Don’t be surprise when I say ‘the 10 commandments of building engaged blog.’ Truth is: everything in life has principles.
Commandments in this context are guiding principles. For any blog to succeed in terms of readership and value, ‘engagement’ has to come in.
It’s a good to own a blog and quite easy to set up – and considering the benefits attached to it, joining the blogging chariot is delectable. But building an engaged audience that can trust your opinion, click an affiliate link and make purchases is often very difficult.
A few bloggers have succeeded in breaking loose from this menace. They’ve followed a clear line of instructions – and they’ve become the reference point in this industry.
Please note: These 10 commandments are not set on stone; you’re expected to learn from them, find a unique angle and achieve your goals.
1. Commandment one: Set Clear Goals
In every organization, goal setting is a crucial aspect of growth. Blogging is truly an ‘organization’ of its own. You should see that sleek or quirky domain name as your office space. That is where business acquaintances and clients will meet with you. Until you set clear goals of what you actually want, nothing works.
A potential goal must be realistic, credible, simple and obtainable. Setting a long-term goal might not be ideal for a new blog. But when you set simple and short-term goals which can be achieved within 3 – 6 months, you would be able to keep pace, monitor your growth and make further decisions. Goal setting is a blogging principle – don’t neglect it!
2. Commandment two: Plan Your Attack Wisely
Before you can build an engaged audience and make money, plans has to be in place.
A Goal is different from a plan. Both are like two Siamese Twins that cannot be separated. A goal reveals the visions of where you want to be, while a plan shows the way to achieve such visions. Does that make sense?
My vision is to make $2,000 monthly with my blog. But this cannot be achieved if I fold arms and pray. I’ve got to do something, perhaps take steps that are extraordinary but legit. I can’t continue doing the same things and expect different and cherished results; I’ve got to take the right actions.
If I want to earn that much, I need to network with other bloggers, write 10 quality guest posts a week, or more, and optimize my blog for search engines. All these simple tweaks and steps are my plans. Plans motivate actions – goals do not.
3. Commandment three: Have a unique voice
Do you’ve a unique voice?
It’s so unfortunate how everyone wants to be like Darren Rowse. Blogging is supposed to be a platform where you express your deepest thoughts on a given subject or topic. It doesn’t matter what a professional have said, you’ve rights to air your views.
“Imitation is limitation” – John Marson
Learning is a continuous and necessary aspect of blogging effectively. You can learn from a successful blogger, but don’t try to coin words the way they do. You’re a rare gem and within resides the ability to transform the world with words. Imitation would only degrade the potentials of discovering your inner voice. Blog readers want to connect and engage with a ‘unique person’ who does things differently.
4. Commandment four: Become a Leader
“Leadership has nothing to do with age or years of experience!”
In order to become a leader, you need to recognize that exceptional trait in you, which the world needs. A blog is like a world of its own and to motivate and command this world, being a leader is important.
Experts oftentimes are leaders in the making. Some of the engaged blogs I know are manned by thought-provoking leaders. Ex. Zac Johnson, Brain Clark, Pat Flynn, Yaro Starak, Derek et al. Even when they’re not totally right on a given topic, we still believe and trust their opinion. Why?
They’ve built a strong fan-base in the past few years. Honesty, transparency, and a willing heart to help someone else will move you closer to leadership status. Think about it!
5. Commandment five: Solve ‘at least’ one problem
My blog is an SEO content marketing blog. It helps small businesses generate targeted prospects and sales easily. That’s the problem I solve. If you look at it critically, I’ve been able to solve more than one problem, but I actually wanted to solve one: SEO – optimizing web pages for organic traffic.
What does your blog do?
Can you explain that to a 2-year old without sounding like a Rocket Scientist? If you can’t, it means you’ve not really been solving a problem. And this principle of building an engaged blog is so vital to your growth – readers have problems and they’re looking up to you to provide solution(s).
But believe me, readers will not prosecute you for not solving all their problems, but they’ll hold you responsible if you fail to solve ‘at least’ one problem. Engaged blogs have solutions to problems faced by its readers. Is your blog doing the same?
6. Commandment six: Listen to your readers continually
When last did you get a feedback from readers?
Do you know that ‘writer’s block’ doesn’t exist? I’m sure a lot of bloggers will disagree with me. But that’s the truth. If you experience writer’s blog, you’ve not been listening to readers. “The blog is by you, but not about you.” So, listen to them and over time, you’ll discover the pattern of what works.
Listening more to readers is the only cure for writer’s block. You can read the entire blog in your niche and still experience knowledge breakdown – but when you listen, you write better, engage better and increase conversion rate ultimately.
If you write a blog post that no one reads and comments, it indicates ‘lack of understanding’ of your readers. A blogger who understands her readers doesn’t guess or take part in trial and error marketing practices. He knows what to write, and how to write it.
7. Commandment seven: Mind Your Business, Not Twitter’s
Are you addicted to social media?
It’s no longer news that social media has become a part of blogging, and if properly harnessed, the rewards are tremendous. But come to think of it, what has social media truly done for you? How much targeted readers do you attract from Twitter and Facebook?
If you’re not getting leads from these social networking sites, it means you doing the wrong thing.
You need to mind your business – build your blog and not Facebook’s or Twitter? These social media giants are growing at WAP speed because of bloggers, webmaster and avid internet users.
When exactly will your business grow? Is it when you’re tweeting blindly or liking every Facebook fan page out there? No matter how engaged your twitter followers are, it’s still a waste of time until you channel them to your blog.
Social media is powerful, recommended for bloggers and everyone who wants to connect and network, but don’t be engrossed in it and neglect your responsibilities.
Henceforth, mind your business – eliminate every social media addiction – be wise!
8. Commandment eight: Fail Forward
The 8th commandment is very simple, but vital to future exploits of your blog. There are two ways a blogger can fail: Fail forward or fail backward!
We cannot deny the fact that both are failures. But the former is a great life transformer. Every successful blogger I know have failed in one way or the other, but they picked up the shreds and started again – this time, fully girded for excellence.
When a person fails backward, discouragement and dilemma sets in. A blogger friend of mine actually shut down his blog when his expectations of making money from it didn’t materialize.
We both started together, we both failed. But I failed forward. Leant my lessons, asked intelligent questions and began a new journey and today, I’ve no regrets whatsoever.
For your blog to be engaged, you mustn’t give up. The wind of failure may blow hard, situations may not fall in your favor, but don’t be distracted. Focus on your goal (commandment one) and scale it through. As you stay on course, there will be a time when failure becomes a ‘stepping stone’ and push you closer to the top. Wait until the time comes – be strong and give readers what they want.
9. Commandment nine: Write guest posts every week
Take note: If you can write quality guest posts every week and get featured in A-list blogs, you’ll drive targeted readers easily.
Can I tell you something? One vital and powerful blog promotion strategy you should be addicted to is ‘guest blogging.’
Ironically, the handful of bloggers who discovered the importance of guest posting and how it can transform a blog didn’t do it right. It’s true that most bloggers are contributing to other blogs, but how many are getting significant results.
I once read an article published by Danny Iny of Firepole marketing and he clearly pointed out the mistakes people make when guest posting. According to Danny, if you’re a freelance writer, you don’t have to write a guest post on a freelance blog.
The reason is simple, you can’t build engaged blog filled with freelance writers. You need to guest post in business-related blogs since you’re searching for clients.
Freelance writers cannot hire you, but entrepreneurs can!
So, before writing a guest post, research the blog you’ve in mind. Study the readers. Are they job seekers or business owners? The success of your guest post is determined by the readers and the blog. Be creatively and invest your time wisely.
10. Commandment ten: Reply to every comment
Thank God I didn’t forget this commandment of building an engaged blog. Blog comments is a strong arm of blogging, and should be tamed.
How do you tame commentors?
You do this by replying and answering every question they ask. Not every blogger has time for comments participation, but it can encourage or discourage future comments. I didn’t realize the importance of this in my blog until recently, when I attended a Blog Conference in my city.
I was actively involved in a popular blog, but because my comments and questions were not recognized or replied to, I vowed never to visit again. Established blogs may survive comment’s neglect, but if your blog is pretty new and still building readership, ensure you reply to comments and throw lights on complicated issues.
How do you engage readers?
There you’ve it, the 10 commandments of building engaged audience. This is proven to work for you. But before I leave, I want to know how you’ve succeeded in engaging your readers. What motivates them, why are they still interested in your posts? Share your comments and don’t forget to take action on these simple commandments. See you ahead!
Image Credit: netural