Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Using Your Competitor to Promote Your Blog and Bring You More Business

As an entrepreneur with a fledgling business, you have read a lot about how important a blog is for promoting your business. According to Google, 73 percent of Internet searches use location-related content. The Internet is the No. 1 place where consumers search for local businesses that provide goods and services. You specialize in rare collectibles and have begun a blog that discusses current news and finds in the rarefied atmosphere of rare collectibles.

So here is your blog sitting out on WordPress, and suddenly you have a eureka! moment — Eureka! How will I get folks to read my blog and enhance my online reputation? Will I have to dedicate my life to my company blog?

No, you will not. Following are some tips to help you to promote your blog without losing your soul, with help from an old pro.

GoDaddy specializes in selling domain names and setting up and maintaining Web sites. On his site, CEO Bob Parsons reveals his 16 Rules for Survival. Of interest to us is Rule 11:

“Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.”

You may ask, "What does this have to do with blogging?" Well, quite a bit. Let’s tie it together.

Use the Competition for Inspiration

Suppose your competitor’s blog tells a great story about a hidden set of collectibles found in some attic in the country that is worth thousands. An interesting story for sure. You can either recycle it, which is not recommended or use it as an inspiration for a new blog topic. It might be about a one-day getaway to country estate sales and how to pick winning buys, or it could be about how to get a collection appraised after purchase. The point is that your competitor had a good idea that you made better. Your content is fresh, relevant and fun.

Pictures Tell a Compelling Story

Your blog can use words sparingly. If you set your blog up on Pinterest, you can primarily use images with short descriptions. Pinterest is broken into categories, so by posting to “Collectable” you are already in an area where your blog will be seen. A good way to promote your Pinterest account is to invite others to post images of their collectibles to your board. Folks who do this will likely link to your Pinterest board by Twitter, a Facebook posting or a Google+ mention. In the interest of self-promotion, your blog should also call the above three additional sites home — or at least have pages that link to your blog. Explore these four sites to determine how to best place your blog for the best visibility.

Fresh, Relevant and Original

Blog content must always be fresh. You do not need to post every day, but frequently enough that visitors do not see the same content headlines for long periods. There is nothing less attractive to a consumer than a business blog with the last entry more than six months ago. We all have seen some blogs that are dying for lack of attention. GoDaddy's Bob Parsons started doing video blogs when he no longer had the motivation to write out blogs. Sometimes a new perspective can give your audience the fresh content they were craving.

Get Help

If you cannot commit to two to three posts each week, you have two options: do not start a blog or hire a content management firm to blog for you. They are cost effective and pretty much manage the entire process for you: from writing and editing to posting and placement. Social media and blogging are great ways to stay in front of current and potential customers. But, make sure that your privacy policy is prominent and that unsubscribing is easy.

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