Starting a Blog and Making it Effective
Looking to start a blog?
Well, you've got some competition.
There are presently more than 130 million blogs on the Internet, according to San Francisco-based blog tracker Technorati.
While it's not clear how many of those are corporate, it's safe to say that your own message can risk getting lost in the mix unless you can help drive traffic to your blogsite, say experts.
"A blog needs to be active," explains Denise Wakeman, president of DeniseWakeman.com, a Los Angeles-based Internet marketing consultancy and co-founder of The Blog Squad, which helps companies use blogs and other social media tools to grow their business. "You have to market it just like you would anything else."
So what's the best way to lure visitors to your blog?
Well, first and foremost you need to create a blog with quality content.
"It doesn't have to be brilliant," says Debbie Weil, a Washington, D.C.-based corporate social media consultant and author of "The Corporate Blogging Book" (Portfolio; $23.95). "It just has to be useful and interesting enough that it's worth a read."
Remember that a blog is meant to be more interactive and less static than a traditional corporate Web site, she says.
"Don't put on a stiff corporate voice," says Weil. "People don't respond to that."
Be humorous when you can, she suggests. Try posting helpful tips or blog about an event you found interesting.
Hilary Topper of HJMT Communications in Westbury tries to mix it up at her blog, hilarytopper.com.
She posts tips, as well as industry events and personal life experiences, like commuting on the LIRR or taking a family trip to a Poconos indoor water park.
"Some of the personal posts seem to get the highest traffic," says Topper, whose company specializes in public relations, social media, event planning and graphic design. "People want to know you."
Topper tries to update her blog daily to help keep it fresh for readers. If you can't do daily updates, then at least try for two to three times a week, advises Wakeman.
In addition, set up an e-mail subscription form on your blog using a service like FeedBurner.com or FeedBlitz.com and invite everyone in your personal and business network to subscribe, adds Wakeman. This allows visitors to leave their e-mail address and receive e-mail alerts upon any new blog updates.
Also, try using some of the social media sites like Facebook to promote your blog and alert visitors of new posts.
Topper has found this to be quite helpful.
Steve Haweeli, president of WordHampton Public Relations Inc. in East Hampton, is also using this as a way to promote readership of his own company blog, wordhampton.com/blog, which he started this past November.
His blog site has links to his Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.
In addition, he promotes WordHampton's blog by linking from his blog to other blog sites, guest posting on other blogger's sites and writing articles for online industry newsletters such as BullDog Reporter.
"Articles are a great way to show off your expertise," notes Matthew Lee, founder of RockstarDigitalMedia.com, an Internet marketing firm in Holtsville.
You can submit them to article directories like EzineArticles.com and include your contact information with a link to your blog, he notes.
"You'd be surprised how often Webmasters go out and look for these articles and use them," says Lee, who also suggests posting relevant pictures, videos and audio to your blog to make it more engaging. "These [tools] are all powerful stuff," explains Lee.
But in the end the greatest differentiator in the blogosphere is quality content.
"All blogs should be useful, unique, newsworthy, passionate and insightful," says Haweeli. "It should be opinionated and at times controversial. Most importantly they should elicit a response."
Of course, building a following doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and commitment.
So stop procrastinating and start blogging.
A Bloggers To-Do List
|Submit your blog to search engines.|
|Submit your blog to blog directories (See masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/).|
|Add a link to your blog in your e-mail signature file and on every page of your Web site.|
|If you publish a newsletter, make sure you have a link to your blog.|
|Include a link to your blog as a standard part of all outgoing correspondence and print the URL on your business cards, brochures and fliers|
Source: Denise Wakeman at (buildabetterblog.com)
About The Author: Jamie Herzlich writes a "Small Business" column for Newsday, Long Island, New York.
Source: Newsday * February 23, 2009 *
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