Since I’ve only been blogging for a couple weeks, I decided to set out on a quest to learn how to blog. Obviously, I couldn’t base much on personal experience, so I turned to a couple stalwarts of the blogging world to see what techniques and strategies they advocate and more importantly what they do on their own blogs. In particular, I looked to Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Ramit Sethi, though probably Tim’s work more than the rest since I’m more familiar with his blog. If you want to see the raw examples, I suggest that you take a look at those guys. But on to a few things I learned.
First, I wanted to break post writing down into its steps and make a checklist, so that I would have a repeatable process to follow when I write. This is what I came up with:
- Idea. Kinda obvious, but you need something to write about. One thing that was pointed out was the idea of content that would be relevant for a long time. Writing about current events may not be relevant for someone that finds your blog a year from now. Something to keep in mind when you choose your topics.
- Write to a particular audience. My blog is intended for small business owners, so I write with a certain one in mind, as if I was sitting one on one talking over lunch.
- Since I eventually want people to find my blog, SEO cannot be ignored. However, I don’t want to embed a bunch of keywords without having a good post, so I don’t address SEO until after the article is written. Even then, I don’t want to use the same keywords over and over so that reading the article isn’t enjoyable, but I do make sure to get my keywords in once or twice.
- Title. Everyone seems to agree, this is the most important part of a post. Tim wrote an excellent post about crafting a title. I refer to it before every post. I suggest you do the same.
- Proofread (it’s amazing how many people skip this step) and hit Post. Congrats!
Second, I looked at the anatomy of a post. Most of the posts I looked at seemed to follow a format traditional to any sort of educational writing or speech. Lead with an anecdote or interesting story to build some interest. Hard hitting facts with clear examples and real world case studies in the middle. Recap the main points that your readers were supposed to learn at the end. This is the standard format for sermons, seminars, books, and many other educational formats. That’s because it works. No need to mess with what works.
Nobody will read your blog if they don’t know about it. So to help get the word out, make it easily shareable. Think buttons for facebook, twitter, etc. Also, promote yourself where it makes sense. Since I’m writing about business, I wouldn’t promote myself on a site about movies.
The final thought I will leave you with is universally accepted by the bloggers I looked at. Content rules. If you don’t write content that is meaningful and provides value for your readers, it doesn’t matter how good the title is or how much you promote your work, in the long run nobody will consistently read your blog.
As my own blogging experience continues, I plan to revisit the topic of blogging and share what has worked for me and other lessons I learn along the way. Hope this helps. Any other suggestions or thoughts? Let me know in the comments.