Intuitively I understood the importance of blogging for increasing traffic to my site, growing my email list, search engine optimization, earning expert status, and the list goes on. On a practical level I initially saw blogging as one more platform on which I needed to create value-added content. Don't get me wrong, I love providing support to people on the topics I feel very passionate about, but I was not sure I could stay on top of it or how to integrate social networking into my marketing plan.
I was happy to learn that I was wrong on both points and I would like to share my strategies and some of the results I have seen so far.
Stay on topic: Brand expansion through blogging requires that you, well, blog about your brand! Remain consistent with your messaging, your tone, and your reason for sharing with your audience. Use self-promotion blogs sparingly as your visitors will get bored and annoyed by this and they will not return.
Plan ahead: Although it may seem difficult at first to brainstorm multiple blog topics in advance, it is important to plan out what and when you will blog so that you stay on track and hold yourself accountable. Look at some of the comments people have been making on your social networking sites for inspiration. On your editorial calendar, remember to always plan a blog before a book signing, speaking engagement, or tele-class to create a buzz. Also post a blog within 48 hours after an event so that you can share a great audience question and provide your answer for those who did not attend.
Create a community: Whenever appropriate, illicit comments to your blog post. If your blog is a How to... or 10 Steps... ask the reader what has worked best for them. This creates a discussion and community from which you and others can learn. You may even come up with another blog idea, or even your next book!
Maximize blog page effectiveness: Make it easy for any visitor to connect with you once they are on your blogging page. Add a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn button to your blog page. Also, your subscriber form should be very visible on this page because once the visitor likes what you have to share and how you share it, they will want to learn more from you.
Create social networking infrastructure: If you are taking the time and mental energy to create great content on your blogs, it would be a shame if no one knew about it. I use my Facebook personal profile, Fan Page and Twitter accounts to announce a new post and drive traffic to the blog.
* Craft interesting status updates (at least 5 per blog post) and use a shortened url account such as Bit.ly to track how many people are going to your blog (these are called Click Through Rates).
* Have your blogs automatically posted to your Facebook account through the Networked Blog feature and the auto blog import via the Notes feature.
* Use a scheduling account such as SocialOomph to pre-plan the posting of your updates for time efficiency and retweet effectiveness. (Hint: See my previous blog for the best times of the day and week for getting great Click Through Rates and Retweets)
My results: Within only 6 weeks of consistent blogging, I saw my click-through-rates grow from 150 to as high as 863. My Facebook Fans increased by 60% and my e-newsletter had consistent new subscribers. I have also seen colleagues earn solid tele-class and webinar participation as a result of regularly posting value-added content. Strong results will not happen overnight. Continue to be present and add value to your community and they will become loyal fans and engaged consumers.
There is no need to start from scratch trying to figure this all out on your own. Find a blogging buddy who can help or seek out the support of a professional. Whether you simply need structure and coaching on how all of the pieces fit together and how to optimize them, or you want collaborative writing support, check out the blogging programs offered at Your Voice, Inc at www.YourVoiceInc.com/BloggingYourBrand . Christine Messier works with many best selling authors and speakers to maximize their strategic blogging plans and integrate their social networking accounts for optimum impact.
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com