So I got the chance to be part of trainers for this month POWO’s meetup. POWO is Poets and Writers Online (POWO). It is a forum for Poets and Writers with blogs and those with an interest in using the internet in promotion of, or as a platform for their writing.
My part of training involved telling the bloggers and writers how to generate traffic and maintaining the readership. This was a hard one because in the first place I am still struggling to do it myself and therefore can’t call myself an expert or anything close to that. Well, I walked in as a trainer but after introducing the subject I found myself being more of student . One of the greatest thing about the bloggers and writers is that they are used to the making comments and giving their opinions. When I opened the floor for discussion , I found myself learning more than doing the training which I was meant to.
I started off by talking about the one thing which I think you should be the Golden Rule of blogging…”Value”. Whatever you do, whatever the content you write about ensure there is Value in the content. Value is what will keep the readers coming back to the blog or site. But then giving value in one blog post is easy but maintaining the standards, is completely a different matter.
There other things which a writer/blogger need to keep in mind when writing :
A story behind the post/ piece
Each blog post should tell a story, and not just a story but compelling story. Something that people can relate to and feel connected to in one way or another. Our Grand fathers and Grand mothers used to be great story tellers, unfortunately the current generation is growing up Tweeting, and Facebooking. So learning to be a great story teller is not an easy task but bloggers and writers have no choice but to do it.
Introduce the Story and Let the readers complete it.
Keep it simple, do the introduction and let the people complete the story on the comment section. Chris Brogan once wrote on his blog “Don’t overthink it. (It’s a blog, not a dissertation.)” During the discussion @Nittzsah of the diasporadical.com put it plainly, don’t sound as if you are the smartest of them all.
People keep on talking about local content, but I think the phrase should be “relevant content”, regardless of who has created it. The starting point would be to know your audience. Being relevant in Kenya means doing content which is relevant to Kenyans. If it is fashion, tell Kenyans on how to dress depending on the Kenyan Weather and not what they see on TV .
Back to the Value factor.. Being a great blogger/writer and creativity go hand in hand. It is the only way you would be able to put out consistent good blog posts. Here are some ideas:
- Write to answer the Common question that comes up frequently within your niche. There are those questions that come up quite often and people are constantly looking or Googling for their answers. You would do everyone justice if you research on them and put out a post.
- Create a list. Every list is controversial in away. People like/hate lists and with them come the discussion. This week there were many lists created across but I will ignore all and talk only about @Sokoanalyst’s Kenyan Twitter Big Wigs List. Whether you hate or like or don’t care about @Sokoanalyst list, he started something and people reacted to it by disagreeing, agreeing, or starting other lists. On personal level I don’t think you can effectively measure social media influence especially when based on Twitter only as @Sokonalyst did. Then there is a problem where he wrote that his list was based on a research but when trying to defend it on Twitter, he kept on saying it is personal opinion. Research Vs Personal opinion are not the same thing and will never be. So If it is a research it should be a research and that is scientific and personal opinion should not appear near there. I am not trying to say that people should not make lists based on their personal opinions, you can, but don’t call it a research. For @Sokoanalyst the best way would have been for him not mix the outcome of the research with his analysis, just give people the raw outcome of the research.
- Create step-by-step Guide. I like this one because most of the times, I find myself looking to do something especially the computer stuff and the step by step guides are always my savior. Thanks to good bloggers / writers out there who take time to do them
- Do interviews. There are more than enough prominent people in each field and I think most people like to hear from them.
- Ask a question on the blog and even on social media. This would be a starting point of a discussion, so be ready to respond to the answers and suggestions given.
- Invite guest blog posts. Guest posts usually bring in something new to a blog, a different perspective and way of writing in terms of the style and tone.
That list above is not exhaustive, there are many other ways , if you have an idea feel free to add them on the comment section.
Spreading the word
Now that you have created a great content how do you ensure that people find out about it? There a number of ways:
- Optimized site/blog . For me I think the content is everything but it is good to have optimized site to make it easy for the Search Engines like Google to pick your content.
- Use Tags. Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a blog post or photo or video to make it easier to find later. Ensure that the keywords within the blog post is included on the tag . I think as blogger/writer you should care about your readers, so give the right tag according to the content
- Ensure there is social media share button on your Blog/site. This help people who read your post to share it easily if they like it. Personally I use Sharethis plugin and I realized that they have redesigned it recently. The current version enable you to share across many platforms at once.
- Take time to share your content with people wherever they are …on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin StumpleUpon,
- Join BAKE and add your blog on the BAKE aggregation platform. Go to bake.or.ke and on the top right corner, there is My Account button. Click on it and create your account, after that go to Add My Blog. The process there is straight forward, but ensure that your RSS Feed is working
- Comment on other blogs. I have not been doing much of this, but now it is my personal mission to do so.
- Offline networking. People love reading and sharing content from people they know. So next time there is POWO,or BAKE Happy Hour, please make a point to attend. Wonderful places to meet new people and network.
This is not a complete review of what happened at POWO, there were many great trainers, watch out for that from POWO website or Twitter account @POWO