Table of Contents
- 1 Great blogging takes time and experience to do it right and we’ve created seven effective habits.
- 2 1. Write What You Know
- 3 2. Write to Your Audience, Not for Yourself
- 4 3. Study the Industry
- 5 4. Speak the Truth
- 6 5. Get Used to Rejection
- 7 6. Pay Keen Attention to Grammar and Spelling
- 8 7. Interact with Readers
Great blogging takes time and experience to do it right and we’ve created seven effective habits.
In this post, you will learn how you can begin a successful blogging career. Follow these 7 step-by-step instructions to help you a better and successful blogger. Tools included.
I would give the early 2000s credit for the rising popularity of blogs with special credit going to platforms such as Blogger and WordPress. Blogs have quickly become an integral part of mainstream media and show little sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Whether you are a writer looking to make some extra cash, a large company hoping to reach more clients or a non- profit organization seeking publicity, recent statistics indicate that blogging is an effective strategy to employ.
HubSpot compiled a list of blogging statistics for 2018 from several companies which further proves this theory. According to Hubspot, 53% of marketers indicate that blogging is their top priority for content marketing. The company also highlighted that companies who do make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI) than those who do not.
These days blogs are respected as reputable sources for acquiring information. However, with the market so saturated (reportedly 360 million blogs) it takes special skills to become successful. Here are 7 useful habits you’ll need to become an effective blogger.
Read about why blogging matters here.
1. Write What You Know
Many bloggers choose their topics based on what’s resonating with readers at the moment, or what they’ve been hired by a client to write about, without much interest or knowledge on the topic. While it may work in some cases, it is certainly not an effective long-term blogging strategy. Readers can often tell whether or not you are writing from a place of knowledge as opposed to doing research online and just reposting.
I made that error during my early years of writing when I was contracted to write several blog posts about cars –a topic I have neither interest nor knowledge on. It was painful to write and wherever online it may be today I’m sure it’s quite painful to read as well. My advice, if you want to write about an unfamiliar topic or genre, do adequate research, read materials on the subject and properly understand the topic before you start writing.
2. Write to Your Audience, Not for Yourself
This not only refers to the style and tone of your writing but the content as well. You might be interested in finance but if your audience is not, then you’ve wasted their time as well as your own. Give the people what they want, not what you want; do this by listening to feedback about your posts. Feedback doesn’t always mean that a reader will write in the comment section that you should “use simpler terms” or “delve deeper into a particular topic.”
If your readers are generally silent, meaning they rarely ‘like, comment or share’ your post then this speaks volumes. Study your readers and pay attention to the posts that get the most likes and comments then compare them with the ones that didn’t. What did you do differently? Was it the writing style? Did you include more high-quality images, or did you link to relevant websites? Once you figure out what you’re doing wrong you’ll soon realize what you need to do right!
But you also have to write for the search engines as well. Content optimization is used to provide valuable information about your topic. It helps search engines determine what your topic is about. Therefore, whenever your target audience is looking for a solution that you can provide, the search engines will show your website as a top result.
3. Study the Industry
A constantly changing industry requires that you always study the market for new trends and tools to stay relevant. For example, the internet is currently filled with “ How to…” articles, so you would assume that creating a similar blog post will lead to clicks and shares – and you would’ve been right a year or two ago.
This is not the case now, however. A report from Hubspot titled ‘Data-Driven Strategies for Writing Highly Effective Titles and Headlines’, shows that headlines that included “How to…” performed 49% worse than titles without that phrase. This is most likely because these articles are now being used as clickbait by so many bloggers. Without keeping up to date you would have no way of knowing this type of content might hurt your blog more than help it.
Relevant industry tips and tricks will prove effective in alerting you to important tidbits such as popular keywords for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ideal word length for headlines and titles, proper image sizes, technical stuff like using reputable and reliable managed web hosting and a host of other relevant information.
4. Speak the Truth
In this era of clickbait and over sensationalization it’s always best to just be honest with your readers. This is a sentiment expressed in Forbes by Amy Newmark, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. In the article she shares recommendations for writers; number 4 on her list is ‘Be Brutally Honest.’
Why create a headline that will get clicks, but won’t be read in its entirety once readers realize that the headline differs from the content? Yes, we know that Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner will get millions of clicks online, but unless your blog post is directly related then simply inserting their name in your title is dishonest and misleading.
Furthermore, the people clicking on this type of content might not even be the audience you’re seeking. You might turn off readers who would be genuinely interested in your post and garnering attention from readers who have no interest in what you’re writing.
Be clear from the start; your headline must be consistent with the information that follows. Once you have an honest relationship where your audience can trust that your content is true, they will remain loyal.
5. Get Used to Rejection
The truth is that like any other job this one comes with its share of challenges, one being constant rejection. Don’t worry, you’ll toughen up after a while and if you remain consistent you’ll eventually find your stride. If you’re a professional blogger seeking external clients and projects you might very well apply for 20 blog writing jobs and get 20 rejections despite being qualified. I’ve been there, trust me!
I can’t say “don’t take it personally” because, well you should! If after a while you keep getting rejected you need to look at what you’re doing wrong, or not doing at all. In the early stages of my writing career, I took quite a lot of low paying writing gigs that didn’t require high-quality content.
This was to my disadvantage because my portfolio was filled with less than stellar blog posts which were not impressive to potential clients. This was the reason for my constant rejection, so I started writing high-quality articles and posts and eventually started to attract high paying clients. These days my portfolio is filled with content I can be proud of.
Sometimes though, despite a great portfolio, relevant skills and years of experience you’ll get rejected anyway. It’s a competitive industry and sometimes you just may not be the right fit for the job.
Rejection is inevitable, even if you manage your own website. Search engines might reject your content due to improper SEO methods, readers might reject your content for whatever reason, you might even get rejected by advertisers. Get used to it!
6. Pay Keen Attention to Grammar and Spelling
Whether you are blogging about peas or politics, proper grammar is an essential component for an effective blog post. Readers will not only judge you on your knowledge of a particular topic but the way in which it’s presented as well. A blog post loaded with spelling and grammatical errors is a major turn off. People are not willing to take advice from bloggers who can’t grasp the basic rules of grammar and spelling no matter how versed you may be on a certain topic. I suggest getting a professional editor or proofreader if you are unable to do this yourself. You can also use Ginger Grammar Check or Grammarly to check your blog before posting. Check out this editor app called Hemingway.
7. Interact with Readers
Nothing annoys a reader more than posting questions about a blog post that go unanswered. As bloggers we often think we’ve covered the topic in its entirety, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the t’s, but this isn’t the case at all. Readers often need clarification on certain terms, keywords or phrases used in your post, and if they took the time to read it, then you can take the time to answer their questions. Furthermore, you want to establish a relationship with readers who will continue to read and share your content, so interaction is integral to your success.
You can find other creative ways to interact with your readers as well. Try a Facebook live video where they can ask questions; these have gotten really popular recently, proving quite effective for companies wanting to connect with an audience.
If going live is not for you, try a YouTube video where you can read and answer questions from your readers. Twitter and Instagram are great methods of communication as well, so if you are on these social media platforms use them to interact with your audience.
Ultimately the onus is on you to really cement your space in the blogging industry with relevant and timely content, proper writing and communication skills, and knowledge of certain topics. There’s a lot of competition out there, but that should only fuel your drive to further hone your craft. If done correctly blogging can be a great income generator so learn these habits and there should be nothing standing in your way of becoming a highly effective blogger.
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Kleia Paluca, is a Freelance Writer and Market Researcher writing about creative writing, market research, online advertising, online marketing, project management, SEM and SEO.