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Blogs Must Earn Their Keep

Sounds like Darren is having a wonderful time on his well deserved holiday. From a ProBlogger fan, it’s been great fun reading the variety of posts by guest bloggers.

Over the past few months, I’ve been talking to marketers around the country about how blogs can support business initiatives. Most folks are intrigued and want to explore ways to incorporate this new tool into their strategies. However for some the deal breaker is how to justify to their management that blogs are not a resource drain.

If blogs are going to be accepted as a credible marketing tactic they must be able to earn their keep within a company’s master marketing plan. Let’s save the “people talk” for blog conversations. In “marketing talk” that means accountability. As with any interactive strategy “blog” metrics can be tracked and ROI can be established. Compliments of Diva Marketing here are a few suggestions.

Blog Specific
*May be measured by unique or total posts

-Search rankings
-Visitor hits*
-Page views
-Trackbacks *
-In bound links – general*
-In bound links – “high ranked” blogs/sites*
-Comments* such as customer feedback/new ideas
- Newsreader subscriptions

Conversions
- Newsletters subscriptions
- Sales
- Leads
- White paper/other down loads

Buzz
- Speaking engagements
- Podcasts, vlogs and other interviews
- Media mentions/quotes
- Mentions and links on other blogs/websites

Intangibles
- Customers’ emotional involvement with the brand
- Increase in brand loyalty
- Providing customers with the opportunity to talk with people within a company and ensuring that customers are heard, responded to and respected by those people who are assuming the role of the public “voice” of their company.

Make yourself available

This may seem kind of obvious. But you’d be amazed at how difficult it is to get in touch with many business or pro bloggers.

There have been a couple of instances where I’ve wanted to suggest stories to people I read, and I haven’t been able to get in touch. Once I wanted to pass some work on to someone, and I couldn’t find his email address!

I know the whole refrain about spam-bots. There are ways around it. You can encode your address, or your could stick it in an image. Even simpler, do what many do and spell your address out like so: peter at theblogstudio dot com.

Stick your contact info somewhere obvious. I used the footer on The Blog Studio as an easy, always available piece of real estate.

What do you think? Am I missing something? Is there a reason people don’t want to be contacted?

The great level playing field

I had the opportunity of being on a phone hookup this morning with Andy Wibbells from Easy Bake Weblogs (the recording will be avilable soon), on the topic of blogs and there’s one point I made thats resonated with me since: blogging is the ultimate in level playing fields.

What other forum can deliver your thoughts to millions of readers without the need for any technical expertise? If you can get on the internet, through home, work, cafe or other way, you can write a blog. They said back in the 90′s that services like Geocities did this, but I disagree, the early home page phenomenon provided the potential of an internet presence for all, but it wasn’t a level playing field: you needed to have some idea about presentation and they weren’t as usable as blogs. Compare and contrast this to blogging; you set up an account, you write a title for a post, you write your content, and then you hit publish.

Every minute of every day thousands of new blogs are being created and posted to around the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, black or white, gay, straight or other, or where you live (as long as you can get on the net) : any one can blog, and more are more people are. This is the goldrush folks; and instead of having to travel far and wide to get to the gold, the gold is delivered to your door step. Whether you choose to dig for gold is strictly up to yourselves.

Strategy for maximizing page views

I was going to call this article tips for maximizing page views. But tips implies that what I suggest is going to work! These are merely thoughts and suggestions. I hope to encourage a bit of experiment and conversation with this post. Please use the comments and trackbacks to let us know if you try something as a result of this.

So, page views. A page view is not a hit, nor is it a visit. Total page views tells you how many individual pages have been seen over a given period. Dividing that total by the number of unique visitors gives you your average page views per visit.

How ever many you have, you want more. Page views are the add-on items of the web world. They’re the rust-proofing on your new car. The guacamole with your nachos. They’re where the profit is made. More page views = more ads seen = greater chance for your visitors to click on an ad.

Of course this is all completely moot if users are clicking on ads on their first or second page view. But if they were doing that we’d all be out shopping for Porshes instead of playing in Darren’s playground while he’s on holiday.

There are two main strategies I want to discuss here. The first is easy, the second requires some creative thinking.
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Can you spot the Pro Blogger?

Arieanna asks today how you can spot a pro blogger–Bloggeropoly–well since most of us work behind the scenes it might be a little hard to peg us down.  For myself I try to put my “blogsig” at the bottom of many posts.  It also has my contact information so people can reach me easily.  But what about your own blog?  Arieanna has taken care of that too.  Using the famous Button Maker — Kalsey Consulting Group she made this:
 
problogger.png
 
Feel free to download–please download not hotlink–and use on your own site.  Arieanna was making badges for Qumana too, then I think she got carried away.
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  I use QumanaHe can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.

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Blogging at work

I just read Blogging On The Boss’ Time and it got me thinking, how many of us “Probloggers” who still have day jobs blog from work? I know many companies are starting to monitor blogging activity, but part of my job is actually blogging at work. But I find at times I’m blogging on my own sites. Usually I restrict this to very short posts, slow times, or something that just can’t wait. I’ll often post something at lunch, but that’s my time.

Personally, I try to blog whenever I can but I try not to take advantage of my employer. I don’t want to get dooced, after all. So, I thought I would ask, how many of you post from work (your day job) and does your company have a blogging policy?

Blogging Data We Can All Learn From

The BlogKits 2005 Blogging & Advertising Survey is about to close up. Here’s the best part. I’m going to release the raw data from this study on ProBlogger.net next week for anyone to download and analyze as they see fit. So if you haven’t taken the short survey yet, please do, it will benefit us all in the end. There’s some amazing data in there.

Here’s a sneak peek. 80% of bloggers agree that advertisements are ok on their own blogs. 16% of those who answered were neutral on the statement, with a measly 4% or less saying they don’t think ads should be on their blog. I know for a fact that number was probably less than 30% just two years ago.

On the same note, 76% of bloggers feel that their readers are also ok with ads on blogs. While 15% stayed neutral, only 9% or thought different. Who reads blogs? Well, a lot of bloggers read other blogs. So it’s safe to assume that bloggers are also blog readers.

Finally, one of my most favorite questions. “I am more likely to click on an ad in a blog that I enjoy reading?” 84% of the respondents agreed to this question, while 10% stayed neutral and less than 6% disagreed. Seems like common sense right? The data would concur with that statement.

Blogging Domain Name Brand Mantra

Darren asks, ‘What’s in A Blog Name?‘. He’s right, a name is a very important piece of becoming a successful blog. Think branding…it’s all about branding. Certain names and words flow off the tounge and are more memorable than others.

I’ve been reading Darren’s blog before it was ProBlogger.net. What was it? Um, something like blog.livingroom.com.au, I think. Get the point? That name sucked. Sorry Darren, I think you knew that. That’s no way to build a brand name. I think Darren can prove that his traffic and general reputation grew by leaps and bounds when he moved to ProBlogger.net. The design helped too :) Of course, it can be done, but it’s much harder.

So as a serious blogger…if you want to be serious, and taken seriously, you have to stop using those unbrandable blog domains like supercooldude.blogspot.com. The time has come to drop $8.95 at GoDaddy and get your own domain name. Or, for the sake of this shameless promotional entry, you could use one of mine below.

I’m currently looking to either sell or develop the following domain names. If you are interested in either offer, please email me at [email protected]

www.hotelblog.com
I’m looking for a writer who wants to take it and make it into a network blog about hotels. I’m willing to pay up to 75% of all revenue it generates to the right person who can make it a success. I’d host it, and provide the MT blog software and setup. I’d also do the design and any tech stuff. All this person would have to do is write, well… and often.

I also have these domains I’d like to do something with. Either sell them or develop them. Have an idea? Make an offer? Let me know.

News-blog.com
College-blog.com
Career-blog.com
Business-blog.com
Blogbucks.com
Blog-shop.com
Biz-blog.com

Blog Business Summit II Aug 17-19, San Francisco

Just announced today the Blog Business Summit will be August 17-19 in San Francisco.  I’m not sure if I will be attending–I will be at Gnomedex later this month though–but it was a great time in January.  BBS was the break out conference for me and Susie.  BBS was where both of our blogs got attention for our event blogging.  So, if nothing else for new pro bloggers, a conference like BBS, Gnomedex, or BlogHER. is the perfect place to network, meet other probloggers and, if you’re lucky, get some attention.  Oh yeah, have some fun too. ;-).
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