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Write, Share, Thrive: Master Blogging to build your online presence

Presented by Crystal Leonardi at Cairns Tropical Writer's Festival

Sunday, 10th March 2024 – 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Cairns City Library

                                                

 1.    What is Blogging?                                                                                     

·       Collection of facts, thoughts, and opinions.

·       Written or filmed piece of information that lives online.

·       Put simply – it’s a marketing TOOL

Blogging can be found on social media platforms, websites or print media.


As an individual, blogs can be an online alternative to keeping a diary or journal. It allows individuals to share their creativity, ideas and experiences with a wider audience. And with the ever-evolving world of technology, blogging is now taking shape on endless platforms.


Think Taryn Brumfitt, the 2023 Australian of the Year and presenter at last year’s CTWF. Her blog went viral in 2013 when she posted a simple ‘before & after’ photo on Facebook, showing how her body had changed since having children. Her innocent sharing of her thoughts and societal challenges spoke to such a broad audience that she won the hearts of over 200 million people in over 190 countries.


Like everything, however, content marketing has evolved, and the outburst of digital technologies has changed the face of traditional advertising. Furthermore, the World Wide Web has revolutionized how businesses and individuals think about advertising. Today, big and small businesses are adapting inbound marketing strategies, such as blogging, to create value for their customer base.


As an individual, blogging can be beneficial for several reasons:                     

·       It provides a platform for self-expression,

·       It can help establish and enhance your brand,

·       If you are an expert in a certain field, a blog is an excellent medium to share your knowledge with others,

·       It helps you connect with like-minded individuals,

·       Blogging can help improve your writing skills,

·       And it provides a creative outlet.


As the owner of a regional business, an author and active blogger, I’m here to share how an active blog has helped to not only grow my business and keep me connected and relevant, but also enhanced my writing and provided me with a creative outlet.


My business, Bowerbird Publishing, is located in Julatten, a small farming town with around 1,000 people. I began as a self-published author and have grown my business substantially by including publishing and public speaking services to clients throughout Australia. My business operates out of my home office on the farm and consists of one employee – me. Blogging became an integral part of my marketing strategy in 2021 when my budget was tight, and my business plan was simple – to grow my online audience.


Let’s dive in head first by further exploring the benefits of blogging and why you should have a blog if you don’t already. You’ll learn how to blog well or maximize your already established blog, taking it to the next level.


2.    How to Blog Well

                                                                                                              

2.a.    Make sure it’s easy to find.                                                                                    

Your blogging platform should be interactive, have distinct headlines, and be clear and concise.


My blog can be found on my business website, where it is included on the home screen menu and on other pages with links.


2.b.    Make it interesting.                                                                                      

Use high-quality images to catch readers’ attention and entice them to read your content. Including images of yourself and/or your product is a great way to break up text sections; a picture is worth a thousand words!

Or, include helpful checklists, how-to topics, ideas, or recipes, for example, to increase reader satisfaction through a something-for-nothing experience. Educating before selling is a great tactic for attracting new visitors to your blog and achieving reader loyalty.


2.c.    It’s all in the design.                                                                                     

Great content deserves great design. Consider your line and character spacing so readers can easily read your content. Include widgets and place links to relevant hashtags to make the reader’s experience informative and user-friendly.


2.d.    Make it phone-friendly.     


                                                                  

Avoid big chunks of text, and consider that your target audience will probably be people on the move. When creating your blog post, break up long text sections to improve appearance and readability.


2.e.    Get creative.                                                                                                  

How you highlight your blog’s essential information will help readers get the most out of it. Use bold text, quotes, questions, and callouts to highlight essential information within your blog.


In my blog, I have found that certain styles, images, and layouts attract more readers. My blog predominately includes content about work/home balance, writing, publishing and book reviews. Regardless of the topic, I have found that images of me or my children in everyday situations have attracted the most readers. Audiences want to feel connected to you when they read your blog, and the easiest way to help them do this is by creating an honest portrayal. Connection coupled with trust will be your key to attracting a loyal audience.                                                                         

 


I also follow a particular style, which includes catchy and sometimes ominous headlines coupled with an image. My formatting includes short and sharp information in concise paragraphs, with critical points highlighted in bold and/or italics to ensure maximum impact and avoid a missed opportunity to make an impression on the reader.

 

3. How to Take Blogging to the Next Level                                            

 

A good entrepreneur will take an opportunity and make the most of it. Have this mindset when thinking about your blog, ensuring that your impact is unsurpassable if you manage to engage a reader. Blogging has the potential to reduce your overall marketing spend whilst generating more leads than any other form of advertising – why not maximize it? You can take your blog to the next level in three ways.

 

3.a.    Equipment                                                                                                

While good equipment is essential, the content is the most crucial element. Compelling and valuable content can resonate with your readers even with basic tools. However, investing in quality equipment can enhance your blog's overall impact and reach.

 

Professionalism: High-quality equipment contributes to the overall professionalism of your blog. Whether it's the visuals in your blog posts or the audio and video quality in multimedia content, a polished presentation can leave a positive impression on your reader.

 

Visual Appeal: A blog with visually appealing content is more likely to capture and retain the attention of readers. Good equipment, such as a high-resolution camera, reliable word applications, and lighting, can help you create exceptional content for your blog posts.

  

Versatility: Furthermore, good equipment provides you with more options and flexibility in creating diverse content. Whether you're experimenting with different types of media, such as video tutorials, infographics, or interactive elements, having the right tools allows for versatility in your content strategy.

  

3.b.    Feedback.                                                                                                        

So far, I’ve shared how to inform your readers using a blog, but have you ever thought about the positive impact your reader’s feedback could have on your blog?

Your blog is already easily accessible to potential customers, so why not give readers a platform to leave comments and feedback on your content, product or service? This encourages engagement and builds reader confidence through real-life affiliate product and service experiences.

 

For example, my blog covers 3 content themes – experiences, knowledge, and creativity. I share my experiences in day-to-day life as a mum. This makes me relatable to a particular audience and my vulnerabilities open the door for a trustworthy and honest platform for others to share their experiences in motherhood. It may also lead to new social media followers or book lovers.

 

I share my knowledge as an author and publisher. This creates an educational twist on my blogging, providing my audience free advice based on my professional expertise. I hope they will seek my professional skills through one of my many paid services on my website. This also creates a space for current and past clients to leave feedback and referrals, generating more new clients.

 

Using a blog in this way has become very popular with ‘food bloggers on social media.



They share footage of themselves eating or cooking a meal. In their blog, they then discuss ingredients and do’s & don’t when eating or cooking the meal. Some will then go on to promote a particular cookbook or chef. You can appreciate what an invaluable marketing tool this would be for a food blogger who has just released their cookbook…

 

I use my blog as a creative outlet. I am not just a book author; I also enjoy writing poetry and lyrics. Having a blog allows me to publish these types of work in a safe and creative way while engaging with readers. It may also entice readers to purchase one of my books and inspire others to tell their stories through this medium.


Think about blogs associated with predominantly online businesses like Trip Advisor and Airbnb. They conclude their blogs with a comment section where users can leave their opinions, feedback, and suggestions about their stay. This is a great way to take advantage of feedback, engage with customers, and improve their business. We can all agree that the feedback found on Trip Advisor and Airbnb has played a huge part in helping people decide where to travel and stay. It’s a basic tool with immeasurable value.


3.c.    Your SEO                                                                                                   

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Again, put your entrepreneur hat on and think about another opportunity to get the most value from a platform you’re already using. Adopting your SEO correctly should be one of your critical marketing strategies, as it will drive traffic to your website. As a blogger, adopting your SEO correctly will ensure new readers are driven to your blogging platform and previous readers are reminded to return to your blog.

To summarize, your SEO has two purposes: to make your blog visible on search engines (such as Google) and more visible than your competition. There are two ways you can optimize these purposes.                                    


When adding search engine keywords to your website settings, ensure they’re not too general. In my world as an author and publisher, the keywords I use are Crystal Leonardi (my name), Bowerbird Publishing (my business), Childhood Cancer Support (theme), Oncology books (specialty area), and Resilience & Keynote Speaker (specialty area), rather than the obvious; Author, Publisher, Speaker, Julatten, Books. My keywords are specific and unique to my business. Think like a customer and add algorithms you think someone would enter into Google if they couldn’t remember your business name.


Once you have your keywords set, ensure you use them as often as possible in your blog because your business will rank higher on a search results page, such as Google, due to their relevance to your algorithms.

For example, to conclude each of my blogs, I add information about where customers can buy my books with a link to my website bookstore. It’s simple, but it makes all the difference.

                                                                                                                         

Where to find your SEO or Meta Data – website and social media.


Summary:

Blogging is affordable to individuals, big corporations, and small businesses alike. It can be utilized as a creative and adaptive marketing option. In business, it can generate leads and facilitate repeat business just as effectively as traditional advertising.


Building trust and confidence in your brand, passion or purpose helps readers develop a deeper connection with you. A blog is customized to you and can be made to suit your personality and/or your business brand. Your SEO's help will build your following and help your blog stand out. Blogging done well will create transparency and highlight a purpose readers love investing in. The secret to blogging is providing your readers with entertaining, informative and trustworthy content, creating connection through mutual interests or passion.


To book me as a keynote speaker or educator, email leonardi.crystal@gmail.com.

 


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