Just as important as producing quality content for your blog is producing content on a regular basis. From Michelle Linn at Content Marketing Institute, some suggestions on how to keep your posting on a consistent schedule.
“If people aren’t talking about you, they’re not talking about you for a reason. And the reason isn’t that they dislike you. They’re not talking about you because you’re boring.” - Seth Godin
Many marketers are faced with presenting interesting content for a boring brand. They should keep in mind that boring products solve problems. From Patricia Redsicker on the Content Marketing Institute blog, some ideas on how to frame a content strategy for boring brands.
Improve Customers' Lives or Help Them Do Their Jobs Better
- Address emergencies in your community
- Speak up for a groups in need
- Create content that resolves these problems.
Focus Content to Address Readers' Interests Rather Than the Product
- Decide who you want to attract
- Determine their lifestyle, interests and preferences
- Give them an entertaining, conversational forum
Surprise Your Audience
- Present your company in an unexpected way
- Go against your brands dull image
Find a Content Outlet that Maximizes Your Presentation Skills
- Content doesn't have to be writing.
- Try video, speaking engagements, training sessions
Encourage Discussion on ANY Topic
- Allow conversation that isn't promotional or pushy
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At the center of an Internet based business is traffic. Obviously, without traffic to your site, no sales can take place. Targeted traffic refers to people who regularly visit your site because of your content. Steven Papas on ariherzog.com shares some ways to get targeted traffic.
Find Related Blogs
- Blogs within the same area of interest as your blog.
- Blogs with large and consistent traffic.
- Leave quality comments.
- Guest post if possible.
- Consider buying ad space on related blogs.
Find Related Forums
- Forums are a source for people to find others in their niche.
- Check Blog Engage or Blogger Forum.
- Joins forums related to your blog.
- Add a description of and link to your blog in your forum signature to build backlinks and get targeted traffic.
- Buy ads.
- Optimize your site based on relevant keywords.
- Narrow your blogs focus to "long-tail" keyword phrases.
Social Media and Bookmarking Sites
- Sites like StumbleUpon.
- Find buyers and followers already interested in your niche.
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Business2Community.com takes a look at AdAge's Power 150 Marketing blogs and points out the commonalities of the top ten blogs.
The Top Blogs:
- (Ads of the World)***
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Land
- SEOmoz.org's Blog
- Lee Odden's Top Rank Blog
- Brian Solis' BrianSolis.com
- Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim
- Search Engine Journal
- The Compete Blog
- 2.4 posts per day
- 1278 words per post
- Average age of blog = 6.7 years
Conventional Wisdom: Keep blog posts short, as readers have short attention spans.
Top Blogs: Long posts with an average word count of nearly 1300.
Conventional Wisdom: Readers will tune out if you post too frequently.
Top Blogs: Articles are posted on average, once every 10 hours
Conventional Wisdom: Company blogs are less important than Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media.
Top Blogs: Highly visible email newsletter sign up links. (Everyone still uses email as a frequent communications tool.)
Conventional Wisdom: Success needs to happen relatively quickly, or rethink your approach.
Top Blogs: Average age is 6.7 years. Audience built over time.
Conventional Wisdom: Invest in a content management system.
Top Blogs: Six of the top ten blogs use WordPress. Their content trumps their platform.
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Blogs are still the heart of social media and content marketing. Blogs supply much of the content that drives social media conversations. Given their importance, blog metrics are needed to assess your success relative to your marketing objectives. From Content Marketing Institute, 21 blog metrics:
Count visits and unique visitors
Where do they come from and where do they go on your site?
Goal: Attract your target audience.
Which pages attract readers? Where do they click? Where do they leave?
Goal: Track areas of reader interest.
Time on site
What is the average time spent on the site? How much time is spent on specific pages?
Goal: Get customers to spend time engaged with your content.
RSS feeds and email lists
Measure sign-ups to see if blog is building an online following.
Goal: Build your audience.
Brand recall, favorability, and intent to purchase, often tracked by surveys.
Goal: Show brand growth.
Product information metrics
Targeted promotion codes used and click-throughs to purchase.
Goal: Increase sales.
Call to action
Use a call-to-action and a unique promotional code to track results.
Goal: Support sales with appropriate content.
Track sales related to blog content.
Goal: Increase revenue generation.
Is blog content improving search rankings?
Goal: Be more findable, reduce SEO costs.
How many sites link into your blog?
Goal: Improve SEO.
How many outbound links do you have?
Goal: Get the attention of experts in your field.
Do you have links to other relevant areas of your site?
Goal: Support SEO.
Number of social media shares
Count shares as well as platforms used.
Goal: Cost effective reach expansion.
Video or other media downloads or views
Content such as video, audio, presentations and e-books.
Goal: Distribute content to broader audience and enhance your brand.
How many people download or read instructions for using product?
Goals: Reduce returns, encourage repeat purchases.
Number of customer questions answered
Are new questions being submitted? Do their comments need further clarification?
Goal: Reduce customer complaints and customer service expense.
Reader comments and/or votes
Show that you’re responsive to readers by responding to customers’ comments.
Goal: Expand community engagement.
Prospects, customers and the public to share commentary.
Goal: Enhance your content and community engagement.
How many media companies and bloggers link into your blog as a source of information?
Goal: Get additional executive exposure.
Number of posts
How much information are you generating? Use an editorial calendar.
Goal: Have fresh content on a regular basis.
Track costs for your bloggers, editorial staff, technology support, design and other areas that affect your blog.
Goal: Assess full cost of blog against other communications options.
Not every blog needs to track all of these metrics. Track the ones that are most important to accomplishing your marketing goals.
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Content marketers can face the biggest dilemma that any other writer encounters, writer's block. Paul Wolfe doesn't use the term "writer's block". Instead, you refers to the inbuilt resistance to sitting down and writing, and talks about how to overcome it.
Resistance is an internal force that all content creators have to overcome to produce their work on a regular basis. It stems from our tendency for self-preservation, which causes use to try to maintain the status quo. Resistance to writing manifests itself in many ways:
- Finding non-urgent tasks to do before you commence writing.
- Suffering from self-doubt.
- Slowing down writing with persistent editing and re-editing.
- Coming up with another, potentially better idea in the middle of writing.
To create your own unbreakable deadline, find a way where the result of not meeting the deadline is worse than meeting the deadline. Pre-selling a product can accomplish that. Post your publishing schedule. Create other penalties for missing the schedule. Trick your ego into feeling punished for failing to publish.
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The blogosphere provides customers with the opportunity to evangelize your product/brand if they have a good experience. Unfortunately, it also provides the opportunity to write a negative review when they have a bad interaction with your company. From Ymarketing, online marketing optimization strategies to maintain your company's reputation:
Begin with a Robust SEO Strategy
Your goal is to dominate the search rankings for the keywords which your customers and prospects are most likely to use. According to Commscore the top 30 ranked sites listed in a search engine receive up to 80% of all the traffic or clicks and 68% of searchers never go past the first page. By dominating the top pages in search with positive content, the negative comments about your company will rarely show up in the pages people actually look.
Blog Frequently and with a Sincere and Transparent Voice
Blogs allow you to have personal and transparent conversations with your public and address negative comments to an audience that's already listening to you. Use a team approach to blogging. Customers really want to hear from your employees.
Establish a Social Media Presence
Your blog should be the hub of your social media efforts that you promote via as many social media channels as possible. Having a social media presence also allows you to monitor what's being said about you. You can either address negative comments directly or present your position with your online community.
There are numerous tools out there to help you monitor and better manage to your online reputation. Commit to a level of monitoring that’s realistic and effective. You should be able to pick up on any negative comments that are gaining traction.
Transparency, Honesty and Trust
These are the most important factors in a company’s reputation. Transparency is about sharing with your customers who you are without spin. Honesty is about demonstrating your sincerity in a truthful manner. Trust is built by consistently communicating and interacting with your customers and prospects transparently and honestly.
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Inbound marketing is growing in B2B companies. From MarketingSherpa, some of the top insights from their 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but certain tactics are commonly reported as effective.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Most effective tactic: On-page content optimization
- Vital to an inbound strategy. Research keywords and create content around them.
Most effective tactic: Blogging
- Blogging is the most effective B2B social marketing tactic, if you stick with it. Ties directly to SEO.
Most effective tactic: Using unique landing pages for campaigns
Second-most effective tactic: Optimizing design and content for conversions
- Visitors need to take action when they arrive at your site, otherwise the traffic is wasted. Landing pages put your traffic to use.
Most effective tactic: Creating highly-targeted ad groups
Second most-effective tactic: A/B testing landing page content
- Again, use landing pages to convert traffic.
"Pay with a Tweet" (PWAT) is a recent, effective form of viral marketing that revolves around the concept of paying for a product or service with a mention in some form of social media. Originally, it was used on Twitter to promote digital products like e-books. An e-book seller would require a user to tweet about the product, and in return, the user would be able to download the product free of charge. The tweeter's followers are, in turn, encouraged to pass along the message if they want the product too.
The site www.paywithatweet.com formalizes the process and tracks when a tweet has been made. Here are some other potential platforms to use the model.
Facebook Wall Post - Given the similarities it shares with Twitter in terms of network structure and user interaction, Facebook is a logical extension of the model. Marketers would require Facebook users to pay by posting a product URL on their walls. Or, marketers could simply require a "Like".
Blog Post - PR and marketing professionals have been sending key influencers free products to review for years. The key difference with the PWAT approach is that it isn't limited to influencers. Any blogger is eligible, and while not all will be high quality, it has the potential to reach a lot more users.
Social Bookmarking Sites - Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, or Delicious. The more social mentions you get on these sites, the more visibility you receive.
Monitoring mentions is possible, but can be time-consuming. Expect more tools to be created for time and cost-effective monitoring. As long as you can offer social users some form of value in return for their mention, you can market anything alongside this value.
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Guest posting on another blog can offer a tremendous opportunity to increase your own traffic and engagement. But there are several guest posting pitfalls that you must avoid to get the best results.