As published in The Customer Collective
With the abundance of tools available today, blog marketing is quite easy to take on. A lot of people get scared about the prospect of it, but really, if you’ve already been writing and producing marketing material, this is more about shifting your perspective and audience, in producing a similar output. For anyone who’s never blogged before, you can begin slowly, and with the reference of other active bloggers, to get the feel of how it is.
First thing’s first, your blogging platform. I don’t work for, or represent any company, I only report on what I’ve experienced. WordPress fuels 16% of the world’s websites. Really. And they do that for a reason–they’re good. Good, both in usability ease, and customizability as you become more advanced. Of course, there are other platforms, as well, such as Blogger and TypePad, to name a couple. Look into each, and select the one that resonates most.
Setting Things Up
This is sometimes difficult when you have an active website, as you don’t want to start an entirely new “blog” category with just an article or two. So, I recommend designing and starting your blog on a private site. Begin contributing to it, tweaking it a bit into your liking, and publish it live to your company website after you’ve amassed enough articles to populate your landing page.
If you’re not blogging as part of an existing website, or industry, choose a niche market to write about. These long-tail topics are low in competition, and yet are still relevant and something that people are searching for. A hobby or something that you love to do, where you live, or your experiences of a certain type, are often where successful bloggers begin. I started mine with an emphasis on technology companies, trends and events in San Francisco. Fortunately for me, we have a lot of that here, so I have a lot to write about.
What to Write
Now that you have your subject matter in place, it is time to begin blogging. When you are blogging for the purpose of marketing, give your readers something useful and something they’re compelled to either share, save, or download. This is good content marketing. You want to generate their interest and make them want more from you. Doing this, will keep your readership active and growing, and keep your blog relevant.
It’s essential to ease into the blogging process. You want to determine just how much time you are going to spend updating and posting in this blog, but make it manageable, as well. Whatever you determine, stick to it. If you tell your readers that you are going to post on a daily basis, do so. If you let them know that you will be blogging weekly, you should also stick with that do that also. Anything beyond bi-weekly is likely too long, depending on your market or industry. Freshness counts for both readers and SEO.
This does’t mean you need to sit down every to weeks and write. It’s good practice, but I, for example, like to put aside a half a day and produce several articles all at once, on different subjects. Blogging software will allow you to schedule future publish dates, and that’s a great way to line up a fresh and full editorial calendar.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Learning SEO and applying it to your blog is helpful if you really want your content to be found. I put aside a weekend class and got a crash course. That was enough to kick-start me into learning more and more. All this helped me to write my articles in a way to be search engine friendly, while at the same time being subject matter effective. If you don’t have the time or desire to learn SEO, you may want to hire someone to maintain your blog SEO for the best results.
To maintain your practice, download and use the right tools, as I’ve suggested here. I’ve found it both fun and useful to participate in a local SEO Meet-up here in San Francisco. In addition, there are an abundance of good SEO forums to follow, with new articles and conversations happening all the time.