Creating a blog strategy that engages with your audience

Only a few days ago I posted that I had changed my blog identity and that I’m going to be working on it as a brand and I have a number of ideas around this. You can see the post here:

Planet Simon rebranded to Beyond the Infinite

But what does this mean? What is a blog strategy and why does it matter? If it matters? What makes good blog content?

Those of you that visit regularly will know that I’ve been having a think around this and I’ve come up with a strategy, I have no idea if it will work but let me share my thinking with you all.

Blog branding that gives you identity

For a long time my blog didn’t have a brand except to say that it was random. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you’re trying to get out a message and have an identity for that you need a brand, this is the name, look, logo and what the reader generally sees and it need to tie up and make sense. Good blog branding will make your blog stand out and give the identity that is needed.



So if I was going to have a food blog, my content needs to reflect that so that the reader may well come back over and over to see posts on food, or people searching will find your posts easily. On top of this as part of the back you may have a look, it might be bright, dark, red blue or… you see the point.

This is something I’ve struggled with for a while many bloggers know me as a Sci-Fi fanand a lot of the work reflects that but in the case of Planet Simon I was struggling with now I can sell that as a brand. Not necessarily in the money way but in what I’m trying to give.

Content that engages

The next thing we have is a site, filled with stuff, posts, pages and all that. This is content and like anything what we put into it, it’s what we want people to read and engage with.



Now I know this sounds a bit daft, but we have to sell this content. Not for money, but for people to read it. That’s how I feel a blog post needs to be approached. When push come to shove if we want to blog to engage with or create an audience we need to create content and get them to stick around and subscribe or whatever. We’re building a relationship just as we would with a paying customer.

When and if we can do that then maybe, maybe we can sell something for actual money if that way inclined. Whether we are or not thinking about what you’re giving the reader is key. The kind of basic needs we’re looking to tempt our reader is:

Information / Knowledge.
Material Things
Experiences.
Stories.
Community.
Emotional gain or hit.

All these can be achieved with blogging and it might be that any number of these aren’t covered in a post or at all in a blog but something needs to be given in order for the reader to decide to consume or read or engage.

A Site that draws your audience in

The blog site is where I struggle, the question of do I have a front page and bring them into the content somehow or have the posts listed with a few favourites pinned at the top – what’s best?

Who knows? I don’t but think about what’s best, try things and see what works best. The key is to draw your reader in, to look around your blog site, love it and keep coming back.

So think about what they see, how the site is laid out and what it says about you as a brand.

Posts that are readable

What about your posts? I think this has got trickers even in the few years I’ve been blogging. I used to have a limit on a post of 1000 words in my head because that seemed to be enough but not too much. I think that a wall of 1000 words is too much now.

People reading a blog are trying to get through a lot and while they may like to read your 1000 words or so if you are going to post that much break it up, with pictures or a split the post into smaller pieces make it easier for the reader to digest. Even make two posts out of one. As always watch the spelling and grammar (I know please don’t point out all my errors – my bad)

Titles that create a question (where necessary)

There’s been a lot of topic over titles and using the right words to create impact and draw in the reader. This might be fine, but I’ve played with co-schedule and I’ve made some high scoring headlines that make no sense at all.

What I think is a better approach is use co-schedule or something similar fine but how about this as approach:

Make your title a governing thought or question where the reader is inclined to ask – How or Why.

What’s the point of this?

It’s searchable. One post from ages past still makes it into my viewed posts is entitled “What happened to bit strips?”

When bit strips vanished and I posted this I inadvertently created an experiment that shows a it about how posts work. If there’s a question or thought that you’re having – maybe someone else is having it and maybe they will search for it and find your post. It’s hard doing this and I sat here for a while thinking of the title of this post. I don’t think it’s a 100% search term but it’s close, There is a question that comes from reading it, I think it’s a “how?” question.

I get this doesn’t cover all posts and if you’re writing a story or showing off some other work then it’s a little irrelevant, so in these cases consistency and meaning are probably more important.

Bloggers

Don’t expect to sit back post and watch it happen. Interact and keep interacting. Keep talking to bloggers old and new. I say this becasue (and I hate to say it) blogger friends often come and go, those that interact with you now are likely to not be interacting in few months or years time let alone a few years down the road.

Some do, some stick around but in my experience many go. For all kinds of reasons, some have stopped blogging other move on some I’m sad to say get ill or die. So treasure those that are around – always.

Finally

Have fun doing this! That’s the most important thing. I hope this has been useful – all of this is based on my own personal experience and other might disagree. But it’s this kind of strategy I’m going to be pursuing from now on… well I’ll do my best!

What do you think? Any thoughts on this?



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films Z is for Enders Game

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

Z is for Ender’s Game

There’s a Z in this I promise – just don’t look for it!

Hostile aliens called Formics attach the Earth and only when legend Mazer (See there’s a Z!) Rackham can Earth take a victory. To find the next Mazer Col Graff (Harrison Ford) starts a military program – training young recruit in the tactics of war. One boy stands out – Ender Wiggin and Mazer Rackham take him on as his protege to prepare him take the war to the Formics.

This is a great film! I was being silly to include in Z but I had to have it in the list somewhere! Like any great Sci-Fi story it covers not just spaceships and blazing battles but some big ethical issues as well and like the greats there’s a big twist in the tale with another twist at the end.

The conclusion is not what you expect and leaves Ender with a huge responsibility.

With Y done that means Z is next… This is the last one!!!!



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

Y is for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Don’t start ok? You try finding a Sci-Fi film beginning with Y – so I did a flip and it’s the last letter in this case.

Most Sci-Fi nerds will have read the great book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, there was a series back the 70’s / 80’s and in 2005 a film was created and released. The film generally follows the book apart from one bit in the middle which is odd.

So if you need refreshing, Arthur Dent’s house is about to be demolished and his friend Ford Prefect think s the best way to solve this is to go to the pub. While at the pub Ford tells Arthur that the Earth is going to be destroyed to make way for the a hyperspace bypass.

So ford and Arthur end up on a Vogon destructor ship, get shot into space and rescued by Zahod Beeblebrox in the spaceship Heart of Gold which he has stolen. Here Arthur finds Trillan and a whole adventure begins…

Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Although this film doesn’t stick strictly to the plot it’s pretty good and quite enjoyable with loads of funny silly moments in it and a number of amusing ideas. Among which of course is Douglas Adams Space is BIG quote read by Stephen Fry who narrates through the film.


With Y done that means Z is next… This is the last one!!!!



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films H is for The Hunger Games

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

H is for The Hunger Games

Katniss volunteers to take her sisters place after she’s choses to take place in the annual Hunger Games after the 12 districts of Panem try and rebel against the ruling Government run by President Snow.As the 24 players are released, after a quick cull half are taken down then it’s up to Katniss to stay alive and become the last to survive.

Until the rules change and one other can survive.


Hunger games is great, with a huge cult following. The plot is simple, the strength of the story is in the characters, their own individual stories and what they will do to stay alive. Like a modern day Running Man this story is big on corrupt dystopian societies, the power of media and how it can corrupt and how far will a man go to keep power?

This was H – the odd one out. Now that’s done! Phew!



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films X is for the X Files

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

X is for the X Files – The Truth Is Out There

The X Files film takes place between two series and carries on the concept of the finding evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth. After being put under investigation for an operation that went wrong, Mulder and Scully find their way to a set of clue, including a playground that hides a deadly secret and a bio bubble in a field full of bees.

Scully is kidnapped and Mulder shot, escaping hospital to get her back Mulder traces Scully to Antarctica. What Mulder found there he couldn’t have imagined in his strangest nightmares.

The X Files

I need to see this film again, I’ve realised that I can’t remember many of the subtle details. As with most things X Files one answered question leads to three more questions and when things are found – the evidence disappears. What is really good about this film as with all X Files is the strong bond between Mulder and Scully. It’s great to watch.

But it’s a good film and in the best X-Files traditions.


With X done that means Y is next… This could be difficult!



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films W is for War of the Worlds

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

W is for War of the Worlds

The first version of the War of the Worlds came to cinemas in 1953, remade in 2005 starring Tom Cruise, this is another classic 1950’s Sci-Fi remade in the modern times.

The story premise is simple, aliens come to Earth and start tearing up the place, killing and generally wiping out the human race. In the original 1950’s version you have a scientist trying to find out what is going on and how to stop them, in the 2005 version a father is trying to survive and protect his children. So there’s a lot of difference between the two versions of the story.

The ending for the 1950’s film I remember being a bit naff… as if the story kind of falls off a cliff.

I’ve seen the original version of this a number of times, but not the 2005 version. Maybe the story wasn’t so great – I can’t remember but entirely possible. Like many of the 1950’s Sci-Fi films while they have aged but are quite watchable and are pretty scary at times, I don’t know how they do it. The biggest difference is in societal attitudes more than anything.


With W done that means X is next… Nearly at the end now.



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films V is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

V is for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I haven’t seen this film so I looked it up. The plot line described was pretty complex… so I couldn’t summarise. So for this I have cheated and copied the gumpf off off google:

In the 28th century, special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline work together to maintain order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the minister of defense, the duo embarks on a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where diverse species gather to share knowledge and culture. When a dark force threatens the peaceful city, Valerian and Laureline must race against time to identify the menace that also jeopardizes the future of the universe.

Valerian

I’ve not seen this so I can’t comment much on it, but it’s on my list of films to watch and the trailer looked pretty good.

Any of you seen it? Thoughts?


With V done that means W is next… This will be a classic!



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films U is for the Undiscovered Country

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

U is for the Undiscovered Country

I’ve tried to avoided using Star Trek films to sneak in, but as we’re reaching the end and Star Trek hasn’t had mention I think I can do this… I’m allowing myself.

It starts with the Klingon moon Praxis exploding, one of the key energy production facilities for the Klingons this is a huge deal for them. NOrmally a war faring race the Klingons are forced to sit down at the negotiating table and discuss terms for peace. But it seems that not everyone is keen on peace. While escorting the Klingon flagship to federation space the Klingons are fired upon, seemingly by the Enterprise. Assassins beam aboard and kill the Klingon Chancellor, leaving the peace process in ruins. Going aboard the Klingon ship to help Kirk and McCoy are made to stand trial.

Left behind on the Enterprise Spock needs to find out what has happened and rescue Kirk and Bones before they’re killed if that wasn’t enough the peace process is continuing, so that needs to be saved as well before all out war results.

The Enterprise in the STVI The Undiscovered Country

The Undiscovered Country is one of, if not the best Star Trek film featuring the original crew of the Enterprise. Following the more comical deviations of the Voyage Home and the Final Frontier it gets back to proper Star Trek ground. It is however I feel a bit political at times and is trying too hard resulting in some cringey moments but it’s pretty good.

This was also the last trip out for the original crew in it’s entirety. It’s a god watch with a pretty decent battle scene at the end.


With U done that means V is next…



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films T is for 2001

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

T is for 2001

Right, now before you start – don’t start! 2001 is T and I won’t hear another word about it. This somewhat beautifully, terrifyingly constructed film starts on Earth when man is just apes and learns to use rudimentary tools.

It then swiftly moves to space in the year 2001. Dr Heywood Floyd is on his way to the Moon on government business under the cover story of a disease outbreak at the base at Clavius. The reality is something far more concerning. a monolith has been uncovered and no one knows it’s purpose. When the sun hit it, it emits a strong radio signal towards Jupiter.

The next part of the film focuses on the Discovery mission to Jupiter, another Monolith has been detected in orbit of the planet and the US government are keen to find out more. But things go horribly, wrong.

The wheel space station seen in 2001

2001 is perhaps the most important Sci-Fi film like ever. Not only for the story and the way it was delivered but it was Stanley Kubricks first film. Conspiracy teorists use 2001 to explain how the Moon landings could be faked and the techniques used in 2001 led to the creation of Star Wars, Star Trek and other iconic films.

I won’t lie, it’s a hard watch. At the end you feel like you’ve been on humanity’s journey with it. You’ll either love it or hate it. It was almost Kubrick’s last film.


With T done that means U is next…



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films S is for Star Wars

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

S is for Star Wars

Arguably the most famous Sci-Fi / Space Opera film of all time. Luke Skywalker finds himself in the middle of the battle between the evil Empire and the Galactic Rebellion when two new droids come into his care.

When R2D2 is discovered to be carrying the plans of the invincible Death Star Luke is helped by an aging Jedi, Obi Wan to find a way to get the plans to safe hands and not into the hands of the evil Darth Vader

I remember Star Wars from when I was very young and remember going to see it and the Empire Strikes back back to back when I was about 6 or 7, back in the days when there were just 2 films!

Sure there’s no a great deal of science in it but George Lucas created some unique and ground breaking concepts that have not been bettered 40 years later, the death star being a key example of that.


With S done that means T is next…



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films R is for Running Man

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

R is for Running Man

This is a great unsubtle action film of the 80’s, Arnie is kicked out of the security services for refusing to fire on civilians in a corrupt dystopian society of the future. Escaping prison he starts working for the underground movement to overthrow the powers that be.

Getting caught again he is forced to play the running man – a game where he has to fight to survive and apparently for his freedom. The Running Man is the biggest TV event going and everyone is behind it, making him out o be a mass murderer, the crowd hates him. So he must survive to live and makes sure the truth is told…

As I said this is a really unsubtle film, it doesn’t leave much to imagination but this is a really good film, this has a similar format to the Hunger Games. The hero entering into a game they can’t win to fight to survive.

As with the usual Arnie films of the time there are some fun one liners that raise a laugh.

With R done that means S is next… Oh the choices…



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A – Z Challenge – Sci-Fi Films Q is for Q

Hi there bloggies, I’ve been seeing some post warning me of an A – Z Challenge and I was curious. I’ve seen this around before but have never participated, for some mad reason I thought I would give it a go.

So here I am.

My theme is the A-Z of Scifi moves, I’ve not given this a great deal of thought and I know of a number but I won’t lie there’s some I will struggle with. I hope you enjoy them!

Q is for Q

Q is a film I never heard of before and as Sci-Fi films beginning with Q are a bit thin on the ground I had to go searching.

I got this about it from Wikipedia:
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatll, a winged, dragon-like, female lizard, takes up residence in the art-deco spire of the Chrysler Building, with frequent jaunts in the midday sun to devour various helpless New Yorkers on the rooftops. The resulting bloody mess confounds detectives, Shepard and Powell, who are already occupied with a case involving a series of bizarre ritual murders linked to a secret neo-Aztec cult.

As I said I’ve never seen or heard of this film so I can’t really say much about it – Anyone out there seen it?

With Q done that means R is next…



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