I try to learn something everyday. I’m just curious and like to discover new things. One thing about blogging, Internet marketing, and web development and usage is that it provides a constant opportunity to learn.
Yesterday, I was surfing around and looking at some of the blogs that I frequent (in between trying to be productive on a couple of consulting assignments, webmastering my sites, and running my recruiting company) and I happened to catch an article on Jason Alba’s blog highlighting one of the participant’s in the blog carnival, Janet Meiner. Janet has her own blog and is an accomplished Internet marketer. She just happened to lose her job the day after writing her entry about what to do if you lose her job… talk about serendipity… whoa!. [You really should check out Janet's bio, she may just be what you are looking for and she happens to be available but probably only for a short time.]
Any how, back to the story. I visited Janet’s blog was reading along and saw her recommendation for a site called Copyblogger. And she also pointed out an article about how to write headlines that sell. Really good stuff in there and some talented people who are participating in a really neat ‘giveback‘ to the blogging community. I got to thinking that one of the things that I haven’t been doing very well is writing compelling headlines for my blogs. Let’s face it headlines sell, they draw you into the story. And what every blog needs is people to read the content. It’s like the old question, if a tree fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it, would it make a sound… well if you write posts for a blog but no one reads them, is it really a blog. So improving headlines seemed like one of the keys to successful blogging.
Armed with that as inspiration, I decided that today I would write a post about successful blogging. I mean who better to tell newbies what to do than a grizzled veteran of blogging with a grand total of 63 days of experience under my belt. After all, I am still new enough at this to be able to remember when I didn’t know what a trackback was (don’t worry you’ll learn) or what a ping was. Yet I have been around long enough to have been on strike, run a public service campaign, and also have made numerous new friends in the blogosphere. I think that my perspective should be of value to people who are starting out in blogging. And who knows, it may have some value for people who have been blogging for quite some time.
1. Have a purpose and stick to it – The best blogs that I have read and continue to visit have a purpose and it is pretty obvious what that purpose is when you visit. It is there day after day, always evident. The purpose of our blog here is to help candidates understand what recruiters do and how to work with them better. Part of that mission gets accomplished by letting candidates know that recruiters are human, that they have real lives and other things going besides just trying to fill jobs. Take Jason Alba of Jibber Jobber, he has a purpose which appears (with good reason, since that is his mission) to be helping the jobseeker. Jason has created a set of career and networking tools designed for a last for a lifetime. His posts and the information that he brings forward in his blog is all to benefit the job seeker.
2. Find your voice – You can find lots of information about this on the Internet. Basically, you should find a way to write so that you can communicate well with your audience. For me, I like to write sort of like I talk. I just imagine that I’m sitting in front of a group of people – I’m talking and they’re listening. It makes it easy for me to be say what I want, and hopefully it makes it easy for them to understand what it is that I’m saying. Now if you were writing a technical blog with an audience of PhDs, you might take a different tact, because the audience is different and has different expectations of you and how you will communicate. In fact, you could have several different types of blogs, all with different purposes, and you might have a different ‘voice’ on each one of them. But the idea is to let your audience get to know you, the real you. Let them know that you are a person just like them. It is easier for them to like you if the know something about you.
3. Be nice – Whether you are blogging professionally for your employer (or you have your own business and you are blogging for that) or you personally about some topic that is important to you, you should be nice. There is no need to be nasty or angry with your audience in your posts nor in response to comments from your readers. It is certainly OK to disagree, not everyone has the same point of view on all subjects. BUT you should be mean or nasty. Remember it is incredibly hard to take back something that is in print, or was in print. Even if you delete something, it still leaves an impression. Based upon how popular your blog is, you may leave that impression with thousands of people. Make sure that they remember you well… for being nice. If you’d like to meet one of the nicest bloggers around (and she just happens to be an A-lister) visit Liz Strauss at Successful ^and Outstanding Bloggers. See if you don’t think she is super nice. Here’s a great example of a post where she disagrees, but nicely.
4. Help others – I believe that we are put on this earth to help one another. Even though you have a professional blog, from which you are trying to make money, that doesn’t mean that there is no way you can help people. Take a look and Julian and Shannon Seery Gude’s blog A Big Windâ„¢ and what they are trying to do for victims of the hurricanes. Help where you can, people will appreciate it. It will also make you feel good.
5. Make friends and network – Goes without saying that networking is the best way to get people to know about your blog. If you opened a new restaurant, wouldn’t you go around to every business in the neighborhood and introduce yourself to the owners? Same thing with your blog. Introduce yourself, tell people who you are and what you are doing. Ask them for help and advice, offer to help them in return. Word of mouth and recommendations from pillars of the community can help launch you in a hurry. Check out a several of the best networking pros in the business – Steve Levy, Dave Mendoza, and Shally Steckerl. If you see their linked in profiles, you would faint. They are kings.
6. Be humble – Regardless of what happens, be humble. Don’t get a big head. Remember that it was with the help and support of a LOT of other people that good things happened for you. You never know when something bad may happen or events turn in a direction that is unfavorable for you. If you need help again because of catastrophe, then it will be much easier to get it if you haven’t lorded it over everyone you know when you were on top.
7. Learn more everyday – Keep learning – study – read – experiment. If you stop learning the world will pass you by. The world is changing at such a pace that if you don’t try to learn new stuff, even areas where you were an expert just a few years ago will have changed so much that your skills will be out of date and your knowledge passÃ©. Besides learning is fun.
Ok, there you have it – 7 Secrets to Successful Blogging. They are not the ONLY tips to success, but they should be helpful if you follow them. Feel free to comment and add more. I’d be happy to do a follow up article and give you credit for submission of your own great tips. Hope you have found this article helpful. If you have, please vote for it on Recruiting.com [see the voting button at the top of the article] and Digg It!.
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