Boosting Your Blog with Better Content
- Post about current or controversial issues. This idea seems like a no-brainer, but it's an easy one to forget. Pay attention to the news, and watch for events and issues that are of interest to your readers. When you find one, create a post or series of posts around the subject. You might want to aggregate blog postings on the subject, sum up opinion articles, or even state your own opinion.
- Don't be afraid to be critical or controversial in what you say, as long as you can defend your opinion. Good blogs don't shy away from confrontation, although they don't create it purely for the sake of argument. Going out on a limb definitely causes people to comment more and probably also result in more links from other blogs to your postings.
- Post in user groups and forums. The Web is peppered with user groups, bulletin boards, and forums about all kinds of subjects. If you have set yourself up as an expert and have valuable information to contribute to a forum, you can drive traffic to your blog.
- Be very careful that you don't come off as a spammer or someone who is trying to sell a product or service. Your postings should be on topic and provide information, opinion, or clarification that contributes to the discussion. Let your knowledge sell the blog or your company for you. Don't try to be someone you're not — identify yourself as being associated with a company, because if anyone figures it out and you haven't been up-front, the backlash can overshadow your message, even if you didn't intend a deception.
- Guest blogging. Invite prominent bloggers, industry experts, and other influential people to guest edit your blog for a day or a week. You may have to provide some incentive to get them to help you out. Other bloggers, however, undoubtedly talk about their guest-blog gigs and bring traffic to the site. The real payoff is in the promotion you can do to bring readers in during that time.
- If your blogger is well known, you may be able to offer an exchange: Your blogger for mine. This solution is also handy for those days when your blogger wants to take a vacation or is in some way unavailable to blog. Even an unknown guest blogger is preferable to having your blog go dark.
- Be sure to talk with the guest about appropriate topics, writing style, and your expectations on the number of posts to be provided. If you plan to edit the guest blogger, state this up front as well.
- Add photos to your posts. Say it with images! A blog can be a text-heavy, boring-looking page, even if the writing is scintillating. The addition of photos, charts, and other graphics can add spice and interest to any blog entry — and readers respond well to blogs that use images.
- Keep your images to a reasonable size, especially if you have pages that display several blog entries at once.
You can do a lot to promote your blog yourself, but don't forget that others will also have good ideas. Think about these techniques for getting employees and customers to talk about your blog:
- Ask your employees to promote the blog. Your employees have their own network of family, friends, customers, and business contacts that they can evangelize the blog to. Some may even have personal blogs they can use to promote the company blog, though that should be entirely their choice.
- If you have stickers and other merchandise made up to advertise the blog, don't forget to make this material available to your employees, who could hand it out during meetings with clients and business contacts.
- Ask your customers to promote the blog. The essence of viral or buzz marketing is in getting others to spread the message on your behalf. What better group to serve that role than your own customers, many of whom may already be bloggers themselves? Satisfied customers are the greatest advocates and the best evangelists for your company you can find. In a manner similar to your employees, make advertising materials available for them to use as well.
- If you have stickers and other merchandise made up to advertise the blog or your company, consider providing some to these customer evangelists to hand out to family members, friends, and colleagues.
- Ask for ideas! Other bloggers, your employees, your business contacts, your friends, and — of course — your readers may have some great ideas for promoting the blog. Get them to tell you what they are and then implement them!