Friday, August 8, 2014

So You Want to Write a Blog - Part 2: Positioning for Success

Location, location, location. That’s the mantra of real estate agents. And it should be your mantra as far as your new blog goes. In this case, it’s not where you post the blog----there are numerous free blogging sites that you can use. Instead, it’s how you position your blog among the other blogs in your category.

So before you do anything, you’ll need to do some surfing. No, you don’t need to go put your swimsuit on and get your boogy board ready. But you will need to spend some time surfing the Web for other blogs in the subject category that you’ve chosen. When you find several you like, study them. Don’t just read the latest post, but check back through the archives and find the thread that keeps all of the posts in line with the bloggers goal.

And that brings us to the next step. You’ll need to define your goals for your new blog. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? What type of blog will it be? (See last week’s post). Are you trying to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Are you trying to promote your business? Or are you blogging for fun and to share your ideas and opinions? Write down your short and long term goals for your blog. What do you aim to gain from it in six months or a year. Then design, write and promote your blog to meet your goals.

What are your target audience’s expectations? The design and content will vary according to your audience. And even before you post another entry, your audience will size up your blog. If you don’t meet its expectations, they’ll move on without a second thought.

Once you begin posting your blog entries, you’ll need to be consistent. Nothing screws up a blog more than when the blogger jumps around and rambles on and on. Your blog represents a specific message and image to your audience. Your blog's design and content should consistently communicate your blog's image and message. Being consistent allows you to meet your audience's expectations and create a secure place for them to return to again and again.

Another stumbling block to gaining a good audience is not regularly updating your blog. If you fail to update regularly, your audience will perceive your blog as a static Web page. Your blog should be anything but static. It should be a vibrant living thing that’s also timely.

To garner a good position for your blog among your audience, it’s imperative that you invite your readers to join in a two-way conversation. Ask them to leave comments. Pose questions from those comments that will solicit more comments. Continue the conversation by leaving comments on other blogs inviting new readers to visit your blog. If you don’t gain loyalty from your audience, then your blog will fail.

Much of your blog's success will depend on how you promote it on the social media networks. Find bloggers in your subject area and comment on their blogs.

Look for enhancements for your blog. There are plenty of plug-ins and features available. But don’t overload your blog with gimmicks. Try holding a contest, for example. It’s a simple way to engage readers. Take the time to research new tools and features, and keep an eye on the latest news from the blogosphere.

Remember, your blog is an extension of yourself. Your loyal readers will keep coming back to hear what you have to say. Inject your personality into your blog and adapt a consistent tone for your posts. People don't read blogs simply to get the news. They could read a newspaper for news reports. Instead, people read blogs to get bloggers' opinions on the news, the world, and more. Don't blog like a reporter. Blog like you're having a conversation with each of your readers.

If you follow the old real estate developer adage, "If you build it, they will come," you’ll surely be disappointed. Sure, some readers will find your blog and read it a few times. Others will stick around for the long haul and read your every post. But developing a successful blog requires hard work by creating compelling content on your blog as well as working outside of your blog to promote it and develop a community around it.

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