10 ways to get your blog started through science: writing past the fear of commitment (PART II)
This is the second installment of a two parter. If you haven’t read the first one you can link back to it here.
As a sufferer of ‘general anxiety’ myself, I know how difficult it can be commit to something. And even when that commitment is made, you have to deal with the overlaying fear that your time might not pay off and non of it might be any good.
These posts are meant to be a guide that sift through the overabundant amount of options, and anxiety, when it comes to starting and maintaining a blog.
The first part of this blog post deals with how to start your blog. While this second installment deals with how to write, and keep, a blog for your audience.
Fun Fact: Your mom does not count as a successful blog following-but it’s a start.
- Make a (realistic) plan
2. Pick a platform
3. Have a target audience
4. Pick a blog name
5. Give your title PIZAZZ
6. Debunk conventional wisdom
7. Facts, facts, and more facts
8. Make it relatable and personal
9. Get visual with it
10. Evaluate traffic and what people are interested in
5) Your blog post title MUST have pizazz
Now that you have a title for your blog, you need to get started on your actual blog post titles. You know, the things that populate your sexy titled blog.
So, what do I mean by pizazz? You need a wow factor to pull people in. Something they’ll see and have no choice but to click and read.
You need to stand out from everyone else.
Yes, there are many blog posts about how to start a blog post. But what I did to set mine apart is couple it with the idea that people procrastinate due to the fear of commitment.
Something Stephen King does for his book ideas is take two seemingly separate ideas, and marries them into one story.
There’s a saying that you have three sentences to grab the reader’s attention. In the world of blogs, you have about three seconds. The 80/20 law of attraction by copyblogger is pretty illuminating.
You need to grab the reader’s attention with your title alone. Even more specifically, you have 6 words to catch their attention with. These numbers via KISSmetrics come straight from usability research.
That’s because people on the internet don’t read, they scan. If you need more proof than how you’re currently reading this post, here ya go. Which means, as far as titles go, people tend to read the first and last three words of the title.
So, you don’t only need headings. You also need subheadings and section titles.
Don’t let your blog be white bread. Give it some depth. Make it look wholesome. Make it look full and organized. Make it like whole-wheat bread where you can see the actual grain. Where the proof is in the pudding (ok, no more food metaphors).
Look at how I have my sections listed as numbers, bolded, and each section has a subsection which is also bolded and pull focus to them. It draws your eye to the essential parts and allows you to grasp the primary concept of the post without spending the gruesome 10min it takes to read it.
Still having a panic attack that you won’t be able to compete with the big dogs. Lucky for you, here are 8 ways to choose a blog title that is backed by psychology (that’s mind science):
1. Surprise, “This Is Not a Perfect Blog Post (But It Could’ve Been)”
2. Questions, “Do You Know How to Create the Perfect Blog Post?”
3. Curiosity gap, “10 Ingredients in a Perfect Blog Post. Number 9 Is Impossible!”
4. Negatives, “Never Write a Boring Blog Post Again”
5. How to, “How to Create a Perfect Blog Post”
6. Numbers,“10 Tips to Creating a Perfect Blog Post”
7. Audience referencing, “For People on the Verge of Writing the Perfect Blog Post”
8. Specificity, “The 6-Part Process to Getting Twice the Traffic to Your Blog Post”
When you are finished. Check out how it ranks on coschedule headline analyzer.
It is another post, or several, to delve into where to obtain blog ideas from. But if all else fails ‘steal like an artist.’ Get inspiration from another blog’s titles or rewrite it in your own voice with your own opinion and flare attached to it.
6) Debunk Conventional Wisdom
Did you have any idea that vending machines kill more people than sharks each year? Or, that humans share 50% of the DNA with bananas?
Regardless of how I know this (quick Google search), it makes for compelling rhetoric.
‘Conventional Wisdom’ is just that, conventional. It’s current and typical. You don’t want to be current. You want to be exceptional and memorable. You can’t do that with conventional wisdom.
How many times have you watched Fight Club or The Sixth Sense and jumped off the couch, with dog still in lap, when the twist came. Yep, that’s debunking conventional wisdom. Or what many horror movie fans like to call ‘mind f@*#s.’ Your brain wants to jump ahead, thinking it has everything figured out, only to have to reevaluate everything.
These small but essential facts are essential to bringing people into your blog.
The entire idea behind even having a blog is to help with a problem most people are facing. What better way to fix their problems than telling them a fact about themselves they didn’t even know. Or, better yet, show them a problem that they had all wrong all these years.
Take gum for example. Did you know that gum doesn’t take seven years to digest as most people expect? In fact, it doesn’t digest at all but passes through the digestive tract unchanged until it passes through the body.
So, if you were writing a story about children’s health, and how you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. This would be a great fact to throw out there. These pieces of information will not only stick to people’s minds but also be associated with your article. WHAT?!? Interesting, memorable information associated with your blog. BOOM!!!
But how did you do that? Let’s look at number 7.
7) Facts are your friend
People ask a lot of questions on google. If you asked a question, chances are good that it’s been asked before.
We’re all kids looking for answers. And your blog should have those answers.
If questions are like tortillas (preferably corn), then facts would be the delicious treats that go inside that tortilla to make it a scrumptious taco. You can still eat that corn tortilla by itself, but it’s not as memorable without everything inside of it.
So, be memorable, be reliable, be a source people turn to.
There are two main types of blog posts: opinion pieces vs. factual blogs.
Opinion pieces take a stance on a certain topic, usually for the primary purpose of sparking a discussion.
Factual blogs are usually meant for a ‘buck stops here’ kinda piece. You present the information, the facts to back it, then drop the mic and walk away.
Both can be found on your blog depending on how you are currently feeling or what your writing about.
Heck, if you want to argue semantics, fact blogs can be opinion pieces. It’s all about how you use your facts.
But, if you want any sort of effective post you MUST have some sort of researched facts.
Have no fear; Google is there again for you. Just Google and research away.
8) Make it all about you (but not really)
Whether you admit it or not, when you start a blog you are starting a brand of yourself. You’re saying to your followers (you can call them customers if that makes more sense) that you have something they want. Whether that is your advice, your opinion, or your amazing research and regurgitating skills. Car companies, shoe companies, restaurants, all say the same thing. So when you offer a service, you are essentially offering a brand, and essentially working (to an extent) for a customer basis.
This goes right back #3 on the list: know your audience.
Make sure you speak to them in your voice. It’s what they want.
If they wanted to hear an overly self-involved reporter, they would have turned to The Newyorker. Instead, they are looking for advice and an opinion, from someone who has a unique and relatable voice.
This blog post from The Daily Femme can help you ask a few questions to make sure you’re on the right track with things.
Again, don’t talk in anyone else’s voice other than your own. That’s what this medium applauses, you and your voice.
Nothing to be nervous or anxious about here. It’s all about you. And when it’s about you and your voice, nothing can go wrong. Cause there is no wrong.
9) LET’S GET VISUAL! VISUAL
The Harry Potter films sold far more tickets than its book predecessor.
Duh! You might be thinking.
Good. Then I don’t need to tell you that we’re visual creatures.
A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing.
We show far more empathy and understanding when there are visual cues.
So, it’s not shocking that one of the things your blog needs to succeed is pictures.
- The best way to do this is for every main point you want to hit home to your readers you should incorporate a picture. Doesn't have to be exact, just something that can drive your emotional point home.It can be something as simple as a photo of yourself if it’s an opinion piece. Or, a chart or graph if it’s a more based factual post.
- Every section should have a picture. This allows your audience to visually discern where one idea begins, and another ends.
According to a study by Blog Pros, in 100 of the highest ranking blogs on the internet, there was at least one image for every 350 words.
According to Buffer, people are more likely to read an article that have an inline image to the right or left of the leading paragraph. The pattern looks like this:
And if you still need more proof, you naysayer, I’ll throw some science at ya:
So, if all else goes haywire and you can’t get over the fact that people won’t remember you or your writing, throw in a few pictures to sweeten the deal.
10) Traffic is a good thing
Unless your main goal is to simply write a journal and post it online, you’re going to want traffic to your blog.
The main idea of online traffic is getting people to not only read your content, but to share it.
One of the best ways to do this is to share other people’s posts on your website through SEOs (Search Engine Optimization).
Since there is an entire field dedicated to SEO, you can make it as simple or as complicated as you’d like.
But, if you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is to look at which of your blog posts have received the most likes, views, or shares. This will give you a sense of what people like to read and give them more of what they like.
Again, you are business and a brand, give the people what they want.
All you have you remember here is to give the people what they want. Unless you’re writing it only for you, then give yourself what you want. Whoever it is for, just remember to take some time and look back at what you’ve done, so you can get a glimpse of where you might want to go.
No matter how you might go about blogging, whether that be journaling, researching, opinion pieces, etc. Just remember that it is a personal experience. That is why people read it. They read it for you and your opinions.
And since it is your opinion, there can be no wrong. And when there is no wrong, there can be no anxiety. Just the feel of accomplishment.
So, keep those opinions coming. Cause I know you got a lot of them.