Blogging isn’t Rocket Science. A third grader could blog. Maybe not well, but they could.
Take a step back and you’ll notice that the act of blogging consists of three very specific, very different compartments. For lack of better terms I’ll refer to them as Content Creation, Distribution, and Response. Each of these is vital to the life of your posts and even that of your blog itself. I maintain that if all you do is the first (Content Creation) you’re only doing a 1/3 of your job. If that’s the case, why do it all?
For this post I want to look at just the thoughts and theories behind Content Creation.
As I write this you might notice from the shot below that I am in WordPress. That’s the platform I use to create most things here. It’s WordPress.org for me but there is NOTHING wrong with using wordpress.com, blogger.com ActiveRain.com or any platform of your choice. Free is just FINE.
Yes, I build custom wordpress blogs for a living and yes I just said that. Matter of fact, if you have a poor record for blogging on a regular basis, why in the world would you spend real money paying someone to build a site your not going to use? Really!
But I digress. For those that are new to blogging, writing a blog post is pretty simple. It looks a lot like email. The title is your subject line and the body of the post is your actual email text. The menu bar above allows you Bold or Italicize or center just like most email programs. Add a picture or two to break up the text and you’re done! (sort of)
But what do you write about?
That’s the big question. I’ll say to write about what you are passionate about. Nothing brings your posts to life better than passion. Nothing kills your enthusiasm more than having to write crap about stuff you don’t care about. I know that doesn’t really cover it. After all, if you’re blogging for more business and that business is welding widgets, how would your LOVE of all things ‘Hunger Games’ translate into more business? Chances are it wouldn’t. But it would if you… (hang on, I’ll come back to this later).
Writing for SEO / Writing for Readers
There’s two schools of thought, seemingly opposed to each other, yet they can peacefully coincide.
Let’s start with SEO – that stands for Search Engine Optimization. Google loves fresh content, well structured, with proper keyword density, tags and descriptions. Put a keyword in the title, and another time in the opening paragraph, a few more sprinkled here and there. Add an image titled with the same keyword using alt image tags as well. I can go on and on and people pay me to teach them these things.
Do you write content for the search engines? Do it right and you’ll be driving tons of search engine traffic to your posts! That’s the good side.
But when they get to the post do they find something that doesn’t engage them? We’ve all come across articles that were just plain dry and boring – right? How long do we stay on that site before clicking out? So much for SEO. Your posts need to have your “voice”. What exactly that is – nobody can tell you. You have to discover that for yourself. How do you do that? By writing blog posts. Reading this far into my post you can literally hear my voice – right?
So, how many words do I have to write?
Oy! If I said 300 would you stop at 300 possibly leaving out the best part? What about 1,000? Would you fill in words just to make that number? The truth is there’s no set number. One of the most incredible posts I remember was years ago by my friend Dustin Luther. It was a single word / link. Dustin is and was fabulous at brevity. I asked him how he did that. He said he wrote what he wanted and then went back and started deleting the filler. Simple enough. In the end, write what you need to write and don’t count the words. If the post get’s too long break it up into a series (like this one is).
How often do I need to post?
If you managed just once a week it would give you 52 pages of content over the course of a year! For some people writing comes easy. Some people write a post a day or more. Considering you just asked that question you are not one of them. Need a schedule? My friend Chris Griffith is a blogging machine. Here’s a peek at how she constructs posts for the week.
Pretty slick, eh? She’s hecka cool! There’s a bunch of people that took up my 21 posts in 21 days challenge. You can see them all in my sidebar. That’s one post, each weekday during the month of April.
How do I pull in my passion to my topics?
Thought I’d save this for last. I work a lot with real estate agents. By and large they are a very passionate bunch. Stuff they are ‘supposed’ to write about often times isn’t. Market Data Reports? Great for the Rocket Scientist types but few others. Some of the best will take the dry content and spice it up with their own passionate voice. Need an example? Here’s two…
Sometimes it starts in the title.
“17 ways living in Walnut Creek beats living in District 12” (obvious H.G. reference) and then moves on to examine the various neighborhoods with quips about how different it would be if we lived within the scenes of the movie. We just knocked those boring Market Data Reports all the way to District 7!
If your business really was Welding Widgets and you still couldn’t get over your somewhat creepy “Hunger Games” obsession you could write about if they had used ‘welding widgets’ in the making of the movie…
“The How, The Why and The Where. The Welding Widgets of Hunger Games” This all coming from you, the Welding Widget expert. Passion + something you know about that makes you money = generally a good blog post.
You can’t be all passion, all the time but if you interject a little of it from time to time it’ll make the task of writing blog posts easy. Really.
To Recap: Write your blog post, interject your passion, your voice, use keywords, link to references, add a few pictures, maybe a pun or two and when you are all set – hit PUBLISH. That’s step one!
Next we’ll talk about Distribution, and Response. 🙂
UPDATE: Less than 18 hours later a search for “Living in District 12” yields 2.5 billion results using the personal filter (it’s kinda popular right now). Guess who’s the #2 Result? This post! (that’s exactly the ‘writing for SEO’ example I was looking for)
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.