Top 5 Blogging Tips
When you are immersed in what you do each day, it can feel like you are on autopilot. I have my routine of interviewing local companies, writing social media content, creating graphics, etc. etc. If I don’t know something, I learn it - and the process continues. Two months ago when my friend Donna asked me to lead a Blogging for Business workshop at the Social School, I quickly got into my head and questioned myself. Did I really have something unique to offer? Could this group of marketers and small business owners actually learn something from me? Because I promised myself that I would do challenging things in 2018, I said yes.
Now to start, I absolutely LOVE the Social School. In November, they opened the Social School Campus in Inglewood where they are teaching several different courses including Digital Marketing, Public Relations, and more. I am planning to take the online version of the Public Relations course this year!
Compiling the things I have learned and the advice I have received over the past few years, made me realize how much I know and how far I have come. Once I realized I had something to share, I was so excited to teach the workshop. With that, here are my top five blogging tips.
You have nothing to lose (and everything to gain) by starting a personal blog
If you are considering launching a blog for your small business or want to gain experience to land a new job, starting a personal blog can help you accomplish both because you start with a blank slate. You have to do everything from coming up with a name, to designing the layout of your site, to writing and promoting your content. It may seem daunting at first, but my piece of advice is to pick the skills that you really want to learn and challenge yourself in those areas - and find tools that can help you do the rest. Want to learn how to use graphic design tools? Spend more time designing your logo or graphics for your blog. Not interested in learning about website design? There are so many great tools out there that are basically drag and drop. My website was built in Squarespace!
Know what problem you are solving
When you are creating content, use the answers the question “what problem are you solving” as your guide. In my role at Startup Calgary, I know that we work with entrepreneurs who are exploring their ideas and need inspiration to take the leap and start their own company. I know that they want to learn from people who have “been there, done that” and want to be able to picture themselves in the shoes of another founder. I also know that these people are busy and potentially launching their company off the side of their desk and need to be able to consume content efficiently. When you are running a small business, it’s easy to stray off course and focus more on sales and client acquisition rather that adding value for your community. You should always be able to identify how your content benefits your ideal client, customer or reader. It should never be entirely self-serving.
Let your reader get to know you and your business
If you run a small business or if you are leveraging your personal blog as a portfolio, think of your blog as a more subtle LinkedIn profile. Taking this approach can help you ensure that you are capturing all of the information people need to decide whether they want to work with you. The key difference is that, instead of listing your qualifications, you demonstrate your knowledge, connections and experience through softer messaging. Are you the face of your business or do you have a team? Do you only work with local clients or do you work with client internationally? These are all things you can subtly highlight through your content to paint the picture of what it’s like to work with you.
Pick a blog that you consistently revisit - and take note of why that is
Ask yourself why you closely follow this blog and engage with their content. Why do you keep coming back? My go-to blog is The Everygirl because they publish a wide variety of content from diverse perspectives, and they publish a lot of it. I also love that they post certain types of content during the holidays, seasons, etc. - some of which I have come to rely on each year! Because they publish so much content, they use their Instagram stories constantly highlight which stories are on their site so I don’t have to constantly check the website. If I pull all of that information together, I realize that I follow them because they are relatable, consistent, timely and frequent.
Great content speaks for itself
Most of the bloggers and sites I follow religiously don’t seem to pay to play. Their content is so strong and their ability to build community with their followers is what keeps me coming back. You will also notice the 80/20 rule is hard at work here. For those who don’t know, this rule says you should spend 20 percent of your time creating content, and 80 percent of your time promoting it. A great blogger will continue to repost and refresh their content in unique ways, rather than always creating content from scratch. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was at a workshop from the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association where they said to always ask yourself “would you click on this”. To take it a step further, take note when you see a headline that is really compelling and build yourself a list of headlines that enticed you to click. Whenever you need inspiration, you can revisit that list and remind yourself what headlines were compelling and why.