Launching a blog has never been easier. Nowadays with so many platforms available anyone can start a blog. But unfortunately, not everyone’s blog will be a success. The harsh reality is 90% of blogs aren’t read.
Creating content people want to read is the first step toward creating a successful blog. (Driving traffic and all that good stuff comes later.) But to get there, first, you’ll need to find your blogging voice.
Here are four tips to unleash your inner blogger.
1. Know the Difference Between Blogging and Writing
Before you put fingers to keyboard, ask yourself this question: “Do you know how to blog?”
Just because you’re a writer, it doesn’t make you a blogger. Blogging is an entirely different animal. You can’t approach blogging like you’re writing an academic paper, reporting the news, or speaking to a friend.
Take everything you’ve been taught about academic and professional writing, and throw it out the window. Blog format consists of “chunkified” text with headings and bullets, paragraphs of no more than two or three concise sentences long, plus visuals. And the tone is conversational while still being informative.
Helpful tip: familiarize yourself with relevant industry blogs to get an idea for average length, formatting, number of images, etc.
2. Know Your Brand (and Who You’re Writing For)
Once you’ve got a strong grasp on your brand, then you can narrow your focus on the right type of content to create for your audience. Just because you like to write about fashion, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for your brand.
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Let’s say you’re H&R Block. Your brand falls under financial with a focus on taxes. Your blog content clearly needs to include financial and tax-related topics. Now, you can stretch the limit and inject a bit of fashion by creating a blog post: “5 Types of High-End Fashion You Should Spend Your Tax Refund On,” focusing on pieces worth investing your refund dollars. But those types of posts should be rare.
Instead, for the most part, stick to relevant topics.
3. Know Your Tone and Voice
Blogs are meant to sound human. To achieve a human tone, you’ll need to inject some personality to your posts.
Your brand’s personality is comprised of tone and voice. Voice is how your brand’s personality can be described in an adjective (e.g. funny, serious). Tone is the subset of your brand’s voice, based on external factors like audience and scenario.
Make sure your tone and humor are always appropriate for your audience. And don’t worry if no one else will get the sarcasm or jokes, after all, you’re writing for your target audience who will.
Here, former WordStream CEO Larry Kim sprinkles his blog posts with references to donkeys and unicorns. Non-readers will clearly be confused. But his followers know all about “donkeys and unicorns,” they’ll get his humor.
Don’t forget from time to time to “check in on your blogging voice.” Over time, writing for sponsored blogs or solely for page views can cause seasoned bloggers to lose their voice. If that happens, go back to some of your original content to regain your voice.
4. Know How to Be Consistent
Over the years many lifestyle blogs have come and gone (e.g. Blake Lively’s Preserve), but one remains constant: The Martha Blog. What’s the secret to Martha’s success? Consistency. Since its inception 10+ years ago, Stewart’s blogging style and site layout have hardly changed.
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The site sticks to a clean aesthetic (white background, black text), a comments section, and searchable archives. Her blogs are written in true Stewart fashion, conversational but also no fuss. She always gives it to you straight: Want a 100+ dinner party? It’s going to take a lot of work; here’s exactly what you need to do.
Source: The Martha Blog
While Martha stays true to her blogging roots, she isn’t afraid to mix the past with the present by incorporating Facebook and Twitter to promote her posts. And interestingly, in a time when gated content is everywhere, Martha’s blog is still free and she rarely does sponsored content. Clearly, she’s the queen and knows what she’s doing.
Once you’ve cultivated your inner blogger, don’t forget to make sure your blog posts are grammatically correct, too. You want your readers to be able to quickly and easily comprehend your content. More importantly, you want to make sure your credibility as an expert remains intact.
Don’t let the wrong their/they’re/there derail you on your quest to becoming a master blogger.