Thursday, October 25th, 2012
When used properly, controversy can be a great vehicle for driving traffic to your blog, gaining new readers, getting a conversation going, helping a post go viral, establishing you as a thought leader, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, writing controversial blog posts effectively is harder than it seems. It requires a delicate touch. There’s a thin line between being controversial and being an idiot or an attention-seeker. You have to know how to write controversial posts that come across as authentic and that make sound, reasonable points, so that it doesn’t look like you’re being controversial just for the sake of being controversial.
Here are some good tips to help you when you’re writing a controversial blog post.
- Believe what you’re saying—Too many times, bloggers try too hard to be controversial just because they want some attention. If you aren’t truly passionate about your stance on an issue, don’t write about it. You should only be controversial when you truly believe in what you’re saying; otherwise, you’ll come across as a phony. Bloggers must be consistent in their viewpoints, or else they’ll never keep readers. (more…)
Monday, October 31st, 2011
If you want to hook readers, the first thing you need is a great headline. With the way blog posts are shared (Twitter, Facebook, voting websites, etc.), most people decide whether or not they’re going to click and read a post based solely on the headline. So if your headline sucks, you’re not going to get much attention.
Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult to write a powerful blog headline. The best headlines share these 4 qualities.
- Clear—No one is going to take the time to click on your blog post if they don’t have a decent idea of what it’s about. I’m not saying you can’t get creative and clever with your blog headlines. By all means, go for it. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice clarity along the way. Someone should be able to look at just your headline and know what topic the post is focused on.
- Unique—Your target audience is constantly being bombarded with content from all across the web. Everyone is fighting for their attention. If you want to stand out in the crowd, you need to have a unique headline that forces people to stop and click.
- Interesting—A great headline creates intrigue. It compels the people you’re targeting to read the rest of the post because their interest is piqued. For this post, I chose to ask a question in the headline. You probably clicked on it because you wanted to know what the 4 qualities are that I was referring to and if your blog headlines had them.
- Useful—Headlines that promise practical information are considered useful. There’s a reason “how-to” posts are so popular. They provide solutions to common problems faced by readers.
What are some other qualities the best blog headlines boast? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Monday, September 26th, 2011
Running a blog takes a lot of time. You have to come up with ideas for your posts, write them and polish them up to be the best they can be, reply to comments, promote your posts across the web, engage in social networking…the list goes on and on and on.
That’s why so many bloggers get burned out and give up. The good news is that running your blog doesn’t have to be a chore or feel like having a second full-time job. If you work smarter, not harder, you can make the most of the time you devote to your blog.
- Schedule time to work on your blog—If you don’t schedule time to work on your blog, you’re going to have a hard time getting around to it. You’ll tell yourself that maybe tomorrow you’ll write another post, if you can find the time. You need to create a blogging schedule, based on your available time. Find slots of time where you could work on your blog, and put them on your schedule. This ensures you work on your blog regularly, while also keeping you focused on getting the job done in the allotted time.
- Find times for multitasking—There are certain times throughout the day where you can do a couple of things at once. For example, if you take public transportation to work, you could write your blog posts during your commute. Or, if you find yourself doing some menial task that doesn’t require a lot of your attention, you might be able to scratch out some content then.
- Moderate comments in bulk—You don’t have to moderate and respond to comments in real-time as they come in. You’ll constantly be getting distracted. Set aside some time each day (maybe a few short blocks of time throughout the day) to deal with all of your comments at once.
- Build a network of promoters—Promoting blog posts effectively takes time, but if you get help from others, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Try to build a network of people you can rely on to help promote your posts. In exchange, you can help them with their promotional needs.
What are some other tips for blogging more efficiently?
Monday, February 7th, 2011
“Write every day. It doesn’t matter what you write, but just write something.”
How many times have you heard that piece of advice? As writers (more specifically, bloggers), we’re told that we need to write every day to keep our writing muscles strong. The idea is that the more you write, the better you’ll get at writing. It’s like a basketball player shooting hoops every single day. If he keeps shooting, he’s bound to refine his shot, right?
Honestly, I’m not so sure.
I used to think the advice to write every day was brilliant, but lately, I’m not so sure.
That’s because, as a writer, I know that writers tend to get stuck in a rut, writing the same types of things over and over. We develop little nasty habits over time (some try to call this “their style”), and by writing every day, those little habits and shortcomings we have as writers tend to only worsen.
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
I’ve been blogging now for a few years at various sites around the web. Some of the blogs I write on are for pay (I’m a freelance writer for hire) and others are my personal pet projects on blogs I’m trying to grow myself.
During the past few years, I’ve learned quite a bit about blogging. Hell, I’m still learning things today, and I’m sure a couple of years from now, I’ll still be learning even more stuff I wish I’d known earlier.
There are a lot of things I wish I’d known when I was just starting out as a blogger, but as they say, experience is the best teacher. Hopefully though, there are some newbie bloggers out there reading this post who can learn something from my experiences.
Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned as a blogger.
1. The “design” of your posts matters—I’ve heard the phrase “content is king” so many times that it makes me want to put my head through a wall. Yes, content is important. Very important. But good content alone will not be enough to bring in readers by the droves. This is especially true if you’re trying to get a post to go hot on a site like Digg or ReddIt.
Simply put, the look of your posts matters too. You need to have a clean blog design, and your posts should contain images and be laid out in an easy-to-read manner.
2. Overnight success just isn’t realistic—Sure, we’ve all heard of blogs that have come out of nowhere to grab instant success (e.g. People of Walmart), but for the typical blogger, that’s just not how it goes. Unless you have a really special idea, it’s going to take you several months before you start building up a good audience. It might take even longer. You need to understand this in the beginning so that you don’t lose hope and give up.