“Blogging is a way to share your thoughts, knowledge and information like never before. We blog for many reasons which are unique to us as people, but yet share a community that is a part of us.” — Suzanne Vara
Suzanne and I participate in many of the same LinkedIn groups and have built a very supportive relationship, which includes reading and commenting on each other’s blogs and group discussions — truly one of the great values of the Social Web.
Her online marketing agency, Kherize5, Builds Big Brands for Small Business and her blog offers consistently great advice and guidelines for reaping great rewards through social media marketing. We have such similar interests and goals that I look forward to each one of her posts.
Today’s article on my blog actually ran a few days ago on Suzanne’s, but her thoughtful insights regarding some commonly discussed blogging tips is definitely worth passing along to new bloggers — and experienced ones as well.
Guest Post by Suzanne Vara
As a new blogger who is trying to gain new readership we look for new ways to get as many eyes (readers) and fingers to the keys (comments) to drive us to continue to write. Seasoned vets who have been blogging for upwards of 8 years still look for new avenues as technology changes.
Technology is a tool that we utilize to gain new eyes and fingers but the means by which we determine how, what and why we will blog have not really changed over the years. The same fundamentals that were incorporated to be a success still hold true today:
Pretty basic but yet there seems to be a disconnect at some point as we get busier or feel that we are not gaining traction as we believed we should. This is not to say that veering off course from time to time is disastrous but falling off the radar is in a sense waiving the white flag of setting unrealistic goals and expectations of yourself. Blogging is not always easy as the what if no-one reads or am I a great writer or do I really have the time to commit to this do come into play as the post itself is just a part of blogging.
Everyone makes mistakes and how we identify and correct them builds that confidence and a better blog.
1. Inconsistency: In the beginning new bloggers have the energy and set out to post every day, even 2x a day. Great strategy if you have planned for it and reasonably set aside time to keep up with this. As a new blogger it is advantageous to have 20 or so blogs posted when you start to promote. Set a schedule of when you will post so that readers expect it and do return to see what is next. Being inconsistent leads to lack of trust as you were supposed to be here but you were not.
2. Lack of Focus: As a new blogger trying different things to determine where you fit in is what is so unique to a new blogger. An opportunity to establish yourself and determine your niche. Meet the expectations of readers to develop a loyalty. It is inviting to then try and branch out from your niche and expand. There is opportunity to do so but not always on the main blog. Seek new ways to expand on your style with guest posting or publishing on other sites. Grow within yourself while maintaining focus on what you are trying to accomplish with the main blog or in some cases multiple blogs.
3. Burnout: Blogger burnout is an excuse, an enabler, a way to throw your arms up and admit defeat. There is always something to post. A quote, an opinion on another blog, a post why you feel burnt out. The ideas are endless. Physical limitations are a factor and being unable to even pull a post from the “can” is completely understandable (life happens) but outside that it is setting a standard for not being committed to yourself and audience.
4. Boxed Comments: We hear over and over again to comment on comments to our blog and comment on other blogs, and we all do, so this is not a mistake in that aspect. But, what happens when the comment is “Great post, found it useful.” Commenting back at first thought is the “Thanks for reading and finding this useful.” Expand on that by seeing if they have a blog and refer to their blog in your comment back. Thank them of course but also include how you liked a certain post as it relates back to yours. What happens if they do not have a post that relates to yours, either respectfully thank them as above or ask them a question of some sort that relates a post of theirs.
5. Fear of First: First to post or first to comment. Why? If you find something and see that no-one else has written about write about it. Being the first to comment on a blog is an opportunity to be able to share your thoughts without influence of others. After you comment share the post as it meant enough to you to comment so why not share?
6. Complacency: Developing your niche and readership that meet your personal goals is wonderful but not a time to sit back. What happens when you do not meet your goals or even expansion. Complacency is convenient and assumes loyalty. That warm jacket is nice but yet decreases in size each year.
7. Closure: Closure as it relates to the lack of putting a piece of you and who you are into the post. When providing tips or relating a strategy, throw in what has worked for you (ie this blog) something you want to or are learning more about or something personal that connects people to you. Going outside a comfort zone is not always easy but yet it is welcomed. Whether we deem ourselves as an introvert or extrovert, we all are a part of both. We tell people what we want them to know whether this be sharing knowledge from people we admire or exposing things about ourselves. ie every so often my son becomes a part of this blog. As a mom first instinct is to shelter and protect but yet he is a big part of my life and actually inspires my writing though his curiosity of learning all that he can.
8. Lack Luster Headlines: Think linkbait. The headline is the what gets the article read. The content can be so valuable but if the headline is not enticing enough to read, many overlook. Headlines for some are the easy part where with others we struggle. Look at others that enticed you to read and incorporate.
9. Blinders to Community Expansion: This somewhat goes back to complacency, the expansion of your community is almost endless. Commenting on blogs is great but not looking at the blogs of other commentors or the blog roll of people you read is not expanding upon your community. The opportunity exists but time does not always but at the same time, we make time for what is important to us.
As a blogger who is blogging for the betterment of the business, exposure of the business or just to share thoughts we all have our reasons but all make mistakes. The way to get around the mistakes is to acknowledge them and improve. So, tell me how you are improving instead of identifying with the mistakes you have made?
Tell us in a comment below.
One of the new tips for me was #4 “Boxed comments.” You can read my comment about that on Suzanne’s original post here.
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