Blog Startup: Beginning the Conversation

Who’s going to read my blog? Why would anyone read my blog? I post enough on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Do I even have time to blog? These are just a few of the many questions and considerations that took place in my head when deciding whether to implement a blog on my web site. If you can identify with any one of these questions, I understand.

In my experience, it’s not enough to get started, but you want to start right – with the best strategy possible.

Thoughts to Consider:

  1. What is the purpose for my blog?

The key here is not just knowing what you are saying but also who you are talking to and why you are talking to that person or audience. This is important because if you lack focus when starting you will lack direction when moving; which means you will either hit and miss your target or both at any time.

Tip: If you are unsure of what your audience is expecting from you or what the value is that you offer…just ask! I always say, listen twice as much as you speak. Trust me, your audience will tell you.

  1. Define your voice.

Because blogging is a part of social media it is important to make your content conversational. To achieve this, you must know what type of conversation you are engaging. Are you personal or professional? Are you inspirational or educational?

If you write personally, don’t be afraid to be transparent. Personal is what you define it to be. Focus on content that you are comfortable sharing.

Tip: If your voice is professional, remember to be personal – people connect with people. Also, it is awesome to educate but don’t forget to inspire.

  1. Be visual. Pictures are worth 1,000 words!

Share your message with photos and videos. By using imagery, you can embed a push-pull strategy right within your content. No, this strategy does not just work for Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest, but it’s a great way to enhance your wording. Use imagery that will illustrate what you are sharing. Stock photos from Google™ are great or create your own by simply using your smartphone camera and editing apps.

Tip: I recommend Canva and Aviary by Adobe™ as great mobile applications for photo editing. In addition, one my favorite web-based editing sites is Pic Monkey. Also, use Pic Resize for quick photo resizing for those extra-large high-resolution photos that you struggle to load on your site.

  1. Allow yourself space to elaborate.

Your blog is the place where you can offer something “deeper” than your other social media channels. You may express or illustrate a thought on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or even Facebook. However, with your blog you can express, illustrate and elaborate that thought. Give yourself time and space to be multi-dimensional.

Tip: Not everyone is skilled in conversational writing. Try speaking your entries using a recording device and then transcribe them. Yes, it may take more time and effort but the results will be rewarding. Also, don’t forget to edit! A resource such as Grammarly is excellent to use when writing and even has an app for Mac users which works right from your desktop. You can also install the app on Google Chrome.

  1. Keep your blog alive!

Your blog should be a moving component to your brand or company. If your blog is included on your company or personal web site, you will want to make sure that it is consistently updated. No, you don’t have to blog every day or even every week. However, you want to make sure that your audience can see movement when visiting your web site. Having recognizable, updated content is a way to show that you are regularly engaged.

Tip: Never launch an empty blog! If you are just announcing your blog, make sure that people can view content when they visit for the first time.

Measure your movement by gauging the effectiveness of your engagement:

Give yourself time to see results and have a system of measurement for your engagement as well. Make sure you are using your other social media channels to pull traffic back to your blog. You can also use your blog to drive traffic to your other channels.

Google Analytics is one of the main tools that writers are using to measure their engagement. In addition, social media channels now have built in analytics as well. The use of all your analytics resources together will give you the best picture of your audience interaction. If you’re sharing blog marketing content on your other social media channels you will want to make sure you are including those engagement analytics in your measurement analysis.

Lastly, if you have the desire to grow and enhance your blog and are overwhelmed with the DIY approach, feel free to hire a consultant. Sometimes, just asking the right questions to get the right answers can give you the power start you need. Even if you consider yourself a blogging professional, there is nothing wrong with giving yourself an update from time to time!

 Written by Elliot Carlyle

The Makings of a Successful Blog from Content Curation to Performance

Blogs can be one of the easiest ways to reach your audience. But getting started can be nerve-racking if you’ve never done it before. Figuring out where to start, what to say, how to say it—it’s a lot to consider. But it doesn’t have to be scary.

With a few simple things to keep in mind, you can create a blog that resonates with your audience and achieves your goals.

Getting Your Message Out

First things first: think about what you want your blog to say then outline how you’re going to convey that message. With so much competition, it’s important to pick a topic that you can become the go-to expert on that your audience will actually find useful.

Once you’ve determined your topic, blogging is a lot like writing a paper. Start with an outline and build from there. Here’s an example breakdown:

Title: The title for your post carries a lot of weight. It’s the first thing people will read and should be short, use keywords, and define the topic. Remember that you’re writing for digital—not print— and people will be able to search. The title should include keywords that relate to the post and have high search rates (more on this later).

Introduction: Your intro should be captivating. State the main point of your post and provide a quick overview of what you’ll be discussing. This is where you hook your readers. Give them just enough information to pique their interest so that they continue reading and want to know more.Having a hard time getting started? Work on the main body first and come back to the intro. Just because it’s one of the first pieces readers will see doesn’t mean it has to be your starting point when writing. By working backwards, you can ensure that the sections within your post align.

Main Body and Proof Points: Have supporting statements that back up your main message. The more the better (fun fact: posts with more than 1,500 words outperform shorter posts). Make your blog easy to read by breaking up paragraphs and including bulleted lists if it makes sense.

Wrap Up: Bring everything together. This is a good opportunity to summarize your message and point readers to take some kind of follow-up action. If you’ve got additional pieces of collateral like a webinar or report, share it. Not only will it further prove that you are a subject matter expert, but it will also help you build relationships and pull in leads. Win-win-win.

Knowing Your Audience

As important as knowing your topic, so is knowing your audience and speaking their language. It sounds simple enough, but this will help you determine how much (or little) detail you need to go into on a topic. Use tools like Moz and Google Search Console to understand what your audience is searching for and what keywords to include that have big opportunity with small competition. These keywords should be used in the title and throughout the post.

The Nitty Gritty Details

Here are things to keep in mind for a successful post:

  • Drive Traffic: How people find your blog should go beyond a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Make sure you have supporting pieces like emails, social media posts, and updates on your website that lead to the blog. These should meet the needs of your audience, pertain to the sector your targeting, and compliment your overarching business goals.
  • Measure Your Audiences Behavior: If you’re not paying attention to how your content performs—how long someone stays on a page, where they go after, and what action they took on the site—it’s nearly impossible to understand what’s working. You have to look beyond the vanity metrics to understand who your audience is and what kind of content resonates and drives action.
  • Look at the ResultsGoogle Analytics is a quick, easy tool to use that can show you how well your blog performs and all it takes from you is including a tracking pixel. Use it to create dashboards, track visits, measure overall performance, and

Lastly, don’t forget to proof your post. There’s nothing worse than working on a great blog post only to find typos and grammar errors. Things like that not only throw readers for a loop, but you lose credibility. Ask a coworker or friend to read behind you. Not only will they be able to point out an errors, but they can also tell you if your post makes sense or not.

Written by Rachel Croyle. Special thanks to Madeline Turner for her help with this post.