Top 10 Wicked edge tips

Set measurable goals associated with your business objectives

Attempting to be a Top 100 blogger in 6 months is a daunting task and won’t necessarily enhance your business.

  • Choose achievable targets that contribute to your business. Be as specific as possible. For example, write 2 articles per week that answer a customer question. This is the Marcus Sheridan approach: “They ask, you answer.”

Know your audience

As with any content, it’s critical to understand the people you’re trying to reach so that your posts resonate with them and keep them returning for more. To this end create a targeted persona for your blog.

  • Ask new subscribers for input regarding their pain points. I borrowed this tip from Derek Halpern. If someone registered, they’ll love you’re asking for their input. Try to respond to these emails. They not only help you understand your audience but also provide ideas for posts.

Select your blog topic with care

Since you need to focus your blog content, the more specific your niche, the better.Your blog shouldn’t be the Wikipedia of your category.

  • Assess your market to see where there are untapped opportunities. This can be difficult for newbies to do. After you’ve gotten the hang of blogging and know your topic, you can step back and refine the focus of your blog.
  • Evaluate your URL. This is your blog’s address. Is it memorable and how does it work with your company or brand names? Is there value to some of the newer top-level domains?

Invest in your blog

Many bloggers start with a great burst of energy then quickly burn out. Your business blog requires resources both human (including content creation, copyediting, promotion and technology) and financial. Neil Patel spends a minimum of $20,000 per month on Quick Sprout.

Choose your keywords based on analysis

Don’t leave your keywords to chance. Integrate your keyword research into your editorial calendar to ensure that you’ve got posts for each keyword and phrase.

  • Use a tool like SEMRush to research your competitors to find the keywords for which they rank. RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary recommends using SEMRush to see keywords, estimated percentage of search traffic from those keywords, cost per click (if you advertised those keywords), and estimated search volume. If competitors gets traffic for these keywords, write  better content to attract some of it.
  • Link to new posts from popular past posts. Part of the strength of a blog post is how it connects to the whole.

Keep your blog post ideas flowing

If possible, don’t leave your blog writing until the last minute. I find that when I start too late, my blog posts take twice as long to write and are half as effective. The average blog post is 800 words and takes 2.5 hours to write according to Orbit Media’s blogging research.

Convince readers to dive deeper into your content

Extend your visitors’ time on your blog by getting them to scan through your entire article and seek other related information on your blog. To this end, make sure that your recommended content stands out.

  • Include links to related content. On the Nielsen Norman Group’s blog, Hoa Loranger suggests using 5–7 related links per article to avoid overwhelming users. Place links at the end of each article immediately after the post. Frontload links with keywords.

Expand your media empire.

Offer your audience content in a variety of formats to expand your reach and build new segments of your audience.

Get involved with your readers

While many bloggers consider comments to be nirvana and others complain about the spam, the bottom line is that your audience wants to engage and get your feedback. Here’s what The University of Queensland’s Dr. Stephanie Tobin found: “[F]eelings of belonging are threatened when users stop generating content or participating online, and when information they have posted does not receive a response from others.” Big tip of my hat to Gini Dietrich; she continues to respond to her Spin Sucks blog.

  • Encourage the conversation somewhere. Blogging powerhouse, Copyblogger, moved their conversation to Google+.
  • Use comment software (such as Disqus) to deter spammers. The goal is to eliminate most spam, but not to prevent conversation. The more challenging the hoops you make your commenters jump through, the less they’ll participate.

Promote your blog everywhere

Like any other form of advertising, it’s important to continually get your message out. Your audience needs to see a promotion 5-7 times before they believe it and take action.

  • Email people you mention in your blog posts. Appeal to their egos!
  • Repromote your older blog posts. Many bloggers are onto the new, new thing. Focus on your best content and where appropriate update it.
  • Include a link to your blog (or latest blog post) in your email signature file. Even better, change this universally for everyone in your firm for all outgoing email.
  • Add a link to your blog to your customer service and purchase emails. These communications go to primary email accounts, not unread folders.
  • Spotlight relevant blog posts on your product pages. The drawback of this option is that it must be done manually. Another option is to add this to your blog publishing checklist.