What Is A Blog? And Should You Have One?
What is a Blog?
A silly question isn’t it? Because you’re reading a blog post on a blog right now.
What I mean with the question “what is a blog” is what is the purpose of a blog, why should you consider having one?
Why Blog Posts?
Blog posts are another great type of content it can be very beneficial to challenge yourself to create.
They’re generally shorter than articles (though not always) and are often more reflective of your personality and branding. With that said, there certainly are many overlaps between articles and blog posts.
I recommend you have a blog as a sort of hub for your business.
This is where you can work to build your list and establish yourself as a mainstay in your niche.
You want people to turn to you first for breaking news and information. You want people to learn from you, subscribe to your blog, interact with you, sign up for your list, and more. Ideally, you want your blog to become part of their daily routine.
Blog posts are often shorter than articles, so they can be less time consuming to create. They can be as short as 250–400 words, but really you can make them however long or short you need or want them to be.
Blog posts can help you win in the search engines as well as with the people.
When Google and other search engines see that you have a lot of great, relevant content on your site, they’re likely to rank you more highly. That means more people can find you and can get sucked into your marketing funnel– that’s one of the main goals of this 5X10 strategy.
Blog posts are also great because you can schedule them to go out on a consistent basis.
So, while you might write 10 of them over a period of a few days, you can schedule those out over the course of a month. People can get addicted to your content if it comes out on a regular basis.
Blog posts can help you win the hearts of readers and search engines.
They can help you build your list and act as a hub for your brand and business. If you don’t yet have a blog, these initial 10 posts can give you a running start.
If you do have a blog that you’ve let fall by the wayside, this can help revitalize it. If you do regularly keep up with your blog, then the 5X10 method can help you write content for it more efficiently.
To be clear, you’re going to challenge yourself to create 10 fantastic blog posts as part of the 5X10 strategy to revitalize your business, get more traffic, and earn more income.
Look at Successful Bloggers and Blogs
One thing I like to do when I need inspiration is look at what other successful people are doing.
That can help me get my head on straight so I can formulate my own plan.
It’s never about copying what others are doing– it’s all about getting inspired and getting a solid understanding of what others are doing in the niche.
What are people writing about? You need to know what the evergreen topics are and the hot topics are that people really care about.
Which posts are getting the most comments from blog commenters?
Which posts are getting shared the most on social media?
Which posts were written years ago but are still getting a lot of attention?
Which posts are showing up in the search engines?
You get the idea. Success leaves clues, so study what makes other bloggers and blogs in your niche successful and then you can come up with your plan for what you want to do to be successful with the 10 blog posts you’re going to write as part of your 5X10 challenge.
Make Your Plan for 10 Blog Posts
Now that you have a good grasp on what’s out there and what works, it’s time to make your plan for what you want to do with your own blog and content.
In this section, I’m going to cover specific types of blog posts you can create. Make your plan for which types you’re going to incorporate right now. Plan for when you’re going to schedule these posts to go live.
Think about specific titles for these blog posts.
Creating titles before you actually start writing can put a “face” on the posts and make it much more likely that you get them done. That might be because you’ll be more excited to get them done.
Consider what the specific purpose is for each blog post.
Is it to build relationships?
Promote or review a product?
Build your list?
Establish yourself as an expert?
Teach people something and endear yourself to the reader? There will be some overlap in some cases.
How to Write Really Great Blog Posts
Your goal is to write really great blog posts that help you get traffic, make more sales, and build your list… leading to short term and long term success. But, let’s be real here. If you don’t write great blog posts, you aren’t going to be very successful with those things.
There’s a tendency among some people to just slap terrible blog posts up and call it a day. They don’t take it seriously at all.
I get it. It’s easy to fall into that trap. I think it’s a throwback to the days when you probably could just write anything at all and see some okay results and some income, at least as far as the search engines were concerned.
It doesn’t work that way these days… at all.
You need to write really great blog posts. It’s important and it will be a boon to your business if this is something you focus on. It might be slow growing at first, so that’s something you should know.
And believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to spend time writing blog posts for an audience of essentially (or at least apparently) zero.
But if you stick with it and grow your blog and pay attention to the other parts of growing your business at the same time, you should see results. Your archive of posts and all future posts will grow wings instead of landing with a thud.
To write great blog posts, you have to have a solid understanding of your audience. Study them via social media, on other blogs, and via other spots they hang out around the web.
Also, think about what your personality is and how you want that to shine through on your blog. People won’t want to read a blog that is written in a dry and impersonal way.
They will want to read a blog that is full of personality and opinions and life.
There really are no rules to writing a great blog post. A good post can be good written off the top of your head.
A good blog post can be planned and researched and really thought out before you type the first word.
The important thing is that a connection is made with your audience and that your thoughts get out there into the world.
With that said, I’m going to suggest a few different blog post types to help you get started. These can help give you a few ideas as you formulate your plan for the 10 blog posts you’ll start with.
Write How-To Blog Posts
People want to know how to do things. If you put some great how-to blog posts on your blog, you can get some excellent traffic and definitely win reader loyalty. They’ll remember that you’re the one who helped them through the rough patch.
What can you teach them?
There are so many things. Consider the newbies– what did you desperately need or want to know when you were starting out?
Consider those who are more intermediate or advanced. What are the special, “secret,” tips and shortcuts you can share? People love that stuff.
Think of these how-to blog posts as being step-by-steps. They teach people how to do things in great detail. Don’t assume people know how to do something just because it’s become like second nature to you.
These how-to’s are generally fairly evergreen. So, you can write them now and they’ll serve you well for a long time to come.
Depending on the exact topic, the how-to’s might be fairly short or fairly long. If they start to get too long or they are closely related to other topics, you might consider doing a series.
In fact, even with topics other than how-to’s, doing a series of posts can be a great idea because they really guide people through your blog.
The longer people stay right on your blog, the better.
Google likes to see high reader engagement and readers themselves will feel more attached to your blog the longer they stick around. It’s a win-win to do a series of how-to’s.
Write Review Blog Posts
People in your niche are buying products every day. If you’ve chosen your niche the right way, they’re not just buying one product, they’re buying multiple products over time. That’s great news for you, and you can cash in on it.
People don’t just want to read about a product from the product creator or manufacturer– they want to read about a product from someone who has more information and who will give it to them straight.
As a blogger, you can be that person. You can buy or acquire products and go through them with a fine-toothed comb. What is it that sets that product apart from others? What are its pros and cons?
Why should people buy that product over similar products on the market, or not?
You can talk about the features and benefits of a product, focusing on the benefits.
You can talk about its cost relative to its benefits.
There are so many different ways you can take the product review, including doing a direct comparison and contrast to a competing product.
Since you are posting your blog post right on your own blog, you can put your affiliate link or sales link right on the post.
That’s a luxury you might not have when posting content on properties you don’t own. You can post pictures, links, and other things that will help sway people one way or the other.
Product reviews aren’t always positive, so keep that in mind. You always want to be honest with your audience. If you’re honest, they’ll learn to trust you and they’ll come back to read more product reviews over time.
Curate Blog Posts
You don’t always have to write all of your content yourself. One purpose blogs serve is to point to the work of others. That’s something you can do on your blog by curating blog posts.
You won’t want to fill your blog completely with curated blog posts in lieu of your own original content, but these posts do serve a valuable purpose and can help you get noticed by other bloggers and by others in your niche.
Curated blog posts are when you choose a topic that is of interest to others in your niche. This might be a hot topic that’s all the buzz. You then find thoughts and opinions from around the web.
As part of your own post, you put the links to the posts you’ve found of interest, along with small snippets of the content you’ve found.
You will not put large amounts of their content or even full paragraphs, as that’s plagiarism. Rather, you’re quoting points of interest and giving credit where credit is due.
In between the interesting posts and quotes, you’ll add your own thoughts and opinions.
You’re acting as a curator in a museum, finding interesting pieces from around the web and commenting on them for the joy and education of your reading audience.
You’ve seen other blogs do this and probably just didn’t know what name to put on it.
Other bloggers will see you linking to them via their dashboard, which is a good thing. They will like that you are sending traffic to them and essentially creating a dialogue with them.
Write about Your Life, Business, and Experience in The Niche
Sometimes, the best blog posts are more like a stream of consciousness. People love to read about the slice of life sort of moments. They want to know and feel that you’re a real person just like they are.
Write about what’s going on in your life– including your ups and your downs. Don’t be afraid to show the man or woman behind the mask. This can really endear you to them and help them connect with you on a level that those who stay all business, all the time cannot.
Write about your frustrations and joys. Write about the things that come to you at 2am. Write about the things you’re excited about.
Sometimes, these things will be directly related to your niche. Other times, the connection will be less clear. That’s okay. Share of yourself and connect with people on a more personal level.
Keep a notebook or journal full of the ideas that pop into your head for these slice of life sort of posts. Or, just write them at the spur of the moment. Either way, you can come out a winner with your audience.
These spur of the moment posts are often the most creative and often make the biggest impact with your audience.
Connect With Your Audience
One of your biggest goals, if not your biggest goal, with your blog is to get people to join your list.
You should have at least one squeeze page connected with your blog. You should have an opt-in form on the sidebar of your blog. You might even consider using a plugin or something that even puts a small opt-in form at the bottom of each of your blog posts.
Give people a reason to sign up for your list. List building 101 is to have a freebie offer to give to them. Offering a free report or something like that can go a long way.
It can take more than that, though. Sometimes, it will take even someone who is a fan of yours or who will go on to become a fan or yours a few times until they’re ready to go ahead and sign up for your list. And that’s okay.
So in your blog posts, do your best to connect with your audience on a personal level. If you do that, then they’ll be more likely to sign up.
They’ll be more likely to comment in the comments section of your blog. They’ll be more likely to subscribe to new posts, share your links, and come back time and time again. Put your reader first and make a big deal out of connecting with your audience and it will go a long way.
Also, you can share your posts on social media and on other platforms as part of connecting with your audience.
That way, more people will see what you’ve written. More people can also comment on your stuff and interact with you. That’s another form of connection and it helps get your content out there in more than one way.
Write Guest Blog Posts
To this point, we’ve just talked about writing posts for your own blog. You can also write posts that are meant for others’ blogs. These are called guest blog posts and many bloggers accept them. In fact, you might want to start accepting them for your own blog.
Why do people accept guest blog posts?
For one thing, it gives them ‘the day off’ from posting themselves. As you know, it’s important to consistently fill your blog with high quality content if you want it to thrive and grow. Sometimes, though, you just need a break. Accepting guest blog posts is one way to do that.
Readers tend to like it too. They like seeing the perspectives of others. They like being introduced with new bloggers they can follow.
As a guest blogger, you get the benefit of increased traffic. You’re being exposed to a totally different group of readers. This can do great things for you and can help you win new readers to your own blog.
If you choose to write a guest post for a blog, you’ll spend extra time writing something that will really wow people. Make sure it’s a good mixture or your voice and flavor while still matching the tone and interests of the blog you’re writing for.
You’ll get to include an author’s resource box at the end of the blog post (typically), that points back to your blog.
People can visit you and read more from you by visiting your blog. You can also encourage them to join your list for a freebie and things like that.
Not only that, but you can interact with them in the comments section on the other bloggers’ blog and really start building that rapport. There are so many great things that can come from writing guest blog posts.
Make sure you choose the right sort of blogs to guest post for. They won’t all be highly trafficked and that’s okay– sometimes it will surprise you as to which will be valuable.
To find guest blogging opportunities, do some searches for ‘guest post submissions’ connected with terms related to your niche and variations like that. See what you can find.
Also, just ask around. You never know who is going to say yes.
Repurpose Blog Posts
As always, you will want to use most of the content you write in more than one way. Don’t settle for working all day long only to use your content once. Squeeze every last drop out of everything you do.
You can combine shorter blog posts to turn them into fuller articles. Combine blog posts to form freebie report giveaways or paid ebooks. Put your very best blog posts, short of a few teasers, behind a paywall (not always advisable, but in some instances).
Record yourself talking about your best blog posts and submit those as podcast episodes.
Create PDF’s of your best blog posts and submit those to file sharing sites like Scribd.
Share your posts on social media.
Allow others to freely reprint your blog posts on their blog, as long as they leave attribution in place.
You get the idea– make a list of ideas that will serve your business well. Then, implement those ideas. It really doesn’t take that long once you’ve written the content in the first place.
Grow Your Traffic and Schedule Your Blog Posts
You’ve made your plans– so get those blog posts written and done. You have 10 to write, so have fun with it. Schedule the posts to drip out over the remainder of the month, and then keep going.
You’ll grow your traffic and the loyalty from your audience. This is a fantastic content strategy and I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with it and see a variety of benefits when you approach blogging in this way.