Blogging 201  Advanced  Class New Template (2)
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A more advanced look at how to gain an audience for your blog and use your blog for business purposes

A more advanced look at how to gain an audience for your blog and use your blog for business purposes

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  • Thank you for attending THETRADESHOW!  This is a reminder that this session (title here), is being recorded with audio and speaker materials that are being synchronized for future viewing online! Upgrade to the best value package, for an additional $74, which will include unlimited access for a year to this session recording in addition to the 50+ other educational sessions debuted at THETRADESHOW.   Hurry because prices increase after the meeting.  Be sure to stop by registration to upgrade.  To view a demonstration of THETRADESHOW e-Learning Center, visit the demonstration booth at registration. 
  • So, you’ve decided to start a blog! First of all, congratulations. It can take a lot of time to make that decision. Now that you have made that decision, how do you feel? Do you feel a little lost? Does it feel like you’re lost in a maze? Well, relax… Things are not as bad as you may think.
  • That first post can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Take that first post as a chance to introduce yourself. It can be very simple. Tell your story. Why do you do what you do? Why did you start your business? Why are you blogging? You don’t need to write a manifesto. It doesn’t have to be a novel. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
  • First off, everyone, and I mean everyone, experiences writer’s block. I know I do, from time to time. The number of books, articles and things I have started to write and then run into some kind of mental wall is staggering. Do not let it get you down. Do some research. Yes, you are supposed to be the expert, but don’t expect that everything you blog about has to come out fresh and fully formed just from your brain. Vary the things you blog about. Maybe do a post linking to another article that you liked. This can make your blog more interesting to look at. You can embed YouTube videos and music if you want. You can add photos. Spend some time reading other blogs, news sites and trade publications and get ideas. Maybe express an opinion for or against something. Just be careful. Don’t do anything to anger any potential customers or clients. Don’t post things that are too controversial and watch how personal you get. This is for business, remember. Oh, and don’t be afraid to turn the blog over to someone else in the office for a time. You can even hire someone to be our permanent replacement as the blog administrator.
  • So, you’ve written that first post and you are now planning on writing more. Maybe it’s been a few days, or a week, and you have a bunch of posts out there. You’ve started to post those blog postings on social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon and Reddit. You’ve been posting links to Twitter and Facebook or whatever other social networking site you might be using. Now what? Once you start posting and are posting continuously you can start to do a few things to make your audience grow. You will notice, as you post, that you may start getting comments from the same people. In other words, you may start getting fans and regular readers. They can help you grow as much as your own efforts.
  • Have you already started doing these things? Again, keeping in mind that the single most important thing you can do to get people to start reading your blog and for your blog to start showing up in Google searches is to post good content consistently, these are all key things you need to keep in mind. If you have been doing them, then good job. You are on your way to gaining an audience and keeping an audience. Remember, even if you do these things but you don’t keep posting good content, then you won’t KEEP your audience.
  • Keywords are important. If you have spent anytime developing your website you are probably already familiar with this concept. These are words that relate to your business and what you do and what your blog is about. When you put these words in your headlines, throughout your blog and add them as “tags” in you blog it helps bring traffic to your site. Search engines, such as Google, look for these keywords and using them can help your blog show up in searches.
  • There are tools that can help you with keywords. Many of these, like this example here, are free online. If you are writing an article and you have a particular keyword in mind, these sites can help you find other, related words that are also popular. Of course trying to use all of them will overload your blog and make it sound like gibberish. In this case, I used the word “travel” and entered it in a blank space before the page you see here. I entered a verification security code so they could be sure I was not some robot and then hit the submit button. It came with a number of related keywords I could consider. It then puts the number of searches that have been done for each of those keywords so you know just how popular the words or phrases are. There is also software out there you can buy that will do this.
  • If you are using Word Press you can add keywords as “tags” which show up at the end of each posting. When you are creating a new article in Word Press you can find the tag section just to the right of the section where you write the article. Just type the tag name and hit ADD. Try not to do too many. Three or four is probably pushing it.
  • This shows which topics are the most popular on your blog. If you notice the ones that are bigger and bolder are the ones that have the most usage on your blog. Having this on your site can help with your Google rankings. It also lets people know what topics are hot on your blog and what your blog is about.
  • Here is an example of a box where you can leave a comment on someone else’s blog. Remember to make your comments relevant to whatever the writer is talking about. If you don’t it will just look like an ad and the moderator of blogger on that site will likely delete your comment or not approve it to begin with. As you can see you can leave a link to your home page or blog. When someone clicks on your name when they read the comment, it will lead them back to your blog. Other bloggers look for this. They often reach out to fellow bloggers and might add your blog to a list of links they have. They may ask you to be a guest blogger on their site. Or, you can offer to let them guest blog on your own site.
  • Sometimes you just see a list of links on a blog. Sometimes you see it called a “Blog Roll.” These are links to other sites and blogs that the blogger likes and thinks their readers might also like. So, add one of these to your blog. Other bloggers do keep track of these things. Sometimes they use various analytic programs to see who is linking to them. Often they will respond in kind and add you to their list of blogs. When you link to a particularly popular blogger and they do the same, your audience can increase dramatically. But often, it starts with a comment. Comment first, add links and go from there.
  • You can add hyperlinks within your blog articles. These can be for anything. For example, in the article on the left about baseball, there is a link to a major league baseball team. On the right, there are links to other bloggers and writers as well as companies. Remember, people monitor this stuff. They know when you link them and Google searches for links. It all adds up to ways to increase your audience. Personally: I write about minor league baseball teams in Chicago. By adding links to my articles I have been noticed by many of them and many of them have contacted me. I have gotten press passes to games, get updates regularly and have been noticed. It’s all about being noticed.
  • Take advantage of the buzz When you first launch, if you plan it out right on your website, there will be some initial “buzz.” Take advantage of that. Post good content! Keep people wanting to come back Fill your blog with links Which we have already talked about Use giveaways If you have something that you can give away – do it eBooks are huge – can give away at first and charge later. Give away things that make sense for what you are blogging about. You are the expert – give away your expertise (or at least some of it) E-mail and interact with other bloggers Stay in contact when other blogger reach out to you or if you reach out to them There are even blogging conventions you can attend. You can do guest blogging on certain sites.
  • Here’s an example of a blog where it has a bit of a community feel. Encourage your readers to leave comments and be sure to ask questions. Ask them to share stories or talk about something. Do a quick poll. When comments are left, feel free to reply. In this example we see some comments by people who read the blog and then we see how the blogger himself has inserted himself into the conversation.
  • Use blog directories Use your search engine to find blog directories and start submitting your blog’s URL. Submit your blog to web directories
  • Let’s head out to a blog directory really quickly so you can see how easy it is to sign up. This is www.blogarama.com. See where it says “not yet registered?” That’s where you click to sign up
  • You’ll need to fill in this information. Use the SITE URL and Site Name for the exact URL of your blog. So, if you put it on your website, use the URL for the page of your website that has your blog…not just your company website.
  • Now your blog has been entered in their directory. They even give you a code, as a kind of turn-about is fair play, that you can add to your blog directing others to Blogarama. This can be as part of a “links” section in your blog.
  • Start placing a link everywhere E-mail signature On Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn profiles Comments and forums where you leave information and comments.
  • Now that you have an audience, how do you keep them? Well, you don’t have to build a fence around them to keep them, really, but you can do several things that will keep people coming back to your blog again and again. The more they come back the more likely they are to recommend your blog and the more your audience will grow. It becomes a cycle that feeds itself.
  • Keep Posting As often as you are comfortable. More at the beginning to gain an audience Start creating “pillar columns” Blog entries that are not time sensitive such as definitions, explanations, lists of terms. Remember who your audience is Keep the content relevant to them. Try to keep the content related to business Use Soft Sell Don’t come across like you are advertising Keep things conversational Respond to comments Keep it interactive Encourage discussions amongst commentors Create a “community”
  • Build up an archive Pay attention to which posts are getting readers Start linking back to popular posts in your newer posts Create “sneeze pages” Newer posts with links to other posts arranged by theme, time, popularity, etc. If you are using WordPress..and Blogger has this as well….you can add a module that will automatically archive your older posts. So you will see something along the sides or at the bottom of the page with the months and years. However, you can also create an Archive page and link specific articles you want people to visit.
  • Here’s an example from our blog. As you can see we have articles going back to the beginning of 2006. Once you set up the Archive Plug-In, it does this automatically. However, you can create a separate page of your blog with special articles you want people to visit again and again. These are special articles that have a timelessness to them and they can be the very foundations of your entire blog.
  • These are sites that let you post links to article, videos, photos and things you find interesting online for others to see and comment about. It’s what blogging started out being. But you can also post links to your own blog articles, and increase traffic to your site. These articles are known as Pillar articles. They are not connected to a certain date. So, they are not necessarily about something in the news or a sale you are having or something that will expire. An article offering tips on how to get through security easier might be a good example. How-to articles are always good pillar articles. Articles with a list of definitions are also good. Articles about a certain historical event or explaining something are good. You can link to these articles in newer articles using the hyperlinks I mentioned before. Pillar articles can also be gathered together to produce an eBook that you can give away as a free download on your site. Or, you can try to sell it if you can figure out how to make that happen. You can write a number of pillar articles in the beginning, developmental times when you are just starting your blog. This is a good way to start writing and to post good content that never gets old or expires.
  • This is an example of a list of Pillar Articles form an old blog of mine that I was writing until I eventually moved on to write about the same topic for a different publication. You can see how I linked the actual pillar articles and organized them. You can also see the archive I had going there to the right.
  • You can add any page you want. Some people like to add an “About” page and then make it a little more personal than the About section of their company. Some people add the article links page. Some could add a page for photos or videos. In the example, here, for Word Press, you just log in and you will be taken immediately to your Dashboard, which looks like this. You can see that on the left side there is a link that says “Pages”
  • Once you click on Pages you should be taken to something that looks like this. Yours might be empty. This shows you what pages you have already created. You can edit the pages, add to them, delete, them. If you look to the left, you will see where it says “Add New”
  • Once you click on that you can see it looks very much like you are creating a new post for your blog. Enter what you want the page to say. The blank space at the top is what the page will be called on the navigation bar on your blog’s home page. Pay special attention to the part on the lower left here…
  • You can make pages that are subordinate to other pages. That is what “Parent” means. So, if you have an About section and you want to add a sub-page to that, you can do that by using the drop-down box there under Parent. If you have some kind of template for your pages, you can use that as the layout for the new page. Also, as you can see in that last section, most pages are places in alphabetical order, but if you want the page you are creating to be in a certain location you can add a number and it will place it where you want. The new page will fall in line at the top navigation section of your blog site. Adding pages just increases the amount of information you can have on your blog. You can add additional keywords to titles, headlines and within the text of the new pages. It makes your blog more robust and gives regular readers more to explore, click on and read.
  • Start featuring readers and encourage participation Find comments that you particularly like and feature them in an article of its own. You can comment on the comments. Encourage people to comment within your articles. Ask for suggestions, ideas, and comments on topics you discuss in your postings.
  • Keep readers involved Use weekly polls and quizzes to keep readers interactive Invite select readers to contribute content. Do what you can to become a “cheerleader” to encourage a community around your blog and keep readers interacting with you and each other. Give readers “jobs.” Have some of them moderate comments to coming up with poll topics or being judges in contests. Give readers “homework.” When you give out tips or suggestions, give the readers something to do and have them try whatever you are trying to teach them on their own. Encourage them to leave comments and their own experiences. Create a forum or newsletter It can be a lot of work, but creating a weekly or monthly e-mail newsletter makes “fans” out of your regular comment-leavers. Forums allow people who leave comments and fans to more easily interact. It’s a great place to find more content and see what your readers are talking about so you can tailor your blog articles.
  • Realize that a brand is going to develop even if you do nothing. As you keep posting and your blog gains readers, it becomes a “brand” just like any magazine or publication Learn to shape the brand. Try to figure out what you want to be know for. Is there a segment in the travel industry you specialize in? An area of expertise you have? Then write about what you want to be known for and do so consistently. BE what you want to be known for. This means in content, design, logos and title for your blog. Keep track of what people are saying about you. Not only your own blog, but signing up for a monitoring service you can track other people on other blogs. Then, make comments and participate in those conversations.
  • A website launched in 2003. Just a general humor kind of blog that posted overhead conversations in New York. People began contributing and it began growing, becoming richer and richer in content. As the bloggers from site posted more and more, their audience grew, they added more pages and began selling ads. Now they get an estimated revenue every month of $8,100 About 6 million page views a month.
  • This is a great example of how blogs and blog sites can be even more than just a blog. This is an online magazine covering the travel industry – in particular travel technology. It is, in every way, a magazine. It has paid writers, staff, editors, people selling ads and advertisements. But if you look you can see how the basic website is, essentially, a blog. Perhaps a WordPress blog. You can see the articles are placed much like a standard blog and like you see with a WordPress Blog. There is a list of links to other sites that the bloggers and blog owners think you might also like on the right. There is even a tag cloud on the home page which you can see they have labeled as a Hot Topics section. There are companies who have made their entire home page from WordPress or other blog sites. It is a way to have an easily-updated website for your company. Yes, you might still need a webmaster who knows a little HTML and other coding, but once it gets set up, you can learn how to update it yourself.
  • Love it or hate it, the fact is that the Huffington Post is, essentially, a blog. It was started in 2005 by Arianna Huffington. Needless to say, it has now grown. Since that time: The HuffingtonPost.com was named second among the 25 Best Blogs of 2009 by Time Magazine . [16] The Huffington Post won the 2006 and 2007 Webby Awards for Best Politics Blog. Huffington Post contributor Bennet Kelley was awarded the Los Angeles Press Club's 2007 Southern California Journalism Award for Online Commentary [17] for political commentary published on the site. [18] The Huffington Post is ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer . [19] The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington was named as number 12 in Forbes' first ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media in 2009. [20] She has also moved up to number 42 in the Guardian's Top 100 in Media List
  • Alexa: 36,858 Twitter: @ EverywhereTrip Followers:  103,873 RSS Readers: 10,313 Google PR: 5 Gary Arndt launched his blog soon after he began traveling in 2007. Today, everything-everywhere.com reaches almost 200,000 readers a month! His blog gives great “where to go” and “what to do” advice including many interesting insights on the travel industry and the world. You can also find an amazing collection of photos on his site. Gary didn’t figure out how to be successful overnight though, check out his list of accomplishments on his about page … Notice how his page has some of the things we talked about. He has photos and he has blog entries. However he also has an RSS feed so people can subscribe and get updates or add updates from his blog to their website. He has a way to share blogs that you like with Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and more. He has a Travel Blog Directory at the top which links to other travel blogs he likes.
  • Just to show there is no political favoritism, here is a blog from the other side of the political fence. While I doubt Matt Drudge would admit that his site is a blog, it is basically a very simple website, in black and white, just filled with links to articles. In fact, that is the very essence of blogging. It is what a blog started out to be. These days Drudge has actually been called the “Walter Cronkite” of his generation. Some have also said that his report can affect and guide the way in which the news industry covers stories. So, it is definitely a success. It is read by thousands upon thousands every day and is often cited as a credible news source even with the national media.
  • Here are a few things to consider as you move forward. You need to spend time thinking. You should always be thinking about your blog. Don’t rush into it. Don’t write blog posts in anger or in haste. Don’t use them to take people down. Think about what you want to say and why. Then think about where there are other people who might be interested in what you have to say. Think about finding other bloggers and how best to leave comments or reach out to them. If you keep posting, keep writing, keep thinking, the people WILL find you. Do you have the patience for it? If you do, you may find the entire experience opens new doors, makes you new contacts and leads you down paths you never thought possible.
  • Thank you for attending THETRADESHOW!  This is a reminder that this session (title here), is being recorded with audio and speaker materials that are being synchronized for future viewing online! Upgrade to the best value package, for an additional $74, which will include unlimited access for a year to this session recording in addition to the 50+ other educational sessions debuted at THETRADESHOW.   Hurry because prices increase after the meeting.  Be sure to stop by registration to upgrade.  To view a demonstration of THETRADESHOW e-Learning Center, visit the demonstration booth at registration. 

Transcript

  • 1. presented by Bryan W. Alaspa, K Squared Communications, Inc. Blogging 201: So, You’ve Started A Blog, Now What?
  • 2. Want to get the most out of Upgrade your registration onsite to the Best Value Package and receive access to THETRADESHOW e-Learning Center TTS.sclivelearninngcenter.com Now you can with THE TRADE SHOW e-Learning Center! THETRADESHOW experience?
  • 3. So, You’ve Decided to Start a Blog! Does it Seem a Little Confusing? Are You Feeling a Little Lost?
  • 4. Writing that First Post
  • 5. When You Get Stuck
  • 6. Gaining an Audience
  • 7. Did You Already…?
    • Set Up an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed?
    • Start Posting to Social Bookmarking Sites?
    • Added “Chicklets” to Your Posts?
  • 8. Become Familiar with Keywords
    • Words that Search Engines Look for
    • - Can Be In the Headlines and Within the Body.
    • TRAVEL AIRFARES AT AN ALL TIME LOW!!
    • visit europe this summer!
    • CRUISES VACATIONS CARRIBEAN
  • 9. There Are Tools that Can Help
  • 10. And Tools Within Word Press
  • 11. The Tag Cloud
  • 12. Time to Make Some Friends Bloggers Make Friends with Other Bloggers
  • 13. Leaving Comments
    • Start Contributing
    • Make It Relevant
    • Will Lead Back to Your Blog
  • 14. Lovely Links Create a List of Links on Your Own Site
  • 15. Links Within Articles You Can Add Links in Your Blog Articles
  • 16. Make Your Blog a Community
    • Blogging is Part of Social Media, Make it Social:
    • Post Quality Content – Take Advantage of the“Buzz”
    • Fill Your Blog With Links
    • Can You Give Away Something? Do It
    • Interact With Regular Readers
  • 17. Encourage Comments – Make it a Conversation Commentor It’s his blog!
  • 18. Sign Up With Blog Directories
    • Sites that List Blogs of All Topics
      • Searchable
      • Gets Your Blog to a Wider Audience
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21.  
  • 22. Back to Links for a Moment
    • On Your Website
    • In Your E-mail Signature
    • When You Leave Comments On Other Blogs
    • Other Social Media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn)
      • Some Social Networking Sites Let Your Blog Entries Appear On Your Profile Pages
    Start Putting One Everywhere:
  • 23. Keeping Your Audience
  • 24. Ways to Keep Your Audience
    • KEEP POSTING
      • Don’t Expect Your Blog to Take Off Right Away
    • Remember Your Audience
      • Keep Posting Things They Will Find Interesting
    • Use “Soft Sell”
      • If It Seems Like a Commercial You Will Lose Readers
    • Respond to Comments
      • Don’t Attack – Interact!
  • 25. Adding to Your Blog
    • It Might Be Time to Archive
  • 26. An Archive An Example From Our Website. Once You Set It Up, It Archives Automatically.
  • 27. Pillar Articles!
  • 28. A Personal Example
  • 29. To Add a Page (WordPress Example)
  • 30. Adding a Page
  • 31. Adding a Page
  • 32. Adding a Page
  • 33. Make Stars Out of Regular Readers
    • Ask for Comments
    • Notice Who Leaves Comments
    • Ask Regulars If they Want to Assist You
    • They Can Write Guest Columns Or Monitor C omments, Respond to Comments, Etc.
  • 34. Become Interactive
    • Ask Questions
    • Do Weekly Polls, Puzzles or Games
    • Become a “Cheerleader”
    • Give Readers “Jobs” or “Homework”
    • Create a Forum
    • Create a Newsletter
  • 35. Your Blog is a Brand
    • A Brand Will Develop As You Write
  • 36. More Success Stories
  • 37. More Success Stories
  • 38. Success Stories Continued…
  • 39. Success Stories Continued…
  • 40. Just One More…
  • 41. What to Do Next
    • So Go Out and Think About Your Blog
      • What Do You Want to Write About?
      • How Often Can I Write
      • Do I Want to Give Writing Duties to
      • Someone Else?
      • What Other Blogs Do I Like to Read?
      • What Comments Can I Leave With those Blogs?
  • 42. So, Remember
    • THINK!
  • 43. Knowledge is just a touch away… Knowledge is just a touch away With THETRADESHOW e-Learning Center! THE TRADE SHOW e-Learning Center Access 60 hours of recorded sessions online at your convenience. TTS.sclivelearningcenter.com
  • 44. Questions?
    • Bryan W. Alaspa
    • 773 774 7847
    • [email_address]
    • www.ksqrd.com