Successfully pulling off the latest blogging trends can be a marketer’s secret to success, or when ignored…an SEO malfunction and social media #fail. Just take it from Florida Blue Marketing Manager Victoria Edwards (@TallChickVic) who presented her case of 2013’s Blogging Do’s and Don’ts at InteractivityDigital in Miami, Florida.
According to a recent report by Social Media Examiner, blogging is one of the top five platforms used by marketers along with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. While 58 percent of marketers are blogging, 62 percent are yearning to learn more about it and 66 percent plan on increasing blogging activities this year. When marketers were asked which social media platform they most want to learn more about, blogging took first place!
Edwards shared advice to jumpstart a blog’s exposure, visibility, and power to drive even more traffic to your company’s website and optimize for maximum ROI.
1. Don’t isolate your blog content. Make sure your blog is part of the navigation of your website and has high visibility to new visitors. While 28 percent of Fortune 500 companies report having a blog, a common mistake organizations make is isolating the blog content, which limits the blog’s inbound marketing potential.
2. Do optimize your blog’s sidebars, plugins, images, and categories. In today’s go-go world, the need for optimization is a priority across all screens. Edwards shared a blog optimization checklist with these actionable items:
- Sidebar action! Check out your sidebar and make sure it includes:
- Social media buttons
- Categories that are keyword rich and make sense
- Have an “About the Authors Page”
- Calls-to-action such as email sign-ups, downloadable forms, or event promotions
- Plugin power up. While marketers report that inbound marketing improves ROI, it doesn’t happen automagically. Edwards recommends Scribe for content optimization, Yoast for SEO, and WPtouch to boost the mobile user experience.
- Image visibility boost. Putting a little more effort into image optimization will boost visibility in the form of visits, page views, and social sharing. Edwards offers these tips:
- Make image filename keyword friendly
- Use alt parameters (two to four words)
- Make sure your image sizes are not too big
- Category organization. If your blog has 30 categories but has the majority of content in 10, it might be time to clean out the category closet. Focus on keywords and make sure the categories make sense to your visitors.
- Google’s author optimization. If you want your blog to be picked up by Google News, an author’s page is required with short biographies and photos of each writer to establish their presence on your blog. Adding an author’s age also adds a human connection to your blog as well as credibility and authority. Another blog must-have is Google rel=author tags.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.” – Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman
3. Focus efforts internally. Search engine optimization is no longer living underground or in the boiler room; SEO is now part of the boardroom. Edwards recommends organizations break down the walls and train everyone on SEO writing, including the IT department, social media team, public relations, editorial, and customer service department. Considering this latest stat – according to the recent 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, employees rank higher in public trust than a company’s PR department, CEO, or founder – internal efforts should also include social media sharing of approved or published news. Check out Addvocate, a new platform that makes it easy to turn employees into brand advocates.
4. Promote + promote + promote = more publicity. Use your social networks to spread word on blog posts and be sure to take advantage of image uploads, hashtags, keywords in status updates, especially in Google+, and share within LinkedIn industry groups. Again, don’t forget to keep employees in the loop by emailing them blog updates and encouraging social sharing.
5. Reuse, recycle, and recharge blog content. Like in fashion, what’s old is new again. Edwards offers some tips in bringing old and tired content back to life. It can be as easy as changing the date of a blog post and keeping the URL the same or as simple as turning blog posts into other forms of content:
- Repurpose content newsletters into blog posts
- Repurpose blog posts into a PPT
- Repurpose blog series and make it an eBook
- Repurpose a SlideShare into a video
Is your blog working for you? Attracting visitors, converting leads, closing customers, and wowing them into promoting your business to others are top reasons to make sure your blog is a powerhouse for you.