Great, you’re convinced. You realise that at some point you’re going to have to come around to the idea of an online community for your event(s) and what better time to start than right now? So how exactly do you do that?
Start Blogging! Start your own, blog on LinkedIn, blog wherever you want, but do it consistently.
Well we’ve shown you the shape an online event community can take, so think about which areas you’d like to focus on. We have some advice of our own on that topic but ultimately it’s down to you to fit the forum to your ideal customer, or the place you know your prospects and customers can be found.
However, we can’t stress this point enough – if you don’t have a blog you’re missing a major opportunity to generate leads and build a captive audience. This is the most effective first step you can take in creating YOUR community, though you might not think it’s the easiest.
Here are our 5 steps to blog success, take them one step at a time.
1. Identify exactly who you are writing for
You should already have identified your ideal customer – their job role, purchasing behaviour, pain points, topics of interest, and how they’re most likely to interact with your organisation. When it comes to blogging, keeping these buyer personas in mind is absolutely crucial; from working out titles and topics, to distributing your blog effectively. Keep a list of their traits in front of you when writing, and refer back to it frequently so you don’t stray from your objective.
2. Write posts that appeal specifically to your audience
You might think that pieces that are very general or vague will have an all-round appeal, but if you really want to attract a community to your blog this couldn’t be a less effective approach. Your prospects and customers will be looking for specific advice, solutions or knowledge – and providing this will demonstrate that you’re an authority on the topic of your event. When generating ideas for blog posts, tackle one idea per piece, target a specific problem or theme, and don’t be too brief – the value is in the detail.
3. Optimise your posts for search engines
We’ll get to what you can do on social media to get your content seen, but search engine optimisation is the other big player in this endeavour. Target specific keywords – both short and long-tail. Include the main keyword of the post in the title, and following this it should naturally appear in the body of the blog several times (but not more than five as this could seem a little spammy). If you know your customer base well, then imagining what keywords they will search for will be simple. Think about what you’d search for – then use the results to optimise your post.
4. Self promote – and do it with finesse
The next step to increasing views is distributing your post on social media. LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter, Facebook – just get it out there. But don’t simply post the link and title. This is acceptable once on each channel, but following this you’ll need to come up with a new angle, hook, or debate that your blog post fits nicely into. On LinkedIn for example, you should post your blog in relevant groups but in a subtle, non-sales manner. Pose a question and initiate discussion around your blog topic, then remember to follow up with any comments you receive.
5. Convert readers into subscribers
You may have prospects that read your blog regularly but slip under the radar. Give them the opportunity to engage with you more often, and deliver your posts directly to them by offering a blog post email subscription. Make this call to action (CTA) very clear, enticing and ensure it is noticeable on multiple pages.
Blogging is like jogging…
You’re going to see far better results if you do it a few times a week for 30 minutes, than once a month at a maniacal pace. Business blogging requires consistent, long term effort, rather than short sprints of intense activity. We’ve provided you with the blog basics, now put them into action. Event companies have a wealth of experience and content to draw upon, so coming up with ideas should be a walk in the park (we’ll stop with the analogies now we promise!).
This is the third chapter of the ebook ‘Realising ROI from your B2B Online Community’. Download your complimentary copy now.
Image Credit: Oliver