Want to get more marketing juice out of your business blog?
Don't tell me - the answer is... Yes!
Ha - knew it!!
Sooooo... what should you be doing on that good old blog of yours - BESIDES blogging?
Here are FIVE big ideas you can implement in FIVE minutes or less... and generate some pretty serious results FAST.
1. Optimize past post titles. Based on your keyword and search engine optimization strategy, you probably have some great blog content with titles that are not optimized. For example, as a marketing speaker and marketing coach, two of my SEO key words (in case you couldn't tell!) are marketing speaker and marketing coach.
Sometimes, I'm good about including those keywords in my blog titles right when I post them. For example:
Marketing Speaker: 5 Books You Oughta Buy NOW
Marketing Coach: 17 Ways to Drive More Traffic FAST
And sometimes, I'm not. For instance:
23 things to say when you're asked for 'free consulting'
17 great answers to 'How much do you charge?'
So if you go back to some of your older posts and change the titles to be more in line with your SEO keyword strategy, you'll attract new traffic and more traffic to your older (and probably underappreciated!) posts.
2. Add or update Calls to Action on your posts - including adding or updating the calls to action on your most popular posts which continue to generate a healthy volume of regular traffic.
A call to action is NOT a sales pitch - it's a way to OFFER value and INVITE engagement. For example, good calls to action for your business might include:
This is the simplest and fastest path to convert visitors to leads to sales.
3. Reblog your golden oldies. If a topic worked really well, got a lot of comments, inbound links, and social media love the first time around, it may be time to revisit that topic.
Grab your old content and use that as a starting point for an updated new post - using 80% of the proven material from before and simply adding to it, enhancing it with newer examples, adding video, audio or other multimedia enhancements like Slideshare or Animoto.
Add links to resources from other experts that relate directly to your content. Make sure to optimize the post's title, tags, categories and metadata to get some zesty Google juice, choose an eye-catching photo or graphic from Shutterstock.com or your favorite stock photo site and boom - you're done!
4. Use your blog to test new offers. Sometimes you want to put an offer out there to see what kind of response it might generate WITHOUT hitting your email list with a blast that might send more of your subscribers scurrying for the "Unsubscibe" button.
Your blog is a great place to send up "trial balloons" for new products, new services, new programs and new investable opportunities that you're not 100% sure are ready for major promotion via your ezine or email marketing efforts.
It's perfectly OK to "soft sell" occasionally - or even better, launch a short 3-question survey - on your blog to gauge your audience's interest in working with you in a new way.
5. Review older posts and find places to cross-promote your newer blog posts, your social media postings, your Flickr photos, your YouTube videos, or your other multimedia assets.
This is a great opportunity to build what are called "internal links" - links from one of your web pages or blog posts to another - to create a "web" of interlinked content and to boost the SEO of your overall site using anchor text that describes the content you are pointing people to.
For example, you might add the following to your older blog posts:
Tags: blogging for business, business blogging, doit marketing, marketing speaker, marketing coach
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Use the COMMENTS area below to leave your advice, insights and recommendations on these ideas to breathe new life into your blog...
Does your dog blog?
Yes? No? Not sure?
Well, don't worry because mine does.
You're about to get 10 blogging lessons from my black Labrador retriever, Woofie, who turns 8 next month. (FYI her birthday is April 29 and she loves getting birthday notes by email. And she replies to every one!)
What makes Woofie such an authority on blogging? Well, it's simple really - she gets a TON of traffic. Every month, I get emails from GoDaddy, where her website is hosted, to the effect that her website bandwidth (5GB/month) has been exceeded. Sometimes by a factor of two or three!
Put simply: there's a chance that this dog's blog is more popular than yours.
So to help you fix that, here are Woofie's guidelines for blogging.
- Post regularly. Woofie posts updates once a year - usually on or before her birthday. It's regularly scheduled. You should post more often than that - but the point is the word REGULARLY.
- Don't ask for much. Woofie doesn't sell on her blog. She doesn't beg. She doesn't collect email addresses. She offers value (if doggy cuteness has value to you) and she invites engagement (by email or social media). That's it. And it works.
- Be cute and relax. Be the real you on your blog. People ask me the secret to success in presenting yourself online. My answer: it's two things. 1. Authenticity and 2. Enthusiasm. Woofie freely shares both of these traits on her blog - and so should you.
- Let people come up to you first. Pretend you're a dog... you have no opposable thumbs... you can't do much. So you better be the online equivalent of an adorable little puppy who people want to stop, pet, interact with, and give treats to. Do that, and you win.
- Use more photos - visuals sell. Much of Woofie's website is made up of photos of her adventures from the previous year. Photos and videos are where it's at. In the wise words of my digital marketing pal, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, "Text is going away online. Everything is moving to pictures and video."
- Be easy to reach. Woofie has a whole host of digital communications tools in her arsenal (Here's how to connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, email, blog, Dogbook.) The short story is she is reachable in ways that YOU want to reach her, not in ways SHE prefers to be reached (which all happen to involve bacon and/or cheese.)
- Depend on other people to sell for you. In addition to having no opposable thumbs, Woofie has never made a sales call and has never sent a marketing email. She has people do it for her. Third-party endorsements, referrals, recommendations, and word of mouth from her human friends do the trick. How about you?
- Make people feel better about themselves after engaging with you. Let's face it - this dog is cute. But what's beyond that to make interacting with her worthwhile? Well, if you came over to our house, you could answer that for yourself. But we're talking about online. So each interaction needs to be fun, special, and rewarding in and of itself. Want to try one? Click here to send Woofie an email and see what you get back in a reply.
- It's OK to be silly. Sometimes it's even more than OK - it's required. Self-deprecating humor is the best kind. It puts people at ease and makes them feel better about themselves, too. Plus it's an indicator of expertise if you can portray yourself "as you are" - mistakes, warts, and all. The fearful, the incompetent, and the weak don't have the guts to do that. Woofie does. And you do, too.
- 10 kisses, one bark - keep it positive. Nobody likes to read the blog posts of a perpetual whiner, negative nelly, or always-ranting loon. Woofie has never posted anything negative. And even I, her humble human, try to keep my blog posts 90% positive, aspirational, and fun -- and only 10% critical or "calling out the crazy." It's like the old bumper sticker of doggie wisdom - "Bark Less, Wag More."
What do YOU think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your own advice, insights and recommendations for blogging success...
You'll remember from the introduction to this Business Blogging 101 series, I mentioned the three BIG problems keeping you from doing a better job of leveraging blogging into business:
1. You are unable to write QUICKLY.
2. You are unwilling to write BRIEFLY.
3. You are inefficient at IDEA CAPTURE.
Good news for you - #3 is the final topic we'll tackle today and you'll become an idea capture ninja before you're done reading this post...
Business Blogging 101: 7 Ways to Capture Ideas Like a Ninja
1. Set up a blog idea file in your email account. I filter everything through Yahoo! Mail and here's a shot of my "Blog - Best of the Web (BOW)" folder that sees a lot of action every single day. Drag, drop, captured!!
2. Use the Notes feature on your smartphone. I'm an iPhone guy myself but here's the idea that will work on any smartphone or tablet device...
3. Use a task manager on your computer, phone or tablet - handy for portability across all devices you use - and make a TO DO entry called "Blog fodder." Here is what mine looks like on the terrific to-do/task manager called Wunderlist:
4. Carry a notebook and pen. Everywhere. All the time. Yep, seriously. Pictured below is one of my favorites - the Dot Grid Journal from The Creatives Outfitter.
5. Keep a trusty pad by your bed. In the nightstand, on the nightstand, under your pillow, doesn't matter - but late at night, early in the morning and sometimes at 3am is when you WILL get your best ideas. And if you don't write them down, they are gone, baby, gone... I like these "NOTE TO SELF" pads from http://www.knockknockstuff.com:
6. Carry a pocket video camera. Sure, you have your phone. But if you want HD video, external mic capability, and some special features, why not keep one of these in your briefcase like I do? See a celebrity at a conference? Three-minute video interview - BOOM! See something amazing on the street or while traveling that's worthy of a video blog? Two-minute video blog - BAM! Lots and lots of ways you'll be able capture ideas with this little guy. I own this Kodak Playtouch which runs less than $90 and shoots in 1080HD. Awesome...
7. Use micro-notes. In addition to my main notebook you see pictured above, I also keep an "Action Cahier" which is a much smaller notebook. You can throw one of these in your car, one in your bag, and keep one around the office for jotting quick blog ideas, questions, brain blurbs, blog titles, subject lines, all sorts of random and useful idea-starters. If one of these is always nearby, your next brilliant idea doesn't stand a chance of escape!
Tags: business blogging, blogging 101, marketing speaker, marketing coach
What do you think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and recommendations about how YOU capture your best blogging ideas...
Guest post by Janet Aronica
Creating consistent and helpful blog content is a great way to build community and trust around your brand for your prospects.
It's how you draw the right potential customers to your website.
But cranking out daily content is challenging.
How can you keep the blog post ideas flowing? How can you keep the content fresh and prevent yourself from re-hashing the same old thing?
Here’s a brainstorm of some ideas to get you started, or just keep you going...
Multi-media and Visuals
1. Do a screencast with Screenr of your product and share it on your blog.
2. Show a step-by-step guide on how to do something in a screencast, how-to video, or show the steps in a series of photos.
3. Create a music video for your company and post it on the blog.
4. Share a cartoon or create an original one.
How-to’s and Tips
5. Write a how-to article. Give instructions with screenshots or photos on the steps someone needs to take to do something.
6. Point out common mistakes in your industry and offer solutions on how to fix or avoid them.
7. Offer a list of benefits for doing something.
8. Share a list of some things to avoid.
9. Relate your how-to content to a current event or a celebrity. Example: “Five _____ Lessons from Lady Gaga” or “What the Election Teaches Us About ____”
Use Existing Content
10. Take the contrarian position – Find someone else’s article that you agree or disagree with. Introduce your blog post with what you specifically agree or disagree with it, and support your argument with a few concise points.
11. Do a weekly or daily links-roundup of relevant news for your community.
12. Find tips in other content, create a list of those tips and give links to those articles as the sources.
13. Share an excerpt from an ebook or white paper with a call to action to download it for the rest of the information.
14. Share an excerpt from an upcoming webinar with a call to action to get the rest of the content in the webinar.
15. Share your slides from a recent presentation.
16. Share conference takeaways.
17. Do a round-up of last year’s/last month’s/last week’s most popular posts.
18. Re-interpret existing content: Collect the top motivational YouTube videos for your audience, top ebooks, top webinars or infographics.
Incorporate Other Platforms
19. Create a Slideshare presentation of new statistics related to your space and share that in a blog post. Tag the Slideshare presentation with relevant keywords for your company to leverage SEO benefits of the platform.
20. Ask a question on Twitter and share the results with a Storify embed.
21. Collect Tweets from a webinar or conference hashtag, show them off with Storify and offer your own takeaways in the blog post.
22. Respond to industry research with your own perspective. Offer a fresh angle to spark conversation.
23. Do a survey with Survey Monkey among your community members and create an infographic based on the results.
24. Do a poll of your Twitter community with a Twtpoll or your Facebook community with a Facebook Question and post the results on your blog.
25. Do an in-depth case study about one company, or offer a few examples of how other companies do something successfully.
26. Record an interview with an expert in your field and post it to your blog.
27. Get experts to offer a tip and do a round-up of their recommendations.
28. Feature guest posts from industry experts.
29. Publish responses to frequently asked questions about your industry.
30. Create a list of trends to watch.
31. Compare and contrast: Different products, different approaches, different companies, different people, different places, etc.
32. Do a review of other non-competitive products or services that your community cares about.
33. Be a journalist: Be the first in your space to offer industry takeaways about breaking news.
34. Explain what a current event or topic in the news means for your industry or community. Example: “What ____ Means for ____.” “Why _____ Matters for _____.”
35. De-bunk common myths.
Make it About Your Community
36. Interview your favorite customer.
36. Post a Flickr slideshow of pictures from a recent event.
37. Run a contest and give away something relevant to your community.
38. Ask for guest posts from community members.
39. If you have company news to share, talk about it in a way that makes it about the reader. Example: If someone gets promoted, talk about how why were successful. Inspire your audience.
40. Publish a post relevant to the current season or holiday.
41. Outline the top practical use cases for your product, service etc.
Originally posted by our partners at Hubspot on the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Blog.
What do you think? How do YOU generate ideas for your blog? Use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, questions or opinions...
You'll remember from yesterday's introduction to this Business Blogging 101 series, I mentioned the three BIG problems keeping you from doing a better job of leveraging blogging into business:
1. You are unable to write QUICKLY.
2. You are unwilling to write BRIEFLY.
3. You are inefficient at IDEA CAPTURE.
Good news for you - #1 and #2 are related and we'll solve them both for you before you're done reading this post...
Business Blogging 101: 7 Ways to Write Less and Say More
- Think fortune cookies - you don't need to write an essay to share a key nugget that occurred to you while you were driving or in the shower.
Example: 101 Success Tips in 3 Words
- When you have a lot to say, say it in shorter, sharper chunks. Like a series. Call it something snappy like "Business Blogging 101." See?
- Use quotes, stats, visuals, videos, and graphics. These are not only easier for your blog readers to absorb, they're MUCH more likely to be shared, thus driving more traffic and Google juice back to YOU.
Example: Marketing Concept: 12 Home Page Must-Haves
- Great blogs do NOT persuade, explain or convince. Put your opinions out there - the sharper, the better. Give your readers something to agree or disagree with.
Example: The (REAL) Idiot's Guide to Social Media Marketing
- Stop being so nice. It's OK to piss people off. Too many blogs take both sides of any given argument and end up sounding like a high school essay instead of a pointed, share-worthy piece of thought leadership.
Example: 5 Signs that Your Prospect is Giving You Too Much Bullsh*t
- Master the 20-minute blog post. Give yourself 20 minutes on the clock. Set a timer. Write. Revise as you go. When the bell goes off, hit publish. Truth: Even if it sucks - which it won't - you're better off posting it than if you had posted nothing that day. Honest.
- Steal these blog titles: 7 Ways to... 5 Keys to... Top 10 Strategies for... 3 Biggest mistakes of... 11 Secrets of [topic] revealed... 7 Questions to ask yourself... 13 Quick tips on...
- (Bonus) Use numbers in your titles
Example: Marketing Coach: 17 Ways to Drive More Traffic FAST
- (Bonus) People love lists of key points, mistakes, lessons, examples, templates, strategies, tactics, tools, secrets, and so on.
Example: 23 things to say when you're asked for free consulting
- (Bonus) People love free resources. People love when you point out other cool people, other great blogs, and things they need to know about, use, read, or buy to make them more successful in your area of expertise.
Example: Why Your Business Needs to FLOP
- (Bonus) People love bonuses. Underpromise and overdeliver and you'll keep folks coming back for more. Like sharing 11 points when you initially promised just 7. Priceless!!
What do YOU think? Use the COMMENTS area below to share your business blogging advice, inights or questions and...
It's OK not to blog daily.
It's OK to blog daily.
It's just NOT OK not to blog.
Tags: Marketing coach, blogging for business, marketing for speakers, marketing for authors
Leave a COMMENT below with a link to YOUR blog and let's send some Google juice your way. (Fair warning: No spam links or Gucci handbags or MLM offers please.)
1. Keep it short. No time to write? Cool - they have no time to read.
2. Lists rock (like this one!)
3. Shoot a 2-minute video. Post to YouTube. Embed with 3 lines of setup. Optimize title, tags and description with your keywords. Boom - done.
4. Interview other experts. Three questions max. Post and voila!
5. Interview prospective clients and customers. Promote them and their company. Repeat. Go to bank.
6. Review your favorite books on amazon - both related and unrelated to your main business. Optimize your amazon reviewer page and link it back to your home page.
7. Seek guest blogging opportunities on blogs that target the same topics and readership you are after.
8. Invite both prominent and up-and-coming bloggers to guest blog for you. Same story, other direction. Genius!
9. Leave constructive, helpful comments on prominent blogs and media sites. Use an abbreviated signature file and link back to your blog.
10. Participate in Linkedin Groups and share your blog content/links in response to relevant questions and discussions. You raise both your credibility and visibility with this one tactic.
11. Don't overdo keywords and SEO on your blogs - people can tell and it makes you look a little creepy, robotic - or both. Write for humans and the traffic will follow.
12. Graphics, baby, graphics. Blogs are visual. Get an affordable account with iStockPhoto or one of the other stock photo sites. Grab unusual and interesting graphics and photos to spice up that wall of text. You'll be amazed. It makes all the difference.
13. Schedule it. Stick to it. Your blog is the command center of your online thought leadership platform. Shoot for 2-3 updates a week and amazing things will start to happen. Now is the time for you to... Get blogalicious!
Keywords: Blogging for business, marketing expert tips, marketing speaker, marketing coach
What do you think? Use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and experiences on blogging for business...
Want to Grow Your Business With Blogging? Here’s Your Quick-Start Guide
Guest post by Claudia Somerfield
One of the easiest and most powerful tools for growing your business is the business blog. Most marketing advisers suggest including a business blog as a sales tool. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or thought-leading professional and want to expand your influence with blogging, here is a quick-start guide that will have you up and running in no time at all.
Start with a clear plan
A common mistake that many businesses make when they start a blog is not having a long term plan in place. This applies to various aspects of the blog.
Consider these questions:
- What is the core purpose of your blog?
- How do you want it to look?
- What should be the writing style and tone of your blog posts?
- How openly do you want to position your blog as a sales tool?
- What kind of interface do you want to offer your blog readers to contact you?
- How do you want people to find your blog on a web search?
Having a clear cut strategy makes your blog much more focused, consistent and professional.
The web is often referred to as a fickle medium. If your blog readers do not find your blog of value, they will not return, they will not click through to your products or services, and they will not promote it by sharing it on their social networks.
At the end of the day, your reader looks for value, and your long term plan can help determine the specific nature and scope of the value you will offer.
Select your tool
The interface that you will use to upload and publish content on your blog is known as your blogging platform. There are several popular blogging platforms that you can choose from such as Blogger, Wordpress, and TypePad. While your web developer may provide you with a "home-made" interface on your website to create and add content to your blog, it is much easier and more efficient to integrate one of the more popular platforms. Take a look at what these platforms offer, and choose the one that appeals to you the most.
Create classy content
If you want your business blog to attract readers, and if you want the blog to become an integral part of your business strategy, you will have generate high quality content. You may want to employ the services of a professional blogger or content writer for this or you can do it yourself.
In the context of a business, there is no one who knows the nuances of the business better than you. However, you will want to keep in mind that it takes consistent posting of good content on a regular basis on your blog for it to grow in value.
Many business blogs make the mistake of compromising quality of content for quantity, over-using techniques like link building and search engine optimization to get more traffic to their blogs, but across time, they fail to engage the readers or to get them to respond to their call to action.
The key to popularizing your blog is to promote it. This can be as simple as sending out email announcements every time you update your blog, sharing it on your social networks, and notifying what are known as pinging services that will update web directories with your new content.
Social bookmarking sites are another commonly used promotion tool. The most popular social bookmarking platforms that are worth your time are Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon.
Start building relationships with other business bloggers. Promote their work on your networks. This may seem counterproductive especially if they are your competitors, but it will establish you as a fair and open networker. This will also help you study other business blogs and learn the tricks of the trade. Study how they use interesting content to get their readers attention and how they convert it either into return visits or a click through to products and services.
Visit other blogs and leave your opinions in the comments section. As people take note of your opinion, you will find them wanting to network with you and your blog. As with everything in life, blogging for business has a certain amount of give and take involved. The more you give, the greater your chances of taking something back.
Business blogging is proven strategy that will help your business grow. However, for a blog to be noticed and acquire a reputation among readers and clients, it takes time and dedicated effort.
Study the basics of search engine optimization and keyword research so that you are able to bolster your content with the technical strength it needs to reach the top of search results. Make your content interesting and useful.
Remember that your blog posts are not direct sales messages, but rather high-value assets with which to build a community of interested readers who are your potential customers.
As you grow your dedicated readership, you will find that your blog has become a significant source of web traffic, leads, referrals, and new business.
About the author: Claudia is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on luxury and technology. She recently read an article on a t-rex car that attracted her attention. Her next writing project involves a flying car.
Even the best of us will sometimes run out of things to say.
As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I have found 14 things that most of my clients (professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms) can turn to that will keep your e‐zines and blogs timely and fresh.
Here's the list for you - and please use the COMMENTS section below to add your own great ideas...
1. How‐To Tips. Everybody loves to read “how to’s.” A very short pithy practical tip your reader can use that day. For example, say you were writing to employers interested in OSHA regulations. You may have an article like, 10 Tips You Can Use to Pass Your Safety Inspections.
2. Dialogue with the Reader, Soliciting Feedback and Participation. I love this; it works equally well for an ezine or blog. This allows two‐way communication with your reader. You get to build a real bond with your readers. Your readers can be your best source of material. Pose questions to your readers and promise to publish the answers. For example: In one of my e‐zines I asked my readers to tell me some of their success stories, involving giving out free information. I told them that if I used their information I would give them full credit in my e‐zine.
3. Tips from Friends and Colleagues. This gives you the opportunity to “be seen” as an unbiased source of information. I love to bring in experts covering all sorts of topics. Lets be honest: you and I don’t know everything. If you can bring in experts covering a wide range of topics you become a source of information that your reader can always look to. In one of my e‐zines my friend Paul Karasik gave a great networking tip from his new book “How to Market to High Net‐Worth Households”
4. Plugs for Friends and Clients’ books, e‐books, reports, products and services. Make extra money by creating affiliate relationships, or joint ventures. Becoming an affiliate for someone can be the easiest way to make money. All you do is promote their products for a commission. Alternatively, you can promote a friends product as a favor because you believe your readers would benefit from it. (I do this regularly with a lot of my NSA speaker buddies who offer excellent programs and products to the same target market that I serve. No money changes hands. Just love and referrals.)
5. Reader Feedback and Contributions. This gives you a chance to create a buzz, controversy and argument. There have been times I have posted information, only to be inundated by readers telling me they agree, or disagree. Either way that is good. It means people are reading.
6. Upcoming Speaking Engagements, Seminars, and Tele‐conferences. If you do any public appearances, some of your readers will want to attend. This is your chance to let them know where you will be and what you will be doing. It is also a great way to meet some of your most loyal readers. Include links to Websites where the reader can register for the event.
7. What I’ve Done Lately. Your readers will want to see what you have been working on; it is like reality TV. It gives them a sneak peak in to your life and lets prospective new clients see your work.
8. Recommended Vendors. Sometimes you come across a service provider that has helped you out, and you feel would be a godsend to your readers, why not return the favor and promote him in your e‐zine? A copywriter friend of mine recently had a problem with his computer, and a company called Rescue.com saved his bacon.
9. Useful and Relevant Websites. While you are cruising the net, you may find a Website others don’t know about, that you find useful. Let the world know, get the word out. For example, this ezine marketing course may be exactly what you need to get your ezine marketing back on track!!
10. Mini Book Reviews. If you read a book that you feel may be valuable to your readers let them know, post a link to Amazon and make yourself a couple of bucks if they buy.
11. News Nuggets of Interest. Clip excerpts from industry trade journals that you believe may be relevant to your readers.
12. News About Your New Books. Let your readers know about any books you might be working on.
13. Plugs for Your Own Products. This is where you get a chance to plug your own products. You do not have to feel guilty about selling your products and professional services; your readers want to know what you have to offer. Look at it as a fair trade. You give your reader valuable information, and in return he rewards you by purchasing some of your products. It is totally win/win.
14. Quotations. Many people love to read quotes. A good quote can be inspirational. If you find one you like include it in your next issue.
That's it - so now you have no more excuses NOT to crank out terrific, value-rich ezines and blogs with a lot less effort than you thought.
Got more ideas? Share them in the COMMENTS area below.
p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized email and phone outreach tools, social media scripts, a killer email signature file, a polished referral blurb and more, check out the Small Biz Outreach Action Packs.