The social media bandwagon Everyone else is doing it. Don’t be left behind, but make sure you have a clear objective for your own business. Two-way customer engagement - Feedback from customers. A chance to get to know your market & for them to get to know you. Search engine visibility Blogs can be updated more frequently than company websites. Twice weekly, even daily. Google likes fresh content and will rate your blog higher. Example: Restaurant has great website but no control over it. Starts blog to drive traffic to website and increase lunchtime custom.
Ideas from the news - Relate current affairs issues to your own business. The Royal Wedding is all over the papers – obvious hooks for fashion companies, photographers, florists etc. A big story about the recession? Blog about the impact that has on small businesses. Business updates - Obvious opportunity to update customers on your news but beware of just reproducing press releases. New premises? Blog each stage of the move, the renovation, include photos of the removal men on their tea break. Product information - Do you sell a product which comes from Nepal? Tell me about the journey it makes to get to you. Reassure me about the carbon footprint, the sustainability or the wage paid to the producer. Give me more information than I can get from your website. Insider secrets Fave blog is one written by a pub landlady. Behind the scenes information. Interviews - Produce ten questions and email them to a few chosen people (getting their permission to use the answers on your blog). Customers, members of staff, suppliers – give an insight into their lives. Guest posts - Other bloggers with similar or complementary businesses, or contacts without blogs of their own. Example: our restaurant uses guest posts from the fish supplier, the cheese-maker and the butcher, interviews customers and posts blogs about the reason behind the business name, the search for the perfect property etc. Gives a recipe every Friday and an expert cooking tip every Wednesday. Starts an ‘ask the chef’ slot where readers can email chef with the contents of their fridge & he’ll come up with a meal idea.
Word of mouth Tell people you’ve got a blog! Search Engine Optimisation - Too complex to cover in full. Ensure subject matter is in title and in the first paragraph. Twitter - Great for promoting links but only effective when used as part of genuine engagement/socialising (Shaun’s Twitter for business workshop) Facebook - Personal or business page. Networked blogs will automatically update your FB wall. Encourage people to ‘like’ or ‘share’ posts to help spread the word. Email signatures Include your blog in your email signature Specialist forums If you’re a member of chat forums, include the blog address in your signature and when relevant link to particular posts. Don’t spam. Business cards - Include blog URL on business cards. Providing timely links - If you read another blog and you realise you’ve blogged about a similar subject, leave a comment with a link. Don’t spam – only do this when genuinely relevant. If others are tweeting about something and you can chip in with a link, do so but again – don’t spam. Inlinks Will boost your Google ratings and increase traffic. Inclusion on other blogrolls (get to know other bloggers in similar field and exchange links), register for relevant indices (eg Wiki blogs). Example: our restaurant manager is a regular on two cooking forums so he adds his blog address to his signature and asks his online friends to visit. He joins Twitter and follows local people, chatting and introducing his blog when appropriate. He gives out business cards to customers with their bill and tells them about the blog. The town council add his blog to their website.
Blog design Make it easy to read. Clear, clean, uncluttered. Consider size and colour of font (eg; white on black hard to read) Post length - Not too long. Around 500 words for an average post. Break up text with headings or use bullet points. Add images to break up text and provide interest. Making your blog ‘sticky’ - Bounce rate. If people happen upon a post, make them want to stay to read something else. Keep important content (eg; link to your website, ‘about me’ page, subscription button) ‘above the fold’. Have a ‘top ten’ posts link in an obvious place. Internal links - Try to include a link in each post to another of your blog posts. Increases ranking and promotes low bounce rate. Subscription options - RSS, email subscription. What they are. Giving something away Could just be great/funny/interesting content. Could be prizes. Could be helpful tips, recipes, information about new products or discounts. Give them a reason to come back. Two part posts ‘ come back tomorrow for part two’. Links between the posts. Themed posts Perhaps an interview on Mondays, Product news on Wednesdays, Insider Secrets on Fridays. Advertise the schedule prominently on the blog. Example: our restaurant has the schedule we spoke about earlier and it’s publicised on the blog. He’s giving away recipes and help with meal choices. To encourage people to stop by regularly he introduces a special discount code, redeemable that lunchtime only. Every morning he posts the day’s specials on the blog. He offers email subscription, with the promise that each Friday a new recipe will drop into your inbox. Occasionally he runs a big competition to win a meal for two – entrants have to subscribe/pick up a menu from the restaurant to enter.
Relate performance to your objectives ie; if sole purpose of blog was to drive traffic to main website, that’s your only performance indicator. Measuring traffic - Google Analytics / Statcounter. Both free & easy to install. Measuring engagement - Number of comments, type of feedback. More qualitative than quantative, but can also use PostRank to measure engagement. Example: our restaurant wanted to increase traffic to blog and to increase lunchtime trade. Both specific objectives which can be clearly measured. Both achieved – naturally!
Welcome <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging experience </li></ul><ul><li>One aim from this workshop </li></ul><ul><li>One aim from your blog </li></ul>
Workshop objectives <ul><li>How blogging can help your business </li></ul><ul><li>How to write great content </li></ul><ul><li>How to drive traffic to your blog </li></ul><ul><li>How to keep your readers </li></ul><ul><li>How to monitor your blog’s performance </li></ul>
Blogging benefits <ul><li>The social media bandwagon </li></ul><ul><li>Two-way customer engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Search engine visibility </li></ul>
Writing great content <ul><li>Ideas from the news </li></ul><ul><li>Business updates </li></ul><ul><li>Product information </li></ul><ul><li>Insider secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Guest posts </li></ul>
Driving traffic to your blog <ul><li>Word of mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Optimisation </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Email signatures </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist forums </li></ul><ul><li>Business cards </li></ul><ul><li>Providing timely links </li></ul><ul><li>Inlinks </li></ul>
Keeping your readers <ul><li>Blog design </li></ul><ul><li>Post length </li></ul><ul><li>Making your blog ‘sticky’ </li></ul><ul><li>Internal links </li></ul><ul><li>Subscription options </li></ul><ul><li>Giving something away </li></ul><ul><li>Two part posts </li></ul><ul><li>Themed posts </li></ul>
Monitoring performance <ul><li>Relate performance to your objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring engagement </li></ul>
Workshop objectives - recap <ul><li>How blogging can help your business </li></ul><ul><li>How to write great content </li></ul><ul><li>How to drive traffic to your blog </li></ul><ul><li>How to keep your readers </li></ul><ul><li>How to monitor your blog’s performance </li></ul>