This is the third installment in a series on blogging and what works for me. It’s based on things I have learned throughout the trial and error process of posting more than 600 articles on Pulse, WordPress, Medium, Google Plus & most recently, bebee.com.
A Little Editorial Indulgence
This is just my opinion, which is really the only opinion I have and I am and likely never will be what’s known on LinkedIn as an INfluencer, so all this advice will probably not get you there either.
However what I have discovered is that an entire culture has formed outside outside the so called INfluencer cult. These people who are writing very good stuff, but not reaching anywhere near the number that the so called INfluencers reach. They can be found on sites like www.blogpoets.com, Phil Freidman’s Wide Author’s Conspiracy and though LinkedIn’s Ambassadors like Richard Di Pilla.
I personally don’t care about what the INfluencers are doing, simply because I am not in their target group. And you probably aren’t either. They are in a separate world, talking to a separate audience. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
So here we go….Important Stuff You Need To Understand About Blogging Here Or Anywhere.
(This is a bit of a breakout of some of the points made in Part 2 of this series)
1 Becoming An INfluencer Should Not Be Your Goal: INfluencers are chosen…they do not work their way into the title.
The criteria for their being chosen is a mystery. It’s not really about their innovative approach to blogging because most of them are simply pointing out the obvious over and over again and talking to an audience that seems to put up with that.
2. Understand Who Your Target Audience Is: Blogging is really just another form of self-promotion. It’s the modern day version of an emailer.
So it’s important to treat it like that, and have a strategy for your blogging. The key element of any strategy is your target audience. Once you know who they are, you should know how to talk to them and what to say.
3. Use You Headline To Wave At Your Target Audience: My target audience for this post is bloggers who want to get better at blogging, so the headline alludes to that.
Writing abstract headlines only confuses people who are looking for stuff to read, because the fundamental principle of ‘key word searching’ doesn’t just apply to search engines. It applies almost everywhere. So think about your headline and always make sure it is about what you’re trying to communicate.
This is why you see so many ’10 Ways’ or ‘6 Things’ type blog posts. It’s a setup for a direct message about what that post is about. And though a lot of people are not crazy about it, it really has been proven to be an effective foot in the door.
4. Write About Stuff You Know: The whole idea behind blogging in the first place is to show people that you have a deep and intuitive understanding of the business you are in.
Unless you have some sort of bone to pick with something out there or you are a good professional writer who likes to write about all kinds of different things, ranging too far from what you really know about is kind of asking for trouble.
5. Stick To The Basics: There are a number of basics that apply to good blogging form:
• Use subheads to set up new thoughts.
• Keep your paragraphs short, because people generally dislike being confronted by huge blobs of text, especially with so many people reading blogs on mobile devices.
• Find an appropriate image that supports the concept of your post.
• Don’t be paranoid about length but generally keep to between 500 and 1000 words. (A rule I constantly ignore).
• Develop a methodology for proofing your articles. I have a pretty good one that I will post below.
6. Always Write & Finish Your Posts Offline: This way it’s much easier for you to post them in other blog formats. For example, I post my blogs in both WordPress, beBee,com and on LinkedIn Pulse as well as Tumblr & Medium sometimes. Since these sites don’t all automatically link to one another. I use the basic Pages file as the source.
7. Think Of Your Post As A 3-Act Play. Establish your premise, support your argument and communicate your conclusions. Like with advertising people become accustomed to seeing post that flow in a certain way. The reason they do this is that it makes sense to them, which is why people have been creating stories, plays, screenplays and novels in this way since more or less the beginning of everything.
If you think you that by ignoring this modus operandi, you can be seen as innovative or pushing the envelope or some other crap, that may be true for a very small portion of the people wHo confront your posts, but most of them will find it off putting.
8. Don’t Forget Why You’re Doing This: Whether you choose to believe it or not, this is marketing for you or your company.
And the objective of all marketing in the Brave New World is to encourage engagement. (I hate that word, but I haven’t come up with a better one). In order to have any sort of chance at doing that, you need to have a signature area for your posts that includes:
• A brief description of who you are and what can do for the people who would hire to you work for or with them,
• Your logo or a pic of your smiling puss
• A link to your LinkedIn blog page, so if people want to read more of your scintillating prose, it’s just a click away,
• Your basic contact information (phone, email, website),
• Anything else you think is relevant. It is your blog after all.
My Proofing Methodology
A) Never write posts on your smart phone. You’re just asking for trouble by writing stuff that only involves your thumbs.
B) Never write posts or longer comments on the site itself. Always do this in Word or Pages, because those programs will show you a lot of mistakes as you make them.
C) Always spell and grammar check your posts or comments. Not only will you end up with cleaner material, you might just learn something in the process.
D) Have your word processing program read the post or comment and follow it carefully.
E) Finally and this is the most important thing…read your comment or post two or three times aloud, as if you are presenting it to someone. You will invariably see something you want to change. (I read this post 3 times and changed something each time).
This is pretty much a simplified version of a fairly complex process. I guess the main thing to remember is that what you know and how you communicate can be two different things. How closely you align the two will make the difference between getting read and getting passed over.
I am a communications professional. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of some insanely talented associates, I work with primarily
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