These days everyone is a self-described writer and that means that your co-worker, your barista and even your grandmother has a blog. However, having a blog and sticking with one are two very different things. The Internet is a virtual blog cemetery with many only featuring a handful of posts at most. The reason? Writing and getting other people to care about it is hard work, believe me, I struggle to do it daily! So whether you are a business person, an aspiring writer or just someone who wants to journal their life and put it out there for the world to see, there are several things than can be done to revive your blog and take it to the next level.
First of all, don’t worry. Your blog will survive as long as you follow these simple rules:
- Rule 1: Be good. Don’t waste people’s time. As someone who has interviewed writers who couldn’t put sentences together but were encouraged to start a blog by their mom, let me tell you, there is more to being a good writer than just typing whatever nonsense comes into your brain. Business bloggers should especially be extra careful, as your blogs should be articulate, on-target and engage people with your wit and expertise. Being a good writer is about more than spell check and punctuation. It is about being a good communicator and being responsible for conveying relevant, trust-worthy ideas that resonate with people enough to keep them wanting more.
- Rule 2: Use what you’ve already got. Every human that comes into this world comes off the assembly line with their own unique personality, tastes and point of reference. This can all work in your favor when it comes to making your blog stand out. If your blog is basic and stagnant, think about giving it a complete overhaul and playing with logos, layout and fonts as aesthetics goes a long way toward attracting visitors. In addition, blogging with that winning personality that has won you so many friends and dates in the past (just go with it) is another way to stand out from the crowd and build a solid foundation for when you start churning out regular content.
- Rule 3: Make yourself an expert. No one is born knowing every single thing there is to know about any given topic. We learn it as we go. Find out what you would like to write about most and make yourself as knowledgeable as possible about it. Don’t let the thought that others know more than you stop you from blogging about what you want to blog about. There will always be someone who knows more than you, but whether it’s the art of French cooking, marketing for dummies or underwater basket weaving, sharing your own knowledge or experience about a topic in a helpful way will always make people take notice about what you are trying to do.
- Rule 4: Mix it up! As someone who has spent years working in and around writing departments, I should say that most of us have a formula or structure that we stick to. However, when it comes to blogging content, you have got to use a variety of delivery methods to avoid becoming stagnant. There is no reason not to include video, polls, info-graphics, personal snapshots, quotes, illustrations and other methods of delivering information to keep your blog from staying on one-note. The number one reason most blogs fail is the lack of readers and this usually occurs when the blogger isn’t using every available opportunity to engage with their audience. Let me put it this way, if you wouldn’t have a great time reading it, why would anyone else? Which brings us to our final piece of advice.
- Rule 5: Listen to your audience. You know when you’re telling a story and no one is listening or shows any interest? Well you can either finish the story to a disinterested crowd or use their feedback to try a different tack. The same applies to blogging. You’d be surprised how a random post you didn’t think much of suddenly resonates with readers. If a certain topic seems to increase traffic, explore it further. If you’re writing about stuff that you love but no one is biting, try different approaches to style, tone or content aids to see what works best for you. Listening to your readers and gauging how well you are being received is one of the key elements to successful blogging.