Based on the feedback from “Tips for Starting a Blog,” it sounds like you’re ready to attract readers. So let’s get started!
My friend Jeff Lipschultz commented on Monday that he was going to be brash and suggest quality is key to attracting readers. And he is 100 percent correct!
Quality, value, and “what’s in it for me” are what attract readers. If you followed the steps I suggested on Monday and asked your network – your friends – to read your blog and pass along to their friends (assuming they liked what they read), then you already have a base of readers. Don’t worry about the number of readers you have on your blog. Worry about providing great content and your friends will be happy to send your blog URL to their friends. And their friends will send to their friends. And pretty soon you have lots of readers who keep coming back for the great value you’re providing.
So how do I provide great content?
I said this on Monday, but it’s worth repeating. IF YOU BLOG, DO IT CONSISTENTLY. A few argued this point in the comments section and that’s okay. My point here is not that you have a blog. My point is that you become a blogger. And to become a blogger you must post at least three times a week.
A few tricks of the trade that make it easy to provide great content and write multiple times every week:
* Make the copy scannable, which means create lists, use bullet points, insert pictures, use headings and subheads and write about only one topic.
* Write short posts. Research states the average blog reader only stays on the same story for 96 seconds so write for that person.
* The copy only needs to prove the point in a very comprehensive manner. Give readers a reason to comment and, if you have extra points to discuss, do it in response to comments.
* Write a title that is both catchy and has search engine optimization (the blog post you can find here on Thursday will discuss how to do this so check back). Your blogs will last for eternity online and you never know when someone, even two years from now, may want information on your topic. Think about how they might search if they’re doing research on your top
* Link to other blogs and news articles that support your thinking. If you do this, find bloggers who aren’t typically quoted or linked to – share the love so the A-listers aren’t the only ones always quoted.
* If you’re passionate about something that is hot in the media right now, wait a week to write the post. It’s hard to gain awareness when you’re in a sea of others writing about the same topic. For instance, if you have value you can add to the Tiger Woods discussion, do it via your blog… and now (two weeks later) is a good time to do it.
* Avoid jargon. Remember the rule of life: Keep it simple, stupid.
* Make yourself uncomfortable. If you’re not making someone mad with every blog post, you’re not doing it right. Get out of your comfort box. Write controversially. But do it professionally.
* Ask for guest bloggers. My friend Harry Brumleve is going to write Thursday’s post on SEO for me. That’s one less post I have to write, but it provides value to him because you now are aware of him and it provides value to you because he’s an expert on the topic.
* Ask questions. People love to provide their thinking and insight. And through their comments, you learn more and become that much more wise.
Always, always remember: This is about your readers. This is not about you. Do not be self-serving or promotional. You are providing your thinking. You are providing your intellectual capital. You are providing your passion. And you are providing all of it for free. If people find value in your thinking, they will come back for more.
For those of you who already are bloggers, what would you add to this to create value in order to attract readers?