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PRSA Richmond Lunch Recap: The Future of Blogging

From Left to Right: Tim and Mary Vidra of 17 Apart, Kristel Poole of Hamilton Beach's Everyday Good Thinking, and Jeff Wilson of PadillaCRT's BuzzBin Blog

From Left to Right: Tim and Mary Vidra of 17 Apart, Kristel Poole of Hamilton Beach's Everyday Good Thinking, and Jeff Wilson of PadillaCRT's BuzzBin Blog

Here in truly meta-fashion, I am blogging about blogging.  Yesterday, at the Public Relations Society of America - Richmond Chapter's monthly luncheon, blogger friends shared their wisdom about the craft that is still very much relevant in our ever-changing media landscape.

Jeff Wilson of PadillaCRT is one of the brains behind the firm's popular BuzzBin Blog.  For any blog, Jeff says you must first understand your purpose.  He dropped this data bomb from IBM: 80% of company blogs have five posts or less.

Give those blogs some love, y'all!

Jeff says company blogs are most successful when you can establish metrics - whether that's total visits, referrals from social media, length of visit or customer conversions.  Creating a content calendar will keep you on a path of posting on the regular.

Kristel Poole, community and content specialist for Hamilton Beach, manages the company's Everyday Good Thinking blog.  Blogs aren't just a thing from the 90s - they still have their place today according to Kristel.

"Use your own voice.  If you don't write about it, someone else will," she said.  "It's about building a relationship for your brand."

She told stories of breakfast sandwich makers (drooling) and mushroom soups building community  and empowering people to answer questions even when she's away from the desk. 

Kristel says enabling brand advocates and engaging influencers help your brand reach out in an authentic way with your target market.

Tim and Mary Vidra of 17 Apart shared their story of transitioning from corporate life to full-time bloggers and freelancers.  "Start with goals," Tim shared.  After having separate blogs, Tim and Mary created 17 Apart as a way to collaborate together.

They shared insight into monetizing their blogging platform, which has opened the door to freelancing opportunities including photography, writing for other blogs and publications, sponsored postings, and ad networks.

The 17 Apart duo echoed that traffic is key.  You must know your audience and build evergreen content to keep folks coming back.  Their most popular posts?  This one on growing celery and making homemade sweet potato dog treats.  Take notice of those headlines -- writing in a "how to" format drives search engine optimization.

I love the message Tim left our group -- relevant not only in blogging, but solid life advice (thanks Tim!)  "Staying authentic is your golden ticket."

Kevin Clay