6 Tips for Being A Good Blogger in 2012

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Obviously, as the managing editor at SEJ I read a lot of articles. I read tons of blogs, online news sources and I read posts people send to SEJ. I also have been around enough to see all the strategies people use to try and write “headlines” and posts that people will read. Some stuff is getting really old, but some stuff still works.

Try to be different and remember that too much of anything is never a good thing. Success with all things blogging depends on your information and your audience. Here are some tips that I am personally recommending:

Don’t Regurgitate Content

Regurgitated content is painfully obvious to those that have been around for a while. Taking 5 ideas from 5 different articles and mimicking them to create your own article is really crappy, especially when you can’t expand on these ideas in anyway. It is copied info and fluff and nothing bugs a reader more than that. The SEO/Web marketing industry is filled with extremely intelligent people that read all the time. They can see fluff content a mile away and I personally won’t go back to a site that has wasted my time.

Updating your site with good content is important, but sometimes less is more. Post when you have something valuable, helpful and unique to offer and you will increase your fan number. If you give nothing you get nothing.

Give the Reader a Gift

Think of every post or article as an opportunity to give a small gift. The gift could be:

  • Link(s) to great resources
  • Links to free things – whitepapers, free trials, free images…whatever will appeal to your audience
  • A personal tip or experience you have learned from
  • A guide on how to accomplish something
  • Usable steps the reader can use immediately
  • A review that can help people make a good decision or avoid a bad one

If people are going to take the time to click to your article you owe them something valuable and useful. An idea or even a question that makes the reader think is also valuable. If you give your readers nothing at all to take with them why should they come back?

Write for Readers at Every Level

A successful website has readers at every level of the spectrum, from beginners to advanced. You have to appeal to a wide audience to be successful, so you need to cover the spectrum.  Even someone advanced in your field can appreciate a 101 type article if it is done well and becomes a tool for them. There are times I have sent clients 101 articles that I think will help them understand our strategies and I keep the links to use as a tool. Keep in mind that beginners in a field are typically hungry for more knowledge. If you give them great, usable information they will keep coming back and become a loyal fan.

If you write too much 101 material you may lose your medium-advanced readers and vise versa. So, I recommend you have clear categories for levels that readers can use to find what they are looking for. You can also use different icons so new readers coming in will see you have information for all levels. You want your readers to quickly see and find what they are looking for. No one has time to work hard and dig around a site hoping to find something good. Make it easier for your readers, to at first glance, see that there is information that is relevant to them specifically.

One more thing I want to mention. There are many assistants out there researching for their bosses on which marketing steps to take and what strategies are available. I would say at least half of them don’t read deeply; they are just collecting data for the boss. Now the “boss” or supervisor is a totally different audience and he/she will be digging deep and trying to understand. If you have beginners articles make sure you link to your more advanced articles. I love articles that have an ending paragraph with something like, “If you want to learn more about this topic….”. Start with easy and move them up to more advanced information. Earn a fan and also lower your bounce rate.

Don’t Talk About You Too Much

There is a population of new writers that love the interaction that comes with blogging and they like what they see as popularity if a post does well. Sometimes an inflated sense of self occurs and articles start becoming more about the writer than the subject of the article. Trust me when I say this is kind of irritating. If you want to talk about you or your personal experiences please make a category for that and only do it there. I don’t want to read about your recent visit to a restaurant for 4 paragraphs and then read how it relates to SEO in 4 sentences.  We are all lovely people and cool in our own way. We all want to share information about ourselves and that is fine, but if you want to share do it right. Don’t irritate your readers and fans. They come searching for info, not a new relationship.

Do Your Research

When I first began learning about SEO I read and read about a particular thing. Everyone was blogging about it so I decided to discuss this item in a blog post. Well, someone with a heck of a lot more knowledge and experience contacted me and pointed out that I was writing about something that was false. To this day it is humiliating, but it was a good lesson learned. I don’t write about anything or give my opinion on it until I have done my research first.

There is nothing wrong with not understanding something. The truly smart people in this world are anxious to keep learning and they will admit that they don’t know all. I have found that the least smart are those that claim to know everything. It is OK to say that you are still learning and it great to discuss what you have learned from failures. Failures are really just lessons learned.

If you make sure you are keeping up with your industry and write posts that have valuable and true data for your readers you should see some success.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Yourself

I am sure you have heard “be yourself” and “show your personality” before. I am adding to this recommendation by saying don’t be afraid to show who you really are (to a point). Now I am going to talk about myself (which I told you not to do). I have no problem being a dork and letting people see it. Anyone that sees me on Twitter or in posts knows I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. I have used this love to really help people remember who I am and they often enjoy the dork love of Star Wars that I have. It might not be cool to love Star Wars to some people, but it is who I am and because I embrace this nerdiness and I am proud of it people can relate. They appreciate that I let them see the real me and not some pretend persona I am trying to create to become “popular” on the Web.

Side noteBeing yourself does not include attacking and degrading people. It doesn’t include insulting and belittling. Being clear on your thoughts and not budging is fine, but when you attack people you kill your own reputation.

Lastly, A Request

PLEASE, please, please give us new and unique articles (not copied information you consider unique). I need something new and different to avoid being bored. Be real and human and give us something we haven’t read 30 times before.

If you have any tips please add them in our comments section 🙂

Melissa Fach

Melissa Fach

Melissa is the owner of SEO Aware, LLC. She is a consultant and trainer helping companies make the most of their content marketing and SEO.... Read Full Bio
Melissa Fach

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  • Nice article and well written…
    Specially seeing the same topic written in different words making it boring..Even for readers…
    It’s better to go for less but quality articles rather than quantity to keep your Blog going…Even from SEO point of view, it won’t work…!!!

    Though, if you manage to cover every breaking news like Mashable….(Tech niche), quantity content strategy might work..!! (Provided social media response is good)…

    • Melissa Fach

      Thank you very much 🙂

  • Great article Melissa, particularly the research points – foot in mouth disease should be avoided at all costs, but it happens. Fail, learn, and move on – +1

    Although I’m probably guilty on all counts, your well written easy to read article gives me some mental seeds of blogging introspection.

    And often times I find myself thinking a well covered topic can be spun unique (ego)…sometimes the life cycle is too short.

    • Melissa Fach

      Thank you Chris 🙂

  • Melissa, a big thanks for mentioning being yourself. You can certainly accomplish that without talking about you, you, you. Good point.

    Where can we find your guidelines for guest blogging?

  • Nice, clear and useful
    Specially enjoyed: Write for Readers at Every Level
    Not bad for a Star Warrior
    Thanks a lot

    • Melissa Fach

      Thanks, Nuno.

  • I liked everything you wrote. Except for “They come searching for info, not a new relationship.”. I beg to differ: 2012 is the last year to create a bond with your readers. In 2013 somebody who is competing for your readers attention as well will have done it for you instead. And won’t let go of your reader neither will your reader want to leave.

    I’m slightly exaggerating here, but being a good blogger in 2012 will be a lot about building a relationship.

    • Melissa Fach

      Gijs, I think there is a “blogger reader” relationship and then there is a personal relationship. I don’t think you can and should get too personal online. Perhaps I should have been more clear there 🙂

      And many people don’t have time to create relationships with all the writers they read.

  • Great article. I am personaly guilty of “Don’t talk about you too much”. I’ve tried very hard in recent months to overcome this. 🙂

  • HeadDr23

    I recently began blogging because I like to write and I feel its a creative outlet for me to express myself and learn from others. I enjoy learning and being able to look at a person’s particular POV that differs from mine as well as allowing it to open my mind. I have alot to learn in terms of blogging and I feel your blog offered some articulate, informative and beneficial insight that I will keep in mind when writing my blogs. I realize that there are so many blogs out there on the internet and I would like to engage others and have them participate in discussion. I enjoyed reading your input on the key points of making a blog that will draw people in and agree with what you had to say. Thanks so much!

    • Melissa Fach

      Thank you very much HeadDr 🙂

  • Interesting read. But I seem to be seeing pretty much similar contents on SEO blog articles and posts these days. Having said that, you have some fresh insights on here.

  • Your advise to do your research is the best point. Far to many blog posts have little value or are even wrong in there ideas. The internet needs better quality and researched articles.

  • Megan

    Hi Melissa,

    As a relatively new search marketing blogger, I often have trouble coming up with good posts to write. Because I am still new to the subject and don’t know that much, I feel I have little expertise to share. As a result, I end up browsing around reading what other people write and end up being guilty of some of the regurgitation you mention. It’s certainly not my intention to steal from anyone, and I do try to put a spin on it and make it my own, but because my knowledge is so limited it’s difficult for me to contribute something completely new.

    What would you recommend for someone like me who is new to the field in which they are blogging about? How can I contribute quality content when I’m still learning myself?


    • Melissa Fach

      I would say give people credit for their ideas and link to them, EX: “So and So said blah blah, blah and while I agree on this point I don’t on this one…”. Or say you love an article and your favorite point was “X” and encourage people to keep reading and give a link.

      I think if you have enough knowledge to put your spin on something and avoid it looking like 900 other articles it is a good thing. Also, it was always funny to me that the articles I worked super hard on and researched didn’t do that well. It was the ones that I just sat and typed about a random thought that did well. And this article is an example of that. Just some thoughts I have had over blog posts I have seen recently. People seem to like it 🙂

  • Great article. There are so many articles written on this topic, but this grabbed my attention because of great information and simple words. Good job.

    • I ABSOLUTELY agree!!! Great Article. I love how Melissa’s last point was a request…smart.

  • Melissa,

    You bring up a lot of good points here in your article. There seems to be a lot of blog spamming in order to try and get relevant links to their website. It seems with Google Panda’s algorithm this is only going to increase because it now matters how much your blogs are shared throughout the social media communities (Specifically Google+).

    It will be interesting to see if any steps will be taken to try and discourage blog spam and repostings. Perhaps a penalization like Google is starting to do with duplicate content on pages themselves?

    Great post. I plan to share this with a few of my clients that do their own blogging for their businesses. They always seem to have a bit of a hard time writing unique content 🙂


    • Melissa Fach

      Thank you, Matt. Your last sentence has inspired me – a new topic to write on 🙂

  • As Gijs mentioned in an earlier comment (and I’m seeing a lot of articles and buzz about it in the last week or so) developing relationships with your prospects/customers is going to be big in 2012. Social media and blogging is by default more personal than a television ad, so it’s a shift businesses are going to have to make.

    But of course it’s a fine line between developing a relationship and talking too much about yourself. The balance between “they’re here to learn, not develop a relationship” and “show your personality” is something we’re working on at our company.

    At Digett we write about marketing, but we try to let our individual personalities shine through. It’s a learning process, but I will say that now that we’re allowed to be funny or sarcastic, it’s easier to write. 🙂

  • Thank you for an extremely useful article! The most remarkable about it is that it simultaneously represents an example of what a good post really is 🙂

  • I’ll definitely follow these tips in 2013
    Thanks for sharing