Sunday, October 12, 2008

Top 20 Tips for a Successful and Quality Informational Blog

Many marketers will come to companies with a strategy for there marketing, social media, strategy... and so on. In this "strategy" they will include a blog, but a blog is not a means to an end, at least not in itself. You need to know the company's GOAL. Your goal can be to have fresh site content, to inform your readers on a specific topic, to give your customers service tips, to help your potential clients better understand who you are and what you do, or it can be less professional and more personal like a diary.

Who is the company and who will be writing it? Is the company conservative, fun, cynical, corporate, extremely liberal, funny, comical, or just dull and plain? Knowing how they would like to be portrayed will keep you from writing a funny line about the company's services, when you should really be writing an educational piece or a creative how-to. Don't stray from this, you can't one day be snide, the next educational, and five months down the line surprise your readers with a monotone article; well you can do this, but you will likely lose readership.

Do you know why people trust blogs sometimes more then commercials, newspapers, or television? People can begin to trust you and your blog more then traditional media because you are a REAL person. Not that the people behind traditional media outlets are not real, but lets face it when you're writing your opinion it comes across as very personal, passionate, and shows parts of your character. While commercials sometimes feel like people are talking at you and not telling you a story. Newspapers and television will allow you to write in or send them an email, but the editors rarely write back anything that is personalized, if you're luck you could end up in next months editors section for a magazine. With a blog, if anyone writes a comment, I or you can immediately respond to your reader's comments with another comment or a personal email addressing their statement. If the person or company's blog is connected to a personized system of social networks like linkedin, a facebook profile, a twitter account, or has an email address easily available to the readers then they can even privately express themselves to you, the blogger.

Stay focused and be consistent.

Be consistent in your writing and in how often you write. If you know you will be on vacation for a week or a month, write enough posts that you can consistently put out a post a day. If you think a post a day is too hard for you try for at least 2-3 per week. This will keep your readers engaged and wanting more, but they will also understand your not quite their yet to do it daily. Posting regularly will also be good for your search engine optimization (SEO) if your blog is connected to your website or if you link back to your website.

If you have a lot of great things to say, but are like me and could use some (or a lot) of help in the spelling/grammar department; Ask for help. Maybe someone in your company is a journalism major and can proof your posts, always use spell check, do your best to read your work over at least once prior to posting, and if a friendly reader offers you advice or tells you that you made a journalistic or grammatical error, take the advice and edit it. The wonderful thing about a blog versus a newspaper or a book is that once you've posted something it never has to be permanent. So learn from your mistakes and edit them.

Read other peoples blogs. Find the top bloggers, the top bloggers for your industry, and the top bloggers about copywirtting or blogging and READ, READ, READ, and LEARN. It's like a second or third college degree advice FOR FREE. A few good places to find new articles is by sharing articles with friends in google reader, digg, or cullect. You can also find new blogs by asking your friends on twitter, searching technorati, the encyclopedia for social media SNIKI, blog pulse, or just simply by asking your favorite blogger who else you should read.

Do you know why people trust books and newspapers more then bloggers? Because journalists are held to a higher standard of honesty. If they make a mistake and do not take swift action to rectify their mistakes; they can lose public trust, lose their job, or be fined  or sued for things like defimation of character. Show that you have integrity, earn your audience's trust, referance articles or books that helped you write your articles, and if you make a mistake not only correct it, but feel free to write another post or comment on your mistake so that all may learn from it or understand why you made the edit.

If you find a post you like comment on it and link back to any articles that you've written that can referance your points. This could bring you more readers, SEO for your blog (relevant link building), and lets your favorite blogger know that you appreciate their work.

If you have written a great post, make it easy for people to share that information. Adding things like Addthis, feedburner, rss, a subscribe to my blog via email button, or share this on digg button can increase your traffic, let your readers share how much they like you, and overall just makes it easier for them to read your blog in the convenient way THEY want to read it. It's all about them in this case, not you. At least not if you want to keep your readers.

Thank anyone who comments about your posts, or helps you promote it.

Don't just post your articles and hope that they promote themselves. Tell your twitter followers (but don't annoy them with this-- but that's another article on not being self serving). Add your blog to DMOZ, Google, and digg.

Track your blog with google analytics, check how you rank on technorati and blog pulse, if your a company track who is talking about you and your articles using things like techrigy and radian6. If one article or theme gets more readers and comments then another. Obviously write more on this topic, or something similar without beating a dead horse. When a them is definately not working for you, adjust. If you are a plumber obviously don't make your whole blog about landscaping tips. Stay Focused and if you have more then one interest have more then one blog.

Was this article helpful? Did I miss anything you think is important? Let me know if I should add any more tips or just find me on Twitter.
  1. Have a Goal.
  2. Determine the company's voice and you will determine the blogs theme.
  3. Don't bounce around on themes
  4. You are a real person. So act like it.
  5. Make yourself available to your readers and respond to their comments.
  6. Add links to your social media profiles on your blog.
  7. Be consistent and post regularly. For beginners 2-3 times per week. For professionals daily. 
  8. Use a Wordpress blog that is a part of your site, or link back to your site to give your site SEO point for fresh content.
  9. Check your Grammar, Spelling, and edit your mistakes regularly.
  10. Read other people's blogs.
  11. Earn your audience's trust.
  12. Referance books, blogs, newspapers, and articles that you've learned from or have helped you write your article. Try to be as specific as possible.
  13. Search for new blogs or ask a friend what else you should read.
  14. Comment on other people's blogs.
  15. Add buttons so your readers can share your great articles.
  16. Make your articles convenient to subscribe to.
  17. Show your appreciation.
  18. Promote your blog.
  19. Tracking and Analytics are key.
  20. Figure out which themes or articles ar the most successful with your readers and adjust to write about what your readers seem to like the most.
  21. Stay focused on who you are.
  22. Ask for input.

4 comments:

David Gandrud said...

Desaraev,

Great post. This is a solid positioning for new and experienced bloggers. It is important to remember that blogging is about personality and opinions from 'real' people.

Marcel LeBrun said...

Good post Desarae. I like your comment about determining your company's voice and that will be your blog's theme plus being a real person. The later is so key to building trust. The toughest one, of course, is regular posting - harder than it sounds. Thanks for mentioning Radian6 in your post - always appreciated.
Regards,
Marcel
CEO, Radian6

Kikolani | Poetry, Photography, Blogging Tips said...

Very great tips. Especially about reading other blogs. Not only do you learn what people who read blogs are interested in, but you always find new ways to improve your own site, even on a technical level of plugins, widgets, etc.

~ Kristi

muralee said...

Very good blog. Good comment also. It is important that people who comments should be real.
Regards
---------------
macanze
Link Building

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