Are you thinking about your blog strategy for 2013? From determining post topics to scheduling frequency to back-end tools, there are numerous elements that will affect how successful your blog can be. If you are starting from scratch, or hoping to increase readership and visits to your existing blog, the number of factors involved in jump-starting and maintaining a blog can seem overwhelming. This is especially true for professional service firms, despite the fact that the benefits of a well-manicured blog are loudly touted by industry leaders.
Where do you begin? Which elements are the most important? What can you do when time and resources are limited? Some firms throw up their hands in frustration, while others assign the blog to an entry-level staff member with no experience to simply “get something up there”. Few firms take the time to research best blogging practices before jumping into the blog fray.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to utilize the trial by fire method. You can learn many of the secrets to blogging success by following the examples set by some of the most popular and thriving blogs.
While there are hundreds of blogging strategies, tactics and tips available online, here are five tips that will help your blog sparkle and shine in the New Year.
Subscribe to and follow pertinent industry blogs and newsletters
- Review blogs and articles on a regular basis to see what’s topical, timely, and popular (Lawyerist, Lawyernomics, and Legal Insurrection are three of the highest ranked legal blogs)
- Gain inspiration and learn successful blogging strategies from existing popular blogs
- Link to highly ranked blogs in your blog posts (particularly if you use them as sources)
- Comment on other blogs and news articles to demonstrate your thought leadership and expertise, while providing a link back to your blog in your comment
Develop an Editorial Calendar for your blog
- Schedule at least one blog post per week
- Understand that your topics might change if something important comes up
- Brainstorm topics and ideas with your staff and colleagues and map them out
- Put topics on your calendar even if they haven’t been fleshed out yet
- Keep a tickler file of ideas and concepts
Let your readers (clients, prospects, referral sources) tell you what they want to read about
- Use email newsletter, direct mail, receptionist, social media and your website to poll readers and solicit topics and questions
- Allow readers to comment (with oversight) on your blog posts
- Ask questions in your blog posts that will generate comments
- Upon receipt of comments, take the time to respond directly and thank readers for the comments
- If someone asks a question, answer it; the answer could even be a new blog post – start the post off with the reader’s question and then answer it, giving credit to the reader for the question
Format your blog for visual impact and readability
- Include an eye-catching or iconic image at the top of your blog
- Break up large blocks of text with interesting images
- Use headings and sub-headings to make the blog easy to scan
- Maximize the use of bullets and lists for readability
Optimize your blog for search engine optimization
- If using WordPress, install the SEO All-in-One pack; other platforms have other tools
- Maximize use of keywords, tags, and image attributes in your blog
- Promote your blog through your social media and online marketing outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, your firm’s email newsletter, email blasts, Outlook signature, etc.
- Link back to other posts in your blog roll when they are relevant
- Link to external blogs, industry journals, and pertinent news outlets when appropriate
- Implement “subscribe” buttons via RSS and email; include blog links in your email newsletter
- Provide social media “share this” buttons on each blog post and make them easy to find and easy to use
- Use a large banner or button on your website to drive traffic to your blog
These tips will get you started on your path to blog success. In Part 2 of this series, I’ll review specific types of content that will also contribute to your blog’s ability to sparkle and shine in the New Year.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions, a Thomson Reuters Business, serving as a strategic partner in the planning and implementation of electronic communication and marketing initiatives. She develops and oversees comprehensive programs that present marketing strategies and solutions to diverse audiences, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, human resource companies and other professional service providers.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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Phone: (800) 846-1555