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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.