We take a break from the regularly scheduled programs to bring you this special blog post: Ever felt the craving, curiosity or need to attend a blogging conference? Learn more about successful blogging? Are you sitting in your bed in your most comfy PJ’s and sad because you are not at Blogher 2011?
Well, guess what? You are invited to attend a virtual conference called ‘BlogHop Blog Conference At Home’. Yesterday, I told you about speaking at Techmunch but I did not tell you much about what I shared with everyone.
I am sharing the questions we were asked at TechMunch (on guest posts, driving traffic to your blog, using social media for your brand & how to make money blogging) and my thoughts. Please feel free to follow up with more questions!
When you are approached with an offer to share content in exchange for links, how do you evaluate those opportunities?
*It depends if it is for a brand for another blogger: If it is a guest post for another blogger, I often ask a guest post in exchange as this is a great way to introduce both audiences to a new blog. I also ask that in addition to a direct URL link at the end, that I be able to reference one specific post as that seems to drive more traffic than linking to my main URL.
*The site and its’ audience must be a good fit.
*For brands, I have not ever gotten much traffic from posts on their sites however, I do think that early on beneficial as name/brand gets out there. This is also a great way to establish a relationship with a brand you are passionate about however, be wary of handing out a bunch of your content for free.
What are some of the most important ways in which you’ve driven traffic to your blog? Were there specific sites/links that were most effective?
*Improving my food photographs and styling so that my photos are accepted and posted on sites such as foodgawker, tastespotting, tasteologie etc. Plus, we eat with our eyes so yummy photos ‘attract eyes’.
*Posting quality content on topics that are often searched for: feeding picky eaters, chicken recipes etc. (you can use google adwords keywords for some ideas on the best terms to use in the title)
*Guest posting on popular sites and using interlinking: I have some recipes on my site that are popular and I will base other articles based on them and link to them. For instance chicken: I may write a post on another site about Top 5 chicken recipes, 5 ways to dress up chicken, the best baked chicken tenders, chicken recipes for your picky eaters and link back to the tried and true favorites.
Do you have ways in which you effectively “repackage” your existing content?
*I write fresh articles and they may not need create a new recipes. You can also share tweets or Facebook messages that are original but relate to older content and by creating themed content: For example, I can create a post on ‘Gluten free dinners’or ‘Meals under 30 minutes’ by using some existing recipes. I have even simply typed in chicken in my blog and then maybe tweeted: Chicken doesn’t have to be boring: 8 refreshing recipes to impress your family’ (we all love fresh chicken ideas).
Do you use an editorial calendar?
*Yes, I find them help me not get stuck in writers block as I am planning and thinking ahead. For instance, I just started a regular feature post on Fridays titled ‘10 thing you didn’t know about me’ featuring other food bloggers. I currently have it planned out through the end of November and already have the content from the bloggers that are being featured.
* I have a huge wet erase calendar on my office wall. On one side it is the current month and on the back, the next two months. However, in the summer I tend just to keep on a long list of ideas, topics, dates etc. and do what I can when I can as I have my precious kiddos with me all day and moms need to play too.
How are you using Facebook and Twitter to engage people and drive traffic?
*Personally, I think Facebook as my way to interact with my readers more, find out what they want, their food interests and get to know them. Twitter is great for helping me network more with people with similar passions, talking about brands I love. In addition, PR & Advertising agencies are watching so tweet your genuine passions.
*Keep in mind that Twitter is famous for only allowing you 140 characters to write with, which can be a little bit limiting when you’re trying to drive traffic to a post. However, Facebook allows you 420 characters so I usually write a few sentences about my post so that it stands out a little bit more in someone’s news feed and adds a personal touch(I love being social!). Facebook also posts a small excerpt from your link and a photo to match it, which helps it to stand out more.
Do you have some tips on how to use social media most effectively?
*Find people with similar passions, expertise and interests and follow and engage with them. (such as wefollow.com)
*To manage my time and twitter stream, I have lists such as ‘food bloggers’, ‘social media’, ‘moms’ etc. that I engage with each day/week and also reply to tweets at me (@savorthethyme)
* When you engage on platforms such as Facebook, you behave in a social manner and are not marketing your business to people directly. Succeeding in social media marketing is achieved by branding yourself as an expert and sharing your passion about a topic.
* Social media is not about you, it is all about them. If you are at a party and only talk about yourself, chances are most people are not going to connect with you.
How do you change what type of content you share among your individual social media channels and your blog?
*My blog is more about giving valuable, quality content that people can trust. When I am on Facebook and Twitter, I am a bit more casual and get a bit sillier (although I do get silly on my blog as well). Also, on Facebook and twitter I try engage fans, followers and friends with a teaser or question and can banter/engage back and forth easily which is not true on the blog (social media = conversation but blogging = writing)
How can you make money blogging?
Naturally, many will think advertisements as a main source for providing income however, I have found ambassadorships with brands and recipe development to be most successful. I was also just hired this week as a consultant to help a brand’s identify other food bloggers to work with, and have also worked with brands in other aspects of social media: tweets, proactive and reactive questions and comments on Facebook and as a brand spokesperson.
I hope you found all is this information fabulous and useful – now go get ’em tiger!