This mornings Blogging Best Best Practices Panel at WordCamp, Austin quickly turned into an informative Q&A session. The information flew back and forth so fast that I had a tough time stringing it together. Rather than try and fail. I’ve organized some key learnings from the talk, using the questions asked as headers.
I apologize for not sourcing the specific panelist on each tidbit of information, the panel was awesome, I was trying to learn as much as possible.
What to Blog about
It is key to know what your blog is about. In marketing terms you need to have a positioning statement. What separates you from other sites about the same topic? (You’re a mommy blogger, who also happens to use photography in her posts) Decide how you are different from other content producers and how far you want to stray from your main topic. One of the best things you can do is to be consistent with your site, it helps build traffic. It is ok to stray from your positioning statement as long as you don’t do so too frequently. It is natural to eventually change your content focus, after all we do change across time, just be sure to rebrand when you do and let your readers know about this shift. You might be surprised at how many of them follow along.
Must have features for your blog.
Share Buttons and links are key. It’s very rare for readers to actually visit the front page of your blog, people are usually coming in from a social site. Make sure your site is built so that they can see your material on their social media streams.
Whats the right amount of updates on your blog
Setting your post frequency depends on the purpose of your blog. A personal blog might allow for more frequent posting than a business blog. If you post to often as a business, you might wear your audience out and eventually lose followers. Try to produce two massive value posts, spaced out across the month. These should be longer format posts (Ex. 2000 words) that should be linked heavily and make your personality come through. These posts will bump up your SEO and help keep readers coming back. In between posts, pepper your blog with three or more smaller posts that might refer back to the larger “value posts” you have scheduled for your calendar.
How do you manage multiple blogs.
If you are working in social media and managing multiple blog presences (perhaps you manage your own blog and a clients blog) it is important to think these presences through. Documenting the positioning statement for each one can help you get in the frame of mind for each different blog. Something as simple as a spreadsheet with the cornerstone themes for each blog goes a long way to help you put the appropriate hat on, before your start posting.
Don’t re-post existing content
It doesn’t help your SEO and it only helps the site that is requesting the re-post. If you receive such a request, go ahead and ask them for original content or a guest post, if they insist on a re-post it’s probably not the right thing to do.
On Social Media
Too many of us think about the media part and forget the social part of the social media equation. Social is an emotional and engaging experience, don’t just jump in and throw things out there. Engage, test the waters, read your timeline first, see what’s going on and then throw your links into the conversation. If you happen to post that meme of a cat that you love at the wrong time, be sure to use the great WordPress Apps for iPhone and Android so that you can delete or backdate any of your mistakes from anywhere.
On Video Hosting
Don’t host video yourself, always use YouTube’s bandwidth to serve your own site. Experts predict that the majority of SEO results will be from video by 2015. When working with video, host it on YouTube and get that transcription done so the keywords register with search engines. Don’t forget to include open and closing credits on your video so that you are properly linked to drive traffic.
Saying no to a Sponsored Post Request
The panel recommends only working for products you would buy or can afford to buy. Be courteous when turning brands down, these requests usually come from PR firms that handle multiple clients. Say no when it’s not right, but do so in a way that keeps the doors open for other brands that might be right for you. Send back free products or samples that you decided not review, or offer to donate them
How to get Sponsors/Monetize
If you’re planning to make a living with your blog you need to be proactive and reach out to brands. Let them know why your blog is right for their product. Perhaps you have blogged about their product before or love their service. Offer a collaboration, ask to work together. After a while you will be added to a PR list and they will reach out to you.
Follow these panelists on Twitter, incredibly insightful.
Cool WordPress Plugins and Resources mentioned:
Blog Copyright- adds legal disclaimer to the bottom of your site, to help protect you from scrapers.
What’s Would Seth Goden Do – lets you set news and announcements widget for your blog.
Picture via @BlogMadBetty
Guest post by Miguel Fernández