Blogging exercises for entrepreneurs, bloggers and small business

Most people start a new blog full of hope and excitement over the huge prospects the Internet presents for business, promotions, marketing and so on. The vast majority of people who start blogs also give up after only a few months.

Blogging is an endurance race, not a sprint. It also requires skill and practice to get right, and simply sitting down and writing whatever comes to your head may not be sufficient to attract enough visitors to make the effort worthwhile.

Effectively, there are five main attributes of a good blog that allows it to drive traffic, business and revenue regardless of the niche:

  1. Define and understand the audience
  2. Write focused, engaging SEO enhanced content
  3. Determine how best to “spread the word”
  4. Constantly increase “reach”
  5. analyse traffic and refine methods

I thought I would list a few exercises that will help any blogger, regardless of their aims, to improve their blogging skills and build their reach and traffic.

Ex 1: Define and understand the audience
Think of who might want to read your blog. Once you have an idea, break that audience down into sub-groups. You should be able to come up with at least 10 sub-groups of people.
Hint: You can make sub-groups based on age, sex, location, profession, or anything else. For example, a blog on gardening might appeal to homeowners in general, but what happens if they live in cold climates, or warm climates? These are two different sub-groups.

Ex 2: Write focused, engaging SEO enhanced content
Understanding that you now have plenty of sub-groups to target, create a new blog post that speaks specifically to each individual sub-group.
Hint: You can come up with completely different blog post topics altogether, or you can approach the same topic from the perspective of the different target audience. For example, the blog post “When to plant” may be useful for homeowners, but it may also be useful for groundskeepers for different reasons.

Ex 3: Determine how best to “spread the word
Now that you have focused, relevant and SEO enhanced content to show a niche audience, do some research on where these people hang out. Are they on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Forums, other blogs, etc. Deliver the right blog post to the right people using the right media – social, or otherwise.
Hint: You should always include some form of social media in your delivery campaign as this can help to make the content go viral.

Ex 4: Constantly increase “reach
Write another batch of blog posts targeted at specific niches. Instead of publishing these, offer these articles as guest blog posts on other popular websites. Make sure you get an attribution and link back to your blog in the process. This will help you to attract people who wouldn’t otherwise see your content.
Hint: Only choose quality sites and blogs to contribute to. These will enhance your reputation and authority instead of possibly damaging it.

Ex 5: analyse traffic and refine methods
Make sure that you are able to analyse incoming traffic to see where visitors are coming from and what they are looking at. This will tell you which methods are successful and which are not. It will also give you clues as to which content is more popular and which is not.
Hint: Make sure you only refine your methods once you have statistically significant amounts of information to make a decision. For example, a single blog post that doesn’t attract traffic is not an indication you should abandon that topic.

Finally, I would also recommend that you get involved with other bloggers. Link to them, reference their articles, comment on their content. You can start by recommending these exercises to your friends and colleagues…

Interaction with others puts you on their radar and you never know where new connections might lead you. Be pro-active.

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