Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get Out There: Take your blog from blah to big time!

This email came across my desk last week, and I found the information to be extremely useful for growing my blog. Use these strategies from Jason R. Rich, author of "Blogging for Fame and Fortune" (April 2009, Entrepreneur Press) to create a blog readers will stick with:

1. Stay in Tune with Your Topic

Any good blogger should get into the habit of regularly reading other blogs, websites, newspapers, newsletters, magazines, trade journals, etc. that cover the same topic. In addition to helping you stay up-to-date about your topic, this allows you to keep tabs on other sources your audience might already be turning to for information.

From these other sources, you can figure out what approaches work in terms of communicating with your audience, plus you can more easily brainstorm innovative and original ways to better provide your audience with relevant, current content. Figure out what your competition is doing and discover ways to do it better, more efficiently, and/or in a more entertaining manner.

2. Create Emotional Ties

Develop and publish content that your readers can strongly agree or disagree with, learn from, or somehow become emotionally invested in. Encourage your audience to then share their own thoughts and opinions by posting comments to your blog entries, take part in online questionnaires or surveys, and become part of a small online social networking environment that you create around your blog.

Consider adding a specific call to action within your various blog entries. The call to action might be providing an open invitation to agree or disagree with a blog entry, attend a real-world event, make a donation to a charitable cause, purchase a specific product or service, or simply to tell friends about your blog in order to help you generate more traffic.

Photo credit: Jurjan Huisman

3. Keep It Real

If you have an opinion on a topic, state it and then support it with facts, research, and strong arguments, while encouraging opposing points of view. Whatever you do, be consistent.

Don’t one day adopt an opposite point-of-view simply to get attention or create controversy or disagreement. This will take away from your credibility and could damage your reputation.

Instead, invite others with strongly opposing beliefs to write or create guest blog entries, or post comments with different points of view that you can address within your future blog entries in order to create controversy and make your content more enticing.

4. Make It Your Own

While you might not be able to come up with something that’s 100 percent new to say or blog about in terms of an overall topic, you can put your own spin on your topic, share your own personal opinions, and package your content in a way that’s different from everyone else.

It’s how you package the material and make it engaging, interesting, informative, memorable, valuable, and/or entertaining for your audience that will allow you to stand out as a blogger and flourish.

Focus on creating original content by interviewing other experts, doing your own research, and sharing your findings, and by allowing your unique voice and opinions or ideas to be heard. These are just some of the strategies bloggers use to create engaging and unique content.

5. Transform Yourself Into an Online “Personality”

Visit other blogs and vlogs, you can easily distinguish between people who simply create a blog and those who establish themselves as a personality that distinguishes them from other bloggers—based on their appearance, attitude, voice, opinions, knowledge, and experience.

There are thousands of entertainment gossip blogs that populate the internet, but there’s only one Perez Hilton (perezhilton.com). Within seconds of visiting his blog, it’s easy to see that every aspect of Perez and what he has to say is unique and different. Obviously, Perez Hilton is an extreme example of what can be done to transform yourself from a run-of-the-mill blogger into a personality. However, valuable lessons can be learned from his success and applied to people blogging about any topic whatsoever. While in some cases, it’s important for the blogger to fit in perfectly with their audience, in some situations positioning yourself as anything but ordinary might prove beneficial.

Whatever online personality or persona you choose to adopt, make sure that it’s something that you believe in and relate to, and that it’s an extension of who you really are as a person. You should be 100 percent comfortable with the online persona you create for yourself.


Lisa P said...

Great post, Sheba. Thanks for sharing this. Very useful information.

-- Lisa P.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Thanks Lisa. I have to get better at following other's blogs myself. I have so many mag subscriptions I can barely read them all.

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