Blogging and Content Marketing
An Interview with Heidi White
Blogging has become a mainstream marketing activity and many consider it a necessity for online communication and engagement. It can also be used to develop and enhance a business’s brand and therefore is a very important tool.
This interview is with Heidi White. She is a communications specialist and copywriter. Heidi also helps businesses set up and promote their brand and message by offering a blogging tutorial to help people to get started with blogging. Here are some key questions and answers related to business blogging.
Q: How important is it to be consistent with your blogging and content marketing?
A: Consistency is important at every level of blogging and in every marketing effort a business engages in.
As an Internet marketing specialist, you know how important it is to publish regular blog entries so that search engine robots consistently find fresh information on your site or blog.
It is also important to be consistent for your human audience.
You want your audience to be engaged in your blog and enthusiastically awaiting your next entry. If a potential client reads one of your blogs, loves it, and returns later, only to find that you haven’t published in a couple of months, they will likely become disenchanted and may lose interest in your site. A blog is only useful if it is consistently updated with new and relevant information that people can count on and look forward to.
You can also take the theme of consistency down into the voice and tone of each blog. Readers want to know what to expect. This does not mean that every blog needs to be serious and informative, if that is the tone of your first blog, but don’t use a highfalutin language one day and fill the next week’s blog with colloquialisms.
Q: Is it important to optimize your blog post just like you would a website page for different Internet devices? Do you need to optimize a blog post for load time?
A: A blog post IS a website page, so everything you would do to optimize a webpage should also be done for a blog. Business owners blog in order to attract attention to their website. If they do not optimize for other Internet devices and protect their readers from long load times, they run the risk of alienating their audience and losing readers.
Q: What is your advice on guest posting?
A: Guest posting is an excellent way to gain exposure. Interviews, like this one, accomplish a similar thing. By posting this interview in your blog, you are providing added exposure for me. You also benefit from traffic coming from my website (because I will likely link to my post on your site) and your site gains a bonus point with the search engines if I link to you. This is a win/win situation for all parties, including the reader, who benefits from additional information from a greater variety of sources.
Guest posting also allows you to develop relationships with other bloggers. Friendships and alliances with other professionals nearly always benefit your business.
Q: What is your advice on how to stay updated efficiently on trends and industry happenings?
A: Staying updated on trends and industry happenings “efficiently” can be a real trick. The technique I’ve used is to subscribe to the newsletters and RSS feeds of leaders in my industry and other bloggers and writers who have proven to provide valuable and relevant information. These come into my mailbox and I set aside half an hour each day to read over headlines and explore the articles that catch my attention.
Q: What are some of your favorite blog themes in general?
A: I don’t know that I have any favorite blog themes. I suppose I enjoy blogs that make me think on a deeper level. I appreciate writers who are bold enough to bare their egos and learn from their mistakes. That’s me, though. As a writer and a communications specialist, I like to explore the human psyche.
“How To” lists and “Top Ten Lists” also tend to catch my eye because I know they will be a quick read and I’m likely to gain something by reading them, even if it’s just a small tidbit.
Q: What are your key dos and don’ts to optimize a post for search engine exposure?
A: This is more your area of expertise, Gary, but my advice is that you research your keywords well and confer with an expert if you don’t have the time or energy to find the best keywords for your business. Otherwise, you’re wasting a lot of time and are not enjoying the full benefit of your optimization efforts.
Don’t overuse keywords, an activity that Google sees as keyword stuffing and can actually reduce your elevation in search engine results. And use an SEO package, like the “All in One SEO Pack” that allows you to specify the title and description that appear in search engine results and which helps Google understand your blog pages.
Q: Do you recommend linking back to specific pages on your website from blog posts?
A: Absolutely. Only link to specific pages when they are relevant to the post you’ve written, however. For example, if you are a florist and are blogging about proper planting techniques for rose bushes, you could link back to the “bushes” landing page, where you sell rose bushes. Linking improves optimization and also provides your clients with an easy pathway to the services or products they are interested in.
Q: What are your Top 3 tips for increasing traffic to your blog?
A: My top three tips are 1. Use everything within your means to optimize the blog so that potential clients can find you using the search words that are meaningful to them. 2. Pin your blog URL or button to your email and promote it on every social media outlet you have access to. 3. Talk to people. This is probably the least utilized and yet simplest form of promotion for your blog. Simply tell people you write one and tell them how it can help solve their problems.
Q: Is it important to have images or graphics in a blog post?
A: Yes. Images and graphics both draw the eye and intrigue the imagination. An engaging image at the beginning of a blog, followed up by an informative and useful graphic is a great mix. Internet readers tend to scan, rather than read, on their first peek at a site. If you can interest them in a few images, they are likely to stick around to read more.
Q: If someone is just thinking about blogging but has not taken the plunge what advice do you want to share with them?
A: My advice for beginning bloggers is to spend time on a blogging plan before jumping in. Consider your audience(s) and your goals, and spend some brainstorming time to develop topics that relate to your keywords. You can’t meet goals you haven’t set and you’re less likely to find success if you don’t plan for it and map a path toward it.
Q: Heidi – do you have a way to help?
A: I do have a way to help. I realized a while back that business owners were catching onto the power of blogging as a marketing tool. Many owners want to start, but are afraid that it will take too much time and will never really produce the results they are hoping for and need. This creates a lot of pain and discomfort for professionals who feel that they’re missing out on the benefits of this inexpensive and effective promotional technique. In response to this discomfort, I have created a class for professional bloggers, which teaches them how to plan for and develop a successful blog for their business. It’s called the Biz Blogger, and is appropriate for newbies who aren’t sure where to begin as well as for veterans of blogging who aren’t happy with the traffic their blogs are attracting.
I recommend anyone that has a chance to take Heidi’s class on business blogging to do so. She will provide you with insights on how to engage your audience and how to delight them with your Blog’s content. Blogging and Content Marketing are tied together and blogging another tool to help you to perform better in search and engage visitors once they arrive at your blog or website. Learn to use blogging and integrate this into your content marketing plan.