A Blog Marketing Plan – The Basics
Marketing is a low percentage racket no matter how you do it, but blogging can seem to be the bottom of the barrel. It seems that some days no one is paying attention to you at all. You may not be using all of the resources at your disposal or, if you are, in the proper manner. You can not blog alone and need to have a plan in place.
The following is an explanation of how to make a blog marketing plan and how that plan can work for you today.
Blog Writing and Posting
The title of this section may sound obvious (considering the title of the article), but it is the first step. You have to write a blog. Of course, you can have this part of the plan completed by someone else (say a professional writer), but even if this is the method you choose, make sure that the content matches your message / product / service.
Once the blog is written, it needs to be posted to your website and optimized. But, is this all that needs to be done?
In the past, you may have written the blog post and just put it in the queue and hop that people would read it. Even if people read it, they may not respond. The problem here is that you are not actually marketing; you are just writing a blog at this point.
People who are interested in either your content or what you have to sell may find you and read the post, but the majority of people, who are potential customers, will not read it. The post needs a larger send off.
Social Media Communities . Social media is a great business tool because it connects people. Although businesses are beginning to see the benefits of using this medium, maybe you have not yet. When you write a blog, there is a community of people on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others that will want to know about it (ex. LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, etc.).
If you have properly set up your groups and have been following and posting interesting tidbits in the past, you will get your blog to a larger audience. Other people in your sphere will tell people in theirs who have not discovered you yet. Begin discussions in these networks to build up relationships with their members.
Social Media Updates . In addition to starting discussions in social media communities, make sure you notify your social media networks immediately of the new post. This is how a one way your one blog post can garner you an amazing amount of new business.
Tip: Some people will suggest that you add a plugin to your site to have the new blog post automatically sent to your social media networks. I highly discouraged this. It does not look natural and you really have no control of what content is posted. I suggest you either go to each social network and post about your new blog post or jump onto HootSuite (or any other social media management tool) and have it sent from there.
Bookmarking . There are a variety of sites where members keep bookmarks of blog posts that they want to read later. When they add something, their connections will also see what they are interested in. Therefore, bookmarking blog posts can give the writer great exposure.
There is no need to go into each site to bookmark the blog post. You can use an automated service such as OnlyWire.com and enter very little information about the new blog post and they will distribute that.
Tip: I know that some people bookmark their own blog posts, but I would suggest you have a third party do it for you. That way, it looks more natural and it does not look like you are promoting your own work.
A blog is not necessarily an article … sometimes there is a difference. A blog is a conversation between you and the reader; it is more personal, yet it should be informational, also. An article is a piece of information. It is written by a knowledgeable individual who is seen as an expert by what he or she posts.
But, there is a parallel between blogs and articles … as a matter of fact they can be the same thing.
Most business owners will post to their blog and not include personal information because they are using the blog to enhance their business rather than using it to connect with their friends and family. The good thing about informational writing done by someone who is an expert on the content is that people will listen (just make sure you still try to be use a personable voice to relate to your audience).
It is another marketing tool to write articles from an expert position which can be posted to a few selected article directories. Do not post your article to every place you can on the Internet. Make sure the directories are reputable and only post to 5-10 directories.
A few of the directories I highly recommend are EzineArticles, GoArticles, Biznik. In addition to readers finding your articles on these directories, the articles from these sites also show up in searches (on Google, Yahoo, etc.) when someone is looking for your expertise.
Article marketing is another way to get your blog out there (as the sites require a bio) and show people what you have to offer.
Social Media Marketing
Posting a message to different social media networks is as simple as entering the message into the appropriate window. But, there could still be a problem. What if you do not post very often? Are people going to listen to you / read your blog when they have no idea who you are? The answer, of course, is no. You have to create a presence on the social media sites, develop a community that trusts and follows you. You need some online friends and followers.
This is done simply by posting a few times a day (the amount of posts depends on which social media network you are posting to) with items of interest. By doing this you will build a following and people will look forward to your messages. They may also visit your website to learn more about you and your business.
Tip: Even though you can use HootSuite to schedule these posts for the week, I would still suggest you visit the social media networks you are more involved with each day and manually post information and interact with others. If you do not, your connections will see that you are not really networking with them and just promoting your business (even if the weekly posts are promotional).
Video and Podcast
Your blog content can be stretched even further. Videos and podcasts can be added to your blog as marketing tools. The audience gets to know you better and has a better understanding of your offering. At one time, I would not have even listed these as a basicblog marketing strategies, but in today's online world, they have both become a major factor (especially videos).
Video Marketing . In addition to posting a video to your blog, you can distribute it to video directories.
YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the web today and it has been for a number of years. Anyone can post a video, about anything, and put it on this virtual board. This can benefit you if an individual is searching for videos in your area of expertise or if friends want to see what you have to offer.
There are other video directories you can submit your videos to, too. A couple of the more popular ones are DailyMotion.com and MetaCafe.com.
Podcasts . Podcasts take a little more organization, but they can also be a great marketing tool. It is basically an internet radio program that you host or are a guest of. Creating the podcast is as simple as buying a microphone and the software required. Some people go bigger and rally up there production value, but you can keep it simple.
Once you create your podcast, you can upload it to a plugin on your site and it will be automatically distributed to iTunes.
There are many strategies that can be added to your blog marketing plan, but this will give you a good start. When you start a blog for your small business, make sure you spread the word about what you have written. Promote your new blog post in social media, bookmark your post (or have a 3rd party do it), submit the content to appropriate article directories, submit the content to appropriate article directories and seriously think about creating a video and / or podcast from that blog post content. If you do all of this, you will be on your way to a successful blog!