So You Want to Start a Blog: Tactical Tips for Making it Work 4

The blogosphere is enormous. To really be able to reach your target audiences takes thoughtful planning and execution. When you connect through blogging and other social media tools, it’s possible to build meaningful dialogue and deeper relationships with your target audiences.

The single most important thing about blogging, I’d suggest, is to post regularly. If you’re not sure of your “voice” and need to get a handle on the medium, practice makes perfect! Regular, consistent posting allows you to attract readers and subscribers, engage them in dialogue (readers will not comment at an abandoned, or irregularly updated blog) and extend the conversation beyond your blog through links and trackbacks.

Let’s take it step by step:

Establish clear goals: Maximize your return on investment by having a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog and how it fits into the overall communication strategy for reaching your target audiences.

What action do you want readers to take? Visit/read regularly? Visit your Web site? Comment? Link to your content? And how do these actions fit into the bigger picture?

Determine the best type of blog: Identifying and defining your blog will help determine topics to cover, as well as tone and content of your posts. What type of blog you have will depend on the answers to the first two questions. You can see a terrific list of “types” of blogs here. This list is a great start and will orient you to the options. For more ideas, see here and here.

Start writing: Set a schedule for yourself and begin writing! Publish consistently and regularly. For your blog to be successful, you must focus on both quantity and quality. Quality means that you post informative content in a consistent, recognizable voice. Quantity, of course, means regular updates.

Be patient, it takes a while to find your “voice” and get to know the blogosphere and it can take up to a year to build a steady readership. For more tips on writing take a peek at the dozens of articles, blogs and posts that I’ve saved online.

Promote it: Once you begin writing, you need to do a little legwork to promote your new blog.

Include your blog URL on everything you’d normally include your Web site URL: Email signature, Web site, LinkedIN profile, business card, mailers, brochures, etc.

Submit your URL to blog search engines and directories such as TechnoratiBlogorama or Alltop.

Become an active commenter on other blogs – this not only helps build dialogue, but blog readers will follow your comment back to your blog.

Publish original research or breaking news. This can result in pick up by A-list bloggers (those with high readership) and traditional media.

Measure: With any tool, it’s important to measure your success:

  • Google Analytics is a free service that monitors inbound traffic.

This is by no means an exhaustive measurement list.

So that’s a basic overview. For those of you who have a blog, what have a missed?

About the Author Kelli Matthews is an instructor of public relations at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, she owns marketing and PR firm Verve Northwest Communications.

Find her on Twitter at
@kmatthews or via email at
kelli@paloalto.com
. You can follow her on Google+.
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