Eight Reasons Why Blogs Can’t Go Dormant

credit: en.blog.wordpress.com

A recent conversation with a small-to-medium business (SMB) included the question, “If my business is booming, then why should I keep blogging?”

Great question because blogging takes a boatload of consistent time and attention. Not only is a blogger responsible for creating and publishing genuine and authoritative content, that blogger needs to nurture a community and comment on others’ blogs, too.

I get it; but, here’s what I said to my peer, friend and colleague:

  • If your blog goes dormant, you can’t walk the talk with clients.
  • When you disappear longer than four weeks with no activity, people stop coming to check in and you’re forgotten.
  • Prospects that want to check out your work expect to see up-to-date product. If a date on the most recent blog post is 60 days prior, then that sends erroneous messages. You may lose a lead if a blog is inactive.
  • To compete, you need to stay inspired. A blog gives SMB brands an opportunity to differentiate from the competition.
  • Becoming an authority is no easy task; keep the insight fresh and trendy, and the brand will benefit.

8 Tips To Get Back On Track

1. Post from the archives — there is content no one has seen in 12 months; select a favorite, add a more current opening paragraph, and voila — a fresh post!

2. Write shorter pieces. Blog posts should average about 500 words, give or take. If you’re trying to get back on track, write 350 words (you can do those in your sleep!).

3. Acknowledge your community with a list of the last 25 commenters and their blog urls. That pingback will bring peeps back to your house in droves to welcome you back.

4. Aim for one post weekly for a few weeks to get your mojo working again. Anyone who has blogged more than 12 months knows how to get back to it; just like riding a bike.

5. Remember that community you built? They’re not gone; just dormant, too. But, if you call them back with consistent posts, you’ll earn the traffic once again.

6. Think about SEO juice — what’s the number-one rule? Fresh, frequent content to boost organic attention.

7. You can’t be a one-channel wonder. Great that you’re on Facebook, but where did you really get your start? Twitter. What happened next? Blogging. Where are your clients, community, employees and prospects hanging online? A little bit of everywhere, so you need to engage equal parts Twitter, Blogging, Facebook and Google+.

8. Feeling down and out? Remember the ‘raderie your blog community inspires. There’s absolutely nothing like a good ‘old #TeamBlogJack to raise the spirits of bloggers who’ve been dormant awhile.

So, what do you say? C’mon back! You’re missed!

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20 Ways To Build Blog Community

Creative Commons License: Dr. Kelly Page

This blog, Soulati-’TUDE!, has the most amazing community, evah. Not lying; it’s vibrant, insightful, buoyant, supportive, accustomed to a good blog-jack, and full of ‘raderie. I love this community, and it wasn’t built overnight.

I’ve been “accused?” of being an excellent community builder; I cannot lie, I had no idea what that meant when someone shared that with me the first time. So I started to pay attention, and here are my tips on how to make your blog community blossom:

20 Tips to Build Blog Community 

1. Engage with a commenter! So often when I hit a new blog and leave a comment, it’s crickets and I never go back.

2. Genuinely thank people for taking their time to come by and leave a thought. How many blogs are there now? A couple million? Good grief.

3. Be exceptionally welcoming (not drippy) to newcomers. You know who they are! It’s so cool when someone new stops in; thank them.

4. People’s time is so valuable; you have to respect those who stop in…until you get to know them, and then you can become more personable.

5. Mix up your topics. I did a test that Ralph Dopping was aware of…I wrote a post that was purely about public relations and he was the only one who commented. We deduced the post was not general enough and didn’t appeal to a wide audience.  A general topic promotes more engagement; people feel more comfortable participating because the topic isn’t over someone’s head.

6. Do what I just did…take more time to go to someone’s blog and grab their latest blog post and insert it as a hyperlink in your post. When you do that, I’m getting a pingback, and I know automatically I’m coming over to say thank you.

7. Don’t just put a Twitter ID in your blog post when you mention someone because they are totally unaware they’re being called out.

8. Send a note on Twitter to the folks you really want to read your post; ask them/invite them to your blog. Kaarina Dillabough is perfect at this practice when she guest post; she’ll send me a note and I try to get there as often as I can to support her. She also informs me when I’m tagged in an article.

9. In comments, ask another question like Shakirah Dawud does. She’ll comment on your comment and then pose a question back to bring you back. Smart commenting.

10. Join Triberr. Can’t say enough about Triberr. You may think you don’t need it, but every blogger needs Triberr. I’ve written about this too many times to go on a Triberr tirade here; just trust me on this one.

11. Your comportment says so much about the community you’re trying to build…are you personable, laughing, flirtatious, serious, professional, funny, witty, open-minded, welcoming, consistent, paying attention? (Yes, blog communities demand all of that and more.)

12. Do you comment and return that favor on others’ blogs? I believe that commenting IS quid pro quo…you comment at my house, so I better show up at yours. What do you know about that? I’ve done some experimenting and have deduced it’s true. Commenting on others’ blogs definitely leads to community building.

13. I have often wanted a roll-call menu so I can tick off my name to say I visited; sometimes I don’t want to leave a comment, but I want the blog owner to know I stopped in. So, when you stop in and don’t leave a comment, think of something anyway and do let the blogger know you’ve come over…it’s like a courtesy. Commenting is not ding-dong-ditch!

14. Make a point of remembering peoples’ writings and recall that in comments.  I cannot stress this enough. When you engage in comments and recall a post about someone recently wrote, then that visitor is impressed because you’ve made a point to make them feel special.

15. Ask for help, opinions, insight and expertise. No blogger knows it all; your community is a resource for you. When you ask for that knowledge, then you can build on it in a new post.

16. Reward your community with lists. Wait! Don’t yell at me…apparently, people hate lists that are link bait. I get that, but I don’t adhere to that practice. I do do lists and I do them infrequently; yet, when you see one here, it’s the real deal, written from the heart.

17. Help a newbie! When you see someone in your community struggling to get readers, commenters or topics, take them under your wing and try to help. Ask them to write a guest post for you, single them out in comments, use commenting systems that enable you to tag someone so they stop in…there are many ways to keep a community growing, and these are mine.

18. Add Comment-Luv or Lifefyre or another commenting system that allows commenters blog posts to be visible when leaving a comment. It’s a courtesy for visitors, and I love it because I can see what others are writing and jump there with one click.

19. Blog! You have to blog consistently to build community; no kidding. If you post once per week or less, or your blog has fallen off for more than a three-week hiatus, you’ll find your community disappearing or never growing. The consistency of posting is the secret sauce.

20. I’m done…no more tips! What’s your 20?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Tips To Stay The Course

It was about time for a bit of video; I so love this medium, but stink at any of the editing. So, you get me raw and in one take. I’m trying to figure out how to import this into iMovie on the Big Mac, but if I can’t do it in five minutes, then time to move on.

What’s the message today? Three tips to stay the course in two minutes. I’m sensing a bunch of animosity, uncertainty and doubt; this summer hello may put you back on course…I hope so! See what you think!

13 Tips To Create Remarkable Content

Everywhere I read, I see this word, “remarkable.” I believe it’s launch into stardom began with Seth Godin; I’m giving him that credit anyway. In a book I’m reading on Inbound Marketing by Hub Spot, the authors substitute “remarkable” for “unique.”

Be remarkable = be unique.

We’ve all spoken about the echo chamber. Today, I read four iterations on the same topic in re Instagram and Facebook. Each was different, but were they remarkable? I think remarkable is in the view of the reader; I’ve not seen a checklist for remarkable writing, have you?

All Bloggers Are Unique

Over at Erica Allison’s house I wrote a guest post about my learnings from a post I wrote on pink slime. It wasn’t received as expected, so I learned and wrote about it. In comments on that post, Michelle Quillin of New England Multimedia and Erica each suggested there’s a graciousness that comes when I stick my neck out with opinion while watching the sparks fly. Somehow, I re-position and opine again, but I have this eagerness to be current and on top of issues that are unfolding in real time.

Erica said she perhaps misses the boat on hot-button issues because she fact finds and analyzes and ensures she has an opinion based on proof points. Then she sits to write her post that takes a deep dive into the vortex.

Who’s remarkable? Neither. I’m a risk taker and she’s not; I share opinion based on wide review of readings and not supported by finite fact. I source a national story and go from there. Erica finds all the information until she can substantiate her content and button it all up.

So, is it possible to develop remarkable content? Unique material that no one else is writing about? Nope, I don’t think so, but we can at least strive to take a remarkable approach — a new and singular angle, be the first out of the gate with thoughts, be strong and confident in statements sprinkled with proof points and facts cited by reputable sources.

Is this remarkable? Nope, it’s smart.

If someone has told you bloggers have to create remarkable content to stay published or go national or get ranked on a list, that’s bogus. On the flip side, if someone, named Jayme Soulati, shared this list of smart tips for bloggers who strive to be remarkable, I’d say that’s #RockHot:

13 Tips to Create Remarkable Content

1.Read, read, read all the national publications you can get your hands on for current events, stories on an industry, material that interests you.

2. When a story appeals to you as blog fodder, tear it out! Jot a note in the margin with the story idea so you don’t lose it. (I wrote five pitches to a client for blog posts; when I opened up Smart Money, two of the  topics were featured stories in the magazine! So, trust your instinct about topic development.

3. Do not read your favorite bloggers every week and expect they will deliver current news. You need to get your news from journalistic sources along with your favorite bloggers.

4. Once you’ve learned the style and voice of your favorite blogger, you might be able to glean a bunch of current news from their writings. Is it credible, cited, sourced, trustworthy? Some bloggers will dive into an issue (I’ve seen Shonali Burke do this stunningly well), and you can trust it’s the real McCoy. Gini Dietrich always provides current news with a twist; you can find her over at Spin Sucks.

5.  Take a story that interests you — perhaps it’s the Zimmerman case unfolding as we speak or the new trial of John Edwards set to begin shortly, or the issue of transgenders being permitted to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, or women still barred from the Masters — and follow this issue with all the nuggets of information.

6. Form an opinion about a current event that is based on proof points, supporting evidence, documentation, citations, and, most importantly, your impression.

7. Write about it. Tell your community you’re going to follow this issue as it unfolds and ask them to follow with you. Get thoughts that percolate in the community; ask for opinions and honor them.

8. Honor your community’s emotions and take their pulse. Ponder all types of commentary. If you’re fortunate to have a community like the one here, the comments are not banter; they are thought-provoking and stimulating.  Not sure how I, queen of banter, have been able to develop such an intelligent community, but I’m grateful!

9. Craft and mold these insights into deeper, more remarkable content that has been “community-sourced.” I learn so much more in comments than I do just writing unilaterally. If you haven’t cultivated a community, let me know, and we’ll see about making that happen for you…not sure how I do it, it just happens.

10. Ensure your content is sprinkled with links to  your favorite bloggers or others with content you need to support you. Cite other sources that are reputable and provide background information as proof points for your opinions.

11. Publish regularly and before  you do, DO NOT read your favorite blogger and then go write your story! Write your story first and then go read the A-lister and see if you can include a link in your post.

12. So much of blogging is about trying to be original, authentic AND remarkable in an echo chamber amongst millions of bloggers striving for the same. When you hit your stride and find your voice, then you will surely begin to feel remarkable.

13. Embrace the ebb and flow of life and know that life happens. Blogging is a journey, and it perfects with time and practice. If the need arises, go dormant awhile and reawaken  your mojo. I promise, it will come back.

So, how do you create remarkable content? Simple; by creating a remarkable you.

 

11 Tips To Re-Invent PR

I applaud Advertising Age for its latest edition, The Marketer Issue. Each page is dog-eared and marked up; what amazing blog fodder. This article, Skills Wanted: What’s Required of The Next Generation of Marketers, is rich with tips on how marketing needs to re-invent for future success.

I’m taking the ideas herein, adjusting them with my spin and sharing them as tips for public relations peeps. After all, we in the PR profession must re-invent too if there’s a chance in hell for success down the road.

People who know me know I’ve been in the field of public relations since 1984. I entered the profession as a pure PR’ist and stayed as such for probably 10 years. That’s about when email entered the scene and slowly and surely all things changed. Pure/traditional public relations was turned on its head (for out of the box thinkers like me), and I slowly began to migrate towards marketing.

We all know what’s happened to the profession since the onset of social media and social marketing – that boundary between marketing and public relations has blurred to near non-existence. Step up, PR, and re-invent yourself for future success; your investment portfolio will thank you.

To push you in the right direction, here are 11 ways to re-invent, and I credit Ad Age’s Maureen Morrison for writing the article that provided this inspiration:

>> Be a multi-disciplinarian. Used to be back in my Chicago agency days that people asked, “Are you a strategist or tactician? Do you specialize or are you a generalist?” I was never a specialist; I wanted to know everything. That’s why I love being an agency brat – we get to service a breadth of clients from all walks of life and industries. This is amazing training.

>> Learn Data & Analytics. The old excuse has always been to leave the numbers to the marketers. No more, PR! We must interpret data as well as analytics to create better campaigns and programs. Do not leave the back-end analytics to marketing; without this knowledge you’ll miss the opportunity to make key decisions. Your leadership ability will also suffer.

>> Master social media apps and tools. No brainer, right? (Aside: I wrote that once in a corporate article and was never hired again, so now I get to use it and no one will fire me.) Just when you think you’re getting tired of keeping up with the Jones’s, push the gas and plow back in. Social media is NOT going away, and developers will keep tossing new apps/tools at us every day. You have to walk the talk.

>> Be technology centric and driven. The new generation of tablets, digital readers, smart phones, personal health monitoring devices, and other new gadgets are being developed at an amazing pace. Be well read and informed about these; in fact, incorporate budget to buy the devices and play (if you get that opportunity).

>> Understand ROI. No doubt about it, PR has to contribute to ROI, and we’ve always skirted that issue. Setting up metrics (I don’t care if that word is over-used; it’s the word to use) and measuring how our programs affect the bottom line is a critical success quotient for practitioners’ value.

>> Be nimble, agile and a quick study. Teams are strapped for time; training budgets are out the window, and it’s up to you to be agile enough to learn on your own. Being a quick thinker with wit, problem/solution solving, and flexibility to roll with the punches are what will earn you success.

>> Less tactical; more strategic. I’m unsure if strategy can be taught or if it’s innate. I’d like to think that with maturity as a professional, a strategist orientation unfolds. As a youngster in PR, you will be assigned tactics to execute; ensure you align yourself with a senior mentor who can help you with ideation. Observe how these peoples’ minds deliver and then emulate that example.

>> Search marketing. This arena is no longer strictly under the guise of digital marketers or internet marketing specialists. Trust me when I tell you, “PR people must understand the basics of search marketing and then some.” Whether you master this is not critical; however, understanding and contributing about this topic is important. The impact search marketing has on a PR program influences the entire integrated campaign.

>> Keep “traditional.” I am absolutely against using the word “traditional” to differentiate what others deliver as PR practitioners over what I deliver in a blended offering (PR and social with marketing). While I firmly advise losing “traditional” to describe PR services, don’t lose sight of how our profession evolved and became viable. When I see youth in the profession suggesting the press release is dead, I cringe. In no way will the press release die; it (along with other PR tactics) will continue to evolve.

>> Focus on the audience. It’s the role of PR to keenly focus on all stakeholders and craft and deliver messages targeting each. Consumers’ outside-in communication orientation with business requires a higher level of creativity and strategy for PR programs. We have to continually understand from where and how consumers comingle with business.  This will drive strategy as we execute integrated marketing programs.

>> Be financially savvy. Yet another numbers request and this one is serious. Ensure you are savvy about interpreting profit-and-loss statements. Understand financial reports issued by your company so you can influence business objectives with communications strategy.

It’s a tall order, friends, and no one is suggesting you learn it overnight. Tackle each one as soon as you can and then master the areas you like more. Staying fit as a PR person requires constant learning. Those who adopt a re-invention approach like this, or similar, will enjoy a storied career in this exciting profession.

(I think I need to print bumper stickers – “Proud To Be In PR.”)  What can you add to this starter package?