You have the ideas and expertise. You have the ability with your blog to project them in a way that has more meaning than contained in the static pages of your website. Those rad folks that truly get what it means to blog, blog in a way that engages readers, building traffic and community and ultimately, increasing sales and loyalty for their business.
We know you’ve worked hard to get into the blogosphere, with your new dynamic website and built-in WordPress blog, so watch for these 5 mistakes that can kill your blog before it ever gets off the ground so you can implement ways to make your blog successful.
1. You blog about meaningless jargon
Blogs work because deep down people want other people, such as companies, brands or even journalists, to speak their language, sans the meaningless jargon. People want to know that those they give their time, energy or business to are there with them. People want more and blogs can give them just that. The New York Times operates around 50 public-facing blogs that are linked into and out of the paper’s coverage. There is a near seamless connection between the traditional coverage and the blog posts.
2. You stuff the whole enchilada into a blog fit for a tapa
We get that you want to wow your readers with your thoughts and ideas. You’ve got a lot to say and your blog is your new voice to say it to whoever may be listening.
For one, too many thoughts and ideas isn’t effective for search – that uber important concept called search engine optimization or SEO, which is, in fact, one of major reasons you’re blogging to begin with. The search engines want your blog focused on “that thing” you’re blogging about. Essentially, it’s preferable to know one thing well when it comes to your blog, supporting your blog’s keywords and tags, than to include everything under the sun in a single blog post. Not only does this throw off the search engines, as they’re not sure what the hell the point of your blog is, you may also be taking your reader in circles with a story that goes in too many directions. Think back to your first writing class. Remember how you were tasked to “find your one big idea and support that”?
What do you want your readers to take from your blog post, what’s the big deal and why is it worth their time?
3. Your heart’s not in it
Don’t bore your readers with stories they can’t connect with. Your blog is your opportunity to make a connection through your words. And in a world where the veils have come down and people can actually tell you what they think about you – for the good, the bad and the ugly – be yourself, and let that good in your brand shine through.
Dispassionate prose might work in a debate but it won’t get you far in a blog.
A few guidelines that may help:
– Write about something engaging
– Write as if you’re talking to a friend
– Use stories and metaphors to make your point
– Decide where you stand and stick with it
– Be bold, whether it’s beautiful or a little jarring, one thing’s for sure, it will stand out
4. You write from the book
A blog post is a far cry from an English essay. You have no one to please but your readers, and consequently if you’re writing to please, you probably won’t get too many words on the page. Try starting a sentence with an ‘and’, and throw in some fragments to keep your readers engaged and keep your content interesting. Why not? Try out some short voice, or trigger, words to invoke emotion as well as some short sentences and paragraphs.
5. You don’t edit, or actually even reread, your work
It takes my husband hours to get something onto a page. Never mind something creative. It’s harder for him to write without over thinking the content, grammar or style. When you’re writing your first draft, just write, especially when blogging, or you won’t easily get beyond the first paragraph. You can tidy up details and edit spelling when you’re done.
When you’re editing, try things like:
– Checking paragraph length
– Removing redundant words
– Using bullet points to recap and add some breathing space
– Check your word length; nobody likes a word snob. You can probably replace unnecessarily long words with others that are easier to chew.
– Don’t just edit once. You’ll make your content stronger and more appealing if you edit a few times.
So will changing how you blog really help your blog live a long and radiant life rather than sinking into blogdom?
In short, yes.
Blogs are a more personal form of communication. People like them because they’re the fluff-removed, plug-free, stripped-down content they can relate to. If you gain followers, they’re following a conversation you’ve begun. Keep talking and have fun.
As always, we’re here if you need help.
Christina | The Savy Agency