How to use a Blog to Market your Business

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This presentation covers the Who, What, Where, When, Why of Blogs; Blog Business Cases; Blogging Software; Create a Blog; ‘Pimping’ your Blog; How and What to Write; Promoting your Blog; Measuring …

This presentation covers the Who, What, Where, When, Why of Blogs; Blog Business Cases; Blogging Software; Create a Blog; ‘Pimping’ your Blog; How and What to Write; Promoting your Blog; Measuring Success; and Making Money with Blogs

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  • 1. How to use a Blog to market your business Clayton Wehner This presentation can be found at: http://www.bluetrainenterprises.com.au/blogworkshop
  • 2. What we’re gunna cover today…the scope
    • The Who, What, Where, When, Why of Blogs
    • Blog Business Case
    • Blogging Software
    • Create a Blog
    • ‘ Pimping’ your Blog
    • How and What to Write
    • Promoting your Blog
    • Measuring Success
    • Making Money
  • 3. Recommended Reading
    • These books have been used in the production of this workshop:
  • 4. The Who, What, Where, When, Why of Blogs
  • 5. Blogs in plain English…
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2I1pWXjXI
  • 6. What is a blog?
    • Blog is a portmanteau of ‘web log’
    • A fast and simple way to publish content to the web
    • Displays ‘posts’ chronologically like a diary or journal
    • Administered via a web-based WYSIWYG interface
    • Interface enables widespread dissemination of content via RSS and other ‘push’ techniques (eg email, social networking)
    • Interface enables two-way interaction between the writer and audience
    • Originally conceived as an informal means of content publishing for individuals, but increasingly used by organisations to publish content for internal and external stakeholders – eg. CEOs
  • 7. Some facts about blogs
    • The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997
    • The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.
    • Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms.
  • 8. Evolution of the web
    • Web 1.0 = ‘one way web’; reading static web pages
    • Web 2.0 = ‘two way web’; interaction, community, collaboration
    • Web 3.0 = Personalisation, individually-tailored web experience
  • 9. Social Media and Blogging
    • Blogging is a form of ‘social media’ and belongs to the Web 2.0 movement – the interactive web
    • Social media is ‘media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques’
    • Blogs, micro-blogging, social networking, video/file sharing, wikis, social bookmarking, community sites and more
  • 10. Are you awake – pop quiz, hot shot…
    • What are the top three search engines in Australia?
    • How many characters can a tweet contain?
    • What does RSS stand for?
    • Facebook emanated from which US university?
    • Who owns MySpace?
  • 11. Why blog?
    • To inform people and communicate with them
    • To build reputation and credibility
    • To build a network and a community
  • 12. But effective blogging is not easy…
    • Need discipline to keep on writing (the web is littered with abandoned blogs)
    • Need to be creative
    • Need to contribute regularly
    • Perhaps most importantly - need to write stuff that people want to read!
    • If you can’t do this, then don’t bother blogging
  • 13. If you can’t blog yourself…
    • You can still contribute to social media by following other blogs and interacting with industry bloggers
    • Commenting on existing blog posts or guest blogging can also inform people, build reputation and grow networks
  • 14. Who blogs?
    • 72% are hobbyists
    • 15% are part-timers and derive some income from their blog
    • 9% are full-time self-employed
    • 4% are professional bloggers who work for companies
    • Two-thirds are male
    • 60% are 18-44 years old
    • 40% have graduate degrees
    • One in three has an annual household income of $75K+
    • One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
    • More than half are married
    • More than half are parents
    • Source: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009, October 2009
  • 15. The world’s most popular blogs… http://technorati.com/blogs/top100
  • 16. The Huffington Post – 22 million unique visitors each month
  • 17. Mashable
  • 18. TechCrunch
  • 19. Gizmodo
  • 20. Others that you might have heard of…
    • Boing Boing
    • ReadWriteWeb
    • The Onion
    • TMZ.com
    • Lifehacker
    • Problogger
  • 21. Blog Business Case
  • 22. Before you start…
    • When considering the use of new technologies like blogs, most organisations skip the ‘business case’ step
    • ‘ I need to get a blog and start blogging’ – WRONG!
    • Need to focus on the target audience, objectives and strategies, before considering the technologies…
    • Why? Because blogging might not be appropriate for your business
  • 23. POST Strategy
    • P is for PEOPLE
        • Who are you targeting?
    • O is for OBJECTIVES
        • What do you want to achieve?
    • S is for STRATEGIES
      • How do your propose to achieve your objectives?
    • T is for TECHNOLOGIES
        • Which technologies will you use to implement the strategies?
    • This strategy framework was developed by Forrester Research – see http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2007/12/the-post-method.html
  • 24. For aspiring, self-employed bloggers…
    • It’s still necessary to do a ‘business case’ of sorts…
    • Are you interested in the topic?
    • Do you have expertise in the topic?
    • Is the topic popular?
    • Is the niche growing?
    • What’s the competition?
    • Can you produce enough content on the topic?
    • Can you make money?
    • A bit like writing a business plan
  • 25. Blogging Software
  • 26. Blogging Software
    • Early tools:
    • Open Diary – 1998
    • LiveJournal – 1999
    • Blogger – 1999 (purchased by Google in 2003)
    • Most popular tools today:
    • Blogger
    • TypePad
    • Wordpress.com (hosted) / Wordpress.org (self-hosted)
  • 27. Blogger – www.blogger.com
  • 28. TypePad – www.typepad.com
  • 29. Wordpress.com – www.wordpress.com
  • 30. Wordpress.org – www.wordpress.org
  • 31. Hosted versus self-hosted
    • Hosted (eg. Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress.com)
      • Free!
      • Set up in minutes
      • Located on a sub-domain – yourblog.typepad.com
    • Self-hosted (eg. Wordpress.org)
      • Located on your domain – www.yoursite.com/blog
      • More professional
      • Better for search engine optimisation
      • Better control, more customisable
      • Must have your own hosting account
      • Must have expertise to set it up, configure and maintain
  • 32. Recommendation
    • Start with a hosted blog (preferably Wordpress.com)
    • See if you have what it takes
    • Transition to a self-hosted blog down the track
  • 33. Create a blog
  • 34. Let’s start a blog now…
    • Go to www.wordpress.com
    • Hit Sign Up Now…
  • 35. ‘ Pimping’ your blog - Wordpress
  • 36. Widgets
    • These are the ‘sidebar’ components
    • We use:
      • Recent posts
      • Recent comments
      • Categories
      • Search
      • Links / Blogroll
      • Tag clouds
      • Archive
      • Twitter widget
      • Feedburner RSS subscription form
      • Feedburner email subscription form (more on these later)
  • 37. Plugins
    • We use:
      • Contact Form 7 – contact form
      • Akismet – spam filtering
      • Twitter Tools – tweet new posts when published
      • Tweetmeme – allows visitors to retweet posts
      • Facebook ‘Like’ button – allows visitors to add to Facebook
      • AddThis – allows visitors to add to bookmarking sites – Digg, Technorati, Delicious, etc
  • 38. 9,823 plugins…
  • 39. Design
    • ‘ Skin’ your blog with an existing theme
      • http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
    • Get a theme custom made
    • Edit HTML and CSS of page templates
  • 40. 1,204 themes…
  • 41. How and what to write
  • 42. Guiding principles
    • Be useful
    • Be unique
      • See Seth Godin’s ‘Purple Cow’ book about being ‘remarkable’
      • See Chris Anderson’s ‘The Long Tail’ book about unlimited choice and demand
  • 43. Post guidelines
    • Frequency
      • No one-size-fits-all
      • ‘ Rhythm’ is more important
      • NB. Most top blogs publish short posts every day
    • Tone
      • Blogs are typically informal
      • Couched in conversational tone
      • Infused with the writer’s views
    • Engagement
      • Invite comments
      • Ask questions
      • Interact with audience and other bloggers through comments
  • 44. Title guidelines
    • Titles are important for both human visitors and search engine indexation
    • This is the ‘teaser’ line that will prompt a visitor to read your post
    • This is the hyperlinked title that will appear in Google and other search engines
    • Write titles that are:
      • Simple, but clear and unambiguous
      • Grab attention
      • Meet a need
      • Compelling to click
      • Contain keywords
  • 45. Body text guidelines
    • 250-1000 words in total
    • Granular – one post, one topic
    • First few lines really matter
    • Use lists
    • Use formatting
    • Use headings
    • Use pictures (because they tell a thousand words)
    • Use block quotes
    • Use white space
    • Use short sentences and paragraphs so that text is scannable
  • 46. 20 types of blog post
    • Instructional
    • Informational
    • Reviews
    • Lists
    • Interviews
    • Case studies
    • Profiles
    • Link posts
    • ‘ Problem’ posts
    • Comparison posts
    • Rants
    • Inspirational
    • Research
    • Collation posts
    • Prediction and review posts
    • Critiques
    • Debate
    • Hypotheticals
    • Satirical
    • Meme / idea virus
  • 47. Promoting your blog
  • 48. Fundamental stuff
    • Content is king
    • Word of mouth
    • Network, communicate, interact, comment
    • Social media – Twitter, Facebook, etc
    • Link bait…
  • 49. ‘ Link Bait’
    • Content with a ‘hook’
    • Ideas:
      • Controversial or polarising topics
      • Tools
      • Quizzes
      • Competitions
      • Scoops
      • Awards
      • Lists – ‘top tens’
      • Statistics
      • Freebies
      • Interviews
      • Resources – free white papers
  • 50. Search engine optimisation
    • TITLE tags – very important
    • BODY text rich with keywords
    • Cross-linking between posts / related posts
      • Compilation pages
    • Permalink URLs
    • Links
      • Blogroll / link reciprocation
      • Comments on like-blogs
    • Directory submission
      • Yahoo, DMOZ, TrueLocal, etc, etc.
  • 51. Technorati – ‘claim’ your blog
  • 52. Feedburner
    • Feedburner offers a suite of tools that help you to promote your blog
      • RSS subscription ‘chicklets’
      • Email subscription forms
      • Rotating headlines tool
      • Republish as HTML
      • Ping tools
  • 53. Measuring Success
  • 54. Key Performance Indicators
    • Unique visitors and page views – not ‘hits’
    • Number of subscribers – email, RSS
    • Number of comments, feedback messages
    • Number of inbound links – ‘trackbacks’
    • Search engine positioning
  • 55. Ways to measure success
    • Google Analytics
      • www.google.com/analytics
    • Google Webmaster Tools
      • www.google.com/webmasters
    • Google Alerts
      • www.google.com/alerts
    • Alexa ranking
      • www.alexa.com
    • Feedburner statistics
      • www.feedburner.com
  • 56. Making money
  • 57. Are blogs a good bet for business?
    • Blogs are not suitable for all businesses!
    • Good for businesses with specific expertise or content that can be disseminated online
    • Blogs are great for…
      • Building credibility and establishing the author as an ‘expert’
      • Creating a larger ‘signature’ for the business on the web and increasing discoverability by prospects
      • Maintaining engagement with existing stakeholders
      • Creating a perception of openness and accessibility
  • 58. Will I make money?
    • The content has to be good to attract qualified traffic to your blog
    • Like most things, the content and the traffic won’t happen overnight
    • Many, many months of time, effort and persistence
    • Meet people, build relationships, listen, share knowledge, ask/answer questions, build trust, build reputation
    • It’s not unlike ‘real’ networking!
    • There’s no sustainable ‘get rich quick’ option
  • 59. Ways you can make money
    • Direct
      • Contextual and banner advertising
      • Google AdSense PPC advertising
      • Sponsorships
      • Paid reviews
      • Affiliate commissions
      • Donations
      • Classifieds – eg. Job board
      • Subscription fees
    • Indirect
      • Speaking engagements
      • Contracts as a result of your blogging work
  • 60. Success factors
    • Be remarkable – useful and unique
    • Write from the heart
    • Create community
    • Discipline and focus
    • Write little and write often
  • 61. The End
    • This presentation available at:
    • www.bluetrainenterprises.com.au/blogworkshop