Blog Planning: Using Content Trending And Social Analytics To Overcome Corporate Writers Block


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Finding sufficient inspiration to fuel a daily, weekly or even monthly blog post can prove a struggle – and choosing a subject that will also attract traffic is an even tougher call. Here are some simple tips for planning a content schedule that will take the headache out of blogging.

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Blog Planning: Using Content Trending And Social Analytics To Overcome Corporate Writers Block

  1. 1. Blog Planning: Using Content Trending and Social Analytics to Overcome Corporate Writer's Block by Rowan Stanfield & David Preece - April 2010 DON’T PANIC!
  2. 2. Contents • Best Practice Blogging • Blogging 101 • Writing for the Web • Content Tactics • Promoting Your Blog • Broadcasting • Engaging • Weekly Actions • What do I do each week? 2
  3. 3. Best Practice Blogging 3
  4. 4. Blogging 101 - What is a Blog? • In the words of, a blog is "...a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world" • Popular and successful blogs are updated regularly, and maintain a good dialogue with their users to ensure a loyal readership • Blogs are often viewed as separate to the mainstream or ‘traditional’ media, but are no less influential or powerful in their spheres • - a popular blog search engine - currently tracks more than 100,000,000 blogs 4
  5. 5. Blogging 101 - Who Blogs? • Most blogs focus on a single topic or specialist area of interest and are primarily mixed media, but blogs dedicated solely to photo, video and music are also common • The ease of use and popularity of free blog hosting sites such as and means that almost anyone can start a blog on any subject they wish 5
  6. 6. Blogging 101 - Being a ‘Social’ Blogger • A sense of community and camaraderie is prevalent amongst bloggers - this collective community of blogs is sometimes referred to as the ‘blogsphere’ • Sets of public reciprocal links called ‘blogrolls’ allow blog authors to drive traffic to each other’s sites • The vast majority of blogs allow users to comment on postings and start discussions on-site - this is an important part of the concept of blogging • Our aim is to encourage commenting on our blog posts, to engage with our audience and generate discussion, which in turn will attract more comments and drive traffic to/ awareness of the blog • In this way, blogs and Social Media are inextricably linked: both share an emphasis on decentralised, user-generated content and networking to sustain them 6
  7. 7. Blogging 101 - Writing for the Web • There are several key differences between writing for the Web and writing for print • The most important function of writing for blogs is that it allows authors to embed rich media content (video, images, etc.) directly into posts: • This adds value to posts and helps the written content engage with reader in a far more effective way. Embedded images can also act as thumbnails when being aggregated by news or Social Media sites, so the more interesting the better • Linking to external and internal sites, blog posts, Social Media profiles and other content on the web will again add value to posts. If it is an external link, this will also encourage the recipient to return the gesture, thus helping to drive more traffic to your blog 7
  8. 8. Copyright Issues • When utilising third party content, it is essential to heed the copyright restrictions listed on that content • YouTube videos are fair game, whereas Vimeo videos and Flickr images have tighter controls on usage • Always make sure any content you are embedding is licensed for commercial re- use and check whether it needs attributing to the creator (this is polite in any case) • When searching for new Flickr content to add, do an advanced search and make sure to tick ‘Creative Commons-licensed content / to use commercially’: • If the content you want to embed is not copyright-free, you can always approach the creator directly to ask for their permission 8
  9. 9. Blogging 101 - Writing for the Web • It’s important to use the right language when writing blog posts, too: the goal of any good piece of writing is to inform or entertain, but blogging is also about generating discussion in the form of comments and/or backlinks • The ideal place to pitch the tone of your writing is just on the friendly side of informal, and as far away from formal or corporate language as possible - readers will not want to hear the official company line or reinterpreted press releases, they can go to other sources for that information • Ask questions of your readers, invite discussion or debate (i.e. “What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments section below”), reference previous posts or comments and let your natural personality shine through in whatever you’re writing 9
  10. 10. Blogging 101 - Writing for the Web • When formatting text for blog posts, you should always bear in mind the medium and how it will display on the page • Break your text up into short paragraphs to make long posts less daunting for the reader. You can also give each paragraph a subheading to aid readability and increase keyword optimisation opportunities • Make important or topical words bold to draw more attention to them and make the post easier to scan for the casual reader, but be careful not to overuse this technique (once or twice a paragraph at most) 10
  11. 11. Content Tactics • Social = make good, shareable content • Good content = good SEO • Good content and SEO = good conversions • Goal = good distribution 11
  12. 12. Content Tactics 12
  13. 13. Content Strands • Before you start blogging, it’s worth establishing some strands around which your individual posts will be based. • These should obviously reflect the nature of your business or venture, but there are some common strands that are applicable to almost anyone: • PRACTICAL: Deconstruct industry practices, offer advice/recommendations and ‘How Tos’ • CURATION OF THIRD PARTY CONTENT: Showcasing third party content by embedding • EVENTS: Identify and write about key industry events/conferences. Live tweeting from events can also be made into post-event blog posts • CASE STUDIES: Interviews with key industry people - this could be via an embedded video or podcast, or a plain old-fashioned written piece • CHALLENGES: Respond to common industry problems, encourage customers/potential customers to interact • NEWS: Staying on the pulse of related online content and commenting on high profile news pieces/articles, adding your own thoughts on a subject via blog posts/tweets • SURVEYS: Encourage customers and general public to participate in area/event/topic focused online surveys and use the results to create blog posts and stimulate conversation • PERSONALITY PIECES: Individual blog posts with more personality (i.e. ‘The team recommends’, opinion pieces, fun stuff) • COMPETITIONS: The place to talk about our competition and encourage participation 13
  14. 14. Content Generation • Here’s that boiled down into a handy diagram: 1) Curation of Third Party Content Embedded third party content Photos Videos Slideshows Responses and responses to other etc. bloggersʼ content 2) How Tos & Tutorials Think: “utility” 3) Opinion Pieces Case Your own views, news and News Studies Events Challenges insights 14
  15. 15. Optimising Content • Blog posts can be made more findable by incorporating search engine optimisation (SEO) • There are a number of free online tools you can use for working out the best keywords around which to optimise a post, for example, Google’s free AdWords Keyword Tool can show you how popular certain words or phrases are • To find out how much competition a search term has, simply go to Google and search for it. The value beneath the search box represents the amount of sites returned for a search on that specific phrase 15
  16. 16. Optimising Content • Now you have your keywords, you can optimise your blog post with them • The best places to use your optimised keywords are as follows: • Post title • Post category (if possible) • Post tags • Post headers • Conservatively throughout the bodycopy • With the use of sensible optimisation, posts are more likely to rank for given terms, increasing the chances of appearing in Google results and attracting more traffic 16
  17. 17. Optimising Content Title Tags Sub-headers Body Text 17
  18. 18. Promoting Your Blog 18
  19. 19. Broadcasting Beyond the Blog • Our aim is to get people reading the blog and interacting, leaving comments, sharing, bookmarking etc. • By writing about popular topics and optimising your posts, we can attract a certain amount of organic traffic • But there are also opportunities beyond this for driving people to the blog • Utilise your other Online networks for ‘broadcasting’ the blog, e.g: • Twitter • LinkedIn • Facebook • Forums • Yahoo/Google Groups • Email contacts 19
  20. 20. Your Platform Social Profiles = Engagement/Distribution Web Sites / Blogs = (Re)Publishing Social Properties = Content/Publishing Content & Keywords (& Tags, etc) 20
  21. 21. Directories • By adding your blog to directories, you can make it more visible to a wider audience, as well as generating traffic and backlinks • Here are some of the more popular blog directories: • Technorati • Bloggeries • • Blog Explosion • Super Blog Directory • Bloggapedia 21
  22. 22. The Dashboard • Use alerts or a feed aggregator such as Netvibes to keep tabs on web content relevant to you and for finding opportunities to engage with the wider web and promote your blog • This will also help you spot trends and tailor your new content to meet demand 22
  23. 23. Alerts and Search... • You can also find relevant content with which to engage by using custom ‘Social’ search engines such as Addict-o-matic and Social Mention: 23
  24. 24. Engagement Tactics • Drive people to the blog by engaging with them in their own spheres • Leave relevant, useful comments on the blogs of target influencers, with links to applicable blog posts on your blog • Reference other people’s work in your posts - link to blog posts, embed videos/ photos - and tell them you have done so ✘ ✔ 24
  25. 25. Engagement Tactics • Engage with other bloggers/influencers by acknowledging and referencing their work What should the BBC do with @BBC? consider it reblogged and discussed - ⬊ in light of ⬉ 25
  26. 26. Engagement Tactics - Summary • Goal 1: find your communities • Goal 2: participate productively • Goal 3: give them something useful • Goal 4: give them something shareable • Goal 5: give them something for free • i.e. become more sociable and interesting • Outcome: your communities start reciprocating 26
  27. 27. Researching Influencers • Here are some useful tools for finding fellow bloggers: 27
  28. 28. Researching Influencers • There are a number of tools for finding out whether a blog is influential and therefore worth interacting with • Technorati gives blogs an ‘authority’ rating • Yahoo Site Explorer allows you to see how many backlinks are pointing to a site 28
  29. 29. Weekly Actions 29
  30. 30. A Content & Engagement Schedule • You may be thinking at this point “Help! How am I ever going to do all this stuff on top of my daily responsibilities?” • But fear not, our handy content and engagement schedule breaks down your actions into manageable chunks Daily Weekly Monthly Tweet/respond to Write blog posts Curate user- tweets generated content Respond to blog Promote new blog Research trends and comments on your posts on other keywords, plan next blog channels - month’s blog content Facebook, LinkedIn etc. Monitor your feeds/ Leave (relevant/ Analyse blog’s alerts for useful) comments on performance using opportunities to other people’s blogs Google Analytics engage 30
  31. 31. Further Reading C&M Blog & Resources Page C&M Content Optimisation Guide C&M Online PR & Optimisation Research Tools C&M Guide to Google & Effective SEO C&M Social SEO Through Clever Content Creation - 31