When blogging for your business has started to feel like a labored chore <le sigh> or blog traffic is at a stalemate, OR, you just feel like your blogging routine is hitting the same flat note – it’s time to add some excitement into your blogging strategy !!
Using features as part of your blogging strategy is a great way to serve up new content to your readers, foster connections within your community; and serves as a great tool in reaching a new audience.
PS: You dont’ have to be a feature based publication to use features as part of your blogging strategy : )
The Two Types of features and how to filter them into your blogging schedule
Making the decision to incorporate features on your blog can seem overwhelming, but planning and preparing will be key in keeping you organized, sane, and setting your blog up for success (keyword: sane!)
Begin by deciding if you will run a ‘feature series’’ or if you are going to included features as part of your new blogging norm.
A feature series should be a pre-determined amount of posts (suggestion: 3-5) with a very specific niched ‘theme’. (i.e. “3 Lady ‘Togs Who Bootstrapped Their Business and How You Can Too”, or ‘The Top 3 Venues I Work With and Why”) You should also plan to use ‘featured series’ within a very short span of time (suggestion: 1 week)
Hosting features on a regular basis should also stick to an overall theme that ties back to your brand, though you have more wiggle room for what you can offer up over a longer period of time. Regularly hosted features should work with your current blogging schedule and be used on a consistent basis. If your current blogging schedule is once a week then it might be best practice to only showcase features every 3rd Friday of the month; if your blogging schedule is 3x a week then you might be interested in showcasing a feature every Friday.
Sticking to a structured schedule with how you choose to offer up features will be may-jah important in setting both expectation and consistency for both your current readers and your new audience.
Let’s do This!!
The fun part! Who can you feature on your blog and WHY?!
How are you going to accept submissions for features and keep them organized?!
How can you be strategic about using features…. Ahhh!!! Decisions, decisions!
My number 1 recommendation for deciding where to start when choosing other businesses to feature on your blog, is with the closest members of your working community. Put them front & center with your audience, humble brag on what makes them a dream to work with and showcase the amazing things that you’ve created together. All you have to do next is fire up those emails, reach out, and ASK!
Still stuck on Topics?
Here are a few topic ideas for features, to get your blogging wheels turning:
- Your favorite products or ‘tools of the trade’ – bonus if you can tie these back to affiliate links!
- Community members who have inspired or shaped your journey
- Local favorites (shops, cafes, parks, places to shoot, event venues etc.)
- Who you work with behind the scenes and what you’ve created together (see above)
- ‘Teaching Posts’ Educational or resourceful posts geared towards your ideal client
- Listacle or Round-Up Style posts of past features (once you have amassed a pile of features, think of these posts as a feature of a feature by drawing on the posts you’ve used over the past year i.e. “Top 3 lady bosses who have inspired us this year”, “Top 10 Quotes From Pros” etc.)
Come up with a game plan for keeping it all organized!!
Let’s face it – emailing, calendar dates, keeping track of head shots or work product – sheesh! It can get out of hand super fast and you will be drowning in a sea of puzzle pieces that you are unable to link. Here are a few amazing (mostly free) tools that I love for keeping features organized and keeping yourself sane (there’s that keyword again!)
- Google Docs
- Trello – pushed to Google Calendar
- Formidable (wordpress plugin)
- Gravity Forms (wordpress plugin)
- Submittable (paid service)
- Good Old Fashion Email
Once you have a vision for what you’d like to offer, how can you piece it all together to work best for your brand AND your audience? What are you offering in addition to the feature? Do you have an amazing optin at the end of a featured series to thank your readers for following along? Here’s where the evil laughter.. ahem …strategy, comes into play!
Email or social blasts ahead of time alerting current readers to new features will help drum up excitement, but offering up an optin at the end of the series is a great way of saying Thank You!
If your series was educational or informational, take a main bulleted focal point from each of the posts and add it to a PDF optin. Or, if your series was bursting with knowledge, copy and paste the blog post(s) in it’s entirety into a PDF so your readers can use it as a reference guide!
Test the results of your features!
Ask your readers for feedback on your new features! You might be surprised at what they found helpful, what they enjoyed the most, or what may have missed the mark.
Run a comparative on your blog’s analytics, and total number of mailing list subscribers once your series is complete to see what resonated best. Get down to the meat n’ potatoes; can you expand on all of the best content again in the future to keep readers coming back for more of the goods?
I am 1000% a huge advocate of using features as part of your blogging strategy. There is great strength in numbers and aligning your brand with others will only broaden your horizons while positioning your site as the go to resource within your industry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole Doumato, So This Is Love & Lattes For Lunch
Nicole is a lover of lattes & modern day romance, she is the editor and founder of the feature based wedding blog So This Is Love, The founder of Lattes for Lunch – a blogging and social media management house for wedding industry professionals, and co-founder of the ‘Top Knot Society’, where content creation meets coffee and open conversations!!