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Practical Tips to Make Your Blog More Useful & Interactive

Posted on Mar 29th, 2012
Written by Lee Odden
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    blogging tipsIt’s amazing how a meme can turn into a stream of content when it resonates well with a community. Recently I was sent a set of interview questions and one of the questions asked about building blog community. I took my response to that one question and turned it into a blog post, “How to Increase Business Blog Readership, Traffic & Community” that was well received. In fact, that post prompted two different social media chats to ask if I’d be a guest host on the topic: #smchat and #nptalk. Thank you for inviting me!

    Now I’m turning the questions from those chats and my answers into yet another (unique) blog post full of practical tips.

    The questions and answers from those chats provide tips for bloggers that want to provide a more meaningful and measurable experience for their readers. These tips range from process and efficiency advice to ways of inspiring more user generate content, content repurposing and growing subscribers.

    Q: Do you think blogs are influential in building community – in other words, if you build it, will they come?

    A: Blogs as a hub surrounded by spokes of social participation are excellent for building community

    A: The key is to empathize with what motivates people to discovery, engage & share content. Mesh that insight with your editorial & promotion

    A: Great content isn’t great unless people read and share it. Blogs must promote content to grow community.

    Q: How do you determine the niche solution your market needs to develop “go to” resources for that solution?

    A: Developing resources for niche solutions can start by understanding audience pain points. Know your customer & make things that help them.

    A: Monitor popular niche content in your category to see what topics are not being covered, problems not addressed, then make & solve for your niche.

    A: Create a resource that you would want to use yourself & others will want to use it too. Be editorial not self promotional.

    A: Niche list blog post resource example: 25 Women Who Rock Social Media (4,291 RTs)

    A: Niche list blog post resource example: 22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools (2,599 RTs)

    Q: A keyword glossary and editorial plan keep content on track, but does it create community?

    A: Re: keywords and community – why make it hard for interested people to find your content?

    A: Search keywords & social topics data come from real behaviors & conversations. They inspire editorial that resonates with readers & search engines alike

    A: Bloggers writing purely for self expression with no monetization goals don’t need to bother with keyword glossaries and editorial plans

    A: If bloggers have commercial & business accountability, then empathizing with desired audiences by creating editorial that speaks their language is good business

    A: Two useful resources: SEO or Social for business blogging? & Dynamic Duo of Business Blog Marketing: Optimize & Socialize

    Q: Is it better to gather a community on social media and drive to your blog or directly on your blog itself?

    A: Where you gather community depends where they want to gather. Understand customers, implement & promote content accordingly. Adjust.

    A: A hub and spoke mode allows both blog community & off blog community in social channels. Spoke communities help promote blog content.

    Q: What other tips do you have for driving blog traffic/readership?

    A: Create content people can’t find anywhere else

    A Tips: Create comprehensive collections of resources – unique

    A: Give to get. Praise others, give kudos and recognize others in your industry. Never underestimate the power of ego.

    A: Engage – ask questions, respond quickly and qualitatively. Engage off your blog too – 10 min a day, every day

    Q: What are some ways we can make their blogs more interactive for readers?

    A: Interactions with blogs starts with interesting content. Empathize with audience interests, prompt them with ?s. Ask!

    A: Collect the best comments and curate that into blog content. Spend time on other blogs too. 5-10 min a day.

    A: Surface participation to recognize those who display desirable interaction behaviors. eg top commenters, top shares, etc

    Q: What is the best way to go about sourcing user generated content?

    A: To be efficient, I maintain 10-20 blog posts in development & add to them a few min at a time

    A: As mentioned, guest posts work well. Create contests where content contribution is an outcome. Recognize “winners”.

    A: Ask questions on social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or G+ & compile the answers. Make it easy to answer.

    Q: What is a good way to attract industry influentials to guest post on a blog?

    A: Make valuable comments on their blogs, RT their tweets, get on the radar. Build your credibility & what you stand for.

    A: Industry influentials tend to be BZ so make it EZ to contribute. If a guest post won’t work, offer an email interview.

    A: Try asking 10 thought leaders 1 easy question and compile that into 1 post. Follow up with a guest post offer.

    Q: Should you respond to all comments on your blog or only questions?

    A: Responding to comments depends on opportunity to create value. Questions need answering. Adding to statements OK too.

    A: I don’t think you need to reply to every “great post, thanks” comment, no. But when opportunity for opinion arises, take it.

    Q: Do you find there is a difference in engagement if you ask more questions in your blog posts?

    A: Asking questions does inspire more feedback in the comments – but only if natural & genuine vs. “gimmick”

    A: A history of asking & answering questions with your blog community will create momentum, an expectation of conversation

    Q: How can I get more social shares on my blog posts?

    A: Make interesting content (defined by readers not just you), optimize for social share, promote it & shares will come.

    A: It’s also worth asking “why” you want more social shares. Make a distinction between quantity (social proof) & quality.

    Q: What types of posts typically get the most re-shares, comments, traffic, etc.

    A: Reshares, comments, traffic are all different KPIs (key performance indicators) There’s no blanket “type” that hits all.

    A: Start w/ content that solves a problem for readers, resonates with interests, trends & that’s easy to share.

    A: People will rally around decisiveness, so take a stand. Be a leader on key points & your blog will attract shares & attention.

    Many blog readers are bloggers themselves, so what are some of your best tips for creating a more meaningful and measurable experience for your blog audience?