6 Steps to Better Blogging
Let’s raise the curtain on the issue of blogging, shall we?
You know you should write your blog posts weekly but for some reason you feel writing new posts can feel akin to writing essays about the importance flossing.
Am I right? Guess what? You’re not alone. Plenty of authors feel this way.
There are more of you than you might think. Sure, when you look at other author blogs you think to yourself, “Geez. Their blog is great. They must love to write those posts.”
Here’s a little secret. There are a lot of you who detest it. I have a colleague, and she publishes her blog posts every Saturday. By Thursday, I hear her complain, “I have to go home and try to figure out what to blog about next. Sheesh!”
See? You’re not the only one.Learn how to refreshen older content for today's readersClick To Tweet
Step One: Republish Older Content, with Caveats
So, if you’re tired of writing new content, let’s talk about how you can freshen up some old content. I listened to a webinar recently by Ian Cleary of Razor Social, and he suggested republishing older content. Former blog posts that typically work well for republication are pillar posts, posts that are lengthy, popular, and that tend to be evergreen.
Look at a post from the past and:
- Change the title.
- Freshen up the content.
- Work on your Yoast SEO plugin to improve your Google ranking further.
- Change the date to a new date of publication.
Create an infographic using an app like Visme. If you’re a nonfiction author, creating an infographics will be fairly easy because you can use dates and data. If you’re a fiction author, create one that reflects a timeline for a novel.
Use SlideShare to upload a PowerPoint presentation for the post.Use SlideShare to upload a PowerPoint presentation to your blogClick To Tweet
Convert your PowerPoint into a video using ScreenFlow.
Step Two: Use Images
Visuals and blogging go together. They’re like spaghetti and meatballs. It’s not fun to have one without the other, right?
Whenever you sit to write a blog post, remember that the images are just as important as the text. Consider the following:
Add relevant images to increase views of your blog @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet and adding colored visuals will increase readership by a whopping 80%.
- Want to sell more books? Consider purchasing a book trailer, and if you’re a nonfiction author, create tutorial videos and upload them to your YouTube channel. Or if you have a podcast, do what Joanna Penn does. Record the interview as a video in additional to an audio broadcast and blog post, and upload the video to YouTube.
- Don’t forget that while images will increase views on Facebook, videos will bring you even more engagement.
- Adding more than one image to a blog post will increase social shares.
In a post last year on Forbes, Jayson DeMers wrote:
Content will demand more visual mediums. There are several reasons why visual content will continue to become more important. Wireless connections and Internet speeds continue to increase, giving people more capacity to access images and videos even while on the go. The written content market continues to become more saturated, leaving users with a higher demand for more visual forms of content. And users are becoming increasingly impatient, needing faster and more instant forms of communication. The result is a much higher demand for videos and other visual forms of content well into 2016.
Include at least one image for every blog post your write. Be sure you brand it, too, with your name, your blog name, your website URL, or your Twitter handle. Just decide on one type of branding, and stick to it.Content will demand more visual media Click To Tweet
Step Three: Find Copyright-Free Images
Unless you have a large budget, you’ll need to find images that are free of copyright issues. Here are my go-to sources:
- Negative Space
- Polar Fox
- Travel Coffee Book
- Morgue File
- Death to the Stock Photo
Step Four: Learn How to Use Apps Like Canva
I use Canva — an online image creation tool – because it makes me look good, it’s free, and it’s easy to use. Here’s a mini-course on how to get started.
Go to Canva.com and sign up for the free version.
Let’s say that you want to create an image for a Facebook post. Select the Facebook template, select a background image or add the code for your brand color, and select a text template or one of Canva’s free layouts.
Canva also provides text templates. You can select your font and point size.
And it provides collage templates that you merely need to add your images to.
You can also purchase low-cost images from Canva or select free icons and grids from its Elements store. Visuals you can create with this online tool range from book covers to banners, and headers, to business cards, letterhead, and Tumblr graphics.
To create a book cover, go here. Canva has a 23-second video available to guide you. Select a photo with a template or upload your picture and decide how you want to organize the text on the cover. Within a few minutes, you’ll have your book cover.
Here are some of the images I’ve created for my blog:
Step Five: Compress Your Images
Let me share a secret with you. (I started doing this a month ago and paid to have all of my website and blog images compressed.) After using Canva, you’ll need to compress the images. If you don’t, they’ll slow your load speed on mobile devices. I use one of two tools, depending on my mood. Here they are.
Step Six: Work the Headlines
I never publish a post without testing it on the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer, developed by the Advanced Marketing Institute. It’s been my go-to tool for at least a year.
Here’s the scoop on this headline tool:
This free tool will analyze your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. As you know, reaching your customers in a deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects.
Your headline will be analyzed and scored based on the total number of EMV words it has in relation to the total number of words it contains. This will determine the EMV score of your headline.
In addition to the EMV score, You will find out which emotion inside your customer’s your headline most impacts:
My advice to you is that you use this tool with every post you write. Try to get your score as close to 50% as you can. It won’t be easy.
First type the headline you want to use here:
Next, select a category and click the submit for analysis link.
Then start testing headlines. I used what I considered a bad headline to demonstrate this first example.
I entered this headline for another test:
The analyzer offered this advice:
This score indicates that your headline has a total of 30.77% Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Words. To put that in perspective, the English language contains approximately 20% EMV words.
Then I tried this headline next. I included a question mark after the word blog, but the analyzer didn’t show it in this screenshot. The test headline read: Don’t Want to Blog? Try These 6 Steps.
This is the analyzer’s advice:
… for comparison, most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines.
Finally, I reached a score I liked:
However you talk yourself into blogging every week, do it. With each week, blogging will become easier, more natural, and quicker to accomplish. Also, blogging will enable you to connect on deeper levels with your readers, help you to learn more about them, and raise your blog and website’s SEO (search engine optimization) results.
Most of all, I hope this post motivates you to enjoy blogging more and get better results.
Want to learn even more about blogging? Get my ebook, Blogging Just for Writers.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.