I recently attended “The Art of Story: How to Succeed with Blogging” presentation by C.C. Chapman through the Social Media Success Summit, and telling you that I learned something would be an understatement.
As a blogger, I like to think I have a thorough understanding of what I’m doing, but this presentation gave me so many new insights that I walked away with pages and pages of notes.
Too many people think that a blog is either a waste of time, or they expect it to work wonders within the first 30 seconds. If you want to be successful in blogging, I suggest you use these tips from the presentation.
1. Work hard.
You may see websites all over the Internet with people claiming that their blog became successful overnight, but they’re lying to you. Blogging takes a great deal of hard work, especially if you want to gain a ton of readers and/or make a profit off of it.
You need to create great content and you need to work at it on a regular basis. If you’re not ready to work hard, then blogging is not for you.
2. Own your blog.
This was one of the most surprising tips, yet one that made the most sense. It’s extremely important to own your own blog. Set your blog up on your own server and make sure you own the site that it’s on. If you don’t do this, your blog (and all your hard work) could disappear overnight if the website that your blog is on decides to shut down or sell to a new company.
Companies can change their rules or their processes whenever they want, and if you are using these sites for your blog, you will have to conform to their rules. When you own your blog, you can do everything your way, as the future of your blog is in your own hands.
3. Get started.
The only way that you’re going to have a successful blogging experience is to get started. It’s going to be tough, and you may have a hard time deciding what to write about. You cannot let the blank page scare you from blogging. Instead, you simply have to start telling your story, and you have to do it on a consistent basis.
4. Start with the basics.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with your company story. Who are you? Who works inside your company? What does your company do? How does your company work? Use these as starting points to get writing, and it will start becoming easier and easier.
5. Use the “three stories” approach.
If you are still having trouble deciding what to write, Chapman said there are three stories that every company can tell.
First, make the customer the hero. Use quotes from your customers about how great your company is, or even ask them to step in a write a guest blog post. Your readers will enjoy hearing a real experience from a real customer instead of hearing you talk about how great you are.
Second, write about frequently asked questions. If your company is always being asked the same question, write about it and give the answer. If nothing comes to mind, ask your sales department or your customer service department. They’ll surely be able to give you examples.
Third, write about your employees. Talk about how they’re human and discuss their interests, not just their responsibilities at the company. Customers love learning about who is taking care of them, and they’ll be interested to learn more about the people that makes your company work.
6. Learn from others.
Take a look at other blogs and see if you like what they do. Then, do it yourself. You’re not copying, you’re learning. You’re researching other sites and learning how they’re successful or interesting or creative, and you’re using it to make your own blog more successful, interesting or creative too.
7. Stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be afraid to stand out and make a name for yourself. You don’t have to agree with the majority of the world and you don’t have to write about things from the point of view that everyone else agrees with.
For example, don’t write a blog telling everyone you’re attending an event. Instead, write the blog after the event and tell everyone how it went and what your thoughts were. And if you didn’t have a good time, don’t be afraid to say so. Standing out from the crowd is going to gain more readership than having the same opinion as every other blog on the Internet.
8. Have a publisher mindset.
Publishers think in the future, and you need to start thinking this way too. Don’t solely focus on the blog post for the day—start thinking about blog posts for the future. Think of images or videos you can post too, not just content. It’s also a good idea to have a hub of topics that you can write about for those days where nothing comes to mind. Keep ideas in a notebook or on a dry erase board for you to easily refer to. Having these ideas ahead of time will keep your blog full of content on a consistent basis.
9. Don’t always make it about you.
If you are constantly writing about how great you are, you’ll lose readers quickly. Readers will turn to your blog for information, not sales copy. Share something interesting or help solve a problem. This is how you’ll keep readers coming back for more.
10. Create “wings and roots”.
Chapman says that you need to create your blog with roots—somewhere that it can be found and stay found—which is why it’s important to own your blog site, so that these roots are always in the same place.
He also says you need to create wings, which means that you need to provide a way for readers to share your information. Set up email or share to social network buttons so that if your readers love what you say, they can easily share it with others who will find it interesting.
11. Prepare for mobile.
You need to understand that most readers are accessing your site through their smartphones or tablets and not through an actual computer. This means that your blog absolutely must be optimized for use on a mobile device. Once you’ve optimized it, make sure that you test it out on mobile devices to make sure that it looks and works great. If your blog is not optimized for mobile, you won’t be able to reach all of your readers.
12. Have fun.
You need to have fun. The more fun you have with your blog, the more fun and entertaining your posts will be. When blogging starts to become a chore, it’s going to be reflected in your writing, and then you’re going to lose your readers. When you have fun, your readers will be engaged.
Are you a blogger? Do you have any other tips to share for successful blogging? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Copywriter | Content Management Specialist
With over five years of professional writing experience, Kristi is a published author who expertly communicates on the importance of content in business and marketing.