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 Success; and Making Money with Blogs

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How to use a Blog to Market your Business

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