Blogging – a professional services guide for beginners
I’ve talked a lot recently about the benefits of blogging as a part of a social media portfolio. I am a real fan of blogs and blogging and read a lot of blog posts, especially with the help of the very good Google Reader app. Its a great way to keep up to date with changes in all sorts of industries, stay in touch with changes and rumours in technology and gadgets, and keep amused at the same time.
Developing a blog, sharing your knowledge and insights, is a natural step to building credibility and authority within an industry. It is also becoming more and more recognised by business generally as a way to learn more about you. More about your thoughts, and more about your interests too.
For many though, the thought of writing a blog sounds great, but have no idea where to start. So, here is my short guide to setting up and writing a blog – for the professional services world.
Top tips to start blogging
1. Decide what you want to write about
There are a lot of people publishing blogs every day. Remember, we are using a blog here as a way to improve your web/social media presence. If you are interested in writing a blog for interest’s sake only, however, the principles still apply.
You need to decide what your area of interest and authority is, and ensure that you pick something that you are truly passionate about. Your passion will come through in your writing, and it will be easier for you to find inspiration.
2. Choose a blogging provider to host your blog
I use WordPress.com, and find it very simple and easy to use. Its free which is also great, but there are plenty of other choices available. Check out Blogger, Xanga, Tumblr etc for more choices. Just choose the one that appeals to you and off you go.
Whoever you choose, make this the centre of your social media strategy.
3. Consider your own domain name
Available for a very small cash outlay, your own domain name gives a really strong start to your personal brand, and is far more professional looking than the generic URLs given by the blogging sites.
4. Write and write regularly
In order to gain a following, you need to provide interesting content and publish it regularly. Simply writing a blog post ever now and then will not give you the impact you are looking for.
5. Target your blog
Ideally, you should share your blog posts with an audience who is most likely to share. The more your content is shared, the better the reach. This isn’t rocket science.
Once really good way of doing this is to share your content with online communities where your target audience already gathers. Linked In groups, and specialist sites (e.g. Recruitingblogs.com) are a great starting place.
6. Make your content search engine friendly
Being picked up by the major search engines is vital if you want your content to find a wider audience. Don’t forget, the main blog sites are already very search engine friendly, so the more you do here the better.
There is a massive traffic opportunity available for you to take advantage of. If you think keywords here you are on the right track.
7. Integrate with the major social media sites to share your posts.
Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and Google + are all great places to share your content. Together these networks are attracting enormous amounts of time and interest from people all around the world. They are also a great place to find the ‘sharers’ we are keen on too.
Don’t also forget the bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon, Delicious, Reddit, Tumblr, and Digg too.
It is also really easy to integrate with these sites, so that your content is automatically shared there (this is called syndication). Have a look at Ping.fm as an example of a really easy syndication site.
8. Use pictures
Graphics, pictures and illustrations make your post more interesting and encourage people to open your post and read further. This really does work!
9. Link to your blog
The web is a dynamic place. You need to ensure that your blog posts are seen, and not missed. This means referring to them at every opportunity.
Link one of the 3 websites that Linked In lets you promote to your blog. Put your blog on your email signature. Link from your website. Promote, promote, promote.
10. Don’t give up
It takes time to build a following, and like many things in life, you get out of it what you put in. Initially, just be proud to put out your best content. Work on it, and the benefits will come.
For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.
I look forward to being in touch.