social media how toIf you’ve been following the boom of social media marketing, you already know blogging is an essential ingredient to any social media strategy. Are you unsure about what to write, when to post, how to grow your subscribers and how to keep them coming back for more? If you’ve had any of these concerns, you’re not alone!

To help you take your blog to an entirely new level, here are 7 tips from the best-of-the-best in the blogging and social media arena. Every expert below has created a thriving blog with tens of thousands of subscribers who engage with their posts on a regular basis. If you want to know how to create and grow a successful blog, make sure to take notes (and take action)!

#1: Measure Your Blogging Success

measure“If you’re blogging for business, rather than blogging about your cat, baby, fashion addiction, or crush on Taylor Swift, you need to set some success metrics,” says Jay Baer, founder of Convince and Convert.

Without a statistical measure of your blogging progress, adding content to your blog on a regular basis can be an incredibly lonely proposition. Is anyone out there? Does anyone care?

However, within the business blogging arena there are a wide variety of potential metrics to gauge your momentum. It’s imperative that you select the most relevant ones that match with your blog’s purpose.

The first step in that process of course is to know why you’re blogging. This sounds simple, but it’s shocking how many bloggers aren’t clear on the core business rationale behind their blog initiative.

As I see it, you have 3 options:

  • Blogging for Content
    This is the scenario where you are writing a blog with considerable emphasis on search optimization, attempting to drive traffic to the blog via strategic content creation and keyword inclusion. Your metric is search traffic.
  • Blogging for Commerce
    Related to the first, but commerce-oriented blogs are more interested in conversion events than in traffic generation. Funneling traffic from the blog to some other web destination (typically a corporate site or lead form) is the primary objective. Here, your metrics are leads and conversions.
  • Blogging for Community
    These blogs seek to build a consistent readership that interacts with the blogger(s) and advocates on behalf of the content on other social outposts.

Determine the main reason why your business has a blog and pick success metrics to match.

#2: Pursue Guest Blogging Opportunities

One of the best ways to get exposure for your blog is to blog for other people. Rich Brooks, president of Flyte New Media, offers some great advice to start building relationships for potential guest blogging opportunities.

“Find the influential bloggers in your related industries,” says Brooks, “and read their blogs. As appropriate, leave intelligent, thoughtful comments that further the conversation. This can drive traffic to your blog and may open up opportunities for guest blogging at their blog as they become aware of you through your brilliant insights. However, this must be a win-win for it to work. If you leave comments for completely selfish reasons, you can expect limited results.”

#3: Reframe How You Look at Business Blogging

“I often hear people complain that they don’t have time to write on their business blog or they don’t know what to write about,” says Denise Wakeman, founder of The Blog Squad. “Yet a blog is one of the best tools you can use to distribute your message across the web.”

One way to move away from this mode of thinking is to reframe how you look at blogging. It’s not about writing on a blog; it’s about taking advantage of a powerful marketing tool that works for you 24/7/365. Then, schedule writing time so it doesn’t slip through the cracks in the course of a busy day or week.

calendarHere’s a 4-step process to get you started:

1.     Block out your writing time on a calendar.

2.     Plan your content in advance. Create an editorial calendar and plug in your topics 1 to 3 months in advance.

3.     For each of your blog categories, list a minimum of 5 topics you can cover related to your company, products and the solutions you provide.

4.     Pop them into your editorial calendar as prompts so you’re never at a loss for ideas when it’s time to create content.

#4: Add Keywords to Your Blog Titles and Posts

Rob Birgfeld of SmartBrief says keywords are the secret sauce to a successful business blog.

“It’s easy,” Birgfeld says, “to write blog posts on whatever topic springs to mind. But chances are your blog was created to help achieve business goals. In order to reach those goals, take data from your search engine marketing efforts and develop an editorial plan around your top-producing keywords.”

Gather your top 10-15 keywords or phrases and write blog posts specific to each one. Keep the content compelling, but be sure to sprinkle the selected keyword (and synonyms) throughout the post.

Most importantly, be sure to include those all-important keywords in the blog title and in the tags that you select. Not only will a keyword-driven blogging strategy help you build and plan out your editorial calendar, it will help you reach company goals via proven search engine marketing data. Thus providing you with something that’s hard to come by in social media: An easier sell to your CFO.

#5: Interview the Best in Your Industry

Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, suggests, “Hire a videographer and go to the biggest trade show in your industry. Interview all the leading book authors and thought leaders.”

When you do this, you’ll end up with tons of content you can release on your blog over months. And chances are, when the big names see your video, they’ll share it with their fan base, driving new traffic to your site.

Here’s Mike Stelzner interviewing Scott Monty of Ford at Blog World 2010. This is a great example of attending the best events in the industry and connecting with the influencers.

#6: Create Persuasive Calls to Action

“You’ve got anecdotes, case studies, top-ten lists, provocative insights and more on your business blog. Hats off to you. That’s a huge achievement, particularly if you’ve been publishing a blog for a year or less. But what’s your call to action? And by that I mean, what step is a visitor prompted to take after landing on your blog?” says Debbie Weil, expert blogger and author of The Corporate Blogging Book.

What obvious callouts do you have to attract a visitor’s eye after he or she reads your latest blog post? Think about it. Your blog reader, if a first-time visitor, has most likely typed in a keyword phrase and ended up on your blog through search results.

Readers may not even know that it’s a blog. So you’ve got their attention, at least for a few seconds. This is your real-time moment to prompt your visitor to take the next step. If I sound all salesy here I don’t mean to. This is permission marketing 101. It’s offering something unanticipated but relevant at the exact moment your visitor is looking for it.

Here are a few ideas for persuasive calls to action from Debbie Weil’s Social Media Insights Blog:
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#7: When it Comes to Video Blogging, Forget Acting

“I remember the first time I was on camera,” says David Garland, founder of The Rise to the Top and author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper. “I was trying to be someone I wasn’t… with an awkward spray tan. (Stop laughing.)”

For some reason, our personalities can sometimes change when on camera (something about that scary lens). What the audience craves is to see the real you. All the good stuff, quirks and everything else.

Try this. Invite someone over with whom you are VERY comfortable. Have him or her ask you a question and simply answer it. Then, have the person hold a camera and try it again. Rinse, wash and repeat until you feel comfortable. When you talk into the lens, picture that person. It will make all the difference.

david garland interview

Here's David Garland interviewing Mike Stelzner about the success of

Want to Learn More About Blogging for Business?

If you’re not fully leveraging the power of blogging, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Most businesses are just now getting started with blogs.

There’s one easy way to take your blogging efforts to the next level. By attending the web’s largest online blogging conference, Blogging Success Summit 2011 you’ll become empowered to use blogs to gain more exposure, better engage customers and grow your business.

The great part is you’ll be learning from 23 blogging experts. Join Technorati’s CEO, Scott Monty, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Michael Stelzner and experts from McDonalds, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Sony and Procter & Gamble as they reveal proven blogging tactics at Blogging Success Summit 2011.

It’s the web’s largest online blogging conference. Go here for a free sample and to learn more.

Now it’s your turn! Have you used any of these great blogging tips already? Do you plan to implement any into your blogging strategy right away? Share your thoughts and comments with us in the box below.

All photos from Shutterstock
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  • This is a great list to bookmark. I have a blog which is a couple years old, yet don’t have much traffic. They go to my facebook page. I just started to guest blog, and this will give me great reminders as I work to drive traffic back to my blog.

  • These are excellent ideas. My only addition would be to post your blog articles on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter so you can extend the reach of your blog to a different audience.

  • Kelly Snelson

    I know NOTHING about blogging and love the insights here. When just starting a blog, how do you get your initial followers?

  • Nice simple piece. I realize I’m not hitting that call to action so thanks!

    The question ‘I don’t have time!’ is one I hear ALL the time and I provided one possible solution in a post I wrote last night called ‘The Dusty Shoebox Phenomena’ on multi-purposing your content. My example went from blog>email but the reverse works too to cut the workload. More here: Hope it helps! Nice job.

  • Amy, glad to see that “call to action” was included in this list. It’s a piece that is usually missing when I review client blogs. In the end, if your blog is not helping you achieve your business goals, then it is a time and energy drain. Looking forward to the Blogging Success Summit! Blog!

  • Amy – Glad to help out. Video rocks 🙂

  • Hi Kelly, Social Media and blogging is really karma in action. You want twitter followers? Follow people on twitter. You want blog comments? Comment on a lot of blogs. and so on…I think you see where Im going with this 🙂

  • To expand on number 5 (I love the idea by the way), if you can’t afford a videographer, even a simple flip-cam comes in great handy! Or, get the Kodak Zi8 (I love their external mic option). Commit to taking some time to interview folks ahead of time. Reach out via social media (or email) and block some time to connect.

    And, if you can’t attend a conference, then heck, you can do skype video interviews the way David Garland did *or* start a podcast (this is what Stacey and I decided to do). Since then we’ve interviewed folks like David M. Scott, Julien Smith and Seth Godin. The trick is to reach out and connect and make happen! Just thinking about it isn’t gonna do it…you have to actually do it.

  • Amy: Thanks so much for your continued support in the blog world. As a conduit for bloggers, where do you see our future? Boston Sports Woman delivers content derived from over 30 bloggers focused on a Healthy Lifestyle and living in Boston.
    We continue to recommend to our sponsorship partners to blog about what is relevant to the reader as opposed to what they think is relevant. This keeps our readers wanting more!
    Thanks again!
    Kathy McConnell
    Co-Founder / President Boston Sports Woman

  • Marymabrams

    Amy, great post filled with excellent tips. I think the hardest thing about blogging yourself is the actual discipline of doing it. Fear comes into play – Will anyone read it? What do I write about? Will anyone care? Your tips help bloggers get around all of this by first reading and sharing with relevant bloggers. Then go for it! Thanks Amy.

  • Amy, excellent post! I have heard a lot of these before – guest blogging, great content, etc. – but I had never before thought about Interviewing the Best in your Industry! That’s awesome and may have made my whole week! I’m going to do that! 🙂

    Seriously, thanks for sharing!

  • Leigh, you may want to consider having your blog syndicated to your Facebook page automatically, if you don’t already. I recommend NetworkedBlogs, a free Facebook app, for just that purpose. You can see how it works on our FB page:

  • Kelly,

    Dino’s right. In addition, especially at the beginning, you should be writing keyword-rich blog posts that will help drive search engine traffic. Assuming your content is relevant to your visitors, they’ll come back for more. Just make sure it’s easy for them to subscribe to your blog via RSS or email.

  • David…you’re absolute right! Online video does rock…it’s the most personal form of social media in my opinion and allows you to truly connect with your visitors/clients. They will really get to know the real you after watching a few of your videos 🙂

    The famous saying goes..people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Online videos helps achieve all three.


    P.S – An online video interview with an expert (over the Internet may be more convenient for some people) is a brilliant idea for a blog post. It covers both points #5 and #7 above 🙂

  • Denise, you bring up some excellent blogging tips on Point #3.

    Planning and scheduling your blog posts is critical to a blog’s success. This is one area I am trying to improve on. Have you ever heard of a WordPress plugin called “Editorial Calendar”? It makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.

    I am thinking of giving it a shot.


  • First of all, Amy this is great and comprehensive post! Clear points and tips for all the serious bloggers that want to succeed in business or even personal blogging! Keep up the great work.. Love Social Media Examiner

  • Great tips! I’m constantly working on refining my blogging skills so this helps as a reminder.

    I get asked all the time how to get blog followers as if there is some magical thing to do…I simply started reading other blogs, following them, leaving them comments. I now have a wealth of contacts in the blogging community who do guest posts on my blog as well as provide free promotion of my blog to their friends. Bloggers are a pretty darn supportive group!

  • cherylpickett

    A great way to start getting traffic is to be part of other conversations. Being on Facebook or Twitter or any of the other social networks is pretty much a must do now for anyone trying to reach an audience. Once there, as mentioned earlier, feed your blog posts to your Facebook or Twitter account. As long as you are speaking to your target audience, they should start clicking through to see what else you have to say. Make sure you also alert your friends/family as to what you are doing so they can refer people who might need you or be interested in your topic.

    Hope this gets you started. Best of luck to you!

  • Morgan

    Great list and all so very true! I couldn’t agree more about the quote, “If you leave comments for completely selfish reasons, you can expect limited results.” I’ve seen so many spammy comments and it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Following and commenting on blogs is not only fun, but can certainly benefit if done right. =)

  • Indeed Guest-blogging is very important to get known, but in France it is likely to be underrated for now :/

  • Great tips! I definitely need to find more time to read and comment on other blogs. Might be why I have no followers at the moment 🙂 Thanks!

  • Amy, just read your 7 Blogging Tips, Fab! Am new to blogging so need all the advice I can get 🙂

  • Cwilson

    This post AND the comments are sooooo helpful! Great tips for this rookie blogger. 🙂

  • Hi, Leigh! Guest blogging is so important and a really great way to get exposure. Great idea. Also, I love what Rich said here about Networked Blogs–smart!

  • There are many strategies to do this, but the number one thing you want to make sure of it that you are creating great, consistent content. The more great content you are getting out there, the more popular your blog will become. And also make sure to use social media to broadcast your new blog posts. That will help a great deal as well. (Are you going to attend the Blogging Summit? I think you would get a lot of great value from it! )

  • So true, Denise. That was actually from Debbie Weil ( and I accidentally did not quote her! I can’t believe I did that, but we are fixing it now. Such a great tip!

  • You rock, David 🙂

  • Really enjoyed reading this article which help validate some of my blogging touchoints and overall strategy. The comments following the article are also helpful. Well done as always!

  • Excellent tips! It is interesting what you say about being the “real” you on camera. I have had success actually video taping an entire question and answer session (both parties) and people seem to love it!

  • This has been very helpful! I just begun a blog on a non-popular subject…multiple personality disorder…but I need to be heard and I appreciate feedback. I had not thought of using facebook or twitter. Thanks!

  • #5 just gave me a great idea! I’m going to a conference in March and will bring along my camcorder (not exactly the same as hiring a videographer 😉 and do some interviews while I’m there! Thank you! Great post!

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  • Nice to see this post generated so much thoughtful discussion. There’s a lot of great input here. I can say I’ve started incorporating most of these techniques and I’ve seen a big jump in the way people interact with my blog.

    I’d really stress the importance of finding places to guest blog. I recently wrote a guest post for a widely read freelancing site and landed a job halfway across the country because of it. The client got in touch with me less than 24 hours after the post went up. That’s what I call fast results.

  • I wish there was an Odiogo or other type of audio button to listen to this podcast while I keep working on something else. Is that possible for you? It will be such a help.

  • Guest posting to gain exposure and new audiences and writing with calls to action are some of my top priorities for 2011 to improve my own exposure online for my sites.

  • You can’t go wrong with keyword-rich blog entries. They give you higher rankings and bring in the traffic! They always bring high-quality visitors to our materials handling blog.

  • Love the idea of setting up an editorial calendar. After all, how many editors would run their paper or mag without one – especially if they want to sell ad space? Plus, by scheduling blog time on the calendar it makes a commitment. Put the two together and I think I’ve got a plan to improve my blog and its traffic. Thanks Amy!

  • Thanks for posting but How do I get famous or influential people to have an interview with me?

  • Speaking about web metrics – what you can use to measure success in blogging, there are a lot of things you can take into account such as increasing in subscribers, traffic/month, bounce rate, income in all revenue sources. However, to find out what are the most major tracking source, you will have to spend a lot of time.

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  • The editorial calendar is a really good idea. I’m new to business blogging and getting subscribers is a challenge for me…I like the idea of interviewing thought leaders, will give this a go. Will post how I get on.

  • Great post. Nothing beats expert advice to guide newbies on their way to SEO success.

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  • If you’re blogging for business, I definitely agree that having an Editorial Calendar is KEY! You need to get organized and find ways to stay relevant. The more consistently you deliver, the more your reach grows. I’m up to one post per day on my company blog and 2-3 per week on my personal blog. In between I’m still finding time for webinars.

    As far as having guest voices on the blog, I’m a fan of doing:
    1.) Live video interviews any time I attend an event. I carry a Kodak Zi8 for this and make it a point to interview the guest speakers.
    2.) Hosting podcasts. I interview experts in varying fields to help bring an outside voice and expertise to the site (this has helped in a huge way).

    Anyway, great write-up Amy, agree with all of the points mentioned above!!

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  • Some interesting points, thanks for sharing.

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  • mendenhallcreative

    Amy, love this list, thanks! I’ve been feeling for a while now that article marketing as such wasn’t really going in the right direction. Good guest blogging takes care of two great purposes: Traffic & Backlinks. It’s a failure to focus only on backlinks. Thanks again!

  • My tip: Every day or every week you would write up a post that your readers would find interesting. 

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  • John Geroutis

    For me guest posting is maybe the no1 tool for a blogger to promote his job. When I started guest posting I finally stopped being stuck in my bad traffic levels and I gained many new and different readers.

  • Definitely coming back and reading this again. Feel like it’s one of those where you read something different each time. For now, I really liked Denise Wakeman’s 4 steps to planning your writing. I blog/vlog about making gold in World of Warcraft, which can be difficult during the stretches of time where Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t release any new content for the game. A little prior planning will really help.