Category Archives: Blogging Tips

Guidelines for Writing Blog Contest Rules

Blog ContestNowadays, many people are using blog contests as a way of attracting traffic to their blogs, as well as rewarding loyal readers. However, if not handled properly, they can end up working against you. To protect yourself, you need to come up with appropriate and comprehensive rules which will govern your contest. Rules will ensure that there is no discontent among entrants when the winner is chosen. Unhappy losers are likely to create negative publicity for you.

Here are some things you need to consider when writing rules for your blog contest.

1. The prize

When you announce your blog contest and ask people to sign up, make sure you mention clearly what the prize is. Whenever possible, you should also provide an image of the prize. Describe the prize in detail so it will be clear to entrants what the prize actually entails.

2. Qualifications

Explain clearly what qualifications someone needs to participate in the blog contest.

3. Deadline

Set a specific date and time as the deadline for receiving entries to the blog contest. It is also very important that you indicate the time zone.

4. Prize delivery

In case you have any limitations on prize delivery, make sure you mention them clearly when calling for entries to your blog contest. For instance, if you are only ready to deliver the prize to winners in the United Kingdom, make that limitation clear in your announcement. You should also mention by what means the prize will be shipped.

5. The winners

Outline clearly and elaborately the process of choosing the winner. This is especially vital if winners will be picked in a subjective manner, as opposed to a random selection.

6. Winner notification

Clarify what means will be used to contact the winner of the contest. When joining the contest, participants should be asked to submit specific information in their entries. This will enable you to contact them in case they win and also deliver their prizes.

7. Prize acceptance

Your call for entries should have specific prize acceptance requirements. For instance, you could mention that winners will be reached in a particular way, and that they are required to respond within a certain duration (such as 72 hours), failure to which they will give up their prize. The prize acceptance requirement is therefore vital otherwise you might end up waiting for the winner’s response for a long time.

8. The alternate winner

In case the original winner fails to respond, explain the process which will be used to choose an alternate winner.

For more about running a blog contest, you might want to read the post ‘Tips for Running a Blog Contest‘.

 

How Bloggers Can Use Twitter Effectively

TwitterTwitter is a great tool for growing blogs as well as building relationships. The following are some ways in which Twitter can come in handy for bloggers.

1. Generating traffic

Twitter can be a great tool for marketing your blog. For instance, if you have just published new content on your blog or are running a blog contest, send a tweet to inform your followers. If the information is interesting, they are likely to share it with others in their network. As the word spreads, many people will want to visit your blog to find out more.

2. Networking

Twitter has been designed essentially as a tool for networking. If people find your tweets interesting or helpful, they are likely to follow you. As a result, you will be able to network with people who are like-minded. This may in turn translate into increased traffic to your blog.

3. Making business contacts

Besides being a great tool for networking with people who share your interests, Twitter can also be very helpful in making business contacts. It can come in handy when you want to discuss business ideas with others, find a new job, or hire someone to run your business or blog.

4. Generating ideas for blog posts

For any blogger lacking ideas for their next post, Twitter can come in very handy. Read several tweets to find out what people are discussing. As you read, you are likely to get a few ideas for future blog posts.

5. Displaying your expertise

Twitter can help you display your expertise as a blogger to the online community. When you tweet about topics which you are conversant with, and answer questions asked by others, people will start seeing you as an authority in your niche. This will enhance the credibility of your blog, and consequently increase traffic.

6. Asking questions

While attempting to present yourself as an authority in your niche, you should also be teachable. Therefore, take time to ask questions. There is a lot you can learn from the people you follow, as well as your followers.

7. Asking for promotional help

You can use Twitter to ask your followers to promote your posts through other social media channels such as Stumble, Digg or Facebook.

8. Checking for accuracy

You might be writing a post about a specific topic but are not sure about some facts. You could send a tweet asking your followers for clarification. At the same time, you could give them a hint about the upcoming post.

9. Offering live coverage

Twitter can be a very effective tool for sharing information from a live event. You can keep your followers updated by sending multiple tweets in real time. Later on, you could expand the tweets into full-length blog posts.

Prerequisites for Launching a Successful Blog

Successful BlogNowadays, more and more people are diving into the waters of blogging. However, most don’t take time to consider what it takes to succeed.

The following are some prerequisites for starting a successful blog.

1. Time

Running a successful blog will require a significant investment of time and effort. A lot of time should be spent reading other sites and blogs to stay informed about developments related to your blog topic. However, blogging does not end when a post has been written and published. You will need to take time to promote the post extensively so as to drive traffic to it.

2. Love for writing

If you hate writing or writing is a struggle for you, then it would not be advisable to become a blogger. To become a successful blogger, you will need to create new posts frequently, respond to comments and communicate with other bloggers. Since all these things involve writing, good writing skills are very essential.

3. Passion for the subject

As a blogger, you will be required to spend a lot of time writing helpful posts related to your blog’s topic. You will need to come up with exciting posts frequently so as to retain the interest of your readers, as well as attract new readers. If you are not passionate about the subject, you will struggle everyday to create new and interesting posts. As a result, you will end up losing your readers.

4. Creativity

A blog needs to offer readers content which is unique and fresh. Since blogs need to be updated frequently, creativity is essential for success. Creativity will enable you to grab the interest of readers and will keep them coming back for more.

5. A desire to network

When it comes to building a successful blog, socializing and networking is very important. A blog itself is a social medium since it thrives on a strong sense of community. Therefore, you need to be willing to take time to promote your blog by interacting with your readers in forums, communities and social sites. For more about networking, you read my post ‘Blog Partnership – Tips for Getting Started’.

6. Willingness to learn

The blogosphere is constantly changing and evolving. To build a successful blog, you need to stay informed about all the current developments related to blogging. Has Google’s algorithm changed lately? Are there new tools or applications can enhance your blogging experience? Having such information will help you improve and maintain your blog better.

7. Ability to handle negative criticism

To appear credible as a blogger and win the trust of your audience, you will need to reveal your identity and share some personal details. This means that you are vulnerable to negative feedback to your posts. Successful blogger know how to deal with negative criticism.

8. Patience

A blog does not become successful overnight. It requires hard work and commitment to create quality posts and promote the blog in the long term. With a little patience, your blog will eventually become popular and receive increased traffic. Don’t give up!

For more about successful blogging, you might want to read the post ‘6 Key Characteristics of Successful Bloggers‘.

How to Find Ideas for Your Business Blog

Business BlogWhen it comes to business blogging, many people find it difficult to find ideas on what to write about. If you are required to write several posts every week, as well as produce a video and write company newsletters or white papers, you might get overwhelmed after a short time and run out of things to say. However, if you look at your industry from a different angle, you will find out that there are many subjects that you could write about.

The following are some of the places where you can find great ideas for your posts:

1. Frontline staff

Some companies have employees such as customer service agents, sales clerks and field agents who deal directly with clients on a daily basis. Since these people are in direct contact with the clients, they are likely to be very conversant with the needs and problems of the target audience. If you have such staff in your company, they could be a very valuable source of blog post ideas. What are customers constantly asking or complaining about? Each encounter they have with a customer could provide the topic for your next post.

2. Competitor’s newsletters

Your competition can inspire great ideas for your blog. Subscribe to their blog RSS feed or company newsletter to find out which subjects are popular. You can then pick ideas from their posts and use them to create your own content. In addition, by reading your competitors’ posts, you will be able to identify topics which have not been addressed. By offering your customers information which your competition isn’t, you will make your brand stand out and thus build authority.

3. Blog comments section

The comments section of a blog can offer very useful ideas for future blog posts. People usually ask questions or request for further information after reading a post. Some might not agree with some parts of your post and will offer a different opinion. When you look at what your readers have to say, you are likely to get inspiration for a blog post topic.

4. Website FAQ

If your site has an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, you could consider turning your answers into full fledged blog posts. This will enable you to address the potential concerns of your customers in greater detail.

5. Webinar Q/A sessions

Many companies use webinars as a tool for interacting with customers. The Q/A session of a webinar can be a great source of blog topics. Make sure you take note of all the questions as they are asked. When the webinar is over, you can then find a way of answering these questions in form of blog posts.

How to Write Social Media-Friendly Posts

Social mediaEvery blogger would want their posts to get shared as much as possible on social media channels. The following are some tips that will ensure maximum social media love for your posts.

1. Write a post that many people can relate to

For a post to viral on social media, you need to make sure that the content is helpful for as many people as possible. All levels of readers in your niche, advance to beginners, should be able to derive some benefit from the post. For instance, if your post is a guide, make sure you write it in a way that can be understood by beginners, while also adding new insights for those who are already conversant with the subject.

2. Write a complete post

Many bloggers write short, incomplete posts that leave readers with more questions than answers. Such simplistic posts are not likely to be shared since they don’t adequately satisfy the readers’ needs. It is therefore very important to ensure that your post covers the subject as exhaustively as possible. Think about the questions people would ask and answer them in advance. If people find your content valuable, they will want to share it with others in their networks.

3. Create a great list

Great lists have the potential of generating numerous shares on social media channels. Make sure the list is as unique as possible and contains a lot of beneficial information which is not readily available elsewhere. For instance, if you are writing about the top teenage bloggers, don’t just say ‘Here are the top 20 teenage bloggers’ and then list their names in bullet points. Instead, you need to write a short profile on each of them, and include a link pointing back to their blog. You can then inform them of their listing by emailing them, tweeting them or contacting them via Facebook. Once they get notified, most of them would be excited to share the list with others.

4. Publish on blogs which allow social sharing

For your posts to go viral, you need to publish on blogs which make provision for social sharing. Therefore, you need to target blogs which have social sharing buttons for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. This will make it easier for readers to share posts which they find helpful.

5. Format your post properly

The general visual appearance of your post is very important. A post which is neatly formatted with headers and paragraphs is easy to read and therefore more likely to be shared. Make sure the page doesn’t have any unnecessary ads or images which would distract people from your content. A simple site with a clean layout will encourage more readers to share your content.