08 January 2014

7 habits of highly effective bloggers

I ♥ My Blog: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers
We’ve all heard of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective” something or other. No matter what you’re doing, there are going to be habits you need to cultivate in yourself in order to be the most effective in that job or task or title. This month, we’re focusing on your title and “job” as a blogger and writer. Here’s a look at seven habits you need to start cultivating in order to make the most of your blog or website!

:effective bloggers know their audience:
In order to be effective, you have to know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. This means that as a blogger, you must constantly be analyzing and reevaluating your audience, and working to meet their needs. If you know you’re writing for people who need tips on how to get published, or how to grow a garden, or how to maintain a healthy weight, then you have to constantly target your writing toward meeting that need. Beyond that, you should also be finding ways to reach your audience: don’t just throw words at them, but engage with them. The more you engage, the better an idea of who you’re really writing for and to!

:effective bloggers create awesome content:
As a writer, you must constantly work at finding great things to write about, and write about them well. I’m not talking about making every single blog post the Magna Carta. Not everything can be the greatest thing you’ve ever written. But you should always be finding ways to make your writing unique, relatable, useful, and engaging. That’s what makes it awesome.

:effective bloggers develop expertise:
To be an effective writer or blogger, you don’t have to know everything about your chosen topic … but you do need to have a good, solid foundation of knowledge before leaping into blogging on a particular topic. Study. Read. Engage with others in your field. Find out all you can about your topic, and weave that knowledge into your content. And don’t be afraid—never be afraid—to share things you’re just finding out yourself! An expert is someone who shares their knowledge … even if that knowledge is relatively (or entirely) new.

:effective bloggers foster curiosity: 
Speaking of new knowledge … Don’t just stick to your blog and make it into a bubble for your existence in the blogosphere. Explore! Go out and see what others are saying. Engage with them. Ask them questions. Quote them. Invite them to guest blog on your site. Networking isn’t always just about employment. Sometimes it’s about finding mentors, or finding great outside sources of information to help you become better at what you’re doing. Learn to be curious about the information, knowledge, and other writers out there; allow yourself to reflect a curious pursuit of knowledge, and engage with those who have something to teach you.

:effective bloggers get out there:
Beyond simply being curious, you also need to work on getting yourself out there. As you pursue blogging or work on maintaining your website, explore opportunities to engage with your desired audience. Whether it’s responding to comments or finding opportunities to be a guest blogger, find ways to put yourself out there for the world to see, and read, and discover. Don’t be shy about asking for an opportunity to share your writing with a new audience. The worst another blogger can do if you ask to be a guest blogger is say “No.” The worst thing you can do as a blogger is not ask. And I mention responding to comments for a reason. Each time you respond to a comment, whether on your own site or in response to a post you found elsewhere, you’re building relationships. That’s a key. Take it, and unlock doors.

:effective bloggers socialize:
For petessake, get on social media. Tweet. Post to Facebook. Ask and answer questions on Quora. Track down and share great articles and Youtube videos. Share pictures on Instagram. Get on Pinterest. If you want to grow your reach and audience, you have to socialize! You may have noticed a theme developing in these “effective blogger” tips: you have to engage to be engaged with. Whether you’re engaging on your own blog or website by responding to comments and answering reader emails, or engaging elsewhere by posting to social media and commenting on that last great article you read, you have to be willing to reach out and talk to folks. Again, it’s networking, and it’s helping to build your audience. It’s also helping you to figure out how you best engage with your audience. The more you engage, the more engaging you are. And guess what? People want to read and engage with people who are engaging.

:effective bloggers are goal-oriented:
This could be the number one habit, but … it should also be a pretty obvious one. If you want to be effective, you have to have goals. Why? Because goals point you in the direction you need to go, and help you to really be productive in what you’re doing. Goals won’t determine the ultimate destination you’ll reach in your blogging efforts, but they will help to keep you on the path as you work to get there. And remember: your goals are constantly changing. You may start off wanting to help a group of people achieve a shared goal (publication, going green, culinary skills, losing weight, etc.). But a year from now, you may feel you’ve achieved that goal, and now you want to channel that into writing a book. Your blogging goals will change as you do. Your blogging goals will change as you achieve them. Keep a constant eye on your goals, and make sure you’re following through on them … and adding new ones as you achieve old ones.

The key in all of this is to find what works, and work with it. Great bloggers know what works … for them. They test and try things until they discover the thing (or things) that works for them, and they run with it. You’ve heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well, blogging is like that. The only trick is: blogging is a mystery machine you have to put together before you know if it works. So put it together. Discover that great idea, that awesome writing style, that perfect thing that will get folks reading and responding to your work … and then keep working with it. The key is, you’re working with it, not growing stagnant in it.

Your Turn: Which of these goals do you need to work on? Are there any goals you would add? Share your thoughts, ideas, and advice in the comments below, and let us learn from your experience!


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4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Khara, for today's Post. I intend to reread it to focus on some points that are applicable to me and my Blog, Flying Pages, (http://donnasfernandez.blogspot.com). Maintaining a consistent and worthwhile blog, as you do, requires a commitment. Time is usually my arbiter––like pulling daisy petals blog/not blog; write/not write; etc.––you get the picture. Again, thanks. I don't always comment on what I read in OLJ, but I appreciate it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Donna. It really is such a major commitment, larger than it seems it would/should/could be! Hopefully 2014 is the year of discovering the "trick of time wrangling," and finding new ways of making it work for, and with us!

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  2. Ditto Donna's comments above Khara, plus these: I've had ideas and a few roughed out blog plans on-tap for several years but never seem to get past a "home" page really. I'm very much with Donna (and others) when she says that "time is usually my arbiter" (or at least that's my usual excuse) even though I realize intellectually that if my time were better organized, it would likely be my ally. So, just as I've decided this is going to be the year I give up making excuses for my lack of productivity, it's also the year I'm going to get my blog up and running...I just signed up for your newsletter and I've had a steady output of submissions going (both contests and straight submissions) since before Christmas, as well as tidying up my record-keeping...so here's to a great 2014 for all of us!

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    1. It sounds like you're off to a great start to make this an awesome year! Good luck to you! One of my biggest "trade secrets" is planning for a month, and writing posts out a week at a time (and editing as I get close to the actual posting date). It's SUCH a huge time-saver, and a way of making sure I get the ideas out while they're fresh and relevant. (Plus if I don't use it right away I have a back-up for a later date.) Again,
      good luck to you in this new year of writing!

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