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- Tips On Successful Blogging
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Backbone Media, Inc.
69 Milk Street
Westborough, MA 01581
Blogging Strategy 101: a Primer
1. Familiarize yourself with blogging and consumer-generated media
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Many novice bloggers confuse corporate blogging with PR and advertising. They try to use a blog as a forum for directly promoting their products and services. And more often than not, they fail. Blogs can help you with public relations and lead generation, but you accomplish that by being a great blogger, not by blatant self-promotion. Blogging culture is about real people sharing their personal experiences and insights, and engaging others in thoughtful conversation. Blog readers seek out this kind of expertise and interaction; they generally tune out advertising. The most successful bloggers are able to consistently provide value through relevant content and enjoyment for the reader through compelling writing and charisma. Before you begin blogging, visit all the successful blogs that you can. Pay attention to the tone, stylistic approach, content choices and unique voice of each author. Study how the blogger goes about engaging others, and what types of comments readers are leaving on their posts. Get to know blogging and blogging culture before you begin to blog yourself.
2. Determine whether a blog is right for your company.
Conduct an assessment of your company's goals, industry, PR strategy and your industry's blogosphere before starting a blog project. Will a blog help you meet your marketing goals? If not, there may be no benefit for your company. However, if higher SEO rankings, more press coverage and demonstrating leadership and innovation in your industry are on your list, blogging is a medium you should consider.
3. Develop a content strategy.
What you choose to write about and how often you write depend on several factors, including your overall PR and SEO strategies and your business goals. Your objective is to develop content that draws an audience. Generally, you can best accomplish this by building your brand, demonstrating expertise in your field and highlighting innovations initiated by your company.
4. Identify the best person to write your blog.
Deciding who is going to write your blog is dependent on your business goals and company. If you have a complex product where customers need guidance from an expert, your product manager or developer may be the obvious choice. But if your product is simple and you don't anticipate a lot of questions from customers, you may choose a blogger with a voice that your customers will trust and relate to. Personality and writing ability are the next most important attributes in a blogger. Is your blogger passionate about their subject?, Can he/she write well (and perhaps more importantly-quickly!)?
5. Choose an appropriate publishing platform.
Choosing a blog publishing platform is dependent upon several factors: your current hosting provider, who is responsibility for managing and installing updates and how you want your blog to integrate with your existing website. It is important to pick a blog publishing platform that is secure, and you have to decide whether to put the blog on an existing server or on another box.
6. Optimize your blog content for search engines.
Conduct keyword research to identify your top phrases. Using the most relevant keywords helps lead the most qualified people to your content and boosts search engine rankings. Each post that you create should relate to one or more of your top keywords. Emphasize your top terms within each post's title, body, categories and tag. However, you need not be excessive with your use of keywords. Rather, they should flow naturally in your posts and remain inconspicuous to the reader. After all, the content is what matters, and you do not want to detract from the reader's experience. Optimized content will increase chances of acquiring comments from authoritative readers and links from outside websites, which in turn contribute to better search engine rankings for your blog.
7. Initiate an honest conversation with your audience.
Dialogue and interaction are fundamental to successful blogging. Studies indicate that customers often ignore advertising, but increasingly rely on word-of-mouth recommendations for making purchasing decisions. Customers go online and use email, IM, forums and now blogs to share experiences about vendors. This is why open dialogue and interaction are so important. Be honest and forthcoming. Otherwise, you risk being ignored, or even worse, incurring the wrath of angry consumers who will be forthcoming. With the new reality of personal publishing, this critical backlash can remain online for years to come.
8. Monitor the blogosphere for relevant news and ideas.
To run a successful blog marketing campaign, a company has to connect with other thought leaders in the blogosphere. Bringing relevant content to a conversation and demonstrating authority on relevant subject matter raises a blogger's credibility and notoriety. A blogger can only succeed in delivering relevance by participating in online conversations and mining the web for the latest information and opinion. These public conversations turn into links, traffic and eventually greater sales for a company. Find the best spots on the web for information related to your industry and visit often!
9. Write often, stay focused, and include relevant links to increase readership.
Research indicates that publishing frequency influences blog traffic. Post more frequently and you will garner more readers. The reason for this is that RSS feeds draw more traffic as publishing frequency increases. In addition, blog posts come in all shapes and sizes, and each serves a unique purpose. For greater relevancy on search engines, publish brief posts that focus on a single idea and set of keywords. On the other hand, long posts that are well written tend to garner the most links and comments. These posts should feature lots of credible citations-almost academic in style. It is important to reference other bloggers and link to related topics in your posts. This will attract a readership looking to explore the subject matter more thoroughly, and add to your credibility.
10. Set a blogging policy and blogging guidelines.
Create a blogging policy and set guidelines that define the interaction between your company blog and its readers. Setting rules and expectations will help you avoid bad publicity and protect your credibility. The new world of consumer-generated media requires an understanding of how to react to comments and customer blog posts, and how to research and write your own blog posts. Taking the time to think about every post before you publish will save you embarrassment and public criticism. When an employee writes on a blog, whether on a corporate blog or his/her own personal blog, its important that the employee consider his/her obligations to his/her employer and colleagues.