As a publicist, there is one thing I hear all the time. "I need to build a platform so I need to create a blog. Where do I start?"
Well, you might need a blog, but it may not do you any good. It all depends.
It depends on if you:
- Have time to blog
- Have the determination to be consistent and keep at it
- Have a niche theme that isn't already over saturated in the market
- Can recognize change in the times and in your audience and be flexible enough to change with it and them
- Genuinely like to blog
Now that the trend word platform has made significant rounds for several years, and everyone has figured out they need one, social media is exploding, blogs are saturating the web, and podcasts are increasing in quantity like wildfire. The big trend word right now is content--and has been the buzz word for awhile now. In fact, last year I wrote a blog post on Everything is Content. In spite of our ideas of what content is or isn't, we need to realize it takes many forms and isn't just words--images, podcasts, videos are all content.
This brings me back to my title, merely blogging a bunch of fluff isn't what people want. It will be ignored, deleted, challenged, and criticized. So what do people want and what should your blog content contain?
Your blogging content needs to be:
- Informative - It should not be repetitive or sound like everyone else. Share and teach others what you have learned. This will give you credibility and make others appreciate friending and knowing you. This is what it means for content to have value.
- Interesting and entertaining - Include a mixture of images, illustrations and videos to make your point. Be yourself and use your writing voice in your blog. It should not sound like a work report or scientfic study.
- Full of variety - Take different approaches to your topic and explore ideas and thoughts. You don't know everything, even in your field and niche. Invite other experts and colleagues to guestpost on your blog. In return they will promote their post and you will gain new visitors you normally don't have access.
- Consistent - People are creatures of habit and like knowing what to expect so they will know how to fit your blog into their reading schedule. If you blog once a month or every couple of months, they will forget about your blog and fill that time with other content. My advice is weekly, post a blog schedule on which days you will blog and stick to it. Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be everyday, but 2-3 times each week.
- Organized and legible - When someone lands on your blog for the first time, they may want to read more of what piqued their interest and brought them there. Have a good archive system in place. I'm not referring to the auto-archives arranged by months and dates on your sidebar. I'm talking about using static pages on your blog to organize some of your best posts under specific categories. For instance, my blog has specific pages categorized by Writing Tips, Historical Research, and Inspirational Devotions. Also, include a search feature in the sidebar. Make it easy for people to find the content they are looking for.
- SEO - It's true that Search Engine Optimization is important and helps in ranking your pages higher on a web search. However, I caution people against writing a bunch of fluff in order to get those SEO words in your title and in your post. Make sure your content is relevant and helpful. This is where less is more and the value of quality is better than quantity. If you can't come up with original content each day, then daily blogging isn't for you. Blog once or twice a week. Your readers will appreciate you not wasting their time and save you from losing credibility and followers.
Have you ever seen a blog title and clicked to read more, but was disappointed at the content and felt like you wasted your time? Did you take action and leave a critical comment, stopped following, or ignored their next few posts?