Who Needs Another Blogging Platform?

Who needs another blogging platform? No one, if you believe that current platforms are perfect. After 15 years of blogging, and after trying just about every platform — I know that no platform is PERFECT.

Each and every platform is either too simple (not enough functionality) or too complex. And no, I’m not looking at WordPress when I say “too complex.” WordPress is perfect for what it does; it’s my favorite platform, but I’m not enraptured when it comes to usability. If you just want to write a quick post, it’s challenging. You know that you’re not going to be done and dusted in under ten minutes.

Perfection in a blogging platform is impossible

That doesn’t mean that developers should stop trying. As bloggers, we should encourage developers. Not with nitty-picky “I want this” or “Gimme that” demands. Rather, encourage developers to envision a platform that’s not only robust, but is also a pleasure to use.

If I were looking for developers with vision, I’d start with the Realmac Software people. When I switched from PCs to Macs in 2005, while still actively writing for PC magazines, I was nervous. Was I insane? Why oh why…? I talked myself out of buying a Mac for months. Then I did. Then I discovered apps like RapidWeaver (from Realmac Software), and Curio. Then Scrivener. And my switch to Macs enhanced both my productivity and creativity.

Realmac are launching a new blogging platform

When I heard about this Indiegogo campaign for Typed.com, I had to contribute, of course.

I couldn’t be more eager to see what Realmac deliver. I love blogging, and when people who’ve delivered inspired apps like RapidWeaver and Clear promise a new blogging platform, I know we’ve got a treat in store.

The campaign is doing amazingly well. It just started a couple of days ago, and is already well over its goal, with 24 days to go.

Blogging’s a challenge: inspired tools inspire you

I’m a software addict. I used to feel bad about this. It seems frivolous. On the other hand, if you buy an app which makes your work easier and more fun, and you’re more productive, there’s nothing frivolous about that. It’s common sense.

I can’t wait to blog on Typed. It’s something to look forward to. If you love blogging too — or even if you dislike it, but need to do it — remember Typed. If it becomes as popular as I suspect it will, you may be using Typed before too long.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

3 Tips To Make Your Business Blog Work

Is your business blog making your company look bad? I’ve been working with a content marketing client, who asked me to look at business blogs across a range of industries, and create a report.

Yesterday, we looked at content marketing mistakes and how to fix them in a slide deck. Today, let’s look at some easy tips to make your blog work for your business.

Some companies do a fantastic job of integrating their blog with their overall marketing. They get it. A blog isn’t an obligation, or something “for the search engines”. It’s a publication. Consider blogging to be instant publishing, and think about your most recent blog post. Is that post something you’re proud to publish? Would it work as a brochure?

If publishing a blog post were as expensive as publishing a brochure, business blogs would get a lot more respect. Many companies blithely push blogging and social media onto their least experienced employee. Not a good idea.

Each and every blog post is a gateway to your website. It represents you, and every post, no matter how short, can work for you.

Let’s look at some tips.

1. Publish real content: forget junk content for “SEO”

If someone says to you: “a blog is good for SEO”, ignore them. The days when shoveling junk onto the Web in the hope of getting search engine rankings have LONG gone. In fact, those days never existed.

A lot of great companies have woeful blogs. They’re updated infrequently, with content which looks like placeholder text.

On the other hand, many companies have good blogs. Here’s one.

I enjoy shopping at The Good Guys, and their blog does them proud.

To repeat, your business blog is a publication. Integrate it with your website; The Good Guys’ blog does product reviews. You can too.

2. Get personality: blog for real people

Consider magazines. Next time you browse a magazine rack, pick several magazines devoted to the same topic — any topic you choose. Each of those magazines is slightly different. It has a vision — a personality, if you like.

Your blog should have a personality too. Consider this blog.

Rhodia Drive is a blog published by the Rhodia paper company, and promotes its products. The blog is for people who love paper, and buy and use paper notebooks. It’s got personality, and the blog appeals to people all over the world who love paper.

What could you do to give your blog a personality? Start by considering the people who buy your products. The Good Guys do this: they’ve got recipes and videos for people who love food and cooking — and those people are a part of The Good Guys’ market.

Years ago, Microsoft had major PR problems. Robert Scoble’s blogging went a long way towards showing that Microsoft, big as it was and is, is a company made up of real people.

You’re human. Your company’s made up of people. Relate to your customers as people via your blog, and you’ll reap the benefits.

3. Know what you want your blog to do

Again: your blog is a publication. You can publish anything you like instantly. Your blog’s a huge opportunity to humanize your company, and differentiate you from your competition.

If you’re not happy with your blog, start your blog’s makeover by checking out what your competitors are doing. Then check out the blogs of big companies. Check out the magazine rack too.

Consider your customers. Create customer personas, if you haven’t done so already. What magazines do your customers read? What movies and TV shows do they watch?

Your blog is a huge marketing opportunity. You can be one of those companies which does blogging, and content marketing, well.

Want some blogging inspiration? Contact me.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Simple Content Marketing: 4 Tips for Success

Hate writing? Me too, at times, even though it’s what I do. Whenever I don’t want to write, I check to see if I have a plan for what I want to accomplish with that piece of writing. Usually, that’s the problem: I don’t have a plan which is easy to execute. Similarly, when my content marketing clients have challenges, the first thing we look at is their plan.

CMI created a good one page content marketing strategy plan you can check out. Create your objectives, goals, and strategies, then create your plans for your content.

With your plans in place, let’s look at some tips for success for SIMPLE content marketing. Suggestion: keep your plans simple until you have feedback. Then you can adjust your plans.

1. Promote your content: online and offline

With some 30 million pieces of content flowing onto the Web each day, the days when you could publish a blog post and sit back and relax, are long gone. Luckily content’s easy to promote. We’ll look at ways to promote content in another blog post.

Make your own list of how you’ll promote your content. Tackle easy methods first. Get staff to promote the content on their own social media accounts, and of course, promote it on social media yourself. Set up a page on Google+. If you have page on Facebook, expect to pay to promote your content there.

2. Get help: collaborate on content with suppliers, your industry, and even competitors

Broaden your reach for content. Discuss content with your suppliers. If you have an industry group, contact them and ask how they’re promoting your industry. If you know what advertising they’re doing, consider piggy-backing your content onto that.

Consider collaborating with your competitors too. There’s power in numbers. Today, your biggest challenge is getting traction and visibility. When you band together with others, their audience and your audience combine.

Collaboration can work to generate publicity too. Here’s an easy way. Make a friendly competition public, for the public good. Have a competition to see which company can raise most money for a worthy cause. Or raise money together. Either way, your collaboration can generate publicity.

3. Use keywords to find topics, and brainstorm (keywords still matter, sort of)

I know. The days of “keyword” content are over. However, keywords come in handy to help you to generate ideas for topics, because they show you searchers’ intentions. I’ve been using KWFinder for keywords.

4. “Content” can be anything you choose: keep it simple

Consider various forms of content. Keep thinking “simple.” It’s easy to get stuck developing complex ideas. Images on Instagram may work for you.

If you’re writing articles for your blog, consider using them to create videos on YouTube. Demonstrate your tips, if you’ve created a tips article, for example. Or demonstrate a feature of your product.

So there you have it. Keep your content marketing simple, and you’ll succeed.

Article Fire Storm: content strategy secrets

I created Article Fire Storm for writers, but anyone who’s using content marketing can benefit from the program. The four-week program helps you — or whoever’s responsible for content in your company — to get a handle on content, and use it profitably. Check it out.

Top Ten Content Marketing Mistakes — And Simple Ways To Fix Those Boo-Boos

Here’s a slide deck which covers easy fixes for the most common content marketing mistakes. Once you’ve got the mistakes fixed, you can develop a strategy which helps you to make content work for you.

Top Ten Content Marketing Mistakes – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Sponsored Content: Ads That Get Read

If you’re not doing content marketing yet, you’re thinking about it. This study reports that 86% of North American B2B businesses are using content marketing in 2015. Sponsored content, also called “native advertising” is a form of content advertising.

In a sense it’s the successor to old-style magazine advertorials. But where advertorials — I’ve written more than a few in my time — plugged the advertiser’s product, sponsored content doesn’t. It’s going for the click, and aims to look innocuous, to blend in to its surroundings. That’s where the “native” comes in. It’s advertising designed not to look like advertising.

Let’s look at an example, clipped from News.com.au.

Sponsored content appears on News.com.au as it does on many news sites; in this instance, it’s called “News From Around the Web”.

Sponsored content is all about the headline, and history junkie that I am, I couldn’t resist a click on the Titanic mystery article, sponsored by Ancestry, via Outbrain. The article’s 400 words, and it’s an article, rather than an ad. The only clue you get that it’s advertising is the website on which it appears, and the final sentence.

Sponsored content’s replacing banner advertising

With straight banner advertising dead, sponsored content is its replacement. Unfortunately, as Mashable points out, marketers lose the plot. They get hypnotized by clicks, and a lot of sponsored content is just click-bait. Where’s the return on investment?

Making sense of sponsored content

Sponsored content can be hugely valuable. Your content appears on a heavily-trafficked website, and you’ll get clicks. However, there are challenges, because this is a new area of advertising.

Inc.com reports:

“Sponsored content represents a burgeoning opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in the comfort of their most trusted environments–the publications they go to for information and entertainment. Yet, as a relatively new form of advertising, the realm of sponsored content is largely unexplored and unknown. This will be the year that brands come to know sponsored content intimately–and embrace it wholeheartedly.”

Yes, sponsored content is a growing opportunity. If you’re using content marketing, sponsored content is your next step. It’s advertising, but it’s ads that get read.

Want more info? Contact me if you’re wondering whether sponsored content could enhance your marketing this year.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.