About a month ago I wrote an email to all the columnists on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com with some advice on how they could achieve more rewards from their writing on this blog and also some tips to improve performance of their articles.
As I was writing the email I realized much of the advice is good old fundamentals for successful blogging. I decided why not share some of the points with you and the rest of the E-J audience to help with your own blogging efforts.
Some of this might seem obvious, the same old blogging advice you have heard before, but since most bloggers don’t follow even the most basic of advice I recommend you read over these points and ask yourself if you are on track.
7 Steps To A Better Blog
1. The Call To Action In Author Boxes
This particular piece of advice refers to the little author boxes we use at the end of articles on this blog, which detail information about the author of the article (you can see mine at the end of this article). This is the primary tool columnists use to entice readers to visit their website or join their email newsletter and continue to gain from having a relationship with that particular writer.
Chances are you don’t have the same box at the end of your blog articles, especially if you are the only author on your blog, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider adding them. They make great calls to action at the end of each piece of content you publish.
Even if you don’t have these boxes, this advice is relevant for any area where you are trying to encourage your readership to sign up for something or click a link – any kind of call to action.
Here is some of what I sent to the authors about how to improve their author boxes…
Your author box is one of the best places for you to promote your own websites and offers, as well as describe your specialities and history.
Although you are welcome to use this space to talk about yourself, you will reap more reward if you use the space to offer something of value (a benefit to the reader) and prompt the reader to click your link to get access to it.
If you have a free report, or audio series or newsletter – anything you use a first entry point lead generator – your author box is the place to talk about.
For example, if I was going to use the author box to generate leads, I would use something like –
“Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a free report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can access the report from here – http://www.blogprofitsblueprint.com”
I recommend offering something like this that has only one link to click (focus is important), not too much text, a clear and tangible benefit and offer, that leads the reader to your best first impression.
I derive the most value from my email list, hence I promote my report as the opt-in benefit for joining my list. You might prefer to promote a different page or offer of your own.
2. Use Case Studies and Stories
You may have noticed many of the best articles on EJ, based on audience response, are when I explain what I do or what someone else does, to get a result.
Talking strategy, theory and tactics are great, but people really engage when you combine these with a story to illustrate exactly what someone did. EJ is successful (as are many other blogs), because the writers focus on explaining what they did and what result they get, using specific details. The more specific and real world you can be with your case studies, the more the readers will respond to your writing and follow your work.
3. Be Specific, Avoid Generic Advice
Continuing on from the previous point, whenever you teach or tell stories avoid being generic. People like it when you say things like –
“I spent $151 in Google Adwords to buy traffic from the following list of keywords –
- how to grow tomatoes in winter
- growing tomatoes in winter
- grow winter tomatoes
The result of this was 3546 visitors over two weeks, delivering 543 opt-ins to my newsletter”
I could have simply written –
“I spent some money on adwords to get traffic to my newsletter”
The first explanation is a lot more specific and thus interesting to the reader. People want to know details, it gives them direction and clarity and makes you a much more valuable resource to them. The more value you give them, the more they will listen to you, pay attention to your work, click your links, and all the other things you can ask people to do when they actually pay attention.
4. Create “Top List” Articles
If you really want to produce a very successful article the single best format I can recommend is a “Top List”.
A top list is usually a Top 10 but might be a Top 20 or even 50 list. The idea is to come up with a list of top “somethings”. It’s especially effective if you focus on people. For example for this blog some good ideas might be –
- “Top 10 most successful female online entrepreneurs”
- “Top 50 websites to learn how to make money online (and the people behind them)”
- “Top 10 most inspiring entrepreneurial success stories”
These types of articles work really well if you include photos of each person in the top list, then email them to let them know they are in the list. This can take a bit of research, but the rewards are significant as top lists are always shared around the web.
You might consider making a top list in regards to whatever your specialty is. For example EJ team member Neroli who focuses on creativity in her column, might come up with a list of the “Top 10 most creative business ideas of the 21st century“.
You don’t need to have the absolute definitive top 10, this is simply your opinion based on your research and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to upset some people who don’t agree with you, this will do wonders for how popular your article becomes because of the controversy.
5. Write As If You Are Talking To One Person
Although this blog has thousands of daily readers you should write to one person only when creating your articles. Only one individual actually reads the article in their head, so talk to them individually.
For example, use singular words like “you” and “your”, not “people” or “readers” or “all of you”.
I find this works best for me when I think that I am talking to just one person when I write my article. Apply this to your articles and you will foster a stronger connection with your readership, one reader at a time.
6. Respond To All Your Comments
Comments left on your articles, especially the solid comments with questions or feedback, should be responded to as soon as possible. This shows that you care about the person who was interested enough in your article to leave a comment and are listening to what they have to say.
Commenting facilities two-way communication, and all your readers will feel like you are more present if you respond to their comments, fostering better engagement.
I’ve noticed several of the EJ team already do this and you can see the difference it makes, so great work. I have to admit that I have been very lax with this piece of advice in recent years myself. During the early years of EJ I was very diligent with comments and I know that is one of the reasons why this blog took off. In recent months I’ve increased my own comment replies to practice what I preach.
7. Be Consistent With Content Production
This last tip I include because seven tips makes for a better headline than six, although it wasn’t sent through to the columnists originally because they are already well informed about the importance of being consistent with their column if they want results (it’s in the agreement they make when they come on board!).
You already know content is the key to success with a blog. You also know that consistent content is key, yet this is where so many people fail.
If you have ever done any article marketing campaigns you will know that without volume it is difficult to have any success. The same applies here.
It goes back to the principle of “owning” more of the Internet. The more places you appear, the more exposure you have to your audience, the more people you reach. Don’t forget that just one exposure to one of your articles is not enough to convince a person to do something – they probably won’t even remember your name!
It takes repeat exposures to build up some form of engagement with your audience, and no one person is the same. Some might read one of your articles and never read another, while others will come back and read everything you write because the first article they read of yours was so good.
You can’t control when people read your work, or what article of yours they read first, or what situation they are coming from when they find your article, yet all these variables impact how well your content performs.
The solution to this problem is put your best foot forward and keep walking – in other words, always produce amazing articles and do it again and again and again if you want to make a real impact, and down the line, reap rewards.
Keep up the good work,
Still Blogging About Blogging