Blogging Hints: Sets and Sevens

a set of three ducks

a set of three ducks

 Blogging hints help you to establish and maintain your blogging frequency.  The idea of writing in ‘sets’ or ‘sevens’ is designed to help you build and maintain momentum.  Daily blogging, for example, is very much about gaining momentum.

The concept behind these two approaches is to plan ahead so that you can write a number of blog posts about the one topic area.   You decide in advance the sub-topics, so that you do not waste time trying to think up subjects for your blog posts when you should be writing.

Let’s have a quick look at both these approaches and see how they differ and what benefits accrue from using these blogging hints.

Blogging hint 1 :  Blogging in sets

The idea here is that you write a series of blog posts sequentially around a single theme.  So you identify in advance the sub-themes (or let them evolve as you write).   Then you write about each sub-theme in turn so you end up with a ‘set’ of blog posts covering a central theme.  The sub-themes could be any number but usually they range from three to six.

The benefits of the ‘sets’ blogging hint:

  • you can plan a series of blog posts in advance so that you can develop some momentum
  • you can make the most of your thinking and research around a particular topic and thus save time
  • you can create a critical mass of content around a theme which may result in higher search engine rankings for the relevant search terms
  • you can readily cross-reference to the related posts thus creating valuable internal links
  • you can provide your reader with digestible pieces of information about a topic (rather than trying to cover the sub-themes superficially in one single post)
  • you can write some posts in advance to assist you to maintain your daily blog publishing schedule
  • you can provide your mailing list with a coherent set of posts on a single theme.

An example of the ‘sets’ approach is my set of four (4) posts around the theme of ‘Webmaster Tools‘.

Blogging hint 2 :  Blogging in sevens

The concept in this blogging hint is that you first identify and write about seven (7) aspects of a single topic, e.g. the seven benefits of blogging daily, the seven reasons to have a blog, the seven ways to promote your blog.   The first blog post canvasses each of the seven aspects briefly to introduce the issues and to act as a ‘teaser’ to encourage the reader to explore further.  Then you write about each of the seven aspects in separate blog posts. 

This blogging hint requires sound knowledge about a topic area but it enables you to focus on each aspect in turn and to tease out more fully the implications of that aspect of the main theme of the blog posts.

 The benefits of the ‘sevens’ blogging hint:

  • the ‘sevens’ approach to blogging generates the same benefits as those listed for the ‘sets’ approach
  • you typically create more posts on a single theme (eight in total) than with the ‘sets’ approach
  • the individual blog posts are linked via the introductory post as this explains how they are related
  • readers tend to relate to things that involve the number ‘seven’ (some deep psychological reasons)
  • you have clarity at the start, as a writer, about the relationship each post has to the initial main post and this assists your writing.

These two blogging hints, ‘sets’ and ‘sevens’, have a lot in common in that they help you, as a writer, gain and sustain momentum in your blogging and make it easier to increase your blogging frequency.

[Photo credit: Thee Ducks by mape_s]

How to Develop the Habit of Daily Blogging

blogging from Townsville

 blogging from Townsville

Over the past 30 days I have been blogging daily (with the odd exception due to work/travel commitments).   To blog daily takes a concerted effort and systematic planning.  However, the benefits of daily blogging are well worth the effort.  Persistence pays in small business marketing.

It is possible to work up to a daily schedule by gradually improving your current blogging schedule.  Alternatively, you can aim for a daily blogging schedule with some advanced planning then adjust your technique as you go.

Whatever approach you use, think about how you are going to achieve your blogging goal and develop some strategies to make it easier for yourself.

Strategies to achieve your daily blogging goal

These strategies are based on my own experience and underpin my daily blogging routine:

  1. Take time out to do a brainstorm of topics relevant to the theme of your blog.  If you can’t come up with 20 or more topics then you might have to rethink the focus of your blog 
  2. Add to your brainstorming list on a daily basis (I use ‘Notepad” or my phone’s ‘notes’ application for this)
  3. Plan the night before what your topic will be for the next day – you will be surprised how busy your sub-conscious mind becomes overnight so you wake up with a potential post 
  4. Give blogging a priority over web surfing or processing your emails (unless work-based urgent ones are involved)
  5. Undertake focused reading – blogs, articles or e-books to stimulate your thinking
  6. Watch videos or participate in web conferences in moderation – beware of the trap of an obsession with learning at the expense of doing (blogging)
  7. Listen to podcasts when doing other things such as walking or house cleaning (your iPod comes in handy here)
  8. Write whenever and wherever you can, even if it is only notes on a topic, e.g. while riding on a train or ferry or while flying to a destination (I wrote this blog post and the previous one while flying from Brisbane to Townsville –  a two hour trip.  The photo above was taken from my Townsville hotel room looking across to Magnetic Island as I keyed up what I wrote on the plane trip.  The photo was taken from the 17th Floor with the 8 MP Camera in my Samsung Galaxy S II  Smart Phone.)
  9. Use a technique that enables you to capture your ideas on a topic at different times of the day – you could write notes on paper, on your smart phone or on your computer (use your preferred mode that helps to increase your productivity)
  10. Match your blog post to your available time or access to your computer. If you have limited time on a particular day, don’t choose a topic that requires in-depth research.  Choose something that you can write off the top of your head if time is limited
  11. Develop a schedule for writing.  Identify an ideal time that matches your body clock and creative energy flow  (e.g. if you are a morning person write in the early morning)
  12. If daily blogging is currently beyond your capacity, aim to increase the current frequency of your blogging to an achievable level, e.g. from monthly to weekly, from weekly to twice weekly. The existence of a new goal will help you increase your blogging frequency.  You have to be realistic if you have limited capacity because of work/family commitments, writing difficulties or limited knowledge
  13. If you see a stimulating email or link to a great blog post that is relevant to your focus, store it in a readily accessible folder so that you can use it later as a catalyst for a blog post
  14. Store your resource material (e-books, podcasts, videos, checklists, images) in accessble folders under topic headings related to your focus
  15. If you have responded to a query from someone on your mailing list, convert your response to a blog post
  16. Actively focus on improving your productivity online
  17. Try to get ahead of the daily schedule by writing a couple of posts in one sitting – this will give you a bit of breathing space when you need it and, if your have a WordPress blog, you can set the publish date for sometime in the future
  18. Where possible, encourage a guest blogger to make occasional contributions – as you become established you may want to open the guest blogging option to a number of people as my friends have done at
  19. Above all else, don’t beat up on yourself if you don’t achieve your blogging target.  Persist but don’t punish yourself.  Review why you missed your target, adopt corrective strategies or amend your goal if it is unrealistic.
  20. If at first you don’t succeed … try, try again (This is my 3rd attempt to create a daily blogging schedule).

Daily blogging can enhance your authority in your niche and build web traffic and sales, but it requires focus, discipline and sound techniques to develop and maintain the momentum.

How Often Should You Blog?

blogging on the computer

blogging on the computer

The question of the desired frequency of blogging often comes up in the context of small business marketing.   In my experience, the more often I create blog posts, the more visitors I receive and the more income I earn.

Google values currency of information and will give more weight in search results to a site that is regularly updated.   This, in turn, leads to more traffic and more sales.

The fundamental challenge, then, is to find a topic that is (1) relevant to your business, ((2) incites your interest and passion and (3) taps into your knowledge base.  If you don’t have the requisite knowledge base when you start, you can always build your knowledge as you go, provided you have the interest and passion (which sustain you during the tough times).

While blogging at least weekly is considered a minimum frequency, the more successful bloggers argue the case for daily blogging.

Benefits of daily blogging

There are a number of significant benefits that arise from daily blogging.  They relate to your recognised expertise and visibility, your productivity and satisfaction of customer needs for information.  Here are some benefits of daily blogging that I have identified to date:

  • You establish your credibility and demonstrate your depth of expertise
  • You make your mark and stand out from other bloggers because so few bloggers are able to, or willing to, commit to daily blogging
  • You increase the opportunity for potential customers to find your blog because of the wide range of search terms (keywords) you will invariably cover while blogging with such frequency
  • You give your readers a reason to re-visit your blog – because they know that you will have fresh material on a regular basis
  • Blogging becomes easier the more you blog – a universal rule about writing
  • You develop a momentum that feeds off itself – like any habit it builds energy and commitment
  • The more you write the more topics come to mind – I find that for every blog post I do, I get two or three more ideas for other posts
  • Once you start daily blogging your conscious mind is constantly on the alert for relevant topics that you can write about – you start to see things that you overlooked before
  • Blogging provides a real foundation for small business marketing online as it generates content to share on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Squidoo.

Daily blogging brings its own rewards – not the least of which is that you are creating valuable online real estate by generating current, original content on a regular basis.

What If You Don’t Like the Search Queries Results You Are Getting?

search queries webmaster tools

search queries webmaster tools

In a previous post, I discussed how to register with Google’s Webmaster Tools and how to identify the results for search queries that bring people to your website.   The search queries results may not be what you were expecting and may, in fact, be quite disappointing.  So why would this be, given all the hard work you have put into writing content for your site?

The search queries results provide invaluable data about your site and how it is viewed by Internet searchers.   Before you do anything else, just check the filters (e.g. geography) that you have used to report the data.  It may be that you have excluded a search query from your results because of the filters you have used in reporting the search queries results.

One of the core reasons that your search queries results will differ from your expectations is the relevance of both your content and your site description.

How to improve your search queries results in Webmaster Tools

Let’s focus on relevance because that is the key issue determining whether your site gets included in Google’s search queries results for a particular query.

It may be that Google has not been able to find enough content on your site that is both useful and relevant to Internet searchers who have used a particular search query.   If you are unfocused on your site, trying to cover multiple topics or unrelated topics, both Internet searchers and Google will be confused.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, focus is so critical to your online results and your small business marketing success.

So here are some hints to improve the relevance of your content:

  • Focus on your reader – what is their level of understanding of what you are discussing on your site?
  • What language do your readers use to describe their problems/issues? – you can outpace your reader with your own understanding of a particular issue
  • Find out where your customers are conversing – join in the conversation
  • Be conscious of your marketing style, particularly if you are in the coaching or consulting business
  • Check out Google AdWords Keyword Tool to see what terms people are using to search for information in your niche area – you will often be surprised! (make sure you sign in with your Google account details to get more complete results)
  • Visit blogs that are related to your niche to see what topics people are discussing, the language they are using and the problems/issues they are experiencing (take particular note of the blogs that have lots of comments)
  • Put yourself in your reader’s shoes – what would you be experiencing?, what kind of help would you need?, what would you be talking about?
  • Check out your site’s description as it appears on the Google search queries results – is your site description relevant to what you write about? (if not, change your site’s ‘description meta tag’ or get someone to change it for you).

Just focusing in on the relevance of what you write, and how you write, can go a long way to improving your search queries results.

Auto-Post with Posterous: Leverage Your Hard Work

Social Media sites for auto-posting with Posterous

Posterous enables you to broadcast your Posterous blog post (whether or not it was created by email, screen capture or onsite blogging).  You can also specify a target for a specific email post, e.g.

You can set up the specific accounts in the “autopost” area of your Posterous site to advise where to broadcast your blog post.  The above image lists the social media sites that you can auto-post to with Posterous.

Posterous, through email and screen capture blogging, gives you the power to leverage your online content (blog posts, articles, Squidoo lenses, Hub pages, videos. podcasts).  The autopost facility allows you to levrage your hard work in creating online content by simultaneous broadcast to other social networking sites.

At the time of writing, I have set up my site to post my Posterous blog posts (however created) to my Affiliate Marketing Coach blog (  and to my Facebook site.    So you can set up a sequence of auto-posting that suits your style of operating and fits with your small business marketing strategy.

Here is an example of where Posterous has created an autopost to my Affiliate Marketing Coach blog from a Posterous screen capture post I created from this Small Business Odyssey blog:

The original blog post on Small Business Odyssey was posted to my Posterous blog via the screen capture bookmarklet.  I have added a comment and a link to my target URL (automatically hyperlinked) and Posterous has auto-posted the Posterous blog entry to my blog.

You have the option of letting Posterous post directly to each site you nominate or have it feed into one of your sites that is set up to auto-generate other posts.

You are limited only by your imagination with respect to the range of content that you can capture, and the means of achieving leverage.  In this example, my AudioBoo podcast is automatically posted to my Posterous account which in turn posts to my blog, Twitter and Facebook:

 Posterous and AudioBoo autopost

So there are a number of options for using the autopost feature of Posterous.  Here are three of them:

  1. Allow Posterous to autopost directly to your selected social media sites
  2. Allow Posterous to autopost to another site (e.g. Twitter) which in turn is set up to autopost to other sites (such as Facebook)
  3. Allow another site (e.g. AudioBoo) to autopost to your Posterous blog and setup the latter to autopost to selected sites.

The autopost option is located under “Manage Spaces” – you need to click on the down arrow as highlighted in the image below so that the menu displays with the autopost option:

Posterous autopost

Posterous through its email blogging and screen capture blogging supports an array of options for auto-posting and creating leverage for your online content as part of your small business marketing.