Whether blogging for your business or as an independent blogger, it can be really difficult to grow a following these days, but it’s DEFINITELY possible. There’s a key to it, and it all comes down to your content. Are you ready for this?
The main reason that someone will not only visit your blog once but also return time and time again is because you’ve PROVIDED VALUE for them. Readers are selfish these days, with so many millions of blogs out there on the internet, they only have time to read the ones that make their life easier or better in some way. So you need to create content that will do that in order to build a following.
Some tough love here— you’ll find it very hard to find people who care enough about the new girl you just hired, your photos from your trip to Yorkshire, or any other personal posts to subscribe to your blog if you’re not already a celeb or a globally-known company. This is why creating posts that provide value is so critical when it comes to growing your blog.
Here are four different types of blog posts that will give your readers plenty of valuable info and that will in turn help you to grow your blog.
1. How-To’s/ Tutorials
People search for “How to….” all the time, so that’s a big opportunity for you. Think of something that your ideal reader or customer will want to know how to do but hasn’t already been done to death (like ”how to find the best pair of jeans for you” … been there, done that!)
Think about it — what do your customers ask you how to do? What do they worry about? What does your ideal reader want to know how to do? And what do you know how to do really, really well that other people don’t? Then write a step-by-step “How To” post to tell her EXACTLY how to do it.
• A hairdresser could create a “How to Make Your Blowout Stay Voluminous” post
• A travel agent’s customers always ask about what to pack for a certain destination so she could create a “How to Pack for Barbardos in the Summer Months” post
• A fashion blogger could write “How to Build Up Your Wardrobe For Less than $100” and give away all of her best money-saving shopping tips.
If there’s one thing that BuzzFeed has proved, it’s that people LOVE A LIST. Internet lovers skim rather than reading, so lists with prominent headers are their best friends. If you get creative, they can be super-shareable on top of providing lots of good info.
Some examples of great list posts:
• A baker could list “15 Items that Every Serious Baker Should Have in their Kitchen”
• A long-haired beauty blogger could list “10 Ways to Style Your Hair When You Don’t Have Time to Dry It”
• Our most popular post lately on The Abroad Guide is 10 Hostels that are Cooler than Hotels. It’s really clickable because budget travelers love staying at cool hostels over boring ones, and it gives readers a list of Instagram-worthy hostels that they can stay in that will be way better and cheaper than staying at a hotel.
*Pro-blogger tip — avoid posts like “10 Reasons to Visit DESTINATION” or “5 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love with THING” . They’re not very creative posts, there’s not much value for the reader and therefore the headline isn’t click-worthy. Instead, try something like “10 Things to Do that Will Help You Experience Authentic DESTINATION”, and be sure to include links, recommendations, etc.
PSSST — if you keep reading, I’ve got a freebie for you….
3. Expert features
These can be a fun way to share the blogger/business love on your blog, which, if you do it right, usually gets reciprocated.
Let’s take my Instagram post for Love and London, on which I featured some fantastic Instagrammers that will make you want to book a flight immediately. I knew my readers would love this because they’re stylish females who love travel, so the value was there. The added benefit was featuring some lesser-known Instagrammers who deserved it, and when they saw that they were featured, were happy to share the post on their own social media channels. Featuring other businesses, sites and bloggers in a unique and AUTHENTIC way can open you up to new audiences.
In the blogging world, a roundup is a post of curated links, sometimes having a theme and sometimes not. An effective roundups combines two of the post types above— expert features and lists— and also gives your readers a crap load of new information and inspiration.
The lifestyle site Brit & Co are brilliant at roundups, like this post on the top 13 Halloween Mantles to Give You Serious Design Inspo. They find the absolute best, include high-quality images, and of course, link back to the source.
Remember— the key is to give your reader VALUE— make their life better or easier, and they’ll stick around, come back again, and maybe even refer you to their friends. Create valuable posts that fall under one of the above categories, and you’ll be on your way to growing a successful blog.
Want a free worksheet that will help you brainstorm awesome post ideas that will grow your blog?