Search Engine Marketing Blog Lessons: Tales from the Blogging Trenches
The advice that business should blog is great and all, but the more pressing question, by far, is how. When I’ve sat down with clients to start them on the track to business blogging, there are many questions and much uncertainty, of the creative and technical nature. As the author of a search engine marketing blog, it’s kinda my thing to think about both sides of the coin: the SEO benefit as well as the creative and community building aspects of blogging. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re staring at a sparse screen, looking to leverage the benefits of a blog.
Coming Up with Topics
Depending on how often you plan to blog, it’s probably a good idea to keep a running list. An editorial calendar is a helpful way to keep track of subjects that are topical to a certain season or event. Any announcements or news worthy story of the business can come across well in a post. And questions you hear from clients is a great way to generate content that draws interest, is uniquely worthy of attention and is relevant to your subject. There are also tools that can help you identify topics gaining traction in the public sphere. Google Insights for Search can help you capitalize on trending topics and rising searches.
Keeping Track of Keywords
The cool thing about a blog is that it can do double duty for your business or brand. Blogging can work to establish an individual or an entity as a subject matter expert, but it also has major SEO benefits. You can use a tool like WordStream for SEO to identify keyword opportunities in copy. What I do is keep my list of targeted keywords handy. I occasionally use it to generate topic ideas, but more often, it’s a resource for including keywords within a post. Continuously fresh, keyword-rich content will build a body of search engine fodder and keep spiders coming back for more.
Remembering Your Readers
One of the major rules of copywriting is knowing who you’re talking to. Be familiar with the demographic of those interested in your topic. Know the various personas who follow the subject. Speak to them the way they talk to each other. A reader won’t respect you if they don’t sense genuine relatability. Check out the Content Boot Camp for recommendations for getting to know your audience, recognizing how to get them excited, tailoring the message to their needs and the right questions to ask along the way.
Leveraging Your Network
You’re not alone when it comes to blogging. Chances are, you’ve got a whole network of support that wants to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask for a favor once in a while, whether it’s sharing your post with their friends, voting in a poll you’re running, or getting their input on a post idea. You can also invite others to do guest blog posts. Likewise, you can guest blog on other industry blogs. These tactic can introduce your brand and blog to new readers. Just keep in mind that you want the benefit of guest blogging and social support to go both ways.
Be Ready for the Long Haul
The benefits of a blog, in terms of community growth, aren’t immediate. It’s a cumulative process, and it takes time to build credibility and an audience. However, if you keep at it and don’t get discouraged by early growing pains, you will be proud when the momentum starts building. To start out, set a goal for frequency and make the time to write. It may make sense to blog weekly if that’s your industry’s average. For me, SEM blogs update many times a week, or even a day, so we aim to meet the quantity standard while maintaining the quality as well. You’ll have to find the blogging balance that works for you. And remember, you may not have to be the lone blogger in your organization. Look to brand evangelists within the business to see who else may qualify as a blogger. Blogging is about empowerment and community, after all.