I recently found some notes I took from an interview Darren Rowse (Problogger) did this summer with The Blog Squad and thought I’d share them with you. He has some basic, but unbelievably useful tips. The following are my notes and thoughts from his interview in August.
Writing Good Content
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times in a thousand different ways: People want good content. Content is King. Write well.
The reason you hear that advice over and over is because it’s true. But how do you write well? Be useful and cater to your audience.
- Usefulness. This will mean different things to different people and will be different within different niches. Usefulness could be information, community, advice, entertainment, etc.
- Cater to your audience. What is it they are looking for when they come to your blog? Give it to them.
In addition, I cannot stress enough how important it is to try to be grammatically correct. We all make mistakes, but editing your writing will help you appear more polished. The more polished your writing, the more likely you’ll be taken seriously. The end result? People respect your opinion and will come back to see what you have to say.
Determining Your Readers’ Needs
How can you find out what your readers’ needs are? Darren has several suggestions:
- E-mail them. When you receive a comment, respond to it. Ask the reader what they did or did not like about the blog and what they expected to find and whether they found it.
- Ask readers (either via e-mail or in your post) what they’d like to see at your blog.
- Keep readers in mind when writing your posts. Yes, your blog is your platform, but if you are truly wanting to develop a community, increase your traffic, and/or make money from that traffic you must consider who your audience is and what they are looking for. As you write your posts, consider and include those needs as necessary.
- Watch trends. What’s happening in your niche? Respond accordingly.
- Set up a simple poll for readers to respond to and share the outcome.
- Collect reader questions and answer them–either directly or on your blog. If several readers have similar questions, it may be a hint that your blog is lacking something. Find out and fix it.
- Use social media (e.g., Twitter) to see what people are thinking about or interested in.
Boosting Your Blog’s Traffic
In order to increase your blog’s traffic, you will not only have to write well, but you’ll have to increase the visibility of your blog. You can do this by
- Writing guest posts. If you’re interested in being a guest author at a blog, contact the blog owner with your idea. Be sure to have ideas about what you’d like to write and when you can have it ready. You may have to try several different ideas before you find a fit with a particular blog.
- Writing viral content. Viral content is content people want to pass on to others.
- Asking yourself: Where are the readers I want gathering? Figure out a way to participate in that community and contribute. Make sure you have links to your blog in your signature when you post to forums.