18 Dec 2020

Why Blogging is the 51st Shade of Grey

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How to write a blogBlogging can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be stressful and lonely. Sometimes, especially in the first few months, the effort can seem futile and unrewarding.

Do you feel like you’re torturing yourself by writing and maintaining a blog? Does the whole effort seem like a waste of time and energy?

Does your blog produce little, if any, of the results you want?

I know how you feel because I felt the same way. My blog wasn’t producing doing I expected, not by a long shot.

However, I stuck with blogging, and, over time, my blog started to produce results. I began getting qualified leads directly from my site, making sales, and generating interest in what I had to offer.

What did I do to produce successful results from my blog?

Well, there’s no doubt that blogging, done correctly, is a great way to build and reinforce your brand and maintain your credibility. On the other hand, when it is poorly done, you wind up wasting time and money with little to nothing to show for it, and it can feel like you are torturing yourself for no good reason.

I’ve known many people who spend countless hours writing articles, promoting and optimizing their blog without receiving significant results. Traffic was light, engagement was low, and income was non-existent.

On the other hand, I’ve carefully constructed my own blog (this website), and receive a constant stream of qualified leads directly from people who visit, read my articles, and want to do business. In this case, the income produced by my blog results when I follow up on those leads. While I do make some money from the products and books that I offer, that is not my primary focus.

I know of a few people, very few, who actually do make income directly from a product or service that they sell directly from their blog. Making a decent amount of money from affiliate products and services sold from a blog is extremely difficult, and the success rate is low.

What’s the Difference Between Blogging Success and Failure?

There are blogs that are wildly successful with hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. On the other hand, the vast majority struggle to get even a few visitors to their site, practically having to beg to get readers to even look at a single page.

What is the difference, without including those blogs that are backed by companies with very deep promotional pockets? How does the blog of a small business or individual get off the ground?

Purpose – An understanding of what you are trying to accomplish with your blog. In my case, my blog allows me to communicate my brand, which is the way others perceive me and my business. Before you do anything, understand what you are trying to achieve.

Professionalism – Regardless of your purpose, your blog must  present you as a professional and reinforce your image (brand). This, it must be well-designed, fast, clean, free of grammar and spelling errors, and so on.

Excellent content – All of your content must be excellent and provide extreme value to your readers. You can, and should, use video, graphics, infographics, and even audio clips to ensure your content is something that people not only want to read – they want to bookmark it and share it with their friends.

What is a Blog?

For a business or professional, a blog is a place on the web to call home. It’s a stable location where your customers, readers, followers, vendors and others can find you.

It’s a way to deliver your unique message and incredible content directly to your audience.

In practical terms, this means your content must deliver fantastic  value to your customers or readers. If you do that, over time they will want to return to your site again and again. Of course, you should combine this with your email list to give them a nudge now and them as you publish new articles and create new content.

So What Kind of Articles Should You Write?

You can create a successful blog that make money for you day in and day out. However, there are some things that you need to do to make that happen.

Find an Engaging Topic in your Niche

Don’t just write about anything on your mind. Write about topics related to your niche in some way that are exciting and interesting. If you are writing about air conditioning or trucking, for example, look for ways to make that resonate with your readers.

One of my clients wanted a series of blog articles about the trucking industry. Instead of presenting boring facts and figures, I created a series of 6 articles about the changes happening in that industry over the next year, decade and quarter century. Subjects included automated self-driving trucks, caravans of 50 to 60 trucks carrying only two drivers, and the impact of electronic documents on profits, unions and efficiency. Talk about engagement These topics are on the minds of virtually all management in the trucking industry, and the articles were very popular.

Take the Time to do Blogging Right

Blogs take time to become popular and well known, and building an audience of interested and engaged readers requires more than a few days, weeks or even months. You have to give people consistent, focused content regularly and frequently, and just as important, you must give them excellent content.

It will take time to attract your audience, gain their trust, and become their resource of choice about your subject. Be willing to take that time, and you’ll find an audience who knows, likes and trusts you, and hence will come back over and over to read what  you have to say.

Building a blog that attracts an audience takes time. If you don’t have the patience (and the skills) needed, then you’d be better off trying other methods of building your brand and promoting your message, products and services.

Reinforce your Brand and Goals

Every article, graphic, infographic,slideshow and anything else you put on your blog should be targeted towards your brand and help you meet your goals. A narrow focus is easier to promote than a wide focus, because people tend to want to deal with an expert in one or two fields as opposed to a “know it all”.

Create content that adds to your credibility about your subject. If your business has to do with the trucking industry, then write articles about trucking; if your niche is air conditioning, than that’s the subject for your content.

It’s okay to stray once in a while, and include other articles and content about other subjects, but keep it to a minimum. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your audience and, if they get confused, they won’t come back.

The Big Mistakes About Blogging

A blog is not just a pile of articles. In fact, one of the most common mistakes that businesses and individual make is believing all they need to do is throw up any old garbage. They seem to think that once they have a blog online, it will take care of itself and somehow magically pull in traffic.

Writing random articles about everything under the sun – Keep your blog focused and aimed at  your brand.

Trying to mimic some other blog – Make your blog unique to show you and your unique offerings and knowledge. Don’t attempt to copy the style or content from someone else.

Being too formal – Blogs should be informal in tone. Use “I’, “me” and “you” to make it clear to your audience that you are behind the words. Use contractions, keep technical jargon to a minimum, and if you use specialized words be sure to define them in your writing. In other words, write like you are having a conversation with your readers.

Not using facts – To build your credibility, cite specific facts to back up your words. Rather than saying “the economy is going into recession” state “unemployment is up by 10% over 2 years ago and …” Facts are more credible than opinions (although you should definitely state your opinions in your blog).

Not citing credible authority sources – Include links to your source material, and make sure all your sources are credible. Other blogs are generally not considered credible, for example, and Wikipedia (and it’s seemingly infinite number of copycats) should never be used as a source (Wikipedia is NOT considered a credible source for information.)

Plagiarizing content – If you copy other people content, you will be caught. If Google catches you, your site may be penalized, and if you steal from someone with deep enough pockets, you may find yourself in legal trouble. Create your own content, and cite other people’s content if you use it.

Not updating your articles – Your blog is digital, and it should change as you find out new facts, as mistakes are uncovered and as you become a better writer. Go back and edit some of your older works occasionally. A blog is not cast in stone.

Not editing your writing – Read over what you’ve written, then read it again out loud. Find those errors and fix them. Later, if you find an error, go ahead and correct it right away.

Waiting until “it’s perfect” – Finish the damn thing. Post it. Your article is not going to be perfect. You’re not blogging if you are not publishing your articles.

Not blogging regularly – You should be updating your blog on a regular basis – daily, weekly or at worst monthly. Just as important, ,try to do the same number of posts each week.

Not getting subscribers to a newsletter – Get subscribers to a newsletter. This will help you get repeat traffic. You can even set up aWeber to read your site’s feed (all WordPress sites have one) and automatically send out a summary of your posts for the week to your email list.

Not understanding and using modern SEO – When you write you blog, use modern SEO techniques, making sure all of them are “white hat”. This way the search engines will find your site, and, over time, will give you more traffic. And you won’t have to worry about being penalized.

Not getting backlinks – Ensure part of your daily or weekly plan is to go out and get other sites to link to you. That will make it even more likely that the search engines will come to view your site as worth including high up in the rankings.

Not posting to social media – Post links to all your articles, with a paragraph introduction, to all of your social media accounts. Share them in pertinent groups (if their rules allow) and anywhere else that is fitting.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Blogging is vital for building your brand. By creating a blog and keeping it filled with excellent content consisting of articles, videos, images, slideshows and so forth, you’ll build an audience of people who practically demand more. Write your articles regularly and consistently, and let people know what you’ve written by posting links to social media and sending out notices to your email list.

Over time, you’ll find your blog will become more and more popular and thus more vital to the success of your business.

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