The Ultimate Blogging Roadmap
When we started Mixtus Media in 2010 I remember sitting down to write our first blog. I was brimming with ideas, incredibly excited, and had so much to say. Actually, I had too much to say. As I sat down to write my mind went absolutely b…l…a…n…k. I had no idea where to start.
I'm sure you felt (or will feel) that way when you write your first blog. Marcus wrote a piece about how your website should be your number one priority when building your online presence. The second most important part of that is to create a reason for people to actually go back to your website over and over again. Your blog is the absolute best way to just that.
But, how do you do that when you have no idea where to start? Here are your essential blogging roadmap to guide you through:
1) Dedicate and Commit
First of all, you have to be dedicated to this blog. The greatest cause of "blog death" is going full steam ahead for a week or two then fizzling out. Commit to starting off small - try one blog a week until you get into the swing of things and add on from there. Commit and stick with it!
2) Find Your Voice and Passion
Who is the person you are writing to? Who is your target audience? A huge mistake that many people make when jumping into the blog world is not focusing on who their audience is. When you know who you want to talk to you will know what to write about. What problem does your book solve? What information/connection can your books bring to your fans? What do your fans want to know about how your write or come up with your characters? Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think about what would resonate with them. Think outside the box.
3) Plan of Attack
You always know where you need to go if you have a map to lead the way. The same goes with your blog. When you have a plan of what you will write about and where you are going with your blog it will make you more consistent, focused on your message, and confident in what you are presenting to your fans. What I do is create a two month plan of blog topics. I have notes below each topic highlighting points that I want to make, links I'd like to use, etc., ready to go so when I sit down to write it will be a smooth process. Just remember to actually set aside time to write the blog!
Because I have a plan already in place I know what I will write about next time. This will help you stay focused on the topic at hand. You won't drift off into another topic because you know you will write about it in the next blog.
But for that pesky first blog post, start off talking about who you are, what you have to offer, what makes you unique. That way fans/potential fans know what you have to offer right off the bat.
4) Quality Visuals
Several months ago an acquaintance shared a link of an interior designer that was trying to promote her work. I took a look at her blog and…oy...it did not represent her company well at all. Why? It was mainly due to her visuals. This person had done some great interior design work but the pictures they used made it fall completely flat. If you have poor quality images, not correctly sized or formatted, poor lighting, etc., you are missing a huge opportunity.
Visuals tell us a story just as much as words do. And they very much draw fans in and make them want to see more. So make sure the visuals you use are high quality and that they are YOUR images. Don't be stealing other peoples pictures friends! Hire a photographer or a friend who has a passion (and is good at!) photography. Or educate yourself on how to take great pictures. The visuals you use not only draw people in but they represent who you are and what you offer.
5) Easy To Use Layout
One key point that many people overlook is the actual layout of their blog. Clean and simple is always best. We are big fans of WordPress and Tumblr blogs. They have many free templates that work and look great, but once you get established and rolling you might want to consider upgrading to their paid blogs. You have more flexibility, can add various components that you can't through the free templates, and they are very affordable. You can get a great looking blog with a lot of functionality for about $98/per year.
6) Get Inspired
One of the best ways to be inspired is to see what others are saying/offering/sharing on their blogs. When you see other conversations and content rolling online it really gets your juices flowing. Think about what you want to offer your fans and put your own spin on it. Look outside of your own industry or niche and see how you can apply techniques or ideas within what you do. You never know where you will find inspiration!
7) Give More Than You Receive
One of the greatest lessons I've learned within our company is this: by giving generously to your fans you establish trust. When you focus on giving more than what you will get out of this experience, you will be blown away by not only the response but the unexpected ways you will see that return. Focus on your fans and audience - give generously and give abundantly! Share your ideas, insight, knowledge, and expertise. That is the best way to not only establish trust with your audience but to grow it abundantly.
Above all, you have to be consistent with your posts. This is the absolute key to your success! But start off small, like once a week for starters, and grow from there. Create a new habit of blogging. And how you create new habits is by doing them over and over again. By being consistent with your blog, you will create a new "normal" for your life.
Now you have a map for your blogging destination! Go forth and write!!
QUESTION: How did you find inspiration for your blog? Do you plan out your posts? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
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Photo by Sanja Gjenero