Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tips for promoting PR student blogs
So you've created a blog, probably for class, and you've started posting content. Now you're hoping someone will read it. How do you get people to notice your blog? That's one of the most common questions I get from my students. Here are the suggestions I give them to get them started (note: you should have 3-5 posts up before you start promotion).
1. At least some of the time, create original content, not just links to news stories or "I agree with so-and-so" posts. Examples:
- Conduct an interview (usually via e-mail; make sure the person knows it’s for publication on your blog)
- Summarize blog conversation on a timely and relevant issue with links to the various posts
- Create a top-10 list relevant to your blog’s purpose
- Present "how-to" information: how to look for an internship, write a poem, etc.
- Do an informal survey and post the results
- Choose headlines carefully so that they are descriptive and use tags and categories or keywords to help people find/notice your post.
2. Start to build a community.
- Include many outbound links in your posts (links to other bloggers posting about the same subject as your blog)
- Post comments on other blogs, using your blog’s URL when you sign in
- E-mail a note to another blogger to call attention to your latest post; make sure it’s someone who has demonstrated interest in that subject before and use this tactic selectively.
- Include your URL on your e-mail signature, Facebook or MySpace page, etc.
3. Remember that a blog is a conversation.
- Sign up for Feedburner, Google Analytics, and/or Technorati to help you track progress--all are free. When these sites show that someone has linked to you, follow the link back to their blog to see what they've written and post a comment thanking them for the link or adding more information.
- Notice which search terms land people on your blog, and consider writing more about those topics.
- When you get a comment, respond back on your blog with another comment (we're going for dialogue). Make sure your blog is set up to tell you when you receive comments, so you can respond as soon as possible. In addition, start watching that person’s blog and comment on their posts if you find one that interests you.
- Use a social bookmarking site like delicious to help you manage content with tags.
I (and my students) welcome any other suggestions or additions to this list!
Cross-posted to WOM Class.
Great post! It was very informative, and will really help out new bloggers! I wish I'd read it back when I started! At least it's never too late...
I do have a question, though. While my blog gets relatively steady traffic, I'm having a hard time getting new readers and subscribers! Do you have any suggestions for me and others having this problem?
Thanks and take care!
I have just started a blog for our Online PR course with Gary Schlee, and I agree with your points completely. I've already built a small community of readers and have found all of your suggestions do drive traffic to my site.
I'm still trying to get more engaged in the 'blogging world', and learn about the various tools that are available. It's a wonderful platform we have, I think it's a great way to not only relate relevant information, but inspire others to write!
A great post and really relevant for me as a PR blogger just starting out (though I'm not a student...).
As per Amy Mengel's comments, an RSS feed is indespensible, especially for tracking conversations in the blogospehere that you are writing about on your own blog.
I tried to find your RSS feed, but couldn't find it on your page - do you have one and could you point me in the right direction?
Amy, thanks for that -- I discussed RSS feeds in my lecture as part of registering on Feedburner, but forgot to include it in the post.
Meg, I agree with Amy; but in addition I would add that it really boils down to content -- providing content that people want to see again and again. But, you're in a tough spot in that many of your one-time-only readers are probably students/newbies who don't know about RSS, aggregators, and subscriptions. Your next post?!
Ben, you're asking a fine question. Once upon a time, my blog had a lovely RSS feed. Then one day it disappeared and no one has been able to bring it back. People who used to subscribe lost the feed. Others are still getting it. (My blog has always been weird about not accepting chicklets etc. but this one takes the cake.) I was supposed to be migrating to Wordpress over the holidays but didn't get it done. So bear with me and I'll fix it eventually. REALLY!
Steffy, I'm glad you checked in and I hope the tips help! I'll be checking out all the blogs from you and your classmates later this week. :)
Thanks for all the blogging tips... It was especially helpful for me since I'm just starting out myself.
I was wondering if you had any suggestions about what to write for original posts... What topics do you think other PR students would find interesting?
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