Is Your Blog Failing You?

Social media can often seem overwhelming for even the most experienced Outreach professional. There are thousands of tools and applications that you can use to enhance your use of social media. But we recommend sticking to what works best for your organization. Oftentimes, this includes blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter—the Big 4.

As we mentioned in this blog previously, your own, original, content is critical in social media. Sure, you can post articles from other sources on your Facebook Page, you can participate in a few LinkedIn groups, and you can retweet your favorite expert on Twitter.  Which is all perfectly fine to do, and encouraged. Social media, after all, is about being social. But to improve your Outreach communications, you need to drive people back to your website or blog as well. Social media, particularly your blog, can help you generate leads if used properly. 

By writing on your blog regularly, you’re creating content that you can share with your followers. They’ll come to look upon you as an expert within your field. We’ll discuss some writing tips in a future column as well as some ways to generate blog topics. 

Below are some tips on how you can instantly improve your blog to ensure that your readers keep coming back:

Add a sharing widget—On the Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News website and its sister publications, LakeOconeeBoomers.com and PittsburghHealthcareReport.com, we like using Shareaholic. But any social media sharing tool will work fine. The goal is to just make it a little easier for your readers to share your blog content with their own friends and colleagues. Limit your sharing buttons to 5 or 6 so it can stay on one line and keep a clean look. Our sharing buttons include: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. 

Install a email subscription form—Your readers should be able to opt in and register to receive your blog posts via email or an RSS feed. Feedburner is pretty good for this and is what we use. Other clients we have worked with prefer using MailChimp or Constant Contact.  Each time a new blog post is posted, your subscribers will automatically receive a notification via their email address that something new was added to the site. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your readers.

Resize your images—I often hear clients say to me that their blog is taking too long to load. Oftentimes, the culprits are the image files. Always be sure that the size of your image matches the exact size you want to use within the blog post. For instance, a good size for our site is generally 300 x 200 pixels for head shots. But we tend to receive these image files as high resolution such as 1,200 x 800 pixels which is perfect for the print publication. Print needs higher res photos; websites do not. Most blogs allow you to upload your images and then resize the images within its application. We recommend  not to do this; instead, always resize the photos before you upload them to the blog. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay extra to get more bandwidth from your hosting provider.

Edit and edit some more—Unless you’re operating a magazine website, try to keep your blog posts short, no more than 400 words. People’s attention span are much shorten when they are online. You are competing against incoming email, social media feeds, and anything else on the Internet that could be distracting to your audience. Keep your posts short and to the point. Even though these posts are short, use headers and bullets as often as you can. 

Post more often—Out of sight is out of mind. If you’re writing a new blog post once a quarter, you’re going to quickly lose your audience. They’ll probably seek out your competitor if you’re giving them good, quality information on a frequent basis. How often should you post? I’d recommend at least once a week if you are able. But keep it consistent. Pick a day you will write and post your new piece and stick to that schedule. 

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