June 11, 2013
/ by Teresa Dankowski
Photo of forget-me-nots courtesy of LadyDragonflyCC via Flickr
Most bloggers have accepted this fact: The Internet stops for no one. That’s why they’re fraught with deadlines and eager to click “Publish” the second they finish typing their story. But in their haste, they may forget a crucial step to the blogging process. Sometimes it’s just one best practice they overlook in their readiness to maintain a competitive blog frequency. Other times it’s, say, 6 Things Even the Best Bloggers Sometimes Forget to Do that stand out:
Proofread. You might not think a typo, run-on or inconsistent tense is a big deal, but when the glitches add up, readers get distracted from your intended message. Worse, with PR Daily reporting that 43 percent of singles say bad grammar is a turnoff and some employers declaring they won’t hire people who use poor grammar, these mistakes could damage your personal or professional reputation. Luckily there’s an easy fix—proofreading before publishing. Read the post aloud to isolate errors or, if you’re not the best copy editor, have someone else review your post. Rewrite any concepts that are unclear and run a final spell check if your platform doesn’t highlight misspellings automatically. It only takes a few minutes to proofread, but it could be the difference between writing that boosts or undermines your credibility.
Include a graphic. A picture is worth a 1000 words. Humans are a visual species. If those clichés don’t do it for you, did you know that articles with images get 94 percent more views than those without? Did you realize that graphics can help build your brand, improve your chances of going viral and add SEO value to your blog? Bloggers should jump at the chance to use a photo, infographic, illustration or screenshot because it means richer content, improved visibility and increased engagement. Not sure where to find images to use? Creative Commons allows you to search free, licensed images that you can use or modify for commercial purposes. Lisa recently recommended Stock.xchng and iStockphoto as well.
Get a second opinion. Do you write for a corporate blog? I do. And sometimes—scratch that, all times—I’ll ask the Cision Blog authors to read my drafts and respond with feedback. This is important because—here’s a bombshell—I don’t know everything. However, there’s a good chance my colleagues will be able to fill in the gaps with facts, sources, opinions or opposing views I hadn’t considered. “Is this too divisive of an issue to cover? Did we write about this topic recently? Is this something our readers care about? Has the timeliness of this story sailed?” Tapping the news judgment and collective memory of an editorial or marketing team within your organization is a powerful resource—one that helps you become a better writer and editor in the long run.
Make it SEO-friendly. You’re almost ready to publish, but you’re stumped on the headline. Your first instinct for inspiration should be keyword research. Instead of trying to be cryptic or funny, try the Google Keyword Tool and seek out a lower-competition word or phrase that you can use to sell the story simply. Don’t forget to include your keyword in the title of your post, high in your opening paragraph and a few more times peppered throughout the post. Brandon recommends linking keywords back to other blog posts and using relevant anchor text, among many other SEO-friendly practices.
Share. The story doesn’t end when your post goes live. If only it were that easy. You’re also responsible for promoting your post. If you don’t, it’s like that tree that falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound. Be sure to link to your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social media accounts. While you’ll want to diversify content for each network, make sure your story is promoted where it will reach its intended audience. Also be sure to share your blog post with internal advocates, stakeholders, customers and influencers you’ve established rapport with.
Engage. As we watch the shares, tweets and likes rack up, sometimes we forget our blog is part of a larger community. Blogs are not a static space where you can broadcast without listening or opine without consequence. It’s the opposite, really. Your blog is interactive—a place for readers to comment and a hub to build relationships. Importantly, it’s your job to read other blogs, and take part in conversations that aren’t completely self-serving. We at Cision love the concept of “social karma”—and with blogging, you’ll generally get out what you put in to the experience.
What else do even the best bloggers sometimes forget to do? Tell us below!
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