7 Jul 2014

All-in-one blogging resource via Mike Allton on G+

For A Copywriter's Toolbox' inaugural post, I'm delighted to share a collection of online blogging guides put together by Mike Allton. He's written plenty on the subject over time (as well as, you know, doing it for real) for The Social Media Hat.

Now, he's done a superb job of indexing those articles for us in one Google+ post, from which the inspiration for this article came. To add context and value here, I've added a few Toolbox Tips! along the way, too.

Now, your first question may be: are all the articles still relevant, given the changes Google has made this year?

Well, if your priority has always been to give the user the best experience, any changes to Google's ranking algorithms shouldn't have affected you. If you have been slapped by a Google penalty, these articles will indirectly help you see where you've gone wrong.

Knowing Mike as I do, the content contained herein is evergreen, his advice succinct and secure. The list itself may have been updated, but the articles are rock solid and full of marketing insights and expert blogging tips.

Some of the topics Mike covers are:

  • How often should you be writing?
  • How you can find the time to write, even on a tight schedule;
  • How to use your blog (and social) to drive traffic;
  • How to generate ideas for a vibrant, relevant blog;
  • How to get the word out about your content to drive engagement…

…and much more.

All the bullet-points below are direct hyperlinks that you can bookmark and peruse at your leisure. Or if any strike a chord, do head straight over.

Go on then; what's stopping you? Here's Mike »


Take your Blogging to the Next Level - UPDATED

Many individuals and businesses aspire to become better bloggers. Perhaps you're looking to add an additional revenue stream, or perhaps you're hoping to use your blog to establish your expertise and authority in your field. Whatever the reason, you're on the right track! Your blog can do all those things and more for you, but it will take time and hard work.

That’s where I can help.

Here are a number of articles I’ve published which you can spend some time reviewing and learn several key techniques and aspects of blogging that will help you.

WHEN AND HOW TO WRITE BLOGS

Toolbox Tip!:

Timing your content's distribution is crucial. Two reasons. First, you want notifications to appear in the streams of those who'll benefit at a time when said beneficiaries are apt to be on social. But second, and perhaps more important, you need to address post volume.

If you're not posting useful content often enough, you'll struggle to gain/retain your following. If you post too often, relevant or not, people will get peeved that you're taking over their stream. Worst case scenario, they report you as a spammer. It can and does happen, especially in Google+ Communities.

There's no better way to test what the ideal editorial calendar for your blog will be than to actually, you know, post an article. Yes, this does mean you placing blind faith in your audience and your gut. But it's a barrier that has to be breached, end of.

When I was in the brick 'n' mortar world, we had an old saying (about profit margins): "push it 'til it breaks". There's an argument for similar advice here, too.

Don't start out all guns blazing. Graduate your activity in small increments. Try one or two articles per week (which in itself may not be as easy to produce as you imagined!). Then, track the engagement on those live posts. Or check the open rates if you're using e-mail marketing and decipher where the tipping point is for your audience.

Enough from me; here's Mike with his list of articles covering 'When' and 'How' to write engaging blog posts:


WHAT TO BLOG ABOUT

Toolbox Tip!:

'Write What You Know' is an adage that's stood the test of time. One reason is because, as an expert in your field, finding new aspects or angles should never leave you short of base material.

Begin by checking what information already exists online about the service you provide. If there's little, great: fill that gap! If there seems quite a lot already published, you need a fresh approach.

Write down bullet points of the specifics you want your article to communicate. Then, take the most relevant elements of that existing online content, meld into your own inimitable style and trump what's out there already.

Another reason: with niche authority comes respect and, in time, a loyal following. Conversely, if you're bluffing your way through content, you'll soon get found out.

Either your audience/customers or genuine figureheads in your industry will call and catch you out. Any reputation and trust you've built will be washed away in an instant.

On that note, and before Mike's 'What' list, here's a quick tip from me: if you're stuck for a new idea, go back to your archive. Not got an archive? See who's written what about the information you want to convey.

Make sure the content is 'evergreen' and repurpose it for a new platform or medium. Podcast, video, infographic or even the same content rewritten in a style to suit the audience on a different social platform. Problem? Solved. Possibilities? Endless!


PROMOTING BLOG POSTS

Toolbox Tip!:

With so many authors trying to connect to a finite audience, you must be where your audience is. The old 'Build it and they will come' motto is so 20th Century. And inaccurate, given that consumers carry the Internet in their pocket, wherever they go.

Today, we live on diverse and multiple social media platforms. To confound matters, each platform has its own type of follower with differing levels of expectation. There are even bespoke rules of netiquette per network.

If your audience is not coming to you, you must go to them. So first, learn the channel's (often unwritten) rules. How? By engaging, through 'social listening', before expecting people to interact with your content. You must speak their language. Find a relevant topic/article, edit it to the site's accepted style and only then share.

But that's not your 'job done'. It's only the beginning. Your true work starts after you've hit publish, when people begin engaging YOU in conversation! Work hard, work regular and it will happen.

That's about it from me. I thank you for reading and look forward to seeing you again soon. In the meantime, here's Mike's last list of articles from his Google+ post. These cover that all important element: distribution. In other words, how you get your content in front of a targeted, engaged audience. I'll leave you with Mike to wrap it up:


Finally, be sure to view the recordings from The Second Annual Virtual Bloggers Conference, where you’ll find 11 sessions with top experts talking about HOAs, Google+, Instagram, Hootsuite, Evernote, Branding, Podcasts and more.

If you haven’t already, I would recommend subscribing to my Blog Notification Circle. If you’re interested in getting a notification each time I share a new article on social media, blogging and marketing, just let me know. New posts come out no more than once or twice a day. For more information on how you can use this technique yourself, click here.

Best of luck with your blog!


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