How blogging became a phenomenon?
There was a time not so long ago when blogging wasn’t considered to be a mainstream career option by many. However, things are vastly different today. The reason is that blogging has many innate advantages that many other professions lack. A blogger usually writes on subjects or topics that he appreciates, feels passionate about, feels involved in or has a great deal of knowledge on. This is the single exciting benefit. This is because bloggers usually love what they do. Hence, there is a very little chance that you would suffer from lack of motivation.
Also, blogging offers you flexibility and exclusivity. You can choose the time and place of working. You can also become extremely sought after in a concise period and you may be considered an authority in a particular domain or space. Your content and creations would be regarded as exclusive, and you can become a ‘brand’ quickly.
The moment you carve out a niche and become and, a plethora of opportunities open up. As traffic gushes in, big brands which require your domain knowledge would want to hire your expertise and partner with you. You can soon become a powerful influencer, and as you subtly promote brands through your articles, videos, social media campaigns and share unique stories, you connect brands with their targeted market segments. These people pull the sponsored by the brands willingly. As the brand visibility or a product promotion reaches the crescendo, more and more people start using and endorsing the brand. You become a big name.
You can also make a more than decent living by turning into a consultant or a freelance blogger. You can help companies fine tune their digital marketing strategies and/or create interesting ideas, articles and stories for them which empower, inform, entertain and educate the audience. With the help of various analytical tools, you could also analyse the acceptability of the content produced and promoted and help your clients get useful buyer insights. You could also help them create a buyer persona and identify their ideal audience.
Moreover, if you become a famous blogger or a social media star, many brands would want to post their banner and other PPC adverts on your page or blog to attract attention. Hence, when things are done the right way, blogging can become an incredible career opportunity.
But many start out without even basic knowledge and wither fizzle out quickly or struggle really hard before seeing success. Knowing a few things in advance can make life easier for you.
A few basic tips
- Produce quality content: Create a content calendar or schedule and create content accordingly. But, don’t create content just for the sake of publishing and keeping your blog updated. Many writers suffer from writer’s block occasionally. It is not always possible to produce content with the same kind of zeal or efficiency. It is better not to post below standard content. This is because what you publish once stays and if the quality is not consistent, it soon affects your credibility and brand reputation. Hence, don’t produce mediocre content and think you can attract traffic using your social media marketing skills. This may work temporarily but won’t pay you long-term dividends.
- Focus on retaining your repeat audience rather than channelling all your energy to attract new ones: Attracting new audience and customers are important, but many bloggers forget the importance of retaining returning visitors. You will need to increase the percentage of your old visitors if you want to create a sustainable branding model and generate leads for businesses. Repeat visitors are also more generous when it comes to referrals and initiating new consumers to your blog. To retain your customers, you should carry out a survey periodically. Ask them to fill up forms where you can seek feedback. This will tell you about the areas that require your immediate attention, what the pain points are and how you can solve them and also the things you are doing right. Offer freebies to create customer loyalties and host contests for returning customers. Create a community for them and answer their comments religiously. Try to make personal offers and sometimes offer personalised advice for free, especially when you feel they will appreciate your gesture.
- Use a conversational tone: Although it is true that the context and audience will often determine the tone of your writing, in general blogs, are meant to be a one-on-one ‘conversation’ with your audience. Hence, use the first person as much as possible and don’t get overly formal or polite. Respect the judgments of the audience and use statistics to refute or support your claims, whenever possible. Also, use short paragraphs and short sentences. This helps to keep your audience engaged even through long pieces. Italicize your words and use action words as often as possible. CTAs are a must at the beginning and the end and in the middle if possible. “Content is the king” may sound clichéd, but it is true. That is why longer and detailed articles often get a higher ranking on search engine ranking pages. However, don’t use fluff to increase the length. Try to make even the highly technical articles fun and exciting. However, don’t use sarcasm and wisecracks in every sentence.
- Leverage the power of videos: Many bloggers think that content means only text. It could be a graphical element also. Infographics are highly appreciated because they leverage the power of textual information, statistics and pictures. They are often quirky and can easily stand out in the crowd. Similarly, videos can easily capture audience attention, especially when you are sharing tutorials and demos on your blog. For example, if you are reviewing a new gadget, it would help if you could show the different components, dismember them, put them back, show different uses, etc. Videos also work wonders for fashion, lifestyle and travel blogs. Use quality photos and pictures in your posts too. Visual content is growing bigger with every passing day and fall into the attention span of human beings is a significant contributor!
- Try to grow your email list and contact database: One of the most important reasons to have repeat audience is that they provide you with steady traffic and often revenue. A blogger must not only deal with the creative aspects but also involve himself with the promotional elements. Hence, you must strive to make your audience subscribe and fill up the forms on your website and blog. Use the mailing list to send out differentiated content and personalised offers periodically. Email marketing remains one of the first techniques for nurturing your leads and repeat visitors. Growing traffic using search engine optimising techniques are not offering as much benefit as it once did. Social media policies keep changing from time to time. Emails will remain a reliable source for traffic generation for a long time to come.
- Responsive blog design is a must: It doesn’t need to be explicitly stated that smartphones and tablets have become the predominant form of internet devices today. If you are creating a blog which opens correctly on the laptop but the screen resolution can’t be adjusted for a smartphone, you will disrupt the seamless interactive user experience of your visitors, and the bounce rate will increase. It also disrupts the navigability of a website and reduces traffic. Responsive design is one which adapts automatically to size and orientation. It can change its layout and the images accordingly. You will also have to be careful with the templates you choose, especially if they are free because these are often not updated regularly and can become outdated and unsuitable for simultaneous use on multiple platforms and devices. Also, try to use your hosting service to host your blog. This will give you greater control over the design, security and branding aspects.
- Decide on the visual and tangible elements of branding: Decide on and fix your domain name quickly because it will be the first point of contact with your prospects. It will also define who you are and what you do. Hence, try to include a keyword or something which indicates what services you provide or the domain you work on. Make it easy to spell and remember. Also, decide on a social media name which should be used consistently through multiple social media platforms. This will help create a strong branding. Also, use a proper logo and get it trademarked. This will act as a deterrence against counterfeit or spurious accounts while helping you to connect with your audience.
- Do everything to drive engagement: The only way to become a successful blogger is if you can engage your core audience to engage on a repeated basis. Statistics are not everything always. There are some niches where getting 800 monthly visitors may be commendable while there may be others where 1 million may not be enough. Hence, you will have to look at the number of comments, the mood of the comments, social media shares, likes, retweets, repins etc. and also how many are clicking the links you are sharing or sending you inward link with an aim to connect with you. Your content will be worthless if it can’t generate excitement.
- Create content for your fellow bloggers: One of the best ways to create a strong brand and carve out a niche is by guest posting on other blogs, creating original content which even other bloggers can appreciate and find informative and try to have a positive relationship with them. Ask them to leave their comments and learn from their feedback.
Try to be a problem solver. Drive meaningful conversion, identify the problems and gain their trust so that they can seek your advice. This will not only make you regarded as an expert but will also attract more traffic. Don’t measure the success of your blog purely regarding revenue and traffic. Focus on creating value for your audience and build partnerships that matter. Revenue and traffic would follow in due course.