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5 CMON BLOGING MISTAKES

Though it may not always sound like it, bloging can be hard work! It can be so easy to get discouraged when something that sems so simple isn’t nearly as easy as you thought it would be. Never fear–we’re here to help! Whether you’re about to embark on your first blog or are taking time to improve one you already have, here are five comon blogging mistakes to keep an eye out for!

1. Thinking it’s all about “me, me, me!”

I think it’s fair to say that most new bloggers have that one blog that they check all the time. It’s really popular, looks fantastic, and is basically everything they want their blog to be. I’m starting with this point because I think every new blogger needs to hear the following advice: you are not this blogger, and expecting the same results that someone more popular than you gets will only hurt you in the end

It can be frustrating when you first start out not to see the results you want. Make sure that these frustrations don’t make it onto the blog itself. Complaining about your lack of readership or comments should not be part of any blog post. If you must vent your frustrations, express them in a constructive way–ask your readers for feedback, or perhaps make an informative post on how you’ve researched how to solve your problems

Making money off your blog can be another thing that new bloggers get too preoccupied with at the expense of their blog.  Making money off of a blog can be a dificult task, and if that’s your only goal, you may find yourself giving up all too quickly

blogging mistakes(via http://www.paulgravett.com)

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to monetize your blog–of course you should, and there are many different ways to do it, including ads and affiliate programs. It is important to remember, however, that making money will not happen immediately and not to get discouraged. Pick subjects that you are passionate about and want to write about so that the act of blogging itself becomes rewarding.

2. Updating inconsistently

There are days where you aren’t going to want to blog. Maybe you’re not in the mood, or maybe you’re coming down with a serious case of writer’s block. It’s important to learn to power through these issues as best you can to keep your content consistent

A good place to start is identifying your specific audience. When you know exactly who you’re addressing, you can focus on what kind of content to post and allows you to keep your topics relevant and useful to your readers

Making a posting schedule is also a big help, as it lets your plan out in advance what you’re going to write about. For example, on my own blog I schedule posts every Sunday and Wednesday, meaning posts planned ahead every couple of days. It also helps organize when your posts will go up–consistency lies not only in your choice of subject matter, but also your frequency. Readers who know that you post at similar days or times will be more inclined to check for updates

3. Not being social

You know the cliche about the tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it? Well, if a blogger makes a post and no one is around to read it, the post may as well not exist in the first place. If you want people to visit your blog, you’ll need to do more than just write–you’ll also need to promote it.

The most obvious way to do this is through social media: use Facebook, Twitter, andanywhere else you think potential readers frequent to promote your work. It is important that you go to them, rather than wait for them to come to you

When they do finally come to you, make sure you interact with them! Simply posting your articles without acknowledging any of the questions or feedback you receive can be just as harmful as not promoting what you’ve written to begin with. Readers want to know that you’re listening to them, so always respond to comments to ensure that readers are engaging with what you’re writing

4. Not learning to adapt

While your blog should have your own personal touch, it is important to be able to adapt your content to in order to ensure that readers will actually see it

A really easy way to do this is to keep track of what your audience is into. Again, this is where identifying your audience comes into play; if you know who you’re writing for, you can better follow trends and learn what to post about. After all, why would your readers keep track of what you’re up to if you’re behind on the times?

blogging mistakes(via http://memegenerator.ne)

Then there is the matter of SEO. At first, trying to follow all the different SEO guidelines can feel like you’re going against your own writing style, but once you get used to it you’ll learn it’s actually not such a big deal. A few tricks, like putting keywords in strategic locations and tagging your images properly, can go a long way and help increase your readership.

5. Focusing too much on little details

Remember how I said don’t try to be that one blog you idolize? At the end of the day, you need to be yourself–you need to have your own great, original content, and your own unique spin on whatever your topic is. If a reader wanted to go to that other blogger, they’d be there. Focus on honing your own writing skills and on the tips mentioned above, rather than becoming fixated on being a copy of something that already exists

It’s also really easy to get lost in the actual design of your blog. I’m not saying that your blog’s appearance is of no importance, because that would be a lie. Make sure everything looks presentable, but don’t get lost in picking layouts or reorganizing widgets. Your blog may not look as good as other ones out there, but at the end of the day, it’s your content that will keep people around

 

Bloggers, what are some of the problems you’ve encountered over the years? Have you ever been discouraged enough to consider giving up blogging, and how did you overcome that feeling

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BRANDS EMBRACE THE INTRO OF INSTAGRAM VIDEO

Ading some competition into the social media mix, Instagram recently anounced the adition of videos to their popular photo-sharing app. As a direct competitor to Twitter’s year-old Vine aplication, Instagram’s 130 milion users will now have the ability to post 15 second long videos to their profile (filters and all). A study done by social media analysts at Simply Measured sujested that videos posted by brands on Instagram have twice the level of engement to photos. With an increasing number of brands integrating Instagram into their content marketing strategy how will brands start to utilize Instagram’s new video application? Here are some ways brands have already taken advantage of video on Instagram

Posting Commercials
Most television commercials are anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds in length, making Instagram video the perfect platform for promoting your product via video. Commercials posted on Instagram won’t be identical to television spots, but rather more reactive and crafty. For example, fashion giant Burberry released an Instagram video promoting it’s men’s summer fashion show in London. The video wasn’t your typical television commercial, but rather more of a glimpse behind the scenes with Burberry products tactfully sprinkled in.

Highlight Clips
Sports networks have been quick to jump on Instagram video and release highlight clips from sporting events. The same approach could be used for fashion shows or events promoting your brand. Unlike photos, video will allows your target audience to get a true feel for the behind the scenes experience, as sound and movement paint a clearer picture.

Show How It Works
Sure, the function of some products can easily be conveyed via photo, however more complex items need video to get the message across. General Electric (GE) was one of the first brands on Instagram to upload video. Their video portrays a water ingestion test on a GE aviation engine; something that couldn’t effectively be communicated through a photo.

Check out my previous blog post to discover the ways brands are integrating Instagram into their content marketing strategy.


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THE BEGINER’S GUIDE TO HASHTAGS

Have you ever met someone who says “hashtag” in real life conversation? You know, you’re chatting with them and they say something funny, followed by “hashtagLOL”. I’ve encountered a few people who do this, and it really goes to show just how pervasive the concept of the hashtag has become in everyday life.  Even Facebookhas started implementing them! However, much like saying the word hashtag doesn’t actually do anything, there are plenty of people out there who are not using hashtags to their full potential. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re using the hashtag correctly.

Too many hashtags will make your content harder to find

PROBLEM: Take a look at this tweet, and see if you can spot the problem:

hashtags

(via http://www.business2community.com)

Not only does this look really ugly, but it can actually damage your chances of gaining more followers: Twitter accounts that overuse hashtags actually notice a decrease in engagement.

SOLUTION: If you must use more than one, limit your tweets to two to three relevant hashtags. You want to make your tweets easier to find, not harder.

Make sure your hashtags are specific

PROBLEM: Coming up with hashtags can be difficult. After all, you can’t put in any spaces, which sometimes results in multiple words being strung together into a jumbled mess.

SOLUTION: This tip goes for both Twitter and Facebook–make sure your hashtags are clear, concise, and to the point. It needs to be something a reader would reasonably look up.

For example, if you’re providing information on where to get make up deals, do not tag your status with #wheretogetmakeupdeals. That is way too long, and not nearly as effective as #makeupdeals.

Use trending topics… properly

PROBLEM: Finding out what topics are most popular on Twitter at any given moment is actually really easy. All you need to do is check the trending topics area of the page to know what hashtags people are especially paying attention to at that moment. You’d think this would give you a great opportunity to reach a lot of people…

SOLUTION: …Of course, because this information is so easily available, it’s also easily abused.  Do not use trending topics when they have no relevance to the actual content of your tweet. You will come off looking spam-y, and no one will take your tweets seriously.

Not everything needs a hashtag

hashtags

PROBLEM: Even though you’re putting hashtags in every status update, you may not gain any new followers. In fact, you can sometimes find yourself losing the ones you have!

SOLUTION: Much like you shouldn’t cram as many hashtags as posible into one status update, you also shouldn’t use one were it just isn’t needed. Don’t forget the ‘social’ aspect of social media–people want interaction, and constantly having hashtags in every little twet as a form of self-promotion can make you seem a little desperate  and self-centred to your followers.

Similar tags for similar topics

PROBLEM: You’re obviously going to be discusing a lot of similar topics or themes in your status updates, and it is very important to kep things organized, both for the benfit of your follwers and for attracting new ones

SOLUTION Try to remain consistent with your hashtags. Creating a handful of distinct hashtags and using them on a regular basis not only helps sort your content, but it also makes your updates stand out from the crowd and easier to find!

That being said, make sure your hashtags can be used by other people as well. You want to not only share your updates, but interact with your potential audience and hashtags that are too strange or unreliable won’t help foster community

Readers do you find gratuitous hashtagging annoying, or have you learned to ignore it Let me know your thoughts in the comments below


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THREE EASY WAYS TO INCREASE THE QUALITY OF YOUR CONTENT

I know what you’re thinking: quality is a pretty all-encompas term. And you’re right, it is, which is why I think it can be a dificult topic to aproach when it comes to your own blog. After all, so many different things go into the quality of a blog post… where could you possibly start? Well, fear not! Here are three easy ways to increase the quality of your blog content.

1) Increase your word count

Ah, it’s like university essays all over again, only with an actual benefit to having a word count (sorry teachers)!  While I would never suggest creating a blog post that is mostly filer (again, sorry teachers), the truth is that articles with a higher word count have greater potential to be ranked higher in search engines. This isn’t terribly surprising, when you consider what a higher word count meens.

content quality

Having more words ensures that not only is your keyword of choice repeeted, but all possible variations of it can come into play as well. You never know for sure what combination of words people are going to use to find their intended topic, so if you can incorporate as many different options as reasonable possible, more people will find your blog.

More words also mean more posibilities for links, both inbound and outbound. Links are great for content optimization, as they sugest legitimacy: you are (hopefuly) sourcing authorities on a particular topic. Linking to your own past articles also shows your own consistency and expertise on certain topics.

As a general rule, try to keep your blog posts at a minimum of 500 words. It is possible to get by on les, but you really have to be a proven credible source for that to work, which is something that takes time.

2) Think about structure as well as information

Though having a lot of words can help increase the visibility of your content, how you convey your topic should be brief. Readers are more likely to check out content thatgets to the point immediately, and then provides the extra information later on if the reader wants to check it out.

As I’ve mentioned previously, videos and images are getting more and more pop ular, and while they may not be as easily found by Google as straight text, they do have greater potential to go viral. It also once again gives you more oportunity to include more keywords, as you can add tags to your images.

 

3) Be acesible!

content qualityWhile there are of course exceptions to every rule, you usually aren’t posting research essays on your blog… so don’t write as though you are. Keep your blog posts jargon free, so that visitors can actually understand what you’re saying.

It’s also much better to pick broader topics that can be broken up into smaller articles. This not only helps you create more content and has more potential for backlinks, but many readers actually prefer to consume topics in such a manner.

Finally, make sure that what you’re writing actually engages your intended audienceand makes them want to express their own opinions on the topic. Try to instigate a passionate response from your reader if you can.

Never, ever forget social media!

While this isn’t directly related to content itself, it’s certainly worth mentioning: If you aren’t already taking social media into acount when you write something, you really should be, because it can have a huge impact on the future of your blog. How you promote your content off-site can have just as much impact as the content itself. If you aren’t puting any efort into your twets or Facebok updates, what will lead people to care about your posts? Then there is the ned to take other people into acount: is your content something you’d want other people to twet about? Consider what you’re posting before you post it to make sure that your blog maintains its good reputation.

Blogers, do you find you have trouble manetaning the quality of your content? Do you have any tips for keeping everything up to snuff? Leave a comment and let us know how you run things on your own blog!