In the Information Age, everyone wants information immediately and blogs tend to fill that void. Blog posts are great because they’re a low-cost investment, you’re able to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you have flexibility in your postings, and it allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. While everyone seems to be exploring blogging possibilities, how do you make yours stand out and get desired engagement? Here are some best practices to consider:
Establish Your Goal
What are you hoping to accomplish with your blog post? Is it to educate? Inform? Create a revenue stream? Bring awareness? Once you’ve established the purpose, it’ll be much easier to narrow down what kind of content you should be producing.
Identify Your Audience
An important second step is knowing who you’re trying to reach. This is an important next step in determining how best to deliver your content. If your goal is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, it is important to tailor your content to that audience; use the same industry jargon, promote your blog post to those like-minded colleagues, and deliver content that’s going to benefit them in some way.
Choose Your Blogging Platform
You’ve got your goal, you’ve identified your audience, now it’s time to pick a platform to blog on. There are a handful of options and each has its benefits. To name a few:
LinkedIn: Blogging on LinkedIn allows you to target a very specific audience, it will presumably be seen by all of your professional connections, which is why—to be successful on this platform—you need to blog for your LinkedIn demographic. What insight can you share with your audience that they’ll find beneficial, or better yet, something they’ll want to engage with and read? This platform is great to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry. It also provides the opportunity to collaborate with other industry thought leaders, foster dialogue, and foster your LinkedIn connections.
Medium: Medium is an easy-to-use blogging platform that works like a social networking site where you create an account and start publishing your blog posts. It focuses heavily on the content and not so much on the design, which is fairly limited on the site. While you’re able to share your posts however you please, any post that you post on your medium site goes out to their community.
Personal Blogging Sites: Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix are just a few of the many personal blogging sites. They often have free options, but also provide subscription-based options and do offer design help and guidance, which can be beneficial depending on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Personal blogging sites are good options if you’re starting a clean and professional blog as they often provide you with the best combination of features and tools.
Headlines matter. They should be short and to the point, yet interesting enough to entice people to click through to your blog post.
Use a strong photo or graphic along with your post to enhance interest. Remember, this visual will be one of the first things people see when they’re scrolling. Make them stop and pique their interest in your post.
Keep your blogs short and concise. Use the space you need to get your thoughts across, but remember who your audience is, and whether or not they are going to have time to read through a 1,500-word blog post. Use sub-heads, bullet points, lists, and bolding when appropriate. Embedding videos and relevant links can also enhance the user experience. All of these tactics help break up content and make it easier to digest for readers.
Understand that like most platforms, LinkedIn uses algorithms to push content to people’s feed. Posting daily could overwhelm the algorithm, so try starting with one post per week and adjust from there as you start to gather data on your posts.
If you decide blogging consistently is something you’re interested in, look into developing an editorial calendar to map out content topics/ideas. It’ll help you lay out a written schedule of when and where you plan to publish upcoming content. Editorial calendars can also be helpful to organize photos/graphics, provide status updates, and plan any promotion around upcoming posts. It can be as simple as a Word doc or spreadsheet, or you can choose a more robust online tool. Here’s a helpful blog from Hubspot comparing editorial calendar options.
Promote Your Posts
If you want your blog post to be read, you need to share it on as many platforms as you can. You worked hard to create content that people can benefit from, and you should shamelessly plug it. Share a link to your post on your other social channels, with peers, in relevant newsletters, etc. Follow and stay in touch with industry news could also offer the opportunity to share your blog posts with the community.