Business Blogging: Avoid These Sins

Neil Patel’s Eight Pet Peeves About Most Blogs

Happy with your business blog? If you’re not, check to see whether you’re committing any of Neil’s eight sins.

Here’s the most common “sin” I see, a lack of blog updates:

Unfortunately, an updated blog is an anomaly in today’s blogging world. When I see a blog that hasn’t been updated since Gerald Ford left office, I immediately wonder if the business is 1) legitimate, 2) competent, 3) successful, or 4) even in existence.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

Clients tell me: “I don’t have time to blog!” But what if you spent just ten minutes a day on your blog? 50 to 60 minutes a week is doable for most of us.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

I wrote a series of blog posts on business blogging in 60 minutes a week a year ago. Let’s review ways in which you can become a blogger — even if you have no time to blog.

This process takes just ten minutes a day.

1. Ten minutes: how will you promote your blog?

Start by working out how you’ll promote your blog. You’ll go through this preparation each week, as you work out how to promote your blog post once you’ve written it.

Flip through the slide deck. Although it’s for people creating a new business blog, it gives you a quick overview of how to make a blog work harder for you.

2. Ten minutes: how many blog posts will you create this week?

Consider formats. In the original “60 minutes” article, I said:

Usually when I mention blog posts to a client, he thinks in terms of articles. That’s fine. However, if you’ve only got 60 minutes a week, you don’t need to spend that time writing just one article — or half an article, if you’re a slow writer.

Consider: photos, other images, short videos, MP3 interviews… If you’re posting MP3s, post transcriptions too. You can get transcriptions from providers at fiverr.com at a reasonable rate.

3. Twenty Minutes: outline and collect — batch-create

Here’s the original article: Schedule 20 minutes each week, to outline your blog posts, and collect resources for them.

Your resources might include:

* Images;

* Facts and figures;

* Quotes from customers;

* Marketing materials for inspiration.

Once you’ve collected your resources, make a list of topics you want to cover on the blog. Keep the list somewhere you’ll find it easy, so you can add to it when you get an idea. I keep my blogs’ topics lists in Simplenote.

Next, explore keywords.

Keyword Eye is still my favorite  free keyword tool.

free keyword tool

Keyword Eye is ideal for brainstorming quick blog post titles.

Create the posts after you’ve decided on the titles, and save the posts as drafts.  Add some quick notes to each blog post so that you won’t be staring at a blank editing screen when it’s time to write.

 4. Twenty minutes: write!

You’ve done your preparation, so the writing should go quickly.

Tip: focus on images. Images give you many ways in which to promote a blog post. If you have two images in a blog post, you can post at least twice on Pinterest (space out your postings.) You can also post a blog’s images to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, with a short commentary, and a link to the post.  

Over the past 12 months, I’ve discovered that images rule. I started posting about “image marketing” way back in 2012. In 2014, images are vital to draw attention.

So, there you have it. Your 60 minute blogger fast-start. Still think that you don’t have time to blog? :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

 

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

You’ve started a business, or you want to. Consider creating a blog. Your blog can help draw attention to you and your new business. Your blog also builds credibility; this is valuable as a long-term strategy.

The longer you’ve been blogging, the more people can learn about you and the way your business operates: it’s all there on your blog. And it’s your choice how transparent you’ll be. Buffer is completely transparent:

When we announced it, Joel, our co-founder, emailed everyone and said, “I truly believe that transparency breeds trust, that’s one of the key reasons for this adjustment.”

Consider the “pull” factor of your blog too. It’s inbound marketing, and helps to you to inform your customers:

A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors to your website. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.

Before the Web came along, I ran a business. The customers had questions. Many, many questions. I spent my days on the phone. Of course, I couldn’t have imagined a blog in those days, but a blog would have cut my phone-time by 95 per cent.

I’ve been working with several entrepreneurs. Since I love blogging, the advice to “start a blog” comes naturally. Many kinds of businesses can benefit from blogs, especially small businesses. Your blog, combined with your social media presence, helps you to network.

These blogging tips work for start-ups, especially if you’re a one or two person operation at the moment, or if you’re working with a far-flung global team. Blogging is instant publishing. Potentially, your audience numbers in the millions. Your startup’s first customers may be in that audience.

1. Create Your Business Plan First.

Got a business plan? Create an informal one, if you haven’t done so already. The more you know about your goals, the better. Your plan will not only reveal what kind of image you want to project, but also who your customers will be. Create a SWOT analysis too. It will surprise you.

If you’ve never created a business plan, just answer the “Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start up venture” in the Wikipedia article. If you decide you need funding, and want to create a formal plan at any stage, this rough plan will be a big help.

2. Decide on Your Blogging Persona, and a Choose a Couple of Audience Personas.

You need to decide who you’ll be as a blogger. What image will you project? Be yourself of course, but decide how much personal information you’ll share. If your blog’s all-business, you won’t be talking about your partner, or the movie you saw last night.

Choose a couple of audience personas too. These are the people for whom you’ll be creating content. Build a brief profile of your typical customer. If you want investors, build an investor profile too.

Here’s Hubspot on buyer personas:

Buyer personas are holistic ideals of what your customers are really like, inside and out. Personas encompass the goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services, as well as personal and demographic information shared among all members of that particular customer type. Your personas are the people around whom your whole business is built.

Give each persona a name. I like to start persona profiles as if I’m talking about a real person: “Bill is 45 years old. He’s been married for 16 years. He has two teenage children…” etc.

When you’re crating content, you’re speaking directly to Bill, or to another persona you’ve created.

3. Your Blog Is Your Social Media Hub: Keep Content (Mainly) on Your Own Website.

Look on your blog as your startup’s marketing launchpad. Add your blog’s URL to your social media profiles. To repeat: add your blog’s URL to your social media profiles. This is vital. Before someone decides to follow you on Twitter, or circle you on Google+, they’ll check out your profile.

And speaking of Google+, join Google+, and visit your Google Dashboard occasionally, to keep track of your activities.

End of digression…. :-)

You’ll network on social media, but keep the bulk of your content on your website. When someone visits your website, they can read your content, and once your business has launched, they can do business with you. It makes sense to keep your good stuff where it will do you good, rather than sprinkled across the Web.

So there you have it.Three blogging tips for your new business. Good luck with your launch. :-)

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Blogging Tips For People Who Hate Blogging: 5 Easy Keys To Success

Blogging Tips For People Who Hate Blogging: 5 Easy Keys To Success

Do you hate blogging? Let’s look at some blogging tips which will help you to turn your blog into a powerhouse marketing tool. It’s easier than you think.

Start by considering how your blog appears to you. Perhaps it seems like a time sink; alternatively, you may look on it as a way to take your business to the next level.

Use these five keys to unlock the power of your business blog.

1. Consider your goals, then commit to a schedule.

Make a list of outcomes you’re looking for in 2014: increased traffic, better conversions, enhanced visibility… If this sounds complicated, keep it simple.

Create a statement: “In 2014, our blog will help our current customers by ________. It will attract new customers, who will see our business as __________.” Your statement summarizes your goals, and because it’s brief and to the point, you’ll remember it.

Put this statement where you’ll see it, on a sticky note perhaps. Use Google Analytics to track your results.

Then decide how often you’ll blog. You don’t need to commit to a schedule. If you do however, blogging will be easier.

2. Your blog is a publication: vary your content.

Blogging is instant publishing. Your blog is a publication and just like a magazine, and can have several contributors.

In 7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine, Heidi Cohen suggests:

Outline a series of on-going content columns. Extend the information you’re going to cover in terms of categories. Go a step further and think like an old fashioned magazine to create a set of regular features related to the focus on your content marketing strategy.

It’s excellent advice. Magazines have two primary forms of content: editorial, and advertising. Use both. This speaks to Tip 5: inspire action with your blog posts.

3. Collect a team, and add them to your editorial calendar.

When a client tells me he hates blogging, it’s because he’s taken the entire burden on his own shoulders. You need a team, and you may need to bribe people, or hire them. If you haven’t considered soliciting guest posts, consider it now. Ask members of your staff to volunteer (bribe them). Reach out to colleagues, suppliers, and even investors if you have them.

Consider reaching out to other bloggers too. Cast your net widely.

Make a list of possible contributors, and reach out to them. When you get a contributor, add them to your editorial calendar.

4. Reward yourself when you hit blogging milestones.

Set up blogging milestones. Your milestones can be anything you choose, and can involve traffic, and conversions. Or perhaps your milestones will be the number of social shares, or even  the number of posts you create.

They can be public, or private, as long as they’re meaningful. Rewards make good bribes for your contributors.

Make a list of milestones, and of rewards.

5. Remember to inspire action with every blog post.

What do you want your blog’s readers to do when they check out a posting on your blog? Perhaps you simply want to give them additional information about a product. You needn’t spend all your time discussing products’ features and benefits however.

If you’re selling oven ware for example, there’s no need to confine yourself to talking about your various products. You can talk about famous chefs, give recipes and tips, or post photos and videos of readers’ kitchens. The possibilities are endless, as long as you remember to inspire action.

Create a blogging template. At the bottom of the template, type: ACTION! (Include the exclamation point.)

 Become a full-time, or a part-time blogger

Blogging Maestro is a complete program: it will get you started on a new career.

, and on Twitter: @angee