If there’s one thing that sets the big blogs apart, it’s passion. With that in mind, here are five ways to turn your passion into better blogging!
1. Be Willing to Learn New Things
Take that enthusiasm you have for your industry and use it to grow your ability to communicate about it. Blogging is a unique medium, different from magazine advertising, direct mail marketing, or email newsletters—so invest the time to learn how it works and to continually improve your skills. Here are a few areas to explore:
- HTML/CSS: In today’s world of user-friendly blog software and templates, you don’t need to know HTML or CSS coding to start a site—but learning a few basics won’t hurt. In fact, with a little extra coding knowledge under your belt, you’ll be better equipped to tweak your design as you like. For a good start, see this helpful article at Google.
- Design: Content may be king, but design definitely matters. Keep track of blog designs you like and continually look for ways to raise the bar on how your site looks to visitors.
- SEO: Search engine optimization is crucial for increasing traffic because it helps bring users to your site when they’re already searching for related information. For more information on this topic, take a look at “Why SEO Matters No Matter How Brilliant Your Content Is.”
- Photography: The Internet is a visual place, so improving your pictures goes a long way towards improving your site. At the Straight North Blog, we’ve used royalty-free images from Fotolia; at my personal blog Food Loves Writing, I’m always looking for ways to take better pictures and even to hand-illustrate when appropriate.
2. Let Your Excitement Show—on Social Media
When someone is passionate about what he or she is saying, it’s not hard to tell—and that’s just as true online as it is at cocktail parties. Whether on Twitter or Facebook or another site, let your genuine enthusiasm show by sharing and posting online the things that catch your attention.
- Relevant Links: Find a blog or website that inspires and motivates you? Share it with your followers and tell them why you like it. Not only does this make your feed more valuable, but it also builds community with the authors and creators whose works you’re promoting. Food bloggers do this all the time when they share recipes and links from other sites, like Sarah Kieffer from the Vanilla Bean Blog does here on Facebook:
- Interesting Articles: When you come across a study or article that relates to your industry, tell your fans about it—they might feel the same way, like Helene from French Foodie Baby does here:
- Your Own Work: Promoting your own content on social networks is acceptable, as long as that’s not all you promote. With discretion, let your followers know about your recent work—blog posts, press releases, news updates—and where they can find it.
3. Find Other People as Passionate as You Are
One of the greatest benefits of sharing your passion online is finding a network of people who also love what you love. Whether you’re a food blogger obsessed with baking, a business blogger fascinated by corporate case studies, or a graphic designer ever on the hunt for slick logos, you can bet there are other bloggers who feel the same way. By forming relationships with like-minded people, you create a strong community that greatly enhances your online experience. Reach out on social media or via email.
Some of the benefits of blog community include:
- Genuine friendships
- Loyal audience
- Promotion of each other’s work
- Creative inspiration
- Opportunities to learn
- Greater visibility
4. Reach High for Specific Goals
Passion is great, but passion with a purpose is even greater. Rather than just striving to blog better, set specific goals—this helps guide your efforts and ensures you’re moving towards a better blog.
Three tips for setting blog goals:
- Be Specific: Don’t say, “I want to blog better.” Say, “I want 2,000 new RSS subscribers by the end of three months.”
- Make Goals Measurable: If your goal is more subscribers, find a way to calculate that number. If your goal is a lower bounce rate, set up Google Analytics. Make your goals measurable so you know if you’re hitting them.
- Set Time Limits: Be sure to set time limits on your goals. Rather than aiming to blog twice a week, aim to blog twice a week for a year—this helps to keep you motivated.
5. Branch Out
Who says you have to stop at blogging? Why not branch out beyond traditional posts into the world of videos or podcasts? Sometimes a new vehicle is all you need to improve your work. Here are a few ideas for spreading your passion even farther:
- Videos: Visual, engaging, and filled with potential for adding your personality to your site, videos are typically crowd pleasers. Try answering reader questions, sharing behind-the-scenes information, running interviews over video, or giving helpful how-tos, like Meghan from Eat Live Make does here:
- Podcasts: Built off the idea of radio broadcasts, podcasts let you communicate with your audience orally, opening up all kinds of possibilities, from interviews to roundtable discussions to music and more. One new way to do this is through a Google+ Hangout, which is what Alex and Sonja from A Couple Cooks did on March 9.
- Guest Posting: Spread your voice online by guest-posting on other websites, like authors do on this site regularly. This builds community with other blog authors and gets your brand out to a larger audience.
- E-books: By making an e-book, you have a packaged product to sell or give away. This option is great for how-to guides, topical booklets, compilations, etc. You may create the book in a Word processor, save it as a PDF, and market that PDF directly through your site; or you could go through a service like Amazon Kindle Direct, like we did with our ebook.
Whether you’ve been blogging a day or a decade, what have you seen to be keys to blogging passion? How does it show? How can you nurture it? Is passion driving what you do?