3 Simple Ways You Can Improve Your Blog Strategy Immediately
We’re writers, we’re freelancers. We’re wild, we’re free, we like our “fly by the seat of our PJ pants” approach. We color outside the lines. We think and write outside the box.
Strategy is a liney, boxey word. Stifling. Claustrophobic. It brings forth images of business meetings around a long table with a PowerPoint presentation and suits and ties. Definitely not the kinds of things we enjoy, as PJ-wearing, coffee-slugging, non-home-leaving freelancers.
But, it’s essential we become comfortable with it because if we want to keep up as our business grows, we’re going to need a bit of this thing called strategy.
Don’t freak out at the thought, though — it doesn’t have to involve diagrams and math and business and complications.
If you Google the word, you find this: “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.”
Simple! We need a plan.
Let’s look at three ways you can improve your blog strategy, or blog plan, right now.
1. Sign Up For Google Alerts
Yep, yet another Google thing. Google Alerts is a seriously useful tool that saves you time and energy when it comes to finding information online.
In a nutshell, you sign up, choose a few keywords or topics that relate to your niche, and you will receive daily (or weekly) emails informing you of what new content has come up relating to your chosen keywords. It’s like a list of trending, useful information on the topics that you’re interested in.
If you blog about fitness, for example, you might choose words such as “gym,” “fitness,” “exercise,” “muscle,” “fat loss,” and “supplements.”
And voila! — tomorrow you will receive emails for each of these words, showing you pages, articles and talking points relating directly to those words, that Mr. Google found that day.
Now, why should you care? We’re the bloggers, not the blog readers, right?
Well, blogging can’t really be done in an isolated manner. You need to know the information that’s out there about your niche, you need to be knowledgeable about your topics, and you need to know what others are talking about so that you can be sure to produce original and exciting content.
As a writer or blogger, Google Alerts is fantastic as a writing prompt. Take these nuggets that Alerts feeds you, and build on them. Learn what others think and write from an alternative point of view. Write your own take on what’s trending at the moment.
It’s simple to sign up , and you don’t need a Google email account to be able to use it.
Give it a try, and make sure to use this nifty trick to help you out with point number two.
2. Write Too Much
Yes. Too much. Mucho. Unnecessarily. Overkill.
If you’re serious about blogging, you need to know that it requires a lot more effort than it seems at first. To start getting exposure, you need to build a following, and to build a following you need to churn out regular, valuable, original content.
Most people manage fairly well on the valuable and original parts, but the regular is the one that is hardest to keep up with.
Trust me. There will be days when you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed, never mind write an engaging and original blog post. Maybe weeks.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had a little stash of ready-to-go blog posts that you could dive into in these moments? No need for creativity. A few simple clicks and you have an original, exciting new piece of content for your followers, without even getting out of bed.
When moments (or days) of inspiration strike, MILK THEM. Write seven blog posts in a day if you can. Save them for a rainy day.
Got some time waiting for your train? Write a blog post.
Stuck in traffic? Write a blog post.
Waiting in a queue at the bank? Write a blog post.
Having a great day? Write two blog posts. Or three. Or more.
Overdo it now. You’ll be thankful later.
Challenge: Write an article every day about at least one of your Google alerts.
3. Schedule in Advance
I know, I know. There’s that word again. We seem to see it a lot in conversations about blogging. But while the aforementioned “fly by the seat of your pants” way of doing things may be fun for a time, it’s pretty hard to keep up long term.
Not having a plan isn’t a good plan. If you want a successful blog, you need an effective blog strategy.
Once you’ve set up your Google Alerts and written an arsenal of articles (say that ten times fast), you need to sit down and plan your work hours.
How often do you want to put up a new post? Daily? Weekly? The choice is yours, but once it’s made, stick to it. Your readers will start to get a feel for how often you post and come to expect it.
Decide when during your day or week you will post. Schedule it. Set reminders. Do it.
It is a good idea to decide beforehand what you will be posting about on which day. This way, you have ideas and material in advance for those moments when you are inspired to write six posts on the trot.
You don’t need anything fancy, either. Something like this is more than adequate:
Monday 12th June — Time Management blog post (10 am)
Tuesday 13th June — Finding Inspiration blog post (10 am)
Wednesday 14th June — Improve Your Blog Strategy blog post (10 am)
Simple. Easy. To the point.
These steps can be summed quite nicely by three words — research, write, share.
That’s the crux of a simple blog strategy. Nothing scary, nothing difficult. The most important thing here is to keep ahead of things.
It’s great to have a stash of 20 unique articles but if you leave it at that and stop writing for the next month, you’ll have to start this whole process all over again next month.
Stay curious, keep writing and stick to that schedule, and you’ll be attracting new readers to your blog in no time at all.