I wanted to jot down a few things (in less than 900 words!) that I’ve been considering as I develop my blog. I hope that some of my “stream of consciousness” thoughts help out some of you other bloggers too.
Why do you read someone’s blog? And what makes you return to one blog more than once, but never return to another blog after the first visit? It boils down to value creation. You’re getting something of VALUE from the blog that you continually visit. Most of the blogs that I’ve come across offer value in one of two forms: Education or Entertainment. The best blogs offer some magical combination of the two.
Let me be perfectly honest. I’m an aspiring writer who is also a stay at home mother to two small children. I don’t have a lot of time to write, much less read blogs. So when I do get 10-15 minutes to jump on-line, I want to make every second count. That being said, I am more inclined to spend my precious time visiting a blog that teaches me something about the craft of writing in an EFFICIENT manner.
All of us are busy. All of us are juggling work, family, school, etc. and trying to squeeze in writing. But blogging is the ultimate test of the “Law of Attraction.” You have to give something to receive something. So, what does your blog offer to the people who were nice enough to visit your site? What can they take away that will help them on their journey? What will keep them coming back for more? Offer them something of value.
Some authors and writers may scoff at what I’m about to say. They may say that great storytelling transcends contrived genres. Well, for some authors, that may be true. But I don’t claim to be J.K. Rowling. I want to increase the odds that my content will fall into the hands of someone who will actually care about reading it.
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you’re a fantastic chef. You have created a health food blog with simple recipes. Anyone who can pick up a spoon and stir could easily replicate your delicious concoctions in the kitchen. But you send these recipes to a forum of 100 fast food junkies. Do you really think anyone who dines out all the time, especially at a fast food restaurant, will follow your blog? I’ll be honest. I’m the leader of that fast food forum. Your kale smoothie may be awesome, and your healthy friends may love it, but there’s no way in hell that a take-out queen like me will ever make that in my kitchen.
It’s all about targeting. Make sure you have the right target audience for your great content, otherwise your blog is destined to generate nothing more than crickets chirping.
So, you have awesome content and you know who you want to target. That’s great, but how do you connect the two? How do you deliver great content into the laps of your target audience? I touched on this a little in a previous post, so bear with me if some of this is repetitive.
Post Timing: Study the analytics that WordPress offers and make sure you understand when your blog is receiving the most views. Is it Monday morning at 9 A.M. or Wednesday night at 10 P.M.? Posting your content at the wrong time could mean that you send it out to die. If you are brand new to blogging, as I am, try experimenting. I am currently playing around with the timing of my posts, which is why some of you following my site may be subjected to spam. (Sorry!) There’s a website called Kissmetrics that helps companies time their corporate blogs. A personal blog will be slightly different, but I think the data on Kissmetrics is a good place to start.
Post Frequency: Most people just post their content once and then forget about it. Big mistake. Do you think Coca-Cola is just putting their commercials on television just once? I don’t think so. While you don’t want to annoy people with spam, you also don’t want to just post a great essay once and forget about it.
I’m not suggesting that you spam the WordPress Reader every day, with every single thing you post. No one cares about what you had for breakfast or how the sunlight hits the leaves on the tree outside your window. Pick something that you are proud of writing, that offers value to your readers or that will emotionally resonate with the widest audience. Post it two times during a 24-hour period – maybe once in the morning and once in the evening. This will also help you to determine your target audience. Are people reading your content at work or at home? The time of day and day of the week will guide you. If everything that you’re posting is getting read on the weekend, then that’s when you need to post your content.
Post Tagging: One last thing! Make sure you don’t forget to tag your content properly!! You will find a category called “Tags and Categories” on the left side of your draft post. A tag enables search engines to highlight your essay if the search is for a subject that you are discussing. For example, if you are writing about blogging, make sure the word “blog” is tagged! I also use “writing,” “journal,” and “mama” as tags anytime I post something. People will never find your content if they can’t search for it properly.
Well, I just crossed 950 words, so I’m going to sign off here for now. Best wishes to all of you! Keep on blogging!