A blog is a platform from which you can share all kinds of information. Its nature is beginning to evolve from what has been called blogging, or logging events on the web, to content publishing which revolves around producing informative and well written articles on your subject of choice. Content publishing is the foundation for any online marketing campaign and the following four steps will contribute to your success:
Setting up your blog
The first thing you need to do is to set up your blog. This is really the foundation of any online marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier it is the place where you store all your great content. The content you’ve created. There are a few sites to choose from but Google’s favourite, and one of the most stable platforms, is WordPress.
Having your own domain name is very important if you are starting a professional blog. Your own domain name helps people to take you more seriously as a business provider and starting off with one saves you having to redirect all the followers you’ve built up when you do finally realise you need your own domain. Many hosting providers offer a quick installation app for WordPress which is by far the easiest way to start, and WordPress offers an easy to navigate content management system which allows you to choose themes and colours, to upload pictures and graphics and to add pages as you need to.
Once you’re happy with how you’ve set up your blog you can start adding content.
Publishing regular content is key
Before you start publishing content you need to decide on your frequency. Publishing frequency plays a pivotal in your success. If you post to your blog once every few months, you will not build your circle of influence around it and it will be a waste of your time. At least once or twice a week is necessary, but four times a week to daily offers you the best chance of success in a shorter time.
Every day, as you update your blog, you must share your posts to all your social networking sites in a way that indicates a real human is doing that. Using automated posting software is great as it saves time. You must, however, add some personal updates as well, as each platform requires slightly different things from you. For example, while you can use hashtags (#) on Facebook and Google+ they are less common on Linked In and make it obvious that you have not actually been there. Also, you only have space for 140 characters on Twitter so it doesn’t work if your long Facebook update gets posted there automatically .
People want to interact with people, not machines and this is an important consideration when using the social platforms… they must be social.
Share content from other experts
As well as sharing your own fantastic content, you should also share great information written by other relevant experts – it’s only fair if you want them to share yours. Sharing content increases the potential of your blog exponentially. Although sharing content is important, it is also worth noting that sharing too much information will just make you seem like background noise, and rather than wading through all that information, people will just skip it altogether. There is no proven optimal number of updates so you could start with 3 to 4 times a day and then test what happens.
Analyse your impact
Knowing how much business your content publishing efforts are bringing in to your business is a very important aspect of blogging, since you want to know that you are getting enough of a financial return on your time spent.
You can test your efforts by running Google analytics on your website. You want the number of visitors to your site to rise and the bounce rate – which is people leaving without interacting at all – to fall. You want at least 3 minutes on the time spent on the site and you need to check where people are coming to you from so you know where to target your content. There are a great many different analytics to choose from, and you can customise the reports to make sure you are tracking the data that is most relevant to your needs.
The social media sites also offer a number of tracking options and it is rewarding to watch your followers build, even if it does happen slowly. You want to have quality followers, not people who are following you in the hope you will follow them, or to push their own product on you, as those are hollow followers and will never convert into active participants in your organistation.
A lot of people are nervous of the consequences of being online. Suffice it to say that until you start sharing your content and building your following, you have a very slim chance of anyone knowing you are even there. So take your time to get to know your content publishing platform before you start telling people about it, and you will not expose your lack of knowledge. Within a few weeks of fiddling with your site and learning the ropes you will find it hard not to start the process of getting involved with the online village.
Are you thinking about starting a blog? Or do you have tips to share from the experience you’ve already gained online?
If you want help with any of the above, give aXent Associates a call, we offer you a full service publishing option as well as a full training and coaching package that allows you to manage your own online marketing.