Seven tips for creating social media content

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Bonnie Harris
Bonnie Harris

Is a blog website content or social media? The correct answer is “both,” according to Bonnie Harris, founder of St. Paul, MN-based Wax Marketing. Harris is a media strategist, writer and blogger, whose work crosses all media channels and functions. Her company provides integrated marketing communications campaigns that combine traditional media and social media messaging strategies.

“Once branding is done and the key messages have been defined, we come in and determine which messaging channels are going to be the best fit,” Harris says. “We then determine the approach and translate those messages to fit channels.”

Harris offered the following tips on how to build social media success by marrying web and social content.

Embed the company blog within the company website. Unless you're blogging about concepts that don't fit with the corporate brand, embed the company blog in the company website, as blog.domain.com. “That's based on recommendations from several optimizers and social media experts,” explains Harris. Among other reasons, an integrated blog reinforces the brand and seamlessly blends it into the website, naturally leading visitors to the website's pages, and ensures your blog won't outrank your website.

Two — or more — blogs are better than one. Short-form blogging platforms that offer integrated and automatic posting to other social media tools, like Tumblr, Posterous and Blogger.com are changing the social media game, according to Harris. “When you're just starting out, it's really hard to get traffic,” Harris says. “We're seeing that we can drive traffic to the internal blog by putting up similar —not duplicate — content under the same brand using [these short-form tools]. It's a new idea that we're recommending to clients if they have the time to devote to the effort.” 

Optimize your website. Most website content isn't optimized, and that can be a big problem. Harris advises that companies gain more knowledge about optimization and learn how to do it right. “I don't mean just optimized so that the search engines find you. I mean optimized so that it really focuses on the keywords and key messages within the brand,” explains Harris.

Get to the point. You've got 30 seconds to get your point across, according to Harris. She says too many businesses create websites that try to introduce a problem and discuss it before they say what they do.

Your blog is both a landing pad and a launching pad. Tweets drive traffic to a blog and a blog serves as a launching pad for website content, but companies shouldn't overdo it. Harris advises against tweeting to drive blog traffic, or posting to a blog, multiple times a day. “You want to be tweeting and driving [readers] to the blog occasionally,” she says.

Too much of a good thing can be annoying. Don't write long blog posts. “Posts shouldn't be any longer than 300 to 400 words at the most. If it's longer than that, turn it into a series,” advises Harris. She suggests planning blog content much in the same way a magazine plans content. Review the editorial guidelines of magazines to gain insight.

Make blogging a regular event. Too many people are fired up when they begin blogging, but they write too much, too fast and burn out. “People run out of gas really fast,” warns Harris. She says to plan on posting three times a week. Consider hiring professional bloggers to write six posts a month that are of industry interest. If you don't have time to keep up with your own scheduled blogs, hire somebody to write those, too, or find someone in the company who enjoys writing and does it well.

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