Content Marketing

Book & Pen with Coffee

A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

Posted by | Blogging for Business, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing | No Comments

So, what is a day truly like for a freelance writer and blogger? When you think about the life of freelancer, pictures of a hipster in glasses comes to mind, maybe typing away on a laptop in the corner of a coffee shop.

The stereotypes abound, but the truth is there are many different types of writers and bloggers. You have stay-at-home mom bloggers, the college grad, entrepreneurial blogger, and the fashion blogger among others.

Working online, writing and blogging, comes in different forms but requires a lot of skills.

There are, in fact, many steps to creating a good blog article, doing content marketing, and managing the social media aspects of it all. A writer’s schedule is flexible, yet involves many tasks.

Every blogger’s day starts off differently. Depends on lifestyle, kids or no kids, married or single, etc. But, what happens when a blogger sits down to work?

Let’s go through an example day in the life of a Blogger…

Checking Stats

Many bloggers check live stats in the morning to see how their blog is doing with Google Analytics and other search engines. Is the visitor count up? How long are people spending on the site? Are their any technical issues?

Keeping a check on the stats can give you a direction to take for the rest of the day.

If visitors are leaving quicker than usual, for example, you may need to re-assess your design, navigation, or content.

The Writing

This is where the real bulk of the work begins. From content marketing to daily posts, bloggers are immersed in massive amounts of writing. Writing stuff that people actually want to read will come easy on some days and be much more challenging on others.

You will write social posts, guest posts, possibly articles or freelancing work, and then of course the posts on the blog.

Completing a blog post is not just about the writing either.

You must:

  • Write
  • Edit
  • Format
  • Add media

And …

  • Syndicate

The syndication is all about getting the content seen. Just because you put it out there, does not mean anyone is going to see it or read it. This brings us to the next portion of a blogger’s day…

 

Social Media and Marketing

You now know where you are at with your stats and have your content written, but what do you do with it? Once you hit “publish” a whole new set of work begins, the social media and sharing part. You must take those posts and spread them around on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all those other lovely social outlets.

You will also want to connect with readers and respond to comments. Engage and interact. Replies, yep that is more writing.

 

Guest Posts, and Newsletters

Then you have guest posts for other bloggers and newsletters. Can you see the amount of writing you have to do growing by leaps and bounds? This one may not be an everyday thing, but guest posting and creating newsletters for your subscribers takes time. Often a lot of it, and again you must edit, format, and share.

Matt Cutts of Google recently mentioned that Guest Blogging is dead. I however like the exposure they bring (if done right), so it is up to you to decide where you want to go with Guest Blogs.

Contributing to the Blog Community

One of the best things about blogging is being part of a supportive community. You need the time to connect with other writers and bloggers. You can comment and share their works while sharing your own. It is all about support and having fun too.

There are many groups and networks to join, as well as, weekly “link parties” where you can share certain posts.

Goal Check

To stay on top of this immense and growing landscape, you need a bit of time every day to plan and goal check. Are you meeting your goals for the week? Are you growing and engaging? Do you have your writing and content scheduled and planned?

There is a lot to do, so staying organized and keeping the big picture in mind is essential.

Education

Between ever changing Google algorithms, there is always more to learn. Technology changes so fast and what used to work for writers and bloggers often does not anymore. Article marketing is in one day and out the next. Facebook conversations are great one day and then not.

You certainly don’t have to attempt to follow the advice of every “guru” out there, but keeping up with your education is important. If you are writing and blogging professionally, then you must treat it like a profession. Go with the tide and learn along the way.

To say that being a writer and blogger is a ton of work would be a huge understatement. We aren’t doing it for the prestige. But, blogging and writing has huge rewards. You are always growing and expanding as a person while getting to share with a community of people with similar passions. Besides, you get to write about what you love, what’s not to like about that!? And, if you can help a few people along the way, all the better!

A day in the life of a blogger? Now you know 🙂

PR (Public Relations) Dice on Newspaper

Tips for Writing Great Press Releases & Growing Your Business

Posted by | Content Marketing, Public relations | No Comments

So you are launching a new product or service, how do you write a Press release that gets you the publicity that’s need, but doesn’t sound like an advertising pitch. How do you ensure your release gets picked up?
Press releases are still considered to be a creditable source and greatly impact your brand value. SEO benefits aside, press releases greatly improve your visibility. The more your content is picked up by the press the more you come across as an industry expert.

Websites like Prnewswire attract hundreds of releases every day. What is it that will help you get your press releases noticed and picked up? If you’re a businessman interested in growing your business, you will surely be interested in finding out. We’ve gone ahead provided you with a few best practices when it comes to press release writing. What is it that makes an ordinary press release a great one. Find out down below!

Keep it short and to the point.

Press copy can always include bits and pieces, such as testimonials, About Us, and the Contact Us sections, that can be directly copied and pasted into your next press release. So, do it right the first time. Create copy that is succinct, short, clean, and not so wordy that the viewing journalist will simply glaze over as they view the document. Contact information is one of the highlights of your press release though. Never leave that bit out in the rush for writing a short press release. The press release should be short, but still have enough words to show that “less is more” to your reader.

Think about your readers and put them first.

Most professional journalist say that most press release write-ups are like a sales pitch. They’ll be full of adjectives, adverbs, and hype in unnecessary quotas. This is a big no-no, and it’s safe to say that you, as a business owner new to writing press releases without professional help, should consciously steer clear of this trap. Most editors at leading PR companies will not have the time of day to edit out such overtly flowery language from the story and convert it into a serious, point-specific piece. What will they do instead? Discard it, of course. There it goes – into the trash folder! Patrick Ary of WAAY TV in one interview said that they get roughly a 100 to 200 press releases by email every single day. Only 5% of these actually make it onto their shortlist, while the remaining 95% gets honorably deleted.

Adjust the Tone of the Press Release to Suit What They Write About. Read What They’ve Written.

When you’re submitting your business press release and want to announce the launch of a new product, for example, through a specific news outlet, website, or print media, make sure that your press release adheres in content and tone with what is already being featured on a website. Some press release websites will accept all industrial business news, as long as the pitch is relevant and well-formatted. On the other hand, some PR newswire websites specifically demand that you take a close look at the kinds of news they accept and only submit similar content. It is pointless wasting your time crafting a well-written press release about your new barbecue restaurant for a PR distribution outlet that only features pet and animal care industry news.

Maximize the Use of Your PR Headline and Subject Field

The goal here is to get a catchy title in the subject line, but at the same time, you don’t want to oversell your topic. The content of the subject line must be essential, no extra fluff or misleading claims included. The only way to prevent the receiving freelancer or editor from deleting a press release instantly is to create a title that relays the news information effectively and appeals to them sufficiently that they will read the rest of the PR. Effective titles are the key to growing your business with a mean press release publication.

Finally be sure to be ready for a follow up if one if your articles gets picked up. Most companies drop the ball here as they aren’t expecting anyone to get in touch with them once the release is gone out. Arm yourself with the right answers and your press release can go a long way.

If you have any quick and simple tips to writing press releases, share them with us. We’d love to read them!

Photo credit: C25 VIỆT NAM

If Coming Up With Blog Content Regularly is Hard, Here’s Your Solution!

Posted by | Blogging for Business, Content Marketing | No Comments

Everyone understands that having a blog is important. Keep it up and running is a whole other ball game though. A blog not only offers interesting or useful information that can help clients looking for topics in your related field or enterprise but it also acts as a way to fill out your virtual business platform. With more ways to connect to your site you’ll find that your traffic increases and your search engine ranking may improve. We all strive to come up with blog content regularly, however what you do on the days when you can’t think up an article for your readers?

Content can be difficult to think up, especially when you think you’ve written everything you could possibly imagine. Rather than getting frustrated or discouraged and stopping, you need to push through. At the very least you can repurpose old material and easily connect your social media marketing, your website, or your blog archives to create a cohesive platform that is sure to draw in visitors and increase business. Keeping constant activity on your website will make a dynamic web experience for your visitors.

Here are some key points to keep in mind to get the ball rolling again when you’re stuck:

1. Check out the Competition: You always want to present things in a new, interesting light. It’s a dirty business tactic to directly copy information and it’s nothing that’s being advised here. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little inspiration from your competitors when you’re out of ideas. Seeing what your competition is writing about will help you see what’s grabbing in your potential customers.

2. Answer a Few FAQs: Blogs are especially great for attracting customers who need answers to their questions. One great thing about a blog is that it’s more personal and less cut and dry than most business pages. Writing a blog page to answer a question about a related topic to your business will be especially helpful for your visitors.

3. Pass it Along: If you’re not the strongest writer in the first place you may be relieved to know that there are guest writers to rely on. This can be an especially great option if you have a tight schedule. Whether you need one blog post out to get you going or you want to start up a long term partnership there are lots of talented writers to lean on. Find bloggers and industry leaders in your community and offer them your platform.

Note: While using guest bloggers is beneficial, making sure the content they provide is unique and fit for your readers is imperative.

4. Boast Your Product: This one is only allowable if you save it for rare occasions. Customers don’t want to be berated by product sales pitches but there’s nothing wrong with playing cheerleader for the product or business you’re passionate about.

In addition, blogging specifically to improve traffic for your business doesn’t have to be overt. Customers don’t want to feel that they are pressured to buy your product or are unwittingly listening to a sales pitch. The blog should be mainly filled with real content that people look for with the occasional mention of your services. The ratio 2/8 can be helpful for knowing how often to promote yourself: out of every 8 blog posts 2 of them can have a direct mention to you and your services. It’s important for customers to feel like they’ve stumbled across something great when they read your blog so they get excited about your business and actively pursue your services. Plus, with more ‘back doors’ on the internet to find you through your internet linkage expands dramatically.

Everyone has issues creating interesting blog content from time to time but the important thing is that you keep on writing and don’t let yourself get too stuck!

Essential SEO Marketing Tips | SEO Cycle Graph

Essential SEO Marketing Tips

Posted by | Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, SEO | 2 Comments

With so many “must do” SEO activities, how do you which ones you must implement and which ones you need to implement first? Given below are a few essential SEO tips to help you with that decision.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is arguably the best passive marketing system to grow your business on the internet. Proper use of SEO can help your business reach new customers and open up new opportunities that traditional marketing method could otherwise not reach.

However, SEO has changed over the years as new Google algorithms such as Hummingbird have been put into place. In the old days, many SEO tips focused on finding and placing as many keywords as possible into the context. Today, that has all changed as content quality has become far more important.

What follows are potent SEO tips that can help you optimize your site for maximum exposure to potential customers. Proper use of SEO will not only help grow your business, but it will also keep customers returning as well.

Use more than one Keyword Phrase (focus on phrases, and not words)

Recent statistics reveal that almost 60% of searches use 2 or 3 keywords phrases. This means that to optimize your website, using keyword phrase of 2 to 3 words at most will help you zero in on the most popular results. For many online business owners, this can help you narrow down the most effective keyword phrases while better utilizing your time. Remember to keep search queries and context in mind.

Meta Tags

Meta title and Meta description are the first things the viewer sees when they Google your product, service or keywords. It’s been shown that strong title and description greatly increase the chances of a site being clicked.
Few basic pointers to keep in mind:

  • Limit the Title tag to 70 Characters (including spaces), and for description limit yourself to under 160 characters.
  • Use pikes [|] and skip the use of commas, underscores etc…
  • Skip using your company name, as it already appears in the URL (unless you’re company is a big name brand or a segment leader.
  • Schedule keywords based on their performance, use the top down system.
  • Do not repeat Title tags

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

When it doubt, use fewer keywords as today search engine will penalize websites that are full of keyword phrases. This is actually an old tactic that used to work by taking advantage of weaknesses in the older algorithms. But today that has all changed as Hummingbird for example is excluding content that overuses keyword and keyword phrases. This is considered a form of spamming which is no longer tolerated. Keep this in mind as you optimize your blogs, content and website with keywords.

Stick with Popular Keywords

By using programs such as Google AdWords, Wordtracker or Yahoo! Buzz Index, you can quickly find out which keywords are the most popular. While you don’t have to limit your content to the most popular keywords, you will want to include a healthy number of them just to balance out your content. Most importantly make it a habit to check on the most popular keywords at regular intervals so that you can take advantage of new ones that may appear.

Emphasize Content Quality

More than ever, the quality of the content you place on your website or write for article directories or other blogs is arguably the most important factor in getting your business noticed. The better the content, the more likely those who visit your website will come back. While utilizing keywords is important, it is should take second place to ensuring that your content is as good as it can be. This will help you grow your business through better search engine results and return customers.

Be Judicious with Your Keywords

While keywords may have dropped somewhat in popularity, they are still a vital part of your SEO approach. So, you should look over your website to ensure that all the important areas have keywords attached. For example, having keywords in the following areas can help you land a higher search rating;
– Title
– Subtitle
– Headline
– Body
– Images
– Links
– Meta tags
While having keywords in the title and relevant subtitle, and headlines are rather obvious it is surprising just how many people overlook these important areas. Keywords in the body of the content are expected, but needs to be properly spaced and natural.
Using keywords in images is a clever, effective way to draw in more potential customers as many people use image searches to find the information that they want. However, one of the most overlooked is using keywords around links. This is because search engine algorithms place a higher emphasis on links, so create them using the proper keywords rather than a simple “click here”. By using keywords around links properly, you can increase your search engine rankings.

Be Specific with Keywords

Keywords should not only be relevant to the overall content that you have created, they need to be more specific to the information. This means that you should use fewer keywords that are broad in nature and be as direct as possible. For example, if you are writing about a music genre such as “country”, “punk rock” or “classical” the competition for ranking in terms of those keywords will certainly be fierce. However, if you are more specific by using the name of a band or artist of that genre, then you’ll find the competition may be a lot easier instead. This tactic can help you getting the most out of your budget and find more potential customers as well.

Do Not Use Block Quotes

While there is a difference of opinion about this particular issue, there is strong evidence that having keywords inside a block quote or tag will not be included in terms of search rankings. This means that you might be wasting your time using a block quote that contains the keywords that you want because Google or other search engines will ignore it. While it is okay to use block quotes, your strategy should be to use your keywords around them, not inside.

Do not forget Geo-Tagging

If your business has an actual location where customers can visit, then using geo-tagging will help improve your sales. This is especially true for businesses that rely mostly on customers who walk in, such as restaurants for example. Geo-tagging is a very effective way to show up on local searches where potential customers can find you.

Be Social on Social Media

As much as social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have had an impact on SEO marketing, many businesses have not reached the full potential of this outlet. Search engine algorithms take website with strong social signals seriously and rank them higher than those that do not. Be sure that you add social media buttons to encourage those who read your content to share it with others. This can be a “win-win” for your SEO efforts.

These SEO are basic, yet potent. The proper use of these techniques will help you grow your business and improve your overall outlook of the website.

8 Reasons You Should Be Blogging

Posted by | Blogging for Business, Content Marketing | 2 Comments

You could be wondering why so many people have taken up blogging or looking for reasons to why you should start blogging. Blogging is very popular in this modern world that is fast-paced with ever changing technology. If you are undecided about joining the blogosphere, here are some good reasons to help make up your mind, whether you want to start blogging for business or for personal reasons.

1. A Platform for Expression of Opinions and Thoughts

Blogs provide a perfect platform for expressing one’s opinions and thoughts. What’s more is that there is an audience with a listening ear. With blogs you can constantly put yourself and your ideas out for the world to see. If you have a point to put forth or a talent to showcase there’s no better platform than a blog.

2. Promotion of Products or Services

There are many online marketing tips at the disposal of businesses on the internet. Blogging is an excellent way of promoting or marketing products, businesses, services or even one’s own self. If you or your business is able to consistently develop valuable content you will find that people are willing to lend you an ear. With thousands of visitors hitting your blog site on a regular basis promoting your products or services becomes easier.

3. A Means of Helping People

8 reasons you should be blogging - Blog Voice Bubble

Usually, most blogs are created with the intention of helping people with certain problems within the blog’s niche. Bloggers mainly use their expertise or experience in life to aid others solve their problems. For instance, blogs related to health and parenting are usually designed for this purpose.

4. Expertise Establishment

Bloggers can make use of the great tools that come with blogs to establish themselves in their fields or areas of expertise. For instance, it can be used as a platform for improving a professional’s online presence whether they are looking to publish a book written on a certain topic or seeking to secure employment in a particular career field by legitimizing their expertise and experience.

5. Creating a Connection

Blogging is an excellent way of bringing people together from all backgrounds across the globe with similar interests, thoughts, ideas, opinions and sometimes, even experiences. With this regard, a blogger can create a connection with people through his/her blogging. A blog could be your way of establish a connection with your target audience.

6. Keeping Abreast with the Latest Knowledge in Certain Topics or Fields

Through blogging, it is possible and necessary to keep abreast with the latest news, technology, events or even knowledge in a certain topic or sector. This is as a result of the facts that blog content needs constant updating in order to stay fresh for the search engine crawlers and users. Through helping your audience you end up acquiring knowledge as well.

7. Blogging for Business (Money)

Although the majority of bloggers do not make much from their blogs, it is possible to earn a lot of money by just blogging. However, it takes dedication and hard work for this to happen. Blogs can generate income through activities that generate income such as driving traffic and earning from clicks and advertising.

A word of caution: Do not start your blog with the mere intention of making money. Doing so will result in failure in the long run. Begin with having a voice for yourself on the web and once the viewers come in, the money will follow. Read more on how to create engaging blogposts.

8. Showcasing Creativity and having Fun

Writing is an art that takes creativity and passion to produce a good blog article. However, it is also a skill that can be learnt. The idea is to be as creative as the mind can allow and have as much fun as possible. Different people also write for distinct reasons and are motivated by different factors. Remember acquiring the ability to communicate never hurt anybody 🙂

You just need to identify what you are passionate about, what keeps you going and areas of interest to start blogging today.

The canvas is ready…

If you have a few ideas but are still wondering if setting up a blog is a good idea, leave a comment and we’ll throw in our 2 cents. If you already have a blog that you would want us to check out comment with the URL and we will come visiting 🙂

Photo Credit: photologue_npDimitar Nikolov

The Art of Making Your Blog Posts More Engaging and Shareable

Posted by | Blogging for Business, Content Marketing | One Comment

Did you know that 90% of Business to Consumer marketing professionals made use of content marketing in 2013? That’s huge!

Blogging has become an integral part of business marketing strategy and for good reason. Businesses with blogs generate more revenue, build a stronger brand following, and gain a greater sense of trust from clients and customers.

When it comes to blogging for business, however, there is so much to know. It can become overwhelming. You could write a post full of your immense knowledge, but if it is not engaging and shareable, all is for naught. No one is going to come and read it. With all the information now floating through the online world, people have little patience for content that lacks quality.Posts need to be either entertaining or informative and easily readable.

Blogging is an art form after all and not one for the faint of heart. Online marketing tips abound with everything from the obvious to the “all time consuming.”

The key is to hone in on what works and stick with it consistently.

What does work for creating a good blog article that is both engaging and shareable?

 

The Makings of a Good Blog Article

First up,

Engaging Content…

  •  Get Clarity on the Outcome

To start creating an engaging post, you need to know the purpose. Are you looking to inform your readers, to entertain them, or to get them to take a particular action? What outcome do you want to achieve with your posts? If you don’t know what the purpose of your post is, your reader will not either and will be far from engaged. Start with clarity.

  • A Crafty Headline

The title of your posts can draw people in to read further or leave them scrolling on to someone else’s content. A crafty headline is no substitute for fantastic content within the post, but it’s essential to get people there.

To create a great headline, model the masters. What titles have captured your attention lately? How do the magazines and newspaper do it? Begin to prowl the web for catchy titles.

  • First Impressions

Once you have drawn readers in with your post title, you will need a fabulous opener in the post, as well. Don’t let them down now if you want them to keep reading. Quotes, statistics, questions, and short stories, all make great openers.

This post opened with a question and statistic. If you are still reading, I’m assuming it worked. Saying something unexpected, making a promise, or sharing something controversial works too!

  • Check Your Purpose

Write the post and make sure you have kept to the purpose you came up with in the beginning. Do some editing. Is the post clear, easy to read, and flowing in a logical manner? Have you stuck to the plan, and are your points obvious to your reader?

  • Make it Easy to Scan

Shorter, “easy to scan,” bits of information will keep the viewer with you longer. People are busy, and there is a ton of information out there. Break up the text with headlines, bullet points, and images.

Fabulous job so far, now on to the sharing…

Shareable content has a few things in common:

  • It’s Relevant
  • It’s Purposeful
  • It’s Quality

If you have followed the steps above, you should have these qualities down. To make your post even more sharable, there are a couple more things to add:

Ask- If you want your content to be shared, why not just ask! Many bloggers lose a lot of shares by leaving this one out. If your content is good and relevant people won’t mind sharing. Ask them to participate in the content; hey you could even end with a thought-provoking question.

Make it Easy- Sharing buttons can be adjusted to appear above a post, below a post, or even in the sidebar. Make your buttons obvious so people see them. Try different methods, if need be, to see which location works best with your audience.

So, what is your biggest challenge in coming up with shareable content? Let us know in the comments. (See how I slipped that question in there.) Thanks for engaging with me!

 

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee