What to Blog About and How: 25 Blogging Lessons from 5 Years
By Mike Brown
Saturday, November 10, 2012 marked the fifth anniversary of the Brainzooming blog. These five years have produced, in round numbers, more than 1,300 blog posts and 400,000 words of content on strategy, creativity, innovation, and social media topics.Sometimes I love the Brainzooming blog. Sometimes I dread the Brainzooming blog. But I learn from the Brainzooming blog weekly, whether those are blogging lessons I actually do or those that sound wonderful, but I never seem to implement fully.
Here is a mix of each of those types of “what to blog about and how” blogging lessons from the past five years, with a particular emphasis on ones that have not warranted full blog posts yet.
What to Blog About and How: Do as I Do Blogging Lessons
- Use WordPress for your blogging platform. You cannot beat the availability of (typically free) WordPress plugins to add features to your blog.
- Unless you are dedicated to creating and maintaining (WordPress) blogs, work with someone who works with WordPress all the time to support and update your blog.
- Just start blogging and do not wait for things to be perfect. Start writing, and you will get better at writing as you write more.
- Even if only for yourself, have in mind an audience persona for your blog along with a simple guideline for what topic areas will be a focus for your blog.
- Learn about the fundamental elements of SEO and keywords as early as possible. Scribe and Inboundwriter.com are both great tools to help you improve at SEO as you write and publish blog content.
- Take pictures all the time of things and situations that fit with your blog topics. It is nice to have the flexibility of a variety of images to choose from for a blog post.
- Learn some basic skills on photo editing software so you can use your images multiple times and still keep them fresh.
- List posts are fantastic. List posts attract readers, and if you do them right, they are relatively easy to write in a pinch.
- Keep a separate document file of all your blog posts.
- Read a few strong blogs regularly, but occasionally (i.e. once every week or two), and swap different blogs into the rotation. If you read anything too frequently (at least for me), it is easy to fall into the possibility of mimicking them.
- Do not forget about your old posts whose content is not time sensitive. These blog posts can still have value, and people will be interested in them.
What to Blog About and How: Do as I Say, Not as I Do Blogging Lessons
- Start with a reasonable and regular blogging schedule. Increase it only for a solid business reason.
- Perform sufficient keyword research upfront. The keyword research can help focus your topics and writing while generating greater visibility for your content sooner.
- Have a hidden blog where you feel comfortable experimenting out of sight of your regular audience.
- The most important blogging rule? ABW . . . Always be writing.
- The second most important blogging rule? ABCI always be capturing ideas.
- You can increase your blogging efficiency if you use a kitchen timer and limit how long you spend writing a blog post. This approach might not improve your quality though.
- Do not share too much without asking for something back from your audience. If you do not recognize the value in the content you share, how can you expect anyone else to recognize it?
- Build more landing pages with downloadable content. When you are offering strong content, having targeted landing pages is a vital tool for capturing business leads.
- Create more videos. Videos add personality and identity in a blog.
- Back up the separate document file of all your blog posts frequently.
- Do not become too enamored with only one social networking platform to share your blog content. Spread yourself thinner across multiple social sharing sites.
Other Thoughts on What to Blog About and How
- My best analogy for what it is like to write a blog? Writing a book with a very loose outline and no real motivation to write the book in sequential order.
- What nobody seems to tell you is the actual writing of a blog post may be less than 50% of the time to publish the blog post. SEO, editing, graphics, tagging, and setting up the social sharing seem to be easily half of my time on a post.
- Much of what you read about blogging (especially anything on how easy, lucrative, fast it is) is either bullshit, total hype, or not applicable to what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t hesitate to consider this article in that group as well; ultimately you have to do what works for you, irrespective of what anyone else says!
Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.