Ignore Blogging Blarney: How To Get Awesome Blog Results

Ignore Blogging BlarneyForget the once dependable blogging blarney when content saturation sets in!

At this point the luck of the Irish won’t help your blog.

Although my Irish colleagues RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary and AgoraPulse’s Jenny Brennan may disagree.

So stop believing these 17 pieces of blogging blarney!

Instead follow these actionable blogging tactics to improve your blog’s foundation and content. In the process, make it into a content destination.

Proactively support your blog so it continues to thrive and you can get the blogging pot of marketing gold!

 

17 Pieces of Blogging Blarney to Ignore

blogging blarney

As bloggers, we get complacent.

Have you set your blog on autopilot?

Are you thinking: if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

As technology, devices and communications evolve, so must your blog or risk falling behind.

To meet your readers’ current needs, ignore these 17 pieces of blogging blarney. Instead follow these actionable blogging tips for awesome results.

 

1. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Skip developing a blog mission statement

When you’re eager to start blogging, you may skip this step thinking that your content will make your mission obvious to your readers.

Every blog needs a mission statement aligned with the needs of your audience, offering and  business. 

By staking out a defensible content niche, your blog mission statement focuses your blog efforts. As a result, it increases content relevance and decreases wasted marketing resources.

To craft your blog mission statement, define:

  • The type of content you will create,
  • The audience you will write for, and
  • The reason why you will do this. (Note: Beyond short-term measurable business outcomes, have a higher social purpose.)Maximize b2b blog results

Don’t worry—your blog mission statement can evolve over time. Over the last 15+ years  Lee Odden and his TopRank Marketing team’s blog has evolved and grown. It continues to provide a great example of how to create consistent blog content.

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

  • Develop your blog mission statement.  Fill in the blanks to create a rough draft and modify it based on feedback.
  • Distribute your blog mission statement across your organization and on your blog. Make your mission statement public to build community.

 

2. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Assume you know your audience without getting input

To write content that resonates with you audience, you really must know them. High level attributes like demographic aren’t sufficient.

Specificity not generalities makes your content come alive and appeal to a broader audience. Click To Tweet

 

To write with vivid details you must know your audience and what they care about.

When you understand your readers better, create personas or avatars to represent specific audience segments. To create content that they actively seek, determine their challenges and problems as well as their goals and desires.

Entrepreneur On Fire’s John Lee Dumas focuses on one key reader named Jimmy. To help listeners identify with him, Dumas created a short video about Jimmy. As a result, Dumas builds a rapport with potential listeners.


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

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Create marketing personas
  • Use your Welcome Email Letter to get reader input. Connect with people when they’re most interested in your content. Ask readers to tell you their biggest problem. Respond to their emails to build relationships.
  • Write like you’re talking to your reader. Use the second person.

 

3. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Forget to introduce yourself to readers

Mind your manners and let visitors know who you are. With eroding trust, show readers that you are human since people connect with other people.

Use your blog to build deeper reader relations. Remember people connect with other people not with organizations or things. 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Create an About Page. Give your readers insight into what makes the people behind your blog tick. Peg Fitzpatrick welcomes readers with her smiling face on her About Page and includes her photo on the contact form.

    Blogging Blarney

    Peg Fitzpatrick smiles from her About Page

  • Include your contact information and physical address on  your About Page.

 

4. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Skip giving your blog a uniform (aka branding)

Blog branding isn’t blogging blarney!

Your blog needs to stand out.

Like many schools, your blog must wear a uniform reflecting your business brand. Adapt your brand to make your blog stand out! Click To Tweet

 

Define your blog brand and use it consistently regardless of where your content appears.

Further, your blog brand supports your business and makes it recognizable through your blog content structure, presentation, voice, and visuals.

Like your blog mission statement, blog branding reduces decision making.

For example, on her Enchanted Marketing Blog, Henneke uses a friendly, easy-to-follow style to lead readers through complex topics. Additionally, she draws her own tailored images for each post.

Blogging Blarney

Branding isn’t blog blarney – Henneke’s blog branding with hand drawn images

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Adapt your brand to your blog. Even with a limited budget, use every element of your blog to support your brand. (Here are fixes for 31 blog design issues.)
  • Pay attention to your blog voice. Since the way you write and the language your use reflects your brand. Create a set of branding guidelines to keep your blog content consistent regardless of writer.

 

5. BLOGGING BLARNEY:  Blog about whatever topic strikes your fancy

Avoid confusing visitors and search engines. Instead focus and categorize your blog content across a few topics.

Plan your blog content by using content hubs (Hat tip: Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina). This helps search engines understand how each blog post relates to other content on your blog.

This includes:

  • Core topics such as your main topic and keywords (or Central Hub),
  • Answers to key questions around this term (or Related Sub-topics), and
  • Broader information on related topics (Supportive base).

 

Focus content on core topics improves search visibility 

Further, integrate your content hubs with content silos (Hat tip: Bruce Clay). This supports your key search topics since you link related content in each hub to other related content.

These two graphics illustrate the before and after effects of using content silos. Your content organization improves as a result.

How not to organize your content-Chart

Blog Topic Search Help: Select core blog topics where you have expertise and your audience is interested – Graphic

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Focus each blog post on one keyword or phrase. Include that word or phrase in your title and URL. To help, use a tool like Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress. Also, link to reliable external resources and your related foundational content.

 

6. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Write only when the spirit moves you

To build a reader base for your blog, publish content on a regular schedule to  become part of your readers’ weekly content consumption.

An editorial calendar helps achieve this goal.

At a minimum, publish fresh or updated blog posts weekly or every other week.

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

 

7. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Fill your blog with marketing promotions

Since your audience avoids ads and promotions, give them the information they want and need to keep them coming back.

To build trust with your blog readers, create the 5 types of content customers actively seek :

  • Product Detail
  • Customer Questions
  • How-to Training
  • Customer Stories
  • Customer Fit

5 Types of Content Customers Actively Seek & Need – Chart

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Give your readers “red meat content”. Answer every question your prospects ask including price. (Read Marcus Sheridan’s book, They Ask, You Answer.)

 

8. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Restrict blog posts to text only

Want to scare readers away?

Then use long blocks of hard-to-read text. 

Instead make your blog scannable by chunking your content. To increase memorability, make the main points stand out and use images.

Why?

Your audience only reads about 20% of the text on a webpage according to  usability expert Jakob Nielsen.Click To Tweet

Readers only read 20% of the words per page on average

 

Further:
Visual content attracts
 94% more total views on average than text

Also, where appropriate, add audio to reach listeners.

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Add eye candy. Include images, video, audio and presentation. Use one visual per point.
  • Optimize visuals for readers and search. Include relevant metadata. Also, add a caption since people read them.

 

9. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Ignore how your blog content looks

Dress your blog for success.

If your blog content looks difficult to read, visitors leave.

Most people read about 60% of an article but they see all of the video and visual content! via ChartbeatClick To Tweet

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Make your blog content visually appealing to readers. Use bolding, outlining and images to guide readers through. Check that scanners can understand your article by just seeing the sub-heads and images.
  • 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. Write short sentences with short words.

    US Adult Reading Level Is 8th Grade

 

10. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Use any content you find on the Internet

This blogging blarney can get you into legal hot water! (I know from painful and expensive experience!)

Before using images and videos in online content, check if you have the IP rights to do so! Follow Lawyer Kerry O’Shea Gorgone’s advice on copyright and content.

If you have any doubts about who owns the content you find online, don’t use it! (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.)

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Get permission to use other people’s content including user-generated content (aka: UGC). Allow employees and customers to decide if they want to let you use their images and text.
  • Always give appropriate attribution and references. Tell readers where your facts come from. This makes your blog credible.

 

11. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Be lazy about checking spelling, grammar or facts

Remember first impressions count!

So don’t give visitors a reason to move on without reading your blog! 

43% of UK respondents believe poor grammar and spelling on social media diminishes their opinion of a firm (Disruptive Communications.)

Customers Hate Poor Grammar - UK Research

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Let your draft rest. Walk away from The First Ugly Draft (or TFUD as Ann Handley calls it in Everybody Writes.)
  • Ruthlessly edit your blog post. Cut out all of the excess words. Also use products like Hemingway or Grammarly.

 

12. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Posts magically spread across social media when published

Boost your content amplification during the first few days after publication. Take advantage of your very small window of opportunity to maximize the initial reach of your content.

If you’ve invested a lot of resources in key blog posts, use Facebook ads to determine the best title. Titles drive readership because only 20% get beyond the title!

Then continue to fuel content distribution more widely. Where appropriate support it with paid advertising.

If specific blog post performance doesn’t meet your standards, improve it to make it more appealing (but don’t change the post’s URL!)

This content update and renovation approach known as Cinderella Content continues to gain traction because it uses less resources and budget.Cinderella Make Over Content Marketing

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

  • Have a distribution plan ready to deliver your blog content across platforms. Remember, email distribution is key! Use the different components of each article to batch your distribution content presentation.
  • Email people you mention. Your goal is to stay top of mind. But don’t expect them to share your content.
  • Include social sharing in your blog posts. Use Click-To-Tweet and PinThis.

 

13. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Only use social media to push your blog posts

Avoid the me-me-me approach to social media.

It doesn’t work!

At a minimum, be active in the social media community. Also contribute to relevant groups or platforms. Participate in the social media discussion before showcasing your latest article.

Also, curate and recognize people from your community. For example, Spin Sucks’s Gini Dietrich gives a shout out and links to the readers who contribute to her curated content.

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

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Share 1 piece of your content to 10 pieces of other people’s content. Use hashtags and mentions to broaden your reach.
  • Make readers and follower feel special. Mention and link to them on your blog.

 

14. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Save time-don’t respond to blog comments

While answering blog comments isn’t required, responding to them shows you are a real person and you care about your readers.

For example, blogs like Social Media Examiner and Content Marketing Institute require guest bloggers to respond to comments on the day their post is published.

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Respond to meaty comments. Encourage other readers to join the conversation on your blog. On Business Grow, Mark Schaefer chimes in to add value and extend the conversation.

 

15. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Only track shares and comments 

Skip the vanity metrics like blog comments and social shares.

According to BuzzSumo’s 2018 Content Marketing Report:

  • Social shares dropped 50% since 2015!
  • Further, the median article received 4 social shares and most got NO backlinks.  Specifically, 70% of articles never received backlinks!
Content Distribution Fails via social media shares

2018 Content Marketing Social Media Shares chart by BuzzSumo

Instead include calls-to-action, connected content and off-ramps to encourage readers to act! 

Actionable Marketing Tactic:

  • Define measurable goals aligned with your business objectives. Use the 65 blog metrics to help you.
  • Always include a call-to-action aligned with your post. 

 

16. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Let existing blog content get stale

Get off of the “I have to create fresh blog content” hamster wheel! 

Instead, update and improve your existing content before crafting new posts.

By renovating long playing content it stays fresh and visible. It includes:

  1. Republish blog post as is.
  2. Update blog post with new data and images.
  3. Upgrade blog post to another content format.
  4. Augment a blog series to cover related topics.
  5. Curate existing content by repackaging multiple posts together.
Long playing content-enhanced content chart

Update these 5 types of long playing or enhanced content that keep it visible over time

Even better, you need less resources to update an existing post than to create a new one from scratch. Further, search engines see that your content remains relevant.

For example, Buffer regularly improves “road tested” content to get better search results.

Ignore blogging blarney - update content

Actionable Blogging Tactics:

  • Audit blog content at least once a year. Eliminate redundant content and redirect it to the prime URL.
  • Update content. Add new information to keep it relevant. Then promote it to keep it visible.

 

17. BLOGGING BLARNEY: Stop blogging after a year 

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

As Rand Fishkin points out, many bloggers drop out of the blogging marathon after 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.

To blog on a consistent basis over time is hard work! 

But don’t give up!  

Keep going.

It takes about 18 months for your blog to gain traction as a business driver, according to Joe Pulizzi Click To Tweet

 

Actionable Blogging Tactic:

  • Plan to blog for the long term. 
  • Get additional resources to support you, especially if you’ve got a business blog.

 

Blogging Blarney Conclusion

A lot of blogging blarney still exists.  Even worse, it passes for sound advice and must-follow tactics.

But don’t let it fool you.

The blogging bottom line:
Blogging requires work and resources to yield measurable results.

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

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

Wait until after you’ve celebrated St. Paddy’s Day.

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

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on March 17, 2013 and was updated on March 17, 2016, March 17, 2017 and March 17, 2018.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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

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5 Responses to Ignore Blogging Blarney: How To Get Awesome Blog Results

  1. Pingback: Blogging Blarney (& How You Can Fix It!)  - C4 Smart Marketing Solutions

  2. Pingback: Blogging Blarney (& How You Can Fix It!)  | Doug Rose Web Designing

  3. Matt Gallant says:

    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!

  4. Huba Hamza says:

    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 says:

      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