Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blogging Effectively

Sage Lewis at the SageRock Digital Marketing Blog wrote that people don't blog as much as they use other social media because, "I think it’s because they see blogging as a big thing." Translation: Blogging is hard.  Blogging is not "hard".  People don't blog, because they are unsure what to do with it.  They don't know how to use it effectively.

Like any use of media, blogging starts with a plan.  Planning helps you set goals, build discipline, and write with purpose.

Goals help you have a purpose.  Without goals, you're blog, or any other type of marketing, is ineffective.  Goals help you focus.  All of your posts should lead towards one common goal, one common claim or idea.  For example, what if you created the most comfortable seat cushion in the world?  What if your goal was to sell one million by the end of the year?  Then all of your posts should be focused on convincing someone of the virtues of properly padded buttocks...which can be achieved with your amazing seat cushion.  Your posts could feature customer stories, or the results of studies about padded versus un-padded seats.  Each post focuses on one reason that someone should buy your seat cushion, which helps you reach one million unit sales.

Regular blogging also helps you develop the discipline you need to reach your goals.  Without discipline, it's impossible to reach a long term goal. Jim Whittaker said, "You can never conquer the mountain.  You can only conquer yourself."  The mountain is the sales goal.  Climbing the mountain means defeating the army of doubt, laziness, and busyness.  Doubt tells you that you will never sell enough of your product, and that no one will read your blog.  Laziness prevents you from spending the time to plan what you are going to write, when you are going to write it, writing it, and editing it.  Busyness lets you make excuses, allowing life's events to constantly get in the way of your online marketing plan.  

Setting goals and practicing discipline with your blogging frees you up to write with a purpose.  If you're not writing with a purpose, your blog becomes a set of random, rambling posts. Start by creating a list of all of the things you want to say that relate to your main goal.  Next, create a short outline for each item on your list.  Spend time each week developing and writing about each item on your list.  Eventually it will become easy, and you will develop a weekly writing routine.  Another benefit to this weekly writing plan is that it will build up content on your blog over time.  That content can be indexed by search engines such as Google.  Eventually you will have a large mass of indexed, searchable content.  Google also grades your blog higher if you're posting relevant content more frequently.  A stale, rarely updated blog will almost never appear on Google search results.  If you're also participating in online forums and other online communities, make sure you are linking back to your blog in your signature.  This helps build a "web" of links going back to your blog, and over time it can improve your search rankings, since Google gives your site a higher ranking when others link to you.

Create a plan, set a goal, practice discipline, and write with a purpose.  You just might find that the skills you develop writing a blog will end up permeating other parts of your life as well.


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