- Good blogs have plenty of comments, traffic, links and regular content.
- Include images, podcasts and videos on your blog.
- With Wordtracker’s SEO Blogger Tool you can see your keyword research whilst writing a post.
Peter Brady's company, Orbital Media Network, built a social media marketing consultancy on the back of its successful blogs. Brady tells Rachelle Money how he finds blogs to create online PR for his clients and then gives us his big blogging mistakes to avoid.
From blog network to social media agency
Peter Brady and his team at Orbital Media Network are responsible for four established blogs which cover luxury lifestyle lussorian.com, fashion Top Stylista.com, travel TripInspiration and project management ClaretyConsulting.com.
Brady says: “We started in 2003 with a a blog network, much in the vein of starting an online publishing house. In the last two years we’ve learned a lot and that’s why we set up a social media agency advising clients on social networking, blog management, online public relations and Search Engine Optimization, and we’ve grown that quite substantially.
It was the success of their blogs that enabled Brady to attract big-name clients to his social media agency. Orbital Media Network has the kind of client list most could only wish for, including Adidas, Pretty Polly, Island Records, Oxy Skin products and the Trinity newspaper group in the UK.
In October 2008 Pretty Polly, the UK’s best selling pantyhose (tights) manufacturer, launched a campaign for its secret slimmer pantyhose. Brady was tasked with the challenge of achieving online coverage and generating SEO benefits to the Pretty Polly website.
First Brady had to find out who the big hitters in the blogosphere were, and who could spread the word about his client’s new product. There were two key stages to this: finding potential blogs and then assessing them so he knew which were the most influential. Let's look at each stage ...
How to find good bloggers
Brady gives his method for finding relevant and potentially influential bloggers:
- The best tool is Google Blog Search. Once you have opened the search box enter your keywords and you can find out who has written about that subject in the last week or so.
- Google Alerts help you figure out who is talking about what.
- Run a search directly from Twitter and via TweetDeck, again using the campaign's keywords. Twitter can also be used to contact bloggers.
- Look at the back links and blog rolls of interesting blogs.
- Sometimes we just do a simple search in Google, although much of the time you find blogs that are out of date but it can give you a starting point from which to find more.
How to spot influential bloggers
Once Brady has identified a particular blog he does some background analysis on that site. He wants to know:
- How much traffic the blog gets.
- Is it abusive, unfair or biased?
- Google Page Rank?
- Is the content suitable for the client's PR campaign?
- How many links are pointing to the site?
- How many comments are there and are those comments monitored?
Keyword research and blogging
“Keyword research is very important for blogging but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of quality content, the two should go hand in hand. Target a keyword that you think you can achieve a decent position for in Google but don’t do it at the expense at producing a quality article.
We always keyword optimize our articles, but if a post has been up for a while and generated some good links, sometimes we’ll review the article and see if we can optimize it even further.
We also do keyword optimization when a client gives us a press release. We’ve found that bloggers are quite lazy so they’ll take the title of the press release and maybe mix the article a little but the guts of the press release remains the same.”
Of course keyword research and SEO has been made a little easier thanks to Wordtracker’s new SEO Blogger tool.
Brady says: “I think if you’re a serious blogger then you are ultimately entwined with the world of SEO, design and linking. I think that for bloggers, keyword research is like preaching to the converted. The SEO Blogger tool is such a time saver; it gives you a quick picture of available keywords and you can see how many keywords you have actually used.”
Starting your own blog for your business
Many corporations have launched their own blogs. What should you do if you want to start one up for your own company?
Brady says: “We are working with a few clients who want to run blogs from their sites and they said they’d use them to talk about news or what they’re up to. I think the first thing you must understand is that the blog is not for the hard sell. It has to be useful and talk about things other than your company and what you are up to. It’s very much something that is a useful two-way conversation.
I see a lot of corporate blogs that still hammer away at giving statements and have no comments – I can’t understand that. I think a lot of companies understand the benefits of blogging but there’s still those who use blogs for a media mouthpiece and don’t understand that it needs to be more natural and free flowing.”
Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes? What have you found to be the hardest part about starting your own blog?
Brady's big blogging mistakes are:
- Infrequent blog posts. Perhaps one post a month when six a week is ideal and once a week a minimum. Get into a rhythm of posting and keep to it.
- No imagery. You can use graphics, screen shots and photographs. Optimize image captions with target keywords and they can bring traffic and liven up a post.
- No podcasts or videos. Go beyond text and still images and use sound and video.
- Too many 2,000 word essays. Our most successful blog posts are short and punchy ones. Then once in a while a longer one can give more detail.