Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five new things I learned about blogs and blogging

Just when I think I've read my fill about blogging, Copyblogger comes out with a fantastic post about Facebook marketing with all these crazy links that can consume an entire morning or day if you get really obsessed and aren't watching the clock.

Before you know it, your day is shot and when someone asks what you've been doing all you muster up is your next move to promote your blog, which was supposed to support your book but now consumes your interest like a bad boy boyfriend.

Yesterday I decided my approach needed to be more organized, so I got a notebook (the old-fashioned kind that requires a pen) and like a workout geek with a clipboard at the fitness center, I'm keeping a detailed record all the things I'm doing to help promote my book. How many blogs do I read and leave comments on? What sites am I participating in? What works and what doesn't to promote my blog and get my platform out there.

Here are five blogging tips I picked up:

1. Steal from your competition. "Good Poets borrow, great poets steal." I stole that from a post in Lifehacker, one of the blogs I read every week. Turns out nothing is original, but if you can't think of an original post, it's not the end of the world. Thats where finding links comes in.

I followed links on the Lifehacker post and found this blog which is a fun picture post with gems of ideas like "you're only as good as the stuff you surround yourself with." And this one, "Your job is to collect ideas, and the best way to collect them is read." Read the weather, the signs on the road, the faces of strangers and the more you read the more you'll surround yourself with choices for posts. The secret is do good work and put it where your audience can see it.

2. Develop an elevator pitch for your blog. I first heard about this concept in a class taught by Penny Sansevieri an amazing book marketer who started her career marketing her own books and is considered by many people the expert on socal media. You blog represents your platform and your goal is to get your message to readers in a conscise way. "People don't buy a book, they buy a brand," says Sanseveieri. Understand your brand and you know what your blog and your platform will look like.

3. Pay attention to colors, photos and overall visual appeal. Sometimes we don't notice things that are right in front of us and color is something that people subconsciously connect with. I've been experimenting with color in my blog lately but just this moring I found this cool blog called color lovers that has famous paintings and the color combinations out to the side. Now that I see those combinations, I think I'll tweak the colors in my blog again.

4. Connect topical news stories and celebrity. You may think how you can possibly connect with celebrity stores, but try thinking outside the lines for connections. I laughed out loud when I read this post awhile back from Copyblogger and if you can't connect to celebrity and the news is too depressing, a good bad dog post will can be just as intriguing

5. Engage in social media and sharing sites to take your blog from obscurity to a higher level. Check out this post by Jim Raffel about the power of social media. And Penny Sansivieri, author of Hot Internet Publicity has amazing tips on participating in social media. But remember you aren't trying to reach everyone as copyblogger noted in this post about how Buddha solved his marketing problem.

Here's a bonus tip I found before I go: If you want to be persuassive and influential make your blog enchanting like Guy Kawasaki. I found this podcast on Copyblogger and when Guy talked about likability and trust in marketing and how marketing isn't a zero sum game, I decided to order a copy of his new book, Enchantment: the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.

I've decided Tuesdays are posting days for this blog.
Mondays and Fridays are special topics for Food Connections, and Sunday, well that's up in the air what I'll post. In between I'll work on article pitches and articles. In the meantime check out this event in July and this one coming up in September. I'm thrilled about both of them.

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