Posts Tagged ‘blog marketing’
What makes good blogs great? How do small, start-up blog efforts eventually develop massive followings and end up supporting the blogger full time?
How do businesses create blog sites that become active sources of new leads and revenue? These questions are common in today’s social-media-dominated, constantly sharing digital world.
Having a blog is easy. Having an effective and popular blog is a challenge. No matter what your goal is, your posts need to produce the right results, over and over again. You need ways to stand out among the massive amount of competition that’s on the Web.
The four tips below can help you design your blog structure and marketing strategy to create the best online blog site possible, and reach that ideal level of efficacy.
1. Get the best plugins
Most simple blogs use WordPress or a similar platform. Others may use more complex publishing methods that allow for more detail or creativity.
No matter what option you choose, you probably have a selection of themes and plugins. It’s a mistake to ignore them. While a minimalistic blog can help focus visitors’ attention, you still need necessary plugins to increase options and interactivity for your audience.
Choose handy, social tools that make it easy for your readers to share your blog posts, find links to your merchandise, experience alternative forms of media, and generally enjoy your blog as much as possible.
Look up what plugins the popular bloggers use, then create a list of top plugins that could benefit your blog as well. If you’re running a business, look for plugins that include your phone number or other contact information. If you have a 1-800 number, be sure to include that as well.
Try to find internal plugins for SEO advice, editing, and page load improvement as well. If you have something you want to improve, chances are good that a plugin exists somewhere to make it happen.
2. Install an active comment section
Comments accomplish several things for your blog. First, active and frequent comments prove your posts are worth reading, especially to newcomers. Second, comment sections are an excellent breeding ground for links, interaction with other bloggers, and opinions that will help improve your blog and expand your current audience.
Failing to pay proper attention to comments can prove as damaging as neglecting a vegetable garden: You want to grow your results, not leave them to wither.
Again, plugins can often improve the commenting experience. You should also try to moderate comments and enter the discussion wherever appropriate. This is true not only of comments on your blog but also comments that people make on social networks when you post a new article or story.
3. Feature shareable content
People often speak of “high-quality content.” What this means — beyond the traditional absence of errors and signs of expertise — is content that people on the Web like. Your ultimate goal is to have readers respond to a piece and share it with their friends. Every post should be focused on that goal.
Does this mean every post has to be virally entertaining or an example of fabulous analysis? No, but it does mean that every post needs to have a specific goal.
You are giving something to the reader. It could be humor to make them laugh, a picture cute enough to share with friends, or an industry news item that’s interesting enough to make them think. Whatever it is, they should want to tell others about it.
4. Community involvement
Your community of readers is important, but don’t neglect your community of bloggers, too. Invite guest bloggers, make blog tours, and participate in blog carnivals to increase your exposure and your audience.
Participate in forums and websites that attract other bloggers in your industry or specialty to make more contacts.
It’s a fairly common misconception that blogs are for stay-at-home moms and students who want to keep a public diary. This simply is not the case, however. More than 60 percent of businesses have their own blog, and more than 40 percent of those companies attract business as a direct result of said blog.
As a blogger, your job is more than just writing and sharing your opinion. It’s to let the world know that your blog exists. While the concept might initially sound intimidating, you can publicize your blog fairly easily using these five tips. Read More
So your book is published and now what? Do you sit back and let the book sell itself? In a recent interview with Brad Grochowski from the Indie Book Man show, I mentioned that my book, ‘Day of Revenge’ was not getting much exposure on Amazon. What I really meant to say is the marketing of your book does not stop once it is listed on Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon does not have a marketing team that will market books. It is up to you to market your own book.
In a world where the internet dictates our professional and personal lives, a presence on the web is very critical. It is the only way to market your book abroad without having to travel from place to place to sell your book. The question is, where do you start? The best way to start is to set up a blog. Having a blog gives you a platform to promote yourself and your brand which is your book. A blog is a place where people can find out about your book and where it is available for purchase. Read More
One of the key points I explain in my book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, is that for a business to succeed in building a brand and growing, it needs to surround consumers with branded online experiences, so those consumers can self-select how they want to engage with the brand.Â The same theory holds true for bloggers who want to grow their own blog brands and audiences across the social web.
Following are 20 easy things you can do to promote your blog across the social web.Â You’ll notice that many of the suggestions listed below require a one-time set-up and you’re done.Â Some of the suggestions don’t even happen online!Â Others require you to do a bit more work, but the end result is worth it in terms of directly and indirectly promoting your blog to a wider audience.Â Take a look and try to implement as many of the suggestions listed below as possible to jump-start your blog promotion efforts.
If you want your blog to be successful and still have an audience in a few years, then you need to focus on quality, not quantity.Â Building a successful blog that has a lifespan longer than 12 months and an audience that continually grows depends on your ability to put long-term sustainable growth above short-term traffic spikes.
While it’s always nice to publish a link bait blog post and drive a burst of traffic, more often than not, the majority of that short-term traffic disappears faster than it appeared.Â However, if you devote your time to pursuing activities that position your blog for organic growth, you’ll be able to reach your ultimate blogging goals.
Think of it this way:
It is it better to have 10,000 Twitter followers who follow you and then disappear (i.e., they never retweet your content or engage with you again) or 1,000 Twitter followers who actively engage with you, converse with you, retweet your content, and so on. Read More
If you’ve read the previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, then you’ve already set up your blog and your other branded online destinations and interlinked them to surround consumers with your content.Â Next, you need to begin creating shareworthy content to begin creating your reputation as an expert and the go-to-person for information, discussion, and questions related to your blog’s topic.
Creating your online reputation can’t be done from a silo.Â In other words, you have to branch out across the social web and get involved in the ongoing conversation.Â Imagine you’re at a crowded party or business networking event.Â If you stand off in the shadows or alone in a corner, you won’t make the connections you need to advance your social life or career.Â Instead, you need to dive into the conversation, introduce yourself, and add value.Â The same rule applies to creating your online reputation. Read More
So far in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, you’ve learned what marketing is, what branded destinations are, and what brand positioning is.Â Now, it’s time to link your various branded online destinations so you can effectively surround people with your branded experiences from which they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand.Â Ultimately, all of these destinations should lead back to your core branded destination, as discussed in Lesson 2.
There are a wide variety of ways that you can use to link your branded online destinations, which I discuss in my book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, and I’ll touch on a few of the heavy-hitters here in Lesson 4 of the Blog Marketing How-To Guide.
First, make it easy for visitors to your blog to find you across the social web by prominently displaying links to your various social media profiles in your blog’s sidebar.Â You can use social media icons to draw attention to your other branded destinations.Â Alternately, you can include links to your most recent updates and activities on other branded destinations using Facebook and Twitter widgets.Â There are even tools and WordPress plugins available to help you stream content from your YouTube channel, Flickr profile, SlideShare content, and more directly in your blog’s sidebar or footer.Â Not everyone likes to read a blog, but if they find your blog, you don’t want to lose them. Therefore, it’s essential that you offer different ways to interact with you and find your amazing content.Â Don’t bury those choices!Â Instead, prominently display them on your blog.
Second, make sure your blog and Twitter content are available in your social networking profiles.Â Use the tools available to you in Facebook and LinkedIn to automatically update your profile, page (for Facebook), and groups (if groups allow the news feature in LinkedIn) with your most recent blog and/or Twitter content.Â It’s just one more way to offer your amazing, shareworthy content and give people another way to interact with you and your brand.
Third, make sure all of your branded destinations offer a clear way to get to your core branded online destination.Â That could be through a link in your bio or profile, sharing content, or any other method you choose.Â The point is to make your core branded online destination easy to find from any other branded destination that you maintain.
Fourth, use a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically feed your blog content to Twitter.Â Take a few minutes to set up your autofeed with a compelling introduction and shortened URL that you can track.Â Twitterfeed offers these options and more.
Fifth, don’t forget to lead people to your branded online destinations (particularly your core branded online destination) from your offline communications and marketing efforts as well.Â For example, be sure to include links in your email signature line, on your business card, on your invoices, and so on.Â If there is an opportunity to include an extra line of text with a link to one or more of your branded online destinations in any communication you create, add those links!
Again, theses are just a few key suggestions to help you begin interlinking your branded online destinations, but it’s enough to set you up for long-term blogging growth and success.
Stay tuned for the next lesson from the Blog Marketing How-To Guide coming next week here on BloggingPro!
Read previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-to Guide:
There is a reason why niche blogging is such a hot topic.Â I include an entire minibook about niche blogging in my book, Blogging All-in-One For Dummies, because it’s a topic that bloggers hear all the time but don’t fully understand.
The Internet is a very cluttered place, but you can stand out from all that clutter by establishing your niche and offering amazing, shareworthy content and conversations related to that niche on your blog.Â In simplest terms, a niche is a very specific area of focus. Believe it or not, the concept of using very focused blogging to give yourself an edge against the competition is not a new one.Â In fact, there is an entire area of marketing and branding that is dedicated to this very concept.Â It’s called brand positioning and by establishing your niche in the blogosphere, you’re positioning your blog brand against all the other sites and information available online.
Branding theory teaches marketers that a highly focused brand is more powerful than a broad brand.Â The same is true for your blog.Â The more focused it is, the easier it is for you to carve out your niche in the crowded online space and become the go-to person for your blog’s specific topic.
In other words, by choosing your focused niche, you can position your blog as different from others and offering some form of added value that other blogs are not delivering.Â For example, if you write a blog about gadgets, are you writing about every kind of gadget known to man?Â If so, you have a lot of big, popular sites to compete with.Â However, if you narrow your focus and contract your brand to position your blog as the source for information and commentary about iPhone apps or another more specific topic than the generic gadgets topic, you’ll be better able to compete in the online space and set your blog apart from all the other blogs and websites out there, particularly those with deeper pockets and more manpower.
The key is defining your niche and patiently and persistently establishing your position in that niche so there is no confusion among the online audience about your blog’s purpose and what they can expect to find there.Â A key part of building a brand is meeting consumers’ expectations for that brand with every branded experience or interaction.Â That rule applies to your blog just as much as it does for any other brand in the world.Â Create those expectations and then deliver on them consistently to build loyalty and your own band of brand advocates across the Web.
Up next in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide – Linking Your Branded Online Destinations.Â Stay tuned!
Read previous lessons in the Blog Marketing How-to Guide:
In Lesson 1 of the Blog Marketing How-To Guide, you learned what marketing is and why it should matter to you as a blogger.Â Lesson 2 teaches you how to get started with building an online presence and developing a brand that can benefit you in the long-term and help you reach your blogging goals.
One of the most important common features among powerful brands is their focus on creating branded experiences that surround consumers with opportunities to self-select how they want to experience that brand.Â You can do that with your own brand online thanks to the many tools of the social web.Â The trick is creating a core branded destination to act as the central hub for all of your activities.Â In other words, your goal in all of your social media activities should always be to gently nudge your audience back to your central hub.Â Think of it this way:
All roads lead back to your core branded destination.
I talk about this extensively in my upcoming book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing.Â In fact, the graphic shown below is taken from that book and gives you an idea of how a business (and if you’re using your blog to either make money or grow your company or career, then that blog is a business venture) could set up its own core branded destination in the form of a blog with all other branded destinations leading back to that central hub.
While your conversations and content across the social web might vary (and it should in order to effectively communicate with different segments of your audience who are likely to want to hear very different messages from you), your audience should be able to easily find your core branded destination where they can discover all of the additional information about you that they might want.
In other words, don’t re-tell your story everywhere and anywhere.Â Instead, tell a snippet through your content and conversations on other sites (including your own secondary branded destinations), but always make it easy for the audience to travel over to your core branded destination.Â This allows you not only to build more meaningful relationships with audience members, but it also allows you to have more control over conversations.
Building relationships with your audience is essential to blogging success.Â Relationship brands are the most powerful brands in the world, because when people feel connected to a brand emotionally, they will vocally advocate it and defend it, which gives you an amazing amount of word-of-mouth marketing for your brand, blog and other branded destinations.
In other words, an integrated marketing and branding strategy is critical if you want to grow over the long-term.Â Don’t allow your audience to get confused.Â Instead, allow them to create expectations for you and your brand through consistent communications and an easy path to your core branded destination where the party can really get started!
Keep in mind, your core branded destination doesn’t have to be your blog (although for most bloggers it will be).Â It’s up to you to choose which of your online profiles or destinations you want to set up as your central hub.Â Just remember, that core branded destination should be the place online where you can tell your complete story, continually add value to the online conversation, build relationships, and share your messages.
Stay tuned for Lesson 3 in the Blog Marketing How-To Guide Where I’ll talk about positioning your blog against all of the other online destinations that people can choose to visit each day.
I’ve been asked to write some posts about marketing for BloggingPro, and I am very happy to talk about two subjects I am very passionate about — marketing and blogging.Â I have a degree in marketing and spent the first decade of my career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world.Â Those companies trusted me with multimillion dollar budgets, so I feel confident in my marketing knowledge, skills and experience.
After leaving Corporate America, I began working for myself.Â Today, I own a successful marketing communications company, and I’m in the process of writing my eighth book about marketing/branding and social media — Content Marketing for Dummies.Â My blogging experience is varied and includes writing for well-known online publishers as well as my own blogs. Many of these experiences are mentioned in my new book coming out in November 2010, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing.Â If you’re curious, you can check out all of my books on Amazon. Read More