How to Blog with Purpose and Stop Wasting your Time
Why you need to Blog with Purpose
A Blog is an excellent Marketing Tool; A blog brings you site traffic, boosts SEO, increases engagement, provides value to your audience and ultimately encourages people to subscribe to your list or hire you.
A Blog can also be a colossal waste of time! Which is why you need a Blog Post Strategy.
By a blog post strategy I don't just mean create a list of blog post topics and a posting schedule and make sure you get your blog posts out on time.
I mean Blogging with Purpose. How will this post fit in with the last one? The next one? How can you link it to your other posts? How can you make it attract subscribers to your email list? How does it relate to the new service you're about to launch? And encourage people to hire you? And if that post will do none of those things, why on earth are you blogging about it?!
Blogging with a plan will:
Keep your blog posts on topic and related to each other
Funnel your audience to where you want them to go (eg; your email list subscription page, your Facebook community, your latest webinar, your services...)
Keep your audience on your blog for longer as you create an irresistible web between your posts and pages
Provide your target audience with content they actually care about
Grow your authority in your niche subject
Create a Blog in a consistent style and format that will breed familiarity and confidence with your audience
Your written content is normally not what makes the first impression on a new reader (it's the design and branding that does that) but it is your content that makes a new reader come back for more, that turns a reader into a subscriber and a subscriber into a client.
How to create Consistent Blog Posts
Keep your blog posts consistent and stay true to your brand vision. You want your audience to know what to expect from you. You can still wow and surprise them with what you write about but the way you write and present it should be familiar. Familiarity is awesome - it brings trust and personal connection with it.
The length of your posts
Set yourself a word count range for your blog posts. Keeping a consistent length will stop your readers being disappointed by a shorter post than usual or overwhelmed by an enormously long one when they're used to short sound bites.
The language and tone you use
The language you use in your blog posts (and across your whole site actually!) is very important. It creates the emotion in your audience when they read your posts. Ask yourself how you want your audience to feel when they're on your blog. Do you want them to feel empowered and raring to go? Do you want them to feel thoughtful and reflective? Do you want them to feel loved and cared for?
Use language that elicits those emotions.
The language you use will create the tone of your blog. Consider how you want to come across to your audience as well the emotional response you want to create. Do you want to come across as a straight laced serious professional? The friend that's not afraid to tell it like it is? A bossy but caring older sister (not that I'd know anything about being one of them!)? An eccentric oddball?
Think about your tone when you write and edit your blog posts.
How often you're going to post
How often you should blog is a bit of a hot topic amongst bloggers. Most people agree that the more you post, the better. But don't put quantity ahead of quality. One excellent post a week is far better than 5 posts rushed through just for the sake of posting every day. However often you post, create a schedule you can maintain so you can keep consistent.
How you're going to use visuals
How are you going to use images in your posts? Are you just going to have your title image (just perfect for pinning)? Are you going to use infographics? Diagrams? Collages? What filters or editing are you going to add to your photos?
Find (or create your own) images that fit your brand style. Find a way to keep your images similar across your blog posts, using colour or similar subjects. You want your readers to see your blog post images on Pinterest and know they're yours.
How you're going to use links in your posts
How often in a post are you going to link to your other blog posts? To external sites? Other bloggers? To affiliate links? To your newsletter subscription page?
When you add links set them up to open in a new window, especially for external links that take your readers away from your blog. This will keep the blog post open in their browser so even if your audience gets distracted by your links to other posts or sites, they will come back to your original post when they close their other browser windows.
Linking to other bloggers may seem counter productive but it's an excellent way of providing your audience with useful content that will help them out even more than yours on its own. It helps with building your reputation as a fountain of knowledge. It also helps build relationships with other bloggers and show appreciation for those whose blogs you love! Share the love, you'll get it repaid.
The formatting of your posts
Format your blog posts consistently. The way you use headers and lists and italics and bold text should be the same across your posts. If you use a text divider to break up sections of your posts, make sure it's the same on all of them.
It's the same as the images and the tone, you want your audience to feel familiar with your blog, which makes them feel comfortable and goes towards building trust in your brand.
Any other rules
Do you have any other blogging rules? Any moral or ethical rules that you believe in. Will you only recommend products you've actually used, or are you happy recommending products you haven't personally used but know your friends use and rave about? What are your moral expectations for the businesses you collaborate and work with?
These moral rules prevent you stuffing your posts with every affiliate link under the sun, working with clients who you'd be embarrassed to add to your portfolio or regretting a collaboration just because all you saw were dollar signs.
Make your blog posts work for you
If you are running your blog as a business every blog post you publish needs an aim behind it. Even if it's just the simple aim of driving traffic to your site. But blog posts can do more than that. Put your blog posts to work:
Keep readers on your blog for longer
Imagine the scenario: a new visitor clicks through to one of your blog posts from Pinterest. They read it, like it, re-pin it. Awesome, good job!
But.... now imagine this scenario: The new visitor is reading your blog post and within the post comes across links to other related posts on your blog. They like what they've read, so they click the links and read the other two posts. Those two posts had links too, so now, 20 minutes later, your new visitor is reading their 6th post of yours and is so excited by your content they've signed up to your email list. Super awesome hey - and sooo easy to do!
Make it a rule that all of your blog posts must link to at least one of your other blog posts. Make links easy to tell apart from your usual body text so your readers notice them. When you publish a new post, go back through your older related posts and add a link to it. You can scatter them through the text in a natural way and use a widget at the end of the post to link to related posts.
Use your posts to create a roadmap around your blog, linking your posts together.
Encourage your readers to sign up for your email list
Your email list subscribers are people that have a real interest in your business. You have their attention in their inbox more than you have it pretty much anywhere else! So encouraging people to subscribe needs to be high on the priority list.
Use your blog posts to encourage subscribers by including a sign up box at the end of every post (or in the middle, where it's relevant). But also write posts with the specific goal of encouraging sign ups. Post a teaser from your opt in freebie. Create additional resources related to your posts that are only available to subscribers. Mention perks available to your subscribers that are related to your posts. Create a blog post on the same subject as your opt in freebie and tell your audience that there's more information, resources, tutorials etc in the opt in.
Mention your list in related blog posts to provide further help to readers already interested in the subject.
Create excitement around a new product
Are you creating an awesome new service package or product (free or paid) for your blog readers?
Cool, use your blog posts to get them excited about it (Use photos too - show people your products, don't just tell them about them)
Visit my Blog Planner Shop on Etsy for Planner Printables designed just for Bloggers, based on the very same spreads I use in my own Bullet Journal to stay organised and productive...
Create a survey which gets actual useful input from your readers as well as giving them the heads up that something new is in the pipeline.
Write a 'how to' post on creating your new product and include some sneak peaks of what you're making
Write a post introducing your readers to the subject of your new service - why they absolutely need it or a beginners guide to whatever it is.
Plan your posts carefully leading up to a product launch using topics relating to your product to get the idea of it at the forefront of their minds. Link to a landing page within your posts where your readers can pre-order your product or sign up for a notification of its release.
Tell readers about a new product or service
Now you've launched your amazing new thing tell your readers all about it in a blog post.
Include a free sample if applicable, tell your audience why it will make their lives so much brighter, tell a fun story of how the first prototype fell apart or a personal story of why you created it in the first place.
Include a call to action. Tell your readers how to buy your product or hire you and exactly what they'll get when they do. Include beautiful photographs or digital mockups of it. Go back through all your related posts in the lead up to your launch and add the link to your introductory post.
Be genuinely excited about your product and your readers will be too.
Encourage community and engagement
Use your blog posts to encourage your readers to comment and interact with you.
Be relatable and approachable in your style of writing and blog post topics. Write about what your readers feel strongly about and encourage them to express their opinions. Ask questions at the end of your blog posts.
Tell personal stories relating to your niche that your readers may also be experiencing. Creating personal connections is one very good way of building trust in your brand.
You could even do free Q + A sessions on your blog. As well as getting people to comment this is an amazingly generous way of sharing your expertise, building authority and getting good vibes for your blog!
When your readers leave you comments, take the time to reply. Not only is it basic manners it also shows other readers that you do read your blog post comments and care enough about your readers to actually have a conversation.
So the next time you sit down to write a blog post don't just think of a post topic and write it. Think about what that post can do for your blog and business and how it relates to your ideal reader and your other content. And if it doesn't, don't waste your time writing it!
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