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Building a Better Blog in 2012 – Chapter 3: Concentrate on Content

Build a Better Blog 2012

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark

I’ve partnered with a group of bloggers to follow the advice from the super duper amazing guys at Problogger, to follow the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog book together – And I am SUPER excited to take on this challenge! I started my blogging journey in late February of 2011, and what a fun {and sleepless!} year it’s been so far! To make sure we all have a great foundation to build on, we’re going through the Guide to Your First Week of Blogging book first – {Click here to view more details} – If you’d like to follow along with us – join the linky at the bottom of this post, and I’ll make sure to invite you into our fun Facebook group too!

Chapter 3 – Concentrate on Content

The amazingly smart and tech savvy Misty over at CEO of Me, Inc. covers each new chapter really thoroughly, so be sure to read each chapters notes on her page – Building a Better Blog in 2012 – Chapter 3 – so you know what today’s challenge includes. And I’ll share how I’m going to use these tips and ideas here on MY blog. This chapter includes a ton of info, and it’s all really good stuff.

Probloggers First Week of Blogging eBook

Task 1: Writing your “My Story” post

In Chapter 2 – Publish and Build Presence – Misty talks about writing a “My Story” post – something that let’s your readers know who you are, and what you’re blog is all about. I think that writing this down helps YOU too – It helps you figure out exactly what you want your blog to “be”. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to reach? Moms on a budget? Women running a business? Moms with babies, or moms with teens?
  • What do you want to them to learn on your site? Narrow it down: If you want them to learn ‘How to save money’ – do you want to teach about coupon usage, online shopping rewards, how to complete DIY projects yourself, budget-friendly recipes, frugal fashion?
  • What makes you unique? What can YOU teach them about using coupons that they can’t learn on another site? Why should they subscribe to YOUR blog?

Use the answers to these questions to write down your Mission Statement – Who you are, what you do, and why it’s important. Think about how major companies do their branding – when you read the phrase “Just Do It”, you know what to expect. Nike doesn’t use a new message on every ad, and neither should you. Use this Mission Statement as a tag line on your blog, in your bio when you guest post, on your Twitter account and Facebook page – anywhere that your blog has a presence. My Mission Statement is this – “Smart Solutions for Busy Moms – Simplifying Life One Post at a Time” – My goal is to find the best Busy Mom Solutions to share – products, services, apps, books, sites, tips, and more – things that help busy moms like myself save time, money, and sanity. I want to show people that living frugal can still be fun and fashionable. When setting your goals, remember – “Readers subscribe to blogs when they provide an informational or entertainment value SO great that it would be a loss to not subscribe to it.” Maki.

Check out My Story in the About Me Page

For my “My Story” post, I decided to use this opportunity to finally update my “About Me” page. I wrote that page almost a year ago – And my focus and goals have changed dramatically since then! Check it out – and if you have some feedback, suggestions, tips – share them in a comment! I’m always looking to improve :)

Task 2: Create a Pillar Content Post

Ready, Set, Blog! – I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month, which is all about encouraging you to find creative new ideas for writing your posts. We’re already on Day 8 – but join in anyway, it’s a great way to push yourself to think outside the box, and create quality posts. And that’s what your pillar content is all about – The type of post that will be just as relevant next year as it is today. Here are a couple things to help you when writing pillar content posts – Google Keyword Tool, to help search engines find your post, and Eliminate 21 Reputation-Crushing Writing Mistakes from Your Blog.

Task 3: Create a Series Idea using Mind-Mapping

Just like there are a million different styles of bloggers, there are a million different ways to do mind-mapping. The basic idea is to find a method that works for you, and use it to brainstorm new ideas for your blog. It’d go something like this –

  • You want to do a series about dinnertime recipes.
  • What kinds of recipes can you share?
  • Write down a ton of ideas – no censoring yourself, no “dumb” ideas – just write as many as you can as fast as you can. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write until it stops. Whatever works for you.
  • Now, figure out how to make some of your favorite ideas into a series.
  • Can you divide it by chicken, fish, beef, pork, and vegetarian?
  • Separate posts by skill level – Clueless, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Chef?
  • Have a week of themed dinner ideas – Base themes on movies, music, holidays, or colors?

The more you do these brainstorming exercises, the more fun ideas that you’ll come up with! Don’t censor yourself as you do this, there are no dumb ideas. My next series starting in February is going to be about babies – A whole month worth of posts, reviews, tips, giveaways, and fun stuff. This little mind mapping task really helped me narrow down the things that I want to write about!

Task 4: Non-Pillar Content

In addition to the Evergreen content you create in your Pillar content posts, you need other stuff to read too. When you buy a magazine, you have lots to choose from – Editorials, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, fun ‘fluff’ type pieces. Make sure you give your readers lots of choices too! I like to share funny pics I come across, my favorite Pinterest finds, and great quotes that I love. Think about what types of things might make YOUR readers smile, and be sure to share them often!

Task 5: Building Community

This is SO important! The difference between a traditional website and a blog is that a blog draws the readers into the experience by allowing them to comment on the article, ask questions, and respond to others. Sometimes I’ve learned just as much info from reading the comments on an article as I learned in the article itself! Problogger has a totally awesome post about this – Principles of Successful Blogging – Community – It’s a must-read. After putting together my 10 Blogging Goals for 2012 , I realized that I need to add this idea into my social media plans for the year too, to build more interaction with my readers, followers, and fans. And – If you’re looking to network with other bloggers, my BEST advice is to find some groups to join on Facebook! It’s a super convenient way to connect with others, and I’ve learned and incredible amount of new knowledge from others this way.

Wrappin’ it Up

I hope that some of these tips and ideas help you too!

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and I’m always glad to answer any questions you have. And if you’d like to share some feedback on my new About Me page – I’d love to hear that too!


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