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How to Create an Awesome Blog

How to Create an Awesome Blog
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In his book Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, Mitch Myerson introduces you to 22 innovators who have redefined the developing landscape of online marketing. Learn how to master proven strategies, avoid costly mistakes and grow your business. In this edited excerpt, contributing author Ian Cleary explains his four-step process to creating a blog that help make your business a success.

If you use the right approach, your blog will draw more and more traffic that will result in you becoming recognized in your industry, building amazing business partnerships, and setting up systems for the low-cost acquisition of customers for your business.

Can you achieve success and see rapid growth in your blog and business over a short period of time? Absolutely. Let’s get started by using this four-step process.

1. Research your market to identify what makes your blog different.

Identifying a niche or something that helps differentiate your blog from other competitor blogs makes a massive difference in accelerating your blog’s growth. This involves doing your research to find out who your competitors are, what they're writing about, what gaps exist in areas that they don’t write about, and how popular the content they create is.

First search Google for keywords relevant to your product or service to see who appears regularly. Check out their content and see what they write about. Also research the competitors you already know to see what they write about.

Use OpenSiteExplorer.org to rank yourself and your competitors. This tool ranks websites and pages of websites out of 100. The higher the scores, the harder it will be to beat the competitor in search results when you are competing for the same keywords. Next, use tools like Compete, Quantcast or SEMRush to get estimates of your competitors' traffic.

Next, use Ahrefs or similar tools to find out which blog posts on their website have the most links pointing to them. Content that's popular will be linked to by other websites. Then use SocialCrawlytics to analyze the volume of social sharing on your competitor’s blog content. Popular content gets shared a lot.

You need to determine what topics your competitors are writing about that are popular but that they're not focusing all their attention on. Then you can come up with better content and deliver it from a different angle to end up with really popular blog posts.

2. Put down strong foundations.

It’s really important that you build your blog on a reliable platform that's supported by good infrastructure. WordPress is a blogging platform that's used by over 20 percent of websites worldwide. It’s a safe bet for your platform as it’s supported by a huge community around the world.

Whichever platform you choose, work with a top development team that understands not just design and technology but also conversions. There's no point in having a nice-looking website if it doesn’t convert into sales for your business.

Next, build your content strategy. It’s extremely important to have a content strategy in place before you write anything. Producing content is time intensive, so you need to minimize your time commitment and maximize the effectiveness of the content by knowing the answers to the following questions:

  • What are you going to write about?
  • When will you write? That means defining specific times and days that you always write.
  • Who's your target audience?
  • What optimization will you do on the content?
  • Which channels are you going to distribute the content to?
  • Your team. Who will be involved in writing, editing, producing graphics, helping with content distribution, etc.
  • Measurement. How will you measure the impact of your content?

Third, build relationships with influencers. Without a plan for building relationships with relevant people in your industry, your blog won't get the growth it deserves. Influencers online typically have a large audience and are connected to many other influencers; people take action based on what they share and talk about. Leverage their audiences to get your content in as many relevant hands as possible.

From your research, you'll have come across competitors you may want to develop relationships with; other websites will come up all the time in search results. Use tools such as LittleBird, GroupHigh or Twtrland to help you make a list of key influential people in your industry. When someone is influential, they're followed by other influencers.

  • LittleBird produces a list of people, ordered based on who has the most influencers following them. 
  • GroupHigh is very focused on bloggers, so if you want to find the top bloggers in your industry, you can filter based on topics, then view details for each blogger.
  • You can also use social media analysis tools, such as Twtrland, to identify influencers on channels such as Twitter.

The best way to build relationships with influencers is by helping them:

  • Share their content. Set up systems to make sure you find their new content and can share the best of it. For example, create a list of influencers within Twitter and add it as a column in Hootsuite. Now you can track the influencers’ activities and look for opportunities to interact. Add their websites to Feedly, which is a tool for reading and subscribing to blogs. Through Feedly’s integration with an application called Buffer you can automatically schedule the content sharing.
  • Comment on their blogs. Most people are lurkers and don’t comment, so bloggers really love getting comments.
  • Profile them on your blog. Ask them for an interview. Influencers like doing interviews! By interviewing them, you get a chance to speak and interact with them and get to know them. Group posts where you ask a question or series of questions to different influencers and profile them all in one post works amazingly well!
  • Guest post for them. Influencers have very little time, and they have high demands for content. The majority will allow you to guest post, but it depends on your approach. Be a subscriber, interact with them, understand what content their audience likes and then approach them.

3. Produce quality, shareable content.

It’s great to produce a lot of content, but don’t ever sacrifice quality for quantity. If you can only produce one quality post a week, don’t be tempted to write two poor ones instead.

Great content is what people talk about, share, and link to. Recent research found that the majority of blog posts in the top 10 search results are longer than 2,000 words. In terms of links and shares, this is content that has done really well.

One good tactic for getting a lot of attention is to do a group post that includes information from some of your influencers. In an infographic, for instance, you could reference lots of influencers and/or tools. They might even create blog posts to share the infographic with their audience.

4. Get eyeballs on your content.

After going to all that trouble to produce a fantastic piece of content, you need to give it a fighting chance to be seen by as many people as possible.

First step: Optimize your content for Google. You don't have to be an SEO expert to do this.

Here are the basics you need to consider:

1. When you write a post, check Google Keyword Planner to identify keywords to target.

2. Find out how competitive it is to rank on these keywords. Use tools such as SEOMoz keyword difficulty tool, which will give you a very good idea where you'll appear in search results after writing the article.

3. Ensure these keywords, and other similar/relevant keywords are referenced in the following:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Heading.
  • Web page name
  • Content. Include these keywords and other relevant/related ones.

Next, optimize your content for social media. When your visitors share content out to their social media channels, you can add relevant information that tells the channel more about the content. For example, Twitter cards allow you to describe your content. You can tell Twitter the main image for any given piece of content and, when that content is shared, the image you have specified is the one that is displayed within Twitter streams.

Take your blogging seriously, and it will produce amazing results.