10 Tricks To Smarter Blogging Based On Your Experience
In manufacturing, this is called the experience curve. Based on cost behavior analysis, it was developed in the 1960s by Bruce D. Henderson and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The 85% experience curve means that unit costs drop 15% from their original level with every doubling of output.
While based on manufacturing, these 8 experience curve elements are adapted to improve your blogging learning curve.
- Increase efficiency. Members of your blogging team gain experience so that they know how to develop, craft and present optimal posts. As a result, they’re more confident and create shortcuts.
- Improve blogging with standardization and specialization. By implementing processes such as collecting post ideas, selecting images and search optimization, efficiency increases.
- Learn from others. Whether you’re using growth hacking techniques or actively involved in social media, you can become a more efficient blogger. (BTW—Sign up for our weekly emailing and get 101 Blogging tips!)
- Use technology better. With experience, you gain the ability to use the blogging and related technology more productively.
- Change your resource mix. Over time, bloggers may get help and support in their blog content creation and production processes.
- Incorporate on-going testing. Bloggers continually try adding new features and approaches into their blog to see what works best.
- Leverage the power of network effects. Getting help and support from your social media community helps spread the word of your content.
- Expand shared experience. Leveraging the power of your blog content as part of a larger social media and content marketing plan to achieve your higher business goals, helps reduce costs.
Bloggers, like manufacturers, need to continually reassess their position with respect to the changes seen in new blogs, social media and key audiences.
The blogging learning curve doesn’t happen by itself. Just publishing more blog posts the same way, without testing and implementing what’s most effective, doesn’t automatically yield improved results.
10 Tricks to smarter blogging based on your experience
1. Know what information resonates with readers.
Over time you learn what your readers like. This translates into categories of information, reader hot buttons, ways that you can spin a topic and tags associated with posts.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Ask your readers what they want and think. While this seems obvious, many bloggers overlook this point. At a minimum, add a question at the end of each post.
2. Find the best mix of content formats.
Blogs provide a platform for a variety of different types of content. Take advantage of this. Use more than just plain text.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Incorporate at least one image to attract reader attention.
3. Improve headline effectiveness.
Headlines grab your prospective reader and pull them in. Over time you learn what works best for your target audience. Also just as media entities like Upworthy and Buzzfeed have perfected the power of traffic driving headlines, you, too can create better titles quicker.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Leverage the power of headline science and words that increase blog traffic. (Here are 7 headline tips guaranteed to attract readers every time.)
4. Provide style and design guidance.
When you first start blogging, you may try a variety of different options in terms of design, typography and style. But over time, you discover how to present information on your blog so that your key audience can consume it efficiently.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Establish design guidelines so that your blog stands out. Consistency is one of the major keys to branding your blog.
5. Streamline your production flow.
While many people think that blogging is all about writing, the reality is that once you’ve finished writing, your work first begins.
- Include content review, copyediting, formatting the post, ensuring that it renders across devices, and adding tags and categories.
- Get additional technology support where appropriate
- Edit audio or video when used. Add tags, keywords and links to photographs, video and audio.
- Provide guidance for handling comments. Here’s how to create a blog comment policy.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Set up a process checklist that includes every step that’s done manually after the post is written as well as who performs this task (if you have more than one blogger.) Then look for ways to reduce the effort over time.
6. Optimize content for find-ability via search and social media.
Your blog content needs help to appear on search engines and get shared on social media. Both search and social media optimization are as much art forms as science. (Here’s what 15 SEO experts say about blogging.)
- Blogs by their architecture are search-friendly. Write posts on the basic content that your target audience seeks and wants. Focus each post on an appropriate keyword and use it in the title and in the article.
- Link to other information on your blog and website. The goal is to provide service to your readers. This is a good way to drive traffic to your product pages.
- Incorporate content that people like to share on social media. Create information that makes your readers look good to their followers.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Make social sharing easy. Reduce what your audience has to do. Where appropriate, be part of a community where you share and promote each other’s work.
7. Determine the best timing for publication and social media sharing.
While research can help you optimize your content for distribution and reach, your audience’s habits may vary. Think holistically about your target market and their content consumption habits as they relate to your information.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Incorporate your publication frequency into your schedule. Don’t focus on when you create the content or when you’re working but rather when your audience is reading your information.
8. Build your blog distribution process.
Just hitting publish isn’t enough to get your content in front of a broad audience, especially when you’re first starting out.
- Start building your email list from the first day. This is something that I wished I had done.
- Engage on social media and become an active member of a variety of communities. Don’t think that you can just shout me, me, me and hope to get readers. You need to pay it forward and help others.
- Take advantage of other people’s audiences. Write guest posts to get your name in front of others. It’s about building your authority.
- Leverage internal communications distribution. This includes customer lists, retail handouts, mailings and other interactions.
- Include related, target advertising where appropriate.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Set up a distribution checklist so that you don’t have to think about it. Where appropriate, incorporate social media and other blog sharing into your overall content marketing calendar.
9. Test different elements of blog posts.
Where appropriate use A/B testing to determine what works best for your blog across each variable. Only change one element at a time on each test. Start with the most critical elements of your blog first to get the biggest impact.
Actionable Blogging Tip: Set a process for incorporating the test results into your on-going blogging. Read about the tests that other bloggers and content marketers are using to help reduce your testing efforts and maximize your success. (A good resource is Which Test Won.)
10. Measure key blog factors.
- Skip the vanity metrics such as social shares and comments. What you want to know is whether your audience is growing.
- Track the appropriate blog metrics on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean every hour!
Actionable Blogging Tip: Incorporate a call-to-action to get readers to take the next step in the process.
Realize that every blog’s learning curve is different and your results may vary.
Further, while having blogging experience will help you jumpstart another blog, you will still need to go through this process to appreciate the new audience and their reactions to your new blog.
What have the highlights of your blogging learning curve been?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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