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Let's dive into the 80-20 rule principle, why it matters, and how to apply it as a blogger.
Every once in a while, someone is able to articulate a principle that broadly applies across industries and help you understand what's going on in your business.
This is the case with the 80-20 rule.
It's a simple observation with powerful applications for business owners in all industries, including bloggers. The main idea is to achieve more progress while doing less. That's a great way to simplify your life while also accomplishing excellent results.
Let's dive into the 80-20 rule principle, why it matters, and how to apply it as a blogger.
What Is the 80-20 Rule?
The 80-20 Rule, also called the Pareto Principle, is an economic theory that talks about where the greatest returns come from in a business. The theory is that your inputs and outputs are not equal or balanced.
It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.
This isn’t a universal truth. It doesn’t apply in every situation.
By understanding how this principle works for bloggers making money on this, you can ensure you’re putting your efforts into the right activities for maximum returns.
Where Does the 80-20 Rule Show Up in Blogging?
There’s a lot that goes into blogging, and it’s not all about the writing.
The trivial tasks that go into running a blog are not where your money comes from, even though there’s a lot of time that goes into them. As a blog owner, you should spend a little time breaking down what you do versus where you see real value generated by your blog.
As you take a closer look, you’ll probably see the 80-20 rule in full effect in areas like marketing your blog, time spent on revenue-generating versus admin tasks, and on the content you actually create.
How to Use the 80-20 Rule as a Blogger
How you apply the 80-20 rule will vary based on what you observe with your own blog.
These are a few common areas where the 80-20 rule often helps optimize how you spend your time versus what you're getting back from it.
See if you could benefit from a change in perspective and a slight shift in how you work.
1. Outsource admin tasks
A large portion of your time is likely going towards administrative work.
As a blog owner, you're doing a lot.
Answering emails, coordinating with absolutely everything, creating a content calendar, organizing social media posts, and so much more…
Is this the best use of your time?
These things all need to be done, but they don't necessarily need to be done by you.
If you hired a VA to handle most of the admin work for your blog, what could you accomplish with the extra time you would free up?
Your time is valuable. Right now, you could be giving too much of it away on tasks that you could easily outsource to other people for a reasonable fee.
The problem with admin work is that it doesn't create much value. It's a necessary evil. Your blog wouldn't run without admin work, but it's not directly responsible for your success as a blogger or the value you're giving your audience.
Find a way to outsource as much admin work as possible so you can spend your time generating more value, planning ahead, and staying on top of the big picture.
If you get bogged down in all the details, you could miss out on vital opportunities. Once your blog generates a little income, it's usually worth it to bring on someone to handle the behind-the-scene tasks and free up your time for more important tasks that only you can do.
2. Put your all into your content
Good content is a huge part of making a successful blog. It's not everything, but it's important to get it right!
At the end of the day, you're running a blog. So, what use is a blog that doesn't publish good content?
No matter how much attention you attract, you won't be able to get any real traction unless you can give your audience what they want.
A few solid pieces of evergreen content is a great place to start.
How do you make sure your content is great? Here are a few tips:
Focus on the right audience
Think about who the top 20% of your audience is and how you might be able to reach them. Try to build your blog persona to match that audience. If you understand your target audience, you'll be able to build content that matches their needs.
Write better stuff than your competitors
Look up the keywords you want to rank for and see what kind of content has made it into the top 10 results. Whatever they're doing, do it better.
Write something that's more in-depth, explains the topic clearly, reads better, is more entertaining, or otherwise solves the reader's problem more effectively.
Better content isn't a guarantee for the top spot, but when you have it, you're more likely to see the efforts from your marketing pay off with a lower bounce rate.
Incorporate graphics and videos
Images are an essential part of content today. There’s strong evidence that people find it easier to remember pictures rather than just text. Text mixed with relevant images is the best way to make your content both easy to understand and memorable.
Videos are also highly engaging, especially when they’re used in product reviews. Adding videos into your content is another great way to make it more useful to your audience and more interesting to read.
Another benefit of images and videos is that it gives you another way to be found. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google, so having a video there can make you more visible in other search results as well.
Cite primary sources
Quality content is important. Make sure you're providing useful and accurate information that gives your readers what they're looking for.
The best way to do this is to only link to information straight from the source. Look for research, statistics, and data from reliable sources and link to those sources in your content. Make sure the data you're using to support your points is good, and you'll be on track to produce better blog posts.
Outsource if necessary
You don't need to be an expert writer to have a successful blog. If writing isn't your speciality, or you don't have the time to dedicate to writing, there is always the option of hiring ghostwriters to create your content for you.
If you work closely with a ghostwriter, they'll be able to produce something very useful for your audience.
You might also hire a professional writer for your blog. In exchange, you could offer them a byline and allow them to provide links to their sites.
There's no recipe for the perfect blog post, but if you prioritize making good content, you're more likely going to end up with something you're proud to market and share with others.
3. Market where it matters
Marketing is another area where bloggers apply the 80-20 rule fairly consistently.
The best ways to market your blog are often just a small part of your overall marketing strategy. While you may not be able to flip that equation, you can focus your efforts to maximize your returns on the best activities.
Each blog experiences different marketing successes. The specific channels that work best for you might be different than they are for another blogger.
Look at what you've been doing and see what's working best for you. Where are you seeing the most traction?
Social media is the most common way blogs are marketed, with other common methods including guest posts, link building, and forums/Q&A platforms.
What are you doing that's working for you? Where is your audience finding you?
Focus your efforts on expanding those channels and nurturing your leads.
Don't stop marketing through other channels, but try to balance the amount of time and effort you put into marketing with the returns you're getting from it.
Don’t Forget about Compounding Returns!
The 80-20 rule provides a great framework to analyze how value is generated with your blog.
In all your efforts to optimize, it's important to remember that some of the things you do will have a compounding effect that leads to even more value in the future. Don't throw away your long-term benefits by focusing only on short-term gains.
Take a long-term perspective.
Writing one social media post a day may not provide you with an enormous benefit every week, but you can steadily build up a following that pays off over time.
Guest posting and publishing regularly don't pay much, but you're growing your online profile, getting your name out to a larger audience, and forming industry connections. All these benefits add a lot of value to your blog over time, even if they take a while to show up.
Compounding returns shouldn't be ignored. While you're analyzing the value your actions are creating, consider both short-term and increasing long-term value.
Utilize the 80-20 rule to help you optimize your workflow, realign your focus, and enhance the value you’re getting from every area of your blog.
Pay attention to how you’re spending your time and what you’re getting in return. Use this to inform your decisions about outsourcing, marketing, content creation, and everything else you’re doing on a daily basis.
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