One time…at Open Camp: Tips for Bloggers from Bloggers
August 31, 2010 3 Comments
I sit here on a Monday morning, bleary-eyed and feeling like my brain is numb after a huge weekend at Open Camp DFW learning what it takes to make a blog successful. You can’t just write pretty words, throw them up on a website and sit back to await adulation. There’s a lot of work involved in creating interest and traffic for a blog. You have to plan keywords, SEO, multimedia and community engagement.
That was one of the many a-ha moments of the weekend. Think of your blog as a community and treat your readers like members of the community.
Here are some other things that stood out for me from the sessions I attended:
- Use Flickr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Facebook, Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.
- On Flickr, state your photos may be used but your name and a key phrase you want associated with your name must accompany it. Example “Photo by John Doe, SEO expert.” Be consistent about using this phrase elsewhere with your name.
- Flickr drives traffic better than other photo sites.
- 10 AM to 2 PM is the best time to send a promotional message.
- You don’t need a huge audience if you are a local business. Think about who your audience is.
- Go niche with your blog.
- Shock the eyes into action with photographs that grab the reader. Every blog post should have a photo or multimedia asset.
- Analyzation + Optimization = Monetization
- Anchor text should only be keyword or phrase (leave out the adjectives, etc)
- Go for the long tail search
- Use the Facebook ‘like’ button on everything you create.
- Concentrate on a ‘true’ audience rather than a large audience.
- Look at how people list you in their Twitter lists. Is this what you think you’re projecting? Is it what you want to project?
- The bad economy was the best thing that happened to Pegasus News, a hyper-local news site. Advertisers that previously didn’t want to talk about doing anything different from the traditional ad placements started to look at new avenues to reach people.
- “The cockroaches of local media.” That’s what an investor once called Pegasus News.
- At one point the finances were so dire at Pegasus News that they called payroll the “rent fund.” They literally only dipped in when someone was going to be kicked out of their home.
- Instead of wasting a lot of time with spreadsheets and graphs to impress investors, just start something. A tangible site sells better than an idea.
- You need jaw-dropping reports to take into a boardroom to sell social media.
- You need an internal shared vision.
- Rather than agonizing over a corporate social media strategy, start with a philosophy and empower people to go out and make it happen.
- Who owns social media? Who ever is actually going to go out to ‘Do it!’
- Find a product to sell on your blog (check out affiliate programs)
- Run a contest to ‘win’ one of the product.
- Remind people of the contest several times.
- Announce the winner and tell people who entered if they didn’t win they can still buy the product at a special price.
- Your blog is a nexus! All your social networking sites should lead back to the blog; should promote the content of the blog.
- Online, people want content not advertising.
- Think like a publication. A trade publication. Have an editorial focus.
- Make your headline and opening compelling. Each phrase should encourage the reader to read the next one.
- Don’t go over 5.5% on keyword density. After that point the writing becomes bad.
- Don’t wrap things up neatly at the end of a blog post. Leave your topic open for discussion. Ask for comments and opinion.
- “The only thing that is going to make you a better writer is writing!”
- Optimize for customers first. Search engines should not be your first concern.
- Create a profile of your audience; the people you want to reach. Then build your keyword and content strategy around that.
- Automation has to provide value!
- Create a community with your blog.
- Research what communities already exist in your niche and figure out how you will fill a need not already met.
- Calls to actions need to be easy!
- Show off community members that contribute. Email and thank them.
- “Connect” with the readers.
If I had to say what things were most talked about or discussed at this conference, other than the ubiquitous ‘blog,’ I would say: multimedia, monetization, measurement and audience. But the most valuable take-aways for me centered around the subject of quality content. Content remains king. You can slice it and dice it and serve it in all sorts of pretty ways, but if it isn’t good no one is coming back for seconds.
What do you think is the ultimate key to a successful blog?