12 Lessons Learned From a Year of Blogging

Editor’s note: The following blog post first appeared on AdelinaWong.ca. I asked Adelina if I could republish her post here because her tips are actionable and useful for both novice and expert bloggers.

12 Lessons Learned From a Year of Blogging

In December 2013, I decided that I was going to give blogging a proper go with my travel site Pack Me To. Before that, while I had set up my site and social media, I blogged halfheartedly and sporadically. I wasn’t truly invested in it and the idea of a blog seemed better than the actual writing. Since that decision, blogging has been a lot of hits and misses. A lot of experimentation, a lot of late nights and a whole lot of learning. Although I still see a lot more room for growth and development, I’m proud of what I have built in a year.

While I’m specifically writing about my experiences with the travel blogging industry, a lot of these lessons can be applied to other industries and blogging in general. It’s been a lot of trial and error and I still haven’t figured it all out yet, but here are 12 lessons I learned from a year of blogging:

[Read more…]

Avoid the TLDR syndrome: 8 tips on how to visually break up your blog posts

Use images in your blog posts

I read many blog posts every week. As a social media marketer, I’m always on the look out for great content to share and for inspiration. Reading many different blogs help me do that.

One common blogging mistake that I often see is people not breaking their blog posts up visually. There’s nothing like big chunks of paragraphs that make me want to move on to something else.

I am not alone. Studies show that the TLDR (or tl;dr for too long; did not read) syndrome is real. Most people simply don’t finish reading online articles.

TLDR meme
Photo: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/tldr

That’s partly because we have shorter attention spans, but that doesn’t mean bloggers can’t do anything about it. It all comes down to formatting. Your blog posts are not academic papers, so stop formatting them as such.

[Read more…]

How to write faster: 5 tips from writing pros

How to write faster

Do you want to write faster? 

I do. As a marketer, many of my day-to-day tasks involve writing. I blog. I tweet. I email. All of these things involve writing.

All other things equal, being an efficient writer means being a more efficient marketer.

So, how do you write faster? That’s the question I recently addressed in my latest LinkedIn post. To answer this question, I asked my Twitter community for tips. I also researched what other writers are doing.

Here are 5 tips for writing productively.

[Read more…]

Why you should blog outside of work (and tips on how to do it)

Why you should blog outside of work (and tips on how to do it)

I spend a lot of my time at work writing. I write blog posts, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, and just like everyone else, I write a lot of emails. I also edit other people’s work.

And if I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.

Despite the fact that I write a lot at work, I still blog on my free time. And I do it often: I write for my personal blog and I publish on LinkedIn.

People often ask me why I blog outside of work. But more importantly, people wonder how I manage to to find the time to blog. Blogging outside of work takes some time but it is definitely worth the effort. If you’re thinking of blogging on your free time as well, here’s what you need to know to get started.

[Read more…]

Winning at content marketing: How long-form content can help

the rise of long-form content
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes (Flickr)

“This blog post is too long.”

“We need to cut this down to 500 words.”

“Make this shorter. Maybe split the blog post into two?”

As a social media manager, I’ve heard these comments numerous times before. Many marketers are biased against long-form content. “Less is more,” they claim. “People have short attention spans.”

It is true that being concise is often a good thing. That’s why Twitter is such a hit: It forces us to distill our thoughts and communicate only what’s truly important.

But having short content for the sake of having short content is not valuable…and it’s not a good content strategy. Brevity shouldn’t come at the price of completeness.

The rise of Big Content

In the past year, several well-respected SEO and marketing folks have been advocating for “big content.” And when people say “big content,” they often mean long-form content. But it’s worth noting that marketers and analysts are using the term “big content” differently:

  • Craig Roth from Gartner says big content is “a term that helps highlight the subset of Big Data related to the less-structured side of it.  Big Content isn’t new or different than Big Data; rather it helps focus on uses of Big Data for unstructured information for the kind of folks that think the Library of Congress is filled with ‘content’, not ‘data.'”
  • Contrast this with this definition from Moz’s Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ definition. He says big content is the type of content that takes time and effort, that breaks the mold and that talks about big concepts. In other words, he’s talking about pieces of content—either a blog post, an interactive infographic, an ebook, etc.—that is well-researched and that is often (but not always) lengthy.

Big content should serve a higher purpose in your company than just to increase pageviews. In this post, my focus is more aligned with Moz’s definition. I’ll cover why long-form content should be part of your content marketing mix. (To be clear, I am not advocating that you stop creating shorter blog posts. The point of this post is to highlight why creating long-form content in addition to shorter pieces is a great idea.)

[Read more…]