by Tamela Hancock Murray
Last week, I had a lot of fun reading the responses to my post on men versus women getting ready for travel. I appreciate my husband’s sense of humor in not minding that I posted it, and in reality, I give him credit for taking care of our little family all the time.
In response to that post, I received a private email asking how we built our successful blog. Obviously, ours is only one of many popular blogs written by agents, but this is a great question so I’ll share a few tips I have learned from writing for this blog, reading other blogs, and reading articles about blogs.
1.) Focus. What is your blog about? As readers know, ours is about publishing and we rarely veer off topic. I follow other blogs on publishing, of course, along with theology, Christian living, uncluttering, organization, and other topics of interest to me. I know that each post will relate to the promised topic. Does that mean each and every article is of intense interest, helpfulness, and importance to my life? No. But I appreciate that each blog stays on topic.
2.) Clean. What is your layout? Your readers probably follow several blogs so they may only have time to glance at yours before moving on. Are your posts as tidy as possible? Can readers gather the information you want to impart quickly? Granted, not every topic lends itself to numbered lists and bold font, but imparting information succinctly is valued by time-pressed readers.
3.) Value. Is your information important enough to encourage readers to follow your blog? To give another example, if you are writing a humor blog, is it funny and witty enough? Writing a blog is more than deciding on a purpose. You must be able to provide some sort of value.
4.) Authority. Steve Laube, Karen Ball, and now Dan Balow are each highly respected and as such their credibility lends authority to the observations and opinions that we all express. For example, Steve’s posts on industry developments regarding the B&H Fiction line, the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan merger, and most recently, Summerside, were the go-to articles on the topics for many editors, authors, and publishing executives. Are you an authority on your topic? Why should people read your words and not someone else’s? Or your words in addition to someone else’s? I suggest choosing a topic you know something about and can write many, many posts about to keep people coming to your blog.
5.) Consistency. People enjoy predictability and reliability. I suggest not overextending yourself. Choose a day once a week to start, and stick with it. Never miss a deadline. Then, as you learn to blog, increase your days. Just be sure not to overextend at any point because your deadlines will come on time, every time. Sort of like the utility bill. Be sure you can meet your obligation.
6.) Visibility. What are you doing to let your potential readers know your blog exists? You can have the world’s best blog, but if no one knows about it, no one will read it. I suggest being active on various social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and other Internet places where your potential readers hang out. You may not have time to be active everywhere. For instance, I am not active on Instagram, mainly because I don’t enjoy taking and downloading photos, although I do appreciate lovely photos! But choose at least one or two popular Internet hangouts and be present and active on those.
So, what did I miss? What tips can you offer for a successful blog?
What blogs do you follow? Why?
Do you blog? What has been your experience?