Friday, October 8, 2010

Bling for Your Blog: 7 Ways the Shiny Stuff Can Engage Your Visitors

The class assignment is to create a blog and post to it throughout the semester.  This week we discussed how to drive traffic to the blog and how to engage visitors once they find you.

Ann Handley, MarketingProfs, offers some terrific suggestions.  And if you're not familiar with MarketingProfs, click HERE to learn more.  They are a terrific organization!

Oct 07, 2010 -
Are you including content as a cornerstone of your marketing plan? Are you blogging? Do you have a podcast or video blog?

Maybe you are sharing resources with your customers by curating links from other online sources. Or maybe you’ve published a white paper or ebook to position your company not just as a seller of stuff, but as a reliable and perhaps interesting source of information—someone worth doing business with.

I’m hoping you shouted a resounding yes to at least one of those questions, because creating and sharing the right kind of content can set your business apart.

It’s publish or perish. As my friend Joe Pulizzi, author (with Newt Barrett) of Get Content, Get Customers (McGraw-Hill 2009), says, “The one who has the more engaging content wins, because frequent and regular contact builds a relationship” that offers lots of opportunities for conversion.

Of course, creating or curating content is only one part of the equation. Another part is sharing it—making it easily accessible, allowing for interaction, letting others share it for you. So the next question might be: Are you accessorizing your content? Or said another way, are you adding bling to both attract and engage your audience?

By the way, I used the word “blog” in the headline, mostly because the flexibility of a blog platform allows for easy publishing and tweaking (and because “blog bling” has nice alliteration). But, just so you know, the bling I talk about here could nicely augment any kind of online content.

1. Subscription options

You probably have this covered, but of course you want to encourage visitors to sign up to receive your latest content however they wish to receive it: via email, for example, or RSS. An RSS feed is particularly handy, as it allows readers to get updates from your site along with any others they subscribe to, allowing them to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

Adding as RSS feed to your content can also improve your SEO, because it provides a kind of autobahn for search engine crawlers to find and crawl your content, says Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing in Minneapolis. (Lee actually said RSS feeds create a “structured format.” That works, too.)

What’s more, “when the RSS feed URL is part of your blog or website domain name, third-party links to the feed can pass link popularity to the rest of your website,” Odden says. Of course, online (and in life, too, I suppose), popularity is generally a good thing.
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