Blogging Blarney (& How You Can Fix It!) 

Blogging Success: 17 Ways To Change Your Luck

Blogging Blarney We’re in the midst of a blogging renaissance but are you still being lured in by blogging blarney?

The luck of the Irish won’t make you a successful blogger. (Although RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary may tell you differently.)

Rather you need grit in the true Angela Duckworth sense. This means perseverance and hard work. And a charming blog personality does help.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are 17 pieces of blogging blarney that many bloggers and businesses believe.

But don’t get fooled.

Instead take the time to learn how to improve your blogging success with the related blogging tactics.

 

17 Pieces of blogging blarney and how you can fix them Blogging Blarney

How many of these 17 pieces of blogging blarney do you believe

1. Skip developing a blog mission

I must admit I held onto this blogging blarney for a long time.

But I’ve come around to realizing that every blog needs a mission. Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi has been a long time believer and discusses it in his book, Epic Content.

In fact, it’s key indicator in CMI’s annual B2B content marketing research.

59% of B2B content marketers have a defined content mission. 

You must define what type of content you’re going to craft, who you’re going to write it for, and why you’re doing this.

Maximize b2b blog results
Think beyond short-term business goals. In today’s business world, you must appeal to a higher motive, especially for millennials.

The bottom line:

Your blog mission saves time. You don’t write about anything that’s not aligned with it!

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Develop your blog mission. Don’t put it off because it’s difficult. Just get everyone together and fill in the blanks.
  • Distribute your blog mission to everyone in your organization. Your objective is to get their support and input.

2. Don’t pay attention to your audience

Do you really believe you can blog without caring about your reader?

Really?

To build a blog that yields measurable business results, you must focus on your key reader.

Entrepreneur On Fire’s John Lee Dumas calls his reader Jimmy. Dumas even created a short video about Jimmy.


Entrepreneur’s One Perfect Listener-Jimmy (From About Page)

Your blog readers want to know you care about them and the issues they face. To do this, you must listen to them!

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Create a reader or marketing persona for your blog. You must be able to write for this person like she’s your best friend.
  • Get feedback from your readers. My favorite tip (that I borrowed from Social Trigger’s Derek Halpern) is to ask the people who sign up for my newsletter what they’re greatest problem is.
  • Write like you’re talking directly to your reader. Use the second person and address him or her as “you”.

3. Blog about whatever topic strikes you when you sit down to write

This may work for a personal journal but even your mother doesn’t want to know everything that pops into your mind.

More important, categorize your blog content across 3-5 main topics. Otherwise it’ll look confusing to your prospective reader and search engines.

Take a tip from SEO Bruce Clay: Organize your blog posts into silos (aka categories). This helps you to link to your other related content while making it easier for search engines to determine the key topics.

SEO Silos

Bruce Clay explains SEO silos using marbles

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Develop a blog post ideas brainstorming habit. Ann Handley suggests generating 5 ideas per day and Neil Patel suggest generating 10 ideas per day. While they won’t all be post-worthy, you’ll have enough ideas to keep blogging. (Here’s help on continuously feeding your writing.)
  • Collect related research and other information for your best ideas. As a result, you have the initial work started before you sit down to blog.

 

4. Write only when the spirit moves you

This piece of blogging blarney mistakenly echoes the Stephen King quote from his book, On Writing.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

Reality: You must publish quality content on a consistent basis so your readers expect it.

In today’s post-appointment media era, you must become part of your readers’ regular content consumption. Consistently publishing blog content on a regular schedule helps achieve this objective.

 

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

  • Create an editorial calendar. Plan your blog post ideas using a formal structure. Use tools like WP Editorial, and Co-Schedule.
  • Offer cyclical content on a regular schedule. Build reader expectations for your blog posts. For example, Spin Sucks’s Gini Dietrich runs Gin & Topics on Saturdays. It’s a curation of YouTube videos.

    Weekly column

    Weekly Spin Sucks Column: Gin and Topics – YouTube Curation

5. Forget to let readers know who you are

This piece of blogging blarney must have been started by a blogger looking to avoid the spotlight.

Because if readers like your writing and what you’re talking about, they’ll want to get to know you better. Your About Page is a great place to start building that relationship.

Recently I judged Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs. While assessing the short list of blogs, I was surprised that some didn’t have an About Page. I wanted to find out more about the people behind the virtual page but I couldn’t.

Remember people connect with other people not organizations or things. 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Include an About Page. Give your readers insight into what makes you and the people behind your blog tick. I love that Peg Fitzpatrick has a smiling welcoming photo on her About Page and a contact form.  (BTW—Fitzpatrick is that friendly and bubbly in person!)

    Blogging Blarney

    Peg Fitzpatrick smiles from her About Page

 

6. Skip giving your blog a uniform (aka branding)

Blog branding isn’t blogging blarney!

Branding is way to consistently present your blog and its content. As a result, your blog is immediately identifiable as yours, even when it appears on another site or social networking platform.

Blog branding is more than just a logo. It applies to your blog presentation including its voice and typography.

Different bloggers have distinctly different approaches and language uses, regardless of their native language.

Henneke’s Enchanted Marketing Blog stands out and it isn’t because Henneke isn’t a native English speaker.

Rather it’s the friendly, easy-to-follow way she leads readers through complex topics. She adds her own light-hearted, hand drawn images to each post.

What can you do to set your blog apart?

Blogging Blarney

Branding isn’t blog blarney- Example of Henneke’s blog branding with hand drawn images

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Extend your business brand to your blog. Even without a big budget, every element of your blog reflects on your brand. (Here are fixes for 31 blog design issues.)
  • Pay attention to your blog voice.The way you write and the language your use reflects your brand. Create a set of branding guidelines to ensure that your blog brand is consistent regardless of who’s writing.

 

7. Use any content you find on the Internet

In case you believe this blogging blarney, online content including images and videos are subject to IP laws. Even more important what you don’t know can bite you.

One of my go-to resources is Kerry O’Shea Gorgone. She’s a lawyer who knows what she’s talking about. Check out her copyright rights post on Businesses Grow.

My biggest advice is (and I’m NOT a lawyer): Take care when using other people’s content or images.

If you have any doubts about who owns the content, don’t use it!

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Curate other people’s content. But don’t steal other people’s content. Here’s the skinny on how to curate good content.
  • Invite employees, customers and influencers to contribute content to your blog. Make sure that you have their permission to use it. Be careful with people’s images and children under 13.

 

8. Allow your marketing instincts to run wild and push promotions

This is total blogging blarney since the last thing a reader wants to see on a blog is your promotion or advertising.

As a form of social media, your blog needs non-promotional content.

One of the unstated goals of successful blogging is to build trust with your reader, some of whom may be potential customers.

Instead of smell-it-a-mile-away promotion, get your reader unbiased answers to their questions. Or they’re gone.

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Listen to The Sales Lion Marcus Sheridan.
    Marcus Sheridan

    Marcus Sheridan: “They ask, you answer.”

    “They ask, you answer.” Answer every question your prospective customer has including price. For further information, read Sheridan’s book, They Ask, You Answer. (Editorial note: It’s an education.)

 

9. Only offer text content in your blog posts

Nothing will scare prospective blog readers faster than big blocks of uninterrupted text.

According to usability expert Jakob Nielsen, your audience will read about 20% of the text on a webpage.

Further, Nielsen found that chunking information made it easier to consume and remember. (Here’s a deeper explanation of content chunking.)

But don’t forget that humans are visual creatures.

Since visual content attracts 94% more total views on average than text, include images and videos to draw readers in.   

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Incorporate other content formats, especially eye candy. Include images, video, audio and presentation. At a minimum, use at least one image in every post to pull visitors in. (BTW: Optimize your blog images for search!) Even better, include one image in each main point.

 

10. Don’t worry about good spelling and/or grammar

Early bloggers had the excuse that they were writing for immediate publication. As a result, their spelling and grammar might occasionally overlook mistakes that a rigorous eagle-eyed editor would catch.

But blogging has evolved from a quick publishing platform and so have readers’ expectations.

Research by a communications firm revealed that poor grammar and spelling diminished 42.5% of UK respondents’ opinion of the firm.

Customers Hate Poor Grammar - UK Research

Remember first impressions count. (BTW—This was confirmed by research on online dating sites.)

Bottom line:

Don’t give prospects a reason to bypass your blog without giving it a chance!

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Let your draft rest. Once you’ve got The First Ugly Draft (or TFUD as Ann Handley calls it in Everybody Writes,) walk away and let the ideas simmer in your brain’s back burner.
  • Ruthlessly edit your blog post.  Where possible, use an editor, copyeditor or a blog buddy. Alternatively try products like Hemingway or Grammarly.

11. Ignore how your blog content looks

As we said earlier, first impressions matter. This goes for your blog as well.

If the content looks too difficult to read, they skip it. It’s TH;DR (aka: Too Hard; Didn’t Read.)

According to Chartbeat research, most readers don’t read more than 60% of the text. 

 

BUT they DO pay attention to your images and captions!

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Make your blog content appealing to readers. Use bolding, outlining and images to pull readers in.  (Here are thirty-one tips to help format your blog.)
  • Narrow the width of the body of your blog content. Nielsen recommends 50 to 75 characters to facilitate readability.
  • Write for an 8th grade reading level. Think short sentences and words. BTW, Yoast’s plug-in can help you with this.
    US Adult Reading Level Is 8th Grade

 

12. Is search optimized without additional work

While the underlying blog technology helps search, you still MUST optimize your blog content for readers, social media followers, search engines, influencers and your business.

To this end, creating quality blog content on your focused core topics goes a long way to stand out on search engines. Content hubs can help you with this.

Keeping your content focused on core topics improves search visibility via Orbit Media

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Optimize each post for a keyword phrase. Include that word or phrse in your title and URL. To improve blog search optimization use a tool like Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress. Also, link to reliable resources and your foundational content. (Here are more blog search recommendations.)

 

13. Magically spreads across social media when you hit publish

While the content well-established bloggers seems to get amplified and distributed effortlessly, that’s far from true.

The reality is you must amplify your content by getting your promoters involved. Then distribute it broadly including paid advertising such as Facebook.

If you’ve put a lot of work into key blog posts, consider investing in Facebook ads to test your headlines. Wordstream’s Larry Kim and Priceonomics do this. This is the make-or-break element of your blog. Only 20% of readers get beyond the title!

Even better, continue to distribute and promote your best performing content.

Where your content performance is less than stellar, consider improving it to make it more appealing (but don’t change your URL!)

BTW, Chartbeat data revealed that people don’t necessarily read the content they share (OOPS!)  Content traffic research

 

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

  • Have a post distribution system in place to deliver your blog content across platforms. Remember email distribution is key! Break out the different components of each article before you hit publish and batch your content creation.
  • Email the people you mention in your post. But don’t expect them to share your content. Your goal is to stay top of mind.
  • Include social sharing within your blog posts. Use Click-To-Tweet and PinThis.

 

14. Only appear on social media to push your blog posts

This is the me-me-me approach to social media. It doesn’t work unless you’ve built an amazing following using another forum or media entity.

At a minimum, follow one of the social media rules of thumb. These rules ensure that you curate other people’s content and participate in the social media discussion.

Take another cue from Dietrich, she doesn’t just curate other people’s fun content. She gives a shout out to everyone who helped her find it.

No more blog blarney Gini Dietrich Gives Shout Out To Readers On Gin & Topics

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Share other bloggers’ content in a ratio of roughly 1 piece of your content to 10 pieces of other people’s content. Use hashtags and mentions to broaden your reach.
  • Be generous in mentioning and linking to other people on your blog. Make readers and others you respect feel special.

 

15. Skip responding to blog comments

While it’s true answering comments isn’t required, responding shows there’s a person behind your blog and that you care about your audience.

Blogs like Social Media Examiner require guest bloggers to be available to respond to comments on the day their post is published.

Smart Blogger gets a ton of comments. Jon Morrow weighed in on his post where appropriate. This is an amazing blog post on its own but the conversation helped it to garner 18k+ social shares!

Skip the blog blarney If Jon Morrow Can Respond to Comments, So Can You

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Respond to meaty comments. This encourages others to join the conversation on your blog. Add value and extend the conversation by clarifying or giving examples.

 

16. Track blog comments to measure effectiveness

Many bloggers and executives believe comments are the most important sign of a successful blog.

Yet the reality is comments don’t help achieve your blog’s goals. 

Instead track the key metrics that will move your business forward. You can use Google Analytics to help you track this information.

 

Actionable Marketing Tactic:

  • Define measurable goals aligned with your business objectives. Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi tracks email registrations as his top priority. (Here are 65 blog metrics to help you.)
  • Always use a call-to-action aligned with your post topic and content. Don’t assume your readers will naturally take action. Don’t overlook email registrations and social shares.

 

17. Stop blogging after a year since you have enough content

Blogging is a long-term investment of time and resources.

As Rand Fishkin points out, many bloggers drop out of the blogging marathon at about 12 months. As his wife’s blog The Everywherist shows the benefits are reaped over time.

You need to blog for the long term

I get it. Starting a blog and building a readership is hard work on a consistent basis over time.

But don’t give up!  

Keep going. In Content Inc, Joe Pulizzi says that it takes about 18 months for your blog to gain traction as a business driver.

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Plan to blog for the long term. Don’t try to prove you can do it overnight. That’s planning to fail and you don’t want to do that.
  • Get additional resources to support you, especially if you’ve got a business blog. Use your blog to provide the information your audience including your customers need.

 

Conclusion

A lot of blogging blarney still exists. It passes for advice and guidelines.

But don’t let it fool you.

Blogging requires work and resources to yield measurable results.

Follow this list of blogging tactics to improve your blogging luck and transform your blog into a green machine.

Remember you don’t have to do them all at once.

And you can wait until after you’ve celebrated St. Paddy’s Day!

Even top bloggers need time to celebrate their luck.

What’s your favorite piece of blogging blarney and why?

BTW, here are 2 related blogging articles you’ll enjoy!

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on March 17, 2013 and was updated on March 17. 2016.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/top-view-photo-of-clover-leaves-158780/  CC Zero

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  • Nice list you got here. I’ve been searching for tips and tricks to boost my blogs and this article seems to have added some ideas on what im going to do. Great read!

  • I didn’t know how to actually run a successful blog till i learned that i must be myself and must be more social.
    You shared some very important points here, i’m looking forward to learn more from your articles.

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    • heidicohen

      Huba,

      As with any social media entity, it’s important to be yourself. That said, you shouldn’t only talk about yourself.

      Further, blogging requires that you be an active social media participant.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen