You’ve heard the rumors…
You’ve heard the whispers in facebook groups…some are outright rants…
Desperate, nagging thoughts fill your mind as you entertain those ideas…
Is blogging really dying?
Should you waste all your time churning out those posts when the results are almost embarrasing?
How do you justify the time spend when you have nothing to show for?
It all depends on the type of content you’re blogging about.
And your content does have the potential to attract the right audience and eventually lead to sales.
In this guest post, my friend Slade discusses 3 steps you can take to make your blog and content work harder for you.
You know your time is precious.
It’s a limited resource and it seems like you never have enough no matter what you do.
You see other bloggers that seem to get so much more accomplished without even trying.
There has to be a better way, right?
There is, and it isn’t some groundbreaking new technology or another expensive course.
If you want to work smarter and not harder, keep reading to discover:
- How to plan your blog’s success to free up time (and your posts will work harder for you in the process)
- How to stop wasting time creating content.
- How to ditch the baggage and focus your promotional efforts on getting better results. Less is more.
- Bonus – Turn the topics in this post into a system, saving you even more time.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Step 1 – Preparation and Planning
Planning is crucial to the success of anything with a process. And blogging is a process.
Have you ever gone to a party (or maybe you’ve thrown one) where you can just tell that there wasn’t much thought put into it?
Things seem a little out of place and even the surroundings scream out “this was last minute.”
It may have been a decent party. Maybe people even had fun.
But when it comes to having a blog, your online presence can’t say “this was last minute.”When it comes to having a blog, your online presence can't say “this was last minute.”Click To Tweet
You only have a few short seconds to show a visitor your blog is going to be a fun party.
The figures vary between 3 and 8 seconds.
That’s how much time you have to catch and keep someone’s attention online.
8 seconds to impress someone and let them know that you are right for them isn’t very much time.
So how do you make it happen?
What’s the secret to grabbing someone’s attention and convincing them to stay on your blog?
It all starts with some planning.
A little upfront effort can save you tons of time and increase your connection with readers.
How to Plan out your blog, No matter what stage you’re at
It doesn’t matter if your blog has been online for a year or if you haven’t even published your first post.
Planning is going to be your best friend for getting a great start or a much-needed course correction.
What kinds of things should you plan for your blog?
Start with your topic and work backward to your goal.
Your topic is what your blog is all about. It’s your niche but with your own spin on the subject.
So what should you plan? Below are a few examples:
Define exactly what your topic is.
- What problems do you solve
- What objections do you help people overcome
- Important – Who needs to know this information
- How do you deliver your content (blog, video, podcast, all of them)
Next, what is the goal of your blog (not to be confused with your personal goals).
Does your blog serve as the hub for all your online marketing where you drive readers to subscribe to your newsletter?
If so, then your blog’s goal is to increase subscribers. (Can you see how that’s different from a personal goal?)
Here are some goals for a blog:
- Increase subscribers
- Increase free trial signups
- Increase awareness of a brand
- Drive readers to offers
- Get book sales
- Sell digital products
Do you see a common theme in the goals above?
They all have to do with your audience taking action which leads us to the third and final part of the planning process.
The Power of Understanding Your Audience
Your audience is the most important part of your blog.
Without an audience, your site is just taking up space on the internet.
Also, notice I don’t say traffic.
Yes, your blog needs traffic, but traffic is only part of the process of building an audience.
Think of a store with a sign on the sidewalk.
The people walking up and down the sidewalk are the traffic.
The ones that read the sign, connect with the message and come inside the store become the audience.
They are saying “Hey, I’m interested.”
So how do you build an audience for your blog?
Take the two previous steps and look at them from your ideal customer’s perspective.
Even if you aren’t selling anything, you are still selling your ideas.
If you do have something to sell, then reaching out to your ideal buyers will bypass the time-sink of trying to convince people who aren’t ready.
You don’t see store owners pulling people off the sidewalk and telling them why they need to buy their stuff.
Many of us have been in a sales situation like that and we all know it’s incredibly uncomfortable.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be that salesperson.
Instead, it’s your job to convince people to keep reading, watching or listening (depending on your medium).
Provide solutions from your buyer’s perspective
Write out who your best customer is”
- Where do they hang out online (which social platforms)
- What sites do they shop on
- List some other blogs and news sites they read
Get specific when you name your buyer. This is going to be the person you build up your audience with.
Getting specific also gives you the added bonus of allowing you to be more personable.
When you can stop trying to please everyone and focus on a specific type of person it is easier to create a compelling message.
Speaking of your audience and content, let’s talk about those two in a little more detail.
Step 2 – Content Creation Based on Audience
If your audience is the most important part of your blog and marketing, content is a close second place.
Without content, your visitors would have no reason to visit your blog.
Without relevant content, visitors have no reason to become part of your audience.
Get your blog posts to work harder so you can work less
If you want to get more done and win back your precious time then don’t skip this.
You know who your audience is now.
You know that your audience and your topic align.
It’s time to put it all together and start making better content and quite possibly less of it.
To earn the right to call someone a part of your audience you have to be able to help them (or they have to be a family member…love you mom).
How do you know how to help your blog readers?
The answer is really quite simple.
You go where they are online and you find out what they’re asking.
Another overlooked option is this:
If you had to overcome the same problem, what questions did you ask yourself?
Find inspiration for post topics in everything and look for ways to apply it to your topic as well as your reader’s needs.
It really is that simple.
Keep a notebook or note taking app handy and always write down your post topic ideas.
It’s important to make sure that every post will benefit your audience in some way, even if it’s a small way some days.
There are more people asking questions than there are giving answers.
If you really want to connect with your readers then help them.
To turn them into your audience and keep helping them. You also want to have the opportunity to help them on demand.
You can do this by letting readers opt into your newsletter.
There is a wealth of information out there for getting started your own newsletter.
Here are a couple links that will point you in a great direction:
- Getting started with email marketing
- Growing your email marketing list
- How to welcome email subscribers the right way
You will also need an email marketing service provider (don’t worry it only sounds intimidating).
So what happens after you post? How do you get people to see your stuff?
Step 3 – Promoting to the right people – audience and competition
Promotion is another necessary link in this chain, a cog in the wheel, noodle in the pot…you get the idea.
Remember all those places you went to find your audience?
Try getting your content in front of those readers.
I use Quora to do audience research. But even more, I use it to answer questions and get the right content in front of the right people.
Guest posting is another option for getting your content in front of your soon to be audience members.
When it comes to social media don’t try to be everywhere, instead, focus on a couple different platforms that your audience is active on.
Don’t Spam People…Be Human
I will be the first to tell you, I really suck at networking.
Not only am I an introvert…I’m some weird form of digital introvert too.
You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, but here are some tips to make it much easier.
- Help others first
- Start networking before you need it. It’s like a seed, you have to plant it then help it grow through nurturing.
- Join online communities – not the ones that just spam shares and likes to each other…thats just noise. Focus on related topics and help people out.
- Don’t be afraid to ask after you have shown you can add value.
That last tip needs some explanation. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.
Think of a dating relationship.
You go out on a first date, things go well. You both enjoy each others company and even feel the other person’s presence adds value to your own life (shown through feeling happy).
Now it’s time for the second date. Maybe you two kiss (oooh).
After the kiss, you don’t drop down on one knee and ask for their hand in marriage, do you?
Value needs to keep being added, trust needs to be built.
Networking and getting your stuff promoted is very similar to the sales process in that a relationship must be built and nurtured.
When the value outweighs what you want to ask, then go for it.
Bonus – Turn your process into a system to get more done in less time.
You know what you need to do, now it’s time to keep things moving smoothly with as little interruption to your flow as possible.
To do this, I will explain how having a system in place for your blog can keep you on track, focused, and always moving forward.
Writing posts on your blog is only one of the many parts of blogging.
You already know how hard it is to keep track of everything. Especially when using several plugins with WordPress, it can be easy to forget to do something.
To avoid missing crucial steps in your posting process, list out the actions you need to take before, during, and after each post.
Keep it on a sheet of paper and hang it up by your computer. Or keep it easily accessible on your desktop.
The key point is to keep your system’s list available. Refer to it for every post.
By doing this important, yet simple, thing you will now have a reference point for one of your most important tasks.
You can stay on track and keep your focus much easier than trying to keep everything in your head.
You can create a task plan like this for any aspect of your blog.
Now you have a plan to work smarter and not harder.
By putting in some work up front you can avoid time-consuming decisions because you will know exactly who you’re talking to.
You’ll know what to say and how to say it.
Beyond writing and publishing posts you also know the value of helping others and getting help in return (networking).
Tie these tips together and keep your audience in mind with everything you do to create a successful blog.
Success is not guaranteed, it is impossible to tell you that your blog or business will be a hit.
There are just too many variables and outside circumstances to consider.
But, the harder you work on putting the right message in front of the right people, the better your chances.
You don’t have to pump out a 2500 word post every day. It is far more important than what you publish is valuable to your audience.
By knowing your audience you can create epic pieces of content that will take over for you once the work is done. They will keep your blog working overtime.
If you try to scrape by with a decent post every day, you’ll end up working 7 times harder than if you post 1 epic piece per week and promote it.
So get out there and start adding the value we both know you are capable of.
The world is waiting for you, it’s your move.