Q&A On Blogging for Business with Louise Harnby

Q&A On Blogging for Business with Louise Harnby

cubes spelling out blogBlogging is one of the oldest uses of the internet and remains one of the most valuable practices for raising your visibility online. Louise Harnby is an editor who has written several books about running a freelance editing business, and now she’s addressing fear of Blogging for Business Growth with a full-fledged course.

You can read my detailed review of this course on the Copyediting website. Here, I want to go beyond that review by talking with Harnby about related matters. But first, a little about the course:

Harnby and I are of one mind when it comes to marketing. There are very few books that find me exclaiming “Yes!” like hers do. This webinar course is no different. Her material is specific, targeted to editors, and actionable. If you listen and do what she says, with the worksheets she provides, you will have a blog up and running by the time the course ends.

This course takes the modern format of being multimedia and on demand. You start when you want, progress at your own speed, and keep interacting with the content for as long as you want. Harnby has extended the interaction with a closed Facebook group specifically for students of the course, and she promises ongoing and updated content as the need becomes apparent.

Now, let’s get to the Q&A:

Q. How much time is too much to spend on blogging/creating pro videos?

A. That’s very subjective and impossible to answer! It might take one person 5 hours a week to create a blog post, and if that’s what it takes to create quality content that will get attention on their business, that’s not too much time. If it takes another person 1 hour to create that post, but they’re still spending 5 hours a week writing, they might be wasting 4 hours. However, if they enjoy business writing, like I do, and consider it a form of CPD, that 5 hours might be a superb use of time! It’s about balance, and it’s personal. We all need to do the best we can with the time we have available. That applies to any element of running a business.

Q. How do you approach engaging with commenters on social media? (I want frank reader reactions and worry that my lurking will prevent that, for example.)

A. Broadly speaking, I like to engage. The best blogging — the best marketing — is about engagement. I’m okay with people doing things differently to me as long as I’m represented fairly in their comments. I can’t think of one example, other than when trolls are hurling their muck around, where I didn’t learn from a critique of my marketing methods. Usually it’s just about thanking people for taking the time to consider my content, or responding to a question. I think your approach is something that’s worth my thinking about though! I’d not considered that it might be off-putting to people to have me lurking!

Q. Why don’t you include search ranking in the metrics?

A. Keyword search rankings as a metric was something I took some time thinking about but decided to leave it out, and for one reason: it’s another potential rabbit hole. And I don’t want my students falling down it. These days it’s increasingly about longer-tail keyword phrases. So I can search for ‘crime fiction editor Norwich’. Great — I’m on page one of Google. And that’s wonderful if all my clients come from Norwich and that’s always the search term they use to find people like me. But they aren’t and they don’t. In fact, we can’t extract much usable data from Google Analytics on keyword searches. What we can do is spend hours placing phrases into Google that we think our clients might be using, hoping that we rank for them, and then hoping some more that we’re correct about what search phrases have been used. And there’s the rabbit hole. I think it’s much better to create a bank of high quality content that answers multiple questions, is rich in multiple keywords, and shows our visitors how helpful we are. Then look at the broader metrics – are we getting more bookings, are we getting more engagement, are clients telling us how helpful our websites are? That’s stuff that can be measured efficiently without guesswork.

Having said that, my online courses are dynamic — I’m committed to adding content as required. If you and others think an additional tutorial that clarifies this issue would be beneficial, I’ll get right on it!

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