Blogging. A subject that I love to talk about. While I learn, grow and continue to put my time and effort into making A Lady Goes West an enjoyable place to visit, I’m constantly amazed by the world of blogging. I’ve met some nice people, had great opportunities, and quite frankly, I feel like I’m just getting started. As long as you all keep coming back, I’m going to keep writing. And if you haven’t noticed, I’m not the only person somewhat obsessed with this whole blogging thing.
The state of the blogging world
There are hundreds-of-millions of blogs out there. More than half of all bloggers actually own and manage more than one blog. There are people who have a blog as a hobby. There are people who have a blog as a business. And blogging is continuing to evolve, change and grow, especially as there are even more “micro-blogs” popping up, which exist solely on social media sites and don’t even have a standalone website.
But has blogging reached its peak? Nope, it’s just gearing up for more. And we will soon see people who write blogs and share via micro-blogs, considered and referred to as “influencers” rather than just “bloggers” as their roles expand. All of this information is just a snapshot of what was offered up by Katy Widrick, a blogger and social media consultant, in a presentation last month at IDEA Blogfest with Sweat Pink in Los Angeles.
Expert tips to help you grow your blog
Today, I’m going to give you a few of the big takeaways from all of the blogging and social media presentations that I heard over the course of the two-day event. Let’s get to it …
Find your niche. And your micro-niche.
Because there are so many blogs out there, it’s okay to be different and hyper-focused with your content. In fact, Widrick suggests that you get as specific as you want and reach out to special populations. Her example? Create workouts for people with purple hair. Why? Because the more specific and tailored you are, the more engaged your audience will be. You can’t be interesting to everyone, so if you’re super-interesting to only a few people, you’ll have more loyal and engaged followers. She also gave this little gem of a quote when talking about the readers she gets visiting her own blog …
“I’d rather know that ten people got active and healthy rather than ten-thousand people came and did nothing.” — Katy Widrick.
Numbers matter, but engagement matters more.
You don’t have to have the most page-views or daily visits to your blog or have the largest social media following in order to run and write a successful blog, says Widrick. In fact, these days, page-views and your overall following matter less-and-less, but the engagement you get on your posts matters more (the clicks, the shares, etc.). That being said, as a smaller blogger you should celebrate your readers and appreciate them, and hope that they will share their love of your blog with their friends and families and stick around. Don’t get too focused on increasing your following on every social media channel, but stick to the ones that work for you and the ones you get results from. Spend time socializing where your readers are, and forget about trying to do everything. I agree!
Share, share, share and share again.
According to Jamie Walker, founder of Sweat Pink, sharing is caring. Being a part of an online community (like Sweat Pink, FitFluential, etc.) and sharing other people’s content is a great way to grow your own blog. However, you also need to make it easy for people to share your content. You should always have a “Click to Tweet” option with a shareable quote and make sure that your Twitter handle is included in there. Widrick seconded this fact and suggested that you spend 20 percent of your time creating new content and 80 percent of your time sharing other people’s content. Wow. That’s a big chunk!
Over-communicate to improve your brand relationships.
According to Katie McFarland, as a blogger or influencer, you should treat your relationships with brands as you would any other relationship. Be kind, reliable, cooperative, follow up and spend time getting to know the ins and outs of each brand that you work with. McFarland’s greatest tip? She suggested that you always share the anecdotal results from a campaign with a brand in addition to the numbers that they ask for. I took her advice recently and reported back to a brand that in addition to the clicks and social media mentions I delivered, I was also tagged in a separate comment thread on Facebook about the particular brand I was promoting because of my post, and it was all positive. The brand was super pleased and will likely want to work with me again. That being said, when in doubt, provide extra information and go above and beyond with your efforts. McFarland also mentioned that you should never let your brand relationships end after a campaign, keep them going by staying in touch here and there in hopes of a future collaboration. So true!
Here are a few other helpful pieces of information …
- Make sure your design is mobile responsive. Your blog must be easy to read on a phone. And when it comes to design, simple is always better.
- Use plenty of clear visuals in your posts. Try taking pictures from the subject’s level to get cooler shots. And use Canva, PicMonkey or other sites to help improve your pictures and create graphics. You can also check out my post on my my five favorite free photo apps and websites.
- When you’re promoting a sponsored post on social media, using #spon as a hashtag is not legally enough for federal guidelines. You need to use #ad or #sponsored or #paid.
- All affiliate or links in a sponsored post must be categorized as “no follow.”
- Your posts should be no less than 500 words in order to get a better ranking in Google search engines and classified as quality content.
- SEO is super important, and the plug-in Yoast can help you get started. (This is one of those confusing areas, where I know I need to focus more.)
And that’s that! Just a little snapshot of some of the good stuff.
More about IDEA BlogFest, IDEA World Fitness Convention and writing
If you want to know more about my time at IDEA BlogFest with Sweat Pink and IDEA World Fitness Convention, the biggest fitness industry event of the year, check out the following posts:
- The big highlights from my time at IDEA BlogFest in LA
- What I learned about fitness at IDEA World Fitness Convention
- Top nutrition tips straight from the experts at IDEA World
- Write better blog posts with these seven steps (a recap of my presentation)
*Please note: I was given a complimentary ticket to IDEA BlogFest with Sweat Pink and the IDEA World Fitness Convention in exchange for speaking at the event and posting about it. I covered my travel and accommodations. Fair trade? I think so!
Questions of the day
What’s something you like to see when reading blogs?
Have you learned any new blogging tips lately?
What’s your most helpful blogging tool?