By Christopher Wise
1.Create your blog
There are a number of different free blogging platforms you can utilize to create your business blog. Wordpress and Blogger are the most common.
Once you have signed up and created your business blog, the next step is to figure out where you want that blog to be located. The most common:
All are fine; it just depends on your preferences.
2.Writing effective blog posts
The goal of many small business blogs is to showcase your knowledge/expertise and become an industry leader.
Some posts should be strictly informative, others opinions, some made as commentary about recent news or events, and others a combination of all 3.
It is important to keep the blog posts at a reasonable length, as attention spans are short nowadays. Longer articles can be broken down into multiple posts.
Also be aware of others who may be commenting on your posts, and be sure to respond if the situation requires it. Constructive interaction may lead more word of mouth followers. Just be sure to keep an open mind when dealing with others’ opinions.
Be sure to include any relevant pictures, links, or audio/video that may help your readers. This can make the difference between a good or bad post.
Remember to determine who your readers are (or who you want them to be) and cater to them.
3.Find similar blogs
You can start looking for related blogs by using the search engines. Search using relevant keywords + “blog”. Use the singular and plural form of the keywords for each search.
For example (a travel website) – “travel blog”, “traveling blogs”, “travel planning blogs”, “tourism blogs”, “vacation blogs”, etc.
Search on multiple engines (Bing, Google, Ask.com, etc) - you will come up with more results that way.
After finding related, high quality blogs bookmark them or put them in a spreadsheet. Keeping track of everything can save headaches later on.
After finding and organizing your potential candidates you should subscribe to their blog. This normally involves submitting your email address and/or website with some simple personal information. After subscribing you will be updated when there are new posts and also when others reply to your comments.
*Note-It might be a good idea to make a new email address dedicated entirely to following others’ blogs. This way you can separate your personal email and your blog related email.
4.Interact with the related blogs you have found
Most blog owners will post updates anywhere from 1-10 X per week. Considering the amount of related blogs you may have found, this can be an overwhelming amount of information. So my advice, comment only on posts you have knowledge of or feel strongly about. To show your expertise your comments need to be thought provoking. After a few comments, regular readers will be aware of your expertise, and then visit your own blog – this will lead to more readers for you.
It is a good idea to mix-up the type of comments that you make. Debate if you disagree with something, or agree with others and tell them why. You may want to add something to some posts. Either way, it’s important to switch it up.
5.Comment on business related articles & news
The internet is filled with articles and news pertaining to your area of business. Start by doing a search for the different types of articles you would like to add to.
Use searches like “tourism articles”, “travel planning articles”, “cheap vacations articles”, etc.
Use any relevant keywords with the word “articles” or “article” at the end and you will know doubt find thousands of possible places to comment and add a link back to your blog. Get creative with your searches. You can be as specific or broad as you like. Focus on the highest ranking articles, as these will be seen more and result in more people reading your comments.
The second part of this step is to stay up with current business news. These get the most traffic, however there are usually many comments (or they don’t allow comments at all). This can make it easy for yours to get lost and overlooked. It is important to pay attention to the regulars commenting on these types of articles. They are usually leads to find new blogs and possible interaction/networking. When commenting on news articles, it is important to keep your responses shorter and to the point. Don’t forget to add your website’s hyperlink.
6.Submitting to relevant blog directories
In order to make it so that your blog is easily found, it can help to submit to multiple blog directories. This involves doing a number of searches. Use keywords followed by the word “blog(s)” + the words “directory” or “directories”
After this, you can search for and submit your site to general blog directories.
“blog directory”, “blog directories”, and “free blog directory” are good searches to start with.
7.Look for guest blogging opportunities
There are many websites dedicated to bringing together bloggers and people looking for guest blog spots. Start with some simple searches and elaborate as needed.
“Travel guest blogging” “Guest blogging opportunities” etc
You will also be able to contact other blogs in your industry and ask to guest blog for them. This step becomes much simpler once you have built a relationship with them.
8.Bookmarking & Spinning
Every time you write a new blog post it should be submitted to all of the various social bookmarking sites. Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Folkd, and Stumble Upon – just to name a few. This provides instant backlinks to your posts and can also help them to get indexed quicker.
Many informative blog posts can be “spun” into articles and submitted to different article sites. If done correctly this can increase exposure and provide useful backlinks. Some of the most effective article websites are: Ezinearticles, Squidoo, and Hubpages.
9.Utilize existing channels and contacts
This one is a no brainer. After you have made a few posts and your blog is looking good, reach out to anyone you already know and that might be interested. Start with employees, clients, suppliers, and anyone else in your industry. Use email, twitter, facebook, and even phone calls to spread the word.
This step will help you gain a good base of followers and is a great starting point. People tend to follow blogs that already have a lot of followers.
There are many additional factors and tactics that can be utilized, but they are advanced and for another article (refer to step 2). Blogging is an effective tool to get you and your small business noticed. If people are searching for anything related to your business and you don’t have a blog…you are missing out!
C. Wise works in online marketing for Expressionables. Expressionables is a leader in the personalized stationery industry — providing everything from Bar Mitzvah invitations to custom wrapping paper.