How to Connect with Bloggers

Your business has content, bloggers need topics

A Rose in Hand

An interesting thought was brought up in the Hunting Business Marketing Forum about connecting with bloggers. I started responding to the question in the forum, but felt that the topic was big enough to promote to a full blog post on the main blog.

Connecting With Bloggers

In another forum post, Generating Buzz, Mark of Wired to Hunt discussed a job he had with a marketing agency where he would help to connect businesses and bloggers by using the content the business would create and organize so it was valuable to bloggers.

Mark discusses that he would create a list of bloggers that were active and willing to accept relevant information from companies. These bloggers were then prioritized by traffic, quality of content, interaction of readers in the comments, among other criteria. From there the organization would craft the content so the bloggers could then use it for their blog posts.

It’s important to note that Mark says that each blogger received a unique email that was personalized. The communication was honest and up front in goal.

I think connecting with bloggers really begins by becoming involved in the online communities where your targeted bloggers are spending time.

A reason Twitter has become popular is because it allowed folks to connect with people and businesses they looked up to and wanted to connect with. Businesses can seek out connections with prominent bloggers in their niches and bloggers can seek out businesses that may have potentially useful information that can lead to quality blog posts.

Starting Relationships With Bloggers

As mentioned above, starting the relationships can start with a simple direct message or email that is personalized. The communication can originate from the blogger or the business.

A common experience some have is that after a few messages back and forth the blogger and the business contact lose interest with each and the relationship dies. This may happen because the blogger and the business didn’t find any common ground for a relationship where they share content and work with each other to produce blog posts for their target audience. It could happen because there just wasn’t a relevant way to connect the goals of each party.

It’s important to remember that not all bloggers will take content and turn it into blog post gold. Early on in your efforts this will be even less likely. The truth is that it will take one or two bloggers here and there over time that consistently take content and share it with their audience. Slowly, over time others will join in and eventually a critical mass will be tuning in to your stream of communication to absorb the content you’re sharing about your company.

Maintaining Relationships With Bloggers

Since it was mentioned that business and blogger relationships are often lost or that one of the parties loses interest over time I thought I’d brainstorm a few ideas to keep the conversation active as the life of the relationship ages.

Here are a few I can think off the top of my head:

  • Newsletter
  • Email Thread
  • Forum
  • Google Spreadsheet
  • HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for Hunting – HAHBO (Help a Hunting Blogger Out)

All of these are ways to keep the conversation active with your friends and followers. Not all of the bloggers you form relationships with will become actively involved with your brand by picking up your stories, but a few will become dedicated and over time those dedicated few will grow an audience around the content you’re sharing on the communication channel you’ve created for them.

The reality of interacting with bloggers is that you (the business) will have to take most of the initiative to continue the relationship where your provide ideas for blog posts to bloggers. Some will take the content and run with it and create amazing, unique content while others will ignore it. Some will need you to keep feeding them content while working to improve the content by making it more appealing to their interest.

Gaining permission to share your content with bloggers is the important part of the business-blogger equation. Forming relationships that are mutually beneficial is the way to find success with connecting with bloggers.

Summary

Connecting with bloggers is something most businesses want to be able to do, but sometimes don’t know how or don’t have the resources needed to connect and maintain relationships.

It takes time to first connect with bloggers – a few messages back and forth to get familiar with each other. After this initial conversation it takes even more effort on the part of the business to keep up the flow of communication while providing appealing content and topics of discussion for the blogger to take and use as inspiration for their own content.

It’s a process that builds over time, but when a business can commit and understand the importance of the blogging community there can be real benefit to both of the parties involved.

What are your thoughts on connecting with bloggers?

Businesses: What relationships do you have with bloggers?

Bloggers: What relationships do you have with businesses?

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The Beautiful Outdoors: 50 Amazing Photos

Inspiring outdoor imagery shared through the amazing Flickr Creative Commons Collection

Farm Rolling Hills

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

I came across an amazing post on Smashing Magazine, The Beauty of India: 50 Amazing Photos. The images are truly amazing.

I realized I haven’t done a collection of images from Flickr in some time and thought it would be fun to do another.

I like to use Flickr for just about every post on HBM. I feel that images add some depth to the experience with each post. And you know I love hunting pictures.

Here are the previous collections from the Flickr Creative Commons Series on HBM:

I chose images from the outdoors. Even though most of us realize the beauty in the outdoors already, I thought it would be great to collect some of the fine examples from the best photographers in the business.

These images are from fields, streams, and woods.

Hopefully these images can inspire you today…

Fields

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Courtesy of Robb North

Spring Sunset Magic

Spring Sunset Magic

Courtesy of See1,Do1,Teach1

Coming Home to the Farm

Farm Road Field

Courtesy of Jody McNary Photography

Jody McNary Photography

Little Road to the Farm

Little Road to the Farm

Courtesy of tipiro

Green and Gold Farm Field

Green and Gold Farm Field

Courtesy of tipiro

Auto Graveyard

Auto Graveyard

Courtesy of seanmcgrath

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Courtesy of jesse.milan

White Horse

White Horse Field

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Courtesy of jsorbieus

Cactus Field

Cactus Field

Courtesy of kevindooley

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Courtesy of pdam2

Old Farm and Truck

Old Farm and Truck

Courtesy of Grantsviews

Vintage Fence

Fencing Materials

Courtesy of Robb North

Bikes and Farm Fields

Bikes and Farm Fields

Courtesy of ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevissor

Lilac Tree

Courtesy of Robb North

Blue Flower Field

Blue Flower Field

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Streams

Backyard Stream

Backyard Stream

Courtesy of bslmmr

Stepping Stone Bridge

Stepping Stone Bridge

Courtesy of Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

Gray Sky Stream

Gray Sky Stream

Courtesy of Richard0

Mexico Waterfall

Mexico Waterfall

Courtesy of zoutedrop

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shallow Stream and Falls

Small Stream After Rain

Courtesy of NeilsPhotography

Chirkhuwaa Khola at Baaluwani

Chirkhuwaa Khola

Courtesy of ` TheDreamSky 꿈꾸는 하늘

Winter Stream

Winter Stream

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Waterfall

Forest Waterfall

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Cold Winter Stream

Cold Winter Stream

Courtesy of nagillum

Stream Under Bridge

Stream Under Bridge

Courtesy of paul (dex) busy @ work

Light Shining on Stream

Light Shining on Stream

Courtesy of eye of einstein

Shaky Bridge

Shaky Bridge

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Vintage Dry Creek

Vintage Dry Creek

Courtesy of Robb North

Canada Mountain Stream

Canada Mountain Stream

Courtesy of *~Dawn~*

Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Ablaze

Forest Ablaze

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Sun Shining in the Forest

Sun Shining in the Forest

Courtesy of josef.stuefer

Green Glow Forest

Green Glow Forest

Courtesy of mindfulness

Rolling Hills and Trees

Rolling Trees

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Falling Leaf

Falling Leaf

Courtesy of Memotion

Golden Autumn

Golden Autumn

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Narrow Road Through the Woods

Narrow Road in the Woods

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Abstract Woods

Abstract Woods

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Bright Green

Bright Green Forest

Courtesy of tipiro

Rock Path Golden Forest

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Deer in the Woods

Deer in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shadowy Path

Shadowy Path

Courtesy of GotMeAMuse

Snowy Forest

Snowy Forest

Courtesy of Vince Algoni

Autumn Morning

Autumn Morning

Courtesy of bslmmr

Colorful Woods

Colorful Woods

Courtesy of Problemkind

Repeating Forest

Repeating Forest

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Old Tree

Old Tree

Courtesy of gumuz

The Hunter

The Hunter

Courtesy of MysticMoon14

The Story of the Giant Moose

Sometimes unexpected keywords result in big traffic

Today I decided to draft an interesting case study that may prove valuable for you and hopefully for your blog and business.

What makes it valuable?

SEO and keyword research are important for bloggers to understand. Recognizing search traffic trends in your site’s statistics can help you hone in your writing to attract more visitors and potentially customers to your site.

Let’s take a look…

Ben G. Outdoors

I approached Ben Gustafson (@BenGOutdoors) early in 2010 to discuss working on a few marketing strategies for growing his blog and site: Ben G. Outdoors.

For Ben G. Outdoors, Ben writes about his experiences in the outdoors doing various activities including hunting. He puts a great personal spin on his writing (he and his wife recently welcomed a new baby boy to the family). Ben also writes reviews for hunting products and does interviews with leaders in the hunting industry.

Ben was excited about the opportunity to take a deeper look at his marketing strategy. We discussed a few things to focus on in the initial research and one of the objectives we wanted to focus on was keyword trends and opportunities.

Unique Keyword Strategy

After digging into some of the keywords that were bringing traffic to Ben G. Outdoors, I noticed something interesting.

Ben’s post, Giant Moose, was ranking #1 in Google for the term ‘Giant Moose’.

Now, this high ranking didn’t surprise me. Ben had used the keyword in the title and the post was, while not long in content, had numerous comments and seemed to be a popular one for Ben’s readers.

At first I thought this was just an example of a blog ranking well for a long-tail keyword phrase, but after doing some deeper research I realized that the term ‘Giant Moose’ receives about 4,400 broad searches each month and 1,900 exact searches each month (Google Keyword Tool).

Please click on the images to see enlarged…

Ben G. Outdoors is receiving some good traffic each month from a post that generated some quality discussion and interaction with his readers. Potential readers that first visit Ben’s site via a search for ‘Giant Moose’ have good reason to be impressed with the discussion and if they’re interested in hunting and the outdoors it’s likely they’ll visit again or look through the archives for further relevant reading.

Opportunity for Future Posts

Ben, being the smart guy he is, realized the potential to write more posts using ‘Giant Moose’ as inspiration.

Recently, a post on a Huge Black Bear story hit the front page of Ben G. Outdoors.

This post had more content and insight from Ben in the body of the post. Comments soon flowed in just as they had with ‘Giant Moose’. Ben’s readers seem to love discussing the strange and unique stories from the hunting world.

Along with the great conversation, the great thing about ‘Huge Black Bear’ is the fact that it’s already ranking on page 1 of Google. Depending on your personalized search, Ben may rank anywhere from 3-10 or so for the term.

The term ‘Huge Black Bear’ gets about 400 broad searches each month on Google, which isn’t substantial, but it is likely the post will generate some relevant traffic to Ben’s site over the long-term.

Summary

By working together, Ben and I were able to find some great insight into what is already proving to be a valuable source of traffic for his site.

I’m sure Ben will continue to craft posts using the ‘Giant Moose’ formula and I think he’ll have great success as he has already had with ‘Huge Black Bear’.

Ben also plans to continue to write interviews, reviews and other types of posts for his blog since those are popular with readers as well.

Your Input on Keywords

What about you?

Have you had keyword success with your blog?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

SEO Reading

And for more great reading on SEO Strategy, please read: Optimize a Single Post On Your Blog for SEO

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Image courtesy of junmon603

Rank in the Top Ten for Your Niche Industry

People love content with intriguing numbers

I’m not sure what exactly it is about statistics, but for some reason stats have a way of capturing the attention of people.

There are over 500 million results for statistics on Google.

Digg has thousands of posts about stats submitted to its pages as Web users find enough value in blog posts about stats to share them with others in the network.

Stats seem to strike a chord with Web users and as a result, blog posts about stats have a high tendency to rank well in search engines keyword phrases related to the topic of the posts.

For example, the keyword phrase Twitter Stats brings up a few blog posts in the top ten that cover the latest stats concerning everybody’s favorite mass communication tool.

So What Does This Mean For You?

If you have a blog or Website and you’re trying to attract traffic then it’s entirely possible for you to write content for a Web page or a for a blog post that collects statistics from around the Web that highlight interesting data concerning your niche industry and rank in the top ten for terms related to “your niche industry” and “your niche industry stats”.

It takes some digging around on the Web to find relevant stats that your audience will find interesting, but once you bring together valuable statistics in one place you’ll be providing value that people will appreciate and share with their networks.

For example, I wrote a post Essential Hunting Industry Stats and that post received some great comments from readers. This post did very well for me as it ranked well for the term Hunting Industry (until I changed the domain of my blog), but more than ranking well the post also connected me with good-to-know folks in the hunting industry.

Chris Burget, of Bulls and Beavers and also the top hunter on Twitter (@bullsandbeavers), first found my blog via this post about stats and now we’ve had great discussions on and offline about business and the Web as a result of our connection. I’ve since written about with What Do Chris Burget and Garth Brooks Have in Common?

It’s also great to receive comments like the one from Kendall of Camofire:

Great list of info that was useful for a presentation I did yesterday. I appreciate your blog and the insights you are providing.

While it took some work to gather the information, it did all exist on the Web, free of charge; all it took was to find the stats and gather them in one location for the convenience of those looking for interesting and useful statistics about the hunting industry.

More Benefits of Writing Stats Posts

Beyond the benefits of traffic that comes from ranking well for your niche industry related terms and all of the sites and blogs that link to your post on stats there are additional benefits to writing content about the statistics your readers are interested in.

By gathering the information needed to put together a valuable stats post you’ll be showing potential employers, customers, and clients that you’re capable of doing the research necessary to justify business decisions.

Businesses and people often look to statistics for justification of the decisions they make. And when you prove that you can gather the justifying stats you are showing the people you’re working with that you respect their desire for more than your word to justify the recommendations you make.

To take this a step further you could begin conducting the statistics gathering yourself through surveys, polls, and other methods that put together stats in ways that make sense to your audience and customers.

Ranking for Stats Posts and Pages

Ranking well for a specific search term means that people and the search engine robots need to determine that your content is the most relevant source of information for the search query of your target audience.

In order for that to happen search engines want proof that you are trustworthy and popular in the eyes of others in your niche. To gain this trust from others in your niche you’re going to have to publish content so remarkable and valuable that others (including influencers) in your niche will share it with their networks by tweeting it, digging it, emailing it, and linking to it on their blogs.

A great way to capture the attention of others in your niche and get them excited about one of your posts is to gather relevant statistics about your niche.

Take for example, Adam Singer of The Future Buzz wrote a post that used captured the curiosity of the marketing and online world.

The post, Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats, likely took a lot of time to put together, but the post ranks well for a moderately searched term and was shared numerous times over the Web – retweeted, shared on Facebook, Stumbled, Dugg, etc.

The post now ranks in the top 3 for the term Social Media Stats. While this keyword phrase does not get a ton of traffic each month, it does bring in some traffic from search engines and likely brings in tons of traffic from the sites that link to the post on The Future Buzz.

One term that would be interesting to test this technique for would be Media Industry.

This keyword phrase has much more traffic and it’d be interesting to see if a well-shared and well linked-to post covering media industry stats would rank well.

Summary

If you want to rank in the top ten for a keyword phrase similar to “your niche industry stats” or “your niche industry” you can gather together stats that are available on the Web already and bring them together one place (and don’t forget to cite your sources).

It takes some time to gather the information together, but once the content in place it’s a valuable resource for others in your industry and it serves are a way for your customers to justify spending money.

What are your thoughts?

Have you used interesting stats in your blog posts – possibly as a lede to start your posts?

Have you done an entire post that includes statistics related to your niche industry?

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Image courtesy of Irargerich

Social Media Strategy – Levenger

Levenger mastered the social media game before social media became a buzzword

Levenger Pen and Paper

Today I received my email notification about the new blog post by Levenger CEO Steve Leveen. The post was a great list post of gift ideas for the holiday season – all available from Levenger.

I clicked on a few of the items I thought were interesting and eventually made my way to the customer reviews and comments… Shirt Pocket Briefcase®

Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase

After reading a few comments and watching a few of the video reviews customers have submitted to the Levenger site I realized something – Levenger understood the most important rule – connecting – of social media a long time ago.

Since their inception, Levenger has worked to form long-term connections with each of their passionate customers. The passion and connection he company and its customers share is what leads to amazing results in what is today referred to as online social media.

Levenger’s customers love giving feedback on the products they purchase. Customers even take the time to add photos to their customer reviews. Some of the most dedicated customers even take the time to create video reviews.

It isn’t only on their site that Levenger is having an impact. On the popular connecting site, Twitter, Levenger’s customers rave about their new Levenger products. They rave about the way they are treated by the company and how happy they are with their purchases.

This is a situation most companies dream about and strive for.

So how was Levenger able to accomplish such social media success?

Let’s take a closer look…

Connections

On November 2, 1995, Mrs. Kathryn Bricker of Sarasota, Florida, called to order a Slim Shirt Pocket Briefcase. She was our one-millionth order.

Stories such as this are plentiful in the history of Levenger. The people in the company believe that they are forming respectful relationships with customers rather than simply selling products for serious readers.

For Levenger, the business grew out of the connection and understanding they share with their customers – serious readers and writers.

Since the inception of Levenger in the mid-eighties, through the nineties, and through today, Levenger has used the available tools and channels to connect with their customer. They’ve accepted the Web even when others may see their products as being ancient in relation to digital.

As the digital age came, so did the age of connection and accessibility.

Rather than reject the new technology, Levenger understood the need to enhance their connection with their most passionate customers by continuing to provide the best tools for serious readers while using emerging communication tools to enhance the customers-business relationship.

Social media strategy begins with a connection. A business that focuses on building long-term, valuable connections with individuals will naturally understand social media – no matter what the latest technology is.

As long as there is acceptance and yearning for enhancements in connection, companies will find success.

Telling a Story

Levenger, like many companies, tells a story.

They form a connection with their customers by telling compelling stories. The major difference, however, with Levenger is that they focus on the stories of their customers.

It seems like a simple concept, but most business are quick to tell their own story. Telling your own story is important, but highlighting the stories ahead of your own is more powerful than putting yourself and your business as the main focus.

Levenger benefits from being genuinely interested and enthused to share the stories of how customers use Levenger products to do remarkable things.

What are the stories your customers can tell?

How can you highlight those stories in a way that connects with others who share the same passions?

Target Audience

Something Levenger has always focused on is their core target customer.

Levenger found a group of passionate readers and writers that enjoy their tools for writing and read more than anything else in life (when it comes to disposable income). Levenger uses their customers’ passion to guide the decision to create innovative products that satisfy the dedicated reader/writer’s needs and wants.

Levenger Tweet

As I mentioned in 2010 | The New Normal Hunting Economy, consumers revert to what they are most passionate about when their disposable income decreases. It isn’t that consumers don’t want more things, their ability to supply their demand is limited.

In today’s economy, successful businesses use their connections with their passionate customers to learn and grow while continuing to satisfy existing customers while continuing to attract other passionate individuals. It likely won’t lead to extreme short-term growth,  but it can lead to sustained growth.

Levenger seems to be succeeding at this growth strategy.

Long-Term Strategy

Connecting is a long-term strategy – not a short-term tactic.

From their inception, Levenger has been working to make connections with passionate readers and writers. As a result of this company mission they have always been able to find success with the changing social communication tools.

I often see posts today on Twitter or Facebook. These posts often have tips and tricks for finding success. My favorite posts on technology tools like Twitter and Facebook, however, are the posts that discuss the communication and connecting benefits that the tools provide while looking at connecting and communication in a larger perspective.

Companies that succeed with social media today do so because of their long-term outlook and strategy. Successful companies approach social media tools by looking for the long-term advantages of the tool as a way to add value to their business-customer connection.

Levenger gains long-term customers one at a time.

As a result, they are successful with social media today.

Summary

If I haven’t said it enough, social media is a long-term strategy.

A business can try short-term tactics for connecting, but a long-term strategy of working to build connections with a passionate target audience is the best route for sustainable success.

Levenger has set out to provide the best products for passionate readers and writers since its very beginning. There have been periods of growth in demand from others who may not be the most passionate about their products, but sustained growth over a long period is possible at Levenger because they look to acquire passionate customers one at a time.

Focus on your customer’s story and giving is the key to success for sustainable success in social media.

Short-term focused strategies can be successful…in the short-term.

But to stay up-to-date with the latest communication tools, it’s best to start a long-term connection strategy today to prepare for tomorrow.

How is your company working to build connections with passionate individuals?

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50 Viral Videos (and how they spread)

This post was inspired by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz and TopRank Online Marketing. Adam’s original post 50 Viral Images (and how they spread) was a big hit and so was his follow up 50 Viral Images Part Two. Adam is one of the best sources for marketing knowledge. He’s had multiple success with successful companies in developing long-term marketing strategies.

Get your popcorn ready…

Old Film

Along with the inspiration from Adam, I was inspired to write this post also by questions from leaders in the hunting industry concerning the importance of online video for hunting business marketing strategy. It seems most people always inquire about viral videos because of the appeal of having a target audience share a piece of video content across many channels with friends, family, and peers.

As I wrote in The Impact of Online Video in the Hunting Industry:

Creating video that is shared amongst your target audience is an obvious goal for any online video strategy.

Often when we think of viral video the first things that come to mind are guys performing crazy stunts on You Tube or babies being caught saying funny things. It’s mostly America’s Funniest Home Video-type stuff.

But to create focused viral video there is a formula you should take so the results of your video going viral have the highest potential for actual return on your invested time and money.

The formula is from 3 Viral Video Ideas:

(Clever Entertainment) + (Sharability) + (Target Audience) + (Product/Service/Personal Brand Tie-in) – (Push-Marketing) = (Successful Viral Video)

As you’ll see, some of these videos have all the successful elements of the viral video formula while others are missing some of the pieces.

Let’s take a look at 50 viral videos…

Multitek North America 2040 XP2 Firewood Processor

Visit the site – Multitek North America Firewood Processors

Lion Attacking Hunters on Safari

World Elk Calling Competition

Visit the site – Hunting Life

Roe Deer Butchering Part 3 – The Hunting Life

Visit the site – The Hunting Life

P&Y Illinois Buck Hunt

Visit the site – Bowhunting.com

Carbon Express F15 Dual Blade Broadhead

Visit the site – Carbon Express

Bowhunting Ducks

Visit the site – Landslide Productions

New Mexico Bull Elk Bow Hunt

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt

Visit the site – Two Wheel’n After Elk – Base Camp Legends

Horse & Buggy Elk Hunt from Sue Sorenson on Vimeo.

Awesome Whitetail Deer Fight

Visit the site – Stone Ledge Texas

Broadhead Test

Monster Whitetails with Double Bull Archery

Visit the site – LiveHunt.com

HuntingClub.com – Brock Lesnar Hunting Whitetail Buck

Visit the site – North American Hunting Club

New World Record Whitetail

Bow Hunting Whitetails: The Triple Beam Buck

Visit the site – Mannion Outdoors

Trophy Mule Deer Hunting

Visit the site – Carlmann Outfitting

Mulies Gone Wild Vol. 3

Visit the site – MossBack Productions Guides & Outfitters

Texas Hog Hunting

Visit the site – Texas Hunt Fish

Gun Cleaning – Properly cleaning barrels on a shotgun

Visit the site – Midway USA

BowTech Destroyer and David Blanton

Visit the sites – Realtree Outdoors and BowTech Archery

Hoyt Web Clips – Draw Length Myths

Visit the site – Hoyt Archery

Buckmasters Jackie Bushman Video Mixup

Visit the site – Buckmasters

“The one that I was on was bigger.”

Moose Hunting – Female Moose Tastes Broadhead

Alaska Moose Hunting with Clearwater Alaska Outfitters

Visit the site – Clearwater Alaska Outfitters

Wolves vs. Grizzly Bears

Visit the site – National Geographic

Ten Point Bowkill

Visit the site – Parson’s Outdoors

Deer Hunting VS-1 Whitetail Deer Scents

Visit the site – Whitetail Shopping

Drop Tine Whitetail Hunt – Saskatchewan Outdoors

Visit the site – Saskatchewan Outdoors

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Clay Target Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

A 13-Foot-Long Shotgun – Loading Clip

Visit the site – Field & Stream

Deer Calling Tips: Tending Grunt Sequence

Visit the site – Field & Stream and Deer Doctor

Bow Hunting Boone & Crockett Whitetail Bucks

Visit the site – Hawg-N-Sons

Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mel Johnson

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Dan Miller Buck

Whitetail Big Bucks Only

Visit the site – Wild Whitetail

Deer Gets Revenge on Hunter

The Sasquatch Buck

Heart Attack Bucks

Visit the site – Saskatchewan Outdoors

Monster Buck in City – Des Moines, IA

Visit the site – Zach Wildlife Art

Hal and Len Go Huntin’ Giant Whitetails Part 3

Legendary Whitetails Monster Buck Mossy Horns

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Whitetail Freaks – One of the Biggest Deer in the World

Visit the site – Deer Gear

Locked Bucks – Whitetail Deer

Elk Kill Bow Hunting 35 Yards

Bow Hunting Wild Boar

Bow Hunting for Squirrels

Visit the site – Garzilla Guide Service

Deer Hunting – Bow Hunt 9 Point Buck

Visit the site – Hunting Footage

Bowhunting Pheasants

Visit the site – Parson’s Outdoors

Blacktail Bucks HawkeyeBilt Archery Bowhunting Oregon Deer

Visit the site – HawkeyeBilt

Bowhunting in Kentucky

Visit the site – Lost River Game Calls

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The Top 10 Twitter Landing Pages

“A twitter landing page is a page on your blog or website that is specifically written for those arriving at your blog having clicked on the link in your twitter profile.” – Darren Rowse (@Problogger) of Problogger

Airplane Landing

Darren has written what I believe to be the best argument for creating a custom Twitter landing page.

Please read: Develop a Twitter Landing Page

Marketing, thanks to the advances in connection and communication on the Web, is giving people a chance to meet on an individual level. The Web allows businesses and to move away from segmenting and toward a more individual relationship with consumers.

With a landing page you are acknowledging the specific individuals that click on the link on your Twitter profile.

Twitter Landing Page

Rather than sending individuals that visit your Website via your Twitter profile to your company’s home page or to your personal blog home page, you’re sending them to a more personalized landing page with targeted and relevant content.

By providing relevant content and information for specific visitors, you increase the chances of gaining a longtime follower.

I’ve looked through my list of followers and those I follow on Twitter to find the 10 best Twitter landing pages – surprisingly there were very few who had landing pages. I’d say (and this by no means scientific – it’s actually only a rough estimate of my own Twitter community – that less than 5% of Twitter users have Twitter landing pages).

Let’s take a look at each of the 10 best…

1| …

It turns out that not many people in my Twitter community have Twitter landing pages. And since there are relatively few Twitter landing pages I didn’t think it would be right to do a ‘Best of’ list after doing some searching.

Do you have a Twitter landing page?

If so please let me know by leaving the link to your Twitter landing page in the comments below. I’d love to include a full write-up about you and your site in this post.

Social Identities

Social Identities creates amazing images and design for businesses and individuals using social media. Custom themes, backgrounds, and other images including logos and blog graphics. Customized and stunning imagery is important for any business looking to connect with their target audience. A successful image can communicate your business message and mission to your customer in an instant.

Follow Hugh on Twitter – @HughBriss

Visit the Sites

Social Identities

Twitter Image

I like the custom theme for Barrington Gifts:

Barrington Gifts Twitter Background

View all of Hugh’s Custom Twitter Backgrounds

Facebook Pages

Custom Ning Themes

Creating Your Own Page

If you’d like, I’ll help you develop your own Twitter landing page. Just contact me (Contact Form at the bottom) and let’s get your page up. 🙂

Here are a few I found via the Problogger article and Google:

About Darren Rowse (@problogger)

Blog for Profit Twitter Landing Page

Free From Broke Twitter Landing Page

About EH Design & Consulting (@ehdesign)

Miscellaneaarts Twitter Landing Page

HBM Twitter Landing Page

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share my own Twitter landing page for HBM: Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing.

I named it something more generic so I could potentially use it for other social media. The posts I highlight what I think are the most valuable posts on HBM along with Twitter Related Posts.

What to read next on Hunting Business Marketing

Use Twitter to Improve Your Business

Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity

Ways to Increase Traffic

What to read next on the Web

In A Connected Society, Comprehension Of Sociology Is King

Twitter Landing Page

Twitter Landing Pages, 10 Elements of a Successful Twitter Landing Page

Image courtesy of .faramarz on Flickr

Ways to Increase Traffic

It’s the number one question for Website owners and managers

Long Exposure Traffic

image credit: Nelson D.

Part of the process for Comment and Receive a Copy of Hunting Business Marketing | The Book was to leave your frustration in the comments. The comments you left were great and I think we’re going to get some great blog posts as a result.

First, a big thanks to those who commented:

Ben G of Ben G Outdoors

JoAnna Zurinsky of My Bullet Points

Marc Reindell of Wildlife Callers

Scott Solar of Shotgunner.la

Willie of Outdoor Freaks

Native of Native Hunt (HBM Member)

Terri Lee of Camp Wild Girls

Rudy Hassall of Winded Bowhunter

There were two themes concerning frustrations in the comments:

1| Increase traffic, gain more followers, gain more subscribers, etc

2| Making money with a blog or Website

Let’s address these two frustrations with a two-part series starting with increasing traffic.

Stay tuned for the follow up…

Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

This is definitely the most asked question of any business owner looking to expand their Web presence. Getting traffic (and quality traffic) to your Website is something that will drive revenue for your business and expand your Web presence, which means connections that can turn into long-term business partnerships.

My view for getting traffic has been that there are generally two ways for most Websites and businesses to acquire visitors:

1| Save time and pay with money

2| Save money and pay with time

The exceptions to these rules are the sites that find a way to really connect and capture the attention of a wide variety of Web users who become passionate about what the site is doing and promote it on their own simply through their passion.

Even those sites take a lot of time (and potentially money) to setup their success…and even then nothing is guaranteed.

It’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. And it’s not a bad thing. There is a lot of opportunities to grow your site’s traffic. Some take lots of effort and time. Some take money. Some take little effort, little time, and no money.

Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to increase visitors (and quality visitors to your site)…

Before you start, check out the previous HBM articles tagged: Traffic

Spending Time

Depending on how much time you have to commit to your Web presence, there are lots of things that you can do today and continue doing for months and years that will grow your following.

Here is a list of a few of the ways:

Write Remarkable Content

It’s something that we all generally get tired of hearing, but sharing remarkable content is really what makes an impact on the Web. People on the Web like things that are interesting and make their lives more interesting or in other words they like things that make their lives more valuable – to them and to others in their lives. There’s a reason why Justin from @ShitMyDadSays (my apologies for the bad language) has over half a million followers on Twitter – his Dad says interesting things. It’s really that simple yet it’s really difficult to be interesting. But if you can be remarkable and interesting you’ll make an impact on the Web. Focus on what is interesting to your target visitors.

Comment on Other Blogs

One of the ways I’ve been able to generate some quality traffic is by commenting on other blogs. This can take some time as you learn what sites share your same target audience. It also takes time to actually read through hundreds of posts while you settle on just a few that will potentially be worth your time. Comment on those posts that have the most potential to return traffic to your site. Add value to the post you comment on – don’t waste their time.

For more see: How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

Participate in Forums

Just like blog posting, participating in forums takes time, but can lead to lots of traffic for your Website. Just as with a blog, you get to leave your URL so those who find your comments in the forum interesting can find their way to your site by clicking on your username and finding your other remarkable content. It takes time, but it’s worth it if you target the correct forums.

For more see: How to Properly Use Forums

Internal Linking

One of the things that takes some time, but really is worth the time investment is internal linking. If you’ve been reading this post you’ve probably noticed that I’ve linked to a few posts as well as other areas on HBM. It’s not only a way to provide value to visitors by expanding on thoughts, but it increases page views and time spent on site per user.

External Linking

If you read the blog posts on HBM you’ll also notice that I link to at least three posts not on HBM. I also occasionally link to sites and posts throughout my own posts. This has been a great way to increase the traffic to my site for two reasons:

1| When you link to other blogs and sites the owner each particular blog and site often gets a notice of your link and they are often curious about who is linking to them. They check out your site and you have a potential reader

2| Most blogs have pingbacks or trackbacks. These blogs allow their readers to view who is linking to their post (it shows how popular their post is) and those readers have the option to click on your link. More traffic.

Link to posts that are relevant off your own site and start making valuable connections.

For more see: Make Every Post a Link Post

Guest Posting

New bloggers need to consider guest posting as a way to drive traffic. Most successful bloggers find their most growth as a result of guest posting. While it seems that you’d be giving away great content to other sites when you guest post, you’re actually borrowing the attention of other bloggers and interjecting your knowledge and interesting character to potential readers of your blog. Provide valuable content to other blogs and look to expand your audience.

For more see: Grow Your Followers like a Country Music Singer

Spending Money

Businesses that have sufficient budgets to gain quality traffic have many options for making an impact on the Web. Most programs on the Web that require payment can still stay within a smaller budget. The impact generally increases exponentially the more you are able to spend and reinvest as you gain sales.

Here are a few of the best ways to utilize your budget:

Ad Words

When it comes to advertising and getting quality return for your dollar, Google is always a good bet. Many businesses, in many areas of industry, have had success driving traffic and sales via Google AdWords. The program is very simple and has the biggest company and smartest individuals working to increase its effectiveness. You can spend as little or as much as you want.

Facebook Advertising

I’ve found success with Facebook Advertising. The technology has gotten more useful over time and I think they’re going in great directions with mining all of their immense user data. I found more success for driving traffic for a membership site similar to Facebook (free membership) than I have for driving sales or anything paid. Perhaps you will find more success.

For more see: How to Use Facebook Advertising (Subscribers Only – Join for $20)

StumbleUpon Advertising

I have never actually used StumbleUpon Advertising, but based on the success I’ve had with natural traffic via StumbleUpon (see below) I’m guessing it’s pretty impactful and beneficial. Check it out and let us know if you have success driving revenue and profit for your business.

Affiliates

There are many sites on the Web that are dedicated to driving traffic and driving sales for businesses that sell things via the Web. If you have something to sell, look into the technology available to develop an affiliate program (Commission Junction is one). It’s a good way to give up a little margin in return for more unit sales.

SEO Provider/Service

Sometimes paying to learn can be most beneficial for your specific business. It takes a certain person who is willing to take both the time and monetary investment to go out and participate in learning atmospheres. There are many SEO providers/services out there who will work for you to not only do your Paid Advertising and Natural Traffic for you, but they’ll teach you techniques that will benefit you in the long-term. Consider these as options if you’re willing to spend both time and money for long-term gain.

Contests

People are always looking for deals. If you have access to prizes, try a few contests as ways to get followers, sales, email addresses, etc.

Simple Changes

Some good news for you – there are things you can do to potentially increase your traffic right now that will potentially impact the number of people visiting your site, increase the time those individuals spend on your site, and increase the number of pages those individuals view per visit.

Here are a few of the simple things you can do now to increase your traffic:

Stumble Upon

One of the things I’ve had success with for one-off traffic is StumbleUpon. The traffic I’ve received from StumbleUpon has generally come fast once a page on the site has been stumbled and that traffic has lasted anywhere from about an hour up to about 24 hours. StumbleUpon and its users are very effective at choosing the best content on the Web per my observation. It’s generally my higher quality content that gets stumbled and also receives the most visits after being stumbled. I have also noticed that photos are something the users of StumbleUpon like to see. Almost all of the posts in the Flickr Creative Commons Series have had success with getting traffic via StumbleUpon.

For more details, please read: A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon

Twitter

I use Twitter as a way to drive contests, traffic to posts, and other things. I also use Twitter to share the content of others. I try to share others’ content more than my own so I’m not spamming too much. Twitter takes some time and effort, but the return I’ve seen in connections alone would be well worth the investment. The monetary return I’ve seen has been an added bonus.

Join Twitter and look to make connections by adding value any way you can.

Improve Your Titles

Titles are important to driving traffic to your blog and site. The Cosmo Headline Strategy is a great way to write remarkable and eye-catching titles for your posts. Usually, someone’s first introduction to your site is a title on a search engine result or a title on someone’s site. Consider the things that will entice people to click while remembering that the title still has to be truthful in what your post will provide.

Write Content that Visitors can Scan

Web users love to scan content. There is so much content on the Web that people need to scan most of it before they decide if they will read your arguments on topics. Use headlines, sections and call-outs to make your content easy for people to scan. If your write strong lists and strong headings you’ll get people to stop and pay attention.

For more see: 42 Marketing Lists from The Future Buzz

Highlight Others

One of the most successful ways I’ve been able to make connections on the Web and thus drive traffic has been highlighting the success of others. When you participate in social media like Twitter or when you’re writing content for a blog post, write about how amazing and remarkable others are. Write about the folks who may be wanting for some attention and who are looking to make connections. Feed their appetites and see your traffic increase as the conversation about you spreads.

For more see: Highlight Others

More Resources on the Web

New Bloggers: Need Traffic?

25 Ways to Build Your Community

Ad Swaps: A Smart and Easy Way to Get Free Traffic

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

5 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic on Your Website

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

The NFL Guide to Website Traffic

Related posts on the Web

Three simple actions that doubled my website traffic in 30 days

How to Find Readers for Your Blog

How I’d Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

Don’t Rock the Blog Title

Inspiration often strikes when you least expect

Record Jukebox

image credit Fimb

Alan Jackson is one of my all-time favorite singers and songwriters. With his music and words, he tells simple stories that pull all emotions out of listeners. Jackson tells stories of family, growing up, girls, appreciating the simple wonders in life, and all the struggles along the way that make us appreciate all the good.  After 20 years, 15 albums, 25 number one singles, and 50 million albums Alan Jackson is still playing for sold-out stadiums and recording hit music. Sometime in the late 1980s, Jackson came up with the title and main hook for one of his biggest hit singles, Don’t Rock the Jukebox.

I think it’s an apt comparison to look at the song writing process and the blog writing process. Writers for both communication mediums look for a content format, a voice, and a marketing effort to put their versions of life’s little stories into the minds of specific audiences.

I’m always fascinated by the stories behind the songs we learn to love. There always seems to be a unique story of inspiration behind the best songs. It’s usually something unexpected that occurs that sparks creativity in the songwriter and the magic takes over after that as the writer(s) format their inspiration into words and music that will connect with an audience looking for inspiration themselves.

Let’s take a look at how you can use the same technique for your blog writing…

Be Aware

In How to Write a Blog Post I discuss that it’s important to start with the title of a blog post when you set out to write a post for your audience. However, coming up with an inspiring title is often the most difficult part of writing a blog post even though it may seem like it would be the easiest.

In songwriting, it seems that some of the best songs titles or hooks, come out of single moments of inspiration – eureka moments. The idea for Don’t Rock the Jukebox came at an unexpected time for Alan Jackson, but he was able to recognize the clever lyric and put it to a good country melody.

Inspiration for your blog titles can come from any source and at any moment in time. Hanging out with friends, family or co-workers can potentially lead to some conversation that will result in a classic blog title. When you’re sitting in your tree stand watching the woodland critters runaround can spark a thought that can turn into your best blog post.

Opportunities for great blog titles happen each day in your life and the reason they often lead to the best blog posts are because your own experiences are often similar to those of your audience. And when you take a clever outlook on something that happens to you in your life it’s likely your audience will connect with your message.

Alan Jackson realized he had a clever hook with Don’t Rock the Jukebox. He also must have realized that he and his audience all shared the same outlook on music – Don’t rock the jukebox/I want to hear some Jones.

Be aware of your inspirational moments and write about your passions. This is how you’ll connect with your audience through blogging.

Let it flow

Sometimes the titles you come up with using this method of inspiration will tend to be a little strange or even on the edge of ridiculous. Don’t worry, let your supporting thoughts flow as your outline your blog post and fill in the body with content that builds on the idea you came up with when you wrote the blog title.

I think the writer’s at Copyblogger have a great knack for writing posts based on clever blog titles. Some of their titles border on ridiculous, but they know who their audience is (bloggers) and it’s for this reason that the titles usually make sense to readers while also standing out as interesting titles that readers can’t help but click on when browsing the Web for content.

I’m sure that when Alan Jackson sat down with his producer, Keith Stegall and co-writer Roger Murrah there were a few laughs shared as they thought about the clever hook they were basing a country song on. However, out of this writing session came a song that captured an emotion the audience shared and the writers and musicians were able to capture a mood that the audience wanted to hear repeatedly for many years.

When you come up with a great idea for a blog post let your imagination and creativity run. Let your thoughts flow as you get caught up in the moment of capturing inspiration with words. When artificial barriers don’t hinder your true feelings and emotions you’ll see that the points you express will connect with others who share your same worldviews and sentiments towards the topic of discussion.

Let your creativity flow as you take a seemingly ridiculous title and create a passionate blog post.

Summary

Coming up with clever, eye-catching, and relevant blog titles is no easy task.  Yet if you can learn a few tricks from writers, you can figure out ways to make sure you’re capturing all of the wonderful blog post ideas that happen around you each day.

Songwriters come up with clever song titles (or hooks) to songs at times when they least expect it, yet they’re always ready to at least jot down an idea so they can build on the idea later. Alan Jackson recognized a quality country song title with Don’t Rock the Jukebox at a moment he probably least expected. He kept the title in mind and later let the creativity flow as he sat down with his songwriting partners. The result was a catchy, classic country song that still finds relevance with audiences today.

Inspiration can strike at any moment when it comes to songwriting and blog titles. Will you be ready to capture the moment the next you’re sitting in front of your computer, hands on the keyboard when all of a sudden somebody bumps your hands and you say…

Don’t Rock the Blog Title

Bonus

I wouldn’t leave you hanging without sharing a video of the story behind the great country song Don’t Rock the Jukebox on CMT.

Alan’s tale:

We were playing this little truck stop lounge in Virginia. I took a break and walked over to the jukebox and Roger, our bass player, was over there and one of the legs was broken off the jukebox and it was wobbling around and he looked over at me and said…

Don’t Rock the Jukebox on You Tube

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

50 Inspirational Images to Inspire Blog Titles

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

The George Strait Guide to a Lifelong, Fulfilling, and Successful Career

Related posts on the Web

Titles That Tell a Whole Story

Why Some People Almost Always Write Great Post Titles

How to Write Magnetic Headlines

How to Write a Blog Post

I was never good in English class

Fountain Pen

image credit: L_Dan

I like to talk about starting a blog for your hunting business. Here are a few of the past posts I’ve written on blogging:

4 Ways You Can Use a Blog to Improve Your Hunting Website

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog

The First 4 Days of Your New Hunting Blog

A Plan for Increasing Your Web Presence: The First 3 Months

Writing a blog takes a lot of effort and continued dedication, but the benefits are numerous and the payoff can be large in terms of sales and connections in the hunting industry. The difficult things about having a successful blog are actually starting it, staying dedicated, and putting in the effort and testing it takes to find your voice.

Most likely you are not afraid of starting your own hunting business blog. You’re already an entrepreneur and have the guts to start your own hunting business so starting things is not something new to you.

What usually takes some time when starting your blog, however, is learning how to format a blog post that your audience will read, share, and connect with.

[private_member]

A Short Story

I struggled in my high school English class.

My teacher was always trying to get me to be creative and share the things I was thinking. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t have the motivation to put forth some kind of effort in high school English, but perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I was isolated to a cement-walled classroom, we were discussing content I couldn’t connect with at the time, or that it was high school and I only had basketball, golf, and girls on my mind.

Or maybe I was just little bit lazy.

Whatever the reason – I didn’t like writing and I had little interest in expanding my writing skills. And it wasn’t until a few years later that I took an interest in creative writing.

Today, I enjoy writing about the things I love: Marketing and Hunting.

I realize, however, that simply writing about what I love differs from writing about what I love in a way that is easy for hunting business owners to digest, learn from, connection with, and share with other hunting business owners.

While writing this blog and while writing various emails, meeting summaries, and other business memos I’ve realized that the ability to connect with others via the written word requires a format that makes sense to the readers you’re trying to connect with.

Here is the outline I’ve come up with that you can use to possibly be a beginning guide for your blog posts as your work to connect with your audience.

Starting with a Title

I’ve always found that it’s easiest to start a new blog post with an idea that comes from a moment of inspiration. This moment of inspiration often turns into the title of the post. Having the title written down right away from the beginning at the top of the page also serves as a reminder of the topic of the post as I write the content.

Usually what happens is I’ll have a thought – something like:

Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity (Inspired by Record Companies)

Use Others to Find Motivation

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

There are other times when I want to sit down and write a post and I can’t think of an idea for the title. This is usually when I’ll turn to unique resources to find that spark of inspiration. One of the best tricks of blog titles is one mentioned on the great blogging blog, Copyblogger:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

I thought enough of this post to include it as #3 in my post:

7 Unconventional Web Tools and Resources for Your Marketing Initiatives

Hint: It also works with Men’s Health so you don’t have to visit Cosmo’s site if you don’t want.

I’m looking at a Men’s Health magazine on the table next to be right now and I’m seeing a few potential titles for blog posts:

Men’s Health Title: Life’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

HBM’s Title: The Web’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

Your Title: Bow Hunting’s Biggest Mysteries – Solved!

Don’t tell me you can’t think of a few hunters who would see that last title and click on it right away looking to find out exactly what the answers to hunting’s biggest mysteries are.

The theory behind Men’s Health and Cosmo titles is that they are eye-catching and impactful when people are looking for content. These magazines have the best headlines and article titles in the writing business so why not use them for inspiration for your own blog posts?

Here is another one:

Men’s Health Title: 8 Lessons All Dads Should Teach

HBM’s Title: 8 Lessons All Outfitters Should Teach

Your Title: 8 Hunting Lessons All Parents Should Teach

This is an example of a list post. People love list posts and articles because they’re easy to browse for content. (For more on lists read Adam Singer’s A Guilty Pleasure of the Blogosphere and Social Media: Lists). Web readers will often scan content looking for the main points and if the article appears interesting they’ll dive deeper into the content. This is important to remember for formatting purposes, which I’ll discuss later.

One last example:

Men’s Health Title: Your Shortcut to Four-Star Meals

HBM’s Title: Your Shortcut to Four-Star Blog Posts

Your Title: Your Shortcut to 150-Class Whitetail

This is a great way to spark inspiration for blog titles and there are many more sources of ideas for blog titles.

The important thing to remember is that your posts should be aimed at being beneficial for your blogging audience. This takes focus and you’ll have to throw out some ideas that don’t fit the needs of your readers. Have a picture of a single person who you believe is your true reader and always write with the intent of providing value for them.

Let the Topic Grow From the Title

Usually when I write a blog post, I have a small vision of what I want the final product to be as it relates to the title. The topic grows and expands as I think about what the title means for you and your hunting business.

For example, when I wrote Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity, I thought it was an interesting headline and that would draw attention. The vision I had was to use a technique from the recording industry as inspiration for bloggers.

Eventually the post grew to include examples, a few suggestions, and hopefully some inspiring words. The idea that started as the title grew into a complete topic with the focus of providing useful tips.

The next step was to outline the topic and vision into a simple and digestible format.

Outline

I’ve found that outlining a blog post is the best way to create focused, valuable content for readers.

Once I have a title, vision, and topic for a blog post, I outline the post with headings and subheadings before filling in any body content. I’ve found that the heading and subheading format is easy to digest for readers as opposed to large paragraphs or large blocks of copy.

The closer your blog posts are to list format the better. This is not saying that all of your posts should or should not be list posts. However, having headings and subheadings makes it easy for readers to scan the article first for the most important content (the headings). Once the reader scans the headings, they’ll decide whether or not the article is worth reading in its entirety. So it’s important to have strong thoughts to support each heading and sub-heading.

Once you have your outline prepared it’s time to fill in the blanks.

Fill in the Blanks

Filling in the blanks under your title, headings, and sub-headings is generally easy because at this point you have your mind focused on the topic you would like to communicate to your audience.

It doesn’t usually matter at this point what order you take to fill in the blanks. You can skip back and forth between headings and sub-headings depending on where you’re having the inspiration to write.

With Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity, I started filling in the blanks for each of the four recording artist examples, but skipped ahead to fill in the three sub-headings under Using the Technique for your Content. Writing the text for the examples sparked some inspiration and I wanted to skip ahead and write down my thoughts before I forgot (this happens to me quite often).

Don’t worry too much about order when filling in the blanks. Make sure you give time to each area and reinforce your headings and sub-headings substantially before deciding that the arguments and suggestions you’re making are sufficient.

I like to include an intro after the title as well to lead into the blog post. This fits into the old writing cliché that a writer should tell the readers what the post is about, then provide the post, and then remind them of what they just read. So you can see that I also generally like to include a summary at the end of each post as well. This is also nice for scanners who like to skip ahead to summaries and determine if they should go back and read the entire post for more detail.

Once you’ve filled in the blanks you can edit, link, and publish the blog post.

Edit, Link, and Publish

By the time I reach the editing and linking stage of the blog post, I’m eager to get the post published and out in front of readers.

However, it’s important to read through the post you’ve just authored and edit where necessary and link to sources and related content where appropriate. This process seems like it takes a little bit to complete, but it’s well worth the effort to ensure your blog post is high quality and valuable for your readers.

When scanning through your new blog post, make sure to check and make sure that each thought is in the correct area of the post. I often move information from the intro to the body of the blog post if I feel I should only give a short summary in the intro and further, more in-depth thought underneath a corresponding heading within the body.

I like to include related articles on from Hunting Business Marketing as well as articles from other sources on the Web. Adam Singer at The Future Buzz does an excellent job of explaining the advantages of linking to other articles off your own blog and Website with Make Every Post a Link Post.

It’s also important to use the new text you’ve written as entry points for your archives. If you touch on important areas within your new blog post that relate back to previous posts, you can link to those posts using the relevant text.

For example, if I write the phrase utilize your blog archives I can link to the post Aggregate Your Archives to Capitalize on New Popularity. This way I utilize the important text within the new post as an entry to related posts from the archives. It’s a way to revitalize your archives by allowing readers who either forgot or have never seen important posts you’ve already written.

The anchor text you use for your links (internal and external) is an important consideration for optimizing not only your own content, but also the content of the sites you link. Anchor text includes all of the text (or keywords) you include in your link (external or internal). For example, Motivation – the word ‘motivation’ is the anchor text. Be sure to keep keywords (yours and those of the sites you link to) when doing your linking. The golden rule applies here. If you generously link to other bloggers and site owners with quality, keyword-targeted anchor text, it’s likely you’ll get some good karma coming your way. 🙂

For more interesting thoughts on anchor text, read: Only the First Anchor Text Counts from SEOmoz.

Once you’ve read your post, made necessary edits, and linked to relevant resources you can publish your article and begin sharing it with your audience.

Share

An important and often forgot part of writing a blog post is sharing.

After your brand new blog post is published, shiny, and new it’s time to start letting your audience know that you have a new post for them to read and enjoy and hopefully use as a valuable resource of information. Make sure your posts include automated sharing tools for social content sharing sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious, etc. Also use an RSS feed provider like Feedburner so users can subscribe to your blog posts in a reader.

I usually post on Twitter that I have a new blog post available for followers.

If you have an email newsletter or similar email contact strategy you can include your latest posts when you send an update to your subscribers.

Also make sure to mention your posts, when appropriate, on other blogs, in forums, and anywhere else in the Web where your audience is asking for the content you are writing about.

Share is an important part of ensuring your blog post is successful so don’t forget this important step.

Summary

Writing, publishing, and sharing blog posts that relate to your business’s customers is not as daunting as it may seem at first. Go through a few steps as a guide for your blog posting and you’ll fall into a groove that allows you to former more meaningful connections with your current and future customers. Blogs are also great ways to gain attention for your company’s Website.

Start with the title and let the topic form as you focus on what your readers are looking for from your blog. Outline the most important thoughts you have for the post with headings and sub-headings. Fill in the blanks with your expanding thoughts to add in-depth value for each of the headings. Edit your post for simply grammatical errors and rearrange your content so it flows well and takes the reader through a story – always tell your reader a story with your posts. Link to your archives and to relevant articles throughout the Web to expand with resources your readers will find valuable. Finally, publish your post and begin sharing it with your audience so they can enjoy your brand new blog post.

Ultimately I think it’s best to test various formats while keeping a few things in mind regarding Web users:

1| Web users like to scan

2| Web users like external and internal links to expand their reading

3| Web users like images

Finding the best format for your blog posts will take some testing so don’t be afraid to try various formats – new and old. Do what other successful bloggers do with their formats and see if it works for you. Try a few things until you find a format that is easy for you to use and valuable for your readers.

When I was in school I wasn’t a good writer because the topics we covered had no intrigue. Today I write about the things I love: Marketing and Hunting. My passion for these two things forced me to learn how to write effective blog posts in order for me to grow as a marketer and a hunter in the online world.

Discover your passion for writing by writing about what you care about – your business – and tell a story that will prove valuable for your target customers.

When you realize that writing is easy when you write about your passion, your blog will grow along with your business’s online presence (ultimately leading to more sales with new customers and expanded sales with existing customers).

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