Blogging's Biggest Challenges and How to Overcome Them

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View the full recorded webinar at: http://bit.ly/13vp0Nt.

In this webinar, Search Mojo’s Kari Rippetoe and Todd Wickersty, Co-founder of Storyware, discuss some of the barricades to effective business blogging, and how marketers can benefit from the right platforms and processes to turn their blogs into a lean, mean, inbound marketing machine.

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  • ADD TAD
  • Alex: poll (Do you currently have a blog for your company?)
    Many of you may be asking yourself “why blog?” “What is all the hype about blogging and what could I possibly get out of it for my business?” Well, let’s first talk about the concept of content marketing, which I’m sure many of you have heard about already.
  • …and content marketing is really pretty hot right now. Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute will tell you that it’s actually been around a long time, and I don’t just mean in Internet years.
  • The example he usually points to, which is a great example of content marketing, is The Furrow, which is a magazine John Deere has been publishing since 1895. They still publish it, 117 years later, on their website and as an e-magazine. So, content marketing is nothing new, but the way digital marketing has evolved over the last 5 years or so to really emphasize the importance of social media, combined with major changes in the last couple years to Google’s indexing algorithms, have really brought content marketing to the forefront.
  • So now, more and more savvy marketers are starting to realize the importance of content marketing, and we see:
    More marketers including it in their marketing strategy
    And more resources allocated to it
  • …and blogging as a content marketing tactic is successful for marketers as well. Hubspot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report shows that consistent blogging, and the sweet spot here is once per day, boosts inbound marketing ROI. When I refer to inbound marketing, it means marketing tactics that are designed to attract prospects and customers who are looking for the kinds of solutions your company offers. And this is where blogging becomes so important, especially when it comes to SEO.
  • So now I’m going to talk about some of the SEO benefits you can enjoy from blogging.
  • First, Google loves content. Think of Google like the Cookie Monster, and C is for content. But not just any content. Google’s Panda algorithm update, which was first released in 2011, basically put the kaibosh on what they referred to as “low-quality sites” or “thin content” – meaning, sites with high-quality, original content rose to the top. So if you’re creating fresh, high-quality, useful content for your prospects and customers, and creating it on a consistent basis, then that’s the stuff Google really likes, just like freshly made, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. And we all know those are a heckuva lot better than stale cookies. And blogs are an easy way to create that fresh content that Google loves so much.

    But how does Google actually decide if a piece of content is of high enough quality?
  • Well, that’s where social sharing comes in. According to Searchmetrics, social signals account for 7 of the 8 ranking factors most highly correlated with Google search results - so you can see here, things like Google +1s, Facebook shares and comments, and tweets. So that means that social sharing factors significantly into how a piece of content ranks.
  • A third SEO benefit of blogging is something called Authorship, which is a type of rich snippet. We’ve actually been talking a lot about rich snippets lately, and the short explanation of what they are, and specifically, what authorship is, is a way to attribute a piece of content, such as a blog post, to a specific author in search results. So you see in the first example, Danny Sullivan’s photo is shown as a thumbnail next to a Google search result for his author profile on Search Engine Land. In the second example, you see a search result for a blog post I wrote on Search Mojo’s blog, and you see the same thumbnail of my photo next to it. Well, here’s how that looks on the search results page.
  • The blog post with my photo has a top ranking, plus my post on Google+ promoting it is ranked 6th, while Search Mojo’s Google+ post about it ranks right behind. Those thumbnails appearing next to those search results actually give the results more credibility and draw more eyeballs. So even those 6th and 7th results could get more clicks than the results above it. In fact…
  • Eyetracking study showing where people look on the page
    Fourth entry with a rich snippet gets actually more visibility than the top listing
    So we can see it increases visibility for organic listings, even if they are not the top listing

    This is a major SEO benefit that comes with blogging, since you can use the Authorship rich snippet for your blog posts.
  • Now all of this is well and good, but many of you might be thinking “But content marketing and blogging isn’t as easy as it seems.” And you’re right. Content marketing ain’t easy. And in fact, marketers biggest challenge is producing enough content. But, I’d like to ask you that now. Alex? (poll: what is your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging)
  • So let’s now try to address some of your biggest challenges when it comes to blogging with a step-by-step process to help you make blogging more efficient.
  • First of all, it’s important to establish the reasons why you want to blog in the first place. Think of the specific goals you want to achieve by blogging. Is it to build credibility and thought-leadership in your industry for individual authors or your company as a whole? Is it to generate awareness and leads or sales? Is it to build an industry resource? There are so many different things you can do with a blog, but you must first have your goals in mind, otherwise you really won’t know how best to proceed. And you’re blogging for your business, so you should think about (click) how blogging is going to tie back to the business and help you achieve your business goals. (Click) And you’ll want to think in terms of long-term and short-term goals as well. You might have a long term goal of getting more customers from your blog, but a short term goal of increasing your social media following.

    (Click) And you want to ask yourself, as you’re setting your blogging goals, if they make sense for your business and if they’re actually attainable. I was thinking recently of a local coffee shop. They ultimately want to get more customers in the door, but is blogging going to help them achieve that goal. It may or may not, but these are the sorts of questions you have to ask yourself.
  • The next step is to think about what you’re going to post about. Now that you have your goals outlined for your blog, you can start to brainstorm the kinds of posts you would want to write to ultimately achieve those goals. At this point, you don’t need to start thinking of specific topics, but just having a really good idea of what kinds of posts you should write will get you half the way there. As you’re doing this, a really helpful tool you could use is a mindmap. What you see here is a mindmap I created of different types of blog posts we might write for the Search Mojo blog, and I created this using a free tool called bubbl.us. As you can see, I have some high-level blog post types like Webinar, General Observations, Resource, etc. and then I’ve broken out sub-topics from those.
  • Now that’s a good starting point, but then you’ll want to think of the actual topics you’ll be writing about. And really, the sky’s the limit, but definitely think about how your blog posts tie back to your business. You always have to remember your blogging goals. But here are some ideas you could consider:
    Answer some of your customers’ questions. Marcus Sheridan, who blogs at thesaleslion.com and is a huge proponent for blogging and content marketing in general, will say this over and over again – if you’re not sure what to write about in your blog, answer your customers’ questions. And really, what better easier way is there to write posts that undoubtedly tie back to your business, because you’re helping to solve your customers’ problems.
    Make announcements. This could be a sale, a new product or feature, a new location – anything that you would want to announce to the public any other way, is worth a blog post.
    Post lists. You’ve probably seen hundreds of blog posts out there with lists – and in fact, I posted one yesterday that was a list of blogging statistics. And this is because readers generally love these kinds of posts. List posts are a really easy way to aggregate content together into a congruent blog post that is relevant to your audience.
    Blog posts don’t have to be a 500-word essay. Sometimes they can just consist of a compelling photo or video, with minimal expository text. And in fact, Todd will be touching on this coming up shortly. But the point is that photos and videos can make very good blog posts by themselves.
    Write posts that give step-by-step how-tos. If you’re blogging for a bank, for example, you might provide a step-by-step on how to apply for a home loan. Or if you’re blogging for a university, you might write a post showing incoming freshman how to prepare for their first year in college.
    And these are just a few ideas. Like I mentioned, the sky’s the limit, so you can really let your creativity run wild to write what you think will resonate with your audience.

  • The third step is to determine who is going to write all these posts. Now here at Search Mojo, I consider myself very lucky in that we have a lot of folks here on staff who have knowledge in a variety of areas pertaining to online marketing, so they all contribute to our blog, and we’re able to post roughly 3-5 times a week. However, I realize that not every business has a staff of people who are all willing and able to blog. So you’ll need to think about the resources you have available to you, which will also help to set the bar for how often you’re able to post, which I’ll talk about shortly. But what you really want to think about here, mainly if you have more than just a few people on staff, is who has knowledge in what area, and will their knowledge help you to achieve those blog business goals. For example, let’s use our previous example of blogging for a bank or financial services company. You might have someone on staff who has expertise with home loans, and someone else who knows a lot about retirement accounts, and another person who has knowledge about investment banking. Those are the resources you should be tapping into to write for your blog.
  • The fourth step is to decide when and how often you’ll be writing blog posts. Now as I mentioned before, the resources you have available will help you to determine how often you’re able to post. You might just be a one-person shop, in which case you’d be the only person blogging. In that case, you could consider opening your blog to guest posts, which could certainly help you to bear that load. But that’s a completely different topic, which perhaps I’ll go into someday in a blog post.  But what will really help you out at this stage of the process is an editorial calendar, where you can record, for each date in the calendar, the topics you plan to write about. In the example here, you can also see a column for important dates, so you can include holidays, special promotions or sales, or any other important dates you may want to plan blog posts for. You could also include columns for the author of the post, if you have more than one person writing, as well as brief abstracts or notes. Content Marketing Institute actually has a really great editorial calendar template in Excel you can grab at the URL shown.
  • Now a major part of the process when you make the decision to start blogging is what blogging platform are you going to use. And I’ll be passing it over to Todd Wickersty to tell you more about what platforms are available to you, but first I believe Alex has our final poll for today.
  • Thank you Kari/Alex.

    About 8 to 10 years ago, this is what blogging was like when it began to achieve popularity outside of the tech space. It was labor-intensive. Not only did you have to take the time to write an article or essay, but you had to deal with technical issues, such as slow connections and clunky interfaces. You were also chained to your desk or laptop.
  • Now the experience is much more enjoyable, not only to publish content, but also to consume it. 8 to 10 years ago most of us relied on email and surfing the web to find content. Some of us started using RSS and Google Reader (RIP).

    Thanks to the technical advancements in mobile and social networks like Twitter, Read Later services like Instapaper, reading and consuming blogs is much more easier and fun.

    Publishing a blog is also much easier than it used to be. First of all, blogging is no longer just about writing essays and articles. Using photography, videos, and audio, such as podcasts, can get your point across just as well. And the tools that are out there now are much more robust and user-friendly than they used to be.
  • 3 of the most popular blogging tools today are Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger. I plan to dive into each one over the next few minutes.
  • Let’s start with the oldest of the 3 platforms – Blogger.

    Launched during the days of Y2K, Blogger has been credited for helping to popularize the blogging format. One of the co-founders is Evan Williams, who also co-founded Twitter. Google purchased Blogger in 2003. Williams is also behind one of the more recent blogging platforms that is still invite only – Medium. I encourage you to check it out.

    But back to Blogger. It’s free and it’s a hosted solution, meaning you don’t have to find another company to host Blogger.

  • WordPress, which is probably the most well-know blogging platform was launched just over 10 years ago. While it launched as a blogging platform, it’s much more than that now. WordPress is used to power thousands of websites as a content management system. Even further, WordPress can be used as a platform to develop additional features and functionality. For example, my company has built a membership database within WordPress, which is accessed and used on a members-only portion of a website.

    There are two main options for WordPress:
    The WordPress software, which I will refer to as the self-hosted version
    WordPress.com
  • WordPress.org is the home for the self-hosted version. In order to use the self-hosted version, you must download, install and have another company host WordPress. The process as WordPress puts it takes less than 5 minutes (and it really does).

    The self-hosted version is for those of you who want to do things yourself or if you decide to hire another company to design your blog. It offers a lot of flexibility since you have access to the code.

    Given that, WordPress.org also contains a wealth of information and support forums to help the millions of people who use the self-hosted version.
  • WordPress.com is WordPress’ hosted option. You don’t have to download and install WordPress. Everything is taken care of at WordPress.com.

    WordPress.com comes with a lot of features. It’s a great option, but it doesn’t have as much flexibility and options as the self-hosted version.
  • Tumblr is the new kid on the block. It’s six years ago and was just purchased by Yahoo!. Tumblr has achieved phenomenal growth over the past 3 years. Tumblr is now searched more than the term blog on Google.

    Like the others Tumblr is free and hosting is taken care of.

    Unlike the other platforms, Tumblr launched as part blogging platform/part social network. It is most popular among the 18-34 age demographic. We are seeing a lot more brands embracing and launching blogs on Tumblr over the last 6-9 months.

    Tumblr can be used like the other platforms as your primary blog, but many brands and bloggers launch a blog on Tumblr to focus on one topic. For example, NPR has 8 tumblr blogs.
  • So the million dollar question is which one should you choose.

    Well that depends on your needs, your requirements.

    All three do a great job with the basics of publishing content, but you might need more than that.
  • When it comes to features and flexibility, you can’t beat the self-hosted version of WordPress. Since you have the code and the database, you can do almost anything with it and many developers have.

    WordPress is open source. Because of that web designers and developers have produced thousands of plug-ins and themes that you can add to the WordPress software. Plug-ins provide additional functionality, such as photo galleries, contact forms, or even SEO configuration. Themes are the design templates. There are lots of free ones and premium themes as well, which typically cost no more than $80.

    Since third-party designers and developers can build upon the WordPress software, the options to customize your blog are much more robust than Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress.com.


  • For those of you that are new to Tumblr, you might have heard that it’s good for posting photos. That’s true. Tumblr is a highly effective tool for blogs that use visual content to communicate their stories. Given our lower attention spans and the never-ending amount of content on the web, using photos and videos are a great way to capture attention.

    The most effective posts on Tumblr start with a photo, video, infographic, or animated gif followed by 2-3 paragraphs of copy. The visual content captures the attention of the audience enough so that they read the supporting text. This is much more effective format than posting the copy without the visual content.

    Many Tumblr themes are geared towards visual content because of this.
  • Posting to a blog via a mobile device is only going to continue to grow and with it the importance of a solid mobile experience. This is where I expect we will see the most improvement over the next 12 months.

    Tumblr has already taken huge strides over the past 12 months improving their mobile apps on both iOS and Android. They also just launched a Windows mobile app. The Tumblr mobile experience from both a posting and consuming perspective is much better than WordPress and Blogger’s experience. This makes it an even stronger argument if you plan to base your blog on the use of visual elements to get reader’s attention.

    The official Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger apps are all free. I would recommend playing with them all first if mobile posting is high on your list of priorities.
  • From a social standpoint, you can’t go wrong with any of the platforms. All include hooks to share content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social networks. That’s common place these days.

    If you are looking to build another community in a new channel, then you might want to consider Tumblr, WordPress.com, or Blogger (from a Google+ perspective). As I mentioned earlier, Tumblr has been a social network since day one and they put a huge emphasis on discovery, tagging, and content curation. Tumblr introduced likes before Facebook did and popularized the act of reblogging. Much of the social activity and engagement on Tumblr happens within the Tumblr dashboard, which is similar at a high level to the Facebook news feed or Twitter stream. This where you consume the blogs you follow and can post, like, reblog, and comment.

    As Tumblr increased in popularity, WordPress.com introduced similar social features. Given that Blogger is owned by Google, there have been enhancements over the years to integrate Blogger with Google+. In April of this year, for example, Google+ comments can also appear in the comment section of the same blog post in Blogger.

    Again from a social standpoint, you can’t go wrong with any of the options. My advice is to determine your goals from a social standpoint and pick the platform that best meets those goals.

    In fact, that’s my advice in general. Make a list of your needs and a list of your nice to haves and match up the platforms against your list. You might decide you need more than one blog on more than one platform. I see that a lot with WordPress and Tumblr.

    Either way, you can’t go wrong with any of these great platforms.
  • Kari
  • Blogging's Biggest Challenges and How to Overcome Them

    1. 1. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com BLOGGING’S BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM Kari Rippetoe, Content marketing manager Marketing mojo Todd wickersty, Co-founder Storyware
    2. 2. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com TODAY’S PRESENTERS KARI RIPPETOE Content Marketing Manager Marketing Mojo @KariRippetoe + Kari Rippetoe TODD WICKERSTY Co-Founder Storyware @toddwickersty
    3. 3. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com ABOUT MARKETING MOJO • Search engine marketing firm founded in 2005 › Search engine optimization (SEO) › Pay-per-click advertising management (PPC) › Social media advertising › Online reputation management • Headquartered in Charlottesville, VA › Office in Charleston, SC • Featured in the Washington Post, B2B Magazine, MarketingSherpa, Visibility Magazine and many blogs • Speakers at SMX Advanced, MarketingProfs, PubCon and more
    4. 4. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com OUR CLIENTS
    5. 5. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com Storyware is a design, development, and consulting shop in Charlottesville, Virginia that builds tools, themes, and strategies for content creators online. Storyware.us @storyware We have a long history working with storytelling and social media platforms. ABOUT STORYWARE
    6. 6. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com Some of the brands and personalities that we have worked with are The Home Depot, Tumblr, Dave Matthews, Tim McGraw, The Scout Guide, Spotify, and Virgin Atlantic. STORYWARE CLIENTS
    7. 7. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WHY BLOG?
    8. 8. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com
    9. 9. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com JOHN DEERE’S THE FURROW MAGAZINE
    10. 10. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com MARKETERS LOVE CONTENT MARKETING • Percentage of B2B marketers using content marketing1: 91% • Percentage of marketers increasing their content marketing budget in 20131: 54% • Average percentage of budget spent on content marketing: 33% 1: Content Marketing Insitute: B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America
    11. 11. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com …AND BLOGS, TOO
    12. 12. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com SEO BENEFITS OF BLOGGING
    13. 13. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com 1. GOOGLE LOVES CONTENT Content
    14. 14. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com 2. SOCIAL SHARING
    15. 15. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com 3. AUTHORSHIP
    16. 16. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com
    17. 17. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com Source: Justin Briggs, http://justinbriggs.org/how-does-google-authorship-impact-ctr
    18. 18. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com CONTENT MARKETING AIN’T EASY Marketers biggest content marketing challenge: PRODUCING ENOUGH CONTENT1 1: Content Marketing Institute: B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America
    19. 19. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF BLOGGING
    20. 20. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com STEP 1: WHY DO YOU WANT TO BLOG? • What are your ultimate business goals you want to achieve by blogging? • Long-term? Short-term? • Do these goals make sense for your business, and are they attainable?
    21. 21. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com STEP 2: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO POST ABOUT? Bubbl.us
    22. 22. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com IDEAS FOR BLOG TOPICS • Answer customers’ questions • Make announcements • Post lists • Photos/videos • Give a how-to • LET YOUR CREATIVITY RUN WILD!
    23. 23. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com STEP 3: WHO’S GOING TO WRITE THE POSTS
    24. 24. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com STEP 4: WHEN/HOW OFTEN WILL YOU POST? http://bit.ly/EdiCalendar
    25. 25. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com BLOGGING PLATFORMS Todd wickersty storyware
    26. 26. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WHAT BLOGGING USED TO BE LIKE
    27. 27. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com BLOGGING IS MUCH MORE DELIGHTFUL NOW THANKS TO TECHNOLOGY, SPECIFICALLY THE TOOLS USED TO POWER AND MANAGE BLOGS. WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW
    28. 28. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com MOST POPULAR BLOGGING TOOLS TODAY Tumblr Wordpress Blogger
    29. 29. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com BLOGGER • Launched in 1999. Purchased by Google in 2003. • Credited for helping to popularize the blogging format. • It's free and hosted by Google.
    30. 30. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WORDPRESS • Launched in 2003 • There are over 68 million WordPress siteshttp://en.wordpress.com/stats/ • Much more than a blogging tool • WordPress has grown into a website content management system (CMS) and a development platform which makes it more advantageous for using it as a website and blog. • Two main products: The WordPress software for self-hosted sites (WordPress.org) and WordPress.com
    31. 31. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WORDPRESS.ORG • WordPress.org is the hub for the WordPress software. • In order to use the WordPress software, you need to download, install, and host the software. Most hosting providers support WordPress requirements: http://wordpress.org/about/requirements/ • Download WordPress: http://wordpress.org/download/. • It's free!
    32. 32. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WORDPRESS.COM • WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress. • You can sign up and start blogging immediately. You don't have to worry about hosting and installing WordPress. • WordPress.com does not offer as many features and themes as the self-hosted version. • WordPress.com is free
    33. 33. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com TUMBLR • Launched in 2007. Purchased by Yahoo! in 2013. • Over 122 million blogs and counting (http://tumblr.com/about) • It's free and your blog is hosted by Tumblr. • Tumblr is more than a blogging platform. It's a social network.
    34. 34. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com vs. vs. WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
    35. 35. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com WORDPRESS: FEATURES & FLEXIBILITY
    36. 36. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com TUMBLR: VISUAL CONTENT & DESIGN
    37. 37. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com TUMBLR: MOBILE
    38. 38. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com Tumblr is a social network and has built-in sharing to Facebook and Twitter. In 2010, WordPress.com added social features such as reblogging and liking. Tight integration with Google+. SOCIAL FEATURES
    39. 39. @marketingmojo | #mojowebinar | marketing-mojo.com CONTACT Kari Rippetoe Google+: +Kari Rippetoe Twitter: @KariRippetoe Todd Wickersty Twitter: @ToddWickersty

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