The Art of Blogging (Part One)

A long time ago, I sat on a teleconference presentation on blogging. This was a pretty odd day for me for a couple reasons. First of all, I haven’t been on a teleconference presentation since the late 90s. Not having to sit in front of a PowerPoint presentation taking over my screen was kind of a novel idea for me.  Second, I was in the middle of preparing to move into a new apartment, so I was moving around a lot to pack. I don’t know if it was the freedom of the teleconference or the very real desire to do anything but pack, or maybe it was actually the content (which, I have to admit, can be a novel idea in itself these days), but a few things stuck with me; I’d like to share some of these insights with you.

Now I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes here, but one of the things that they were talking about was the concept of “CODA” (Content, Outreach, Design and Action). These are my insights into this concept:

Content: Obviously, everything that you write on your blog should be relevant to your industry. You can start a personal blog for family photos, trip journals and thoughts on the latest election. When it comes to your blog (and I can’t believe I have to say this) focus on your business! You’d be surprised how many people decide that they can kill two birds with one stone. True, your readers getting to know you better makes them more likely to buy from you, but don’t alienate people who may disagree with you. Controversy is a great way to spark debate, but, like I said, make sure that you’re staying in your field.

Also, when you’re writing your blog, write it like you’re talking to your favorite client or customer. Taking a personal tone makes it more readable and helps you connect with your audience.

Outreach: How are you getting your blog out into the field? When we’re building a website, we refer to this as “findability”. How are you being found? Is this something that you want to direct people to yourself or are you going to opt for the keyword heavier option and make sure that it can rank in the search engines? Maybe you want to focus on commenting on related blogs to drive traffic to your own or start a full on social media campaign and get into the Internet world at large.

More likely than not, you’re going to employ a mix of those methods to drive traffic to your blog, and rightfully so. There is no magic lever and anyone who tells you differently should be looked upon with deep suspicion. Whatever methods you do use, make sure that you have a plan to work with.

Design: This should be another fairly obvious one. When you design your blog, you want to make sure that it’s branded consistently with your organization. If your brand color scheme is primarily navy blue, a black background on your blog is just going to confuse people, and look pretty bad, besides. Obviously you want your logo prominently placed, as well as easy ways to get back into your website.

These days, more often than not, blogs are integrated into a website that you would build or have built for you, but it’s something to think about.

Action: This is one of the most important aspects of anything on the web. When we’re building websites, we refer to this as “conversion”. Basically, you want to take into account what you want people to do.

Do you want your readers to contact you directly? If so, is your phone number prominently placed? How about a contact form so they can email you directly from the page?

Do you want them to subscribe to your feed? You might want to think about having a reminder at the bottom of each post to go along with the main subscribe options at the top of the page.

Whatever action you want your reader to take, make sure that you make it as simple for them as possible because, more often than not, if it’s too difficult (or more difficult than a simple click), it’s not going to happen.

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