Much more could be written about writing effective blog posts – but rather than keep this series going for a month or two I’ll break my ‘granular post’ advice and make a few brief miscellaneous comments on writing content to help fill out the topic (with links for most to places I’ve written more on the topics):
- Interactive Blogging – While occasionally I come across a blogger that doesn’t want too much interaction with their readers I get a lot of questions from bloggers asking how to get MORE interaction – particularly around how to have a more interactive comments section. While a major impact upon comments is the number of visitors you have on your blog there are definitely strategies for getting more comments (also check out this post on The Secret to Interactive Blogging). The main tip I’d give on this is to be interactive with the readers you have. Start with what you’ve got and build from there rather than complaining about what you don’t yet have.
- Copyright – This point is so important that it deserves it’s own post (perhaps someone would like to write one and I’ll link to you). But keeping it brief I’ll say this – acknowledge your sources, use quotation marks when you’re writing something that is not your own words, link to those who inspire your ideas or whom you quote and if want to publish something that is longer than a few paragraphs ask for permission first. Use your manners and you’ll also probably be within the law (my lawyer friends will kill me for that one – but in most cases I’ve found it to be true). A little more on this topic at The Etiquette of Linking.
- Names are Important – 42% of SE searches are for product, brand and or company names. If you want to be found by people using search engines you might want to consider your use of names as keywords!
- Quality AND Quantity – Quality of posts is so important – I don’t know any reputable blogger who wouldn’t agree with that, but a little written about tip that I’m also a believer is that most successful blogs also have large quantities of content. I’m not arguing for loads of meaningless and unhelpful posts, but one area to consider in taking your blog to the next level can be how to generate larger quantities of posts on your blog.
- Relevancy – I was speaking with one blogger last week who told me that his strategy for keeping his blog frequently updated was to put a full day each week into writing content for his blog where he’d write 10 to 15 posts all at once. Then he’d set his posts to go off throughout the week – two per day. This is a good strategy on some levels as it does help keep your blog ticking over – but the problem this blogger runs into is that his blog is a news related blog and that writing 7 days in advance means the posts are a week out of date by the time they appear. Frequent posting is one thing – relevant and fresh content is another. If your strategy is to use advance posts it might be worth starting a blog in a non time specific niche and genre.
- Time Specific and Evergreen Posts – Related to this last point is that some posts are more ‘time specific’ than others. Some posts are out of date within a day or two of writing them (and as a result won’t ever be looked at much) whereas other posts are more ‘evergreen’ in nature (ie they will be as useful to your readers today as they will be in a year’s time). It’s worth pondering this topic and deciding what type of posts you’re going to concentrate upon. I’ve written on this further at Evergreen versus Time Related Posts and in a mini series on Increasing the Longevity of Key Posts.
- Establish Boundaries – One of my first ever posts was on the topic of setting boundaries for your blogging. This is both for your own sake (personal safety etc) but also for that of your readers (in that boundaries can cover what is and isn’t acceptable for your readers to contribute to discussions etc and that it’s good for them to know what to expect on your blog in terms of topic).
- Mix up your Sources – A problem that I’ve seen some bloggers struggling with recently (and fall into the trap of myself from time to time – especially when tired or in a rush) is to get into a rut in terms of the other blogs and news sources that are used behind stories. While it will be natural to be linking repeatedly to blogs in your own field it can get to the point where every post you post links to the one place. While the blogger you’re linking to probably doesn’t mind, your readers could well get to the point where they just read the other blog rather than yours. Mix it up.
- Using Story, imagination, emotion – I’m not going to say much in this one except to get your hands on a copy of a book called Lovemarks (aff link) which, among other things, talks about how sensuality, mystery and emotion are being used more and more in marketing. I think there are some great hints in this for bloggers.
I’m sure a lot more can (and will) be said about writing content for your blog – feel free to add your own tips to the mix in comments below.
Read more of my ‘writing good content’ tips in the Blogging for Beginners Series.