Nowadays, the blogging environment has skyrocketed up to the point where every passionate individual can immediately set-up a website, design a quick theme, and make his or her writing visible.
A few years back, before the digital landscape exploded, only a few lucky people were able to expose their ideas and passion to the masses.
If you’re an experienced writer or author who’s looking to enter the blogging environment the right way, you’ll have to adapt and focus on various aspects demanded by the marketplace.
In today’s post, I’m sharing several strategies and tips on how to shift your writer’s mindset and attitude towards today’s blogging trends and practices.
Simply put, you’ll understand the differences between a writer and a blogger, and you’ll gain valuable insights into what you must do to successfully launch and run your first blog.
What Does a Writer Do?
A writer writes. Simple as that. If you’re going down the self-publishing route and you plan to sell your book or eBook online, the differences between you – an online publisher – and a blogger are quite slim.
However, if you’re counting on agents and publishers, your work routine and experience will be totally different than of a blogger’s. The traditional publishing routine encourages authors to focus on what they do best, and that is writing.
What Does a Blogger Do?
A blogger blogs. However, unlike writing, blogging demands a lot of diverse actions, strategies, and implementations. Here are just some of the activities that a blogger must perform on a regular basis:
- Create consistent, valuable, and relevant content for a specific target audience.
- Shoot photos or videos. Buy photos or videos. Create graphics and infographics.
- Understand and implement marketing, branding, and sales strategies.
- Research the competition on a regular basis.
- Market the blog using various practices on various distribution channels.
- Engage with other bloggers, fans, and customers.
- Understand and implement technical concepts (hosting, domains, on-site SEO etc.)
- Analyze, measure, and optimize the results of the blog on a regular basis
I’ll stop here. As you can notice, blogging demands a more diverse area of knowledge, skills, and strategies. A blogger will typically be free to make and adopt his own decisions regarding his business, unlike a fiction author, for example, who waits for and adapts to his publisher’s schedule.
At the same time, the entire responsibility falls on the blogger’s shoulders. The success of a blog is directly proportional with many causes such as knowledge, skills, resources, mindset, attitude, consistency, and passion.
How to Shift Your Perspective and Become a Successful Blogger
As you’ve already understood, blogging is more than just an activity. Writing is an essential part of blogging, though it is completed by many other aspects such as branding, marketing, self-organization, time and task management, networking, and much more.
As a freelance writer, book author, or magazine publisher, your primary goal is to understand the differences between what you do now, and what you have to do to become successful at blogging. The following is what it’ll take to become a productive, effective, and successful blogger:
Understand the Digital Environment and Adapt
The blogging environment is defined by competition. Indeed, you’re looking at one of the most competitive marketplace environments out there.
Regardless of the niche or industry you choose, there will be at least a few strong competitors who already understand how to attract attention, market their products and services, and satisfy their customers.
Before you start your blog, it’s critically important to assess whether you’re willing to go “all-in”. Running a mediocre blog is just like publishing a book that nobody reads. Therefore, the first aspect is to commit to a long learning process.
Once you’re sure of your intent, here are some of the things you should know about blogging:
- Your article’s headlines must be very catchy, concise, and relevant. For example, “7 Mind-Blowing Facts about Blogging” is way more interesting than “Facts About Blogging”. Generally, numbers and adjectives will improve the efficiency of your headlines.
- Use high-quality images. Blog readers don’t always read the entire text from the beginning – they skim through it instead, just to ensure they won’t waste their time. If your article contains high-quality images that reflect your topic, more readers will indulge in your content. Also, when you share your content on social media, a great image is going to do wonders.
- Use simple language. Have you heard of business writing? It’s the type of writing that even 10yearolds can understand. Simple language, short sentences, concise points. When people read content online, their attention span is shorter than when they read physical books. For that reason, keeping it very simple is key.
- Always avoid blocks of texts and big paragraphs. Most successful blogs are structured in a simple fashion – both the sentences and the paragraphs are short. Four or five lines of text is already a lot.
Start Focusing on Branding
When you become a blog owner, consider yourself a business owner. You must now approach all the aspects that digital entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis. The first aspect you’ll need to focus on (even before publishing your first posts) is branding.
Start by establishing your target audience. Just like when publishing a book, you’ll have to define what type of people will consume your blog’s content and purchase your future products and services. Here’s a brilliant guide on how to develop a blogging target persona (ideal blog visitor).
Next, you’ll need to identify your main competitors. Use Google and search for relevant niche keywords. Just note down all your competitors and then use competitive analysis tools to get more details about their content, traffic, and marketing strategies. The end goal is to identify their strengths and weaknesses, details that’ll help you craft a better value proposition.
Once you’re finished researching, develop your blog’s UVP (unique value proposition). This is the aspect that makes you different from others. It could be better content, cheaper services, incredible customer support, free advice, and so on. If your competitors aren’t offering it, you can claim it and position yourself as the “only blog that…”.
Lastly, you should figure out what personality your blog (your writing) will have. For example, if you appeal to widows that have recently lost their loved ones, using a soft and indulging tone throughout your blog posts is a good approach. If you appeal to gym addicts, your blog’s personality should be rougher, stronger, and harsher.
Establish Your Promotion Strategies
“Your marketing’s performance is directly proportional to your blogging success. The more effective your marketing strategies are the more traffic (visitors) your blog will receive. Regardless of your monetization techniques, you should understand that digital marketing is often a number’s game.” – Mark Checks, writer at AssignmentMasters.
This means that if you bring 1000 people, out of which 10 become your email subscribers, you know you have a 1% conversion rate. So, if instead, you bring 10,000 people, 100 will become leads. You can improve your conversion rate by optimizing the UX (user experience), the design of your blog, the sales funnel, the content, and the marketing strategies.
In case you’re not familiar with digital marketing, here are some of the strategies and traffic channels you can approach to bring targeted visitors back to your blog:
- Social Media Marketing
You should create social profiles on the social platforms that you believe are most suited for your blog. Young people spend time on Snapchat and Instagram. Professionals spend time on LinkedIn and Twitter. People that are passionate about art will often choose Pinterest. What does your target audience use? Establish that, choose your platforms, and start developing a social media presence.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you want your blog to be featured on the first pages of Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you must learn and implement certain guidelines. These SEO guidelines are everchanging because the search engines are constantly changing their algorithms. For an introduction to the SEO world, check out this comprehensive guide.
- Influencer Marketing
An influencer is a person who has a big social following (lots of followers and subscribers), a famous celebrity, or an authority within a niche industry. For example, Nike is using professional athletes to promote their products. Before you choose an influencer for your blog’s marketing, make sure you check out this how-to guide.
As long as you fully understand the main differences between writing and blogging, your transition should be quicker and less difficult than you might expect. Great writing is one of the most important elements that constitute a successful blog. However, your ability to adapt to different work expectations, requirements, and conditions will be crucial for your overall success. Remember: blogging success is not a result but a long, complex, and often challenging journey.
Sara Williams is an editor, journalist, writer from San Jose. She likes to read the world classics, traveling, to engage in yoga. Almost all spare time she spares to reading. Meet her on Linkedin and Twitter