5 – er, make that 4 – essential ways to increase your blog’s popularity

25 Oct

Zombie hand with four fingers

There are about a billion posts out there giving blogging tips, so why bother reading this one?

The zombie hand of course. Beyond that, we’ve written nearly 700 posts in 3 years and have seen our blog not only bring us major new business, but been nominated for a West Coast Social Media Award and been runner-up in the US-based Fuel Lines Blog of the Year poll.

That’s our credentials anyway. Now onto your blog and how to boost readership. Here are 4 keys to building on your own successes.

1. Focus on your audience. Once you’ve defined to whom you are writing and have that fixed as a mental image in your mind, it’s simply of matter of speaking to them through your content and language. For example, when writing a post for potential new businesses, never make the assumption that they have the same level of experience in the bowels of your industry. Don’t just write about what’s important to you; write about what matters to them. “You” is still the most powerful word in sales.

2. Write about the stuff you’re crazy about. If you’re into wombats or zombies, find a relevant way to introduce this area of interest into your content. You personalize your posts when you do this, bringing your personality to the writing, which distinguishes your blog.

More importantly, you engage yourself, which becomes more important the more of the damn things you write! I might suggest to someone at Copeland that they write about the value of brainstorming, but I shouldn’t expect too many woohoos in response. But if I suggest they write about the value of brainstorming to survive a zombie apocalypse, different story.

3. Communicate the complex simply. Everything seems complicated at the moment. Technology that seems straightforward to you may baffle your readers. You need to distill the complexity, not just in terms of the language you use, but in the visual look of your post. If you can achieve that, you will have communicated that you are straightforward and easy to deal with as well.

This is where editing is key. Write your post. Let it sit for a few hours. Then revisit it with the intention of shortening it by 25%. Reduce the length of the longer paragraphs and eliminate the waffle. You get to the nub much faster this way, which respects your readers’ appetite for simplicity and recognizes that there are many other things they could be doing at that moment.

4. Make the posts looks tasty. Readers often decide in a glance whether they want to get stuck into your post or not. So make it visually appetizing. I advocate the use of exceptional photos or illustrations to give it some pop. A visual also can set a tone or create a personality for the post out of the gate.

Short paragraphs give people a chance to visually breathe during the read, especially important when they are skimming over a longer post. It’s as if they are crossing a pond on stones, and each stone (or paragraph break) is a place to regroup. You don’t want to have the stones too far apart.

There are certainly many more tips than these, but I’m out of fingers.

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10 Responses to “5 – er, make that 4 – essential ways to increase your blog’s popularity”

  1. jenni m. October 26, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    Good post, Doug! Some really great points for getting started.

  2. Doug Brown October 26, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    I appreciate your comment Jenni. How is your own blog coming along? Got any tips you want to share?

  3. hill copy October 26, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Thanks Super-Doug, I’ll bookmark this one too 🙂

  4. Doug Brown October 26, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    DOH! I haven’t taken you from your exercises in procrastination again have I? 😉 Thanks for the kudo Bazz.

  5. Chris Burdge (@b_WEST) October 26, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Well put Mr. Brown, and I’ll add one item if I may. Name dropping, in a relevant way of course. I came to your blog post because you mentioned the “West Coast Social Media Awards” which I created a Google Alert for and was notified of this morning.

    All the kids in the know use such techniques. Now, if I could just get you to turn that mention into a link….

    BTW – the awards will be launching again for 2012 soon!

  6. Doug Brown October 26, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    The list is far from comprehensive Chris…but I did run out of digits. And you’re right, name dropping and links are so valuable. This is one of the few posts I’ve written lately that had no links in it.

    Something that’s a personal style-peeve of mine is the post that looks like a hundred links all joined together into paragraphs. It’s hard to read and distracting. So while I love the well-placed link, I am always conscious of not overdoing it.

    Thanks for the contribution to the conversation, and you bet Copeland will pump the Westies when they roll into town again.

  7. Amy October 27, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I keep having to remind myself to add pictures to my posts. I’m a word-centric person, but pictures do help break up a post and add interest. Especially when used as cleverly as you did here!

  8. Doug Brown October 27, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Amy I always find your posts to have amazing visual support – a lot of it being things you create yourself. Or maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on my because your writing creates such good mental imagery. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working! Thanks for the nice comment.

  9. alycialowdon October 31, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    I think this is great advice I really enjoyed the part “write about stuff you’re crazy about” you can really feel when someones true personality and passion behind an issue when they do this. overall great tips thanks.

  10. Doug Brown October 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Thanks for that comment Alycia. It shouldn’t be hard for people to blog about stuff they are interested in, but surprising how many posts are hard work to get through. Usually, I suspect, because the writer is doing it from obligation and not genuine interest. Cheers!

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