Blogging is a long-term, committed relationship, not a date. In order to create a successful blog, you need to give yourself to your readers, and keep giving them reasons to come back.
Following are some high-level considerations to make before launching your blog.
User-Friendly Blog Design
Design your blog with your reader in mind. Take some time to look at blogs that you visit frequently. Why do you visit the site? What makes navigating through the site easy? Make your latest posts, company information and categories easy to find on the page.
Establish a Posting Frequency
Manage your reader’s expectations. Frequent posting helps readers understand the consistency of your blog, but do not over exert yourself. If your company only has time to post once per week, that is fine! It is better to post once a week than five times in one week and then not post for the next three weeks. Blog articles can also be scheduled for future posting. Consistency is key.
Publicize Your Blog
If you are going to write it, why not share it in as many places as possible? There are so many ways to gain exposure for your blog. Add a link to your blog in your email signature. Use company or personal social media channels to share posts regularly. Connect with other bloggers to share your posts or guest blog. The list goes on…
SEO and Internal Linking
Depending on the purpose of your blog, you may refer to products/services in your posts. To help with search engine optimization (SEO) as well as provide more information to your readers, hyperlink within your blog post to those products/services on your web site that you reference. This may not be something that happens regularly, and should not be forced. But, if the opportunity arises, incorporate a link or two.
Blogging is about transparency. Let readers know who they are hearing from. This helps develop credibility. Consider an author bio/about us section on your blog with a short bio. However, keep security in mind. Do not put information such as personal phone numbers and addresses on your blog.
Have any questions about launching your blog? Leave a comment here or send me an email: Rachel@sweeneypr.com. We’re happy to help.
Should I send a product sample to this blogger?
I would love to feature your product with a product review and giveaway! My blog is receiving 18,000+ unique visitors per month – additional stats and information are available on my media page. I am happy to answer any questions and set up a review and giveaway for you.
Beth, marketing/sales director, consumer product company
By Jennifer Manocchio
With millions of blogs on the web it can be a challenge to determine what blogs to invest your time and money. This is precisely why we created a three-step approach at the agency to evaluate blogs prior to committing client’s products for reviews and giveaways.
1. Review the blog content and consider the following: content, voice and interaction. Is the blog well written? Do you like the approach the blogger is taking with product reviews? Do you see other major product brands being reviewed on the blog? Are readers posting comments and interacting with the blogger?
2. Check http://www.compete.com or http://www.quantcast.com to see if the web site statistics are available. Traffic to blogs varies greatly so you want to be sure there is significant traffic coming to the blog. However, Quantcast and Compete will not show statistics from some blog publishing platforms like WordPress and Blog Spot. So don’t rule out blogs on WordPress or Blog Spot even though you cannot get an accurate number of visitors.
3. Get the blog’s authority and ranking on http://www.technorati.com. Technorati is a database of more than a million blogs. While not all blogs are included in Technorati’s database, it is still beneficial to check because most credible and widely read blogs are in the system.
When you enter the blog into Technorati, you will typically get two numbers in the search results – the authority and the ranking. The authority is the number of other blogs and web sites that are linking to that particular blog. The higher the authority is, the more credible the blog. The ranking indicates how well a blog compares to other blogs in the Technorati database. The lower the number is, the higher the ranking, the more credible the blog.
Once you have the data, the next step is to determine whether the blog is a good fit. Blog traffic and Technorati authority and ranking vary by industry. For example, if you are evaluating mommy blogs they tend to get more traffic, have a higher Technorti authority and lower Technorait ranking than a blog focused on a specific topic like diabetes. It will probably be beneficial to evaluate a few different blogs in a specific category to determine if the numbers are favorable.
If you have any questions about evaluating blogs or our approach to conducting blogger relations, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910.772.1688.
Not surprisingly, the Federal Trade Commission is currently working on a blogger review and endorsement policy focused on false advertising. Basically if a blogger is paid to write a review on his or her blog, the FTC will require the blogger to disclose this information. Where there is currently some gray area is when bloggers are provided free product to conduct a review. You can read the full story here: http://is.gd/sAAQ
This is nothing new when it comes to magazines and newspapers. You see this all the time in what we call in the marketing, public relations and advertising business “advertorials”. It is actually an ad that is made to look like an article. However, you will find at the top of the ad “Paid Advertisement”. At the end of the day, consumers are still misled.
When it comes to blogger relations campaigns, the agency has conducted numerous blogger campaigns that have proved to be very successful from mommy bloggers testing cleaning products to diabetic bloggers testing blood glucose meters. One hundred percent of the time the products have achieved rave reviews and drove significant traffic to the clients’ web sites. Here are just a few examples:
I have diabetes, and am always looking for a glucometer that is more accurate, less painful and more informative. I got that with the WaveSense Jazz™, a great blood glucose monitoring system. I am especially pleased because it provides mealtime averages, which helps me track my readings throughout the day and provides averages and graphs that help me track my numbers. – Redsoxmommy.blogspot.com
I recently came across a ton of items that I can definitely use in my kitchen, and I know you can too! These are all made my Weiman Products and should be every kitchen! – Lisareviews.com
From a public relations and marketing perspective, regulating blogs will likely change the way we work with bloggers and cut down substantially on the number of review opportunities for manufacturers and service based companies. To that end, it will actually make our job harder.
However, since it is likely that the average Joe doesn’t realize the difference between a blog and a traditional media review (objective reporting), regulating blogs is the best approach to protecting the consumer. You cannot pay media to write a review; therefore, you shouldn’t be able to pay bloggers either, send them on lavish trips or entice them with loads of free product. Where the gray line is for me is that we send media free product to test all the time. In very rare cases, we will get media who cannot accept the free sample product and have to run to a store to purchase it (Consumer Reports, etc.).
Certainly if this policy passes, it will change blog product reviews. However, it is beyond me how the FTC will actually regulate this. There are millions of blogs and everyday more and more blogs are added to the mix. I assume it will be something like online music sharing sites. A few people are caught, fined and made an example for others. But that hasn’t stopped music sharing sites from operating or others from downloading illegal music.