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7 Questions About Professional Blogging

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At PubCon in Las Vegas, the Search and Blogging Reporters Forum fielded questions about an array of topics, from blogging to SEO, to videos and RSS feeds.

Blogger Reporter Panel
Blogger Reporter Panel

The expert panel consisted of SEOMoz‘s Rand Fishkin, Marketing Pilgrim‘s Andy Beal, TopRankResults‘ Lee Odden, and WebProNews Managing Editor Mike McDonald.

On Blogging vs. Journalism:

The panel saw little difference between blogging and journalism. Even if journalists criticize bloggers for not always getting the story right, members of the panel were quick to point out that the mainstream media often makes mistakes as well. For a newspaper, this is handled via a correction box.

On Starting an SEO Blog to Promote Yourself:

Rand and Lee agreed that people trying to break into the SEO industry tend to get a little too open with their blogs. Though the idea of a blog is to showcase your skills, you don’t want to give away the cow. Andy disagrees. "Personally, I don’t hold anything back," he said.

On Whether a Blog Should Mix Business and Personal Elements

Andy uses Robert Scoble as an example, who blogs about both personal and business topics. "I don’t think there is a certain rule you have to follow. But I would recommend separating them." Beal says to be consistent; if you start out as business only, stay business only.

Lee recommends having multiple RSS feeds, one for personal posts and one for business posts.

Corporate blogs done right can get more links and traffic than personal ones, but nothing says people within the company can’t have personal blogs linked to from the main page.

On Using Full or Partial RSS Feeds

The panel was split on this subject. On the one hand, a full RSS feed can help more people to be aware of you and your content without them having to visit the site. But a partial feed helps ensure more people visit your site, so it may depend on what your goals are.

On Videos:

Rand says people aren’t consuming as much video as they are text, as it’s more difficult to access video from a mobile phone or without headphones at work. The interaction video provides, however, is good for branding.

Lee says videos are very good at drawing attention and creating relationships with other people.

Mike says that video can be complicated or simple. It depends on the amount of time and effort you want to put into it. Editing is the hardest part, with the audio, rendering, etc. He agrees video also helps the branding aspect, as long as your icon or logo are there to remind people where the video came from.

On the Pitfalls of Bloggers Taking on Advertisers:

Rand said, "I felt like taking on the advertising was hurting my ability to write about those companies. It is very effective to monetize blogs, but you have to have the audience first.

Andy advises that bloggers have a disclosure policy for readers, and that they should let advertisers know there is a line between editorials and advertisers. He recommends charging on a flat-rate basis. There are no expectations of set numbers of impressions or click-throughs.

On How Many Social Media Buttons Are Needed:

The panel recommends beginning with an array of social media buttons, measuring to see which ones are most popular and then narrowing them down. People will become blind to them after a while, so one tactic to combat them is to put them up only every so often so that people will pay more attention. Or, you could add a button when traffic starts to pick up for a specific article. 

7 Questions About Professional Blogging
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