My Top 10 Tips For Blogging
I writing for Thoughts About PR for a few months now and have to admit: It's fun and challenging! Here are my 10 top tips for blogging:
1. Set your goals.
Setting up a blog may for some be out of the blue, but business related blogs should have a goal and objectives: like promoting a business, selling products, recruiting, etc. If you're just blogging, you might drift off. Thus, setting your objectives (preferably they should be SMART) not only helps you to work towards a direction, but also helps you to evaluate your achievements at a later time.
2. Use the first mover advantage.
On PRplace.com I read that there is the "first mover advantage". Media outlets and journalists constantly fight about who gets a story first, because they know: News are only news when they are new. Something that has never been read before attracts users. I tried to do that as well on my blog by referring to current events such as the announcement of the period emoji or by criticising the procedure of the unaired Fox News interview. Also, I thought outside the box: Rather than just writing about a campaign, I analysed it with a PR approach to make it topical for my blog.
3. Plan ahead.
If you write a blog about your personal life, you probably don’t plan ahead as much as writing a B2B blog. However, to maintain consistency it’s a good advice to create an editorial calendar. In there, you can note down your ideas; public holidays, which might affect your blogging and events, you might want to cover (Mother’s Day, Valentines Day, etc.). It also helps you getting an overview and to remain topical. Another point is when you plan to cooperate with someone – it might take time till the other person can arrange it. Plan plenty of time and be patient and persistent. If it doesn’t work this week, it might work at a later time.
4. Use social media.
No matter which blog you are writing, you want to drive people to your blog and therefore, rise in the google ranking – because: Why blogging if no one reads it? Social media are an opportunity for you to make your blog known, to engage with a community and like-minded people. I will also publish a post what I have learned from 100 tweets, once I have reached that number (I am now at 92 tweets with 75 plus followers).
5. Cross-share content.
Using social media is one thing. Make use of your content not just once. The more you spread it, the more people may consume it. I shared my content on Twitter and Instagram, where appropriate and also on LinkedIn, when it suited the professional characteristic of the platform. Cross-sharing can also mean to think about the value of your network and cross-reference there. I met PR professionals at different networking events, for example, and discussed my thoughts about PR with them. Subsequently, I asked them if they would want to share their experience in giving me an insight into their work, which I could then publish on my blog. In German there is a saying: „Man sieht sich immer zwei Mal im Leben“ – „You will always meet people twice in life“, which means to be kind to anyone you meet, because you will probably see them again (happened to me many, many times). Who knows? An interviewee or a contact could be your employer one day… Anyway, cross-sharing content and ideas also prepares you for the working world: Most employers also expect minimum input (of course quality) and maximum outcome.
6. Go the extra mile.
At the end of the day, you provide the reader of your blog with a service: Ideally with an information that he/she wants to read. So don't hesitate to go the extra mile. Yesterday, I published a post in German, a long read about how the Berlin Transport Company (BVG) communicated the first women's ticket in the world. However, I mainly have British readers (that's what my Google and Twitter Analytics shows). Thus, I translated the whole article into my second language: English. It also paid off, because Sarah Hall (@Hallmeister on Twitter), also known as the founder and editor of #FUTUREPROOF, recommended my blog post on Twitter: "Fab campaign that was rolled out in Berlin to address the gender pay gap. Well worth a read". Another appreciation of me translating the article came from Ross Wigham: "Thanks for doing an English version for those of us without the language skills. Really interesting read."
7. Get some inspiration.
Blogging usually gives you the outcome of the effort you put in. If you neglect your account, no one else will write a story for you. If you have a creativity low (which rarely faces me), you can look at what other blogs write about (such as Marcel Klebba's and Stephen Waddington's blogs) or at what liked-minded people share (I usually see what PR practitioners write about on Twitter and LinkedIn). Other options are podcasts, communities, events, media, webinars, etc.
A webinar I can recommend for bloggers is #CommsSchool on Facebook by Marcel Klebba and Stephen Waddington. Every Tuesday at 6.30pm British time (7.30pm German time), they talk about how to improve your blog. Last week they encouraged all PR students to get engaged in various communities such as: #PowerAndInfluence, #PRStudChat, #FuturePRoof by @Hallmeister, #PRfest, #PRstack and #PRstudent. The next webinar will be next week, on May 7.
8. Look back at what you've done.
Evaluating your success leads back to the objectives you have set at the beginning. Depending on the goal, check the stats: Look at what you've done well and what could be improved. In my social media module at University, Deb Sharrat also tought us that when looking back, you may also delete social media posts when they don't fit your profile any more, for example. This leads me to my next point…
9. Use tools to evaluate.
Obviously while you are blogging, you will watch your account carefully to find out: how many people have read your article (on my blog everyone can see that), how many people have shared your content on social media and listen to the feedback from your readers. However, it's well worth to look back if you have achieved your pre-set goals. There are tons of tools out there to evaluate your success on your blog as well as on social media. There are Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook stats and Union Metrics for very simple Instagram analysis in the free version (It gives you your top hashtag, which time it is best to post and how many Likes your Instagram posts have on an average). Other tools, which professionals and PR practitioners often use, are Hootsuite or Meltwater. If you would like to explore more helpful PR tools, head over to #PRstack.
10. Surprise your audience.
There are tons of blogs out there, but you will need to stand out. If you don't copy competitors, you will find your own unique way of writing, posting and providing your audience with the information they like to read. If you can think out of the box, however, you can provide your audience with content they did not even know they liked! That's the royal discipline. If you have a good idea, don’t be shy and do it. Alternatively, try out something you've never done before. It might pay off!