Blogging Tips To Avoid Triskaidekaphobia: 13 Blogging Beliefs Busted

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Blogging Beliefs BustedAre you a blogger suffering from triskaidekaphobia? 

Not sure because you don’t know what triskaidekaphobia is?

Triskaidekaphobia is a real word! Unlike the words that my dad routinely made up when he drilled me nightly for the SATs.

Yes—I didn’t make that up. And, no, his nightly vocabulary lessons didn’t improve my SAT results.

Since this is the Actionable Marketing Guide, not an SAT Prep Guide, triskaidekaphobia translates to a fear of the number 13.

Relax. You don’t need a midnight run to your local 24/7 drugstore for an over-the-counter cure because I’ll shatter 13 common blogging beliefs so you can maximize your blog marketing efforts.

While I can’t guarantee a full recovery from this numerical superstition, these actionable blogging tips will improve your blog’s ability to support and grow your business.

 

13 Blogging Beliefs Busted To Avoid Blog Triskaidekaphobia

To overcome blog triskaidekaphobia and help you improve your blog, here are 13 blogging beliefs busted.

Blogging Beliefs Busted

 

1. Blogging Belief: I Can write whatever I want

Face it—even your mother doesn’t really want to read all of your online ramblings. (Having a Jewish mother, I know this truth first hand!)

The reality is that a blog is about your core audience and their wants, needs and interests.

Unless you’re Penelope Trunk whose journal-like blog includes rant, using your blog as a personal journal to which you’ve invited the public will probably not succeed.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

 

2. Blogging Belief: My blog is for everyone

Your blog isn’t a “Field of Dreams” where if you build it they will come. If  your blog is for everyone, it’s really for no one.

“If your blog is for everyone, it’s really for no one.” @HeidiCohen #bloggingClick To Tweet

 

Your blog must appeal very specifically to a target audience to provide information that they need and want. Specifically, your blog content must answer a question or entertain readers. More importantly, offer your audience information that they can’t find anywhere else!

To support your business and marketing, you must know your audience. (I call this KYA! I adapted it from my years working in banking where it’s called KYC or Know Your Customer.)

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Create a blogging marketing persona. Understand your ideal reader. Blogging persona informs your key topics and enables you to write for a specific person. This improves your writing.
  • Talk to or survey your readers. At a minimum, ask readers “What keeps you up at night?” I do this in my initial email. Example: How to gather information from new email subscribers

3. Blogging Belief: I Can write whenever the spirit moves me

As a media entity, your blog must have a consistent publishing schedule so your audience comes to expect your content on a regular basis.

According to Orbit Media Research, 43.8% of bloggers publish at least weekly. By contrast, 15.6% of bloggers publish on an irregular basis. (Here’s the full analysis of Orbit Media’s Blogging Research.)

Average Blog Post Frequency – Chart

Further, the average blog post takes 3 hours and 20 minutes to create. Although bloggers who put over 6 hours into each post report strong results from their blogging.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Post 2 to 3 times per week to gain traction. This is the blog post publication sweet spot according to Hubspot analysis.
  • Publish consistently.  Specifically, publish at the same time on the same days even if it is only the first and third Monday of every month at noon. Orbit Media publishes a new blog post every other Thursday.

4. Blogging Belief: Size doesn’t matter (Said no one!)

In one of the shortest blog posts I’ve ever seen, Joe Pulizzi recommended the miniskirt approach to blog post length, “It has to be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.”

blogging beliefs busted

Mini-skirt approach to Blogging – Joe Pulizzi

Despite reduced attention spans, blog posts continue to grow in length. In the past 5 years, posts have increased over 40% to 1,142 words.

Average Length of a Blog Post – Orbit Media Blogging Research- Chart

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Choose quality over quantity. Write what’s needed and ruthlessly cut the excess without hurting the meaning of the piece.
  • Add long posts for variety. Research shows that longer articles perform well and attract readers. Neil Patel attributes long posts to improved search engine results.
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5. Blogging Belief: Grammar doesn’t matter

Disregard the importance of using good grammar and spelling at the risk of loosing your reader. It’s not just your 8th grade English teacher. (BTW—If you need help with your grammar and usage, check out Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes.)

Poor grammar and usage hurts your content’s trustworthiness.

43% of UK consumers hated poor grammar and usage on social media according to Disruptive Communications research. 

Bloggers need an editor according to resarch

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Use editorial support products. This includes spell checking, Grammarly, Hemingway and others. While you may not catch words that sound alike such as: there, their or they’re, you’ll reduce errors.
  • Get a copyeditor. They’ll make your content shine. According to Orbit Media, 18.7% of bloggers use an editor.

    Use of editors by bloggers – Chart

6. Blogging Belief: Blogs only need text

While you may think text when you hear the word “blog”, the reality is that blogs need photos, visual images, video, audio and presentations.

Visual content is particularly important as it attracts attention faster than text. For example, Social Media Examiner includes at least 1 image, screenshot or chart per point.

News Column

Social Media Examiner enhances news columns with examples, visuals and citations

Further, using a variety of content formats broadens your audience and draws them into your content.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

7. Blogging Belief: Blog content comes preformatted

With people consuming more information across devices, especially smartphones, it’s critical that your blog renders well on different screens.

Think mobile first!

Depending on how your blog theme is configured, readers may still be challenged by fat finger failure, the inability to use their fingers on a small touchpad.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Start with a mobile version first. Since it’s where your audience spends their time. This includes feeds and emailings. Where appropriate incorporate responsive design (a website that adjusts to the size of the viewer’s screen) or use a plug-in like WP-Touch for WordPress blogs.
  • Make your call-to-action buttons big. Your readers shouldn’t have to zoom in to enter your funnel.
  • Offer different content versions. Includes podcasts and videos.

8. Blogging Belief: Blog post search optimization just happens

Another version of this blogging belief is: blogs automatically improve your search results.

While blogging software helps improve content findability by searchbots, it still requires on-going work and vigilance for your blog to gain traction for your key search terms. (BTW, here’s what 15 SEO experts say about optimizing your blog.)

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Create a list of keywords that are important to your business. Based on this list, develop longer content to support your topic authority. Even better, create content silos and interlink related blog posts.
  • Focus each post on a keyword phrase or product. Where possible, incorporate this phrase into the title of the post, the URL, and the article’s first paragraph.
  • Keep existing content up-to-date. The objective is to keep your content visible over the long term. I call this enhanced existing content.

9. Blogging Belief: Blog post distribution just happens

While you can set up your blog to distribute posts automatically via Google feeds and emailings, if you really want to get the most mileage from each post, you must actively promote it.

As a result there’s a debate over the 80-20 Rule of Content Distribution where you spend 80% of your resources and time promoting your blog content.

80-20 rule of content distribution

Spend 80% of your time and resources promoting your blog and content marketing

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Integrate social sharing into your blog posts. Add social sharing icons to your blogs posts. Also make the images pinnable on Pinterest and include Click-To-Tweet. (BTW, I use Social Warfare.)
  • Focus initial 3 days post publication on amplification
    Content Amplification

    3 Ways to amplify content marketing

  • Plan blog post distribution over time across owned, social and third party media.Use these 60 content distribution options.
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10. Blogging Belief: Blog creation resources are free

While you can tap employees in other departments to support your blog, understand that they consider blog post creation and distribution work. Also, they require professional support to ensure that their efforts result in quality content.

Additionally you can leverage the power of user-generated content (or UGC) but this also requires user permission and paid support to provide editorial context and quality appearance.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Tap into company related resources. Accept that this content requires support and resources. Here are 14 resources every business can use.
  • Reduce blog post creation costs with reuse and renovation. The key is to keep existing content up-to-date and visible.

11. Blogging Belief: Blog technology support is unnecessary

Oh—If this were only so!

While blogs simplify the related technology, there’s still plenty of technical work. (Personally, my webmaster, Larry Aronson, takes care of this – it’s way more time efficient for me.)

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Minimize blog load time. This is critical because (1) search engines track how long it takes for websites to load and factors this into its rankings, and (2) visitors have limited patience especially when they’re on a smartphone and may not have WiFi.
  • Use appropriate plug-ins. These small bits of code help facilitate different activities on your blog with limited, if any, support needed. 

12. Blogging Belief: Readers know what to do after reading your post

Readers aren’t clairvoyant. Therefore don’t assume that they’ll stay on your blog. 

Explicitly ask your readers to take the next step. Don’t leave this to chance, especially after you’ve worked so hard to create your blog post.

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Include a targeted call-to-action at the end of each post. Among your options are sign up for our newsletter, download our lasted ebook, or purchase.
  • Use interconnected content to keep potential customers on your website.
  • Curate related stories within each blog post. Content Marketing Institute does a great job of this.

    Related blog post for curated content

13. Blogging Belief : Blogs generate revenue on their own

This is one of my favorites. If your only reason for blogging is to make money, then stop now. (More importantly, read my Newbie Guide To Blogging, What The Experts Don’t Tell You.)

There are easier and faster ways to generate income than blogging.

While there are people who make a good living from their blog and related activities, they tend to be a small subset of total bloggers.

Instead, a blog is a valuable element of your owned media. It provides key content that customers actively seek before you know that they’re in market and it helps build an email list.

5 Types of Content Customers Actively Seek & Need – Chart

Actionable Blogging Tips:

  • Leverage the power of your blog to build your business. Marcus Sheridan’s blog about his pool company is the poster child. The blog turned his business around during the 2008 recession when people weren’t able to pay for their mortgages, let alone an in-ground pool.Answer your customers questions--basic content type
  • Build your house email file. A list of people who are interested in your product and company is an important corporate asset (regardless of how big your business is.) It enables you to continue to sell to these people by providing quality content.

 

The Blogging Beliefs Busted Conclusion

Don’t let Triskaidekaphobia hurt your blog.

Examine how these 13 blogging beliefs are busted and use the related actionable blogging tips to improve your blog’s ability to support your business and marketing.

When it comes to blogging, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Blogging takes strong focus and commitment to attract people to your writing and engage with you and your business.

What other blogging beliefs do you think need to be busted and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

 

 

 

Photo Credits:
Cat:  https://pixabay.com/en/amazing-beautiful-breathtaking-736877/ cc zero
Skirt: https://pixabay.com/en/countrygirl-girl-legs-woman-female-349923/ cc zero

 
Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on December 13, 2013. It has been extensively revised with new content and examples.



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