I’m at the Nation Retail Federation event in New York until the 12th of January and so far it’s been a great event. I’ve joined in many discussions with senior level executives on collaboration and supply chain management in the retail space. However, I’ve also participated in many less advanced and business focused discussions such as how do create a successful blog? It’s interesting and even somewhat funny that the same person who manages a supply chain, a CRM program, or company’s collaborative efforts, still wants to know how to create and maintain a successful blog. I thought I’d take a little break from our usual business topics and provide some good ‘ol fashion blogging tips that I have used over the years.
- Pick a topic/focus for the blog, it doesn’t need to be too narrow such that it only addresses one topic but you also don’t want to make it too broad so that covers everything under the sun either. Take this blog for examples, I cover topics related to social business but for the most part when you come here you know what you’re going to get.
- Make sure to create content regularly, when I first started my blog I was writing at least once a day to make sure that I had plenty of content for people to read when they came to my site. Many syndication sites also look for a certain amount of created content before they start syndicated your content. Once your readers become accustomed to your blog, they will get used to your writing schedule. Overtime you can decrease the quantity of your writing if you find it a bit daunting. Now for example, I write around 3 times a week instead of 6 or 7.
- Write as many blogs for OTHER people as you can. I’ve written many many guest posts for other people, why? Two reasons, the first is that it helped me with my search engine rankings since I was able to get more links to my site with the controlled link that I wanted pointing back to me. Second, I wanted to expand my reach and readership, by writing guest blogs for other people I was now able to reach THEIR audiences.
- What does success look for your blog? If you want to start blogging you should at least understand why you want to blog and what you would define as being successful. For me it’s pretty simple, I enjoy the increases in traffic I get, the interaction with all of the readers, and it’s just fun for me. I don’t monetize the blog in any way but I do think it helps provide a bit of credibility and visibility.
- Write what you are passionate about, if you don’t then blogging becomes a chore and you will give up. If you blog about something because you love it then it really doesn’t matter if you are making money off of it or if you’re getting hundreds of thousands of readers, you’re doing something you love and that’s all that matters.
- If you want to become a thought leader or perceived expert in the field then it’s important to continuously educate yourself on topics related to your industry. You should always be aware of hot topics, advances, news and events, case studies, and anything else relevant to your field. Having a “pulse” on the industry is important and will be expected by your readers.
- Create a blog that is clearly branded and designed to deliver the message you are looking to carry across. I first started with a basic wordpress theme (which was free), but overtime upgraded into something customized specifically for me.
- Make your content easy to read and easy to share. My posts aren’t too long and you will notice that it’s quite easy to share the content I create and to connect with me through various social channels. This is important because it helps build a community around your blog, which is essentially your “home base.”
- Get syndicated through as many places as possible that are relevant to your industry. You will have to do a bit of research on Google to find out who syndicates what type of content but essentially syndication is a simple way for other people to help share and distribute the content you create.
- Interact with people that interact with you. Common sense I know, but still important to mention. If someone leaves you a comment or starts a discussions, try to join in.
- Submit your site to ranking engines, this is a great way to help people discover your content. My favorite site for this is AdAge (which you can see in the bottom right hand corner of this blog) which has the Power 150, a collection of the top 150 most influential marketing blogs in the world.
- Share your own content across any relevant social channels or marketing collateral that you may have, this includes things such as Twitter, Facebook, email signatures, business cards, brochures, and anything else that people will see, don’t be shy.
- Don’t be scared of drafts, you don’y always have to publish something right away, you can save material and then come back to it later, it’s a great way to avoid writers block when you’re stuck mid-stream. You can also read other blogs in the industry you are in to get ideas and tips for content and/or ideas.
- Multi-media is your friend, it’s great to mix it up sometimes, you can use videos, images, tables, charts, and anything else to spruce up your content, plain text is usually boring to read.
- Don’t force it! If you don’t feel like writing something or you don’t have any ideas then don’t write, you want to create GOOD content not just content for the sake of it.
- Track your site with analytics, something like Google Analytics is free and easy to use, so you really don’t have any excuses here.
- Introduce yourself, it’s great to have an “about” page (or anything else you want to showcase) that lets your readers know who you are and what you do. People want to know who is creating the content and who they are connecting with, it’s frustrating to read something that appears to be created by an anonymous person.
- Be yourself. You aren’t writing a college thesis here, let your personality and your ideas come through. It’s your blog and your perspective is what makes it unique, don’t worry about trying to sound like someone else, be you.
These are the tips and ideas that came to mind but I’m sure you might have a few others, what else would you recommend?