[INFOGRAPHIC] Blogging: 3 Secrets To An A-List Blog

15 Actionable Blogging Tips

Every blogger wants their blog to break through the ever-growing number of blogs to be top in their category. It’s the pot of gold at the end of our blogging rainbow that continues to elude almost everyone of us. This is in spite of how hard we work and out best intentions.

The reality is many of us know the necessary components for breaking through, but we don’t know how to put them all together in the most effective way.

To take your blog to the next level, here are the three secrets to creating an A-List blog. (HINT: Connections, Content and Conversions!)

Here are details explaining the infographic.

Connections. The phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know” holds true for blogging. Since most bloggers don’t start with rock stars following them on social media, you have to create your own opportunities to engage with your category’s A-Listers. Here are five suggestions to build your connections.

  1. Build your network across social media platforms. To develop your base, reconnect with family, friends and colleagues using a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Actionable tip: You need people who know you and will help promote your blog.
  2. Engage on social media on a regular basis. Don’t hide under a rock. Be strategic and professional in your social media interactions to support your blog! (Need help? Try this Top Rank Blog post.) Also, answer questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers and Quora, where appropriate, to get known in your field. Actionable tip: Pump up your visibility so your tribe knows what you’re up to and how you’re positioned.
  3. Comment on other blogs. Just logging in to say “Helpful advice” or “Great post” won’t cut it. Target the blogs in your category where you want to be known. Actively engage with thoughtful responses directly addressing the blogger. To this end, get alerts when people respond to your comments so your can be part of the conversation. Actionable tip: Get the bloggers’ attention in a positive way that builds a rapport over time. They’ll know what you’re doing but will feel vested in your engagement. (NOTE: This takes time to yield results.)
  4. Attend live events in your field. Specifically, go to the important conferences and meetups in your category. Meet people in real life who are active in your field. Actionable tip: Make real life connections to support long term relationships.
  5. Write guest blog posts. While a highly recommended strategy, many bloggers don’t follow it because it requires work. You can’t just write to an A-List blogger and expect your post will be selected from their many options without first earning some blogging cred.  Start by becoming familiar with their blog and guest post guidelines. Commenting on blogs is a great way to get yourself recognized and build your personal brand. You may have to start with smaller, less popular blogs and work your way up the ladder. One option is to exchange posts with another blogger you know. Actionable tip: Guest blogging expands your recognition by exposing you to other audiences and getting you inbound links to your blog.

Content. This is how you fuel social media interactions with your connections and support search optimization. Here are five steps to create content that pulls prospective readers in and makes them keep coming back for more.

  1. Craft magnetic headlines. Even your best blog posts will never get read if they have lackluster titles. Think juicy National Enquirer and Cosmopolitan headlines that jump off the newsstand. Great headlines are an art form. Slapping the first headline that comes into your head at the top of your post just to get it published is a bad approach. Start with an idea and edit it. Actionable tip: If your goal is maximizing the number of people who see your post and keep reading, start with a strong headline!
  2. Have strong blog design. Packaging counts. Who’s more believable a man in a pinstripe suit and tie or a guy with pierced body parts, bleached hair and a tattoo? If your blog looks like your kid put it together in an hour, potential readers will figure the content’s not very good. Actionable tip: To get your content read, put your best foot forward.
  3. Build your story arc. Write for humans not search engines. People are accustomed to stories with a beginning middle and end because they provide context and make your post more memorable. Without it, your information lacks meaning. Actionable tip: Use stories to guide readers through your content.
  4. Structure your content. To get your blog read, your posts must be reader-friendly and easy to consume. If not, being time pressed, people will move on to the next article. It’s the shiny object approach. Use bolding and bullet points to guide readers through. Write short, to the point paragraphs. Use links to give readers additional information and support search optimization. Actionable tip: Help readers get through your posts quickly and continue reading related information.
  5. Use images and other media. Photographs and other forms of visual media are eye-candy that attracts humans. Add relevant text to support search optimization. Actionable tip: Pull readers in by appealing to their visual instincts.

Conversion. Here’s where the rubber hits the road on your blog. If you’ve drawn in an audience with your connections and primed them with your content, how do you encourage them to take the next step in the process to achieve your goals? Here are five recommendations to convert readers.

  1. Sign up to receive email (or RSS feeds). Build your house file. Get readers’ permission to send them email communications. You need a regular emailing to send readers. Optimally, this should go beyond just pushing your blog posts. Think curated content. Actionable tip: Enables you to communicate and potentially upsell your offering by providing useful content to keep recipients engaged.
  2. Entice readers to share your content. To get a bigger audience for your blog post, encourage readers to share it via a variety of social sharing platforms. Include Print This and Email to remind readers of these options. Actionable tip: Broaden your blog’s reach with a little help from your readers.
  3. Engage readers via your blog’s comments. Comments provide social proof of an active blog. They’re like salesman drawing readers in. Bear in mind social media’s engagement ratio is 90% of people read, 9% may take a small action such as social sharing and 1% will do something big. (Want massive comments? Here are three tips you need.) Actionable tip: Comments publically show engagement, build a conversation or show activity on your blog.
  4. Create advertising opportunities. Leverage the strength of your audience and pageviews to develop media buying options. This also includes affiliate marketing (which isn’t really advertising but a form of revenue sharing.) Actionable tip: Use your targeted audience to provide another revenue stream.
  5. Sell products or services &/or generate leads. Link to the specific pages on your website or other entity to guide readers to buy. Here’s where your work translates into dollars. To close the sale, have customer service or other team members ready to help. Actionable tip: Provide information to support the purchase process and overcome potential product questions.

While you may not become an A-List blogger, following these three secrets, namely connections, content and conversions, will improve your blog and help it to break through.

Do you have any other secrets about blogging that you’d like to share?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip to A-List blogger Jon Morrow of Guest Blogging and Copyblogger for inspiring this post. If you need inspiration, just read his guest post on Problogger. 

Here are some related articles you may find of interest.

A big thanks to my webmaster, Larry Aronson, for his help with the infographic.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/soggydan/3602388034/



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