So, you're ready to write an awesome blog post. Fantastic!
Here are some useful tips and tricks to get you on your way to blogging glory in no time.
Edit It Like You Mean It. While we don't want to play the role of Captain Obvious, editing your blog post for spelling, grammar, and punctuation is key. Making sure your Travel Iowa post is clear and in proper English not only helps to ensure we'll feature it on the site, it increases the likelihood folks will follow and vote for you.
Quality is Crucial, but Quantity Matters. A blog post is meant to share a story or point of view. While brevity is beautiful, your piece should be approximately 250 words, unless it's a recipe, which can be shorter, but should still be accompanied by a solid paragraph or two. Don't shortchange yourself!
Grab 'Em! Never, ever underestimate the power of an excellent title. Did you know that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline? And only 2 out of those 10 will read the rest? For a fabulous write-up on how to create magnetic headlines, (including examples) check out this article.
Stay Relevant. We mean this in more ways than one. First, it's important that your posts be site specific. What does that mean? Well, Travel Iowa is dedicated to promoting travel, attractions and events in the state of Iowa. Stay true to that. Write content that falls within the areas of the site's categories.
Picture This. Choose a GREAT photo! The research is in, and great photos do wonders for getting your post the attention it deserves. You only have a few seconds to grab a reader’s attention. They'll often decide whether or not they're going to read your work based largely on the corresponding image. This also really boosts interest when you post your blog post’s link across social media sites. Be sure the image you use is clear, attractive, and appropriate for your piece. Then sit back and watch the readers swoon. Using “Creative Commons/Commercial Use Allowed” licenses on sites like Flickr can be a great way to do this, but there are no shortage of places across the web to find free (or inexpensive) legal images. Be sure not to violate current copyright laws, and you’re good to go. Not to mention, you can always snap one yourself!
Add a Video. In this age of constant content, people simply adore ingesting information through images and video. Boost your votes and traffic by including a related video with your blog post. Travel Iowa bloggers can easily achieve media glory by embedding media right in the body of their post. Click the film strip icon in the blog content box and follow the easy instructions thereafter. You'll enter the URL for the video, and the rest will be history.
Easy as 1,2,3. We can't tell you how much people love numbered lists! If it's appropriate for your idea, explore the notion of creating a blog that quantifies its information for your readers. For example, a post like “11 Picture Perfect Parks in Iowa” would likely perform well all over Pinterest, and get Tweeted, and shared via Facebook. (For more on this, refer to the article featured under our tip about writing a great headline.)
Share It! Pin It! Tweet It! So you've written a GREAT blog post. That's awesome! But in a world swimming with blog content, you're your own best advertisement. So jump on your social networks and share that awesomeness! As soon as your post is published, widgets will appear next to it featuring Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest icons, making it easy for you to share the love.
Tell It Like It Is. One of the most important things you can do when you blog is be genuine. Readers appreciate and gravitate to authenticity, so speak truthfully and from the heart. Cliche? Maybe. But it's true, and it works. The value in being candid can carry you a long way.
Say it with Style. While the blogosphere might be a busy and populated place, there's only one you - and your voice is unique. Be yourself. Reading other blogs for inspiration can be useful, but be sure it doesn't influence you to use someone else's voice. Give rise to your own, and your blog posts will be as individual as you are. Now that's saying something.
Voting & Commenting. Be cool, man! We're a platform for community and open communication. And we expect everyone to play nicely. Vote for what you love, and please leave comments for fellow bloggers (like you, they love it!). Please do not, however, use the comment section below any blog post to solicit for votes or bring down other bloggers. Your work will shine through on its own.
Play Fair. Remember that your votes should be authentic. Bloggers caught violating GoodBlogs voting policies (outlined for you when you signed up) will be asked to leave the site and may have their posts blocked from promotion. It's not worth it! We want you around! And anyway, we heard you were too legit to quit.
Get Inspired! There's so much to see and be inspired by across the interweb and in life. If you feel stuck and want some quick ideas, there are plenty of inspired blog idea lists on the internet you can turn to, in addition to reading through the site and really getting a feel for the community itself.
The Travel Iowa Crew