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Top Nine Ways to Enrich Your Business Blog in 2012

So you want to inform the people in your targeted market about your industry and increase traffic to your website by adding a blog. You already know that this is a great way to showcase your talents and authority within your niche and gain the trust of your potential clients/customers and peers alike. The question is, how do you attract the right kind of reader and what will keep them coming back for more? Although most of the answers are tried and true methods, some may be things you haven't considered before.

Keep It Relevant

The most important way to attract and maintain the right readership is to keep your focus true to your niche. You may be a polymath, but if you're not providing your readers (aka potential purchasers) with the relevant information they've come looking for, they're going to go somewhere else to find it.

Use Compelling Titles

Could anything be worse than writing a great blog post complete with all the appropriate resources and a brilliant how-to video embedded in it only to have it be invisible in the SERPs? Readers want their information quick and easy to discern, ie. how-to..., top ten ways..., best of 2012..., etc. The KISS principle definitely applies here, keep it simple, direct and on-point. The most efficient tactics for creating compelling blog titles are being used again and again because they work.

Provide Quality Content

Two key things that help determine the quality of an article or blog post are credibility and actionability. Are your sources credible and can the reader act on the information you have provided?

Credibility Write about subjects that you are passionate about, are an authority on or have experienced personally. Take the time to research your topic thoroughly and provide quality references where applicable.

Actionability Give your readers something to come away with that they can take action on. For example, by providing product knowledge, the reader can come away feeling they have the ability to make an informed decision on their purchase or have gained a useful resource to pass along to others.

Thank Your Resources

As discussed above, using high quality resources are a necessity for enhancing your credibility. But have you ever considered that your resources could also be one of your best means of promotion? By giving credit where credit is due and informing your resource that you have referenced them you can almost always count on a complimentary link back to your post. Not only that, but it can open the door to a continued relationship allowing for the possibility of guest posting opportunities and the sharing of other resources.

Write Whitepapers

At this point your readers have found your beautiful blog, read your quality content, checked out your knowledgeable resources and determined you really do know your stuff. Now they want to share what they've learned with their peers.

One of the most effect ways to share your knowledge with the masses is to create a Whitepapers category on your blog and have the papers available as a downloadable PDF document. Readers can then print out these informative guides and use them as a reference during meetings or seminars and also pass them along to their colleagues.

Convert Your Posts to eBooks

Once your blog is well established and full of fantastic posts in a few different categories you will have all the content you will need for a great eBook. However, before you can publish an eBook you will have to optimize your posts for offline reading, group together post with similar topics and creatively tie them to each other. A couple of popular conversion tools are Anthologize and Zinepal.

Video, Images and Infographics

“Every picture tells a story, don't it?”

We all know pictures sell, so use them to your advantage in every post, but be sure to vary the type of media you use to keep your readers interested.

Short, informational how-to videos incorporated into your post not only provide information, but also give your readers a face behind the posts to connect with. Embedding a customizable video player like Vitomy can also give you the opportunity to tie your brand to your message and yourself as an authority.

Images are a great way to introduce your topic and let the reader know visually what the piece is about as well as break up large bodies of text and support the content of your post. Varying the position of your images on the page can help make the text flow smoothly and keep the reader interested while reading longer articles.

Good infographics, or visual representations of information, make a big impact and travel quickly across the internet. A lot of information can be packed into one infographic, from text to graphs and images including your brand name! Who wouldn't want that to go viral?

User Subscription

Your content is important not only to you, but to the readers who look forward to seeing your next post. The first option for subscribing is via email alerts of new posts. You can also give your readers the option to receive special offers and promos. However, some potential subscribers may be wary of handing out their email address for fear of the dreaded S-word (spam). An RSS feed is a great option for them.

Most blog posts are being compiled in an RSS (really simple syndication) feed containing your post title and a brief summary. These feeds use a standardized XML file format which allows for information to be published once and viewed by a variety of different programs. Readers can easily subscribe to your feed and receive instant updates as soon as your fresh content comes out.

Promote Your Knowledge

How do you get the word out there that you've imparted your words of wisdom for the masses to learn from? You have to promote it, just like your brand name or your product you need to put it in front of people to create an awareness. This is where social media and blog database sites come in.

Using your professional social media accounts you can write a brief intro to your blog post and link to it for others to read the full post. On Twitter you can use #hash tags to draw in people looking for specific topics. If you post happens to relate to a trending topic, you could have thousands of eyes on your blog in a matter of hours. Another way to attract readers to your blog using Twitter is to do a search for a term that relates to your post and mention specific users interested in your topic by @name in your tweet linking to your post. Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ provide you with the option of selecting a thumbnail of an image that appears on the page that you are suggesting a link to. This is great for capturing your 'friends' attention and promotes your post visually.

Adding your blog feed to a site like Blog Flux can give your posts much more visibility. Sites like these have thousands of users who are looking for up to date blogs, news and events. These sites are organized into categories and allow users to search for specific topics, products or people. Submitting your blog homepage and RSS URL to a site like Ping-O-Matic will update major search engines with your fresh content, getting your posts crawled faster and therefor become visible in the SERPs sooner.

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