Good Morning Everyone, My name is Jennifer Cosenza and I am a member of Open IN Indiana. Thank you all for the opportunity to present today.
I am a seasoned marketer, community builder and small business owner. My business is Acorn Marketing By Design and I am located in Munster Indiana (Northwest Indiana). My greatest strengths are creativity, drive, and leadership. I thrive on challenges, particularly those that can expand a companies reach and foster engagement. My specialty is integrating small businesses with their local communities! And today I am going to talk about the art of writing a blog.
What is a Blog?
So, some of you are thinking what is a blog?
How can I start one?
Simply put, a blog is the act of posting content. Like a personal online diary - or you can say online journal - which allows you to share your thoughts and ideas.
You can add video, pictures, music, etc.
You can do all these things without the need of any programming knowledge.
Blogging is one of the most sought-after activities on the web – ever since its evolution way back in late 1990’s it has become a phenomenon amongst internet users for personal, commercial and business activities.
Think of a flow chart:
Where and how to begin.
A flowchart represents the start or end of the process.
I’m not saying you need to create one for your blog. BUT maybe as you begin your blog journey – this flow can be helpful.
Do you have something to write about? Yes/No
Do you have time to write regularly? Yes/No
Do you have patience to build your audience? Yes/No
You get the idea.
Some things you have to begin to consider if you decide blogging is for you.
Why Blogging Is Important:
Blogging improves your Google rankings. In fact, simply having a blog on your website improves your Google rankings by as much as 400%
Blogging is flexible and complements your overall strategy.
Blogging is adaptable and is the perfect companion to other facets of your brand and marketing plan.
Blogging is sociable. It’s all about connecting with others. Building a community. Your community!
Benefits of Blogging:
When blogging started, the first blogs were really glorified online journals.
Since then blogs have evolved and they reflect business, lifestyle, fashion, food, entertainment, sales and more.
While the blogging scene has advanced over the last decade the benefits are still plentiful.
Some people’s passions lean toward supporting a cause / a blog is a great way to build awareness and garner support.
And if you are someone who loves to teach, starting a blog can provide the opportunity to educate others interested in your field of expertise. (and maybe there is a chance to monetize your blog by creating educational products online… just saying)
The more you write the better you will become at it. Being a good writer is not a prerequisite for a successful blog. Many very high-profile bloggers are self proclaimed terrible writers!
Think of this – businesses create blogs primarily to expand their online presence, connect with potential customers and promote their brand in positive conversation… and it works! Think about blogging if you are a business owner.
I always think about blogs as a great way for aspiring authors to build and online portfolio think about new clients here.
Now let’s think about marketing your business. Gaining online visibility is one of the best ways to grow subscribers, leads and ultimately revenue. That cannot be achieved with a static website. Creating blog content that is valuable, helpful and/or entertaining - is an effective way to grow your website’s authority, online rankings and traffic.
Essential Elements Of A Blog:
Think of this: If you were to go skydiving and bet your life on a folded piece of nylon… you would first go over a checklist and make sure everything is just right. Right?
Same principle applies to your blog.
Make sure your blog headline gives some indication on what your article is about.
Your blog must compel visitors to continue reading – think about drawing your readers in.
Subheads help readers to jump to a specific point.
Think meat & potatoes for the body of your blog post. It can be about anything. If you are establishing authority, you’ll want to author a one-of-a-kind post.
It’s a great idea to include graphics in your blog post to illustrate points and break up text within the body of articles. It also makes this more visually pleasing.
Almost every blog article should have some kind of call to action – which can take a variety of forms and be achieved through different tactics. Want visitors to make a comment? Fill out a contact us form? Click on a link?
Next I’d suggest to include links – it’s good for SEO. It’s important that visitors see the link as relevant to their visit.
Write a good description. The meta description is the snippet Google displays in the search results. Google will grab the first sentence or two from your article. This however may not always be the best way for your article to appear in the search results. So write a good description.
Free Blog Sites
In case you are looking for some free blog sites to help you start sharing your writing with the world. Here is a bit of a list. There are others out there as well.
Whether you just want to share updates with your family and friends or you want to start a blog and build a broader audience, here are some great sites where you can start a blog for free.
WordPress is best for people who want to 100% own their blog and customize it.
Wix and Weebly are best for non techies who might want some regular website functionality along with a blog
Medium is best for people who just want to write and are looking for access to an instant audience and don’t care about having your own “site”
Ghost best for people who need something simple (simpler than WordPress) but offering a modern vibe at the same time
Blogger – one of the oldest free sites out there. Although their popularity has dipped in years. This is similar to Medium for people who want to write and aren’t concerned about owning their own site
Tumblr – one of the original free blogging sites out there. It’s more for people who are into short term and image focused content
As the internet and technology become more ingrained in our day-to-day lives, the benefits of blogging or building a website become impossible to ignore. However, unlike in the early days, bloggers don’t need to have computer science degrees or HTML knowledge.
Software such as the few I just mentioned have made it simple and easy to set up a blog in minutes. All you have to do is - do some research and pick a specific platform that’s best for you!
Blogs In Motion:
There are many examples of blogs – from an insurance company to a soft drink brand to an automotive manufacturer and news outlet and Open In Indiana plus myself.
Blogs are powerful.
They all can have different purposes, such as raising the awareness of an individual cause or a brand, establishing one’s self as an expert in a particular field, or promoting a business and increasing sales, to name just a few.
Remember to write in your own voice.
And remember, it’s all about connecting with others.
I hope you enjoyed today’s presentation and learned a little bit about blogging.
Here is my contact information. You can also find me on all the social media channels.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you all the Art of Blogging, my name is Jennifer Cosenza and I hope you have found this informative!