only place on the Internet that offers this gift. Since it is a no-strings-attached freebie, don’t make people jump through hoops to get it. This includes NOT making them subscribe to your list.
Remember that you can insert a subscribe page inside your free gift to remind readers to come back to your blog and join your list. If the gift is truly original and informative, people will want more of your stuff and won’t have any problem subscribing in the future to get it.
Your blog is a means of building relationships with readers, but only if you treat them with care. Your readers are an intelligent bunch; therefore, don’t try to be something you’re not. Be genuine. Readers recognize BS when they see it. People want to know they are dealing with someone who is trustworthy. It’s important to be transparent.
With so many blogs available on the Internet, it’s not enough to have great content; you need to stand above the rest. You can achieve this by being authentic, making your blog look differently, openly communicating with people, and freely giving back to the community.
How to Uncover Hot Topics for Your Blog
When you’re simultaneously writing for a newsletter and blog you’re going to come across days when you can’t think of anything to share with readers. Before you know it, your newsletter is suffering, the blog seems out-of-date, and your idea bank is empty.
Yet, others in your industry are going strong. They seem to be equipped with unlimited ideas. Where are they finding the topics to write about? They come from people who are talking and if you look in the right places, you can uncover topics worth talking and writing about, too.
Start your search through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Regardless of which industry your writing revolves around, you can find an ample amount of ideas from which to write about through either of these resources.
Not only does this provide you with new ideas, but it also tells you which topics are currently on the HOT list. If other marketers are talking about certain issues, this means readers are interested in the subject matter and you could help them learn more.
If you find questions, provide the answers. If people complain about a problem, offer the solution. If there are concerns circling a health issue, share your views or the opinions of other leading experts.
How to Find Hot Topics, Instantly
Look at your Facebook news feed or Twitter hash tags. Pick a few discussions and contemplate how to tie them in with your audience. Even though some topics are in the spotlight more often than others, a difference of opinion can make for an interesting story.
For example, let’s assume you’re in the marketing industry, but the discussion trend is regarding stress-related heart attacks; your next blog post could be about the rise in heart attacks among younger Internet marketers. Notice how a little ingenuity can make for great content?
By combining two topics and reporting how they are related to each other, the possibilities for blog posts are endless. Include analytic data found on websites, such as Forrester.com and Quantcast.com, to help boost the authority of your journalism. Ask readers to get involved and comment on your blog.
Pick the conversations that are being “Liked” on Facebook or those that have plenty of feedback and tune in to what people are saying. Could you craft an article based on the comments and provide your personal views? I believe you can.
Did you ever notice how industry bloggers come together and agree why they like a product, but they all seem to have different reasons for liking it? They may report on a specific benefit, but they all agree the product is the next best thing to sliced bread.
Disagree with what other marketers are saying and stir up a little debate. While they’re all gung-ho and reporting how wonderful product X is, you can take the road less traveled and write what the product lacks. Likewise, you could provide a thorough review that highlights the good points as well as the bad.
You can uncover hot topics for your blog if you go where the people are talking. Use Facebook and Twitter to locate the latest topic trends and blog about them in a style that makes sense to your readers, but don’t be afraid to stir up a little controversy. Enjoy the journey of being unique!
When you operate a blog, it’s important to update it with fresh content. The search engines like blogs with up-to-date journalism and readers like them, too. Likewise, looking after this important task can be frustrating and time consuming. However, you have options!
Either write several posts in advance, and then release them on a schedule, or add a new blog entry when you have something to say. Additionally, you can hire a freelancer to write posts and later enter them to your blog, but this requires payment.
Option #1 – Scheduled Posts
You may find that releasing scheduled blog posts keeps you on track. Not only does it help you build content up quicker, it keeps readers, followers, and customers returning to your blog because it’s active.
It’s the perfect format to offer up a series, too. For some, it’s very hard to write about different topics, consistently. However, a series of blog posts are easier to write in one sitting since they cover the same subject matter.
If you’re not the type of person to write for hours, which you need to do in order to prepare posts in advance, scheduling content may not be for you. It also means you could be missing out on opportunities to blog about the latest topic trends.
As an affiliate marketer, scheduled posts are hard to coincide with the latest product releases at a time when they are hottest. When posts are outgoing on a schedule, it’s difficult to make them mesh with new product launches unless you have inside knowledge.
Option #2 – Random Posts
Random posting means you have an opportunity to think about what you want to relate to your readers. Naturally, when you’re primed to communicate, writing is easier. Posts of this nature tend to be better because you’re motivated and not forced to write. You may find writing becomes more fun, too!
Consider becoming a curator. Take the liberty of sharing what you read on other blogs. Add your opinion and invite readers to retort. This is a means of getting people to return to your blog, especially when they like controversy and deflating an opinion.
Random writing provides flexibility for your journalism. You aren’t tied down to a schedule and therefore have the freedom to conduct case studies, which you can blog about at your convenience. Allow guest bloggers to help educate your readers, too.
Even with unplanned posts, keep your topics on track. Unrelated topics can make your blog appear less focused. If possible, don’t allow your marketing blog to ramble on about personal health issues. You could lose readers.
Unfortunately, once-in-a-blue-moon posts aren’t enough to keep a blog effective and buzzing with activity. The concept of being able to post at random is nice, but some readers may get the idea that your blog is going stale if it isn’t updated on a regular basis.
Option #3 – Outsourced Posts
Outsourcing your posts is imminent when you understand the importance of maintaining a blog, but you simply don’t have the time to do it alone. You can locate qualified freelancers across the Internet, available for hire.
Employing a professional to do the work for you obviously means an outlay of cash, but your blog is updated more frequently and attracting fresh eyes. Furthermore, additional posts stack up the exposure your blog receives through search engines.
Maintaining a blog is hard work. You must keep it updated with fresh content to build your brand, attract repeat visitors, and fill the search engines with optimized pages. Either commit to scheduled posts, regular random writing, or hire a freelancer. The decision is yours, but the final payoff is far too great for you to ignore.
How to Build Your Brand through Blogging
You can build your brand through blogging when you take an active role in spreading the word about who you are and what you do. If you want people to hire you, buy your products, and listen to what you have to say then you must be visible, reachable, and known within a community.
Blogs are media tools with a purpose to serve an audience. Blog pages and posts are promotional tools that relate stories about you, enhance your expertise, and validate your authority in the marketplace. Blogging can provide you with more money, traffic, and visibility.
However, you must open up to readers and be willing to inject your personality within a post. In turn, readers will reward you by sticking around longer, returning more often, and recommending you to others. Blogging is a way to build your brand, rapidly.
Methods for Building Your Brand
Transparency is significantly important as a blogger. Therefore, do not be afraid to show your audience the real you because it builds trust.
Share your success stories and lessons learned. Relate the good, bad, and the ugly of conducting business within your industry. Your audience will appreciate hearing the truth. Success is a milestone you achieve by being transparent and helping people get what they want.
Announcements are necessary as a blogging enthusiast. After you finish a blog post or page, publicize it through Twitter and Facebook. You want an audience to share in the conversation and this is not possible unless you proclaim the content exists.
Twitter and Facebook have millions of users tweeting and liking on a daily basis. Imagine the impact on your business if your brand received exposure through these social media giants! Add icons to the end of your blog posts and allow readers to share your written expertise with their connections.
Over-delivery is essential for the expert blogger and you will feel satisfaction from giving more than you receive. While other writers are vague and expecting money for their guidance, you are giving freely – encouraging and educating. You are a helper.
Eventually, people will notice you are different and flock to you. Followers will fall in love with how you reveal and teach. They will share their feelings with associates, without hesitation. Excitement is contagious!
Give people something to brag about and build your brand through blogging. Branding is one of the most important facets of building an online reputation because when people are bragging (i.e. marketing) about/for you – your sphere of influence grows and success soon follows.
Find Resources for Sharing Your Blog Posts
When you author a blog, the first rule of thumb is to write impressive posts. Then you follow up by hitting the publish button. Ideally, you should know how to spread the word, rather than relying on chance. There are the usual methods, such as Twitter and Facebook, but here are other ways to be certain you are engaging with readers.
Blogplay.com offers a Sociable WordPress plugin that allows your readers to share your content across social media websites. The plugin is completely free to use and has recently been updated to include larger icons. Any blogger wanting to extend reach across popular media platforms will benefit from installing this tool. I am one of the many bloggers to use Bloglovin, and another one of my personal faves is Blogarama.
Getting the word out about your blog is necessary if you want to build backlinks and traffic to your pages and posts. Join resources that are willing to share your content and help you build rapport with new readers. Continually search for better alternatives.
Naturally, if you want to get the best mileage from sharing your content through third party facilities, search for outlets that interact with an audience similar to your blog community. They are the people who are most likely interested in the topics you cover.
Increase your market reach when you share your blog posts. Your job does not end by writing a post and clicking the publish button. You must take an active seat to promote your blog stories. Start using the resources discussed above, in addition to Facebook and Twitter, and spread the news about your valuable content everywhere!