Canadian Magazine Industry News
17 February 2011,     TORONTO
Tips from CSME panel on building a successful blog
The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors recently hosted Pimp your Blog. The event featured Transcontinental Media community manager Jennifer Villamere, St. Joseph Media online executive producer and Aggregation Magazine founder Gary Campbell and Spacing Magazine publisher and creative director Matthew Blackett sharing their knowledge on creating and building a successful blog.

(Left to right)
(Left to right) St. Joseph Media executive producer, digital Gary Campbell, Spacing Magazine publisher and creative director Matthew Blackett and Transcontinental Media community manager Jennifer Villamere


Here’s a few tips from the panel:

-Get a stats tracker and use it:

Gary Campbell said TorontoLife.com uses both Google Analytics (which is free) for long-term analysis and Haveamint.com for real-time results. Having access to real-time results allows editors to see story reaction as it comes in and gives them the opportunity to retool and repost as necessary to build traffic.

-Engage:

Jennifer Villamere said you haven’t posted a true blog post unless you are engaging with the audience. She said the best questions to ask you audience:
  • Invite them to share passionate feelings about subjective topics.
  • Give the opportunity to share opinions, not facts.
  • Don’t require too much effort (yes/no, multiple choice).
-Know your audience:
Campbell said analytics mean St. Joseph Media’s web team know most visitors come to Torontolife.com between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. so they tailor content accordingly. Since visitors are coming during the work day, he said Torontolife.com tries to keep a good part of the content light, short and to the point.

-Give good posts breathing room:

When analytics show a great (and popular) story has been posted, give it room to breath, said Matthew Blackett. If you immediately top-post it and bump it down you are cutting reader engagement off early and only taking traffic away from yourself.

-Schedule posts:
Both readers and advertisers  benefit from your site having a set weekly schedule of features, said the panel. Blackett noted Spacing’s weekly scheduled features, including World Wide Wednesday’s are posted at specific, monitored times to ensure they maximize audience potential. Programmed content is also of interest to advertisers because they know exactly when a set group of users will be at the site.

-Post more content:
Campbell said content is a numbers game where posting more simply means more traffic. The more content you have, the more visitors you will attract.

-Keep it simple:

Clever puns might turn heads in your magazine, but on the web where search is king and attention spans short you are better off keeping writing simple and descriptive. “You can still be fun online, but it pays to be more obvious,” said Villamere.
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