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Want blogging tips? Don’t go to Google

26 Nov

Punch into Google ‘blogging tips’ and it throws back oodles of articles. So, where’s a budding blogger meant to start? By talking to one.

There’s some great ideas out there, courtesy of PR Daily and The Wall. But, the truth is that half of these articles won’t make sense without practical examples. And, that comes from experience.

So, with my blog now in its ‘terrible twos’, I’m putting thumb to iPhone to share my golden nuggets. Tongue twister alert:

Prime Time‘s top 10 tips for taking your blog to the next level

1) Are you talking to me?
Know your audience. Assume a level of knowledge and don’t patronise.

2) Develop a style and stick to it
The only reason you’d need to be corporate is if you were ghostwriting for your CEO. In all other circumstances, lighten up! It’s likely your blog will be read in people’s spare time, so cut them some slack and deliver informal, light-hearted and punchy content.

3) Write to be read
If you’re finding a post hard to write, then it’s probably going to be hard for your readers to digest. Before writing I identify an interesting news hook. But, if I can’t think of at least three things to add value to the conversation, I scrap it.

It’s also important to have an opinion. However niche your blog sets out to be, you will have competition. So, keep in mind why people should be reading yours instead of the blog next door.

4) Be on time
It doesn’t matter if it’s once a month or once a week, find a pattern and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than finding a blog and realising it’s not been updated for six months or shut up shop. What a waste of cyberspace!

5) Create a content calendar
To avoid hunting for stories every week, why not jot down key dates in advance? Whether it’s conferences and events or film launches and X Factor results, it’ll come in handy.

6) Tag!
Tag each post not only with key words you’ve included, but also those that link to the subject. It’ll help direct more people to your blog.

7) You don’t have to be in PR to promote your blog
Make the most of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t have to do them all, but do the ones you can, well.

Why not set a reminder on your phone to promote each post you write, in a variety of ways, for the next 30 days to ensure it’s being read?

In addition to this, make sure you’re capitalising on #TBT and #FBF (for going through the archive and bringing early posts up to par) and #FF (for connecting with influencers) – they’re quick wins for getting noticed.

8) Maximising channels
Did you know you can publish direct from LinkedIn? It looks hot, so take advantage and stand out among your network.

Also consider using Twitter to feed into relevant conversations and plug your content e.g:

 

Looking forward to the @PaddingtonMovie? Then you’ll probably hate my blog on the Peruvian bear! Check it out > http://wp.me/p2sMct-2dE

This could help your content to snowball outside of your network – which is the key to success.

9) You may have the penmanship of Shakespeare, but that’s no excuse for shoddy images
Headers and images will be scanned before people start reading your blog in detail. Make sure they stand out and are engaging.

10) Have an ‘About You’ page
I’ve never been overly keen on blogs that use the first few posts as introductions. I’m going to say it like it is: it looks a little very amateur. Put your background on a separate page and use your first post to get straight to the point.

What do you think? Feeling inspired?

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Instagram won’t be the same again after reading this blog

13 Jul

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Then, what’s the value of an Instagram? I guess it depends on what filter you choose.

One thing’s for sure – brands are boosting their presence on the photo-sharing site and I don’t just mean using hashtags. Clever companies are now using it to build entire campaigns.

Ikea
To launch its new PS 2014 collection, Ikea used Instagram to create a mini website by creating a profile for each piece of furniture in the range, and linking them together using the tagging functions.

This allowed users to scroll through the different items on the site, just like flicking through a catalogue, because every page was linked. It also encouraged people to add to the website by snapping their own pieces and tagging them – to show they were associated with the brand.

Sky Rainforest Rescue
A partnership between Sky and the World Wildlife Fund, the charity has launched an Instagram account and uploaded a blend of 60 images and videos – each tile representing part of a design created by an artist – giving users a unique interactive tour of the Amazon.

From unique illustrations to exclusive blogger content, every time a user follows the account and clicks on one of the tiles, they’re automatically entered into a competition to win a pair of sustainable VEJA trainers, designed by ‘eco-warrior’ model Lily Cole.

It’s pretty obvious that these innovative campaigns are changing the way we use social media. So, what can we do to give our own profiles a makeover?

1) What’s your strategy?
I don’t mean to offend anyone with my patronising nugget of advice, but if you don’t know what you want to gain from Instagram, you won’t achieve anything.

– Want more followers?
– Want to network?
– Want user-generated content?

Create a tick list and prioritise in terms of importance. Then, look at what content you have and create a plan to either drip feed it over the coming weeks, building momentum, or sync it onto the page in full as part of a bigger campaign.

Right, lecture over. Back to the quick wins.

2) Chill out
Don’t go for the tough sell. Instagram is the perfect platform for brands to show off their talent and personalities.

If you wouldn’t read your own updates, chances are no one else will.

Worried that no one will really ‘get’ what you do? Then stream Instagram on your website. Problem solved.

3) Press record
In reference to my opening line, surely videos are worth a million words.

Quality is important, but don’t make a meal out of creating a video. As long as the content is clear and engaging, with a relevant call-to-action, it’ll work.

Then PR your post by shouting about it on your other social media channels.

Not enough? If you’re a bit more creative, you could always explore capitalising on the filter craze by creating your own branded option and pitching it into Instagram. That should get you noticed pretty quickly.

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