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4 Essentials to Consider Before Starting Your Next Blog

This guest post is by Nivin of SecretMarketingPlaybook.com.

So, you’ve decided to start a blog?

By now I’m sure you would’ve noticed that every man, woman, and their dogs seems to have their very own blog.That leaves you with the unenviable task of answering the ultimate question for any blogger:

Why should your audience care?

How well you answer the question will be a strong determinant on how successful your blog turns out. And to help you do that, consider these four points carefully.

1. What do you want to say?

The first thing you need to understand about a blog is that it’s a continuous conversation about a certain topic. People visit your blog because they have a need your blog satisfies. So, before contemplating starting a blog, you need to clarify what purpose your blog is filling. What needs is it meeting?

One of the best ways to do this is via a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Now, it’s highly unlikely you will be completely unique from everyone out there, but finding a different angle will help define your blog further in the eyes of your audience.

For example, although Copyblogger.com and problogger.net both cater to pretty much the same niche, they have slight differences. ProBlogger focuses specifically on blogging, while Copyblogger targets content creation and effective copywriting. It’s the same niche (online business), but the slight variation is enough for the audience to make the distinction.

2. Who will be reading?

The most difficult part about creating content consistently is not knowing who you’re writing for. So, before you begin your blog, you need to be specific about the type of audience you want your blog to attract. The more specific you can be, the better.

As I’m writing this post, I imagine the main reader is a 29-year old male named Bob, married with one child who is starting out in online marketing with limited tech experience because he wants more freedom from his job to spend time with his child. Now, I am sure that not all of my readers will fit the description, but having such a clear example enables me to better understand the motivations of my demographic.

His motivations are:

  1. He has a job, he’d like to leave—I help him believe it’s possible to leave and make a living online, because it is.
  2. He’s new to online marketing, with limited tech experience—I go easy on the tech jargon and spend more time explaining the more technical content.
  3. He wants freedom—I show him that by implementing simple (not necessarily easy) steps consistently, he will be able to achieve that freedom.

3. Who are the players?

If you are starting out, I can guarantee you there is almost always someone who’s doing it better than you right now. The key is to learn from those who have gone before you. Look at their blogs, see what they write and how they add value to their visitors. Learn how they engage with their audience.

I am not implying that you should copy what they do, but spend some time understanding how they’re practicing their craft. I strongly recommend you take that extra step and introduce yourself. I have personally done that myself, and was actually quite surprised to see the amount of responses I received from the big players. Your worst-case scenario is that no one responds and you end up exactly where you are right now—no loss, really. So, go ahead: reach out, and surprise yourself.

4. What’s the plan?

Your blog is only as good as your content, and the more quality content you have, the better. But in order to have quality content you are going to need to consistently publish new, cutting-edge information for your industry, so you’re going to need to come up with a blogging schedule. I’ve found the best way to blog is to break up your post into three main categories:

  1. Cutting-edge: This usually involves commenting about recent/cutting-edge developments in your industry(i.e. news, product launches, new fads). These posts have a diminishing impact on your readers over time.
  2. Evergreens: These are self-contained posts, which focus more on principles and concepts that tend to stay true over a longer period of time (this post is an evergreen post).
  3. Series: These posts usually involve topics which are so dense that a single post will not be enough to provide the reader with adequate information (i.e. Starting Your Pet Business from Scratch, or a Weight Loss After Child Birth series).

Now, I hope this post hasn’t scared you off from trying to create a new blog. All I’m trying to do here is help you get more clarity on how you should start your blogging adventure. I hope this advice will help you minimize the bumps along the way—and, more importantly, to help get your message out to a very grateful audience.

Nivin is the owner SecretMarketingPlaybook.com and is currently giving away his latest ebook – “7 Critical Things To Outsource To Make Money Online”. Get Your Copy Here.

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Comments

  1. Gregory C. says:

    Connecting with others and writing posts that don’t go out of style are the two big takeaways in my opinion.

    Connecting with other bloggers (sincerely) is the absolute best way to get eyes on your site, bar none.

    Writing content that doesn’t go stale is the best way to keep people coming back to your writing again and again.

  2. Mark Aylward says:

    Good points
    My first blog had no forethought and over time will be effective as I figure things out, but any future blogs will be given this forethought as it’s just like any business. You need a plan
    Thanks
    Mark

    • Kalen Smith says:

      Agreed. Not only do you need a plan, but you need a well-organized plan. My first site, I tried doing far too much. I wanted to cover everything, but that left my readers too confused about what I was all about. You need a focused, organized plan and you need to know why your plan will work. Simply writing and expecting results won’t cut it. Neither will spreading yourself too thin or moving in a hundred different directions.

      • I am on my 1st blog and so glad I came here to read I have learned so much on wha needs to happen I think I was doing too much and I needed to stay focused and not confuse my readers. Thanks for all the great info I keep finding so much of it here thanks again

  3. surya says:

    i Think First start blog from free service like blogger, hubpages …every one not going to get success in blogging..we need good knowlege and hard work…..

  4. clea says:

    Thanks for the post, I think it’s hardest to narrow your niche down, as you don’t want to be boring, but you also want to keep a focus, still working on all these issues myself, I do think your tips on writing posts that are cutting- edge, evergreens, seires, helps chunk things for me. Thanks, all the best, Clea

  5. Fred Tracy says:

    Great article.

    I like to emphasize the “Who Are the Main Players” point. It’s really important to see what other people are doing, and even more important to build a good relationship with them.

  6. Darren says:

    Gregory C makes an excellent point. Genuine social networking seems to help the most.

  7. D. Heath says:

    I agree, the evergreen content is for people to find you in the search results, the breaking news is to help you become a destination blog and the series is to establish you as an expert for the search engines and your readers.

  8. Brad says:

    Another is; will I monitize it or not. If I do, when?

  9. Eugene says:

    Traffic is the biggest problem, how about if I have awesome content but no one finds it?

    Researching before you dive in should NOT be ignored.

  10. Elliot says:

    “Why?” It blows my mind how many people don’t stop to think “why?” And those who do, and answer “for fun” really can’t expect to make money – blogging really isn’t easy – and keeping it up consistently is hard. Like any real undertaking, planning is key.

    And I also agree with Gregory C – connecting is way too important to ignore.

  11. I appreciate the so9lid content first and foremost. I think the author raises some valid points in the creation of useful and share able blogging content and will consider the aspects in the article in the creation of my next blog post. I encourage and appreciate and comments or feedback you can provide me on the content I have already created at http://joshburkhardt.wordpress.com/. I am also curious if anyone thinks its a good idea to intertwine personal blogging with your “professional” blog or if it is in your best interest to keep them separate?

    • jay says:

      You can always intertwine your personal and professional blogs whenever appropriate. “Mix and Match” is the way I look at it.

  12. Vivek Parmar says:

    Content matters a lot if it is your first blog, second blog or any number of blogs you have. If you do not have content then sorry to say, there is no need to start any blog. And if you already have a blog then work on it so that you are able to pay bills its because starting another blog will increase your expenses.
    Rest of the things are pretty well explained by you…

  13. Nivin, You offer some great points in your post here. If I were to start another blog then I would do things a whole lot different.

  14. Guy Hogan says:

    Great advice. It has taken me four blogs and about six years to figure this out on my own, but you put it very nicely. Now to implement.

  15. Agree with the ideas of the article here. A blog is like doing business, we need to think long term and think of what will happen on our posts in the future. We also need to look around, see who are the players. Try to have good relationships with other bloggers and we will be fine. :)

  16. Michael says:

    This is just what I needed right now, as I am just about to embark on the blogging adventure. I really liked the concept of breaking posts up into different categories.

  17. Chris says:

    Great information here! I am brand spanking new to the blogging arena, so I really appreciate the post and the comments. Plan your work, then work your plan.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  18. James Greg says:

    Its very important to know what you want to write about. If the article slips from its theme the whole point is lost and there are many articles that just does not seem to make sense and it loses the whole point.

  19. Hi Nivin,

    Having a clear focus and following the players works for me.

    Focus. Figure out what you intend to write, and for whom. Keep keywords and audience in mind, and stick to it. Consistency plays a big part in your blogging success. Your posts grow on people, after you share value-packed content day after day. Kind of like a catchy tune, or a clever commercial. People sing the tune, because it’s good, and they hear it.

    Follow players. Most of my break-through blogging ideas came about from following top shelf bloggers in my field, and in the blogging field in general. Darren is 1 of those guys. He keeps things simple. Really simple. Which makes him successful. He connects with beginners and vets alike because his simple to understand message is consistent, and he’s a super networker too. No better way to build a successful blog.

    Thanks!

    Ryan

  20. It is very good to have a step by step guide to start a new blog. At the earlier stage, this is the time that will make or break our new venture may be in a new niche market. Trying to adjust the content’s theme/focus of the blog along the way is not very smart choice in fact we should avoid them. Reverse engineering is the word when deciding on new blog content’s theme/focus. Good luck guys on your money making endeavor

    Regards,
    Sham.

  21. Planning is the key.

    You know the saying, measure twice, cut one… well I believe plan three times, design once and blog forever!

  22. naijadotcom says:

    Wonderful advice,its quite educating will apply some in my next blog.

  23. Engaging audience is very important because if you build a set of loyal readers by giving them what they want, your blog automatically starts growing both in terms of traffic, revenue and authority. Good blogs attract a lot of audience just for word of mouth, or text of Facebook.

  24. Great advice for beginning bloggers. I like the concept of looking at the blog as a continuing conversation. Thanks for the pointers.

  25. Ling says:

    I use guest articles to help leverage my new blogs and they work very very well :)

  26. SD says:

    creating content consistently is actually most difficult part…and as I am starting a new blog, I will keep these in mind…Thanks for sharing.

  27. Vignat says:

    I was planning to make a new one. However, this article helped me lot for my new blog :)

    Thanks a lot!!!

  28. Shil1978 says:

    As they say, content is King. Writing good content and evergreen content is perhaps the best thing one can do to ensure good traffic. Good points – thanks for sharing!!

  29. I have been in a situation where I started a blog without actually thinking about what to write about and who will really be my focussed audience. It really was a disaster and I completely agree with your thoughts as well on the various points mentioned.

  30. budi says:

    thanks have provided motivation for the brave and learn to move forward as though bloggers are full of limitations for the exit.

  31. Thanks Niven for giving me some clarity on my own blogging thoughts. I have a much clearer idea now about what I’m looking to achieve.

  32. Ben D says:

    Thanks Darren, it’s been a long time since I’ve been back here because I always get stuck jumping from post to post. Thank you so much for your no bull tips…

  33. The rule of marketing is “Customer is the King”. Focus on your customer, i.e. your visitor and cater the best quality of product,i.e. content to your visitor and you will automatically follow the rule of search engine which says, “Content is King”.

  34. I just started my blog last week and so much of what you said here is going to help me out! I am a mom blogger (I know, talk about a saturated topic), so your advice about developing a USP and narrowing down who your reader is really left me with a lot to think about. I will be honing my content strategy and focus going forward… thanks for the great advice.