This is a guest post by Charlie Carey.
In a world where Google search rules the blogosphere, and where we often obsess over the smallest changes to the homepage, the most important thing is often ignored. What is this magic ingredient, you ask? What is the magic tool that can make a blog stand out from all the rest? Well, it’s simple: good content. Without it, you can be mediocre at best, boring at worst, and you’ll scare away repeat readers like flies from a flyswatter.
Fortunately, there is a solution. Follow a few simple rules, and this stumbling block can be entirely removed from your path.
Before You Start Your Blog
1. Make sure there’s a lot to write about.
Remember that you’ll likely be writing a lot, and so you need a good content base to work from. I don’t have that problem, because I do politics, but if you’re interested in, say, woodworking, you might be limited as to how much you can write before it becomes redundant (By the way, woodworking is just an example. For all I know there’s a lot to write about). The point is, be careful about choosing your topic or niche. Make it broad, and preferably with a large online community behind it.
2. Be interested in your topic.
You can’t be consistent if you hate what you’re blogging about.If your biggest dread is writing the posts, you have it wrong.On the other hand, that dread could be because you simply don’t like to write.In that case, get a microphone of some sort.Any kind will do, because you aren’t going to publish the audio. Simply take a few notes, put a few articles in front of you, and explain what you’re trying to explain in the microphone’s general direction. A natural flow will emerge, and it may be that this could take the dread out of writing for you.
After You Start Your Blog
3. Read about what you write about.
Never be afraid to take a few moments and research your facts. Getting it wrong can be massively embarrassing, and it can do a lot to break down your carefully established credibility.
Also, the more you know, the more you can say, and the more you can say, the more good content you have, and the more good content you have, the better your search ranking will be, and the better your search ranking is, the more readers you have, and the more readers you have, the more opportunity's you have to monetize.
So take a minute to research it. It can never hurt.
Be cautious, however, of two things. Enormous articles are intimidating, so you might want to split it down into several smaller posts of about five or six paragraphs apiece if it gets too big, or cut it down. Don’t be afraid to remove an excess unrelated paragraph here and there. If it isn’t on topic, it can become difficult and unpleasant to read. You’ll be punishing your most loyal followers, and that’s never a good thing.
4. Tailor to your audience.
Web publishing platforms often give statistics as to post popularity. Look at your most popular posts, and write more on those topics. Popularity will indicate your showings on search results as well as reader referrals and such. The point is, the more popular an article, the more you should try to duplicate it.
5. Conduct interviews.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s simple to set up an interview. Think about it this way: you get an easy article, they get easy publicity. It’s a great source of content, and oftentimes all it requires to set up is a phone call. The perceived difficulty comes from the celebrity of certain people (oh, they’d NEVER talk to ME), but the fact is, this benefits them. It’s business.
Be respectful but not overly so. A good metaphor is to treat them like a lawyer, who you want to talk to during business hours. Formal, but not stiff, respectful, but not worshipping.In return, you get an increased respect from readers, as well as a big bounce to your credibility.
You can also conduct interviews with people who are more like you. Bloggers with similar sites to your own are great, and they will likely be flattered and very willing to give you the interview.
6. Don’t be afraid to write about anything related.
If you have a baking blog, there’s no need to scramble for a recipe every few days. Think about it this way: you attract people interested in a broad topic, cooking, not just people interested in recipes. People who read blogs are accepting of variety, and it’s often a good thing. There’s no real reason NOT to break from the norm for a book review, an interview (see 5), or maybe even a post about another useful blog. If you like something, chances are your readers will too.
7. Never exclude audio/video content.
People love to just sit back and let the content do the work for them. It’s easy to listen or watch content, and so people like to see it. Give it a whirl and see if you can’t generate a larger audience with it.
With the great content taken care of don’t close yourself in a box. Engage your readers in comments, answer your emails, be active on similar Blogs and forums if applicable. There’s no surer way to gain a loyal follower, as well as fill in the gaps of your content. Remember, whatever you write elsewhere you can consider syndicated content, and people will read it with the same level of respect as they read your blog posts. It’s not a waste of time in any way.
The point is, on the Internet, content is still king, and good content beats the crap out of bad content. So, train your effort towards this, and you’re more likely to produce a quality site. Separate yourself from the masses with variety, well-researched posts, interviews, and video - and a good topic.
What do you think? Post a comment and let me know.