Let’s get real here.
You’re a creative thinker, not a nitpicky grammar geek.
When you sit down to write you like to
write, not dither around with mechanics. So when the words start flowing, you don’t want to get in their way by thinking about all those little details.
Not to mention the
time factor. As in you can barely find the bandwidth to write as it is, let alone edit for grammar.
But you also care about being perceived as intelligent and credible. And you’re smart enough to know that for your writing to be taken seriously, it needs to come across as polished and correct.
The problem is, it’s been a long time since Mrs. Pendergast’s sixth-grade English class. And you were pretty hazy on the rules even back then.
Searching the Internet can quickly turn into a dive down a black hole of barely remembered terminology and examples that don’t really fit.
So what’s a blogger with good intentions but limited time and resources to do?
Well, here’s the good news. Language evolves, and as it does, so do our notions about what is “correct.” You might be surprised to learn that some of what Mrs. Pendergast taught you is now considered outmoded.
Of course there are still rules to follow, but read on, and you’ll find they’re no longer quite so intimidating.
And with a little repetition, applying many of them will soon become second nature.
Ready to rock and roll?
Let me guess.
Right about now you’re looking back and wondering where the hell 2014 went.
Seriously, how can twelve whole months disappear so damn quickly?
Regardless, it was an interesting year for us bloggers.
In January, Matt Cutts announced the death of guest blogging (although it still seems to be in rude health almost a year later).
In the summer, Google killed off its Authorship project, which sucked if you wanted more recognition for your content. (But, hey, at least you didn’t write a
15,343 word guide on the topic.)
It was also the year that blogging platform Medium gained some serious momentum (though you know you still need your own blog, right?)
And a brand new social network called Ello created a lot of buzz in a short space of time and then faded into the background almost as rapidly.
But as another blogging year approaches, it’s important to celebrate the highlights of the one about to pass.
So let’s get started.
Admit it. You’re sceptical.
Is great content
really the answer to all your blogging woes?
Maybe you’ve heard the mantra once too often, but you can’t help wondering…
Even if you do work your ass off on a post, will it get the recognition it truly deserves?
The blogosphere is so crowded and noisy, even the good stuff gets lost.
So is it even worth the effort to try?
Well, here’s the disappointing truth…
Until you reach a certain level of internet “fame”, the quality of your content doesn’t count for much. You’re like an artist hanging work in a gallery nobody visits.
Quite simply, your blog isn’t big enough – yet. You don’t have the right connections – yet.
And until you’ve spent longer on the blogging treadmill, and earned your blogger’s dues, the most likely result of creating great content is the feeling of disappointment when it’s completely ignored.
It’s not fair. But then nobody said it would be.
That’s why you need an unfair advantage. You need powerful friends…
You’re passionate about blogging.
But your blog is just one of scores covering the same topic.
How can you possibly stand out? What can you do to get noticed?
Well, here’s one way that can get you loads of attention:
Think like a journalist.
Reporters are in the business of getting noticed – if their stories don’t make a splash, they’ve essentially failed.
That’s why they are completely focused on delivering information their readers want to know – and they use a variety of newsgathering techniques to dig it up.
Fortunately, these methods aren’t hard to adopt – you can totally do this. In fact, it’s a wide-open opportunity for any blogger who wants to raise the bar for their content.
So what does it mean to think like a journalist?
Swipe the following five techniques from the journalism world to stand out with blog posts that are magazine-article quality:
You dream of building an online empire.
A popular blog with hordes of loyal readers who hang on your every word.
You want to be as successful as your idols, changing the world and even getting paid to do so.
But you know you haven’t got a chance in hell of seeing that kind of success unless you can truly engage your readers and keep them interested over the long haul.
Of course, the big question is
how? Engagement is an elusive creature.
Sure, you get the occasional nice comment, but it’s not like people are raving about your blog, or tripping over themselves to share your content.
You worry that you’re not connecting, that your words don’t resonate deeply with your readers, but you’ll be damned if you can figure out the magic formula.
And the truth is, unless you can find a way to connect powerfully with your readers, your blog is doomed to failure.
But there is a way to captivate and keep your audience’s attention, even if you’re a beginner, and even if you’ve tried before with limited success.
It’s a game changer, one that can take your blog from teetering on the brink of failure to achieving the success you dream of.