When blogging doesn’t scare you anymore …

We all love blogging, guest posts and chocolate so what better way to enjoy all 3 than with an excellent Guest Blog from the fabulous chocolisious Tola PopoolaChocolat A Toi

So are you absolutely sure you’re done being afraid of blogging? Are you sure you still don’t have some hidden fears? Let’s face some of those fears so you can make 2012 the year you aced blogging.1) Fear of no comments: Where do comments come from when not so many people know about your blog? Well, one way to generate comments is by commenting on others people’s blogs. This isn’t just something I have read in Problogger it has worked for me. Look for blogs related to your niche that you genuinely like and comment there often. Note: these blogs don’t have to be the biggest blogs around with 548 comments per post. I like small, not too quiet blogs where I can chat with the owner.How do you find them? Google it. So let’s say you sell baby hats you want to look for other baby related or parenting blogs. You need to find those you like not just those that are popular. Add these blogs to your reader and decide how often you want to visit and comment. Next, look at where else these bloggers hang out. Follow them or like them and stay in touch. Stalkers are soon noticed. I’m sure you know how not to be a pain. Do it regularly enough to be noticed, build the relationship and more often than not the owner will reciprocate. I only started this really recently and it’s working!

2) Fear of running out of ideas: I suggest you check out blogging courses. There are free ones and paid for ones. Those I like and have taken include Nikki Pilkington’s 30 day blogging challenge. It’s very good and you can either subscribe for free or buy the ebook for £5. You can also try out Darren Rowse’s 31 days to build a better blog. It used to be a free e-course but it appears he now only offers an ebook. And if you’re into crafts, you want to try Tara Gentile’s 52 weeks of blogging your passion – very excellent value for money.

What if you’re not the type to follow formulas? Then head for your Google Analytics dashboard. Check what people are searching for.  What search terms land people on your website? Let’s use a cushion store as an example. Now some searches will not be related at all e.g economic cushion but what if someone searched for velvet cushions. What in the world can you say about velvet cushions? How about ‘how to take care of your velvet cushions’? A great title if you’re really stuck for time. Alternatively you could blog about ‘5 Reasons Velvet Cushions Stink and How to Avoid It’. Now, you’ll believe this store owner is not only good at storing cushions but also knows how to make them last longer. If the price is right I would buy there rather than face the manic crowd at Ikea.

I also like to use the Google Keyword Tool. Search for closely related terms and think up interesting, helpful titles. Focus on interesting as you and I know we can easily blank-out ‘How to’ and ‘10 ways to’ blog posts that don’t really concern us. Remember your business solves a problem for someone. Find out what it really is and talk about it.

3) Fear of Revealing Too Much: This is a real phobia for many people including me. The internet is forever and things don’t go away. This is where your marketing plan needs to come in. Who is your target audience? Do they really want to know that you wear mismatched socks to bed or only floss at Christmas? What do your customers really want and need to know? You can reveal your personality without going on about how Green Tea makes you go crazy.

Where do you get answers about what your customers really want to know? From emails they send you. These answers should be on your blog so that you can get some work done rather than send the same email 14 times a day. If you sell organic clothes they want to know where the cotton is from. They want to know when you’re starting a new line for teenagers. You may have some of these answers on the FAQ page of your website but how many times have you visited an information desk just to make sure or called to clarify? We’ve both done it and it’s justifiable.

What if you run a service-based business? Then your prospective clients want to know what they’ll get when they sign up. They want to know how to maximise a coaching session so it’s not a waste of money.

Once your blog post is ready, tweet it, add it to your Facebook page and ask people you know that truly care to share it. For those who share, take time to thank them and nurture your relationship with them.

Have I left out any fears of blogging you have? If not, start how you plan to continue in 2012, leave a comment if you like this blog and would like to build a relationship with Joanne. Of course, leave a comment if you have any fears that haven’t been addressed.

Here’s to your ace blog in 2012 – cheers!