When Your Blogging Well Runs Dry

If you’re writing a company or professional blog, the idea of writing on your industry into perpetuity may be daunting.  How can you possibly continue to come up with relevant articles every few days? Maybe you’ve exhausted every resource you can think of and don’t know what to write about next.

If you’ve got writer’s block because you worry you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t. Marcus Sheridan says writing interesting things is overrated. Instead, focus on solving problems and delivering value through your writing. It gets easier from there.

Read More

What Does Content Marketing Do For Your Brand?

image

A recurring theme in my blog posts is how hot content marketing is right now. I encourage clients to set up blogs to provide useful information to potential clients, to use social media to connect with customers. I found this data from MarketingProfs and Junta42 extremely interesting, as it shows the many ways content can help a brand increase visibility and sales.

Brand Awareness: Clearly, if no one’s heard of your brand, you want to expand your reach in as many ways as possible. It’s easy enough to do this through setting up a company blog, guest posting on other blogs and using social media to reach new customers.

Read More

Get More Eyeballs with Creative Commons Photos

We all know how many words a picture speaks. So it should be no surprise that blog posts with photos get more attention. They’re pretty and fun to look at.  Compare these two blog posts (they’re both mine so I can point it out Smile)

no photo                photo blog

Hands down, the one that will get more attention is the one with the photo. It’s such a small thing to do, but adding a photo really enhances a blog post.

How to Add Photos the Ethical Way

Sure, you could just go to Google and grab whatever photo you find, but be aware that some (most) photos are not free to use, and are the property of the owner. So if you used a photo that wasn’t royalty free, you could get in trouble, or at the very least, piss someone off. Instead, look for royalty free or creative commons photos, which specify what you can use them for (usually on websites and blogs is fine).

Read More

Turn Yourself into an Expert Through Blogging

I always tell people that they are experts in something. That might be getting stains out of the carpet. Pet allergies. Social media. Mobile apps. Food trucks. Whatever it is, you can probably talk for hours on the topic, should someone give you the opportunity. But so many people probably don’t realize they’re sitting on a goldmine of marketing opportunities with this knowledge. Content is by far the best working source of marketing these days, and turning yourself into an industry expert is the way to go, no matter what industry you’re in.

Blog With Authenticity Without Getting Fired

How do you do that? Blog.

Let me share my story. I started my blog, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, about five years ago. Right after I started my company. I did it as a way to show people what I knew about marketing, as well as to challenge myself to learn more. I had a modest following, but what it did more than anything was show potential clients that I knew what I was doing. I’ve had many contacts-turned-clients say they’ve read my blog and were impressed. They then sign a check over to me. As a writer specializing in small business content, it’s also helped land me writing gigs on Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple and here, on Lead411. I’m not bragging (okay, I am), but my point is: one client saw my work and liked it. Then another saw my work elsewhere and liked it. And so on and so on.

Read More

3 Tools That Make Blogging Easier

Now that I’ve sold you on the benefits of blogging, I’d like to share some tools that make the task easier. Here’s what’s making me smile when I blog these days (I write for 5+ different blogs, so I need all the help I can get!):

 

1. Windows Live Writer: If you have a computer with Windows 7, you’re in luck. If not, chunk the one you’re working on and go get one! The best feature on Windows 7 to me is Windows Live Writer. With it, you can manage multiple blogs, add posts and switch between accounts without logging in or going to different websites. Once you set up any and all blog accounts you manage, you can choose the blog and start writing. You can add photos or videos, maps…anything you can do with WordPress or other blogging software. It’s software, so you don’t need to open a website to use it.

Why I Love It. I sit down and knock out a lot of blogging all at once. With this tool, I can save a lot of time logging in and flipping from tab to tab. I’m using it now to write this post!live writer

 

Read More

One Article, Many Channels

If you’re not currently using content as a marketing tool, why not? The power of the written word combined with the social tools available on the internet make any writing you (or a representative of your brand) do extremely valuable. Here I’ll show you how a single article can be chopped up, mixed around and spit out in different channels to maximize efficiency.

1. Start With an Article

It should be on a topic that solves a problem or educates your target market on something in your industry. Maybe it’s an article about writing articles for small businesses and startups Winking smile. Or tips on home grooming pets for a pet groomer. How to create a podcast for an audio recording service. The list goes on.

Read More

Online Resources for Startups and Entrepreneurs

If you’re a blog reader (and the fact that you’re reading this tells me you are), you probably have a handful of websites that you read religiously for all things startup, entrepreneur, small business, marketing, and social media. Am I right? Of course I am. Well, here is my list of fantastic sites and blogs that can always give you more great knowledge on these topics.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

This site’s got great articles on starting a business, news on small businesses, and company profiles.

Why I like it: The site design is clean and easy to navigate (you’d be surprised how many aren’t), and I always find great fodder for my posts.

 

Entrepreneur

Long a favorite for their magazine, Entrepreneur’s website is also a great resource. In addition to op-eds and how-tos, the site offers resources for small businesses, including its Tax Center, Resource Center, and Coaches Corner

Why I like it: Entrepreneur gets bonus points for its downloadable forms and other tools every entrepreneur needs. I’m all about the DIY.

Read More

Why Blog

If you’re business still doesn’t have a blog, you’re missing out. Blogs are a great sales tool: they prove your expertise in your field and bring in new customers from search engines, social media and links.

The Why

It’s getting harder to find a company that doesn’t have a blog, and that’s a good thing. Each company (and even each employee) has a different voice, and one worth contributing to the blogosphere. Blogs have many benefits:

  • Improve your website’s SEO
  • Establish your brand as an expert in your field
  • Provide useful content to potential customers
  • Introduce your products to customers who wouldn’t find them otherwise
  • Show you’re web savvy, which gets a lot of respect from consumers Read More

3 Marketing Tools You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Tweets. Status updates. SEO. Blog posts. It can be daunting to keep up with the latest and greatest marketing tools if you’re an overworked entrepreneur, but if you’re going it alone, there are some tools you simply can’t overlook.

Many entrepreneurs think they can’t afford to market their business. They look at the big players in the industry and see their excessive marketing budgets. Fortunately, small businesses don’t need big pockets to market effectively. In fact, some of the best marketing tools are free or low cost, and are just as effective as bigger ticket tools like commercials or print advertising.

1.    Social Media

Whether you’re into Twitter or Facebook personally or not, if your customers and target audience play there, you can’t overlook social media as a way to reach new business. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is put his own opinion of social media (it’s for my teenagers; we’ll never get business from such a waste of time) in the way of his business’ success.

People are clamoring to interact with brands, and social media provides a fantastic way to do so. Choose an employee, intern or social media consultant to represent your company’s voice, and plan how often they will update and interact on sites like Facebook and Twitter (currently the two most popular and useful for a business). You should have activity at least two to three days out of the week to continually generate interest.

Not sure what to post to these sites? Links to press releases, company news, new products, sales and tips on how to use your products are a great place to start. But don’t be afraid to add a little of your personality. You don’t have to be business-minded all the time. Talk about the World Cup or the downpour outside. People relate to people, not robots, so it’s important to build a repoire with your contacts on social media sites.

2.    Blogs

Blogs as a marketing tool come from two different angles:

  • Writing one to represent your business
  • Working with other blogs to tell others about your business.

Writing a company blog is a great way to explain what you do behind the scenes, offer tips for how to use your products better, and become known as an industry expert. Aim for 2 to 3 posts a week, and vary them up. Write about news in your industry (if you’re in the oil industry, talking about the BP oil spill is a great way to drive more traffic to your site) and show that you know your stuff. People are more likely to buy from a company that shows it’s blog savvy.

For each blog post (which you can write, if you’re prolific enough; otherwise employ an intern or marketing firm to write them), focus on a topic, and boil it down to a few keywords that people are likely to search for. “How to” posts are always helpful and popular.

After your blog has been up for a while, check your analytics to see which posts were the most popular. Revisit those topics from new angles, and always link to past articles to keep people on your site longer.

Use sharing tools (WordPress has several free plugins that let visitors easily share your posts on sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter and more) to give your new posts more exposure and get more traffic.

Bloggers: Today’s New Journalists?

While you may wait years to get on Oprah’s hot list, there’s no waiting line to get the attention of many bloggers who write about your industry. Connecting with influential blogs is an economical and smart way to reach a wider audience that trusts what a given blogger writes about.

By doing a bit of research, you can find the bloggers who are writing about your industry. Aim to connect to the blogs with better traffic and following. If you sell a product, reach out to them with a well-crafted pitch, inviting them to try your product (for free) and/or give your product away on their blog. The better you treat the bloggers, the more they will become evangelists for your brand.

Set up a plan to reach out to a certain number of bloggers each month. Track your efforts well; some bloggers will drag their feet on reviewing your product, so it’s important to keep up with the dates you contacted them and the status of your review.

A simple look at your analytics will show which blogs sent the most traffic to your site. For those that sent the most, build longer relationships with them, perhaps buying affordable advertising on their sites.

3.    SEO and Keywords

If you’re not technical minded, the term SEO may scare you off. It’s simple, really. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s how well your website ranks among others that use the same keywords. A keyword is simply a word that describes what your business does. If you sell baked goods online, your keywords might be:

  • Brownies
  • Corporate baked goods
  • Birthday cookie

You want your website to appear at the top of a search result for a given keyword, and there are strategies you can use to get there. The easiest is to think in terms of your keywords at all times. When you (or your web design firm) write the copy for your website, it needs to use the keywords you want to be known for often. Your blog should use those keywords and link to your site. You want to write great content that uses the keywords too.

Do a little research on how to think in keywords, and with a little practice you can boost your placement in search engine results.

By implementing these three marketing tools, you will see a ramp up in website visits, interaction with your brand, and sales in just a few months. These tools are free if you do them in-house, but hiring a marketing consultant to handle them can also be cost effective if you don’t have the manpower to pick up new skills.