Monday, 19 January 2009

The Art of Blogging

Once a month I do 6 x one hour free advice sessions at the British Library Business and IP Centre for entrepreneurs needing help marketing their business.

A couple of months ago I advised Disability Consultant Danny Puresh that adopting a 'Guru' marketing strategy would be a good (and very low cost) way to promote his business.

Essentially the idea behind a Guru marketing strategy is to position yourself as an expert in your chosen area, which is easy to do given the power of the web and especially blogging.

Today I received an email from Danny to say his Blog didn't seem to be working...

I'm posting below my advice as I think it's a good guide to how you can make Blogging work...

Hi Danny

I've just had a look at your Blog...

Apart from the train rant it's pretty boring I'm afraid.

Read master blogger Seth Godin on this (or visit his Blog).

First your posts need to be interesting.
Secondly they need to be controversial.
Thirdly it's far better if they cover a diverse range of a subjects so that your meta tags can be varied.
Fourthly you need to refer to other Blogs/sites in your Blog through hyperlinks - as that will attract more traffic to you

A good way to generate ideas for new posts is to set up Google alerts on subjects relevant/interesting to you - and then link to those articles with your own views on the subject. If you get alerts for someone else's Blog on a related topic leave a [controversial] comment there - and people will visit you via that.

For example, topical news like yesterday's TV debate about embryo screening for disability and this morning's SKY news interview with Racial Equality Minister about the prejudices against minorities now endemic in our society.

If you look back at the early days of my Blog I only attracted one or two comments (if any)...

But I stuck at it, got more wide ranging punchy and controversial - and slowly slowly attracted a following to the point where I think the biggest comment string on a post was 93 (about Barack Obama's election victory)

Yet still, if I lapse back into being boring, I only get a comment or two.

The good news is, my Blog is now highly ranked by Google and I'm often approached for comments/interviews/speaking engagements after people have found me via my Blog. Media love people who are punchy and who have strong opinions.

Hope this helps...


Rachel


Any other tips for Danny (and me!) are welcome...

10 comments:

TheDLOG said...

Aha, that's probably why I don't get many comments, well don't get any at all, heehee!!

I wonder if there is a book about blogging, if not perhaps you could write one Rachel,

'The RE Book of Successful Blogging'!!

dlog

Anonymous said...

Being controversial is ok as long as it is an honest opinion and not some contrived attempt to generate traffic.

Successful blogs have a personality i.e. a consistent view and voice. They need to be engaging and interesting. They should be a reflection of the individual and not an obvious attempt to generate traffic or sell anything.

At the end of the day it is like any channel or medium, it has to be done well to stand out. It is no magic bullet to commercial success. As Seth would say, it needs to be remarkable.

C

Steve Clayton said...

Rachel - good to see you're spreading the good word about blogging. Feels like a long time since we had our whiteboard session in London!

Another tip is link. Link, link, link. Find the other gurus on your chosen topic and link to them. The reciprocity of the web means they often link back and you can ride on their coat-tails as you build up your own following.

use tools like http://www.icerocket.com/ to find out who else is on your wavelength.

tip #2 - use Twitter to link to yourself. it's a much longer subject but twitter is fast becoming the microblogging platform of choice and I predict it will explode in to mainstream use this year. sign up at www.twitter.com and use search to find friends and topics of interest. "follow" them and they'll likely follow you back. use http://mrtweet.net/ to find out who you ought to be following on Twitter

I've got lots more tips but those are two key ones I think

Craig McGinty said...

I'd agree with all of what you'd recommend, although I'd be aware of going too far off the subject of what the blog is about.

The focus is disability issues so cover changes to legislation, projects being worked upon and news stories - with a dash of personal insight.

Also make it easy for people to read your recent articles and stay up to date with new ones.

At the moment the About section on Danny Puresh's site is taking up too much room, a small link beneath his image to his about page would help.

The this would let him include the newsletter option from Feedburner and draw the list of most recent stories higher up the page.

A newsletter is really important as although RSS feeds are very good, they are still far little used by people so offer an alternative.

And you've got to 'turn up every day', the most recent post dated October 22 is not a good sign.

Hope this helps.

Stephen said...

I haven't got any time to look right now, but you always catch me at stephen@seodragons.com.

I only write blogs to make money. I find a niche and then run with it. A niche for me is one where there is a lot of searches for my keywords, but very few competitors in the Google index. So pick one core keyword and build you blog around it, then find lots of long tail keyword, that are derived from your core keyword. Then gradually fill your content with these.

Do some bum marketing where you write keyword rich articles and then put a link on them to your blog. Use Goarticles.com or Ezinearticles for this. Also, set-up loads of free sites with squidoo, hubpages, myspace and link them to your blog. These free sites have high page rank and this juice spills on your blog, increasing the chances of higher pagerank. Go to dofollow forums and post a comment whcih has a backlink to your site. Submitt a clean sitemap to Google. Add google webanalytics to see what hits you get and from where.

Sumbit your posts to Digg and Reditt. Use Twitter and Stumbleupon and link to your site. Add your site to UsFreads. Also submit videos to Youtube with great keywords. Google loves Youtube... It paid 1Billion for it.

Most of all.........best of luck. Don't be obscure... give people what they want.... not what you think they need.

Anonymous said...

Stephen

I am happy to admit my ignorance in this matter but how exactly do you make money from just a blog? I can see how Rachel uses her blog to sell her time and wares but a blog on its own?

C

Stephen said...

C, if you get lots of traffic to your blog then you can make money on pay per click (PPC) advertising or earning money from CPA offers or selling affiliate products from Amazon or Clickbank or Ebay etc etc.

There are many ways to moneterise your blog. You can also develop optin lists and then market to the people in those lists.

Obviously, 1000 blogs is better than one of course.

Paula said...

I would keep the blog focused on the disability issues, be informative but retain a voice; a personality that other readers will relate to and respond to.

Post often, visitors will not keep returning if your blog isn’t updated on a regular basis.

I’d recommend moving your blog to your website, maybe dannypuresh.com/blog as any traffic generated by your blog will benefit your own site.

Find other blogs in your niche and link to them. If you can add extra information to someone else’s post, write about their article, adding your own information and link back to the original post in yours using a trackback.

Submit your blog and feed to blog directories and Technorati as this will help raise awareness and traffic too.

Getting a blog noticed takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight, just persevere and you will get there.

A great resource for bloggers is problogger.net.

Good luck Danny.

Stephen said...

Blogging is no different than any other form of marketing. You just need to understand your audience and work out a way of attracting them and keeping them hooked.

If you don't know what you are talking about -forget it.
If you don't know who you want to talk to -forget it.
If you don't know what you want to achieve -forget it.

You just can't put a blog up and hope people will come.

Unless you are Seth Godin of course - who doesn't have a successful blog because he is an expert. He has a successful blog because he is Seth Godin.

Big difference.

Jonathan said...

Great piece of advice - it echoes exactly what we're trying to do with www.businessmedia.co.uk by positioning us as knowledge experts in this sector.

I would strongly recommend all startups take this tip on board!