Blogs offer entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to share personal stories and create a community of readers while building a personal brand. That community is incredibly important for many reasons – not only are they your dedicated readers, they’re also your bread and butter.
They are the ones that follow you from social media platforms to your site, read your emails, click your links, and purchase your products. You should ALWAYS be working to build your audience and community. And, you should ALWAYS be working on ways to help and inspire them, monetized or not.
But, too many new bloggers (or even seasoned ones) kind of leave out one side of it. Either they are good at audience building and forget to create opportunities for sales, or they’re great at the sales and marketing but forget to build their audience and community.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Here are 7 Things You Should Do Right Now To Become A Better Blogger:
1. Have an end goal in mind
A lot of bloggers start with the “I’m gonna get rich” mindset, and while that’s great, it’s a pretty ambiguous idea of what your blog is about or how you are going to build it.
Side note: You’re not going to immediately get rich with a blog and be able to start realizing your dream of living on a paddleboard or whatever. BLOGGING IS HARD WORK, especially In the beginning. It can be a lot of long days without any noticeable return. But, stick with it, and maybe you will get to live that #paddleboardlife.
Okay, back to it. Even with that “I’m gonna get rich” mindset, you still need to focus in on the type of blog you are creating, and here are the two types:
- Personal content blog – You can also think of this as a personal brand blog. To give you a good idea of what we mean by this, M$M is a personal brand blog. It was built on personal stories that engage and inspire readers. This type of blog lends itself to creating a loyal readership and community building.
- SEO content blog – Posts and stories from this type of blog are a little more generic. It’s one that relies heavily on optimizing Google searches for traffic. It’s also one that you can build to eventually sell.
These are both viable options for bloggers, but which one you choose depends on where you want your blog to go. If you’re thinking you’d one day like to sell your blog, choose the SEO content option and get really good at it.
Or, if you are more passionate about sharing your personal story, build a blog whose foundation is your personal brand. This can be a really satisfying option for those wanting to build a community of loyal readers that stick around because they genuinely like you and connect with the story you are telling.
You can monetize either one with affiliates, ads, products, etc. But, when you sit on the fence, kind of doing both, you will confuse your readers, meaning they probably won’t stick around.
So, whichever one you choose, personal brand or SEO content, GO HARD with it.
2. Narrow your focus to one traffic source and/or one social media platform
Knowing that they need to increase their traffic, lots of bloggers try to do the shotgun approach, which is basically trying every type of social media platform and traffic source at the same time. All of these platforms are doing similar things, but they all have subtle differences that make it really hard to toggle between all of them at once.
Rather than spreading yourself too thin, which is what happens when you try everything at once, familiarize yourself with one of these traffic sources and get really good at it.
The easiest way to choose comes from asking yourself which one you naturally gravitate towards. Like, are you already using Facebook a ton in your personal life? Then focus on that.
The bonus with getting really good at one of these traffic sources is that the knowledge and expertise you are building can actually become a marketable skill. When you become known for one of these platforms, people are going to come to you for advice. This is how the Facebook Side Hustle Course was born.
You may hear some warnings about getting too dependent on one traffic source, but if one of these is going (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) it’s going to be a slow death.
And, always know that you can dabble in each of these platforms. This means going ahead and getting accounts and handles wherever you can, then branching out when you’re ready. That’s what we did, and now you can find us here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Phew.
3. Make lead generation a priority and grow your list
One of the things that make us shudder is when new bloggers get too excited about pageviews and lose focus on growing their list. Your email list will be your lifeblood.
You will want to give your audience every possible opportunity to enter their email address, and here are our two favorite ways:
- Create a call to action- All of your blog posts should end with a call to action for immediate responses. This can be something simple like “Hey, what did you think about today’s post?” It can be “learn more from my free downloadable guide.” Or, you can ask them to sign-up for your newsletter.
- Create a lead magnet- This is similar to a call to action, but it’s more about incentivization. This is when you offer a free product in return for an email address (or even data). Lead magnets can be courses, guides, videos, printables, eBooks, reports – its downloadable content that requires an email address for delivery.
The important thing about lead magnets is that they must be high-quality content. You want to make it good enough to sell. One way to think about how you value your lead magnets is to abide by the 10x rule. Whatever you are offering should be 10 times more valuable than its listed price. If you couldn’t sell your lead magnet for $10, then you need to amp up the content.
If you feel weird about giving away content, we explain the benefits of it all in Episode 15 of our podcast.
Once you have that email list, use it! Don’t let your audience forget about you. Also, you aren’t tied to one lead magnet or call to action – you can build your arsenal, have things ready for when something feels stale, and change things up to grow your list even more.
4. Learn how to write a good email copy
We’ve explained how important your email list is, but it’s just as important that you are able to write emails that draw readers to your site. Your emails should be a point of engagement.
We all get dozens and dozens of emails a day asking us to do exactly what you are asking of your readers (to click over). But, how many times do you actually do that? Why or why not?
For an example of engaging email content, scroll down to the show notes for Episode 10 of our podcast. The first email already tells readers what you want them to know, but the second one is intriguing. It’s like a really good movie trailer, and that’s what you want.
Here’s what you should NOT do with your email list:
Keep it generic and boring.
You should always look at your emails (whether it’s a newsletter or you’re promoting a product) as a way to engage and hopefully entertain your audience.
Our suggestion is to treat your emails like mini blog posts.
Tell stories, give insight that your readers can’t get anywhere else, and then direct them to a corresponding blog post or product that you want to take a look at.
Believe it or not, it’s totally possible to get your audience to enjoy your emails. All you need to do is put the effort in of emailing your list consistently, don’t oversell, provide value, and be authentic.
One last rule on email marketing for your blog: Use ONE call to action!
We constantly see really good bloggers that send really ineffective emails. It’s unfortunate, but it’s easily correctable. You just need to make sure that every email has a single purpose, and don’t load up the copy with a million call to actions sending your readers to a bunch of different places.
While it may seem like a good idea to give your readers 15 different things to click on…it’s really not. You want to either give them the option of clicking on the exact thing you want them to, or they can close the email. That’s it.
Your readers don’t need to see a ton of offers or blog posts that you’ve written all in one email because they will likely not look at any of them (that’s probably what is going on if you have low click-through rates).
One call to action. That’s it. Follow that rule and you’ll be an email marketing ninja.
5. Work on your voice
This is dovetailing off of that last point a bit, but whenever you are writing, emails or blog posts, you want them to sound like you. The best way to do this is to write like you talk – sustaining a blog that isn’t written in your voice can be incredibly difficult.
If you’re having a hard time with your voice, just start talking. Talk to yourself, your dog, whatever. Then, grab your laptop and start typing out your thoughts.
Don’t filter yourself, and don’t sweat grammar or punctuation. Being too focused on precision and rules can actually hold you back. Plus, you can go back and correct all of that stuff later.
You just want to get comfortable writing in your own voice, which is so important because it’s what delivers your content and engages your readers.
This is also a fun place to get weird if that’s who you are. Be authentically you, let your damn freak flag fly, and just put all of those weird things about yourself out there. Trust us, you will be way more relatable.
Whatever weird little sayings or colloquialisms you use, still use them! This is your space, and you will capture your readers’ trust with your very unique voice – and trust is everything in this business.
6. Share stories and get personal
With blogs, your story is everything – fortunately, we all have one. This can be anything: debt repayment, reaching retirement, having kids, etc.
Whatever your story is, reference it often. Your story is your brand, and you want to continue to reinforce that brand, which is ultimately what will build a loyal following.
Human beings are built on stories. Our DNA is basically this tiny and incredibly long story about who we are, biologically speaking. We also evolved while listening to stories around the fire, at home at the dinner table, really everywhere. Stories are how humans learn things, and they make knowledge more digestible.
And, you don’t just have to tell that personal hero journey that your blog is built on. You want to tell lots of stories. What weird thing happened to you that prompted this particular blog post? What reminded you that you needed to tell your readers something? Those little things are all stories.
Your stories don’t have to be all happy either, because sometimes life is really, really shitty – that’s about as relatable as it gets.
Sharing a story should never mean sugar-coating something. It’s just being real, imparting some knowledge, and entertaining along the way. Inspire and help others
7. Inspire and help others
There are a lot of amazing things about blogging and running an online business, and one of the greatest things is changing lives through help and inspiration. When someone finds a story or post that really resonates with them, that’s the good stuff.
Inspiring others doesn’t mean you have to be all “rah-rah motivation.” It can be those stories where you remind people that you struggled, that life is sometimes shitty, and you can tell them how it gets better.
Now, don’t get all worried that every post needs to be some crazy motivational story. Just helping others with good advice is equally awesome. It could be as little as a tip that saves a reader $10 a month, and that’s really cool.
Helping people can be one of the most fulfilling parts of blogging. And, if you always approach it with that mindset (the one we love so much that it’s in our founding principles), you will naturally inspire greatness in yourself and others.
Don’t have a blog but always wanted one of your own? Start here.
Or, have a blog and ready to blow it up? We’ve got you covered here with our Facebook Ads for Bloggers Course. We dig into the course even more in this podcast episode.
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