Boost Your Blogging ROI — 4 Things You Can Do Right Now

Blogging: Making It Count

It takes the same amount of time to write a blog post that’s seen by 3 people as one that’s seen by 3,000. So why not boost your readership — and your ROI — by adopting strategies that attract more eyeballs and encourage sharing?

 

Read through these suggestions and pick one or two that appeal to you. They’re presented in no particular order — each has the potential to make a substantial difference in your blogging results.  Read more

5 Quick Tips For Better Blog Graphics

Photo of a colourful makeup palette

Use these tips to get more mileage out of posts you publish on LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, and your blog.

#1 Remember What Graphics Are For

Graphics grab attention in a noisy online world. Even the best writing will go unnoticed — which means unread — unless you can somehow get the reader’s attention. That’s where your graphics can help. Try to find photos that tell a story or choose colours that stand out. You’re competing with hundreds of other online distractions. The graphic should make the reader curious enough that they want to read the title and intro to your post.Photo with quote: Graphics grab attention in a noisy online world Read more

3 Blogging Lessons I Learned as a Blog Awards Juror

Canadian Weblog Awards logoAs an avid blogger and marketing student, I was excited to serve as a Canadian Weblog Awards juror. I knew I could be of help and figured I’d pick up a couple of tips along the way. What I didn’t know is how much the judging process would teach me about building an effective blog. Read more

3 Blogging Resolutions Your Readers Will Thank You For

A heart that says "your readers will thank you"

Putting reader experience above everything else is the new normal for blogs.There was a time when good content was the best way to differentiate your blog and build readership. That time is gone. Good content–instead of being a powerful differentiator–is now the minimum standard expected. For your blog to stand out from the crowd, you need to create a positive reader experience. This post points out three common blogging practices working against that goal. You may be surprised to know what they are. Read more

Cut Through The Noise and Get Noticed: Top Links on Marketing Psychology

7LinksMarketingPsychologyThe combination of an abundance of online content choices and time-starved schedules has created a perfect storm for tuning out. We know we’ll be assailed by unwanted messages when we go online so we’ve learned to ignore all the extra stuff on our screens.

For example, do you remember the banner ad on the last website you visited? Probably not. When you search on Google, are your eyes trained to ignore the first 3-4 results on the page because you know that’s where the paid advertisements are? And how about all those email messages you delete without reading? With all this filtering going on, how’s a business supposed to get noticed?

Four Ways To Get Attention

I’ve got four solutions for you in this week’s online roundup. These videos will show you how to gain attention by being remarkable, being clear, being contagious (in a good way), and by understanding the reasons people share on social media.

Being Remarkable – Seth Godin
How To Get Your Ideas Spread
http://youtu.be/xBIVlM435Zg – 19 minutes

The Curse of Knowledge – Derek Halpern
Marketers, employees, spouses… We all need to be able to communicate ideas effectively. Learn how the curse of knowledge can get in the way, and what to do about it.
http://socialtriggers.com/sales-mistake-vet/ – 4 minutes

Making Your Content Contagious – Marie Forleo and Jonah Berger
Marie interviews the author of Contagious to learn about social currency and going viral.
http://youtu.be/5q2JoXpfdZU – 17 minutes

Digital Marketing – Understanding Social Psychology – Allister Frost
Sharing is the currency of the social web. Learning why people use social and why they share is the key to getting through to your market.
http://youtu.be/R2b9kfq7QwQ – 6 minutes


Have we chatted? Please feel free to send me an email or connect with me on a social site. You’ll find a contact form and links to my social profiles on this page.


 

Ditching Your Newsletter In Favour Of A Blog? Not So Fast

NewsletterIt’s said that businesses complete 60% – 70% of the B2B sales cycle by doing online research prior to any contact with potential vendors. Fewer businesses are willing to invest in multiple discovery meetings with potential suppliers. By the time you get a call from a prospect, they’ve already fully scoped out their need and are entrenched in the selection process.

The shift away from traditional needs analysis or consultative selling is made possible by the availability of online information. Blogs are a big part of that. A corporate blog is the easiest, most unobtrusive way to attract and educate prospects.

If A Blog Is Such An Effective Business Development Tool, Why Do I Need A Newsletter?

Blogs are fantastic for establishing the company’s position as a thought leader in your industry. Well written posts work on your behalf 24 x 7. But if you stop there, you’re forfeiting half the touchpoints you could potentially enjoy.

Adding an opt-in newsletter gives you permission to reach out to clients and prospects on a regular basis. So while your blog sits passively on the ‘net ready to welcome new eyes, your newsletter takes a more active role by popping up as an unobtrusive reminder. Unlike a phone call, there’s no interruption associated with this contact yet you’re keeping your brand top of mind.

 

A Blogging Gotcha You Need To Know About

CopyrightSoldUPDATED October 14, 2013 – Paragraph added to this story. See last paragraph.

Bloggers are generous people. We share knowledge and expertise freely and we promote each other’s sites. But the one thing we’re all pretty particular about is retaining ownership of our work. I’m writing today about a free service that appears to jeopardize your copyright. I’m talking about Headliner.

Headliner offers promotional services for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress, as well as a special service specific to musicians (which was reviewed by Brian Hazard and includes many interesting comments as well as a response from Headliner). My biggest concern, though, is for bloggers, especially those of us on WordPress because the offer is presented in a way that makes it look like an official offer from our host. It looks innocuous enough…

WordPressAmplifyYourPost
… but a detailed reading of Headliner’s terms of service show this to be a mighty expensive free offer. There’s nothing illegal about it, and it’s not even hidden. It’s clearly stated in the terms of service. Here is the gotcha paragraph (I added red for emphasis):

You grant to HEADLINER the unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual fully-paid and royalty-free right and license to host, use, copy, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, resell, sublicense, display, perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, modify, make derivative works from, retitle, reformat, translate, archive, store, cache or otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content to which you have contributed, for any purpose whatsoever, in any and all formats; on or through any and all media, software, formula or medium now known or hereafter known; and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed and to advertise, market and promote same.

YIKES!!! This has to be the poster child for why we all need to read terms of service before engaging any supplier.

I have never used Headliner’s services so I can’t comment on its effectiveness. My concern lies with giving away content rights.

A big thank you goes to Raincoaster Media and Suzy Walker-Toye for warning us about Headliner’s ToS on WordPress. I recommend both their posts — they contain screen shots of the offer and further info to deepen our understanding of the problem.

Practice safe blogging. Don’t relinquish control of your creative work.

UPDATE October 14, 2013 – Headliner has decided to change the Terms of Service.  Paragraph 5 of the ToS now contains this header: You own all your content and you control how it is shared on Headliner. In section c they have removed any reference to their ability to sell or resell the work. Thank you for listening, Headliner!


How To Breathe Life Back Into A Wilting Blog

Appreciate the good things in life.

Blogs are so much a part of doing business today, they’ve become the #1 way clients and prospects check us out. They’re also a favoured method for increasing website traffic by optimizing your site for search engines.

What To Do If Your Blog Is Dying On The Vine

Not to worry. You can recover. First, try to understand why it’s so difficult to keep fresh content flowing to the site. Is it possible that the blog is seen as a nicety instead of an essential business tool?  If that’s the case, you may be interested to read and share what Forbes has to say on the matter in Blog Or Go Bust:

Not only does blogging provide a way to engage your site visitors, it also brings more traffic to your website. Google likes blogs because content is updated frequently. While there are millions of websites that remain unchanged each day, blogs offer up fresh new information—and Google recognizes that by giving that content higher placement when users search for related topics. In fact, blogging is the most natural way to optimize your site for search engines.

Divide The Load

Look around your organization for 3 to 5 people who can share the load. Consider getting them together to brainstorm on content. Can they interview key people in the company to publish selected quotes? Would a key client like to contribute a guest post? What about a supplier?

Supplement Original Content With Curated Content

You don’t have to write everything that appears on your blog; content curation is perfectly acceptable. Just make sure your attributions are easy to see and that you don’t infringe on any copyright laws.

Readers Love Lists

What kind of checklists or steps can you get from your employee population? If your business is travel, how about 10 Things To Do Before You Leave. Staffing firms might publish 8 Questions To Ask Every Job Applicant. Marketing firms could put together a list of Top 10 Search Terms For Twitter.

Feature Company Events And Employee Achievements

Participation in community events creates opportunities for photos with a story telling why you chose that particular charity or group. Milestone service anniversaries are another way to add personalized content. Who’s been with the company the longest? Who is the newest employee — and why did they choose your firm? Who has taken the most unusual vacation?

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be all drudgery and grind. Keeping your blog full of fresh content can be a group endeavour that brings your corporate culture to life and shares it with the world.

Other articles you might enjoy:

Social Media Content Planning

60-MinuteSocialPartTwoContentIn the last post, I showed you how to get started quickly on a workable social media strategy. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to do so now and then come back to this one. That one was all about where to post; this one tackles what to post.

In Simple Social Media Strategy, we established that your blog is home base. A blog with fresh content will keep readers coming back to your site multiple times. It will help establish you as a thought leader in your field. And the most important benefit is how Google will treat your site. Each time you publish a new post, Google sees that fresh content and it will reward you with a higher ranking. That means more people will see your site in search results.

The Care And Feeding Of A Healthy Blog

How do you feed a blog and one or two social media sites with fresh content that will keep your clients and prospects coming back for more? It starts by knowing your audience. Here’s the one thing you should take away from this article:

Your social media material is not about you, it’s about your intended audience.

Think of the people you want to attract and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What are they interested in?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What do they want to learn about?
  • What do they aspire to?
  • Which major events or holidays might they be interested in?

Now that you have some topics, you need a place to capture them so you can begin scheduling them over time. I suggest you create an editorial calendar. That’s a fancy name for a document that holds your topics, post ideas, and the dates you plan to publish them. Any type of document will do… an Excel spreadsheet, a paper calendar, or a team calendar on Sharepoint.

If you’d like to try out different formats, I’ve got great news. A Google search will reveal many available for download — most at no cost. Directly below is a screen shot of one of several editorial calendars available from Google Docs Templates.

EditorialCalendarExample
Don’t let all those lines and columns overwhelm you. Just eliminate anything that doesn’t work for you. The object is to make your publishing schedule easier, not more complicated.

Did you notice in the list of topics there isn’t anything about your products or services? That’s not accidental. Social media works best when used to build a sense of community. Blogs are written with less formality, giving you an opportunity to display your personality. It’s not a good marketing platform or a place for sales collateral. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever talk about what you do, you just don’t want to make it the central topic.

Here are a few examples of companies that do social media really well. Take a scan through their blogs to get a sense of how they do it.

Are you ready to get started?

Next post:  White Papers And Your Social Media Strategy

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7 Blogs For 7 Days

7Blogsfor7DaysWhat’s In This Week’s 7 Blog Roundup?

This week’s theme is partnership. It’s an overused word, but alliances are what business is all about. The weekly blog roundup has three examples where creativity nets tangible proof of the power of partnerships. You’ll see how:

  • Haley Marketing and Talent Rover put their heads together to produce an infographic that will knock your mobile socks off (and shake your confidence if you haven’t dealt yet with the swing to mobile).
  • Cisco Canada celebrates success by writing a blog piece about its client, Bridge Studios.
  • Karma Hire and Launch Academy show us how to rocket a job ad into stardom to fill a critical position.

Curious about employer branding? MindField Group has a nice quick read for you – and an offer.

Social media is always a big part of the roundup – this week we have articles on Twitter, blogging tips, and some ideas to help us get through all that online reading we never seem to have enough time for.

Enjoy!

Partnerships

Haley Marketing and Talent Rover teamed up to create this infographic illustrating Mobile Trends In Recruiting and Staffing. A whopping 40% of mobile candidates drop off if they don’t encounter a non-mobile app. So how would your recruiting page stand up? Twitter links: @HaleyMarketing @Talent_Rover

Staying on the theme of social media and business, Cisco Canada demonstrates how a company can use its blog space to highlight a client event in Bridge Studios: Lights, Camera, Connectivity. The story is written by Cisco’s Brand Marketing Manager, Andrea Dil. Twitter link: @CiscoCanada

Watch the steady progress of a recruitment campaign as Karma Hire moves a job ad “from zero to hero” in How A Job Ad Goes Viral: Social Recruiting Done Right. Recruiters, take special notice of the Facebook impact. Twitter link: @KarmaHire

Employer Branding

MindField Group posted a helpful piece on Discovering And Developing Your Employer Branding which includes an invitation for an organizational assessment. Twitter link: @MindFieldGroup

Social Media

If you read yesterday’s rant about the evils of using Twitter automatic direct messages, you know I’m not a fan. As part of my research, I looked around for material, both pro and con, and found “Why I Hate Auto DMs On Twitter” by Eric Wheeler. I’m including it in this week’s roundup in admiration for the way he managed to weave a little humour into an ironic situation. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t find anything “pro” sending an auto DM to new followers that wasn’t written by the companies that create the technology. Twitter link: @eric_wheeler

Thinking about starting a blog or social media presence for your company? Fresh Gigs has good advice in Social Media Presence: Be Real, Be Consistent, Be an Influencer Twitter link: @FreshGigsca

Readers, what do you do when you find an interesting article online, but you don’t have time to stop and enjoy it? Malhar Barai has some cool ideas in “5 Tools For Social Bookmarking”. I learned a thing or two from him, including an unusual way to use Google+ circles. Twitter link: @MalharBarai

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