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Best Practices in Blog Marketing

Related pages

As with your company Web site, your blog will need to be promoted in order to draw traffic. Fortunately, there are a number of relatively easy and inexpensive (in many cases, free) methods to attract readers. Several of these tools are unique to blogs.

Start by promoting your blog offline, similar to the way you promote your Web site: by including your blog URL in press releases, print ads, PowerPoints, and on your product literature and direct mail.

Get your blog listed on key blog directory-type sites, such as Blogarama, Blog Universe, Technorati, and other sites on Robin Good's “RSSTop55 - Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites.”

Set up a My Yahoo page (if you don't already have one). Add your blog feed to this page by clicking “Add Content,” typing the URL of your blog in the “Find Content” box, and clicking “Find.” This will cause Yahoo to spider your blog immediately, helping your search ranking there.

Each time you post, visit Pingomatic. Enter your blog name and URL, select the services you'd like to “ping” (notify of your new post), then click “Submit Ping.” This free service will then notify these large feed sites that you've added new content.

Blogger Ankesh Kothari provides several recommendations for effective blog marketing, among them: edit a post to make it read like an article in a trade or business publication (800-1,000 words on a specific topic; include one or two actual customer experiences or quotes if at all possible). Then submit your post to syndicating sites such as COTC and Article Marketer. (COTC stands for “Carnival of the Capitalists.” Any blogger can get a wider audience for a specific posting by emailing it to cotcmail-AT-gmail.com. Relevant topics include pretty much anything related to business: management, marketing, accounting/finance, sales etc..)

Submitting a blog posting as an article in this manner gives you far wider exposure than simply publishing on your own blog. According to Article Marketer, other sites will pick up these articles because they are hungry for fresh, relevant content. Your submission saves them time and effort. Articles of this nature – properly written – establish your credibility with readers in a way that an ad can't, and at little or no cost.

Find other blogs relating to your topic and get them to link to you. The most subtle approach is simply to link to these blogs and hope they discover you. One notch higher is posting comments on other blogs with a link back to your blog; this will assure that the other blogger notices you, and bloggers appreciate comments (provided they are pertinent, informative and not blatantly self-promoting of course) – blogs are, ideally, a conversation more than a broadcast.

You can also get your blog linked by other bloggers by contacting the author directly and asking (often very effective); writing reviews of other blogs (as the Small Business Trends blog does); or interviewing other bloggers for your blog (as is done on the Lip-Sticking and WebMarketCentral blogs).

Blogging expert Tinu Abayomi-Paul recommends using Trackback to build traffic to your blog, stating “Learn to use Trackback properly and you won't need to beg for links to your site ever again.” Trackback is sort of a remote commenting system; many bloggers don't use this because it's more complex than plain commenting and because Blogger, one of the most widely used systems, doesn't have it. (Though Haloscan offers a free tool to add Trackback to Blogger.)

If you've done any search engine optimization or pay-per-click marketing, you've already got an extensive list of keywords related to your business and product/service. Use these keywords and key phrases in your blog posts. Keep in mind that search engines like Google treat each post as a separately searchable page, so simply using one to three keywords or phrases in each post is sufficient to get your blog noticed.

Seek opportunities to post on other blogs as a “guest contributor,” similar to writing articles or editorials for publication in trade magazines. Like magazine editors, some bloggers simply won't consider letting anyone else post on their blog. However, many bloggers, stretched for time or new ideas, will welcome a well-written and informative (not blatantly promotional) third-party submission.

Exchange links with other relevant sites through services such as Link Exchange Club. Note: In the past, some link exchange services have run afoul of search engines, particularly Google. When I contacted Google support to ask about the legitimacy of this one specifically, they gave me a non-definitive answer.

What about paying to advertise on other blogs? According to research firm Nielsen/NetRatings, “While (blogs) will likely never have the traffic of some of the larger ad networks, blogs do have a specific role to play in the online advertising mix.” The firm estimated that the top 50 blog sites drew nearly 30 million unique visitors in July 2005.

Related pages:

Why Write a Blog for Business?

How to Create an Effective Business Blog

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