There’s been a lot of talk lately about the power of blogging, and there are people who will tell you we all should become bloggers to enhance our careers and entrepreneurial endeavors.
True: Everyone with internet access and a keyboard can blog. True: Most everyone has something unique to say. True: Blogging can be an intellectual temptress—or at least a quick way to show off your expertise.
But also true: The same way not everyone can sing well, draw beautiful illustrations, or excel at public speaking, not everyone has the gift for creating compelling content. Even fewer of us (including some of those who might think of themselves as good bloggers already), understand how to effectively use a blog to garner positive attention for our brands, or how to set our content apart from everything else on the web.
Whether you have a problem with prose or you’re already the next Arianna Huffington, consider these strategies to ensure your blog content serves your brand well:
1. Decide Who You Are
You may be tempted to stray past your niche and write about whatever you feel like on a given day. People want to learn about the “real you,” right? No, they don’t—your customers and readers want to know they can count on you for compelling content within your area of expertise. So decide who you are, know what your brand represents—and stay focused on just that.
2. Surround Yourself with Good
You don’t need to know the tax code to do your taxes—you just need to know a good CPA. Fortunately, the same concept applies to blogging. If writing isn’t your strong suit, that’s OK—find yourself a writer or editor with WordPress expertise to help you out (perhaps a volunteer or knowledgeable intern) while you focus on the many other areas where you excel.
3. Focus on Quality and Consistency
They say that content is king, but the truth is, only quality content is worthy of a crown. It’s not about getting as many posts out there as you can—it’s about posting great stuff. So, until you can consistently produce two to three high-quality, impactful blogs per week, you don’t need to push yourself to try to do more.
4. Go Past Creation to Curation
Once you have some traction and followers, consider ramping up your content by posting blogs from others who share your messaging. Content curation is not only a great way to impress your audience and engage them with other points of view and voices, it’s an amazing way to build a stronger, more collaborative relationship with people who could become strategic partners. Similarly, extend your own influence by serving as a guest blogger and posting your material on sites with similar interests.
5. Promotion is Everything!
Your blog is only as good as the marketing effort behind its posts. Make sure the content you’ve worked hard on gets seen by using social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, and Google+) and distribution tools like StumbleUpon, Triberr, NetworkedBlogs, and TwitterFeed.
6. Build a Community
Remember that blogging is a communication tool, not a “broadcast” mechanism. Your goal is to engage your audience, just as you do with social media. By answering comments and responding to retweets and shares, you’re letting your readers know you’re there to build relationships.
7. Capture Your Visitors and Leverage the Contacts
You’re driving traffic to your site for a reason: to get more clients (or customers, or followers). So, if you aren’t capturing exactly who those visitors are, you’re failing to take full advantage of your work and an opportunity learn about your potential market. Your best bet: Sign on with a service bureau that can provide email capture, CRM, and sales processing data, such as InfusionSoft or Hubspot.
8. Leverage Your Perceived Expertise
So you’re blog is taking off, and you’re becoming known as a top expert in your field. That’s great! Now what? Think about how you can go beyond your blog to build your brand even further—through public speaking or by participating in expert panels, webinars, or conferences. Leverage the expertise you’ve established and the community and relationships you’re built through your content.
When it’s used the right way—and marketed effectively—a blog can open many doors!
Photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon.
Mark Babbitt is CEO and Founder of YouTern, where emerging talent connects with entrepreneur-driven businesses and non-profits through high-impact, mentor-based internships. In 2011, Mark and YouTern’s blog, The Savvy Intern, were named to several “Top Career Blogger” lists. In addition to his blogs at YouTern, Mark is also Business and Leadership Editor at 12Most.com and contributes to Business Insider, StudentBranding.com and Intern Advocate and has been quoted in Forbes, Mashable, Under30CEO.com and ReadWriteWeb. A serial mentor, Mark was recently honored to be named to GenJuice’s “Top 100 Most Desired Mentors” list.More from this Author