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Don’t leave the chicken out of your coq au vin

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By Kath Walters

A deleted blog is a dead blog. And that’s blog hell.

All your wisdom, lost. All opportunity for conversation and connection with your readers, gone.

It’s a sad fact that most blogs and e-newsletter meet their maker before they are even opened. The latest figures show that, across all industries, the average open rates for e-newsletters (blogs) are about one in five (20%).

Click-through rates are worse. The highest-scoring sector – hobbies – has an open rate of 5.65%. That is five in 100. Yikes. And most are around two in 100 (2%).

What’s going wrong?

Simple. Many blog writers are not working hard enough to make their content relevant and trustworthy. They are spewing out spin and spam.

But that is not you, is it? Your blog is crisp, relevant and trustworthy.

Purgatory: the hidden horror for nearly-perfect blog

Sadly, many nearly-perfect blogs suffering a fate nearly as horrible as their unworthy cousins: they are sent to purgatory.

Blog purgatory is when your blog is shifted to a folder with a name like this: “Later”; “Delay”: “To Read”; “Reference”; ”Notifications”.

Why are they sent to purgatory? Because they lack one essential element: timeliness.

Blogs that lack a sense of urgency get filed – and that is blog purgatory.

Timely content gets clicked now

You can save your nearly-perfect blog from the purgatory of being filed and, more than likely, never opened and read.

Make your content timely.

Timely content gets clicked now. Your reader’s mouse hovers over the delete button, but she cannot click. She’s filled with FOMO (fear of missing out). Or he is just too curious to say “not now”.

Here’s how to make your content timely.

1.     Plan

Download an editorial planner and look ahead at the events that are relevant to your readers. List them, and plan blogs that are tied to these events.

2.     Bank

Start a story bank. These are “evergreen” stories that you can pull out of the bank whenever a predictable event happens in your reader’s world.

For example, every few months, a company leader makes a brand- and career- destroying blunder on social media. It’s regular as clockwork, but I just don’t know exactly when the next one will happen. When it does, though, I am ready with my story about how to avoid brand-destroying social media blunders, which will be topped with a reference to the current event.

3.     Observe

Use every opportunity to observe the struggles, successes and trends affecting your readership. Be where they are, and write about what they are talking about.

4.     Follow

Follow the media that your readers read. Sign up to relevant e-newsletters (that your readers read) and keep in touch with what others are reporting on, and who they are talking to. What can you add?

5.     Create

Insert yourself in the timetables of your readers whenever you can. For example, create exciting events for your readers, and report on what happens in them. Or create seminal editorial moments, such as creating a list of the fastest-growing companies in your industry (such as BRW’s Fast 100 or Rich 200 lists).

A loved blog builds your business

Writing a truly clickable blog is like making a beautiful meal – it needs all the ingredients.

Sure you can improvise with proportions, but forgetting to make your content timely is like chicken out of your coq au vin.


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