Many organizations and individuals use blogs to express themselves, advance their brands, drive traffic and produce sales. As a result, blogs continue to grow. Tumblr alone has over 120 million blogs. Interestingly enough about 1 in 3 bloggers are moms. Below are some quick wins and lasting concepts for anyone that wants to run a successful blog. It has helped my blog Socialnomics become a Top 10 Business Blog according to PC Magazine.
- Commitment> Blogs are free like a puppy, not free like a beer. In order for them to grow strong and healthy, they require time and care. It’s dependent on many factors (amount of posts, authors, skill set of bloggers), but you can anticipate a 30-90 minute commitment per day to run a successful blog.
- Consistency> Unless you are someone like Bono and whatever you do or think will be of interest to people, you will need to pick a general content strategy for your blog. Is your blog going to center around politics or police chase scenes? How niche is your blog going to be >> General Politics or Republican Female Senators? Are you going to focus on breaking the news or reporting on the news? The more specific and consistent your content, the better chance your blog has at success. Remember, you are competing with over 200 million other blogs! You need to standout in order to be outstanding.
- Audience> You should not be writing for everyone. As you begin, determine whom you are writing for. As you progress you should continually check your blog analytics, subscriber data and audience surveys to determine who your audience truly is. More often than not, you will be surprised at your findings. Write posts tailored to your audience, this sounds simple, but remember that simplicity wins. Also, so many people forget about their most important asset; their audience!
- Momentum Marketing> Take advantage of stories that “spring onto the scene” and how they relate to your audience. For example if a new term like “Tiger Blood” becomes a trendy topic (it was); be creative about how you can ride the momentum. If you are a Foodie Blog you may want to write a post on a recipe for a Tiger Bloody Mary or comment on Charlie Sheen’s Tiger Blood Energy drink (sadly, this is a real product). If your company is a research company than a post that discusses the differences between human blood and tiger blood would be appropriate. Many people will be doing searches for Tiger Blood on Google, so by riding the momentum, you can dramatically increase your traffic. Our socialnomics.com traffic spiked during the Royal Wedding because we were focusing on all the social media that was being used to cover the Royal Wedding. Soon in the search engines we ranked high for “Pippa Middleton.”
- Findable> Once you have a blog, make sure you post it on all your existing assets so that people can find it. For example use a tool like wisestamp.com to have a nice looking image that links to your blog. Make sure you use RSS feeds so that users can subscribe to your RSS. E-mail is still a top performing digital marketing tool, so allow users to sign-up in newsletter fashion on your blog. Capture their e-mail address for future mailings outside of your newsletter feed as well (make sure they opt-in for this). On your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts in the profile section make sure that you have a link to your blog. The links from your profiles can drive tons of traffic!
- Sharable> So many blogs make it difficult for users to easily share their content. Ensure that you use a social widget that allows readers to easily share on their personal Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social accounts. AddThis is the most used widget and they provide easy code to copy and paste into your blog (http://www.addthis.com/)
- Searchable> The number one driver of traffic to business blogs is still search engines. Yet, so many blogs forget to properly optimize their posts. This is so important. The more specific the better. Example – the keyword for this post isn’t blog it’s business blog. Specific and relevant to my LinkedIn audience.
- Mobile> When you are ready, also, make sure your blog is easy to find on mobile devices. We suggest making a mobile app similar to Mashable, Huffington Post, SmartBriefs or TechCrunch.
- Contributors> As your blog gains momentum you may have the ability to recruit others to write posts. This is huge. Some blogs require the writer to only post original content. I, for the most part, disagree with this. While it would be nice to be the only blog that has a particular post, I also understand, that the writer, wants to develop their own brand as well. Remember that these columnists are volunteers – so treat them as such. When your blog becomes very successful than you will have people lining up to contribute to the blog (e.g. Mashable, Huffington Post).
Feel free to read more tips and tricks at Socialnomics or in my book Socialnomics: How Social Media Changes the Way We Live and do Business.
Erik Qualman is often called a Digital Dale Carnegie. He is a #1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote Speaker. Socialnomics was a finalist for Book of the Year. His latest book, Digital Leader, propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling. Twitter | LinkedIn