Until recently I’ve considered myself an outsider admiring the blogosphere from afar, but that all changed two weeks ago when I was fortunate enough to get the inside scoop by representing Planit at the third annual FitBloggin’ conference held right here in Baltimore’s very own Inner Harbor. Amidst the CrossFit workouts; testing the latest and greatest products from sponsors like Reebok, PopChips, and McCormick Spices; and rubbing elbows with some of the fitness world’s most influential bloggers (shout out to Carla Birnberg from MizFit!), I was busy getting schooled on the fundamentals behind crafting a successful and relevant blog. Below is a glimpse into the weekend that highlights the key takeaways I brought back to my Account Management team to utilize when pitching blog development to Planit’s clients.
Authenticity often comes into question in the world of blogging. Who exactly are these ghostwriters hiding behind their cutesy nicknames and fancy CMS, and what makes them qualified to voice their opinion? When it comes to blogging, whether for personal or professional purposes, it’s important to develop an overarching strategy and maintain a consistent voice throughout your writing. What’s your concept? Your tagline in one or two sentences? Don’t try to be everything to everyone—establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Should you choose to stray off-topic: Recruit someone more experienced in that field to contribute a guest post.
Do your research.
Know your target audience inside and out and make a conscious effort to write in a manner that will resonate with them. If you’re blogging on behalf of a health food brand, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to post your mother’s famous lasagna recipe. Your go-to meals to get back on the healthy eating train? Sure. Lighter spins on classic comfort food recipes that seed in the company’s product? Definitely. The key is to stay relevant and keep your readers coming back for more.
SEO is your friend.
In terms of driving traffic to your blog, incorporating meta tags and page titles and tweaking content to include terms that are trending on Google are all relatively simple ways to break through the clutter online. Even free platforms like WordPress have an SEO plugin, so make sure to use all the tools at your disposal to find real success.
Take advantage of cross-channel promotion via social media.
When sharing your content, use the following strategy courtesy of @SkinnyEmmie to make sure you get the most traction out of each post:
Who: Who is your audience? Use #hashtags to help non-followers proactively find you.
What: What is your message? Does it make sense to include a photo? Video? External link?
When: When is the best time to share? Obviously if you’re targeting business professionals posting during the midnight hours is not a smart move.
Where: What networks will you share with? If you’re going after the mommy bloggers gear your message more toward Facebook or Twitter rather than LinkedIn.
Why: What is your end goal in posting? Comments, traffic, more shares?
How: What is the easiest way for you to share your content (manually, syndicated, both)?
In addition to keeping these top of mind, be sure to enable social sharing on posts, configure settings to include your Facebook page and Twitter handle, and pose questions at the end of each post to encourage further discussion.
Harness the power of YouTube.
According to @DietSarah, 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store either online or in person as a result of watching a video online. In fact, one in three apparel shoppers turn to YouTube for recommendations to aid in the purchasing decision process. So you made a video testimonial—easy. Now what? Aim to upload videos on the same day(s) of the week, at the same time of day as much as possible to build an audience and provide your followers with a steady time to tune in each week for new material. Be sure to keep videos within three to five minutes long, and remember the “golden time” to promote via social platforms is within 48 hours of first posting your video. Just as importantly, keep an eye on your analytics and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.
To conclude, my experience at FitBloggin’12 was amazing and eye opening, and not just because of my (shocking) newfound love of Zumba. I’d definitely recommend that any up-and-coming fitness- or wellness-related companies reach out to FitBloggin’ founder Ronni for information on how to have a presence at next year’s conference. Even more so I challenge my fellow client servicemen and women to escape the day-to-day grind, get away from your desks, and take the time to get into your clients’ mindsets and gain some insight into how they think. Thanks again, Planit, for an awesome opportunity and inspiration to start up my own running blog in the near future!