Media Creation

Hustle, Hustle, Hustle

using original content to build a communityI need to work harder. I have 11+ communities that I need to build around 11+ different topics. I don't have much idea how to do that, let alone doing it quickly, but that is what I need to do at work right now. The only idea I really have is to write. Write blog posts, write newsletters, write tweets, write Facebook status updates, you name it. Writing is what I do best and content marketing is what I know. I don't have any other solid ideas, and at least great content and content marketing has already been proven to work to build a community. It's just not something that gets done quickly. However, if you start and do it well, then it will work wonders in terms of building (and keeping) an active community.

I've Blogged About Recruiting and Have Never Worked in HR

I spent about nearly two years writing blog posts for the RPOA, a recruitment association that was a client of one my previous clients, Webbright Services. I never worked a day in the recruiting industry when I wrote my first blog post for them, and if I remember correctly, I seriously said that the fact my mother has over 10 years experience in human resources as part of my credentials. However, when you write weekly blog posts for a recruiting association that are based off of hours of webinars for recruiting professionals, you can learn quite a bit about recruiting in a short amount of time. It's not the only example from my career, but it's a gig that I enjoyed.

Perhaps that's just what I should do: watch a ton of videos and webinars about the topics I need to focus on and write blog posts based off of what I've watched and learned. I should do this every day and see how far I can go. I wish there were 11 days in a week, then it could be one topic for each day of the week. Alas, that is not  the case, so I'm probably going to have to shoot for writing multiple times per day to make magic happen.

Excellent, Original Content is a Rallying Cry

Sure, there are tons of people doing original content and who have something to say. Not all of it is great and not all of it eventually congregates people into a community around it. But, if you're one of the few who can write well and who has important, interesting things to say, then that's a competitive advantage that's for competitors to replicate. By the time the effort put original content yields results that turns heads, competitors are playing catch-up. The idea and hustle of original content is part of that "golden moment' I previously mentioned. If this is truly the moment I've been training for, then I need to work harder and better utilize the training that I have. That training is in content marketing, writing original content and in being a chameleon who can write well on nearly everything.

Original content and content marketing is also a golden opportunity because so few folks in my space are doing this well. They fill their blogs with a company announcement featuring the product's newest features and latest updates.


Nobody cares. Nobody wants to read about what's new in version 4.1. How is that valuable to anyone except the company? Current customers don't care because what's new may not be anything they want or is relevant to them. After all, they were perfectly happy on the previous version and probably had no idea about an upcoming version or what was going to be in it. Too many folks have the misconception that the company blog (one of the best places for original content) is for current customers or should be about the company, when the company blog should be about potential customers and what they want to read about. The company blog is a fantastic way to pull people in, pull folks in who don't yet know about you.

Enough About Me and Enough about Writing Here

It's time to start writing elsewhere. My personal blog isn't the platform to be building those other communities that I need to build, although it makes great practice.

I'm Gonna Start a Podcast

new news podcastI've been considering the idea of a podcast for some time now. I was originally inspired to start a human rights podcast after Amnesty International's national conference in Brooklyn in March. There was a lot of discussion about building human rights awareness and education and in efforts to encourage young people (like myself) to join and/or to stay with the organization after high school or college. I see all these older folks talking about these issues and I thought, "Why don't I start a podcast? That's a great way to educate people and to encourage them to join Amnesty International." Plus, podcasts span across generations and are only growing in popularity. I can do a podcast. So, why not?

At First It Was So Overwhelming!

Once I started planning for the human rights podcast, I was overwhelmed quickly. Which topics should I talk about? How much research do I need to do for each episode? How am I going to balance this with my full-time job? It became too much in about a week and I abandoned the idea. However, with the changes going on at work and the overall direction of the company, I see new possibility and opportunity with the podcast. I want to include human rights, yes, but I doesn't have to be such a big deal. I don't have to overthink it so much. I just need to start small, start easy and just get things going. So, I'm going to resurrect the idea and see where I can take it. Plus, I found this handy guide to starting a podcast that helped a great deal while also showing me to start one without having to spend a lot of money.

This Podcast is Going to Be News Show + Human Rights + Fun

Right now, I'm reaching out to some friends of mine to see if they would be interested in appearing on the podcast. I figure if I start with friends, then it'll be much easier (and much more fun) to get things going. If something goes wrong, or if I don't really like podcasting after all, or if the episode is just a total disaster, then it's not a huge problem because the guest was just a friend and we were just having a fun conversation. I also need to get a few episodes together anyway before I can think about promoting the app or submitting the feed to iTunes. No one's going to be interested if I only have one episode done. By reaching out to several people, I can get a few dates organized and then put together four or five podcasts. Afterward, I can officially announce the podcast, promote it on social media, encourage people to download and see where else I can take it from there.

My podcast is going to be a mix of news, human rights (which is news oftentimes) and fun. I really like the conversational style that Joe Rogan employs for his podcast, but I like the level of discussion and the topic focus that Cara Santa Maria has for her podcasts. I don't know if I can do a podcast as long as Rogan's but I think an hour or a 90-minute podcast would work just fine. Eventually, it would be super cool to have folks contributing to the podcast via Patreon and maybe even appearing on other people's podcasts because of the work that I do and the content that I put out.

But, One Step at a Time

Yep, as I still need to get a few more people lined up and then upgrade my Skype account so that I can record the interviews. I have an awesome headphone/microphone set up already, and I got a new computer about two months ago so I know my hardware can handle it. I'm not sure what I'm going to call the podcast yet, but I'll get to that once I start recording and getting folks lined up. After I record a few episodes, or perhaps right before I record the first episode, I'll figure out what the podcast is called and will start on a logo and other design aspects so that all the promotional material is lined up.

Overall, I'm excited and I definitely need to start making a few things happen for my personal brand. I don't know if I can juggle writing for other publications or freelancing on the side. With podcasting, I can spend one weekend on one episode and then find time throughout the week to write blog posts, tweet links, post things on Facebook, do research etc. I think podcasting will be easier with my schedule (and I get to own all the content) than freelancing and writing for publications and other online websites.

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Working to Monetize Your Content

monetizing your contentFor some blogs and online publications, there comes a point where you transition from a hobby to a source of income. On the surface, monetization is easy. There are methods that are simple to implement and to maintain. However, making money from your content can also mean making pennies per day, or making hundreds of dollars per day. To do the latter, refraining from the most common mistakes in this process is key. Here are three pitfalls to avoid when thinking about monetizing your content and putting those ideas into motion:

Only Using One Method of Monetization

When blog owners and website owners make this transition, one of the biggest mistakes in monetization is only focusing on only one way to make money from your content. Most often, the focus ends up strictly on advertising or strictly on affiliate marketing. For example, an emphasis on affiliate marketing means a need to create content that reviews/features products that offer the commission, and not creating content doesn't review or feature products. The problem with this focus is that it can force blogs and online publications to make advertising or affiliate marketing work, sometimes to the detriment of the brand, the content, or even the owner. Having only one method of making money puts so much pressure on having that method succeed. Even though you want it to succeed, having a variety of monetization methods also ensures that you can pick and choose the ones that work best for your brand, and also ensures you're not out of sources in case on fails.

If you need ideas to vary your sources of revenue (and varying your sources of revenue is a good thing), then below are few monetization methods to consider:

  • Affiliate Links
  • Adsense Ads
  • Other Paid Advertisements, such as Display Advertising or Video Advertising
  • Paid Text Links
  • Direct Product Sales (whether your own or someone else’s)
  • Subscriptions

Going Overboard with Any One Method

Yes, banner ads can be a very lucrative way to monetize your blog, but you don't want to have too many banner ads on any one page. People are overloaded as it is on digital advertising, and you certainly don't want to look like this website, which has an average of 21 ad impressions on any one page, and this number doesn't include video ads and contextual text ads. Even if a website like that one has multiple methods of generating revenue, the inundation of banner ads is enough to scare readers away and to make it difficult for your other methods to make any money.

However, this holds true with any of the methods mentioned above. With affiliate links, you don't want to promote every single product in existence. Too many paid links make the text unreadable, while stressing product sales gives the impression that you care more about sales than about your readers. Without readers, your blog or online publication doesn't really exist, and going overboard with any one method will frighten the very thing that you need to have to make money in the first place.

Starting Too Early

If you love blogging, then it's tempting to start monetizing it right away so that it can be your blog can be your full time job, as working from home every day to write sounds fantastic. It is fantastic, but it's also hard work. Therefore, do the hard work first, and then think about monetizing. You need great content, lots of readers, and a community before you can even think about monetization. Without those three things, you don't have much to monetize and you don't have much to offer advertisers, affiliate marketers, or even the audience for direct product sales. A community and great content take time to develop, and when you put revenue into the mix, the blog is no longer fun and it becomes much more than you bargained for when you wanted to stay home and write everyday. Write first. Prove you have something worth selling and monetizing, and then monetize your content.

Monetizing your content can make or break your blog or online publication. Do it wrong, and you risk losing all the work you've done up to this point because priorities changed and maybe changed for the wrong reasons. Do it right, and the hard work can pay off, literally. Avoiding these three pitfalls will ensure that the decision to start making money is a calculated one and is a decision that isn't going to jeopardize the digital brand you've built.

Content and SEO are the Same Thing!

Get That Into Your Head Already!

content and SEO

An interesting problem that we run into regularly is that a client hires us to do business communications, such as press releases, blog posts, web content etc. That's great, but what the client also does is hire an SEO firm to do whatever it is they need to do. It's a problem because there are now two competing entities to do the same thing. Search engine optimization and content creation are the same thing! You only need one to accomplish both!

Without Content, What Will People Find on the Search Engines?

Perhaps there are technical aspects that the SEO firm emphasizes, like server capability, load times, and 301 redirects. Google's latest algorithm change, Google Hummingbird, emphasizes mobile search and the use of voice to conduct searches. Although we can provide the content, we wouldn't have anything to do with creating the mobile site and making sure that site works correctly. In those cases, an SEO firm might be best.

However, as we found with our problem, the SEO firm hired is tasked to do original content as well. Even though more quality, original content is better than less, there's no good reason to have both if all you want is original content. After all, if you don't spend time creating content, then what's going to come up under the keywords for which you want to rank? Yes, factors like domain name, meta description, backlinks, and social media matter, but even optimizing those aspects won't help with your search engine rankings if your content is thin, irrelevant, or just horrible. Businesses engaging in content marketing and business blogging need to understand that getting found online is only half of the story. You also need to think about what people will find when they do find you online, and that's when you need to think about the content.

It's the latter half of getting found online that's so difficult to get into the heads of small business owners and marketers who want to rank high on the search engines. Part of the importance in understanding this is that content marketing will get you there if you do it right. Search engine optimization isn't about gaming the search engines, and focusing on SEO without thinking about the content can get you into trouble. There are many SEO practices that may have been good at one point, but will now get you into trouble. These include keyword stuffing, overloaded keyword density, and cloaked pages. One of the newest "black hat techniques" is to add fake positive reviews on sites like Google+ and Yelp. Reviews on both sites show up on search engine rankings, so there's an incentive to do what it takes to get the positive ones. However, paying someone to write reviews or to add positive reviews of your own does violate the ethics guidelines of both sites.

The Two Aren't Competing. They Work Together.

Because they work together, hiring both a content marketing company (or writers, bloggers, content creators) and an SEO firm/consultant is redundant and a waste of money. Although it's obvious we're going to say that the money should be put on the content creators, the decision is ultimately up to you. The main point is that they work together, and that content is SEO because it's content that's showing up in the search engine rankings and it's content that people will find when they type in search terms. It's possible to create content that's search-engine friendly but also engaging and entertaining, so figure out how to do that and everything will fall into place.

How to Choose a Successful Niche for Your Blog

choosing a nicheOne of the toughest, and most important, aspects of starting your blog or online publication is choosing a successful niche. It's tough because you don't necessarily want to do what everyone else is doing, so you have to find something differentiating or an alternative angle. It's important because without a defined niche, then you'll end up writing about anything and everything, which means it will be tough to build an audience because you don't have just one thing to please certain types of people. Here's how to choose a successful niche for your blog:

Write Out as Many Niche Site Ideas as You Can, Using Your Interests as a Starting Point

If you want the full rundown on how to create a niche site, blog, or online publication, then Location 180 shows you all the steps (and lots of other great stuff too). But, for the sake of just choosing a niche, then this first step is what you need to do. You need to make a list of these ideas with as many as you can, but preferably around 100 ideas of products, hobbies, and/or interests that you could possibly blog about or have an online publication for. That's a lot of ideas, but the point of getting a lot of ideas into one place is that it gives plenty of room and choice for  you to narrow the list down to that successful niche. There are many factors that go into choosing and deciding what will be successful, and what won't, so you want to give yourself as many possibilities as you can. If you're unsure how to start, then below are a few examples from my list our list that we created before we setup Gateway Grounds:

  • online poker
  • identity theft
  • credit repair
  • documentaries
  • making a difference
  • content marketing
  • coffee

Narrow Down the List Based on These Two Criteria

  1. Revenue opportunities
  2. Can you write 100 posts about the topic?

If you're writing primarily as a hobby, where you want a serious blog but you don't want to turn your blog into a business, then the second criterion is what you want to think about. If you would like to monetize your blog or online publication, then the first criterion is priority, although both need to be considered when choosing a successful niche. Depending on which criterion is your primary criterion, there are additional criteria that would factor into your final decision. Of course, you can start out writing for fun and have it turn into a money-making opportunity, but you need to decide what you want to accomplish with your blog or online publication. What you want to accomplish will determine the best niche for you, and what it means to have a successful niche.

If You Want to Make Money

If you're looking for revenue opportunities, then you need to think about the types of revenue opportunities that are available and the topics that will give you the most revenue for your chosen options. Below is a short list of the online revenue options that you could use to make money with your blog or online publication. You do want to look at what's available, what opportunities exist for your ideas, and how lucrative those opportunities are, and you don't want to pick a niche that has options. You want to pick a niche that has options that aren't too competitive or that offer too little revenue.

  • Affiliate Links
  • Adsense Ads
  • Other Paid Advertisements, such as Display Advertising or Video Advertising
  • Paid Text Links
  • Direct Product Sales (whether your own or someone else's)
  • Subscriptions

For example, identity theft is a great topic, but there aren't many revenue opportunities. Most of the ones that did exist were for identity theft protection reviews, which may be useful and may drive a lot of traffic to the blog, but might not generate much money. There aren't a lot of identity theft protection programs out there, so emphasizing the opportunities that do exist wouldn't be great if making money was my goal. Coffee might be a better idea for this goal, because you have the option to sell product, do affiliate links, and advertise coffee companies and coffee products. Content marketing may be way too competitive, while documentaries might not have many lucrative options, if any.

If This is a Hobby

Then, go through the list and eliminate ideas that don't bring blog post ideas to your mind immediately. To determine if you can write 100 blog posts on this topic, you need to know if you ideas for two or three right away. If you don't, then it's unlikely you'll come up with 100 ideas (or coming up with those ideas will take more time and energy than you care to spend). Something you can do to help with this is to do some keyword research on some of your ideas. If the keywords are competitive, or if there aren't too many keywords associated with your idea, then it's not an idea to pursue. However, if no one else is really competing for those keywords, or there are tons and tons of keywords to work with to help you come up with ideas, then that's a niche idea you want to keep on the list.

Now, continuing with the identity theft example, it's a perfect idea for a hobby or an expert blog. There's plenty of need for this information, and it's a field that's changing rapidly and where an expert is badly needed. Identity theft might not sound like something that would make a great blog or online publication, but if it's something that you're interested in and would love to write 100+ articles about, then everything will work itself out. Documentaries would be great here as well, as reviewing documentaries or covering screenings is useful and fun, while offering something in return besides money.

Start Coming Up with Blog Post Titles

Hopefully, the consideration of the above should have narrowed your list to five or 10 topics. It's likely that a lot of your topics may have been too vague, or too competitive, or not something you'd want to put your time into as you're only going to do one blog or online publication for now (if you choose to do more in the future, then all of this work is done and choosing your next successful niche won't be as difficult). To make the final decision, you should come up with a few blog post titles for your finalists. Ultimately, you don't have to write these posts. The point of this is to see what interesting angles you can take with your topic, what you can write about right away, and which of the finalists grabs your attention the most. Identity theft could have some good articles about it, but documentaries might be what you choose because you're more driven to write those articles first. Coming up with blog post titles also makes it easier to get your successful niche up and running. It's no fun to choose the niche, only to waste time thinking about what to write about and where to start. You're figuring out where to start by starting with something you want to start with and with something that already has a few blog post ideas.

Why Every Online Publication Needs an Editorial Calendar

editorial calendar An editorial calendar is essentially the plan for the next month, or even several months, of what's going to be published on your site. The length will depend on how often your publish, but even those who don't publish every day or every week can still find value in an editorial calendar. Here's why every blog or online publication needs an editorial calendar, whether your publish four times a day or four times a month.

It Forces You to Come Up with Article Ideas in Advance

Consistency is huge when running an online publication. Miss a day or two and your audience will notice that something is going on. The more often you publish, the more consistency matters and the harder it is to deal with writer's block or getting something out in a time crunch. This is where the editorial calendar comes in. If you need an idea, then simply refer to the calendar. If you release a new post every Wednesday, then all you need to do is look at the calendar on Monday or Tuesday and get writing. No longer will time be wasted scrambling for an idea because that time would have been spent beforehand coming up with all sorts of ideas to fill your calendar.

Note: This doesn't mean that you can't do something in response to breaking news, or a post on something you thought about that day. The editorial calendar and impromptu writing are not mutually exclusive. This tool is there so you don't have to waste time staring at a blank screen coming up with an idea. You have a whole list of ideas to choose from.

It Can Help Attract Advertisers

If you are making money from your blog or online publication, or want to start making money, then think of the editorial calendar as a way to attract advertisers that match the content you will product as well as your audience. For example, if you are a tech blog, and you are going to spend a week in October entirely on apps, then you can use your editorial calendar to show potential advertisers some of the topics that you are going to cover. If you are going to have an article or two about health apps, then potential advertisers might want to advertise on that day or week. They may also want to contribute sponsored content that adds an additional perspective, as a such a topic will interest very specific brands. The revenue is not only valuable to you, but the advertisers benefit from targeting that's based on who will read that article, and not just who will read your overall site.

It Can Be More than Article Ideas

The most basic editorial calendar just has topics or blog post titles listed when they are supposed to be published. That's great, but the editorial calendar can also include much more information than that. Below are some good ideas to include on your template (or use this one from HubSpot, which is really good).:

  • Category/Type (ex. Recipe, How-To)
  • Tags/Keywords
  • Photo/Illustration
  • Author
  • Status
  • Publication Location (if you have multiple blogs or often guest post)
  • Note
  • Deadline
  • Reception (keep track of how many tweets, likes, or pins the post got)

If you don't want to create your own or use the one from HubSpot, then Wordpress has two really good editorial calendar plugins: Editorial Calendar and Edit Flow. Anyway, the point here is that it can be for more than post ideas. Use it to come up with your tags and keywords prior to writing the article. Use it to track the success of your articles after the fact. It's also a good tool if you have several writers on staff, so that you can manage what all of them are doing and what progress they are making with a little more ease.

Overall, the editorial calendar is an incredibly handy tool. Even the solo blogger who is writing for fun can benefit by saving time and reducing the stress of what should be a hobby and stress-relieving activity. There aren't many reasons why you shouldn't use an editorial calendar.

Related Links:

How to Write a Press Release for Your Blog

Why Every Online Publication Should Have a Style Guide

How to Treat Your Blog as a Business


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Determining a Conflict of Interest: An Introduction

determining conflict of interestIf you're just blogging or writing an online publication on your own, then you don't have to deal with a conflict of interest all that often. It's easy to recognize within yourself, and you could perhaps use your conflict of interest as part of your branding, as part of building the business, and as part of the message you want to communicate. However, if you have a team helping you with your blog or online magazine, then you need to be able to determine conflict of interest so that you're team doesn't sacrifice the best interest of the publication for their own goals or gain. A conflict of interest is defined as, "a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest." In publishing, determining a conflict of interest involves figuring out if a story, or a source, that you're going to use or to publish is influenced by these secondary interests, such as money, connections etc. Essentially, you don't want to publish or use a source that isn't there based on its merit or its value, but because the writer was paid on the side to cover that topic or is covering something out of personal bias or gain. Here's a quick start to determining a conflict of interest and how to handle one that could jeopardize your blog or magazine.

Figure Out the Two Interests

A conflict of interest cannot exist if there isn't two competing interests. Of course, there are some conflicts i.e. the need to make money versus the desire to tell great stories that aren't all that bad and don't need to be investigated or vetted. Both of those interests are generic, and can work together. The point in figuring out the two interests is if the two conflicting interests cannot be compatible at all.

For example, if one of your writers wants to write about a particular company, and it comes to your attention that the writer currently works for that company, then there's a conflict of interest there that needs to be evaluated. The fact that the writer works at the company could skew the story that's written i.e. it could be overly positive because the writer wants to keep his/her job at the company. In this case, you would need to decide if the company should be covered at all (by another writer, of course) or if the story should be dropped. It's possible that the writer only wants to do the coverage because he/she supports the company, or knows that something will come from that relationship if the story gets published and produces good results for the company.

In this case, these two interests cannot work together. The writer cannot fulfill the interest with the company while fulfilling the interests of the online publication. One needs to be somewhat sacrificed for the other, and it looks like the interests of the online publication would take the hit. Therefore, this is a conflict of interest that needs evaluating and needs to be handled appropriately.

Finding the Conflict

Sometimes, finding the conflict of interest takes a little investigative work. In the previous example, it's unlikely the writer would disclose that s/he works for the company. If s/he does, then that makes things easier and you can decide to have someone else cover the story to ensure that there isn't an overly positive overtone or bias. If the conflict isn't disclosed, but you suspect one to be there, then you might need to ask a few questions or do some additional research. In a future post, we'll go over a few techniques to find hidden conflicts of interests as well as good questions to ask to find these conflicts before the story is written.

4 Ways to Catch and to Prevent Plagiarism

catch and prevent plagiarismNobody wants plagiarism on their blog or online publication, but it can be tough to prevent and harder to catch. It's tempting for some to plagiarize with the ease and wealth of information out there, and a misunderstand of what plagiarism is can mean false positives (and false negatives) upon your editorial review. To make this process as painless as possible, here are four ways to catch and to prevent plagiarism.

Use Google Instead

Instead of relying on those services that not only cost money to use extensively, but aren't as reliable as we need, use Google and search engines instead. Not only is it free every single time (and it probably searches more sites than those services), but it's also a lot easier to check for attribution, to check if the text even needs attribution, or to see if the text should remain as is (such as a direct quote or a definition). It's also easier to check for those other forms of plagiarism, such as taking another's idea and passing it as one's own.

Encourage Writers to Create Original Stories

If  all your publication is doing is rehashing the news and stories of others, then you risk more plagiarism then you may think. As we said our introduction to plagiarism article, just because the text doesn't match anywhere else online doesn't mean that it's not plagiarism. If you're writing about a hot topic, and simply reciting the analysis of others, that is plagiarism unless the ideas are properly cited. To avoid this problem (and to avoid looking like you need to piggyback on everyone else's news stories to build an audience), encourage your writers to find their own news stories, or to come up with their own angles and analysis to current news. It may feel like you need to content out there as soon as possible, but doing that doesn't mean anything if it's just the reinvention of someone else's content and ideas in the first place.

Trust Your Writers

If you make it known that your going to screen every article that comes through, only to send it back because one sentence happens to match another somewhere online (or it includes a phone number or a book title, both of which these services will catch and mark as plagiarism), then you risk scaring away good writers who do good work but are afraid of being accused of plagiarism. You will then be stuck with the writers who will game the plagiarism-catching services to make sure the content passes, or you will get writers who write so poorly that it's not anywhere online (it's so bad that no one else would take their work)  Also understand how easy it is to game the plagiarism software. All one needs to do is change every third or fourth word and it passes. If you trust your writers to do the right thing, then you'll get the writers that are worth trusting. Of course, if you suspect something, use Google.

Also understand that having a sentence or two in one article match another's content somewhere out there isn't going to hurt your search engine rankings and isn't going to get you blacklisted. Your site isn't going to make anyone mad by doing that. Relax, and worry about providing awesome content to your readers instead of pleasing the search engines. Search engines don't read your articles or buy your products anyway.

Set a Policy and Make Your Writers Aware of It

It doesn't help if only you know what plagiarism is and your writer's don't. This will only lead to misunderstandings. If you don't yet have a policy on plagiarism, set one and let your writer's know what this policy is and what counts as plagiarism. If you do have one, then make sure this is something everyone understands and is held accountable for when they join the team. Not holding people to the policy is just as bad, if not worse, then not having one at all.

3 Ways Not to Do Business Blogging, and How to Do It Right

business bloggingThere's a lot of great advice on how to do business blogging well, why it should be done, and what great business blogging can accomplish. There's also a lot of advice on the biggest and most common business blogging mistakes. However, there's not a whole lot that puts the two together, that actually shows you how to fix those mistakes and to go from blogging horribly to blogging well. Here are three wrong ways to do business blogging, and how to do it right:

Writing Articles that are Too Short

Search engines LOVE content that is of quality and is of value to the reader. Although it's possible, most of the time it is very difficult to accomplish both in a short post. Yet, many businesses still publish 200, 300-word posts regularly and expect that to be enough to provide value and benefit to the reader. Sometimes, it can, depending on the subject matter. However, most of the time, it doesn't because there isn't enough there to engage the reader and to provide enough information about the subject matter to ensure that the reader will come away with something valuable and beneficial.

The Fix: Shoot for 600-800 words. It allows you to go more in-depth on a topic and to be more comprehensive. This benchmark is also what Google recommends for blog posts, so that's another thing to keep in mind.

Publishing Inconsistently or Infrequently

Granted, our business blogging service case study involves publishing twice a month, but it also took two whole years to get the results that we did. Part of the reason why we got the results that we did was because we stuck to that schedule for two years, offering a sense of security and reliability to our audience, while writing content that is comprehensive and of value to our audience.

In business blogging, you need to publish frequently and to publish consistently. The schedule can't change from three times a week, to three times a month, to once a week, and then once a day. To your audience, that's not reliable. It's also not reliable for you to publish once a month or every other month and to do that consistently. That's not enough to retain an audience, as it's not enough to keep people coming back. You could be writing great posts, but if you're not writing these great posts consistently and frequently, then those great posts aren't going to get you anywhere.

And while we're talking about this, don't EVER post the "Sorry we haven't blogged in a while" post. No one cares, especially if you're only blogging to get something up because you haven't blogged in a while. When you publish an article, make sure that you have something to say.

The Fix: Find a schedule and stick to it. As stated, if twice a month is all you can do, then do that. If you can write more often, then do that consistently, as you'll see results and a return on your effort much, much sooner.

Writing Only About Yourself

Some businesses think that because it's their business blog, that it needs to be all about them, mentioning the company in every blog post and writing specifically about the company and/or its products and services. This is the wrong way of thinking, and this should be done on the rarest of occasions. Your business blog is the one place on your website that's for your potential customers. You need to make it that way, and writing about yourself doesn't accomplish that.

The Fix: A good way to change direction on this is to write down all the questions that customers typically ask, and all the questions that customers have ever asked. Then, write a post answering each question. This is a great way to start building a business blog that offers value and benefit to your audience and your potential customers.

Related Links:

5 Business Blogging Best Practices

How to Make Your Blog Article Titles More Search Engine Friendly

Blogging for Your Business: How Long Should a Post Be?