Not Your Father’s Blog Guide, Part 2: How Zombies Can Improve Your Image
Welcome back to Not Your Father’s Blog Guide. In Part 1, I gave you some unorthodox tips for coming up with content to write. Now that you’ve come up with your award-winning topic and have taught yourself how to write about it without looking the fool, let’s talk about sprucing things up a bit.
3. Stock Images
Let’s face it: even a blog post covered in completely unrelated images is going to be more attractive to read than a wall of text. But as I’ve said before, subscriptions to stock image websites can be costly, especially for small businesses. But on the other hand, making your own images takes time, and really only works well for infographics and diagrams. You can snag images off of Google and make sure they’re properly sourced, but you still run the risk of facing issues with watermarks and copyright laws.
Of course, there are a lot of free stock image sites out there, but many are misleading, or come with a variety of hoops you need to jump through to get access to the images. Others might have easy access to photos, but the selection is limited and the quality questionable. Personally, I think for a stock image site to be good, it has to pass the “Zombie Test.” If I search for stock photos of zombies on a site and come up empty-handed, then it’s back to the Google search with me.
Jolly good, old chap! If all else fails, pictures of dapper looking cats in tophat will never fail to entertain. Cheerioh!
But why zombies?
Admittedly, it’s partly because searching for zombie pictures is how I stumbled upon Pixabay. You might remember Dave, the personal trainer zombie from our workplace fitness blog; not only is he one heck of a zombie, but there are many more quality zombie pictures on Pixabay as well. No zombie aficionado will leave disappointed.
Thanks Dave, for being such a great zombie.I’d share my brains with you any time.
But, more importantly, it’s also because I feel that it speaks to the variety of images available on the website. You would be amazed at how many websites fail to pass the Zombie Test (consider it a Bechdel Test for photo sites). I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation – even one piece of cheesy clipart would be enough! Pexels managed to come up with two!
But for people who aren’t really interested in zombies and would prefer generic, maybe even aesthetic images, there’s also Stocksnap.io, which has a few cute robots, but no zombies to its name. For banners and featured images, Kaboompics is full of eye-catching aesthetic images.
Need infographics? Check out Beutler Ink’s Thursdata, a subscription service that sends you a new infographic every Thursday. What you get is often random, as no topic is out of bounds, but they’ve got a nice library built up so far, so eventually, something may come in handy.
4. Getting your blog seen
You’ve picked out your topic, you’ve done your research, and you’ve thrown in a few stock images to break up the monotony; this blog post is all ready to be unleashed on the internet! Time to put it on your website and wait for the views to roll in, right?
Selling a product or service is all about marketing, and just posting a blog on your website is kind of like putting up a high-quality professional poster in your local coffee shop; sure, people are going to see it, but not nearly enough to justify the time and effort put into making it. So how do you expand the reach?
First off, putting links back to it on social media helps. Now your poster is at the coffee shop, the no-kill animal shelter, the grocery store, a barber shop, and hanging from a street lamp in the park! You’re getting closer, but what you really need is to get your poster onto the same shiny board as all the big names (AKA your competition).
In the blogging world, this is known as Guest Blogging. Not only does guest blogging get you links back to your site, which is always an SEO plus, but since other industry experts are endorsing your blog, you’re being confirmed as someone who knows what they’re talking about. This is also a great opportunity for your competition, as well. Not only do they get a break from blogging for the week while still getting to add a page to their website, but many times, bloggers set up 1:1 post exchanges or promises of promotion on social media.
Now, it may be tempting to go straight to TechCrunch, Mashable, or any other big name website to try and get posted, but it’s better to start small. Smaller websites are more likely to publish your blog post because they need the content just as much as you need the exposure. Plus, spreading your post around on smaller sites is a good way to establish your reputation and credibility.
Cross-posting your blog to Medium.com is a good way to start. Not only is it easy for readers who like your post to send you a request to have your blog featured on their blog, but you can also readily promote your blog to other blogs where you feel like it might be a good fit. Zeef.com is also a great way to get your blog noticed: you recommend a link relevant to a list, and the owner of that list will approve your recommendation. You can also start lists of your own, giving others a chance to submit their links to you.
This infographic from pandaseo.co.uk illustrates some of the reasons why you want to be guest blogging.
I’ve learned a lot since I started blogging for Deep Core Data, and while I’m no expert yet, I feel that with each new blog post I write, I get a little closer to perfection. And of course, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and resources. What about you? Do you have any writing resources you would recommend? What do you do when you feel uninspired, but you’ve still got that deadline looming? What’s your favorite writing tip? Drop a comment in the box below and let us know!