Tag Archives: blog

Brainstorm to Blogging Success (Part 2 of 2)

What is your motivation for writing blog posts? To produce content which will drive traffic back to you website rather than relying purely on search engine optimisation? To be ahead of the game with your business’ Social Media and build new connections or solidify your existing relationships? Or perhaps you simply find blogging an incredibly rewarding activity especially when you start to see followers, likes, shares and comments? Whilst your objective for writing blog posts may be subjective and individual, your goals should not be.

In Part 1 of Brainstorm to Blogging Success we shared three of our most recommended Tips:  What Does Your Target Readership Need and Want, Reader Engagement & Social Proof.

In Part 2 of this blog post, we talk about Commenting on Other Blog Posts, Key Influencers and how Content is King.

#4. Comment On Other Blogs Yourself 

Whilst a very effective way of promoting your blog is to visit other blogs and websites and comment on them, what I don’t mean by this is to simply leave backlinks to your own blog or website. Followers will quickly cotton on to this tactic and frankly, in most cases, be turned off by the blatant self-promotion.

So how do I drive traffic to my own blog then, I hear you ask? Well, the act of commenting itself will provide a link back to your blog or website – all a reader or follower needs to do is click on your name if they want to read more about you or what you have written and, hopefully, follow you as a result. However, this only tends to happen if you have written a knowledgeable, articulate and well-thought out comment and your own blog is highly relevant to what’s been written.

#5. Key Influencers

Become a key Influencer

Klout is probably the daddy of this with the largest consumer base of any influence marketing platform. When you share something via Social Media and people engage with that content, either by Liking, following, sharing or commenting, you will be seen by Klout to have influenced them. And what is influence? The ability to drive action. So, the more influential you are, the higher your Klout score. 

Follow key Influencers

This works in reverse however. Within Klout you can also check who your key influencers are. What is the benefit of doing this? Well, it enables you to identify and engage with millions of top influencers so that you can drive awareness of your brand or business online.

#6. Content is King!

Content is KingSince the introduction of Google’s Pandas and Penguins, gone are the days when you could simply place keywords and backlinks (links to other blogs, websites or pages within your own site) throughout your blog posts and web pages.

Pandas and Penguins are essentially algorithms Google has developed to mark down the search engine rankings of websites which violate their Webmaster Guidelines. Whilst the earlier Pandas sought to mark down website which provided ‘poor user experience’ and operated on the premise that ‘quality raters’ will determine the quality of a blog or website’s content, Penguins mark down sites which use manipulative techniques to achieve high rankings.

It’s all about the content! In other words, the higher quality your written content on your blog or website page(s) is, the higher your brand or business will appear in the search engine results. When writing your content, make sure that you include synonyms of your keywords and use long-tail keywords, i.e. phrases and links as calls to action such as ‘take a look at some of the other services we offer’ or ‘visit http://www.example.co.uk for further information’ rather than just individual keywords.

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Whatever your motivation for blogging, keep the end-user in mind the entire time. Whilst it is imperative that you are interested in the content you write in order to develop an enthusiastic and influential voice online, it’s not about you!  Followers of you blog need to also feel enthused, interested by and more knowledgeable as a result of reading your posts. Blogging, as with all other Social Media channels is all about valuable exchanges and reciprocity – they’ll make the effort if you do.

Click here if you missed Brainstorm to Blogging Success: Part 1

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Brainstorm to Blogging Success: (Part 1 of 2)

What is your motivation for writing blog posts? To produce content which will drive traffic back to you website rather than relying purely on search engine optimisation? To be ahead of the game with your business’ Social Media and build new connections or solidify your existing relationships?

Or perhaps you simply find blogging an incredibly rewarding activity especially when you start to see followers, likes, shares and comments? Whilst your objective for writing blog posts may be subjective and individual, your goals should not be.

In Part 1 of Brainstorm to Blogging Success we share three of our most recommended Tips:  What Does Your Target Readership Need & Want, Reader Engagement & Social Proof.

#1. What Does Your Target Readership Need and Want?

Understanding the needs and motivations of not only the people who read your blog but also the potential followers who comment on it is the lynchpin of successful blogging. And, this presents a real opportunity to be regarded as an authority in your industry. Instead of competing with others, don’t be afraid to be yourself – this will ensure that you are being original and an authentic voice which is ultimately what will make your voice heard. By being somebody who people feel they want to get to know, your business or services will become of interest to them also.

Real Time Search   Social MentionWhilst the comment that you write will what helps this process along, a little online alchemy goes a long way.  Check out Social Mention, a highly recommended search and analysis tool which monitors and measures what people are saying (user-generated content) about your company, industry etc. across 100+ Social Media channels including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+. Social Mention will then aggregate that content into one stream of information and also send you daily social media alerts allowing you to keep track of all activity in real-time and respond if appropriate.

#2. Reader Engagement

Never underestimate the importance of this. Reader engagement is a litmus test for how valuable your content is considered and rated by its readers and followers.  If nobody is interacting with it, most likely it won’t be doing your business or your Website any favours. And if they are, then you are on your way to becoming a key influencer and industry which Google will certainly also reward you for (see Social Proof).

Social Media is about solving people’s problems, in other words providing answers to questions they might have, empathising with and helping to resolve bug bears and issues they might have ultimately understanding their online habits and likely end-user activity. Are they looking to purchase a product and service, looking for answers to burning question which if you resolve, will compel them to recommend your business and become a brand ambassador or simply to engage with them and listen to what they have to say. Spend time considering what type of relationship you would like to develop with your followers to ensure that your content delivers the most effective and targeted messages. 

#3. Social Proof 

Whilst your blog will gradually (or rapidly if you’re doing really well!) attract new followers, unless they are engaging with that content, i.e. via Comments, ReTweets, Likes, Google +!’s and so on, this will not influence your website traffic or search engine ranking.

The main reason for this is that readers engaging with your content by commenting and sharing to their own Social Media channels enables the search engines to measure your social proof, in other words it demonstrated that your content has some kudos and you are considered an authority in your industry in terms of content writing.  The benefit of this?

Ultimately Google, Bing and the like will rank your blog and website higher in online searches.

You can also produce custom reports in Google Analytics to track which posts are resonating the most with people and which are way off the mark and tweak your activity accordingly. Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Pages to name a few also have their own inbuilt analytics which enable you to do the same and continuously evolving as user-friendly and easy to understand tools for monitoring the influence of your content.

Whatever your motivation for blogging, keep the end-user in mind the entire time. Whilst it is imperative that you are interested in the content you write in order to develop an enthusiastic and influential voice online, it’s not about you!  Followers of you blog need to also feel enthused, interested by and more knowledgeable as a result of reading your posts. Blogging, as with all other Social Media channels is all about valuable exchanges and reciprocity – they’ll make the effort if you do.

Soci@lite’s Miniclass: What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging involves either writing blog posts to be published on other bloggers’ blogs, or another person writing a blog post to appear on your blog. Guest blogging is used by many bloggers because it is a really effective method to drive traffic to your website and as well as enabling you to network with other bloggers from your industry. Guest blogging also helps with branding and getting your name or company in the spotlight, building your social media presence and gaining more industry experience.

How 

  • Research your topic and write the post before you pitch it to a submission site
  • Find a blog that is accepting guest posts or contact a website that might be willing to accept a guest post
  • Introduce yourself and tell them what you would like to write about
  • Apply any suggestions or feedback from the host site concerning your content
  • Include an optimised backlink to your website in the byline
  • Vary where you post
  • Respond to comments left on your post
  • Include an author bio and introduce yourself to your readers
  • Read other articles on the host website
  • Promote your guest post to social media websites

Where

  • The first and best place to start your research is the search enginesGoogle, Bing, Yahoo and the like. Compile a list of sites that you would like to contact for guest blogging
  • Consider maintaining a spreadsheet detailing the name of each site, title of the article you submitted, contact name, email address, page rank, anchor text and the date that you submitted your article
  • Try to seek out well-established blogs which feel offer you the best opportunity to attract like-minded readers as your own site
  • Contributing your knowledge or experiences on other websites will also create a line of communication and encourage new readers to visit your website
  • Find well-known websites or blog authors in your industry and contact them with a polite email enquiring as to whether or not they are willing to showcase one of your articles
  • There are also a number of blog submission websites which rely solely on the submissions of guest bloggers which can be extremely helpful as long as they target your audience

What

  • Submit to a website or blog where the content will be valuable or useful to its audience and ensure your content is unique and easy to read
  • Be honest, straightforward and demonstrate your knowledge

When

  • Wait until you have established a well-written blog and are confident in your blog and article writing abilities
  • It is most beneficial to guest post whenever you have important or link worthy content to share
  • Unique content is always the best way to target potential customers because it guides readers to your material

Guest blogging can be extremely mutually beneficial. The host site/author is provided with link worthy unique content and a link on your site and you as the guest blogger have the opportunity to not only direct traffic back to your website but content is king. Posting unique content will help your search engine ranking and hopefully search engine traffic no end. Guest blogging can also help you to gain backlinks, increase traffic, develop your company brand and acquire new customers.

Better Business Blogging (part 2) – Why, When, How

A Note on WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular blog-publishing applications in the world used by millions of individuals, businesses & organisations. It allows up to 10 users – enabling different people to post different blogs at different times. Each user may be authorised with different privileges, e.g. publishing, editing, etc. It integrates elegantly with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. You may use templates, search-engine friendly links and widgets (drag-and-drop sidebars, Facebook Like boxes, etc.)

It automatically skim reads your content and suggests relevant or popular keywords (as do Podcasts) to tag your articles with. You can publish material retrospectively based on original date, e.g. existing testimonials/blogs. You can make special blogs ‘sticky’ – which means you can choose what to promote regardless of publishing date and it give you free analytics to measure the impact of your blog and traffic to your website.

When might you Blog?

At least once a week, the more you Blog the more likely you will attract attention. You might want to use an editorial calendar to schedule content and vary types of post and their length. Choose a specific time and day of the week to create anticipation amongst followers and choose a keyword to focus on and then measure the results through the analytics.

A Pretty Good Tip! Plan your blog posts for the month and write and schedule as many as possible in advance – this frees up your time to deal with daily tasks and social networking.

Optimise your Blog Posts

Be Sociable – Sharing Buttons will extend your reach & encourage readers to share your content across their Social Media channels

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – use compelling images to convey what the post is about, grab attention & emphasise points

What’s Your Format? – use bold, CAPITALS, italics & underlining to highlight text & draw your readers’ eyes to your main points

Don’t Hide Your Light Under A Bushel – begin & end with your main points – Google show the first 165 characters in search engine listings

Box It In – boxes around quotes and key points can similarly get the attention of readers

Bullet Your Points – posts containing bullet points tend to be linked to far more other blogs than posts of the same length that do not

Give Your Blog A Heads Up – Headings/Sub-Headings draw the reader’s eyes down the page to what interests them

Give Yourself Space – helps readers not to feel overwhelmed and draws their eye to what’s inside

Keep Paragraphs Short – your readers will get lost in large blocks of text – break it down and they’ll stay longer

The Value of Exchange

The relationship between your brand, employees & consumers which is more than just a single transaction or subscription.

Remember – you are writing for both your target audience/customers and for search engines. Brainstorm ideas with colleagues, family and friends if you’re not sure what to blog about, then when you write be yourself! Let your personality shine through and write in a conversational and friendly tone.

Avoid the sales patter & advertising – people trust peer recommendations more, instead invite conversation by asking questions, add social media buttons so readers can share your posts on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Decide on one key phrase or word for each post and include it in the title, content & tags. Link, Link & Link again!

Content is King – the more you post the more you will be found.

Network online with other bloggers and blogging communities, not just your followers, seek out like minded folk to interact with. Identify and follow those blogs you think will be most relevant to your business & provide you with the most information. Make sure that you measure the value of exchange not the return on investment – doing business with people that know, like & trust you will make you money – social media is merely the platform!

Social Media Fatigue | Chris Brogan

One of the biggest pushbacks I hear from people when I talk about how wonderful I think Google+ will be for business professionals is that they’re tired. They’re tired of joining a new social network. They’re tired of going through the dance of re-adding their friends and connections on yet another platform. They’re tired of having to think up even more content for yet another platform, after having finally committed to Facebook or Twitter or wherever else.

Social Media Fatigue

For a lot of people, the fatigue comes from that sense that they’re doing all the work, but not seeing the results. For another group, it’s that feeling that we’ve all done this before, so why do it again? For others, it’s just that we’re getting to the point where we feel maybe that we’ve shared all we can think of sharing, and we’re tired of rehashing the same old things over and over again.

Are any of these you?

Wake Up

Writing about social media can be boring. Writing about how to empower people, however, is pretty much always interesting. Telling people the same old thing on Google+ that you’d have shared on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn is about as boring as it sounds. Maybe try doing something new with the platform. On an absolutely random post about eating the Swedish meatballs at IKEA, I got a comment back from writer and all around interesting thinker, Jeff Jarvis, about how he not only likes the Swedish meatballs, but he admits to liking Taco Bell. For whatever reason, I came away from the experience thinking, “Huh, I wouldn’t normally get into these conversations, inane as they are, on the other social networks. I wonder why I’ve given myself permission to do so here.”

Wake up. We can all find new ways to talk about social media by NOT TALKING ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA. (Queue the Fight Club comments.) The thing is this: we’re using these tools to enable new connections. We’re using them to make different kinds of business happen. We’re using these tools to help causes that matter, and so much more.

It’s Your Choice

Look at your last 20 posts on any social network, and/or your blog. What are you talking about? Do you find yourself interesting? What else could you talk about instead? What would really change the nature of the conversation? How could you move from “talking about what everyone else is talking about” into talking about what’s next, what’s new, what’s personal, what’s helpful?

Make Your Own Media

These tools let you tell the stories you want to tell. They let you make something meaningful to you, to your business, to your pursuits. Nothing dictates how you use the tools to be your own media platform except your imagination and your ability to create. With that in mind, think up a few ways you might want to put these tools to use to tell the stories you want to tell.

  • If you’re a real estate professional, why not bring the neighborhoods you’re selling to life in stories and videos.
  • If you’re a freelance photographer, share the stories behind the photos.
  • If you’re a corporate blogger, tell us the passionate stories behind the big official posts.
  • If you’re writing just for your own passion, show us what you’re passionate about.
  • If you’re someone selling something, tell us the stories around that product or service.

The opportunity is for us to make something interesting and worthwhile, to be helpful, to empower others, to encourage and inspire others. If we’re fatigued, let’s all wake up.

I’ll do it too, okay?

Related posts:

  1. Free eBook on Social Media and Social Networks
  2. Social Media WrapUp-August
  3. Mapping Social Media Uses
  4. The Biggest Secret of Social Media
  5. What are Your Social Media Tasks

Ad agencies don't run many ads for themselves | Seth Godin

Spending money on your own account is a difficult psychological hurdle. Lots of small businesses get stuck in this chasm, happy to pitch, to network, to send out proposals and to work far into the night, but hesitate when it comes time to pay actual cash money for marketing, trade show booths or other sorts of media.

For the bootstrapper, for the woman who has worked so hard to get to positive cash flow, it feels dangerously daring, on the verge of insanity.

The question is: do successful businesses spend money on media, or does spending money on media make you successful?

(I think it’s some of both.)

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