Posted by Jason Parker on Thursday, 04/10/2014
If you're like me, you agonize over producing the right content for the right audience at the right time.
I often find myself postponing the writing process because the challenge of creating a compelling blog post seems insurmountable (especially if you're attempting to extend beyond your core audience).
Thing is, there's no magic wand or formula for creating a perfect post. Instead of spending that time agonizing--and procrastinating--what if you spent that time maximizing the impact of your written work once you've finally clicked Publish?
Did you know...
The life of a single blog post rarely moves beyond two weeks. And it’s often read with a pageview graph that looks a little like this one:
Here are 3 simple steps for increasing your blog's impact and lifting that "analytic tail" a little higher, for a little longer.
1. Are you sharing it on social?
Just as your lede paragraph or summary provides a “hook” for readers, social media gives you the opportunity to “hook” your audience or find a new audience altogether.
“Hey,” you might ask, “how often should I share one post?” The goal is not to share the same message every ten minutes. That’d be silly. Plus, you’d probably annoy your closest followers.
It may make sense to rephrase the central message, or rewrite your topic as a question, says Abigail Quesinberry, CTQ's social media expert.
"That way, you're enticing your followers to engage without repeating yourself on social."
Don’t assume that one social post is enough. On the Internet, you’re competing for people’s time. The average Tweet stays in users' feeds for less than seven minutes. Facebook posts display in news feeds for around 15 minutes – if they have an image – and less than nine minutes if they don’t.
So mix it up! Publish multiple tweets over the course of a day. Use hashtags that may be relevant to your content (here’s a resource list of #edpolicy hashtags) and consider including hashtags that users in your social network have used before (feel free to mention @teachingquality--we love to retweet teacher's work!).
You might also consider directly tweeting your posts to users and asking them to read your content. Maybe you have a core group of friends or followers with whom you could directly share your article. Facebook allows you to quickly tag up to ten people in any post. It takes less than five minutes to @metion ten of your followers on Twitter (don't forget the link).
I don’t know about you… but I’m much more likely to read a post from someone in my network if they’ve tweeted it to me or tagged me on Facebook. It just feels a bit more personal than seeing it appear in my feed.
2. Are you responding to comments?
A good blog post is well-written, concise, and actionable. It changes a perception that the reader held previously. And a percentage of those readers will want to comment about this shift.
So pay attention! Respond to as many comments as possible.
You wouldn’t put a ton of work into cleaning your living room, setting up your electronics and speaker system, and decorate it for a party only to lock yourself in a bathroom upstairs while everyone stands around awkwardly wondering where you are.
Your blog is like a living room – a place for a community to gather and discuss important ideas, tell stories, and share successes. So be a good host and pay attention to your guests--whether you agree with them or not.
3. Do you have an email update list?
I’m not talking about a formal email marketing or distribution system (though, hey, more power to you if you have one developed). I’m talking about a weekly (or monthly) email that you’d send to those in your network.
Perhaps you already have small groups of communities of which you’re a part. Your book club (mine is AWESOME), or your sports team (also AWESOME), or folks you regularly catch up with in the dog park (okay, this may be a bit of a stretch) could be examples.
The point is that you already have communities of people that care about you and would often jump at an opportunity to learn more about your work, your writing, or your perspective.
Last summer, I was working towards living a healthier lifestyle. In my spare time, I often researched nutrition and exercise science. Sometimes I would write about what I discovered. Sometimes it was in a blog – sometimes it was in an email to a small group of people.
As I kept talking about my personal growth--and my nutritional habits--with those in my life, I’d mention that I’d be glad to update them. Virtually everyone said they’d be interested in hearing from me.
So I kept them up to date by sending them a quick email every time I updated a post. Not surprisingly, this resulted in more blog readers and in more comments.
None of these tactics are time intensive. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you spend more time agonizing during the writing process than worrying about how to promote yoru content. Let's turn that procrastination and anxiety into proactive impact! With just a small time investment, you'll increase your ability to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
Once you get into the habit of completing these three steps, and incorporate them into your blogging processes and procedures, they’ll become second nature for you.
Done well, your post analytics may look a little more like this.
Take care of your blog, your community, and your readers. They’ll take care of you, too.