This post is brought to you by Solane.
I've been in the publishing industry for 18 years. I started as a writer for magazines, websites and newspapers, then I became the editor-in-chief of a magazine. In the middle of all that, I started blogging as a hobby, but my blog soon turned into an income-generating activity and now baliktad na—writing for magazines is now a hobby while I've turned my blogging into a business. This post, for example, is a collaboration between my blog and Solane, and when major companies like Solane want to work with me, I know that I made the right decision to become a digital entrepreneur.
Solane wants working moms like me to be part of their "Dapat Lang" campaign, which encourages everyone—mom, dad, single or married, young and old!—to always do what is right. Kasi ang tama ay dapat lang nating gawin! The campaign hopes to bring back traditional Filipino values of kasipagan, katapatan, paggalang sa matanda, and just being good and decent folk. Part of being a good person is having integrity. For working moms like me, that means being committed to always delivering quality work. Today, I will share with you tips on how to improve the quality of your work. For me, that's my blogging business and if you have a blog, too, then these tips might help.
When I began my blog ten years ago, it was just an online journal. So I just wrote whatever I wanted and published it without really thinking about how it reads or how it will affect the readers, because back then I had no readers. As the blog's audience grew, I slowly realized that I had to create quality content because I was taking people's time and whatever they read should be worth their time.
This realization was stressed when brands started paying me to work with them. When people are paying you good money, you can't just wing it anymore. I had to make sure what I produce will be worth the brand's budget and will be useful and appreciated by my readers.
Here are a few tips on how I improved the quality of my blog so that both my clients and readers will love it:
1. Plan ahead.
Whether you work from home or in an office, planning always makes your day easier to manage. In my case, as a professional blogger, I create an editorial calendar of blog posts helps me plan out my content better. I can research, do interviews, look for stock photos, and style products and take photos of them well ahead of time. This is especially important when I have a lot of brand collaborations because I have to schedule their sponsored posts and balance them with my own personal stories. No one wants back-to-back sponsored posts—not my clients and definitely not my readers.
2. Pay attention to details.
With my personal posts, I'm usually more relaxed. But when I'm writing a sponsored post, I have to consider the client's instructions and still make sure that what I write still sounds like me and not a press release. Readers are turned off by press release-types of blog posts. So I have to plan every word in consideration of the needs of both my client and my readers.
3. Use the right images.
Fact: Blog posts that are accompanied by great photos are read more. So always put at least one photo for every post you write. But it can't be just any kind of photo. It has to support the content of your post and it has to be beautiful. Blog posts that have Pinterest-worthy images are also more likely to be shared so when you plan your calendar and your post, think of the best photos that will accompany your post and prepare to create them.
4. Edit mercilessly.
Write with the heart, edit with the brain. Read what you wrote at least 10 times, then look at it again in the morning. Check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, especially on sponsored posts because your client has an image to protect. Check the links, especially if they're links provided by your client.
5. Be visually appealing.
Sometimes, even if you're the best writer in the world, if the reader has a hard time reading what you wrote, they're not going to read it. Your content is your product and the design of your blog is its packaging. Heaven knows that a lot of blogs aren't even that well written but because they look so nice, the blogs become popular. So choose a good design—you can either download free templates or buy them from many designers. You can also hire a designer. Just make sure to keep your blog free of clutter, choose fonts that are easy to read, and pick colors that won't hurt eyes.
6. Be useful.
If you want to succeed in blogging, you have to create content that matters. It's not enough you say what you think about a product, you should also provide information about where it's sold and for how much. When you review restaurants, say how much the dish costs and where the parking is. Always try to add something useful to your blog post so that your readers can take away good things—especially when it's a sponsored post because readers are usually leery of sponsored content but if you included useful tips, not only will they read the whole thing, they might also share it!
7. Engage with readers.
Your readers are your customers. They devour your content and if you're really lucky, they'll tell everyone about you. So always open the comments section and pay attention to what your readers like and dislike. Not only will this help you plan your content better, it also creates a friendship with your readers. And once they're loyal, they'll be your best marketers ever!
I was inspired to write about these tips because I was studying Solane's 7-Point Safety Check, a system they created to make sure their LPG is the best their customers can get. I've been a Solane user for 4 years now and I've been very happy with their service and their product. I like how they have a system for quality control and it made me think: Do I have a system, too? I knew I had one but I've never written it down. And now I have so I can share it with all of you so that your blogs will also improve!
If you're an entrepreneur like me, you can tweak my tips to apply to your own business. For example, if your business is planners, your quality-improvement tips can look like this:
1. Create a production plan.
2. Design the planner down to the very last detail.
3. Use the right illustrations and fonts.
4. Edit mercilessly.
5. Create a planner and a marketing campaign that is visually appealing.
6. Make sure every feature in the planner will be useful.
7. Ask what customers think and take action on improvements they suggest.
I hope you liked my 7 tips to improve the quality of your blog and your business! If you have more tips or a special system for your own blog or business, I hope you can share them in the comments below. Thank you!
For more information or to order your very own Solane LPG tank (like I do!), go to Solane.com.ph or like their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/solane.ph.