How Blogging Can Be A Lot Like Walking the Dog

Frances Caballo - Blogging Just for WritersI was out with my dog Dixie the other morning, and I thought about the similarities between my walks and blogging.

Stay with me for a minute.

Sometimes when I walk my Labrador retriever, I let her stop and sniff as often as she likes. Other times, I’ll let her stop and sniff during the first 15 to 20 minutes of the walk but then set a faster pace, during which I don’t like to stop.

Obviously, sometimes a walk is all about my desire to get in some aerobic exercise. It’s not a fact I’m proud of, but I rationalize it by telling myself that the dog isn’t supposed to be in charge of the walk (or so a dog trainer once told me) and I do need to get my blood pumping.

Then again, it’s my dog’s only chance to get out of the house and the yard.

Let’s get back to blogging.

When you write a blog post, are you writing something that your audience wants or needs to hear? Are you answering your audience’s questions or helping your audience learn something new or interesting? Or, are you simply writing an article that meets your needs, which can be as simple as “getting something out there” because someone said blogging is good for SEO.

In you are still new to blogging I recommend you read this post by HubSpot, which provides an easy formula or template to follow. Even if you’re not new to blogging, you may find their suggestions helpful.

Now let’s talk about your audience.

Frances Caballo - Blogging Just for WritersHow to Write Blog Posts Your Audience Craves

Unlike HubSpot’s template, there isn’t a formula for knowing how to reach your audience with your blog. It takes work, patience, experimentation, and perseverance. However, I can suggest these tips:

  1. One way to find your audience is to read blogs written by authorities in your niche. But don’t just read them; leave comments as well. As you build a relationship with these experts, pitch a guest post to them. The more often you write guest posts, the quicker your subscriptions will grow and the faster you’ll expand your audience.
  2. Use Survey Monkey to ask your readers what they most want to learn from you through your blog.
  3. Then there’s the issue of length. Some say blog posts should be brief; others say they should be at least 1,200 – 1,800 words. Seth Godin, a master blogger, doesn’t abide by any of these rules. What I’ve learned is that there isn’t a correct answer. Write posts that most appeal to your readers in topic and length. You’ll know that you’re reaching your audience by the comments your readers leave and the retweets you receive.
  4. Use visuals. Our brains can process visuals much faster than text and images provide a break in the blocks of text, which is a welcome relief for our eyes.
  5. Think about expanding into podcasts and videos. People love to listen to podcasts while they travel to work.
  6. Each time you write a post ask yourself, “Will this post serve or help my audience?” Think of just one member of your audience and write a post for that person. Imagine what that person tells you he or she needs to learn and write a post as your response.

Consistent blogging isn’t easy. You need to commit to the task, stick to your posting schedule, and stretch the boundaries of your skills. Read posts on the blogosphere, continually further your education, and strive to learn as much as you can about your audience so you can better meet its needs.

New to blogging? Check out my eBook, Blogging Just for Writers.

Further Resources:

3 Essential Tools for Writers: Marketing, Twitter and Blogging

Blogging and Social Media Tips for Writers

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 Photo Credit: Geralt via Pixabay

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