Greetings, bloggers and penguin enthusiasts, the Follow-Swap Blog Hop is live & gaining entries! It’s your chance to showcase your blog, so today’s accompanying post is all about effective content. I won’t rant (yeah right, my last post turned out to be about sea-birds and I’m not even sure how it happened), but I’ll try and at least be helpful.

1. First you have to decide what you want to write. I know that sounds obvious, but remember your followers don’t necessarily want to read a series on the week you spent at the community center learning how to arrange stamp collections. Don’t feel that just because it’s your usual blogging day you have to churn out any old thing to keep up the schedule. Wait another day or two and post something amazing, because even if you’re not ensuring that you only ever post your best stuff, someone else will be taking that precaution with their blog.
2. Next, think about your blog’s target audience, and what they want and have come to expect from you. That doesn’t have to dictate what you’re going to write but at least let it set the tone, and don’t forget to keep up your writer’s voice, too. Whether it be funny, whimsical, thought-provoking or heartfelt, building loyal followers is all about consistency.
3. Got it worked out? Then write the thing! Try and include links to other relevant posts too, either by working links into your article or having a list of similar links at the end. It’s all about having a captive audience, and that means never letting them view one thing without tantalizing them with another. Grab an image or two to break up the text, being wary of having so many that your page takes ten minutes to load and gives everybody a migraine, and you’re done.
4. Finally, when you go to publish your blog post, take a long, hard think about the title. I know, I know, that seems rich from someone with such ridiculous and frequently irrelevant titles as On Cover Design, DIY Marketing and The Personification of Butt Cheeks…or Better than Bingo at a Knitting Club Tea-party: A Review, but hear me out. Your title will only be accompanied by your actual article for as long as it takes to fill your blog’s home page with posts. After that it’ll be nothing more than a link in an archive, so you had better make it stand out, and given that there won’t always be room in your sidebar to display the full title, you’ve got to hook us on the first words. (P.S. How’s that for walking the walk from step 3?) Plus, the more interesting your titles are, the more interesting your tweets about them should be, and the more traffic you’ll get.
So try it out now. You could even blog about your adventures in the Follow-Swap Blog Hop, because when your followers see what you’re up to and join in, and their followers see what they’re up to and join in too, then that’s just more potential followers for everyone.
It’s like a pyramid scheme, only legal.
And there’s my accompanying picture. See, no pyramids here.