There are literally millions of people sharing their thoughts, ideas and expertise in blogs for all sorts of different reasons. Maybe they have something to sell, something to say or they have a longing to write about their passion. Whatever it is, blogging is an amazing way to engage with others on the Internet.
Maybe you could say goodbye to your boss and start your own blog. However, there a few fundamentals you should consider before you start spending your blogging millions.
Define your audience
The first thing you must do is to define who your followers will be. Don’t try to conquer the world because if you try to go after a mass audience, your blog will be swamped.
While it’s difficult to get accurate numbers, there are thought to be around 12 million blogs in the US alone with around 57 million blog readers. There are over 30 million blogs on the top blogging platform, WordPress.com so you can imagine, the blog sphere is truly astronomical. You simply have to aim for a well-defined, tightly targeted audience and go after them with specific keywords and phrases.
Go for quality
Despite the fact that there are so many blogs in the world, and there is an illusion that blogs have taken the world by storm (the growth of the blogoshere, PewInternet.org).
The truth is that many of them are either abandoned shortly after they’re set up, classed as splogs (spamming blogs) or very poor quality with miniscule audiences – a study estimated that around 75 percent of all blogs are actually splogs. The Perseus report showed that an amazing 66 percent of all blogs – that’s around 3 million – are rarely updated or simply abandoned.
The Pew Internet Project indicated that since microblogging is on the increase via platforms like Twitter, the number of blogs is declining. This is good news for serious bloggers.
Most blogs are pretty poor quality, so the trick to making your blog a runaway success is to go for compelling content. Aim for the best and you will quickly develop a loyal following. The best blogs will always rise to the top and with the mind-boggling speed that information flies around the Internet that can happen pretty quickly.
Brand yourself as an individual
Precisely because blogging is so popular, there is a lot of competition out there and you really need to stand out from the crowd. You need to brand yourself as an individual in the same way that a business needs an easily recognizable brand. You literally have to have your own USP.
If you do this successfully, you will have a growing audience of followers eager to hear what you have to say – get it wrong and your blog will disappear into oblivion.
Build your blog around a theme
By focusing on a theme, you can develop a niche market more readily. Not only this — it helps you to develop credibility and expertise in your particular area. If you diversify too much, you start to lose your focus.
Emphasize on your uniqueness. It helps if you can write about things you are passionate about as this will come across in your writing. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing about — why should your readers care either? If you have a passion for something, milk it for all you’re worth and build your blog around this.
Develop your expertise
One thing that will give you credibility in the blog sphere in is to be seen as an expert in your field. The best way to do this is to write about subjects you are qualified to comment on and are knowledgeable about. People will spot a fraud a mile off, so don’t try to pass yourself off as an expert when you’re not.
Read and learn and build your knowledge. Show off your qualifications. Look at joining groups or societies that will backup your expertise and develop a body of book reviews, forum posts and so on that will also flag up your credibility.
Build rapport with your audience
Every business needs to build rapport with its customers, but in the blog sphere, this is even more important. Building rapport online is not as easy as doing it face-to-face, but it can be done.
One of the first things to consider is that you should write in a personal style with your typical blog reader in mind. Make sure you speak in a common language that they can relate to – in other words mirror the language of your readers. This sense of commonality can be heightened when you use search engine optimization or social media marketing to promote your blog.
A great way to build rapport is to let your readers see who you are — make some videos of yourself speaking directly to your audience and try to be natural, as if you were speaking to somebody in person. Look directly at the camera and smile!
Reciprocity is a good way to build rapport. By giving unexpected gift or benefits and not expecting something in return, you can create a feeling of obligation in your audience. Think of ways you could offer something for free — a free download or a free digital book perhaps — and illicit appreciation and obligation in your audience.
Keep your readers interested
Finally, the best way to keep your readers interested is simply to write compelling posts. Be unique and interesting and if you can find something unusual, whacky, shocking, hilarious or just different that will capture your reader’s attention, you have the potential to build a successful and very lucrative blog.
Before you know it, you’ll be telling your boss what to do with his job and earning a living from your words of wisdom…