While this blog is focused mostly on search engine optimization, my company is also very much involved with using blogs as online marketing tools. This post focuses on tactics we’ve used for ourselves and clients over the past 2+ years that are proven, not hypothetical, for businesses to consider when deciding on a blog marketing program.
Content – Know your audience. Your blog posts must be interesting and useful to your readers. Develop your unique voice and don’t be afraid to post things others will not agree to.
Frequency of posts are important as there is a direct correlation to blog repeat visitors and the number of times it’s updated. Post 3-5 times per week at a minimum. Web sites and blogs that are updated often get visited by Googlebot more often.
Distribution of your blog is important. A common issue from people new to blogs and RSS feeds is where to find them. Marketing a blog brings additional advantages over a traditional web site. A blog and the associated RSS feed can be promoted within the blogoshpere as well as through traditional directories, search engines and web site linking. The opportunity for blog exposure is much greater than a regular web site alone. Make it easy for news feed subscribers to find your blog through both web site search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) and RSS search engines (Google Blog Search, Bloglines, Feedster, Technorati, Findory, Ice Rocket).
Additional blog optimization and marketing tips include:
- Blog with keywords in mind – Your blog post titles should use keywords that are relevant to the post. Also, update your blog software template so that keywords from the post titles are in text links to archive posts, in the title tag and meta description tag. Google Suggest is a quick way to get ideas for keywords
- Post on current news – Pay attention to your industry and keep up to date with trends and events so you can post about them and provide commentary.
- Post your own thoughts – Show your industry expertise by creating original content in the form of short articles. You can create a teaser article with a link to the full document on your web site.
- Link out – It’s important you link to thematically similar web sites/blogs. Other blogs that notice your link may often link back.
- Link in – Submit your blog to all the search engines and directories that you would submit a web site to. Also submit to blog/RSS specific directories and search engines.
- Trackbacks – Use a comment system that allows trackbacks to any news or blog sites you’re commenting on. This creates a link from other highly trafficked sites to your blog.
- Blog elsewhere – Find or ask to be a “guest blogger” on related blogs. You can also ask other bloggers in your industry to be a guest blogger on your site.
- Make comments – Monitor posts on thought leader blogs and other centers of influence and post relevant comments. You may get noticed and added to a blogroll or better, develop a dialogue with the blogger, whom you might not otherwise have communicated with.
- Use a search engine friendly blog system – Soon, a new blogging system that has had it’s templates optimized for search engines as well as effective blogging will launch called Blogfuse. You can sign up for a beta account online. Blogfuse has partnered with my company, TopRank, to create optimized blog templates and offer blog hosting and admin for free.
Effective blog marketing requires a commitment in time, ideas and collaboration. Work smart and hard with your business blog and you’ll see benefits in the form of: improved customer relations, search engine visibility, increased sales and improved brand reputation on the web.