Good afternoon students! My name is Amanda Steeley and I am the president and founder of Know Your NetWorks, a company that provides integrated web development, traditional marketing, and social media marketing services to build online brand awareness. I got started in this business when I offered to build a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account for TV Ears, a business that sells wireless listening devices, and learned that they weren’t the only organization that needed help. Today I’m going to talk to you about blogging and content creation.
Darren Rowe, the founder and editor of Problogger.com, provides various resources on his blog that answer the question, “What is a blog?” The best explanation for people who are new to blogging that I could relate to is defined by the bullet points you see on this page. Here are some facts to give you a better idea of what blogging is all about: (Read points.)
There are a lot of places you can blog for free, but Wordpress.com and Blogger.com are probably the two most popular. Additional free blogging sites include Tumblr.com and Posterous.com, among others. If you’re just getting started with blogging, any of these sites offer fairly easy to learn programs for blogging. You really don’t need to have any understanding of HTML or coding and you can create a fairly polished looking product. Since these sites are hosting your blog, that does mean that if anything ever happens to the site, your content would go with it. So if you use one of these sites and you value your content, you may want to save a copy in a Word document for your records.
I personally love Wordpress and got my start on Wordpress.com. Not only is it easy to use but if you want to transfer your content to Wordpress.org which offers self-hosting and more options in terms of design and functionality manipulation, you’ll already be familiar with the program. (We’ll get into self-hosting more later.)
So, two biggies are probably Wordpress and Blogger. In total, there are about 57 million Wordpress sites, about half of which are hosted by Wordpress.com. (The rest are hosted privately – we’ll talk more about that later.) Of the sites that are hosted by Wordpress, over 294 million people view more than 2.5 billion pages each month. Every day, over 500,000 posts are added to Wordpress sites along with over 400,000 comments. That’s a lot of blogging! Blogger stats are a little less clear, and although I know there are a lot of people who use it for blogging, I can’t tell you how many. For more information compairing Wordpress.com and Blogger.com, check out the document “Blogger.com vs. Wordpress: How they compare”
There are many reasons that people blog, and often several of these reasons may overlap. For example, after I had my daughter, I thought I’d try to join the community of “Mommy bloggers” out there and started newmommyandbaby.com. Three reasons, in no particular order, motivated me to start this blog. One, I was completely overwhelmed by being a new mom and I thought this would be a good way to connect with other new moms and share my experiences. Two, I knew that if I set up a self-hosted site, I could set-up e-commerce and possibly make a profit. And finally, if all else failed, I knew that I would at least learn from the experience. In the long-run, I wasn’t motivated enough to blog about myself and the Mommy blogging community was too over-saturated for me to make a profit without serious dedication (according to emarketer.com there are 4 million mommy bloggers, a number that will increase to 4.4 million by 2014) , so I refocused my blogging attentions to companies that needed my services.
Regardless of whether you want to blog for personal reasons for business reasons, if you want viewership, you need to start your blog with focus. If you’re working alone, this will take some soul searching, and if you’re working with someone, this will require some dialogue. Once you determine who your target market is, why they are on the internet, and what they are looking for, you can begin to develop content that will keep them coming back for more. Just remember that good, relevant content alone will not increase your visibility by much. If you have a low budget, you will at least want to be sharing your posts on Twitter and Facebook and using relevant keywords to increase your search engine visibility. If you have a greater budget, use of tools like Google AdWords and email marketing campaigns will really help your numbers grow.
Once you’ve determined your target market and you begin to construct your posts, you’ll want to be sure to include a variety of posts and types of media on your blog. Just keep in mind the amount of time YOU spend on any given page at any given time. If you’re going to do a lot of writing, make sure it’s interesting or your viewers won’t stick around. Interspersing items like lists, highlighted quotes, images, and videos, will all help keep your viewers attention. Reaching out to other people in your field and asking them to write guests posts will benefit you two-fold: not only will this elevate your status as a well-rounded resource, but it will brand their post with your name and increase visibility for both of you.
After your blog starts to take flight in terms of initial development and content production, you will need to add engagement practices to your to-do list. Social media marketing is all about engagement. If people take the time to read what your saying, and go so far as to comment on what your saying, they want to know that you value their comments enough to respond promptly. This is especially important if you are working on behalf of someone else’s brand. Your response (or lack thereof) can make or break a visitors impression of the brand. So how can get you get engaged? (Read 5 points.)
As I mentioned before, your first step to creating a successful blog is to really understand your target market. Once you’ve done that, you can begin the research process. Be sure to organize your research in a way that allows you to reference it whenever needed. Compile a list of the best websites, blogs, and social sites to find ideas for content that you can refer back to as needed. Brainstorm ideas for the upcoming month at least 2 weeks in advance so you’re ready to hit the ground running when it’s time to blog, and record these ideas in an editorial calendar. As you think of ideas, write them down so you can refer to them when your stuck, and consider developing a series of posts on a particular topic that will keep your reader coming back for more.
When people first started keeping online journals, they were more often than not used to rant or just get their thoughts out in a stream of consciousness. Since blogs have developed and grown into social media marketing tools, so too has the need for more focused content. That being said, a blog should still reflect your voice and capture who you are. Don’t be afraid to be funny, passionate, or inquisitive, just keep in mind who your audience is and why they read your blog as opposed to someone elses.
Before you publish, remember the importance of making revisions and editing. Read your post out loud to yourself, send it to a friend to review… remember that you might have great points, but if your editing is not thorough, people will recognize that you a published a piece that wasn’t edited. A blog is a great resume/portfolio piece and anytime you are working on a blog, whether for yourself or a client, you are building your portfolio. Don’t forget to source your material and link back to sites you reference.
Thank you for your time ECU Pirates. I hope I’ve helped you grasp a better understanding of what blogging is and how to do it. Have a great semester!
Blogging 101<br />What is blogging? <br />Why do people do it?<br />How can it help me in my career?<br />
What is blogging? <br />“A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. <br />The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. <br />Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”.<br />Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. <br />A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.<br />A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files).<br />Blogs use a conversational style of documentation.<br />Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”, such as Washington, D.C.’s political goings-on. <br />Some blogs discuss personal experiences.”<br />
Where can I blog? <br />Blogger.com<br />Wordpress.com<br />Posterous.com<br />Tumblr.com<br />
Why do people blog?<br />To make money.<br />Champion a cause.<br />Build community and connect with others.<br />Share knowledge and/or information.<br />Promote ourselves, or creations, or our businesses.<br />Entertain, encourage, or inspire others.<br />Record personal experiences. <br />Source – blogswithwings.com<br />
I get it. Now what? <br />Three Questions:<br />Who’s your Target Market?<br />Why are they on the internet? <br />What are they looking for? <br />
What to include on your blog:<br /><ul><li>YouTube videos
Images/Cartoons (be sure to attribute and link back when you can)
Posts that read like a news article (informative/narrative)
Posts that are easy to skim (bullet points, lists, highlighted quotes)
Guest posts </li></li></ul><li>How to get engaged… <br />Respond immediately to comments (within 24 hours if possible).<br />Pose questions at the end of your blog posts that prompt readers to comment. <br />Check out the blogs of people who comment on your posts and comment back. <br />Contribute meaningful commentary to blogs you enjoy while linking back to your blog. <br />Pimp your blog – Invite friends from your social networks to read your blog. <br />…WITH YOUR READERS!<br />
Organization for long-term blogging<br /><ul><li>Research