How did you do last weekend?
Were you able to create 50 new reader-focused blog posts?
You might be tempted to skip this step. It may feel more fun and spontaneous to improvise your blog posts. It isn’t. Starting at a blank screen is scary and 100% avoidable. Compiling your list of posts now will save you tons of stress down the road.
Assuming you have your list we’ll chat about an important blog post prerequisite - post templates. My reliance on and love for templates gets me into trouble. Some insist that templates create boring cookie cutter blog posts. I agree only if you are talking about the same topic using the same detail every week.
On the other hand, a good template structures your content. With structure, you are free to fill the template with your own voice and style. Remember that Harry Potter, The Matrix, Spiderman, The Matrix, and Star Wars follow a template called The Hero’s Journey.
Here’s your assignment: create your own homegrown template for your blog posts. Starting with an outline like the Heroes Journey and adapting it for your use is a great first step. But, the point is for you to craft your own structure. This will give your posts a unique feel.
For example, I created a template called the Blog Short. This template is for quick, hard-hitting 400-450 -word posts. It’s simple:
- First 100 words: Explain your idea. Only write about one idea. You’ll see why in a moment.
- Next 100 words: Demonstrate how your idea is relevant to your reader
- Next 100 words: Offer advice on implementing the idea
- Last 100 words: Recap your idea, benefits, and call-to-action.
Your turn. Create your blog template. Ask any questions in the comments section.
You probably ignore your blog’s search bar. It’s probably shoved into a corner of your blog and seldomly touched unless it’s moved down to make room for some other shiny widget. Right?
Well, this week my search bar got a makeover. Specifically I gave it the #2 spot on my sidebar dramatically increasing its visiblity. Why?
If you have Google Analytics installed on your blog, you can pull a report that shows the top words used to search your blog. I immediately saw this report’s value when I happened across it this weekend.
Basically, this report offers clues to what your audience is interested in reading. This information is great for brainstorming new blog post ideas and creating new products.My only problem is that I didn’t have that much data because I had buried my search bar! So voila, it’s sitting pretty in the place of sidebar honor.
Here’s a great article on setting up site search if you want to use this powerful tool.
Mark Schaefer, Gini Dietrich and I still need your vote for our SXSW panel discussion - “Born to Blog”.
If you have already voted then make a note to ask me for a drink when we meet in real life. If you haven’t, could you mozy over to SXSW, register and vote?