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Writing a Professional Blog Post

Writing a professional blog post is simple when you follow a few basic rules. First, you should load the blogging software onto your website instead of using an external blog. WordPress.org provides the best software to do so, primarily because it is supplemented by an extensive number of plug-ins. Coders write plug-ins for WordPress.org for the same reason they create apps for your iPhone, to increase the functionality.

One of the main reasons to write a blog involves improving the search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.

As to the topic(s) for your blog, it helps to create a theme related to your business. Doing so will improve the focus of your blog and help to suggest articles to write for it.

One of the main reasons to write a blog involves improving the search engine optimization (SEO) for your website (more on SEO in our future posts). Blogs provide valuable, original content, an emphasis in the Google ranking algorithm, and they establish your website as a dynamic location instead of a static one. Dynamic websites are constantly adding new pages, and each time you write an entry for your blog, you are essentially creating a new web page.

An ideal length for a blog entry runs around 300 to 400 words. 300 words represents a minimum to be taken seriously by Google’s spiders (they are constantly “crawling” the web for ranking purposes), and 400 words is a soft maximum because people don’t have a lot of time, and it is better to keep your entries concise.

Two plug-ins are essential for WordPress.org: Yoast SEO and pullquote. Yoast SEO helps you to optimize your blog entries with various SEO-related functions such as a meta description and focus keyword. It will also give you a list of optimization problems and provide a “green light” when you have sufficiently addressed them.

Pull quote lets you create a graphic illustration with whatever key quotation you wish to highlight for your entry.

Every blog entry should also contain a featured photo and three or four links to external articles within the body of the text. A great way to choose copyright-free images can be found at www.pixabay.com. This site lets you choose any keyword, and it will return a slew of possible images for you to use with your entry.

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Pitching Reporters

One of the more critical functions of public relations involves pitching reporters and editors to publish your client’s story. Whether it’s a press release or a bylined article, this task involves finesse and understanding.

It is not unusual for an editor to receive 300 press releases per day.

First of all, you must realize any publication with a circulation of 30,000 or more gets bombarded with content. It is not unusual for an editor to receive 300 press releases per day. Thus, to have any chance of publication, you must stand out from the crowd. One way to do so involves pre-pitching the story first. You need to get on the phone with reporters and ask them if they are interested in the topic. Then, ask for permission to send the content.

Then, when your document arrives in the reporters’ in-box, they will realize it is from a respected organization or PR agency, and they will treat it with more respect. Of course, editors hate it when you call them by phone; they would much prefer to handle everything by email. But a phone call is the only way you will stand out from the crowd.

When you call the reporter, they might tell you, “I’m on deadline.” When you hear these words, you must end the call immediately. This shows respect for the editor’s priorities. They must publish on time, so being on deadline is an all-consuming priority. But then, when you call back the next day, you can remind the editor how you originally contacted him/her when they were on deadline, and they will remember how considerate you were. The article is as good as published.

Assuming the reporter gives you permission to send your document (few will say not to, they will be interested in getting you off the phone as quickly as possible), you should follow up in three-to-four days and ask them if they had a chance to read it. Nine times out of ten, the answer will be no. Then, you should tell them the exact date and time of the email to confirm whether they did, in fact, get it. They will generally find it or might ask you to just send it again. When you do, they will feel a little guilty for not reading it and will be more likely to do so and give you feedback.

Keep following up in this manner and after the third or fourth call, you should achieve placement of your document.

Pitching is not a difficult task; it just takes time and follow through.

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Creating Valuable Content

The creation of valuable content represents the key goal in both marketing and search engine optimization. This content should be diversified and include press releases, bylined articles, e-newsletters and blogs, to name a few. The most successful campaigns will be organized into a time-related effort; for example, we recommend one press release per month, one blog entry every week and an e-newsletter every other month.

The creation of valuable content represents the key goal in both marketing and search engine optimization.

By following these guidelines, companies will create more content in the long run than if they exceeded these frequencies in a more organic approach. Moreover, they will be complying with Google’s overarching goal in search engine results: the location of valuable content. This white-hat approach to search engine optimization always works best because Google is continually updating their search engine algorithm to foil those who try to cut corners to manipulate the results.

In determining the nature of the content created, it is always better to create “evergreen” material. Evergreen material stands the test of time; that is, the information will possess a generic aspect so it won’t become stale or dated. Evergreen content will continue to draw readers on an ongoing basis.

In the creation of valuable content, some basic writing skills must be employed. While ideally the content will be drafted by a public relations professional, often the CEO or another executive must act independently. We suggest following three basic rules; 1) Do not subordinate your ideas with “that” or “which;” 2) Avoid using the verb “to be” in favor of most active and colorful verbs; 3) If you can say something in two words instead of three, do so; economy of writing always works best.

Of course, the writing also depends upon the format you are using. Press releases are best for newsworthy material, a change in personnel, procedure or new products. Bylined articles demonstrate your expertise in various topics and establish you as a guru. Newsletter articles must cover topics of general interest to your industry. We will delve into these formats more deeply in subsequent entries.