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Last time, we went over some of the lies you were telling yourself about how you present your content, so by now you have the aesthetics all figured out. You’ve got attention-grabbing headlines, you’re promoting your posts with relevant categories and tags, you’re breaking your content up into easy-to-read paragraphs with subheadings, and you include plenty of visually-stimulating images. Way to go!
This time around, we’re moving beyond the aesthetics and shifting our focus to the content itself. The relationship between a blogger and his or her readers is just like the one between any young couple: after you’re past the initial attraction, you’re interested in retention. But if the readers don’t like what you have to say, if you bore them, neglect them, fail to mentally stimulate them, or if you act selfishly, then don’t expect them to stick around.
Make sure you aren’t driving your readership away by refusing to acknowledge these lies you’re telling yourself about your content.
Well, yes and no. You’re correct in the sense that you do indeed have the ability to publish whatever you feel like writing. However, don’t let your blog lose its focus. Visitors come to your blog with certain expectations about what they’ll be reading. It’s incredibly important to find a niche for your blog and stick with it.
This benefits you in various ways:
If someone were to ask you what your blog is about, would you be able to give an immediate, clear response? If your answer is a vague one, chances are that it won’t breed interest.
Good luck with that one. Even posting once a week is iffy. You already know that bloggers and readers are like a dating couple. What would happen if you only spoke to your significant other once a month during your relationship? The passion and interest would fizzle out. You’d grow apart, and go your separate ways.
As a blogger, you have a commitment to your readers. If you keep them interested and engaged on a frequent, regular basis, then they’ll support you and keep coming back for more. This, in turn, builds your reputation and authority.
If you’re hoping to become a pro and make any sort of revenue from your blog, publishing frequently is essential.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are bloggers who think that they have to post multiple times every single day. They figure that the more often they post, the higher in search rankings their blogs will show up, and they’ll get more traffic. Maybe so, but traffic shouldn’t be what you’re after. Loyal readers are. And you won’t get loyal readers if your daily posts are low quality because you wrote them on the fly and didn’t have time to flesh out ideas or proofread.
Invest your energy in writing an excellent post each time you publish, and that’s what will help you to build a following of loyal readers. Spacing out your posts will also help to prevent you from getting burnt out after just a few months.
You have a blog because you have something to say. What’s the use if nobody’s listening? Writing a post, hitting the publish button, sitting back, and simply expecting it to be discovered by hoards of readers is unrealistic. In addition to categorizing and tagging, make sure you are promoting your posts via social media as well. This lets you project your message to a larger audience that might not have known about it otherwise.
Make sure you’re on the big name sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but you can also add Pinterest for promoting your content via images, and YouTube or Vimeo for your original videos. And don’t forget to take advantage of free services like If This Then That to help you manage the way you promote your posts.
This strategy only works in precious few scenarios, and to understand why, we’re going to have to delve a teeny bit into psychology. A human being makes hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions each day. Each decision is made by answering this most basic of questions: which course of action will bring me the greatest benefit? Some of these don’t feel like a decision since they are made so automatically: Should I brush my teeth? Other decisions require a bit more thinking: Should I buy this $700 DSLR camera? And then there are life-changing decisions: Are we ready to have a child?
Each time you sit down to write a post for your blog, ask yourself: Does this post bring some sort of benefit to readers? Will they learn something? Will it entertain? Will they be better off after having read it? If the answer is no, or if you’re not sure, then don’t hit the publish button. Try again, until you’re sure the answer is yes.