I personally believe that to make a blog successful, you have to be passionate about your subject matter and committed to producing regular content that is exciting/informative/inspiring for your readers. If you start a blog with the sole aim to make money, I would hazard a guess that it will probably fail. If you are passionate about blogging then your audience should build naturally over time. Once you start to get recognised as an influential thought-leader in your field, commercial opportunities can follow.
Here are a selection of my answers to questions asked on the day:
Has your blog ever landed you work?
My blog helps me get new clients because:
a) It is read by people in the beauty industry, so if a brand owner is reading it and happens to be looking for a beauty social media specialist or a beauty copywriter, they are much more likely to get in contact with me because 1. They know I exist and 2. They can see from my blog posts that I know what I’m talking about (hopefully!).
b) My blog demonstrates that I really understand the beauty industry and am very passionate about it. This helps when companies are deciding whether to hire me or another company, as it shows I am not just paying lip service to the fact that I love the work I do.
If I approach prospective clients for potential work I send them the link to my blog, for the same reasons above.
My blog also reminds existing contacts about the services I offer. There have been numerous times when I have needed to hire freelancers or suppliers and I cant remember the name of a company that does the work I’m looking for... so I’m sure people are the same with me. Whereas if my contacts have a blog post popping up in their inbox on a regular basis, they are much less likely to forget what it is I do.
What strategies can bloggers adopt (aside from Google) to increase passing traffic?
- Register your blog with website directories such as Wikio and Technorati, which will not only drive traffic to your blog but will also rank you... and if you start to feature in their top 50, top 20 or whatever, you can promote this
- Promote your blog on social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and post a link to your blog every time you write a new post
- Comment on other people’s blog posts that are in the same field and interest you – if you write interesting/useful comments this will lead the blogger and their readers to click through to your site
- Put your blog link on your email signature, website, business cards, comp slips, Facebook and Twitter profiles, LinkedIn, etc - anywhere that you have contact with potential clients
- Offer to contribute to articles in magazines and on websites about your specialist field and be sure to include your blog URL
- Join in interative conversations online like this [The Guardian's live Q&A)
- Offer to guest post on other blogs – just make sure you are offering them something that is beneficial to them and their readers
How can I enhance my blog posts for Google using SEO (search engine optimization)?
Google is by far the biggest driver of traffic to my blog, which is great because it means that my content is likely to be relevant to the person who is doing the searching.
To get picked up by Google:
- Enhance your copy for SEO – don’t let it ruin the natural flow and conversational tone of your blog post, just make sure that the key words are in there where possible
- Keep an eye on relevant newsworthy stories and write a post about it, giving your own slant on the story. This is because there will be large amounts of people Googling the news and so could be directed to your blog. I blogged about BB Creams before they launched, because I identified it as a key beauty trend about to launch in the UK. Sure enough it now is, and that blog post back in June still drives large amounts of traffic to my blog every single day
- Make sure you add tags to each blog post to list each of the key subjects you talk about - these are ranked highly by Google
- The images you use on blog posts are also picked up by Google, so make sure you name them with a relevant file name i.e. Garnier BB Cream.jpg, rather than Pic0001.jpg
- Your headings are recognised as an important part of SEO, so make sure you call your blog posts something relevant such as ‘Retouching and disclaimers in beauty advertising as ASA bans Lancome and Maybelline ads’ rather than something like ‘Naughty Lancome at it again!’
To read The Guardian’s live Q&A ‘Blogging to Boost your Career Prospects’ in full, visit http://careers.guardian.co.uk/career-as-a-blogger