Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to Spread the Word about Your Business Blog

digital marketingYou can finally define what a blog is, and the benefits of content marketing. You’ve decided to use a blog as a content marketing tool. You’ve got it all set up, and connected to your website. You’re excited to share the blog content on your social media sites. You’re ready to reap the rewards of quality, consistent content and solid content marketing strategy. You’re…..stuck.

What do you do now?

The first step of building a blog is to find out who you are writing for. Who are your customers? Who refers your business? What is your target audience? Believe it or not, this is a key step (and the first rule of marketing) that many businesses ignores. They create content that is relevant to them and about them. While an occasional promotional piece about you is fine, your blog is about your audience and not about you. What questions do they have? How can you help them? How can you entertain them?

Once you’ve written quality content, or produced videos that speak to your audience, and have all the essential elements of a good blog post, it’s time to attract attention to your blog. You’re not going to spread the word about your business blog and get results without a plan to push out your content. The method every business uses differs because every industry, promotional channels and event schedule is different, but there are some key ways to start with:

  1. Targeted emails. Have you asked your customers for their emails? Note the wording here: ask, not steal. Don’t say, “Can I have your email so I can send you a receipt?” and use it for bombarding them with promotions. Be upfront with your customers when you ask for their email, so you are not violating their trust. Once you’ve build a solid email list for customers who want to hear from you, craft a solid email with links to your blog.
  2. Customer service emails. If a customer or potential customer contacts you asking a question that you’ve already answered on your blog, ask them if you can email the answer to them. Do the same on social media when a customer posts questions.
  3. Social media. Don’t know what to put on social media? Post a blog post that is relevant to the time of year (even old posts work, as long as they are relevant). Mix those blog posts with entertaining and interesting information, a few promotions and faces from your business. BOOM! You’ve got a social media page that is attractive to your audience.
  4. Word of mouth. Let your partner businesses, vendors and customers know about your blog at meetings and events. Add your blog URL to promotional pieces that you pass out at events and on mail pieces.
  5. Advertise. If you advertise online or in trade publications, include your blog URL in the advertisement, or link your online advertisement to your blog or to a very strong blog post.

Consistent, quality content is key. If you find that you don’t have the content marketing expertise, time to keep posting content on your blog or that you’re losing steam, outsource your blog to a company experienced in content marketing. Even though you are putting your blog content in an expert’s hands, don’t walk away. Your input is a valuable part of successful content marketing, so use these do’s and don’ts for working with a marketing company. (And be wary of marketing companies that don’t ask for your input).

Remember, content marketing is not an “overnight success” marketing tactic. A quality business blog is a marathon effort, built on regular posts and relatable content for your audience. If you stay in the marathon, you and your customers can reap the rewards of a good, relevant business blog.

Content Marketing 101: “What the heck is a blog?”

content marketing for businessAn integral part of our business is not just digital marketing execution but education. Our clients are experts in their chosen industry, but don’t always know the specifics of search engine optimization, social media and content marketing. We hear a lot of questions like, “What the heck is a blog?” “Why should I be on social media?” and “What does SEO do?” One of the key digital marketing efforts that we’ve seen work for our clients’ business is content marketing through a business blog—even though it’s also one of the most misunderstood. If you don’t know what a business blog is, or why you should care, let’s start at the most basic question and walk you through the process of incorporating a business blog into your digital marketing plan.

“What the heck is a blog?”

Let’s start with one of the most common content marketing questions, usually asked in many different forms (this is our favorite). A blog is a website filled with content, such as written articles, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics—the possibilities are endless. The goal of a blog is two-fold:

  • To give your audience what they want. Remember, the #1 rule of marketing is to know your audience. If you are a sports retailer, your audience is going to be different than the audience that follows a spa or wedding venue. The common phrase is to find out what your audience wants to know and give it to them. How do you figure that out? Ask them. Listen to them on your social media sites. In a way, you’re using a business blog to provide customer service.
  • Build trust. If you give your customers and potential customers what they want: entertainment, answers to their questions, knowledge, you can earn their trust. In the old days, this trust was earned over the phone or in person. Now, customers are using search engines to find information. They’re cruising the web because it’s convenient and easy to find what they need, both in information, services and products. Or they’re clicking on links they receive in their email. A business blog gives them the information they’re looking for on the internet, and gives them links to find more out about products or to contact a business. A second part of this goal is that regular content builds trust with a tool that more than 90% of online users turn to for information: search engines. Top search engines gauge your website’s validity and the strength of your pages based on the content of your website pages. By posting regular blog posts, you are showing search engines that your content is updated, quality and relevant—three criteria they use to rank websites for search engine users.

“What do I write about in a business blog?”

This is the million dollar question because it seems at some point, all bloggers search for inspiration for blog content. We’ve already made a few suggestions, but here’s a list to get you started:

  1. Answers to readers’ questions
  2. Content related to a trend in your industry
  3. Entertainment/fun post
  4. A list of your favorite somethings (New Year’s resolutions, tips, etc.)
  5. Frequently asked questions
  6. Content that shows you care
  7. Story about your business

The sky’s the limit for topics, but use these two R’s in the content you produce. Don’t forget to include visuals as your content, or part of your content, and a call to action.

“What is a call to action?”

A call to action, or CTA, is an element on a web page that asks the reader to do something: to contact a business, download a document, etc. One of the most important elements of a business blog is a call to action, whether that is a part of the blog post, a button, ad, part of a video…your options are endless. When adding a call to action to your business blog, remember that the average reader doesn’t want to get a concussion from your aggressive selling. Remember, the goal of a business blog is to give your audience what they want and build trust, which can best be achieved with advice, tips, entertainment and a few calls to action. Readers don’t want to land on a page with a great title and just selling—and no quality content.

“Do I just add content to my business blog…and let it sit?”

No, no, no! One the biggest myths surrounding a business blog is that you build a blog, and let it sit, waiting for visitors to come. A business blog is full of content that should be shared via social media sites, emails to your customers, as guest posts on other blogs, even as customer service when a question is asked.

“How much time does it take to run a business blog?”

We’re not going to lie to you. A successful business blog is a labor of love and time. Successful business blogs contain relatable and regular content. What does regular mean? Regular means that you post content once, twice, or three times a week, or twice a month—whatever you can manage—without gaps in content posting. Unfortunately, many business blog writers start out with the best of intentions and lose steam. If you don’t have time for a business blog, contact a content marketing company that can keep your blog updated with content specific to your business. We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing. Use this list of do’s and don’ts for outsourcing, and remember that you still need to allocate time to give input. The result of your efforts? A successful business blog with relatable and regular content—the answer to your customers’ and potential customers’ needs.