Everyone has bad habits, and they’re extraordinarily hard to break once they’ve manifested.
The same is true in the blogging world, where habits can be especially damaging. Because the success of your strategy depends on the regularity of your readership growth, your habits could either prime your strategy for long-term success or damn it before it ever gets a chance to gain momentum.
The worst part about bad habits is that they develop without being seen, and are hard to notice—especially if you have a set routine. It’s important that you identify these bad blogging habits as proactively as possible, and work to eliminate them before they start cutting into your long-term potential or profitability:
1. Only Focusing Internally
If you’re experienced in your given industry, it’s all too easy to become reliant on your own thoughts and feelings for the basis of blog posts. You can brainstorm by yourself to come up with new topics that your readers might like to see—and it might work pretty well.
Unfortunately, if you only rely on your own ideas to come up with topics, eventually you’ll hit a wall, and even before then, you’ll be unnecessarily limiting your own potential as a writer. There are dozens of outside sources you can take advantage of to mine for new topics. For example, you could subscribe to multiple news sources and industry forums and read them regularly for new inspiration.
You could also follow a rival or fellow industry authority to see what they’re saying about new developments in your niche and use your blog as a platform to respond. The key is to diversify your sources for inspiration to improve the range and quality of posts you can offer your readers.
2. Failing to Reply to Readers
Your readers are the only thing that can make your content campaign successful. If you fail to give them value or engage them, they aren’t going to recommend your content to others. It’s your job to engage them by replying to them in any way you can. The most obvious platform for this is the blog comments section, where you can directly reply to any commenters who might have already responded to your piece.
But also be aware of any social users who have shared your piece, and be sure to thank them for supporting you. Beyond that, listen to indirect forms of communication—even user behavior on your site can tell you when readers are or are not engaged. Use this information to “reply” in a way that shows you’re listening.
For example, if readers don’t respond well to a specific line of topics, start weeding out those topics in the future.
3. Posting Inconsistently or Unpredictably
We’re all busy with our jobs and lives, and if you’re shouldering a blogging responsibility on top of everything else you do, it can be easy to slip up on your regular posting schedule. An occasional departure from your usual publication time—take, for example, a post on Thursday instead of Tuesday or even a skipped week altogether—isn’t really a problem, but if you post more inconsistently than you do consistently, it can create a significant hurdle for your potential readership.
Consistency in posting is one of your biggest tools for creating a regular readership; make it a priority to post on time, and in as consistent a pattern as possible within your current limitations.
4. Forgetting to Promote Your Posts
Once a post has been published on your site, it’s easy to think that it’s the end of the road. The content is up, and now it’s on the readers to come to your site and support it. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
In fact, the publication of a post is more like the beginning of the journey. Once up, it’s your job to get that post in front of as many eyes and users as possible. Use social media platforms, social bookmarking sites, and external site resources however you can to spread the word about your post.
Nurture it by continuing to syndicate it occasionally in the future, such as through your social media channels.
5. Never Changing Your Strategy
This is the most common habit that content marketers slip into, and it can affect even the hardest working content marketers in the business. Because post consistency is a big factor in recurring readership, many writers create an editorial calendar that can be repeated on a practically endless cycle, resulting in reused and redistributed forms of content that become too predictable.
If you want to maximize your chances of attracting new readers and appealing to tangential portions of your audience, you need to incorporate new mediums, explore new topics, and venture into some uncharted territory. It’s in your best interest to experiment and see what works, so don’t be afraid to change things up occasionally.
The best way to eliminate a habit is simple. Gradually introduce a replacement habit to take the place of the offender, and scale it up until the bad habit is fully out of your system.
For example, if you’re used to relying on your own business and brain to develop new topics, make it a point to read outside industry blogs once a week to gain new ideas, then slowly expand that habit to include the perusal of more sources on a more frequent basis.[“Source-econtentmag”]