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"Required reading" for today's smart writer. As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Daily Blog Tips, Write to Done, Technorati, WOW! and other popular sites.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Going the Distance-5 Questions You Must Answer to Become a Better Blogger Today


It goes without saying that blogging affords today’s writer increased visibility, the opportunity to build a fan base, and a way to be “heard”.

Which is why blogging has become hugely popular, with millions of sites launched in to the blogosphere since its inception.

But, just because something is “popular” doesn’t mean that everybody ought to do it.
Hello?
Crazier still, is blogging without any real direction or goals.

Or let me put it this way…
Most of us wouldn’t dream of navigating new territory without a road map in hand to guide the way, save time, and have fewer detours. Right?
Well, a similar concept applies when it comes to venturing the path of blogging.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there?

To permeate your “blog fog“, here are five questions every blogger must answer to go the distance, avoid burnout, and yield maximum results...NOW.


1. What is your blog’s brand?
We’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating.
Branding involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your target audience, and your U.S.P. (Unique selling position). Essentially, it’s how you want your blog to be perceived and distinguished throughout the blogosphere. You should be able to establish it clearly and consistently.

2. Why should readers hang out with you?
In other words, what’s in it for them? We know what’s in it for you. :-)
Will you court controversy? Educate? Increase awareness of an important cause? Entertain?
Think of why you give repeat business to your favorite restaurant or retailer. Assess then apply.

3. What are your goals?
When I first started out, it was to build a platform. Then I wanted to connect with quality, like-minded folks. Then I wanted to reach 100 followers. Then it became wanting to make a "real" difference. As time evolved, I wanted to make some money too. Next year, it’s to be named by Writer’s Digest as a top blog. My point? Goals will govern your actions, keep you motivated, and increase your productivity.

4. What’s your game plan?
How will you maintain the momentum?
Sure everybody can blog. But to blog SUCCESSFULLY, long term? That’s a horse of a different color. Will you accept guest posts? Conduct interviews? Share book reviews? Provide links to quality content around the Web? Take periodic breaks? Form a blogging team? Post weekly?

Maybe all of the above? It’s up to you. Again, it all depends on your goals, lifestyle, blogging personality, and reading audience. However, the more specific and clearer you are, the greater the odds of future success (and the less stress)!

5. Who will serve as blog role models?
Sure, you could go it alone. But why would you? Learn to “work smarter, not harder”.
Even the Good Book says that “the wise seek counsel”.
Shorten your learning curve by studying the big dogs in blogs!
Darren Rowse, James Chartrand, and Brian Clark are a few good examples.

As you continue to embark upon your blogging journey, keep these five questions in mind. 'Cause if you haven't got a clue, you haven't got a chance. :-)

Your turn. Feel free to share your questions or feedback.

Image Credit: Andrea Brill

9 comments:

  1. Jennifer - Love this post. Makes us think. I've narrowed my blog focus in the past few months. I want to inform, entertain and encourage my readers. Included in that definition are writers, of course, friends and family, certainly. But more and more I want to cast my line into deeper waters. The big dogs I follow include Jeff Goins, he's so much more than a blogger.Seth Godin is full of good stuff, short and pithy. LInda O'Connell make me laugh as does Nathan Bransford. And of course reading Jennifer Brown Banks sure helps. You give me 'clues' to boost my 'chances!' Thanks!

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJuly 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      Susan,

      Thanks so much. I'd say your odds for success are great. You're a "willing" student with a winning attitude. And of course, I'm cheering for your success!

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  2. Yes, Jennifer those are all great questions.

    Those are probably quesions that I could think about a little more. Only it makes me wonder if all Successful people alway's create their roadmaps that rational, for example when playing Tennis I hear friends talk about all kind of goals and strategies they have for winning their games.

    I usually don't really think about any strategies at all and just concentrate on having some fun. While their - Game Plans - frequently actually sound pretty impressive, they usually don't work that well, and they don't stand a chance against me :)

    Also for my Blogs I am not sure if I have a specific USP, Although I do think that on my Blog(s) you can find a little more info about how you can combine writing with doing Affiliate Marketing than on other Writer Blogs.

    So that might actually be my main Target Audience, Writer's that want to learn more about Making Money with doing - Affiliate Marketing - thanks for bringing this up.

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  3. Jennifer Brown BanksJuly 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    H.P.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and your time.

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  4. These are great questions to keep in mind throughout your blogging career. I appreciate your expertise and encouragement!

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  5. Jennifer Brown BanksJuly 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Karen,

    I appreciate your appreciation! Let me know if I can help in any way. :-)

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  6. Cool guidelines! Truly essential for new bloggers.
    Thanks to you, Jen!

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  7. Amelia,

    So glad to have your feedback. Thanks much!

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  8. Thanks Jennifer I have been struggeling with - Positioning - my blog, that it's less about 'Writer's Lifestyle' and more about - Blogging - and Affiliate Marketing, it might still not be narrow enough, at least I do think that now it's a little more focussed more specifically on my USP:

    'Now I Wrote....,'

    Find out all about Blogging, and about how with doing Affiliate Marketing you can (Pre) Sell Products & Services
    that you enjoy using yourself,

    also reading about what experiences
    other writers share looking at the Comments they wrote on Blogposts,


    Checking out the Conversations that are going on.


    or just to have a look at
    what's brewing in my 'Short Story Kitchen'

    'Feel Free to write

    your own Comments on Blogposts

    for others to read, and to Share
    with Friends.'


    Enjoy!

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