I’m a public relations/communications consultant to organizations throughout the U.S.A. My career includes agency, journalism, corporate communications and marketing experience, and I’ve worked with news media from local to international levels. To date, I’ve received more than 20 professional awards, and I hold a master’s degree in Communication and Management.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
I use my blog professionally to provide PR tips, tactics and tools to help ad agencies and businesses communicate effectively and use public relations strategically to reach their business objectives and manage their reputations.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
I started my blog in January 2009. The idea for it came from the results of a survey I read about the tasks that small- to medium-sized ad agencies would most like to outsource. PR came in at #2. I realized that a lot of these agencies have very limited PR capabilities—and in some cases none at all—so I created my blog to help them communicate more effectively through the news media, social media and other channels. However, much of what I write about is also applicable to businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Did you have someone help you make the blog or did you do it by yourself?
A friend and colleague helped me set up my blog. At the time he was light years ahead of me in using social media, including his blog, to generate new business. He kept telling me that I need to start blogging, and he finally wore me down. And I’m glad he did, because he was absolutely right!
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Not long because I wanted to use my agency name, ABC&D Communications, and fortunately it was available at the time. I later purchased my name, donbeehler.com, so people can find my blog that way as well.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I use the Silesia theme. While I am far from an expert of “must have” plugins for a blog, I had a wonderful guest post from a lady named Laura Backes who identified these free WordPress plugins for helping with Search Engine Optimization:
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
I have found WordPress to be a pretty simple platform to use for creating posts, moderating comments and other tasks.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I average 1-2 hours per post, and I try to update my blog at least every two weeks.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
LinkedIn and Twitter are the two primary channels I use.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
There may be, but I haven’t explored that possibility.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Yes, but only if you are really interested in the topic(s) you blog about and update your blog frequently (at least every two weeks). Once a week is good, and if you can do new posts two or three times a week, that’s even better. Blogs that aren’t updated for months run the risk of losing readers and being perceived as being dead blogs. Personally, I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to blogposts, so when I write a post I invest time to try to make it substantive and useful for my readers.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
If you are going to have a blog, make sure you have a clear focus and purpose for it. Define your audience before you start writing. A blog gives you a terrific opportunity to become a subject matter expert, and if you want to grow your readership the best way is to have a specific niche and stick to it. Business blogs, in particular, that just talk about themselves or that try to be all things to all people rarely succeed. Blogs with great content that is niche-specific, and that are updated regularly, are much better positioned for success in terms of generating awareness, credibility, influence and a loyal following.
Photos ©: Don Beehler