This morning Leah Haydock, a fabulous professional wedding photographer in the Boston area, presented tips on blogging at the Social Media Breakfast in Concord. Leah has done what many of us think impossible: she has built a successful business without any paid advertising. All of her clients find her through her blog, her social media networks, or word of mouth. She shared a lot of really great information on her secrets for success, but I’m going to focus on my five favorites.
- Define your intention. What is it that you would like to convey to people through your blog? Setting an objective can give your blog focus and help you come up with content ideas. In Leah’s blog, she showcases engagement and wedding photos that she’s taken and offers advice on planning the timeline of your big day to make sure you get the best out of your pictures but that the day isn’t totally ruled by them. In this blog, we try to keep you up to date on the latest news and happenings in the social media world, as well as local techy stuff going on in our quiet little hamlet of Portsmouth. Each blog has a purpose, and the posts you create should all roughly fit in to support your blog’s intention.
- Find your voice. Blogging is nice because you aren’t stuck with the stuffy formality that defines most corporate websites. You can use your blog to help your current and future customers get to know you better. It helps if your blog is written in a consistent voice. A great way to determine what your voice should be is to imagine yourself sitting with a potential client (or even better, remember a recent meeting you had with an actual potential client and how you interacted with that person) and think of the tone of voice that you would use while talking to them. That should be the voice of your business.
- Set a realistic schedule. Google and readers alike want to see that your blog is being updated on a regular basis. If someone comes to your blog and likes what they see but then sees the same exact thing when they come back a month later, they are not likely to check in too many more times before giving up on you. Likewise with Google, the longer your blog goes without any activity, the further down it will fall in the search results lists. To avoid this you need to set a regular and realistic schedule that you know you can keep up without getting burnt out. If you love blogging and want to do it every day, great! If not, maybe set aside some time one day per week and block it off in your calendar so that you don’t accidentally schedule anything over it.
- Create your content. Should your blog posts be more images or text? The answer is yes! Both text and images are really important for your content. Images because people are visual beings and seeing images makes us more likely to pay attention to things and to relate to them. Text because search engines are decidedly NOT visual beings, and they need to feed on delicious words to help them return the accurate results that your readers are looking for. Your blog posts should always have both, and your images should always have ALT tags. You also want to make sure that you always optimize your posts for SEO to help people find you.
- Cross-promote your content between channels. Your blog doesn’t live in a vacuum. Make sure you’re using your other channels to their fullest potential to help spread your content to as many people as possible. Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinstagram, and any other social network that you use to send traffic to your blog and vice versa. If you’re attending an event and have a lot of photos to share, upload them to your Facebook page or Flickr with a link to your blog letting people know they can read about the event there. On your blog, let people know that you have additional pictures on your Facebook page.
Following these 5 tips will help you get your blog organized, increase your followers, and boost your search results. There are a lot of other good blogging tips out there that I haven’t included in this post. If you have a tip that has produced good results which I didn’t mention here, share it in the comments below.