How do you become an expert blogger?
That’s a question that’s asked by many aspiring content creators.
And it’s a good one. After all, blogging and content marketing are stronger than they’ve ever been.
In fact, 91% of today’s businesses participate in content marketing.
In addition, there are dozens of ways to make money blogging in the modern world.
So, whether you’re attempting to start your own blog or looking to create content for other businesses, the opportunities are certainly there.
And while there’s quite a bit of competition in this space, becoming an expert blogger is something that can set you apart from the field.
Want to know the best part? You don’t have to be a great writer to become an expert blogger.
There are so many elements to creating content that have very little to do with the actual action of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a great writer now. That will come over time.
Because if you’re able to nail the strategies outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in the blogging world.
Let’s get started.
1. Create Audience-Centric Content
Understanding this concept is the most important step on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.
Fortunately, it’s also a pretty simple one to follow.
There are essentially two types of content; content-centric and audience-centric.
As you can see in the image above, content-centric blogs are those where the writers create content and then try to find an audience that will read and appreciate it.
Writers of audience-centric blogs, on the other hand, establish the audience they’re writing for and work to create content that’s designed specifically for them.
The more important point to take away from the image above, however, is that audience-centric content enables you to reach your maximum audience.
By identifying who you’re writing for, and what they want to hear, you’re giving your content the best opportunity to earn the interest of readers and be successful.
And isn’t that your goal?
Takeaway: Identify your audience and create content based on what they want to hear.
2. Stay Up-to-Date With the Industry
Ten years ago, not many people were familiar with content marketing.
As time has gone on, however, the industry has developed and improved to the point where Marketing Mag projects that content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.
So, how has the content marketing industry grown so much over such a short period of time?
Because the amazing people that helped create the industry, and those that have joined since, have worked to constantly improve it.
Modern day blogging is MUCH different than it was 10 years ago.
In fact, it’s a lot different than it was just 3 years ago.
And because the industry is constantly evolving and improving, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date.
How Can I Stay Up-to-Date With the Industry?
You can start by paying attention to the movers and shakers.
- Joe Pulizzi. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Author of ground-breaking books like Content Inc. and Killing Marketing.
- Ann Handley. Head of Content at MarketingProfs. Author of Everybody Writes.
- Jay Baer. Founder of Convince & Convert. Writer of four best-selling books related to content and digital marketing.
- Brian Clark. Founder of Copyblogger.
- Darren Rowse. Founder of ProBlogger.
In addition, there are plenty of great blogs to follow. Some of the best include:
To get the most out of these blogs, be sure to join their email lists to receive useful content to your inbox on a regular basis.
Takeaway: Follow top industry experts and blogs for tips and strategies that can improve your skills.
3. Focus on Research
Earlier, I mentioned that you don’t have to be a great writer to become an expert blogger.
But how can this be true?
Well, because when it comes to creating great content, research trumps writing skills.
Sure, having strong writing skills will help. There’s no denying that.
But understanding how to research and really dive into your topic can more than make up for most writing deficiencies.
As Shout Me Loud contributor Chassie Lee tells us, research is the core of content marketing.
She goes on to say that:
“Research is the first and most vital step when developing and executing a content strategy. Without complete research, the steps of Ideation/Planning, Creation, Connection, and Measurement will be based on insufficient data.”
So, you know that research is important. But how do you actually do it effectively?
What’s the Best Way to Research Effectively?
This is where things can get a little tricky.
Because, while there are many ways to go about researching, you’re going to have to take the time to determine the strategy that works best for you.
In Neil Patel and Kathryn Aragon’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing, they recommend a three step approach.
Researching and creating an outline can be time consuming. But by writing down ideas and researching them as they come to you, you can significantly reduce this part of the creation process.
References are essential to creating useful content. Be sure to gather any references you can that will help you make your point when writing.
Takeaway: Work to develop an approach to research that works for you and ensures you’re able to consistently create useful and relevant content for your audience.
4. Develop a Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
While it’s true that becoming an expert blogger has a lot to do with gaining knowledge from others, that doesn’t mean you should just follow in their footsteps.
The ability to carve your own path, and differentiate yourself from the pack, is equally important on your quest to becoming an expert in your field.
But to truly separate yourself, you have to provide a compelling reason for someone to read and devour YOUR content instead of a competitor.
If a potential reader or customer were to ask,
“Why should I read your content over your competitor(s)?”
What would your answer be?
Creating a Competitive Advantage by Developing Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
If your goal is to develop a competitive advantage, and give potential readers a reason to choose your content, then it’s essential that you develop a Content Differentiation Factor.
While establishing your CDF can be a complex and time-consuming process, it’s absolutely necessary if you want to succeed in the world of content marketing.
To create your CDF, you need to clearly answer the question of:
“What is your unique, standout perspective in your content niche that makes you an expert that needs to be heard?”
Because this topic is a bit too in-depth to cover within this post, I encourage you to check out my article on How to Stand Out in Your Content Marketing for a more detailed resource on developing your CDF.
Takeaway: Take the time to develop your Content Differentiation Factor so you can provide potential readers with a compelling reason to view your content over your competitors.
5. Make the Readability and Usefulness of Your Content a Focal Point
As you begin to study other expert bloggers, you’ll find that almost all of them talk heavily about the short attention span of today’s internet users.
And it’s true. Modern day attention spans are undoubtedly shorter than they’ve ever been.
But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T capture their attention.
Legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a different take on this topic than most. As he says:
In a lot of ways, Seinfeld is right. If you’re producing high quality content that captures the attention of your audience, people will read it.
To make sure they read it, however, you have to focus readability and usefulness.
Honing in On Readability
Making your content readable isn’t difficult, even if you aren’t a great writer.
Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you with this:
- Write short, to-the-point sentences
- Include no more than 2-4 sentences within each paragraph
- Break up your content with images, subheadings, and bullet lists
If you’re looking for a tool that can help you discover the readability of your content, Readable.io is a great free option.
Let’s take a look at the results when we plug in the article you’re currently reading:
As you can see, it gives us an overall grade while also providing more detailed statistics about things like keyword density, syllable use, reading level, and more.
Yoast SEO, which is a WordPress SEO plugin, is another great readability tool if you’re looking for something even more advanced.
Making Your Content Useful
Making your content useful is simple if you’ve already committed to creating audience-centric content.
So long as you focus on what your audience wants, and ensure your content serves as a useful and actionable resource, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
Takeaway: Attention spans are only short when your content isn’t readable or useful.
6. Stay Consistent
Consistency and persistence is important in just about every part of life.
But it’s really, really important in the world of blogging.
And there are many reasons for this.
For one, as Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers points out:
“Without consistency, it’s difficult to build brand loyalty.”
If you aren’t able to develop a core audience that regularly reads your content, you’re going to have a very difficult time succeeding in the blogging world.
And, unless you’re consistently publishing content, it’s going to be impossible to develop that core audience and brand loyalty.
Consistency is also important for SEO reasons.
As HubSpot has found, blogs that publish 16+ blog posts per month generate about 3.5x more traffic than those that publish between 0-4 posts.
While there are other factors, such as content quality and promotion, that will have a positive impact on SEO and traffic, creating and posting consistently offers a clear opportunity to get ahead.
But if you don’t currently have the time or resources to publish 4x per week, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a blogger.
Blogging, after all, is a long term game.
As DeMers also tells us:
“Posting at least once a week is usually sufficient to establish a regular core of readers, and these readers are typically the ones who will form the core of your brand community.”
Once the core of your brand community is developed, you can start focusing on developing more content in an effort to boost traffic and build a stronger SEO profile.
And, as your resources expand, you can begin to hire freelancers or content creation agencies to write some of your content for you.
Takeaway: Know that blogging is a long term game and that your ability to stay consistent will have a major impact on your success.
7. Make Promotion a Priority
Of all the ways that blogging and content marketing have evolved over the years, possibly the biggest change has been with the incredible increase in the amount of content being created.
In 2015, Marketing Profs reported that there over 2 million blog posts are written and published every day.
Not surprisingly, however, most of that content goes unnoticed.
Because while content creators are writing and publishing plenty of blog posts, many of them are failing to realize the importance of actually promoting that content.
How to Promote Your Content
This is a topic that’s FAR too in-depth to cover within this post. But, as we’ve mentioned, understanding how to do it will be incredibly important to your success.
So instead of giving you a brief summary, here’s a few great resources that can help:
- CoSchedule – How to Promote Your Blog With 107 Content Promotion Tactics
- KissMetrics – 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content
- Buffer – 6 Proven Strategies for Successfully Promoting Content Across Social Media
Takeaway: If you want readers, it’s essential that you develop strategies for promoting your content.
8. Leverage Social Media to Build Authority
Becoming an expert is hard. But becoming KNOWN as an expert is even harder.
Fortunately, the power of social media enables just about anyone to make it a reality.
You just have to put in the work to do it.
Sujan Patel, a growth marketer who has used social media and content to build his own personal brand, is one of the foremost experts on this topic.
In an article he wrote for Forbes about the 9 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand, Patel offers a few suggestions for building authority. They include:
- Find the Right Groups. Find the social networks and groups where your target audience is active. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer great opportunities for this.
- Keep Your Image Consistent. While it’s important to cater your content to the social media platform it’s being posted on, it’s also crucial to control your audience’s perception by maintaining consistency with how you represent yourself across the web.
- Engage as Often as Possible. Create a consistent posting schedule and be sure that you’re communication with your audience as often as possible.
- Give, Give, and Give Some More. Make personal connections with your audience and ask them what you can do for them. And, above all, avoid being salesy and promotional.
- Become Involved in Discussions. Show that you’re human and connect with others by getting involved in discussions. Not only is this great for visibility, but it’s an opportunity to offer your unique insights on a topic.
Takeaway: Social media and content marketing form a powerful team. Leverage this combination to build authority in your industry.
9. Don’t Forget About SEO
While it’s true that creating audience-centric content plays a crucial role in becoming an expert blogger, you still need to understand how to write content for SEO.
By doing so, you enable your content to be found via search engines and therefore reach its maximum viewership potential.
And while there are some technical aspects of SEO that can contribute to success with SERPs, most of the strategies necessary to succeed are fairly basic.
As HubSpot outlines in their post on How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content, you should:
- Focus on 1-2 Long-Tail Keywords. Don’t overdo it with keywords. Focus on 1-2 that have the least competition and include them in your title, headers, meta description, and body copy.
- Design Your Post to be Mobile-Friendly. More and more people are viewing content from mobile devices. And, as Google is beginning to emphasize mobile-friendly design as a part of their algorithms, you’re significantly reducing your potential reach if your content isn’t mobile optimized.
- Optimize Your Meta Description. While the meta description doesn’t have a direct impact on search rankings, the words within it help searchers decide whether to click on your content or a competitor.
- Optimize Images. Search engines crawl for images based on their alt text. For this reason, you’ll want to be sure that you’re optimizing images (especially custom images) for search.
- Link Internally When Appropriate. By linking to other posts on your site, you’ll help keep visitors on your website while also sending signals to search engines about the relevancy of your content.
Takeaway: Be sure to optimize your content for search engines to maximize your potential reach.
10. Develop Your Own Unique Voice and Style
Do you know of any cover bands that are more popular than the actual band that they cover?
I highly doubt it.
And it’s the reason why it’s important that you develop your own unique voice and style for your blog.
Takeaway: Develop a voice that is unique to you and avoid copying what others before you have done.
Start Your Journey to Becoming an Expert Blogger!
While the road won’t be easy, utilizing these 10 strategies will undoubtedly help you on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.
Use these strategies. Start your journey. You won’t regret it.
If you’d like some additional help on your way to becoming an expert blogger, I’m currently offering a portion of my content strategy course for free. It’s a great way to quickly get caught up on how to optimize your content, stay on top of your industry, and more.
And, since there’s no risk or obligation, you’ve got nothing to lose. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Sign-up now and turbocharge your content marketing in just five days!