Building Your Brand With Blogging• Why start a blog• Blogs are websites but not all websites areblogs• How to set up a blog• Reach out and engage with your customers• Find and build your content• How to grow your fan base
Why start a blog?Discover your real reason for starting a blog • Passion to make a difference • Extend the reach of your brand • Become a thought leader • Add value to your company’s marketing mix You have a voice. And youve been given something to say. People need to hear it. - Jeff Goins
How much time can you invest?The investment of time is just that … an investment • Spend more time in the beginning • What does your schedule look like now? • Blogging can be like a part-time job
Blogs can be Websites … but not all Websitescan be Blogs “A blog is what all ‘websites wanted to be’ - updated on a regular basis, contains content that is of interest to a select or target audience and is easy to update and change.” – Author Unknown
Blogs can be Websites … but not all Websites can be BlogsEase of Use: • Blogs publish info frequently, without learning tech skills • Most sites have static info and require tech skills to updateWritten Content: • Blog copy like a conversation with your customers • Website copy is written in ‘marketing-eze’ with key words and links to pull you into the site
Blogs can be Websites … but not all Websites can be BlogsCustomer Engagement: •Blogs: posting comments and linking from their blog to your posts •Website: only option for comments is your Contact Us formSEO: "Blog" stands for "Better Listings on Google” •Blog’s features: frequent posts, linking from other sites to get your site better listings •Website: have to wait for Google to ‘crawl’ your site for new content and could take up to 2 weeks
How to setup a Blog•Host or not to Host?•FREE blogging programs – Blogger vs Wordpress•Host your own Blog
How to setup a BlogFree blogging programs: Blogger vs WordpressFree Blog Sites: your domain will bemycompanysblog.wordpress.com and you wontactually own the blogHost your own blog: more flexibility and freedom todo what you want • Have your own domain name and own the blog • You can get this for as little as $30 per year
Blogger vs WordpressWhich to use?Host your domain with WordPress (WordPress.org) - fullfunctionality and the ability to change any of the codeMost businesses and companies use WordPress for theirblog/website.Many personal bloggers who are only interested in the blog forentertainment value choose Blogger.
How to set up a Wordpress Blog• Choose domain name• Register your domain• Get web hosting• Connect your domain to your web hosting• Install Wordpress (or it may be pre-installed)• Choose your theme or style• Set up the basics• Start writing your content!
Wordpress PluginsWhat’s a Plugin?Plugins extend and expand the functionality of your WordPressblogPopular plugins fall into these categories: • enhance your readers’ experience • behind the scenes that help you with blog management and optimizationTo install any of these plugins: • WordPress admin dashboard • click on plugins and then search by name
Wordpress Plugins• Audio, video and photo - add more interaction to your blog• Twitter tools – add tweets to your blog• SEO tools• Google Analytics• Facebook like button• Social media bookmarks - visual graphics that encourage your reader to share your posts
Wordpress Commenting ProgramsCommentLuv- visits the site of the person commenting and allow you to add a link to your blog site; proven to increase click-throughs and is a great tool for increasing community engagementOther options: Disqus and Livefyre
Finding your focus• What am I passionate about?• What topic do I have experience with?• What could I write about for a year without running outof ideas or energy?• What’s the message that I want to get out?
What’s good content?Characteristics of Good Content Provokes thought – add value to their lives Entertains - engages the reader to share or come back Educates – become an ‘expert’ in your field Inform – breaking news, updates on your projects, productinformation Empowers – prospects, customers and clients to take action
Where to find content ideas?Questions to ask:• What are your customers or other bloggers talking about?• How is your industry talking about your businesses topconcerns?• Where are they getting their information and resources?• Learn what other people in your focused area are writingabout, quote them and link to their posts
Just the facts ma’amStumble upon some facts that are amazing … research to writeabout how they relate to your customers• Industry trends• Your company’s product facts• Let me tell you about a pool company
Content, content and yep, more contentUse other blogs for inspiration - write your own post in your own “voice”keeping your reader’s interests in mind You’ll be contributing to a larger conversation• Treat your readers like you care - whether you have 20 readers or 20,000,acknowledge their presence• Write your blog posts like a piece of real writing - have a beginning,middle and end• Keep it short - long narratives are fine if you’re telling a story, otherwise, keep it short
We live in a world of smaller screens, smaller attention spans,and smaller conversations where media platformscontinuously shrink discussions.Think about it … radio and TV interviews these days aretypically no longer 3 – 6 minutes. And, social media tools, likeTwitter, limit your remarks to just 140 characters.
How do I begin?Content CalendarDefinition: An editorial calendar is the listing of planned themes, features and promotions to highlight your company’s projects and upcoming events
Create a Content Calendar •Use an old school calendar •Use a blog plug-in: self-hosting a WordPress blog, get the plug-in called Editorial Calendar •Try a pre-fabbed spreadsheet – excel spreadsheet •Use Google calendar
Content Calendar: Topics Plan 4 – 6 months out• Leave room if something new comes up• Create a guideline for ‘themes’ for your posts: Mondays – updates about your company or story Wednesdays – success stories Fridays – 5 Friday Fun• Think about your tags that relate to yourcategories
Writing ScheduleDon’t feel obligated to post every day -- wait until you haveenough material for a complete post• Schedule time for research and write drafts • Add in time to engage/comment on other blogs• Set a due date for each post – include research, writing andreview• Consistency as a blogger may be one of the hardest things wewill ever learn - find a schedule/routine that works for you
Blog Writing TipsYour writing will not improve if you don’t write - get the words out ofyour head and onto paper or computer; don’t let well intentionedcriticism of others get you down Keep on writing!Bonus blogging lesson: write for just one member of your audience asis you’re talking directly them You can’t be everything to everyone
Blog Writing TipsKeep an Idea Notebook HandyCarry a pen and a small notebook where ever you goWrite down your topic ideas, resource articles and even thoughtson what to say in one placeWhen you’re ready to write – its all in one place! http://www.facebook.com/eatinganelephant
Blog Writing TipsMake a List• Pick one of your topics and make a list – use just acouple of words for each entry.• Have a blogging brainstorm session – write as fast as youcan for a specific period of time.• Don’t stop writing – just think! http://www.facebook.com/eatinganelephant
Blog Writing TipsMake a List: Part Two• Break down your elephant into bite size pieces• Pick one of the items on your list and repeat• Do this until the bites are small, you can eat them quicklyand they’re easy to digest• Add as much detail as you can and your blog post willemerge http://www.facebook.com/eatinganelephant
Authenticity meansit’s true to you, your company and your brand.‘Be who you are, not who you’d like to be, or who you thinkothers would like you to be.’Who are you? Your mission/values, your vision, what makesyour business distinct, and what you can honestly andauthentically live up to?Be passionate about what you know - share yourself withoutbeing concerned about whether what you’re doing is rightJust be and do what comes naturally and easily to you - learnto trust and follow your instincts
Commenting CampaignsEngaging in Commenting Campaigns is one of thebest ways to increase your visibility to readers• Consistently posting thoughtful, valuable blogcomments will cause other readers to take notice• Quality over quantity – choose a fewselected blogs• Drive traffic directly to your site
Commenting CampaignsThings to Avoid:• Blatant self promotion - directly promote your blog orsite in comments; it hurts your credibility•Extremely brief and meaningless comments - suchcomments as “good post,” “bad post” and “I agree!”•Links to your own articles in every comment you post -only acceptable when the link is relevant and directlyrelates to the subject matter discussed•Don’t be afraid to actively involve yourself in adiscussion, even if your opinion differs from that ofanyone else
Let’s talk about MEDon’t create a boring About Page• Second highest viewed page on your blog after yourhome page• Show your personality• Let them see why you know what you do, write aboutwhat you do and why they want to come back for more
Online Promotions• Post your blog link on your company’s website• Create a post on your Facebook fan page and re-purpose that content to your Twitter profile• Add Wordpress plugin to Linkedin profile or post bloglink in your Linkedin status• Join industry groups on Linkedin and post new blogposts
Offline Promotions• Add your blog URL to business cards and emailsignature• Promote your blog at industry events• Get print publications to pick up your blog posts• Use word of mouth to let customers and friends knowabout your blog• Include the blog URL in your company’s press releases
What did we learn?• Decide which program to use – Bloggeror Wordpress• Host or not to Host• Find to show off your unique voice• Use the writing tips to createcompelling content• Create a writing schedule to use withyour content calendar• Promote your blog!
Questions??Connect with Penney:Become a fan at www.facebook.com/FoxInteractiveFBFollow my Blog: www.innersocialmedianess.comMy Personal Blog: www.authenticlifejourneys.com