Are you making content writing harder than it needs to be?
There’s no denying blogging is effective. We connect on a story level with businesses and individuals all the time. It works when done properly. And by done properly, I don’t mean having all your SEO lights in the happiness position and all things geeky flowing gently towards Merriment Road.
Content writing works when the audience actually gives a crap about your content enough to come back, check in on a regular basis, and participate on more a blog-by-blog, topic-by-topic basis.
That is the content writing money maker. And it’s a lot harder to achieve than most businesses and individual writers realise.
The problem however seems to be that blogging is being made harder than it needs to be.
Here are some of the common traps I’ve seen take fairly decent blogs and turn them into boredom city.
Placing quantity before quality in content writing
Newsflash- blogging every day doesn’t build you a consistent audience. Providing quality content at any interval will achieve this. The emphasis is always quality over quantity.
Your audience cares more about relevant, engaging and interesting content than the day you choose to post it.
Think of blogging like the modern day version of TV. We used to hang out for our favourite program each week and put up with the delays. Now, we pick the day we want to engage with our favourite content and we save it, fast forward the ads, and consume it on our own terms.
This is truly the day and age where we binge consume the content we love and leave the barely interesting in the dust.
No one is hanging eagerly at the gates of your blog waiting your next insight. If it’s a weak post, don’t post. People would rather you missed a deadline than served up rubbish.
So stop letting the clock rule the content and focus on creating meaning for your audience instead.
Betting the farm on blogging
Very few people who start writing content are realistically waiting for the money to roll in as the words roll out.
Blogging is only one aspect of marketing. And blogging for blogging’s sake is a waste of your content writing efforts. Even if blogging is all you do.
Diversification is the better way to manage your process. Share via blogging, social media, and bring in other elements of marketing. Take the online into the offline world, and think of ways to leverage your story telling via the blog as opposed to banking on it entirely. Think of ways to strengthen your offering. After all, even the money making ventures that started as blogs extend their menu to include books, training, conferences, workshops, coaching and a variety of other offerings.
To have a decent money making blog, you need years of content people are happy to engage with. You need to continue to add value and change the story up all while keeping the message clear.
About 90% of the personal and professional blogs fail because people got into blogging for the wrong reason. They thought it was an easy way to make money while sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere exotic. Or they needed therapy and turned online instead. Or because they think it’s some kind of business giant slayer.
Blogging is a communication tool that aids in the building of community. It doesn’t remove the need to ever work or run a marketing campaign again. Nor does it replace community building activities entirely. It does however help as a customer service tool, as a rapport builder and with audience connection.
It garners trust because it takes time and it needs to be real, honest and consistent. And it takes a long while for that trust to show. Even then, you can’t expect big bickies from blogging alone.
Forgetting to plan or use strategy
Any writer who begins a story without a framework is bound to end up with an unfinished work on their hands. Whether that’s a book or a blog, a newsletter or a whitepaper, you need to chart out the content and where the story will go.
You’ll see a lot of content marketing sites talk about Buying Cycles, personas and content calendars. While it may look like this sucks the fun out of being hit by inspiration and writing what you feel, this is smart content production. Humans love framework. It helps us narrow our focus and get inspired.
That’s also why all decent blogs, personal or professional, need planning. Blogs need planning so you remain in contact with your audience and to stop you from losing them by going off on a tangent. And it also helps the writer of the blog remain consistent in terms of story and production, tone and voice.
When you first start, the blog ideas may be pouring out, however, that does change. There will not be an interesting tale to relate each week that your audience finds worthy. And you’ll also need to keep in mind newcomers to your audience plus the maturation of your reading community as time goes on.
Progressing your story and balancing the needs of your community while also incorporating SEO keywords, answering commonly asked questions and providing a hook for your audience that encourages interest takes planning. Moving your readers from cherry-picking pieces and leaving you for the next hot topic takes strategy.
Neither of which is available if you don’t plan your topics in advance.
In order to make content writing endeavours work, you need to-
- Make a commitment to 12 to 24 months of blogging of a minimum of 1 blog per month
- Ensure you have social media set up properly for the promotion and distribution of your blogging content
- Have something more than “this is me and my writing, how awesome!” as the agenda
- Identify the audience you are speaking to
- Understand how blogging fits into your overall marketing picture and use complimentary and supporting activities
- Have a product outside the blog that is saleable to generate income (even if your knowledge or community is that product)
- Keep your audience, not what you feel like saying, at the centre of the blogging experience
- Plan content that helps solve your audience’s problems
Blogging isn’t a stream of consciousness. Like any other form of writing, blogging takes planning and research, strategy and realistic goals. The more you incorporate some framework and structure into your written work, the better it will be. And the easier the blogging process will be.
The keys to having a successful relationship with blogging are making the quality of your content high, the pressure to succeed low, and the roadmap for your content easy to activate.
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