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Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 Ways You Can Use Blogs RIGHT NOW

10 Ways You Can Use Blogs RIGHT NOW
by: Andy Wibbels

Now that you have got a basic understanding of the ins and outs of blogs, and some options available, you're probably wondering: How does this help my business? How does it help me to stand out?

1. Team Communication. Companies use blogs internally to communicate project status to stakeholders and managers. It beats clogging everybody's email with mass broadcasts. It allows these missives to be archived, indexed and easily searched.

2. Enrich Your Clients. You can easily link to articles and resources relevant to your readers and their needs. You can more easily attract experts to provide value-added content to your audience.

3. Get to Know Your Customer. Nobody buys from someone they don't know. Blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise and point-of-view quickly and easily. In addition, blogs allow the customers to receive your updates in the format they choose.

4. Collaborate. You can create your own marketing buzz to drive attention and buyers to your products and services. Some companies use internal blogs to report on projects or to track work groups distributed around the world.

5. Research and Development. Weblogs are the perfect forum to test out new ideas and receive instant feedback. You can allow others to see how you develop your products and services, and at the same time, they can tell you how best to serve them.

6. Go Global. Blogs, like other online media, allow you to take your business and ideas to a global market. Translation services are getting better every day, allowing more people to read online content in different languages. I've helped bloggers from New York to New Zealand, from Indiana to India.

7. Hidden Entrance to the Press. Journalists are busier than ever and blogs provide a virtual directory of pundits on any topic. You and your company can be the content expert they're looking for. Furthermore, if your company is talked about in the blogosphere it could end up using that exposure as a back door to the press.

8. Get Published. Publishers are turning to blogs to find new writing talent. Blogs can give a publisher a taste of your writing style as well as a sample of your depth of knowledge. Content specific blogs show a a commitment to a certain topic or subject matter.

9. Write your book. Let your readers help you write your latest book or article. Post chapters or ideas, then let readers help you in researching, testing and suggesting ideas. Or, use a blog after your book is published to update the material or to answer questions from readers.

10. Success Stories. Invite clients to blog about their successes with your products and services - it's like a living testimonial that never ends. As clients share their experiences, your prospects can see first-hand how you can help them, too.

Copyright © 2005 Andy Wibbels

About Andy: Andy Wibbels is a blogging evangelist and creator of the Easy Bake Weblogs seminar that has helped hundreds of small businesses all over the world leverage blogs and RSS news feeds to increase profits and save time. You can download his free special report on business and blogs at http://easybakeweblogs.com/.


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7 Tips for Successful Blogging

7 Tips for Successful Blogging
by: Michele Schermerhorn

So, you have a blog! Do you have traffic? Do you know how to build traffic to your weblog? There are seven proven methods for building readership of your blog. They start with defining the purpose, or life, of your blog. Then, after you have a blog worth promoting, driving traffic is crucial to your ongoing success at blogging.

Here are seven tips to help you build and hold an audience for your blog:

Tip #1: Provide quality content.

On the Internet, whether you are talking about websites or blogs, a lot of space is given to content. Everyone directs you to provide quality content. But, what is quality content? The quality of your blog’s content is directly related to how well you have defined your ideal audience.

A successful blog is written with a distinct audience in mind. In this way, you can provide content that is unique to your audience’s issues, needs, or desires. If you create content they like and wish to return to read, you have quality content.

The second issue is to stay true to your audience and tone of your blog. If people are reading your blog, it’s because they like your topic and tone. Try not to stray from your typical topics and style too much. This will give your readers a reason to link back to your blog on an ongoing basis, as will posting on a regular basis.

Tip #2: Blog regularly

If you don't update your blog often enough, blog readers will move on to other blogs. There are too many blogs out there competing for attention. Blog readers will go where they can get enough of what they want.

Successful blogging takes a commitment of your time. When you begin blogging and wish to capture an audience, you should be prepared to blog every day. In this way, you can develop an audience who counts on you to help them begin or end their day.

This means you should also try to post at the same time each day. Your readers will get accustomed to your schedule and check your blog at the appropriate time. The time of day is not as crucial as the consistency in your posting.

Since you now have quality content and a regular posting schedule, it’s time to drive traffic to your blog. Your readers will do a lot to promote your blog just by telling their friends. Don’t count on this alone! You need to do some additional work.

When you post, make sure you set your blog to “ping” blog tracking sites every time you add a new post. Think of this as a means to get their attention. The ping says “Hey, we just added a new post”. An alternative to automatically pinging from your blog is to use pingomatic.com. This is a one-stop place to automatically ping everyone you should notify of your new post and only takes a couple of minutes to accomplish.

Tip #3: Mention your blog wherever you can

Mention your blog’s address in your email signature line, in forums where you post, on your business cards, on address labels and in conversations with anyone you meet. Use a tag line under your blog address to further entice them to visit. Mine reads:

Michele Schermerhorn
http://www.imarketblog.com
A sassy little marketing blog

Beyond just mentioning your blog in writing and conversation, you must actively participate in the blogging community too.

Tip #4: Participate in the blogosphere

Get involved in other people's blogs. Visit blogs that interest you and are in line with the general topic of your blog. Then, leave thoughtful comments. Almost every comment option on someone else’s blog will allow you to post your blog URL and your email address. Help other bloggers out with traffic and they will help you.

If a blogger really likes your site, they will add you to their blogroll. A blogroll is generally found on every blog which understands linking to the rest of the blogosphere helps drive traffic. A blogroll is a listing of other blogs. Think of it as a “recommended reading list”. Don’t be stingy with your blog roll either. Add those blogs that you read and enjoy to your blogroll too.

Tip #5: Think keywords when you post

Think about keywords with your use of titles, links and blog posts. Search engines, like Google and Yahoo, like keywords. The more targeted your keywords, the better the chances of your blog appearing in search results. Search results can drive that extra traffic you want.

To increase the value of the key words in your content, make certain keywords are part of the hot link in your posts. Don’t use “click here” as the hot link. You will be wasting valuable real estate in your post. Instead use the relevant keywords for the hot link, like “a great marketing idea. This gives the keywords added emphasis with the search engines.

One last thought on keywords for driving traffic; if you want a real leg up in the traffic game, in your linking code add rel=”tag”. This helps Technorati, a major blog resource, index your blog for their directory. But don’t stop there! It’s time to submit your blog to blog directories.

Tip #6: Submit your blog to blog directories

In addition to submitting your blog to the major search engines, make certain you submit the blog to exclusively blog directories like blogwise, blogcatalog, or bloghub. Many people find blogs through these online directories.

When you do submit your blog to these directories, remember to add a description that will entice your targeted audience to check your blog out. For instance, when I post my blog in blog directories, under description I put “General musings, rants, advice and strategies from a battle-worn veteran of the Marketing Wars, online and off”. Your description should help the potential reader understand your blogging topic and the flavor of how you write.

In addition to submitting your blog to blog directories, join a few of the free or inexpensive traffic exchange sites like blogexplosion or blogclicker.

Tip #7: Use free and inexpensive blog traffic exchange communities

There are many sites which can be termed “traffic exchange” sites for the blogging community. It won’t cost you anything to sign up. At the very least, join blogexplosion, blogclicker, and blogazoo. Once you sign up, you have two options to help drive traffic to your blog. Use both of them!

The first method is to earn credits (guaranteed visitors to your site) by using the “surf member sites” function. As you surf through those sites, you will be earning credits (visitors to your blog). When you find an interesting post, leave a comment as discussed above. When you find a blogger you like, add them to your blogroll and let them know you did.

The second method to drive traffic is to purchase credits. The cost is very cheap for the traffic you will drive to your blog. The more traffic to your blog, the more customers you’ll have. The more happy customers you have, the more they will tell others. The more they tell others, the more customers you get. Don’t you love this dance!

In summary, blogging may not be for everyone. However, it can be a great method for bringing your unique perspective to the Internet. You will surely find others who think the same way you do. Some bloggers will entertain you, some will inform you, and some will drive you to tear your hair out. Decide what type of blogger you want to be and be the best you can. See you in the blogosphere!


About the Author

Michele Schermerhorn calls herself a “Corporate Freedom Fighter” dedicated to freeing cubicle prisoners. She has over 30 years experience in the business world. She is President of Online Business Institute Inc. (www.obinstitute.com), authors a sassy marketing blog (www.imarketblog.com), and regularly conducts free online seminars. Online Business Institute Inc. exists to “Create Successful Online Business Owners One Person At A Time”.



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