Membership website blogs have become a popular and effective resource for recognised membership thought-leaders to share valuable insights, express opinions, spark discussion and create engagement with their membership.
In the first instance, creating a membership website blog is quite simple. The real challenge lies in consistently creating great content that is regularly read and shared by wider membership communities.
Traditionally a blog is known as a medium through which an individual or organisation can share their news and information in the form of written articles. Though the more recent increase of the marketing and promotional potential of the blog means that there has been a rise in the popularity of audio and video content.
While a blog can help to boost the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your membership website, drive traffic and establish you as an industry thought-leader, starting a membership blog can be difficult without the right advice and guidance.
To help you get started here are 12 membership website blogging tips to help your blog become a successful resource for your membership organisation.
Basic Membership Blog Ingredients
Starting at the basics, a membership website blog post should contain the following ingredients;
A relevant blog post title
Different content elements - i.e: text, images, links, video
A post date
An archive of relevant older articles
A ‘comments’ facility to engage discussion
Other recommended blog articles
Once you have all these elements covered you are ready to begin blogging on your membership website.
Keep it private or go public?
Deciding whether or not your membership website’s blog will be private or public is one of the first decisions you will need to make. Of course, both options have their merits, but the main concern is the sensitivity of the topics being discussed. For example, your membership organisation may want to use your blog to discuss and announce issues that are specific to your members alone, as opposed to issues more suitable to general distribution.
Alternatively, you may choose to use your membership website blog to promote your membership organisation to the general public. If you choose to go down the public route, you must always bear in mind that anyone with an internet connection can read your blog, and you need to tailor your content in accordance to this.
Establish a theme
Your membership blog doesn’t need to just be an occasional record of your own opinions and rants. While this sort of content can spark your audience to engage in commentary and keep them returning regularly, it can also alienate them.
Your membership website blog can cover almost anything that is relevant to your industry, this includes social commentary, political views and the changing landscape of your own industry. If your blog covers these themes it pays to be mindful that you want to encourage reader interaction, not alienation.
Create the right content
One of the trickiest part with maintaining a successful membership website blog is regularly creating relevant high-quality content. This is crucial as your articles need to inspire, engage and be circulated amongst your target readers. When writing your membership website blog content you should consider the following;
Research and use keyword phrases: Once you have established a number of keyword phrases include them in the body of your text, in your post title and in the first line of your post content.
Use variations of your keyword phrases: This will help you to inform Google’s bots what the article is about and help to boost your search rankings.
Compelling Headlines: A compelling headline will help you to provoke curiosity and compel your audience to read your post.
Use plain and simple language: Simply write as if you were engaging in a conversation with a single person; use simple language and keep jargon to a minimum.
Write to the point: Most people will only skim read your article, therefore it is important to get your point across in a quick fashion and avoiding any unnecessary sidetracking.
Make the layout digestible: Consider the layout of your text and make sure you make it digestible using bullet points, paragraphs and number lists. Use title fonts to separate topics and use images to break up long periods of text.
Understand your reader: Get to know your reader and their issues, their needs and inform them of their solution.
Use links in your article: Hyperlinking to other sites will help you to establish a network within your sector and offer authority to your posts. Links will also help to boost your site’s page rank in search engines.
Proofread all of your posts: It’s a given, but proofread all of your posts to make sure all of your grammar is correct and you have made the language as simple as possible.
Regularly update your membership website blog
To get the most from your membership website blog, make sure you keep it regularly updated, ideally 2 or 3 times a week. Blogging any less than this means that you can potentially lose the interest of your audience.
The reason for regularly updating your membership website blog is to establish and maintain a relationship with your readers and get them into the routine of visiting your membership website as part of their daily routine. Similarly, you need to keep your blog content fresh with regular updates otherwise your readers will fall out of the habit of visiting your membership website for new insights and information.
One of the greatest appeals of a blog is creating a community of like-minded readers. These are individuals who actively want to share ideas, comments and generally engage with one another. You should encourage interaction and engagement in your membership website blog by offering readers the chance to comment on your articles. This will also help to turn your blog into an open forum where your readers can share their opinions and drive more traffic to your membership website.
When you do encourage your readers to engage with your blog, then you may need to be prepared for both positive and negative comments. If you do receive negative comments, don’t over moderate. If your readers find that you are too strict you may lose credibility and your blog viewed as biased towards promoting your company.
Don’t be thrown off my negative comments
With online criticism being relatively anonymous, you may find that some readers may submit harsher criticism than they would in a face-to-face environment. While you should never tolerate rude or abusive comments, you shouldn’t be put off by those with negative opinions. By allowing your readers to comment on your membership website blog, you have provided them an outlet to voice their opinions. As with our previous points, all feedback should be taken as a good thing and even negative feedback can be great in sparking debate amongst your readers. All this goes to help heighten engagement on your membership website’s blog and boost your membership website’s SEO.
Don’t give up
It is safe to say that in most cases your organisation’s blog will not be an overnight success. Starting a successful membership website blog takes time, persistence and patience. If your blog is targeting a more niche readership then it will most likely be easier to gain attention faster. On the other hand, if your blog aims to address a wider membership community then the more work you will need to put into it. Gaining the trust and interest of a regular readership is tough, and it can take weeks or even months to achieve, but, if you don’t give up, and keep updating your membership website with quality blog content before you know it your work will be circulated round a large captivated audience.
There are other promotional methods that you can employ to gain traffic towards your blog. Techniques that you should definitely consider include writing guest blogs on related forums and vice versa; promoting your blog through emails and newsletters and by adding your blog address to your email signature.
Visit and engage with other related blogs
As we have already covered, engagement is highly beneficial for the success of your blog. Visiting and commenting on other blog posts can help to draw attention to your own membership website blog, provided that you add a reference to it within your community. This will bring your blog to the attention of not only the writer, but of their readers too.
If you do go down this route, one thing that you need to remember is that you should not simply post your own membership blog’s URL across every single comment. If you do, then it is highly likely that your comments will be considered spam and your blog’s reputation will subsequently plummet.
The key is to be insightful, offer educated and intriguing responses to inspire readers to take an interest in your opinions. This technique can be very time consuming, but if you take the care to do it properly the outcome will be worth its while.
Make use of social media and RSS feeds
With over 2.3 billion active social media users in 2016, when it comes to sharing your membership website blog articles social media is second to none. With such a huge number of social media users, the opportunities for your blog to reach other users is limitless. Each time you update your membership website with new blog content, share it on your membership organisation’s social media accounts; including Facebook, Twitter and importantly, LinkedIn.
In addition, allow your readers to receive your blog updates via RSS feeds. Many readers prefer to digest news, blogs and other articles from a central RSS reader from their favourite website, email or mobile phone. Adding RSS feeds to your membership website blog will make it easy for your readers to see your blog updates and as a result will reach out to a greater audience.
Implement blog directories
With so many blogs out there nowadays it probably comes as no surprise that there a multitude of blog directories to support them all. As part of your membership website’s blog strategy, you should certainly consider implementing blog directories. The issue is, with so many available, how do you know which one is the right one to use? There are many useful site ranking tools available on the internet that will help you to identify which blogging directories perform well in search engine rankings. Once you have established the directories that rank higher than others you should definitely consider submitting your membership website’s blog to them.
Finally, reap the revenue from your membership website blog
Blogs are an excellent networking resource. Individuals from all all walks of life get together to share an interest in the topic that you are discussing in your blog. If the topic being discussed relates to a product or service offered by your membership organisation, your blog network is a “word of mouth” haven. Consequently, if word circulates far enough your membership website blog may begin to hold a great deal of advertising value to organisations that want to target your audience with online advertising. If you do decide to take advantage of this interest, then make sure that it relates directly to your topic. Typically blog readers dislike being fed irrelevant advertisement and if your membership website’s blog has become a haven for irrelevant advertising you run the risk of your membership website’s blog losing its credibility and your website traffic suffering as a result.
Time to get started on your membership website blog
As you can see, there is a lot of work involved in creating a successful membership website blog, but don’t be disheartened! Once you get the ball rolling and get into a steady habit of creating excellent blog content on a regular basis your membership organisation will reap the excellent awards that are to be had.
For more membership website design and marketing advice and insights take a look what’s on offer on the Artonezero blog.