No matter how much preparation is done before starting a blog, we all have unrealistic expectations about what those first few months will be like. Nobody (at least in the realm of us common folks) has 2,000 page views the day when that very first post goes live. Building an audience takes time, hustle and more than one publication every three months.
While social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and SEO strategies can assist the blogger in building an audience, the number one way to attract readers who will remain loyal to your blog is to write great content. Produce quality material week in and week out and people will eventually come and then continue to read.
That raises an interesting question though: How does a blogger know if the content they produce is great? How can their content begin to stand out in whatever blog space they write? That’s what this post today will address.
Am I even writing about potentially great stuff?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. Blog about your passion and your writing has the potential to become great simply because thousands of others share that passion as well. They will find your blog and demand excellence of it.
Blog about that topic you could discuss everyday for free if possible. Your passion will be evident in your writing and readers will sense that.
I’ll admit to not knowing what to blog about for the longest time. Seems silly for someone dedicated to the personal finance space. There are so many topics to cover it seems like I wouldn’t have difficulty finding something to write about. That was before I learned how to come up with blog post ideas. Since that revelation, I’ve never lacked for content.
However, there is always the temptation to go off topic and stray from your blog’s theme. This is especially a no-no for a blogger who is just getting started. Early on establish your genre and only devote articles to that topic. Once your readership is established and loyalty built, they will “forgive you” – or maybe a better way to put it is “they will give you more latitude” – if you choose to devote some time to off-topic posts.
Here at Luke1428 long time readers know they will get articles about personal finance, blogging, achieving goals, inspirational/motivational topics, and spiritual related themes. That’s pretty much it for now. Every post weaves into one of those broad categories and fits with my blog’s value proposition.
Fine-tune your passion
Once you know what topic fires up your engine, set your mind to fine tune it. My passion is personal finance but within that realm and the other major themes mentioned above, I have some go-to categories that always excite me more. They end up being some of my best-written posts because a) I know more about them, so b) I’m able to pour more effort into them.
Fine-tuning is all about finding the sweet spot inside your passion. My sweet spots are writing about the daily process of managing money (spending, saving, budgeting, etc.), rental real estate, and spiritual themes that motivate and encourage.
In addition, I’ve built up quite a list of “How To” posts that walk the reader through a particular process. I love how to manuals in general, so I’ve taken that concept and applied it in my articles about personal finance topics.
I’ll also share my adventures in blogging. These are valuable things I’ve realized along the way that I believe can help the community learn and grow.
I’ll write about any category in my primary menu, but these areas have become the most enjoyable for me to publish. When analyzed, all these types of sweet spot posts seem well-received.
Know your writing strengths and improve on them
Every blogger has writing strengths that naturally shine. Some are more into details and research while others like to be inspirational. You may like to write about the events of the day whereas others shy away from sharing any personal information. We should know ourselves enough to let these abilities come out in our writing.
The temptation I fight is trying to be like someone else who is successful at a particular writing style. For example, I may be able to pull off an entire post filled with satire but it’s definitely not my strength. It would take me hours of writing and editing to put a simple 500 word satirical post together. In the end, I doubt it would sound right simply because I forced the issue and tried too hard.
Take heart because there is definitely space for all kinds of writing styles. Stay true to your strengths.
Don’t forget the basics
The most elementary thing sometimes proves the hardest. To even have a shot at writing great, the quality of language and grammar has to improve.
I’m talking about the basics: spelling, sentence and paragraph construction, punctuation, developing coherent thoughts, writing flow, and uniqueness of material. A lack of quality in any of these areas will keep your blog from standing out.
(I know this is a “Well duh” section but you would be surprised how many bloggers fail to pay attention to details. There is a big difference in the meaning of the sentence “We invested in the stock market.” if you leave out one “T.” I’ve seen this happen – with more offensive misspelled words than “sock” that I can’t mention here.)
That being said, nobody is perfect and I’m sure we’ve all published the occasional misspelled word. If major grammatical issues are present in each and every post though, readers will turn away. Nobody wants to waste time reading material that feels amateurish.
The good news is that all those areas can be improved with study, editing and continued practice. The best ways to improve are to keep writing and to read other well-established bloggers who are highly skilled.
I’d also advise you to develop a step-by-step method for writing a blog post. That will help catch the writing errors that can creep into a post.
How to know “your” improving
When I first started blogging, I found it difficult to know how people perceived my writing. It wasn’t until much later that I realized some things that really encouraged me:
1. The same people continued to read and comment. This let me know my writing had connected with at least someone. As more people came, the more confident I became in my abilities and style.
2. It took me less time to write and edit my posts.
3. Some started to tell me in person, in the comments section or through emails how they appreciated and valued my work. Comments like that serve as an energy boost to the blogging soul.
4. More people began to generously share my work. When this happened page views began to increase which resulted in more sharing, which brought more page views…and the cycled continued.
Writing great content isn’t easy. Many days it seems like I still have a long road ahead of me. Following these suggestions however, keeps me moving in the right direction.
How has your writing improved from the first few months of blogging? What helps you become a better writer? How would you describe your style of writing? Test your editing skills – What’s wrong with my last header?
Prior Post: Now That’s What I Call Love