Friday, May 24, 2013
Do you hear many blogging best practices and feel as though you're expected to remember several details each time you post? We know...we're bloggers too...it's hard. But, we've got your covered! Here are five important tips to remember when blogging. These are the essentials to creating quality blog posts for your target audiences.
1. Humanize your posts - Remember you're a human and your readers are humans when you sit down to write a blog post. Keep a consistent personal tone throughout your posts to interact with your readers in a relatable manner. Your goal is to engage potential customers and the way to do this is by conveying you and your company are people, and want to help.
Here are a couple of tips to remaining "human:" Try not to use too much industry jargon. Identify with your readers' problems and convey how your company can help in a strategic, non-abrasive way.
2. Create engaging, quality content - Related to tip number one, don't be too salesy in your content. A successful content strategy will lead to more sales overtime, but being too direct with a sales pitch in your posts will have a negative effect on your readership and conversion rate from blog readers to customers. Existing and potential clients want to read content that will help them with their problems, or want to learn more about a particular concept. They don't want to read a post about why they should buy your services. They'll know that they need to as they read more of your content and recognize you as the industry leader. Creating engaging content will help you to establish relationships with prospective clients and help you to retain existing customers.
3. Remember your keyword strategy - SEO is essential to potential clients finding your blog, so always remember to include keywords in your titles and throughout your posts. But do not let your keyword strategy take over your content. Keep a balance between your quality content and your keyword strategy. Read more about how to incorporate effectively keywords for SEO into your blog posts here.
4. Be social - Add share buttons to all of your posts for easy sharing, by your readers. Study show that share tools significantly increase blog exposure and blog posts are more likely to go viral. Additionally, make sure to post all of your blog posts to your social network sites. Being social, by sharing quality content and encouraging interaction on your blog will lead to more quality leads reading your blog.
5. Analyze your content to determine what works best for your marketing strategy and goals. Determine what your audience is best engaging with. What types of content do they like to read as indicated by number of pageviews and/or visits? Experiment with video and images to see if those posts are more popular than typical text-based posts. Adjust your strategy accordingly based on your analysis.
Do you have any more blogging tips to add? We'd love to read them in the comments below.
*Offer expires 5/31/13
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Over the past few weeks, I've been helping out with sales prospecting for Insights. I've used LinkedIn's companies search tool to find companies of particular sizes, industries and locations to help the salesperson on the Insights team find businesses that blog that would benefit from our services. During my search on LinkedIn, I've come across many LinkedIn company pages. Unfortunately, since Insights is a product of Boston.com and therefore we don't have our own domain name, we cannot have our own branded company page on LinkedIn, but I do think I've gained some wisdom into what makes a strong company page on LinkedIn. I've seen many companies who use their pages for marketing very well and I figured I'd share some tips.
- Add your logo and a powerful tagline that captures your company's message. For example, Boston.com's reads, "We're all things Boston. Every month, millions of unique users look to Boston.com for breaking news, local content and information for New England."
- Make sure all of your employees who are on LinkedIn follow your page.
- Promote all of your products and services on your page, so users, prospects, existing clients, etc. can see all that your company has to offer.
- Keep your company's page relevant and updated, by posting frequently about your company's news, case studies, blogs, products, and services as well as industry trends, or other news related to your company's offerings. Also, be sure to pose questions to engage your audience.
- Make sure you always keep your audience in mind. Learn about your LinkedIn audience, by checking out what they're posting to LinkedIn, what kinds of questions they're asking to their networks and what companies they work for. Analyze which of your posts receive the most engagement from your audience and build your LinkedIn marketing strategy based on those findings.
*Offer expires 5/31/13
Friday, May 17, 2013
Summer 2013 is just around the corner, and that means sunny, warm and beautiful vacations are close! Some of us enjoy time off for a long weekend down the Cape, some of us go away, others hang in the backyard by the pool! It's a beautiful time especially here in New England. But when there's nice weather outside of the work place, it can be hard to focus and our marketing might fall behind. Here are a few suggestions on how to stay on track with your marketing initiatives this Summer.
- Plan ahead: Make a schedule and stick to it! Create a blog calendar specifically for this summer. It's okay if you don't blog as frequently as you do during the year because as we've said, it's all about quality over quantity. Plan out what you think you can handle for the season keeping in mind any planned trips, summer Fridays, etc. When it comes to social media planning, it can be fairly easy to schedule your tweets and posts in advance of a vacation, or weekend getaway. Just don't forget to do it! You want to stay active in the social media space throughout the summer, so as not to lose any traction you've made with gaining a quality, engaged audience.
- Ask for help: If you're in over your head before or after a vacation, don't be afraid to ask for help. Your peers are there to help as you are for them! They're also experts in their lines of work, so they can create engaging quality content as well, which will help you to stay on track with your marketing schedule. In your absence, they can step in to blog and post to social media and you won't have to worry about a lack of quality since they are experts in your field as well!
- Capitalize on the Summer season: If you have budget allocated to the Summer season, consider hosting events, meetups with prospects, client meeting and more outside! Capitalize on the beauty of the Summer season, by hosting those types of gatherings and more in an outdoor setting, and offering food specific to the season (hello, lobster). Alternatively, if you don't have a large budget, offer fun social media and blog updates about the weather, or outside happenings in your business's area. Your prospects and existing clients will appreciate your insight into Summer activities happening at or near your place of business because you'll be viewed as a part of the community, which I'm sure you are!
- Plan for the Fall: When you have some time in between making sure your Summer marketing is still happening, start to plan for the Fall. Decide what your blog, social media and events calendars will look like. Determine who will write your content and what upcoming activities you can capitalize on, by sponsoring or just being at to network. Plan out all of your marketing initiatives, so you can hit the ground running when business picks up as it always does in those beginning of Fall months!
Have any more tips to add? Share them with us in the comments!
*Offer expires 6/15/13
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Most companies we speak with regularly are on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and more for their businesses. But some of those companies aren't sure if their content and their business is engaging enough on those sites.Often times, companies struggle with interacting with their social media audiences. In order to see retweets, shares, engagements with prospects and existing customers, it's important to make each of your posts count. Here's a social media checklist to see if your content and your business are engaging your audience:
- Is the content your sharing unique?
- Is your post inviting? Does it encourage people to respond or retweet?
- Are you offering value to your followers?
- Is your content compelling?
- Are you sharing share-worthy content?
- When sharing an article, do you have compelling copy that will make people want to click through?
- Are your tweets short, concise and well written?
- Do you occasionally include images or videos in your posts?
- Are you sometimes posing questions to your audiences that make them think and want to answer?
- Are you encouraging followers to share their experiences with you?
- Are you being an engaging follower of other brands, by tweeting and sharing others' posts?
Next time you're going to post to your social media accounts, ask yourself some of the above questions. If you follow a similar checklist, you may see better results and engagement from your online audiences.
Have any other questions to add to our lists? Or want to tell us about your experiences engaging with audiences through social media? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments!
*Offer expires 5/31/13
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
With all of the social media your business could be on it, it can be difficult to determine what outlets you should be using to send your messages. From YouTube to Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter and everything in between, it can all be overwhelming, and in some cases, not worth the time and resources. In order to find a strong ROI through social media use, you need to find the right place for your business to spread its messages. Here's a guide on how to decide which social media outlet is right for your business.
1. Where is your audience? Determine on what platforms your audience is consuming information. If your audience is predominantly female, perhaps communicating with your audience through Pinterest is your best option. Check out the demographics of each social media site you're thinking of using to see where your business's messages will be found and heard by your audience. Ask your existing audience what platforms they use to find answers, services or products they need. Be where your existing and target audiences are communicating and consuming.
2. Are you equipped to distribute your messages on all, or some of those outlets? Having said all of the above, it's important for you to know what you can handle. If you find out your audience is on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and you want to put together a strategy for each, it might be difficult depending on the size of your business. If you have the time and resources available to communicate on a bunch of social media platforms, by all means, do it! However, if you're a one person shop owner, it might be best to determine which social media outlet is worth you investing your time and resources into the most. Find out which will yield the most engagement with your audience. This might be something you'll need to do on a trial and error basis to determine where you should put in your effort.
3. What is working for you? After you've either dabbled in various social media platform use, or used certain platforms for a substantial amount of time, look at the data you've gathered. Determine which social media outlets have yielded new leads, new sales, new conversations, new visitors and new customers. Which social media outlet(s) is providing the best results? Where should you focus your time, energy and resources? Once you've figured out where you should be talking in the wide world of social media, you'll begin to see the ROI you've longed for with social media.
*Offer expires 5/31/13
Friday, May 3, 2013
If you haven't heard about the jcpenney "come back to see us" ad that's running nationally on TV as well as on YouTube and other social media, check it out here. As a synopsis, jcpenney saw a substantial decrease in sales last year, but they believe they can turn that trend around, by taking the advice of their former and existing customers, and selling merchandise they've said they want to buy at acceptable costs. They're listening to their customers.
I love this ad because it truly speaks to jcpenney's target audience from the music to the imagery to the final shot. But most importantly, I love this ad because it teaches all of us a lesson: listen to your customers. Before they made the decision to return to their roots, so to speak, they listened to their customers. In the ad, they take full responsibility for the decline in sales and relationships with customers, and promise to change. Now, since they've run the ad, they're listening to customers on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag JCPListens. They're not stopping now; they're going to continue to listen to their customers in order to turn business around.
It's so important to listen to your customers. We all must remember that they are who keep us in business. They are who we need to please. We must keep them in mind with every order place and with every product enhancement we wish to make. They are the core of making your business work, grow and prosper. So learn from jcpenney and listen to your customers all the time. They know best.
*Offer expires 5/15/13