This is the place where the rubber meets the road. You can have a perfect niche picked out and a prime domain – you might even have a theme other bloggers will be envious of.
But if you don’t know how to create content that helps you convert your blog into a profitable platform, then you’ll be wasting all of your time and energy. Let’s put your fears at ease right away, though…
Nobody is expecting you to have a PhD in your niche topic. They want help. They want camaraderie. They want to be welcomed into a community on your blog where their participation is valued and their leader is there to serve.
Some newbies like to mimic certain guru bloggers who sell products about automating the entire blog process. That’s one route you can take. You can even convert that way – at a 3-7% conversion, so you need massive amount of traffic (which usually takes deep pockets), and a huge list to make that 3% conversion rate worth it.
On the other hand, you have the option of building a reputation as a true leader in your niche – someone helpful and available to his or her readers. Bloggers like this routinely convert at 30-40% because their audience trusts them so much.
What Length Should a Profit-Pulling Blog Post Be?
This is a common question newbies have because they hear conflicting advice. Some gurus say “no less than 300 words” while others say, “only 800-word blog posts will perform.”
And some give an answer like this: “whatever it needs to be.” Those conflicting accounts often paralyze new bloggers because they want to do everything in their power to appease the search engines.
The best thing you can do for your blog is to write specifically for human readers, but add a dash of common sense SEO to the mix. Your blog post should be long enough to feel valuable and well thought out. But it should not be so long that people don’t have time to read it.
The answer “whatever it needs to be” is most in line with what Google and other search engines are looking for these days – in addition to human readers. Good content gets shared easily – and people engage on the blog post in the comments’ section.
Those are qualities search engines are looking for in the new world of SEO. They don’t want to make sure you use a 3% keyword density, but instead want you to have common sense enough to let the reader know what your blog post is about.
So a blog post titled, “Finding the Rainbow” isn’t nearly as effective as “7 Stress Relief Tips to Create Peace in a Storm.”
After using a keyword phrase in your blog title, yet still making it interesting and intriguing, you want to write for the reader. If you’re writing well, the phrases will come naturally and you’ll automatically be using wording about stress relief.
The blog post needs to cover your topic in full. Does that mean you should write an entire eBook about it in one sitting? Of course not. You can give small levels of tips without getting too in-depth.
For example, in a “7 Stress Relief Tips” blog post, you might list using aromatherapy as one tip and give a paragraph or two about what it is and how it works to alleviate stress.
If you wanted to, you could write hundreds of pages of details about aromatherapy – all of the various essential oils and blends you can use, how it can be used around the house, etc.
But that’s not what the purpose of this blog post is – it’s to give your reader a short(shorter than a book, longer than a Tweet on Twitter), list of ideas that he or she can quickly and easily digest.
Which brings us to proper formatting. No one wants to land on a blog and see paragraphs that are 30 lines deep. You will lose readers instantly. They need to be able to quickly read and absorb the information without getting lost.
So try keeping your paragraphs short, just as this guide is going for you. And use subtitles to break up sections of your blog post. You’ll learn more about that when we talk about outlining your post.
All of the discussion about length is basically common sense. Think about what you as a reader would expect and hope to see if you were looking for information on a topic.
Would you want one paragraph that simply said, “If you’re looking for stress relief, you can try the stress relief supplements sold on Amazon that cost $9.99. Everyone says they’re good for stress relief.”
But some bloggers do just that! You really want someone to talk a little about their experience and a lot about your needs – and then guide you in what’s out there to help.
One thing to keep in mind is to write for your reader as if one of your good friends or family members contacted you for advice. Show your readers the same courtesy you would for those you care deeply about and they will reward you with a high conversion rate and the deepest loyalty.
Research What Your Readers Want
The first thing you have to do is find out what your readers even want to know. Knowing your niche doesn’t automatically clue you in on this. This research will be good for long-term organization of your site (you can rotate topics), but it’s also good when you sit down to write one day and can’t think of a good topic.
There are different resources at your disposal.
Keyword tools are a good place to start. You can go with a paid tool like Market Samurai, but you don’t need to. You can use Google’s Free Keyword Planner or a site like Ubersuggest.org.
So let’s use Ubersuggest as our example keyword tool and let’s use the stress niche as our example niche. Obviously, you know people want to know how to sure stress, but blog posts need to get more detailed and specific.
Don’t just search for the main word “stress.” Tack on other words that are parts of a sentence, such as:
* Stress that
* Stress from
* Stress due to
Those help you see what phrases people are typing in. So using the first one, I might find the following topics:
* Stress that causes stomach problems
* Stress that lasts a long time
* Stress that causes physical pain
* Stress that causes hair loss
* Stress that makes you fat…and so on
So you might hone in on one of those topics – let’s take “stress that causes hair loss” as our example. Now you research that more. First, go to Google and type in (without quotes) “stress hair loss” and click the News tab.
Here are two articles about it:
Jot down anything you see that might make sense to cover. For example, in the Deccan Herald articles, I might jot down yoga and meditation. In the Fox News article, I might jot down “dying follicles.”
Use the same process to find other blog topics. Start broad with the word stress and then see what the news delivers. You’ll find things like the stress-headache connection and how teens currently experience more stress than adults report.
Use other people’s blogs to see what topics you might want to cover. Use Google, but instead of click on News, click on Blogs. Here, you’ll find topics like how professional stress affects relationships.
Forums provide a wealth of research for bloggers. In Google, type in stress forum and you’ll find forums where real people (your target audience) are discussing their needs. You can simply look at the thread titles and find things like stress over working long hours or stress apps for smartphones.
Social media is another resource. Hashtags and even common conversations on social media sites – as well as groups and communities – can be helpful to you.
On Facebook, look for groups and pages that are all about your topic. If you searched Raw Food, for example, you could find dozens of groups on that topic. Visit them and see what they and their members are talking about.
On Twitter, do a search for both “raw food” and #rawfood – some people use hashtags and others don’t.
On G+, do the same – with and without hashtags. Join the communities discussions this topic an circle your potential audience. They’ll usually circle you back and then you’re on your way to an engaged audience who will see your blog post links.
And don’t forget YouTube. Simply typing raw food into this social network gives you great ideas – and many people use it as their search engine of choice, bypassing Google completely!
Don’t forget to look in the marketplace, either. Go to Amazon, ClickBank, Barnes and Noble and JVZoo and see what people are buying according to the bestseller lists.
Look through the table of contents for ideas on topics to cover. That does not mean copy the author. That means if you see salad dressings in the table of contents and you’d never thought about that, add that to your list of topics to cover. Don’t read what that author has said and then “rewrite it” – that’s plagiarism.
Slants That Increase Reader Enjoyment
When you find a topic you want to write about, don’t be boring about it. If you want to write about stress relief, don’t be afraid to title the post, “Stress Is Killing Our Kids” when you’re discussing the wave of stressed out teens and how stress affects the body and contributes to heart disease.
Here are some other titles and slants people love to read on a blog:
* How to…
* The ____ Guide to _____
* Numbered lists (Top 10…)
* Case Study (How I…)
* Questions (Are You Guilty of…)
* Teasers (The 3 Shocking Ways You Might Be…)
* Shock (You’re a Thief!)
* Comparison (This Vs That: Battle of the ______)
Curation is a great foundation for a slant. So pretend you’re a curator for a museum. Your director tells you to put together an exhibit about the Titanic. You can’t just say, “Titanic Exhibit.”
It needs a slant. Maybe it would be “The Story of the Titanic Survivors” or “Luxuries of the Titanic.” You want to do the same for your blog. With curation, you’re pulling in information from all over the Internet, but putting it under the umbrella of a certain theme or slant.
Let’s say you’re in the cooking niche. You might have a slant for a blog post that talks about How to Cultivate an Elder-Friendly Kitchen. You could pull in product recommendations, add tips, and include stories about the elderly and how they have nutritional problems when they reach an age where cooking healthy meals (or affording them) is less feasible.
You might interview or get a quote from someone who runs a “sandwich generation” blog about how to turn a family’s kitchen into a safe place when their aging parent moves in.
Don’t be afraid or timid. This isn’t where you need to pander to the masses – in fact, be proud of the stance you take to weed out your non audience.
Use strong words. Don’t say dislike – say hate. Don’t say enjoy – say drool over. Use buzzwords like Easy, Fast, Simple, etc. And shorten the title as much as possible.
Instead of saying, “How These Top 10 Kitchen Accessories Can Help You Save Time and Money,” say this:
No Time or Money? 10 Kitchen Gadgets That Help
Outline Your Blog Post
Once you have a slant or theme for a post, take time to outline it. This will ensure your blog readers get a thorough lesson. It helps you stay on topic in the blog post (some newbies tend to get scattered) and it helps you write faster once the content creation part arrives.
You do it just as if you were writing an eBook. Create it in a logical order. Start with a simple brainstorming session, and then do research just like you previously learned.
So if you were blogging about How to Stop Stresses and Losing Your Tresses, you might cover the following topics:
* The stress and hair loss connection
* People usually treat the symptom and not the problem
* Aromatherapy for stress relief
* Massage (not just for stress relief, but follicles, too)
* Sleep for stress relief and less hair loss
If you want to, take each one of those and turn it into an outline. For example, under aromatherapy you might jot down the best essential oils for stress relief or the ways it can be dispensed. Or both!
Take a Stance
The worst thing you can do as a blogger who hopes to make money is be too bland. People don’t share bland blogs. They share blogs that make them think, that shock people (in a good way), and that deliver entertainment, too!
Make yourself a rule that there will be no fence sitting on your blog. If there’s an issue where people take sides, you’ll take sides, too. That doesn’t mean you have to slam the door on anyone who disagrees with you.
You can certainly welcome all opposing viewpoints, and even engage in dialogue with others to see if you can sway one another. But keep in mind this isn’t a news organization that’s supposed to be unbiased – it’s a human being’s blog – and we usually have an opinion about a controversial topic.
Don’t be afraid of controversy. It can generate a buzz or even just make people come back because you offer thought-provoking topics that don’t bore them. At the very least, it helps you create a fiercely loyal, like-minded fan base. And these are the people who will boost you to that 30-40% conversion rate.
Personalization Is the Key to Bigger Profits
Many bloggers are terrified of putting themselves out there. That’s understandable to a degree. The Internet does have its fair share of trolls. Luckily, this is your blog – not theirs – and you control whose comments get through.
Without personalization, your blog is merely an article directory. It’s meaningless because the words are anonymous – nobody is taking credit for them or showing their audience that there’s a human behind the scenes who cares.
Look at the introduction paragraphs to a blog post. One is written in a sterile manner and the other is personalized.
Sterile: “Do you suffer from stress on a regular basis? You may not know that this is a problem that can cause you to gain weight, lose your hair and even affect your heart.”
BORING! Now try this…
Personalized: “As a 32-year old man, I’m sitting here wearing a baseball cap to hide my bald head. It’s not because I inherited any bald gene. This is caused by an incredible amount of stress I went through recently. I found out that not only does stress cause us to lose our hair, but we pack on pounds and end up with heart disease, too.”
That second paragraph paints a picture of the blogger. It creates a bond with your reader. They feel more at ease knowing you understand what they’re going through.
And what if you haven’t experienced the same thing? You can still personalize it. Maybe you know someone who has, or you simply want to help. You could write it like this:
“I used to joke about pulling my hair out during stressful times, but I recently discovered that some people aren’t pulling their hair out – it’s simply falling out on its own – and I can only imagine how heartbreaking that must make you feel. There are ways to get instant relief so that you stop your hair loss, and even start to grow some back again.”
Use personalization early on in post. Don’t start out sterile. Lead and end with personalization. There is a fine line between making it all about you and empathizing with them, though.
Make sure that much of your post includes them in your story. You can say things like, “I was so ashamed – and you might be feeling that way, too.” Or you might list some possibilities and then out of 5 things they might be feeling, share which one describes you and ask which one describes them.
There are some bloggers who never consider signing their name at the end of their blog. You should always do this. Make it informal, not:
Until next time,
You want them to feel like they’re getting to know you. Most readers of good blogs will tell you time and time again that they know better, but they always feel like the blogger is talking just to them. So write it almost like it’s a personal email.
Know How to Sell without Selling
Part of converting well is in knowing when to make a salesy blog post and when to sell without selling per se. You should always monetize a post whenever possible.
Just learn to do it without that being all that you do.
Whenever there’s a product launch or timely information, it’s perfectly find to make an announcement blog post, like this:
John Doe’s Sales Funnels for Beginners Launch Price Ends Today!
But most of the time, keep it causal and simply offer your opinion and recommendation. This isn’t rude – it’s polite. When you have a friend come in town and they ask you where’s a good place to eat, you don’t say, “Oh there might be some good Italian places…”
You get specific and say, “The best Italian places are down by the shore,” (tip you just shared with them), “but my all-time favorite is Little Italian Inn over on 4th street.”
You do the same with your niche. If you’re blogging about tips on how to measure portions (eyeballing it, food scales, etc.), it’s perfectly helpful to say, “I don’t even try eyeballing it because I know I might cheat – so I use the XYZ Food Scale because it’s the most accurate one I’ve found to date.”
That’s being a good leader, not a spammy marketer.
Managing Your Blog Time
Blogging should be one of your main platforms online. Ideally, you’ll post daily. Maybe even more than once a day. But if you can’t, no worries. You just need to be consistent and regular with your blogging.
You don’t want to post in January and then come back around March to post again. You won’t get any traction that way!
You need to post weekly at the minimum. If an emergency comes up and you can’t post one week, that’s fine – but don’t make it a habit. There are ways to take time off without skimping on your blog duties.
Think of your blog like a TV show. People want to tune in for the next episode. If you make them like you, and then disappear, they will feel let down. Shoot for daily. If that’s not doable, then aim for 1-3 times per week.
Start paying attention to what tasks you spend most of your time on. You will get faster as you go. For example, for the first three weeks, it might take you longer to research. But then suddenly, you get the hang of it and research becomes a breeze.
Does an Editorial Calendar Help?
Some people like to map out their blog topics for the month. If you prefer that, you can certainly use one. There’s even a plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar that you can use on your blog that lets you arrange your posts on a calendar.
Some people prefer to write whatever they feel like writing about, or whatever’s newsworthy that day – and that’s fine, too. You have to find what works for you. You might want a list of topics to use as a backup in case inspiration doesn’t strike one day.
Don’t become chained to an editorial calendar, though. If you have a reader who emails you asking for help or advice, you can take that topic and make a blog post out of it, showing you’re there to help in an instant.
And if you use a calendar, make sure it doesn’t get outdated. You don’t want to schedule too far in advance and then not take changes into account. For example, if you ran a toy blog and scheduled a blog on January 20th for a particular toy – you’d need to be aware that on January 15th, a major recall occurred.
Guest Blogging, Ghostwriting and PLR Options
What happens if you’re not a good writer, don’t have time to write a lot, or just don’t like it? You have options! Guest blogging, ghostwriting and PLR (private label rights) content can all come to your rescue if you can’t create content for your blog – but you’re not completely off the hook.
Allowing guest blogging is when you ask someone (or they come to you) for a blog post to put on your blog that gives them a simple “bio box” that provides a short blurb about who they are and links back to their site.
You can go out and do the same on other people’s blogs to drive traffic to you. Just make sure the blogger is someone whose content you want on your blog and whose opinions you respect.
You can hire a freelance ghostwriter, but you don’t want to just take the content and stick it on your site. You want to edit it for your voice (your style of words) and add your personalization to it. It does cut down on a lot of the research and writing, though.
PLR content is readymade and extremely affordable. You can edit it and put your name on it. The more unique you make it (like by doing a simple line by line rewrite), the better it is for your blog in terms of originality.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed in the beginning. You’ll get better at writing, faster at it, and you’ll come into your own style that feeds your hungry blog audience!