Social media marketing is much more than Facebook posts and tweets; blogging now needs to be a major component in your marketing strategy. It is your hub from which all social media spokes spin off of. It is the sun in which all social planets revolve around. It is the ….OK, you get it. You know you need to start blogging, or kick your blog in the rear and post more than once every 4 to 6 months! Whether you are just getting a blog started, or you have finally realized that content marketing is critical to your business's success and you are recommitting to it, I've compiled 10 tips for new bloggers or those fairly new to social media marketing, that will help you get it on the right track.
Write about what you know and love.
All social marketing is best when you can be SOCIAL, which means being yourself or sharing information that you are passionate about. When you write out of a place of passion, instead of a place of obligation, your readers will know it, connect with it and love you for it.
Write as if you are writing a letter to a friend.
Some people make the mistake of writing for Google instead of people, stuffing blog posts with so many keywords and phrases that it is hard to read. Others write as if they are writing an academic text book and they fill their posts with words that require the readers to keep a Webster’s Dictionary close at hand. As you sit to write your blog posts, imagine a friend or potential customer sitting across from you, asking for help with a specific business challenge. Now begin writing to them with the helpful answers they need.
Always end with a call to action.
You may feel that your goal is to simply educate or inform, and that you don’t want to come across pushy or salesy, but if you don’t present a “Next Step” or offer a way for your readers to find more information from you, you could be doing them a disservice and losing return visits. Point people to your email signup form to receive your helpful tips via email, or offer a free TOP 10 List of resources you have compiled. Even asking your readers to contact you or to follow you on Twitter is a call to action. Don’t let the end of your blog post be the end of your relationship with your readers.
Write 500-1500 word posts.
If posts are too short they may not be indexed by Google. While Google loves longer posts with a greater opportunity for relevant content, and search terms that people are looking for, the content site, Medium says, the average reader wants to spend no more than 7 minutes reading an article (approximately 1,600 words without photos or graphs—or 980 words with a couple great graphics). If you don’t have enough to write about, save it and do a little more research. Is there a study or more content that you can link to in your post? Can you find any supporting data or perhaps a post that shares an opposing view? This could help you elaborate more on your topic. Be sure you are providing enough value for people to want to come back and read more next time. If your posts are too puny, you leave your readers feeling malnourished.
We all know that making time to write, even occasionally, is a big commitment, but if you want to grow your readership and community of followers, you need to blog on a consistent basis. Blogs that posted regularly (more than once a week) were proven to increase subscribers twice as fast as those that posted once a month. You will need to change your daily routine and behaviors in order to make time for daily writing. Can you wake up 30-minutes earlier to spend time writing, or if you are more of a night owl, can you get your quiet writing time in while everyone else dozes off at night?
Be patient when starting your blog.
This is definitely not the Field of Dreams. If you blog it, they do not necessarily come. Blogging is a commitment and it takes time to build a readership and work out the tone and direction of a great blog. There is a lot that goes into the building and nurturing of a blog. Whether it is learning to tag your posts and photos, discovering all the places you can promote your posts, or inviting influencer friends to comment on a post that they may be passionate about, and you may not have it all ironed out when you first start blogging. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out to start blogging. Start, and just know that you will tweak and morph it along the way. Be patient and over time your blog will begin to shine!
Build your email list—no more putting this off.
Going back to #3 above here, you must start today, gathering an email list of people who enjoy your content enough that they would exchange their email address for it. You may not have a newsletter or an email campaign YET, but as you build your blogging readership and your social media communities, you will want to have your list established to use at some point. One of the most common regrets I hear from business owners and marketers is that they didn’t start building their email list when they first began. If you don’t have an email service, go to MailChimp or Constant Contact and sign up right now…or right after you finish reading this post!
Write great titles and work in keywords if you can.
It’s not always possible without sounding like an obvious marketer, but where you can, use verbs–more action–less nouns. You want your blog post to be opened and a snappy title helps that happen, but you don’t want to be so clever that you get the wrong audience finding the post and leaving as soon as they realize it wasn’t what they thought. I once wrote a post about one of our community managers having the skills of Magnum P.I. when it came to digging in and finding the right people to connect with. The problem was, I created a clever title, “Hiring Magnum P.I.” and it featured a great photo of the mustache-clad Tom Selleck. We had the highest bounce rate of all time. Everyone in the universe searching for the famous mustache man found my post and quickly left when they realized it was a site filled with social media tips and posts. If you need help crafting that perfect blog post title, check out this great “Headline Analyzer” from Advanced Marketing Institute.
Put your keywords in the first 100 words.
Like your blog title, you want to work in your keywords early if you are able to do so in a natural way. Google and other search engines are scanning your content to see if it is relevant to those searching for answers. If you draw out your opening without getting to the point and giving hints in the form of keywords, you may not gain Google's favor. After writing your post, go back in and see if there is a natural way to work in your keywords and still sound conversational. If you stuff keywords unnaturally, not only will you lose the quality of your content, but Google could slap a penalty on your page for doing so.
Make your post “referrable.”
Before you hit publish, ask yourself if someone would send this to a friend. Is this a great reference for someone to use, or just a half-baked post that needs a bit more time under the broiler? Sometimes we are so eager to get a post out, that we jeopardize the quality. Think of the posts that you love to share with your friends and followers. What makes them shareable? Great quality, helpful tips, timeless information? Keep that in mind as you write your posts.
We'd love to hear your blogging tips. Share them with all of us in the comments section and let's help each other continue to grow and improve our blogs!
If you are looking for DIY tips- check out this site, “Beginners Guide to Successful Blogging.” If you need help actually writing or loading your content or having someone help regularly augment your blogging activities, contact us. It's what we do!