Beyond the obvious (write), there are tactics that you should build into the DNA of your blogging strategy. These are things that should become habitual, so you don’t even have to think about doing each of them. These are blogging habits that you see in the most successful blogs, but they are not advertised as “Here’s how you do it right.” But you can do these things. They are not difficult. Rather, they are so simple, that you might overlook them or think that these 7 habits of highly effective bloggers are not all that important— they are.
1. Be consistent.
Regardless of how much you blog, you must adopt a rhythm, a cadence, a regular schedule for your posts. As you build your audience, your predictability will add value to your regular readers, who will come to expect your posts at certain times on certain days. Whether you push a long form story out once a week at exactly the same time like The Bitter Southerner or post every night between 9pm and 10pm like Atlanta tech entrepreneur David Cummings, you should be consistent in order to grow the readership of your blog.
Tell your story. That’s why people will follow, read, and share your blog. It’s your blog, so talk about your experiences, the things you know the best, what you personally have learned through this experience or that. You are unique, and so is your point of view on the world. I’m not going to write about cricket or ballet because I have no knowledge of those things. Rather, I write about tech startups and my (good and bad) experiences living through 7 of them.
Everyone loves a story, so entice your readers with stories that you’ve lived, seen, or been a part of. The greatest stories always have lessons, and your experiences are no exception. Telling your story, helps you provide your own context for the lessons you’ve learned and are now teaching your readers. When you tell a story, it makes it real for your readers. They can then share your story and the lessons you’ve learned in their own lives.
You knew this article would get uninteresting at some point, didn’t you? Grammar. Every amateur writer’s nemesis. One poorly used comma, apostrophe, or gerund, and you’ve lost a portion of your audience. Fear not! You have two lines of defense against poor grammar. First, read it out loud. Does it sound right? If not, chances are it’s not. But don’t let your voice be the only decider. Grammarly offers a great, simple, free browser plugin that checks everything for proper grammar use.
The age-old adage “a picture tells a thousand words” is famous for a reason. Adding a beautiful, relevant image to your blog post helps capture the reader’s attention, adds color and beauty to your words, and helps your reader feel like they are part of your story. Also, when you promote your blog in social media, the results of using an image in a Facebook post or Tweet speak for themselves. Hubspot reports that using an image in a Facebook post gets 53% more Likes than a post with no image. Twitter is not shy about its research that adding a photo to a tweet increases engagement by 35%, among other promotional benefits.
Do you see what I did there? Quoting relevant, authoritative 3rd party facts gives you credibility that you are not just making this stuff up. Do the research so that your readers don’t have to. They can rely on you to give them all the information they need. Nobody knows it all, but everyone knows something, so share other people’s knowledge to earn credibility for your own writing.
Sharing is easy and fast with the plethora of social media and email plugins available for any blog. If you want people to read your blog posts, you should share each blog post on the social media channels that your audiences frequently visit. If your audience is on Pinterest, sharing your blog posts on Google+ may not reach them as effectively. Then, once you share, unless you’re writing for you, like Indie Developer and Partner at The Iron Yard John Saddington, you must engage your readers. Reply when they comment or ask a question. Engage in the conversation on your preferred social media channels. Let them know you’re real by accepting comments, corrections, and even criticism.
It takes 21 days to create a habit of just about anything. Therefore, if you practice each of these 7 things for your blog for 21 straight days, each one will become a habit, and from then on become part of your blogging DNA, helping you become a better, more consistent, and more popular blogger.