Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Marketing Tip of the Month: Blog like a Pro

Blogging is a wonderful way to bulk up your image as a knowledgeable professional in your industry. Although I would say that blogging doesn't typically lead to booking new clients directly, it does so passively by creating an online presence showing that you are a reputable player in the industry. Potential clients see that you aren't just someone that has thrown together a website, they see that you are actively involved and well versed in the field. Clients then feel more comfortable that they are getting the quality service they need and want.

Step 1: Generating Content

Before you even begin writing, compose an outline. Having an outline will help you stay organized and will also help with the fluidity of your article to ensure that you won't miss an important point that you want to cover.

Don't forget that we're living in a fast paced society! You really have to fight to get -and keep- a person's attention. The first way to do this is by writing a mind-blowing headline. After all, most people won't even click on your article to read it if it doesn't catch their interest with the headline! Focus on writing a headline that will please search engines and readers alike by incorporating focused keywords in each of your blog posts.

"Mac or PC?", "THIS JUST IN!", "Best VO Software JUST RELEASED!" These are just a few ideas of topics that are most likely get people talking. Controversial opinions, breaking news and new technology tools are all great things to blog about. Use these "hot" words, ideas and phrases to illicit more of a response from people reading your blog. Another simple way to get people to comment and engage on your blog is to ask a question at the end of an article. That encourages people to continue the conversation by commenting and interacting with one another.

Make your blog visually pleasing. By taking a little time to format your blog, you are increasing the chance that someone will stay and read the entire post. Make sure that you have a clean design and take full advantage of formatting helpers such as bullet points, images and hyperlinking to outside sources or websites.

Remember that variety is the spice of life! Cover a variety of topics and vary the lengths and styles in your own writing. You could vary the styles by including interviews, Q&A style articles, bullet-pointed lists and a rating system (i.e. "Top 10 Microphones") to shake things up.

Creating a resource list is one of the great ways to attract readers and keep them coming back for more. If you can create a resource list relevant to the industry (Top 10 places to get free music, 10 social media sites every voiceover artist should be on, etc.), your readers will likely bookmark this article and keep coming back to use it for reference. If you see that you have traffic coming back to reference your post years after, you can always choose to add and expand on it. Make sure you announce on your blog by posting that it has been updated, for those people that maybe haven't read it yet, or haven't referred back to it since they originally read it.

Another popular format is a product review. Not everyone can afford to purchase 5 microphones to give each a full review, but you could download a few different free editing programs and review the ups and downs of each of them and give your final rating system based on what you found! To encourage feedback from your readers, ask them if they've ever used any of these programs and which one is their favorite.

You don't always have to be the first person to cover a topic. This is a very typical cause of writer's block…people think they have to write about something that nobody has written out before. You could spend hours upon hours trying to come up with a topic that nobody has ever written about. Instead of trying to come up with a completely new idea, just write about a topic that interests you or something you have a lot of knowledge about. Even though somebody else has written about it in the past, you are the only one that can provide your perspective on the subject using your unique writing style.

Are you getting burnt out by being the only contributor to your blog and feeling like it's just becoming your personal sounding board? Get another opinion (and "voice") by setting up guest bloggers to contribute to your blog. This is a great way to get a burst of fresh air to your blog now and again. You may even be able to team up with other voiceover artists and do a blog link exchange in which you provide them with a few blog articles you've written and they'll provide you with a few in return. Typically you link back to their blog for credit and they'll do the same for you. It's a wonderful way to get new content AND help expand your reader base.

Finally, before you hit "Publish", take the time to proofread! I can say that this is one point in writing that I've personally had a hard time breaking. I used to just send off each article to another set of eyes to proofread before taking a highly critical eye and reading the finished article myself. Trust me, though. Taking the time to read what you've written and see if YOU enjoy reading it will make all the difference. If you don't enjoy it, why would anyone else enjoy it? Make sure it reads well and makes sense from beginning to end. If you have someone else that you trust and can count on, it never hurts to have a second set of eyes quickly read what you've written to make sure it reads well to them as well.

STEP 2: Getting (and keeping) readers

When you first begin blogging, it's very important that you post blogs on a regular basis to start attracting readers to your site. I suggest trying to post a blog article every day if you can. The articles don't have to be very long (no more than 500 words, really), but they should contain nuggets of useful information to show your readers why they should be following your blog.

Don't have any followers on your blog yet? Make your blog content easy to find for people that are already looking for it! How many times have you been looking for something very specific online and you've had to search through 10 sites before you've found what you were looking for? A lot of times people just give up after the first few sites didn't contain the information they were seeking out. Make sure your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is top notch for your blog to ensure that your readers or potential readers can easily find your blog when it's relevant to what they want and need. Not well versed in SEO? There are quite a few resources out there for free that can teach you the basics, they're just a Google search away!

Don't just be a blog writer, be a blog reader (and commenter) as well. Take the time to seek out other blogs that are relevant to you and comment on articles that you enjoy or have an opinion on. Since you normally have to submit your information when you comment on a blog, make sure you are logged in to your account that you use for blogging. Therefore, everyone reading the comments on that blog (as well as the author) will then be able to link back to your blog!

Make it easy for readers to post comments on your blog. It's pretty simple, the easier you make it for readers to post comments, the more comments you'll receive. If you force someone to create a new account for each different blog hosting site, type in a captcha code and register an email address, it's going to be too much work for the reader to give you something that you WANT from them. Make it easy by letting them log in either with their choice of email address or even using Facebook.

Utilize buttons so readers can easily share your blog. Most blog hosting sites have tools that help you give your readers the ability to share your blog articles via social media sites. Make sure you activate this feature (how it's handled varies from site to site). Readers are more likely to share your blog with their friends and followers if you make it easy for them!

There are many things that you can do to help build the quality, content and interaction on your blog. The tips above are a great way to start. A quick search online will lead you to a sea of information about blogging. Each site has a varying degree of expertise, so it all depends on how much time you want to spend on your blog. Many people out there blog as their career. Obviously you are blogging to help promote your career, so you don't want to spend your entire day working on your blog.

Remember, just like every other marketing strategy, building up your blog will take time. Stick with it and write about topics you enjoy and you'll begin to start seeing the results!

The best piece of advice I ever received regarding writing was "When you have writer's block, don't spend too much time thinking about it…just start writing". Sounds so simple, but it has helped me work through so many cases of writer's block! What is the best professional advice you ever received?

Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director

1 comment:

  1. Bethany
    Your comment, "When you have writer's block, don't spend too much time thinking about it…just start writing"; hit the nail right on the head. As an author, I've had my share of writer's block. When this happens to me, I start to write about the very first thing that pops into my head no matter how ridiculous it may seem. It's a sure cure to get those creative juices flowing again.