Writing a blog sometimes feels like a running a marathon.
You need to find topics to write about when inspiration seems to have taken a holiday.
Blogging once a month doesn’t cut it, in fact once a week is also a bit on the light side.
If you want to be taken seriously, two to three times a week is maybe approaching optimum.
Some bloggers like to write in the quiet of the morning, others prefer the serenity of the late night hours.
Whichever your preference, it needs to become part of your ritual.
So to be effective as a blogger it requires persistence, patience and discipline.
To be successful it requires serious commitment if you aim to make it a success.
The Writing Sanctuary
There are other elements that are part of the blogger’s environment and creative mix that need to be considered.
The writing sanctuary is essential and it should be free of distractions and provide the tools to perform research, capture screen shots and publish efficiently.
Good writing requires constructing and wrangling the words into a form that will tempt and tease the reader to revisit and maybe become a loyal follower.
The blogger also needs ideas and headlines spilling into his consciousness that will turn up as a blog post that will entice viewers with big ideas and solutions to their problems.
These thoughts sometimes emerge in the quiet of night between dreams, during reading or arrive while driving a car.
Stopping the car, seizing the pen or tapping the idea into the notes feature on your iPhone to capture the fleeting inspiration is part of a bloggers lot.
You have Written, What Next?
So you have the headline, written the post and wrestled the words into a format that is easy to read for a web audience that is time poor and has a limited attention span.
So your post is done, but that is only half the work!
You now need to optimize and share and ensure that you pursue the tasks of promoting and publishing your blog onto social networks where your audience is!
The real work now begins. Making your article visible.
The Essential Steps for Optimizing and Promoting
The next steps are essential and is required so your audience can discover your inspiring, educational and informative content.
One of the best places to start to be found in a world of 500 million websites is optimising your blog for search engines.
Getting discovered on a Google search should be a big part of your marketing plans.
A: Blog Optimizing
Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) for Beginners
Search engines should be an important part of any bloggers marketing strategy and I have found it essential. In fact 40% of my traffic I can attribute to search engines!
Step #1. Categories
WordPress includes a section that allows you to enter which topics your article should be categorised as. Generally an article could be included in several categories and these need to be either created (if you haven’t created one before) or ticked.
To add to the standard and capable SEO capabilties of WordPress I recommend an additional plugin for WordPress blogs that is titled the “All in One SEO Pack“.
It is easy to install even for non programmers and optimises your WordPress blog for search engines.
Once loaded it will appear at the bottom of your “Edit Post” Screen and will make your article highly visible to search engines.
It includes three sections that are all vital to be completed before publishing (and below are steps 2-4 of your blog optimization process).
Step #2. Write a Title with Essential Keywords
This is what Google (or Bing or Yahoo) will index and place on the results page when someone is searching. It is as important as your headline and will also be your search “title”. It is best to keep it to 60 characters if possible.
Step #3. Write a Description
This is also sometimes called the “Meta Description” and will also appear on the search result page and it needs to be written so to tempt people to click on the search result link to take them to your blog or article. The type of information written here will be important as to whether people will click on your link.
Step #4. Enter Keywords
Keywords that you have woven into your writing that people will be using to search for your posts should be entered in this section.
Step #5. Give your Images a Description
Search Engines can’t index or read images unless they are given a text description. This is often called “Alternate Text”
B: Promoting – The Sharing and Marketing
So you have optimised for search engines now you need to share and promote your content.
Step #6. Publish to Your Facebook “Page”
Take your blog post “URL” (web address) and enter it into Facebook. Make sure that the correct image is selected and then publish your article to your tribe on Facebook.
I don’t automate this as research seems to indicate that manual posting is more effective (it only takes seconds to do this manually)
The power with Facebook like any social network is in the number of Facebook fans. The more fans the better.
Secondly the more engaged they are and the more frequently they like, comment and share is also vital for content to spread. The best indicator of this is the “Talking about this” stat.
Making it easy for people to “like” your Facebook page from within your blog is very important and I have found that the WordPress “Facebook Social Plugin” is great for this.
It is my main driver of Facebook “likes”.
Step # 7. Tweet it to your Followers
Tweeting once is not enough. A new post needs to be given a few tweets on its day of publishing.
So don’t “Tweet” once but several times on the first day.
Remember Twitter is a stream not an “inbox” so you need to toss your link into the Twitter torrent a few times to get noticed.
Step#8. Share it on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is often forgotten in the social media sharing equation but it is a business focused network where content is passed around. This platform with 150 million members drives traffic, especially for a B2B focused blog.
Step#9. Post it onto StumbleUpon
Research seems to give substance to the re-emerging power of StumbleUpon, so post your article onto this social network.
Step #10. Share Images on Pinterest
If you have cool images such as “Infographics” on your blog posts from time to time, don’t forget to share them on your boards on Pinterest.
Here is some proof from my WordPress “Referrer” stats page. It does drive traffic.
Step #11. Share on Google Plus
This may not be a big traffic driver at this stage but it is still an emerging major social network that should be in your mix. Publish to Google Plus
Step #12. Email it to Your Subscribers
Email is still a powerful marketing medium and in the era of the shiny new toy of social media networks this is still essential. This marketing channel used to be the only way bloggers could get their content out before the arrival of social networks!
Make sure that you are capturing emails on your blog and then email your blog post out to those subscribers. As this is permission based with subscribers “opting in” it will provide you with a loyal band of readers.
You will be surprised how many people will be waiting for your blog post to arrive in their inbox to consume with their morning coffee!
So What About You?
Do you just hit publish and then go and make a coffee and hope your blog will one day be discovered?
The Mantra here is
“Optimise then Share”
You need to be everywhere from Google to Facebook.
How do you optimize and market your blog?
Look forward to hearing your stories.
Image by charlie llewellin