Keys to a Great Blog
By Laura Withers
One of the first things I learned about social media is that having a great blog will take you far. Blogging serves as a powerful business tool and, as author and blogger Ann Handley says, provides a way to receive almost instant feedback from peers without having to visit the mailbox. That is, if it’s done right.
Here are some tips for better blogging, drawn in part from one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Post, which is written by creators of the open source blogging platform WordPress (upon which PRNetworkings is hosted), and some examples of smart blogging by NTCA member companies Kingdom Telephone Co. (Auxvasse, Mo.), Brazos Telecommunications (Olney, Texas) and Great Plains Communications (Blair, Neb.).
1. Socialize your blog. Every blog can use new readers, and adding a sharing component to your publication strategy will broaden your reach. If you use WordPress, consider employing its built-in Publicize feature, which automatically shares your posts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Yahoo! Updates. Brazos has mastered this strategy, integrating its social profiles with its blog and using Twitter and Facebook to broadcast new posts.
2. Use active, not passive voice. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using passive voice, which is when an action is emphasized over the person performing it, leading to extra words in your sentence. For example, “The blog was read by thousands.” Active voice puts the subject and verb front and center: “Thousands read the blog.” Plenty of telco blogs have gotten this right. Here’s just one example from Great Plains, which does a great job speaking directly to Nebraska Cornhusker fans readying for the upcoming football season. Go Big Red!
3. Get interactive. Try adding a poll or a survey to get your readers engaged. This can be as simple as posting an open-ended question and soliciting responses in the form of comments or as complicated as a multi-question survey. Competitions, contests and challenges also can ramp up interaction with your blog. Kudos to Kingdom Telephone for introducing a back-to-school coloring contest to get readers engaged. The prize? Children in three different age groups will win a “super-dooper, totally fun” children’s art set. Now that’s something worth pursuing!
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