Blog Archives

The Power of the Hashtag

This may seem like common sense to some, but I recently discovered the power of the hashtag. I used to be somewhat skeptical about the hashtag. To me, it seemed like an unnecessary use of characters. You put # then a word to emphasize or reiterate what you already said in the copy of the post, and that seemed like too much.

After all, we learn in Public Relations, or really in any communication with the public, that we need to be concise and too the point. Only use as many characters as needed to get your message across.

I always got overwhelmed with the bombardment of hashtags some people would put on their posts, so I figured I would save others the onslaught and leave my posts simple and untagged. Well, that is, until recently.

I started a blog about a month ago. It was for personal use and to share with family and friends. My only follower was my mom, so yeah, it was a small blog.

On one of my more recent posts, I realized there was the option to tag your posts with keywords. I thought Why not? and put a few #keywords along with my post.

The next day, I checked my email, and I had a bunch of notifications from the blog site. People had found my post! They were interacting with it! I had likes, comments, and new followers. People searched the hashtags, stumbled upon my post, and actually liked what I was writing!

Since then, I’ve become a bit of a hashtag fanatic. Even tagging your post with one or two words can help increase visibility and make your messages more trackable. Don’t believe me? Try hashtagging one of your posts and see what happens! Or check out Tagboard or Hashtagify and search some hashtags you see trending on twitter.

We live in an age where there are thousands of people sending messages out into the digital world. Why not make yours a little easier to find by adding a few more characters including that little # above the 3 on your keyboard.

5 Ways to Keep Your Blog On Track

Starting a blog isn’t hard at all, however, keeping it going can be difficult.  It’s so easy to let a few days go by, and then a few more, before getting back to posting.  But it is important that you train yourself to write regularly! The most important way to keep your audience happy and to gain new traffic is to produce consistent relevant content.  This does not mean you have to post everyday; however aiming for 3-4 posts a week is generally a good rule of thumb.  Here are a few tips to stay on track:

1. Make an editorial calendar. I know it sounds kind of intimidating when phrased this way but an editorial calendar is a very useful tool to keep the content of your blog fresh and on topic. By planning ahead and writing down ideas for future posts with a corresponding due date, it won’t be as hard to produce content because you will already have a general idea of the subject you want to cover for a certain day.  An editorial calendar also sets deadlines for yourself so you are less likely to fall behind on posting.

2. Make a writing schedule. Set aside a block of time everyday or every other day that you can use to write your posts, or at the very least, hash out a first draft. The best way to write well is simply to start. If you get all of your thoughts out on paper it will be easier to clean it up and edit everything down to a coherent on-topic post.

3. Keep a notebook with you. By having a small notebook with you 24/7, you can jot down a blog post idea whenever it comes to you. Simply slip it into your backpack or purse–you may have a sudden thought in the grocery store or while in line at a coffee shop. I know that if I don’t write down my ideas immediately, I will forget them. Keeping note of your various thoughts and inspirations will give you more material to add to your editorial calendar later on.

4. Stay Current. Tying in relevant current events to your blog topic is always a good idea. What is going on right now that you can relate back to your subject matter? What current event clearly illustrates a concept you want to get across? Referencing current news items gives you another avenue to reach your readers and to drive a point home.

5. Research. Set aside a period of time–in addition to your writing blocks–to research new post ideas. See what is going on in your subject area and write down thoughts of what would be good to cover in the future.

If you follow any or all of these tips you will be well on your way to posting regularly, as well as gaining and maintaining an awesome following. Stay current, stay fresh, stay motivated. Your readers will thank you.