We held our inaugural webinar this past Tuesday, Blogging for Business. It was a huge success and the first in an ongoing series of marketing & sales webinars we’ll be conducting. Our next topic will be SMB Guide to Prospecting With LinkedIn. Be on the lookout for an announcement (and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out)!
We published a complete Blogging for Business resource page, complete with a webinar recording, slide deck and Blogging Idea Generator. One of our attendees, Lisa Krumm Schmidt from Inbound Marketing Solutions and Social Media, shared her thoughts in her blog post, Authentia Thought Leader and his Digital Symphony.
We ran out of time to answer all of the questions that were coming in from the chat window, so I thought I’d answer a few of them here.
What are SEO best practices for categories and tags?
I did address this point in the Q&A session, but did want to elaborate a little bit. Most blogging platforms allow you to organize your posts into categories and to assign them tags. This meta data helps in a couple of ways. First, they create “hub pages” that aggregate all of the associated posts into a single archive. It’s great for SEO because it creates keyword-based topics that the search engines can index.
However, you can have too much of a good thing. What frequently happens with these archives is that you end up with multiple pages having pretty much the same content. For example, let’s say you have a “WordPress” tag and a “blogging” tag that you’ve assigned to one blog post each. In that case, you’ll end up with two identical pages on your site and Google doesn’t like that.
For that reason, the way that I handle this is to “no-index” the tag pages and exclude them from the sitemap. This will help avoid a duplicate content issue. That means that I primarily rely on the categories for the hub pages. The bottom line is this: Categories are (primarily) for search engines and tags are (primarily) for humans.
How do you attract people to follow your blog?
In the webinar, I covered a few tricks, such as:
- Brown-nose with thought leaders who have large social media audiences.
- Share your content on social media during optimum times (you need to research these and figure them out).
- Leverage Q&A forums like LinkedIn groups and Quora.
- Reuse and syndicate your content on sites like Slideshare and YouTube.
- Add your blog to your email signature
- Run contests.
- Register on blog directories.
But the one overarching, universal strategy is something I’ve written about a lot over the past few years. It’s an acronym I use that’s the secret to building an audience: BARE (Be Authentic, Relentless and Everywhere). “Authentic” means being a human being, not a salesy, tagline-spewing robot who’s always asking for the sale. “Relentless” means constantly sharing and not giving up even when you think nobody’s listening. Remember that for every person who replies to you or retweets you or shares your content, there’s probably at least 20 more who read your content and didn’t do anything. Finally, “Everywhere” means participating in as many channels as possible with the time you have available. So much of online marketing is serendipitous that it’s important to put yourself out there in as many places as possible!
In what voice should I blog?
I like to blog in the first person. Blogging should be a personal, story-telling medium, even in business to business contexts. There’s enough formal communication in the business world already. What’s needed is more personal, human-centered communication. Otherwise, you’re removing the “social” from social media. It’s far easier to build an audience when they feel a personal connection to another human being than it is to create a strong bond from a customer to a brand. It also tends to much less expensive!