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How Bloggers Can Avoid Dungeons and Live in Castles

by Rohan Ayyar

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Blogging could be amazing if it weren’t for our own tendency to ruin it. Your blog could be a profitable moneymaker if it weren’t for the mistakes you end up doing.

Ever so often, we tend to do things with our blogs that lead us straight to the dungeons instead of making us worthy of living in a castle. We involuntarily sidestep and drift away along the wrong or the abortive path.

We tend to do things that don’t work for us. We don’t stop to take a look, however. We don’t measure. We don’t change our path.

It’s our responsibility to knock ourselves on the head and get back to the roads leading to our own little goals. Here are a few reminders which will all work together to pull you back from any of the seemingly harmless directions you might take while blogging away:

Fire on all cylinders

There was a time when blogging was just that: a pure, hassle-free, and an easy way to publish yourself. It was a way to communicate, to express, and to create a train of posts that can help you get heard.

There was no need to do “promotions” then; you’d just have to write.

Times have changed. Even if you were writing for a charitable organization or blog out of pure passion without a care in the world as to how many readers you manage to attract on a month-by-month basis, you still have to promote.

Why take the effort to write if no one is reading it? So, what you need today is to fire away on all cylinders. You have to wing it and get into a habit of multitasking. You’ll have to begin to see your blog as a project with many touch points in your workflow; you will have to worry about content development, content management, editing, site administration, marketing, and much more.

Stop lusting after word counts and spiders

Head out to any freelance job board and look at some of the jobs available for content writers and you’ll see a pattern: most bloggers who are thinking of outsourcing their actual content creation put up project briefs that have an emphasis on word counts and keyword density. These projects are doomed to fail.

With such requests for word count and keyword specific writing, your freelance bloggers will not write valuable content anymore. You’ll end up driving content development efforts to massive regurgitation leading to content churn. You are just adding more digital trash to the Internet.

When you take this route, you are taking route of manipulation. Your content is set to deceive but not to inform. You are bringing in a litany of articles that have no value.

SEO writing is now buried 6 feet under. Word counts are a convenient benchmark you can set but not an unconditional rule.

Stop it. Now.

Treat your blog like an asset. Build it like a business.

1 bizplan

“It’s just a blog….”

“I am passionate about writing, so I started the blog…”

“I’ll see where this goes.”

“I’ll be happy to know if there’s anyone reading my blog apart from my mother.”

All too often, you’ll hear statements such as these from many bloggers who are just about to start their blogging endeavors.

None of them are on the right track of thinking. If you are guilty of any of these lines of thought, it’s time to change. Blogging is a business, or at least it should be run like one.

Just as you would plan before running a business, you should also plan before you start blogging.

My blog exists to [fill in the blank]

Why do you blog? What is it that you are looking to write that’s not bee covered before? Who exactly is your reader? What does he or she do? What do you intend to communicate and how? You need a plan for this. You need to determine the voice, tone, style, and structure of your blog based on this mysterious reader you are hoping to reach out to.

If you have to borrow a typical business plan format or template, do so. Better, follow the same methodical approach businesses take to create business plans. You could, alternatively, scribble on the back of a paper or leave a note on Evernote or any of the note-taking apps you could be using.

The point is that you need an overall plan for your blog. Don’t start without it.

Follow the multi-channel strategy

Businesses talk about the increasingly importance of omni channel strategy, about the need to be where their respective customers are, and about being everywhere as long as it matters.

Most bloggers don’t think like that and end up being in just one place: the blog itself.

Your blogging efforts fall into the line of digital marketing and that calls for a multi-channel strategy. A blog post should turn into a slide deck. A series of blog posts could turn into a book (even the self-published route will do well). You should consider launching videos for your blog and maybe a podcast can help too.

Be everywhere you ought to be. Your blog could be a lonely place otherwise.

Learn the art of giving

2 give

If we ended up on your blog today, what else do you “give” apart from your advice in written form? Do you have an unbelievably huge list of resources we could bookmark? Do you give away templates or toolkits that we can use? Do you have a series of videos that train us on a new skill? If you had a paid product, would you rather give it up for free?

They say that “givers” are winners. What do you give away on your blog? Is it a one-time giveaway or do you seduce your readers into a lifelong love affair with you?

Which of these patterns do you naturally find yourself drifting towards? Have you ended up not doing any of the above? How do you fine-tune your blogging strategy to meet your own goals?

Image Credits:
1. Flickr user Guilhembertholet
2. Flickr user Artotem

 

Article by

Rohan is responsible for project delivery and campaign management at E2M Solutions. He also keeps the wheels spinning at OnlyDesign.org, a premium design agency. You can circle him on Google+ +Rohan Ayyar for a chat on digital marketing or branding.

Rohan has written 4 articles at iBlogzone.com

1 Nhick December 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I’m planning to create a podcast or even a video on my next project.. thanks for the tips.

2

kilat aryanto

December 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

thank rohan for sharing, good info, i sometime do it, but with often learn, i can avoid

3 RituKT December 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

When I started my blog (almost a year ago) I also thought on the lines of – I have time, I can write a blog. But it is so much more than that especially for bloggers who want to make money from their blogs. They say that we need to write 20% and market 80% of the time!
I hope to start a podcast someday but I did start filming videos!

4 Dejvis Devic December 19, 2013 at 9:18 pm

This is so true,everything you have written.Quality content is the best way your content will be seen.Howewer,I believe that people who are bloging for years don’t have any more ideas what to write about and they hire freelancers to put as you said digital trash on their blog.If they have years of content on their blog that trash can’t hurt it so much.

5 Alex Taylor July 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Hi Rohan,
Great list. I’ve definitely been guilty of some of these. I find that a great way to keep the audience in mind while writing is to imagine that I’m reading it to a friend – who fits my ideal reader persona – to ensure that the content sounds conversational and meaningful.
Thanks for these valuable tips.

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