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Blogging for Beginners
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Blogging for Beginners

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Have you thought of creating a blog for your business but aren't sure where to start? Join our Marketing team members as we cover: How to create a blog, how to get started, and content ideas. Plus,......

Have you thought of creating a blog for your business but aren't sure where to start? Join our Marketing team members as we cover: How to create a blog, how to get started, and content ideas. Plus, learn how to use your email marketing and blogs together! Our marketing experts will take you from start to finish for this fun and personal form of social media.

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  • Blogs are typically interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking.”
  • Stats are from Wikipedia.Technorati a blog search engine directory, has been examining the growth and trends within the blogosphere since 2004. Since then, they’ve been reporting and releasing their findings, which they collect through a series of surveys. The statistics with in the webinar are from Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere which can be found on their website.
  • *Stats from Technorati’s 2011 State of the BlogosphereHobbyists – 61% of bloggers within the blogosphere are blogging “for fun,” and don’t report any income from blogging.2-3. Professional Part and Full-timers – This group makes up 18% of the blogosphere and consist of independent bloggers. Most of these bloggers don’t consider blogging their primary source of income and tend to blog about personal musings and technology.4. Corporate – 8% of the blogosphere. They blog as part of their full-time job, or blog full-time for a company they work for. They primarily talk about technology or business.5. Entrepreneurs – 13% are entrepreneurs or individuals blogging for a company they own. 
  • Generate leads: Place Sign up forms through out your blog and on all of your social media sites. (example later on)
  • We use TypePad here at VerticalResponse, and are big fans of Wordpress as well. I have blogs on wordpress, blogger, and tumblr.
  • “Identify your place in the market – Ask yourself, ‘what three things do you want people to associate with your brand?’” – Lisa Barone, Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outspoken Media.Nine out of ten people who own a company or maintain a blog for their company, blog about their industry. -2011 State of the Blogosphere
  • According to Technorati, “Personal musings are most blogged about by Hobbyists, while Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers tend to blog about technology. Business is also a very popular topic for Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers.”1. Tap into your audience’s interests: Create surveys, ask what topics they’re interested in, and then write about them. Listen to your readers, they’ll tell you what they want.
  • According to Technorati, “Personal musings are most blogged about by Hobbyists, while Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers tend to blog about technology. Business is also a very popular topic for Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers.”Expert interviews: Tap into the knowledge of pros.Reviews: Help your readers make decisions.Contests (Example coming later – ModCloth)
  • Quora & Yahoo Answers are Q&A sites. You can type in a topic, or your industry or business and see the types of things people are asking questions about. This will give you a good idea as to what people are inquiring about within your industry and will let you hone in on particular topics to write about.
  •  “Have a drop or two of marketing per every gallon of valuable content” – Michael Stelzner of Social Media ExaminerA blog is where you want to demonstrate your expertise and personality, share content, and give value to your customers. It isn’t a place to hard sell (in the content).
  • (People read 25% slower online than offline, so it’s best to keep copy on the shorter side)(Keep your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs. Use bullets and lists and break up copy into takeaways)Blog is mechanism for lead generation and for conversion purposes, but content is what’s bringing them there and isn’t sales pitch.
  • Bucket brigade words help you move your copy forward. They include remember, and, but, consider, however, for example, etc.Keep your audience in mind. “Get real” Eliminate the inner marketer in us. Meet the core desires of our audience, readers & customers. Solve their problems for free. Mari Smith, Social Media speaker & Author of The New Relationship Marketing says: Don’t think B2C or B2B, think P2P (people to people).
  • First person: It provides a personable element your readers can relate to.
  • These two middle bullet points come from Lisa Barone, cofounder and chief branding officer of Outspoken Media“As bloggers, full transparency makes us look crazy and unstable. It encourages us to whine and complain. Being a successful marketer doesn’t mean letting your nasty bits hang out.” “We fall in love with people who represent who we want to be,” Barone says. “It allows you to hone in on your marketing strategy, it heightens your personality and will connect with your readers.”
  • These are just guidelines. It will be different for every business, the main take away from this is that consistency is key. Make a schedule and stick to it.
  • 82% of bloggers use Twitter, 89% use Facebook(allows readers to tweet, like or share your posts)(Can use tools like Roost to schedule and post content onto Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn) Featuringother bloggers not only builds a relationship and a community, but it’ll allow you to gain an outside audience aside from your own.
  • This is an example of: 1. A contest they’re announcing on their blog (which also links to their pinterest account). This also promotes engagement. 2. Social sharing features.3. Featuring a guest blogger
  • Examples of lead generation, links to social media sites, RSS feeds, bookmarking, email subscription, and social sharing features.
  • This tab on our FB page was made specifically w/a third party app. We have an entire webinar on FB apps if you’d like to learn more about it.
  • Almost every blog platform provides basic reporting and tracking tools including most clicked links, site views, etc.Implementing Google Analytics will give you much more detailed reporting.
  • The blog is how you create relationship and revenue comes from where you take the relationship. (how you manage relationship)
  • An example of lead generation: Has a sign up form on the blog.
  • Rather than comparing to others is to compare to yourself. Set benchmarks and compare your own growth. Like email, open rates and click rates Be proud of what you’re building upon in your own and on your own account.

Transcript

  • 1. Colleen Corkery@youcollme @VR4SmallBizFacebook.com/VerticalResponseBlogging for Beginners
  • 2. Agenda• What is a blog?• Why blog?• Who are bloggers?• Content• Structure & style• Community• Tracking & revenue• Exposure/growing your audience• Resources2
  • 3. What is a blog anyway?3According to Wikipedia:“A blog (a blend of the term weblog)is a series of published postsdisplayed in reverse chronologicalorder on the Internet.Blogs are usually the work of asingle individual, occasionally of asmall group, and often are themedon a single subject.”
  • 4. The …dun dun dun…Blogosphere!“The blogosphere is made up of all blogs and theirinterconnections. The term implies that blogs exist togetheras a connected community (or as a collection of connectedcommunities) or as a social network in which everydayauthors can publish their opinions.”*• As of 16 February 2011, there were over 156 millionpublic blogs in existence* (everybody‟s doin‟ it).• State of the Blogosphere – Conducted by Technorati*Wikipedia4
  • 5. What kinds of blogs are there?1. Personal1. Corporate/Organizational1. Genre: Music, Travel, Sports, Fashion, Photo1. Micro blogs (mostly pictures & short blurbs ofinformation. See: Tumblr)5
  • 6. Who are bloggers?BLOGGER TYPES:1. Hobbyists (61%)2. Professional Part & Full-timers (18%)3. Corporate (8%)4. Entrepreneurs (13%)6
  • 7. Why blog?Blogging allows you to:• Generate and share great content w/your audience• Showcase and share your expertise• Create a community• Showcase your company‟s personality & let it shine• Generate leads• Gain visibility, exposure and improve your SEO– More than 60% of Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers havegained greater visibility in their industry through blogging.– 54% of bloggers say they‟ve made friends through their blog,and have become more involved with their passion areas as aresult of blogging.• Income7
  • 8. Where do I start?Pick a blog platform:1. Wordpress2. Blogger/BlogSpot3. TypePad4. Tumblr5. Custom built HTML• Wordpress is the most popular blog hosting service,used by 51% of bloggers.8
  • 9. What do I write about?First, define your purpose.Ask yourself:• Are you educating customers?• Do you want to be an industry resource?• Are you keeping people up to date w/what‟s new?• Are you giving your brand some personality?9
  • 10. Content ideas• Tap into your audience‟s interests• Give advice/expertise• Share your opinion• Feature customer/employee profiles• Share stories within your industry• Provide comprehensive “how-to” articles• Top 10, Best/Worst, Dos & Donts10
  • 11. Content ideas cont.• Conduct expert interviews• Repurpose content while adding your own perspective.– Provide commentary, don‟t copy• Behind the scenes of your business• Case studies – Include a problem, solution & results• Reviews – books, products, tools, events, etc.• Contests – ask for nominations & participation; announce finalists11
  • 12. Content Inspirations• Other Blogs• Number one influence for bloggers regarding the topics they blogabout: Other blogs (68%). Second and third most influential for blogtopics: Conversations with friends and social media.• Employees• Customers (survey them)• Current events/Hot topics• Quora/Yahoo Answers• Social Media• Promotions/Advertisements• Competition12
  • 13. Content Inspirations cont.13
  • 14. Top 11 VR blog posts of 201111. 9 Ways to Delight Your Facebook Fans without Giving Away the Farm10. How to Extend the Life of Your Email Campaign9. 7 Easy Steps to Get More Action on Twitter8. Top 10 Things to Test to Put Your Email on the Top 10 List!7. Yep, Subject Lines are Still Crucial to a Successful Email MarketingCampaign6. Want More Clicks? Tease Your Readers!5. 6 Ways to Help Your Press Releases Get Found4. Good Password = Good Idea3. What Small Businesses Can Learn from the Missoni for Target Mayhem2. Rise to the Top with Facebook EdgeRank1. 3 Ways Any Employee Can Be Your Best Salesperson14
  • 15. Content Considerations• Content shouldn‟t be sales-specific• Be timely, enticing and relevant• Embrace competition &giveexposure• Inspire people to take action• Promote shareability• Utilize photos, videos and guides• Be mindful of SEO - employkeywords and tags strategically15
  • 16. • Think less is more• Put key points up front• Use bullets & lists to break up copy• Add a “take away” to each paragraph16Structure & Style
  • 17. Style & Structure cont.• Use Bucket Brigade words• Write for your audience– industry, business, or consumer• „Get real‟• Write how you speak & ask questions• Entertain, be a great story-teller• Blog Headlines– Keep them brief– Make a promise or offer value– Capture attention– Write your blog post titles w/twitter in mind17
  • 18. What tone of voice do I use?• Voice should reflect your company• A blog is best written in first person• Showcase your personality• Be genuine1879% of bloggers describe their blogging style as “sincere,” 67%describe their style as "conversational." Professional, Corporates,and Entrepreneurs also describe their style as “expert.”
  • 19. Style & Structure Considerations• Be transparent …to a certain degree• “Magnify and strengthen your marketable traits”*• “Lose everything that doesn‟t relate back to whatyou want to show your customers. Reinforce yourbrand.”*• Don‟t be afraid to take risks*Lisa Barone – Cofounder & chief branding officer of OutspokenMedia19
  • 20. How often do I write?• 60% of bloggers blog up to 3 hours a week and 40% blogmore than 3 hours a week.• Professional full-time bloggers (26%) update their blog atleast 3 times per day.20• Majority of bloggersupdate their blog 2-3times a week.• 80% of bloggers havebeen blogging for at least2 years.
  • 21. Create a community• Be interactive & encourage comments• Implement a commenting policy• Be clear, concise and easy to find• Publish all comments, positive or negative• Respond where/when appropriate• Delete inappropriate comments and spam21
  • 22. How do I gain exposure?• Get social• Sharing buttons• Link to social media accounts.• Repurpose blog content in your emails and onsocial media accounts.• Network with, collaborate & feature otherbloggers.• Have RSS feeds and email subscriptionswhere available.22
  • 23. How do I gain exposure? etc.• Put your blog on your corporatewebsite.• Look for cross-promotionalopportunities w/already establishedaudiences.• Share relevant posts and link backto other blogs (creates mutuallybeneficial relationship, traffic,SEO).• Read/comment on other relevantblogs.23
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  • 27. How do I track traffic?• Blog platform reporting tools• “Google Analytics is by far the most popularservice used to follow blog traffic.”*• Overall traffic drivers to blogs: Twitter,Facebook, and blog tags.*Technorati - 2011 State of the Blogosphere27
  • 28. Can you generate revenue?• Display ads, affiliate marketing links, and search ads arethe most common ways bloggers generate revenue fromtheir blogs.• Sponsorships• Lead generation• 60% of corporate bloggers say they do not have anyadvertising on their blog.28
  • 29. 29
  • 30. How do you know if your blog issuccessful?• Among Professionals, Corporates,and Entrepreneurs, they gauge successaccording to the number of unique visitorsthey receive.• 69% of Hobbyists say that personalsatisfaction is a way they measure thesuccess of their blog.30
  • 31. How can I keep track of all of this?• Conduct blogbrainstorms oncea month.• Maintain/developa blog editorialcalendar, givedeadlines & stickto them.31
  • 32. • VR Marketing Blog (of course!)• Blogging Tips• Copyblogger• MarketingProfs• Mashable• Problogger• Seth Godin‟s Blog• Social Media Examiner• TechCrunch• The Retail Email Blog• CEO Blog Watch• Inc.com• Duct Tape MarketingBiz blog favorites32
  • 33. Last thing…• Just keep swimming(or writing in this case)• Most importantly…have fun!33