When you start blogging, whether it’s for yourself or your employer, you want the blog to be relevant. You want it to stand out and be recognized by readers as a valuable source of information. Last night at #Blogchat we discussed this topic, and I wanted to share some thoughts here. If I was starting a new blog in 2017 and wanted to make it relevant, these are the steps I would take:
1 – Define your desired audience. Know who it is you want to reach, and why you are trying to reach them.
2 – Understand where this group is CURRENTLY getting its information from. What blogs and sites are they reading? What type of content are they looking for? In short, what is relevant to them?
3 – Start reading the sites they read, and start writing about the same content. Once you know what is relevant to your audience, then you can create it for them.
4 – Start reading the sites your audience reads, and start commenting on those sites. This gets your readers familiar with seeing you and your thoughts on the sites they view as being credible. This not only drives traffic to your blog, it also helps make you credible and relevant in the eyes of your desired audience. When I started blogging in 2005, I wrote every day. I figured the quickest way to get readers was to blog more. So I was a sponge, I wrote every day, and every day I read marketing and advertising blogs to get ideas for posts and to stay up to date on the space. As I would read these blogs, I would occasionally find an article I liked, and I would comment on it.
I kept writing every day on my blog, and nothing was happening. No traffic, no comments, nothing. Then one day, the floodgates opened. My traffic started growing, and I started getting comments! On every post! I was thrilled, but at the same time, I was confused; Why was I suddenly getting traffic AND comments? I had no idea, till one day, someone left a comment and said “Hey Mack, coming here to leave you a comment since you left a comment on my blog!” That’s when the light bulb went off…I went and checked and everyone that had started leaving comments on my blog were bloggers that *I* had commented on their blog first! It worked in 2005, it still works today, so get out there and be social!
5 – Take a stand, share your voice. Readers want to read blogs that are written in a passionate voice. We are drawn to passionate writing, it’s more interesting to us. Obviously, if you are writing for an employer, you want to be mindful of your company’s blogging or social media policy, but you can still share your opinions in a passionate and constructive way.
6 – Put in the work and don’t be afraid to ‘act’ bigger than you are. I started blogging in 2005, and one of the first posts I wrote as a series on how female rock stars were marketing themselves. I thought that a great companion piece to the posts would be if I could convince someone in marketing at a major record label to let me interview them. Again, I was a new blogger so I thought what the hell. I emailed every record label I could find. None of them even answered me, except for Nettwerk, and eventually I got an interview with Terry McBride, who at the time was the manager for both Avril Lavigne and Sarah MacLachlan. Not bad, eh? But if I had thought ‘well I’m just a lowly blogger that no one knows, I can’t email record labels!’, I would have never gotten that interview. You never know till you ask.
7 – Ignore anyone that tells you that you can’t be a big-shot. One thing I learned the hard way is that social media can be just like high school. If you start doing well, you’ll start to draw criticism. Almost always, this criticism will come from people that are afraid you are getting ‘bigger’ than they are, and they are jealous. When I announced I was writing Think Like a Rock Star in 2013, a few people lashed out. They said I didn’t deserve a book, that it was a dumb topic, that I wasn’t an ‘expert’ on the topic. These few people had one thing in common: None of them had written a book yet, and all of them wanted to. Take criticism as a sign that you are being successful and growing. No one criticizes the unknown blogger!
8 – Act like your blog is relevant, because it is. Cover the space that’s interesting to your audience. Talk about where your industry is headed, don’t just react to existing opinions, share your own. This is also how you become a thought leader. The truth about thought leader is that it’s not about the people that walk the same road as everyone else, it’s about the people that clear a path for the rest of us.
So there’s some tips on how to make your blog relevant. If you want to review the transcript from last night’s #Blogchat, here it is.