Managing a blog can be a lot of work, especially when you include marketing your blog and updates, which is why some small businesses often shy away from starting one in the first place. This is a serious mistake since research shows that small businesses with blogs generate up to 88% more leads each month than companies with only a static website, while the day to day management of your blog can easily be assigned to a Virtual Assistant.
Managing a blog can be broken down into tasks that need to completed daily, monthly and 2-3 times a year. Once you understand the frequency of specific tasks you can compile a schedule with your Virtual Assistant that can then form part of their normal routine of work.
Submitting to Blog Directories
Before Google became the dominant search engine, businesses had to submit their site to multiple search engines and directories to ensure maximum exposure. While this is no longer necessary, submitting your blog to blog directories, and specific web directories, can still be of great benefit. This is essentially a once-off process, but it helps to monitor this periodically for any changes or additions. A very important note with regards directories – never ever ever use any automated service or software for this, always submit manually, and only to quality sites. Examples include:
Submitting to RSS Directories
In mid-2013 Google shut down their Google Reader service, but Rich Site Summary (RSS) remains popular, with other services still capable of delivering RSS to readers and subscribers. Many RSS Directories include search functionality, making it easier for users to find specific content and even blogs, but you need to have submitted your feed to them first. Your Virtual Assistant can work through this list (http://www.toprankblog.com/rss-blog-directories), but again ensure that they submit to directories that are relevant to your industry and appear to be active and updated.
Submitting to Content Aggregators
Content aggregators automatically display recent blog posts on their sites, and offer a fantastic opportunity for additional exposure. However, they do require your site to have been submitted to them first, and some of the top aggregators don’t accept all sites. With a bit of careful research, your Virtual Assistant will be able to find aggregators that accept submissions, and are relevant to your industry. Two popular sites to get you started are:
Content curation is the manual, or automated, collection and display of information or news related to specific topics, and has become extremely popular over the past year. Sites such as Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg and Flipboard have made it easier for users to curate their own ‘magazine’, and they can often result in significant volumes of traffic to your site. Your Virtual Assistant should research the process for all the top curation sites, and how to use curation to your benefit. Consider the following sties:
Monitor the Internet
Keeping track of who is talking about your business on the Internet is not a difficult task, thanks to Google Alerts. Using this simple tool you are able to receive notification every time someone mentions you, your brand, or one of your products. This is a wonderful way to build meaningful relationships with your clients, allowing you to thank them for any positive statements. Whenever your clients comment on a negative experience, you are also able to reach out to them and resolve the issue much faster, preventing any further impact. You should create alerts based on your name, your business name, product names and terms relating to your industry.
If you are using WordPress for your blog, you can extend your monitoring further through careful use of trackbacks and ping-backs. First, verify that this feature is enabled on your WordPress installation by going into Settings >> Discussion and checking that “Allow link notifications from other blogs” is selected. Whenever someone links to any of your posts it will show up under the comments, with a link back to their site or social media profile. As with Google Alerts, your Virtual Assistant can monitor these and for all positive statements you can reach out to the user/client and thank them, and for negative statements you can try to fix the situation. Your VA can also share some of these posts on your social media sites, not only to promote yourself, but also to build healthier relationships with your clients.
An easy, and popular, method for attracting a larger audience is through guest posts on other blogs. Ask your Virtual Assistant to compile a list of blogs whose audience may be interested in your services or products. These would be blogs for industry related businesses and even personal blogs of enthusiasts within your industry, not of competitors. You can then draft a personal pitch to them for a post you would like to contribute to their site, along with details of why you would want to do this, and how it could benefit them. Be honest and sincere, you are looking at extending your reach and attracting new clients through relationships with other bloggers. Although your Virtual Assistant can do the initial work regarding this, any actual contact and discussions should involve you and the bloggers.
Use Comments Effectively
Engaging with your audience through the comments on your own blog, and other blogs within your industry, is an important factor in marketing yourself and your business. You should be using comments to open up conversations that ultimately establish you as an expert in your particular field. Unfortunately this is something you will have to do yourself, at least in the beginning, but once you are confident that your virtual assistant is able to confidently comment knowledgeably and authoritatively about your business and industry, you can easily assign this task to them.
These are all tasks that can, and should, be assigned to your VA; and when managed properly and regularly can boost your profile and audience considerably. There are other tasks that relate directly to the marketing and promotion of individual posts, and these can also be managed by your VA, but need to be actioned each time a new post is uploaded.
To create and maintain a single ‘voice’ on your blog, it is essential that all content is written by you, though there are quite a few ways in which your Virtual Assistant can help. Given a list of topics you would like to write about, your VA can research these topics, and keywords related to them, and you can then take the information and write the actual posts. The completed article can then be assigned to your virtual assistant again so that they can format it, optimize it and publish it. Once it has been published, they need to do the following:
-1- Announce the Post via Twitter
Each time a new article is published your Virtual Assistant should announce it via Twitter. Additionally, they should schedule this tweet to be posted again every 6-hours for a 24-hour period to ensure you reach all your followers. The tweet should include one or two relevant #hashtags, and your Virtual Assistant should also reply to any mentions.
-2- Share the Post on Google+ .. and Facebook
Your Virtual Assistant must then link to the post on your Google+ page, but it should not just be a simple announcement. The post should include an image, and a short description, along with a link to the full article. Make the description a hit list of take away tips/info. People who are busy only read posts that interest them and the short take away points let them sift through to find the content they want to read.
Side diversion: If you are entrenched on Google+, consider using Friends+Me to auto-post to your Facebook profile, Facebook business page, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile. It’s high on my “must have” list!
-3- Share the Post via Related Social Groups
Have a list of Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry and the topics you write about. After publishing your Virtual Assistant can then share the post, with link, to these groups. This would include adding it to your profile on Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.
-4- Promote via Related Posts
After each article is published your Virtual Assistant should find at least five posts on other blogs that are related to this specific post. They would then post appropriate and relevant comments to these posts, before sharing links to the posts via Twitter, again using relevant #hashtags.
A final important consideration – techniques, trends and opportunities constantly change so both you and your Virtual Assistant should always be aware of new approaches, and never be afraid to try out new methods. By combining this final point with all the other steps outlined above, your chances of continually growing your audience is that much better.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: FirmBee | CCO Public Domain