Ready, Set, Write: The Ultimate Guide to Blogging

Blogging is one of the most important content marketing activities your company should embrace. But for various reasons, many companies are hesitant to do so. Why? Budgets? Fear of the workload? Lack of content strategy or brand voice? All of the above?

Your blog is the most important pillar of your content marketing strategy. Blogs can serve as a very powerful portal through which your company’s mission, values, voice — in short, your content — are distributed. Plus, despite what many companies think, blogging can actually be a low-cost activity that, in turn, provides you with incredible rewards.

Your competitors are probably already blogging. In 2011, B2B marketers increased their use of blogs by 27 percent according to the B2B Content Marketing 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, making it the third most common content marketing activity out there.

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Possibly The Best Blogging Tip Ever

Engagement is an important part of blogging. The more your readers interact with your material — and interact with each other in the comments — the more motivated they will be to keep coming back. Getting your readers highly engaged is an important goal of blogging.

One of the ways to increase engagement is to allow your readers to contribute meaningfully to the blog by making their comments an integral aspect of your blog.

When your readers understand that their contributions are just as important as what you’ve blogged, they are much more likely to be engaged and to come back.

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Can Blogging Be Your Secret Weapon For Local SEO?

The cool thing is, a great many local businesses still are not blogging, so use of it as a search engine optimization tactic is still something of a secret weapon. Here’s how.

Many local businesses in highly competitive categories have already done the straightforward things for optimizing their businesses to rank for local. They may have optimized their sites, obtained local citations and links, optimized their business profiles, finessed their Google+ Local (a.k.a. Google Places) listings, encouraged customer reviews, and more.

Since all these businesses are doing essentially the same activities, they end up barely trumping the listings just below them in Google Local search results, and they may be frequently jostling, month after month, for the same slots.

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Three Handy Features for Blogging

As there is a huge amount of duplicate content on the Web, there is nothing more frustrating than another writer plagiarising your hard work. Google now supports authorship markup – a way to connect authors with all of their written content across the Web.

Akismet (Automattic Kismet) is a great plugin for WordPress that allows you to filter out all the spam on your blog so you can concentrate on the good comments and it costs as little as $5 a month!

For more information about these blogging features, or assistance with any other aspect of your social media strategy please check out our Social Media Marketing page or get in touch on 0845 456 1022.

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The Order of Blogging for Profit

Even if you’re not blogging for profit just yet, there will usually come a time when you want to make some money from your blog. After all, you put hours of hard work into creating the blog and you want people to read and enjoy your content, so it’s nice when advertisers and visitors recognize this. If you’re blogging for fun then you have it a bit easier because you have the freedom to do whatever you want, but if you’re eventually planning to make your blog profitable then it’s important to follow an order.

Many bloggers assume that they can do the easy blog aspects—speaking with advertisers, utilizing PPC, etc.—first; however going out of order when trying to make a profit can cause quite a few problems. In most cases, trying to do one thing before another will force you to backtrack. For example, obtaining analytics before you’ve even started optimizing your website might be a waste of your time.

If you want your blog to really thrive, you have to make sure you have a focus. People want to come to your blog for a reason—they like to know what they can expect. Even if you want your blog to be “random,” try to have a rhythm to the randomness. Create an “about us” page to help you clearly focus your blog and help others understand what your blog has to offer.

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The REAL Benefits of Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is riding high right now and the whole Internet Marketing sphere is buzzing with talk about it. Some people consider guest blogging to be one of the more powerful of available tactics, while others disparage this viewpoint, saying that guest blogging is highly misunderstood and that people are misusing it.

In my honest opinion, both mindsets are correct. I recently did a cartoon post on my blog discussing (in a humorous style) how guest blogging is powerful and how it is misused by many who have failed to understand the scope of awesomeness in this practice we call guest blogging.

Guest blogging is, indeed, one of the powerful ways of building strong, high-quality relationships that may help you in multiple ways, including developing business opportunities and professional connections, setting brand value and, of course, acquisition of link juice.

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Taking Your Content Strategy Beyond Blogging

Why do we blog? We know that any form of consistently updated media is favorable in Google’s eyes, so from an SEO perspective, it’s a sure win. But what about from a “human” perspective?

We need to constantly remind our users or readers that we’re still around, and we want to keep them in the loop with everything related to our industry. On top of that, by becoming a reputable source for our industry specific information, we have the opportunity to become thought leaders within a certain niche, which in turn attracts readership.

If you’re using your SEO brain, you’ll be thinking primarily about increasing traffic and rankings and using content to do this by targeting certain keywords. Your SEO brain will also want to help brands convert. But as with the evolution of SEO and the constant updates that Google adds to the mix, we’ve had to become more focused on creating content that is both human friendly and SEO friendly. UX and SEO are becoming more closely aligned as we move forward, so content must always be created with the user in mind and not just with the use of the SEO brain.

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Business Blogging Tips: The Why and The How

Businesses, whether small or large, local or enterprise, are constantly being told that blogging will help their search engine rankings, but many are left wondering how to actually implement a blogging strategy. While a few get the hang of it quickly, a large number either never blog at all, or they give up after a few unsuccessful tries.

The following tips are designed to help businesses understand not only why blogging is useful, but also how to pull off a successful blogging strategy.

People rarely share the content found on standard business website pages. Sharing content and linking to content are important factors in helping a site rank well in search engines. Blog posts have the advantage of breaking free of staid, boring business information, giving businesses the opportunity to provide interesting, sharable content.

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What to Blog About and How – 25 Blogging Lessons from 5 Years

Sometimes I love the Brainzooming blog. Sometimes I dread the Brainzooming blog. But I learn from the Brainzooming blog weekly, whether those are blogging lessons I actually do or those that sound wonderful, but I never seem to implement fully.

Here is a mix of each of those types of “what to blog about and how” blogging lessons from the past five years, with a particular emphasis on ones that have not warranted full blog posts yet.

My best analogy for what it is like to write a blog? Writing a book with a very loose outline and no real motivation to write the book in sequential order. What nobody seems to tell you is the actual writing of a blog post may be less than 50% of the time to publish the blog post. SEO, editing, graphics, tagging, and setting up the social sharing seem to be easily half of my time on a post.

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How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners

On the page below you’ll find links to a series of how to blog tips that I’ve written with blogging for beginners (and ‘Pre’ Bloggers) in mind. It unpacks the basics of blogging and a lot of the decisions and strategies that you’ll want to consider when setting up and starting a blog.

Since developing this series I’ve produced a book specifically for beginner bloggers. You can learn more about it on our ProBlogger the Book page. The book is filled with up to date blogging tips for beginners – you can get it on Amazon here.

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