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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Use The News to Grow Your Business

I find the news pretty discouraging for the most part, but the good news is that you can use what is shared in the news to grow your business in two very specific ways.

Blogging
I am a big advocate of blogging for the purpose of growing your online reach. When I share this with business owners, I am often asked “what should I blog about?” The simplest answer is to listen to what your prospects are asking you and then blog about those answers. Chances are, they are not the only ones asking the questions.

Another great way to find relevant content is to keep up with the news. For the most part, the news is discouraging, so I keep my intake at a bare minimum. In fact, I get most of my news via the web and social media. If you listen to what’s going on in the news, it will certainly give you relevant material to talk about. If it is directly related to your business, that is ideal, but even if it is not, you can either find a connection of just give your commentary. People want to know that you are human, and not always just about business.

The more you do this, the more you will be seen as a thought leader in your field, because you are staying current with what’s gong on, and you are relating it to your business.

Getting Quoted in the News
It’s no secret that being quoted as an expert by the media can help elevate your positioning in the marketplace. I always encourage business owners to build relationships with local and niche market journalists to get on the short list of “go to” experts that are called upon when someone is needed for a story.

A few great ways to connect with journalists are:
1. By making direct contact. Many use Twitter, so I recommend starting by connecting through Twitter and being a good netizen.

2. Respond to their requests. Journalists make requests all day long; you just have to know how to find them. One great resource is HARO, a free service that literally sends these requests to you three times per day.

Creating press releases can be a good way to get in the news as well. The key to a successful press release is making sure it is actually newsworthy (and not just an advertisement) and sending it to the right journalist at the right time.

My one caveat is that in the quest for using the news as a means of growing your business, that you don’t become addicted to it :-)

Wishing you success!

5 Ways to Help Google Find Your Blog Posts

If you are a blogger, you certainly want to make sure that your content gets found by Google, Bing and the other search engines to maximize your online exposure. Below are 5 tips to help increase your exposure on Google.

Keyword Research
One of the most critical steps you can take to help improve the search engine rankings of your blog posts is to engage in a little bit of keyword research prior to posting. You can use a free tool such as the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and find out what people are searching for related to your blog post. Next, you want to use those keywords in the title of the blog post, and ideally closer to the front of the post. For example, if I wanted to leverage the popular phrase “blogging tips”, I would have made the title, “Blogging Tips – How to Help Google Find Your Blog Posts.” You have to balance SEO value with what reads well obviously. Given the volume of blogging tips on my blog, it would not make sense to start every post with “blogging tips.”

Using Ping Services
If you use WordPress, I would make sure that you have more than just the one ping service listed under the “Writing” settings. I am sure other blog platforms have this option, but I am pretty much a WordPress guy. Here is a list of recommended ping services:

http://api.feedster.com/ping.php
http://api.moreover.com/ping
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://pinger.blogflux.com/rpc
http://rpc.newsgator.com/
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://services.newsgator.com/ngws/xmlrpcping.aspx

Blog Often
The more content you put out, the more opportunities you will have to be found through those keyword rich titles. Eventually, you will start to see your blog come up in searches under the keywords in the post titles. Your web stats (analytics) will show you the keywords that people are using to find you.

I recommend setting a schedule and sticking to it (unlike I do). At a minimum, you should shoot to post at least once a week.

Promote on Social Networks
Social networks are a great way to promote blog content. For starters, I would add your blog feed to your LinkedIn profile. If you use Facebook, then I would post your articles to your profile and your business page, and if you are on Twitter, I would not only Tweet, but use related hashtags for maximum impact.

Using Tags Effectively
Tags are a great way to capitalize on popular keywords and themes by linking your posts to them. For example, I have tagged this post with the following keywords; blogging, blog SEO and blogging tips, which are popular keywords that I would like to connect with. You can see them referenced in the footer of the post. WordPress makes adding tags simple as does Blogger, and I would imaging other blog platforms do as well. Just don’t overdo it and make sure the keywords are related to the blog post. Often a tag will get listed in a search engine from a blog and rank well for the related keyword which gives you additional opportunities for search engine exposure.

This is certainly not conclusive, but a good top 5 list. Feel free to post any tips below in the comments.

Happy blogging!

The Importance of Guest Blogging – Fueled Friday

Last weeks Fueled Friday discussed article marketing which is a close relative of guest blogging. After all, a blog post is essentially an article written for a blog other than it’s author. I want to share with you specifically why this is a great strategy for building your business online.

More important than getting a link from a blog is getting exposure to new audiences that may not know you. As you are introduced to new audiences, a certain percentage of these readers will want to learn more about you and perhaps follow your blog if you have one. It is ideal to guest post on blogs in your field, but it can also be helpful to post on blogs that are not in your field, but have a strong following.

Guest blogging can also be a great strategy for someone who does not want to maintain a blog because generally you just send the article (in Word or a related program) and the webmaster or blogger posts the article. The end results is the same in that it gets exposure for you and ideally links to your website as well.

In last weeks post, I also shared two great resources for connecting with guest bloggers (myblogguest.com and bloggerlinkup.com) but all you have to do to find guest blogging opportunities is do a search for blogs in your field and look at the contact and about sections of the blog to find the contact. Some make it really easy and have a “write for us” link at the top or in the footer. Keep in mind that you want to look over the blog and make sure it is something you want to be associated with. Also, in the interest of getting the most exposure, the stronger the blog is, the better the opportunity will be.

Guest blogging can often lead to other opportunities such as a columnist where you become a regular guest blogger or contributing writer.

Lastly, keep in mind that not all bloggers are open to having guest bloggers, especially if they see you as a competitor.

If you have never guest blogged, I encourage you to give it a short. You might be amazed at the exposure you get. In fact, if you have learned something from the Fueled Friday series that has helped you in a tangible way and want to share it, contact me to discuss having a guest post here.

Blogger Ethics and Guest Posting

There has been a lot of talk about blogger ethics in light of the FTC rules enacted in December, 2009. Although how the new regulations will be interpreted and enforced is still in question, there is no doubt that behaving ethically and transparently is in the best interests of bloggers, regardless of the law.

One way bloggers are being transparent is with a disclosure policy. Most disclosure policies explain the bloggers’ positions on things such as advertising, affiliate links and receiving freebies. If a blogger has never considered his approach to these issues, establishing a disclosure policy will cause him to think about how he wants to operate. The policy then lets readers know what to expect from the blog.

But what about when you are hosting a guest blogger on your site, or guest blogging on another site? What are the best practices for guest blogging? Here are some thoughts on how you can be ethical and above-board as a guest blogger or when you are hosting guest bloggers.

When you are the guest blogger
Read and follow the host blogger’s disclosure policy. How do they handle things such as affiliate links? Do they identify each affiliate link, post a notice with any post containing an affiliate link, or just rely on the disclosure policy to state that some posts may contain affiliate links?

Use links that are clear, and do not try to mislead the host or his readers about what you are linking to.

Do not make recommendations solely for the purposes of inserting an affiliate link. Your reputation is on the line here, just as it is on your own blog. Only make sincere and warranted recommendations.

Do not disguise any involvement you have with a product or service you are reviewing or recommending. Using someone else’s blog to recommend your product by blogging under a false name is unethical no matter how you look at it.

When you are the host
Make guest bloggers aware of your policies and requirements. Do you not allow affiliate links? Do you require that each post disclose any affiliate links, compensation or possible conflict of interest? If so, let guest bloggers know they must make these disclosures in their posts.

Check links to make sure they go where they appear to go. This is your site, so verify that any links in posts are what they say they are.

Consider adding a disclaimer, such as, “Posts by guest authors represent the ideas and recommendations of the guest authors, and I do not necessarily share these opinions.” This can be added to each guest post, or made a part of your overall disclosure policy. Although it may not function as a legal defense, it lets readers know that your publication of a post does not mean you endorse it.

In short, whenever you publish a post as an author or host, be honest and transparent. Your name is your most important asset. Protect it by always blogging with integrity.

This is a guest post from Cathy Stucker. Cathy runs a free service to connect bloggers and guest posters at http://BloggerLinkUp.com/.

How to Effectively Comment on Blogs – Fueled Friday

This may seem like a very basic topic, yet it is one that many people fail at and I have a personal frustration in dealing with it, so I wanted to take the time to share some etiquette on how to comment on blogs.

People comment on blogs for many reasons; for some it is to join a conversation (probably the best reason), for others it is to be heard, and for others it is simply a a matter of getting links from a quality blog. I have no problem with using blog comments to get links, in fact, I wrote a blog post of how to generate links by commenting on blogs.

When commenting on blogs, you want to actually dialogue with the blogger or another commenter. You don’t want to make a comment such as “thanks for the info” because that does not add any value and it makes it seem like you are just trying to scam a link (and you probably are). Even worse is when you use a keyword for your name. If your mother named you “business solutions in India” I simply feel sorry for you. I cannot tell you how many of these posts I get every single say where someone is trying to get “keyword value” from their blog comment. For the record, my spam filter is set pretty high, and the others that have to be manually administered are flagged as spam. I actually spelled out some guidelines to commenting on this blog, but perhaps people don’t read them, which is understandable.

Please know that posting a non-helpful post of one that is totally unrelated to the blog post is simply not acceptable and most bloggers with delete your comment or mark it as spam.

For those that spam, it is a huge missed opportunity because commenting is an opportunity to gather new followers that click through to your link. It is also an opportunity to show your expertise; trust me people take note.

If you have not ever commented on another blog, I encourage you to do a search for blogs related to your industry and go out and join a conversation. If it’s your first time, please feel free to come back and share your experiences.

Most of all, have a great weekend!

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