PPC Chat Streamcap – The Art of PPC Blogging

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) continued the 2012 PPCChat season with a question set revolving around “The Art of PPC Blogging.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Why do you and/or your company blog about PPC?

  • Because it’s fun and it helps me to hone my craft. Keeps the BS meter optimized. Thought leadership is a big part, too. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • It’s all I know. They can also serve as a reference point, instead of having to explain concepts over and over again. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • To show thought leadership and that we know what we are doing! Helps to build credibility and trust. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Self-advertisement and know-it-all egotism. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Keeps me connected to the community, and helps me learn. – Brennan Brooks (@brennanbrooks)
  • When I started my blog, there were plenty of people blogging about SEO, but hardly anyone doing PPC. – Shawn Livengood (@slivengood)
  • Finding new things to write about helps to stay up to date with industry happenings & keeps you on your toes. – Claire Remmetter (@cremmetter)
  • I just started again recently… and I do it because it is an outlet for me to share insights and connect with community. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Forces me to think through my ideas in order to put them into words. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Everyone blogs to keep me up to date on the industry. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • Now that I’m independent/inhouse I feel like it has to be more substantial, I miss churning out the content regularly. – Chris Kostecki
  • To share knowledge and thought leadership too. I still struggle to find information on multiple PPC topics online. – Ryan Campbell (@_ryancampbell)
  • Keeps me up todate & great for sharing ideas. McCarthy-Stott (@mcstot)
  • As someone pretty new to the industry it helps me find my voice a bit, putting my views down in ‘ink’ helps me form better ideas. – Jackson Edmonds (@Jackson_PPC)
    • It can also help get feedback from the community at large and open up conversation around topics. – Bryan Garvin

Q2: Is it a necessity for PPC agencies to keep (and consistently update) a blog? Why or why not?

  • Not a necessity but a huge plus. Helps set companies apart, helps them stay up to date too. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Not necessary, but gives you ppc cred and keeps your employees thinking. – Michelle Morgan
  • I think so — keeping fresh content and knowledge publicly available enhances credibility. – Claire Remmetter
  • Yes…if I owned my own company blogging would be part of the job description. Feel very strongly agencies have to blog. – Matt Umbro
    • Not everyone can write, not everyone has something to say. Good blogger not necessarily = to good acct mgr. – Theresa Zook
      • Understood, but as an agency the company needs to display credibility & just getting certified isn’t enough anymore. – Matt Umbro
  • No, I don’t think “everyone has to” by any means. Different agencies have different goals. – Theresa Zook
  • I think its a must to display your knowledge and credibility to prospective clients. – Brennan Brooks
    • Agree with Brennan, it’s very important to demonstrate your own proficiency in the field. – Trada (@Trada)
  • Not only PPC but any online marketing should be communicating with clients and prospects and staying current. – Chris Kostecki
  • Blogs are a must for any company to channel expertise and thought leaders. Plus there is added SEO benefits. – Lawrence Aaron (@CrazyFingers)
  • IMHO Our industry isn’t just about doing the work but also showing (and proving) thought leadership. – Matt Umbro
    • If you want to be a “thought leader” write from 10,00 feet. Or–think. (Don’t be afraid to write about your own questions.) – Theresa Zook
  • To a point yes! It is a form of marketing and also shows depth of knowledge and experience. – Bryant Garvin
  • To a degree. It shows that the agency pays attention to ideas/ changes in the industry. Regularity can be prob if v busy tho. – Matt Hopson (@matthopson)
  • Absolutely. Making your ideas public keeps you accountable, and blogging is a great PR/lead gen tool. – Shawn Livengood
  • If you are writing about the latest trends and developments it keeps you from becoming stagnant and outdated. – Chris Kostecki
  • Yes and that is exactly why I’ll be blogging loads more about PPC in 2012 – essential as far as I’m concerned. – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
  • I think its very similar to the strategy that Distilled has done in hosting all of these SEO conferences. Its flywheeling. – Brennan Brooks
  • Yes but only if you are adding genuine value and not just filling space because you think you should. – Liam Lally (@ZaddleMarketing)
    • Agree, don’t need another “New iPhone” article every 6 months. – Chris Kostecki
    • Yes, content needs to be relevant, which great PPC specialists/agencies should be able to provide. – Matt Umbro
    • Agree as well, don’t need more of the same information in the blogospheres. – Lawrence Aaron
    • Another prob with scheduling posts is you find people blogging to fill quota not because they have info to share. – Matt Hopson
  • Also, you’re always testing with PPC, you must be able to keep up with the latest trends and be knowledgeable about them. – Trada
  • I think also there are so many changes & new features it’s a great way of understanding them yourself, whilst sharing knowledge. – Andrew Baker
  • Also think if you are a small business offering multiple disciplines e.g. PPC SEO SocMed – can be very difficult to be regular. – Liam Lally
  • You have to put your own spin on it: opinion, data/experience, etc. – Melissa Mackey
    • So many blog posts lack data though. – McCarthy-Stott
    • Added Value is essential backed up with real data. – Andrew Baker
  • Blogs help companies to become thought leaders and provide valuable information for others as well as themselves. – Trada
    • Agreed, as perspective client I want my agency to live PPC. – Matt Umbro
  • Never assume someone has already written it – you have a unique perspective! – Melissa Mackey
  • Blogging about what you are learning about when working in your client accounts is a great way to come up with topics. – Pamela Lund (@Pamela_Lund)

Q3: What is your target audience(s)? Does this audience(s) influence how your blogs are written (ie: advanced topics vs. basic info)

  • Surely your target audience is clients/prospective clients. Anything else is just for ego. – McCarthy-Stott
  • I write for the PPC community. I want to engage my peers on topics, plus new clients are wow’ed by that advacned stuff anyways. – Brennan Brooks
  • Mostly other SEMs – I like the networking value. Clients may also be interested. Oh, and my boss too. – Melissa Mackey
  • Target audience is B2B Audience does influence how blogs are written as they need to be more about B2B and strategies/tactics. – Lawrence Aaron
  • EVERY question you get asked on PPC should become your new blog post. – Liam Lally
  • I write/record videos for clients and you guys. – Matt Umbro
  • Most of my target audience is you folks, which makes it tougher – if it was a commercial audience it would be easier. – Chris Kostecki
  • Probably beginning to intermediate PPC folks. I would like to do more advanced posts, though. – Shawn Livengood
  • More often than not the target audience is other SEMs – It offers more community, thought leadership, and SEO value. – Cassie Allinger (@_CassieLee_)
  • Mostly other SEMS, but have made targeted series of posts for verticals, like dentists, who we target. – Luke Alley
  • Absolutely, understanding the content that matters is speaking to everyone on your team- sales, advertising, engineers. – Trada
  • 1st rule of writing: “know your audience”. Majority of adC blog visitors are SMBs, that def. informs our content, tone, etc. – Tina Kelleher (@Tina_Kelleher)
  • You should have multiple target audiences and message to them accordingly. Advanced content for peers, basic for prospectives. – Ryan Black (@rblck)
  • Another great idea is to come up with personas for the people reading your content. – Trada
  • Any PPC client who I believe I can make a significant difference to their account. – Liam Lally
  • My target audience will be my peers, you guys, people that follow me here, I may do some basic tips for other business forums. – Andrew Baker
  • Compelling content will always win, and sometimes compelling isn’t SEO perfect. – Trada
  • Our audience is really our customers — businesses that are thinking about adding mobile to their marketing mix. – Claire Remmetter
  • To be honest my first audience is me! I blog to get things off my chest or out in the open. Second is all of my #ppcchat tweeps. – Bryant Garvin
  • Don’t think about target audience when blogging < fail > however I think you can only go so advanced otherwise not understood. – Liam Lally

Q4: Do you personally glean new info from blogs or do they act as more of a confirmation of your PPC tactics?

  • I regularly learn from other blogs. It’s all about sharing thoughts & info. – Melissa Mackey
  • You have to glean new info from blogs! It’s all coming out so quickly, there’s not text books that can keep up with it. – Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
  • Rarely learn but often enough to keep me reading. Mostly get others’ perspectives. – Theresa Zook
  • A bit of both – I love getting ideas and tips, but confirmation of your approach is always nice. – Arianne Donoghue (@ArianneDonoghue)
  • I definitely get more information. Sometimes I agree with it, sometimes I don’t — But new ideas are always worth a test! – Claire Remmetter
  • I love me some #ppchero they’ve always been a good resource for brushing up on basics and fringe knowledge. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • If there weren’t blogs about ppc, I probably would have been fired by now. – Michelle Morgan
  • Whatever will get me going on another blog post. I take pride in my original ideas but, they don’t come all the time. – Brennan Brooks
  • New stuff I learn tends to be at the weird end of spectrum. Sometimes it comes in handy later on. – Richard Fergie
  • Some (good) blogs yes I do learn. But I let the data confirm my tactics. – McCarthy-Stott
  • I learn something new everyday and confirm my tactics in Adwords! – Chris Kostecki
  • Mostly as a reminder. Easy to forget certain tactics and blogs serve as awesome reminders of old things I’ve learned. – Luke Alley
  • A lot of it is confirmation, but there is always something to learn! – Cassie Allinger
  • If you’re not learning from blogs, you’re reading the wrong blogs. There are always diff perspectives, ideas etc. – Trada
  • Bit of both for me – especially if you guys+girls (US) get to do stuff before it becomes available over here. – Liam Lally
  • I do get a lot of good info from blogs, especially if they’re trying a tactic or service I haven’t used yet. – Shawn Livengood
  • I always scan through the blogs and can usually pick up one little piece of info to remind me or focus me and help me improve. – Bryant Garvin
  • The vast majority of things I know about ppc has come from blogs. I’m just now getting to where posts confirm what I do. – Michelle Morgan
    • Really? The vast majority I know about PPC has come from doing PPC & experimenting. – McCarthy-Stott
      • Without the blogs I wouldn’t have know what to test other than ad copy. – Michelle Morgan
  • It’s all part of the learning experience, trial and error, always good to learn other methodologies and new tools to try. – Andrew Baker
  • Even if it is a small tip or 2 I’m always gleaning good info from blogs. – Matt Umbro
  • Both. Try to stay on top of changes and quick tips. – Ion Interactive (@ioninteractive)
  • The best blog posts go against conventional thinking and present new ideas that you normally would not have thought about. – Matt Umbro
  • New info is rare, but it’s a great way to get new ideas from time to time. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
  • Important to stay on top of the latest news/tactics and keep learning. We also learn a lot by experience/trial and error. – MyNextCustomer (@MyNextCustomer)
  • these days – I’m catching up on how to use / why to use all the new adwords tools. – Bassovita (@bassovita)
  • IMHO The most valuable SEM blogs are ones that stir up debate. I seek those ones out. Great lessons, ideas, and ways to connect. – Cassie Allinger
  • I think people would be lying if didn’t admit to getting stuff from reading blogs -otherwise how do you find out in 1st place? – Liam Lally
  • My initial education came from ‘Advanced Google Adwords’ book. That set the framework, blogs allow you to innovate strategy. – Ryan Black
  • It is important to learn as much as you can from blogs. Always different POV’s. It can be overwhelming though sometimes. – Lawrence Aaron
  • Side note: reading sem blogs can be tiring. Most everyone is marketing w blogs and I think that slows real discussion. – Mark Jensen
  • Am I the worlds best PPC expert < no – therefore I will always get info from blogs otherwise I would be the source? No? – Liam Lally
  • I think reading blogs is part of the job. You have to filter a lot though… lots of basics & repetition out there. – Martin Rottgerding
  • For me, the big thing is not to get too insular, too invested in my own perspective. Blogs help me check myself. – Theresa Zook

Q5: Which PPC blogs do you find to be the best for a) advanced audiences and b) novice audiences?

Q6: How do you generate ideas for new PPC blog posts?

  • I read other stuff and think how it can be applied to PPC. – Richard Fergie
  • Get away from the PPC industry. See other industries, nature, people, etc. Great ideas out there. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
    • Agreed. New ideas in PPC come from other industries so often. Or at least perspective from other industries. – Trada
  • Generate idea’s normally when fixing something that has gone wrong. – McCarthy-Stott
  • Do what Pamela Lund said… Write down ideas as I’m optimizing accounts. Keep a list of potential posts. – Luke Alley
  • Most of my blog post ideas come from internal brainstorm meetings with the @DragonSearch PPC team. – Cassie Allinger
  • My Industry News Curation Dashboard that is on iGoogle does a great job when browsing for ideas. – Lawrence Aaron
  • Case studies, client results. Tons of inspiration in the work we do for our services clients. – Ion Interactive
  • Try to generate ideas that have not been discussed already – which makes it hard, maybe too hard. – Chris Kostecki
  • Data on question volumes from Support, requests for info via comments, twitter, and of course, asks from partner teams etc. – Tina Kelleher
  • New Stuff is often worth a post, so Inside AdWords is a good scource to watch. Add an opinion to the story and you’ve got value. – Martin Rottgerding
  • I’m currently putting some behavioural economics theory into PPC testing. Always nice to pull some different areas together. Jackson Edmunds
  • I keep a spreadsheet where I jot down ideas or URLs of stories/posts that inspire me. – Melissa Mackey
  • Aside from news and stuff that just comes to me, disagreeing with other posts/opinions can lead to a new post quickly. – Martin Rottgerding
  • When I run across ideas and how-to’s that I’ve not read before I add them to an outlook notes file. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)

Q7: What are some tips you would give others for blogging about PPC?

  • Add value to the community, don’t just blog to sell/market. People can see it. Use data. – Mark Jensen
  • Be confident in what you are writing…it will show and make the post better. – Matt Umbro
  • Bullet points make it easier for me to digest the information. Often skim long paragraphs or lose focus. – Luke Alley
  • Spell check, and link out. Blogs are not only just words, but a discovery tool. – Chris Kostecki
  • Just start writing. Don’t worry about perfection. Invite discussion. – Robert Brady
  • Read others work & do’nt to duplicate it. Add new perspective. Link to cited sources. Make it readable -> Not 1 long text post. – James Svoboda
  • Make time for blogging. Take a stand and stick to it. Use good grammar. Speak with data if possible. Ask for feedback. – Melissa Mackey
  • Keep it short but helpful. Just start. – MyNextCustomer
  • Provide solutions, solve problems, be helpful. And fun. Inject personality. Use lists and how tos. Keep your paragraphs short and scannable. – Ion Interactive
  • I like screenshots that are easy to read. – Andrew Baker
  • Sit down and write for 15 minutes. If you can’t get a good start on the post done in that time, get a new topic. – Melissa Mackey
  • Be honest and provide a well thought out post that is backed by real information and data to prove your hypothesis. – Lawrence Aaron
  • Have a hard time starting? Get a Google Voice #, set it to translate messages to email, call yourself and talk about your post. – James Svoboda
  • Know your audience, welcome constructive criticism, look for trends in feedback for opportunities to provide more info/improve. – Tina Kelleher


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

About the Streamcaporal

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe, Search Engine Marketing Manager at WebRanking in Minneapolis, MN, #PPCChat Streamcap layer out’er, rare Search Blogger, Tweets Live from @PaulKragthorpe, and Google+’ing from PaulKragthorpe.

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