Information, tips and guidelines for making your blog effective and worth reading
Speaking for myself, the answer is a definite no!
Speaking on behalf of clients and many business people I have spoken to, I would also give a resounding no!
Speaking for yourself, do you think it’s easy to write blog posts? How about if you try writing them to fit a marketing schedule?
So sometimes we have to make ourselves write a post, even if it is hard finding an idea or topic.
A post on SEO outreach by Emma Fox stated “don’t force yourself into making something for a website.” (Yes, the same post that inspired my post about taking time to develop ideas last week has inspired this post, too!)
It’s an interesting statement.
You can take it to mean its best to write naturally and don’t go too far in making your posts relevant to a very different topic. Which are good points.
Or you can read it as advice to only write for other blogs when you feel like it. Which sounds very nice, but is not so practical for a business owner trying to market their business!
When it comes to choosing where to put a guest blog post, I try to get that balance through the following ideas:
Last night I read a blog post on guest blogging (or SEO outreach) as it is something I am interested in and enjoy doing. There were some great tips in this blog post, but there were also a couple of points that I reacted to.
If you don’t have any ideas for articles the first couple of minutes of scanning the website, better spend the next minutes looking for another website to scope out.
Many people will never find a host blog if they used that criteria!
A couple of minutes may show the blog is not suitable for you (eg the wrong topic or demographic) but it often isn’t enough to get ideas. Sometimes I get ideas from the first sentence I read in another blog, but other times I have to read a few posts to get a feel for that blog and allow inspiration to strike.
Creativity is in all of us, and I believe it can be developed, but even so that’s a lot of pressure to state you need to find ideas so quickly while also assessing the blog overall.
There’s a business concept about giving clients a choice of two elements – well done, fast or cheap. They can’t have all three options in the same project.
I think that’s true for guest blogging, too. You can do it well – quality writing on well researched blogs to build relationships with bloggers and their audiences – or you can work at getting a lot of posts online in a short time frame.
It’s that old quality vs quantity argument, I guess.
And to be frank, if you give me the impression of trying for maximum posts rather than quality the chances are I won’t accept your guest post. So I would never tell people to only spend a few minutes researching a potential host blog – it looks fast rather than in-depth to me.
How do you develop ideas, whether for a blog post or anything else?
Do you give up if no idea hits within a couple of minutes?* Images courtesy of 123RF
Setting up a blog may seem daunting but it really doesn’t have to be. However, the first step, how to host your blog, can be difficult if you haven’t done it before.
So, here are some things to know and consider before making your choice…
What other questions are you considering (or did you consider) as part of your decision?
Once you start blogging you will start getting comments. Unfortunately, a large proportion of them will probably be spam, but the real comments are great.
As I wrote a few years ago (back in December 2007 to be precise – old content that still rings true!), I think you have five choices about how to act on negative comments.
Spam and outright abuse I think should be deleted and forgotten.
Comments that just disagree with you or realistic or even constructive criticisms are a different story.
Keeping negative comments in your blog seems honest to me – you’re not censoring and are being transparent.
It may be confronting to leave negative comments live, but it gives you a chance to be human and show that you are open to feedback – especially if you show that you have learnt from it.
Have you ever left negative comments in your blog? What response have you got from doing so?
Would you use negative comments to stir a controversy or a discussion?
Like most bloggers, I get spam comments – boring and annoying but that’s the way it is. Luckily, I have plugins so don’t often see all the spam that comes in.
Occasionally I do glance through what has been filtered as spam to check things are on track. Recently, a found a number of comments in the spam filter that were a bit different.
Leaving comments in a blog can of course be one way to share your message, and attract traffic back to your site to really explain what is important to you.
But this is the first time I have seen someone set up bulk comments (and I assume it was automated so probably has been sent to many blogs) in order to make their point of view heard.
This isn’t a commercial message, either (although their site could be monetised of course) so it really stood out to me.
The comments I noticed were criticisms of a writing site
The commenter’s name was even entered as derogative terms against that service so they were definitely keen to ruin the company’s name.
I didn’t click on the link provided as I have no desire to read a diatribe against another service, plus I don’t trust links in spammy comments!
Personally, I have not looked at the named site but I have heard of it. I know some people have found it useful for finding writing projects while the details I have heard concern me and others (the pay rate is apparently ridiculously low so clients can’t assume they are getting quality results and it is not respecting the writers’ time and effort).
I don’t like what I know about that service and similar ones but I have never heard they are dishonest about the pay rates so each to their own.
I agree that the uninformed may be influenced by such sites to work for well under reasonable pay rates because they don’t know any different. It is fair to let new writer’s understand the industry.
It isn’t right to spam the internet with claims of scam and fraud about another company.
So what’s the middle ground?
How can you share a warning with people without crossing legal boundaries and without damaging your own reputation?
This Friday and Saturday, about 300 bloggers will descend upon Melbourne to learn more about blogging at PBEvent with Problogger Darren Rowse.
And I’m pleased to say I will be one of them.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I am going because
Really, it’s just like going to any conference – the topic just happens to be blogging.
And PBEvent happens to be hosted by one of the best known bloggers in Australia. And is offering some great speakers and topics (you can see the schedule here if you’re interested).
When I go to any business event, one of my aims is to learn.
I think being open to new ideas and expecting to learn is a good starting point. Sometimes the best value from an event is the ideas it sparks so you need to be open to listening and learning.
Taking notes is one way I cement the information I hear. Traditionally that has meant writing notes in a notepad but obviously people have more options these days – I’m still inclined to write notes by hand as it works better at getting information into my mind.
To be honest, I often don’t read those notes again, and certainly not often. However, just the act of writing notes helps me retain the information better.
I also find that tweeting snippets of information is a great learning tool. By deciding something is valuable enough to share and putting into few words (I try for less than the allowed 140 characters) makes that point stronger for me. And hopefully it is providing value to my followers as well.
Tweeting information during a webinar is easy. I haven’t yet tried it at a live event but may give it a go during PBEvent.
If nothing else, I can reread my tweets afterwards as a reminder of some key information.
There are distinct advantages to live and recorded information sessions, I think.
Going to a live event obviously has the advantages of a new environment and networking with other people. It also means you can potentially interact with the speaker(s), ask questions and participate in the atmosphere. Sometimes you get additional opportunities, too, such as handouts, ‘conference only’ discounts and yummy food!
Listening to a recording of an event gives you more flexibility – you can hear it at whatever time suits you – and saves travelling time and expense. For information packed sessions, a recording also means you can pause and rewind the recording to catch important bits and make sure you understand things. For a poor sessions, it is also very easy to turn it off and get on with other things!
Which do you prefer? Have you tried both options?
I attend more webinars because of the convenience, but I like to attend some live events every year as well to interact with people.
With the Problogger event, I get both as all sessions are being recorded so I can listen to them after the weekend. Which means I can relisten to important bits I missed but more importantly, I can hear the sessions I don’t attend (part of the weekend has two sessions running at the same time). And slide presentations will be included with the recordings, too.
The recordings are also available for non-attendees via a virtual ticket (which are being sold at a 25% discount until mid afternoon today Melbourne time I believe). You can grab a virtual ticket and get access to over 21 hours of blogging information plus a live Q and A sessions with Problogger next week (it is an affiliate link but I honestly think it is good value – and much cheaper than what I’ve paid to attend!)
And if you are going to Problogger event, or a similar event, you may enjoy the following preparation posts, too:
Have you ever attended a blogging event? What did you get from it? And what tips have you got to share for those going to their first blogging conference?
Whether or not you want them, as your blog gets older and more popular it is extremely likely that you will be offered guest posts for your blog.
And assuming you want to maintain a certain standard (in writing quality, content value and staying to a style and topic range), you will need to reject some, if not all, of those offers.
I’m not going to cover why we should reject posts nicely – or reject them at all rather than just ignoring them – that’s a topic for another day. And I’m ignoring obvious spam for this post, too.
The key to refusing a guest post nicely is to be polite and respectful.
Even if the guest post is irrelevant to you or low quality, someone has taken the time to write a post and submit it to you. If they have really tried, they will have an emotional attachment to the post and your response.
The rejection note doesn’t have to be long as long as it is respectful and makes sense - a greeting, one or two sentences and an ending is enough.
Thanks for submitting your “how to treat frog fungal infections” post. It was well written, however, my blog only accepts posts on business related topics.
I received your guest post yesterday, thanks. I won’t be using your post in my blog because it doesn’t meet the guidelines for guest posts.
Your guest post, Measuring your social media ROI, was fascinating and well suited to my blog. However, I found it a little hard to understand at points and a couple of sentences seem to stop mid-idea. The questions you posed were thought-provoking so I would be interested in seeing a revised version.
Hope to hear from you soon,
While I appreciate you sending me a guest post I don’t think it suits my audience so I have removed it from my inbox.
* image courtesy of 123rf
Whether it is a direct email, marketing campaign or even a cold call on the phone, it’s really important to make the offer relevant to the other person – if you want results anyway!
If you want to do some guest blogging and have found some potential host blogs, your next step is to contact the blog owner and offer your posts.
Today, I received a pleasant email offering me some guest blog posts. She wrote clearly, openly told me which site her bio would link to, provided samples of previous posts and offered to write on a topic I suggested.
Sounds good, right?
Yes, up to the point of looking at her URL and sample post topics.
She is representing a housing construction company (the name Word Constructions does mislead at times!) so was offering posts about building topics which is obviously completely irrelevant to my blog.
It all comes back to knowing your audience and your purpose.
If I know my audience are people running a business, then they are not coming to me for building tips but could be interested to read a business book review.
If the purpose of my blog is to share writing and communications information, there is little point writing about the best time to prune a lemon tree.
A little bit of research on the part of the would-be guest blogger would get her posts into more blogs – you don’t have to read much of my site to learn I am a writer, not a builder, and that my name is Tash. I (and therefore my readers) are not her audience so her posts are not relevant and she wasted her time emailing me.
So for every piece of business communications, know your purpose and audience so you can make the message relevant.
Have you considered the relevancy of your blog posts to the people reading them? Are they at least relevant to the audience you want to attract?