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How to Be a Better Blogger

July 10, 2011 | 5:21 PM

A GOOD BLOG not only educates and persuades, it connects readers to your personality and culture. That’s what recent cosmetology graduates and salon ambassadors who are participating in Matrix’s Spread the Love campaign learned at Imagination 2011. Representing every state, 51 salons, which were selected because they embody the Matrix culture and identity, will host the winning recent grads who will travel across the country, blogging and Facebooking about their experiences.

To get them started, Alison Shipley, MODERN’s First Chair and Social Media Editor, coached both grads and salon representatives on blogging basics. She did such a great job, we thought we’d spread the know-how ourselves by sharing her top tips with readers:

DO...

  • Your homework. To become a better writer, you need to read more—the best way to understand how to blog is to read other blogs.
  • Have passion and be authentic. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Write what you love and love what you write. If you do, people will love to read it.
  • Make it unique. Use color, design, imagery and language to reflect your personality.
  • Connect with your audience. Stay true to you, but keep your audience in mind too.
  • Use imagery. Killer photos and videos make posts pop. This is your chance to engage your audience, and, at the same time, show off! Take before and after pics of your clients. Your clients will be excited to visit your blog and show their friends and family their new look. Taking pics and directing people to find it on your blog is a great way to attract new followers.
  • Develop a social media policy. Determine, ahead of time, where is your line in the sand. Be sure to stick with this policy regarding offensive language and hurtful comments.
  • Call to action. Part of what makes blogging fun is the interaction with your readers. At the end of your posts, have a call to action to encourage them to comment. For example, “What were your favorite looks seen at the Oscars?”
  • Respond to readers. A thoughtful response will go a long way toward building a relationship. Always appreciate those opportunities and make the most of them.
  • Use social media. Post a link to your latest blog as your status on Facebook to encourage “fans” to visit the blog. You can tag people in your status updates so your post appears on their pages too (clients, manufacturers, trade shows).

DON'T...
  • Clutter. Keep your blog clutter-free. More space makes for easier navigation to what’s most important.
  • Plagiarize. Your blog is supposed to be your blog. Feel free to quote others, but link back to the original post.
  • Use poor grammar. Remember to grammar- and spell-check your posts. Don’t be sloppy. Text messaging and social media have made typos and poor grammar more forgivable, but keeping it clean helps you maintain your professionalism.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t try to cover too many topics in one post. It’s usually acceptable to cover about two or three related topics.
  • Expect people to find you. Successful blogging involves time, effort, and reaching out to fellow bloggers.
  • Lack consistency. Publishing your blog on a consistent schedule allows your readers to know when to expect you. Develop a schedule of when you plan to post and stick to it.
  • Lecture. Your blog isn’t meant to read like an article—it’s meant to open a dialogue to engaging conversation.
  • Forget who is your audience. Keep your blog topics exciting and fresh, but remember to keep it consistent to maintain your readers.
  • Forget your past posts. Writing about Katie Holmes’ newest look? Link to your past post on celebrity hair, or the last time you mentioned Katie Holmes.
  • Sweat the small stuff. If your blog didn’t get any comments, don’t worry. Just reevaluate it… did you post a call to action? Did you engage your readers? Was your topic interesting?

How to Be a Better Blogger
Matrix Vice President and General Manager Colin Walsh with MODERN’s First Chair and Social Media Editor Alison Shipley at Matrix’s Imagination event.

Here are clips from some of the Spread the Love bloggers, and how they’re using their posts to boost business and connect with their audience:

“BEING A JAPANESE-OWNED SALON, as well as many of our employees being Japanese, the natural disasters in Japan have hit home for many of us. It is amazing to see how many clients actually want to help. We have had phone calls from so many clients, even clients who have moved out of state, and haven’t been to our salon in years, asking if our families are safe. Clients are walking in donating money, as well as calling to find out how they can help. In order to help the people of Japan we have started to collect money at our salon. All money collected at Junko Hair Studio, will be taken directly to Japan by Junko Taniguchi on April 7th.”

—JUNKO HAIR STUDIO
ATLANTA, GA


“I HAD THE BEST FUN THIS WEEKEND! I really enjoyed working with my mentor Nicholas French and his team. They welcomed me so nicely to help and learn and showed me the ropes! I can say that I have learned some things that have my creative juices fl owing. I did a lot of recording so I will post the videos of the team, the shows, models, etc. These shows are no joke—backstage is so intense. Now I can truly say I’ve done a lot of shows where I was assisting or being a model and the fact that there was no tension and attitudes and egos and all that nonsense was amazing!”

—LAKEISHA MICHELLE
SPREAD THE LOVE WINNER


“WE ARE HAVING A BEAUTY SCHOOL PROMO in the spa for Dermalogica products. We do this every three months to get our clients familiar with the products. We also do a 10 percent off all products in house and have staff ready to help clients choose the right one! We have had the busiest March ever! Everyone has put in their efforts towards making this a great team!”

—CASSIELS SALON AND SPA
LEWISTON, MAINE

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