So you have a blog and you have a few readers, but how interested are your readers in what you write? Are they inspired by it? Does it help them to solve problems in their work or personal lives? Do they tell family, friends or colleagues about it? And do they visit your blog because they were interested in a particular post and got hooked?
If your answer to these questions is ‘I don’t know’, you have work to do. There are millions of blogs out there, so if you’re serious about getting yours noticed, you need to invest time and energy in refining the type of content you post on it. But how do you create something that really connects with your audience? It starts with understanding what exactly that audience is.
Understanding your audience
The first thing you need to do to in order to create a successful blog is to understand your audience. That doesn’t just mean the people already reading your blog – it means the people you’d like to be reading your blog too.
A brand name selling diaper bags will be successful if it produces blog posts that appeal to new parents. A company selling bike helmets will be successful if it produces blog posts that connect with cyclists. Drawing in readers means nothing unless they are part of – or at least related to – your market. This applies every bit as much to blogs where you are looking to get a message across or share information as it does to those looking to sell a product or service.
How can you find out about your audience? Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights provide valuable information on who is already reading your blog, which you can use to help you refine the keywords you include in your posts and identify subjects likely to most appeal to your target audience Adjust what you publish accordingly, and see what changes; this way you can continue to make adjustment that will bring your actual audience closer to your ideal audience.
Look at what other blogs are doing to attract people in your target market too, but don’t just copy it; your blog will need to have a voice of its own if it’s going to succeed.
Make it personal
The informality of blogs is a large part of their appeal. People don’t want an anonymous corporate voice or articles written in the third person when they visit your blog – they want you. This doesn’t mean the personality of your blog has to be identical to yours though; you can still be professional, and you can tailor the language you use to suit your target audience.
Remember that people respond best to someone they feel thinks in the same way that they do. Be warm and friendly, and take an interest in the responses you get – show your readers you care about them.
Far too many people start blogging about popular subjects in the same way everyone else does. Doing this won’t give people a reason to visit your blog, as they’ll probably already have seen the same tone and ideas elsewhere. If you’re going to cover a popular subject, find a unique angle from which to approach it, one that nobody else has used.
What makes a blog valuable to people? This will vary a bit depending on your target audience. Some of it’s about ideas. Some of it’s about information. Can you inspire people? Can you help them see something in a new way, without being too challenging regarding their priorities and values? Can you teach them a new skill?
If you are selling kitchen furniture, for instance, you might find recipes that can be made and enjoyed using furniture like yours will be popular with your target audience because they find them fun, useful and relevant.
Create the right tone
Different audiences look for different things in what they read. Most people like humor, and it can help to create that all-important sense of a personal bond, but the type of humor you use for a blog aimed at high school athletes would obviously be quite different from what you’d use to connect with 50-something lawyers. Depending on the context, you may need to adopt a more serious or sympathetic tone, while blog posts offering advice need to sound authoritative without being overbearing.
Get people talking
While by this point you will have worked to make your target audience feel comfortable with you and your blog, you can’t agree with everyone all the time, and sometimes disagreement is just what you need to get people talking.
The trick is to work out just how far you can go in being provocative without upsetting people. If you’re stating your preference for a particular color scheme, you shouldn’t need to worry too much, but if you’re broaching ethical, moral or political issues, you should tread carefully.
When people comment on your blog, try to respond in a way that will draw them into a discussion, and reference other commenters to get them talking to each other.
Keep asking questions
Every comment and piece of feedback you get can help with profiling your audience, as well as improving your blog. Use polls and surveys to persuade people to share their views, and create posts that raising questions rather than provide answers, inviting readers to share their thoughts.
Throughout this process, keep track of the number of views, comments and shares you get in order to see what type of posts engage readers most effectively. The more content you post and analyze, the more you can learn.
Building a successful blog takes time, and you shouldn’t expect things to happen overnight, but well-tailored content will give you a great chance of growing your audience. If you’re already taking the time to produce content, it’s worth making the extra effort to ensure that what you’re producing connects with your target audience. While it will take a little more energy, you’ll get a lot more out of your blog as a result.
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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