It’s easy to start a blog. Seeing your content marketing efforts grow into a successful venture is a different matter entirely. There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States alone! There’s plenty of room at the top for another mega-blogger like Jeff Bullas or Seth Godin, but getting there isn’t easy.
Taking your content from good to outstanding requires dedication, perseverance, and the application of these advanced blogging tips we’ve compiled to help you succeed:
1. Define Your Unique Value Proposition
What makes your content marketing truly unique? If you’re trying too hard to be like another blog that’s already famous, you’re not bringing anything original to the table. Defining what makes your content unique - and sticking to it - is among the most valuable blogging tips you can adopt. Maybe you’ll deliver no-nonsense advice in a decidedly sassy tone, or create a weekly podcast where you interview thought leaders. As copywriter Jeff Goins puts it, “no copy-catting.”
2. Skip Publishing Until Your Post is Insanely Good
This is one of my most controversial blogging tips, but I believe it’s much better to not publish than to publish something that’s mediocre. Think of your favorite blogger. How often have they publicized something that’s not amazing? It doesn’t happen often, if at all. Set your personal quality bar really high, and don’t let it slip - ever.
3. Optimize Ruthlessly
Everyone’s heard of Upworthy, a website which came out of nowhere in the last year. Co-Founder Eli Pariser recently admitted the brand dedicates almost all of its resources to optimizing for Facebook - because that’s where most of their traffic comes from. Know your blogging metrics, and focus your efforts on increasing proven results.
4. Be a Little Bit of a Data Scientist
Great bloggers know that absolutely nothing worthwhile comes from obsessively checking the traffic stats on a just-published post. There’s a lot more actionable intelligence to be gleaned from interpreting your historical metrics - or better yet, monitoring the wealth of data on Twitter to pick up on breaking trends.
5. Work to Build Your Email List
Blog subscribers will quickly become your most-dedicated readers, commenters and promoters. It’s critical to work hard to build your list. Blogger Kristi Hines reports trying out 4 different calls-to-action to solicit subscribers before finding the right phrasing:
6. Expect Criticism and Trolls
Your content will never please everyone. If you even try to write work that’s never criticized, the final product’s going to be bland. Harsh criticism and trolls is a sign that you’re beginning to get noticed - even though it might not feel positive in the moment.
7. Write 25 Blog Titles
One of Upworthy’s most-famous blogging tips is to truly invest in titles. Write intriguing, eye-catching headlines that demand to be clicked on. During your content creation phase don’t settle after you’ve written one headline - keep writing until you’ve found the perfect combination of words.
8. Give Away Your Information Freely
Information is free and widely available in the world of the web. If your company is in the business of selling knowledge products, you shouldn’t hold back your expertise. Thought leadership is built through the publication and distribution of new content. As Jay Baer puts it “you want to give away information snacks in order to sell knowledge meals.”
It takes time to build authority in the eyes of search engines, your peers, and readers. After year of blogging in anonymity, Geraldine of Everywhereist began receiving thousands of visitors a day:
What did she do differently? Nothing - she just continued creating quality content, and her efforts paid off.
10. Ensure Your Message is Clear
Studies have found that the average blog reader only consumes about 60% of content:
Overcome this phenomenon by keeping your content focused, and ensuring your message can be absorbed in just 1-2 minutes. Conciseness is always a smart blogging tip.
11. Don’t Be Verbose
Being poetic doesn’t always pay, especially if you’re compensating for thin content by using loads of extra words. Get to the point, and use screen caps, examples and stats to drive your message home - not extra adjectives.
To learn more blogging tips on keeping it sharp, check out 20 Exclusive Copywriting Tips Even Gurus Will Be Surprised to Know.
12. Watch the Experts
Keep up on the leading blogs in your niche, and emulate their successes. Don’t copy anyone, but analyze their methods as blogging tips for pushing the bar in terms of quality and originality - maybe you need custom images, interviews or original videos.
13. Inform Your Sources
When you use words, an infographic or stat, cite it properly with an in-text link. Promote your post by Tweeting at the featured source. You’ll be amazed at how effective of a content promotion tactic these blogging tips can be!
14. Write Constantly
Your blog shouldn’t be an afterthought. Nurture your creativity by keeping a notebook (or app), and practicing the art of explaining your thoughts often (even if you never publish them).
15. Don’t Cheat Anyone
Giving thin posts an epic title, or using a headline to be dishonest will just leave a bad taste in your readers’ mouths. Above all other blogging tips, be respectful and honest toward your readers.
16. Scrap Word Count
While 300 words is generally viewed as the minimum for content to be indexed by Google, don’t restrain yourself with arbitrary post lengths of 600 or 800 words. There are no content marketing rules, just blogging tips - and providing quality above quantity is always a best practice.
17. Use Questions in Titles
Optimize your content for readers and search engines by including questions as page headers and subheaders. Today’s consumers Google questions more and more often, especially on mobile devices - a fact that inspired the search giant’s recent Hummingbird algorithm rewrite.
18. Prioritize User Experience
User experience is an increasingly important component of positive SEO - and simplicity is among the most important blogging tips you can adopt in this arena. Avoid cloying pop-ups or overly whimsical sidebars ads; and aim for a clean layout so the focus will be on your content.
19. Prioritize Your Community
Expert Brad Schorr has found that building community takes longer than writing original content. This may not be true for everyone, but you’ll struggle to reach your goals if you don’t prioritize responding to comments and building relationships.
20. Write with Conviction
Unless you’re sharing a genuinely helpful tutorial, be impassioned. Your readers will pick up on your enthusiasm. This very tactic is what propelled top blogger Marcus Sheridan to success.
21. Choose Original over Evergreen
Many SEO experts believe that the “shelf life” of a blog post is shorter than ever - meaning the amount of time it’s going to be ranked well by Google before it’s considered out of date. If you have to choose between newsjacking something fresh or writing something classic, the sharpest blogging tips dictate doing something new.
22. End Your Content Abruptly
What if you don’t finish a blog post, and ask your readers to fill in the blanks? It’s certainly a gutsy move, but it’s among Goins’ most-beloved blogging tips.
23. Make it Citable
Marketing strategist Gregory Ciotti makes a point of asking himself “is this citable?” before he publishes. It’s certainly one way to ensure you’ve produced something authoritative, original, and impressive.
24. Add Image Captions as a Rule
Unless you’ve got a great reason not to, always include a custom image caption that recaps your post’s purpose. This will ensure your post is primed for sharing - and standing out - on social networks like Google+, Pinterest, and Facebook.
25. Include Hashtags in Titles
You should never be overt or overly enthusiastic about it, but including the occasional hashtag in your post titles can improve your content’s performance on social media. Hashtags have become so common-place, it’s going to seem less like a marketing ploy and more like a way to add emphasis.
What are the most-effective blogging tips and tactics you’ve learned along the road to a successful content marketing strategy?