With social media continuing to grow at an absurd pace, more and more people are trying to reach new people and markets through blogging.
If you want to be successful at blogging, there are a few things to do/consider. I am not even talking about content yet.
Think of this stuff as the preparation for the game. The content is the actual event. Yes, Allen Iverson, we are talking about practice.
Know your target audience
Before you even start putting pen to paper, or in this case fingers to keyboard (dictating doesn’t count, that is just lazy), you need answer one question “Who am I writing to?”
If you don’t have an answer to that, how are you going to know what is important to them? The content you eventually come up with needs to be targeted to your audience.
Blogging and not knowing your target audience is like driving to New York from Los Angeles without MapQuest directions in the early 2000s… good luck!
Ok, now you know who your target audience is. Your next task is to find information that is relevant and important to THEM!
Listen to what they are saying. What are other bloggers in the same field currently writing about? What are the trending topics?
There are a few tools/ sites that you can use to help identify what is trending:
- Twitter – follow influential people in your field or industry
- Facebook’s biased trending topics
- Feedly (a blog database for literally anything)
- Google alerts
All of these are good mediums bloggers can use to identify topics important to their audience are good tools to start.
Have Measurable Goals and a Plan
One of my old mentors used to have me do an exercise every quarter. He would tell me to write down my goals. Make more connections/build my network. Be healthier. Yada yada yada. There were a few things wrong with my goals:
- I didn’t have a way of measuring my success
- I didn’t have a plan of how I was going to achieve those goals. If I didn’t have a way of measuring it, how would I know if I was on the right track?
Having measurable goals and steps on how I planned on achieving those goals have been crucial to my development and success.
Figure out what your goals are. “By 2020 I want to have generated $500,000 in new business.” “I will have 12 new clients by 2018.” Write them down and make a plan.
Appearances DO Matter!
You know the famously overused sayings, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” or “Beauty comes from the inside”. If we were talking about people, then those are usually true. But when you are trying to make yourself standout as a thought leader, those probably aren’t the best phrases to follow.
By NO MEANS am I saying to write crap and just spend all of your time making it look pretty. But there are a few simple things you can do to actually not make it an eyesore
- Make it easy to view on the eyes
- Use subheaders or BOLD for key points
- Do not write a novel! About 500 words is a nice post size
- Pictures, block quotes, bullets are A OK!
There are many other things that one can do to help stand out, i.e. have really good content, network the hell out of their blog, having original content as well as opinion pieces, etc. They will ultimately be what makes or breaks a good blog.
Knowing your audience, having measurable goals and a plan, and taking visualization into account will be crucial to finding relevant content and ultimately your blog’s success.
Be sure to look for my next post, Blogging 102: Content, Networking & Opinions!
Edited photo by Kaboompics