The Importance of Posting Often

The Importance of Posting OftenHow often do you publish new content to your blog? Are you staying consistent with your posting schedule?

Many of us tend to let a day or a week go by without doing what we originally set out to do. When we miss one week, what happens? We usually end up missing multiple weeks!

There is something about consistency that enables us to stay engaged and motivated. When we stop and start all over again, it can feel as though all momentum was lost. In a manner of speaking, it was!

In this post, I’m going to explore why posting often is so important, and how to stay motivated so that you won’t lose your forward drive.

The Importance of Consistency

Here are several important reasons to remain consistent with content production:

  • Accountability: following through on your plans boosts your self-trust and confidence. Producing frequently also enables you to stay on top of marketing goals.
  • SEO and search traffic: we all know that blog posts can generate organic traffic for our websites. However, we never know when a post might hit it big. It might be the next one.
  • Reputation: over time, your audience is going to come to expect you to deliver high quality content on a regular basis. If you want to continue to build trust and credibility with your audience, you’re going to want to meet and even exceed expectations.
  • Authority: don’t forget; your competition is working hard to outrun you. If you miss a day, and you keep missing more days, you could be dethroned from your position of authority. Or, your audience might begin to look to your competition for the information they need.

Even when we feel like we know these things, we can still fall behind on our duties. Why? Because fear doesn’t motivate us. So, how do we stay motivated?

How to Stay Motivated

A lack of organization and orderliness can stifle motivation. Stay motivated by creating a workable plan for yourself. Here are several suggestions:

  • Create an editorial calendar: develop an editorial calendar, share it with your team members, and collaborate on future blog topics. There is power in numbers.
  • Develop a content marketing plan: much like your business needs a plan, your content strategy needs a plan too. When you know what you are building towards and you genuinely feel like you are contributing, your motivation will soar.
  • Study: you never know where inspiration might come from. Remember to keep your passion aflame by committing to personal growth. Continue to learn about your industry, and also learn about other subjects that interest you.
  • Create blog post templates: we all run out of content ideas from time to time. You can curtail creative drought by developing templates for different styles of blog posts. Come up with new and interesting title ideas and keep playing with different formats.
  • Write every day: if you write every day, you won’t have to worry about a loss of momentum. You don’t necessarily have to write content for your business or website; you can simply make it a goal to write something every single day.

These are just a few examples of things you can do to stay motivated. If there are any other ideas that have worked for you in the past, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Conclusion: Posting Often

Posting often is easy when it’s easy, and it’s hard when it’s hard.

In other words, when you’re on a roll, the ideas keep coming and inspiration doesn’t seem to run dry. However, when creative drought hits, it gets harder to produce regular, value-adding content.

Make sure to take advantage of your “high points” to plan well in advance of your “low points”. That way, you will still have plenty of ideas to work with when you are in the midst of a slump.

If you still find that you’re falling behind on content production, it might be time to hire a writer. Please get in touch with me, and let’s see if we can work together to solve your content challenge.

How to Populate Your Editorial Calendar

How to Populate Your Editorial CalendarIn an earlier post, I walked you through the process of creating an editorial calendar for your blog. This is an invaluable tool to have in your kit, as it will enable you to stay on top of your blogging duties.

However, you may be a little unsure as to how to proceed from there. Maybe you’re stuck in analysis paralysis; trying to figure out the perfect keyword combinations to use in your posts. Or, perhaps you can’t think of compelling headlines to use in your posts.

Whatever your challenge may be, here are some tips for fleshing out your editorial calendar.

The Title

In an earlier post, I discussed how to create engaging titles for your posts. I would encourage you to refer to that post if you want to generate more titles for your calendar.

In addition, consider optimizing your titles using these tips:

  • Ask questions: for example, ‘How Do I Set Up A WordPress Blog?’.
  • Avoid clichés: use adjectives that are less commonly used. For example, ‘The Loveliest Social Media Tools’.
  • Make it about the reader: put more of your focus on the reader. For example, ’10 Things Every Podcaster Ought To Know’.
  • Make in enticing: use words like ‘exclusive’, ‘surprising’, ‘shocking,’, ‘astonishing’, ‘exciting’, and ‘reveal’.
  • Use numbers: particularly at the beginning of headlines. For example, ’32 Ways to Lose Weight’.
  • Have fun: fun wins over serious every time. Craft titles that have a light and breezy quality to them.

Don’t forget; you should be using your target keywords in the titles of your posts as well.

Additionally, it may be worth studying viral headlines on a site like Reddit. Curiosity tends to draw people in, so if you can pique people’s interest, you can get more of them to click and visit your blog. Of course, the content of your posts matters too, so don’t get in the habit of under-delivering, as this could harm your reputation.

Notes

Maybe you found an article that you want to model one of your posts after. Or maybe your manager or someone on your team submitted an outline for a future post. Or maybe there are articles and news items you need to refer to in an upcoming post. These are all perfect things to put in your ‘Notes’ section.

Your notes do not need to be exhaustive to be useful. Some people like to put together their post outlines in Evernote and link to them from their notes. Others like to put a few keywords or list items in the notes section. Still others hardly use the ‘Notes’ column.

The important thing is to find a system that works for you. If you are prone to forgetting what inspired you in the first place, it would be a good idea to get in the habit of jotting more of those ideas down as inspiration hits. If, on the other hand, you tend to conceptualize posts far in advance of them being published, you may not need to track as many details.

Publish Date

Very simply, you need to space out the posts in your calendar according to your publishing schedule. For example, if you’ve decided that you want to post three times a week, you need to decide on which days you want those posts to appear on your blog.

We’ll say, for example, that you are launching your blog in May, and you want the first post to appear on your blog on the 5th. If you want to have a little bit of time in between each post, you might consider scheduling the next two posts for the 7th and 9th. If, on the other hand, you want to take some time to deliberate on posts that were published that week (and see how they performed), you might schedule them for the 5th, 6th and 7th.

Conclusion: Your Editorial Calendar

Don’t forget; you are not a slave to your schedule. You and your team need to decide how often posts get published, and what makes the most sense for your marketing plan.

Make tweaks to your strategy as you go. Don’t be too quick to jump ship, as it can take time for your blog to gain traction, but keep tweaking and experimenting until you find messages that resonate with your audience.

So, if you need help in setting up your editorial calendar, that’s what I’m here for. Please get in touch with me so we can discover how a properly maintained calendar can benefit your blogging schedule.

How to Create Blog Post Templates

How to Create Blog Post TemplatesDeveloping blog post templates can help you to streamline your writing schedule. This isn’t to say that every post you write should follow the same formula, or that all of the posts need to be structured in the same manner. Rather, in your ongoing content creation efforts, it is helpful to have tools in your kit that you can access at any time.

Moreover, it is easy to run out of content ideas. Creating templates can serve to get your creative juices flowing when you need to get a new blog post published, but you’re just not sure what to write about next.

Of course, there is one caveat. You should avoid duplicate content at all costs. Even when you are following the steps outlined in a template, you still have to customize your posts and add your own perspective to the subject you are writing about.

Key Points to Identify Upfront

If you intend to create focused content for your website visitors, these key points should be determined and addressed upfront:

  • Your target audience: who is your target customer? What would they be interested in learning about?
  • Your search terms: if you’ve selected specific keywords you want to rank for in search, you should be putting considerable effort into writing on those subjects.
  • Your goals: what do you want to share with your audience? What is the primary takeaway of your post going to be? What actionable steps can your readers take after reading?

At this stage, you may also want to create a rough outline for the points you want to cover in your post.

Brainstorm Titles

I’ve talked about creating engaging titles before. Make sure to refer to that guide for generating great post titles.

Beginning the writing process without a title is sort of like throwing darts without a dartboard; you don’t know what you’re aiming at.

Even if you don’t have a concrete title yet, take some time to develop a few ideas that you think would be suitable for the post you’re about to write.

Develop a Structure for the Introduction of Your Post

A compelling introduction should draw people in to your post. There are many ways to engage readers with your introduction, though we will likely address that subject in more detail another time.

In general, the structure of your introduction should be built on the following considerations:

  • The subject matter of your post: readers should be able to get a sense of what you are about to discuss.
  • The issues relevant to the post’s topic: if you are writing a how-to guide or a tutorial, it’s important to discuss common problems your readers might be experiencing.
  • The goal of your post: tell your reader how you are going to solve their problem. Or, tell them what they are going to learn, or what they are going to gain from reading your post.

From here, you will also want to create a transition from your introduction that leads into the body of your post.

Develop a Structure for the Body of Your Post

It is generally a good idea to break up your posts using headings, in the same manner that books have chapters. A new heading below your introduction will indicate to your reader that you are moving onto the meat of the discussion.

As you progress through the body of your post, you will likely want to use headings for each new step in the learning process.

Finally, you’ll want to develop another transition that guides readers onto the conclusion.

Develop a Structure for the Conclusion of Your Post

The conclusion of your post may contain any final tips or tools that you want your reader to take advantage of. It could also simply be a summary of what you have covered in the post, and why the solutions you have offered will help them. You might use both.

The conclusion is also a good spot to create a call to action. If you want your reader to leave a comment, you might want to ask a relevant question at this stage. Other calls to action might include: download links, purchase links, subscription forms, etc.

Put it All Together

Thus far, I’ve discussed the different components that your blog posts should contain. These elements were addressed in a general sense, but depending on the type of post you are creating, your template will differ considerably.

I suggest opening a new document in your favorite word processor to create your templates. Here’s an example:

Blog Post Template example

Conclusion

When it comes right down to it, I believe in experimentation. For some people, thoughtful and reflective 200 word posts work well. For others, detailed, actionable 2,000 word posts work better. Some may even like to vary it up from time to time.

Templates will help you to avoid unproductive staring-at-the-screen type moments.

So, if you don’t know how to go about creating templates, or if you’d like to get more organized, I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me, and let’s take a look at how blog templates can help your ongoing content creation efforts.

How to Find a Niche for Your Blog

How to Find a Niche for Your BlogTrying to find a blog niche can raise many questions in one’s mind.

If I start writing on this topic, will I be able to make money? If I wrote about this subject, would more people engage with my blog? Will I be able to build a community with my blog?

Don’t let analysis paralyze you. Even if your first blog doesn’t succeed, you can learn from the experience. Repeated failure can actually help you to iterate, improve and develop a more successful strategy down the line.

Let’s begin this discussion by understanding what niches are and why they’re important.

What is a niche?

A niche is quite simply a theme or a topic. It refers to the subject matter of your blog. Defining a niche will guide the direction of the information you provide as a blogger.

In most cases, when marketers mention niches, they are referring to very tightly defined subjects. For example, where ‘music’ would be considered a broader topic, ‘top 40 songs that contain xylophone’ would be a narrower niche.

Why pick a niche?

Most marketers look for niches in markets that people are disproportionately passionate about. This allows them to connect with a “ready” audience that wants to discuss and learn more about their interests and passions. This type of audience is also more likely to purchase information products or affiliate offers.

This is called a profitable niche. If you are interested in monetizing your blogging efforts, this is what you are looking for.

If money is not your primary focus, there are still several other good reasons to pick a niche. Consider the following:

  • Establish yourself as an authority: it’s easier to brand yourself as an expert if you continually dig deeper into a tightly focused subject.
  • Encourage discussion: as you build a reputation for specializing in a particular field, you will develop relationships with people that want to know more about it. This will stimulate more sharing, engagement, and discussion on your blog.
  • For personal fulfillment: you can concentrate on a topic that really excites and interest you. You don’t have to talk about other things if you don’t want to.

Here are several guiding questions that can help you to decide on a niche:

What are you good at?

If you are still going to school, or if you’ve chatted with a career counselor lately, or if you are regularly in touch with your parents, this question (and the next question) has probably come up very recently.

People aren’t necessarily passionate about what they’re good at, but if the two points intersect, it can foster longevity.

Ultimately, I don’t think this is the best question in helping you to decide on a niche, but if it’s something you’re good at, there is always the possibility that you could teach it too.

What are you passionate about?

People aren’t always good at what they’re passionate about. Does this mean that you shouldn’t blog about it? No, not at all.

In fact, there are examples of many people, like Pat Flynn, who started documenting their journey as they were on it. This approach to blogging can give your blog a very personal and sincere tone if you are committed to being transparent.

Passion niches can also be very profitable. Think about it. How much money money do people spend on hobbies like golf, fishing, or hunting?

What could you see yourself writing about indefinitely?

Regardless of how you intend to use your blog, it usually requires that you develop a long-term vision for it.

If you want to build an engaged community, it’s going to take time. If you want to make money, it’s going to take time. If you want to promote yourself, your business, your services or products, it’s going to take time.

Therefore, if you can’t see yourself writing about a particular niche over the long haul, it may not be the right one for you.

What kind of results are you looking for?

This approach involves determining what you hope to achieve with your blog. Rather than selecting a niche based on what you are good at or what you are passionate about, you can pick a niche based on what you want to achieve.

For example, if you have financial goals, you can seek out profitable niches. If you want to build a community, you can seek out passion niches. Oftentimes, the two actually intersect.

If there is someone out there that has the results you want, then you should consider asking them how they accomplished what they did and how you can implement their methods.

Who is your competition?

If you are planning on creating a blog in a highly competitive field, make sure you are doing it with some awareness of who and what you are competing with. Making blind, uneducated decisions could land you in a market that already has adequate guidance and little or no room for another personality.

One way to find out what kind of interest and competition there is for a specific keyword is to use Google Ads Keyword Planner. Additionally, this tool can help you to discover search terms or long-tail keywords that you may not have thought of using before.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you can pick whatever niche you want. You don’t have to find a low-competition high-return niche to start a blog. If there is something you want to blog about, there is nothing stopping you.

However, it should be with the understanding that – unless you put some strategy behind it – you may not get the type of traction you want. Your content may not get shared, and your mailing list may not grow.

Are you looking for a niche to blog about? If so, I am here to help. Please get in touch with me so we can come up with a plan for your niche blog.

How to Target Your Audience with Your Blog Posts

How to Target Your Audience with Your Blog PostsAre you wondering how you can reach out to more people with your blog? Are you trying to create content that appeals to your target audience?

Part of developing a content marketing plan is taking the time to understand your market. But how do you do that?

Ask!

How well do you know your audience? If you answered “not at all”, then your blog posts aren’t going to connect with them as well as they should.

Market research is neither easy nor quick, but the benefit of asking the right questions and getting responses from your target customer is ultimately invaluable.

When you really think about it, it also gives you the opportunity to turn cold contacts into leads. People like to talk about themselves, and asking for their feedback and opinion is a good way to esteem them. Moreover, it’s a chance for you to let them know what you are doing, and they may even become interested in your business as a result.

There are a variety of different ways to communicate with your target community members. You can’t underestimate the value of face-to-face interaction, but talking to several hundred or even several thousand people over lunch could prove challenging. Here are some other ways to gather feedback:

  • Phone calls: the next best thing after in-person communication is a phone call. You can pick up the tone of people’s voices and get a better sense of who they are and what they value over the phone.
  • Email: you can send out personally addressed emails and ask pertinent questions. With email, it’s important to keep things personal. If your message is too business-oriented, you may not get a response as it may come across as too salesy (“salesy” is not really a word, but you know what I mean).
  • Email campaigns: you can solicit feedback using your email campaigns. You may not get many responses this way, but if you use effective call to actions and other tools to connect, you will likely see better results.
  • Surveys: many email marketing services now allow you to attach or create surveys for your campaigns. This is a great way to get a sense of what your existing audience wants.
  • Video conferencing: you can use tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, or other video conferencing solutions to collect data. These options are almost as good as in-person conversations.

Of course, you need to know what questions to ask. Without a fairly consistent plan, it’s going to prove difficult to find trends and commonalities in your data.

In my mind, these are the most important questions to ask:

  1. What is your goal/objective/dream/vision?
  2. What is your biggest challenge?
  3. What would help you overcome these challenges?
  4. What would it mean for you if you could overcome these challenges?

Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery discuss the subject of understanding your audience in more detail in episode 221 of their podcast. The aforementioned questions come from that episode.

In asking these questions, there are several important things you need to pay attention to:

  • The language that your audience uses to describe their challenges. How do they communicate? What words do they use?
  • The goals that your audience identified. It may seem pretty common sense, but you should note what your community members are interested in accomplishing.
  • The problems that your audience identified. What pressing needs do they have right now? What is their greatest challenge?
  • The solution your audience is seeking. How can you provide what they are asking for and in what format?

Depending on the market you are trying to reach, they may respond best to different mediums. Blog posts alone can take a variety of different formats, but if you were to use graphics, whitepapers and PDFs, audio (podcasts) and video to connect with your audience, you would have a variety of options to consider.

Fundamentally, this process is about creating the content that best connects with your target audience. Some may prefer to read, while others may want to listen or watch. Focus on generating what benefits them.

Conclusion: Target Your Audience

When you take the time to understand your audience and speak their language, you will create powerful magnetic content that will draw them in.

Are you attracting the right kind of people to your blog? If not, don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for. Please get in touch with me so that we can discuss how we can better connect with your target audience.

How to Build Credibility with Your Blog

How to Build Credibility with Your BlogA blog can help to cultivate credibility for your business. It shows that you are willing to allocate time and resources towards developing a relationship with your audience. People tend to feel better about a company that produces their own customized content.

However, a disused blog won’t do you much good. In fact, it might even harm your reputation. If your blog hasn’t been updated in a while, it might be time to delete it or find someone else to manage it (but we’ll get to that a little later).

In this post, I am going to take a look at a few simple things you can do that will build trust with your readers, leads and customers.

Post New Content Consistently

Without regular content additions to your blog, you’re going to find that building credibility is going to be an uphill battle. Consistency will build anticipation, and anticipation will help to solidify your readership. Social proof can play a part in appearing credible, and the more readers you have, the more comments and social shares you will likely have.

In the eyes of a reader, a neglected blog is going to look both unprofessional and untrustworthy. Make sure to develop a plan for content creation and post regularly.

Provide Relevant Information

If your blog doesn’t address a fairly narrowly defined niche, you may find it challenging to gain a solid footing with it. For example, if you offer online guitar lessons, your blog should be on a topic that compliments the subject matter. You might provide your users with reviews and consumer reports, or gear recommendations and instrument maintenance tips.

Though it is sometimes worthwhile to take inspiration from outside sources, don’t deviate too far from your core message. Stay steady, and keep producing content that supports the marketing message of your business.

Provide Useful Information

Relevant and useful content can sometimes go hand-in-hand. When you consistently create content pertinent to your industry, it can help to draw in people that share the same interests.

With that in mind, a lot of people conduct searches and go online to get answers to their questions. By providing your user base with how-to guides, tutorials, tips & tricks and other resources, you can generate more organic traffic for your blog.

Create posts that help people, and your credibility will grow.

Solicit Participation

A blog can help to start conversations with your target audience. If you are making it a point to discuss relevant industry subjects, readers are going to want to weigh in with their thoughts too.

As was hinted at earlier, a significant number of comments on any post can build trust with your readers. It is an indicator that a large number of people read your blog and have the desire to interact with you.

The more readers you have, the more relevant you will ultimately appear.

Conclusion: Build Credibility with Your Blog

The purpose of building credibility with your audience is to increase conversion rates and your bottom line. A regularly updated blog will not only stimulate more user engagement, it will generate more mailing list subscribers, leads and customers as well.

Marketing has increasingly become more about offering value first. In the online world, the best way to accomplish this task is to have a well-maintained blog. Marketing isn’t just about building awareness for your brand anymore. It’s about developing relationships with your audience and providing them with guides and tutorials that they can use and act on.

Though traditional forms of marketing can still be effective, if you want to reach more people online, it is worth considering the advantages of content marketing.

So, if you aren’t sure how to go about building credibility for your blog, I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me and let’s discuss how we can build more trust with your blog.

How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan for Your Blog

How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan for Your BlogIn this post, I am going to take a look at how to develop an effective plan for your content marketing efforts.

Fundamentally, your plan should be your own. There are many determining factors – including the type of business you run – that will change your overall approach.

With that in mind, here are several tips you can use to develop your blueprint.

Choose A Topic

No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to specify a focus for your blog. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to rank well for every keyword of your choosing. If you want to work smart – instead of just working hard – you’re going to want to have a clearly defined focal point for your blog.

More than likely, your focus will be on subjects that are relevant to your industry. If you have an email marketing service, for example, you would likely write about email marketing best practices, effective subject lines, proprietary software tutorials, and so on.

In short, your blog should support your business, and by creating content that your target audience is likely to be looking for, you can create more interest for your products or services.

Create An Editorial Calendar

I’ve talked about creating an editorial calendar for your blog already.

An editorial calendar will give you an at-a-view glance of work that you’ve already done and work that you’re about to do. You can use it to log your ideas, and you can also submit it to your manager or boss to show them what you’ve been working on.

Additionally, you can share your editorial calendar with others on your team, which will allow you to collaborate with them and flesh out more ideas.

Generate Ideas

At first, ideas for blog posts may seem to flow fairly easily. Then, over time, you may discover that it’s getting harder to generate new ideas. When it comes time to write, you end up staring at a screen without any kind of direction.

There are a variety of different ways to stimulate inspiration. Here are a few examples:

  • Stay up-to-date with your industry. If you are not in the habit of reading industry news, you may want to make it a higher priority. Paying attention to various news items and opinion pieces can stir new ideas for your own posts.
  • Vary your input. At times, learning about non-pertinent subjects and industries can spark brainwaves. Make it a point to study a variety of different topics.
  • Create a procedure. Blog posts, for the most part, tend to follow a common format. If you have a procedure list for how to develop interesting titles, simply going through your documented procedure may spark new inspiration.
  • Answer common customer questions. We’ve all experienced the frustration of having to answer the same customer questions over and over again. Creating a detailed guide for your blog and directing your customers to that resource can prove time-saving. Simultaneously, you can build credibility with your audience.
  • Answer questions you would like to be asked. While this may not be a high priority category, it can nevertheless help you to create more ideas for your posts. Consider the questions your customers should be asking, but aren’t. Create a post for each question.
  • Search Quora and answer relevant questions. Quora is a Q&A site where the user base asks and answers a variety of questions. If people are already asking a particular question to do with your industry, you know that they are looking for relevant answers. You can expand on the discussions and flesh out a full post to help these people.

Remember to keep a running list of your ideas, and continue to add to it as you think of more.

Develop Templates

Every writer has their own preferences and styles, and they all have their own unique approach to writing as well. However, once you have been in the habit of creating new content for a while, patterns will emerge, and habits will begin to form. This is a good time to start creating templates for yourself.

If you are developing new content on a regular basis, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. By using templates, you can expedite your process and make it more streamlined.

For example, you may want to create templates for each of these styles of posts:

  • How-to posts
  • List posts
  • The history-of posts
  • Industry news posts
  • etc.

The topic of developing templates will be covered in more detail in a future post.

Create Engaging Titles

Creating engaging titles is another topic that I’ve examined on this blog already.

To summarize, use basic copywriting practices to entice more clicks. Making the post informational in nature can generate more overall interest. Of course, it’s good practice to include relevant keywords as well.

Optimize Your Posts

It’s important to realize that optimizing your posts is going to take some planning. However, it is a crucial component to developing a long-term content marketing plan that works.

Optimizing your posts doesn’t just make them more discoverable on search engines like Google and Bing. It makes them easier to find with internal search as well. In other words, it helps your users and it improves your site’s navigation and interface.

Either learn to optimize as you are writing, or create some margin in your schedule to configure each post for search after it has been written.

Provide Useful Information

People like information that they can act on. By providing useful, actionable blog posts, you can ultimately attract more visitors to your website and build trust with them.

Self-promotion is rarely useful. Company news is rarely useful. Information that could easily be found elsewhere is not as compelling as it could be.

Instead, provide your followers with how-to guides, tutorials, white papers, PDFs, and other digital content that will benefit them.

Provide A Unique Perspective

Nobody’s blog posts are 100% original. They often pull from different sources and summarize the same points in their own words. We’ve all done it before.

However, it’s important to offer a unique perspective where you can. For example, some experts may feel that social media is the best way to promote their blog content. If you disagree, then talk about why, and talk about what has worked for you.

Don’t feel like your content has to be perfect to be valuable. The internet is a fairly forgiving place, all things considered. Moreover, adding your viewpoint to a topic could stimulate a discussion in the comments section. Originality fosters engagement.

Add New Content Regularly

Consistency is crucial to the success of your blog. Unless you have employees that are dedicated to this task, it can be difficult to keep up with it.

Even if you have to outsource the production of content, as many businesses are now opting to do, the long-term benefits of a regularly updated blog will outweigh the limited advantages of a rarely nurtured blog. The increased credibility alone is well worth the effort.

Ultimately, when you are adding new content regularly, more of it will be indexed and discovered in search as well.

Promote Your Content

No matter how much content you create, it still has to be promoted. Rather than seeing creation and marketing as two separate entities, it’s useful to see them as a connected whole.

For example, it’s easy to write content and just leave it or come back to it later. However, it takes a little more work and discipline to remain steady in promoting it immediately after it is published to your blog.

If you find it challenging to do so, create a procedure list for yourself. Outline everything that needs to happen once a blog post goes live (post to social media, submit to social bookmarking sites, email contributors, etc.).

Conclusion: Content Marketing Plan

Do you have a content marketing plan for your blog yet? If not, don’t worry; I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me so that we can come up with a content marketing plan that works for you.

Your Blog is Not a Business

Your Blog is Not a BusinessYou’ve probably heard all about the benefits of blogging. In the online word, content is king, and many businesses are investing more resources into content marketing than ever before. That is as it should be.

However, blogging in and of itself should not be confused for a business model. It is certainly possible to profit from a blog, but not without a well-defined plan and a sharp focus.

Just look at Darren Rowse; he doesn’t just have a blog. He’s an author of a book, he has a job board for bloggers seeking work, and he also has a forum where his audience can discuss pertinent topics. In short, he’s built more than a blog; he’s built an entire community. He’s also quite diversified in his monetization strategies.

Therefore, blogging is a fantastic tool for building a community around a product, a service, or a particular project. But it’s not a business unto itself.

So, if a blog is for community and not for business, how should we go about building our online communities?

Your Blog Should Engage Your Audience

It’s hard to develop a compelling social media strategy without creating new content on a regular basis. Though you can post interesting things that others have created – and it is certainly advisable to do so occasionally – that is traffic that you could be directing to your own website. More traffic can result in more leads and sales.

Email marketing is very much the same. What are you going to share in your newsletters if not for content that your subscribers are likely to be looking for? Targeted content can convert leads into buyers if it is compelling enough. Furthermore, if you aren’t engaging your non-buying subscribers from time to time, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Use your blog to engage your audience. Deliver content that makes people go “wow, I can’t believe they went out of their way to deliver that kind of value.”

Your Blog Should Support Your Business

The benefits of a regularly updated blog should be fairly clear. Search engines like blogs because they are keyword rich and are updated often with new content. Great blog posts are going to increase the traffic to your website because of their inherent SEO benefits. Additionally, anything that you publish today will stay online forever. The long-term compounding effect of more content is more traffic for your website. And that’s just the effect a blog can have on search.

A blog can also lend credibility to your business. As you create increasingly more value-adding content for your target audience, you will come to be seen as a trusted source of information in your particular industry. You will build a positive reputation for your business.

Use your blog to compliment your ongoing marketing activities. Grow your opportunities by generating great content on a regular basis.

Your Blog Should Provide Value

Though you may hope to increase sales through your blog – and that is a reasonable expectation – your primary focus should be on providing value first. When you create value, your website visitors are going to be more interested in following your social profiles and opting in for your newsletters. As a result, you will generate more leads that may also turn into customers.

Use your blog to create value, and more people are going to take interest in your business. If you make it a point to help people, they will think of you when it comes time to purchase a service or product like yours.

Conclusion

This post was not written with the intent of discouraging anyone from starting a blog. If it is something that you want to do, I’m not here to stop you.

Notwithstanding, it’s important to remember that your blog is not a product or service unto itself. It can help you to build your email list, website traffic, credibility and social followers. It can help you to build an engaged community too.

If you’re not sure how to go about building your blog community, you’re in luck. I am here to help.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s discuss how we can increase your blog traffic.

How to Create Engaging Titles for Your Blog Posts

How to Create Engaging Titles for Your Blog PostsOne of the difficult realities of blogging is that even if you create a great blog post, if you don’t frame it correctly, it won’t resonate with your audience. And by framing, I mean the title of the post.

More often than not, the first thing people see is the headline. A good title will draw people in. However, your post has to do more than draw people in. You still have to deliver the goods, or your readers won’t stick around.

In other words, both the title and the content are equally important. Notwithstanding, you have to start with a great title, because that’s the component that is initially going to grab the attention of your audience.

First…

Create a Working Title

You don’t have to start with a meticulously crafted post title, even though that is your end goal. If you have an editorial calendar, chances are good that you already have a title in mind for the post you’re writing.

If you don’t have a title, then you don’t have a focus for your post. If you don’t have a focus, you don’t really have a post at all.

In short, don’t worry about the final title until you know what your content piece is going to be about. You may find it beneficial to…

Write the Post First

If you have a working title, and you know what you want to say with your new post and what you want your audience to gain from it, then write the full post before revising the title. You should have a better idea of what you want to communicate with your content once the whole piece is written.

However, you should make sure to…

Avoid Deception

Even though the title needs to engage, it shouldn’t be misleading. If someone clicks on your post and the content disappoints, you will have a hard time creating a positive reputation with your audience. I know I hinted at that already, but it bears repeating.

Ensure that your post title accurately reflects the subject matter. Then…

Make it Informational

People online are often looking for great information. Terms like ‘how to’, ‘learn’, ‘what is’, ‘what are’, and ‘history of’ are known to pique people’s interest. Numbers are also great tools for devising a title.

Here are several examples of commonly used post titles that engage:

  • How to Promote Your Blog (How-to posts)
  • How to Make Money from your Blog without Ads (Benefit posts)
  • 22 Ways to Promote Your Blog (List posts)
  • Double Your Blog’s Traffic in 90 Days (Results posts)
  • Learn How to Write Blog Posts that Engage (Learning posts)
  • The Secret to Becoming a Six-Figure Blogger (Tutorial posts)
  • The History of Blog Marketing (History-of posts)

In other words, common copywriting practices are often used to create titles that people can’t help but click on. It is worthwhile to study basic copywriting if you want to craft appealing titles, but that’s another subject for another time.

Once you’ve settled on a format, don’t forget to…

Include Keywords

Remember to optimize your title by including relevant keywords. Even though you want your post’s title to be attention-grabbing, it also needs to accurately mirror the theme and focus of the entire post. Again, deception should be avoided.

For example, if you’ve settled on ‘The Secret to Becoming a Six-Figure Blogger’ as your post title, then your keyword is ‘six-figure blogger’.

With all of these considerations in mind, it’s time to…

Finalize the Title

You started with a working title. You wrote the post. You made sure that the title accurately reflects what the post is about. You made the title informational in nature (if applicable). You included several relevant keywords.

Now it’s time to finalize the title. Once you are sure that it conveys what your content piece is about, you are ready to hit ‘Publish”. If you think of a better title later, don’t worry. Blog posts can be edited.

Promote the Post

Even the best content still needs to be promoted. Make sure to distribute your new post to social networks, and promote it to your mailing list subscribers. Encourage your readers to share it and comment on it too!

Conclusion: Creating Engaging Titles

If you still aren’t sure how to go about crafting engaging titles for your posts, I would encourage you to get in touch.

I create content for a variety of different businesses on a myriad of topics, and I would love to work together with you on future projects.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

Do you have an editorial calendar for your blog yet? If not, your blogging efforts probably aren’t as effective or efficient as they could be.

By the end of this how-to guide, you will have your very own editorial calendar, and you will be much happier for it too!

The Benefits of Creating an Editorial Calendar

Before getting into the details of how to build an editorial calendar, let’s consider its primary benefits. After all, we’re mostly motivated by what we’re going to get out of it, aren’t we?

So, here’s what you have to gain:

  • An editorial calendar will help you to keep organized. When you know what posts need to be written for the following week or month, you won’t have to come up with new ideas at the last minute.
  • Your calendar will help you to develop content with an end goal in mind, instead of having to force a message in at the last minute.
  • An editorial calendar will keep you focused. When your post ideas are laid out in front of you, you can give yourself some time to mull over the posts before publishing them.
  • You can use your calendar as a to-do list, to help you develop your ideas as they come to you.

An Important Prerequisite

Before you create an editorial calendar, you should have a content marketing plan of sorts. Your content marketing strategy should outline your target keywords and define your ideal customer, follower or subscriber, so that you can create content to draw in your target demographic.

However, that is beyond the scope of this post. Don’t worry; I will be talking more about that in a future post.

How to Create Your Editorial Calendar in Google Drive

Google Drive is a fantastic tool that enables you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and a variety of other media. If you already have a Google account, you should be able to access Drive from drive.google.com. If not, you’ll want to go and create your account now.

Once you are logged in to Google Drive, simply click on the red ‘Create’ button in the upper left hand side, and click on ‘Spreadsheet’. For all intents and purposes, the spreadsheet tool should serve you well in creating and maintaining your editorial calendar.

Building an editorial calendar - creating a spreadsheet

At this point, the most important headings to create in your spreadsheet are ‘Title’, ‘Notes’, and ‘Publish Date’.

The Title, of course, is the title of the post you intend to create.

Your Notes section might include links to articles that you want to reference, or quotes from experts and influencers in your industry. You could also simply link to an Evernote note where you’ve stored all of the information you want to be included in that particular post.

The Publish Date, naturally, is the date you want the post to go live on your blog. Make sure to give yourself and/or your team adequate time to flesh out the post ideas they’ve been assigned.

What an editorial calendar looks like

This is what a basic editorial calendar looks like.

These three headings are absolute necessities, but if you’d like to go into more detail, you might consider adding the following titles to your calendar as well:

  1. Author: if there are multiple writers for your blog, you may want to create a section for contributing writers.
  2. Destination: if you regularly create guest posts or submit articles to other places, you may want to specify a destination for each of your posts.
  3. Status: if you’d like to mark finished posts as ‘complete’, ‘in progress’ or ‘incomplete’, you may find this heading helpful.
  4. Category: if you have multiple categories for your blog, which you likely do, you can pre-determine which category you intend to slot each post under.
  5. Tags: if you struggle to keep your blog tags organized, and you want to be more structured, you can take some time to think about what tags you want to attach to each of your upcoming posts. Don’t forget that tags are supposed to compliment search; in other words, if a blog post is tagged with ‘SEO’, people should be able to find other posts on your site about that topic by clicking on the tag anchor.
  6. Keywords: when you know what your keywords are going to be, it is much easier to write titles and headlines that help with your SEO efforts.
  7. Call to action: if you have a specific call to action that you want to highlight in a post, you can mark them down in a new cell on your calendar.

Share Your Calendar

Once you’ve created your editorial calendar, remember to share it with your team or other collaborators. After all, one of the benefits of creating your calendar using Google Drive is the ability to share it online.

When others can pitch in and add their ideas, it will ultimately benefit the content you create. Working together, you can develop a finished piece that is far better than what you could have conceived on your own!

Conclusion

If you need help setting up an editorial calendar, or you are looking for a writer to create content for your blog, I would encourage you to get in touch with me.

I blog for a variety of businesses on a variety of different subjects, and am more than happy to help. I look forward to hearing from you.