It’s changed considerably from the early days of “dear diary” and “angry conspiracy theorist” blogs. Even Time Magazine has started honoring their “Best Blogs” of the year.
Here are eight questions to ask–keys if you will to blogging success.
#1: Are You Passionate?
In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott urges would-be bloggers to “be passionate about and want the world to know about” their subject. If you need copy written for a corporate blog and you don’t have a fire in your belly for the subject matter, delegate to or hire someone who does.
Even if your business is extremely traditional, readers expect some degree of humanity. They want to know that these posts aren’t generated by a soulless office drone trapped in a cubicle who also writes for 12 other blogs, and gets confused.
#2: Are You Patient?
The saying “If you build it… they will come” only worked for the Field of Dreams movie. People don’t just migrate to interesting and well-designed blogs. Bloggers have to network, repurpose their content in as many places as possible and comment frequently elsewhere online, such as other people’s blogs and LinkedIn discussion groups. Give people a reason to want to know what you’re talking about.
#3: Are You Clear?
What’s wrong with this?
It’s critical for your blog, as a value-added proposition, to go forward, push the envelope, and sociably grab the low-hanging fruit via a second-to-none, seamless integration. At the end of the day, bloggers must hit the ground running, think outside the box and bring a lot of value to the table for their readers.
Did that mean anything to you? Avoid “business-speak.” It’s a turn-off to potential readers because it’s so overused and vague. Seth Godin created a fun business cliché rating system that’s worth a look.
#4: Are You Brave?
Saying what you really think can be difficult, even when you’ve thoroughly researched your subject. Having an opinion and being able to share some of yourself as you defend it are crucial to building trust with your audience.
The other part of being brave is dealing with confrontational commenters. If you’re putting yourself out there with an opinion, odds are good that people who disagree will respond.
Responding to these people fairly and gracefully takes mettle and humility sometimes. They might have fascinating points that you didn’t consider.
This has to be done to foster honest and real thought development on a subject. We bounce thoughts and ideas off of one another, and while it’s usually invigorating, sometimes it can be scary!
#5: Are You Seasoned?
Do you understand your subject matter well enough to discuss it in your own terms? Chefs learn the basics before they go on to create their own mind-blowing recipes. You should too. Beginner’s luck is highly overrated.
Read as much as possible and take classes from the very best resources in your business. As you build a better framework of understanding you’ll be able to offer your readers much more than warmed-up leftovers from somebody else’s blog.
This also builds trust with your audience when you have the integrity to voice your own thoughts instead of ripping off someone else’s. If you love what somebody else is saying on your beloved topic, then please do quote and link, give attribution, celebrate his or her savvy, but don’t quietly copy. Get seasoned and say something of your own.
#6: Are You Helpful?
Via the Third Tribe, Chris Brogan once told me that the heart of good blogging is addressing people’s pain. Most of us are familiar with the saying “People don’t Google aspirin; they Google headache.”
Are you the kind of person who really enjoys helping people? This will be hugely helpful in writing posts that more people want to read.
Social Media Examiner is a phenomenal success story because it reliably publishes detailed posts that help people navigate social media.
Are you eager to help people with the “brain itch” that afflicts them in your subject area? If you want to blog about organic gardening, are you excited about dealing with all the “brain itch” questions that will inevitably come if you’re popular? It’s necessary to WANT to explore these issues as they arise. It will inspire your content.
#7: Are You Organized?
Blogging doesn’t require a spotless desk or a rigid daily schedule, thanks to the ability to schedule posts. Some people write them in advance when they know they’re going to be out of town or busier than usual.
Every successful blogger is organized enough to put something of value out there on a periodic basis and to respond to every person who is gracious enough to comment, whether it’s confrontational or friendly. Decide how often you will write and stick to it so that you can develop trust with your readers.
#8: Are You Focused?
Are you able to stay focused on that one subject that keeps you up at night because you’re so eager to tell the world about it? Are you able to hold your course when people start asking about everything from technical reviews of the latest gadget to your opinion on experimental Asian cuisine?
It’s tempting to bunny trail off into whatever people are asking about but it’s a dead end because you probably have to generate excitement for those topics and it derails your blog’s purpose.
Stay true to yourself and to the desperate need to share what you know that started your blog. You’re going to need it to power you up to skip TV programs, get up early, stay up late, do what it takes to create and maintain a good blog.
After reading all of these questions, you’ve probably got a lot better sense of whether you’re going to be happy blogging or not.
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