There’s a fatal flaw in the way we apply advice about blogging.
It’s gotten to a point where the lines are blurred.
We are applying advice, it’s not working and we’re giving up.
Or in some rare cases we apply advice that does more harm than good.
But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is an approach we can take to help us focus our efforts and make the advice we’re given work for us. In this post I’ll show you how.
Most blogging advice won’t work – here’s why
When we read blog posts we are reading them in isolation.
They are focused on solving a single problem, whether it’s increasing your Twitter following or getting you more email subscribers.
But, should we really be focused on building our Twitter following for example?
Building your following is a good idea; the benefits are there – visibility, traffic, relationships etc.
The truth is that we sometimes forget to ask ourselves how important things are and how they will help us achieve our goals.
While in isolation some advice you are given will be rock solid, you need to consider whether using that advice will stop you achieving other goals which are more important.
Here’s an example
We read a blog post saying that you should build a Twitter following because you will be able to get more traffic to your blog posts etc.
Then in the hypothetical post it recommends we add a Twitter widget to our sidebar.
And the advice makes sense because it will get more eyeballs on our Twitter accounts and will get us more followers.
We implement the advice but there’s a problem.
The widget distracts people from our content; people end up on Twitter then don’t come back to our blogs.
At the same time our email subscribers start to drop off.
The problem here is not that the advice is wrong.
The problem is the advice is conflicting with other goals that you may have placed a higher priority on.
And we all have slightly different goals.
The crucial step we often miss and how to focus your efforts
It all comes back to goals and knowing what you want to achieve.
The missing step is to understand how important each goal is in comparison all of our other goals.
Now let’s take a look at how you can focus your efforts and be crystal clear about what is working for you:
Be clear on what you want to achieve
Clarity is important.
And if you’re unsure about where you are going, how can you ever hope to reach your destination?
So what are you trying to achieve in the long run? What’s the big picture?
Maybe you want to generate a passive income, get more leads for your business or just reach more people with your content.
Whatever you want to achieve, you will also need to consider what top level metrics you’re going to look at to gauge your success.
These depend entirely on your goals, but some examples may include:
- RPM – Revenue per thousand impressions.
- Monthly revenue.
- Number of leads.
- Monthly unique visitors.
What channels will help you get there faster?
Once you are clear on what you want to achieve, you need to know how you are going to achieve it.
I’m talking specifically about marketing channels for example:
- Organic search
- Paid traffic
Earlier I mentioned identifying your top level metrics and that’s important here too because you need to be thinking about how each marketing channel will help you achieve your primary goal.
The only way you will know for sure is by testing them. You can then monitor your progress with analytical tools like Google Analytics (you’ll need to set up goal tracking). For social media, you may find a purpose built social media monitoring tool helpful too.
For a better understanding you could look at how your most successful competitors use particular channels and how much focus they place on each one.
You may find that each channel contributes to your primary goal in a different way and that some take longer than others.
- Email – The most logical channel to focus on because you own the list. Subscribers are more engaged and sending an email generates more clicks than social usually. Takes time to develop.
- Organic search – Traffic from organic search is highly targeted and more transactional in nature but there is a heavy reliance on Google. It takes time to rank.
- Social – Great for expanding the reach of your content and developing meaningful relationships, traffic doesn’t convert as well as organic search or email and can take time to build a following.
- Paid traffic – Traffic can be high converting depending on the source. This will cost you but if you have a well optimized website you can get a significant ROI. This is immediate.
- PR – A focus on PR opportunities (whether through sites like HARO or through developing relationships) is a smart move to position yourself as an expert and build your brand. Time to see a return on this depends on where you’re featured and how many opportunities you get.
You need to prioritize and know what’s important
Knowing how each channel contributes to your top level metrics is important when picking what to focus your efforts on.
If one channel isn’t helping you much right now, don’t drop it entirely just devote less time towards it. Also consider that you will need to adjust your priorities based on how well they perform.
For example, right now my main focus is on building my email list with organic search coming in at a close second.
PR is an important one for me but I wait for opportunities to come to me and occasionally check HARO so there’s not too much time required for that.
I still use social, but I don’t focus on it as much as email. Paid traffic is a low priority for me right now but will be more important in the future as I launch products/services.
With social being a lower priority to me than email it means that it makes sense to put the focus on opt-in forms on my blog rather than social media widgets.
Although I still make my social media accounts accessible – I just put them in my blog’s footer instead.
Think about tactics – what works?
For each channel there will be specific tactics that will help you get closer to your goals.
Some of these will be one-off and will just need to be implemented while others will need a lot more continuous work.
Start off by listing tactics for each channel; mark which ones are one-offs and which will be done regularly.
This may require some research because there are plenty of tips and tactics out there for you.
Then you will need to divide your time between each one – this will require some testing because you need to find what works for you.
Test things out, check your analytics, find what works and prioritize your tactics.
What works in one niche or with one specific audience may not work with another.
The important thing here is to make sure tactics you use don’t work against any others that are working for another channel which is more important. Some won’t cross over too much.
Remember my example about the Twitter widget that was distracting people from signing up to your list? This is exactly what I mean.
It comes down to this…
Be clear on your goals, focus on channels and tactics that can help you get to where you want to go faster.
Find what works and do more of it.
Then, continue to test and monitor your progress to improve results.
Putting it all together
If a piece of advice doesn’t work, giving up isn’t the answer.
Chances are that it will work for you.
So the question you need to be asking is – why isn’t it working?
When you identify why advice you’re given isn’t working, you can work out how to make it work for you.
It may be that you haven’t given it enough time or you may need to tailor it to your audience.
While there will always be advice that sucks and advice that doesn’t work for your audience; a lot of advice does work when you apply it in the right way.
Remember that results aren’t always immediate – things take time but there has to be a cut-off point where you either figure out why it isn’t working and make it work, or move on to the next piece of advice.