Tag Archives: Blogging tips

Have You Checked These 5 Things On Your Blog Post Before Publishing?

I love blogging concept

When it comes to blogging, there is a lot to consider. Writing the post and clicking ‘share’ is only half of it – and it can sometimes be easy to forget the checklist of things to help you optimise the post for reach and purpose.

Therefore we thought we’d round up some the most important things you need to check before you publish your blogs. By spending just a few minutes to look at these things beforehand, you can add more value to your content. These tips are especially useful for those of you who are just starting out with blogging

  • Have You Optimised Your Blog Post With Links?

Having links throughout your blog post not only makes it easier for it to be found in Google search. It’s also a great way to get people looking at other areas of your website and other blog posts you have previously shared – all you have to do is highlight the relevant keywords throughout the blog and add the hyperlinks to them. By doing so, it will help readers to better understand your blog post and help you to verify the points you are making. You will also be driving traffic back to other useful content, it could be your older posts giving them new life – or signposting the reader to explore your services, products or other relevant content. Remember – just because you’ve published a post, doesn’t mean you should forget about it – each post is a valuable asset in which you can give new life to.

Tip 1: Consider including other bloggers in your blog and link back to them – this will draw them into the conversation allowing you to listen and trade ideas with others.

Tip 2: Be sure to keep your links and sign posts going throughout the post. And don’t neglect the fact that many readers only read the first one or two paragraphs to get the gist of the blog to see if they want to continue reading on – so be sure to keep your links up top where they will see them.

  • Have You Proof Read Your Blog?

There’s nothing worse than finding a really good looking blog post that’s full of spelling mistakes! Having a blog full of spelling and punctuation mistakes only makes your business seem as if you are lazy and careless. If you want to be the ‘go to person’ in your sector, then showcasing a poor standard of content is the worst way to go about it.

Tip: Once you’ve completed your blog, start reading it out loud. You can’t know if your sentence structure and word choice are clear and easy to understand until you read the post out loud.

  • Have You Added A Photo or Image?

Not only is it important to add a photo or image to your blog post, but you need to make sure that it is an attention grabbing one. Having a highly engaging image will engage readers and make them want to read your blog post. There’s a lot of buzz about how many more views a social media update gets when there’s an image – and the same goes for your blog post. It needs to be designed as a piece of content compelling enough to share on social and any other channels – so it’ll need a captivating image too!

Tip: Don’t forget to also make the image pinnable. If people are pinning the photo on your blog post to Pinterest, then that will help to grow traffic even more.

  • Do You Have A Strategy In Place To Promote The Blog?

Don’t just assume that Google will find your blog and everyone will be sharing it. You need to make it easy for people to find. Start thinking about whether or not you’ve properly tagged the content – this means to check whether or not you have included keywords that are used often and are relevant to your blog post – and ideally use them in the title of your blog – as well as peppering the content with relevant keywords throughout. Think about what someone might search in Google that relates to your post. It’s also best practice to add categories to your blog; this makes it easier for you to check whether or not you’ve added the relevant tags.

Tip: Make sure that the post is social media friendly too! To encourage readers to share your blog, it’s important to make it easy for them by including sharing links for all social media channels – giving them choice to share as they like.

  • Can You Repurpose The Content?

You don’t just share a blog once do you? In order to make sure you get your blog seen by others, you should be sharing it multiple times throughout the week. Once a day would be fine as long as you put a different spin on it each time! One day you could use the title, one day you could pick out an important tip – just always remember to keep it light, and keep it interesting.

Tip: You could also think about sharing the content in a completely different way – through video perhaps? A short and sweet Vine video could even do the trick!

Don’t think that after doing these 5 things you have done your job. These are key important elements to consider, but blogging is a continuous learning process. Aim to keep learning how to make a successful blog – tune in to other master and smart bloggers, review that they do and follow, helpful / advisory blogs to help you on your blogging journey.

Happy blogging!

Is It Time You Gave Your Social Media Platforms a Spring Clean?

Spring has arrived. The days are longer and it’s finally time to come out of hibernation and organise that once a year spruce up of your home – and your social media platforms.

Below we have highlighted our top 5 tips for a social media spring clean,

1.     Rethink your goals for social media

Businesses are constantly changing and adapting, perhaps your business plan has changed or you may have found a new target audience. If there have been any relevant changes within your business these should be reflected and updated amongst your social media.  Our advice is to evaluate your goals for social media, it may be that you need to change the levels of engagement with your audience, or that you need to refresh your follower activity.

Take the time to evaluate how well your pages are doing and if there’s anything you can improve on

2.     Look into the best ‘Dashboard’ option for your business

Tired of jumping to and from different platforms? It may be that you have two different Twitter pages; one for customer service and another for overall business activity. If you have multiple accounts you may find a social media dashboard really useful. At Carvill Creative we favour HootSuite.

HootSuite is fantastic for organising Twitter feeds; you can have all of your Twitter accounts on one easy platform. This dashboard also lets you create lists, so you can save certain hashtags which may be relevant to your business. Below you will see that we have saved the search term ‘#socialmedia’.  Searching for keywords or hashtags in HootSuite and saving them as conversation streams, enables you to pick up on any conversations which may be relevant to your business and get in touch with potential new followers or customers.

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Among many fantastic features HootSuite also offers a scheduling option. This allows you to schedule tweets in advance so you are never stuck in back to back meetings worrying about your social media activity.

This is particularly helpful over the bank holiday weekend – HootSuite will send out your tweets whilst you’re laying back in the sun with a Pimms.  Fantastic.

Want to find out how to set up HootSuite?

Do be mindful that there are other social dashboards and scheduling tools you could use such as; Facebook pages manager, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social etc. They’re all pretty good – so it comes down to personal preference.

3.      Refresh and update your content

Without a lot of hard work and elbow grease, your house won’t become magically clean this April. Without good content, your social media platforms won’t do their job properly.  Content needs to be researched, organised and concise.  Unless you are a food blogger then your followers aren’t going to be interested in the cheese sandwich you just had for lunch. Tailor your content to reflect your business values and to what your followers would want to hear.

For more information on content, see our blog.

4.      Take a look at who your following and connecting with

It’s a myth that the more people you follow the more followers your business will gain and your sales will go up. Targeted following is the only way forward when it comes to promoting your business on Twitter. You are who you follow.

In turn, by following too many irrelevant accounts- not only will your social media feed be clogged up by irrelevant cheese sandwich stories, but you will be faced with useless information which your business can’t harness.

Be specific and targeted and connect with people strategically.

5.     Don’t forget to update your website

So, your social media feeds are now looking fantastic and polished, but it’s important to make sure that you update your website too. Remember, you want to refresh and update the whole online brand, not just one part. You could update any recent testimonials, upload photos or even update your services if these have changed.

To ensure that your site it constantly refreshed with relevant and purposeful content, we recommend a business blog. By blogging, you’re updating your website frequently with fresh information for your audience to see and inevitably building your thought leadership and increasing brand awareness on key search engines.

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We hope you like our ‘spring clean tips’ – what are your tips for a social media spring clean? Tweet us @CarvillCreative

This blog post was brought to you by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative, the online visibility experts and author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all Businesses.

If you need any help with your social media activity, blogging or creating content or any other digital marketing services, then do get in touch with us.

Tried and tested Blogging Tips – from a relatively experienced blogger

When I started blogging about 18 months ago now – I wrote a post sharing tips on what I was doing.  Down the line, I thought it would be useful to update those tips and share some other pointers.  I say 20 Tips – but  it may extend beyond that.  Some 18 months later my passion for blogging is still there.  I’ve learned quite a bit about blogging over the past year – and keen to continue on this learning curve.  But meanwhile, I thought I’d share my ‘hands on’ Top 20 tips with you:

1) Keep your posts relatively short. Having researched blogging to a good degree – then 500-800 words seems to be a good benchmark.  Short and concise is ok.

2) Keep your posts varied. Have some posts that are very factual – drawing on information that will help the users. Make some light and humorous so that the user understands that whilst you know your stuff, you’re not taking life too seriously. And they get an insight to your personality. Make some posts a little controversial or challenging the user – to stimulate conversation.

3) Always watch your spellings. Poor spelling really does hinder credibility.

4) Use images in a post to break up the text and add some relevant interest. Check out www.flickr.com or www.istockphoto.com or www.fotolia.co.uk for some cheap yet very good quality shots.

5) Create attention grabbing headings. The piece of advice I came across (Hubspot webinar which was pretty useful) advised that you should write the headline imagining that the user won’t even see the article. So the headline has to grab attention and tell the story.

6) Use keywords where you can – in headers and throughout the content of the article.

7) Keep it going. Stick to a tight publishing schedule. Blogging pays off over time – it’s a marathon rather than a sprint and it takes time to build up relevant and optimised content. In my early days of blogging, I set my schedule to publish 3 times a week.  However, once a week would be great.  The challenge is that I now manage blog content for clients – and so whilst I have assistance from other writers – it’s not necessarily writers block that stops me posting – but more a case of having interesting and relevant comment to share.  I follow Seth Godin – and I’ve blogged about the fact that it’s not really ‘me’ to just chirp on about philosophical snippets each day.  However, I’m conscious that whilst first and foremost I write for an audience – it’s definitely useful to write for the ‘bots’ too – so to assist with SEO – I am going to try and pick up the frequency – without damaging my credibility for writing with integrity and authoritative content.

8) Insert a call to action such as Subscribe to Blog on the site so that users can easily subscribe. I use www.feedblitz.com but there are many others www.feedburner.com is popular too.  And of course – you can subscribe to my blog here…(smile).

9) Claim your blog on Technorati – Google Blogsearch and Technorati are the two main ways that people search for blogs. That way others can find your blog.  The Blog paper is another good one to sign up to – I’m loving what they are doing at the moment.

10) Promote links to your blog on your website and in email footers, businesscards and other off and online relevant marketing materials.

11) Get your blog noticed by publishing links on social media vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Linked In (all social spaces relevant to your industry).  (See my Social Media posts for more on this).

12) Try and provide one piece of practical ‘how to’ advice in each blog post. That way the user will learn that you are always going to provide something useful.

13) Don’t focus your posts around selling your products – users will switch off to this. What you should be focusing on is positioning yourself as someone, or a business, that is able to share advice, news and information which will prove useful to your readers (growing authority in the space). Remember, blogging is not about directly ‘selling’ your services – it’s a platform where you can advise and share information and knowledge about your products, services or expertise. Perfect ‘conversational’ marketing.

14) Be creative with where you procure your content – if you have published materials offline, then recreate them online. Duplicate content is a spiders web and I’m still figuring out what you can and can’t do, but what is clear is that you can post links to your site – and encourage the user to read the entire post via your site. (Hence why a great attention grabbing headline is necessary!). Top 10, 20 lists are good (hey, I’m practising what I preach) – but keep your posts mixed, don’t make every post a list! (Back to point 2 above).

15) Write short excerpts of your blog post – not duplicating the content – but summarising what your post and blog is about. Creating a short excerpt which is unique content each time, is a good tactic for giving users a taste of what the blog post is about, enables you to use keywords within the excerpt – and you can post this to social media sites to share news about your blog in a safe (non duplicate content way).

16) Follow the leader – if you find a respected and popular blogger/expert who focuses on areas you are interested in, your business area, subject etc – then write a post commenting on their post. Always cite the name of the author and provide the url directly back to the post you are talking about. This way you are joining ‘high volume’ and relevant and targeted conversations. And if you’re views matter – then they will be picked up on by others reading the ‘leaders’ blog.I have done a little of this  and have grown my blog subscription and my Twitter followers with some highly relevant and influential people.  And it’s amazing how far reaching your blog post can get – set Google Alerts on your name – and you’ll see where your posts turn up (be sure to include your name in your sign off signature on each blog post of course) .

17) As well as having a formal call to action – such as subscribe to blog, always ensure you include a link at the bottom of your blog post encouraging the user to subscribe and citing your blog’s URL.  And your name and perhaps a short bio! You’ll see that I do this below… (don’t forget to use the http:// before the www. url to ensure it links).

18) Be prepared to review lots of blogs, see what’s working for others and learn about blogging the hands on way. Whilst I’m no longer a newbie to blogging, I still learn new things about it every day… I don’t have to accept everything I read –but remain open to learning.  Best to try a tactic and see if it works for you.

19) Join relevant forums and start joining in conversations – I’m a regular participant on http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk – and I regularly throw in a blog post thread into the forum for debate. I once posted a piece titled: Is your ringtone part of your personal brand. It caused quite a response on the forum – and is still adding traction to my blog. Warning: I don’t recommend doing this every time you are on the forum as people will think you are just there to flog your blog – but you can throw a post in occasionally, particularly if it’s worthy of debate – or relevant to a topic – and provided you position it correctly – ie: you’re looking for feedback, doing research etc – then it can work in a forum arena.

20) Always keep the user in mind. Remember, people are far more interested in what you can do for them than what you do – so always aim to add value via your blog posts.

Happy blogging.

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Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.