By Joe Pulizzi published February 3, 2011

10 Blogging Tips for Beginners and Experts

Just presented 20 Actionable Techniques to Enhance Your Blog’s Content at the Blogging Success Summit, an amazing series of virtual presentations put on by Social Media Examiner.

During the presentation, I shared these 10 blogging tips for beginners and experts alike that I believe are imperative for all content marketers  Here they are.

1. Use Killer Titles

Your blog title is like the cover of a magazine.  There is one purpose for a magazine cover…to get you to open the magazine.  The same holds true for a blog post.  The greatest blog post in the world might not be read unless you have a compelling title.

In an analysis of my top content marketing posts for 2010, we found that the most popular/most effective posts had some kind of number in it (i.e., 10 Most Popular Posts for 2010).  Even better was putting two numbers.  Controversial is also good.

Headline Tips

  • Think about the Problem (see #2 below)
  • Focus on important keywords for your business (Google External Search Tool)
  • Numbers Rule
  • Be VERY Specific

As for specific, instead of this  -

Ways to Increase Your Stock Return

do this  -

10 Ways to Make More Money with Small-Cap Stocks

2. Focus on the Problem

This is where you always should start.  What are the pain points of your target reader?  What keeps them up at night?

Here’s a great example by Jay Baer where he starts the post by focusing on the problem…in this case, that customer service is a nightmare today because of social media (or can be).

Jay Baer on Listening

If your blog focuses 100% of the time on what keeps your customers and prospects up at night, you will most likely be successful.

3. Less is More

Blogs are best when they are shorter, instructive and to the point.  Only on a rare occasion is there a need to ramble on about an issue.

Short Tips

  • Short sentences
  • Bullets
  • Short paragraphs
  • Get rid of unnecessary words
  • Edit, Edit, Edit

One of my most popular posts, A blog is like a miniskirt, was only 23 words.

If your blog draft ends with 500 words, try to edit it down to 350.  That cuts out the clutter.

4. Think First about the Call to Action

Each blog post should have some sort of call to action.  Debbie Weil provides a great list including:

  • Download our white paper
  • Join us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
  • Ask us a question
  • Download our e-book
  • Sign up for our free webinar
  • Request our toolkit
  • Sign up for our e-newsletter
  • Request a demo

Remember, 80% of your blog traffic will probably never come back.  Show your readers additional, relevant content offers, like a valuable, niche enewsletter so you can continue to communicate with them.  Getting opt-in email names should be one of your top blogging goals (grow the database).

5. Think “Content Packages”

Get Content Get Customers

Get Content Get Customers started as a series of blog posts.  The Content Marketing Playbook began as a series of blog posts.

Continually think about how you can take blog posts and repackage into something more substantial.  Planning for this ahead of time makes all the difference.

One blogging idea could be 10 pieces of content.  Think about that for a second.

6. Spread the Love – Guest Blogging

  1. Target the top 15 blogs in your industry and offer to do relevant guest posts on their blogs.
  2. Never turn down an opportunity for a guest post.

I’ve done guest blogs for more than 100 blogs and it has been one of the most important keys to building our social media and search engine presence.

7.  Promote Key Influencers with Lists

Everyone loves lists, especially the people on the list.  The Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing blogs, now in its 10th installment, rates the top bloggers and influencers in the industry.  More than half of the top 42 place our widget (with the link) on their site.  Talk about SEO and branding love!

  1. Create a niche list
  2. Be sure it’s easily sharable (including a widget)
  3. Do a blog post about the list
  4. Let the winners AND losers know
  5. Do a press release about the list.
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat

8. Measure, Measure, Measure

Here are 21 blog metrics that you can measure as part of your blog.  Choose the ones that make the most sense with your overall content marketing and blogging goals.  Make sure you and your team know what the goal of the blog is and that everyone sees the statistics.

  • Track lead conversions, and what type of content led to the conversions.
  • Track the most read, most engaged in content and do more of that.
  • Track the referral sources that perform the best.  Find more of those types of referral sources.

9. Influencer Q&A’s

Most industry heavy hitters will do a podcast interview or Q&A if you ask.  They will probably also share it with their network when it’s finished. Here’s an example of a Q&A with David Meerman Scott.

10. Outsource

Outsourcing Content

Most businesses outsource a portion of their content marketing.

Find a great writer to help you.

Find a content agency or content team to take your blogging/strategy to the next level.

Some companies have a difficult time telling engaging stories.  Enlist help.  It’s available.

What to do next?

  • Be sure you are blogging on a niche topic where you can be the leading expert in the world.  If not, you may be targeting too wide a topic.
  • Then do the 10 recommendations above.

Good Luck!

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • http://ideagirlmedia.com Keri

    Joe,

    Thanks for the re-cap. Enjoyed your presentation today, and your approach!

    I’m reasonably new to blogging, and could probably learn a bit from each item above. Much to do… :)

    What led you to choose Cleveland for the September event?

    ~Keri
    (Wilmington, Ohio)

    • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Keri

      RE: Content Marketing World in Cleveland…my thoughts
      - I actually believe the Cleveland area is one of the centers for content marketing. We have a huge proportion of journalists in this area, and content agencies for that matter.
      - Cleveland is really easy to get to, 1 hour flights from Chicago, NY or DC (our main targets).
      - I love Cleveland and our offices are here.

      • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri

        Joe,

        I hadn’t realized you were in Cleveland and that it was such a Content Marketing hub. It is about as far for me as to make it home to Michigan (which doesn’t seem far to me).

        I used to work for an organization headquartered in Chagrin Falls. Wondering why you haven’t appeared on my radar before now………. :)

        Thanks again!!

        ~Keri

  • Michael Stelzner

    Great post Joe and thanks for a great session! See you in San Diego soon…

  • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

    Great advice Joe. It really took me about a year to understand many of these. When I started, my titles stunk, the articles lacked personality, the were lonnnnnnnggggg paragraphs, and I basically never had calls to action. Not too shabby, eyyy?

    But, as I’ve continued to study and read blogs like yours, life has certainly gotten much better. ;-)

    Thanks Joe.

    Marcus

  • http://www.ThunderBayMedia.net Derek Cromwell

    Hi again Joe,

    Noticed this one in AllTop and had to peek in. I’ve been providing ghost blogging and content marketing services to clients for some time now and your list is spot on – these are all great tips. Honestly it’s nice to read something like this from time to time just to get the refresher and keep the brain on track.

    When you write content over and over, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details and forget the simple things that give our content traction.

    The titles are always the proverbial slipknot. Even know I sometimes need to stop, look over swipe files or even a tip-piece like this to remind myself that my titles should be feeding the visitor as well as the search engine.

    I live in the Detroit area and I’ve been looking for some conferences and such in this area – seems like everything is on the west coast. Did I see mention of a conference in September in the Cleveland market?

    • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

      Correct Derek. Content Marketing World 2011, the premier content marketing event, will actually be in Cleveland September 6-8, 2011. Hope to see you there http://contentmarketingworld.com

      • http://www.ThunderBayMedia.net Derek Cromwell

        Thanks for that Joe, much appreciated. Look forward to seeing you there!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com Nick Stamoulis

    Great blogging tips. I especially agree with #’s 1 and 5. A great headline is crucial. There is so much content on the web, the title is really what gets someone to read yours over the competition. It’s a great idea to really think about each blog post and whether or not you could turn it into a few more. Since it’s important to continually update a blog, doing this will help to ensure that you always have something to write about.

  • http://uglytechandbusiness.wordpress.com Steve Spencer

    Just wanted to say, that I really loved this post. Very succinct. The headline/subject example in particular was a great one. Even if you’ve been blogging for a long time, this really reminds us of what we should be doing. Thanks!

  • http://www.averagesupermom.com Sean

    As a newbie to blogging, I’m still trying to figure all of this out. Many thanks for the logical, easy to comprehend advice.

  • http://www.npromote.com Jeffrey Gross

    Very Nice tips Joe! I agree with you on all the points, specially from the 6th Point. Off-late i have been seeing some amazing results from Guest Blogging. it is time taking but worth the efforts.

  • Cheryl McLaughlin

    Joe,
    Great list. It’s efficient, actionable and very useful. Thanks for putting it together. I’ve also RSS’d :-)

    • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Cheryl…really appreciate it.

  • http://ajanzer.wordpress.com Anne Janzer

    Thanks for the great tips, Joe. I especially like #2, focus on the customers’ problems. So many business blogs are still “let me tell you more about US”.

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  • http://tutorphil.com/blog Phil

    When it comes to the “less is more” advice, it’s true, but with the understanding that this doesn’t necessarily mean simpler is always better. This is where knowing your audience well comes in. My own audience is college students – so that applies.

    But for more mature and experienced audiences – they could be more sophisticated and may prefer a more profound message.

    My two cents.

  • http://coollifesystem.com Vanessa

    I never thought to perform guest blogging! Thanks for the advice, I’m going to contact a few bloggers for some exchanges.

  • http://twitter.com/OtimoLLC Otimo

    Does the length of the blog post have an influence on the SEO of the blog?

  • Rohny

    thanks for this article

    hoping to switch to the killing title

    thanks ;)

    http://www.diggbloggers.com

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