Monday, March 16, 2020

4 Musts for Winning Blog Content

Good day! Alley Cat Julia here. Why not grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and settle in for a few minutes.

Are you new to blogging? Or just looking for new ideas to shake up your current blog.

If you have unexpected free time this week, it may be a great time to look at creating a blog for the first time. Or changing something up.

In chatting with my fellow Alley cats and checking in with some expert bloggers I found some tips you may find valuable.

1) Keep on keeping on:

No surprise. Consistency is the number one blogging tip that came up with fellow Alley cat writers.

Mary Vee says, "Without it, we cannot build an audience."

Mary posts once a week on the same day. She finds this is a doable pace.

There are many great tools to help schedule your posts in advance. In the past I've used Google calendar. Another option for those who prefer paper over digital is printable calendar pages. For the content I write for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies I like to do this so I can see several months worth of social media content at one time. I just display simple printable online calendars above my desk.

Laurie Tomlinson suggests fellow bloggers, "Pick a number that's sustainable even if its just once a week or biweekly."

Anywhere from daily to several times a week is the advice ProBlogger gives. They suggest varying length based on how often you post and finding a routine that works with your skills, personality & schedule. 

Blogger Niklas has produced 40,000 words of blogging content per year simply by creating a daily blogging habit. He has some great tips at Successful Blogging about growing in consistency.

"Producing great content consistently is the hardest part of blogging." He states that 90% of bloggers fail simply because they never make writing a habit.

Classic author William Faulkner claimed, "I only write when inspiration strikes.Fortunately it strikes at nine sharp every morning.

Niklas uses the Pomodoro technique, writing in 25 minute bursts, a strategy that countless authors and other productivity gurus such as Michael Hyatt use to boost productivity. See Michael's post here for more on how to use batching to become more productive.

Do you have a place to track your blogging goals? My favorite app for goal tracking is Trello. Elle and Company has some great tips for using Trello as a blogger. As a visual learner, I'm a bit addicted to color coding which may be one reason its one of my favorite organizational tools to use.

If things tend to slip your mind as they do for me (a bit after my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD we found out where the genetic link!), google alarms may be your friend. Perhaps set alarms around the times you need to write or publish a post.

Habit Tracker is a tool you may find helpful from if you are not already using it. A friend and I used this program to send each other reminders and check in with each other.

Huffington Post suggests 80% of people will read headline copy, yet only 20% will read the rest so picking a title that makes readers want to dig further is crucial. Knowing your audience and focusing on the crucial writing guidance to show not tell are some of the hints in "7 Great Tips for Consistently Writing Good Content."

2) Great graphics

Just like we all have judged a book by its cover, readers will make a split-second decision about our blog based on its physical appearance. Winning graphics are a key factor in driving blog traffic to or away from our blogs.

Here are some favorite sites:

The Savvy Couple's List has more ideas for blog graphics. 

Don't neglect copyright regulations, make sure you have the right to usage. 

Alley Cat Laurie is a fan of Canva and uses it to create stunning blog visuals with consistent font and coloring. 

The blog has some great ideas including this post which shares how to create over fifty visuals using their product. 

Canva helped Kim George tap into her creative zone. She shares how to create sidebar images, email newsletter headers and more at The Chic Geek

3) Content that outlasts trends

Is your blogging topic one that readers will be interested in next month...or year? 

Google drive, Evernote, and Trello are just a few of the great tools available for keeping track of all those great topics we think of in the spur of the moment. 

Branding expert Gary Vaynerchuck gives hacks to create up to 64 pieces of content per day. That's impressive! Offensive language warning, however, I was impressed with the way he used one piece of content in 64 different ways. 

4) Keep them engaged and keep engaged with them

To keep readership constant, we have to not only engage readers but connect by responding in a timely manner to comments.

Emotional connection can also be a key to reader's involvement, suggests Hootsuite. In a time when resources are overwhelming in quantity I find I often look to a blogger that adds humor and shares the more personal side of their journey. Vulnerability can be a very appealing quality. 

In an everchanging landscape the key elements of a blooming blog are perennial: consistent content, winning graphics, choosing topics that of evergreen interest and focusing on the reader. Mastering these simple strategies alone is sure to benefit your blog.

EDITED: So sorry due to health issues, Karen's interview will be on the Alley at a later date. But stay tuned!

Want some more great blogging tips? I've followed Money Saving Mom Crystal Paine since she had a smaller personal blog almost a decade ago. Her tips have been transforming for me in the areas of time management and organization. I'd like to offer her blog start-up course to one individual who comments here and an extra entry for commenting on my Thursday evening video.

To be entered to win, I'd love to know your favorite blog and what you've learned about blogging from it. What techniques do they use to keep readers engaged?

Julia Reffner is a magazine columnist, tutor, and writer of truth-filled fiction living in Richmond, Virginia.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Wow! Julia, what a wealth of information. My biggest hurdle is consistency. I have been trying to do at least once a week the past month and that's worked, but I struggle with knowing what to write that is beneficial and interesting. :)

Julia Reffner said...

Thanks, Sherrinda! Once a week has worked well for Mary, too!