So no doubt you’ve heard the term “blog” and you want to know what blogs are all about. This article will not only explain what a blog is but it will also tell you why it is such a powerful marketing tool for your business and how to create killer blog content.
A blog is a frequently updated online personal or business journal or diary. It is a place for you or your business to express your thoughts to the world. As a communication tool, a blog can be anything you want it to be.
Here are five characteristics of a blog and why it is essential for your business:
1. Articles are listed in chronological order with the newest article at the top
This is the most consistent element of almost every blog out there. Articles are listed with a title followed by the body content, starting at the top of the page with the most recently published article followed by the next most recent and so on.
This format was chosen back in the early days of blogging when it was mainly journalists who used blogs. The term blog is derived from ‘weblog’, which essentially means an online diary or journal. Diaries have entries made by date and that is how blogs work too.
Although the format is traditionally the same, the role of the blog is not really used as an online diary these days. Most business owners use it as a way to keep their clients and customers informed of what is happening within their business and niche. They are very powerful marketing tools.
2. It is easy to add new content
For many people editing their ‘normal’ website is quite difficult. Websites are seen as being very technical and the average business owner is generally afraid to go on to the site to make any changes in case they mess it up.
Blogs changed that. They provide a content publishing system that is so easy to use that the average web user and small business owner can become a blogger and add new content with ease. The technical barriers were removed allowing millions of small business owners to create blogs relating to their business.
3. Content is updated frequently
Another major problem that plagues many traditional websites is that they remain static and stale. Most websites never change and you can come back to the same pages with the same content. A lot of business owners either don’t realize that they need to update their website often, or they don’t have the technical skills or resources to get it changed.
Blogging changed that, so even a person with minimal technical skills can easily log into their blog and add fresh new content.
This has helped them to have terrific results in the search engines, especially on sites like Google. Google rewards sites that publish valuable content on a consistent basis. Blogs, by their very nature, do this, assuming motivated bloggers are running them and are consistently adding new content. As a result, business owners see their sites rise high up in the search engines bringing new traffic and most importantly, new customers.
4. Blogs allow people to leave comments
This is one of the most valuable features of a blog. Below every blog post is a comments box that allows any person from the public to leave a comment on the article.
This enhancement turned websites from one-way broadcasting devices, to two-way communication tools. Readers can directly communicate with you, the author of the content, carry on the conversation started by the article and essentially turn a blog into a community.
This last point is more powerful than you think and this is the reason why:
5. People trust blogs more than normal websites because blogging is a conversation.
If you combine all of the elements above, the personal style of writing, the ease of adding content leading to frequent updates, and the ability to interact with your readers, you have the winning formula for a very natural communication tool.
Blogs, by their very nature, are considered trusted sources of information and the blogger is generally perceived as a respected expert, whether they are or not, purely on the back of their successful blogs.
Again, this subtle element is significant and distinguishes blogs from normal websites. If people trust the words written on a blog, if they like and identify with the person writing the blog, then you have all of the elements necessary to create a popular community focused around your business.
That is why any small business can become extremely successful with a blog. They can quickly build a loyal audience, keep people coming back and ultimately monetize that traffic.
How Blogs Make Money
Print magazines make money by selling advertising. The larger their circulation, the more influence they exert over people, and the demographics of their readers dictate how much money they make.
Blogs are essentially the same. The more traffic (circulation) you have, the type and quality of that traffic (reader demographics) and the influence you have over your audience, determines your profitability.
This is why businesses love blogs and are so committed to driving traffic to them. The more readers you have, the more money you can make.
How to Attract attention to your blog?
The first way to attract attention (traffic) to your blog is to write good content. This is the foundation that your blog needs to be built upon.
The other key ingredient is marketing. You need to be able to set up a professional marketing campaign so that people can find your content.
First let us deal with the content side of things and then we will discuss the marketing aspect.
How to Write a Killer Blog Post
Once your blog is set up, it is time to get going on your first killer blog post. It needs to be an article that your readers will really respond to. If you post a fantastic and compelling blog article, it usually means more traffic, more comments, more pins on Pinterest, more tweets, and more Facebook shares, all of which will help grow your blog. But what makes a killer blog post?
A killer blog post:
Makes a clear point. A killer blog post always has a clear and succinct message that can be boiled down to one short sentence. If you, the author, aren’t able to summarize your point, how will the reader be expected to follow your logic? Always write with the point in mind. If you have multiple points it would be better to split the article into two posts.
Provokes an emotional response. The posts that people remember (and share) are the ones that make them feel a certain way, whether that be happy or angry or encouraged or inspired. This means they usually take a stand one way or another. Neutral might seem safe, but it is boring and forgettable. Your aim is to make people think and react. You want to provoke some kind of response from them.
Is easy to read. Blog posts should be clear and concise. Statistics show that blog readers tend to skim articles, especially if they appear long. So use short paragraphs, headers, and bullet points. Make sure that you write in a conversational manner, but proper grammar and spelling is essential. Readers won’t forgive sloppy writing and grammatical mistakes.
Teaches a simple lesson. Whether your post is a DIY tutorial showing how to make something, a recipe, or some other helpful tip, the best blog posts stick to one clear and easy-to-follow lesson. This is not to say you can’t do complicated projects or recipes, but in general, the projects with the best response will be the simplest of the bunch. These tend to get shared more on social media too.
Creates controversy. Killer blog posts don’t sit on the fence. They take a stand and force the reader to react one way or another. The stronger the stance, the more intense the reaction will be. Of course don’t be controversial just for the sake of stirring up controversy! Readers can sniff inauthenticity a mile away. If there is a particular topic you truly feel strongly about, don’t try to come off as neutral. Neutral is boring. Just be prepared for people to disagree with you. You will find that your community will come alive and more people will visit your site when they see people commenting on your site.
Is visually appealing. Killer blog posts have killer images to go with them. This is not only important for recipes and DIY, but with the advent of Pinterest, for ALL articles. You might have written a fantastic article but if you don’t have images your readers won’t be able to ‘pin’ anything. You need to make it as easy as possible to be able to share your content, especially on social media.
Is not overly complicated. Don’t use large words or pad it with a 100 words when only one simple word will do. Nobody is going to be impressed if you are using big words just to look clever. Write in layman terms. Make sure that everybody who visits your blog knows exactly what you are talking about.
Makes you say WOW. This is the awesome factor again. Whatever you share, whether it is a recipe, a party, an idea, or a project, should be so compelling that your reader can’t help but stop whatever they are doing and pay attention. If it’s not great, don’t bother. You are better off sharing one WOW post a month than twenty forgettable ones. Again, the more impressed people are with your blog post, the more they will want to share it on social media.
Empowers the reader. A killer blog post isn’t about YOU or what you’ve done or created or cooked. Yes, you may be sharing something you’ve done, but the best blog posts do it only in a way that makes the reader feel that THEY could do it too, offering clear tips and helpful instruction. They want to come away from your blog informed and feeling that they have learnt something new.
Is unique and interesting. A killer blog post has something new to say. It presents a unique viewpoint or an interesting perspective. It gives readers a different way of looking at a problem that perhaps they hadn’t considered before. It is fresh and sharp.
Keep in mind that not all of these tips must or even should be used in one post, but generally the more of them that you can hit, the better off you will be. So now that we have discussed how to create great content, lets discuss marketing.
Marketing your blog
Once you have your content in place and you have plans to release a continuous flow of content, the next step is to attract people to your blog so that you can show them how amazing it is. This is where marketing is crucial.
You could try and do it yourself, but if you are already running a busy offline business, you will probably find the whole process of online marketing daunting.
This is where we can help you. Not only will we be able to drive traffic to your blog with a tailored marketing campaign, but we can even create the content that will keep customers and visitors coming back for more. We are excited to show you how we can help your business grow by setting up a blog and then drive targeted traffic directly to your website, resulting in more sales and leads for your business. Contact us today. We are looking forward to hearing from you and showing you many more possibilities to growing your business successfully.
To Your Success!
The pace at which technology advances in our modern society is simply staggering. Less than five years ago, the notion of smart phones was really something out of science fiction. Now we have iPhones, tablets and droid platforms that have revolutionized how we access information and how we use it.
- QR codes are used to make it as easy as possible to use the information in question.
So, just what are QR codes?
They are an advanced version of the traditional bar code, but pack much more information. They are tied into smart phone usage.
Companies will include QR codes on their products, advertisements, websites and what have you. You simply scan the code with your phone and the relevant action then occurs.
For instance, you might see an advertisement for a discount on shoes from Zappos in a magazine. You scan the QR code on the ad and are taken to the site on your phone and the discount is automatically included for any purchases you make.
Another example might be clicking a QR code for a restaurant website that automatically figures out where you are and provides directions to the restaurant on your phone. The possibilities are endless, which is why QR codes are becoming very popular with businesses.
We added them to our business cards so anyone interested could go directly to our site by scanning and find out more.
To Your Success!
P.S. Scan below NOW for a free gift!
Outsourcing is one of the fastest ways to increase your business if you know how to delegate what you need to get done. There are many online services where you can post a job that you are looking to get outsourced. Some of the more popular outsourcing sites include Elance.com, Freelancer.com and Odesk.com.
Your business will grow the fastest if you outsource those things that you find tedious or difficult to do and/or that take most of your time. If you can outsource these things and focus solely on the business processes you do best, that you like to do and/or bring in the most money to your business, your business will grow and make much more in profits.
Once you find several quality outsourcers that have performed your tasks satisfactorily, you should initiate and maintain a working business relationship with these people so that you will always have quality workers available when you need them.
This will also increase your business as you won’t have to waste time and money training and evaluating new outsourcing workers.
To Your Success!
P.S. Need a little help with the outsourcing process? Call me. I have lots of experience in this area.
Your business is in a rut.
And guess what? Even if it isn’t right now, it will be some day. It happens to every business. The marketing techniques that worked last year, or last month, are no longer as effective as they used to be. You try everything you can think of, but it doesn’t work.
But, the good news is that it doesn’t need to be that way. When your business gets stuck and stops growing, there are things that you probably aren’t doing that you can do to kick things back into high gear.
Ready to get things going again? Here are some of the most common things that cause business to stagnate.
1.You Don’t Have an Email List
This one’s a biggie for me – so much so that one of the first questions I ask new clients is:
Do you have an email list?
I’m always amazed when people don’t. It’s so easy to do and email marketing earns great returns. There’s really no excuse for skipping email marketing as a method of growing your business.
And, here’s the thing. It is very easy to build a list. All you need to do is come up with a lead magnet that’s designed to appeal to your target audience. It could be a short report or eBook, a cheat sheet, a tip sheet, a value-packed video, or even a template.
Then, you create a landing page around your cheat sheet, advertise it, and boom! You’ve got an email list.
Once your email list is up and running, you can use it to nurture your leads and turn them into paying customers.
2.You’re Dialing in Your Marketing Strategy
Let’s face it – most small business owners don’t have a ton of time for marketing. They might set aside an hour or two to deal with it each week, but it’s often the first thing to get pushed aside when time is tight.
I get why that is, but it’s a mistake. A big one. Why? Because marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your existing customers and attract new ones.
If it’s been a while since you revamped your marketing strategy, here are some tips to help you get back on track.
- Analyze your current marketing campaigns to see which ones have stopped working. If you’re not getting a great conversion rate, then keeping a campaign running is a waste of your money.
- Come up with some killer content that’ll appeal to your target audience. It could be a video, a blog post, or an infographic. Just make sure that it’s irresistible and actionable.
- Build a marketing campaign around your new content. Use whatever platforms will allow you to reach your target audience. They could include Facebook ads, Google AdWords, or even native advertising.
- Test each element of your campaign and track the results. Testing can be time-consuming, but it’s truly the best way to fine-tune your campaigns until they’ve delivering the results you need.
Most importantly, make tracking your campaigns an ongoing concern. When a campaign stops delivering stellar results, make a change immediately.
3.You Don’t Have a Referral Program
If you’re not asking your existing customers for referrals, you’re making a big mistake. Referrals are a great way to attract new customers. They’re free (or pretty close to it) and they allow you to turn your valued customers into ambassadors for your brand.
It doesn’t take much to create a successful referral program. You’ll want to start by deciding how to incentivize referrals. Your customers are more likely to help you out if there’s something in it for them. It could be a free product, a discount on your services, or even a cash incentive. Figure out what’s most likely to appeal to them.
Then, you’ll need to tell your customers about the referral program. If you have employees, get them involved. Make sure every one of your existing customers knows about the program. Then, when you get new referrals, make sure to deliver your incentives immediately.
4.Your Brand Messaging isn’t Consistent
What do people think of first when they hear your brand name? If you’re not sure what the answer to that question is, it’s a sign that your brand messaging is falling short of the mark.
Consistent brand messaging is one of the cornerstones of great marketing and business growth. If your brand message is diluted, then it’s time to tighten it up.
Let’s start with some of the most common ways that a brand message gets diluted:
- Your brand message has evolved but you haven’t had the time, money, or inclination to update your website to reflect the changes.
- You’ve updated your website but haven’t bothered to update your social media pages and other online content to match.
- You’ve added new products that have expanded your brand beyond what your website says.
The key is to identify how your brand has changed, refine your message, and then standardize your branding across all platforms.
5.You Aren’t Using Social Media to Your Advantage
How are you using social media? If you’re not regularly getting leads from social media, then you’re probably not using it to your best advantage.
Your social media posts should be engaging and shareable. That means that you can’t simply post a sales pitch and call it a day. Your social media content must be:
- Tailored to your target audience
- Valuable and actionable
- Designed to be shared
Every post you put out should include a specific call to action. Not every CTA should be sales-oriented. Some can encourage readers to comment or share your content. The key is to use every social media post as a way of expanding your reach and attracting new customers.
It’s time to get unstuck…
If your business isn’t growing, it’s your job to find out what’s holding you back. The five strategies here can get you back on track – and get a stream of new customers headed your way.
We help small businesses become unstuck by understanding the current situation and helping you as business owner inject new ideas into your business.
To find out more visit www.peakperformancebusiness.ie
To Your Success
1) Mailchimp for email marketing.
Email marketing is imperative to the success of most SMEs. While building a brand on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are important relevant to the business, you’re limited to the constraints of those channels. This makes it particularly difficult to move consumers through a funnel and provides you with relatively little control.
However, email provides a more intimate interaction between brand and consumer by offering you the tools you need to control effectively and nurture leads. Mailchimp is an excellent free email marketing tool and one of the easiest for small business owners to learn.
2) Canva for easy designing.
Visual content is an increasingly popular form of marketing collateral. From custom illustrations and infographics to fully-designed sales proposals, visual content is a fantastic way for SMEs to gain credibility and build a professional appearance.
There are several free graphic design tools on the market, but one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use is Canva. Its free library of fonts, illustrations, templates and images give you a pool of graphics that you can easily drag-and-drop. From flyers and brochures to social media images and infographics, you can create it all for free in Canva.
3) SurveyMonkey for feedback.
SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular free online survey tools. Surveys are a good way to collect consumer information, engage customers, uncover trends and secure tangible insights on your business. SurveyMonkey’s software is incredibly simple. In just a few minutes, you can design, create and publish your own business survey. Additionally, you’ll be able to analyze the results in the backend.
4) Buffer for social media management.
Buffer is a social media management tool that will help you streamline your social posting efforts. We already know how powerful social media is for your marketing initiatives, but leveraging a tool like Buffer will help you increase your followers; engage your audience; and build your brand.
The benefit of Buffer is its ability to let you connect multiple accounts to one dashboard; schedule posts; create drip campaigns; and analyze the success of your posts. Buffer’s free plan is perfect for new businesses looking to grow their social presence, but to unleash the full power of the software, you might want to consider one of their upgraded plans.
5) Google Analytics.
As one of the top free tools from Google, Analytics should be part of your digital marketing strategy from the very start. It only takes a couple of minutes to add the Analytics code to your website, giving you the ability to track every action by every visitor.
This is considered by many to be nothing more than a traffic tool, but it can actually have a big impact on your marketing strategy, if you know what you’re doing.
Take, for example, the ability to see where your traffic comes from:
Maybe you realize that a particular social media campaign is driving tons of traffic to your website. With this data, you can adjust your future strategy, in an attempt to capture the same results.
Or, maybe you find that a particular set of keywords is doing wonders for your organic traffic. Again, you can turn your attention to these keywords, ensuring that you keep these in mind as you create content down the road.
Google Analytics isn’t one of those tools that you should ignore. Installing this early on is a key decision, in regards to your online marketing strategy. The data you can collect and review is extremely valuable.