I just finished writing a 3 part series on social media, and though this post isn’t really part of that series, it can be viewed as a continuation of the whole basic social media “how to” discussion.
So, your blog. You write and publish a blog to demonstrate authority on a certain topic (or topics) and generate leads. To put it to best use and really make it effective, though, it should not be a standalone tool, isolated from your marketing and social media strategy. Instead it should be supporting that strategy.
Here are the most basic ways to integrate your blog with your marketing and social media strategy:
Marketing-centric editorial schedule
Create a monthly editorial schedule that includes posts based on upcoming events or news: new products or services you will be launching, promotions you will be offering, excerpts from an eBook you are working on, webinars or workshops you will be giving or attending, etc. You can also create regular feature columns, interviews, and guest posts; themes; and seasonal topics that will help promote your short and long-term marketing goals. Just make sure you are sharing relevant, interesting, and useful information—your posts cannot be all “me, me, me”.
For example, I write and edit annual reports. Because non-profits typically begin producing their annual report in December and January, I just wrote a 4 part series on annual reports for my company blog. It included: what sections you should include, how to write certain content-heavy sections, creating an eye-catching layout and design, and cost-effective ways to publish and distribute it. So with this series I am sharing useful information while promoting my expertise as an annual report writer and editor.
Share and engage on social media
We use social media to share information, generate leads, become a thought leader—or at least a go-to source of information—and engage with our audience. There are four ways your blog can support your social media efforts:
Automatically share new blog posts. Distribute your newly published blog posts, which of course are full of great information, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, etc. Add a short intro to grab the attention of your followers and ask for comments. I use a social media dashboard (Hootsuite) for this.
Make it easy for people to subscribe to and share your blog. Insert an RSS feed on your blog so readers will automatically receive new blog posts. Add Facebook and Twitter buttons (and buttons for any other distribution channel you like and use) so people can share your words of wisdom on their social media networks. Ask people to subscribe to and share your blog right on your blog’s home page—and tell them why they should. What sort of information will you be sharing with them that they just will not want to miss?
Engage via your blog. Because social media has a strong community-building element to it, ask people for comments at the end of your blog posts. Do they agree or disagree, and why? What have their experiences been with x? And so on. Just be sure to reply!
Engage with other bloggers. Follow other bloggers in your industry or in the industry of your target markets. Introduce yourself, comment on their blog, and, after you get to know each other a bit, ask them to guest post. They will promote their guest blog to their readers, which will most likely bring new readers to your blog.
Image by Flickr User digicana (Creative Commons)Google+