How to Blog for Your Event
Last week, I wrote about the reasons why you need a blog for your event, but I want to move past the reasoning for why you need a blog for your event, and focus more on the technical aspects of blogging – the how to create a winning blog for your event. Maybe some of you have never blogged before, so the idea of starting one seems overwhelming and daunting, maybe it seems too much to handle right now. I want to tell you that blogging doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, the hardest part about blogging is making sure to keep on top of it. Having a powerful blog will make your event relevant and separate you from your competition. A blog can create fan loyalty and win over potential customers, but in order to do that, you have to make your blog great. A poorly executed blog will make your event seem second rate, while a great blog will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.
To get the most out of your blog, here are a few rules you should live by.
1. Determine your strategy.
Before you get started blogging, decide what it is you hope to achieve by blogging. Do you want to generate awareness for your event, sell tickets, or build relationships? Depending on what you decide is the most important goal for your event, create content that accomplish your goals. If you want people to donate to your cause, create blog content that will encourage donations. Not every blog has the same goal, as some are meant to inform while others are meant to build relationships. Take the time to sit down and discuss your goals so that your blog can have a clear focus. In fact, before you ever start writing, answer these eight questions about your blog. This will make all the difference in the world as you build out your blog.
2. Blog consistently.
Blogging for your event requires more than a random post once every couple of months. If you decide to take a passive approach to your blog, you are not going to see an increase in traffic to your website. In order for blogging to be effective, you must post consistently. Before you start writing your first blog post, make a conscious decision that you are going to post between one and three times per week. Here at SpinGo, we have decided that we are going to post every Tuesday and Thursday. This gives us a clear timetable for when we need to get our blog posts written, edited, and posted online. Before we put a strong emphasis on blogging here at SpinGo, we would post sporadically whenever we had updates about the company, when we won an award, or had a contest starting. This type of posting lead to a very ineffective blog. However, we made the conscious decision to post relevant content twice a week, and since then, the blog has become a major way for us to get visitors to our website, with noticeable increases in traffic over the past six months.
One of the greatest benefits about posting twice a week is that it gives people so many more ways to find you. When you are writing blog posts, each post can show up for hundreds or even thousands of google search results, depending on the length and content of your post. Naturally, longer blog posts have more text and content in them for google to crawl through, so longer blog posts will show up in more search results. Going back to our own website, not every blog post is a major hit like we would hope. Some blog posts perform great while some draw little attention. By writing more content, you will notice that one blog post will bring in 50 views, during a month, while others bring in 10 views a month, and some may bring in hundreds or thousands of views every single month! If you are new to blogging, your numbers will seem small at first, but don’t fret! It takes time to build up your content library and gain an active viewership. If you already have a large contingency of followers on social media or email, share your blog posts with the audience you already have and invite them to share your posts. Unless you already have a large following on social media and email, your blog will probably have very few views for the first little while, but that is only natural. In time you will see your blog views increase significantly as you consistently post quality content.
3. Don’t only talk about yourself.
It is easy to talk about yourself in blog posts, and as an event organizer, it is probably even easier to do so since you have a killer event to talk about. With so much great content going on at your event, it would be easy to focus solely on everything happening around your event.
Normally, the rule for writing a blog is to rarely if ever talk about yourself, but in the case of an event, I find that this rule doesn’t apply. Now, don’t take that as a free pass to talk about your event nonstop. You should still find topics that will be interesting to your audience that go beyond the scope of your event, it’s just you that your event is naturally captivating and easy to talk about without sounding too salesy.
While you can still talk about your event, try to limit the amount you talk about it by sticking to a rule. You can follow a rule that says for every four blog posts you write that don’t have your event as the main subject, you can write one blog post that features your event.
Another simple way to write relevant content comes from understanding your buyer personas. If you don’t have buyer personas, you will have a difficult time connecting with the people who spend money on your event. Once you have your buyer personas down, you will know what topics are interesting to your customers. For example, if your event is a music festival, you will see that your buyer personas are interested in more than just your festival, but they are interested in the musicians, the musician lifestyle, clothing styles, etc. This will guide what you can write about on your blog, such as websites for finding great music, artist spotlights, what to wear to a music festival, and more. If you host an arts festival, you can talk about up and coming artists, highlight artists at your festival, talk about your sponsors, talk about art galleries, gallery strolls, different styles of painting, you get the idea. There are so many ways to connect with your audience through your blog that you don’t want to miss out on any of the opportunities to give them helpful information. People want information that is relevant to them, not just information about you.
4. Write to an audience.
I already mentioned this, but writing to a specific audience will help you understand what to write about, instead of blindly guessing what your audience will find interesting. There is probably more than one type of person who attends your event, so you should be able to identify different topics for each persona. For example, you may have Tommy Teenager as one of your buyer personas who would be interested in different topics than Twenties Tawny. But that is actually a good thing for you, because it will give you more blog ideas to use.
Keep your blog strategy in mind as you write to your specific audience. Your blog strategy should always be on the top of your mind as you put your posts together. The way you reach each audience will be different, and what motivates one audience to action will be different than what motivates another audience. You need to find out what makes your different audiences share blog posts, buy tickets, or comment on your posts so you can reach them effectively.
5. Diversify your blog posts.
Blog posts are more than a collection words on a page. Blog posts can take a variety of forms such as video, photos, infographics, and quizzes. Not every person likes to read long articles, and some people enjoy viewing video much more than reading. This is a trend that can be seem on Facebook, where video gets significantly more views than text posts. As you diversify your blog posts, you will keep your audience engaged as you find different ways of communicating with them.
A friend of mine teaches a writing course to college freshman at a nearby university. For one of the projects, he assigns his students to write a standard essay arguing their position. They write their paper, turn it in, and get graded on it. But then, he assigns them a second part for the project, where he assigns the students to take their argument and present it to a different audience. For this part of the assignment, they can make a t-shirt, draw a picture, make a video, or do any other form of communication. By doing this, the students learn that there is more than one way to communicate the same message. The same can be done with your blog posts; do you need to write an article, or could your message be more effective if you shared it through a video?
6. Write long blog posts.
The longer the blog post, the more it will show up in different google search results. If you write a 500 word blog, your post will have a much harder time showing up on the top page of a google search result than if you write a 2,000 word blog post. One of the points of writing your blog is to have new interested audiences discover your event. As you write detailed posts about your event or about topics related to your event, you will find that more people will stumble upon your website, which is the whole purpose of having a blog. I would recommend writing a blog post that is at least 2,000 words long if you want to see the best results. The average length of content for the top search result on google is about 2,450 words, give or take.
7. Create great content.
This is a no brainer, but you are what you publish. If you decide to skimp out on your blog, you are probably going to get mediocre results. If you start publishing content that is going to solve your buyers needs, they will start coming to you for solutions and trusting your content. If people want to come to your blog for no other reason than to be entertained, then your content better be entertaining.
Depending on your audience and the type of event you host, the content you produce is going to vary. However, the best advice out there for blogs is that if you are going to blog, make sure to do it well. Don’t just provide content because it is something you should be doing. If you really want to make your blog the best, then put the effort in to make it great. Ernest Hemingway’s character from Midnight In Paris said it best by arguing, “If you’re a writer, declare yourself the best writer.” If you are a blogger, declare yourself the best blogger, and make your content the most readable, shareable, and likeable content there is.
Great content is sharable content. If you are producing great content, it will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and more. As you write content, aim to make it sharable and something you would be proud of ten years from now. The first time you start blogging, your content will not be as good as it is five years down the road, but the fact of the matter is that you should always be producing your best work when it comes to keeping a blog.
Producing great content is the single most important thing you can do for your blog, because it creates credibility and trustworthiness. Once you prove that you can create great content repeatedly, people will start to think of you as the source for all good content relating to your niche.
Doing this for events can be tricky, as you are probably wondering how to create great content that will keep people coming back to you. The truth is, you have to keep writing, you have to take notes whenever an idea pops into your head, and you have to get into the mind of your buyer and find out what problems they face. Once you know the problems of your audience, you have to give them a solution. It may be the case that your buyer doesn’t verbally say what problems he faces, but you can solve that by stepping into his shoes and articulating that for him, as well as providing the solution to their problems.
People go on to the internet to get answers to their questions. When people perform searches on the internet, most of the time they are looking for an answer to a question that they have. This is where your blog comes into play. Whether people are trying to beat boredom, find a new band to listen to, looking for ways to volunteer, or looking for something fun to do for the night, you have the answer for them.
8. Focus on keywords.
The dictionary defines a keyword as “an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.” To simplify, a keyword is either a single word or a phrase of words that people search on google. For an example, if I like cats, I may type “funny cat pictures” into google. The phrase “funny cat pictures” is the keyword Google searches for. Any content on the internet that has that phrase will be pulled by google and displayed in the search result page. If you pick the right keyword to use for your blog post, you can get in front of a very targeted crowd.
You will want to think of what people are searching for online that would be related to you and your event. You probably have an idea of phrases people search for, and so you can take those ideas and plug them into the google adwords keyword finder tool. This tool will suggest keywords that people are actually using that are similar to what you typed, and you may find better search phrases than you originally thought.
Once you have used the keyword tool to highlight one or two main keywords, you will want to incorporate those into your blog post. Make sure you use the keyword naturally and don’t overuse it, as google will realize you are keyword stuffing (trying to fit too many keywords into your content).Use your keyword in the title of your blog post, in the heading, at the very beginning of your blog post, and in the closing paragraph of your blog post. To make your keywords stand out to google, you can underline, bold, or italicize the keywords throughout your blog post. This tells google that these words are important.
These keywords will help your blog post rank higher on google, which makes your event easier to find.
One final recommendation for your blog that you will find incredibly helpful is to get a head start on creating content before you make your blog go live. Have a month’s worth of content created and ready to post before you make your blog public. This will save you headaches and give you the ability to plan ahead. Stay on top of your posting by creating a content calendar and sticking to it. And remember, keep writing a blog post a week, even if it seems like you have a large supply of blog posts in your inventory. If you miss writing a post one week, you will miss two weeks, and before you know it, you’ll be playing catchup and struggling to stay on top of your blog. Don’t let yourself get into that situation, because it becomes very difficult to escape playing catchup.
- Colin is a Creative Director at SpinGo. He is a Pay-per-click and Search Engine Marketing expert who is committed to placing ads in front of the right people, at the right place, at the right time. He is Skilled in segmentation, audience creation, and campaign optimization.