Friday, August 12, 2011

Blogs: Still the place you should begin your social media campaign

Blogs: Still the place you should begin your social media campaign

You know social media is crucial to your marketing strategy, but if you're like many who have hesitated to jump in, you may be wondering where to begin. This very question often arises with my clients when discussing social media and other low- to no-cost marketing strategies. I've got to agree with Chris Brogan: Blogging offers, hands-down, the best ROI on your time and energy.

Before you tackle Facebook, start Tweeting, or create your LinkedIn profile, get your blog underway. There are a few keys to successful blogging:
  • Quality content
  • An image/graphic with every post
  • Posting on a regular schedule
  • Commeting on other relevant/related blogs  
But why should you start with a blog? What exactly is the power in this platform that began as an online journal tool?

Blogs allow you to do 6 important things:
  1. Generate lots of relevant content that the search spiders love. The World Wide Web turned 20 this week, yet generating traffice remains perhaps the biggest challenge for new sites. Because a blog is much more dyamic than a traditional website, in that the best bloggers are adding new content at least once a week, the search engines love well-populated blogs. A blog is the perfect platform through which to add gallons of relevant new content to your site. Not only will the spiders love this content and pull you up in the rankings, but if it's relevant to their searches, your readers and prospective clients will love your content, too.
  2. Work wonders in long-tail* searches. Generally speaking, smart bloggers focus their blogs around a reasonably narrow topic or niche, rather than taking a kitchen-sink, one-size-fits-all approach. When writing on such focused topics, an interesting thing tends to happen. Search results and traffic will wend their way to your blog via long-tailed queries that might never have occurred to you. Long-tail searches can generate a lot of traffic to a newer blog, with much less competition for those all-important rankings.

    * As explained by, "The term ‘long tail’ is used to describe the strategy of targeting less-competitive niche markets rather than the hugely competitive broad keywords. A long-tail keyword might be something like ‘Small Business Web Design,’ while the short-tail would be ‘Web Design.’"
  3. Produce high-quality, link-worthy content. Although links to your site from other well-populated sites are not as crucial to successful SEO as they once were, they are still important. But the only reason anyone will link to your blog is if you create content that's worth linking to. Producing regular, high-quality blog posts will give you something to offer site owners so that they will want to link to your blog.
  4. Become a credible expert. If you're new to your business or industry, one of the biggest challenges, both on- and offline, is becoming a credible expert. A blog can be a means to catapult right over that little difficulty, if you take the time to do your research and write posts that demonstrate your qualifications and expertise. A great blog post won't necessarily seal the deal for you, but it will lead prospects to you and open the door for an initial conversation. It can also demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your subject matter so that your prospects feel a certain level of comfort in doing business with you. A high-quality blog can also give you an advantage over the others in your industry if you become the person in your industry who stands out as the expert.
  5. Provide a focal point for your social media. Blogs are the organic nexis of any well-crafted social media campaign because they offer syndication tools that make it easy to link to other social media outlets such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
  6. Build rapport with your clients, prospects, readers, colleagues, vendors, and other interested folks. Once upon a time, not so long ago, when you wanted to contact a company, you scoured their packaging for their mailing address, wrote a letter, smacked a stamp on it, found a postbox, and crossed your fingers that someone who cared enough to write back would open the letter. Then came traditional websites, which allowed you to learn a lot more about the company – things like their mission statement, product descriptions, and even employment opportunities with their organizations. But there was still a disconnect between you, the consumer, and the folks running the company. Blogging has changed that. Now, companies – even large ones – use blogs to communicate directly with their customers. Take GoDaddy's Bob Parsons, for instance. He’s famous for his personal blog in which he offers commentary and advice to GoDaddy patrons. Think of your blog as your opportunity to sit down for a cup of coffee with every client or potential client. Chat with them. Be personal. Build a relationship. The fact that your readers can post feedback and comments  helps you create a conversation with them, which is the first step in building rapport.
So if you have a new mission, message, company, book, service, or product the world needs to know about, I encourage you to wholeheartedly embrace social media – but start with a blog.

Here’s to your successful blogging!


Next, I invite you to do 2 things next:

(1) Visit Write | Market | Design to download your free eBook copy of The First-Time Author's Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for YOU! (2) Visit my Facebook page — and "Like" it if you like it!

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