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Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

Is Blogging Dead? Maybe Not!

We know that blogging is critical to small business, yet we hear that blogging is dead.  Well, maybe not.  Here is a great post by Gary Vaynerchuk explaining why.

THE ONE THING GURUS ALWAYS GET WRONG ABOUT BLOGGING

Gary Vaynerchuk

 

by GARY VAYNERCHUK

 @garyvee

1 year ago · 4 min read

Starting a blog has never been easier and here is where to start a blog: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Medium. Now, I know what you’re saying — “Those aren’t blogs”. Actually, they are. Any social media platform can be treated like a blog because that is where people are listening.

Currently, many “marketing gurus” will preach that blogging is dead, that it’s over, and that the personal blog has failed.

I want to point out just how wrong they are.

Blogging is now the establishment itself. Start a blog on any social media platform and engage your audience.

WHERE TO START A BLOG

Think about it: if you have a website and are putting out content on it, like I always talk about, you are blogging. Twitter was flat-out known as a micro-blogging platform and now we have new platforms like Medium that point very strongly to being a blogging platform.

I would even argue that Instagram is a form of blogging in itself; A visual diary for your life. Or, Snapchat serving as a blogging platform built around the promise of content taking 10 seconds or less to consume.

So no, blogging is not dead. It’s as alive as ever. Blogging has simply morphed and changed into a much broader category where blog creation, and the question to where you should be starting a blog, is very different. A stand alone independent website run on a wordpress blog or something similar isn’t required anymore. My advice would be to just start putting out native content on the platforms that make most sense for you and start engaging with those who you think should see it.

But here is the problem and reason some internet marketers might say that blogging is dead: people who are still blogging in the traditional way, by posting to their personal website, don’t know how to get people to come see what they are writing. Nobody is working hard enough to master the art of SEO, or Facebook dark posts, or Pinterest, or storytelling on snapchat or anything else that can drive to your page.

WHY BLOG: THE IMPORTANCE OF A PERSONAL BLOG

If you write a blog, social media needs to be the gateway drug to your content and site.

Social networks, specifically Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, should be treated as the stepping stones of content to drive to the aforementioned “home,” whether that’s a blog or media site or whatever.

What has happened is that the attention graph is shifting. I talk about the attention graph as essentially where people’s attention is right at this very moment; where can you meet them to direct them your page. People’s willingness to jump somewhere to consume content is certainly not down, but their willingness to leave the platform they are already engaging on (Facebook, Twitter) is. To get them to click, you have to be smart. Really smart.

This is why every website today is testing headlines. You need to do the same. Don’t abandon the traditional blogging format; instead, test like crazy on social media and understand what drives your users, what your users care about. And make sure your content is really good once you get someone to click it or else consumers are going to be pretty upset they clicked at all and will hesitate to do so ever again.

MY BLOG

Personal blogs or websites offer something that social will never have: the very fact that you control it. That personal blog or website will be impervious to any changes on other platforms. Your blog or website is a platform that you control, allowing you to decide the amount and frequency of content output.

In a world of “rented” social media space, that is valuable. I’ve seen people shout and scream about the death of blogging while on Twitter, a social blogging site which they’re posting content to every day. People need to reevaluate the context they use the word blog in, and understand the insane amount of blogging platforms that exist in today’s world. Each has their own value and may or may not speak to what you’re looking to accomplish. Find your value and go all in.

Check out some of my guides to using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram here:

– 3 Ultra Effective Tactics You Should Use Now

– How to Turn Your Company Into a Content Empire

– The Big Difference Between Twitter and Instagram

– Optimize Your Facebook Presence With These 5 Easy Steps

Fill out the form on the right to recieve future emails and a free report.

 

Can Blogs Really Generate Sales?

Can Blogs Really Generate Sales?

Everyone says blogging is important to small business.  But…does it really lead to increased sales?  Here’s a great post digging into the strategies you need to do just that.

Does Blogging Really Increase Lead Generation And Sales?

BY JAMES — FILED UNDER BLOGGINGCUSTOMER ACQUISITIONSALES

Blog lead generation

Nowadays everyone has a blog. ForbesWalmart, mommies with children and even hobbyists.

Why? Because they make money. You may think that a blog is something you create for fun and has no place in a business environment but you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Blogs today are being used to generate leads and increase sales, today I will show you how.

FIGURING OUT A CONTENT STRATEGY

Acquiring leads or increasing sales with a blog all starts with a content strategy. As with most things in business you need to come up with a plan to reach your goals, measure your progress and to continually adjust to optimize operations.

A content strategy should be focused around your goal – be it to rank higher in Google, provide customers with information or generate leads and drive sales.

All of the following goals are achieved by giving your readers value. Value in the form of information, entertainment, help or anything else that tickles their interest. A Blog is the medium through which you provide them with this value.

Let’s say you run a health club and your biggest market is middle-aged moms who want to live a more healthy lifestyle. How can you generate leads via blogging to attract this clientele? Have any ideas?

Well I have a few.

Let’s solve a problem they have (by providing value). This can be in the form of diet advice, which foods to eat, what to avoid, how to better plan meals throughout the day or eat healthier as a family.

Perhaps give away a free eBook, create videos on YouTube showing simple exercises they can do at home or recipe ideas for a healthier living. Whichever method you use it’s extremely important the content adds value.

By showing them the way to reach their goals with solid advice and actions, positions your business as knowledgeable and trustworthy. If they trust and respect you – they will buy from you.

HOW TO REEL THEM IN

So we threw out the bait (blog content) and they loved it, but how do we reel them in? There’s a number of ways.

If you decide to give away a free information product (like an eBook), in exchange for the book you ask for the lead’s email address. Within actual blog posts you can place opt-in forms or have links to other parts of your site where you sell products.

With these emails you can create email campaigns that nurture your lead into a customer.

PROOF THAT CONTENT MARKETING GENERATES LEADS AND DRIVES SALES

KISSmetrics allocated over 90% of their marketing budget on creating blog content. In a case study written by Neil Patel, the founder of KISSmetrics, he said for the month of January they spent $5,380 on content marketing with an average of two posts per day going live.

kmblogtraffic

Source: Quicksprout.com

Neil stated for January 2014 they generated a total of 5,057 leads via their blog. KISSmetrics’ total lead count for the month was 8,144, with 62% of all leads coming from blogging.

How did they get that many leads? Well let’s take a look at their blog.

KISSmetrics2

KISSmetrics2
They have placed various lead magnets all over their blogs offering readers free guides and information that solve their problems.

KISSmetrics’ products start from $200 and go up into the thousands. At almost a $1 a lead that is money well spent don’t you think?

How much are you willing to pay for a single lead?

CONTENT MARKETING OR SOCIAL MEDIA?

Both.

Social media marketing and content marketing are both extremely viable and practical options for gaining leads and sales that you would be crazy not to use both. Generally speaking, Facebook and Twitter ads will get you leads and sales in a much shorter time due to their advertising options, but they cost more.

Content marketing takes time with some many businesses not seeing any kind of ROI for months. For the first year of their operation KISSmetrics didn’t make a single dollar using content marketing.

But when the floods gate broke and the started to roll in – they kept on coming. Combining content marketing with SEO will rank you site higher on the search engines bringing you a steady flow of leads for each month.

Using your social media accounts you can publicize your blog posts to followers and place social follow links within your blog to integrate both options.

Are you happy with the results your blog is bringing your business or are you lacking a creative strategy? Maybe you’re looking to create valuable content but are not sure where to start or which mediums to use? Whichever problem you face we are the people to speak too.

If you have any further questions about content marketing and how it can bring your business more leads and sales today, leave a comment or contact us today!

If you’d like more information on small business growth, fill out the form in the right hand column to sign up for my emails.

 

Blogging…Absolute Necessity for Small Business

Blogging…Absolute Necessity for Small Business

As a small business owner you should know blogging is a great (and inexpensive) way to promote your business.  The attached article has some great ideas on how to go about it. 

Beginner’s Guide To Blogging For Small Businesses

Traditional marketing methods, especially in the past, emphasize pushing your product under prospective buyers’ noses with one message: sell, sell, sell. In contrast, content marketing focuses on providing something of value to your current and potential customers, with the understanding that when they are ready to make a purchase, there is a good chance that they will do so from you. Why? Because you made a favorable impression, gave them something (information, e-books, resources, a laugh) for free, and established yourself as an expert in your industry.

Illustration of typewriter

Writing a blog on your business website is one of the best ways to provide content for your target demographic, whether that be specific clients or an industry. Every time you write and share a blog post, you are planting a seed in the minds of everyone who reads it about your brand—who you are and what you have to offer them.

We’ve compiled several tips for you in this beginner’s guide to blogging for small businesses: what to write about, the basics of SEO, and where to publish your blog posts.

We’re going to assume that you have, at the very least, already created a physical blog on your website, whether it’s with WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace or any other blogging platform. If not, here’s a quick read onchoosing a blogging platform.

What To Write About and Where To Get Ideas

The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what to blog about. The most obvious answer, of course, is news about your company, product or service. But to avoid coming across as myopic and self-absorbed, branch out and also write about other things. Remember the three rules of blogging: entertain, inspire, and inform. Each post should do at least one of these.

Here’s what to write about and where to get ideas from:

  • Trending topics in your industry. Give your readers a reason to bookmark your blog as the go-to site for industry information, resources or a daily chuckle. Get inspiration for your blog content by discovering what people are talking about at Twitter’s Trending Topics (the column of hashtags on the left side of your Twitter page), BuzzFeed’s Trend SectionGoogle’s Top Trends by topic, or Small Business Trends. And don’t forget trade magazines or the local paper.
  • Start with a catchy, keyword-rich title. Often times starting with a catchy title will inspire content for a full article, so brainstorm with your team for headlines or subjects. Get help from The Daily Egg’s headline formulas that convert, Hubspot’s kick-ass title formulas, and GoinsWriter’s tricks to writecatchy headlines. In addition, check out fun content ideators such asContent ForestTweak Your Biz, and Portent.
  • Be personal. Fans who are interested in your business generally tend to be interested in the people who run it. Write about the behind-the-scenes goings on in your office, exciting news about your company such as industry awards won or a company retreat (and be sure to include photos!), testimonials from your customers, and humorous posts. Spotlight a different product, customer question, or “how-to” each week. Share the experience, obstacles, and solutions that you have faced in your business.

Looks Do Matter

Hollywood is not the only place where looks matter. In a world of high expectations and short attention spans, getting your entire blog post read is no simple feat. Make it easy and pleasurable for readers by using effective and pleasing-to-the-eye formatting.

  • Headers. When you click on an article only to be hit with a massive wall of densely-packed black lettering that covers every inch of your computer screen, it’s a little overwhelming. Break up the text into digestible paragraphs and start each section off with a header in bold typeface to make it stand out. That way, people can scroll through the article and immediately get a sense of what the full content is.
  • Bullet points. Using bullet points and numbered lists is another way to make your blog post easier on the eye. In fact, the list post (also known as a “listicle”) is one of the most popular types of posts and are very effective for driving traffic. These are great for compiled statistics, tips, or ideas and usually include the number in the title. For example: 7 Tips For Taking the Leap To Full-Time Freelancing
  • Proofread. If you think that grammar and spelling are not important, you wouldn’t be the only one—but that’s no excuse to be sloppy. If your business is blogging, it behooves you to be the epitome of professional—and that means immaculate spelling and grammar. People notice mistakes and awkwardly-phrased sentences, and they judge a business for making them. If you can’t even hire a good writer or editor, they assume (rightly or wrongly) that this will also be reflected in the craftsmanship of your product or service.
  • Images. The Internet is more visual than ever, as evidenced by the popularity of Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, because a good picture can communicate an idea instantly. Considering that 44 percent of people are more likely to engage with brands when they post images, try adding one or two high-quality photos or graphs in your posts. If your budget doesn’t have a lot of leeway, use one of the many royalty-free photo websites out there, such as PixabayUnsplashPhotosByPeople, or Compfight. Just make sure to always use quality images, not those that look like they were taken in the dark on a cheap smartphone.

The Basics of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes it easier for people to find your website. Using the same keywords on your website that people would type into Google when looking for your product or service helps the search engines discern what your site is about and point people to it if appropriate.

Here are several ways you can help the search engines—and thus people—find your blog:

  • Update your favicon. This is that little 16×16-pixel image associated with the brand that appears on a web browser tab next to the website’s name. For example, Facebook’s favicon is the blue square with the white “f”, Twitter’s favicon is the light blue bird. Without your brand’s favicon, you’ll stand out as an online newbie. Here’s a 2-minute video that shows you how to add a favicon to your WordPress blog.
  • Customize permalinks. A permalink is the permanent URL to each blog post (or any specific web page) that you publish. As soon as you create a new post, it generates a permalink and if you don’t change it, it will look like this:



    https://www.hiveage.com/blog/?p=100



    If you customize it, it will look like this: 



    https://www.hiveage.com/blog/2015-irs-mileage-rates-guide/



    Not only does customizing it look better, but it improves search engine optimization. Be sure to include your target keywords (those words and phrases that a person might type into a Google search) and if possible insert them at the beginning of the title and permalink. Change your permalinks in WordPress in the dashboard under Settings > Permalinks.
  • Meta description. This is the 156-character snippet or preview of the website that displays on the list of page results when someone does a Google search. Besides making it simple for searchers to see what the website is about without having to click on each link, it increases your chance of appearing on the first page of results. Find this box just below the window in WordPress where you write your blog post.
  • Body content. This is the text of your blog post. Place your keywords or key phrase within the first paragraph. It’s no longer necessary to scatter your keyword throughout the content ten times; using it once early on is all that search engines require in order to figure out what your page is about.
  • Blog post length. To further help optimize your blog, most posts should be at least 1500 words. Obviously quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to word count, so shorter, excellently-written posts are fine, too. But if you want to rank better in the search engines, try for longer, well-sourced articles.

Where To Publish Your Blog Posts

So now that you have come up with some fantastic ideas with catchy titles that are well-written in an easy-to-read format, what do you do with them after you’ve posted them to your blog? According to online entrepreneur Pat Flynn, 50 percent of a blog’s success happens after it is published.

  • Share to your social media platforms. The first thing you ought to do is share your blog post from your website straight to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter (which means you’ll have to embed social media icons on your site). After sharing it to your business’ social platforms, share to your personal profiles as well. Don’t be shy about asking your friends, fans, and followers to re-share if they like what they’ve read.
  • Engage, respond, and thank. Make sure to turn on the alerts in all your social media to notify you via email as soon as someone comments on or shares one of your posts. To let them know that you are not an indifferent company, reply to all comments, answer all questions as soon as possible, thank everyone who shared your post or favorited your tweet, and otherwise engage with people. This goes a long way towards the success of not only your blog posts, but your overall brand.
  • Post to other sites. To further get your blog read, consider posting it to such article publishing platforms as MediumEzine, and Examiner. There are numerous general and industry-specific platforms to repurpose your content, so pick a handful that work best for you and get your blog posts out there.

When it comes to successful blogging, there is a lot to learn. But if you start with basics in this beginner’s guide to blogging for small businesses, you’ll have a leg up on the other newbie bloggers out there!