3 Tips for Being a Better Blogger

It’s Friday evening, 6:30 pm and you’re furiously tapping away at your laptop, churning out the first of many articles / blog posts / linkbaits that you were supposed to write this week. The deadline is Monday morning, your procrastination hasn’t paid off and now your weekend (and your nerves) are wasted as you slave away to cram 5 days of work into 2.

If the above (albeit a bit exaggerated) sounds like you, then don’t fret – there’s hope, and in the process you will also be a better blogger.

Darren talked last week about the value of establishing a blogging workflow. While I think that Darren’s is mightily disciplined and a rare case, there are still a lot of good habits we can take away from the whole process.

I’m going to let you read the inspirational articles – the day in the life of a problogger series (1, 2 and 3) – but first, let’s get you started with the 3 basic habits you can adopt right now to channel your time into those areas of blogging and making money where you are most needed.

Tip #1: Chunk your flagship content together

Darren, in his blogging workflow post, talks about how he takes one or two mornings and writes all his flagship content for the week during that time.

This requires some planning ahead of time, so what I’d suggest is that you keep gathering ideas during the week so that come Monday, you DO have plenty to think and write about. And if you have to do some research, do that before hand as well, so that when the time comes, all you have to do is write.

The other obstacle that people sometimes face is that they want to write too much about ‘current’ news and not enough flagship content. I face this problem myself, despite reading Darren and Nick and Chris talk about this for over an year and despite consciously practicing writing flagship content on my blogs.

The thing is, once you start reaping the rewards of flagship content, there really is no looking back. On one of my blogs, a simple practice of creating such a resource led to site traffic tripling over the course of two weeks and then steadying itself after that.

That was a home run of sorts, but it made me realise the value of long term gains as opposed to short term gratification.

Want to double, triple, quadruple your blog traffic? Start writing flagship content.

And learn to schedule it for a specific time on a specific day of the week, so that the rest of the week you don’t have to worry about writing on your blog and you can focus on marketing and managing your other work.

Tip #2: Focus on less writing, more management

For a blogger whose main weapon is his pen / keyboard, asking them to write less feels blasphemous. Also, many bloggers blog because they enjoy writing about a particular subject. I could probably talk / write about soccer all day long, probably the same with blogging and marketing. This is what I do, what I know and what I enjoy.

But writign too much is not good – it’s not good because it tends to take you away from other, more important activities.

For example, let’s say you have 3 hours per day to give to your blog.

On Monday, you spend those 3 hours writing 6 ‘flagship posts’ for the week. For the rest of the week, with the writing out of the way, you can spend perhaps an hour blogging (putting up the newsy items) and the other 2 hours managing the blog, talking to advertisers, marketing / building links, tweaking your theme, launching a new blog (why not), hiring writers, etc.

In short, once you’ve done your blogging for one site on Monday, you have 4-5 days more in which you can work on anything else you want to – other blogs (I wouldn’t recommend more than 2-3 blogs to write on regularly) or blog-related activities. The key is that you have the option to make a choice – and the time to send traffic to your new flagship content.

Tip #3: Hire/Get help

When possible, delegate.

If you’re starting out, this won’t be possible. If you’re already successful, delegating tasks is the simple process of placing an ad in Craigslist or the Performancing blogger jobs forum and farming out the day-to-day tasks of news reporting, comment management and basic promotion and email handling to a junior editor.

But if you’re somewhere in between, it’s difficult – you know you need to delegate in order to move to the next level, but you don’t have the funds to hire someone for the job.

One way to get help in this case is to first work hard on building your community and then asking that community to contribute to the blog. I’ve done that with variable success over the last year, and the key here is to build that community before-hand – once you’ve got a large pool of readers, asking and getting help becomes easier.

The other way to get help in this case is to hand pick one or two readers and offer them a share of the revenues / small payment in return for sharing the load of a few ‘editorial’ duties (such as comment moderation and news reporting).

What’s important to remember is that you shouldn’t scrimp in compensating for help – if you’re offering money then be generous, otherwise you have no right to expect good work and you will most likely not get the best possible out of the hired help. If readers pitch in to work for free, respect their time and find a way to thank them or reward them by linking to their blogs or promoting their articles, etc.

But make sure you get help – if you want to create a big, vibrant, successful blog, it’s easier if you delegate.

If you’re managing more than one blog, then delegation becomes necessary.

Be a better Blogger

Learning linkbaiting, SEO, theme design and having your site pimped out with the latest widgets can help make your blog better and more popular, but all that is wasted if you don’t maximise it.

And that comes from being a better blogger. It doesn’t take much – just some time management, attitude adjustments (towards blogging) and the discipline to work on your long-term goals (flagship content) instead of slaving after short-term results.

And in case you were wondering, this post IS written on a Friday evening and I AM rushing to finish a couple of projects by tomorrow morning. We can’t be perfect at all times, but we can surely try 🙂

8 thoughts on “3 Tips for Being a Better Blogger

  1. Whereas a site may have dozens of linkbaits on several categories.

    AskANinja is known for doing those funny but stupid ninja videos. flagship content funny stupid ninja movies.

    He might run a linkbait when he puts together excerpts from his top 10 shows or something.

  2. Brett – As I said to Raj on IM yesterday, these are all different labels for the same objective. You can call it all out want but eventually the goal is to get traffic and links.

    But yes, the definition you gave of flagship content is correct – flagship content has a branding element as defined by chrisg.

  3. I’m no expert in either flagship content nor linkbait, but I would suggest that there is definitely a difference between the two.

    Or a different way to put it is that Flagship content can have a linkbait functionality, but a good linkbait is not necessarily flagship content at all.

    This is kind of a semantic thing, but at the same time, flagship content is typically going to be decided on once for a site and it will be built up and built up. ‘This is the thing that the site is about and most known for.’

    Whereas a site may have dozens of linkbaits on several categories.

    AskANinja is known for doing those funny but stupid ninja videos. flagship content funny stupid ninja movies.

    He might run a linkbait when he puts together excerpts from his top 10 shows or something.

  4. Raj, my understand of flagship content is that it’s something that is timeless, identifies your site, is a resource and gets people to come back time and time again. It follows that if something’s useful and timeless, it’s bound to attract links. As a result, if you’ve targeted keywords that people are using, the links will help you get to the top of the SERPs (we’re talking about the long tail here, btw).

    I’ll catch on IM and tell you exactly what I did, but for everyone else – remember that you’re creating a resource. Linkbait / flagship content doesn’t have to be a 1000 words, it can be a few words and a instructive / identifying picture. Or a piece of WP code explaining how to do something. Or a list of WP themes.

    Or just a 5 minute video.

    6 in 3 hours? Not a problem if you’ve planned ahead (the previous week).

  5. Ahmed: Can you seriously write 6 good flagship content posts in only 3 hours? Even on my most prolific days, what I would classify as a flagship post would take 2 hours for one.

    To wit: I type very fast – as much as 1,000 words in an hour, if I know what I want to say. Throw in research, an outline, culling references, applying hyperlinks, checking editing and spelling, etc. For a 1,000 word piece, it’s taken me 2-3 hours, maybe more if I have to put together a diagram or video or mindmap.

    So how are you doing 6 of these posts in 3 hours? Even were my concentration level back to normal, I’d say it’d still take me 1.5-2 hours per flagship post. Granted, a smaller flagship post might take me 45-60 min.

  6. Great tips Ahmed. Especially the part about not writing all the time. Doing other tasks will actually often be the source for ideas the next time your sit down to write.

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