What Do You Need? A Blog. When Do You Need It? Now

Even today, with the power of Google neatly tucked into your pocket or handbag, people still don’t get why having a blog is a super-duper important part of running a business. Unfortunately, it is always the small business owners that find themselves wondering why it is important. We’re not saying they still think blogging is something teenagers do in the hope of becoming the next internet star and thus spend their lives taking selfies on red carpets instead of working, but they usually don’t quite get how it is worth the investment. And that’s what it is, right? Creating top-notch content on a weekly basis is a mega-investment of time and money and skill.

But it is totally worth it. A content publication strategy is one of the most valuable marketing approaches your little business can make and that’s because it will make a noticeable difference to things like where you show up on Google, the leads you get and the sales you make (spoiler alert: these are pretty important parts of business). Anyway, the best way to launch a content publication strategy is from a business blog. From there, well, you can use it as you like, from posting it to your LinkedIn page, to adding it to your email marketing campaign and even linking to it from social media.

Of course, we don’t expect this overview of a blurb to be the winning smile that sees you drop off the fence. After all, caution is a healthy part of being a business owner. That said, blogging is such an awesome tool to use, we have decided to pull together a list of the top benefits it can – and will – have on your business.

  1. Hello, Search Engine Traffic

Everyone that wants to be a success wants to be found at the top of search engines. That’s a fact. And it is also the reason why you need to have a blog. Think about it. The more content you have on your website the more chances you have of getting found. That’s because there will be more pages on your domain to be indexed (translation: great news for visibility). If you went fishing with one rod, and the person on the pontoon over from you has one-hundred rods, who do you think is going to land more fish? So, yeah, start yourself a blog and watch your organic traffic grow like crazy thanks to increased web traffic. Keep adding more fishing rods to your arsenal.

  1. I Wanna Be A Thought Leader

There is no better way to establish yourself as an expert in what you do than having a blog to back that up. It is your chance to show the world (read: your industry), that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about and even sharing industry related tidbits. Why is authority important? That’s simple: it gives people yet another reason to trust you and, in a world where everything is online, trust is like a warm, fuzzy hug (but one that converts people into clients and customers). It doesn’t matter what your niche is, having a blog gives you that extra bit of weight. It could be that you are a customer service specialist, in which case it is time to start a customer service blog. It could be that you run a content marketing agency that specialises in managing business blogs, in which case a content marketing blog of your own is super-duper important. There really is no niche too small.

  1. Time For Tighter Relationships

Having a regularly updated blog is a great way to connect with the people visiting your site in a way that you can’t otherwise. Before, people that came to your site could only read your generic “About Us” page and scroll through your “what we do” gallery, which is made up of stock photos. But having a blog gives them a better chance to connect, whether it is asking questions in the comment section under each post or by sharing what you’ve written on their own social media pages or simply using your opinion to start a conversation, whether that be in a forum or a wine bar. At first, it may seem a little deflating because (as Google analytics shows), only your mom, your sister and your mom’s boyfriend are reading it. But after a while, you’ll find you become the go-to resource in your market and that’s because your content is helpful, informative, engaging and trustworthy. It has built a rapport between you and potential-slash-new customers (#winning).

  1. Get Creative, Become Human

We mentioned your (probably) bland “About Us” page, which isn’t a dig because your about us page needs to tell people what you do, and tell them as clearly as possible. However, you don’t want to run the risk of sounding dull or robotic or boring. That’s where a blog flies in to save the day like some sort of neighborhood superhero. It gives you the chance to show the more personal side of your brand; make people smile and laugh and nod their head in empathy and feel like there is a warmth to you that your competitors are lacking. A blog gives you the opportunity to go beyond “look at these products we sell” and a) give people a reason to buy your products, b) touch on issues that your brand is concerned with, c) embrace a cause as part of your marketing and d) share information and opinions on the things you are passionate about. No matter how cleverly-written the rest of your content may be, your blog will always be the best voice you have and that is because it will have the most personality to it. Seriously, never underestimate the power of likeability.

  1. Social Media Boost

Here’s a quick plate full of food for thought: what is the point in having social media pages if you don’t have any great content to upload to them? (That was rhetorical by the way; the answer is there is no point!) Of course, you could get around this by sharing other people’s content but, at some point or another, your brain will go, “hang on a minute, why am I sending my leads elsewhere?” and that is where your blog posts will swoop in (yet again!) to save the day. It is just one of the best ways to use your social media following to boost your website traffic. Period. Fact. The end.

4 #Blogging Tips That Actually Work

If you’ve ever searched for blogging tips online, you’ve most probably come across at least a dozen of them advising you to post your content frequently, to share your content on social media, and to keep blogging no matter what. Although these are some valid points, they’re pretty straightforward and offer little to no real insight into the most important aspect of blogging, which is of course writing. In addition, the fact that you can find these tips literally anywhere and everywhere you look just goes to show how poor that advice actually is, as the same things are usually said over and over again, without any solid advice ever being given. This is why we’re going to focus on four concrete tips which will actually have an effect on your blogging and improve your content as well as your overall readership.

1. Find relevant content

First of all, you need to find what’s worth writing about. Certain niches are more popular than others, you need to find the ones that not only fit your style the most, but those which are also trending at the moment. Hence, keep an eye on Reddit, Quora, and various other social media platforms for current hot topics and ideas to write about. Moreover, who exactly are you writing for? Your content might be better suited for young, rather than old, people. Therefore, you need to target them and tailor your content accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to please everybody as it’s an impossible task. Instead, you should focus on finding your tribe in order to provide them with relevant and interesting content to their liking. This is how you establish a community of your own, and increase their loyalty. You want to build a relationship with your readers, it’s not just a one-off thing, you want them returning to check on your new content.

2. Guest blogging

Another thing, a lot of people make the mistake of only posting content on their own blogs, totally neglecting the concept of guest blogging. It’s not only an excellent way of sharing your content, but it’s also an amazing way of expanding your general readership. This is because, when you guest blog, you get someone else’s audience apart from your own, thus effectively doubling the amount of readers your content receives overall. There’s lots of ways you can find blogs where you can guest post, either by manually searching the web for blogging opportunities, visiting relevant forums and blogs, or by contacting bloggers that fit your particular niche. Yet, the most practical way of doing this is by simply using an advanced link prospecting tool to help you find sites to reach out to. Get better results and save valuable time in the process by sorting and filtering through different metrics in an automated manner and find the perfect blog for you to guest post on. Otherwise, you might end up on spammy websites that might hurt your general reputation.

3. Write quality content

Don’t get fooled, the internet is a vast place, the topics you’re posting aren’t as original as you may think. Especially so if a popular topic is in question. This is why you should always strive to create the best quality content you can, in order to stand out from the crowd. You achieve this by writing about the things you know well. Likewise, if you’re not so familiar with a certain topic, you need to do a lot of research beforehand to get all of your facts straight. Once you have the necessary info, you then need to present it in an interesting and meaningful manner. Try to be concise and to the point as much as possible, avoid filler content and don’t spin your points. Stay informative and offer sound advice to your readers, educate them about a particular product instead of just selling it to them. Back your facts up with concrete statistics or infographics instead of pulling them straight out of your head, this will give a lot of credibility to your claims. Furthermore, the most important thing is that you stay true to your voice, pretending will only get you so far.

4. Use eye-catching headlines

Finally, this is by far the most important thing you need to focus on while blogging. Yet, you might be wondering why I put the most important thing last? Well, this is because the title should always be the very last, and not the first, thing you write. The reason being that is, once you’ve finished your main text, you have a rough idea of what the article is about and therefore you can find a title that suits it. Let’s face it, people click on article titles and not on the articles themselves, and if they don’t grab their attention they won’t bother visiting your article in the first place. Hence, you should only employ article titles which spur your readers’ curiosity and encourage them to take a peek, such as how to-s and x ways to do titles.

In conclusion, remember to always do your research on hot topics and concrete facts before writing your articles. This way you’ll maintain top-notch quality whilst still being relevant to your target audience. Also, don’t be shy and give guest blogging a go, as it’s an outstanding way of increasing your overall viewer count.

 

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Google Says Freshen Up Your Content

While there are – probably – dozens and dozens of ways in which Google likes to rank the content on your website, none of them has become more emphasized than “freshness”. So, in order to get straight into it and not beat around the proverbial bush any longer, here are some of the most important ways in which the god-that-is-Google tends to determine how fresh your content is.

Date Of Inception

Every single web page is going to be valued based on its inception date, something that holds less and less value as time goes on. Just so you know, the inception date is the time when Google first becomes aware of this new content, which tends to happen when the crawlers first detect it on your website or when Google finds a link to this content.

A Matter Of Updating

This is something that has gotten a little bit more attention over recent months. Instead of just rating your content on when it was first uploaded, Google also ranks your content on how regularly it is updated. Content that gets tweaked regularly has more value than content that never changes. Let’s say you go back through your content and change a sentence. Whoop-di-do. However, if you drastically change the main body then you will be having a much bigger impact on this freshness thing.

Frequency Of Changes

Ask those in well-respected SEO services, and they will tell you another huge proponent in the hunt for a better rating is the frequency in which your content gets updates because that is what will keep the Googlebots coming back to crawl your website. Let’s use some examples. Let’s say you have a blog that gets updated once a week as a means to keep your customers in the loop with what you are up to. Okay, that’s once a week something new gets added. Compare that to a major newspaper where their entire body of content gets altered daily and you see which one is more valuable to Google.

New Pages, Please

Another great way to improve the freshness of your website is to create new pages. This is something that a blog manages to do better than anything else because you are not only creating new pages regularly, you are also adding pages that are high in original content. That’s epic. That’s going to get you a freshness score to be super-proud of. You don’t need to go mad on this front, but a new page every so often will have a big impact.

Linking Plays A Lovely Role

Just so you know, the freshness-o-meter is not restricted to your page’s only. It also has a lot to do with the external links that you are using. These tend to wield a lot of power when it comes to measuring freshness. That is why you should always include a cocktail of internal links, outbound links and, if possible, links on external websites that link back to you. Google loves link-building because it makes you look relevant or, to keep with the word we have been using, fresh.

5 Strategies to Increase Brand Awareness Through Customer Service

Do you want to build your brand without breaking the bank? What if you can use your humanity to improve ROI

You can succeed in business without spending a lot of money on complicated marketing schemes. In fact, you probably already have everything you need if you commit yourself to customer service excellence.

Every time either you or a team member answer a question or address a problem, you have a chance to win big. After all, people talk about their experience with your brand, giving you tons of free publicity. When your customers have a positive experience, they become unpaid brand advocates who will refer business to you. On the other hand, when they have a bad experience, they can leave bad reviews and damage your reputation.

So, let’s take a closer look at how you can use customer service to build our brand.

1. Listen and Take Action

Whether you deal with customers online or in person, listening is your most important responsibility. First off, listening helps you understand the problem at hand. Also, by listening, you make your customers know that you care.

When dealing with someone face-to-face, you should pay attention to body language as you listen. Over the phone, you have to depend on tone of voice. When communicating in written form, you have to carefully interpret word choices.

When your customers finish speaking, assure them that you want to take care of them. Next, take action. Your prompt response will help assuage their concerns.

2. Help Angry Customers

Thanks to social media, encounters with angry people pose a grave threat to your brand. Bad reviews can spread like wildfire.

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Rather than hiding from irate customers, engage them. Face the challenge head-on and use customer service excellence to turn your detractors into supporters.

Just imagine the reaction of your social media audience when you make a heartfelt apology to irate customers. Even more so, think of the reaction when you accept responsibility and work together to find an acceptable solution.

3. Deliver Exquisite Content

Part of your customer service strategy should include the publication of valuable online content. When you contribute answers to real questions and practical solutions, you will establish the authority of your brand.

Make sure that you always create content from the perspective of customers and publish it to your website. From there, you can share it on your social media channels where you can provide links that lead back to your site.

When you develop a reputation for posting user-friendly, actionable content, you will encourage repeat visitors. As a result, your audience will naturally view your brand as the natural choice when they get ready to buy.

In addition to practical content such as tutorials and “how-to” guides, be sure to include some humor as well as a variety of content types. MailChimp provides a good example of supplying superb content to an audience.

When you visit MailChimp on social media, you can see how they provide free statistics and tools that people can use without becoming a customer. The brand also provides customer service through Twitter, where everyone can see how well MailChimp serves customers.

4. Communicate Non-Stop

When you engage your customers, you make them feel personally valued rather than just another number. For this reason, you must take every opportunity to reach out to them. Success really is that simple.

The fact of the matter is that you must respond to every comment left for you on social media. The same thing goes with email messages and voicemail.

In addition to that, use your customer relationship management to find reasons to contact customers. For example, you can have your software remind you to send thank you notes after a sale. Likewise, you can send customers birthday cards and schedule routine follow-up calls.

The cool thing is that better communication can result in dramatic improvements in sales. After all, customers who feel good about your brand will also feel a sense of loyalty. So, whenever possible, ask customers for feedback about everything from products to their personal preferences.

5. Surprise Your Customers

Despite an awareness of the essential role customer service plays in success, many companies fail to deliver. In effect, you can profit from the failures of other companies by surprising your customers with outstanding service.

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Give your social media presence a “Wow!” factor by organizing promotional events that deliver tangible and valuable rewards. For instance, you can have your audience members share photos of themselves using your products and then allow your audience to vote for the winner.

Other ideas may include storytelling contests, incentives for providing personal testimonies, and challenges to produce creative YouTube videos that pertain to your brand. Additionally, you can offer surprise bonus deals to reward your most loyal customers and fans.

So, what does all this mean? You can spread awareness of your brand by consistently providing exceptional customer service using some practical tips:

•   Use your listening skills and decisive action to make your customers feel valued.
•   Leverage irate customers to your advantage by proving your commitment.
•   Proactively communicate with customers on a friendly and personal level.
•   Establish authority by posting valuable, relevant content.
•   Exceed expectations and inject surprises to create memorable experiences.

It sounds simple, and it is. Can you afford not to use customer service to build your brand? Get started now. As always, remember to get help whenever you have a question or face a challenge.

About the author

Jen

Jen McKenzie is a self-employed author hailing from New York, NY. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

The Content Optimization Process: How to Make the Most of What You’ve Already Got

In March 2017, we saw the Google algorithm go through yet another update. This new update, called “Fred”, put even more emphasis on high-quality content, and if you want to make the most of your SEO efforts, you simply have to produce top-notch content today. But what to do with all that stuff you already have on your website, that already does really well? Does it have to just sit there and collect dust? Or can you still do something with it? The concept of refurbishing content that has been proven to work well is becoming more and more popular, which means there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go. So, if you want to juice every drop of goodness out of your top content, here’s how to do it.

Figure out what your top content is

In order to be able to refurbish your top content, you’ll first have to identify it. Luckily, you can now use the power of analytics to evaluate all of your content and figure out which pages are bringing in the most traffic and converting the best. Obviously, content that scores the best on these accounts is the one you should choose for refurbishment.

It’s very important that you understand that it’s not only the pages on your website that might be your most valuable content. This can be anything from a video on one of your pages to a printout people seem to like. And once you manage to identify what has worked best for you, it’s time to think about the ways you can refurbish it.

Decide how you want to use your top content and simplify it

The next thing you’re supposed to do in order to bring your old content back to life is decide how you want to do it. What many experts decide to do is change the form of their top content before publishing it anywhere.

Let’s say your most valuable content is a long-form text on how to be more productive at work. Think about what else people could be doing with this piece and make it come to life. Maybe it’s a video explaining how to get more things done around the office? Or a podcast all those suffering from a lack of productivity at work will find helpful? Our main point is – there are tons of ways you can reuse your old content, you just have to be creative while doing so.

On top of that, you might want to think about simplifying your old content before you send it back on the stage. If you do this, you’ll be able to include a link to the original content that has proven to be so effective and people will consume it once again.

Find popular platforms to publish your “new” content

There’s just so many powerful platforms out there just waiting for content their audience seeks. And if you don’t provide it, somebody else will. So, if you’ve turned an old text into a video, why not upload it to YouTube? There are so many people looking for tips and tutorials, why not capitalize on it. Also, if your “new” content is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, you can always upload it to SlideShare which ranks so well.

Getting your content out there is what refurbishing is all about, but if you want it to be effective, you’ll also want to measure its impact. So, check out how many views your video has, the time people spend on your page and so on. The data you collect will help you determine what works best for you and how you should keep refurbishing in the future. Luckily, there are automated reporting tools like Reportz available, that are guaranteed to help you collect all the data you will need. Turning to tools like these is always going to save you hours and hours of manual work.

Getting your old content out there is a great way to make sure you keep providing quality to your audience. And with so many content forms at your disposal and platforms you can publish it on, coming up with refurbishing ideas should be a real piece of cake.

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Top 5 Efficient yet Cheap Promotional Ideas for Your Business

You can have a unique fantastic product that meets the most important needs of the people and rises far above anything your competition has ever made but if nobody knows about it, it is completely worthless. And that is where good marketing comes into play. However, not every business can afford high-end celebrities in TV commercials and expensive online campaigns. Fortunately, with the internet and some smart traditional marketing strategies leveling the playground, it is possible to promote your business even when working on a small budget. Here are five ideas to give you some inspiration.

Publish quality content

In the world of modern marketing, content marketing is the king. Unlike many other promotional strategies, such as those that include billboards or ads, good content never gets old. It constantly gives the readers something to come back to, which means it is a once-written commercial that lasts forever.

Great content isn’t just a marketing strategy. It complements almost every other online marketing tool – from improving your SEO performance and enhancing the value of your landing page to providing source material for social media marketing and helping you build relationships with other industries.

Among the numerous positive effects of successful content marketing, we have to point out the influence it has on driving new traffic, building a reputation, influencing conversion and encouraging trust in your business. Also, when coming up with a good content marketing strategy, you need to have in mind that content is evolving, so you should definitely include quality images and videos into your blog.

Engage your audience through social media

It is no secret that social media marketing plays a vital role in every business’s marketing strategy. However, if you are doing it just to be part of the crowd, then you are not doing it well. The businesses with the most followers on social media and the most feedback aren’t lucky, they simply have a thought out strategy, which includes getting to know the rules of the platform and the audience active on it. Regardless of which platform we are talking about, the most important thing to do is to engage your audience and encourage communication. That way, you can build a connection that leads to loyalty and trust.

Use infographics

We live in the era of information overload, and the last thing the web audience needs is long articles packed with endless data. But what to do when you want to say something meaningful about your line of work or your company? It’s simple: use infographics. Infographics can present information, knowledge and data in visual and interesting manner.

Moreover, using infographics is a great way to build brand awareness and send a message to a wider audience. Besides, infographics have undeniable SEO benefits. Also, a quality infographic needs to be simple and unique. It has to produce high impact with minimal text and it should pack a creative punch. Finally, it has to be easily shareable.

Put it on paper

Traditional marketing might be a bit drowsy, but it is far from being dead. The main reason why businesses should occasionally turn to it is because no one is expecting it, and the competition surely isn’t doing it. It is also the reason why there are many cheap printing solutions available. You can print handouts, flyers or brochures. Also, if you want to prevent your promotional material from ending up in the trash, try to keep it informative and creative.

Here are some basic promotional material design tips to help you stay on the right track:

  • Function before form (information needs to be clear and visible).
  • Keep the text concise.
  • Contact details must be instantly noticeable.
  • The visual aspect accompanies the text (you can’t sell perfumes and put a picture of a cake on the flyer).
  • Be subtle but not dull.
  • Make the image, color and heading the most striking elements.
  • Use different shapes.
  • Transmit the mood with color.
  • Make it a keeper with great pictures and some good tip.

Become a guerillero

If you are looking for an advertising strategy that requires low investments yet yields maximum results, look no further than guerilla marketing. The purpose of this approach is to represent your business in an imaginative way that will surprise the customers, draw attention to your company and create a lasting impression and a social buzz.

Guerilla marketing strategy doesn’t require a lot of money, just a substantial amount of creativity, energy and time. To achieve the best effect, first you should know who you are targeting with your campaign. Capturing attention is your second objective, but it will be worthless unless you can align the creativity with the purpose of the campaign. Some of the small-business-friendly guerilla marketing strategies include graffiti (not on other people’s property), pop up shops, free samples, sidewalk chalk, projecting video on a large outdoor wall, flash mob and gamification.

As you can see, cost-effective marketing is doable, and if you play your cards right, you will surely attract new loyal customers and increase the revenues.

 

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Get To Know Your #SEO

Any small business, blogger or start-up, needs to be online. Improving your online presence is a sure fire way to get more customers and more awareness for your business or brand. So as well as being on social media channels, and having a website, what else can you do? One of the biggest things of late is increasing your search engine optimization or SEO. In basic terms, that is all about how well your site ranks on a search engine. There are many ways to market this, for example creating ads to gain traffic. But that is really SEM (search engine marketing), rather than SEO. So let’s get down to business and talk all things SEO. Understanding it is a must for your business.

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Content is King

There is no getting away from the fact that search engine, in particular, Google, loves new content. So first off, you need to be blogging on your website if you’re not already. Creating new content and sharing it online regularly is a great way to drive traffic to your site, especially if your content answers people’s questions or is relevant to current affairs, for instance.

Know Your Keywords

The content that you produce should also contain some certain keywords, as that is what will help people to search for what you have written about. Avoid stuffing keywords on every line, though. It does need to have a focus. So looking into the keywords that people have used in the past to find you, is a great way to know what people are looking for. A company like ignitedigital.com could be doing that kind of thing for you if you’re not sure where to start. These keywords are important, though, as it is important for branding and knowing your customer base.

Get Your Website Up To Scratch

If you have a slow loading or responding website, then that can be detrimental in a couple of ways. First of all, it can put off potential customers. But second of all, it can affect your SEO ranking. So get your website looked at by a professional if you feel like you need to speed things up. An article by kissmetrics.com shows that around forty percent of internet users will click off a site if a website isn’t loading quickly. That is a heck of a lot of potential customers to be losing!

Check Your Site URLs

The URL of a website can affect how well a site is ranked. If you are clicking on articles or certain product pages, then you need to check what your URLs for those pages are. It needs to be short, around three or five words long, as well as being clear and to the point. Avoid using words like it and and in a URL. Being specific will help when search engines ‘crawl’ your site, to know what kind of content you’re producing. When search engines understand that and know the kind of content that you produce, then you will rank higher.