Tag Archives: Blogging

How Using Top 10 Lists Creates Great Content

When you create a blog, it’s like you create a little monster.

You have to feed a blog content. You have to maintain it. If you blog regularly, you have to disinfect it against spam. You have to bring your friends to come and see it. Maybe you’ll have to think about SEO and tags and categories. Or you’ll have to decorate it with pinnable art. You have to broadcast it to the world with Twitter and hashtags and other things no one thought about ten years ago. And it never ends! The little monster is never satisfied!

A blog is a little beast sometimes. And it’s slobbering appetite can be intimidating.

A happy blog (and one that gains attention from others) has fresh, nutritious and good content on a regular basis.

Consistency is an important key in gaining and keeping readers. But how can you come up with fresh content? (You have other responsibilities!)

In this famously retweeted and repinned post from the Content Market Institute, author Scott Aughtmon lists 21 Types of Content We All Crave. And while all of that is true and good to know, it doesn’t help us Keepers of The Beasts do know how to do that exactly.

What do my blog readers want?
21 Types of Content We All Crave

My suggestion? A Top Ten List!

A Top Ten List is a great way to condense a lot of information into useable chunks. A top ten list can be as simple as ideas, as complicated as arguments or as thorough as links and images. Also, a top ten list can be easily skimmed for your reader. A top ten list is clear from the beginning about what is expected. It’s easily tweetable (easily hashtaggable) and has many applications.

Starting next Tuesday, I will be creating a weekly feature on this blog #Top10Tuesdays I will have a top ten list that offers excellent content  for my core readers. I’m going to have it every Tuesday so my readers can expect it, I’m going to tweet it using this hashtag #Top10Tuesday and because I always know what I’m going to write about every Tuesday, I can file stuff away in the course of the week. (Hello Pinterest? Yes, I’ll probably create a board just for this. Please hold.)

How Can You Participate in #Top10Tuesday Too?

1. Brainstorm for anything in that list of 21 Types of Content We All Crave that your readers would like to hear from you. Is it inspirational? Encouraging? Practical? Funny?

2. Write a Top Ten List (with apologies to David Letterman, yours doesn’t have to get progressively more funny).

3. Create a pinnable art so you can put it on Pinterest (or steal mine!)

4. Tweet about it. Maybe even using this hashtag #Top10Tuesday?

5. Retweet anyone else who blogs a Top 10 List and read their posts too.

6. Put a link to your post in the comments of my post so my readers can see what you wrote.

7. Collect info for your next post.

8. Remind your blog beast that you have fodder for next week and they don’t need to bite you.

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Will this idea work for you? Will you be joining me?


 

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

Top 10 Tips To Make Your Blog Title More RT Worthy

by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

Everybody wants their blog to be noticed.

But in reality, that’s a little tricky. According to Tumblr stats, there are 375 million on Tumblr alone, that’s one for every person living in the United States. That stat doesn’t count WordPress and other blogging platforms. Writers are constantly encouraged to blog more, but getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult.

How do you get more traffic to your blog? Follow the meme #MondayBlogs!

The#MondayBlogs idea is brilliant. On Mondays, anybody who wants to can post a link to their blog and those who follow that hashtag, on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook, can find new blogs to read and new writers to enjoy. In theory, those who participate read each others’ blogs, RT and favorite the heck out of them so that the whole world can discover this new talent. I have found dozens of new readers this way and I love doing this.

Top 10 Tips To Make Your Blog Title More RT Worthy

How Can I Get More RTs On Twitter?

I would LOVE to RT and favorite everyone who participates in #MondayBlogs on Twitter, but honestly, often the headlines or tweets that contain the link are so lifeless and dull that I’m not the least bit interested in them. I’d like to suggest, with a few changes in the tweets, all of us could see good results. I’ve listed a few things I’ve noticed (and things I try to implement) —and I’ve written some over-the-top silly blog title headlines to get the point across.

1. It’s All In The Headline

Consider your #MondayBlogs Tweet as a headline of the original post. The more concise and clear, the better. “My Thoughts on Dyeing” is terrible. Be specific. “Why I Dread Coloring My Hair This Summer” is much clearer and much more interesting. Don’t know where to start? Start with “Who” “What” “Why” or “How” and fill in the rest!

2. Follow Headline Rules, like Capitalize Each Important First Letter

This makes your tweet look more grown-up and polished. Tweets like “five ways to get your cat to sing” are wimpy and indifferent and I certainly wouldn’t be interested. But “Five Ways To Get Your Cat To Sing” at least looks like you’re trying.

3. As Tempted As You Might Be, Don’t Say “New Blog Post”

 Duh. We know. Just leave us a link. We can figure it out. Whenever I see this, I conclude that the writer is unimaginative or stuck in 1999 or both.

Click the link to find out more about #MondayBlogs
Click the link to find out more about #MondayBlogs

4. Put As Much Thought Into The Headline As You Did Into The Post Itself

Use vibrant verbs. Keep it Short. Pretend for a minute that it isn’t a blog post, but a magazine article and these first few words are on the cover of Cosmo. (It would be best, though to keep it rated G, unlike Cosmo). “Top Ten Tips To Make Your Blog Title More RT Worthy” is a little long, but it’s clear. I could have also gone with “Your Blog Title Sucks. So Fix It!” But I’m trying to be helpful. And nice.

5. Use Numbers

I asked someone a few weeks ago what their biggest pet peeve on Twitter was and they answered that seeing this: “Eight Ways To Use Your Crock Pot for Cleaning” and “Top Ten Toothbrushes for Dogs”  — the numbers in the title seemed to be too much. A pet peeve? Really? Folks, this is good headline writing. If you can quantify the contents of your blog post into a list and then use that list in the title, you’ve got something interesting. This is exactly why I write all my blog posts in Top 10 lists. My blog posts have structure, continuity and all I have to come  up with are ten points and I’m done.

6. Exaggerate A Little

“Folding Chair Options That Will Change Your Life Forever” Well of course, it won’t exactly change my life, but the exaggeration might compel me to at least click the link and see what the fuss is about. I love the fact that Twitter is so casual, you can get away with a little exaggeration and hyperbole and it may make you all the more charming.

7. Be Funny

 Now not everyone can do this well. But if you can use humor in your headlines or tweets do it! Humor is powerful. If you can get a smirk or a chuckle or a LOL out of someone, you’ve won half the battle. If you can be funny consistently, then you are building a reputation for wit and comedy that can bring readers to you.

8. Sell You, Not Your Book

 As tempting as it is to say, “My Romantic Comedy for Ninjas is $.99 today” for #MondayBlogs. Please don’t do it. I personally find this off-putting. We all have books to sell. Instead, tell me something about you, something you’re struggling with, something that demonstrates how much we have common. Then, after I get to know you, and discover how awesome you are, I’ll be happy to buy your book and maybe even interview you here about it!

9. Study Other Headlines

Spend twenty minutes and read all the headlines in your magazines and newspapers. See if you can make your blog titles just as pithy and pointed as those writers did. There is a REASON why headlines are designed the way that they are and professional writers are trained to capture readers’ attention. Learn from them. If you call yourself a pro, then act like it!

10. Consider the Blog Post Itself

If your having trouble writing a headline for your 1500 words on your writing angst, then there may be a reason. Keep your blog posts simple and to the point, then you’ll see that the titles are much easier to write.

Learn From The Experts

And do a little research on your own! Here is a fascinating article on Forbes about headline writing. And another list of very practical suggestions from author Jeff Goins.

And a whole honkin’ bunch of articles from Copyblogger. Really, after all this information, there’s no reason why your headlines need to suck.

So what do you think? Am I off the mark here? Do you think I’m expecting too much? Do you have any suggestions to add?

There Has Never Been a Better Time In History to be a Writer

But the downside to that is that we are competing against each other for readers. We must be willing to  be our very best with every tweet, every status update, every blog post. Don’t get lazy with things like this. Put your best foot, uh, I mean tweet forward and see what happens.

Making Your Author Platform Work for You — A Guest Post by Rachelle M. N. Shaw

By Rachelle M. N. Shaw

In such a highly competitive world of publishing, it’s no surprise that author platforms have taken center stage and become the foundation for any writer’s success.

But who has time to keep up with all the Tweets, Pins, and Instagram posts needed to do so? The truth is, successful authors don’t. They pick the top few social media sites that fit their style and their audience, and they roll with it.

By Making Your Author Platform Work for You --

What an Author Platform Should Do

  • Provide original content fitting of your audience through a well-designed blog or website
  • Become a place where you regularly engage with your followers; this doesn’t mean you sit back and let autoreply do all the work
  • Teach readers about yourself or your writing process
  • Allow readers to connect with you and follow you on various social media
  • Build your credibility as an author
  • Act as a landing site for media and for readers seeking events that you’re hosting; it’s a good idea to include a press release, a bio, and a professional photograph of yourself in at least one place
  • Tastefully link to your books, including where to buy them

Keep in mind that even though your platform is about you as an author, its main focus should always be on your readers and what you can provide them.

Think of it as a job interview—you want to show off your skills while marketing yourself as a prime candidate for the position.

What an Author Platform Shouldn’t Do

  • Spam readers with promotions for other authors—if you want a creative way to spotlight other authors on your website or blog, try author interviews; they’re a fun and easy way to build connections
  • Contain nothing but reblogs from other sites (it’s okay to share some of these too, but the majority of your posts should be ORIGINAL content)
  • Use completely automated responses
  • Be information based only (readers need a way to connect with you personally; a newsletter or blog is a great way to achieve this)
  • Ignore rules regarding grammar, punctuation, and spelling—this will sink your credibility faster than a one-star review
  • Feature a bathroom photo of yourself or one you took while out drinking with your buddies
  • Spam readers with promotional content for your own books (keep it to a minimum with a blurb or tagline and links for buying your books; you can also put your information about your books on a separate, clearly marked page)

Choosing Social Media that Is Right for You

The most important thing to sort out when it comes to choosing which social media you want to use is which ones will cater best to your audience. For me, though I write both YA fiction and general nonfiction about the craft of writing, the age for my target audience for the two overlaps the most for readers between the ages of fourteen and twenty-nine. For that reason, sites like WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are my main areas of reach. However, six social media sites still proved to be too many to invest my time in. So I opted to keep things simple and to go with the sites that worked best for me in terms of audience and comfort level: the blog on my website (a WordPress substitute that actually works better since it leads followers directly to my own website), Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Through active engagement and regular original content, I’ve been able to build a relationship with my readers on those sites, and my author platform has grown because of it.

The secret to building a successful author platform is this: you don’t have to reach every virtual corner of the Internet to do so.

You just need to delve into those media where you’re mostly likely to reach your target audience and provide them with solid content that they can’t resist.


Rachelle M. N. ShawAn avid reader who has an incurable need to research everything she comes across, Rachelle is an author of paranormal, horror, and writing craft books. Since scribbling down her first story at the age of eight, her love for language and books has blossomed into a full-time career. She currently works as an independent editor and author while being a stay-at-home mom to her children and two rather persnickety cats. When she’s not baking cupcakes or playing in the snow, you can catch her blogging, tweeting, or plotting her next series. Her e-book, The Eyes That Moved, was released in May 2015. It is the first in her three-part paranormal horror series The Porcelain Souls. Part two is slated for release in the spring of 2016.

Rachelle also has two solo short stories and the first in a four-book series about the craft of writing fiction in the works. 

Website: http://rachellemnshaw.com/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rmnsediting 

Tumblr: http://fmtpextended.tumblr.com/ 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rmnsauthor/ 

 Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-M.-N.-Shaw/e/B00X8D3LSY/

Tips To Make Your Blog Tweet More RT Worthy (Gentle Suggestions For Participants of #MondayBlogs) by Katharine Grubb

Author’s note: I published this post a year ago, on my other blog,  just as I was seeing the wonderfulness that was #MondayBlogs. I still believe in this meme and still think a little shine and polish on our tweets could make the difference. Agree?

How Can I Get My Blog Post Noticed?

I participate in a meme on Twitter called #MondayBlogs. The idea is brilliant. On Mondays, anybody who wants to can post a link to their blog and those who follow that hashtag can find new blogs to read and new writers to enjoy. In theory, those who participate read each others’ blogs, RT and favorite the heck out of them so that the whole world can discover this new talent. I have found dozens of new readers this way and I love doing this. (Unfortunately, I’m not very good at RT-ing back. Monday is LAUNDRY day for this family of 7, I’ve got a LOT to do!!)

Picture 17

How Can I Get More RTs On Twitter?

I would LOVE to RT and favorite everyone who participates in #MondayBlogs, but honestly, often the headlines or tweets that contain the link are so lifeless and dull that I’m not the least bit interested in them.   I wonder if with a few changes in the tweets, all of us could see good results. I’ve listed a few things I’ve noticed (and things I try to implement) —and I’ve written some over-the-top silly blog title headlines to get the point across.

How Do I Get My Blog Post Noticed On Twitter?
Why Go Through All The Trouble If No One Is Going To Care?

It’s All In The Headline

Consider your #MondayBlogs Tweet as a headline of the original post. The more concise and clear, the better. “My Thoughts on Dyeing” is terrible. Be specific. “Why I Dread Coloring My Hair This Summer” is much clearer and much more interesting. Don’t know where to start? Start with “Who” “What” “Why” or “How” and fill in the rest!

Follow Headline Rules, like Capitalize Each Important First Letter

This makes your tweet look more grown-up and polished. Tweets like “five ways to get your cat to sing” are wimpy and indifferent and I certainly wouldn’t be interested. But “Five Ways To Get Your Cat To Sing” at least looks like you’re trying.

As Tempted As You Might Be, Don’t Say “New Blog Post”

 Duh. We know. Just leave us a link. We can figure it out.

Put As Much Thought Into The Headline As You Did Into The Post Itself

Use vibrant verbs. Keep it Short. Pretend for a minute that it isn’t a blog post, but a magazine article and these first few words are on the cover of Cosmo. (It would be best, though to keep it rated G, unlike Cosmo). “Tips To Make Your Blog Title More RT Worthy” is a little long, but it’s clear. I could have also gone with “Your Blog Title Sucks. So Fix It!” But I’m trying to be helpful. And nice.

Use Numbers

I asked someone a few weeks ago what their biggest pet peeve on Twitter was and they answered that seeing this: “Eight Ways To Use Your Crock Pot for Cleaning” and “Top Ten Toothbrushes for Dogs”  — the numbers in the title seemed to be too much. A pet peeve? Really? Folks, this is good headline writing. If you can quantify the contents of your blog post into a list and then use that list in the title, you’ve got something interesting.

Exaggerate A Little

“Folding Chair Options That Will Change Your Life Forever” Well of course, it won’t exactly change my life, but the exaggeration might compel me to at least click the link and see what the fuss is about. I love the fact that Twitter is so casual, you can get away with a little exaggeration and hyperbole and it may make you all the more charming.

Be Funny

 Now not everyone can do this well. But if you can use humor in your headlines or tweets do it! Humor is powerful. If you can get a smirk or a chuckle or a LOL out of someone, you’ve won half the battle. If you can be funny consistently, then you are building a reputation for wit and comedy that can bring readers to you.

Sell You, Not Your Book

 As tempting as it is to say, “My Romantic Comedy for Ninjas is $.99 today” for #MondayBlogs. Please don’t do it. I personally find this off-putting. We all have books to sell. Instead, tell me something about you, something you’re struggling with, something that demonstrates how much we have common. Then, after I get to know you, and discover how awesome you are, I’ll be happy to buy your book and maybe even interview you here about it!

Study Other Headlines

Spend twenty minutes and read all the headlines in your magazines and newspapers. See if you can make your blog titles just as pithy and pointed as those writers did. There is a REASON why headlines are designed the way that they are and professional writers are trained to capture readers’ attention. Learn from them. If you call yourself a pro, then act like it!

Consider the Blog Post Itself

If your having trouble writing a headline for your 1500 words on your writing angst, then there may be a reason. Keep your blog posts simple and to the point, then you’ll see that the titles are much easier to write.

Learn From The Experts

And do a little research on your own! Here is a fascinating article on Forbes about headline writing. And another list of very practical suggestions from author Jeff Goins.

And a whole honkin’ bunch of articles from Copyblogger. Really, after all this information, there’s no reason why your headlines need to suck.

So what do you think? Am I off the mark here? Do you think I’m expecting too much? Do you have any suggestions to add?

There Has Never Been a Better Time In History to be a Writer

But the downside to that is that we are competing against each other for readers. We must be willing to  be our very best with every tweet, every status update, every blog post. Don’t get lazy with things like this. Put your best foot, uh, I mean tweet forward and see what happens.


Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant to conquer Twitter, but you don’t have the time?

This downloadable workbook will show you how to create a long-term Twitter presence. This workbook approaches your Twitter activity in three parts: your set-up, your strategy and your system. This book is not a guarantee of success. But what it will provide for you, is an orderly, thoughtful process in your brand, your biography, your target market, and your future tweets. Throughout the sections, exercises are provided to help you think about yourself, your brand, your books and your goals on Twitter. This book was originally intended for authors who want to use Twitter to build their tribe of readers, but the principles of it are universal. Anyone with an interest in using Twitter as a marketing tool would find this book useful. Download. 29 pages. Buy instantly here for $4.99!


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.Katharine Grubb is the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A DayFalling For Your Madness, and Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayBesides homeschooling her five children, baking bread and doing crazy amounts of laundry, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists, the liveliest writers’ group on Facebook. Her new book, Soulless Creatures, about two college roommates who bet a brand new car that one of them doesn’t have a soul, will be released August, 2015. Katharine and her family live in Massachusetts.

Love Your Reader, Love Your Art, Love Yourself A Guest Post By A. E. Snow

 

The first two weeks of February are #ethicalauthors weeks here at 10 Minute Novelists.

As an author and a reader, I got to thinking about authors who misbehave and how that can affect their readers and how it affects their art and their writing.

#EthicalAuthors Weeks Feb 1-14

Love your reader!

There are lots of ways to love your readers. Write about things you are passionate about. Engage with them. Appreciate them because really, they didn’t have to one-click and buy your book. They didn’t have to give you a five-star review. Always be giving back to them. It’s a lot to keep up with but loving your reader is easy.

There is more to this loving your reader stuff than just the above list. If you love your readers and want love in return, then be an author they can be proud of supporting. There are so many authors I’m proud to support. But several times in the last year or two, I’ve been terribly disappointed in authors I loved. Not because of their opinions on controversial topics, although unless writing about controversial topics is what they do, but it’s usually best to stay away from politics, religion, etc.

How not to love your reader: 

Post hateful messages on your social media. Your readers don’t deserve a huffy rant directed at them. For instance, if you become a successful author, you will get a lot of messages and probably a lot of questions. A huffy rant about how busy you are and how you don’t have time to answer questions and people should just look in the FAQ is not loving your reader. It’s not exactly unethical to do this but it’s rude and being rude only ever helped Oscar the Grouch’s career.

There was a pretty infamous situation last year involving an author stalking a troll. I loved her book. Loved it. Sang its praises all over the place, tweeted her, and took a screenshot when she tweeted me back. Then stalker-gate happened. It quickly became difficult to promote said book and said author even though I really loved the book. Don’t put your reader in that position. Yikes. If ever you have an urge to stalk someone over a bad review, get up and back away from the laptop. Go on vacation! You obviously need a break.

Don’t ask your readers to pick sides. Let’s pretend that you are a writer that had a bad experience with a blogger. This can happen and it is best kept out of the spotlight. Definitely don’t tweet about it. Later on, if the blogger has a difficulty, don’t go gloating about it anywhere but to your best friend and maybe not even then. It happens all the time that an author will encourage his/her readers to go after a blogger or reviewer and the reverse is true as well. Do not engage!

In this day and age, selling books has a lot to do with relationships both with potential readers and with other authors. It’s a wonderful and helpful thing to work with other authors and to promote each other. There is a line. Observe the line! If it feels yucky, it probably is.

Self-promotion is tricky. On social media, there is a strong temptation to self-promote a lot. You can even schedule tweets! Many people schedule promotional tweets which is totally fine. But you need to do more than that. While you want to promote yourself and your work, you aren’t creating relationships or loving your readers if it’s all you ever do. Give the poor people a break! Be cute, funny, or charming about two thirds of the time. The other third, you can say “buy my book.” You aren’t going to have any readers who love you if you harass them to death. Except your mom. Does your mom count? No and she’s probably not on social media anyway.

Love your art

Last summer, I met a fellow parent when we set up next to each other on the beach. My mom, of course, told everyone on the beach that I was a writer. Who needs self-promotion when one’s mom is around? My mom is like a one-man street team. Anyway, he was interested because he had an idea for a book. It wasn’t a bad idea, but there was nothing different about his idea. There are probably two hundred books out there with the same premise. His plan was to quit his job as a successful lawyer and be a stay-at-home dad who writes best-selling books. Hahaha! Poor guy. First of all, writing with children around is not what we call easy. It is hard and probably had something to do with the creation of 10 Minute Novelists in the first place. Secondly, that isn’t how it works. If you like to write and your plan is to make a lot of money then take a hundred steps back right into your law office, sit down at your desk, and practice law.

Loving your art means a couple of things. It means love it so much that you do it even though the reality that you will strike it rich and a movie will be made from your book is miniscule. You will get struck by lightning before this happens. 

It also means to respect your art and your fellow artists. Many writers go into writing with this mindset: I read this or that crappy book and I know I can write a better book so I will! Listen, reading one book in one genre does not mean that every book in that genre is bad. Twilight is an excellent example. While there were obviously plenty of people who didn’t care for it, there were plenty of people who did. Writing because you think you can do a better job is not a reason to write.

There are authors out there who wrote books that I really did not care for. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Publicly bashing these authors, even if you aren’t a successful author yet and only seven people follow you on Twitter, is not okay. Don’t do it. Love your fellow author because we are all in this together. Superiority complexes won’t get you anywhere. Kindness will get you connections friends who are willing to promote your work.

Love yourself enough to love your brand and to keep it positive. Be the author that other authors want to be friends with. It will only be a benefit to your career.

Happy writing and think before you tweet! 

authorphoto.jpg

A.E. Snow is a writer, mother, pet wrangler, and lives for books and publishing. She lives in a tiny mountain town with her husband, two children, three cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree. A.E. has been writing since she was six. These days, she writes Young Adult, Chick-lit and Romance. She is proud to be a 10 Minute Novelist. Visit her website for more info about her new releases. www.aesnowauthor.wordpress.com

Wanna Be First In Line? Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day Needs Reviewers!

My book, Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day, needs volunteers to receive an Advance Reader Copy (or ARC) for the purpose of reviewing it the last week of March, 2015. 

Are You A Blogger? Would You Review My New Book?
Blogger Wanted! Leave a comment & I’ll contact you! Click the image to go to the Amazon sales page.

Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day by Katharine Grubb

Would you like to write but have no spare time? Do you not know where to begin? ‘The Ten-Minute Novel’ will help you sculpt a full-length piece of creative writing in just ten minutes a day. Starting with a daily practical exercise, it will help you manage your writing schedule within this time frame and help you bring your novel to life. You will be able to clarify your vision and review your time commitments, as well as understand your own abilities. Learning to observe the world around you, write quickly and tap into your unique voice will help you to create all the elements of your story and, by the time you’ve finished all the exercises, you’ll have created something beautiful.

What to say in a review?

  1. Give a general idea in few sentences describing what the book is about. 
  2. Give specific examples of things you liked about the book. Please be honest. It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t love it. 
  3. If you want to, rate it, 1-5 stars or explain why someone should or shouldn’t buy it. 
  4. Put your review on your blog, on Amazon.com, Goodreads or any other vendor that has it. 
  5.  Receive my undying gratitude! I can’t launch a book without your help!

THANK YOU! 

How Top 10 Lists On Your Blog Can Feed Your Content Monster

When you create a blog, it’s like you create a little monster.

You have to feed it content. You have to maintain it. You have to disinfect it against spam. You have to bring your friends to come and see it. You have to think about SEO and tags and categories. You have to decorate it with pinnable art. You have to broadcast it to the world with Twitter and hashtags and other things no one thought about ten years ago. And it never ends! The little monster is never satisfied! 

How Can I Come Up With Ideas For My Blog?
How Top 10 Lists Can Help Feed Your Content Monster

A blog is a little beast sometimes. And it’s slobberly appetite can be intimidating.

A happy blog (and one that gains attention from others) has fresh, nutritious and good content on a regular basis.

Consistency is an important key in gaining and keeping readers. But how can you come up with fresh content? (You have other responsibilities!)

In this famously retweeted and repinned post from the Content Market Institute, author Scott Aughtmon lists 21 Types of Content We All Crave. And while all of that is true and good to know, it doesn’t help us Keepers of The Beasts do know how to do that exactly.

What do my blog readers want?
21 Types of Content We All Crave

My suggestion? A Top Ten List !

A Top Ten List is a great way to condense a lot of information into useable chunks. A top ten list can be as simple as ideas, as complicated as arguments or as thorough as links and images. A top ten list can be easily skimmed for your reader. A top ten list is clear from the beginning about what is expected. It’s easily tweetable (easily hashtaggable) and has many application.

What Is #Top10Tuesday?
Feel free to use this graphic on your #Top10Tuesday posts!

Starting next Tuesday, I will be creating a weekly feature on this blog #Top10Tuesdays I will have a top ten list that offers excellent content  for my core readers. I’m going to have it every Tuesday so my readers can expect it, I’m going to tweet it using this hashtag #Top10Tuesday and because I always know what I’m going to write about every Tuesday, I can file stuff away in the course of the week. (Hello Pinterest? Yes, I’ll probably create a board just for this. Please hold.)

How Can You Participate in #Top10Tuesday Too?

1. Brainstorm for anything in that list of 21 Types of Content We All Crave that your readers would like to hear from you. Is it inspirational? Encouraging? Practical? Funny?

2. Write a Top Ten List (with apologies to David Letterman, yours doesn’t have to get progressively more funny).

3. Create a pinnable art so you can put it on Pinterest (or steal mine!)

4. Tweet about it using this hashtag #Top10Tuesday

5. Retweet anyone else who blogs a Top 10 List and read their posts too.

6. Put a link to your post in the comments of my post so my readers can see what you wrote.

7. Collect info for your next post.

8. Remind your blog beast that you have fodder for next week and they don’t need to bite you.

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Will this idea work for you? Will you be joining me?

 

 

How to Maximize #MondayBlogs To Gain Readers! (Or, Welcome To The Weekly Twitter Cocktail Party!)

How Can I Get More Attention On Twitter?

(Author’s note. I posted this a year ago. In that time, my Twitter presence has gone from 3,000+ followers to 16,000+ plus followers, I’ve established a newsletter, started a Facebook group and committed to lead two chats weekly. #MondayBlogs helped me to do all those things. Monday Blogs didn’t do ALL the work for me, believe me, I worked my butt off, but it was a key ingredient to my success. I’m posting this again for bloggers who want to get in on #MondayBlogs and don’t know what the fuss is about or could stand a few pointers. YAY MONDAY BLOGS!) 

Over on Twitter, there is a delicious meme called #MondayBlogs that was created by my friend Rachel of @badredheadmedia. Her purpose was to get a lot of people together to meet each other, discover new voices and build community. It doesn’t hurt that you get more traffic to your blog, gain a few followers and generate a sale or two.

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How Can My Blog Get More Traffic?

I’ve been participating in #MondayBlogs off and on for a few weeks and every time I do, two things happen. One: I’m thrilled with the results I get. I’ve met a lot of fascinating people. I gain followers and I have fun. And two: I’m baffled that so few participants give this their best. 

#MondayBlogs offers anyone the perfect chance to make a good impression. The hashtag puts us all at equal footing. It doesn’t matter if you have 60 followers, 6000 followers or 60K followers. This is your big chance to dazzle the world. I find it strange that generally speaking, that so many participants don’t work harder at making themselves awesome.

#MondayBlogs has been very, very good to me. I’ve made a list of things I do to make it work. Like any endeavor, you get out of it what you put into it. Perhaps these suggestions can help you spit and polish next Monday’s tweet and make it shine. Perhaps if you do these things, you’ll get more retweets, more favorites, more followers and more readers.

What NOT TO DO If You Participate In #MondayBlogs:

Be Overly Dependent On This One Thing: #MondayBlogs is NOT the only thing that I do to meet people on Twitter. It shouldn’t be the only thing you do either. Some weeks, I’m on fire! Some weeks I’m not. Because I haven’t put all my social media eggs in one basket, it doesn’t matter if I skip a week.

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Compare Yourself To Others: In every area of life, this is a bad idea. But here, if all you do is count how many retweets you didn’t get, then you’re missing the point. You also need to realize that because it is a #hashtag, it puts us all at equal footing. In fact, if one of Rachel at @badredheadmedia’s 180,000+ followers sees her tweet about #MondayBlogs, and then follows the hashtag out of curiosity, it benefits all of us. If all you care about are the numbers on Twitter, then you will always feel like a loser. Somebody will beat you. Every. Single. Time.

Complain: This is the number one way to insure that I DON’T RT you. “Poor me! Nobody noticed me today!” You want to come to the cocktail party and stand in the corner? Fine. But don’t go home whining about how no one talked to you when all you did was feel sorry for yourself.

Forget To RT: Confession: I forget to RT. But in my defense, I do RT those who I think have left a good first impression, written an interesting headline and had a good attitude. I want to do this more. Please, please, give me lots of reason too!

Have High Expectations: You will probably not see tons of new followers as a result of #MondayBlogs. You will probably not get RT’d as much as you’d like to. And don’t even think about sales. Instead of looking for immediate results, look instead at the conversations you started, the blogs that you visited and the new faces in your feed. This is why we do this. We’re in this together. 

Take Yourself So Seriously: Overly serious people are often prickly and self-absorbed. Light-hearted, jolly people (jolly is an adjective that is NOT used enough, IMHO) are attractive and interesting. Everything about this experience will improve for you if you look at it as fun not work. 

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What TO DO If You Participate In #MondayBlogs:

Plan ahead!  Spend time on your blog post and make it sing. Don’t slap it together on Sunday night. Then use a scheduling system like Hootsuite to get it all in place. Mondays come around every week. (This article was written on May 3 and scheduled for May 13.) This takes effort and foresight, but it is well worth the trouble.

Consider Your Content: Your blog post should do at least one of the following: Enlighten, Inform, Entertain, Move a reader emotionally, Demonstrate, Educate or Inspire. If your blog post isn’t doing any of those things, then you need to throw out that idea and start again. Stick to one main thesis. Try not to go over 1500 words. Add a graphic or a photo. Use lists. Be clear. Crack jokes.

View This As A Networking Opportunity And Your Blog Is Your Clothing Choice: Pretend for a minute that #MondayBlogs isn’t something we can do while wearing our pajamas. Pretend instead that it’s a big fancy cocktail party in a ballroom. We’ve all been invited to network and have fun. Would you  show up in sweatpants and a hoodie? I wouldn’t. I’d be in my LBD, trying not to fall over in my heels. (Rachel, you wanna hold me up?) Take the  time to clean up nice. We’d all love to meet you. If you’re sloppy and disorganized, then you’re telling the rest of us that you don’t care. If you don’t, we won’t either.

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Write An Interesting Headline:  I wrote last week about how specific, emotional headlines get attention. This is your handshake. This is your business card. You’ve probably heard this: you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so put some time on your headline.

Be Yourself, But Stay Professional:  I’m all for freedom of speech and being true to ourselves. But I think that if you are participating in #MondayBlogs to sell something, establish yourself as a writer, influence others and change the world, you should cut back on the f-bombs. Profanity does not enhance professionalism. At times it’s funny. At times it’s the only thing to say. But no one ever says, “I just wish she’d cuss more, then I’d like her.” I was going to suggest that only say on Twitter what you would say at work, but then my husband works in advertising. Nevermind. 

Do What You Can: In a perfect world, I would RT everybody who participates. In a perfect world, everybody would RT me. But sometimes I can’t. I have to make lunch for my 5 kids. I have to work on my novel. I might not see your tweet (which was probably awesome, life-changing, and make me want to hug a kitten). I don’t want to feel guilty for not doing enough. I don’t want you to either. Like everything else in life, walk in grace here. It’s a meme. It’s not like lives are at stake or anything. If you feel like it is too much or others aren’t doing enough, then this may not be for you.

Have Fun: Let’s get back to that cocktail party image. It’s a party!  Our point is to enjoy ourselves and meet others. The fruit of this may be a long time coming. So what? Use #MondayBlogs as a place to start conversations and build relationships. And unlike a cocktail party, you don’t have to worry about getting drunk.

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Author’s Note again! Rachel has also created a Pinterest Board for #MondayBlogs and a Facebook group so you have two more places to wear that LBD! 

You need to do something that stands out, demonstrates your professionalism and entices a reader to stay.

So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions? What have you learned from #MondayBlogs?