Marketing With Blog!

Marketers have found that blogs are excellent tools for communicating with their audience. Anyone who has something to sell or an idea to promote can benefit from using blogs.

Corporates like Nike are using blogs to build branding. Microsoft and Sun are using them to communicate with the developer community.

Blogs have a number of advantages that make them excellent tools for communication.

They are cheap to install and require little or no technical expertise. So the entry point for blogging is very low when compared to the expense of hiring a website designer.

While building a website is often out of the reach of most solo entrepreneurs, anyone can start a blog. If you can’t write or hate to write, you can start an audio or video blog. The possibilities are endless.

Blogs also help you create content that search engines love, and encourage linking from a number of other bloggers who write on similar topics. This makes them excellent tools for getting high search engine rankings and boosting your visibility.

They also encourage immediate responses from your readers and customers, so you can get feedback, tweak your campaigns and respond better to the market’s demands.

Blogs, and the RSS feeds they come with, help you syndicate your content online, boost your reach and influence and allow readers to control their communications with your company.

Your blog can be your selling point and help your prospects opt for you and your services over those of others.

Whether you’re an individual, entrepreneur, small business, consultant, coach, book author, independent filmmaker, actor, model, travel guide, work-at-home mom – someone who wants to promote their individual skills and talents or interests – there is immense potential in using blogs to promote your business.

Tip # 1: Choose The Topic Of Your Blog Well

Make sure you are targeting the right audience for your products. You might love golf, but you can’t use it to sell your products unless they’re meant for golfers.

You generally wouldn’t write about something like golf on a marketing blog, unless you’re using it as a metaphor.

Pick the topic that will attract the right audience – people who are looking for your products, but more importantly, people who are willing to actually spend money on them.

If you’re not an expert on your topic, but are learning about it, blog about your learning process. There’s no shame in being a learner, in admitting that you don’t know everything.

In fact you journey could even teach others who are learning and help them relate to your experiences. Products you recommend would then be easy to sell to this group because you’ve established the emotional connection that makes selling easier.

Tip #2: Spend Some Time Learning The Basics Of Blogging

You need to learn how to use your blogging software, which blog engine will give you the results you need. Decide how much time you want to spend on your blog.

Hire a blogging coach or buy a blogging tutorial. Spend some time learning about trackbacks, pingbacks, keywords and how to use them, linking, blogging etiquette.

When you know how to use the tools that are available to you, it becomes that much easier to focus on your goals and save time in the actual process of blogging.

Tip # 3: Don’t Sell

When you start writing a blog, forget about selling. Too many people use their blog like a sales letter. Those people just don’t “get it.” That’s not what a blog is about at all.

Blogs are about communicating – connecting with your audience. Use your blog to build relationships with your audience. State your opinions whether they are popular or not. Politically-correct or not.

A while ago I wrote an article on this titled “It’s a Blog, Not a Sales Letter” in which I recommend using your blog for branding yourself, building your reputation and communicating with your audience – and not just for making a sale.

As marketers we aim to sell. But when you blog, you have to forget about selling and focus on sharing. That doesn’t mean you give away all your secrets on your blog.

But it does mean that you should not use your blog for in-your-face marketing.

Your readers will be very put off if all they read on your blog is one sales pitch after another. People are not stupid. They know when they’re being sold.

The most unobtrusive way to sell is to write reviews about products and link to them, mention products in passing, write articles or tips and recommend products (yours or other people’s) and services on your blog.

Tip #4: Use Your Blog To Inform, Share and Entertain

The reasons why people read your blog is because they want three things.

1. They want information
2. They want to be entertained
3. They want to get to know you better

Blogs allow us to combine all these possibilities in a single medium.

Use your personality, opinions, expressions as a way of drawing readers to your content, and create good information to keep them coming back.

Multimedia blogs are especially good for this purpose – because they entertain and that adds a viral component to your marketing.

Remember to always be yourself. Don’t put on a fake persona. If you hire someone to blog for you be upfront about it.

#5: Become A Source Of News In Your Industry

Blogging culture thrives on linking to other blogs or news sources.

If you want to be part of that culture, benefit from it and grow with it, you need to listen to what others are saying, form your own opinions and comment on that.

Your readers will start looking at you as a resource of news and opinions about the industry you represent and that will build your brand equity.

But always remember to give proper attribution to your sources and be clear when you are quoting from someone or you could get into trouble.

#6: Use Your Blog To Network

Networking helps you build up a list of people who know and trust you enough to refer business to you.

By linking with others, whether A-list bloggers or your own peers, you can build your own influence and reputation in your blogosphere.

In part 2 of this article series, I provide tips on using your blog help you boost your marketing ROI and visibility online.

How To Build Traffic To Your Blog

With the growing interest in blogging as a means of online promotion and branding, a lot of marketers are starting blogs to promote their opinions, products, books and services.

But a blog is like a website. “Write and they will come” isn’t exactly a magic formula to bring in traffic by the boatload.

If you need to promote your website in order to build traffic to it, you need to promote your blog as well.

Here are some ways you can become a well-read and influential blogger.

1. Write Posts That People Will Want To Read

This should be common sense, but many marketers tend to forget that their readers are real people and that you need to use the principles of online copywriting to make your headlines and copy interesting to your readers.

If you write posts that people enjoy reading, they will reward you by returning to your blog regularly.

Make your posts conversational, pithy and topical. Keep them short and stick to one topic per post.

Write often and regularly so that both readers and search engines visit your blog more often.

2. Optimize Your Posts for Search Engines

I cover this topic in detail in my article on “Search Engine Optimization For Blogs”

But here are the most important rules to follow to get your posts listed for keywords of your choice.

  • Make sure your blog URL contains the primary keyword you want to optimize for
  • Use your primary keywords in the title of your post
  • Use your secondary keywords in the body of your post
  • Use your keywords in the anchor text of links in the body of your posts

3. Submit Your Blog and RSS Feed To Directories

If you publish a blog you should submit your blog and RSS feed to big directories like Yahoo and Dmoz, as well as the numerous blog directories and search engines.

Here is the best list I’ve found of places to submit your feed or blog, compiled by Luigi Canali De Rossi, who writes under the pseudonym Robin Good.

Best Blog Directory And RSS Suission Sites

Another list of sites to submit your Blog

4. Ping The Blog Services

There are a number of services designed specifically for tracking and connecting blogs. By sending a small ping to each service you let them know you’ve updated your blog so they can come check you out.

Bookmark the Ping-O-Matic ping results page so you can visit it and quickly ping a number of services with a single click.

5. Build Links To Your Blog

I recommend the methods here as the best ways to get links pointing to your blog.

  • Link to your blog from each page on your main website
  • Trackback to other blogs in your posts
  • Post legitimate comments on other blogs with related topics
  • Offer to exchange links with other similarly themed blogs and websites

6. Edit Your Blog Posts Into Articles

One of the best methods for promoting your website is to write articles and submit them to article directories.

The suggestion for extending this to edit your blog posts into articles and submit them to directories came from the coach at “Explode Blog Traffic” who also has other noteworthy suggestions at his blog.

You’ll find an extensive list of article directories here

7. Create Buzz About Your Blog

Creating a buzz about your blog posts and topic in the local and online media will give your marketing a viral component.

  • Create a controversy around your blog or it’s topic.
  • Distribute bumper stickers or other merchandise with your blog’s URL and tagline.
  • Write a press release about something newsworthy and tie it in with your blog topic.

8. Capture Subscribers By Email

It may seem strange for a blogger to send out updates by email, but email is still the #1 choice of most people who want to receive news and information.

Using a free service like Feedrner to manage your subscriptions is easy and it allows your subscribers to manage all their subscriptions from one interface.

However, if you want more control over your list and don’t mind mailing out the updates yourself, you can use an autoresponder system to capture and follow-up with subscribers.

These tips should give you a good start to building your blog traffic.

Will Spam-Blogging Be The Death Of Blogging?

Technorati reports that 30,000 – 40,000 new blogs are being created each day.

According to David Sifry, part of the growth of new blogs created each day is due to an increase in spam blogs.

What are spam blogs? They are fake blogs that are created by robots in order to foster link farms, attempted search engine optimization, or drive traffic through to advertising or affiliate sites.

They contain robot-generated posts made up of random words, with the title linking back to the blogger’s own pages.

Many bloggers see them as a way of getting their pages indexed quickly by Google and other search engines.

Sifry estimates that about 20% of the aggregate pings Technorati receives are from spam blogs. Most of this fake blog spam comes from hosted services or from specific IP addresses.

Those in the SEO world are well aware of this. There are even services like Blogburner that encourage creation of spammy blogs and spam-pinging to get your sites indexed quickly.

As a blogging evangelist, I wholeheartedly recommend blogging as an SEO tactic. But I also emphasize that you should use your blog for more than just SEO.

At the Spam Squashing Summit, blog services decided to collaborate to report and combat blog-spamming.

Technorati currently claims to catch about 90% of spam and remove it from the index. They also notify the blog hosting operators.

But I believe that they are fighting a losing battle. As I write this there are software and robots being created that will create spam-blogs more efficiently and in ways that will be harder to detect.

The SEO “black hats” are always far ahead of the technology and safeguards that these services can put in place.

Take down a few spam-blogs and hundreds more will arise.

Blogging evangelist and PR guru, Steve Rubel, sums up this dilemma rather well on his Micropersuasion blog.

He believes that its human nature for people to exploit new technologies, and that it’s really up to the search engines to help put a stop to these by undercutting the economics of blogspam, much like they did with nofollow and comment spam.

But the trade-off is that such a move would also reduce any impact that blogs have on search results.

Fact: The more you abuse a technology, the less effective it becomes.

Spam blogging will force search engines like Google to change their ranking algorithms and eventually assign less value to links from blogs.

Unless they put in safeguards to prevent robots from taking over, its safe to assume that blogging will become less effective as an SEO tactic over time.

Of course, the spammers will then just have to find new avenues and means to spam the engines.

But why ruin a good thing in the first place? Blogs are much more than just tools for search engine optimization.

A blog can be a great tool for personal branding and building relationships with your website visitors and customers.

Instead of using blogs for spam, focus on building content-rich sites and getting high-value links to them.

Don’t restrict yourself to just the SEO benefits of blogging.

Appreciate the value that blogs can add to your marketing and public relations strategy and use them the way they were meant to be used.

Search Engine Optimization For Blogs

Blogging software is really a simple Content Management System (CMS) that easily adds new pages and integrates them into your site’s navigational structure and linkage.

Blogs and blog posts are naturally search engine friendly because they are text-rich, link-rich, frequently-updated webpages that use stylesheets or CSS, and have very little extraneous HTML.

Optimizing a blog is very similar to optimizing a website, and optimizing a blog post similar to optimizing a web page.

But depending on the blogging service or software you use, the results may look somewhat different.

If you follow some simple rules for search engine optimization, your blog can rank much higher than static website pages in the search engine results pages.

Here are the most important rules to follow to get your posts listed for keywords of your choice.

1. Use your primary keyword in your blog domain

Whether you purchase a separate domain (recommended) for your blog, or host it on a blogging service or a subdomain of your own site, try to ensure that your URL contains the primary keyword you want to optimize for.

For example, if you want your blog to get found for the keyword “rss” get a domain with the keyword “rss”, or use the keyword in a subdomain as in

https://www.blog-maniac.com/what-is-blogging/

Getting a domain name with your own name might make for good branding, especially if yours is a personal blog.

But if you’re doing it for business and want the targeted traffic to flow your way, keywords in the domain or subdomain are a move in the right direction.

2. Use your primary key phrase in your blog header tags and the title of your posts

If your primary key phrase is “business blogging” make sure that the word business, or blogging, or both, appear in your blog headers (the H1 or H2 tags) as well as the title of each of your posts.

Most blogging software will take the keywords in your post title and put them into the file name of the permalink posts it creates.

For example, if you have a blog on Blogger and title your post “Search Engine Optimization For Blogs”, Blogger will automatically create a page with your post and name the file “search-engine-optimization-for-blogs.html” or something similar.

With other server-side software like WordPress and Movable Type, you may require the mod_rewrite command to save the title of your entries as a permalink.

3. Use your secondary keywords in the body of your post

If you want to get listed for secondary keywords use them infrequently in the body of your post and pepper your blog titles or links with them appropriately.

Don’t overdo this or your posts will end up sounding unnatural and spammy to readers.

4. Use your keywords in the anchor text of links

Keyword in links have more importance than simple text.

Use your primary and secondary keywords in the anchor text of links when linking to other blog posts or to other pages on your main site.

Link keywords where they naturally appear in the body text, but again, don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with spammy looking pages.

5. Make sure search engines can spider your blog easily

Set up your blog so that the side navigation bar is present on all pages.

Make sure your archives and previous posts are accessible from all pages of your blog so they get spidered easily.

6. Get backlinks from other blogs or websites

Links pointing to your blog or posts are essential to build pagerank and make your blog rank higher in the search engine listings.

I’ve seen many people recommend Blogrolling as one method of building links to your blog.

BlogRolling is a one-stop linklist manager for your blog or journal. But all this service actually does is give you a bit of javascript code that “calls” the links.

As far as search engine rankings go, this method of linking is of little use, because spiders can’t read external javascript code.

Instead I recommend that you focus your linking efforts on the methods here.

Submitting to Blog Search Engines and Directories:

Submitting your blog and RSS feed to blog search engines and directories is essential for getting high-quality links back to your blog.

Here is the best list I’ve found of places to submit your feed or blog.

Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites

Link Exchanges:

Many similarly-themed blogs are often willing to exchange links with other blogs and form richly interlinked networks or communities. Link exchanges with other blogs are easy to implement with most blogging software.

Trackbacks:

You can also get links back to your blog using trackbacks. One of the disadvantages of using Blogger is that it does not automatically create trackback urls that others can use to link back to your posts. 

Haloscan is a free service that will automatically add comments and trackbacks to your Blogger blog.

But if trackbacks are an important component of your linking strategy, I would advise using another software or system that adds this feature automatically.

Comments:

You can also get back links to your blog by posting legitimate comments in response to posts on other blogs.

7. Update frequently

There’s no better food for search engine spiders than fresh content.

Post and update your blog frequently using all the rules outlined above and there’s no reason why your blog will not get you top rankings in a short period of time.

8. Stay put

Once you create your blog, try to stick to the same domain and blog host or system for as long as you continue to publish.

You could end up losing a lot of your traffic, your readers and all your search engine listings if you decide to move.

For more ways of building traffic to your blog, read the article “How To Build Traffic To Your Blog.”

What is Blogging?

Blogging is publishing for the rest of us…

Anyone can write a blog, even if they don’t know the first thing about html coding and building Web sites.

You can be up and publishing a blog in under 30 minutes. No technical expertise required!

Why should you blog? Is it worth the effort?

Blogging is do-it-yourself public relations. Whether you are :

  • A consultant or a professional
  • An entrepreneur or small business
  • A corporate or CEO

Blogging can help you –

  • Boost Your Business And Profits
  • Increase Your Visibility And Search Engine Rankings
  • Brand Yourself, Your Products, Your Services
  • Promote Your Services To A Wider Audience
  • Help You Establish Your Credibility As An Expert In Your Field
  • Put A Human Face On Your Business
  • Reach Out To Potential Customers And Stakeholders

Blogging can do all this and more… But only when it’s done right!

Subscribe to our Free Blogging For Marketers eCourse and learn more about blogging and how you can use it to grow your business.

You’ll get the eBooks here when you subscribe.

  • The Blogger’s Edge: How To Use Weblogs as Marketing Tools
  • Insider Blogging Secrets: How to Blog Your Way to Success
  • Blogging Secrets: A Multimedia book by James Maduk
  • The Marketer’s Introduction To RSS Content Delivery Power
  • Syndicate Your Content With RSS
  • Step By Step Guide To Creating Your Own RSS Feed

What Are Blogs?

Blogs are a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.

Blogs are alternatively called Web Logs or Weblogs. However, “web log” can also mean a server’s log files, so the term “blog” is used because it is less likely to cause confusion.

More than a list of links and less than a full-blown zine, blogs may be hard to describe but easy to recognize. A blog can be recognized by its format: a webpage with new entries placed at the top, updated frequently.

Often at the side of the page is a list of links pointing to similar sites. Some sites consist only of a weblog. Others include the weblog as a part of a larger site. These are a few common characteristics of a blog, but blog types may vary slightly.

Blogs are posts that are short, informal and sometimes deeply personal no matter what the topic of discussion is. They can be characterized by their conversational tone.

Some blogs provide succinct description of judiciously selected links. Some others contain commentary and links to the news of the day.

A few are an endless stream of blurts about the writer’s day. Others are political or intellectual commentary. Some are hilarious and some topic driven.

One thing common about all bloggers is that most are non-commercial and are impassioned about their subjects.

Why You Should Publish A Blog

 

With Weblogs becoming popular, personal websites have become an extensions of our day-to-day lives.

Weblogs tend to be personal and immediate but they are more simple and straightforward. People can publish their thoughts, even for the first time, with almost no training.

Blogs are more permanent than posts to an online discussion list, more dynamic than older-style home pages. They are more personal than traditional journalism, and definitely more public than diaries.

A blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person’s life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary site. So, there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.

Another reason why one should start blogging is dissemination of “micro-opinions” important to a small audience – opinions that would never make it in newspapers.

You should also consider blogging if you need feedback from your target audience because blogs enable interaction and invite others to reward a person’s creative effort with feedback. They weave new social networks, introducing people with common passions.

If you have a web presence but want more than a static homepage, if an elegant treatment of posts on a global platform is what you require, then ‘blogging’ is what you need.

Blogs are the mavericks of the online world. Two of its greatest strengths are their ability to filter and disseminate information to a widely dispersed audience, and their position outside the mainstream of mass media.