Five Steps to a Successful Blog
In this blogging series we've discussed the various platforms you can use to blog (as well as our recommendations), and why you should blog in the first place. This week we are going to give you a five step action plan to set up your blog for success - because you don't want a dud blog, do you? Nope, didn't think so! ;)
Most people just want to dive into writing, which is admirable. But when you jump into blogging without a structure in place you're going to be running around in circles and you won't see the results you're looking for.
Here are a few simple steps to help get you on the path to great long-lasting results on your blog:
1) Nail Down Your Audience
The purpose of a blog is to create a deeper connection and conversation with your audience. When you know who your audience is and who you are talking to, it makes it that much easier to know what to write about. I always encourage authors to create an "ideal reader" outline. Write down attributes, qualities, interests, etc. of the people that you want to reach with your books and with your blog. If you're just starting out, create an outline for yourself because chances are that many of your readers have similar interests!
This might adjust as you get to know your audience, but knowing who you are talking to (as well as who you want to talk to) is key.
2) Determine Your Availability
This is where we get caught in the blogging black hole: we get overly ambitious and we fizzle out or we become overwhelmed with our workload and our blog is put on the back burner. An important factor in the success of your blog is in your consistency. If you only blog every few months at random intervals, you won't see the results you are looking for.
So take a look at your schedule and determine how much time you have to write a 500 word blog post every week. When you know what your time budget is, you won't be as likely to overcommit yourself.
3) Schedule Your Blog Writing Time
Something that I've put into practice over the last year has been this: If it's not in your schedule, it's not real. We can promise ourselves that we will "get to that" until we are blue in the face but it will continue to be put off until we commit to getting it done. Schedule your time every week to commit to getting your blog written. For example, I write our blogs and newsletters every Friday morning, I give myself a "due date" of Monday to get the final draft to Marcus so he can get images and formatting completed so it can be issued to our newsletter subscribers or posted on our blog on Tuesday.
4) Brainstorm Topics
Once you know who you are writing for it is that much easier to come up with a list of topics to blog about. I wrote a post about finding keywords that speak into topics that your audience is interested in. Tap into those words and phrases to brainstorm blog topic ideas. Think outside the box - it doesn't necessarily have to be about your book topic. If your ideal reader is a mom, a traveler, interested in history, animation, movies, etc., you'll have additional topics to discuss. But brainstorm a list of 20-25 topics you can write about to get started.
5) Create A Blogging Schedule
Now that you have your topics and have a list of blog ideas to write about, it's time to create a blog schedule. This will outline the topic that you will write about and the day it will post. This will also give you a great outline to look at to see how you can incorporate holidays, special events, release dates, and other important dates into your blog topics. When you have your blog schedule outlined and ready to go, input it into your master schedule to make sure you get it done!
The key to blogging is to have a plan in place, a commitment to being consistent, and to actually do the work. A little bit of planning will go a long way!
TAKE ACTION NOW: What are some of your biggest blogging struggles? Let us know in the comments below - we'd love to help you out!