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Make Your Blog the Event of the Year (and have People Clamor to Attend)

This guest post is by Tea, The Word Chef.

Admit it: the last time you had important company over was the last time you really cleaned your house.

Whether it was a visit from your mother, or a group of friends for a dinner party, you paid extra close attention to making things presentable for your guests.

And if you’re even a bit neurotic (like me), you caught yourself worrying about the littlest things. Like that spot on the carpet, or the dust on the baseboards. You spent an extra three hours slaving away on your hands and knees to get everything looking just right.

Sound familiar?

The big event

Image bopyright Kzenon, used with permission

My sister and I like to laugh about this, but it’s true: inviting people over is a sure way to move “spring cleaning” to the top of your To Do list.

Guess what? Your blog is the virtual equivalent of your home or office (or in my case, my home office!). It’s where you entertain good friends and new acquaintances.

And unless you take the care that you would with your real-world entertaining, you may end up with a lukewarm blog that doesn’t make much of an impression.

A checklist for creating a totally awesome blog

1. Put together the guest list

Who will you invite to your blog?

A diverse guest list can certainly make for an entertaining dinner party, but unless your goal is to incite drama between opposite sides of the political aisle, you should invite like-minded people who have many things in common.

In business terms, this is your target market.

But don’t just describe this group of people in terms of demographics and psychographics. Go beyond that and actually put together a short list with real names. Start with your current clients. Who do you love to work with? What traits do they have in common?

Get to know these folks inside and out. What do they care about most? What gets them out of bed in the morning? The better you’re able to identify real people with real challenges, the more you’ll be able to find more of them (and for them to find you) and meet their needs.

2. Choose a theme

Every event—even informal ones—need a theme to be remarkable.

Your blog is no different. Your underlying message and mission should inform how you position your blog and what metaphor or premise will tie it all together. This is how you express your brand.

The other consideration is your target market. You wouldn’t put together something in an Old West genre if your prospective clients are more of the Black Tie crowd. Consider what would appeal to them first.
Having a theme also helps you choose and define the graphic elements, the color scheme and even your fonts.

3. If the budget allows, hire some help

I’m the first to admit that when it comes to my business, I tend to hold the purse strings pretty tightly. But no, even I can’t manage everything myself.

Figure out what it is you love to do. And then always do that.

The rest should go on a list. Use that list to find the right team members to work with, and slowly farm those tasks out to more experienced and better equipped professionals. Your hourly rate is much better spent on creating work that brings you money.

And when you hire an expert, you’ll definitely get things done more quickly. They can usually get the same job done in about one-third the time you might spend…leaving your brain precious time and space to be creative.

4. Plan the menu

What do your guests like to eat? Or conversely, do they have any food allergies?

Again, this goes back to your guest list and your theme. Will you be creating a four-course organic sit-down? Or hosting a potluck? Either way, you need to plan out what you’ll be serving, and when.

For your blog, think about what content your guests are hungry for. Not necessarily what you think they need to eat. But what they want to eat. Are they comparison shopping? Do they need tutorials?

If you’re a talented host, you can usually sneak in some healthy bites. But keep the majority of what you’re offering on the tastier side.

For instance, I know that having done the requisite amount of market research is fundamental to any marketing success. But most of my readers’ eyes glaze over when they see those two words together (market + research = boring). What they really want is a magic bullet. And since I have yet to discover one, I usually end up serving them something fun to read that gives them ideas on how to be more creative or write better copy. But I always point out that doing your research gets you way better results.

5. Clean house

It’s important to de-clutter your virtual dining room. There’s psychological evidence that shows we can’t make decisions when we’re presented with too many options.

All those flash ads you’ve got rotating on the side bar could be keeping your visitors from finding (and clicking) the subscribe button! Pare down to absolute necessities. And if you’ve got a product or two that you’re pitching, move them to their own landing page (or at least use the layout for those pages minus the sidebar).

And keep your links up to date, too. Broken links happen. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix ‘em.

6. Set a beautiful table

It’s totally true—we eat with our eyes first. And the better your blog looks, the better you look.

Quality photographs and images, appropriate amounts of white space, and the right color scheme can go a long way toward enticing your guests to eat what you’re serving. (If you’re not great with design, see #3 above.)

7. Welcome visitors with a drink and appetizers

We all love a little refreshment while we’re waiting for the main course. Make sure you’ve got a variety of bite-size morsels your guests can sample.

It can mean the difference between a one-time visit and the decision to become a paying customer. Start with an actual welcome video. And then point people to your yummy samples, tools, resources. When you offer these freely, they’ll endear you to your readers and help build a bond with them.

8. Keep guests entertained—and talking

You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian. But you should let your hair down just a little and share some of that sparkling personality with the world.

Tell some personal stories. Use different types of media (again, like video) to engage your audience. And encourage your visitors to interact with each other.

Lively comments or even a forum might be just what your site needs to keep the party going. And doing this also creates a village-effect, or tribe—something we all know helps us build our businesses.

9. Serve up a satisfying meal

You planned the menu, shopped for the missing ingredients, and possibly even hired a professional to help you pull off the dinner party.

Don’t forget to actually serve the food! That 5-course meal is your flagship content. It’s the big reason you started this whole thing in the first place. Don’t neglect it. And don’t just throw together leftovers in a haphazard way. It’ll come out more like a casserole than a satisfying meal.

10. Remember dessert

The best host always brings a little extra something to the end of the evening. Something the guests might not expect.

Sure—they’ll presume you’re going to have some cake or pie. But if you pull out all the stops and bring out something totally delicious, beautiful and unexpected, you can’t fail to knock their socks off.

You want to do the same thing with your blog (and its extensions in social media and email). Offer up things we don’t often get when we visit or subscribe to a blog. You could tweet your thanks to a commenter, or send a new Facebook fan a personal direct message. And if you really want to make someone feel special, send them “home” with a free eBook or other goodie, no strings attached.

It’s about giving

Putting together a spectacular blog is very much like pulling off a fantastic dinner party. It’s about bringing people together, nurturing relationships, and most of all—giving.

You have a vision for how you want your blog to be received. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be reading this if you were the type to just phone it in.

If you want to be an popular blogger, you can’t wait for the world to pay attention to you the way an elderly relative waits to be served dinner. You have to be focused and energized…and really on top of the details. You have to entertain your readers like a top-notch event planner whose finger is on the pulse of every moving part.

Because, let’s face it. Your ideas are your main course. They’re what you’re hoping your guests will wolf down like there’s no tomorrow, then ask for seconds and thirds.

You can’t just jot them down and expect them to be eaten. Writing isn’t only putting words on a page, any more than hosting a great party is just sending out the invitations on time. It’s about the energy and passion you bring to the event, your desire to serve and make connections. And it means tapping your creativity and your logistical self in order to pull off the most talked-about affair of the year.

So spend time thinking about all the details instead of just giving your blog a “lick and a promise.”
And spend time searching for and building on, your “secret sauce” and delectable flavors. And definitely spend time working with others—professionals, when necessary—to ensure that nothing is overlooked or half-baked.

Your blog is more than just a bunch of words and phrases on the interwebs. It’s more than just one in 200 billion other blogs out there. It’s your home. Where you’ll entertain guests, offer your tribe respite from the world, and grow your family of ideas into a full village of world-changing actions.
And you are the impetus to make all that happen.

So get started! Your guests are waiting.

Tea, aka The Word Chef, helps solopreneurs and DIY marketers make more money by teaching them how to find and share their secret sauce online. Get her free 5-part eCourse on how to write content that sells and follow her on Twitter @TeaSilvestre.

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Comments

  1. Faizan says:

    Nice and creative post and definitely helpful for new bloggers like me.

  2. Paul Jun says:

    Tea,

    Once again, another delight.

    Reading it in these terms makes the information that much more tasty, so to say.

    All these points are essential to a great blog. Great post. . . and now I’m hungry.

  3. I like how you put it-looking at the blog as like a dinner party. Simple yet powerful insight. You got everything right here when you said this: “It’s about bringing people together, nurturing relationships, and most of all—giving.” And I confess I’m an OC (Obsessive Compulsive) too. :)) Thanks!

  4. Loran says:

    I’m bookmarking this to refer to more than once! Great ideas, Tea.

  5. DUDE. I am all over this post. Love the analogy (’cause who doesn’t love a good party, is why) and especially the call for getting some freakin’ help, already. This is one of my “thirteen principles” by the way – do what you’re good at, & delegate or outsource the rest! In business, “solo” doesn’t ever really mean “solo.” Well, correction: in *successful* businesses. Nobody can do it all by her/himself, or at least not for very long, and never very well.

  6. Kev Gamer says:

    I love the dinner party analogy; it makes perfect sense!

  7. Great advice Tea, and it just so happens I was doing a little blog “decluttering” right before finding this post. There is still more to do, and then I guess I should get to the house cleaning too;)

  8. Mike says:

    Tea, well-put. We used to have a ‘Whoopie-Do’ dinner for single friends. The menu was nonsense so they did not know what they were getting. They might get peas, jello and a toothpick for a course. Fun chaos but probably not the best way to run a blog. Thanks for laying it out so well! Mike

    • Actually, that sounds like a great idea for a regular blog post…maybe a Whoopie-Do Wednesday? If you decide to try it, let me know so I can stop by for a fun meal.

  9. i get some problems to create an event, because i don’t much money and i don’t have any sponsor to help me.

  10. Kelly Baader says:

    Awesome post! Love how you use “serving a meal” to serve the readers. It is so creative and refreshing!
    Thank you so much for the great work and sharing. :)
    Kelly

  11. I love the way you carried the metaphor through this post. It makes your points memorable. I think a lot of bloggers hesitate to put so much effort into each post because their is no immediate gratification with blogginG but without the effort there is no hope of making it work.

    • Yes, it can be hard to pour your heart and soul into a blog post and then not have anyone show up. Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and threw my first party. Waiting for people to knock on your door can be nerve wracking. (Will anyone actually come?) But your blog definitely shouldn’t languish in the dark corners of the interwebz if lay the right ground work and then get out there network, guest blog and build relationships. It takes time, but the gratification comes.

  12. Such a great post . . . likening a blog to a dinner party is really genius. It makes it a little easier to understand, digest, and apply to our blogs.

    And, you touched on a lot of topics. Too many to tackle without making a to do list. So, now I’m on to that!

    Thanks so much!

  13. evan austin says:

    i’m constantly impressed at how the food/meal analogy never fails, Tea! All of this is so well presented and in digestible parts…right now i’m resonating with “Get to know these folks [clients and targets] inside and out.” i find this easy to forget about, definitely worth my time when i remember it, and fun besides!

    • Yes! It’s one of the top reasons I love having my own business…and online, too. You get to meet the most interesting people from all over the world.

  14. Carolyn says:

    One of the biggest “house cleaning” tips I can offer bloggers is to sit down and READ your own blog. Act like you’re a visitor. Particularly if you’ve got a bunch of evergreen content (virtually all of mine is), put together some sort of schedule to go back and read old posts and see if they need editing — I almost always find a link to add, a typo I missed, or some extra info to add. And check that all your links still work, embedded videos or PDFs appear as they should, and that things look good in various browsers. If you have lists of posts in a menu, are those lists getting to long? Do they need to be subdivided (that’s on my to-do list!)? What else would bug you as a reader?

    • That’s VERY sage advice, Carolyn. Yes – depending on how often you add new content, you may want to do this at least quarterly.

  15. Tea leaves gems of wisdom for bloggers everywhere she goes. This is another fantastic post! That “remember desert” example is a fantastic one to keep new readers engaged for a long time. When’s the last time a blogger thanked you on Twitter or via email for leaving a comment? Whew!

  16. Nicole Fende says:

    Thanks Tea, not only are these great tips, by putting it in the context of a party you made it relatable and memorable. And FYI – is there anyone who does clean unless company is coming?

  17. LOL – yes, Nicole. One of the things I do is help folks with WordPress sites; but if you have another content management system, there are plenty of those types out there, too. The key is to find a web person who’s both talented AND reliable.

  18. these were some great tips Tea. I never thought about it as a dinner party. I’m going to try some of these. and you are so right when we are inviting guests over, we go all out. Now, keep in mind , that we do live in our homes so it’s not going to be spectacular all the time. Especially in my house, i have toddlers.

    Great post, keep em coming

    • LOL, toddlers are great decorators…are they not? Good thing they don’t have the password to your website. Thanks for joining the party, LaTersa.

  19. I think most people are hungry for the kind of meal you’re prepping up, Tea.

    And who doesn’t like getting a free meal?

    If you serve it up right, you won’t be able to get rid of them!

    One thing I’d add. Build a squeeze page and link to it in your lightbox popup, you optin offer, in your “about the author” section and even refer to within the text of relevant blog posts you write. After all, you can’t be serving free meals all the time unless people start pitching in to help you pay for the food.

    PS: If anyone doesn’t know, a squeeze page is a one-page webpage that invites people to join your email list. When they do, you can develop a deeper relationship with them via email campaigns, and eventually introduce them (occasionally) to some stuff and services they can buy from you! – after all the free meals you’ve given them, they’ll be happy to oblige.

    • Excellent advice, David. I’ve done the same thing, and I think it’s important to keep an eye on conversions too. If you’re not getting them, you’re not making the right offer. Time to find out what your guests DO want from you.

  20. Clare Price says:

    “Writing isn’t only putting words on a page, any more than hosting a great party is just sending out the invitations on time. It’s about the energy and passion you bring to the event, your desire to serve and make connections.” What struck me here was the focus on energy and passion. How often is it that we start blogging with passion and that passion slowly fades alway until we are serving our readers “leftovers” far too often! Thanks Tea for reminding us that EACH blog post is an EVENT and should be a treat to our readers.

    • So true, Clare! My boyfriend literally hates leftovers. Even if they were of something he really enjoyed the night before. Most of us prefer something served up fresh.

      That’s not to say you can’t repurpose things…you just want to make sure you put as much passion into the process of doing it.

  21. Clare Price says:

    Great advice Tea! How often do we as bloggers start with energy and passion about our offering only to see it fade away and soon we are serving our readers leftovers. To our readers each blog post is an event and should be a treat! Thanks for the reminder.

  22. A great review of the basics and a fun read. I love the advice about dessert. I often forget all about dessert.

  23. Julia Hayes says:

    Hi Tea,

    There’s much detailed advice for excellent blog writing here that is both easy to digest yet daunting in its execution.

    To put this much effort into your site is a huge challenge, yet the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I see that on TheWordChef blog.
    People keep coming back when you feed them well and treat them right.
    I particularly like the advice on getting to know your guests. That’s the secret of a great dinner party – make sure guests have a fun/interesting time, are in like minded company and feel welcome. Concentrate on them and their needs.
    They remember the event and how they felt that night, long after they have forgotten what they ate. If you make the whole evening about them and ensure they are in compatible company, you have one great dinner party.

  24. Gerhard says:

    Great post, Tea. As you wrote the guests will presume and expect something and therefore it is important to know them and to read their minds because most of the guests would not tell you if they dislike some drinks or food. And that’s what research and surveys are for.

    Awesome closure too: “You are the impetus to make all that happen.” Right, you are the host, it’s up to you.

  25. Hi Tea,
    This is awesome I like giving and attending parties so I think this was creative genius! Woo hoo!

  26. As a portal site I definitely try to tailor each post to a separate target audience for that topic, I do my best to make sure each article informs, educates or entertains and try to start up conversation. Recently I noticed a conversation drop when I switched to Livefyre but am hoping my regulars will get more comfortable and it will bring more conversations in the long run.

    Very creative article and one of the more original ones I have read this week.

  27. soniya says:

    Excellent resources Darren, thx

  28. SandyMc says:

    You got it all Tea and in the right order. Such a great mental analogy to compare our blogs to our homes. And so much is revealed by doing so!

    You also prompt us to do a mental check list as we read. Are we all about the main course, forgetting the entree and dessert, or is our focus too much on the dinner table decoration? Do we have to admit that in our haste to get something done, we might have skimped on the preparation or presented it half baked?

    Main course is relatively easy I find. It’s the details (which can make the difference between a stupendous meal and a nourishing feed) that ‘dessert’ me! So time to hire a soux chef and get that part done by some one else. Thanks for the timely reminder Tea and for the mental banquet.

  29. Hi Tea, what a wonderful post and I’m going home with stuff I will apply in my blogging. There was one other point you didn’t mention (although you are practicing it here) and that’s to SOCIALIZE. Mix with your guests and get to know them better. In blogging that means, reply to comments; answer questions etc.

    Thanks for this post.

  30. barbara says:

    This was such great advice and so well written I have to share it. Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it and this was brilliantly written.
    Thanks so much!
    b

  31. Never thought to compare my blog with an event. But now that you have so eloquently compared the 2, I know what to do! After all as an event planner, I can plan an event effortlessly. That should have me primed to plan my blog even better!

    Thanks!

  32. Jc says:

    I really enjoyed your posting. The comparison of website and dinner party is a great interesting way to convey such an important and often looked over point. I my self am new to blogging and just starting to create some webpages for blogs. Ive posted a short blog at jcbloging.blogspot.com about online marketing made easy which I believe has a great link to set people up with training and guidance for starting out marketing. So your post is most gratefully appreciated. Keep the writings coming

  33. naijadotcom says:

    I have definetely learnt alot and would apply,Thanks for this great post.

  34. Marcie says:

    This is a nice spin on blogging. I was going to celebrate a book project next year, but such an event could be a prelude to that one.

  35. Mardy Sitzer says:

    Well of course I like this post – it looks like one of my earlier posts might have been the inspiration http://www.bumblebeellc.com/blog/social-marketing-think-like-a-party-planner.htm

  36. Loved reading this post Tea, now if only I could make my blog the even of the day it would be a good start!

  37. I love this post! It offers important information in an upbeat and quirky way. Well done, Tea!

  38. I love the analogy here of serving guests and pulling together your blog. What stands out to me personally is that it has to be cleaned up. I could sure use some spring cleaning on mine.
    Thanks for the awesome tips. I am sure people, like myself, will learn a lot from it.

  39. Reba Collins says:

    Love your post. I think I need to hire a maid! Thanks!

  40. Ciara says:

    Very entertaining post with great information to take on board, time to check and see if I’m ready for guests Thanks Tea

  41. Stuart says:

    Very excellent read Tea, I wouldn’t have associated my blog with having a guest list before, but I can see that our blogs are a place where we gather and converse. A guest list may go down well ;-)

    Well done :-)