A lot of folks I know struggle to increase the reach of their blogs. And growing a blog can be tough. But discovering the secret to creating great blog posts will put you head and shoulders above the crowd. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is unrealistic expectations for the growthof a blog. I’ve already discussed that in a previous post.
Another biggie is finding the focus for your blog. An unfocused blog is an unread blog. I’ve also covered this topic in previous posts.
But I haven’t covered one that is an occurring problem for writers, not matter if they’re bloggers, freelancers, or novelists. It’s the tendency we have to fall so in love with our words and ideas that we forget about our audience.
Truthfully, great blogging comes down to one single principle:
It’s not really about the writer—it’s ALL about the AUDIENCE
Many of you are having the response I had when I first heard this. “This is important, but doesn’t really pertain to me.” Well guess what I discovered? At times it does. As bloggers we have to walk a thin line of writing within our passion, without making it all about our message and/or information and not about the audience.
So how do we manage this difficult balancing act? I have a few tips to help swing the focus back to the audience. They may appear subtle, but trust me, they make a big difference.
1. Stay away from lecturing. By this I mean avoid using the word you. When I tell you something it can make my audience feel like I’m setting myself up as an expert. Instead, use pronouns that include the audience in the process, like we, our, and us.
2. Pay attention to your stats. By that I mean don’t just look at them, but think about what they mean. For example, with this blog you’ve probably noticed how it’s changed over the years. I’ve added new columns and taken them away. The reason is because they didn’t interest my audience. I thought they were great ideas (otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered) but my audience thought otherwise. By listening to what the audience wanted, my blog has seen consistent growth in the reach it has.
3. Analyze the comments left on your blog. Ask yourself these questions:
- Which posts generate the most comments.
- Which days of the week generate the most comments.
- What is my audience asking.
Answering these questions can give you a great deal of insight into what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your blog.
4. Use the comments to generate the topics you write about. The comments section of your blog is a goldmine of information and post ideas. Don’t leave it for someone else to use.
5. Make your site easy to navigate. Here are some of the biggies:
- Choose font sizes and types that are easy on the eyes of those reading online—in case you didn’t know that’s ALL your audience! Pick a sans serif font and make sure it’s large enough to read
- Make the navigation tabs easy to find and identify. If one leads to your blog, mark it BLOG. As writers our temptation is to get clever and creative—navigation is NOT the place for this.
- Post a schedule of your posts, along with the topics the reader can expect.
- Format your posts for ease of scanning and reading. This means use bold headings and bullet points whenever possible.
Paying attention to these seemingly small details will take your blog posts from good to great!
Now it's your turn, when you visit a blog what makes you feel that it's all about the author? What do you do on your blog to let your audience know they're number one?
Don't forget to join the conversation!