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Beyond the Press Release: Starting a Blog

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If you are syndicating press releases on a regular basis, either as an individual or as a company, starting a blog is a smart way to ramp up your efforts in the public relations and marketing arena. How can you get started, and how can you benefit from starting a blog?

Blogging is a highly effective way of getting your name out there on a daily or weekly basis. A quality blog offers up conversational questions, a variety of topics to facilitate and stimulate discussion, and a portal into the social media world. Engaging and informative blogs will help establish you as a leader in your field and as a resource for others in your industry.

Get started by knowing your purpose.

The Pioneer Woman is a terrific example of how lifestyle blogger Ree Drummond developed her brand, set a tone, and promoted projects — such as her cookbook — with her daily posts. Her impressive food photography and consistent frontier style helped build her brand and make her a success (she now has her own show on the Food Network). Little tweaks to her seasonal banner keep the site fresh and interesting and oh-so-vintage-inspired.

Define your audience, brand/style, tone, and topics you want to cover; you can even link to past press releases or expand upon past ideas you’ve featured on your website or in company newsletters. Know what your ideal customer or follower wants and give it to them! Don’t be afraid to inject your writing with personality; your unique POV will keep readers coming back.

Keep it brief and stay on topic.

Personality may be important, but so is keeping readers engaged. Stick to 500-800 words per post. Not everyone is a reader, and summing up your points succinctly and eloquently will help you appeal to both your customer base and a variety of new potential readers. Most business blogs are about the exchange of ideas and pertinent information, not tangents about your fondest childhood memory and how it vaguely (kind of, sort of) relates to the blog topic of the day. Keep in mind what the readers want to learn from your blog.

Expand your horizons.

Create an RSS feed and email subscription sign-up option in order to keep readers aware of when a new blog is posted, what events are coming up, and any opportunities for them to do business with you.

Some encouragement, please.

Encourage readers to leave comments by posting a welcome blog that includes an overview of what readers will come to expect and learn from the blog, as well as its overall purpose or basic mission statement. Engaging with readers from the get-go will only help you over time. Ask a question to get the discussion on its way!

Be eventful.

Host a panel of speakers or plan an event that provides free samples of a tried and true product you are promoting. Invite potential consumers (or fellow bloggers) and ask them to visit your blog to comment on their experience at the panel or to provide a honest review of your product. These events will drive traffic to your blog and allow you to gauge what topics/products you should be promoting in your posts. The main benefit is that reviews will get your name or product into circulation across the blogosphere.

Forget the tacky ads.

Start a blog without ad placement; focus on building a following for your blog as opposed to the green that comes along with ads. You can always implement them (in a tasteful fashion) later.

Network until it hurts.

In other words: read, reach out and research — constantly. Scour other industry blogs, make contact via email, discuss guest post opportunities and get to know others in your industry. It may not happen overnight, but cultivating these relationships will allow you to grow your business and gain the respect of other professionals in your industry.

Improve site visibility.

Link building is vital to your success:

1. Know your keywords and perform a social media search in order to find legitimate partners for link building within your industry.
2. Research sites that will bring you relevant traffic/searches instead of being ranking-obsessed.
3. If appropriate, reach out with a personalized email or phone call about writing a quality guest post for another blog. In doing this, you will build your credibility and online reputation, leading to more targeted prospects over time.

Lastly, before launching your blog, test it in several browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome) to make sure it’s displaying properly. Check links, headers and author bios to make certain you are ready to roll it out and go live. Congrats! Your blog is ready to get some action.

Are you ready to start blogging?