Blogging In The Age Of Video
Let’s say you are attempting to grow an audience for your brand, whether personal or business. You should consider blogging.
Yes, I know previously the above said you should be live streaming but blogging is an integral (additional) part of growing your audience since video alone won’t attract your audience when you are first starting.
In this second part of a 3 part series, we’ll cover how and where you can cross-promote your live event to increase your ability to be found by search engines and ultimately by your audience.
Writing your way to success
We know that video is unmatched for gaining trust from your audience, and live streams are absolutely the best for engaging your audience. But when it comes to getting found, blogging is the best way for search engines to find you.
Like it or not, we’ve come to rely on search as a primary means of finding things.
Unfortunately, when search engines try to figure out what your video is about they’ll use signals that you may not have much influence over, such as how people respond to it.
Search engines will also use any metadata you entered about your video. While you should be using metadata to describe your video, what can you really say in around 160 characters?
I hear your objections - ‘a picture (or video) is worth a thousand words’. Maybe to us. Not sure that the AI powered inference engine has figured that out yet.
So the best way to increase your discoverable surface area is to write it out. You’ll have something tangible that search engines can index and your audience can use to find you when they don’t know they’re looking for you.
Blog to promote your live event
YouTube says you should create a custom post to promote your live stream and embed your live event url on your website. Great if you have a website, right?
And you’ll also want to post to the social platform you are live streaming on. But if your promotion is a 500 word post, it may not be well received in some social feeds.
Better to set up a place where you have control over what content you wish to publish. Search engines, by contrast, will love a 500 word post about your event.
Below, we’ll discuss options for your blogging superstardom, starting with the simplest no-touch to the ‘you need to configure everything’ setups. There are tons of articles on this topic that will tell you everything you need to know, so we’ll narrow our focus to what I think are the best options in a category.
Before we start - if you’d like the benefits of creating SEO optimized posts with event urls, all without having to configure a blog, sign up for one of our publisher plans.
So, you’ve decided that blogging will help you gain exposure for your live stream channel and now you’re ready to blog. Which blogging platform is right for you?
Where to blog for free
Although there are plenty of contenders in this space, we’d choose a platform that has an easy to use interface, does not require a lot of setup to start writing and has good SEO architecture to help your content get found.
If your main focus is just to drive awareness of your live events, and not necessarily to build out a brand with your blog, then Medium is a good choice to get started.
Medium doesn’t require any technical expertise to set up and you can start posting in minutes. In fact, you can even use your Facebook login to create an account and gain instant followers to your blog.
And, if your post is good enough to get chosen by Medium’s curators, you can increase your reach by being promoted across Medium — on their homepage and topic pages, in their app, and in emails.
One downside to Medium is that they’ve started to be more aggressive towards readers, forcing visitors to the site to log in before reading more than a couple of articles.
When you want more flexibility in setting up your blog, with the potential to use themes and plugins created by a community built around a popular blogging platform then you’ll want to look at WordPress.
WordPress is used on more than one-third of all websites, and is available either self-hosted or hosted on wordpress.com. We’ll talk about self-hosted platforms in a later section.
By signing up for a hosted account you don’t need to worry about finding a server, installing software, securing your blog or applying the latest software updates. All of that is handled for you with a hosted account, but there are trade-offs.
One big trade-off is that you are limited in your ability to use plug-ins with a free account. It’s not until you get to the paid plans that you gain the ability to extend your site with functionality to, for example, add an SEO plug-in.
If you’re only looking to drive awareness of your live stream, then either of these free platforms should work just fine.
Paying for a hosted blog
If you’ve come to the conclusion that the limitations of using a free platform aren’t sufficient for what you’d like to do with your blog, then maybe you’re ready to consider paying for a hosted blogging platform.
The good news is that there is no shortage of players in this space. There are lots of companies attempting to make your blog easy to set up and nice to look at in an attempt to take market share from the leader - WordPress, with over 75 million sites using its software.
The popularity of the platform and the community around WordPress is why it’s our pick for top paid blogging platform.
Let’s say your live-streaming channel takes off and you’d like to sell digital products or courses to your audience. You want a platform that offers the flexibility to turn what was once just a blog into an e-commerce platform.
Or you’d simply like your blog to have a custom domain related to your live-stream channel. Maybe making money by serving ads to your visitors is in your future too.
It’s the ability to do these and also use plugins contributed by a large community that makes this platform worthy of your consideration.
Plus, not having to worry about applying software updates to keep your site secure is a big win.
If the motivation for your live streaming channel is to build a brand and monetize it, then paying to not worry about the infrastructure of your blog may make sense to you.
Doing it all yourself
What we’ve seen so far is that hosted blogging platforms are an easy way to get started, allow you to add more features as you need them, and transfer the responsibility of security to someone else.
But as you start to demand more from the platform you end up paying for the privilege of customizing your site to do what you want.
So, when you get to the point where the above solutions aren’t doing it for you, consider wading into the deep waters of a do-it-yourself setup. Self-hosting is not for the faint of heart, but with patience and persistence you will have complete control over all aspects of your site.
Open source blogging software is the clear winner here.
You get the ultimate flexibility to design your site however you’d like, with software that is free and open source. Which means you can modify the code however you see fit.
And depending on the community around the software you choose, there may be hundreds or thousands of free or paid plugins to help you extend the platform to meet your needs.
But recommending a specific solution for a self hosted platform is almost impossible because it depends on factors such as your technical background, which programming language you know or can hire for, where you want to host your blog, etc.
Keeping it focused
The open source landscape is constantly evolving and maybe one day we’ll see a blogging platform that caters exclusively to live stream content creators.
That focus of purpose is exactly why we built The Live Calendar. You can replace the need to set up a blog just to increase the exposure of your live events channel by creating custom posts on our site.
By creating each event with a custom post and url, you’ll not only increase your search engine surface area but you’ll automatically be following YouTube’s best practices for promoting your event.
Regardless of the blogging platform you choose to attract your audience, consistently creating content focused on your topic will pay off by increasing your visibility in search engines and will help you cross promote and grow your live stream channel.