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

Cleanse Your Work Palate: What to Do In-Between Jobs

Being laid off or getting fired are, unfortunately, common events that many people will have to deal with at least a few times over the course of their professional career. While you may feel remorse for friends and family members when this type of event happens to them, you can feel a sense of panic or extreme stress when it happens to you.

Of course, some people who are currently out of a job may have quit on their own accord, and this may have been because of poor management or another similar type of issue. In any case, this professional gap can be stressful, but you can more easily navigate through this tumultuous time without scars by following a few tips.

1. Keep Calm and Focus

After losing or quitting a job, you may understandably feel confused or even hurt. It is normal to feel these emotions, so embrace them for a short period of time. During that period, consider everything from meditating to working out, blogging and more to get your mind off of the pain. You can and should spend time reflecting on what may have gone wrong in your previous position so that you can learn from it.

However, you should not dwell on negative emotions tied to those life lessons, but let them go so that you can move on with your life. Embrace this break from a work routine by spending more time with friends and family, relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the resulting reduced stress levels. After all, this break is only temporary, and you may soon find another job. By adjusting your line of thinking so that you focus on the transient nature of this break, you may be able to relax and enjoy a sense of calmness.

2. Enjoy Your Free Time

When you are not working regularly, you may have many hours in your day to enjoy at your leisure. Think of this time as a vacation of sorts that you can use to regroup and focus on your physical and mental health. Use it to reconnect with loved ones and to focus on nurturing these relationships.

You can explore new hobbies or interests that you have been meaning to try, such as taking dance lessons, cycling and more. If you have the funds to do so, you may even travel without concern about getting back to a job. Your trip will be much more relaxing than it would be if you had the stress of job responsibilities looming over you.

3. Make a New Financial Plan

A lot of individuals out of work for even a few weeks may begin to feel financial stress related to a lack of incoming funds. While you may want to enjoy your time off of work, practice moderation so that you can avoid overspending. Consider reducing your personal expenses so that you can conserve your savings. For example, you may cut back on cable TV, your entertainment expense, restaurant meals and more. You may also find a side job that can offset your lack of full-time income.

This could help you to stretch your savings for a longer period of time and reduce the financial strain that you may be feeling. If you are offered COBRA health insurance, consider the benefits associated with taking advantage of extended coverage for as long as it is available to you.

4. Get Back on Track

It is easy to get lazy when you have ample time to yourself each day. You may find yourself sleeping in regularly, spending hours watching TV and more. However, this can create boredom and may even lead to depression.

To prevent it, make a to-do list of items that need your attention around the house. Focus on improving your skills by working toward a new certification. Attend professional networking events and job fairs. You could even volunteer for an organization that supports a cause that you feel strongly about so that you feel productive each day. Another smart idea is to revise your resume and update your LinkedIn profile accordingly.

5. Start Looking for a New Gig

Many people will take a few days or even longer than week to enjoy their time off of work and regroup after quitting or losing a job. That is perfectly fine; however, you do not want to spend too much time taking it easy. The sooner you start looking for a new job, the sooner you may be able to start working and get your career and finances back on track.

While looking for job postings online, you should also network with personal and professional contacts to learn about jobs and to potentially get your foot in the door. If you are out of a job for an extended period of time, ensure that you follow forums, blogs, trade journals and more so that you can keep up with industry changes that may be relevant when you interview for a new position.

Tomorrow is Another Day

Regardless of why you are currently out of a job, your lack of gainful employment can seem like a stressful setback. You may even take your lack of income and your employment issues personally, and this could lead to depression. When you follow these important tips, however, you can navigate through this rough patch more comfortably, and you may more easily find a great new gig that takes your career to the next level.

Author Bio:

michelle_lauryMichelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.

Practical Ways to Monetise a Blog

Owning a blog is like having a dream. You might have a lot of ideas and a lot of content, and you might even be telling people about it—but what good are those ideas and readers if you aren’t making much money from it? Upgrade from just having a dream and turn your blog into something that you can be proud of that makes money, draws in fans and gets you noticed.

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Method 1: Affiliates

Affiliate linking is essentially telling your customers to go buy something from a specific website. For example, https://www.amazon.com/ has an affiliate program that lets bloggers put Amazon links into their posts and if the readers click on those links to buy a product, the blogger gets a cut of the money. This is great for bloggers that do a lot of reviews on products such as beauty items, electronics and appliances. This method is recommended for bloggers of all sizes because if even a single person makes a purchase, you benefit from that purchase and it’s not based on your traffic.

The best type of posts to write for a blog that uses affiliate linking should involve lots of lists. For example, the top 10 budget keyboards you can buy or the top 5 microwaves of 2017. These lists are overused and not very original, but it’s the best way for consumers to look up different products to make a decision on what to buy. Plus, you also expose your readers to a lot of different products links in a single post.

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Method 2: Ad Revenue

Ad revenue is very slow but depending on the number of impressions you get, you could make a considerable amount of money from just advertisements alone. However, many people hate advertisements and with the popularity of easy-to-use ad blockers, you might not get very much money until you have thousands of viewers.

Adverts work on every type of blog but it’s best if you have a lot of content on your website for people to browse. Making several posts a day is recommended if your revenue solely relies on advertisements. If you think you have high-quality content, then you can install scripts to your website that kindly ask for the viewer to disable their ad blockers. If you rely on ad revenue, then it’s a good idea to get involved with social media in order to draw in as many viewers as possible.

Method 3: Patreon and Paid Blogging Sites

There are websites such as the ones listed on https://www.guestposttracker.com/blog/get-paid-to-blog that will actually pay you for writing on guest posts on their blogs. These bloggers typically ask you to write something very high-quality that relates to their subjects, but this is a great way to get some extra income and build up blogging experience.

How Patreon works is simple. People can browse Patreon or click your Patreon link to read more about what it is you do. If they want to support you, then they will donate a set amount of money that you can choose on a monthly basis. Most Patreons offer a “thanks” tier of $1 per month, and it scales up depending on what you want to offer. For instance, if your Patreons pay you $5 a month, you could give them access to an ad-free website. If they offer you $10 per month, then you could add them to a special mailing list where you keep them updated with your future plans.

Is It Time to Turn to the Pros for SEO Advice?

If your company’s brand recognition efforts are stuck in neutral, what do you plan on doing about that?

Whether you have been in business for many years or are rather new to the business world, getting your brand recognized is one of the important (yet sometimes daunting) tasks you will have.

Stop for a moment to think about why brand promotions are so important.

For starters, millions of consumers are all about the digital age these days, so reaching them through the Internet is critical.

Sure, you should still be putting time and effort in when it comes to other modes of marketing and advertising, but what you do online can go a long way in determining whether or not your brand will ultimately be successful.

That said do you have the tools and resources in-house to accomplish your brand promotional goals? If not, will you expend the time and effort (including expenses) to find those who will help you with such needs?

Simply ask yourself, is it time to turn to the pros?

Why SEO is a Key Ingredient

If you’re not fully up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO), one of the reasons it is so important is because of all it encompasses.

For one, SEO gives your brand the opportunity to be seen and heard on countless blogs, blogs that are read by millions of consumers on a daily basis.

With that in mind, how do you get started?

As Miguel Salcido, owner of Organic Media Group SEO agency notes, “The key is letting an experienced agency SEO consultant put together a customized SEO strategy for you free of charge, thereby allowing you to match up with your competitors.”

That SEO strategy (which really is not all that complicated) should include at least the following:

  • Goals in place – First and foremost, what are your goals you want to accomplish with an SEO plan in place? Once again, this is where turning to the pros can make all the difference in the world. With a qualified agency running the show, you not only get sound advice and implementation of your search engine optimization goals, but you turn over one of the more important responsibilities for your brand to professionals. In doing so, you take the pressure off yourself to come up with all the answers as to how to best promote your brand;
  • Website loading – When was the last time you looked at your company’s website? On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (great), how easy is it to move around on? Face it; many of today’s consumers are leading busy lives, lives wherein they don’t have time for failing websites. If your site is slow to upload, has broken links etc. it is a recipe for disaster. A qualified SEO consultant (or team) can analyze your site, seeing where the breakdowns are coming from;
  • Guest blogging – Have you been a regular participant in guest blogging? If not, you are again missing out on potential customers and an improved revenue stream. When you guest blog for others (and you should reciprocate the offer for appropriate businesses and individuals), you have the opportunity to get your brand out in front of countless eyes. This is all possible by adding a keyword link back to your site, be it in the copy itself or the bio. As such, consumers (and other businesses) can then visit your website, learning all there is to know about your products and services;
  • Social media – Finally, where’s your social media game at these days? If you say that it is in development or even non-existent, you have work to do. As Salcido points out, “A comprehensive social media plan includes content promotion, engagement, analytics, and more. It’s a way to further push your brand out in the world, and create discussion. Optimize your social media strategy, and your company will grow.” That said if you haven’t been pushing social media up to this point, you really need to reconsider that idea. With a well-planned social media itinerary in place, you can reach out to countless consumers (along with other businesses), setting your brand up for more exposure. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or other such sites, don’t be a stranger in the world of social networking.

When you go to the pros for SEO advice and implementation, you get the opportunity to give your competitors something to think about.

That thought eventually will be how can they catch up to what you are doing?

 About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

How to Build a Strong Online Presence

A couple of years ago, BIA/Kelsey conducted a survey of over 100 sample consumers. A subsequent data analysis revealed that 97% of modern consumers use the Internet when researching local products and services. The percentage is probably the same today, but seeing how the number of both Internet (according to ITU data, it grew from 2.1 to 3.4 billion today) and mobile users (according to Cisco research, the number quintupled since 2000) grew immensely since then, you only now have a lot of more potential customers online. The bottom line is, for most people in the 21st century, their first introduction to your business and your brand is by discovering it online.

A strong online presence will not only increase your brand’s reputation, but it will also establish you as an authority figure in your particular niche. So the biggest question is this: How can you exactly stand apart from every other business that is trying to reach new customers online? According to last year’s findings from the Kauffman Foundation, there are over 530,000 new business in the US every month, so if you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition, you will have to use certain branding and marketing methods to increase your online presence.

Properly Optimizing Your Site

At this point, there is no valid reason why you should not have a business website. But surprisingly, according to the findings from the US Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses in America do not have an official website. When you consider how many people are searching for products online, this fact is troublesome, to say the least. Nevertheless, assuming that you already have a website, you have to make sure that it is properly optimized. It has to be mobile-friendly and it needs to have frequent information updates.

Going Beyond Blogging

Regularly updating your blog will build trust and help you define your brand’s voice, but you should not limit yourself to blog posts alone when creating new content. Instead, you should develop multiple forms of content such as infographics, eBooks or short, online videos. Dr. James L. McQuivey of Forrester Research argues that the only one minute of video is worth around 1.8 million words– that is an equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages. So just ask yourself do you really have the energy to write almost 2 million words? And even you are a quick writer, and write let us say, two pages an hour, it would take you two and a half month of writing to achieve the impact of 60 seconds of video.

Increasing Visibility through Email

And while many people today are quick to dismiss email, the fact is, email marketing is still ridiculously effective. A recent McKinsey & Company study found that email is still a more effective way of acquiring customers than social media. The researchers explain that the main reason for this is that more than 90% of consumers still use email on a daily basis. According to their report, email is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined. This is one of the reasons why companies in the highly-competitive travel industry depend on email to boost their visibility and increase conversions. Therefore, if you are not sure where to start with building your online presence, maybe it would be a good idea to start with the most “primitive” tool you have at your disposal.

Conclusion – Staying on Your Toes

For instance, while we mentioned that you should definitely try some other forms of content rather than sticking to blogging, you have to keep in mind that guest blogging is powerful tool. While guest blogging is primarily used for link building purposes, it can also help you earn credibility and drive your site’s traffic. Simply put, if the audience of an established website (think Forbes or Entrepreneur) enjoys your posts, they will surely visit your site and possibly follow you on social media.

Finally, if you are not convinced that investing in your online visibility is essential to the success of your company, one fact will undoubtedly convince you – your competitors are already doing it. And if your business falls too far behind, it may become irrelevant in just a few years time. For that reason, you need to build your online presence, and increase the “findability” of your website, products, and services, if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors both.

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

Knowledge is Power: How to Make Your Brand a Leading Authority in the Industry

When your business is able to project an image of itself as a fountain of knowledge, all kinds of positives follow. People will know that they can trust your company, and that means they’ll be more likely to buy from it. You can also then begin to grow your share of the market and become dominant. But how can you make your brand a leading authority in your industry? These steps will help you get there.

Offer Valuable Insights on Social Media and a Blog

If you want to become a leading voice and authority in your industry, you need to think about how you’ll get your voice heard. There are two key ways in which this can be achieved. First of all, you’ll need to provide insights on social media. It’s free and easy for people to follow your account on Twitter, so give people a reason to do so. If they feel like you’re offering something important, people will follow you and your reputation will grow. You should also start up a blog that people can read and track. Reseller link building can help your blog become more popular and get more traffic.

Write Guest Posts Too

As well as writing great content for your own blog, you should write guest posts for other websites and blogs. When you do this, your thoughts and ideas will be exposed to people who have never even visited your blog before. It’s all about exposing new people to your way of thinking. If they like what they read, they will head over to your blog and find out more about your ideas. So, if you are offered the chance to write guest posts, go for it. And if you’re not offered these opportunities, you should go looking for them.

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Don’t be Afraid to Say Controversial Things

Sometimes, the best way to grab people’s attention is to say things that they weren’t expecting. If you can do this, they will sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what you want and need. Your business will never become a leading authority within its industry if people aren’t listening. And people are always interested in hearing from people who think differently and come up with new ideas. So, don’t shy away from saying things that defy conventional thinking and logic. It’s a really good way to gain a foothold and get your name out there.

Speak at Events Whenever You Get the Chance To

Public speaking allows you to get up on the stage and have your voice heard. If you or someone else who works for your company can do this, your business will reap the rewards. There is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try and see what happens. The more you can speak in front of people, the more people will see your business as a leading authority. So, whenever you are offered the opportunity to speak at an industry event or something similar, grab it with both hands. You can’t let those kinds of opportunities escape you when you are trying to become a leading voice.