Having taken you through some basic steps leading up to smart blogging in the Smart Blogger’s Checklist Part 1, it is now time to tell you a little bit about the practicalities of building a blog, growing your readership, building visibility as a blogger and developing quality content for your blog.
Post, Publish and Promote
The 3 P’s that are an intrinsic part of every smart blogger’s plan….Post, publish and promote.
While I sand by what I said in my last post about posting as often as you want to or a comfortable doing so, make no mistake posting to your blog is a must. You can’t just create a blog ad leave it as it is expecting people to keep coming back to your blog. You have to create content, write regularly and stick to that schedule to the best of your ability.
Publish blog posts on your blog and ensure that you publish your written works in other places on the web. Small business news sites like Bizsugar, blogger communities like Bloginteract and online publishing platforms like Connectture, Squidoo are About.com are places where you can submit your blog posts and create content that people will want to use and refer to.
Promote your blog posts, simply posting to your blog will not suffice. Get a free Facebook page; join Twitter and Linkedin, three of the most prominent places to be on the web. Then again you gave Reddit, Diggit, Triberr.
You have to remember that your blog post is like a product, simply making it and thinking it will sell based on word of mouth is not enough. You have to make an effort to get it out there, make people sit up and take notice!
For those of you who read and follow Yaro Starak, the concept of “pillar posts” is not new. Pillar posts are blog posts that are linked to each other based on a central theme and are aimed at covering a number of aspects of the same issue.
For me it is a strategic approach to creating quality content for my readers in the form of a series of posts. Thereby breaking one huge topic in to small parts, quite like cutting a pizza in to slices so that its easier to eat and assimilate.
Here is an example of how I used the pillar post technique to create content on my blog on the topic of Branding:
I created a series of posts on popular brand names and why they rock, how to create a great brand name, why naming your brand after you is a good idea, why naming your idea after you is a bad idea and why brands with wheels make great business sense….all inter-related topics that needed separate posts to create enough matter that could be of substance to anyone looking for valuable information on branding.
Check out my posts here to see how it works.
Content is King
There is really no substitute for quality content with blogs. Think of your blog just as you would think of a product or service; if you were to buy it then what would you want? Quality for the price that you pay!
Your blog content should give readers value for their time. Else they won’t feel like coming back.
A blog can also be used by business owners to educate people about their products or services. A lady I know runs a business venture which retails lesser known weaves from North India. Her work involves a great deal of travel to far off places, interacting with weavers and reviving traditional weaves and looms. This is why she decided to blog about her travels.
Recently she had an exhibition in Bangalore and a lot of people who came in to see her garments came after reading her blog. They wanted a particular weave associated with a particular tribe…Her blog has become a medium of education on the weaves and textile heritage of North East India.
You need to network with other bloggers in order to be able to get people to link to your blog. It is also a great way of gaining visibility as a blogger.
If you want to build a network quickly the most obvious route is by getting on Twitter, Linkedin and other social networking sites. Another great way of forging links with other bloggers is scouring the net every week for great blog posts and stories, putting them up on your blog and letting the bloggers you feature know that they’ve been featured there.
Free promotion and a genuine urge to help others along the way is the only way to create affinity among people in general and bloggers in particular.
Another technique I use is to feature business owners and their ventures on my blog. The only thing I ask for in return is that they should link back to my blog on their website, blog and any other place on the web. In the eight months since I established my blog this has helped me get to know so many designers and bloggers. Might work for you too depending on what your objectives are.
This is not the first time it is being said, but guest posts are your route to greater visibility on blogs that have a wider audience and higher ranking. A well written guest post will definitely work like a magnet to attract people to you and your own blog.
Inviting other people to guest post for your blog is of course great to take the pressure off yourself as far as regularly creating content is concerned. It also helps you give your readers a different perspective by another blogger.
Paying other bloggers for their guest posts in cash or kind will draw better quality content and provide them with the motivation to contribute. If you can’t afford to pay cash, try and find a way to reward people in kind.
Some more smart blogging tips coming up as I wrap up the Smart Blogger’s Checklist in my next post…