This is a guest post by Laura Moisei. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” (Thomas Alva Edison)
Each business is naturally surrounded by a medium that contains myriads of new opportunities to evolve, at hands reach. For your blog success, it’s crucial to keep doors open and seize every occasion to build relations with the outside world. Why so? Because these relations can bring reputation, trust and profit for you.
After all, the whole concept of a blog is to attract leads for your business, by taking communication to an upper level – connect people with your ideas, link yourself with like minded online entrepreneurs and build an enthusiastic community around your website.
There are two steps to optimize interactions on your side.
Phase 1: Open communication channels – so that people CAN contact you. This basically means having a contact form placed somewhere visible and the usual commenting area.
Phase 2: Be proactive and come up for people – so that they will WISH to contact you. Prepare boilplate presentations for any occasion when you will need to introduce yourself. Also, make sure you’ve put up a well-designed About page. This way you will let everybody know who the people behind the blog are and what they can expect you do for them.
All in all, you should do everything possible to put a symbolical banner all across your blog with this single powerful message: “yes, I am reachable and I can’t wait for you to contact me”.
Here are some basic tips on how can you get reachable on your blog…
- … by your readers
The main reasons people will be contacting you generally are: to subscribe, to ask for advice before purchasing the products/services you are offering (if you do), or to partner you for guest posting. Make sure you leave clear guidelines on how people can subscribe or submit guest posts and create accessible methods to do it. The easiest way is through web forms.
A key usability element is your contact point. Put up an inviting contact form – one that is, above all, functional. It’s incredible how many bloggers, and not the obscure ones, are unaware that their contact form is not working – yes, the one on the page that says clearly, with a H2, “contact me”. What would be your first thought when you try to reach someone and find a broken contact form? That the person is unavailable and just picked a subtle way to let you know that, or maybe he doesn’t exist at all… You surely don’t want to wear this label.
Speaking of the form itself, the best structure is with a dropdown list with the possible topics for inquiry (such as Request a quote, Admin related and Guest post inquiry, or any other combination). However eager you would be to get as many details from people as possible, keep the form short, and by this I mean maximum 6 fields. Alternatively, you can publish a Skype id or phone number for anyone who would like to speak to you directly.
The comments section is another communication hotspot you should take great care of. Obviously, there would by passersby that are in for an occasional link, but every blog has its steady commenters that deserve the attention of the admin. If you do more than simply check upon comments to wipe out spam (I mean actually leaving one or two lines in reply of the best crafted comments), it will be a win-win situation for both yourself and your readers. When you make people feel valued, they are motivated to return and speak some more. You will gain fresh loads of comments as you go. And who knows? Maybe one day your lucky card comes from a Mr. Right with plenty of money to invest in your blog, disguised in a humble commenter. To leave the fairy tale aside, it’s still true that great business can develop from casual relationships like the commenting one.
- … by the press
To be featured in mainstream media and reputed blogs is not a far-fetched dream, but an achievable goal. Show journalists why you would be a good topic and what others found interesting about you. Fame attracts fame – when you have some media mentions of your service, lots of other reviewers will be inclined to contact you.
To offer journalists a starting point for a story, you should put together all the basic facts about yourself and your blog in the shape of a press kit. Include some brief history on how you started over, a presentation of the team (or yourself as a person, if you are the only author of your blog), anything special about yourself and the brand (i.e. if you ever organized events that became viral) and a press coverage sheet to show what has already been written about you. You can have a downloadable press kit or a press page on your blog (but don’t overdo it).
- … by advertisers
Put up an “Advertise with us” page where you make it clear which are the spots available for advertising on your blog and their dimension. Don’t forget to encourage advertisers by giving some traffic data (page views, unique visitors, estimated impressions). An element that’s quite hard to speak about but all the advertisers seek for is the CTR of similar campaigns. If you can get over the natural reluctance and include some CTR estimates, you will surely win advertisers over. As for the advertising rates, you can either make them public or let people ask for a quote through a web form.
- … by your fellow bloggers
Good relations in your niche can bring you some nice brand exposure, new opportunities to grow and a burst of creative inspiration. It’s always a good idea to attend blogging conventions in your area with some business cards in your pocket. These meetings are great opportunities to do some networking and exchange contact details. Also, be generous in linking to other blogs, by installing a blogroll for instance. Write about partner bloggers whenever you can and cite them in your posts. This will state clearly that you are a third millennium sociable person that people will want to befriend.
If you include these guidelines in your blogging strategy, you will be sure to have doors open to all the good in your surroundings and eventually live a long and happy life as a blogger. Good luck!