Saturday’s opening keynote featured Sonia Simone and Brian Clark of Copyblogger and Darren Rowse of Problogger looking at the downs and ups of blogging with an income in mind. (You can catch the full write-up from Alli here.) And here’s my take:
Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night, I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.
(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)
This week’s theme: How to Create Compelling Content For Your Blog
The #blogchat community got a real treat this week, as the discussion was co-hosted with Mack by Brian Clark (@copyblogger) from Copyblogger. As is usually the case, tweets hit on a huge spectrum of topics, this week including things like using keywords for SEO purposes, writing headlines, and the best blogger tools and themes.
Straight from the horse’s mouth*, though, this was by far the best advice of the evening:
@copyblogger: First, what are you trying to accomplish ultimately? What business are you trying to build, who are you trying to influence?
@copyblogger: Never lose site of your ultimate goals.
@copyblogger: From there, focus on 3 things relentlessly – 1. Links. 2. Subscribers. 3. Action (what do you want people to do?)
What I want to touch on tonight with my own commentary is the first point that before you even start focusing on links, subscribers, and action (and anything else dealing with monetizing your blog), you need to sit down and determine your blog’s ultimate goal.
I feel like this is where so many bloggers fall short. It’s not hard to gain a following, no matter what your niche, as long as you’re helpful and engaging. But I see so many bloggers struggling with how to build up readership after they’ve plateaued and how to make money once they have the community. Often, an inability to do so comes from the lack of an ultimate goal.
Start with a broad understand of your blog’s goal. For many of us, that goal is to make money. For some, it may be simply to express a certain point of few and gain followers, and money doesn’t matter, as might be the case with a non-profit blog. For others, it may be to raise brand awareness for a product that you don’t actually sell on the blog. I talked last week about another common blog goal – the blog resume, and you can also have the goal of just enjoying writing online, having a place to rant and rave and journal about your life.
All of these goals are fine. The problem comes when you say, “Oh, I don’t really know. I’ll just start writing and see what happens.”
If you do that, you almost certainly will have a hobby blog that essentially becomes your online journal. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re OK with not making money, gaining a huge following, or promoting a specific brand. I find many bloggers are not OK with that, which is where the problem lies.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You cannot inconsistently post about a mish mosh of topics that interest you and expect to make money.
That would be like opening a store at the mall and instead of selling items that fit into a certain category, just selling whatever you personally like. If I walked into a store that sold bicycles, peanut brittle, portable air conditioners, high-heel shoes, car batteries, clipboards, scarves, and toasters, I’d think the owner was nuts! Yet, that’s how many people treat their blogs – as a catch all that they expect to magically start making money.
Unless you have an ultimate goal, your blog can’t succeed as a business. Well, I’m sure some blogs have accidentally succeeded that way, but in general, you need to have a clear target in your mind. Even if you love a myriad of things in life, pick one to cover on your blog or, if you have time, start multiple blogs. Set goals, and then put Brian’s plan into effect – start building your readership and making money.
*Erm. Not that Brian Clark is a horse!
Who are the BlogWorld keynoters this year? When are they happening and what will everyone be talking about? How will we ever top the rousing success of last year’s closing keynote talk show?
Relax. The answers to these questions and more are about to be revealed.
Tickets are still available for BlogWorld ’10. If our published schedule hasn’t already convinced you to attend, hopefully our keynotes will seal the deal!