Let’s see. You’ve got your following started, you’re blogging on a regular basis, and everything is going well…until it isn’t. Maybe real life intrudes and you find you don’t have the energy to keep up with the original pace you set. Or maybe you find yourself losing interest in your own blog. Or worst of all, your following stops growing. Sigh. What are you to do?
Whatever you do, don’t pull the plug. Drastic thinking may kick in during the holiday season, when you are pulled in a dozen directions at once. But don’t give up and don’t lose hope. There are ways you can keep it real online, degrees of blogging success that you can use to make sure that your blog stays fresh and relevant, so your following continues to grow, and most importantly, so that you continue to enjoy your own creation.
Offer Content That’s Valuable
Let’s start by looking at the content you post. You need to give your readers something of value to take away with them once they finish your article. What are you giving that’s of lasting value to your readers? If your audience knows that you always offer them something of value, they will continue to come back for more. It’s an ongoing attraction, because they want to see what you’ve got today and every day.
So what makes content valuable? Neatly packaged advice, how-to’s, suggestions, and critiques always offer something to your readers. This is why “How to” blogs are popular, as well as the perennially in-demand list format. If you write a fashion blog, for example, you can’t go wrong with “10 Tips for Looking Chic This Winter”. If you write a blog for dog owners, try “How to Train Your Dog to Tolerate Your Cat”. If you write an educational blog, you can always regularly publish entries with the newest online degrees academies in different states.
These are posts that offer instant value in exchange for your reader’s engagement.
Offer Content That’s Fresh
OK, so now we’ve talked about value, but what about content that’s fresh? And what does “fresh” really mean? Well, fresh content means not recycling the same topic over and over, repackaging it in a new format whenever you need to update your blog. Instead, it means finding new and exciting things to talk about. This is not only what will keep your readers engaged with your blog, but also what will keep you engaged with writing it. If you’ve been feeling stale, chances are it’s time to freshen up your content.
But how can you get inspired? Ah, that’s a big problem. Think about what blog posts you enjoy writing, and also ones that you enjoy reading. Is there a blogger you follow, one whose posts keep you captivated? Think about what keeps his or her entries fresh and relevant for you. This should clue you in to where you need to make changes in your own blog.
Never Update Just to Update
This is a big issue for the constant blogger. How often should you update your blog? In the first rush of excitement, you probably wanted to update your blog several times a day, right? You were brimming over with ideas and excitement. Now, you find that pace hard to maintain. How can you update your blog regularly when you don’t have the time, or the energy to do so? What constitutes a regular updating schedule?
Ultimately, you will have to decide how often you can commit to update, but be careful – you can loser readers if you don’t update on a regular basis. Most successful bloggers update at least once per week. Updating less frequently can cause you to fall off your audience’s radar. Updating more frequently is fine, as long as you never update just for the sake of updating. In other words, always have something to say when you start your new entry.
The Elusive Interview Blog
Interview blogs can be a lot of fun. They freshen up your content, offer something of value to your readers, and ease up your need to come up with a new idea for a new entry. They can also introduce an entirely new audience to your blog if your interviewee has his or her own following. Too many interviews can cause your audience to wane, unless you choose to go to a strictly interview format with your blog.
On the other hand, a good interview can go far to spread the word about your blog. Think about what kind of interview you might use to drum up interest. Using our examples above, a fashion blogger might snag an interview with an up and coming designer or a buyer at a well-known department store. A blog devoted to dog owners might schedule an interview with a veterinarian or a trainer. Giving your readers the chance to ask questions in advance is always a great way to get interest going for your interview blog.
Blogging Giveaways: Give ‘Til It Hurts
Need another way to get your audience engaged? Try a blog giveaway. Many bloggers give away signed copies of books, gift cards, and other types of swag to get audiences engaged in their blogs. Giveaways can be great for getting reader participation going in your forums, comments section, or simply via email. These contests can also help you figure out what really resonates with your readers.
But again, it’s important to make sure the giveaway matches your overall blog theme. Don’t settle for giving any old thing away. Instead, figure out creative ways to tie in swag with your blog. For your fashion blog, you could offer a gift card to the person who sends in the ugliest Christmas sweater picture. For the dog owner blog, offer a pet supply gift card for the most heartwarming dog rescue story. Share the results on your blog (voila, instant content!). The possibilities are endless.
Remember Why You Blog
Finally, remember why you started your blog in the first place. What got you all fired up and eager to write? Embrace that original inspiration again. Hopefully these suggestions will help you step back and see what’s causing your blog malaise, then help you get back on your feet and writing again.
Author: Franky Branckaute
Franky is CEO, Editor and Muppet on Duty at Splashpress Media and sporadically blogs about the professional online life at his personal iFranky blog, when he isn’t annoying his colleagues or blog software evangelists. He also is regular Guest Lecturer on all things New Media and ‘blogging’. Stalk him on Twitter or on Google+