Your blog is a powerful online resource.
It can build personal brand visibility, authority, and credibility.
Whether you are a new blogger or just looking to crank up your results, my interview with Donna Merrill will give you three quick tips to implement right now.
But first, let me introduce you to Donna. She’s an Internet Marketing veteran, and a woman who has used her blog to build a thriving business.
She’s also a ball of fire, enthusiastically embracing everything she attacks.
As she puts it,
“I was born and raised in Brooklyn, U.S.A., of Italian decent in an Italian neighborhood. I’m spunky! You can take the girl out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take the Brooklyn out of the girl! “
I started following Donna’s blog many years ago for several reasons. Donna is knowledgeable, well-spoken, and incredibly engaging. She is also down to earth and a whole lot of fun.
She was a blogger I immediately connected with, enjoying her ability to take a topic like blogging and express the ins and outs in a way that was easy to consume and simple to understand. That’s a talent that not many bloggers have.
It was with this in mind that I asked Donna to provide three things every new blogger needs to do…right now. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Blog Tips for New Bloggers
1. Find Your Passion
Focus your blog on something you are passionate about. Your passion should help you clearly define your niche, or specialization.
You should definitely blog about things you are passionate about.
You will find it easier to write about your special interests than anything else. And you will be able to come up with ideas for articles, and write them more convincingly when you are truly interested in the material.
Let me give you an example of this.
Let’s say your biggest passion is for health. Then, you narrow that down to a health drink that you think is really great. It might even be a drink that you are selling as part of a health business you are in.
You like selling this health drink because it has worked wonders for you. Now you are so darn passionate about it that you want the entire world to know that this stuff works!
That’s what it looks like to blog within your passion zone.
Just a word of caution about a blog that is closely aligned with a product you sell. Always bear in mind something called the “Pareto principle.” This dictates that your posts should be 80% pure content and only 20% promotional.
With that in mind, you can’t just write an article saying “This stuff works!” That just looks like a 100% sales pitch, not an information piece that gives value to readers interested in health.
If health is your passion, attract readers to your post who are interested in health. If you want to promote a product, such as your favorite health drink, you can. But only occasionally.
Generally speaking, write informative articles in the health related field about 80% of the time. Write about good food, exercise, anything you want as long as it is within your niche. Once in a while, no more than 20% of the time (or less), you can offer relevant products and services to your readers.
2. Join Blogging Groups And Alliances
Your blog could look like a graveyard if you don’t figure out how to get people reading it and getting involved in commenting and social sharing!
There are many Facebook groups in your niche, as well as Google+ Communities. You should be sharing your blog posts there so that people will start visiting your blog.
But you can jump start this process by joining blogging groups and alliances with other bloggers. As a group, these bloggers are committed to visiting your blog, commenting o your posts and sharing them on their social sites. In turn, you are required to do the same for them. This is a process known as reciprocity.
Here is how reciprocity works:
You write your blog post. Someone in our blogging alliance visits your blog and comments on your post. You answer that comment in the form of a “reply”. Then you go over to their blog and read it, leave a good comment.
You go one further step and share it on your social sites. You will notice that most blogs have social share buttons. All you have to do is press one and share their content and you are good to go.
Now, here’s a super way to get some engagement going.
At the same time that you share someone’s article on Facebook, go over to their Facebook profile and “add them as a friend.” ALWAYS do this with an attached message like “I would like to add you as my FB friend so I can syndicate your blog further on this platform.”
Repeat this process on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or anywhere else you like. You will be surprised how appreciative people are when you do this.
When you join blogging groups, engagement starts. It’s really that simple.
You will slowly get to know people and they will come to know you. This is how your blog will start to grow organically.
Remember: this won’t happen overnight, but over time. Give yourself the time to follow this process consistently over a meaningful period of time (like 60 or 90 days), and you are sure to see great results.
3. Manage Your Social Sites
Properly managing your social activity on social sites is critical to getting your blog recognized and talked about.
But social sites can also be a time-trap that keeps you from engaging in other important aspects of blogging. It can also overwhelm you to the point that you lose perspective of your overall game plan… promoting your blog.
Here are some ways to make your social sites a benefit too, instead of a distraction from your blogging.
When you are on social sites, limit the time of your visits. Try to create certain times of the day where you can post something social as a tweet or status update.
Never… I said never post a “Buy This” kind of message. You will quickly see people running away from you instead of being attracted to you. Social sites are just that… social. Don’t treat them like roadside billboards.
Limit the time you spend on each social site to a pre-determined amount of time. Maybe 10 minutes a day on Facebook, three times a day, for example. That way you won’t get sucked in to endless chatter, but will focus your efforts on meaningful posting and conversation that builds engagement with people, and showcases your skills, personality and, of course, your blog.
It doesn’t really matter what your preferred schedule is, just be sure to create a time schedule for yourself. Otherwise, you will look up from your keyboard only to find out that it’s time for bed! Don’t let that happen to you.
Create certain times of the day to post something on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then go back a few hours later. See who has responded to what you posted, say a quick thank you or continue the conversation. I personally like to do this 3 times a day. Morning, afternoon and even late night to keep in touch to my friends on the other side of the world.
I hope these tips have helped you understand that the key to blogging successfully is to just get out there and do it. Make friends and share your passions. Eventually, you will develop a look, feel and “brand” that others will come to recognize and appreciate.
Dedicate your time and effort to this process. Never expect things to happen overnight. And most of all, share your self and your information sincerely and generously. Giving is always more important than receiving in life, and it’s no different that when you are trying to establish yourself as a blogger.