5 Things You Need To Blog Every Month

2057-1696964330_e832798090_m.jpgI’ve been thinking about how people can better their blogs in 2011, beyond the general “write better content” or “do 5 steps to…” type of advice.

Of all the different types of people who read this blog and the different types of content I post here, one large demographic is people who are in the media / social media space and write blogs to that effect. I read many your blogs – those of you who have commented here at one point or another – and so I feel I have a good idea of what you’re doing and not doing, and thus what would be beneficial to start doing this year.

What follows are 5 things you need to do at least once a month in 2011 to grow your blog, grow your community, and grow your communication skills:

1. Video

You can’t beat video for getting off of the type of a page and into the personality and charisma of an author. Considering that some of you write long blog posts everyday and yet have never done video, your readers are missing out on vital communication that you need to give them.

This video doesn’t have to highly professional – it needs to be a webcam or mobile phone video of you just saying what you’ve already said before – the advantage being that people get to meet with you and your mannerisms that can’t be communicated through written word.

And if you have an issue with how you look on video – get over it – because if you get those speaking gigs that you’re pushing for, then people want to see video!

2. Practical How To Post

At least once a month you need to be turning out a very practical “how to” post that people can use right away. I’m thinking of one person in particular right now who only ever writes theoretical stuff and so I don’t imagine their readership is going to last long, because lets face it, there’s tons of theory out there.

A practical post on a element of what your blog covers is a great way to distinguish yourself and give your readers instant value from your efforts.

3. Repeat The Past

If you scroll through all the past posts you’ve written, you’ve got some real gold that is now buried and gone and you need to bring it back to the fore for both your new readers, and also to refresh the minds of your regulars.

Once a month, find an old post that was a big hit and re-communicate the truth with a new example. Remember that it’s only when you feel you’re making your point too much that people start to get it. You have to get re-iterating your ideas if people are to consider you to be the go-to person for that topic.

4. Ask Others

I’m big on asking questions in blog posts and my stats prove that when I use question marks in titles, I get far more engagement on a post. Make sure that once a month you ask a question that really gives the floor to your readers to participate and flex their muscles.

I also find that too few blogs focus on other people – particular UK writers. There is so much value in interviewing someone else, having someone guest post, shooting a video with a friend who has a great insight, etc. Do this and you’ll grow your readership and create a decent win-win situation.

This also demonstrates that you aren’t that person who needs to hog the blog with your own ideas every week.

5. Paint The Future

I find that too few blogs give me direction for what’s coming – not necessarily next week – but what technology or ideas will help me over the next quarter. If you can be the person who paints this picture for me, then you become the expert in my books.

This expert content also separates you from the scores of bloggers who keep saying the same thing. When you form original insights and ideas you move out of the role of just plain digital commentary.

Who Does This Well

The person that I know who does this best is Ron Edmondson. Subscribe to his RSS and have a look at the mix of his last 20 posts, and you’ll see it’s all there (well, with the exception of video unfortunately, Ron!)

With that type of mix, Ron doesn’t tie himself into one particular style but keeps it varied and interesting. He also occasionally goes into a series (another great idea) or will do something totally different.

And Yours?

  • If you could add one more thing that you need to do every month on your blog, what would it be?
  • Which of these are you struggling to do, and why?

Photo courtesy of Mike Rohde

Archived Comments

  • Great post. Couldn’t agree more about video. If anyone would like advice re shooting uploading etc Be more than happy to help.

  • / Scott Gould

    Mate – I’ll send people along to you who ask for help!

  • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

    I think we’re going to try doing all of the above in 2011, though not every month. Okay, as close to monthly as possible on all of the above, short the video option.

    A lot of what we do involves being out in the field, shooting events which take place over multiple days, often miles from any tarmac/pavement. Webcams need not apply. To produce a video worth watching requires splicing together cuts into a cohesive whole. It’s a major undertaking.

    Still food for thought.

  • / Scott Gould

    Wow! I had no idea you were out and about like that.

    Although I think even then, doing some less pro stuff that is just “hey, just an update”, etc, is good practice

  • If you use WordPress, I suggest you check out VideoPress – http://videopress.com/ , I’ll be giving that a whirl for a bit of vlogging. A neat little digicam such as the Flip (http://www.theflip.com/) or Vado (http://www.pocket-lint.com/review/4686/creative-vado-hd-3-review) should be fine to record the vids, though you might wish to buy an inexpensive tripod such those listed at http://www.theflip.com/en-gb/products/accessories.aspx.

  • The best article on blogging I’ve read in a long time – refreshing to read advice from somebody who isn’t either stating the bleedin’ obvious or a dead-eyed social media marketing type (lot’s of overlap there, of course!).

    I’ve been thinking about a bit of vlogging via http://scruffian.net – there’s nothing like a vid to add weight to a polemic, or something more peaceful such as birds flying into roost at night. I’ve noticed that peers of mine who use their blogs to pose provocative questions get the most interest.

    An idea I’ve had but have yet to implement is to invite users to contribute to music playlists via comments, that way it is more open that something platform specific such as a Spotify playlist or a last.fm station. The blogger becomes curator, and builds playlists in the most popular platforms such as those just listed. I think that kind of collaborative exercise could do a lot to build a community.

    Inviting people to submit pictures around a given theme is something I’ve seen work really well.

  • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

    Appreciate the offier, Simon.

    Would you have any suggestions on how best to prepare? Often, it seems the video interviews are one or two people on the screen, almost staring straight at you for minutes on end. I suspect changing the camera angle and editing together a series of clips might break things up enough, sub-consciously, and breathe some new life into video.

    Any thoughts on how to create a timeline/storyboard in advance to facilitate such a thing?

  • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

    Appreciate the offier, Simon.

    Would you have any suggestions on how best to prepare? Often, it seems the video interviews are one or two people on the screen, almost staring straight at you for minutes on end. I suspect changing the camera angle and editing together a series of clips might break things up enough, sub-consciously, and breathe some new life into video.

    Any thoughts on how to create a timeline/storyboard in advance to facilitate such a thing?

  • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

    I’m not as “out and about like that” as I would like, Scott, but it’s on the agenda for 2011. Depending on connectivity, we might even see about getting some team members out in the field LIVE. Need to get our feet wet a bit before we dive in head-first like that.

    The update idea is a good one. Keep it simple, right?

  • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

    I’m not as “out and about like that” as I would like, Scott, but it’s on the agenda for 2011. Depending on connectivity, we might even see about getting some team members out in the field LIVE. Need to get our feet wet a bit before we dive in head-first like that.

    The update idea is a good one. Keep it simple, right?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Scott, thanks for the post. I’m going to try and make sure I follow some of your advice and am encouraged to try a video post as some point as well in the future!

    Especially need to work on practical posts as well – any tips on how to get cracking?

    Cheers

    Mark

    http://www.calebdorey.co.uk

  • / Scott Gould

    Peter thanks for adding this, much apprecaited

  • / Scott Gould

    Let me know how you guys get on, Simon and Brian, and if I can help

  • / Scott Gould

    Totally – simple.

    One thing I will write soon as about waiting for perfection…. ;-)

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Peter

    Glad this post has been useful for you – I’m glad that it didn’t come across as dead-head advice.

    What you’re saying about “blogger becomes curator” is very important here – I’ve been saying this for ages myself and I like your angle here. I must admit, for me, I’m not in the music space, but certainly crowdsourcing anything in the method you describe is a powerful proposition.

    Have you seen anyone online do this particular well that we can learn from?

    Scott

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Mark

    Glad it helped!

    Re: practical posts, the secret is to know that the knowledge in your mind that you think is common sense is often not common sense.

    So I think it’s common sense to use Twitter the way that I do. But actually, it isn’t – and that could be a post. I think it might be common sense to clean my cupboard in a certain way, or do finances like this, or comb my hair like that – but it’s not.

    So start taking the things that you think are common sense, and communicate them in a few simple steps or points. (But never more than 5.)

    See – I would’ve thought even that knowledge was common sense, but it isn’t. It’s only common sense because it’s common to our senses :-)

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