How are your blogging efforts going? Here are some thoughts, suggestions, and ideas on getting your blogging moving toward expert level.
If you're creating fuzzy content that reads as somewhat aimless, you're wasting your time, and your audience's attention will be lost. Your audience wants content that makes a solid point and does so quickly. Seeing that your content does that is one of the fastest ways you can make the jump from journeyman to expert blogger.
Here are some other things expert bloggers do to ensure their work is as impactful as possible.
Expert Bloggers Make Their Content Shareable
To use content marketing to build your audience and grow your business you need to get that content found by the right people: those who might buy your product or service. Format and present your content so more people want to share it, thereby expanding your reach and increasing the likelihood of that content reaching the right people.
More people, and particularly those with substantial numbers of followers, will share your content if that content makes them look smart for having shared it. So your content needs to speak to the audience about something they care about and do so in an interesting way.
A large number of people share content without first reading it. They share based on the headline and an image. This provides an opportunity for your content to surf around the web until it finds the perfect person for your project or business.
Make your headlines accurate and enticing—without being click-bait. Choose images that grab attention and encourage the reader to look at the excellent content you've created.
First impressions matter. As people click through to your article or are deciding whether or not to share it, the impression your website makes is important. Be sure your site is readable and looks good by incorporating enough white space and using headers and subheaders appropriately so your content is easy to scan/skim.
Placing social sharing buttons on your site is quick and simple. They make it easier for your content to be shared. Of course, someone could just cut and paste the URL but it's always best to remove friction and make it as easy as possible for them to spread your content.
Don't hesitate to specifically ask your audience to share, give you links, leave comments, and/or post reviews. But don't forget that the audience still has to like your content and find it valuable. If you've got a solid piece of content that's worth sharing and you give readers a clear call to action to share the piece, they usually will.
Expert Bloggers Are Specific
Adhering to solid writing fundamentals, in particular the need for specificity, will put you out in front of the competition. Use your creativity to get people to read your copy without the use of any confusing hyperbole or jargon. Every word counts.
Like the time-honored saw; it's not how short you make it, it's how you make it short. Be sure that the introduction to your content moves directly to the point before audience boredom or annoyance can settle in.
Don't be vague. Reveal the facts of what you have to offer, but don't be too technical or confusing. Be prudent about using big words in your attempts to be credible. Do your research and know your audience. Don't forget that, as Nathanial Hawthorne once said, “something easy to read is damned hard to write.”
There is no substitute for great copy and one word can make all the difference. While we're quote famous authors...
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter, 'tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." ~Mark Twain
Expert Bloggers Copyedit Like a Pro
What do all the pieces of content that are liked, bookmarked, and emailed to others have in common? They serve the audience, not the content creator. Your goal is to help readers optimize a part of their daily life through the topic you're sharing. And strengthening your ability to create content that is shared includes improving your editing skills.
Regardless of the media used to circulate your content, it's the editing that transforms text into powerful stories that persuade the audience to take action. Turn your articles, landing pages, webinar content, podcast episodes, and videos into shareable works that move readers to action.
After you produce a draft, do these tasks.
- Assess your work's urgency. Unless there's a strict deadline, walk away from it for at least a day. Fresh eyes edit more effectively.
- Disengage your writer’s ego and assume an editor mindset. When you do that you have no problem evaluating and deleting to produce a more coherent and complete piece of content.
- Write notes without changing the draft as you lightly read your content. This is to record ideas you thought you included but actually didn't. You'll use them later.
- Draft a headline and edit until you have a headline that is ultra-specific, unique, useful, and urgent. Be sure your intentions are clear and benefit-driven.
- After each sentence ask yourself how that information helps your reader. Scrutinize each word to be sure it's the right fit for that sentence. Every paragraph should provide comfort, be memorable, share knowledge, or list resources.
- Don't rush to proofread. Your content needs to be solid before you proofread.
- Create a style guide for your content that lists proper names, terms, and phrases so you can be sure you have no inconsistencies when you refer to the same word or phrase throughout the content. Or consistently follow one of the industry standards, like AP or Chicago, depending on your personal preference.
Expert Bloggers Do More
Remember that in-person communication allows you to rephrase if you observe a puzzled or clueless look on someone's face. When you're writing you don't get the luxury of that feedback until after you've published. Then you don't get the chance to explain, the reader just quits reading.