With so many platforms to publish blogs on now (Wordpress, Tumblr, Medium, Ghost, Squarespace) blogging has become a somewhat of a new hobby for a lot of us.
This means that there’s already massive competition for readers and with more and more people blogging about different topics every single day, it can be a daunting task to begin and maintain.
Over at Crocstar HQ, we run blogging workshops to help people start blogging and keep it up. During these sessions we give each person a pack of Post-It notes (a Crocstar essential) and always start with this one simple question:
“What stops you from blogging?”
From a few different sessions, we found a common theme kept cropping up – THE FEAR.
What do I blog about?
This the big question. Unless you have a burning desire to talk about a specific topic, thinking of something to write about is difficult. To banish this blocker, we recommend a planned approach.
Try creating a content calendar so you can plan how many blogs you write. Be realistic and think in terms of the resources you have available – whether you can write daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. By planning ahead you can tie your posts into current events: sport, seasonal challenges, religious holidays or legislative changes.
With a plan based around your calendar, you can reduce the stress of needing to pull a blog post out of a hat without any clear direction.
To make sure your blogs ooze with confidence, write about subjects you have a clear understanding of and a defined perspective or opinion on. Given the volume of content pushed out daily, it’s important that your work stands out and engages the audience.
The simple way to think about it is: if you’ve got lots of ideas, write lots of blog posts. If you haven’t, just make sure you write when you have the time to.
Our five top tips to get you blogging regularly and confidently:
Have a personality or voice and stick with it
Having an opinion on a common topic will generate engagement. Make sure you review your comment section or social media and keep the conversation going. This is one of the best ways to connect with your audience.
2. Be visual
Consider adding high quality artwork, infographics and links to relevant videos to make your post stand out. It also helps to break up large bodies of text, making easier for your audience to digest. (Find out more about the psychology of reading online from Christine.)
3. Longer articles work better
Longer form (around 800 words) articles tend to perform better on the sharing side as they’re easily found by search engines. It’s important that any quotes or links are properly formatted with hyperlinks as those backlinks help SEO in a big way.
4. Have a magnetic headline
A recent study found that eight out of 10 readers will read the title of an article without reading the rest of the text. Upworthy experimented with titles and saw changing the headlines had a massive impact on popularity. They were able to get the same article from 1,000 reads to 10,000 just by manipulating the headline.
5. Spread the word
Amplification is essentially for paid advertisement. You can pay a small amount to help boost readership by getting it in front of more people on the right platforms.
For a company with an important marketing message it’s a great tool to increase readership. If you can’t afford to amplify then make sure you have social sharing tools on every blog post – so anyone reading can tell their friends about your great post.
In brief: blog boldly
Writing is a journey, not a destination. Like any creative output, there can be good and bad. To be able to do something you always need to have the aspiration to improve. Like any skill it takes time and practise to hone it.
Try it. Start simple, and see where it takes you. When you’ve written something share it with us.