How to Write, Grow &Sustain an Effective Blog November 27, 2012: Topsham, ME presented by Jennifer Barbour
About me¤ Blogger, copywriter, new media consultant¤ Chief Engagement Officer (CEO) for Another Jennifer Writing Lab; author of another jennifer blog (anotherjennifer.com/blog) and Crossroads blog (crossroadsme.org/blog)¤ Started blogging in 2007
What we’ll cover¤ Basic blogging best practices¤ The anatomy of a blog post¤ Identifying and avoiding common grammar mistakes¤ Brainstorming your best categories / topics¤ Finding your voice¤ What to do after you publish a blog post¤ Time management tips
What we won’t cover¤ How to set up a blog¤ Technical aspects of blogging (i.e., how to use Wordpress, Blogger, etc.)¤ How to make sales through blogging
Why blog?¤ Establish expertise, thought leader status¤ Your platform to educate, advocate, entertain, etc.¤ Build brand awareness¤ Build a community¤ Drive traffic to your website (SEO)¤ Not to sell
Blogging best practices¤ Have a strategy (tweak as needed)¤ Keep posts simple and short, include an image¤ Aim for at least 1-2 posts per week (more in the beginning) – be consistent!¤ Use tags, categories, social media sharing options¤ Monitor and reply to comments¤ Share/publish posts on other social networks¤ Be authentic!
What your blog should include¤ Title and tagline (usually found in the header)¤ Options to subscribe via RSS feed and email¤ Categories + tags¤ An About and Contact page¤ Link to your website (if not part of your website)¤ Social media buttons
Anatomy of a blog post¤ Eye-catching, keyword rich title¤ Relevant, easy to read text¤ Image(s)¤ Helpful links¤ Sharing buttons¤ Properly categorized and taggedResource: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-tips-for-writing- great-blog-posts/
Writing a blog post¤ Most important info often goes in first paragraph¤ Tell a story¤ Use bold or italics to emphasize information¤ Bullets and lists make content manageable¤ Consider keywords in titles and in post¤ Invite your readers to comment ¤ Ask a question ¤ Don’t write the entire post
A few blog writing tips¤ Always proof read!¤ Write your post and then go back and delete excess words and punctuation¤ Read your post out loud before publishing¤ When in doubt, look it upResources: http://anotherjennifer.com/helpful-grammar-articles-and- resources-for-bloggers
Categories + tags¤ Categories – Table of Contents (your blog’s filing system)¤ Tags – Keywords (think search engines)**Take a few minutes to brainstorm the categories for your blog - If you already have categories, do they make sense? When’s the last time you blogged about those categories?
Blog Content Ideas¤ Your specific expertise¤ Success stories / testimonials¤ News / current events¤ Upcoming events¤ Helpful tips¤ Answer common questions¤ Guest post or cross-post¤ Write a regular series (ex., Philanthropy Friday)¤ Whatever is on your mind!
Answer this question*What can youraudiencerelate to?
Group Work¤ Break into groups and discuss topics for your blog. Give each other feedback! ¤ What should you write about? ¤ What do you want to accomplish with your blog? ¤ What does your audience want to hear from you? ¤ How can you encourage comments and sharing?
Creating a community¤ Write posts that invite interaction¤ Allow for user-generated content¤ Invite guest posts or guest post on other blogs¤ Respond to comments¤ Visit the blog of the person who commented on a post¤ Follow blogs¤ Get involved with blogging networks / communities
Amplifying your posts (online)¤ Facebook (pay attention to timing!)¤ Twitter¤ LinkedIn (groups in particular)¤ StumbleUpon (and other social bookmarking sites)¤ Email marketing¤ Blogging networks / communities¤ Comment on other blogs!
Amplifying your blog (everywhere)¤ On all your marketing materials¤ In your email signature¤ On your website (if not part of your website)¤ In “about” descriptions and/or bios on website, social media sites, etc.¤ On your business cards¤ Use QR codes (http://www.qrstuff.com/)
Time Management Tips¤ Dedicate a specific amount of time each week to blog, comment and share posts¤ Develop an editorial calendar (or have regular meetings)¤ Set up Google Alerts to keep track of topics (google.com/ alerts)¤ Use automatic publishing tools like NetworkedBlogs¤ Use scheduling tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck¤ Invite your audience to contribute posts