If 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
“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.
Here's a 4-step process to get you started:
1. Block out your writing time on a calendar.
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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.
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#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.
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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.
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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