In a further continuation of my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn, 5 Tips for Getting More from Facebook, and 5 tips for Getting More from Twitter), Iâ€™m returning to my old pal the blog.
Seems like blogs have kind of made it into the main and don’t get talked about as hot social media plays, but in my mind, a web hub of education based information, easily created and housed on a blog, is the ultimate social media foundation element and probably the key to success when you engage prospects in other social media platforms.
1) Read, follow and listen – you probably won’t get much in the way of results from blogging until you know what and how to write. The best way to do that, and by the way something I’ve done and continue to do daily, is read lots of blogs, follow lots of people who point out interesting reads and listen using RSS, bookmarking sites like delicious, and every question your prospects and customers voice. Use an RSS reader such as Google Reader to make it very easy to listen to lots of content and then get a little notebook and carry with you at all times so you can jot down every question customers and prospects ask.
2) Write what people search – If you’re one of those folks who’s resisted blogging because you don’t think anyone would read your blog, don’t worry, they probably won’t. Most blogs aren’t read like a magazine, or like you might view it, they are found. In other words post the answers to the questions, problems, and challenges that you know your market is asking and seeking and your blog content will become the single greatest online lead generation tool in your mix. Discover the exact phrases people in your market are using when they search and write valuable content around that and people will find your blog before they know your competitors exist.
3) Ask for participation – Blogging is one of the first ways to build an engaged community. People talk about building community on twitter and other social sites, but few things can compare to the engagement that can surround healthy debates, reader generated content and suggestions in blog comments. Write your blog posts in ways that invite people to comment, ask for their ideas, and even ask them to give their opinions. Often, some of my points are amplified and made better through the comment stream that can surround them. Over time, you will build community participation and you may find that blogging is more fun when it becomes a conversation.
4) Engage your comment community – When people take the time to offer thoughtful comments take the time to respond when appropriate. If a debate is in order it’s okay to start one. Visit the sites of your comment community and engage in their writing. Link to their content in your blog posts and on twitter. You might also find that using comment enhancing plugins such as Disqus – the commenting system I use or Top Commentators, which shows a list of the people who comment the most, can make your comment community more active. (I wrote a post long ago called 7 ways to get more blog comments that you might also find useful)
5) Amplify your message – one obvious way to get more exposure for your blog is to post links to twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with each new post and, as long as that’s not all you do, this can be an effective traffic strategy, however, another great way to amplify and broaden the exposure for your blog is to guest blog. Many, sometimes high traffic, blogs welcome well-written content from guests. Look for blogs that should have your same type of reader and offer samples of your writing. Be sure that your posts will receive a byline and link back to your blog and then also promote the heck out your guest appearance.
Image credit: Dvortygirl