When we started Spin Sucks nearly six years ago, we thought we were pretty darn clever. Not only was the spinsucks.com URL available, but we had a fun little acronym: FADS – the Fight Against Destructive Spin.
We created an editorial calendar and everyone was responsible for blogging, from the interns on up through me.
Our goal was to blog about the silly things people do to hurt the perception of the PR industry and perpetuate the “spin doctor” image.
It was a disaster.
There wasn’t a common voice, there wasn’t a common theme, we had no idea about SEO or links or using images or contextual calls-to-action, or, well, anything related to really good blogging.
But we kept it going, in the hopes that we would one day figure it out.
And figure it out we did!
But it wasn’t without a lot of mistakes or some pain.
That said, there are several mistakes we made early on we still see bloggers making. So we’ve created a list of eight things to consider while you’re blogging.
- Attach content to what’s happening in the world. It can be in your industry, a lesson learned from world events, or even pop culture. Some of the most popular blog posts are called, “Three Relationship Lessons Kim Kardashian Taught Me” or “Lessons Learned from the Susan G. Komen PR Disaster.”
- Think about your internal links. We strive for one internal link per 100 words. You want the links to be related to your topic and enforce the thinking you’re providing in the content.
- Link to people. When you read a blog post or article you really enjoyed and it creates an opportunity for you to create your own content around it, link to the original author’s blog post or article, “about me” page, or Google+ profile. Doing so not only helps your own search engine optimization, but it alerts the person that you are giving them some link love and, typically, they’ll come by to not only comment but share what you’ve written.
- Use an SEO helper. When you’re first starting out and don’t know how search engine optimization works, you can get some help with tools such as Scribe SEO or Yoast. Install them and use them. They’ll teach you what you’re missing and you’ll soon be on your way.
- Use a commenting system. If you have a WordPress blog, it comes with its own commenting system. But, if you install a commenting system such as Livefyre, it helps you create conversation and community. You see, the WordPress system allows people to be alerted when someone comments on their comment, but Livefyre allows people to be alerted when anyone comments, driving interest, conversation, and debate.
- Write compelling headlines. One of the easiest ways to do this is type into Google what you think you’ll use for your headline. See what kinds of things come up. Are you going to be competing with Forbes and Fast Company for the same headline? Or is the competition minimal and you can own the category? Combine that with understanding how people search when they’re looking for the content you’re sharing and you have a winner.
- Provide social media share buttons. I’m still amazed at how many blogs I go to that don’t provide social media share buttons. There are PLENTY of plugins you can use to easily allow readers to share your content. I’m a fan of both Digg Digg and Jugnoo (client). I would venture to guess I’m one of the very few who will take the extra steps to shorten a link, go to the social networks, and share the content if the blog doesn’t have the share buttons. But the content has to be superb for me to go the extra mile like that. Make it easy for your readers to share!
- Use anti-scraping tools. There are content “farms” whose sole job is to move throughout the blogosphere and scrape (or steal) content they then publish on their own sites/blogs. Most of this is automated, meaning robots are scraping the content, so you can use a tool such as AntiScraper that alerts you anytime anyone steals your content. This also creates a link that tells people where the content was first published, which makes the duplicate content OK in the eyes of Google.
There are plenty of other tips, but this will get you started. Even if you already have a blog and are consistently writing, these tips will help you take it to the next level.