Rebecca Kelley will be speaking about “The Blogosphere” at SearchFest 2010, which will take place on March 9th at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available now. To purchase, please click the following link.
1) Some might question the value of “linkbait” since it generally doesn’t lead to direct sales. How would you respond?
I hear this question a lot, and I never understand why people ask it because I see a clear benefit. A successful piece of linkbait or viral content will bring a lot of traffic and links to your site, causing the page to rank well (or better than it did before). This in turn should boost the site overall — a lot of people use the “rising tide lifts all ships” metaphor. The ideal situation is to create something compelling that pertains to your product or whatever you’re trying to rank for so that you can bring in relevant links and traffic. If the linkbait isn’t quite as targeted as you’d like it to be, you can still benefit by cross-linking or using ads to promote your product or service after the fact.
2) Please give us some tricks & tips that bloggers can use to grow their audience.
I think that using a human voice and some personality are key. You have to think about the fact that there are millions of bloggers out there and tons of people in your industry who are blogging about the same (or very similar) things you’re writing about. Make your content unique by having it reflect who you are. If you can bring a fresh perspective or interesting voice to a topic that everyone’s covering, you’re giving a reason for people to check it out.
Consistency is also important, but not at the expense of quality. Don’t crap out a mediocre blog post every day just to stick with a schedule. If you only blog a couple times a week but they’re quality posts, that’s totally fine and benefits your brand/image more than a bunch of phoned in content.
Other tactics you can try are guest blogging, commenting with relevant and appropriate links back to your blog posts, promoting your content via Facebook and Twitter, and answering questions via Yahoo! Answers and LinkedIn and referring to your blog posts if they’re helpful resources.
3) What are some key tricks and tips for managing and growing an online community?
You need to have some sort of “police” presence but don’t over-moderate to the point where you’re taking away what makes the community unique. People get upset when there’s too much censorship or too many rules. At the same time, if there is zero moderation you’re compromising the quality of the community and could drive people to leave. You need to find a good balance between the two in order to have a thriving community.