Every time you publish a blog post, what do you hope for? That it becomes successful, gets more than a handful of shares and really strikes a chord with your audience? Of course!
That’s what all of us want, right? But most of the time, this is not what we end up getting. Some posts do better than others. Some don’t do well at all.
While you can’t control how well your blog post will perform, you can certainly take a series of steps to make sure that it performs to its full potential. In other words, you can prime it to become successful.
Here’s how ..
Things you must do before you start writing
- Plan your post in advance
If you start writing your post without any direction you want it to take, you will go nowhere. It is far better to start off having a clear purpose in mind – what is it that you want to convey in your post?
Create a simple outline before you actually start writing your post. Write a headline that sums up the idea of your post. This is your working headline.
Then jot down your main ideas you want to convey and write down the subheadings. This way, you won’t spend tons of time searching for information that may not support your post or won’t make the final cut. You are also not likely to go off on a tangent when you know your end goal.
- Try to write about something ‘new’
By new, I don’t mean you have to break news on your blog. You can write about things that have already been written about, just make sure you are not doing a rehash of what has been said a million times already.
Come up with a new angle. Present a new perspective. Write a contrarian view of an issue (I love these). Make it fresh. Just by writing in a way that is your own unique style will often do the trick.
- Check your editorial calendar
You just wanna make sure that you are not writing about something you have been writing about for the past 2 weeks (unless you are running a series). Your readers will get sick of reading about the same thing over and over again.
You will also end up repeating the same information quite a lot.
Even if you have your heart set on writing this one, you can schedule it for publishing in a few weeks’ time. Instead, publish or schedule something that gives your readers something you haven’t written about in a while.
Things you must do as you are writing your post
- Include practical tips and action steps for them to take
While it is a good idea to give them the ‘why’, it pays even more to tell them the ‘how’.
People love strategy, but they love tactics even more. Don’t give them just the theory, illustrate what you mean by examples or linking to other useful information.
It is all about making your readers grasp the concept. And nothing works better than giving an example. So do your research and make a list of examples, tips in action or quotes to include. (Notice the tips I have included throughout the post?)
- Really work on your headline and intro
While most bloggers take steps to make their posts readable such as use bullets, sub headings, images and lots of white space to break up the text, they hardly spend any time perfecting what matters the most.
Your headline, introduction and the call to action.
I always keep a headline swipe file that helps me come up with the right headline for my own posts. I suggest you maintain one for yourself.
Work on your opening to engage your readers from the get go. Drive inspiration from others. Don’t forget to add a call to action. Again, look to others, how do they do it?
- Link it to old content
Once you have finished writing and proofreading, it is time to link to older, relevant content on your blog. This will encourage new readers to discover your evergreen content that was published a while back.
For this reason, I keep a record of my blog posts by category, so I don’t have to look for posts to link to every time. I just do a quick search under the relevant category and find posts in next to no time. Try it for yourself. Good for higher search rankings, too.
Things you must do after you publish it
Okay, now you have hit publish on your post. Now what? Is your work finished?
Not quite. There is still some work to be done in the post publish period.
- Share it on social media networks
Share the heck out of your post on your social media platforms you are active on. Facebook, Twitter, Google+. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram? Where ever your peeps are, that’s where you go.
Share it multiple times. It is highly unlikely that all of your readers will be online every time you share it.
And don’t forget to respond once you get some engagement happening. Leave a comment in response to somebody’s comment on Facebook. Respond to a retweet. Say thanks to a repin. Show that you appreciate your readers spreading your stuff.
- Be present in your community
Somebody has taken the time to leave a comment on your blog. What do you do? Say thanks, of course.
Reply to their comment in a timely fashion.
And unless you are getting 100 comments on your blog post, take your time to respond to all the comments. Don’t leave people out. Even a simple thank you speaks volumes. This is the way to encourage people to leave comments, believe it or not. A reader who gets an acknowledgement from you is much more likely to leave a comment again and share your content as well.
- Reach out to an influencer
This is something that most people never think of doing. And you might not want to do it for every single post, fair enough.
But once you write you best post yet, the one that is truly a masterpiece, reach out to an influencer or two, in your industry and ask them to share it for you.
I have done this successfully with people like Jon Morrow, Copyblogger and Carol Tice – the bigwigs in the online content marketing and writing niche.
Send out a brief email and ask for a share. It’s easier to get a response if you have some sort of relationship with them (leaving thoughtful comments on their blogs count as almost all bloggers read all the comments obsessively even if they don’t respond to every single one of them).
So there you have it.
Keep putting all these tips in practice and you can’t go wrong.
Here’s to your next post going viral …