Q&A: What do you wish you would have known when you started blogging?
I recently received an email from a student studying communication. She was assigned to ask an independent blogger his or her secrets to blogging success.
She asked, “What does it take to be a successful blogger,” and, “What do you wish you would have known [when you started blogging]?”
I thought I’d share my reply with everyone:
“Two things I think form the basis of blogging success: 1) Consistency, and 2) Interestingness.
A lot of people write good stuff, but irregularly and infrequently. It doesn’t have to be every day (many great ones are, though). One of the best blogs I read is a once-a-weeker: jacobdivett.blogspot.com (friend of mine). He’s been posting once a week for years, and I look forward to his next post every week.
But even if you’re consistent and blog frequently, if your writing sucks (or is uninteresting), it doesn’t matter. Think about who your audience is (or the audience you want), and write with them in mind.
We try to do this at our recently launched blog for my company: contently.com/strategist for example. Our audience is marketers and brands trying to figure out how to manage a publishing operation. So we write about that. We rarely write about ourselves, because most people don’t care.
If I were to pick two other keys to success, they would be 3) Headlines, and 4) Influencers.
Your post is only as good as its headline. If no one clicks on it, no one will read it. So put the most work into your headlines as you can. There’s a great series on headlines at http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
As for influencers: what I mean is when you write you should think about who is influential in your industry that you want to quote you, reblog you, or share your content with their audience. Then write stuff you think they’ll be likely to enjoy, and send them a quick tip once in a while (“Hey, thought you might like this”) and eventually they will share your stuff, and you’ll start to get their audience interested in you. Quote influencers in your blog, and they’ll notice and tweet it out. Everyone loves attention.”
Another “secret” I’ve learned about blogging is to not be overly concerned with “giving everything away.” We’re pretty open about what we’re doing here at out blog. We hope to empower our readers with tips they can use to build their own successful blog, knowing that some people will simply not have the time to do it themselves and ask us to help them out.
So, if there were a 5th tip, it would be “transparency.”
5 Keys To Building A New Blog