Learning how to create good content as a Blogger in 2018, has never been so crucial, with 6.75 % of bloggers living in the UK, the second most ‘blogger friendly’ hub in the world after the US, which controls 29.2 % of the ‘Bloggersphere’. Despite the clear discrepancy between the large number of US bloggers in comparison to the UK, nevertheless ‘blogging’ is slowly becoming a ‘highly sought after profession’ with bloggers citing a desire to go into blogging full time, by turning their blogs into a successful money making business. But with over 440 million blogs, learning how to establish your blog and make it stand out from the crowd can be difficult to achieve.
After all not only do bloggers have to learn how to take photos, create brand awareness, social media promotion, coding and research and source information, but as bloggers, our audience relies on us to create good content, in our chosen ‘niche’ or niches. We have to learn how to be authorities on our chosen subject, have to continuously find solutions to our readers dilemmas and demonstrate sound knowledge on ‘the blogging industry’ and how we can use it to take our career to the next level. Of course not everyone who starts a blog is doing it for the sole purpose of making money ; for some blogging is a form of escapism, a chance to make new friends and connect with others or even to network with their favourite brands. However regardless of whether you are a full time, part time blogger or a blogger that likes to ‘blog for fun’ the importance of good content nevertheless remains integral to cementing your blog as a ‘must read platform’ for your readers to enjoy.
What is important to keep in mind is that in order to create good blog content as a blogger, you must recognize that ‘blogging’ is not a fairytale occupation and does come with difficult trials and tribulations that can test your patience and your nerve. After all, I have lost count of the amount of times someone has ‘enthused about how easy and amazing blogging’ looks and what tips I can give them to get ‘freebies and get paid’. Well let me put it this way, I have been blogging two years, and nearly a year full time, yet just to work with brands, get noticed and earn enough to cover my rent, I have to work more hours than I did in my 9-5 job, with less money, more luxuries to sacrifice and in most cases chase overdue payments that puts me in a very difficult financial position. And don’t even get me started on freebies;for the record they are ‘PR SAMPLES OR EXPERIENCES’ and that is often in lieu of payment and in exchange for hours of unpaid work, time and effort but that is a story for another time. What I am trying to say here is that ‘creating good content’ is the first stop to understanding your readers and audience but it is also important to keep in mind your reasons for starting a blog and how what you see on ‘social media’ is not a true representation of of real ‘blogger life’. Amen.
- Ensure That You Create Good Content As A Blogger By Injecting Personality Into Your ‘Work’
It goes without saying that a blog without personality is like a band without a lead singer, it just doesn’t work. But ‘injecting personality’ into your content is more than just aesthetically pleasing images that represents your chosen niche, whether that be style, food photography or fitness but is also related to the way you write, the tone of voice you use and how ‘distinctive’ your personality is to who you are as a person. For example as a blogger you might define me as someone who is ‘colourful in both senses of the word, outspoken and unafraid to challenge social taboos’ which is reflective both through the way that I dress and the way that I write. Let’s give you another example, I am not someone who might be considered as ‘casual’ so am always seen dressed in over the top but fabulous ball gowns, flower crowns, sequins and plenty of colour and when readers have met me in person and asked me whether I ‘dress like this all the time’ I replied yes, because ‘formal fashion’ and ‘dressing up’ is very much intrinsic to who I am as a person outside of the blogging industry. It helps me feel more confident, it allows me to tap into a ‘fantasy world’ and best of all helps me stand out from the crowd.
And it’s the same with ‘content creation’; while stunning or unique images are a great way to draw your audience in, it is your ‘content’ that is most reflective of your personality and how it transcends into your blog posts. For example I say that I have three ‘writing styles’ that represent three sectors of my personality, which demonstrates one fully rounded, goofball of a human being. The first writing style is ‘poetic and lyrical’ which not only reflects my love of literature and prose but is also representative of how I see the world. You might see this ‘writing style’ in my personal posts the most, as its often my way of ‘romanticizing’ or ‘creatively expressing’ my emotions through the medium of my blog. The second writing style is ‘humorous content layered with profanities’, where I swear, make jokes about f***kboys and allow my crude sense of humour to be visible in my work. This is usually prevalent in my ‘dating posts’ as ‘humor’ has helped me get through tough times and I want my audience to laugh along with me, to show that pain and heartache can be turned into something beautiful. Finally the third writing style is known simply as ‘factual’ and is used often in fashion posts, where I delve back into fashion history and cite key eras like the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, which inspired my own personal style.
But regardless of whether you are a fashion, food, fitness, travel, tech, lifestyle or ‘something in between’ blogger, learning how to tap into your personality- whether that be through images or written words- is instrumental to your blogging success.
Why Should You Show Your Personality When Creating Blog Content?
Good question. For many of us, it might scare us to be so vulnerable online, especially when we open ourselves up to the trolls who roam the net and trust me, I have had plenty of them. But here’s the T, being vulnerable or showing your personality does not necessarily mean that you have to show the world your deepest and darkest secrets. Oh no, it is up to you what you show to your audience, just make sure who you are online is who you are in person. So in conclusion, to create good content as a blogger, it is important to inject personality into your work because not only does it make you more relatable and approachable to your readers but it also helps you stand out from the crowd and allows you to catch your readers attention.
2. Focus On Two Social Media Platforms To Cross Promote Your Blog Posts i.e. Instagram and Twitter
Whether you are looking into becoming a blogger or are an established blogging veteran, it is clear that social media is a great way of creating ‘good content’ that can not only help grow your brand but also allow you to create ‘side platforms’ that compliment your blog and demonstrate your prowess as a well rounded blogger, who understands that social media is key. After all lets look at Pretty Little Thing as an example; with over 4 million followers on Instagram alone, PLT is one of the world’s most popular fashion brands because they have an excellent marketing strategy that uses a combination of working with ‘SEO rich bloggers’ , ‘social influencers’ who are popular on Instagram as well as weekly giveaways, celebrity and brand clothing collaborations and a demonstrated awareness of what their audience wants. More to the point, by cross promoting their brand on a ‘focused’ platform like Instagram, it enables them to drive traffic to their website, raise brand awareness and of course convert into sales and visitors. But as bloggers, our marketing strategy might be a little different, as we try and navigate the countless social media platforms that there is out there and figure out a way to find the best platforms for us and our blog.
Which is why choosing ‘two’ (yes two) social media platforms to cross promote your blog posts is so important, because when you overwhelm yourself with too many platforms, your content can become saturated and quite literally lost in the Bloggersphere of all those 440 million blogs that there is worldwide. But knowing which two platforms to focus on to create good content as a blogger can be difficult to ascertain when there is so much choice out there. At first, when I started blogging I tried to focus on growing every ‘single platform’ at once, which actually ended up having the opposite effect as I was not focusing on the right platforms to help grow my blog and social media presence. So it was when I was thinking about my niche and who I was as a person that I realized that Twitter and Instagram, were the two social media platforms that would be ideal for cross promoting my blog posts on. For example Instagram is an incredible ‘visual tool’ and shows my audience, how I dress, what I wear, what brands I work with, how I write (as my captions are often ‘actionable’ micro-blogs) and who I am as a person, whereas Twitter demonstrates a more well rounded overview of ‘all the blog posts’ that I write and enables me to connect with other bloggers, brands, PR’s and anyone else on a more personal and intimate level.
So you can see that my two chosen platforms enable me to create better content because it allows me to see what it is that my audience will truly respond to. But creating social media content is more than just brand awareness; below I will explain how my two social media channels convert into commission, interaction with others and resources which enable me to create good content as blogger in 2018. Lets start with Instagram; I have 15.1 K followers, with 50% men and 50% women who hail from the United States (21%), United Kingdom (15%) , India (5%) , Brazil (3%) and Germany (2%). Of this percentage of men and women who live worldwide, 38 % are aged between 25-34 and 24% are aged between 18- 24 meaning that my main audience are young men and women who predominantly live in the United States. Now you might be confused as to how this has any relevance to creating good ‘social media content’ but I give you this. Now that you have found who your main audience is, you can access your Instagram insights (only if you have a business profile) to create good content that is beneficial to your audience. So because my audience on Instagram is both men and women, I have to figure out a way of creating content that is gender neutral, hence the reasons why talk about things like dating, mental health and style, something which both genders can relate to.
So naturally the posts that I choose to cross promote on Instagram will be specifically tailored to my social media audience, in order to convert traffic over to my blog and create more readers. Instagram stories is also a great form of cross promotion too- especially if you have the ‘swipe up feature- as you can highlight recent blog posts and direct readers to your blog, maximizing eye balls through geo tagged locations, relevant hashtags and the mighty GIF, all of which are proven Instagram tactics to boost your ‘story views’ and ‘click throughs’ to your blog. Now lets speak about how I use Twitter as a cross promotion tool. While I only have a mere 3.4 K followers on Twitter, with an engagement rate of 3% as opposed to Instagram which has 18. 2 % engagement, Twitter is still a very effective marketing tool for my blog and actually drives more traffic to my blog posts than Instagram does. And while tweets have a short life span, posting regularly will help increase your blog views. But what does this have to do with learning how to create good content I hear you ask? Well first of all you can find out which tweets have the greatest amount of click throughs and convert into traffic for your blog, to determine what your audience likes seeing on your blog. For example tweets that gain good traction and generate traffic to my blog from Twitter are usually in the ‘ travel, fashion and personal sector’ meaning that I know I have to create ‘supply and demand’ for this type of content in order to give my audience what they are looking for.
Twitter might be great for traffic but it is also a good way to source blogger opportunities and connect with brands and PR’s meaning new ways of creating content on your blog, which might be different to the content you have already on your site. For example lets say a brand has put out a ‘bloggers wanted’ PR Request for fashion bloggers to work on their ‘summer beach wear’ campaign where the objective is to create a summer lookbook inspired by the beach. Naturally this might open up your blog to new readers, but in the run up to summer will generate organic traffic results, because people might be searching for ‘what to wear to the beach and your blog will come up and give them the answers that they are looking for. Thus the more that you get to know what your audience wants from your blog, the more you will be able to create good content that will generate organic and social traffic.
3. Explore Social Media Management To Enable You To Take Your Blog To The Next Level
When I was working in my full time job, I had thought about exploring social media management in order to help me take my blog to the next level, because I simply didn’t have the time that I needed to make my blog be representative of my own personal brand. So naturally when I quit my job, I had more time to dedicate to my blog but still find it overwhelming to manage all my blogging tasks, as I am quite literally working 24/7 and cannot switch off. And its the same for many of my readers who are bloggers themselves; for some bloggers who work full time, they might choose to use VA’s to complete social media threads or maximize their blog potential whereas others might seek alternative routes like Content Mother, which is about to launch social media marketing and management, blogger outreach, content creation and content marketing services. So not only could Content Mother help busy bloggers with ‘excellent content creation’, more ‘paid work’ and help manage social media channels but it can also enable you to have more time for yourself, after a long hard day in the office. And we all love having our ‘free time’ don’t we?
But why would your business need a social management team like Content Mother I hear you ask? Well for a start they know a lot about the blogging industry and how the blogging industry works, operating 15 blogs including a Lifestyle Blog, a Parenting Blog, A Wedding Blog and even a blog which shares ‘blogging tips‘ , proving that they have a wealth of knowledge in multiple ‘blogging sectors’. Moreover, remember what I said about how integral being personable in the blogging world can be? Well having someone who is a qualified professional and is always on board to interact with your blogging audience and create good content that your readers and followers can relate to will be a very beneficial business strategy to develop your brand.
4. Take The Time To Get To Know Your Audience And Understand What Questions They Need Answered
While many of us might start our blogs for reasons that might be personal to us, over time our blogs become more than just a place to express ourselves online but ultimately it is also a chance to connect with our audience and solve any questions that your readers might have. For example lets say that you are a vegetarian who regularly reviews restaurants worldwide, you might have readers who are vegetarians themselves and are looking for restaurant recommendations that can be tailored to their dietary needs. So as a result you might decide to create a ‘Vegetarian’s Guide’ to eating in Tuscany, a province which is famed for being a ‘meat loving community’ which can be quite challenging for plant based eaters. By taking that time to understand what your audience are looking for you can specifically tailor your blog posts to solve any problems or queries that they may have. By creating this vegetarian guide, you have shown that you understand your audience and are accommodating of their dietary needs.
On the other hand, maybe you have seen a lot of posts on Twitter asking fellow bloggers how to ‘grow’ their ‘following on Instagram‘ which you know the answer to as you have spent a great deal growing your Instagram feed and want to share your tips with others. Hence you create a ‘how to guide’ on your blog, which your readers are grateful for as you have taken the time to create good content that is related to what you saw there was a demand for on Twitter. So we have already established that researching trends on social media is a great way of creating ‘user generated content’ but searching for ‘keywords’ that are associated with your blog is also a good way of getting to know your audience too. For example if you type ‘Dear Aunty Valentine’ , ‘Fuckboys POF’ , ‘What To Wear On A Second Date’ and ‘Second Date Club’ you can see that they are top Google Search results, meaning that in terms of ‘organic search traffic’ my blog is most associated with ‘dating’ as many readers can relate to online dating woes, failed relationships and personal relationships with friends and family because it is representative of real life. So naturally it shows me that I need to create more ‘what to wear’ type posts and also posts on my dating experiences because these are the most popular Google orientated posts on my blog, which differs to the types of posts which are popular on my social media which is ‘personal and lifestyle posts’.
So here are key brief tips to understand your audience:
– Create polls on social media like Twitter or Instagram Stories to directly ask your audience what they would like to see on your blog next and any questions they might have.
-Use Google Keywords to find out what keywords are trending i.e. wear second date and find out how you can answer Google’s question by generating content centered around that keyword. Using the Yoast plugin on WordPress would be really handy for this.
-Look at your blog and social media insights, Look at where your audience is based, how old they are and what gender they are. This will help inform you as to what kind of content you should be writing.
5. Find Your Own Signature ‘Photography Aesthetic’ And Use It To Make Your Blog Look Visually Appealing To Readers
It’s like the saying goes ‘A Picture is worth a thousand words’, especially in a culture that is fixated with visual platforms like ‘Instagram’ and ‘Pinterest’ which they use to gain inspiration, escape from reality and connect with their favourite bloggers, Instagrammers, celebrities , friends and family online, in a safe space that is accessible to all. Yet as bloggers, have we ever stopped to think why photos are a powerful medium of attracting readers to our blog and social media channels and how utilizing a ‘signature photography aesthetic’ can be imperative to making our blog more visually appealing to our audience? Well first of blog posts with images are 94% more likely to get views as opposed to blog posts without images and while this is partially due to its ‘visual appeal’ using image alt tags and descriptions to describe your photo also leads to ‘image traffic’, as your images are now ‘optimized’ for search engines. So for example lets say you use the image alt tag <img src=”ana.jpg” alt=”ana pink floral maxi dress summer wedding”> with the product description- faded spring ana pink floral maxi dress river island what to wear to a summer wedding 2018- chances are search engines will pick up on the fact that you have written content on what to wear to a summer wedding and make you a top search engine result.
But what does image alt tags have to do with creating a key photography aesthetic? Well lets say that you have decided that your photos are going to be very colourful, based in Shoreditch and use art as your backdrops, this not only helps you stand out from the traditional photography aesthetic but by using these ‘art and Shoreditch’ orientated ‘alt tags’ you can also get eyeballs in that area. And the more true to you your photography aesthetic is, the more likely you are to create good content, that is both visually and content rich. Plus good quality images can result in a greater amount of social shares which as well as creating social growth and blog traffic can also allow you to see what kind of photos your audience responds best towards. For example I have found that ‘when I am wearing an item of clothing’ it is 80% more likely to convert into sale commission via Like To Know It, as opposed to promoting something that my audience has not seen me wearing, showing that images really do matter in the blogging industry. And from my Instagram Feed, I can glean that my audience respond more positively to ‘blue’ than any other colour, meaning that the colour blue- whether that be through the street art I choose or what I am wearing- will generally get more likes and comments than any other colour, meaning that I know I should focus on this particular colour to create better user generated content.
6. Make Your Content Actionable And Create Strong Headlines To Create Good Blog Content
Alongside strong imagery, one of the greatest ways of creating good blog posts is through attention grabbing headlines and titles that help draw your readers attention. For example you might write a blog post centered around second dates and what you should wear for a second date so consider this, what sounds better? Does the title ‘ What To Wear on A Second Date’ sound more appealing than ‘ Faded Spring’s Second Date Lookbook’ or vice versa? It is of course the first option because first of all ‘how to’ or ‘what to wear’ list type posts are a good example of evergreen content which means that they will be used as a resource for many years to come and secondly it is a strong headline as it promises to offer advice to your audience. But what therefore is the key to creating strong headlines and good content I hear you ask? Well it’s simple; make sure it is relevant to your blog post i.e. calling it ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ is wonderfully poetic but if you are talking about ‘cold showers’ it has nothing to do with your blog post and is thus deemed to be irrelevant by Google search engines. Alongside a relevant title, making sure that you answer your audiences questions i.e how to, what to wear, where to eat etc will not only build up a loyal following from readers who will view you as a reliable blog source but can also help draw the attention of brands and PR’s who will see your blog as a useful marketing tool.
Which leads me onto ‘actionable content’. Generally speaking web readers will scan and skim through your content to find the information they need which is why ‘actionable statements’ will draw your readers back in and help them engage with your content. For example at the end of a blog post where you have shared a recipe on what to cook at a summer BBQ if you are a vegetarian , you might ask your audience the following ‘Are you a vegetarian? What would you like me to create a recipe for next’ which is an actionable statement because it is inviting your readers to engage in discussion with you and this is the same across social media channels as well. By making your content actionable you increase engagement and can glean from comments how you can create even better blog content for your readers to enjoy.
7. Be Accurate In Your Reporting And Sourcing Of Information So That Your Audience Knows That You Are Reliable
Why is it important to be accurate in your reporting and how does this make you create good content as a blogger in 2018?Well put simply it all boils down to reliability; with blogs being cited as the fifth most reliable source to gain information from, it is important that we ensure that our blog posts are as accurate as we can possibly make them to be. For example lets say you are writing a post about Cancer but have given out incorrect information on the types of treatment that are available , chances are that while i’ts very easy to make a mistake, your audience might stop reading your blog because you have given them inaccurate information that could potentially put their lives at risk. Of course it goes without saying that blog posts are not ‘medical documents’ and are more about raising awareness but nevertheless you do have to be careful about the information you give out. For example if I am talking about something like mental health I have to establish that no two mental health conditions are the same and that what works for me will not necessarily apply to another individual as it’s not a one size fits all type of approach. And it’s the same in the office, if you are a Journalist and have mistakenly reported that someone has died without fact checking other accounts that could be a bad choice for your career progression.
8. Work With Brands That Are Representative Of Who You Are As A Person And Don’t Conform To Peer Pressure
One of the greatest ways of creating good content for your blog is through choosing your partnerships and collaborations very carefully. For example as a cruelty free blogger who does not use any products that are derived from animals I no longer choose to work with any ‘leather brands’ as I have done in the past because my values have changed and I would not risk my ethics for the sake of payment or exposure. And it’s the same with any other brands , just because every blogger you know is working with huge, amazing brands, it does not mean that brand is the right fit for you and it’s ok to say no. For example while in my case my main issue of not working with a brand would be because of my moral and ethical values- so promoting meat, animal based products or anything in that sector is a no no, whereas for others their decision to not work with a brand might be because it does not reflect their personal style and is something that their audience might not relate to either. It is so important that we do not conform to peer pressure when it comes to collaborations and to remember to know our own personal worth. Please do not accept collaborations that will put your own personal values into question, nor should you let brands take advantage of you and expect you to do a lot of work without anything in return because that is not good either.
And it’s the same with the type of content that you write. For example as much as I love pets, I do not have one of my own, so writing a post on dog food will make my audience a little confused and probably turned off by my content as it’s not relevant to me or my audience. Naturally, we all would like to make money at some point, so there might be some cases where you are writing sponsored content, where you don’t feel like it’s your best piece of work. The way that I see it, is that you should treat every blog post like an artistic masterpiece and make sure that you inject as much personality as possible into the written piece, even if it is something as simple as ‘dating do’s and don’ts because not only does it demonstrate your creativity to the agency, brand and audience but also shows that you put as much effort into sponsored content as you would into a post of your own choosing.
9. Take Steps To Find Your Muse To Find Inspiration To Create Good Content
Hands Up who has suffered from writers block? Yup me too and finding the energy, determination and willpower to power through writers block can be a difficult task to manage. Which is why it is so important to take action in order to create good content for your blog, even when you are lacking motivation or inspiration. Which is where this idea of a ‘muse’ comes in, a source of inspiration that will enable you to create greater content for both you and your readers. This can be something as simple as being a fashion blogger who is struggling to think of a new fashion based orientated post deciding to take a walk outside in nature, where the sun is shining and the ice cream van has scores of people lining up to get an ice cream in this warm heat. From that one scenario you might decide to create a lookbook centered around ‘pastels’ or ice cream inspired fashion, or as a food blogger you might come up with 5 ice cream recipes you need to try this summer, meaning that your muse for any chosen genre is ‘ice cream’. On the other hand you might decide that your muse is nature, which can inspire you to write stories and poetry, write about key hiking spots in the UK, or speak about 6 fun activities to do in the sun when you are on a budget. So you see, quite literally anything… yes even a rock… can be a source of inspiration and enable you to create good content in 2018.
And don’t forget the more original your muse, the more ground breaking your source of inspiration and thus subsequent blog post as a result. Who said going outside was boring hey?
10. Create A Regular Posting Schedule So That Your Audience Knows When To Expect Content From You
Last but not least, one of the most important tips you can use to generate good content this year is by creating a regular posting schedule so that your readers know when to expect content from you. For example lets say you write amazing posts and develop a following pretty quickly, but then they lose interest because you are not posting on a regular schedule and they are unsure of when they should come back to your blog to read your posts. While it’s true that we can all have a dip and wane in our posting schedule, taking the time to create good content that does not generate eyeballs can be frustrating and trust me I have been there. I used to be very frustrated that I was creating good content but getting so low views, before I realized it was because my audience did not know when I would be posting content. And while it is not quantity over quality, generally speaking I tend to get more views if I post 4 times a week as opposed to two as it means that my audience has more of an insight into my weekly ‘life diary’ so to speak. This enables me to create better content as I know that there is a demand for ‘varied content’ on my blog and I make sure that I post 4 times a week in order to meet that supply and demand.
But remember what will work for me might not be the same for you and even posting once a week can still mean you have great content that is loved by your audience, just make sure that it is content that you know you can be proud of. So if you post once a week on a Monday, let your audience know that this is the day you will be posting on with newsletters and sign ups that inform your reader. And if there will be a change in your posting schedule also let your audience know so that they won’t think that you have disappeared on them.
What Are Your Tips On Creating Good Content As A Blogger In 2018?
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*Please note this is a collaborative post with Content Mother but all thoughts and opinions are my own.