So, you’ve made the exciting decision to create a blog!
There could be a number of motives behind this choice. It could be that you want to develop your business and reach out to a new audience. Maybe you’re just uber-passionate about a very particular ‘thing’ and you want to share your knowledge and expertise. It could be that you’ve been inspired by the written work of others and are thinking ‘Yeah, I can do that!’.
Before you get started it’s definitely worth asking yourself some questions to ensure that you’re going to hit the mark and get the most out of your blog. We know that you’ve got the patience and the passion but here are 10 questions that will help you to maximise the effectiveness of your work….10 questions to ask yourself before blogging:
Who is this post for?
Firstly, try to imagine the person that you’re writing this post for? It’s ok to aim your content at one specific ‘type’ of person. It’s likely that in time you will capture followers with more than one interest in common.
Not all of your readers will be gluten free vegetarians! It’s important to accept that not every reader will relate entirely to the content but keeping variety within your subsequent posts will engage more of your audience. You can target different sectors of your audience with each post.
What is the purpose?
Think about the purpose of the blog. Do you want your post to be entertaining and littered with hilarious anecdotes? Maybe you want to solve a particular problem? Perhaps you want to educate by sharing some information or knowledge? Encouraging discussion and debate could be your objective?
It’s clear that there could be several intentions behind your work and it might be that you actually include a combination of these purposes. Consider how you can build your community by asking questions and inviting comments from your readers.
Will my audience care?
Consider the opinions and needs of your readers within your blog. This will ensure that you gain their interest and trust. Create a ‘hook’ of intrigue to encourage their commitment to continue reading. Make sure that the reader will actually benefit from doing so!
It’s important that you care about your user-base and understand their needs so that you can pinpoint and target your content. Responding to comments and answering questions will also help to build rapport with your users and generate more interest from other readers.
What is unique about me?
Make sure that your content is original and captivating. This will provide you with a level of uniqueness. The inclusion of your own personal experiences will add something totally different to your blog even if your subject matter may have been covered elsewhere.
How about checking out the competition to see what’s out there already? You can search for your proposed blog or post title to see how unique you are. Try adding a different dimension to give yourself the edge!
How can I present my post?
There are many different ways that your information can be communicated and including a variety of medias will generate interest and keep those readers engaged. You could Incorporate:
Text – the main content of your blog
Images – photos, logos, graphics
Video – links to external sources, YouTube, your own message!
Infographics – charts, data
Audio – music, talking
Formatting – highlighting text and enhancing the appearance
Embedded social media
Does any research need to be done in advance?
The amount of time spent researching will undoubtably depend on the topic and content of your blog. Some posts could be produced relatively quickly compared to those that may need time to gather information, analyse data, produce video, etc.
When you initially come up with your idea, ask yourself ‘What do I need to do?’ so you can plan your schedule and what’s going to be involved in the preparation stages. Be patient.
Is my deadline reasonable?
Ask yourself ‘Do I have a reasonable and realistic deadline?’ It’s important to set a deadline so that you can plan your time effectively. If you are a contributor, it’s likely that you will be given a deadline but if not you should set your own.
Beware of the following pitfalls: too short a deadline and you’ll be rushing and potentially producing substandard work; too long a deadline and you’re likely to procrastinate and get distracted! Get organised and create your own content schedule and, more importantly, STICK TO IT!
Can I go the extra mile?
In order to really stand out you need to aim to be exceptional! The more interesting, useful, relatable and fun to read that you can be, the better! Think of your blog as a work of art. It’s a place where you can showcase your creativity.
Taking the time to include high quality custom images, using references and including teasers and flavours of what’s to come in your future postings will separate you from your competition. So think ‘What can I include here, that’s going to make me stand out?’. Put the cherry on the top!
What do I want readers to do?
Hopefully you will make a positive impression on your audience. Can you imagine how your readers might be feeling after reading your blog? They could be feeling motivated, enlightened, informed, inspired, enriched amongst other outcomes.
What you really need now is some kind of ‘call to action’ to seal that result, so it’s important that you invite your reader to comment, share, sign up, etc. Leaving a parting question will encourage discussion and comments and will enable you to interact with your audience.
Can I recycle this post?
Finally, work efficiently and make sure that the time and effort that you’ve spent on sourcing information and researching isn’t wasted. Storing your material in secondary text files will make it easy to access in the future and could save you time, especially if you’re looking for particular references and quotes.
I hope that these questions have provided you with a framework for planning and will enable you to consider all aspects before creating your blog.
In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, you’re ready to ‘do what you love, no excuses’.