Last week as I was looking through my Google Analytics and a very interesting search query came across the board – “Megan Fox Without Pants”. Now, truth be told, naming your blog “Life Without Pants” is asking for some a lot of this, but it got me thinking. Some horny teenager hopped online, typed in “Megan Fox Without Pants”, and ended up here – most likely sorely disappointed to find thoughts and insight on social media and life philosophy. Sorry buddy.
Full disclosure, this article has very little to do with Megan Fox – in fact – nothing at all. But what she does (very well I might add) is illustrate a greater point on the fine art of writing compelling content that keeps your readers interested and limits ‘dissapointment’.
Write Buzz-Worthy Titles and Headlines
Some would argue that your blog titles are more important than the content itself. Why? Headlines are the bait, one line summaries that entice your audience to continue reading. If your bait isn’t interesting, compelling, buzz worthy, and sexy – your readers won’t bite on the rest of the post – you’ll put your readers to sleep and they’ll be quick to think “Is it over yet?” When in doubt, cheat the system and tag everything with Megan Fox.
Developing a blogging ‘schedule’ is one of the biggest obstacles we face as writers – in short – life can and does get in the way of our blog-writing. Look at it this way: When you start a blog, your intent is to develop a community of readers. The quickest way to lose interest of you readers it to sporadically post with no rhythm or structure. Readers crave predictability. Whether you post once a week or once a day, your audience want to know what they can expect from your blog and when they’re going to get it. Look at your schedule, commit to whatever works best for you, and stick to it. Think of it like running a marathon – not running in reckless bursts of speed, but at a consistent steady pace.
Be Authentic and Write from the Heart
No one is coming to your blog assuming you are the all-knowing expert – so don’t waste your time playing that role. The best writers are the ones who write from the heart without worrying about being wrong, speak about their own experiences, and can find a way to relate those experiences to their readers. You don’t have to be the best, but you do need to be unique.
Becomes a Timeless Resource
The list compiled here represents two very important things: One – it’s acts as a resource for any and all bloggers – something that is tangible, easy to digest, and offers information others can and will hopefully share with with their audience of readers, Twitter followers, etc. Two – it’s timeless and will be just as valuable two years from now as two days from now. There are things to be said for posting a timely blog article on a hot topic – but the ones that stick over the long haul are those people can refer back to again and again.
Develop Your Trademark, then Reinvent it
One of the things that leads to a lot of bloggers ‘quitting’ is because they quickly develop too-specific of an audience. We start to think that we HAVE to write about certain things because that’s what we’re known for. Over time, blogging becomes a chore and there’s nothing worse than getting to the post ‘manufacturing’ stage – writing for the sake of writing. With that being said, over time you are inevitably going to develop a niche, and have to in order to see the most success. Life Without Pants is known as a (top) Gen Y blog with perspective on social media, marketing, entrepreneurship, and life philosophy – I’ve worked hard to develop that overall theme – but I make an effort to develop ways to reinvent my niche on a consistent basis – starting a podcast with a good friend, offering free five minute blog reviews to anyone and everyone who is interested, launching a month-long guest writer series/soon to be e-book – all of these things help to keep my blog not only interesting for my audience, but maybe more importantly, for me as the author.
Write for Them, Not for Yourself
A blog should be personal and should share your unique perspective, but ultimately, you are writing for an audience. Write with the intent to benefit your readers in some way – ask yourself “What will my audience take away from this post?” If you don’t have an answer, consider re-working the post to provide a clearer service for your readers. By focusing your attention on making connections, you’ll develop a thriving interactive readership community.
Reply to Comments
On my blog I preach that there is just as much, if not more, value in the comments than the post itself. Everyone has a different blogging purpose, and a staple of Life Without Pants is that it’s more than a blog, it’s a community I work hard everyday to promote. Regardless of your blog’s direction – people who take the time to comment should be recognized. Go a step further and not only recognize, but encourage further conversation, ask questions, spark some debate, and get your readers talking to one another. When people know they’re voice is heard and valued, they’ll be more likely to contribute in the future.
Don’t be bashful about linking to yourself
Not only a great SEO boost – linking to yourself (aka ‘interlinking) is a great strategy to promote exploration through your archives. With every blog post you write, you add to your library of archives – you develop resource encyclopedia – and it is something that can and should be linked to often. Use every new post as an opportunity to shed light on something from the past
Create an Experience for Your Readers
The key to successful blogging isn’t all about the words, sentences, and paragraphs. When you create your blog, and in every post that you write, think of it not as a destination, but as an experience. Through enriching content, an attractive aesthetic design, and interactive media (videos, pod-casts, pictures) you create an atmosphere to your readers that should excite and interest them in new ways with every visit.
Never Give Up
So you’ve been writing for months, but you’re not seeing any growth – your mom and sister are your only readers – and you’re asking yourself “What’s the point”? The point is, as long as YOU are passionate about writing – keep writing. Don’t measure in numbers and readers (although keeping an eye on Analytics is important). Keep writing and keep looking for new ways to reach out to a wider audience. Think about how you can relate your experiences to the world – read other blogs, connect with people, ask others for feedback, and maintain an open mind to learning and trying new things. Keep your head up and believe that the community will grow and numbers will grow in time – Don’t doubt yourself.
What advice do you have for blog-writers out there who may be looking for a sense of direction and purpose?