Tag Archive | "post"

7 Steps to Grow a Blog Post

Sometimes it seems like writers are magicians, because we have the power to create something out of nothing. An important…

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Struggling to Finish Your Blog Post? Try This Quick Editing Tip

Publishing content regularly — and striving to improve with each new creation — is a proven way to figure out how to serve your audience and meet your business goals. But I have other things to do besides writing content, and you do too. Recently, I had trouble finishing a draft of a post and
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7 Steps to Grow a Blog Post

Last week I talked about how writers seem like magicians, because we have the power to create something out of nothing. An important point to note about magicians, though: They don’t really do magic. Instead, they study and practice specific behaviors until they can create that illusion of creating something out of nothing. And of
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The Perfect Blog Post Length and Publishing Frequency is B?!!$#÷x – Whiteboard Friday

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The perfect blog post length or publishing frequency doesn’t actually exist. “Perfect” isn’t universal — your content’s success depends on tons of personalized factors. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains why the idea of “perfect” is baloney when it comes to your blog, and lists what you should actually be looking for in a successful publishing strategy.

the perfect blog post length and frequency

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about blog posts and, more broadly, content length and publishing frequency.

So these are things where a lot of the posts that you might read, for example, if you were to Google “ideal blog post length” or “ideal publishing frequency” will give you data and information that come from these sources of here’s the average length of content of the top 10 results in Google across a 5,000-keyword set, and you can see that somewhere between 2,350 and 2,425 words is the ideal length, so that’s what you should aim for.

I am going to call a big fat helping if baloney on that. It’s not only dead wrong, it’s really misleading. In fact, I get frustrated when I see these types of charts used to justify this information, because that’s not right at all.

When you see charts/data like this used to provide prescriptive, specific targets for content length, ask:

Any time you see this, if you see a chart or data like this to suggest, hey, this is how long you should make a post because here’s the length of the average thing in the top 10, you should ask very careful questions like:

1. What set of keywords does this apply to? Is this a big, broad set of 5,000 keywords, and some of them are navigational and some of them are informational and some of them are transactional and maybe a few of them are ecommerce keywords and a few of them are travel related and a few of them are in some other sector?

Because honestly, what does that mean? That’s sort of meaningless, right? Especially if the standard deviation is quite high. If we’re talking about like, oh, well many things that actually did rank number one were somewhere between 500 words and 15,000 words. Well, so what does the average tell me? How is that helpful? That’s not actually useful or prescriptive information. In fact, it’s almost misleading to make that prescriptive.

2. Do the keywords that I care about, the ones that I’m targeting, do they have similar results? Does the chart look the same? If you were to take a sample of let’s say 50 keywords that you cared about and you were to get the average content length of the top 10 results, would it resemble that? Would it not? Does it have a high standard deviation? Is there a big delta because some keywords require a lot of content to answer them fully and some keywords require very, very small amounts of content and Google has prioritized accordingly? Is it wise, then, to aim for the average when a much larger article would be much more appreciated and be much more likely to succeed, or a much shorter one would do far better? Why are you aiming for this average if that’s the case?

3. Is correlation the same as causation? The answer is hell no. Never has been. Big fat no. Correlation doesn’t even necessarily imply causation. In fact, I would say that any time you’re looking at an average, especially on this type of stuff, correlation and causation are totally separate. It is not because the number one result is 2,450 words that it happens to rank number one. Google does not work that way. Never has, never will.

INSTEAD of trusting these big, unknown keyword set averages, you should:

A. look at your keywords and your search results and what’s working versus not in those specific ones.

B. Be willing to innovate, be willing to say, “Hey, you know what? I see this content today, the number one, number two, number three rankings are in these sorts of averages. But I actually think you can answer this with much shorter content and many searchers would appreciate it.” I think these folks, who are currently ranking, are over-content creating, and they don’t need to be.

C. You should match your goals and your content goals with searcher goals. That’s how you should determine the length that you should put in there. If you are trying to help someone solve a very specific problem and it is an easily answerable question and you’re trying to get the featured snippet, you probably don’t need thousands of words of content. Likewise, if you are trying to solve a very complex query and you have a ton of resources and information that no one else has access to, you’ve done some really unique work, this may be way too short for what you’re aiming for.

All right. Let’s switch over to publishing frequency, where you can probably guess I’m going to give you similar information. A lot of times you’ll see, “How often should I publish? Oh, look, people who publish 11 times or more per month, they get way more traffic than people who publish only once a month. Therefore, clearly, I should publish 11 or more times a month.”

Why is the cutoff at 11? Does that make any sense to you? Are these visits all valuable to all the companies that were part of whatever survey was in here? Did one blog post account for most of the traffic in the 11 plus, and it’s just that the other 10 happened to be posts where they were practicing or trying to get good, and it was just one that kind of shot out of the park there?

See a chart like this? Ask:

1. Who’s in the set of sites analyzed? Are they similar to me? Do they target a similar audience? Are they in my actual sector? What’s the relative quality of the content? How savvy and targeted are the efforts at earning traffic? Is this guy over here, are we sure that all 11 posts were just as good as the one post this person created? Because if not, I’m comparing apples and oranges.

2. What’s the quality of the traffic? What’s the value of the traffic? Maybe this person is getting a ton of really valuable traffic, and this person over here is getting very little. You can’t tell from a chart like this, especially when it’s averaged in this way.

3. What things might matter more than raw frequency?

  • Well, matching your goals to your content schedule. If one of your goals is to build up subscribers, like Whiteboard Friday where people know it and they’ve heard of it, they have a brand association with it, it’s called Whiteboard Friday, it should probably come out once a week on Friday. There’s a frequency implied in the content, and that makes sense. But you might have goals that only demand publishing once a quarter or once a month or once a week or once every day. That’s okay. But you should tie those together.
  • Consistency, we have found, is almost always more important than raw frequency, especially if you’re trying to build up that consistent audience and a subscriber base. So I would focus on that, not how I should publish more often, but I should publish more consistently so that people will get used to my publishing schedule and will look forward to what I have to say, and also so that you can build up a cadence for yourself and your organization.
  • Crafting posts that actually earn attention and amplification and help your conversion funnel goals, whatever those might be, over raw traffic. It’s far better if this person got 50 new visits who turned into 5 new paying customers, than this person who published 11 posts and got 1 new paying customer out of all 11. That’s a lot more work and expense for a lot less ROI. I’d be careful about that.

*ASIDE:

One aside I would say about publishing frequency. If you’re early stage, or if you were trying to build a career in blogging or in publishing, it’s great to publish a lot of content. Great writers become great because they write a lot of terrible crap, and then they improve. The same is true with web publishers.

If you look at Whiteboard Friday number one, or a blog post number one from me, you’re going to see pretty miserable stuff. But over time, by publishing quite a bit, I got better at it. So if that is your goal, yes, publishing a lot of content, more than you probably need, more than your customers or audience probably needs, is good practice for you, and it will help you get better.

All right, everyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We’ll see you again next week. Take care.

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5 Reasons Adding a Number to Your Blog Post Titles Increases Page Views

You should add a number to at least half of your blog posts according to a successful small business marketing blogger. What he really means is that list formatted posts, such as 4 Best Ways to Make Money Blogging, 10 Incredible Gmail Tricks and Tips or 4 Best Ways to Make Money Blogging… are extremely effective in driving social sharing which also leads to linking which is great for search ranking.

“Over the past three years, I’ve crafted titles for over 5,000 blog posts and have received over 58 million unique visitors to date,” said Brandon Gaille in a guest post on Google’s Inside AdSense blog. “With that many titles and that much traffic, it’s allowed me to identify what types of titles get the most traffic.”

Gaille has been on a tear over the past 3 years, founding business advice site BrandonGaille.com which now has over 2 million monthly visitors. Galille has since parlayed that success into offering a course called The Blog Millionaire for others to learn how to make millions too. “The overwhelming success of his blog system led Brandon to create an online course to guide bloggers and businesses down the same proven path of success that his clients pay him up to $ 100,000/year for,” said Galille on LinkedIn. There is currently a waiting list to join the course!

5 Reasons Adding a Number to Your Article Titles Increase Traffic

1. Placing a Number Gives Users What They Are Used To!

Call it the BuzzFeed effect, but lists drive traffic and a number in the title signifies a list. It’s really that simple.

“Titles that begin with numbers are proving to drive traffic,” says Gaille. “This is largely due to the increased consumption of users reading list posts more than any other type of blog post. A list post typically has anywhere from seven to forty key points, which are listed out numerically.”

2. List Posts Are Shared the Most on Social

People love to share List Posts on social media like Facebook and sharing can supercharge your traffic. Why not play into the social media game and give them what they want, short, easy to digest sharable content.

3. Odd Numbers in Titles Are 20% More Effective

“Although no one has figured out exactly why this happens, the odd numbered titles get more clicks than the even numbered titles,” said Gaille.

I think it’s probably because it sounds more legit, not made up. For instance, if somebody posts the 10 best ways to drive traffic, people will inherently think that the writer thought of 10 points and stopped thinking. However, if it was the 7 best, it sounds as if these are actually what the author thinks are truly best.

4. People Love to Link to Lists Which Makes for Great SEO

Search engine optimization is driven by links and what better way to get links than to get your content shared on social. So part of your SEO strategy should be to write content that people want to link to and then not only will they link in their own blogs but they will also get the word out by sharing your posts on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and many other places.

5. Gaining a List Site Reputation Will Cause Repeat Traffic

Just like Brandon Gaille has discovered, writing lots of list style posts and including a number in the title gives you traction as a place people want to go. People like simple straight forward easy to read advice and that’s what Gaille delivers. Those who are looking for something to share on social or for inspiration on an article (like this one) find list sites a great destination source.

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Why Your First Blog Post Should Be A “Life Story” Article

One of the key techniques I’ve taught Blog Mastermind members since 2007 is the value of a ‘Life Story’ post or series. In simple terms, a Life Story post is your background story as it relates to the topic of your blog. If you blog about collecting colonial stamps, your…

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3 Cs that Reveal the Quality of Your Blog Post

how to check your content for quality

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of purchasing a diamond, you’re probably familiar with the four Cs that determine its value: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.

As the Editor of a national online publication, I’m faced with the task of assessing the “value” of articles that are submitted to me every day.

The value of an article depends on its ability to resonate with readers.

Any editor will tell you that predicting what will strike a chord with an audience is an inexact science. But, over the years, I’ve developed my own system of three Cs that help me effectively evaluate the quality of an article.

I check for:

  1. Clarity
  2. Continuity
  3. Connection

And the beauty is, you can also use the three Cs to decide whether or not your work is ready to be published.

Let’s break down how to use each of these factors when reviewing your own writing.

1. Clarity

Sometimes I read an article and can’t pin down exactly what the writer is trying to say. What idea is he trying to communicate? If it’s not clear, the writer hasn’t spent enough time creating a precise message.

Similarly, a writer may begin an article with one idea and then veer off on a related, but separate, tangent halfway through the text. We’ve all done it — even me.

For instance, my last post on Copyblogger was about getting comfortable with throwing away your words. In the first draft of that post, I also covered self-editing. Those two ideas are related, but the introduction of that additional idea weakened my main message. In my second draft, I deleted everything related to self-editing to bring clarity back to my primary message.

After you’ve written a first draft, here’s a three-step process for bringing clarity to a piece of writing:

  1. Communicate one big idea. If your article contains two big ideas, save the second one for another piece of content.
  2. Craft a magnetic headline. Your headline must make a strong promise based on your one big idea. If it doesn’t show how a reader will benefit from the article, rewrite it.
  3. Cut extra text. Eliminate every word in your article that does not deliver on the promise made in your headline.

Once you’ve brought clarity to your article, you can move on to the next C.

2. Continuity

This C improves the structure of your article. Now that your headline makes a strong promise and you know the big idea you’re trying to communicate, it’s time to ensure your article takes the reader on a logical journey.

Here are three elements that promote continuity:

  1. State your premise. For example, the premise of this article is that it’s helpful to have a framework to evaluate the quality of your content before it’s published.
  2. Introduce and support your big idea. The big idea here is that measuring Clarity, Continuity, and Connection will help you create high-quality content. Use subheads and bullet points to reinforce your message.
  3. Give readers a payoff. Highlight how the big idea will make their lives better and motivate them to take action now.

In short, your blog post needs to be structured in a way that naturally leads the reader to your desired conclusions and delivers a genuine payoff for them: a big “aha” moment.

3. Connection

This final C is the key to creating an article that readers will be inclined to share. It doesn’t matter how clear your ideas are, how well-structured your article is, or even how informative it might be … if your readers don’t connect with it, they won’t feel compelled to pass it on.

The fastest path to connection is showing vulnerability. The easiest way to get vulnerable? Share a story. It doesn’t need to be long, but the story must be honest — just like my confession above about the mistake I made when writing the first draft of my last Copyblogger post.

Speaking of that post, I told a longer story in that article about getting critiqued by a writing teacher who told me my work was completely vanilla. That made it very easy for readers to feel connected to me because we’ve all had a cringe-worthy experience like that, right?

Use the 3 Cs to transform the quality of your content

The three Cs remind you to remain audience-focused when creating content, and you can use them when you write content for clients as well as when you’re promoting your own business.

They’ll help you produce useful content readers will engage with and share.

What techniques do you use to evaluate your writing?

Share in the comments below.

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Solar Deck Lights and Solar Post Lights




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Solar lights and solar lights bridge post capitalization can significantly improve your deck, patio, stairs or ramp, and improve safety and security around your home. With good planning and good lighting, your deck can easily become a place of calm evening relaxation. With solar, you can turn your average spectacular terrace with a variety of lighting options.

Adding solar energy to its platform is a fast and easy way to increase the attractiveness and functionality of your outdoor space. Through effective solar technology, solar deck lights receive their energy from built-in batteries charged during the day by solar energy, with a built-in light sensor that automatically turn lights at dusk and dawn. Load and operating time varies depending on the season and location, so that increased exposure to sunlight produces and runtime at night.

Step solar lights for safety: A major factor in the design of lighting for your deck is security issues to protect your family and guests. Well lit staircases reduce the risk of slipping or falling. Adding solar lights stage housing for its actions is particularly important when there is any kind of light that illuminates the stairs to his night on the terrace. Solar lights are available in a variety of styles to combine their efforts, and email and sunlamps lanes to improve key areas around the stairs and steps.

Lights down to Ambience: soft lights strategically placed along the perimeter of the roof and the positions will create a warm and welcoming space. Solar deck lights are available in a variety of styles including low profile lights that provide down lighting to highlight your post or railing. This type of design will also create an environment conducive to intimate conversation and shows sophistication.

LED colors to celebrate: Adding colorful lighting to your deck will provide a call for the upcoming holiday. Solar deck lights are available in a variety of colors of LED. With distinctive designs and variety of lighting options on the market today, you can create a dazzling experience the floor of your deck to its highest peak.

Solar lighting Bridge is one of the fastest growing options for improving your outdoor space. There are a number of ways to integrate solar energy into its cover. Start by thinking about where light is needed for practical reasons. Whether you are adding lights to your deck for safety on stairs or installing lights to submit to add a little atmosphere, a wide range of energy efficient solutions they are available to illuminate your covered in style.

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Guest Posting Best Practices From Copyblogger’s Guest Post Gatekeeper

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Many years ago, when I began developing my personal guest posting strategy, Copyblogger sat atop my “Where I Want to Guest Post” list.

Five years later, I achieved my goal.

So, how did I spend the time between making my list and May 23, 2013 when my first blog post appeared on Copyblogger?

Rigorously practicing my writing, of course.

Although I had high hopes of guest posting for Copyblogger during the early stages of my online copy editing business, it was my rejection from Copyblogger that shaped my subsequent guest posting success.

Ironically, it also led me to my current position: Copyblogger’s Manager of Editorial Standards, where one of my duties is, yep, managing our guest author program.

A lot can change in five years. :-)

Rejection is not failure

I had been reading Copyblogger daily for two years before I submitted an unsolicited guest post via email to Sonia Simone.

Since I didn’t have any connections who could make an introduction, I opted for writing a brief and informative email with the completed post attached in a Microsoft Word document, as well as an html version in a plain text file.

It was a long shot, but I thought my post was creative. And the html, which included hyperlinks to other Copyblogger posts, could be easily transferred to WordPress. It was publish-ready, just the way editors like posts.

After two weeks without receiving a response to my all-in-one introduction and pitch email, I used the site’s contact form to follow up.

I’m horribly embarrassed to share the correspondence below, but the rejection helped my writing career grow more than if the post had been accepted for publication.

support-email

The editorial team never contacted me.

I didn’t persist and email anyone at Copyblogger again, but I didn’t give up either.

Without losing confidence in my writing ability, I accepted that my post wasn’t a good fit for the blog. This is when my outlook shifted to viewing the experience as a learning opportunity.

I decided I wasn’t ready to write for Copyblogger. There was more work to be done before the stars would align.

During the Guest Posting Best Practices Authority webinar coming up this Wednesday, October 22, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I’ll be talking with Sonia (yes, the same Sonia I submitted that rejected post to) about finding the right sites for your writing and communicating with editors.

Click here to register for this Authority master class

What is your motivation for guest posting?

Even when it was in vogue to guest post for SEO purposes, I wasn’t interested in using guest posting simply to accumulate links to my website, Revision Fairy.

My objective was to expand my writing portfolio.

In order to build my digital media platform, my writing needed a presence online other than my own site. And through this presence, I hoped to introduce potential clients to the copy editing and proofreading services I offered.

You know, what Brian Clark has been talking about on Copyblogger since 2006: content marketing.

So after the rejection from Copyblogger, my next task was to find a better fit for the content I had written. Who else could I contact? More importantly, what other audience would benefit from what I had to say?

The size of the audience didn’t matter to me. Actually, I wasn’t even thinking about the term “audience.” I was thinking about people — people who could use the content I wanted to produce.

When this single factor drives your guest posting outreach, you’ll always find the best place to publish your post.

The secret to guest posting success

To reinforce the point that my desire to guest post was not about getting links to Revision Fairy, I never even included links to my site within my posts.

Because my posts weren’t about me.

They were about understanding people’s needs and why they visited a certain site. My focus was on utilizing a guest post to help those people by putting the educational information they needed on a website they read.

How could I complement the information already on a site? What knowledge or experience did I have that would add a fresh perspective to subjects discussed on a blog?

In order for an article to be a good fit for a particular site, that site doesn’t necessarily need more of the same information that the site’s regular writers contribute. Instead, the site often needs or wants articles about related topics that demonstrate expertise. In other words: original, useful content expressed through a unique writing voice.

But not too unique. Guest posting success is about striking the right balance. Unique writing is only one part of the equation because websites have established standards. You become a guest in their editorial home, and you need to adapt your presentation accordingly to ensure your text and tone matches their typical publishing style.

After balance, your next key asset is flexibility. A flexible mindset allowed me to think of other interesting outlets for my writing. I became excited about giving those sites high-quality content even if they weren’t the first choice I had in mind.

My first choice was just a starting place.

Five critical components to practice

If you’ve been creating content for your own site for a while, you may write quickly and effortlessly. You may have mastered the techniques that allow you to publish on a regular schedule.

But when you publish on a site you don’t own, you’ve entered new territory. Clear and effective correspondence with a site’s editor is a prerequisite, and your guest post often needs to look quite different from the posts you normally publish.

Here are five factors to incorporate into your guest posting strategy:

  1. Think like an editor. When an editor decides to run a guest post, she’s vouching for that writer. You want your writing to overcome any objections she may have about accepting your content. And that has nothing to do with how nice you are to her in your email.
  2. Limit small talk. Let only the writing you craft display your worth. Professionalism and friendliness are important qualities when contacting editors, but they don’t make up for subpar content.
  3. Don’t mimic. Want to avoid submitting that subpar content I just mentioned? Practice creating new discussions about classic topics, instead of regurgitating traditional advice. It takes time and dedication to fine-tune both your writing and editing skills.
  4. Become a resource. If your guest post conveys information that could have been written by any content creator, the site you submit it to will not likely appreciate it as a special article. But when an editor can only get the content she needs from you, you become a treasured resource. You might even get asked to write again.
  5. Produce stand-alone articles. While hyperlinking to sources is useful, it’s often abused and the result is confusing, unfocused writing. Consider writing your guest post like a print magazine article. When a print article resonates with a reader, she’ll tear it out of the publication and pin it up on her refrigerator with a magnet. She doesn’t need to also attach 15 other articles to complete the text.

The entitlement pit of despair

Again, you can write for your own site all day, every day if you wish, but there’s no guarantee that one of your posts — even if you believe it’s the best content you’ve ever written — is going to be accepted for publication on someone else’s site. The content has to be a match.

When you think like an editor, as suggested in tip number one above, you broaden your perspective and begin to understand the experience of editing a multi-author blog.

If you don’t think like an editor, rejection may offend you and inspire a sense of entitlement.

When you don’t trust and respect an editor’s decision, and follow up with aggressive words — restating your case to someone who has already taken time to review your initial request — you damage your reputation.

There’s a reason why you’ve never heard someone say, “That person was such a jerk to me! I really want to do him a favor now!”

In some cases, editors may request a rewrite if your topic has potential, but let them make that decision.

If you become your own editor, you begin to naturally recognize on your own when a blog post is a good fit for a site and when it is not.

And when it’s not, it’s okay. The text may have great success as part of the content library on your own site.

Study; don’t follow

I like to take the “social” out of “social media.” This nonstandard attitude highlights an aspect of communication many people forget: listening.

How much do you actually listen in social situations and how often do you just wait to talk?

Although Twitter is my preferred social media platform, it’s a space where updates could be reduced to the phrase “I have an opinion about something!” People forget the value of listening.

On Twitter, a meaningless follow with the click of a button or witty @-replies can replace a genuine desire to learn through listening.

When you want to connect with an editor, research should be your first priority. During your exploration of a person or publication, you’ll likely discover a slew of social media profiles.

But don’t casually hit the Follow button on Twitter just yet. If you already follow hundreds or thousands of people, what do you hope to achieve with this addition? Will you actually pay attention to that editor’s updates? Do you think the “follow” will make him or her notice you?

Since I joined Twitter in 2007, I’ve only followed a select group of fewer than 50 people. The individuals on my current list are people who I want to learn from, and I am willing to dedicate time to listen to their writing.

For example, when I followed Brian Clark on Twitter years ago, I wanted to study the educational content he discussed, and I valued his opinion on topics that affected my online business.

Through this process of studying his timeline, I also gained insights about Brian’s taste in movies through a mix of Fight Club, The Big Lebowski, and Pulp Fiction references.

I collected information; I didn’t attempt to force a superficial friendship to serve my selfish ambitions.

So, unless it’s a “purposeful follow,” I wouldn’t suggest following me or any other editor.

I know I have severe opinions about how people use social media, and my view of the best way to use Twitter may be extreme, but I’m tryin’, Ringo …

Guest posting is a communication exercise

It’s a process and a practice. You must accept that you will make mistakes — sometimes you won’t get the results you want. But part of the process and the practice is recognizing those mistakes, regrouping, and pushing forward another way.

The communication exercise is less about what you want and more about finding an outlet that fits your current circumstances. There’s always a form of success waiting for you at your current level.

While you may want to guest post on your favorite website to benefit your business, the effectiveness of any post is always measured by the value it provides for others.

Pitch from this place of serving. When you do, you’ll recognize a variety of possible places to publish your writing.

And your accomplishment is not only publication. You will also gain communication experience and establish working relationships that can reap priceless rewards.

As one of my yoga instructors says, “The practice is the point.”

Practice leads to payoff …

Don’t miss my conversation with Sonia about Guest Posting Best Practices during this Wednesday’s Authority master class at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The webinar is free for Authority members. You just need to register here.

If you’re not a member, click here to try Authority risk-free.

You’ll get exclusive access to webinars just like this one nearly every week of the year, as well as networking opportunities, discounts, and education.

See you Wednesday, October 22 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern!

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Sarah Joy.

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Manager of Editorial Standards for Copyblogger Media. Study her one-word updates on Twitter.

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How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It)

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What does a rough draft of a blog post have in common with all the other blog posts by all the other content creators in your niche?

Too much.

I’m sure you’re aware that there are countless other writers musing about the same ideas you are, and in similar ways.

The goal of a typical first draft is to transform your scattered thoughts into a cohesive article that explains a topic to your target audience. But why should readers choose your content over another writer’s work?

If you don’t take the time to revise your rough draft in a way that shows you are an authority, and that you have a solution that isn’t available anywhere else, they won’t.

To help you narrow down the sections of your blog posts that could use improvement, here are eight common weaknesses I see over and over in drafts that are sent to me for editing.

And, more important, quick and easy ways to strengthen each one.

Weakness #1: You have an undefined strategy

  • You haven’t clearly defined why you’re writing
  • Your content has no purpose
  • You only write when you’re inspired

Do you know any writers who have started blogs and then quit after a short period of time? (Have you done that yourself?)

Don’t make the mistake of writing without a plan. An editorial calendar holds you accountable for your work and helps you produce focused content at a steady pace.

How to fix it:

  • Set goals for your writing before you begin
  • Keep a schedule
  • Accomplish your objectives

Each piece of writing you produce should serve a larger goal that you have for your platform.

Before readers can engage with your work, you need to know the intention behind every word you type and keep this aim in mind as you write new content.

Weakness #2: You make a promise you don’t keep

  • Your headline doesn’t match your text
  • Your advice is not realistic
  • You don’t deliver

Novice and seasoned bloggers alike occasionally get carried away with smoke-and-mirror content — the type of writing that makes big claims without any helpful advice to support the objective of the post.

How to fix it:

  • Start small
  • Know your limits
  • Promote your strengths

You don’t need to claim to have answers to all the world’s problems to attract readers to your blog. In fact, readers enjoy vulnerability. You’re human just like they are, and it’s important to reinforce that notion.

Instead of pretending to be the world’s foremost expert, help the people you can help. Explain your specific expertise in a straightforward way that doesn’t make outlandish assertions, and that follows through on your promises.

Weakness #3: You write generic information

  • Your topic is vague
  • You don’t educate
  • Your article could be written by anyone

When you don’t provide unique, ultra-specific, urgent, and useful content for your readers, they lose interest quickly and won’t remember you.

And if you’re easily forgotten, you don’t get an opportunity to build your reputation and establish authority.

How to fix it:

  • Have an opinion
  • Do research
  • Establish a brand

Writing is hard work. You don’t need me to tell you that.

Effective blog posts require loads of creative energy. They’ll wear you out but also help frame your presence as an impressive online content creator.

Remember that anyone can type words into WordPress; it’s your job to show readers a fresh perspective.

Weakness #4: You don’t use subheads

  • You don’t guide your readers
  • You have long blocks of text
  • You miss engagement opportunities

Subheads are another chance to capture a reader’s attention. How? If your headline doesn’t attract a reader, then a phrase she views in a subhead may change her mind.

Well-crafted subheads are like a safety net. Your readers may be slipping away, but a strong subhead may catch them and bring them back to your message.

How to fix it:

  • Tell a story
  • Write numbered lists or bullet points
  • Add images

Each section of your blog post should keep a reader engaged. Making your writing easy to read is a simple way to hold your reader’s interest.

As you edit your content, break up your text in appropriate ways: you could use strong titles to introduce different sections or a variety of images that complement your topic.

Weakness #5: You go off on too many tangents

  • You lose focus
  • You ramble
  • You imitate another writer

In attempting to make posts charismatic, you may insert too many personal anecdotes that distract readers from your topic.

Similarly, you may love another writer’s style, so you copy their tone and voice. While you may think a certain tone and voice also matches your personality, it may actually sound inauthentic and contrived.

How to fix it:

As you practice writing, you learn that you can’t express all of your ideas in one article. You won’t communicate effectively if you do. You may need to narrow down your objective while you proofread and save extra thoughts for other posts.

Weakness #6: You use too many words

  • Your sentences are too long
  • Your paragraphs are too long
  • Your posts are too long

You’re probably a writer because you have a lot to say and you like expressing yourself. Unfortunately, both of those qualities often serve you, the writer, more than the reader.

Your content needs to be succinct and short-attention-span friendly.

How to fix it:

  • Simplify your ideas
  • Use word limits
  • Think like a reader

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with long-form content as long as every piece of information in the article is captivating and relevant. But if you make your readers strain to comprehend your points, reading your writing won’t be a fun experience.

You can practice writing with self-imposed word limits to help you learn to trim down your text.

Weakness #7: You use trite language

  • You repeat clichés
  • You write boring expressions
  • You present ordinary concepts

One of the negative consequences of using phrases and sayings that are commonplace and overused is that your readers will often misinterpret your message. Your true point often gets lost in translation.

While you think a trite expression perfectly sums up your intentions, it may leave a reader confused.

How to fix it:

  • Get creative
  • Be specific
  • Innovate

Transcribe your message with detailed language. If a platitude comes to mind while you’re writing, jot it down in your first draft; just make sure to refine it when you edit your copy.

Your initial ideas can help you craft unique text that puts a new spin on stale language.

Weakness #8: You have no call to action

  • You don’t offer a next step
  • You don’t facilitate dialogue
  • You limit your exposure

Even if you just wrote The Mother of All Blog Posts, don’t assume readers will remember who you are and stay in touch. Suggest their next move.

How to fix it:

  • Make your intentions explicit
  • Present options
  • Continue the conversation

At the end of your posts, let readers know how to take the next step — whether it’s subscribing to your blog, following you on social media, or emailing you to set up a consultation.

The end of your post is a chance to expand your relationship with your readers by letting them know how you can connect further.

Now over to you …

Which type of weaknesses appear in your first drafts (or maybe even your final drafts) most often?

What is one step you plan to take the next time you edit to fix it?

Let’s head on over to Google+ to discuss the best remedies!

Editor’s note: If you found this article useful, we suggest you read this post next: How to Write 16 Knockout Articles When You Only Have One Wimpy Idea.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Edith Soto.

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is the Associate Editor for Copyblogger Media. She is also the sole proprietor of Revision Fairy — a unique editorial consulting service that helps small businesses with their copy editing and proofreading needs. Stay connected with Stefanie on Google+.

The post How to Spot the Weakest Part of Your Blog Post (and What to Do About It) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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