The marketing industry has undergone a transformation in recent years and is continuing to evolve.
Traditionally, marketing used to be about ‘pushing’ ideas and information on people through ‘interruption advertising’ (i.e.: advertising that ‘interrupts’ your day like banner ads, TV and radio advertising). There is still a place for this approach but it is only part of it. Today, effective marketing is about inviting people into your world and showing them who you are and how you can help them, the focus has shifted much more towards ‘pulling’ people in.
In this age of digital marketplaces and social media, stories carry much further than adverts. People share and engage with stories.
One of the key attributes of a successful marketer in this landscape is the ability to craft a good story. The story of how X customer had their problems solved by Y product or service. Blogging is one of the most simple and immediate ways to demonstrate your style, expertise and share knowledge through the power of storytelling.
There are different ways you can venture into the world of blogging; you could use an online blogging platform such as blogger.com or bloglovin.com or you could host your blog on your website. Blogging is at the heart of sharing content, adding to the knowledge economy.
I started blogging a couple of years ago. As a writer, it was a useful test bed and a way to start to grow in confidence when it came to putting my work out there and open the scrutiny. I still have much to learn, but through blogging I’ve grown a consistent and engaged following, but I made mistakes along the way – here are my top 10 tips for beginning bloggers:
1. Have a theme. Choose something that is appealing to your customers and have a consistent theme throughout. We’re all interested in lots of topics, but the aim is to build a fan base and a following, not to get lots of people who are mildly interested in some of your stuff, then switch off and forget about you without buying your product.
2. Blog regularly and consistently. Don’t fall into the feast or famine trap – build blogging into your regular routines. For example; publish once a week on a Saturday. Once a week is a minimum, you don’t have to blog daily, unless you really want to, but weekly is enough to keep people engaged. The ideal is 2 – 3 posts a week at regular intervals i.e.: every 3 days publish something.
3. Vary the content. Keep it interesting. Have videos, audio, words, images, lists, stories, tips, questionnaires, graphs, infographics, interviews etc. There are so many different ways to present your information. A blog that is just reams of text gets stale very quickly. Break it up. Make it bite sized and not too wordy. Keep it informal, friendly and accessible and people will come back for more.
4. Make it easily sharable. Make sure you have social media links on it. Make use of tools like ‘click to tweet’. Create images that also have text on them, these are ideal for Pinterest, especially if your customers are woman, more women use Pinterest than any other social media platform.
5. Always include at least 1 image per post. Images have more impact on social media and are more likely to be shared. Also, it breaks up the look of the page making it easier on the eyes than just big blocks of text. As mentioned above, this makes your blog much more accessible for Pinterest. I (and thousands of others) use Pinterest as a way to curate links and bookmark content online for future reference, there are few things as annoying as not being able to do that with a blog post because there is no image. People will go elsewhere to find content if they don’t have a simple way to capture the link and store it for future reference.
6. Have a plan. Be organised. It’s easy to publish content weekly if you know what to post, it’s a nightmare if you have to think on your feet all the time. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Put a plan together and keep adding to it, try to stay a step ahead so that you’re not in a panic trying to decide what to blog about.
7. Do plenty of research. I find Pinterest invaluable for this. I have boards where I collect tips and ideas for blogging, I have boards for research, I have boards for writing ideas and inspiration and I have boards of other curated links I can draw on. When I come to sit down and prepare some blog content, I have plenty of sources to draw on and my biggest challenge is what to choose next. It becomes a pleasurable experience, rather than a chore when you start to build up a repository of ideas you are desperate to share with people.
8. Invite contributions from others. It’s a lovely thing to host someone else on your blog. It saves you having to write content for that ‘episode’, it builds relationships with others and it allows you to increase your reach by accessing other people’s networks. It can be a bit of leg work to get people to do it, however, and sometimes you may have to chase people. Don’t rely on it for your schedule, think of guest posts as bonus content.
9. Showcase other peoples work and tell them about it. Write a blog in which you share what someone else is doing, involve them, or at least tell them about it and they will share it too, allowing you to access wider networks. It’s an easy way to guarantee shares on social media etc. Encouraging others to share is the only way you’ll get any content to go viral. Also, if you say nice things about other people, they’ll say nice things about you and that’s the key to spreading your message through word of mouth.
10. Share. Social media and blogging were made for each other. If you are sharing knowledge, imparting wisdom, showcasing other people’s work, all of that is social media gold dust.
What’s the best blogging tip you’ve received?
Guest blog post by:
Author and entrepreneur, Amy Morse (writing as Amy C Fitzjohn), has published two books; The Bronze Box and Solomon’s Secrets, both available on Amazon. She is a keen blogger and an experienced enterprise adviser, trainer and public speaker. Twitter: @TomCatDesigns. Web: www.AmyMorse.co.uk
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