Why is this timely? Because it’s back to school time in most areas of the country. Even if you don’t have children, or like me, your children are grown, there is still something about this time of year. For me, September is when I make my “new year’s resolutions.” Why? Because in the dead of winter, in January in New York, it’s the doldrums and I have no desire to “kick off a walking and weight loss program” or any of the other resolutions I might make.
In September, the heat and humidity are tempering. In September, I walk into stores and am hit by walls of back to school items and because of my love of all things office supply, I feel a new vigor for blogging, for my walking and weight loss program… for most everything. I usually take the last week of August as vacation, and during that time I give my blog a once over. I revamp and rework my editorial calendar, I truly get back to blogging basics. It is in September that I may roll out new programs or products or even take a new slant on my blog posting routine or even on the topics about which I write.
If you’re ready to load your shopping cart with your favorite pens, pencils, notebooks, sticky notes and other favorite office supplies, let’s all get back to blogging basics!
Renew your acquaintance with your audience. Are you still talking to the same audience you originally wanted to? Do you need or want to change your audience? This happens when your passions switch to a different path or when you simply want to shake things up. If your new offerings don’t suit your current audience, you may need to find a new audience.
Why are you blogging? What is your blog’s purpose? If you have a business plan, you will have written this as part of the overall plan. If you don’t have a blogging business plan, now might be the time to work on one. Bottom line, though, know the purpose of your blog. Here are some options to consider:
- To make money
- To educate
- To build brand awareness and reputation
Understanding the purpose will help you attract the audience who will benefit most from what you have to offer.
Along with knowing your purpose you need to understand what your audience wants. Are they coming to you because they:
- Want to be entertained?
- Want the expert information you have to share?
- Want to learn from you how to do it themselves?
- Love your DIY videos?
- Want to read your lifestyle and simple living tips?
Know what they want then give ‘em what they want!
Now that you know the blog’s purpose and who your audience is and what they want, you should have a written blog strategy. A blog strategy keeps your efforts laser-focused, keeps you on topic and reminds you when you are going to post and how frequently. Your blog strategy can also, and should also, include your social media promotion strategy. Take time to prepare this – it would also be part of your overall editorial calendar when you write it.
- Write a killer headline. It should grab attention and be SEO-worthy and help you get found in a search.
- Your introductory paragraph should give the reader an idea of what will follow in the rest of the post. It lays the foundation for the entire blog.
- The middle of the blog will be where you deliver on the promise you’ve made in the headline and the intro paragraph. It is also where you offer bulleted lists or numbered tips. It’s the meat of the entire post.
- The closing paragraph is where you give it a wrap-up that brings the entire post full circle. It’s the reward to your reader for having stuck with you until the end. It should be the “happily ever after” of the post. Your closing paragraph might include…
- A call to action. What do you want the reader to do now? Comment below? Buy your product? Share the post with a friend? Sign up for your newsletter? Every post should have a call to action that prompts your reader to do something. Don’t leave them hanging!
- If you’re “out of ideas,” which I honestly believe can’t happen, look to blog posts you’ve previously written and repurpose them. Turn a blog post into an infographic or a video or take the ten tips you’ve written and turn each tip into a graphic that you can share on your social media. A “tip post” could be turned into a series of videos, for example. Write evergreen content as a way to help make your blogging life easier. Every September (or in some areas, August) is back to school, rework a post you wrote last September; October is Halloween, look at a post you wrote last Halloween, update it and share it in a different format and viola – new content without a lot of stress.
After you’ve written your post, you need to have a plan for sharing it on social media and helping it gain traction and readership.
Now that summer is coming to a close, are you ready to jump back into your blog with renewed vigor? What steps will you take to do that? Okay, because I am an office supply geek… what is your favorite office supply and why?
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.