Tag Archives: business blogging

Better Blog Month – November Intro 1

Compass ConceptSo some of you know, I had an inspiration, thanks to @journalistics during an online Twitter event called @journchat, to create something called The Better Blog Month Project AKA #BtrBlogNov.

Twenty one hardy souls signed up to participate in this free project, which I’m eager to do myself. There are many other ingredients that go into making a better blog, but this month we are concentrating on content, on the actual blog posts (along with some strategy around and behind the posts).

Basic Goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Depending on which our site needs most, either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts

Basic Structure:
Those who signed up will receive and email Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the month of November 2009. Each email will have:

  • The topic of the day, and Some points to think about
  • An exercise
  • And some resources/links to help people brainstorm, or to provide more information (most of these are not planned as must reads, as I know our time is limited, but they are there to provide more information for those who want/need it).
  • For those who haven’t signed up, I’ll post a brief version of the day’s tasks, and to help get the community involved, I’ll ad some comments based on my experience doing the exercises, and ask for tips from all of us bloggers out there.

The Weeks are loosely themed:
Week 1: Getting Started on a Better Blog – Behind the Scenes Strategy
Week 2: Honing our Message
Week 3: Building our Inventory
Week 4: What comes Next
(Thanks to John Reddish @GetResults for helping me brainstorm the weekly titles)

Each day’s info are simply ideas, jumping off points as it were, gathered from several years of blog reading, time spent reading and absorbing information about blogging from other great bloggers, many years of writing in my work, a year of blogging, and are also informed by my 20 years of Public Relations experience. If I suggest one way/idea, feel free to make it work for you, but if you meet resistance, be sure to ask it to step aside and let you get on with playing and working; don’t let resistance move in front of you and block you from our goals.

I hope this inspires others to create better blogs this month too!

Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com , 484-802-7576, Find me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR (@CathyWebSavvyPR), Find me on LinkedIn:

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Blogs as a Useful Business Tool

Someone on LinkedIn just asked the question, “has blogging had it’s day in the sun, or is adding a blog to a website still useful for SEO purposes.” I decided to copy my answer and tweak it to fit my blog. The answer is YES Blogs are still a useful business tool!

Why are Blogs a Useful Business Tool?

More people than ever are reading blogs. Blog readership is on the rise among internet users.

More than two-thirds (68%) of online Americans say they visit online blogs, communities or social networks, and 33% engage in product research online to help them make purchase decisions.” That’s way up from the past when the answer was often – what’s a blog.

According to Nielsen, “the average online American went online 62 times, visited 115 domains, viewed 2,580 web pages and spent nearly 75 hours online in January 2009.” http://www.marketingcharts.com/interactive/average-american-visits-115-domainsmonth-8151

SEO for Blogs – Organic Search Works Wonders:

However, as far as SEO is concerned, the ability of a blog post to get a company to the top pages of Google has not diminished. Especially if the post is well-written and optimized for organic search (i.e. keywords and key phrases are worked into both the post/page title and into the text of the post that also provides useful targeted info). Google’s algorithm takes into account the newness of blogging info, whereas a traditional website gains pagerank more by its age and incoming links, and well as SEO (this is glossing over a lot to make a point as blogs also benefit from these two factors). A well-written blog post, with a bit of SEO finesse in the post, combined with the way the blog it set up (proper permalinks and SEO plugins for example) can go get a post on Google within hours.  Until Google changes its algorithm again(how it selects the search results we see), this should remain an important factor.

Can a Blog Expand the Reach of your Brand?

Another benefit I have noticed is that blogs and social networking work together to help reinforce a brand’s depth of knowledge on a subject. Clients who have found me, often mention reading a blog post of mine that I had pulled into my Facebook or LinkedIn page, as the thing that nudged them into contacting me. Social networking tools (and tips and tricks) can help integrate your blog into your profiles as more than just a link.

Good Content is still King

I remember a Google staff member being interviewed on a tech blog and he said something that has stuck in my mind and worked for myself and for clients – the best way to get onto Google’s 1st page of results is to have the exact words/phrase that someone is searching for on your page (blog or traditional website). This brings up a point about balance – you need to balance writing for humans with writing for search engines. No keywords stuffing either; write a good post that incorporates a few selected keywords and synonyms.

Can a Blog Serve as my Whole Website?

Many websites have actually moved to using a blogging platform, or blogging software, as a content management system and as the entire website. Create most pages as static pages, then use one page for the dynamic, changing blog posts. WordPress.org makes it easy for the client to update their own content, without having to run to their web guys for every little change.

How Does Business Blogging Work?

I usually stay away from absolute statements, but corporate blogs have to be done right. These tips do apply to almost all blogs, but in order for a company blog to work, you need to allow comments and interaction with readers/ customers.

  • It has to be transparent – that is whomever is blogging needs to disclose that fact. A faceless corporate blog no longer works nearly as effectively as a blog from a specific individual (not necessarily the CEO), or named team of bloggers, or at least from a department.
  • It also does not work well when used as a bullhorn to shoot out 90% company praise & press releases. It does work best when it addresses issues that it’s prospective readers would find useful and/or interesting; what’s in the news in the industry, what’s new a the company. Yes you can include press release-type material, but at a rate of 1 in 6 or 1 in 12 posts.
  • A company’s blog can create the feeling of a personal connection with this formerly ‘faceless’ company.

So my advice is don’t just add a blog onto a company site, but first identify the blog’s potential audience, and objectives. Then create a plan and tactics to reach that audience and achieve those goals. Don’t forget to integrate the blog into the overall public relations and social media strategy.

The Do Blogs Provide Value Anymore Take Away Point:

Yes, they still provide value. These ideas outlined above work for the small business blogger and entrepreneur as well as the medium-to-large-sized company; for the mommy / mom blogger and the niche blogger too. Blogging is a form of social media; it is about give and take; it’s about creating and building trust in your brand. If you treat your blog as just another way to polish your brand’s image, it will more than likely end up tarnished.

Cathy Larkin & Web Savvy PR –

Your Public Relations & Social Media Guide – I bring new media tools to the traditional PR toolkit to expand your brand and build your business. I talk “tech talk,” but translate fluently into “plain English.” I help individuals and organizations set up their blogs (or add one to an existing site); I help people expand the reach of their brands by creating, and helping them execute, a social media PR plan; and I coach people on how to tackle specific aspects of PR and social networking sites; call me 484-802-7576, or Cathy [dot] Larkin {at} WebSavvyPR {dot} Com. Or find me on Twitter.

By the way, if you are using http://Twitter.com, I do not mind if you add your twitter ID/username to your comment, in addition to the website link the comment form requests. It makes it even easier to create community and connect with folks, so feel free. I will not treat it as spam, unless of course the comment itself is spammy.  The correct way to make a link clickable in comments is http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR.  If you are new to Twitter, feel free to check it out and contact me there, just remember to click on the @Replies tab to see messages sent to you!