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.

5 Ways to Energize Content Marketing in 2015

2015 is a bright new year. Will this be the year that you make content marketing work for your business? If you feel that your strategies aren’t working as well as they should, let’s look at some ways you can energize your efforts.

1. Consider your readers: your ideal customers

Too many companies try to create “viral” content which goes nowhere. Or, even worse, becomes wildly successful… but your sales results are a big fat zero. To add insult to injury, your viral content increases the cost of your bandwidth.

Focus on your customers. Create a persona (an avatar if you like) who respresents your ideal customer. What are her likes and dislikes? What challenges does she have? Once you zero in on your ideal customer, not only does content creation become easier, it will also attract that customer.

2. Remember email: give it the attention it deserves

In the early days of the Web, email was all there was. Gradually, companies stopped paying attention to email. Consider this. It’s very easy to create a series of email messages. Add the messages to your autoresponder, and they go out to everyone who signs up for it.

Yes, it takes a little energy and creativity to create a series which is not only opened and read, but remembered — and which gets results. A successful series can keep working for you all through 2015.

3. Snap photos: use them everywhere

Politicians stroll around with a cameraman in tow, and there’s a good reason for that. Every company has more photo opportunities than they ever use. Unboxing videos are hugely popular on YouTube — they should be boring, but people love them. Make a list of photo opportunities and snap at least five photos every day. And use them.

4. Share and RESHARE your content

Share your content on social media more than once. People dip in and out of social media. No one sits and reads their Twitter feed. They dip in occasionally, and they glance at Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn when they have a moment.

Use a scheduler like Buffer, and share your content more than once.

5. Add calls to action to everything

If you pay attention to nothing else, pay attention to this. Add calls to action to your content. When I do a marketing audit for a company, one of the first things I check is that calls to action are happening. Usually they’re not. It may seem obvious that your customers know what to do, but they don’t.

Tell people what you want them to do: call you, subscribe to your mailing list, visit a page on your website… Every piece of content needs a call to action. Adding them is the simplest way to energize your content marketing in 2015.

 

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

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

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Everyone’s doing content now; companies are becoming publishers. This question comes up continually: content creation or content curation? Content curation is cheaper, the thinking goes, but which is better?

(BTW, thinking that content curation is cheaper is incorrect.)

Bottom line: it’s what your budget allows. It’s also what your marketing plan requires. Many companies are committed to traditional marketing, so content marketing needs supporters within the company.

Content Creation: Original, Compelling Content Is Ideal

Original content is always better. It gets you out there. You get the attention of customers you’d attract in no other way, because your traditional marketing channels never reach them.

Once you’ve got their attention, you can build on that. At a minimum, you create content for these personas:

  • People who’ve never heard of you;
  • People who are aware of you, and interested;
  • Current customers;
  • Past customers.

If you’re baulking at all this content, consider that you don’t need to create it all today. Or this week. Or this year. You create content over time, and your content lasts. It’s on your website. You can refresh the content as needed.

Content Curation: More of a Challenge

Wikipedia defines content curation as: “… the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”

In an either/ or situation, content creation is always better. You’ve created it for your audience. With content curation, you’re promoting others’ content. This isn’t a bad thing in itself. However, it’s a challenge to mould that curated content so that it achieves your marketing goals.

Here’s why:

  • You’ve got to find good content which will help you to meet your goals. You’re promoting it, so what you choose says a lot about you. Finding this content takes time;
  • You’ve got to organize that content, and add your own insights to it. Analysis takes time. So does writing about the content you’ve found.

The Solution? Use Both

Why not not use both content creation, and curation? Content curation has benefits: your curated content may get links and shares from others. At the very least, you’ll get recognition, and you’ll show that you’re aware of what’s important to your audience.

I suggest to my clients that if they’re using both, they make sure that for each curated article, they post at least three pieces of original content.

The original content doesn’t need to be text. It can be images. It take seconds to snap a photo, and a few minutes to edit that photo, and provide a little commentary.

Get More From Your Original Content

Before you create content, or have it created for you, know where it fits into your content strategy. If the content is text, add an image (at least one), and a call to action. Make plans to get more from each piece of content before it’s written, too.

You can get lots of benefits from each piece of content. You use an an article as:

  • Social media shares:
  • A PDF for sharing;
  • An infographic for sharing;
  • A news release (rewrite it into the third person);
  • A section of a newsletter and/ or part of an email marketing campaign.

In summary, both content creation and content curation are valuable, and can form part of your publishing strategy.

If you need help with your content, get in touch.

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

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