Blogging is where its at, one of the best online platforms for branding yourself, your business or both. In recent years, blogging has been challenged by social media, with many once avid bloggers abandoning the craft for Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to quit your blog for the latest trend. Instead, you can successfully integrate social media as part of your plan to build a better blog.
1. Provide premium content. Quite easily, you can write a 400-word post, include an interesting picture and write an engaging headline that will capture the attention of your readers. But, you cannot make this your standard practice as you’re competing with millions of other bloggers for the attention of easily distracted readers.
Go beyond your standard content by writing articles that demonstrate your subject knowledge. Such in-depth writings expound on several points that you have made, providing examples to your readers. For example, if you’re explaining to your readers how to build a better blog, you need to reference an expert such as Darren Rowse. If you can get a direct quote from Rowse, that’s even better. Give your readers meaty information, with much to chew on and plenty to digest.
How often are you updating your blog? If you’re writing two or three articles per week, that may not be enough. Get in the habit of writing daily, Monday through Friday, serving up new content on a regular basis. While the saying “content is king” holds true, quality content reigns the Internet.
2. Serve up pillar content. In the early days of blogging, the experts advised us to write “pillar” articles. Such articles are what underpin a site, helping to define what your blog is all about and leaving readers with much very good information. A handful of pillar articles would soon transform any blog from a mere player to a segment leader. Those days, unfortunately, are long past.
These days you must make a habit of writing lengthy and detailed articles, serving these up on a regular basis. As mentioned in the first point, your articles must be meaty, but they also must be engaging. Draw your readers in with a magnetic headline, write a powerful introductory paragraph and offer easy to follow examples in the body of your article. Write a concluding paragraph that sums everything up and includes a “call to action” such as pointing people to a product that you sell or a service that you offer.
3. Rock the keyword house. Keyword stuffing is stupid, what makes your content look contrived. It is also an insult to your readers. Certainly, make use of keywords in your title and your content, but use keywords naturally.
You should also make use of Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, a handy aid that will help you find like keywords for your articles and sprinkle these in as appropriate. For instance if you run a pet site and are writing about “labrador retrievers” you would learn that “yellow labrador retrievers,” “chocolate labrador retrievers,” “labrador retriever rescue” and “black labrador retriever puppies” are words that search engines love. Write for your readers, but keep the search engines in mind.
4. Make a connection. The blogosphere is still very much alive despite the departure some bloggers have made for social media. You know NOT to abandon your blog, because you want to control your message and own your media. Facebook and Twitter are valuable tools, but they own your content — you do not.
Although some bloggers are your competitors, you don’t always have to see them that way. In fact, bloggers can be your allies even if you cover the same subject. Very few people are the lone experts in their fields — they work with others and share information. That does not mean you’ll be sharing content, but you can quote other bloggers within your articles, even interviewing them and posting these articles to your blog. Essentially, you’ll be helping your competitors and your competitors will be helping you. You naturally link to their articles and they do likewise. You share news and you tap your colleagues for timely quotes about stories you are covering.
Leaving appropriate comments on related blogs is still important today. Carefully read other blogs and leave a comment where appropriate. Build a reputation for helpfulness and know that this reputation will precede you as you work on building a better blog. Expect that others will leave comments too — activate the CommentLuv plug-in or an equivalent tool to share the link love.
5. Integrate social media. You can look at social media as either your enemy or your ally. The first choice will have you fighting against this behemoth; the second choice will have you taming the social media monster. So, choose to integrate social media and do so with care.
You have a number of tools here at your disposal. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are among the top social media performers, but there are others. Share your articles as appropriate and learn how to make each site work for you. Integrate a social media plugin, such as Sociable, to your blog and make use of a service such as OnlyWire to distribute your work across many platforms with ease. Learn each platform’s tips and tricks. For example, understand what to tweet, how to tweet and when to tweet with Twitter. Make use of eye-catching photos that look great and can be pinned with Pinterest. Allocate a certain amount of time each day to social media, but do not allow it to consume the time you devote to your own blog.
With each step carefully put into play, massaged and used regularly, you’re well on the way to building a better blog. Consistency is the key here — your readers have certain expectations of you, therefore deliver on schedule and exceed their expectations often.
ProBlogger: How to Blog to Build Your Service-based Business
Mashable: Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network
My blog site is still new. The only thing that I have not done yet is to integrate my blog with the social media. Probably this may happen in October 2012. Thanks for the tip.