Promoting Your Blog: How Much Should You Set Aside in Your Budget?

There is no denying that a blog is a highly effective tool for successfully promoting yourself. While once used by everyday people to share their thoughts and opinions, a blog has now become one of the most powerful marketing tools an author or speaker can use.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Whether you have set up a blog as the foundation of your speaking or writing career or you are using a blog to promote your books, one thing is certain: You want to attract as much attention as possible. While that blog may be expertly designed, highly informative, and very engaging, if you aren’t effective promoting it, you won’t be driving as much traffic to it as you could.

What’s that? Promote a blog? But isn’t the purpose of a blog to promote your books and events? While yes, this is true, in order to effectively use your blog to get the word out about your career, you have to get the word out about your blog. [Read more…]

3 Ways to Use Guest Blog Posts to Promote Your Brand

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from how to use SmallBusinessReputation.com to manage your online reputation to mastering the latest social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Use Guest Blog Posts to Promote Your Brand - Aleweb Social MarketingIf you have a blog and you update it regularly, you might be wondering what else you can do to expand your brand’s online reach. One effective way to promote your brand and mix things up a bit is to guest post on other blogs.

Here are three ways to effectively utilize guest posts to increase interest in your brand.

1. Target Appropriate Host Blogs

The most effective guest posts will appear on blogs that relate in some way to your product or brand. For instance, if your product has to do with telecommunication, it wouldn’t make sense to write posts for blogs that have to do with baking cupcakes. Keep your focus tight and relevant when it comes to targeting potential blogs to pitch your guest posts to.

The smartest way to be invited to guest blog is to be a participant on a blog as a commenter. If you’re already active in the blogging community, then you have a head start. If you aren’t active yet on industry-related blogs, now is the time to get familiar with the online blogging community and make you—and the brand you represent—visible.

You can also seek out blogs that are open to guest posts by visiting websites such as BloggerLinkUp.com or MyBlogGuest.com.

2. Know Your Audience

When you write guest posts for other blogs, always keep your audience in mind. Get a feel for the voice and style of each blog you’ll be guesting for. Take special note of the tone and writing style. The regular audience of a particular blog will have set expectations for the kind of blog posts they’ll read in the future, so model the format of your guest post to that of the source blog you’re writing for.

If your targeted blog uses technical language, reflect that in your guest post. However, if a blog’s posts are written for the general public and are light on industry jargon, avoid confusing terms and wording.

Read past blog posts from your targeted host blogs and check out the comment sections as well. Perusing reader comments can give you insight into the education, knowledge and interests of a blog’s followers. Keep in mind that the average adult reads at a ninth-grade level. Don’t churn out a guest blog post written at a post-graduate level and risk alienating your audience.

3. Make it Personal

Yes, readers are interested in your business, and you want to guide them to your product or brand, but don’t forget to add a personal touch as well. People find personal-themed blog posts interesting because of the voyeur factor. They also draw a lot of traffic.

Many readers will ask questions such as, “What is the company’s CEO’s personality like?” Take, for example, the late Steve Jobs. Although Apple’s products attracted buyers on their own merits, plenty of people (avid Mac users and PC users alike) were curious about Steve’s history, personal philosophy, and work methods. The same can be said for Bill Gates and Microsoft. One way or another, the brand is always connected to the people behind it. Make that connection with your brand and your guest blog readers as well.

You can tap into the personal factor in your blog post, as well as promote your brand, by making readers feel like you’re having an intimate conversation with them, as if you’re sitting down with them and chatting over a cup of coffee at a local shop. When you communicate with readers on a personal level and connect it to your profession, you instill confidence in people and, by association, your brand. Let them see glimpses of your personality and business philosophy.

By taking advantage of guest blog posts, you will keep the attention of your regular subscribers and attract new ones over to your home blog. In addition, your new readers will likely follow you on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. Guest blogging is an essential way to effectively market and promote your business and build your clientele.

The Importance of Blogging, and Blogging Some More

I recently had someone ask me:

Do I really have to blog?

The answer to that is simple. NO! You don’t have to blog.

There is nothing in this world that compels you to blog, just like you don’t have to get up and brush your teeth in the morning, or put fresh clothes on, or take a bath once in a while.

However, you may not get the results you want though if you don’t.

The Importance of Blogging, and Blogging Some More

By Gabriel Weinberg

By Gabriel Weinberg

If your goal for your book, product, service or brand is to gain more visibility (the positive kind, mind you!), then blogging is a very powerful way to begin, for many reasons.

  1. It’s fresh content, which the search engines like to see.
  2. It’s easy for readers to share with their friends.
  3. It brings traffic to your website, increasing its visibility to the search engines.
  4. It’s more information on the internet that’s all about you and your favorite topic!
  5. It gives prospective buyers a sense of who you are, what you care about, and how you present yourself.

So, how do you get started? Don’t you have to have your own website to blog? Well… The answer isn’t quite so simple.

[Read more…]

An Interview with Jeff Goins, author of “Wrecked”

Today’s post features an interview with author, Jeff Goins. Tara Alemany, owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, had the opportunity to ask Jeff a few questions recently as part of his virtual tour for his new book, Wrecked, which came out in August 2012.

Jeff Goins, author of Wrecked, interviewed on alewebsocial.comJeff is a writer who lives outside of Nashville with his wife, son, and pup. He works for Adventures in Missions and blogs at goinswriter.com.

When you started your blog in 2010, you had some burning questions about making a living as a writer that you were trying to answer for yourself. (To see Jeff’s questions, click here.) With the recent publication and success of Wrecked, it looks like you found the answers. I’d love it if you could share part of that journey with my readers because it’s a trip they’d all like to take too!

[Read more…]

Why Would I Guest Blog?

Why Would I Guest Blog? - Aleweb Social MarketingI was asked a simple question recently.

Do you guest blog or have guest bloggers on your site?

Although my answer was rather lengthy, I want to cover the gist of it here with you. The short answer is: “Yes. I guest blog and have guest bloggers on my site. And so should you.”

If that’s all you wanted to know, you’re free to go read something else now. But if you’d like a more in-depth explanation, stick around, because here it comes.

I believe in guest blog­ging, as well as being a con­tribut­ing blog­ger because I can’t expect that every­one is going to come to my site all the time to learn about my brand. As much as I love bringing traf­fic here, I’m not a traf­fic con­duc­tor, I’m an infor­ma­tion pur­veyor.

As such, I have to be will­ing to go where my tar­get audi­ence is (on social net­works, other blogs, and online com­mu­ni­ties) and par­tic­i­pate. Oth­er­wise, it’s sim­ply hubris to expect every­one to come to me for the infor­ma­tion I feel like sharing.

So, I guest blog when invited and the audi­ence is rel­e­vant. I invite guest blog­gers on a selec­tive basis, need­ing to know that they’ll pro­vide qual­ity con­tent of inter­est to my read­ers.

My blog is syn­di­cated to other blog net­works (like Business2Community, All­Top and oth­ers), and I am a con­tribut­ing author to the Lead Change Group’s blog that is related to a sec­ondary inter­est of mine, leadership.

All of these build authen­tic­ity for my brand, mak­ing me a val­ued and trusted resource for those that do decide to fol­low me.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Would you?

What are your thoughts about guest blogging? Do you like it when someone guest blogs on a site you follow? Do you write guest blogs yourself?

Every Blogger Wants to be Found, But What Are You Willing to Do?

Hide and SeekIf you’ve been blogging for some time now, you may be struggling to find new and unique ways to extend your influence and grow your audience. As part of my marketing strategy for this year, I decided that I was going to make more of an effort to “be found” by larger blogging sites, like BlogCritics, Social Media Today, AllTop and Technorati.

In late 2011, I added a subset of my blog feed to Social Media Today, so that any posts I wrote that were categorized as “Social Media” would be submitted for their review and possible publication. Unfortunately, none of the last few social media posts have been picked up by them. But I keep hoping! (Wouldn’t it be awesome if they picked up this one?!)

Today, I read a post on how to claim my Technorati blog, and decided to pursue that. Yet, I found the process to be fascinatingly frustrating. To add your blog feed to Technorati, you have to create an account. (Makes sense.) Then, you can update your profile or, at least… That’s the idea. I updated my profile 3 times, and every time I clicked the Update Accountbutton to submit my data, the fields were blanked out and my updates were discarded. A bug? I hope so! But, at the bottom of my profile page was where I stumbled across the field the enables me to claim my blog. I specified the requested information, and submitted it to Technorati for review. Yet to process my claim and verify that I am the author of my blog, Technorati requires me to write a post for my blog that contains my unique claim token, JQTZQEJ6Y7UQ. When that information is published to my blog feed, they can verify that in fact I am the writer of my blog.

What do you think of this idea? It’s ingenious from a marketing sense, because most bloggers won’t simply post a claim token in their blog without giving their readers some kind of explanation as to what it’s all about. Invariably, I’m sure this results in additional links to Technorati’s site. But, as a blogger, I find this requirement frustrating because it demands specific content from my blog. In my case, it’s information that my readers will be interested in anyway. But what if I only wrote about leadership topics? Or I wrote about something all together different, where social media and blogging weren’t relevant to my audience? (I can’t think of a good example right now, but you get the spirit of my question, I hope!)

And what if my editorial calendar is full, and I already have the next few blog posts written and in the queue. Do I post this as a “one-off” post? Shift my whole calendar schedule? Or just add it to the queue and accept a delay in adding my blog to Technorati?

Personally, I think it would be better if they took a similar approach to NetworkedBlogs, where you add code to your site or a widget to your page in order to demonstrate your ownership. But barging into the blog feed just seems wrong to me…

What are your thoughts?

Book Review: Social Media Judo

Social Media Judo coverWhen I was offered the opportunity to review a book entitled “Social Media Judo” by Chris Aarons, Geoff Nelson, Nick White and Dan Zehr, I jumped at the chance. I was informed that the book was written by Ivy Worldwide, an award-winning agency for effectiveness, and revealed the secrets to revenue-driving social media campaigns.

Any effective social marketer knows that this is more than just collecting friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. There’s a real art and style that goes into effectively marketing on the internet, and cutting through the clutter of videos, social networks, blogs and more that clamor for the attention of a prospective consumer.

The book promised to give a deep insight into how top worldwide brands (such as HP, Lenovo, Microsoft) are having success with social media and how they are using it to drive sales and revenue. As a martial artist and a student of social marketing myself, I loved the idea of blending the philosophy and mindset of martial arts with the mechanics of word-of-mouth marketing to generate real results.

The style of martial arts that I study is a Korean form called Tang Soo Do (most closely related to Tae Kwon Do, and the same style that Chuck Norris studied prior to founding Chun Kuk Do). In it, there are 7 tenets that we highly value: Integrity, Concentration, Perseverance, Respect & Obedience, Self-Control, Humility, and Indomitable Spirit. As I waited for my copy of the book to arrive, I thought perhaps these were some of the topics that would be touched upon.

Instead, Social Media Judo focused on four, just-as-important pillars to judo and the philosophy of social marketing.

  1. Minimum effort and maximum efficiency – Tapping into the network of key influencers already in place to use their existing momentum to help spread your message.
  2. Mutual benefit – Crafting programs that generate a strong return for the company by also provide an equally beneficial outcome for the influences and partners with whom you work.
  3. Etiquette – Creating personal relationships with online content producers and influencers, rather than merely trying to exploit them when you need them.
  4. Physical education – Building a bridge between philosophy and practice. The judo mindset challenges the ways you think about and interact with your key influences, both on- and offline.

The book demonstrates, through real-world examples, how important it is to master the philosophy as well as the mechanics of these techniques. As the authors point out, “You can’t merely mimic the moves of a judo expert and expect to become a great fighter.”

As you read through the book, it also covers the importance of falling, and the view of it that students must learn to adopt in order to adapt. By learning about how to fall properly, companies can overcome their fear of failing with social media, and derive lessons from the experience that enable them to see the upside that’s possible, even in the risk of the downside. When these risks are mitigated through traditional marketing efforts and effective planning, the potential that exists is huge for any company! You’ll also learn the basics of marketing, along with strategies to maintain the balance between “going with the flow” and keeping your message intact.

Each of the examples that are given, and the analysis that goes into why they worked or didn’t work, is invaluable. By studying them, marketers can begin to develop their own plans to increase sales, cut marketing costs, and boost engagement, all while paying for themselves with real revenue!

If I had any real criticism of the book to offer, it’s that it neglects social networks beyond blogging. But the thought there is that it gives your key influences a larger platform that can ultimately be promoted using other social networks. So, they become a means to an end, instead of the destination themselves.

Overall, the book is well-written and useful! There’s something in it for both novice marketers and more experienced individuals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you get something more out of it on subsequent readings. It’s definitely a book I’m happy to add to my Social Marketing bookshelf!