Blogging: Make 2014 Your Breakthrough Year

3 Keys To 2014 Blog Success

Can Your Blog Break Through Bloggers seeking to achieve breakthrough blog success in 2014 face tougher challenges than they ever had before.

To put this in perspective, WordPress.com powers 74.1 million blogs that they host or are in their network and this doesn’t include Blogger, Tumblr or other platforms. This means your blog is a tiny fish in a very big ocean. 

Here are the 3 major challenges bloggers face in 2014 in their efforts to achieve a breakthrough year.

  1. Every firm, large and small, is producing content marketing.
  2. Social media is less effective as a free content distribution channel in light of changing algorithms and platforms’ need to generate revenue.
  3. People’s attention is spread across a wider array of connected devices.

3 Keys to 2014 blog success 2014 Blog Break Through

As a blogger, you must recognize that your audience’s time, attention and focus is how you’re compensated for creating great content. To this end, here are the 3 keys to blog success in 2014 and actionable marketing tactics to achieve each of them.

1. Provide content of high value to your audience.

While content quality is the 2014 mantra of many marketing experts, this often leads to high priced, expensive content – but this misses a key point. Your audience doesn’t care about how much it cost to create the content; rather, they care about its ability to solve their problems. Offer the following types of information on your blog to meet your audience’s needs:

  • Supply product information. Give your potential customers the information they seek. Take a lesson from Marcus Sheridan who answered all of his prospects’ questions and matched his products to their requirements on his swimming pools site.
  • Answer customer questions. This is a no brainer. Just get the questions that people ask your sales and customer service teams. It has the side benefit of not having to answer the same question over and over again.
  • Show customers how to use your products. Think fun education and how-to’s. Extend this to offering patterns and recipes. Include great photos that show each step.
  • Explain how to style your products, if appropriate. This is particularly important for clothing and interior design type offerings. Show prospects and customers how to use your product in their context. This means show how to accessorize your offering. Target does a great job with this on Tumblr.
  • Furnish customer ratings and reviews. While many companies get nervous at the idea of people posting their impressions of their business, the reality is that customers want to see what others say about your firm. If you don’t supply this information, they’ll find it elsewhere which means they may buy elsewhere. Test customer interviews and photographs as an alternative. But don’t push people to give positive feedback since this can backfire.

2. Entertain your audience.

People want to be amused. Recognize that everyday life and work can get pretty boring and dull. We need a break from our daily routines that makes us laugh or cheers us up. Just because your product or business focuses on a boring topic doesn’t mean that your content has to be dull. Here are 3 ways to lighten your content offering.

  • Tell stories. People are programmed to listen to and remember stories. The benefit of incorporating stories into your blog posts makes them memorable. Get stories from your employees and customers.
  • Use an element of surprise. People are always on the lookout for new information and enjoy getting surprised. What can you offer that’s unique or special on your blog?
  • Show your fun side. Take a page from high profile sites like BuzzFeed. Add content such as GIFs, memes and/or photobombs to engage your audience.  For example, Marketo tested this on their blog and it attracted a lot of attention.

3. Present a mix of different types of content.

Most people can’t live on a diet of the same meal day after day without change unless they have very restrictive health issues. The same goes for your blog offering. You must serve up a variety of content to keep your readers interested.

  • Discuss an array of topics. Cover a variety of different subjects. Ideally, these should relate to your editorial calendar and your blog categories as well as your list of keywords.
  • Use diverse article types. While it’s easy to produce the same type of blog post on a regular basis once you have a set format, it can get old for your readers. Add some spice to your offering by including news round ups, interviews; curate the best articles in your niche, review new products and offer recipes or patterns. For example, Ian Clearly’s Razor Social blog focuses on reviewing the latest tools and gadgets related to social media.
  • Provide different content formats. Mix up your content offering. Test new ways and channels to reach your audience. Remember people take in information in different ways. Add a video or podcast to your blog. Mike Stelzner has a weekly podcast interview every Friday on Social Media Examiner and Jon Loomer has been testing weekly webinars.
  • Invite other writers to join you. Ask others in your category to share an article of interest to your readers. Understand that having guest blog posts requires strong editing.

 

While there’s no guarantee for blog success in 2014, you can improve the likelihood that your blog will breakthrough by providing valuable information your audience seeks on a regular basis.

What else would you add to this list and why would you include your suggestion?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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

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  • Richard Neuman

    All great points. But I’m curious, why is Social media becoming less effective as a free
    content distribution channel?

    • http://socialmediafuze.com/ Mary Green

      I’m wondering why Heidi said this as well. I know on Facebook distribution is losing foothold because of the need to pay to play. But as far as Twitter and other social networks I don’t see it being less effective at all, especially when used with a targeted audience. That is just my opinion though, Heidi of course will have her own opinion.

      • heidicohen

        Richard and Mary,

        To clarify my point, these are the 3 challenges bloggers face in 2014. It’s a dynamic world.

        Social media is still a critical component of any blog and/or content distribution.

        That said, given that organic reach on Facebook will decrease as pay-to-play increases. Since Facebook is the largest social media platform, this will have a bigger impact on social media distribution for most marketers. Further, most social media platforms, LinkedIn being the exception, rely heavily on advertising. Therefore, they will follow Facebook’s lead and test other ways to get marketers to pay more.

        For bloggers, this means you need to make your blog posts stand out.

        Happy marketing,
        Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.newsmakergroup.com/ Suzanne Mannion

    “Content” seems to be the name of the game this year! Good, concise tips. Thx, Heidi. Some added thoughts http://www.newsmakergroup.com/blog/content-marketing-research-a-crucial-step-in-your-strategy/

  • http://www.monicawomble.com/ Monica Womble

    I think another point to remember is to give your audience what they want, not what you think they want. Remember: It’s always “Audience First”! One more thing… Facts Tell, Stories Sell. People like stories. These two things are going to make 2014 MY breakthrough year!

  • http://brianmittelstadt.wordpress.com/ Brian Mittelstadt

    Thanks Heidi. Great information that I will be applying to my blog. I’m certainly not expecting a 100,000 reader count, but I do want to make my posts informative, entertaining, and actionable.

  • Reyan Fernando

    Thanks Heidi, great tips for 2014! As a new comer to the blogeshpere the two things that I struggle with is being entertaining and having variety in my blogs. These are all great tips but really hard to maintain for a small business trying to find their way in the maze that is social media and blogging.

    What do you recommend a small business should focus on out of the 3 major challenges? Or should they focus on them all but reduce the amount of blogs they produce? It’s a hard one to balance!