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Should You Create Content for Beginners?



Sometimes, I forget that the whole world hasn’t been blogging for years like I have.

I know that sounds incredibly arrogant, but I think we all get wrapped up in our own worlds at times. We forget that others haven’t had the same experiences that we’ve had. And, we forget that others might not understand some of the things we take for granted.

Last week, I wrote a post about how to incorporate content for all education levels on your blog. But maybe “how can I please everyone?” isn’t the right question to ask. Instead, maybe we should be asking is “should I be trying to please everyone?”, which is a question that would normally get a resounding, “NO!” from me. When talking about niche, the advice I’ve heard time and time again is that it makes sense to focus. It’s advice that resonates with me, advice that I’ve seen work (and others have too). I’ve even written about choosing a great niche.

Focusing on one niche, however, means that you write about a single topic, rather than writing about kite-surfing and your kids and fashion and tech news and politics all on one blog, which rarely works. What I’m wondering, is should you focus on one education level?

In some niches, this isn’t a question that needs to be asked. For example, on my food blog, education level isn’t a huge deal. Some beginners want to challenges themselves in the kitchen. And even the most experience chef can appreciate a quick and easy meal as long as it is tasty. But here on the NMX blog, there’s a bigger divide between the beginner and the pro. While I can create content for people at all experience levels, should I?

What about on your blog? Would you better serve a specific audience if you stop creating content for beginners? Or vice versa, if you stopped creating content for more advanced readers and instead focused just on beginners.

The Advantages of Reaching All Experience Levels

Here at the NMX blog, we do write for all experience levels, and there are several reasons we will be continuing to do this:

  • Reaching a Wide Customer Base: Our end game is to promote an event, where the target market is comprised of everyone from people who just started a blog yesterday to people who have been doing this for over a decade. So, our blog need to reflect this. Who is your target market?
  • Hooking the Newbies: Writing for all levels allows us to pull in people who are just getting started. They’ll find the beginner content helpful and know that they can grow with our blog by bookmarking the more advanced posts to read later.
  • Keeping People Interested: Speaking of growth, because we have content for all levels, people don’t outgrow our blog and move on to other blogs.
  • Enjoying Flexibility: Writing for all educational levels also allows us to have more flexibility to write about topics that inspire us. We also publish lots of guest posts from our speakers and community members, so covering a broad spectrum allows up to work more easily with people who are interested in contributing.
  • Teaching New Skills to “Experts”: It’s no secret that I don’t love the term “expert” – and while my disdain for this word comes mostly from people who call themselves experts when they’re not, I also don’t often use that term because in this new media world, everyone has something to learn. Someone who has been blogging for ten years might know NOTHING about Pinterest and learn something by one of my beginner posts on the topic.

I like that our blog and our conference has such a wide appeal, though it does pose a few challenges as I manage the schedule here on the NMX blog.

The Advantages of Creating Content for One Experience Level

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you might want to specialize by creating content for a specific experience level:

  • Defining Your Market: It’s easier to define exactly whom your blog is for when you specify an education level, and once you define your target market, you can more easily promote your content to those people.
  • Optimizing for Search Engines: If you’re creating content just for beginners (or pros), you can optimize your posts to be found by these people via search engines. That’s a bit harder to do when you’re creating content for a wider range of people.
  • Focusing: Sometimes, I feel scattered and unfocused when I’m creating content. When you’re blogging for a specific education level, it’s a little easier to stay organized.
  • Leading to Affiliate Products: Just because you only create content for one experience level doesn’t mean you can’t sell to everyone else. If a beginner lands on your advanced post, point them to a product perfect for beginners (or vice versa). You can make a lot of money with affiliate products if you’re smart about it!
  • Building a Community: Word spreads when your content is exactly what someone needs, so by specializing, you can often more easily build a community around your content. Even if people outgrow it, they’ll still promote you to others who could learn from your content.

So which choice is right for your blog? I think there’s a valid argument for both “for” and “against” in this case. It really depends on your specific goals and your niche.

Do you create content all experience levels on your blog? Or do you focus your content?

5 Ways to Know if Your Content Is Resonating with Your Audience


Every few months or so, I like to take a step back and analyze the content on my blog. I want to make sure I’m providing tips, news, entertainment and information that resonates well with my audience. There are both technical and non-technical ways to measure this. Some may seem obvious to you, but you haven’t taken the time to put the tip into practice, and some of these ways might be brand new to you.

Here are five ways to know if your content is resonating well with your audience.

Conduct a Poll

I really enjoy conducting polls both on my blog and on Facebook using their polls feature. I’ve found out some interesting things about what my readers are looking for that I may not be providing for them, things that they absolutely love, or even about content they don’t really care for.

Polls are super easy and quick to put together. I suggest offering no more than five answers to your question. For example, ask the simple question “Why do you enjoy visiting…?” and put the title of your blog there. I’ve done this before and provided answers such as reviews, giveaways, personal videos or deals. Not only do I ask them to participate in the poll, but I also ask if they would leave a comment explaining why they chose the answer they did. I have had great results this way and it has helped me narrow down my content.

For WordPress, I like using the WP-Polls plug-in. On Facebook, simply click on “Ask a Question” for your personal page or “Question” for your business page.

Email Your List of Subscribers

You do have subscribers right? If you answered no to that question because you haven’t added that feature to your blog, stop what you’re doing right now and visit my post “Six Things You Can Focus On Today to Increase Your Blogging Results”. I preach creating a list…yesterday.

This is also something I have personally done. Simply ask your subscribers what they like about your blog content and what they would like to see more of. Offering up a little incentive such as a free download of one of your eBooks or an Amazon gift card usually increases the number of people that will answer. Hey, we all like free stuff, right?

Check Your Social Networks

This might be a no-brainer, but if something you wrote really spoke to your audience and they absolutely loved it, don’t you think they’ll not only share it but say something about it? Don’t just check the number of Tweets and Likes you are receiving, check to see what they’re saying about your content. I would trade five tweets where no one said a thing about my article, for one where someone tweeted it but also said, “This is a must read” or “This is exactly the answer I was looking for.” This speaks loudly to your readers and potential readers.

Use the Power of Facebook Insights

This goes hand in hand with my previous tip, but it digs a little deeper. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of Facebook Insights, because we would be here all day long. You can read the Facebook Insights Guide which they call a “Product Guide for Facebook Page Owners” and get some in-depth information.

If you’re familiar with the new Facebook Insights roll-out, then you know on the left hand sidebar under “Likes” it says “People Talking About This”. This number is a great way to measure if your content is resonating with your audience because it speaks to engagement. This lets you know in a one week period how many people liked your page, posted to your page and mentioned, liked, shared or commented on a post of yours.

Just because a page has thousands of Likes, does not mean there is a good dose of interactions with the readers (engagement).

Facebook Insights is not only a great tool to measure the health of your Facebook page, but your blog content as well.

A Healthy Dose of Comments

It makes me sad when I visit a blog where they have the comments closed. (Does that make it a real blog then? Wait, that’s another discussion.) But when I visit a blog where there is a nice conversation flowing in the comments section, it makes me want to join in.

This tip may seem obvious to most of you, but I think all of us – whether we are brand new to this crazy world of blogging or if we’ve been doing it for ten years – need to take a step back and analyze the interaction. Are we interacting with our readers? Are they finding our content valuable enough to take a few minutes to leave a comment?

You can also get fantastic post ideas from comments your readers have left. Look for questions they asked or statements saying they wish you would write more of a certain type of article. If they are practically begging for more, then by all means, give them more!

How can you tell if your content is resonating well with your audience? Share some of your tips in the comment section below. Also feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see more of here on the BlogWorld blog. Are we resonating with you?

Six Things You Can Focus On Today to Increase Your Blogging Results


Last week I shared a little of my blogging story with you, by giving you a look into how I make money by blogging and selling blogs. As I mentioned, I’ve been at this since 2006. I’ve been through the ups and downs of both blogging for a company, as well as blogging for myself.

I have people ask me just about every week, “How can I do what you do?” My first answer for them is to get ready to work their butt off. If that statement doesn’t scare them off, then I know they’re ready to hear the rest of what I have to say – the nuts and bolts of what goes into becoming a successful blogger.

(Side note: Not all successful blogging stories are identical. What I am about to share with you has worked for me, but it’s not in any way the only road to success.)

I won’t get into choosing a topic for your blog, setting up your blog, or choosing a design. Let’s just assume you already have those pieces in place and are ready to hit the ground running with your topic.

1. Email, Email, Email

For several of the topics I write about, my contacts are the bread and butter of my business. They help me build my content with the emails they send with topic ideas, the products they want me to review or the person they would like me to interview. I have one incredibly large and amazing list of contacts, both PR firms and direct with business owners. How did I build this list? I pounded the keyboard.

The first thing I recommend you do as a new blogger is set up Google alerts with keywords related to your topic. I also suggest you search Google news for press releases related to your topic. Both of these will help keep you on top of the news, as well as build up your contact list. At the bottom of every press release is (usually) a name, email and/or phone number of the main contact person.

For months, I emailed people every single day introducing myself, telling them a little about my blog and letting them know I would love to work with them and be added to their press list. It took only a few months to build a solid list of people. My inbox was flooded with post ideas, product review submissions and interview requests. I still email companies and PR firms, but very rarely. I’m now at the stage of turning people away, and you can be there as well if you follow this approach.

2. Post Quality Content Every Day

I definitely will have some people disagree with me on this one and that’s okay. Like I said, this is what worked for me in the beginning. I truly believe that staying committed to having fresh content available every day was a key piece that got me where I am today.

If you don’t have the time to devote to your blog every day, then set aside one chunk of time a week where you write 5 to 7 articles to drip throughout the course of your week. The scheduled post feature is your friend. Use it!

Your readership and numbers will grow because they’ll keep coming back for more every day and your business contacts will grow because they’ll know you’re the type of blogger they want to work with.

3. Build Your Email List Yesterday

When I have a new blogger ask me, “When should I start building my email list?”, I always say “Yesterday”. Meaning, you need to be collecting those emails from your readers on day one. I wish I could say I followed this piece of advice, but I didn’t. I honestly thought people would prefer to receive information about my site from little blurbs on Facebook or Twitter. That is not the case!

Did you know you have readers who are not on either of those sites? (Gasp!) And, did you know there are people who are on Facebook and/or Twitter but they don’t check it every day? (Gasp again!) But guess what? They do check email every day and you’ll reach a lot more people through email, instead of hoping they see it on your Facebook page. So go build that email list…yesterday!

4. Don’t Be a Blog Hermit

One definition of a hermit is “any person living in seclusion; recluse”. In order to have a successful blog, you need to step away from your own blog for a minute and go make friends. Don’t be a hermit! Find blogs within your topic and start commenting on them. And I’m not talking about leaving a “Nice post!” comment or some lengthy one which makes you sound extremely intelligent. Just join the conversation like you would at a get together with your friends. Socialize. Interact. Reach out.

I know there are many bloggers who will agree with the fact that you’ll make friends within the blogging community who will become your friends for life. You’ll start bunking together at events, helping each other’s blogs succeed and maybe even go into business together. If you stay in your own little blogging bubble, you’ll regret it in the end. I promise.

5. Treat Your Blog as a Business

Yes, I know. You’re thinking, “Thank you for the obvious cliché advice, Julie Bonner”. But me telling you to treat your blog as a business is THE most important piece of advice I could give you. You hear successful bloggers say, “If you treat this as a hobby, it will pay you as a hobby. If you treat this as a business, it will pay you as a business” for a reason. The reason is it’s true. I don’t care if you’re a mom blogger, a dad blogger or someone blogging about under water basket weaving – this is a piece of advice for everyone.

Type A Founder Kelby Carr conducted a session at BlogWorld LA 2011 where she talked about this very subject. The session was titled “Parent Bloggers Mean Business”. She gave some very valuable tips and advice on being taken seriously as a blogger. In order to be successful in the blogosphere, it’s important to be respected by both your blogging peers as well as companies. Kelby said to have confidence, don’t obsess over your competition, and behave like a professional. I couldn’t agree more.

6. Hold on Tight. It’s Going to be a Fun and Bumpy Ride

Last but not least, realize blogging is a journey just like anything else in life. You’ll have your days someone leaves a really rude comment on your blog, or makes fun of your video, or insults you in some way. It will happen, especially the more successful you get. Shake it off, call it what it is – someone being terribly stupid, jealous and immature – and realize tomorrow is a new day. (This is where those great blogging friends you’ve made can help save the day with an encouraging word.)

Keep creating good content, keep reaching out to the blogging community and keep being professional. I can tell you first hand – blogging is one heck of a fun ride. So hold on.

Increasing Email Subscriber Engagement on Top of Marketers’ Minds for 2012


As 2011 is coming to a close and we are inching closer and closer to 2012 (I know…I can’t believe it either), it’s time to take a step back and look at your blogs. Ask yourself some questions like what did you do right, what did you do wrong and what would you like to focus more on in 2012.

Building up your email subscriber list might be one New Year’s resolution for you to consider for your business. Allison gave us some fantastic insights and ideas on how she helped increase her client’s mailing list. In fact, she helped triple it in less than 10 minutes.

According to a study done by StrongMail in conjunction with Zoomerang, marketers plan on spending more money and time on their email subscriber list. They want to increase both the number of subscribers, as well as the engagement factor.

When marketers were asked to “Please indicate the programs for which you plan to increase spend”, email marketing won out with 60%. Social media wasn’t far behind with 55%.

When asked what their most important email marketing initiatives were for 2012, subscriber engagement came out on top with 48% and growing opt-in email lists came in with 32%.

Are you a firm believer in building an email subscriber list? If so, how have you used this list for the benefit and growth of your business?



BlogWorld Blog Weekly Recap – Zombies, BWELA Packing List and Kimonos


As we lead up to next week’s (next week people!) BlogWorld Expo in sunny Los Angeles, CA, the BlogWorld blog has been on fire with great content. In fact, every week we have some amazing content from BlogWorld staff, as well as guest posters all over the world.

So you don’t miss a beat, here’s a weekly round-up of articles from October 21st to 28th. I’ve broken it down into categories – such as posts specifically about BWELA, blogging tips and general news.

BlogWorld LA 2011

Let’s Pause for a Word from Our BlogWorld LA Speakers

Blogging Tips and News

Three Posts to Avoid on Your Small Business Blog


You have a small business. You’ve decided to start a blog. You’ve even done your research and learned how to use WordPress, search engine optimization, and social media. Congratulations! Blogs can be a great marketing tool, and although it takes time to build traffic, over time, it can bring in a lot of extra business.

But what should you post? As you stare at that blank screen wondering what to write, it can be paralyzing. Actually, small business blogging is more about knowing what not to write. Avoid the following three types of posts; any other post you write will only help you be successful.

1) Negative Posts, Especially About Competitors

Things aren’t always happy in the business world. You have to deal with angry customers, annoying regulations, and more – but your small business blog is not the place to vent. You especially want to stay away from talking badly about competitors in such a public online space, since it makes you seem petty. You can talk about mistakes you’ve made or changes happening within your company even if the circumstances aren’t great, and responding to customer concerns online can show that you’re dedicated to finding solutions to make everyone happy, but don’t use your blog to rant. You want readers to leave feeling positive about your company and your industry in general.

2) Word-for-Word Press Releases

As a small business, you probably write press releases occasionally, and there’s no better place to post these documents than on your own blog, right? Wrong. The point of a press release is to get lots of others to post it, and many won’t change a word (which is what you want, since you probably considered the press release language carefully). On your own blog, make your announcement special! Not only is it better for search engine optimization, but you can customize the announcement to really draw in readers, rather than using a press release, which is colder and less personal.

3) Personal Information

I’m a big fan of adding personality to any blog, even if you’re writing a small business blog. It helps readers connect to you and want to be loyal to your blog (and, in turn, your business). However, there is a thing as too much information. Make sure that every post you write directly relates to your business or your industry so it makes sense for your readers. It’s okay to talk about personal details occasionally, but if you write a blog about your restaurant, going off on a tangent about your cat probably isn’t interesting to your readers. Also, be careful about the personal information you share from a security standpoint. Don’t give out your home address (use a P.O. box or your business address) and think twice before posting pictures of your kids – make sure you can do so safely.

Do you write a small business blog? What’s your best posting tip?

About.com Reveals “The Three Mindsets of Search” Study Findings


About.com released their findings of “The Three Mindsets of Search” study that I thought was very interesting.

As I am writing up a blog post, I do focus on keywords and a few other basic SEO principles, but am offering what the people who arrive at my blog were searching for? Am I catering to their search mindset?

The study revealed three types of search mindsets: “Answer Me”, “Educate Me” and “Inspire Me.” Here are each of the mindsets explained and the categories they apply to. Find out which mindset your blog topic falls under.

Answer Me (46% of all searches) — People in an Answer Me search want exactly what they ask for, and no more, delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible. The top categories in Answer Me search are Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty & Style.

Educate Me (26% of all searches) — People in an Educate Me search want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. They will search until their goal is achieved — which may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics. The top categories in Educate Me search are Health and Finance.

Inspire Me (28% of all searches) — The fun, “browsy” type of search, where people are looking for surprises, have open minds and want to be led. The top categories in Inspire Me search are Travel and Home & Garden.

The basics of this study show marketers how to really connect with the people who use their products. It also helps us bloggers know the types of searchers that are arriving on our site.

For example, if you write about topics in the Health and Finance realm, you really need to lay it all out there, as well as provide them with a way to get more information. For those of you who write about Entertainment or Style topics, you need to provide quick and easy ways to help them find exactly what they were looking for.

What is your blog topic and what are some ways you can improve the overall design of your blog, as well as your individual blog posts to cater to your type of searcher?

What Bloggers can Learn from the Fraggles


I was totally not watching cartoons today. Fraggle Rock is technically live action, since they’re muppets. But just in case that still sounds a little lame, let’s just call it research for this blog post. Yeah, that’s it. It was a necessity for work.

In all honesty, I can’t resist watching Fraggle Rock anytime I see it on TV because I’m a sucker for nostalgia and loved that show as a toddler. But as I was watching it today, I did notice a few parallels I could draw in a blog post here at BlogWorld. Here are a few things that bloggers can learn from the fraggles:

Dance Your Cares Away

The fraggles’ theme song is pretty inspiring to me. Dance your cares away/Worries for another day/Let the music play/Down on Fraggle Rock. Of course, the fraggles are for kids, and as adults we have to actually face problems, at least sometimes, but I think the lyrics still have something to teach us as bloggers. We often spend a lot of time upset, worrying about this and that, and so much effort goes into that worry that we can’t give our blogs the effort it really deserves. Sometimes, you just need to let your worries go so you can turn your attention on what’s really important. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff!

I guess that’s good general life advice, not just blogging advice, hm?

It Takes All Kinds

The main characters of Fraggle Rock are Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, and Red. They’re all friends, but if you’ve watched the show at all, you know that each fraggle has a very distinct personality. They’re stronger as a group because they complement one another well. Think about your niche the same way. It’s stronger for readers because there are tons of different personalities all working together to populate the web with information about your topic of choice. This also means that you shouldn’t try to fit into a mold. It’s okay to be Boober in a niche full of Reds.

There’s Always Someone Bigger…and Always Someone Smaller

The fraggles aren’t the only ones who live in their little world. There are also the doozers, who are small workers, constantly building intricate structures made of candy that the fraggles love to eat, as well as gorgs, huge creatures who consider the fraggles to be pests, much like we’d regard mice. It’s a good reminder to us that no matter how small we feel, there are other bloggers who are smaller, and no matter how popular we get, there are other bloggers who are more popular. Don’t get discouraged…and don’t get a big head!

Good Advice Comes from Weird Places

The fraggles get sage advice from Marjory. Marjory? Oh, she’s the trash head. That’s right, they get advice from a pile of garbage. The lesson in that is you should never close off yourself to good advice. Advice for your blog or your specific niche can come from a blogger your dislike or someone who is new to blogging or…from Fraggle Rock! Don’t be too caught up in what you think is “right” that you miss out on some great information from unexpected places.


How to Blog Like the X-Men


Despite a really disappointing run with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, everything I’ve been reading an hearing about the latest X-Men move, X-Men: First Class, has been great. I’m looking forward to seeing it myself later this week, and until then, I thought it would be fun to look at a few ways the X-Men can inspire us to be better bloggers.

Blog Like Wolverine: Be a Loner

Wolverine is perhaps the best-known character in the X-Men world. He’s known for having retractable metal claws, for his ability to heal at an accelerated rate…and for being the stereotypical tough guy loner. While the term “loner” has some negative connotations, if you’re a blogger, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

I’m not suggesting that you turn all anti-social on me. What I am suggesting is that you pave your own path in your niche, doing something completely different from what everyone preaches that you have to do. So many blogs I see are people trying to be just like the big name in their niche. If you imitate success, you too will be successful, right? Not really. You might have your fans, but you’re never going to be as good as the a-lister who inspires you. If you take a chance and do something different, sure you might be a bit of  a loner at first,  but you’ll find your fans…and better yet, you have the opportunity to be great.

  • Take Action Right Now: Write a post that disagrees with a post recently written by an a-lister or that disagrees with common advice in your niche. Don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing, but find a topic where you actually do disagree with the norm in your niche and voice your own opinions about it.

Blog Like Storm: Get Creative with the World Around You

When I was a kid and everyone played X-Men at recess, I was always Storm. Yes, I was a total geek, even as a seven-year-old. Anyway, Storm’s main special power is the ability to manipulate the weather. As a blogger, I want to encourage you to stretch your creative skills and try manipulating the world around you just like Storm does. Challenge the status quo and write posts that really matter.

You’ve heard the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” right? Bloggers have a unique chance to really put that saying into effect, reaching people from around the world. Regardless of your niche, at least every once in a while, take some time to write about issues that are super important to you

  • Take Action Right Now: Write a post about an issue that’s really close to your heart. This can be related to your niche, but if it’s not, that’s okay too. Every so often, it is okay to step away from your niche to talk about important issues.

Blog Like Rogue: Show Your Versatility

Rogue can absorb the powers of other mutants she touches, and although she didn’t always have control over this power, but older versions of Rogue have learned to harness her abilities and make the most of them. I think what we can all learn from Rogue is the benefit of being versatile.

At first, Rogue saw her abilities as a curse. I think versatility can be a curse for bloggers too. If you know a lot about a lot of subjects, if can be difficult to define your niche and find your audience. You might love mid-century art and college basketball, but a blog that covers those two topics isn’t going to appeal to most people. However, once you’ve learned to control your versatility, you can use it to your advantage. Your various interests make you a unique blogger, so show it off. A good example is this very post. I’m a geeky geek, so I wanted to include a post that highlights something geeky while still staying relevant to the BlogWorld readers.You can do something similar by drawing parallels between topics.

  • Take Action Right Now: Bring a seemingly unrelated interest you have into your blog by comparing it to something that *is* relevant to readers. Ex: “How Social Media is Like Cake Decorating” or “What Jersey Shore can Teach You about Business”

Blog Like Cyclops: Focus

Cyclops is one of the original X-men, and he often takes a leadership role in the group. You can recognize him by the red visor-like glasses he wears, a piece which allows him to control the energy beams he shoots from his eyes. The lesson I think bloggers can take away from cyclops is simple: focus is important.

If you can’t shoot lasers from your face, don’t worry – the focus I’m talking about is much more attainable. As a blogger, take some time to determine exactly how often you can commit to blogging…and stick to that. I see so many blogs derail as bloggers burn out or get busy with other things in life, and this is the quickest way to confuse your readers. If you want to connect, you have to be consistent, whether that might be once a week or once a day.

  • Take Action Right Now: Decide how often you can blog, even on busy weeks, and create a schedule that you can maintain. If it helps you stay motivated, start a series of posts, announcing to your readers when they can expect to read future installments.

Hopefully, even if you aren’t a comic book fan, you’ve picked up a few tips. If you took any of the action points I’ve listed, link us below – I’d love to read anything this post inspired!

Picture credits: Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Cyclops

If Your Blog were a Magazine… (part 2)


Yesterday, I started writing about what we can learn about blogging from the magazine industry. About 800 words in, I realized that I had was too much content for a single post, so I decided to turn it into a series. So, this post is a continuation of our previous discussion. I’ve already talked about how bloggers can learn about design, content repackaging, and subscription marketing from magazines. What else does the world of print have to offer us?

Featured Intereviews

Most magazines feature two or three unique stories based on interviews with interesting people. When is the last time your blog did that? You can include an interview that is purely question/answer format, or you can go farther and turn an interview into a full-length story. Either way, why aren’t we doing that as bloggers? We should be! Think about it. When you pick up a copy of one of your favorite magazines, what’s one of the first things you read (or, if you read cover-to-cover, what’s the most interesting thing you read)? Often, it’s the human interest piece, the story of the girl who survived the car wreck and found a renewed sense of faith in your religious magazine or the story of the family who was deep in debt and somehow got out in your financial magazine or the story of the drowning teen who was saved by his dog in your pet magazine.

Yes, these magazines teach us something. Yes, these magazines talk about industry news. But they also go out there and hunt down interesting stories, stuff that isn’t being covered by every other magazine out there. We need to do that as bloggers.

Regular Columns

All magazines have regular columns that are part of every issue. Readers begin to expect these columns and often raise questions if something goes missing.It creates a sense of excitement to open your favorite magazine and see that funny baby picture of the month or read about the best kitchen disasters of the month or whatever your column of choice may be.

What do your readers have to look forward to?

You don’t have to do a regular column, so to speak, but a lot of bloggers out there don’t have any sense of regularity at all. Your readers never know when to expect new posts from you. Your topics are wide-ranging and rarely more than loosely related to any niche. Your might have a beloved regular feature, but no schedule for it. Maybe your tweet like crazy one day, then not at all for weeks. Give your readers some sense of consistency.

Reader Focus

So many bloggers out there are trying to please everyone. But how many magazines are like that? Few…maybe none. Magazines know that their readers are a special group with special needs and wants. They focus on pleasing that specific group, not trying to give their magazine mass appeal to every single person in the United States. Yes, you want to appeal to as many people as possible, but at the same time, if you try to have too wide of an appeal, you won’t really appeal to anyone.

There’s another trend I see in blogging that is a little unsettling – and that’s the rebellious “I don’t care what you think. I’m going to blog about what I want to blog about because it’s my blog.” Okay, every magazine out there has an agenda of some sort. When you’re named editor-in-chief or purchase a magazine, you get to promote the content you like. It is yours, after all.

But if that’s the attitude you take, that you don’t care about your readers at all, then don’t complain when you don’t make any money. I don’t care how much I like a blog. If that blogger is vocal about not caring about my wants/needs, I’m goign to go out of my way to spend money elsewhere. It’s cool if you want a place to rant and rave, and you don’t care who reads it. Just because you have a readership doesn’t mean you have to care about them. But if you want money from them? You better care about what they want.

Don’t forget to check out part one of this piece, and next time you’re lacking some inspiration for your blog, pick up the latest issue of your favorite magazine. Look at what you enjoy, and think about how you can transform that feature for your blog.

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