One subject that I don’t normally talk about on this blog is, well, blogging. So here’s some excellent tips and advice from around the blogosphere to start to address that oversight:
The first step in blogging is to create some content.
If that well-known ‘blank piece of paper’ feeling assaults you or your colleagues as soon as you mention the word ‘blog’, then you’re not alone. In fact, it will probably be the same feeling that you get when contemplating what to tweet, and so having a good plan for your social media based on your organisation’s goals (see my post here) is a good way of getting rid of the collywobbles. You could also follow the advice of Avi Kaplan in Frogloop who has come up with an amazing 20 different ideas for using your organisation’s blog to promote your events: 20 Creative Ways to Blog About Your Upcoming Events.
The second step is getting it out there.
Having now created your excellent content you really want it to be noticed. True, if you’re writing an organisational blog then you can put a link to your latest post on your homepage, or link the two up on the page for whatever event or activity or campaign you were blogging about. But there are other ways you can make sure your post is actually doing its job: using tags and categories.
Go to any blog and you’ll find a list of categories that describe the content of that site. You may also find a tag cloud or list of the tags used. Both categories and tags are ways of organising your posts so you stand a chance of finding something you want, but they are also really useful tools for making sure your posts show up in the web at large. So what are they and how do you use them?
Well, one of the best pieces of advice I had about blogging was to think of your list of content categories as the table of contents in a book, while the tags are more like the entries on the index pages. In other words, your post may be filed in the chapter on ‘Facebook’ but is really relevant to anyone searching for something about ‘analysis tools for Facebook’, or ‘monitoring’. Generally speaking you can assign a post to one or two categories but you can add many more tags to make sure you are flagging up all the juicy bits of content your post contains. How do you decide what to tag? Well, think about your post and consider what terms somebody would use if they wanted to find some content on the web about that topic. And don’t forget, these are the terms that the search engine bots are going to be using too, so tag away.
Chris Syme (Social Media Today) has some good tips for tagging your blog posts more effectively, writing them with an eye on what your readership wants, and using them to drive traffic to your main website: The One-Two Punch of Social Media Optimization. (Don’t be put off by this title, it’s very readable!)
I’ll post up anything else that comes my way about the dark art of blogging…