Having a successful blog isn’t rocket science. You'll hear people talk about SEO and advertisements and word count and on and on but you want to know the truth? Blogging is all about showing up, being consistent, and helping your followers. Easy right? I mean it takes hard work, there’s no denying that, but if you always keep these 5 key strategies as your core, over time you’re going to find yourself some major success.
1. Be consistent
2. Create a content calendar
3. Provide quality content
4. Build trust with your audience
5. Promote your work
When I see people struggling to gain momentum with their blog it’s usually because they are missing one of these 5 key strategies. Lucky for you each strategy is a simple fix and takes being just a little more intentional with what you’re creating and how you’re sharing it.
This post is for people who are wanting to get serious about blogging and are ready to take it to the next level. If you are just writing to write and not worried about growing your blog, by all means, you do you my friend. But what I’m about to share with you will help you gain that momentum you’ve been looking for and help you reach more people, more often, more effectively.
1. BE CONSISTENT
Good news—most successful bloggers aren’t posting a new blog EVERY SINGLE DAY. Instead, they’re creating quality content, consistently and promoting the heck out of it.
At the very minimum, you should post a new blog once a week. I hope you are feeling pretty good right now....I just told you that you can focus all of your energy into creating one really great blog post a week and be a successful blogger!
Now, keep in mind that the more blog posts you create in a month, the more traffic you will get visiting your website. I post 2 times a week, that’s about 8 times a month. But according to this website, sites that published 16+ blog posts a month (about 4 times a week) drove 3.5x more traffic than those that published 4 or fewer (1 a week).
It’s likely in the future that I might work my way up to 3 times a week but for now, 2 is doable for me. And that’s what it’s all about, finding what’s doable for you and sticking to it. Being consistent. Finding your voice and showing up week after week after week and growing from there.
Bonus tip: Be consistent with what days you post your blogs so your followers know when they can expect new content. If they like what you’re saying and know when you’re going to say it (for example, you post a new blog EVERY Tuesday), they’ll be eagerly awaiting your next post.
Bonus, bonus tip: Research says Monday at 11 am is the best time to publish a blog to get the most page views.
2. CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
A content calendar is a way for you to plan out your blog posts ahead of time. You can organize your topics and see exactly what you're going to be sharing with your readers. It's also a way for you to work ahead and write blog posts so that you have them ready to go in your queue.
If you’re struggling to figure out what you should write about and include on your content calendar, I wrote this blog post to help give you some ideas. It references two resources I use to help me if I need some extra inspiration.
A content calendar can be a literal calendar you write in or a document on your computer. I use both. I dump any and all of my ideas on a computer document and I write my actual plan out in my planner. There’s something about grabbing a good ole #2 pencil and marking the days that helps me have a better vision for what I’m going to write about.
I plan my blog posts out a month ahead of time. I have a rolling list of ideas and thoughts and any random bursts of inspiration and then about the 20th of each month, I start filling in what my two posts a week will look like for the next month.
My two blog posts a week aren't just random. Because of the content calendar, I'm able to intentionally choose what topics and blog posts are going to be most valuable for my reader and ultimately make sure that they fit under the umbrella of my blog niche.
What do I mean by the umbrella of your blog niche? Your blog niche is your theme, it's what your blog is all about. Think of your niche (theme) as an umbrella. Every single one of your blog posts should fall under that umbrella. Whether you’re talking about traveling or food or your pet or your new favorite book, you need to find a way to bring it all together and have it fit under your umbrella.
For me, I’m a lifestyle blogger passionate about helping others start their own blogging journey. That means I can blog about anything under the sun but I need to make sure it always leads back to blogging (because that’s my niche…aka umbrella). So I can write a post about crockpot freezer meals (for real, I’m obsessed) which have nothing to do with blogging. But, if I show the reader how much time they save you and therefore give you the freedom to have more time for your passions or side hustles or blogging…see what I’m doing here?….then it still fits my theme and my niche. Crockpot freezer meals have nothing to do with blogging on the surface, but I was able to bring it back and make sure it fit under my umbrella.
Bonus tip: Keeping your content calendar consistent (like strategy #1) will help you plan out your content more clearly. With my two blogs a week, I have one pertain to all things blogging (tips, platforms I use, strategies, etc.) and the other is something other than blogging (life, thoughts, updates, inspiration, etc.) but of course, I ALWAYS bring it back to fall under my umbrella of blogging. Knowing this helps my content be more focused and more valuable to my reader. And quite frankly makes choosing what to write about easier!
3. PROVIDE QUALITY CONTENT
While creating more posts might increase your traffic, providing quality content is where it’s at. Remember: quality over quantity and when you're consistent with that you can create more if you need to.
Blogging is unique in that it’s like a business where your customers pay you with time instead of money. Your readers (customers) are giving you their time (money) reading your blog post and in exchange, you give them something great you created for them.
Think with me, why do you keep going back to your favorite coffee shop? My guess is it’s a bit of everything from the atmosphere, to your favorite barista, to the quality and taste of the coffee. It’s the same with your blog. Your readers aren’t going to keep coming back for more if you serve them half-assed coffee in a flimsy paper cup. No. Give them the good stuff! In fact, give them your best stuff. Serve, serve, serve, ALWAYS. And by all means make darn sure you’re creating something that’s worth their time.
So, what does quality content look like? First of all, it’s not rushed. You need to give yourself TIME to write. Also, don’t write something and post it the same day. Always give yourself a day and come back to it. See how it sounds and what you need to change after letting it sit for a while.
Second, your blog post needs to have a point. Every one of your posts should have a purpose. Is your purpose to inform, help, teach, share, answer, etc.? Your reader should finish your blog post and know exactly why you wrote it. To keep myself on track, at the top of every new blog post I write “Purpose: the purpose of my blog”. For this one “Purpose: Help readers create a successful blog with 5 steps”.
Here are some effective ways to make sure your content is top notch:
Teach your audience something. Are you an expert? What can you teach your followers?
Create useful content. Can your reader apply what they learned?
Make it interesting. Keep your readers engaged.
Be helpful. What's obvious to you might not be obvious to someone else. Help make your reader's life easier somehow.
Provide answers. Share your expertise and answer any questions people might have.
Tell stories or share personal experiences. People want to be able to relate to you. It builds trust (ahem, strategy #4) and makes it more real for their own lives.
Add images or videos. We're visual people. Adding images or videos gives people more context to relate to the post.
Create a blog series and sequence posts together. Can you do a 10 day mini series blog post on a specific topic?
Will your post benefit your reader? Why should they be reading it?
Make it actionable. Is your reader able to take what you said and do it for themself?
If you're still struggling with what or how to write a quality blog post, use these headline tips:
My Secrets of XYZ.
Are You Making These 123 Mistakes?
The Best 123 Tips for XYZ.
Reviews (products, gear, equipment, places to stay and things to do)
How to do XYZ.
Finally, before you post a blog be sure to ask yourself these three questions:
Are there any words I can take out?
Have I given readers the best information I possibly can?
Is it complete?
4. BUILD TRUST
You want to know how people are so successful at blogging? It's because of this right here, trust and relationships. They have followers and readers who believe in what they're saying. They have readers who support the things they do, who get excited about what they're creating. That blogger has taken the time to be intentional and build a relationship with their reader.
You can have that too. Your readers are going to believe what you’re saying if they trust you. They’re going to take your advice and look into your products and click your links and buy your stuff because of the relationships you've built. Building those relationships takes time and it takes consistency. But mostly, it takes showing up for your people. Letting them know more about you, the person behind the screen.
You’re not a robot and neither are your readers. Show up for them. Be real. Be you. You don’t have to reveal every single thought or hardship or life event you’re going through or have ever experienced but you do need to give them a peek into who you are.
Don't just share your new favorite sweater. Tell them why. Tell them the struggles and pains you've had with other sweaters and why this one is so great. Show them how it will make their life better and how it's changed yours. You see, you're not just talking to your readers, you're engaging in a conversation with them.
Make yourself relatable by telling stories and sharing experiences. Respond to comments and answer questions. Engage with your readers, support your readers, and get excited about your readers. They’re showing up for you, you need to make sure you’re showing up for them.
5. PROMOTE YOUR WORK
Ok, this is it. You’ve done the work, created a quality post that you know will be of value to your readers so you hit that publish button annnnnnddddd…..nothing happens. The truth is, people aren’t sitting around on your website hitting refresh hoping you posted something today. You have to let them know! Share the incredible work you’re doing with the world.
This can be uncomfortable at first. It feels like you’re waving your arms and jumping up and down shouting, “Hey everyone! Come take a look at this awesome stuff I just created!!!” And that my friend is exactly what you need to do. Wave those arms, for sure jump up and down, and let the people know, any way you can.
Good ole word of mouth is one way. For real, talk about your blog with friends and family of course and then ask them to share it with their circles of friends. I have a mini following down in Kansas because my sister talks about what I do with her coworkers and friends (thanks Haley!). You’ll be surprised by the number of people, even complete strangers who are interested in what you're doing. But they'll never know it's there unless you tell them so. I recently shared my blog with a gal I sat next to on the airplane and she’s now sharing my posts with her family and friends and made purchases through the blog. How cool is that?!
Another way to promote your work is on any social media platforms you have. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are the main ones but Pinterest is one a lot of people don’t think of. It’s free and is one of the main ways to drive traffic to your website.
But, what I really want to focus on here is your email list. You absolutely should have an email list. Why? Because it’s the only thing you actually own. Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest could be taken away from us at any time but your email list is yours. It’s a direct line of contact with your subscribers. When you post something on social media, you have no way of knowing who is going to see it or, even more importantly, engage with it.
In the marketing book Launch by Jeff Walker, it says "an email list is 20x more powerful than a Facebook list." That means that sending an email to 1,000 people is equivalent to posting to 20,000 people on Facebook. See, you don't need thousands of followers on social media. You need just a few people who are excited about what you're doing. If you don’t know where to start, Jenna Kutcher breaks it all down in her blog post Where to Start: Email List Building.
Here’s the last thing you need to know about promoting your work. You should definitely promote each blog post more than once and I promise even that isn’t enough. Think of what you’re creating as a blessing. If you believe in what you're writing and think your followers would benefit from it (or just enjoy it!), you need to be sharing it. Imagine: You share your latest blog post on Facebook, a friend sees it and wants to read it but is taking the kids to soccer practice and therefore forgets all about it. The next day you share a reminder telling people about the blog post you just created. Boom. Said friend sees the post and is THANKFUL you reminded them.
Ooooooooookkkkk! There you have it, my friend. 5 strategies you can start implementing that will take your blog to the next level. Like I said before, it’s all about showing up, being consistent, and helping your followers. If you keep these 5 key strategies at the core of your blog, you’ll see start to see it grow with endless possibilities.
1. Be consistent
2. Create a content calendar
3. Provide quality content
4. Build trust with your audience
5. Promote your work
Happy writing my friend,
PS: Scott and I like to travel (a lot) and have recently been taking just two backpacks as carry ons to hold all of our gear, laptops, DSLR camera, drone, clothes, and shoes. These Wandrd bags are how we do it! They extend to 31L and have a removable protective camera cube. I wrote a whole blog post on why we like them so much. Be sure to check them out for yourself!
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used throughout this post which means I might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click on them.