We are pleased to have Pilar Galiana as a guest blogger. She is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with brands like Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Nokia Canada and TD Bank to mention a few. These days she runs her own small business, you can find her mobile site here, www.ellasays.ca.
Learning from those who have gone before you
My standard advise for anyone venturing into the world of social media is to lurk first. In polite society, lurking may not be the acceptable behavior, but in social media, lurking is part of the experience.
And yes, Blogs are a part of social media, in fact when done right, your blog will be the hub of all your social media. Tools like Facebook and Twitter are great for sharing messages with large audiences quickly, and when you blog you will likely use these mediums to share your blog posts with your followers. However, with Facebook and Twitter, your messages quickly get lost within a timeline - if a particular follower doesn’t check their Facebook or Twitter stream when you post and they don’t scroll back through old messages, they may never see what you have said. Not so on your blog - on your blog your content lives on.
The good thing about lurking in the blog world is that you don’t need to have a blog to lurk and learn from others.
There are over a hundred million blogs out there and a large amount of them are personal blogs created and maintained by individuals and although some of these have become successful money making ventures, I would guess that most are simply created for people’s need for self expression. Corporate blogs are growing, but still make up less than 10% of the blogosphere. Entrepreneurs make up about 13% of the blogosphere - they blog to share expertise, gain professional recognition and attract new clients (Technorati - State of the blogosphere 2011).
Successful blogs create a lot of unique content on a consistent basis (yes, I did say a lot). They have clear and focused goals that are easy to understand and execute against and ultimately are supported by senior management.
Before you can develop these achievable and focused goals, and create on-going content calendars to feed the blog beast, you really need to research other successful (and not so successful) blogs.
Now it is time for you to get to work. Your first assignment in your journey to starting a successful blog is to research. If you are old school you are going to need a pen and paper. If you want a digital note taking option that you can access from any devise, I strongly recommend you use Evernote.
First thing we want to do when we research blogs is find out who is talking about you - and if not about you, about your product, topic or competition. If you find good comments, jot down the links so you can link to these in the future. If you find not so good comments, make note of these too and and start thinking about how you could address these issues in a future blog post.
Assess the marketplace
What are others in your field doing? You wouldn’t start a new business without first understanding the competition, and you shouldn’t start a blog without first checking out what your competition is doing and how the public is reacting. If you don’t have any local competition (and good for you!), look at what people in other markets are doing. And while you do this, you need to take notes - write down what you like and what you don’t like. Use what you like to start building an editorial calendar...and keep what you don’t as a reminder of what you need to avoid.
Look for you audience
You really need to find your audience and learn what they are doing on-line. If you are a photographer and you are targeting brides, what do brides do on-line? What sites target brides and a what kind of content are they creating? What content get’s the most comments? Take notes - these sites will give you ideas for future posts and likely have some good in-depth content you may want to link to at some point.
Sites to emulate
Sometimes it isn’t our competition or even similar businesses that inspire us the most and that’s okay too. Find 3 - 5 successful blogs and follow them for the next 30 days. Watch how often the blog, what they blog about and how they react to comments.
How to find blogs
I already mentioned that there are likely over a hundred million blogs out there, so how do we find them? Corporate/company blogs are often the easiest to find, just search the company name and look for blog link in the sites navigation. You can also you a basic web search to find similar businesses as well.
Blog search engines are another way to find blogs. Technorati and Google blog search are two of the best tools to find blogs.
Over the next couple of weeks we will continue with tips and advice on how to start your blog the right way, please check back. And, if you find some great blogs, please share them with us and tell us why you think they are so great.
Your Guide to Starting a Blog the right way:
Week 2 - setting goals
Week 3 - Content planning
Week 4 - Types of blog posts
Week 5 - Writing for the web
Week 6 - Building traffic through Blogs
Week 7 - Never stop learning
The Blog tool is included with YWD’s “Small Biz” and “The Works” packages. It can also be added to the “Basic” package as a separate tool for just $10/month.
Learn more about YWD Blog
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