Twin Cities writer and lifestyle expert Elizabeth Dehn is the voice of BeautyBets.com, a blog dedicated to beauty news, candid product reviews, and expert tips and trick—all of which Dehn delivers with a heavy dose of honesty and wit. Prior to launching her website, Dehn worked for Aveda, Kiehl’s, Target, and most recently served as the lifestyle editor at Minnesota Monthly. She is a regular contributor to the Mall of America Fashion Sense blog and Twin Cities Live television.
Blogging: It’s No Longer for Dummies Elizabeth Dehn, BeautyBets.com
I left my job as a magazine editor in February to start a beauty blog. Say that out loud a few times and it starts sound CRAZY. But as a journalist working in a traditional medium I thought it was high time I officially enter the blogosphere. Naturally, getting on the social media bandwagon followed. Like a freight train. In the last two months I’ve dedicated more time to Twitter, Facebook and various technological treats than on the actual blog—partly because I was so late to the party, but also because the rewards have been exponential. Meaning: In two months I doubled the number of unique visitors and page views on my site, gained over 500 Twitter followers and over 300 Facebook fans, and landed my first paid advertiser. If you are embarking on your first blog, here are just a few basics to get you started. Good luck, and have patience!
1. Content is key. If you love to write about something, someone will love to read about it. Be sincere, passionate, and consistent in your subject-matter and readers will follow. People want an opinion, so have one.
2. That said, if it’s not well-written, smart, and articulate, who is going to choose to read it over an online newspaper or magazine? Just because you can write a blog from your basement while wearing pajamas doesn’t mean it should sound like you did.
3. Start a Facebook fan page. Post your latest blog entries there, as well as any updates related to your subject matter. Ask all of your friends to follow, then ask them to invite THEIR friends to follow. Now is not the time to shy away from self-promotion.
4. Create Facebook ads. They’re easy, inexpensive, and one of the best ways to target potential fans because Facebook allows you to choose very specific demographics—including people who follow pages that complement yours. For example: If you write a fashion blog for moms, you could target all female J.Crew fans age 25–45.
5. Twitter is your friend, if you let it. Follow people who interest you, retweet their tweets, and they will most likely follow you back. Likewise, if someone follows YOU, follow them back. You will slowly create a community of like-minded people who will be interested in what you have to say.
6. Don’t tweet about your blog incessantly—it’s the fastest way to lose followers. A few tweets throughout the day about your latest post is fine, but be sure to sprinkle in other personal anecdotes, as well as articles, information, and tweets that interest you.
7. Partner with other bloggers to create in-bound links to your blog. Offer to feature them on your blog and they will most likely spread the word about yours—through a guest blog (see how this works?), tweet, link on their blogroll, etc. This is one incredibly effective way to reach new readers AND get your site noticed by Google so that it comes up higher in search results.
8. Comment on other blogs when you have something relevant and useful to add. This will position you as an expert with readers and eventually grab the attention of the blogger who may eventually write about your blog. Be sure to include a link to your website so that readers can click to it – and you can track those clicks.
9. Use Google Analytics to track the number of hits your blog receives, traffic sources, search words used, etc. This is the best way to understand who your reader is, what they want, and how they found your site. It’s also essential to capture this data if you want to establish advertisers. All you need is a gmail address and you’re good to go. 10. If you are a subject-matter-expert, media outlets might be interested in what you have to say. If you can offer readers/viewers useful information—how to find amazing grocery store deals, for example—then contact local reporters, TV and radio producers about your site and why you would make a good person to interview or feature.