Blogging advice for new bloggers looking to drive website traffic and build larger online communities
When we interviewed professional bloggers for our Blogging for Profit whitepaper, we couldn’t have been happier with the in-depth case studies that developed. Even more, these insightful bloggers were happy to offer their best advice to new bloggers just getting started, which I’ve scraped from the white paper to share with you now. These tips are valuable to every blogger using content for audience development efforts.
Jennifer Harnetty, Managing Editor, Ceramic Arts Daily says, “I think a large part of what makes my blog successful is that the readers can tell that I am genuinely passionate about ceramic art. Of course we also worked extremely hard to get our name out there too. My advice would be to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to using the Internet to spread your message. Combine that with a sincere interest in what you are writing about and great content, and you should be in good shape.”
Stewart Gandolf, Founding Partner, Healthcare Success Strategies offers some more great advice for new bloggers.”I would recommend writing some articles before you launch, so that both you and your audience will know what it is all about,” says Gandolf. ” You may find that your articles will evolve into a different mission and feel than you contemplated at the start. Give it a few articles at least to find your voice, before you run into the marketplace announcing your arrival.”
When Gandolf started, he says he didn’t expect to write much about the economy but that it’s turned out to be very relevant to what is going on in healthcare marketing. “I therefore respond to economic news a lot,” he says, ” but always from a healthcare marketing point of view. Because I am passionate about the topic, I also think it provides interesting reading. Based upon everything I see in the economy today, I believe the economic news will provide plenty of fodder to for me to rant about for the foreseeable future.”
“Usually, when we have a few good posts that we know will interest people, we send a link to every contact we have,” says Judy Doherty, Owner, Food and Health Communications, Inc., “a good example would be the Portion Control post.”
“We posted it and then told all of our customers,” explains Doherty. “Plus, we created a more specialized report and handout set for our paid members that got posted at the same time. They can see that their payment for editorial is worth it because they get a lot more (we are in the midst of a digital conversion from a print newsletter so we felt this is important – to put something new in the blog but to show that paid members get even more at the same time). We also promoted a few products in the portion control post.”
Craig Better, Managing Editor, Golf Vacation Insider says to, “bring something truly unique and worthwhile to the table. The better your content is, the faster you’ll grow your traffic.”
“We’re currently growing our audience by creating high quality, search-friendly content on our blog, and by giving away free e-books, special reports, and golf vacation guides. As for loyalty, we ensure everything we publish (whether it’s on our website or in our email updates) is truly worth readers’ time and attention,” says Better.
Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Junta42.com tells bloggers to, “find your passion, identify your niche, and become the expert. The content development is usually the easy part. The hard part is getting active online…be a part of the conversation to make things happen.”
Adam Sutton, Editor, Marketing Sherpa tells us, “in the few short years I’ve blogged, social media–particularly Facebook and Twitter–have become important to anyone trying to connect with an online audience. Blogging is about interacting, and your content is the icebreaker. Social media can be a catalyst for enriching that interaction.”
Copywriter Bob Bly agrees, saying, “the rise of social networking sites [is a big change in our industry] and the paradigm shift of the consumer being influenced by marketers vs. being influenced by fellow consumers via social networks.”
“If you are blogging as part of your company’s blog, there is always this question of how much opinion you can inject into your blogs, how controversial you can be,” says Anna Talerico, Executive Vice President, Ion Interactive. “The longer I blog, the more I see that people don’t want the party line. They want to know what you really think. So, don’t be afraid to put it out there.”
Kathleen Cubley, Managing Editor, KnittingDaily.com says, “Get to know your audience before you begin blogging—it’s easy to alienate some of your audience if you assume demographics. It’s also important to respond to comments on your blog in a timely manner. I do, however, wait until there are a couple of questions and answer them at one time.”
“Be more aware of what is already out there and what you can bring to the table,” says Lewis Howes, Founder, Sports Executives Association. “Write what you are passionate about and with guidance your audience will grow. I would also advise a new blogger to do their homework and know who the online leaders in their niche are,” suggests Howes.