Part 2 of my Mini Blogging Series: How to Start a Successful Blog. In this post I will cover how to create great content that people want to read and share.
Last week, I posted How to Start a Successful Blog, Part 1, and received a lot of praise and positive feedback. But, as you may have guessed, I didn’t cover everything. Blogging is a learning process, equivalent to a college degree– in my opinion. I have spent hours and hours reading posts and forums, watching videos on Youtube, pinning helpful posts on Pinterest, etc., and have yet to scrape the surface of blogging in its entirety.
But, I have gained a lot of knowledge through my short yet challenging blogging journey, and I am more than willing to share what I have learned with you! Last week I went into detail about how important it is to have a reliable hosting service like Bluehost and setting up a theme and blog header that represents you and the brand you plan to build.
This week, I want to talk in depth about how to create great content that people want to read, engage with, and share. That’s why we all do this right? We want people to ACTUALLY read what we have spent precious time creating, admire and share our photos, and reach out to us with their feedback. So, I’ll share some of the statistics I have found and what has worked for me.
How Long Should a Blog Posts Be?
This seems to be one of the most debated topics in the blogging world. Experts in blogging and social media, like Neil Patel from Quicksprout have done a lot of research, and there still isn’t a definite, clear-cut answer on how many words you should write per blog post. However, some things can be agreed on.
- Posts that have 1500 words or more rank better with Google. The highest ranking pages typically fall in the 2000-2500 word range.
- Longer posts receive more shares on social media and more link backs from other websites and bloggers.
- Shorter posts typically generate more comments and instigate discussion among readers.
- Shorter posts are more easily and thoroughly read.
BUT, these facts still don’t answer the question “how long should my post be?” So, based on my own experience of writing articles and reading other peoples’ articles, I will give my rule of thumb. All Posts (yes, I’m being bold and saying ALL) should be at least 300 words in length. This is the length that Yoast SEO recognizes as being sufficient for search engine crawlers. In general, my best and most viewed posts are generally between 700-1000 words. I think people often get bored after 1000 words and feel like the post is missing something if it’s less than 500-600. So my sweet spot is about 800-900 words.
But, as you will find if you do your research, the majority of blogging experts agree: if you can say it in 200 words, do it. If it takes 2000, do that.
In the end, I think a lot of it comes down to practice, experimenting, and really paying attention to your audience. What does your audience like and respond to best? Once you know the answer to that question, all the research and statistics don’t matter; your audience and their preferences matter.
How Do I Get People to Share My Post?
Check out my post on How to Boost Your Blog Traffic Overnight!
This question ponders bloggers. You sit down, drink a big cup of jo– or wine, whatever, brainstorm the perfect post, publish it, andddd nothing. You have gone over your post a hundred times, used the thesaurus to spice up your vocabulary, checked all spelling and grammatical errors. What the hell is going on, right? How do you create great content that people want to share?
Have Visible, Working Share Buttons
Look at the lefthand side of this post. See the big, brightly colored share buttons? Those babies are there for a very specific reason. You don’t want people to have to go searching for your share buttons, or worse, force them to copy your URL to share you post. Not only do Share buttons make your content more convenient to share, they also can establish credibility within your niche.
If you are using WordPress, as suggested in Part 1 , there are a ton of Social Media Share Plugins. I personally use SumoMe and can say they have a great, easy to navigate interface. They have a lot of options for customization, and I have yet to encounter a technical problem with their plugin.
Create Interesting and Shareable Graphics
According to Social Media Examiner, photos are the most shared content on Facebook, accounting for 75% of shared content on Facebook pages around the world. The same article notes that Retweets increase by 35% when a photo URL is added.
So what should you take from this?
The photos you tie to your blog post rank right up there with the actual content, so you need to create visually appealing photos. I discuss this in great detail in my post about How I Doubled my Pinterest Following in 4 Months.
If you don’t have a DSLR camera, that’s okay. If you haven’t received a degree in photography, that’s okay. You can still take and create beautiful images that people want to share.
Tip #1: Add Text to Your Main/Hero Image: If you want people to share a recipe post about the most killer brownies ever, add a photo of your brownies with a text overlay that reads “Most Killer Brownies Ever”, or whatever strikes your fancy. Make it legible. Don’t cover the entire picture with text. And finally, add a nice watermark. You can do all of this through a free to use website like Canva or PicMonkey.
Tip #2: Get a Few Free Image Editing Apps on Your Phone. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, there are countless photo editing apps available for free. Photoshop Lightroom, Aviary, Layout by Instagram, VSCO, Snapseed, and Darkroom are just a few of the FREE apps available.
Tip #3: Use Bright Colors. When styling your photographs, think colorful. People like color and are more likely to share a photo that has multiple colors instead of a monochromatic scheme. Extra: Reds and oranges outperform blues and greens in Pinterest.
Tell a Personal Story
I’m not talking about the narrative you wrote in 7th grade. You want to really dig deep, be transparent, and allow people to connect with you. Sometimes that means being vulnerable and showing your weaknesses. Other times it means being a bit boastful and sharing your victories. People connect, and therefore share content that they can relate to.
Even if it’s a recipe post, include something personal. What’s the story behind the recipe? Does it take you back to a childhood memory or have ties to a special friend or family member? There is always a way to incorporate a personal story into a post.
Join Blogging Groups on Facebook
If you haven’t become a member of at least a few Facebook Blogging Groups, you are missing out my friend. These groups are there for syndication, aka sharing. Let me warn you, you can’t be selfish or greedy. You have to be willing to reciprocate and be a member of a blogging community. If that sounds like something you can do sincerely, I suggest you join some groups. It’s EASY!
1. Go to Facebook. Go to the Search bar at the top of the screen and type “blogging”. You can also search for your niche: fashion bloggers, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, etc. This will generate a list of results.
2. Click “See all results for Blogging” at the bottom of the search list (seen in screenshot above). This will take you to a page that shows all the results for the given word your searched.
3. Click Groups. Along the top of the screen there is a banner with different categories. You want to select groups.
6. Read Descriptions and Join Groups. Some groups are closed and some are open. Read the description carefully to make sure you get a general understanding of the group’s purpose. Some have certain days for sharing and content to specific social media channels. Some have open walls where you can freely post your new posts, and other have much tighter, stricter rules. Just try out a few, and if they aren’t a match you can leave them later on.
7. Be Active in the Group. Be an active and productive member of the group. Be sure to share and comment on other peoples’ content. Create great content and add your links where they are appropriate and reciprocate by clicking on others’ links. It’s really that easy, and it’s a great way to make new blogging friends and get good advice.
Lastly, Set up Your Social Media Channels and Be Active
THIS IS HUGE! When I very first started blogging, many many moons ago, when blue eyeliner was hot and twerking hadn’t been invented, I had no idea how important it was to be on social media. I thought it was all about creating great content with lengthy posts and colorful quote pictures. Social Media is like the appendages of your blog. Your content is the heart, but your social reach is where the magic happens.
I suggest getting set up with a Twitter Account that will be primarily used for your blog. You will follow other bloggers, brands, writers etc. from this account. Tweet your own content and retweet relevant content from other people in your niche. While Twitter doesn’t rank anywhere near one of my highest sources of traffic, it is vital to my presence as a blogger. I have networked with other food bloggers through Twitter and have established relationships that lead to Group Board openings on Pinterest through Twitter.
Next, you NEED a Pinterest Account that is beautiful, inviting, and built for marketing. If you haven’t yet, go check out my post on How I Doubled My Pinterest Following in 4 Months. I spent a lot of time creating that post and trying to add in every detail of how I grew my following and saw an increase in traffic. Pinterest is currently my biggest referrer for traffic, and it has brought in a lot of loyal readers and subscribers. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Pinterest or Tailwind, which is the lifesaving service that automatically pins for me at certain times of the day, and has saved me hours upon hours of work each week. If you want to get serious about your Pinterest Game, I highly reccoment Tailwind. It’s user friendly, affordable, and will give you a ton of exposure to your pins and blog.
Lastly, you need to create a Facebook Page for your blog. You want a place for people to get in touch with you easily, and a place to share your content where it can be tracked back to a page people can like and then receive updates from.
You are more than welcome to branch out and explore LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, etc. You can use all of these social media channels if you choose. My one suggestion is that your focus in on one and make it your baby for a few months. Spend extra time there to grow your following, get to know your audience, and find what works best for you.
I hope you found this post helpful and that you will go on to create great content for your blog. I also hope that you come back and share those posts with me so I can read them. If you missed it last week, be sure to check out my post on How to Start a Successful Blog, Part 1, where I outline how to start a blog from scratch and what resources you need to get going.
Come back next week for more Blogging Tips.
Until then, come catch up with me on Social Media.