5 things I’ve learned from failed blog posts

So every once in a while…I think I have a fabulous idea for a blog post. I mean the kind of idea that wakes you up at night!  One that everyone will appreciate and want to discuss. Last week I had one and I wrote a post about it. That post last week was easily the least engaging post I’ve ever written earning me yet another badge of lessons learned. I mean, it was crickets. Nothing. We had a small amount of discussion on Twitter around the hashtag #sociallyspeaking, but even that was pretty weak.

Does this make that idea and that post a failure? Hardly. Nope. Not in my book.

Every single post is a learning lesson for me. And whether your blog is like mine or a corporate blog, you can learn from the experience of a blog post with no excitement. Excitement to me, by the way, is measured largely in conversation around the post. Regardless, you have to learn from the experience and move on. No matter what kind of marketing you do, you have to listen, engage, measure, repeat. In my case of course the only sound I heard was crickets, but that didn’t stop me from measuring and repeating and it lead me to THIS blog post to help you look at some of the things you can consider when you have a bomb of a blog post.

Know your audience: A failed blog post will likely tell you something about what your audience does and doesn’t want from you. Maybe they don’t care about a particular topic. Or maybe they don’t feel its up to them to write your blog post for you.  Maybe your audience expects solutions, not questions. Maybe they didn’t like the tone of the post or it just wasn’t human enough. Or maybe it wasn’t “you” enough…when you take a risk, you’re audience will tell you right away what they think..even if they don’t tell you what they think.

Timing: Let’s face it. Sometimes you post a blog on the exact wrong day. You know, like the day Google+ was announced (and they didn’t warn you). That wasn’t the case with my particular post, but you should consider where everyone’s attention might be before hitting “publish”.  Again, if you know your audience and you’re up to speed about what’s important to them, maybe you shift your editorial calendar on days you know they’ll be distracted. But it isn’t just about timing your post, its about timing the communication around the post. I’ve been experimenting with the timing on my tweets and Facebook and Google+ Profiles. I won’t say that I’ve got it down to a science, but I’ve definitely learned a few things about timing from you. Some days just work better than others.

Pictures: I like to use a picture with my blog post because I think it pulls people in. Sometimes though, I choose a picture that I think really sums it up and its so weird people read the article just to understand why I chose that photo. Sometimes I choose a picture that’s really..well…B-O-R-I-N-G. Pictures are meant to engage and they do a good job at it. Pick carefully and smartly…and really, stay away from power point slides and logos. Just say’n-lesson learned.

Too technical or too long: I’ve done it. I’ll admit it, written blog posts that were 1,000 words or more. And you know what you guys usually say to that? “Pass.” Let’s face it, you don’t have a ton of time to read blog posts throughout the day – and neither does YOUR audience. Stick to the KISS principle and your audience will appreciate: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The conversation took place elsewhere: Sometimes, instead of commenting on a blog post, people will choose to engage on another outpost, Facebook or Twitter for example. While this might disappoint those wishing to drive traffic to the blog or website, the truth is, you go where the conversation is happening and be glad there is one! The audiences on your Facebook, Twitter and G+ are different. They’ll react differently to different topics. Track what topics are hot on what platform and expand upon it in that platform. Use it as an opportunity to really engage the community who engages you – give them something they want to talk about in the place they want to talk about it.

In the end, its important to remember..if you don’t try something, you’ll never learn. And blogging is very forgiving. If you have a blog post that doesn’t generate comments, you move on to the next post. You live another day.

So, bloggers…do you agree with my lessons learned?


Creative Commons photo by Amaury Henderick