Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on Blogging – Day Two

Let’s continue where we left off yesterday in our discussion.

Jo-Anne, what additional tips can you share with us about blogging and website promotion?

If your objective in posting a blog is to generate traffic so that the direction of the spotlight shines on you and your books, then heed these 10 successful tips and create a blog that your readers will love:

1. Write in a conversational style that is easy to understand and enjoyable to read.

2. Chose a clean design, with no distractions, as your template.

3. Use short paragraphs and include bullet points, headings, and subheadings which are easy to scan for information.

4. Keep your blog posts short. If needed, set up a link to long reference material.

5. Have a plan and stick to it. This includes topics, marketing, and scheduling. Show commitment.

Fact – Blogs take up to six months to gain a steady group of readers unless you market your  blog consistently. Promote to advertisers and readers.

6. Create links to past relevant and popular posts and ones that introduce YOU. Easy navigation will assist your readers.

7. Produce valuable and unique content – Educate, entertain, or update your readers so that they gain something from reading your blog.

8. Establish a sense of community – Interaction will satisfy your readers and they will feel a part of your blog.

9. Brand yourself by discovering your niche and using the tag in your signature and theme for each post. A tremendous increase in popularity through search engines will attract new followers.

10. Remember to include an “About Section” and a “Contact Page” along with your contributing post page.

  • Always keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one reader may see as valuable, another may view as a waste of time. The key is that you keep writing. Relax. The more comfortable you are in expressing your voice, the more likely your audience will follow your blog.
  • Blog professionally so that your blog stays out of the slush pile.

“The internet is a vast wasteland of thoughts and ideas. According to Technorati, someone creates a new blog every 1.4 seconds. If blogging was a crime, and in some cases it very much should be, it would be the number one source of criminal activity in the land.” Adam Brown, FreelanceSwitch Site, 1/07/09.

 

With this alarming fact, how does someone create a blog that viewers will pick to read?

1. Properly type in caps and no caps. Do not take short-cuts. Do not capitalize your entire title, leaving everything in bold print.

2. Use the word “blog” correctly. Do not call your post or article a blog.

3. Choose 2-3 posts as “related posts” at the end of your original post for the day. Do not include a string or list of related posts. Keep it simple.

4. Spell all names correctly.

5. Keep your content short, specific, and relevant. Avoid rambling.

6. Take blogging seriously.

7. Keep your readers informed.

8. Use pictures to spice up your post.

9. Establish yourself as a source of information.

10. Keep your posts positive. Bad mouthing and constant complaining are just plain unacceptable.

 

  “Remember, as the medium becomes more and more mainstream, there will be more and more blogs, and more and more opportunities.” Darren Rowse, ProBlogger, 3/21/09. 

 

Jo-Anne, before you go, I have one more question for you. As someone experienced in internet marketing and promotion, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned that you wish someone would have told you when you first started in the business?

It’s a lot of work. I knew this when I started my business, Premium Promotional Services, but I underestimated the huge time commitment involved in promoting even one client.

Technology is constantly changing, and these changes are occurring faster and faster all the time. To keep up with these rapid advancements, constant education must be a part of my routine. It’s almost like going back to school and having to take a couple of hours of instruction every day just to keep afloat. I guess I needed to actually experience this fast pace before I could really relate. And now that I know, I just hold on and enjoy the ride.

The internet world is huge! The biggest lesson that I’ve learned from starting this business is the sense of community, how vast this writing world really is, and the great people I’ve met on this new journey.

 

 

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Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on Blogging and Internet Promotion

For the next two days I’ll be covering the topic of blogging and internet promotion with my guest Jo-Anne Vandermeulen. Before we begin today’s discussion, let me first introduce Jo-Anne. In addition to being a prolific writer of romantic fiction, she’s also the internet promotional manager for her business, Premium Promotional Services. Bi-weekly, she posts on her personal blog, Conquer All Obstacles, were she offers free user-friendly articles for writers who want to learn more about marketing and promotional tactics. Recently, she earned expert author status on EzineArticles as her submissions have been accepted for publication.

Jo-Anne Vandermeulen

Jo-Anne Vandermeulen

 

 

Jo-Anne, it seems like there are blogs covering every topic and interest under the sun. What are some of the things bloggers can do to standout and garner more readers?

• Define Your Niche – Territorialize your position and intensity your niche. Take a pill of courage and be authentic in presenting yourself. This will generate an even larger loyal audience. Be creative. Nothing is better than when your viewers can identify with you and feel your personality.

Ask yourself, “What makes me standout from the rest?”
Devising a strategy to remain on the offense takes critical thinking, but if you can relate this to a game it is simple to understand the reason. You can only score if you play offensively.

• Develop Strategies to Standout from the Rest – Meet the needs of your viewers. Times are changing. Flexibility is the answer in the business world. What worked yesterday, may not work today. Think of targeting the market. Needs and interests are turning around. Promotion is never stagnant, neither should your message. Set aside some time to:

1. Constantly revisit the brands and messages used to hook your audience.
2. Analyze the successes and strengths. Be prepared to build on the strengths rather than always focusing on the weaknesses.
3. Make the necessary changes to enhance your marketing tactics that work well with potential customers.

• Turn First Impressions into Loyal Followers – It can be a challenge to get your first time visitors to return to your blog/website, but it doesn’t have to be. Conquer all obstacles by evaluating your site with This Checklist:

1. Make the subscription button accessible – Place a widget at the top of your side column with a label and clear instructions.
2. Occasionally, remind your readers to subscribe.
3. Produce an attractive blog/website design. Make your site reader friendly and keep it simple.
4. Add personality and engage your readers – Use informal language, add pictures, invite viewers to contribute. They will want to journey with you.
5. Revisit stats and analyze data – What topics/posts generate the most traffic? Capitalize on strengths.
6. Promote your blog/website on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Gather.com, etc.
7. Link to past posts – New followers will appreciate direction.
8. Give readers what they want.
9. Be consistent and keep the content fresh – Keep your post formats and scheduling the same.
10. Find key players – Encourage friendships. Opportunities will pop up.
11. Post great content – Engage your readers, form a sense of community where readers feel they belong.

• Create a Buzz – You want to show the world your writing/published books, but where do you start?

You can start with networking, but first you need to discover where your viewers are located on the internet. Unfortunately, when you first begin to promote your author platform, the viewers will seldom come to you. It is your job to go to them, introduce yourself, and allow them to taste your writing. Once you’ve established friendly contact then you have to keep them coming back over and over again. First impressions are important, but that doesn’t mean you have hooked them enough to purchase your book. A sense of trust must be established. A personal connection.

• Direct Traffic – People will discover your blog through:

1. Search Engines – The key is to get your name listed at the top of these engines. You need a brand, keywords repeated often in your content, links, and tags.
2. Marketing – Constantly post your signature everywhere: in forums, blog comments, and emails.
3. Promoting – Promote your site by advertising in Myspace, GoodReads, Facebook, Ning, BookMarketing, MyLogBlog, Twitter etc. Promoting is time consuming and must be done constantly to be effective. If you are tight with deadlines or want to focus solely on your writing, you may want to consider paying someone to build your author platform and promote your book. This is a service that Premium Promotional Services offers to our clients.

If you have questions for Jo-Anne please leave a comment and feel free to ask away. We’re all learning here, so most likely the answer will benefit all of us. We’ll see you back here tomorrow and we’ll pick up where we left off.

 

 

 

 

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