April 20, 2014

Come and chat with me in November

Image courtesy of LincUpLive

I’ll be in London next month, sharing some thoughts on social media and digital engagement as part of CIPR’s Social Summer and Mumsnet’s Blogfest.

Here are the details…

CIPR Social Summer

Measuring social media without blowing the budget, Thursday 8 November

Now that social media has gone mainstream, many companies are keen to get involved. But even larger brands will want to dip their toe in the water and see proven, quantifiable results before committing budget, which often means the funds won’t stretch to relatively high investment monitoring tools such as Radian, Meltwater or Alterian.

In the battle to integrate social media solidly into a brand’s marketing strategy, it pays to focus initial spend on the essentials and seek out free or low cost monitoring and measurement solutions to draw the essential link between social media investment and return.

In this session, I’ll be looking at the full range of online tools that do the job and don’t cost the earth.

To book, visit the CIPR’s Eventbrite page.

Mumsnet Blogfest

Blogging clinic, Saturday 10th November

Having spoken at a host of digital conferences this year, including LincUpLive, Blogcamp and Cybher, I’m really looking forward to sitting in the Blogging Clinic at Blogfest and taking questions throughout the day from some of the 300 blogging delegates in attendance.

The conference is sold out, but you can read more about it on the Blogfest website.

See you there?

I’ve joined the Social Media Week Global Editorial Team

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined the Global Editorial Team for Social Media Week (SMW) – “a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media.”

Here’s a bit more about the Social Media Week initiative, in the words of the organisers, Crowd Centric:

“Social Media Week’s mission is to explore how local and regional societies, cultures, and economies are becoming more integrated & empowered through a global network of communication. Delivered primarily through a network of internationally hosted biannual conferences and online through social and mobile media, Social Media Week brings hundreds of thousands of people together every year through learning experiences that aim to advance our understanding of social media’s role in society.”

The next SMW is due to take place September 19 – 23 2011 in:

You can read more about the editorial team here – and look out for my first blog post, coming soon.

The five most useful Google+ write-ups from comms pros

There have been tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of words written about Google+ already, but as the new social network takes its first tentative steps in beta, the industry is asking…

What does this new platform mean for PR, marketing and other comms professionals?

It’s not an easy one to answer, but here are five articles that helped me get to the heart of the matter:

  1. The PR and marketing implications of Google+ by Shel Holtz. This is about as thorough as you can get right now. Shel hasn’t churned out a Google+ 101 post, he’s written an article with the uses for comms pros in mind. Read it.
  2. Should PR and social media people be getting excited by Google+? by Phil Szomszor. Should we all be leaping on board and putting our campaign budgets into Google+ right now? Phil has sensible answers.
  3. Conversations matter in Google+ by Chris Brogan. I have to agree with Chris’s simple but crucial observation here. The quality of conversations and responses in my stream, right now, is blowing Twitter and Facebook out of the water. If that continues, it’s a big deal for brands (particularly when the door opens to them).
  4. Why Google Has the Hammer To Make Businesses Use Google Plus by Jay Baer. This is a comparatively complex article (make a cup of tea before you start reading) but it takes a really good stab at mapping the evolution of search, SEO, social, where Google+ fits in, and where it’s going. Useful stuff.
  5. Google+, Businesses and Beyond by Christian Oestlien. In a video rather than a written post, Christian, a product manager on Google+ explains why it’s not quite ready for businesses yet, and gives some hints on where it might be going. Watch it below:

So, when it comes to Google+, what are your predictions, observations hopes and concerns for the comms industry?

Listing my essential social media tools

Tonight’s #CommsChat (the weekly Twitter-based chat for comms professionals) will aim to identify the best tools out there for monitoring and evaluating social media activity. Here’s my summary of the tools I use every day.

The blurb for tonight’s chat reads: “There’s a huge array of free, freemium and paid-for choices out there – so which ones do you invest your time and money on and why? What are the lesser known tips, tricks or features you’ve found, and which tools don’t cut the mustard?”

So, here are the questions to be posed on the night, along with my top tips.

What are your top social media tools – and why?

  • For getting a one window view of all the activity on every Twitter profile and Facebook Page I manage, Hootsuite
  • For spreading the great stuff I read in the morning out across the day on Twitter, you can’t beat Buffer which lets me stack up quality content to go out at pre-set intervals
  • For identifying the hottest trends in my Twitter stream, StrawberrJ.am is a must
  • For filtering out a hashtag or keyword if I really don’t want to know the tennis result, Proxlet
  • For putting some quick (but debatably fallible) numbers to influence on social networks, Klout and Peer Index
  • For figuring out the behaviour and trends around a particular Twitter user, TweetStats (see also Hashtracking)
  • For assessing the reach of a hashtag, tweet or even @username, TweetReach.
  • For getting a quick, free overview of the reach and sentiment of an idea / campaign on the social web, SocialMention.com

Which ones are more hype that happening?

  • Not keen on Klout’s +K as a measure of ‘expertise’ in certain topics. It measures ‘vote for me!’ popularity rather than true influence and is easily gamed
  • Paper.li drives me crazy. Billed as a tool to bring you the best of your stream in paper form, it does work, but it’s being overused in a spammy way. Turn off those auto-tweets, people!

From dashboard to dashing about – best tips for tablets and mobiles

Freemium to premium – which upgrades are worth it?

  • If you have more than one Hootsuite user in the office accessing the same Twitter profiles, you’ll need to upgrade, but it also cuts out the ads and gives you full access to an Outlook-like scheduling calendar, so it’s well worth it
  • Buffer premium brings you the usual scheduling goodness, plus the option to have multiple admins and unlimited tweets and Twitter accounts
  • TweetReach only analyses the last 50 tweets it finds in Twitter search, so if you’re looking at a very busy hashtag, it’s worth paying the $20 for a full snapshot

How are these tools helping you with strategy?

  • Managing multiple feeds is time-consuming. The better the tools, the more time you can devote to actually engaging
  • Knowledge is power. The more data you can get on how you’re performing, the better honed your strategy becomes

Should tools focus around ‘search’ or around ‘social’?

  • I guess this is asking, should we look at a) numbers – followers, number of RTs etc, or b) engagement – depth of conversation, sentiment, reach etc?
  • My answer is a little of (a), a little of (b), but ultimately you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and remember that tools are just tools – nothing automated is going to tell you everything you need to know, or do everything you need to do, that’s what comms professionals are for ;)

The chat takes place tonight (Monday 4th July) 8-9pm UK time. Talk to you there?

How to be consistent on Twitter: Buffer

Do you ever worry that your activity on Twitter seems too sporadic? You’re quiet for half the day/week, then jump on and post a handful of great links/thoughts, have a quick chat, then disappear off again? A new service called Buffer has the answer, and I caught up with one of its founders, Leo Widrich, to find out more.

Let me tell you a story…

About 2.5 years ago, I was just starting out with a new consultancy. As such, I hadn’t filled my client roster, and had some free time to network, learn, and promote myself and my business. So I joined Twitter. I monitored it all day, chatted, posted regularly, and manually made sure I was consistent throughout the day.

But of course, as I got busier, this became more and more of a challenge. I began finding the articles I wanted to share during my ‘free’ time, either at the weekends, late evenings, or very early mornings. These are great time to catch up on reading, but probably not the best times to start a work conversation.

So what is Buffer?

Leo from Buffer

Buffer isn’t the first app to offer scheduled tweeting, but it is the smartest solution I’ve come across so far.

Instead of having to manually decide what time each tweet will go out (a la Hootsuite), you just preset some times each day that you’d like to tweet (e.g. 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm) and then drop all the cool stuff you find into your Buffer, where it queues up and posts out throughout the day.

Add more goodies than can fit it in a day – it’ll buffer over into the next day. Decide you want them in a different order – it’s a simple case of drag and drop.

During the day, you’re then free to use what free time you do have to indulge in what Twitter (and all social media) is really all about – conversation.

In Leo’s own words:

“Buffer is a tool that helps you to tweet consistently every day without flooding your followers. It was an idea that came out of Joel’s use of Twitter [ed: Joel Gascoigne is co-creator of Buffer and an experienced developer with an MSc Computer Science]. He wanted to share more of the great articles he was reading, but without all these tweets in a row. Having a ‘Buffer’ which spreads out these tweets seemed to be the optimal solution.

“The heart of Buffer are the browser extensions. Whichever article you are reading on the web, just give it one click on the Buffer icon and add it to your Buffer. What we found is that many people tweet one article and add the rest to their Buffer. This spreads them out and never floods their stream.”

Why might you need Buffer?

Generally speaking, you might like Buffer if a) you don’t use Twitter much, or b) you use Twitter all the time.

Here’s why:

Leo: “We are seeing 2 groups of people using Buffer heavily at the moment. The first one is Twitter new comers. People told us they are overwhelmed with Twitter at first and with Buffer they come to gradually use it more and more in a piecemeal process.

“Of course another large percentage of Buffer users are Twitter Pros. So people who are very heavily involved in Twitter and also have a business interest. What many seem to appreciate is that they can save time and be more efficient by Buffering, yet still remain a genuine personality and not turn into an auto-bot.

“What I found for myself is that it is often hard to tweet consistently. Yet, only a consistent appearance, similar to blogging, can build trust and help you stand out from the rest.”

Are the spammers circling?

Just as I asked Proxlet and StrawberryJ.am, I had to ask Buffer if they see the app being used for spamming, and what they’re doing about it:

Leo: “We try to fiercely work against that. Our tagline is “Be Awesome On Twitter” and we aim to help everyone to flood users less.

So we basically try to optimize instead of automate. This means we try not to implement things such as pulling RSS feeds in or tweeting the same tweet multiple times.”

Get the very best from Buffer

I asked Leo what his top tips would be to get the best from the app. For him, it’s all about convenience:

  • Bring Buffer to you: “With our browser extension, you can go to Twitter.com and Buffer Retweets from your native Twitter stream.”
  • Know the shortcuts: “Press “alt+b” to bring up the Buffer box (again, needs the browser extension)”
  • Get jamming: “You can Buffer tweets from inside StrawberryJ.am, a Trend based Tweet aggregator”
  • Grab text for tweets: “Highlight some text and then click the Buffer icon and it will be turned into a tweet.”

For me, the ability to add multiple accounts (if you have a pro subscription) and set different times for each is a god send. So what feature is are other users loving the most?

Leo: “What a lot of our professional users are thankful for are the analytics we are providing for all Tweets that are Buffered. [ed: you can link your Bit.ly account into Buffer] It helps a lot to understand about how well your tweets are doing and if you should change your patterns.”

Plans for the future of the app?

Just like any new app, Buffer is promising, but could be more useful. I’d like to see it go truely mobile, for example, and then extend out to LinkedIn and Facebook. So what’s in the pipeline?

Leo: “We really want to built it out further in the future. One main goal is to allow people to Buffer from anywhere they are. We are currently in talks with many different reader and mobile apps as well as Twitter clients. The integration with Strawberryj.am was fantastic and definitely the route we want to pursue in the future.

An iPhone app is high up on our list and Joel is working away on it as we speak.”

A game changer

At the moment, I use Buffer for about five tweets a day per account, usually buffered up that morning. But overall, Buffer is only one of the ways I access and manage Twitter, along with Hootsuite, Twitter for Mac, Twitter for iPhone, Twitter.com and Bit.ly, according to my needs. Of course, Buffer isn’t intended to do everything those clients do, but if it keeps on the promising development path it’s on, that list could reduce.

So, have you tried Buffer? Is it working for you? What improvements would you make?

(Hat tip to Sarah Arrow for first making me aware of Buffer.)

Two months, one experiment, zero search engines

A friend and well-respected comms pro, Paul Sutton, recently embarked on an experiment to see if he can survive two full months without using a search engine. I asked him to share what he’s learned so far.

Ask yourself a question: how long do you think you could go without using an internet search engine? I did some research among my friends, colleagues and networks, and two thirds of the people I asked said that, on average, they use a search engine more than ten times per day. They don’t think about it, they just do it.

It was while I was on a train heading into London that the idea of #NoSearch came to me. Looking around my carriage, about three quarters of the passengers had their heads buried in HTCs, iPads and laptops. And it struck me that all of these people – my friends, my contacts, me, you – we’re all totally reliant on what Google tells us. In fact, more than that, we have 100% trust and, arguably, blind faith in the results that we get back when we click the search button. This gives search engines immense power over us and the way we perceive the world. So I decided to give up Yahoo! and Bing for two entire months; to go Google cold turkey.

Is search behaviour changing?

The #NoSearch project was borne from a desire to investigate just how vital search engines have become to our everyday lives and whether it’s even possible to function without them.  I’m intrigued by the impact that the web is having on society, and I wanted to see whether social media is empowering collective intelligence as much as it’s purported to be doing; whether a social network can act as a ‘personal search engine’. So during June and July I intend to find out whether I can get by online by forgoing search engines in favour of my online networks.

Two weeks in and it’s already throwing up some really interesting areas for further thought and investigation. Google Instant (the feature that auto-suggests websites as you type a search term) quickly became my nemesis, to the point where I had to disable it. I’m not stopping myself visiting URLs that I already know, but typing them into the browser was proving a nightmare as I was effectively performing a search every time I did so. It highlighted to me how much search has changed from ‘pulling’ information from the web to having information ‘pushed’ to us via search engines, and is further evidence of Google’s power and influence. But do you ever question the results Google gives you? How often to you go beyond page one of the SERPS? Think about it…

The power of social networks

From a social media perspective, Twitter quickly became my lifeline. Facebook just doesn’t cut it when you need information in any sort of speed, and Twitter beats it hands down for expediency. And the people who use Twitter are also different; they’re more clued up, more reactive, more socially-savvy. Maybe there’s a learning there for social marketers?

I’ve also started to see great value in social bookmarking, an area I’ve never previously engaged with very heavily. Delicious, Diigo and Stumbleupon hold such a wealth of valuable information, and while they can’t compete with Google for finding a website URL, they’re good for information.

Time as a commodity

One word sums up my #NoSearch experience so far, however: frustrating. Living without search engines is, believe it or not, not that difficult if you have a network of any moderate size and a bunch of reliable and bookmarked web resources. But the time it takes me to find anything is starting to drive me nuts. With search engines you can be on a relevant website on any given topic within a few seconds. Without them it takes minutes at a time to dig out information. And when you’re as busy as I am that’s a lot of wasted time. You don’t realise how valuable time is until you don’t have any because it’s taken up with things you know you could do a lot quicker.

So have I been tempted to quit already? You bet! But in actuality, that’s more through impatience than a real need for Google. So I’m going to stick with it. I suspect that first search in August will be a delicious moment and I’ll probably start dreaming about it soon, but hopefully I’ll have a learned a hell of a lot about online behaviour and social media by the time that comes around.

You can follow the #NoSearch project on Posterous, Twitter and Audioboo. Paul Sutton is Head of Social Communications at BOTTLE, blogs at www.thesocialweb.co.uk and can be found on Twitter as @ThePaulSutton

Creating conversation-worthy content

I originally posted this one six months ago, but it’s so relevant to recent online discussions around ‘content for content’s sake’, I thought I’d push it back to the fore.

In this age of social media, companies are slowly waking up to the fact that it is no longer enough to ‘broadcast’ a message to an ‘audience’. Today, a successful web presence is all about engaging people in dynamic, multi-way dialogue; driving and contributing to key conversations; influencing, participating and responding to the buzz around emerging trends.

So what makes content ‘sharable’? What turns a site visitor from passive reader to active participant in a conversation around your brand?

Here’s my take on the key requirements for conversation-worthy content.

Offer value

It hardly needs saying that sharing is a big part of social networking. If the average user sees something interesting, controversial, enlightening or funny on Twitter, the chances are they’ll want to re-tweet it, or perhaps Stumble or ‘Like’ it. Even more so if they feel that it’s something their friends/followers will like, too.

Conversation-worthy content is often that which amuses, breaks news, surprises, or sheds light on a known but otherwise complex subject.

What are you doing to ensure your content brings a benefit to your audience, well beyond simply learning more about your brand?

Create investment

We know by now that user generated content isn’t just a way to keep copywriting overheads down – where users have a vested interest in the content on a site, they are more likely to return, more likely to engage, and more likely to share that content with others.

From relatively simple site additions such as guest blog posts or caption competitions, to more technical or time consuming additions such as user forums or content that crowd-sources advice or opinions from customers, the more a user feels they have contributed to content in some way, the more invested they are likely to feel, and therefore the more likely to continue, and indeed share the conversation.

What are you doing to encourage user contributions to your content base?

Track and monitor

When visitors hit your site, where do they come from? And where do they land? Once they’re there, what do they do next? Which types of content are the most ‘sticky’, holding attention for the longest? Which content drives the most ‘shares’ on social media?

Whether you’re part of a large company with the funds to purchase highly detailed analytics software such as Omniture or a small company with access only to a free tools such as Google Analytics, tracking and analysing user response is essential and not to be overlooked.

At any time, you need to be able to confidently answer the questions: What does your customer base respond best to? And what generates the highest level of engagement?

Listen; gather feedback

Of course, key information isn’t only to be gleaned from visitor behaviour. The real action is probably happening far beyond your blog post, news update or shiny new home page; it’s happening on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Again, whether you have deep enough pockets for an all singing all dancing social mention tool such as Radian 6 or Meltwater Buzz, or whether you are sticking firmly with free tools such as SocialMention.com, the big questions here are:

What content is being shared, and how? What are people saying about your brand? What are you learning from the conversation? And what are you doing to drive it forward, positively, by being visible and responsive where appropriate?

Stay relevant

Clearly, social media monitoring has applications far beyond collating mentions for your own brand. By tracking key words and phrases, you can answer a whole raft of questions that will help keep your conversation relevant to your readership.

What is interesting to your target markets right now? What questions, concerns or excitement is growing around your industry?

And, most importantly, what are you doing to track, analyse and predict these emerging trends, so that they can be reflected in your own content?

I’ll leave you with a final point to note. The answers to all of the above questions will rarely remain static for long. It could be weeks, days, hours or even minutes before the conversation shifts, turns or otherwise develops, throwing a whole new light on your content strategy.

The conversation is ongoing, dynamic and exciting. Your content strategy must be, too.

Social Media Week – are you getting involved?

So it’s Social Media Week (SMW) – “a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media.”

Some brands and agencies are leaping in head first to celebrate this most fashionable of communication channels, while others are watching from the sidelines with concerns about bandwagon jumping and hot air.

Over on #CommsChat tonight (7 Feb 8-9pm UK time), we’ll be discussing the week long set of events, and asking: does the rise of Social Media Week reflect a turning point in the acceptance of social media as part of the marketing toolkit, or only that social media is currently fashionable?

So what do you think? Are you taking part? Are you skeptical? Tune in at 8pm tonight – we’d love to hear your views.

Mixing social media into marketing #CommsChat

If you’re a regular to this blog, or follow me on Twitter/Facebook, you’ll know that I run a weekly Twitter chat for comms professionals on Monday nights (8pm-9pm UK time) with my #CommsChat co-founder Adam Vincenzini.

Last night, we were honoured to have Beth Harte as our guest mod and the topic was “Integrating social media into the marketing mix“. A healthy mix of new faces and #CommsChat stalwarts took part, with 90+ contributors and 500+ tweets.

Here’s a summary of the questions Beth threw out, and a selection of the tweets each one sparked:

Q1: Have you been using social media for product development?

  • @juphilpott: Absolutely. Our product IS our outstanding service to our members/cust and content found on #sm platforms help tremendously.
  • @Jane63C: I see sm as vital to building relationships, communities etc so very much at the heart of a PR strategy.
  • @DamnRedHead: Using SM in prod dev isn’t necessarily “crowdsourcing,” curation/aggregation can also help dev prods.
  • @RachAllen: I don’t think products have to be ‘social’ – interacting with customers should be though surely?
  • @LoisMarketing: Treated SM world as a public focus group — received great feedback, very helpful and supportive participants.

Q2: In regards to social media is it important to give customers the ability to provide their wants and needs? Why (not)?

  • @NotFromBolton: How can you stop them, seriously. Much better to channel it into something useful surely?
  • @MichaelWhite1: Customers are your wants and needs. Therefore it is important to provide for them.
  • @ahhzen: Doesn’t it depend on how responsive you can be? No point asking if you can’t deal with the answers.
  • @jane63c: Social media is by its nature two way communication so you must allow that engagement to build effective relationships.
  • @Dan_Martin: You don’t provide them the “ability” to do it; they will do it on Twitter, Facebook etc anyway! #commschat

Q3: If customers (B2B and B2C) were complaining about price via social media, what would you do with that info?

  • @jane63c: Back to engagement and two way comms complaining via sm is very public can quickly become crisis comms if not handled swiftly would probably add it to the mix of other information I had to help make a more informed pricing decision
  • @RobertPickstone: Would probably add it to the mix of other information I had to help make a more informed pricing decision.
  • @NotFromBolton: Learn from it. But if they come to you on price they will leave you on price. There has to be other differentiators.
  • @MarcSkaf: If they are complaining about price, it is your job to show them that the value is greater than the price.
  • @BethHarte: Social media isn’t always necessarily two-way. As a consumer, I might complain, but never interact with a brand.

Q4: What about “place.” If you hear via social media that you aren’t selling where people want to buy, what next? For example, I loved Putumayo World Music, but they don’t sell on on iTunes, so I don’t buy anymore. Do you have an example?

  • @NotFromBolton: It’s all about trends surely. Trends of topic vs outcome. What comments are made are immaterial unless its impacting the outcome.
  • @ahhzen: Does this become about volume? if enough potential customers SM to request a location then investigate it?
  • @JonClements: Investigate! And tell people you’re doing so.
  • @mazherabidi: Online has to be consideration here? Dunno if I can expect physical stores everywhere, but I expect online store.
  • @TotMac: Is the Beatles on iTunes not a good example of this? Legal wranglings aside, customers wanted it there.

Q5: What companies do you see doing a great job with social media communication?

  • @Jane63c: I think charities/not for profit sector are really getting to grips with SM, also transformed lobbying.
  • @MichaelWhite1: Big fan of @XboxSupport as well (no bias, I don’t run it!).

Hungry for more? Read the full transcript here, and join in with #CommsChat next week!

Is there a simple answer to blogging success?

Don’t worry. I’m not about to tout a single secret to blogging success – I don’t think there is one. But I have managed to get twenty-one bloggers to share their very best tips – and that’s a good start.

Every Monday night (8pm-9pm UK time) I co-run #CommsChat – a Twitter-based chat for people with some interest in the communications industry (PRs, journos, bloggers, marketers, writers, community managers). We usually have an expert guest host appropriate to the topic, and around 100 people take part, with anything between 400 to 1,000 tweets flying back and forth.

This Monday 24th January 2011, we’re having a Big Blogging Brainstorm (check out #BBB on Twitter). The premise is simple. Get 100(ish) communications pros together and bat ideas around to create more post ideas than you can shake a stick at. [More info here]

Now I wholeheartedly believe that constantly coming up with new things to write about is a BIG challenge for many, but it’s not the only one. So, ahead of Monday’s chat, I talked to twenty-one bloggers and asked for their best tips for blogging success.

Blog with purpose…

Blogging is great. But blogging with a strategy is even better. – Mark Shaw (@MarkShaw)

Try and have a cohesive theme, an anchor point. – Ben Johnston (@2ftfromfreedom)

Decide on what you are going to write about and stick to it. – Heather Townsend (@heathertowns)

…but retain the freedom to evolve

Know your niche but don’t let it define you. Too often bloggers begin down a very specific path and then find it hard to evolve / adjust because they get ‘known’ for something. – Adam Vincenzini (@AdamVincenzini)

Audience matters…

Choose your target audience and write your blog for that audience. – Richard Osborne (@RichardOsborne)

Write on topics, & in a style, that your intended audience will connect with. Put yourself in their shoes & write something that is appealing to them. – Marc Lawn (@businessgp)

…but so does self-belief

Simply write about what you know. – Ben Johnston (@2ftfromfreedom)

Don’t try to emulate another blogger / writer. Be yourself. YOU ARE interesting! – Rob Fletcher (@Tfgrobfletcher)

Be passionate and interested in what you are writing about. – Carli Ann Smith (@Carlir6)

Only ever write about things you enjoy writing about, else you won’t keep it up. – David Lurie (@Setsights)

Don’t try to be someone you’re not, let your own personality shine though. – Mike Garner (@realgoodwriting)

Stop worrying about what people think, write and publish often. you cannot improve your blogging if you do not do it. – Sarah Arrow (@SarahArrow)

Blog regularly…

State upfront when or how often you will post: every Thursday, twice a week, on the 1st and 15th of every month… This will keep you on schedule. – Catherine Jan (@TranslateTrad)

Go with a topic you like and develop a posting strategy (once a week, once a day, etc) and stick with it. You’ll find that over time it becomes a habit and you will continue to improve and gain confidence. – Allan Schoenberg (@allanschoenberg)

…but favour quality over quantity

Don’t ever think that because a blog post is short and sharp it won’t get as many hits as a full-blown thesis that takes you weeks to write! It’s the insight that counts. – Jon Clement (@JonClements)

Blog sparingly, comment frequently. – Richard Bailey (@behindthespin)

Sometimes the best thing you can do to a blog post before you hit publish is delete it or re-write it. Your readers will thank you for your quality control. – James Ainsworth (@AlterianJames)

Differentiate yourself…

Keep your content, style and ideas varied for the sake of you and your readers. – Adam Vincenzini (@AdamVincenzini)

Always add value – don’t just regurgitate. – Trefor Davies (@tref)

It’s important to differentiate yourself. Try to be very creative in order to provide new and different content and don’t copy other bloggers. – Petya N. Georgieva (@pgeorgieva)

…but don’t dismiss what’s tried and tested

Some of my most popular blog posts have been lists. There is nothing people like more than top 5s, top 10s etc so settle on a subject and create a list. It always leads to a debate! – Dan Martin (@Dan_Martin)

Get your own domain and web host right from the start. – David Bennett (@Quillcards)

So if there really is a secret to blogging success, it’s simply listening and learning from those already doing it well.

What are your biggest blogging challenges? And what do you think is the most important element of blogging success?