This is my first guest post here at Blogging Tips. I am excited about being a part of this blog because I have been a reader for a long time and I have always appreciated the high quality content offered here. Hopefully you will find my contributions helpful and feel inclined to interact with my articles.
My name is Sara Christensen. I spend the 9 to 5 part of a typical day as a techie for a not-for profit and the rest of my waking hours as a techie for myself. You can find everything you need to know about me from the About link at Pajama Professional so I am not going to ramble on about Sadie, my retired show cat.
I thought for a long time about how to approach this guest spot. I know that many people don’t take blogging very seriously, but I consider it a serious business and I want to be able to take pride in any article published under my byline. I look at it no differently than if I were writing a column for Newsweek or Time. It is a real job and I plan to treat it as such.
Generally, a regular column in a newspaper or magazine has a theme. While Blogging Tips already has a theme, I have decided that I want to narrow my guest posts even further and focus primarily on the craft of writing. I have a BA in English and was thisclose to a Journalism minor so I think my knowledge could be useful to others.
Different means of publication call for different writing styles. There are some things about writing for a blog that make it different from any other type of writing. So, for my inaugural post here at Blogging Tips I would like to share Six Ways Blogging Differs From Other Types of Writing.
1. This is Not The Times
Like an article for a newspaper, a blog post must have a strong lead. The trick is to make your lead hook readers without being too stiff and newsy. For a newspaper lead I might write: “Microsoft CEO Bill Gates announced today that he will be retiring in June of 2008.”
If I used that lead in an article on my blog, readers would be heading elsewhere for more interesting content. Breaking news on your blog is great, but that doesn’t mean your posts have to sound like news. If readers want news, they will head to CNN.com. They are at your blog because they want your original viewpoint. The fastest way to lose readers is to start regurgitating news content in a really boring fashion.
2. Personality = Popularity
If you want to succeed as a blogger, you have to be likable. Or hate-able. Or both. Just try your very best not to get caught somewhere in between. Be memorable. Find your voice. I will be discussing methods by which you can find your voice in one of my upcoming guest posts.
The thing to remember is, popular blogs become popular because of the blogger. A good blogger shows personality even when he/she is writing about an impersonal topic. Regular readers start to feel like they know the blogger personally. Once this happens, readers form attachments and loyalties that are achievable only in a venue like blogging that highlights a writer’s personality.
Just as you need a solid personality to be a good blogger, you also need solid opinions. Your opinions should be well-expressed and researched. You can absolutely base your opinions on emotions if that’s the way you want to go. But if you want to be taken seriously, you need to back those feelings up with facts.
People who read blogs like their facts with a healthy dose of originality. Don’t ever be afraid to share your opinions, even if they are different from everyone else’s. The issue on which you disagree wtih the five most popular bloggers could be the issue that brings the best linkbait post you’ve ever written. Each interesting, original opinion you have is an opportunity. Seize it.
4. Cut the Fluff
With a blog, you’re generally not writing to a certain word count or number of inches. This is significant because it means you can use all the words you need to say what you want to say. Then you can stop. There is no reason to write a blog post with filler and fluff. When I say fluff, I do not mean a nice literary intro, a related experience or a relevant quote. I mean extra words and off-topic ramblings.
Sometimes it can be tricky to decide what is fluff and what isn’t. You might think a point is relevant because of your experience, but its inclusion might not make sense to anyone else. I will write more about techniques for cutting the fluff in an upcoming post. For now, a good tactic for telling if your post is fluff-free is to read it aloud. If you feel yourself start to zone out at some point, go back and figure out why. If you are unable to follow your own writing then you have no hope of keeping the interest of other readers.
5. Think Audience
Write to your readers. Most blog visitors read at approximately a sixth-grade level. A flashy vocabulary and a lot of technical jargon do not make you look smart, they make you annoying and hard to read. They make you a lonely blogger. If you stick to writing “correctly” but conversationally you’ll do just fine.
Depending on your niche, you may need to consider other factors when addressing your readers. For example: if you are writing a blog aimed at Conservative Christians, it wouldn’t be appropriate to throw around a bunch of profanity. If you are not comfortable writing in a style that appeals to the readers you are attempting to attract, you might want to rethink your niche.
Most bloggers choose to write what they know and/or love. This is an especially great guideline for a new blogger as it is much easier to find your voice if you have knowledge of or passion for your material. A new blogger who chooses to write about a certain topic just because he/she thinks it will be profitable or popular is not very likely to succeed.
6. Watch Your Language
You have to know the rules in order to break them. Maybe you think this doesn’t apply to blogging, but it very much does. There’s a huge difference between comfortable, casual writing and ignorant, lazy writing. And readers can tell the difference very quickly. And, just as quickly, they will go read a blog that doesn’t feature unintelligible run-on sentences and include the word “irregardless.”
It is perfectly acceptable – even advisable – to write a bit like how you speak, infusing your posts with literary personality. However, this does not mean you should pepper your posts with misplaced commas, misspelled words and misused nouns. Yes, studying grammar and English language usage can be really boring. But if you want to be a good blogger, you need to study the craft.
Blogging is a means by which nearly anyone can instantly become published. You do not need an editor, an agent or a publishing house. All that is required is a PC, some free software and whatever words you can pull from the alphabet soup in your brain. Anyone can write a blog. The challenge is writing a good blog, or even a great blog.
In the world of blogging, there are a lot of blogs to choose from on any topic imaginable. For this reason, it’s often more about how you write than what you write. I plan to use my space here as a Blogging Tips guest blogger to share tips, tricks and tools to become a better writer and, by extension, a better blogger. In next week’s post I will use my superstar writing skills to make grammar an interesting subject.
And, yes, I really do have a retired show cat named Sadie.
4 Effective Tips for Boosting Reader Engagement on Your Blog
If you want your blog to be successful and bring good profits, you need to ensure that your posts not only attract traffic but engage the readers. To do this you’ll need to experiment with content formats, open dialog with the audience, involve influencers, and above all, understand your audience’s exact wishes.
From online videos to content creation and social media, there seems to be an endless supply of new traffic out there and different ways to pull users back to your site. With all of this in focus and on the minds of bloggers everywhere, we wanted to highlight some of the best ways to boost content engagement, using many of the preferred mentions we’ve already highlighted.
4 Ways to Boost Your Blog Content Engagement Rate Fast
Even if you don’t run a vlog, you need to post an occasional video because that’s the ‘hottest’ type of content today. Check out an aggregation of video marketing statistics offered by Forbes to see why exactly your blog needs more video content. Note that social videos generate more shares.
Live video streaming is also greatly popular today, so be sure to launch an occasional Facebook Live session to share something interesting with your followers. Then post a recording of the stream on your blog so those who missed the airing will be able to enjoy it anyway.
Research your audience in great detail
To boost reader engagement on your blog you need to understand what motivates your targeted audience to actually get into your content. You’ll need to not only consider the analytics data that will show you which of your posts are most popular. You also need to search for information on your targeted audience, such as what kind of posts are generally more popular with them.
The more precise you are in developing targeted content, the higher the reader engagement rate will be. This means that if you seek to create a diverse readership base, you might need to consider launching several websites. In that case, you’ll need to use specialized software and a hosting service that allows you to run multiple blogs. This will make managing them easier, so you’ll be able to focus on creating several posts. Bear in mind that you might be able to apply the same basic content strategy to all your blogs, even if they differ in subjects.
The differences in those strategies and individual posts will be dictated by the data you get from a detailed study of targeted audiences.
Get more influential persons involved
Influencers of any kind can help you boost reader engagement on your blog because if they promote your content, their loyal readers will want to read it themselves. You can also generate more traffic and engagement by mentioning various celebrities and popular bloggers.
A perfect example of this can be seen in one of our expert roundup posts, where 73 different online marketers and bloggers took the time to share their expertise on social media. The benefit here wasn’t also just for our site. Each of the experts got a lot of exposure out of this, and the audience loved the content as well.
However, you’ll need to be careful if you choose to use mentions. For celebrities, you should research laws and regulations surrounding the issue. You need to be 100% sure that you won’t be sued for mentioning someone’s name or other information in your post. When you mention bloggers, you’ll need to consider those rules too as well as give them a heads up about doing this.
Having various opinion influencers popular with your target audience is a great boost to your blog and personal brand. This will also increase your reach as you’ll get an indirect contact with the influencer’s audience.
However, attracting influencers is a big challenge, especially for a blogger. You can use the tips from Neil Patel, a true marketing guru. Think carefully about how to adapt them to your situation.
Post engaging graphics
Much like with videos, you should post relevant graphics to boost reader engagement because this type of content is popular and shareable. Infographics are particularly effective for this, so be sure to create some. It will be best if your infographics have some original data on relevant topics. But, even simple step-by-step instructions can generate decent shares and likes.
Your every post should contain several images by default as they promote reader engagement and memorization. Be sure to add .GIFs as well, because these graphics are in trend now.
Best Search Engine Marketing and SEO Practices to Follow in 2018
Marketing often requires four basic factors: first, there should be people with unsatisfied needs; second, these people should have the desire to be satisfied; third, there should be opportunities for communication; and fourth, there should be an exchange of goods or services. A businessman with keen acumen for business opportunities would readily recognize these unsatisfied needs, build opportunities for communication with these people, and relay the service or product that could satisfy their needs. The important thing is that the prospective businessman is able to reach his target audience via good marketing strategies and tactics.
Understanding Search Engine Marketing
Marketing strategies have greatly changed since the introduction of the World Wide Web. As the Internet expands, it also provides good avenues for new marketing strategies and tactics. It also engenders new buying behavior among consumers, as contemporary consumers first search online for a product or service that they need before purchasing it. On the other hand, business owners are now required to create their own websites to be relevant online.
As highlighted in this article, writing for humans is always going to be the example to follow. It also means keeping the following SEO guidelines in mind when creating content:
- Keep it unique. Avoid duplicating content that’s already out there. Ask yourself: what can I add to this ongoing conversation?
- Do more research than competitor sites have done.
- Consider all options: infographics, videos, podcasts, an interview, a step-by-step guide or even a new tool or template.
- Remember that longer content gets more links. If your page is supported by high-quality links, it will move up in the ranks. Although Google has stated that even a few sentences can rank, in general, you’re better off creating content that is at least 300 words or more.
One form of effective online marketing is search engine marketing. It involves website promotion aimed at increasing the visibility of your business site online. It is also designed to make your site rank higher on the search engine page results (SERP). However, this marketing form is wrought primarily through paid advertisement.
In 2007, for example, advertisers in the U.S. had spent 24.6 billion dollars on this type of marketing. Google, on the other hand, leads the pack of search engines that profited from search engine marketing. Furthermore, in the second quarter of 2015, Google got a sizeable 73.7% share of profits from search engine marketing as compared to 26.3% of Yahoo/Bing. Based on these data, search engine marketing appears to be a very profitable business that rakes billions of dollars of profit for search engines.
Social Media Marketing
Your online marketing strategies and tactics would never be complete without tapping into social media. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Baidu Tieba, and LinkedIn have also been used for marketing. LinkedIn, for example, as an employment-oriented service can be used to promote your services and get more mileage for your online marketing efforts, but keep in mind that it is primarily used to establish professional networks.
Just take a look at the screenshot below and how LinkedIn can provide such great information for anyone looking for earnings and jobs reports within any specific niche market. Not only will these same results rank and appear within the search results, they are also heavily shared through social media as well.
Search Engine Optimization
Aside from search engine marketing which makes use of paid advertising, you can also make use of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is another way of expanding the online visibility of your site without necessarily paying for online advertisements. Search engines have organic or natural page results, known as SERP, and you can influence these organic results through SEO.
Not many, however, are experts in SEO. Hence, if you are a businessman who doesn’t have the know-how on SEO, you should visit BestSEOCompanies.com and search for the expert that fits your needs. If you want a reliable and trustworthy SEO specialist, this website can really help you with its list of the top 50 SEO services that you can immediately hire.
Business websites that are ranking high in the SERP usually gets two-pronged benefits. First, if your site ranks high in the SERP, chances are casual searchers will click on your website, and you can turn them immediately into actual clients. Additionally, if you get more clicks and visits from casual searchers, the search engine will further rank your website higher.
What Is the Chief Benefit of Going the Extra Blogging Mile?
10:15 PM on a Sunday night.
After waking at 7 AM I did an hour of yoga.
I followed up with 4 hours of blogging work.
Toss in another 4 hours of blogging work plus a 1 hour walk and some R and R, and where I am late on a Sunday night. Going the extra blogging mile.
I love blogging. Working late on a Sunday does not feel like going the extra mile because blogging feels fun to me. But putting in a bit more effort when I feel tired helps me to help more people. Going the extra blogging mile also makes me memorable in the eyes of readers.
I know other bloggers who go the extra mile.
My friend Ronald at Web SEO Marketers runs a first rate blog.
Beyond his super content though, he goes the extra blogging mile in the relationship-building department.
A few moments ago I saw this update in my stream when I logged in to Facebook:
Buying the paperback version of my blogging eBook would have been awesome in and of itself. But Ronald snapped a selfie holding the paperback, noted how he just received my book in the email and tagged me to let me know he bought my book and he’d see me in paradise.
He perfectly embodies how you go the extra mile relationship building wise. Compassionate, heart-centered bloggers think of how they can help folks out. Generous folks always stick out in your mind because we resonate with people who are kind, helpful and genuine in all they do.
Being Memorable Helps Expand Your Presence
I noted Ronald’s rocking blog in this post because he is a skilled blogger, because he shouted out buying my book on Facebook and because both factors make him memorable. I could not fall asleep until I wrote this post and shouted him out because it feels fun to spread the love and to help you guys understand the chief benefit of going the extra blogging mile; people will remember you.
If people remember you they will feature you, interview you, invite you to guest post on their blog, or they will hire you or buy your stuff. As your features, interviews and guest posts increase you will appear to be all over the place in your niche, growing your business slowly and steadily until your generosity and willingness to go above and beyond results in exponential growth of your online presence.
Alonzo Pichardo embodies this type of massive growth over the long haul by going the extra mile.
Check out his Instagram account.
His follower growth and overall engagement levels are staggering, with 55,000 followers receiving Alonzo’s update on the platform.
Alonzo continues to get so many followers because he gave so much of his time, skills and expertise over the past decade. He did not attract 55,000 followers after a week of going the extra blogging mile. He generously served folks for a decade and continues to help folks even if doing so takes him late into the night, becoming more memorable to more folks around the world.
Be patient and persistent in creating value and building bonds. Good things take time.
You may not make a penny through your blog for 6 months after doing the right things with the right energy but you will succeed over the long haul. Every kind act is rewarded over time.
Keep helping people. Focus on the process, not on outcomes. Stay up late to write the guest post, linking in to your blogging buddies to increase their exposure. After you purchase a book, take a selfie and tag the author on social media. Think of how you can impact humanity in a generous, significant way, one friendship and one generous act at a time.
Go the extra blogging mile.
Accelerate your blogging success over the long haul.
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