As you know, I don’t shy away from sharing my opinions on the best way to run an internet business.
However, while I’d love to tell you I’m a genius – an unrivalled powerhouse of originality – I’ll put my hands up and admit something to you…
I steal a lot of my best ideas. And I’d highly recommend you do the same.
It’s not really rocket science. You simply see what works online, and who is doing it well. Then you borrow, steal, adapt and tweak their best ideas.
Of course, I’m happy to help you with this thievery, so today I’ve scoured the internet to bring you the 11 secrets of the internet’s top bloggers – in their own words.
By blogging, I don’t refer to those millions who diarise their every inner thought and splurge them on the internet for the sake of it. I’m talking about blogging as a tool for finding qualified prospects, growing your online database and selling products.
Whatever your business, to achieve this you’re going to need a website with regularly updated content – (in other words, a blog) – so this advice is crucial.
Here’s what the experts say…
1. Make sure you’re interested in what your doing
Before you even begin, if you’re not interested in the subject matter, you’re going to find online marketing very difficult, says Ryan Gargiulo, a travel blogger on www.PausetheMoment.com.
He writes: “Start a blog about something you’re passionate about. If you start a blog about something you’re half-way interested in, you won’t last. I originally started my blog back in 2008 as a way to keep in touch with family, fill them in on what I was up to and have a site full of memories from my trip.
“I was passionate about sharing my experiences even though I knew my family and a few friends were the only ones reading it. If I had been forcing myself to write about things I wasn’t interested in, I would have quit after the first week or two.”
2. Solve real problems for your ideal prospects
The most important thing your online business should do is help your prospects and customers solve problems. Henneke Duistermaat, a business writing coach at www.copyblogger.com, agrees:
“To generate serious leads with a single blog post, you need to forget about lead generation for a moment. Instead, go back to basics:
- Identify your ideal clients
- Understand their problems
- Strive to solve those problems
“An effective blog post makes your ideal client pay attention because you tell her you can solve her problems. Which problem will your blog post solve?”
3. Give something away for nothing
Jeff Goins is the author of four books, including The Art of Work (see more here: http://goinswriter.com/blog/).
He says: “Be generous. Give away more information, content, and ideas than you’re comfortable with. People will reward you. Link to others, but never let someone pay you to do so.”
4. Share other bloggers’ work
On a similar note, Liz Borod Wright, who runs the popular travel blog, Travelogged http://travelogged.com/ thinks that sharing is the key.
“Promote other bloggers’ content, and hopefully they’ll return the favour. You can’t simply blast your own content anyway – you need some variety in every social media stream. So why not check out what your fellow bloggers are posting and give them a retweet, a share or a repin whenever you can. And don’t forget to reciprocate and share content from bloggers who share yours.”
5. Tell a story
Joe Pulizzi is Founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of the book Epic Content Marketing. He says there are two ingredients to a successful blog:
“As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post:
1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and
2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great. If it’s one per week, that’s fine too. Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling.”
6. Add an image
Katy Cowan is a journalist, writer and PR professional who runs the Creative Boom website. http://www.creativeboom.co.uk/
She writes: “People love images… This is partly because people love to quickly scan through web pages and they enjoy seeing photographs and pictures that help to break up text and add visual interest.”
7. Repackage your blog into smaller pieces
Blogging is no longer something you just post up once and leave to do the work. Instead, you can take one blog post, break it up, and make it work harder for you.
Shane Snow is co-founder of www.Contently.com a marketplace for freelance journalists. He writes:
“The blog is a hub for your content, but social media channels can be spokes that lead people to you. Don’t be afraid to let your content spread. In fact, encourage it. Repackage your blog posts into shorter bites for Tumblr or Facebook. Share your headlines, quotes or key insights on Twitter and LinkedIn.”
8. Make sure there’s a call to action
Nate Kontny is the, founder of Draft https://draftin.com/. He says that for years he was blogging the wrong way. He shared lots of content regularly, but none of the readers were coming back to his website or following him on social media.
He even tried banner ads and side-bars full of links. That didn’t work either.
Finally, he found the solution: “Finish your blog post with some kind of call to action to sign-up for an email list or follow you on Twitter. When I started doing this, I immediately increased my Twitter followers by 335% in the first 7 days.”
9. Gather other people’s content
‘Curation’ is a trendy word for ‘compiling other people’s ideas’ – and you might be wary of the idea, but it’s ethical and it works. In fact – I am doing it right now in this email!
Pamela Vaughn from HubSpot says: “There’s a misconception among marketers that curated content is lazy and unoriginal, but we think it’s the complete opposite. It takes time and careful evaluation to create quality curated content and the result is oftentimes a very valuable piece of content that helps people seeking information on a given topic to cut through the clutter on the web and save time. After all, what’s better than one awesome resource? How about 15 awesome resources? All accessible in one place!”
10. Make your headline shareable on social media
A blog headline is that piece of big bold text at the top. It’s always been important, because it’s what everyone sees first. It’s an advert for what comes below.
But it’s even more worth concentrating on a headline in the era of social media. Because when someone shares your blog post on Facebook, Twittter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, it’ll be the headline that all their followers will see too.
Jeff Bullas (http://www.jeffbullas.com) is listed in the “Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers” 2013 on Forbes.com. He explains why headlines are crucial:
“Twitter is a great way to promote and market your content and the challenge with Twitter for business marketers is that you only have 140 characters to get your message across and your link clicked on.
The most important element to make that happen is a great headline to make people click on that link. So in essence Twitter has brought back the art of the headline which has never gone away but Twitter has highlighted its importance.”
11. Remember these 10 rules
To sum it all up, Chris Brogan (CEO of Owner Media Group http://chrisbrogan.com/ has the following 10 rules for blogging:
Write to be helpful.
Tell a story.
Connect others, if appropriate.
Don’t overthink it. (It’s a blog, not a dissertation.)
But be thoughtful.
Don’t be mean.
Publish often enough to build a relationship.
But be mindful of your audience’s time.
I hope these help. They are just part of a stockpile of ideas, swipe files and examples I’m beginning to amass for you.
In the next month I’d also like to compile some specific blog post ideas for you to adapt on a practical basis. They’ll either be a shortcut for you to get your website up and running, or to start increasing the traffic to your current site.
As the Buddha once said: “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”
This article first appeared on Digital Upstart. Read more and comment here