The Long Tail of Blogging

From my post on the World Wide Web Communications blog…

There are literally hundreds (well according to Technorati as of this post about 113 million) blogs out there. So How do you claw your way out of the Long Tail of blogging?

From a recent Q&A…
“I’ve had my blog on business and innovation for 9 months now. It hasn’t been doing badly, but it hasn’t gone viral yet…Are there any smart strategies for clawing out of the long-tail faster than the 1-yard-at-a-time I am able to maintain now? Or is it just a long slog of just keeping at it?”

The simple answer is patience. Start by writing good content – that is the key. Also, link to others with related content and use the trackback links. If you can get a “guest post” with more popular blogs, that will also help.

Many bloggers are not writers, so the content issue usually becomes more challenging over time, typically when you start getting some results with Technorati and Google.

That said, I’ve seen some companies “team blog” (as we are doing here) with several people contributing on a regular basis. This way no single person is burdened with the entire task.

Some additional tips:

  1. Personalize your blog – If your blog looks like every other blog out there, some people will assume that you aren’t completely serious about your content. It is definitely worth it to hire a professional to create a custom blog interface. The default templates are overused and stale.
  2. Answer every email – Blogs are all about conversation. If someone takes the time to comment on your blog, make sure to continue the conversation and thank the person for the comment.
  3. Check Google Analytics for trends – If particular posts on your blog are gaining popularity, continue posting new content about these topics.
  4. Be social with your blog – There are a number of plug-ins to help facilitate posts to other sites such as DIGG, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Make sure to go where your community is going.
  5. Don’t get tired – I see blogs that start with fire and then fizzle into the night. I think that after 100 posts, you start to develop a habit. If it is too much work, you may not be cut out to blog. At the very least, pick a schedule and be consistent.
  6. Schedule posts – I also schedule posts usually at least 5-10 days ahead of time. This way if I have a couple of busy days with no time to post, I still have things going through the air waves to keep the momentum going. Then when I get a chance to catch up, I don’t feel like my readers (all 2 of them) have gotten bored.