There’s a surfeit of voices on the Internet, all vying for their 15 minutes in the Google searchlight. Without good craftsmanship, SEO awareness and rigorous self-promotion, your blog is bound to get lost in the vacuum. Steve Strauss once said, “A well-written blog and $2 dollars will get you a cup of coffee.” A very valid point.
OPEN Forum offers guides on how to craft a blog and more crucially, how to promote it. Now the experts weigh in on the art of creating content.
Check the framework
Before you go foraging for ideas, gathering links or voyaging out with your iPhone video cam, it’s important to make sure that the basics of your blog are established. As our experts emphasize, make sure you’ve developed a consistent and individual voice. Courtney Colwell stresses the importance of cultivating your inner editor.
Check your material for personality, authenticity, and conversational ease, and then edit posts and headlines for readability, searchability and catchiness. Even if your blog serves a marketing or sales purpose, your aim is not to sell something but to engage your customers and audience in a dialogue.
John Jantsch says to think about building stories. “Customers are squarely in the content collaboration camp and it’s your job as a marketer to start building stories with your customers.” Prepare to offer a variety of content in different formats (text, images, video, audio) and remember to post frequently—if not obsessively.
Now you’re ready to start filling the foundation with sweet content. John Jantsch also suggests that you “first shift your thinking about content creation to that of an author…. Think about the entire body of work that you may need to complete to write your book or tell all the major stories about your business. That allows you to stop obsessing about what to write today.” It can be useful to identify seven to 10 themes or “buckets” that you’ll fill up with content.
Offline interaction is a great way to find inspiration while building a live community that’s loyal to and engaged with your content. “It is no longer enough to create content about your business and products to gain audience attention,” says Shashi Bellamkonda.
Expand your horizons and go live into the world. Attend local events, exhibitions, fundraisers, fairs and then “be sure to broadcast the content on your website, blog and Facebook Page for maximum reach.” This is also a great marketing opportunity. People like to hear (or see) their own voice. If you send them a link of a story where they’re quoted, they’re bound to pass it along to their friends and post it on their Facebook page.
You can also organize your own events or activities. As Chris Brogan recommends, create experiences and then talk about them. “Do you sell an all-natural beverage? Set up a food truck, travel around New York City and hold tastings. Capture it on video, put the video online and use Twitter to start a conversation with your consumers.”
Aim toward creating an event that’s fun and that has a content-creation angle, something that you can document and post about later. Involve a Web or social media platform so that you have live data and responses streaming from the event itself.
Become a multimedia pro
Becoming versed in the various multimedia modalities available to you is crucial to your content mix. “The beauty of multimedia is that it ranks higher in search, giving your content a better chance to be seen than if it were just plain text,” says Shashi Bellamkonda. Learn how to effectively use video and create audio podcasts. Harnessing the power of RSS technology is a great way to quickly curate content from the Web, allowing you to generate content feeds without getting lost in the ether... (Continue)