Promote your Brand and Build Online Traffic
Let's explore becoming a blogger and the proper use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn advertising on your blog and website. Facebook and Twitter have very specific instructions for using their logos, but it seems that on the Internet, very few people are following those guidelines. If you have any questions, you should ask your attorney. Having said that, there are common practices that webmasters and bloggers are using to promote their brand on these social media sites.
It is not legal to take someone else's brand and alter it. But the Twitter and Facebook logo are everywhere and that is what has made these social media sites so famous. Facebook and Twitter both have trademarks on their logo and their iconography. For example, Twitter's trademark is the little blue bird. They have their name and logo trademarked, therefore, you can not alter them.
Their guidelines are important so pay attention to those guidelines in relation to their name and logo allowed use. Legally you can not take their brand or trademark and alter them. Both Facebook and Twitter do allow, however, certain kinds of things. Facebook allows webmasters to use the "F" in a square and use it on your branding and include text, for example, "Fan us on Facebook". They do not allow you, however, to use the F in a different color or FB in a different color. These are their general guidelines. Twitter, on the other hand, does not want you to put a T in side of a blue square. So what you as a webmaster need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to comply with their general guidelines. If you have any questions, it is best to ask an attorney or read their guidelines on the Facebook or Twitter website.
It is not recommended, for example, to use a little F or a little T on any of your online branding at all. A little T that says "Follow us on Twitter" or a little F that says "Fan us on Facebook" could actually cause your website to lose valuable traffic because all this does is encourage visitors to leave your website. It sends people away from your website to the social media giants. Instead, what is recommended is to employ the widgets that are available for webmasters to put on their site so that visitors can like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter without leaving your website. The old way of doing things is sending someone away from your website. The new way is to keep your hard-earned visitors at your website. By using these widgets, visitors can become a fan or a follower without ever leaving your website. Keep visitors on your website while at the same time encouraging them to be fans or followers. It's a win-win strategy.
Your blog and your web hosting account
Content marketing is a well-known successful way to market a business online without spending a great deal of money on advertising. Blogs are a main way to attract leads and educate prospects. With some companies, all their leads come from their blog and they do not need to do any advertising whatsoever. Instead of spending a great deal of money on advertising, these companies post 500 word articles to their blogs on a daily or weekly basis. Many business owners have been able to leave their 9-5 jobs because of blogging. These companies use blog posts as their number one strategy for advertising. Build a strong following by blogging. It is a great way to start without advertising and spending a great deal of money on a start-up. Blogging is a cost efficient way to build a company online. With your own web hosting account, you will have blogging software that makes it easy to get started blogging and posting your content on your own website or blog.
What are the traits that someone should have to become a successful blogger? Start with the notion that there are five roles that people play. Every person has at least one of these traits or roles.
Five Traits of Successful Bloggers
- Are you a dreamer? You are a visionary and you want to tell people about it.
- Are you a good storyteller?
- Are you a teacher?
- Are you a persuader? Every person has an opinion.
- Are you a curator? A collector of ideas is a helpful trait for blogging.
The idea is to take that one trait that you have, recognize it, and build on it. Some people have more than one of the above traits, which is also good. An example is to take your trait and incorporate real-life events into a blog post. Successful bloggers have one trait and everybody does have one of these traits. If you have more than one or even all of these traits, it is even better. Some people have a natural tendency to blog. Ask your friends or family members to tell you which of these traits you have in your DNA. You will get some interesting feedback.
Do you need to be a good writer to be a good blogger?
When people think of writing, they think of Pulitzer Prize winning books. That is not the case with blogging. With blogging, you need to be a great conversational writer. Do you have an easy, natural way to get your point across? If, for example, you can sit down with a person and have a drink with them and enjoy a good conversation with that person, you can be a blogger. As a blogger, you wouldn't talk to that person like you are in a board room, but rather you would talk to that person like they were your friend. You need to be able to communicate in a way that builds rapport and relationships.
How is a blog writer different than an article writer?
A blog writer is looking to start a relationship that is very personal. Your own opinion is infused in that writing. Even the structure of blog writing is different than articles. Your blog articles need to be intimate and give the reader a feel for who you are. It is very personal. Be a conversationalist. Have a dialogue that is easy for people to follow. Speak in every day terms and your blog writing will resonate with people. If you have trouble starting a blog article, you can always talk it out and record it, then transcribe it back into text format.
Technology that can help you write
There are a lot of great technology options that can help you to write. Text-to-speech tools like "Dragon Naturally Speaking" let you talk and have it transcribed. If you have an iPhone, Siri will do it. Use your voice to write the article and save time. This technique is also helpful if you have trouble writing because it makes the task more of a conversation, rather than writing. This is exactly what blogging involves.
It is not just about text. Video blogging is another way to advertise using blogging. Writing is only one way to express yourself on a blog.
How do you decide if you have what it takes to be a blogger?
- Do you have an obsession with a topic? This goes beyond with a passion for a topic because if you are talking or writing about your topic every day, you must be borderline obsessed with the topic, otherwise you might not be able to sustain yourself on your topic. You don't want blogging to be a chore so choose a topic that you are obsessed with.
- Are there others like you? If you start a blog about a certain topic, you need to have an audience that is interested in your topic.
- Assess whether you have a marathon or sprinter mind-set. Successful bloggers have one of these two mind-sets. In some cases, a successful blogger can take years. Define your craft, take time, put yourself in a zone of kicking out content, refining it, and realistically looking at what your vision is for your blog in two years. Expect nothing to happen for two years because blogging definitely takes time to become successful. In the beginning, don't expect any re-tweets or comments for a while. For the first three years, you can literally have only one or two hundred visitors visiting your blog. When you finally figure out essentially the kinds of blogging strategies that "work" in your industry, that's when you will see results. Eventually, it is very possible to have several hundred thousands of visitors to your blog which can lead to a completely sustainable business of your own as a result of blogging. It doesn't have to take you that long to be successful. In the early days of blogging, no one really knew what they were doing. The good news is that now there are many strategies outlined on the Internet that can give you a head start. No point re-inventing the wheel.
Tips on how to create content
Stick with it. Know that you are fighting the good fight. Train your brain to notice potential topics by writing down every idea that pops into your head. It doesn't matter if you are writing these ideas on post-it notes, index cards, or on your iPad. Just let your brain learn that every good idea is going to be noticed and used in some way.
Turn content creation into a habit. Set aside some time for at least a couple of weeks when you tell yourself that it is your "time" to create content. Make a daily appointment with yourself. If you are a night person, set aside a couple of hours, for example, between 10:00 and midnight. Turn content creation into a habit. Content creation during your most productive time of day will help you to kick out some great material because it will become a habit.
Done is better than perfect. Some great bloggers are such perfectionists and are constantly refining and refurbishing their content, but because they are never done with it, the content stays in their draft folder forever. You don't want your content to stay unfinished. Just get your content out there. Get leverage with yourself by telling people how much content you plan on releasing. This will give you added motivation to deliver on what you have promised by increasing the frequency of your blog posts. You will feel like you need to follow through. Get content out on a regular basis, but be careful with the word "regular". Be reasonable. Find your tempo and stick with it.
How do you find ideas for topics to write about?
If you are super passionate about a certain topic, your friends and colleagues will ask you questions about it. Take notes of those questions because each one can be a blog post. Every time someone asks you a question, pay attention to it. Look at the news section at local book stores or other stores, such as Walmart, and take note of the headlines. What are the headlines and how are the other writers leading up to those headlines in their articles? Crack open the magazines to see how others are addressing news or general topics. It adds fuel to the fire and gives you quick ideas.
Multi-purpose your content. If, for example, you give a presentation somewhere you can take that presentation and multi-purpose it into two or three blog posts, possibly even more. Metaphors are important. If you like to do something, you can use metaphors and write about them in many different ways. You can talk about a topic many different ways.
How do you draw people to your blog?
To get more readers, you need to be relevant. The daily news is your friend. Look at what is being talked about and find a way to connect it to your topic. This draws people into your blog. Tap into the trends of the moment. Hang out at the watering hole, like forums or other blogs and find out what the audience is being fed. Find out where the audience is hanging out and join in. Be helpful to that community and a fixture in that space. See what people want and jump in. Find out what people want, then write about it. People will see your advise and eventually, people will notice you and come to your blog.
Content hubs are websites that collect a certain type of content and use that to attract an audience. For example, SlideShare is a content hub that collects presentations. They have a really large audience of people looking for presentations. Re-purpose your content and put them on those content hubs and your audience will grow exponentially. You will bring in readers from many different sources.
When you write special reports and package them up in .pdf format, take them and turn them into online special reports. Every page can be a blog post. Because the pages are interlinked, Google will see it as relevant and not only index it, but list it higher in searches. That type of content can become very successful. Drip the content out over time and Google will take notice of your interlinked content. If the content is focused on one theme, it will do really well.
Email and blogging
The connection between email and blogging is very important. Email is critical to a blogger. If you have an email list, you can get people back to your blog on a regular basis. When people join your opt-in email list, you should email those people to let them know whenever you have a new blog post. When things are on your mind, email the people on your list. It builds a relationship. Building a maintaining an email address list is absolutely necessary to build your success over time. If you have a blog, get an email opt-in form on your blog immediately. Most of the people that come to your blog are new after a new blog article is posted because RSS (really simple syndication) has a pull and draws people in. So, the advantage of capturing those visitors' email addresses is that you can re-seize those peoples' attention and mobilize them. Write a special report and a good piece of content and people will join your email list. By capturing names and email addresses, you can build a loyal following. When you have something to sell, your email list makes all the difference in the world. Some bloggers say that their email list is what feeds their family. Create a product and offer it to your subscribers.
Your voice is unique. Everything that you have to say is important. There are a lot of bloggers out there, but you owe it to yourself to try. With all the blogging tips and strategies online, you can get up the learning curve very quickly and become a successful blogger.
Which software should you use for blogging?
WordPress is currently the most popular blogging platform. In many cases, you can get it for free with your web hosting account. And it is easy to install. For example, some web hosting providers offer WordPress installed with just a few clicks of your mouse inside your web hosting control panel. Don't be intimidated by the technology. WordPress is easy to use and easy to learn. There are no barriers that are holding you back. So, start blogging and start today building your email list to build a loyal following. And when you ask yourself why you are working so hard to crank out content. Well, it's because you are a blogger.