Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sounding Your Barbaric Yawp

If you are convinced there are good reasons to launch or relaunch a blog here are a few blogging tips for running a blog that’s a solid resource for the community or clients for which you are writing:

Pick an audience. Make some intentional decision about who you are writing for and why you are writing will keep you focused. The best blogs appeal to a specific audience and serve that audience well. Know who you are writing to and why and that determines what you write and how. Look at your blog as an in-house PR magazine with the goal of being perceived as an expert who knows and understands your mission.

Post often. The most successful blogs are the ones with the most consistent readership and you get that in part by blogging consistently. I haven’t always done that but I notice a significant increase in traffic during those consistent once-a-day stretches. The more you post, the better.

Make it look great and easy to read. You are an artist–you specialize in visual communication. The better-looking your blog and the easier it is to read and navigate, the more people will settle in and read it. Space things well, give lots of space in the margins and don’t make your column width too wide. People tire quickly–so make it as easy to read as possible. Photos and graphics help but only if they have some synergy with the written words.

Edit your words tightly. Use spell-check. Trim the fat where you can and give us hints that your grasp of the language includes a working knowledge of grammar and syntax. Readers can forgive much, but it’s unprofessional to hit Publish without checking it over. Losing a reader’s trust because you were too lazy to proof the article makes your blog a liability, not an asset.

Interact. Comments provide an excellent mechanism for exchange and conversation. Be sure to provide this level of dialogue for readers. You needn’t reply to every comment, but the more you engage your readers and make them part of things, the more readers will stick with you. Besides all that, you’d be amazed how much readers can add to the value of the blog for others.

Link to others. Be a giver, not a taker. The more links you have out, the more links you’ll have back in. The instinct we all begin with tends to be a protective one.

Write with your brain and your heart. Both your heart as well as your brain are big in size. People want to feel connected to you and they’ll feel that more if you let them in a little. No need to share the deepest secrets of your life–but things you’re passionate about. This in turn will attract and hold more readers.

Engage. Share the love. Connect with writers and photographers. Be a positive part of the conversation.

Be yourself. Bolggers with their own unique voice get read. Have an opinion and share it. But only be yourself if you’re a linkable person. If nobody on your street likes you or you tend to start rumors or street fights, you may want to to adopt a persona and write from that perspective. Or be yourself and attract belligerent clients the rest of us can only dream to have.

Write solid content. Writing solid content that educates or inspires brings people back. Resist the temptation to toss in filler. Not everything you publish will be helpful or appeal to everyone in your target audience, but most of it should. In the world of the internet, relevant and reliable content is king in terms of drawing readers. While this may take some effort, blogging is the fastest and easiest way to get yourself out there.

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