Building your blog reputation is no easy task but that is not to say that it can’t be done. It takes specialization, content building, and reader engagement to back it up. In our previous post, we looked at how you can establish your expertise. Reputation is all about credibility, which can only be achieved if you’re recognized by your readers as an expert. Your content is what validates your reputation as the authority on the topics you write about. The quality of your content reflects your knowledge and experience in your niche. Next stop at our blogging reputation series is creating quality content that builds your credibility. Let’s start by defining what quality content is.
Quality in any commodity is what you get when you pay the premium price. It doesn’t come cheap because it involves top-of-the-line material and skilled workers to create the end product. In blogging lingo, quality content is the currency that increases your value and elevates your position from “having a blog” to “being THE BLOG.” It is the very thing that strengthens your reputation and affirms your expertise. So what does a content need for it to be distinguished as quality content?
- Flawless Grammar. Before you go to the meat of your content, you need to make sure that your grammar skeleton is perfect. Make sure that your spelling, tenses, and other grammatical syntaxes are free from errors. Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger, created a cool infographic that shows the common grammar mistakes bloggers make. Simply put, quality content rises and falls on good grammar. You can’t make readers believe what you’re saying if you can’t get “their” and “they’re” right.
- Originality. Truth be told, originality is somewhat overrated in the web. With countless sources of information out there, unique blogs are a dying breed so to speak. However, originality is not only limited to the things your write about. It also includes your unique point of view, distinct writing style, fresh ideas, and edgy presentation of the subject matter. Sure everybody has something to say about blogging reputation but if you can tackle it the way nobody else can then that’s originality in bold letters.
- Usability. Creating quality content is about providing something beneficial to your readers. Blogs with huge following and numerous comments have a common denominator—almost all of their readers express gratitude for the useful blog they posted. Their blogs also get shared by the thousands. In an interview with Forbes.com, Dharmesh Shah, founder and chief technology officer of HubSpot, said that the key to content creation is writing something that people would want to share. In the blogosphere’s natural flow of things, anything that’s useful gets shared and those who shared it return to the source for more. That is how your reputation is built.
THE WRITING PART
The first thing you need to remember about writing a blog is structure. Structure is how your blog appears at first glance. Site Meter reports that the average reader spends only 96 seconds reading a blog. This means you need to capture their attention in that short amount of time. Add to that is the fact that only 16% of netizens read web content word for word. People are looking for bits and pieces of valuable information simply because they don’t have the time or the patience to read everything. So how do you maximize those 96 seconds and make them stay longer?
- Come up with a catchy title. Titles create the first impression for your blog. Make it direct, punchy, and intriguing. Titles that begin with “How to” and “Tips” attract readers easily because it communicates something useful to them. Putting numbers in your title will also give your readers an idea how long or short your blog is. For example, “Five Ways to Improve Your Sales Performance” or “10 Things to Avoid When Conducting Meetings.” You can also generate interest by adding the “time element” in your title like “Increase Your Twitter Followers in Five Minutes!” or “Start Your Business in Seven Days.”
- Use bullet points or lists. This will make your blog scannable, meaning your readers can grasp what your blog is all about in roughly 15-30 seconds. Bullet points summarize your blog effectively by making it easy to remember. Darren Rowse, founder and editor of ProBlogger, wrote great tips on how to make your blog scannable. He also suggested the use of text formatting such as bold or italics to make your bullet points more distinctive. This format will also give your text more breathing room because of the spaces in between points.
- Be concise, clear, and conversational. Every writer should read William Strunk Jr.’s “The Elements of Style.” This classic writing manual is full of tips on how to make your piece clear, crisp, and casual. Rule 13 in “The Elements of Style” summarizes this perfectly, “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” With limited attention span to work with, you need to communicate fast and easy to your readers. Leave the fancy words to other forms of literature. When it comes to blogs, simplicity is all you need.
- Make them wanting for more. By this we mean create a blog series so that your readers will keep coming back. If you’re not doing one, you can simply add teasers at the end of each blog about your next post to keep them intrigued. Be consistent and post regularly. New material is picked up easily by netizens. It also shows that you have a lot to say about your area of expertise. Some ideas may take a while to translate into a blog. Don’t rush it. Maintain an online idea box that you can access anytime if you need new content. Think of those drafts as content gems waiting to be polished.
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote the essay “Content is King.” He envisioned how content will manipulate the internet world. Seventeen years later, content continues to reign in the web. The demand for quality content continues to increase and blogs have become one of the most popular sources of reliable content. As long as you provide quality content, your blog reputation will remain strong and secure in the blogosphere. Your reign will not end so long as your content is king.
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