Becoming the author of a recognized blog is a dream of practically every dedicated blogger. Having your opinions appreciated and quoted on the web, you won’t be anonymous anymore. Powerful bloggers are followed by a loyal group of readers who are ready to consume any content they create. But what does it mean to be successful in blogging? It means that users are inspired to return to your blog time and time again for reasons ranging from entertainment to solution-searching. The web is full of people interested in what you have to say – here are 10 key tips to help you tap into that potential and become a successful blogger.
1. Know what makes you different
Without a clear differentiator, you can just wait for your blog to get lost in a sea of other blogs on the web. What defines success in blogging is that unique value your writing holds. What is special about your voice? What kind of expertise do you offer to your readers?
When defining your value, bear in mind that best content inspires readers to take action, grow and improve their lives. This is the sort of value that makes them come back and share it to their own networks.
If you’ve been writing for some time already, examine what you’ve produced so far and check your most popular posts – what is it about them that attracted the audience? Is there anything you could do to make them even more engaging? Define your value and grow into it.
2. Identify your key goals
Blogging away all the time, sometimes you might lose sight of your most important goals and completely forget why you created the blog in the first place. Recall the value that you were planning to add to your topic or niche and examine the kind of influence you wanted to have on your readers.
It’s worth to stop for a moment and evaluate your blogging efforts – you’ll not only connect to those initial goals you had when creating your blog, but also reexamine your current strategy to check whether it really brings you closer to achieving them.
3. Research your audience
Your blog can only exist because of your audience. If don’t want your posts to end up in a vacuum, you need to define that key group of people who might be interested in what you have to say and target them in all your posts.
Once you determine the identity of your audience, it’s time to use social listening and blog analytics to learn about their needs and preferences – that’s how you’ll be able to ensure that the topic is relevant to the sector.
What kind of problems do users have in your niche and where do they search for quality content when exploring these issues? What are their top interests? Where do they like to hang out online? Which forms of content they like most?
All this knowledge is crucial if what you’re after are highly relevant and shareable posts. You can only build your reputation among a select group of people, not the entire web.
4. Try different media formats
Even if you consider blogging exclusively in terms of written content, one look around the web is enough to see a rich variety of multimedia formats which generally attract lots of users. Why not try different formats to explore new promotional strategies for your posts? You can transform the key points of your next post into a Slideshare presentation and publish it on your social media channels.
You should definitely consider videos. They’re light and easy to make – why not dapple into the brand new format of vlogs? Spicing up your blog with a video format once a while is a good idea.
5. Get inspired
If there’s something every blogger experiences, it’s the writing block. If you find yourself one day mulling over topics which aren’t even relevant to your audience or having a completely blank mind, one look at the web is enough to find new ideas for fresh and inspiring content.
One tool you should definitely check out in moments of crisis is Übersuggest (http://ubersuggest.org/). You’ll find here lots of content ideas related to a specific phrase or keyword – the tool generates a list of related topics which effectively help to push your content to a more unique avenue.
Knowing which topics are relevant is key to delivering attention-grabbing content. Head to Quora (https://www.quora.com/) or Reddit’s top pages (http://www.reddit.com/top/) to get a deeper look into the online community in your niche.
Social listening tools will be of great help as well. Topsy or Icerocket are both easy to use and provide a comprehensive overview of key analytics data for a given keyword. You’ll benefit from metrics like sentiment measurement, user engagement level and topic insights or trends.
6. Don’t forget about SEO
Bloggers should always remember that their competitors aren’t asleep and are busy writing their way into the very top of search rankings. When composing your posts, remember about SEO – every blogger should have an elementary understanding of SEO. If it seems obscure to you, some education is definitely underway.
Monitoring is key to your SEO – keep a close eye on your backlinks, social networking, quality of blog posts, number of unique visitors and keywords that are your main focus. You can try Google Adwords – it will help you to find the most relevant keywords to use in your writing.
If you’re using WordPress, it’s enough to find a great SEO plugin and you’ll be on your way to providing content relevant to an increasingly growing audience.
7. Write attention-grabbing headlines
The art of headline writing is a key skill every blogger should work on. Even if your content is of high-quality, a poor headline will deter users from it and you won’t experience a rush of traffic. Users make the decision whether to click on your content or not on the basis of the headline – this is what holds users’ attention and attracts them to your content.
If you’re stuck trying to come up with a perfect headline, try tools like ContentIdeator or Content Row . It’s enough to type your keywords and you’ll get offered a selection of real headlines to analyze. You can check which ones are popular and you’ll instantly gain a clearer understanding of how to write your own headline and effectively charm the audience.
8. Be honest
Always be honest with yourself and with your audience. Internet users are sophisticated and will spot a sponsored post or shameless advertisement from a mile. If you’re considering such collaborations, be careful – one wrong move and you’ll lose your reputation and trust. Writing positively about a product you’re not really passionate about is always tricky.
Build a genuine voice by writing about things you really like, not about topics which you know are trending among your audiences. Offer a unique perspective – even if they don’t agree with you on every point, your readers will appreciate it. Most importantly, be respectful to your audience and avoid writing posts just to be perceived as a regular blogger.
9. Be quotable
Persuasive language is your best friend in blogging. What makes bloggers great is the fact hat they’re able to inspire others to quote them in their own content. Remember that the current attention span of web readers is very small, so you should make the most from whatever amount of attention you manage to capture.
How to be quotable? Write in a clear language, be concise and avoid long sentences which don’t make sense even to you. Even if you’re passionate about something, avoid rambling on and on about it. Focus on delivering your message, sharing your best and most provocative quotes all over the web.
10. Make sure your blog posts are easy to share
Shareability is something you can control to a degree. You best move is to make your posts easy to share from the practical perspective – work on placement of social sharing buttons and consider having a friend test your blog with social sharing in mind. They might suggest some smart solutions which average internet users will appreciate.
Some bloggers use an automated Twitter feature, which is a great advantage of every blog post. Clicking on a fragment of your post, users will be able to instantly tweet it. Don’t apply this function to the entire post, but only to your most daring, shocking or thought-provoking remarks.
Becoming a great blogger takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it. Running a recognized and powerful blog gives a lot of satisfaction and allows bloggers to enjoy the support of an immense online community surrounding the niche or the topic in question.