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June 13, 2008

Starters Kit for Blogging consultants

I now run three blogs. Two dedicated to my area of engineering consulting, and this one dedicated to the managerial discipline of advising and leading. I don't think Blogging is ever going to make me rich, at all! But I firmly believe it is a marketing must for anyone who is actively consulting.

Keeping in contact, generating new interests, trying out new views on the marketplace and so forth. All part of a useful marketing tool. (But only one of many of course. (A la Guerrilla Marketing)

So after learning quite a bit over the past twelve months, this is my advice for consultants who are beginning to blog.

Getting started:

1) Get a Google account. You can either do this via iGoogle or via Gmail. The most useful login on the web today.

2) Log into Blogger and create your first blog. Easy stuff. Get an idea, think of a name, test to make sure it is available, and then start blogging.

3) Some blogger tips:

- I am no design guru, but I find that plain blogs tend to attract more attention because they are less cluttered and the message is clearer.

- You can easily start to change and modify your blogger blog via the Layout section, adding everything from additional feeds, through to pictures etcetera.

- No anonymous blogs! No-one is interested in a blog that you don't have the courage to put your name to. I don't have a photo on mine, but anybody can read my LinkedIn profile which is on the side panel.

- Three column blogs seem to be rage, and they look okay to. I have tried them, didn't particularly like them, but I may go back to them one day.

4) Use your Google login to start an account with Google Analytics so that you can track the number of visitors there every day, see where they came from, and see where they are going.

5) Get a Feedburner account. This will enable you to offer easy subscription to your blog via RSS or via email. So you can still provide the feed to people sort of like a newsletter. (Remember those?)

6) Get smart about it. There are lots of things you can do to a blogger blog. Adding labels, buttons, command menus, peek-a-boo comments boxes and lots of other fascinating stuff. Check out Blogger Buster, which I use regularly, or any Google search will turn up dozens of others.

Developing content

1) Write about something you feel passionately about. There is a lot of traffic available for those who are writing about blogging, small business, marketing and sales. But if you aren't able to come up with regular posts about interesting and new concepts then forget about it.

2) Use your Google Login to sign up for Google reader. Fantastic online RSS reader which is also handy for reading with the BlackBerry. I use it all the time to get an idea of what's going on and who is writing about what.

3) other sources for ideas include Flickr, the photo social media site, and of course my latest discovery (always the last to know) Slide share. Great for flicking through to find out different angles or to help you further develop your own angles on certain topics. The photos and slide shows are also free to embed in your Blogs and give you some additional great content.

Developing traffic..

The traffic equation is part of the dark arts of Blogging and something that I personally have not yet mastered fully. However, I am getting better. "You are what you repeatedly do" after all. (Aristotle)

However, I can tell you that Digg and StumbleUpon are great tools for developing some kind of early interest in the blog. But you are going to have to go a bit wider than that unfortunately.

Will post on the dark arts of Blog traffic later on... I hope this is useful. Please feel free to comment if it is, or if there are other issues that youy are keen to talk about related to blogging - then let me know.

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