When you first start blogging you can go one of two ways: You can plan like crazy – producing every piece is a military operation or you can fly by the seat of your pants and have no discipline at all. The thing is, your readers get used to what you produce, so if you blog erratically and have no consistency, your readers will behave in a similar manner:
- They won’t drop by as often,
- They won’t comment when you’d like them to
- and generally they’ll treat you how you treat them.
Obviously we don’t want this to happen, well, at least I don’t think we do, do we? I’ve yet to find a niche where inconsistency works in your favour.
So let’s take a look at what being consistent on your blog means:
It means a consistent brand.
Take a look at Problogger, Darren Rowse posts about blogging. He’s consistent, he shows up with posts about blogging. Would he be loved as much if he threw in the odd post about Formula One racing? Possibly not
Your readers come to your blog looking for a solution to a problem, they don’t come to hear about the last episode of the Apprentice or what you ate for breakfast. Of course the exception to the rule would be if you were the BBC and The Apprentice was your show or you were a food blogger – and that’s my point – you expect to see certain types of content in certain places. If you have to go off topic that badly, as the itch to write something is so uncontrollable, then use it as a guest post or set up a personal blog.
The odd post doesn’t make a difference to consistent branding, however if this happens on a regular basis then readers will become confused. Branding your blog, and sticking to that brand is key to building and retaining relationships, and growing your readership.
Branding is what is uniquely yours – your look, your feel, your outlook.
It’s backed up with your logo, your picture (usually your Gravatar) and this is what people will come to associate with you and your business. If you have a standalone blog, your branding doesn’t have to be identical to your website but it does have to stand for the same things, and that the branding is very similar if not identical.
But I don’t have a logo or fancy-pants branding on my blog?
Okay, you can brand whatever you like and make it you. I’d start with your Gravatar image and keep that consistent. Your brand could be simple, clean and functional and your image would reflect that.
It’s also about using the same colours, the same fonts and similar image style as you do on your main website. By having these the same, your reader will feel at home and reassured they are in the right place. If you have a logo for your business, use it on your blog. If you have a custom header, use it throughout your site.
How often you write is also important to your readers.
Your readers come to rely on hearing from you. If you start out writing every day then all of a sudden drop off to once a week,your readers will wonder what’s happened to you. They may think you are not open for business (although the reverse could be true – you have so much business yet so little time!) or they may think you have simply ceased trading. If you change how often you post, let your readers know. I post here between 2-4 times a week. I post on Birds on the Blog once a week (even when on sabbatical) and I post on For Bloggers, By Bloggers once a week. I usually have a guest post or three going out as well, and then some articles up on Evan Carmichael or Ezine articles.
Of course if your blog has an email list, you can email your readers and tell them in person of any changes.
Readers, your audience, need to be loved, they need to be nurtured and they need to know you care about them. Not only is consistency in branding and writing schedules important, but also in writing topics and subjects, With a business blog, the main purpose is to introduce readers to your products and services and speak about what you have to offer them and why you can increase their sales, bottom line and make their life so much easier.
You’ll know from reading my posts that my services are related to blog coaching and social media “done for you” services. The content of your business blog, should always be consistent, and your blog posts help with that. Don’t be all over the place talking about topics that aren’t relevant to your business.
I’d love to tell you about my day at the park but y’know what, you are not interested (and if you are, you shouldn’t be ). But I could tie it in with how I sometimes work from the park as I’m a working mum. That I unpack my laptop, unleash the kids on some unsuspecting greenery and then pound out a client report or a blog post in the fresh air. I may even go as far as advising you to try it yourself sometime.
Eek! Who are you?
Another thing that confuses readers is adding people to the conversation that they don’t know of. Although this is my blog, you’ll have found references to the other Birds on the Blog from day one. You’ll see their names and they link to their page on Birds. You’ll see the request for new bloggers and guest post requests from time to time. You’re used to them as they are part of my branding.
Of course you can mention the things that make you uniquely you, just don’t let them take over your blog or your business will suffer.
Is consistency important when blogging? What do you think?
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