Welcome to our series Digital Marketing in a Noisy World. This content was originally presented in our breakout session at Breathe Christian Writers Conference 2015. (Check out our Prezi here.) We hope this information is helpful and encouraging for you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact us.
Blog Best Practices
by Alexis De Weese
About three years ago, everyone I knew who went to a writing conference left with the same take away: I need to start a blog.
It wasn’t a bad goal, but if all you know is that you need to have a blog and nothing more, a big question comes to the forefront of my mind and that is, “What now?” Looking back now on the I-need-to-start-a-blog mania, I know a lot of discouraged writers with a lot of dead blogs.
Anyone can get a hammer, but that doesn’t mean they are going to get the same result. They need to know what to do with the tool in order to build something great. The same is true with blogging.
Blogging is just one part of a platform and is certainly not a required part of it. I think writers need to have permission to not blog if it does not serve their overall goal—their WHY. If you feel that blogging is in fact a great way to house your original content, here are some best practices to thing through.
The Golden Rule
The first and really most important best practice is the knowledge that not all blogging best practices are your best practices. Blogging is going through a shift and no one is really sure what it is going to look like in the next year or two. This creates a playground for you to figure out what works best for you.
When establishing or reestablishing your blog, you have to determine your substance. What is the focus of your blog? Will you have a specific subject that all your posts will center on? How will your content capture your overarching WHY while still conveying your immediate message?
Tribes will eventually find a faithful, quality content. Be there to give it. Pick a frequency of posts you can stick to and publish them on the same days of the week. If your tribe knows when new content will be there, they will keep coming back.
Know Thy Tribe
As you get to know who your tribe is, you’ll get a better idea of how their needs and your WHY fit together. This knowledge will help you create posts and content that fit those needs.
Also, when crafting posts, think of the response you are looking for from your tribe. Are you looking for them to join you in discussion? Are you trying to inform them or entertain them? do you have a call to action? Answering this questions can be very helpful in developing content for your blog.
Format Format Format
The ugly truth is that only 25% of blog posts are actually read. (If you’re reading this sentence, I’m flattered.) Since most readers are skimming, it’s important to format your posts to guide them through. Make bullet points, break up content with headings, embold key points. This can help readers get to the heart of your message without feeling trapped in an impossibly long post.
Know that you can’t say it all in one post. Don’t be afraid to spread out a topic over multiple posts by creating a blog series. The key is not to overwhelm your tribe.
Don’t be afraid to switch it up and keep things interesting. If you have a post with weighty or heady content, follow it up with something light and pithy. Have a long post, keep it short or visual next time. Include videos, links to older posts, infographics. ALWAYS have an image. Any or all of these helps to keep your audience engaged and always wondering what you’ll bring to the table next.
Push It Out
Let your tribe know you have new content. Establish an email marketing strategy or share your posts through your social media platforms and invite your audience into the conversation.
Creative writer, editor, word wiz and self proclaimed ‘punk-kid’ Alexis is Apricot’s content magician. Lex is passionate about books, music, movies, scrambled eggs, and nail polish. She prefers her music on vinyl and tea leaves loose.
Thank you for joining us on this series. Tune in next time to learn more digital marketing tips.