Tomorrow the By All Writes Moonlight Blog turns two. I already know what you’re wondering: Is my blog on enough waiting lists to secure a spot in a good blogging preschool, and when will it start sleeping in a “big-blog” bed?
Fortunately, my blog has learned to self-soothe, which is more than I can say regarding my bright-but-brash son (who’s nine years older than my blog). But I digress. At least my blogging track record remains as sterling as my wedding flatware!
I’ve learned some valuable lessons since the Moonlight Blog’s one-year-old celebration, and I’m happy to share them with you (and especially those of my readers who also blog). Here are a few pieces of lapis lazuli and obsidian I recently chipped out from the semi-precious mine that is my blog…
Always (and I Mean Always) Make Your Final Edits the Night Before: In addition to being a wonderful song that exemplifies the Beatles’ early-1960s “lust for life,” this is also good blogging advice. Don’t wait to do your final edits until your blog post goes live the next day. You’ll waste time nit-picking when you should be catching the early-morning wave of eyeball attention online.
I’m always more productive on blog-release mornings when I take those last 10-15 minutes before bedtime to scrupulously ensure my blog post makes me smile. Because if it survives my (virtual) red pen, the post should make others smile too (and want to read more, and visit other pages on my website, and poke me with a tentative project request, etc.).
Take Care of (and Beware) Your Permalinks Before You Publish: This was a valuable lesson I learned when I dawdled over both the title and permalink for my post about using BuzzFeed as an idea-generating springboard. What is a permalink, you ask? It’s the unique URL (permanent link = permalink) for each blog post. Here’s a more-detailed explanation of permalinks from a lovely gal named Amy Lynn Andrews.
If you foolishly decide to change the permalink after it’s published (because you think it’s too long or not Google-friendly enough), people who subscribe to your RSS feed could end up seeing two versions of the same post. You might also create a “404 error” message. This means readers/visitors won’t be able to find your MIA blog post unless you install and use a 301 redirection (this one is for WordPress users) within your blogging platform.
The time to edit any post’s permalink is BEFORE you publish the post. Please learn from my (OMG! WTF?) BuzzFeed example.
Don’t Assume Your Business Friends Understand Guest Blogging (and Have a Back-Up Plan): While the guest posts for my South Jersey Spotlight feature continue to be a steady source of Facebook “likes” and spiked website traffic, I’ve achieved some hard-learned wisdom here. Not everyone blogs on behalf of their business. Therefore, not everyone understands the sweat equity that goes into creating a guest blog post.
I’ve had a few potential guests who expressed interest but then never replied to my (frantic) emails or phone calls as the publishing deadline loomed a little larger. And yes, I’ve been jilted at the guest-blogging altar a couple of times, but I’m not telling who. That would be bad karma!
Before scheduling someone to be a guest on your blog, ensure yourself of two things: 1) your invitee understands there is a firm deadline and 2) always have a substitute post in the hopper for those rare occasions when you are “stood up” online. (The third thing you must master is redirecting your anger when next you see your AWOL blog guest at a networking event or in your community.) To be continued in a separate blog post…
Bloggers Need to Connect with Other Bloggers (and Not Just Online): I will not shy away from my guilt. I’ve done a lousy job of connecting with other business bloggers beyond occasional, intermittent drive-by tweeting on Twitter and other social-media watering holes. If I ever get serious about finding a tribe on Triberr to initiate me and my blog with some war paint and feathers, that might help.
Looking for blogging/blogger groups would be another logical way of finding business-oriented bloggers to hang out with and trade “secret sauce” recipes. Connecting with other bloggers increases opportunities to be a guest on someone else’s blog. (Your guest post should include backlinks to your website or blog and social-networking accounts.)
A final way to build your blogger posse is by making yourself aware of yearly blogging/blogger-friendly conferences and attending at least two a year: one you can get to by car and one for which you’ll need to fly the friendly skies or travel the rails. Here’s a handy list of 2014 conferences already compiled by Amy Bellgardt of Mom Spark. (I’m a bit behind in taking my own advice, but it remains a goal in my business plan.)
Bonus Blogging Tip from By All Writes: I hope I don’t start an avalanche of troll-like comments. What I’m about to say, I say it after two years of making a genuine effort. Stop asking your online readership and connections for blogging ideas and topics–they won’t answer this question.
It’s something akin to the infamous Jedi Mind Trick: These are not the answers you’re looking for, so use Google Alerts, online keyword searches, competitive intelligence, and daily reading to figure out your editorial calendar.
If a blog is part of your marketing plan, what blogging insight are you willing to share in response to the Moonlight Blog’s birthday post? My friend Honey Badger just asked me which blog posts from 2013 he should give a sh*t about, so this is for him and all you other #critters: swear words; my South- Jersey-Spotlight friends; the 12 days of business Christmas; handwritten business notes; anachronisms and allusions. Okay, time to blow out the candles before my home office burns down!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation project quote today!
Congrats on your anniversary. Helpful tips for bloggers at all stages. My ‘blogging’ tip or advice, since you asked, is to stay true to your target audience (readers / subscribers). Like all marketing, when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.
Thanks for stopping by the Moonlight Blog–I’m glad you think these are helpful tips. I wholeheartedly agree with your “birthday contribution” regarding staying true to your target audience.
I can’t imagine what would happen if I spent most of my time ranting about personal issues and little time on writing/blogging tips, small business & freelance resources, books, etc.
I hope you’re well, Joan. See you sometime this spring?
You are my very favorite blogger Lori…let’s do a podcast together about blogging?
And happy anniversary to you!
Thank you again, Staci. I’ll follow up with you regarding your podcast offer via Facebook.
Can you see me blushing (behind my keyboard)? Thank you for the wonderful compliment! You are one of my very favorite readers, Staci. I’d be happy to collaborate with you on a “blogging” podcast. Just don’t ask me to be in charge of the technological logistics to make it happen…
Happy first day of spring–hope to see you soon!