5 Tips to bring your blog to the next level
So you have started your blog and you are very proud of the topics that you have brought to light. There is an interesting discussion among the comments and you may even have a small committee of guest bloggers livening the subject with their unique viewpoints. How do you taken it up to the next level?
Let’s face it! You want your blog to get noticed because with notice comes the spotlight that your topics deserve and the interaction that leads to syndication, strong alliances and the much desired SEO (Search Engine Optomization)
So how do YOU stand out?
Try these 5 simple additions and make a big difference.
1. Add a graphic, photo or illustration.
There are so many benefits.
- In a glimpse, a new reader can get a snapshot of what your article is about and that might be the holding force to get them to read further.
- Images are tied to emotional responses so if your goal is to involve them, what are you waiting for?
- Don’t forget that search engines have a special place for images and chances are you will reach a wider audience with a snapshot.
- Up the stakes further by licensing your image with creative commons so those that re-posting it will introduce an entire new audience to you. It works both ways, need an image? Search for “creative commons” along with your topic. A credit back to the creator is usually all that is required.
2. Don’t forget to credit, thank and link.
Adding hyperlinks to your article richens the experience for all.
- It also lets your readers know that you are part of larger community around the topic.
- The name of the game is offering value! When a topic is hyperlinked to the online article or blog that interested you in the subject you become the host, politely introducing your readers to new friends and colleagues. This gesture strengthens the interest in the subject to all involved.
- Lets face the facts: No idea, not even yours is completely unique so credit those that inspired you to write about it whenever you can.
- Always be transparent, it is ok to re-post as long as you acknowledge it. The convention is simple: [re-posted] or or [news article]
3. Can you offer interactive options-why not?
There are many multimedia tools that promote interaction.
- Ending with a question to your readers to prompt discussion is the simplest.
- Add a live twitter feed to involve people in the second and acknowledge the hashtag used to encourage them to tweet and take part.
- Ask them to “Share this” or “send to a friend“.
- Embedding a Youtube video or slideshare can do wonders to engage an audience. There must be something about that play button icon that makes you want to push it.
- A map with a location marker of where the story takes place can personalize your post and let your reader remember their experiences in that area. Chances are if you have sparked a memory they will share it.
- Surveys, contests, rate this article… all promote interaction and can help you determine the level of interest you have achieved but remember to share your results in real time.
- Anything that lets your readers relate the story back to themselves is a GREAT way to promote interaction.
One last note, unless your readers are very involved your comment metics might be low. Don’t get discouraged just appreciate the ones that do take the time to read, login and write to you. This Early 2010 Twitter statistics article will help you appreciate this. http://bit.ly/TWstats
4. Now that you have written it- Time to tell the world.
Don’t wait for search engine robots to find you. Take your message to the world.
- Using a URL shortener like bit.ly advertise your blog post on your own Twitter account. (You will be surprised how quickly followers of like interests will find you).
- In the comment section of related blogs – if relevant- leave a link back your blog.
- You can also link your own related articles together. Tags and categories work well to lead readers to relevant content that they may have missed but a well placed hyperlink takes the work out of it.
- Tell search engines that you are out there. Most have an email where you can send your web organizational trees.
- Comment on others blogs and social networks. The more your name is seen with relevant comments the more likely that observers will follow you back to read more.
- Don’t forget the power of using blogrolls to cross-market. There is nothing wrong with using the Contact us page to email the Blog creater and ask to be added to their blogroll. If your material is relevant then everyone wins.
5. Be aware of your voice.
Most of your readers appreciate reading blogs over news articles or corporate websites because they feel they are communicating with a real person.
- They feel like the writer of the article is speaking to them directly and why shouldn’t they? Chances are your audience is reading your blog alone and would prefer to be addressed in a way that suggests that it is just the two of you speaking.
- Get rid of formality. This lets the reader feel comfortable showing support or disdain but most importantly promotes a dialogue.
- If your reader comments ALWAYS respond promptly, publicly and humanly.
- If you have a guest blogger be a good host and introduce them. Tell your readers who they are. If they blog often, why not offer a page about your bloggers with pictures and a brief bio.
- Always think about your reader. Are they busy reading your article among 10 others and would appreciate a short post with formatting to draw attention to key points? Are they using your blog to write a report, maybe they need to know where you got your statistics so include the date of the study. What else will help? Locations, links to the source and email address to follow up privately might be just what they need.
Happy writing- If you used one of my suggestions please post the link to your blog in the comment section.