Create content for your audience, not yourself
Even though you are on a mission to become a Rock Star Blogger your blog is not, and never will be, about you. You may have your photo up there somewhere and possibly an ‘About Me’ page, you may even write posts about your life and experiences in the context of your subject matter, but writing only about yourself or your business is not going to win you any friends or influence people unless you are already a rock star of course.
Remember what I said in part one? Primarily people are only interested in themselves. By tapping into this mindset you can work on creating the resources, information and activity that those interested in the same subject are looking for. By serving their need you will attract an audience.
Bear in mind as well that if we are already an expert in our field it is tempting to think we know what everyone needs to learn. The reality of course is very different. As an expert, you will be thinking about the topic from the perspective of someone who knows what they already know and who has years’ worth of experience applying that knowledge in the real world. It is much harder to take yourself back to basics and put yourself in the shoes of someone who is just starting out. Inevitably, jargon creeps in and assumptions are made; these need to be weeded out otherwise the only people you are talking to are your peers. To be a Rock Star Blogger, you need to have something for everyone, from the beginner to the old hand.
There are many ways to find out what it is that people want to know but often they can be time-consuming as you work your way around the industry blogs, forums, groups and social networks.
One easy way to identify the current topics that people are likely to respond to is to set up a Google Alert using a word or phrase that is tightly focused, such as ‘Dorset wines’, ‘over eating’, ‘writing’ or even ‘how to blog’ and see the results you get.
This lets you see what other people are writing about, you’ll begin to understand their perspective, find out what attracts an audience to engage and at the same time, you’ll get a great overview of your competition, perhaps identifying an area that is not so well covered in the process.
The emails you receive from your alerts will contain several snippets and links back to the sites that generated the information. You can then pick and choose which to visit and read to gather the knowledge you need. As you do this, you will also be building up a useful set of resources to refer to in the future when you are ready to promote your blog.
Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to get started. Just to be absolutely clear here I no longer use Google for anything myself preferring to use other search engines that are less censorious. I suggest this simply for expediency for you to get started.
You can set this to send to you every day (if you have the time), once a week or every time Google indexes something relevant. Try to set it for a time frame that works for you as you might get a lot of results at least initially.
It’s also a good idea to do some research online at this point to find out just what people are searching for when it comes to the topic that you are planning to write about.
In the past, I recommended using the Google Adwords tool to check search results, but as I don’t use Google services I switched to the free tool you can find at Wordtracker.
Start with a very broad term for your particular topic. For example, I might start with ‘writing’. The key to making the most of it is to refine the search based on what you get for your first broad terms. Don’t forget to include searches that include your location name if it’s relevant.
As you research these terms you will get more ideas about the specific topics and information people are really interested in. This gives you a focus for your blog content. You can also download or copy your results to a spreadsheet every time you do a search, this way you can keep a track of the phrases you are considering.
One key point to note is to not dismiss the searches that have much smaller numbers – these are often very specific phrases and if you can match these with articles you are writing you are far more likely to get a positive result if you can demonstrate that you are the expert in the area the searcher is looking for
This series of blog posts tend to take a sideways look at how to use the web to get a message across as I’m particularly interested in the psychology of it all.
If you’d like to keep up with my work then please sign up for my monthly mailing list, you’ll also get weekly writing prompts to stimulate your creative writing.