Words are cheaper than ever. An abundance of electronic ink has lowered the bar for publishing, sometimes to embarrassing levels of ineptitude. How do you rise above the blogging fray? Consider these five ways to add relevance to your blog.
1) Localize your content. Local is in, as Americans celebrate regional differences, and buy-local movements reshape the retailing industry. Feature a deserving local business in your blog — a business owner who has fostered innovation, spearheaded a charitable cause, or offers an exceptional product or service. One of my favorite businesses in Spokane is Forza Coffee, which has created a welcoming community space.
2) Promote a worthy cause. Face it: Do-gooders do get discouraged at times, particularly when a punishing recession lasts longer than anyone could have imagined would be the case just a few years ago. Spokane was recently named the worst job market in the U.S. of similarly sized communities. In your blog, shine a spotlight on one of those community bootstrapping entrepreneurs.
3) Invite a guest contributor. Crowdsourcing content is a powerful strategy for drawing visitors to your blog. Many business owners think about blogging, but the best blogging intentions aren’t enough to sustain the energy required to blog with a frequency that gets a blog noticed. The Internet is populated with thousands of orphaned blogs that haven’t seen a fresh post in a year. (I’m finally taking my own advice.) Guest bloggers are one answer to that conundrum. Invite one business a week to post on your blog. They get the exposure, and you get the benefit from fresh content.
4) Discuss emerging trends. Business owners usually know which trends are negatively affecting the bottom line. If they don’t, the business may not be around for long. That’s true for Spokane, just as it is for any U.S. community. When networking with other business professionals in the community, conversations often turn to the latest scuttlebutt. With that informal economic intel in mind, share a few comments on what you think it means for Spokane. Put a positive spin on it. There’s enough bad news to go around, and often good news is underreported, as any newspaper reporter knows.
5) Get the facts straight. One caveat is in order. Proof your blog and make sure any factual information is amply supported. An easy way to attribute information to the source is through embedding links in your blog, so that the reader can view the source material.
6) Choose an appropriate photo to accompany the article. Make sure you have permission to use the photo. Websites like iStockphoto.com offer low-cost stock photos. Restrictions do apply on use of stock photography, so make sure an editorial use is allowed for the photo you are planning to use.
If you are thinking of starting a blog and need some help, let us know. Email us.