Feeling baffled when it comes to producing captivating blog topics? Don't fret.
Coming up with insightful information that reels in readers may seem like an onerous task, but once you have a system in place, you'll experience a surge of engaging, lead generating things to share on your blog.
It will be effortless. Like slicing through butter with a hot knife. As it should be.
Here are five seriously easy ways to come up with captivating blog topics.
1. Clearly define the purpose of your blog.
Establishing what your blog is about concretely from the get-go can help jog topic ideas easily.
Think about what you have to offer as a brand and the kinds of messages you want to spread.
Even more importantly, think about what your customers care about. Why do they follow your brand? What kinds of expectations do they have? Do some brainstorming.
Once you're clear on how to set the stage, define what kinds of information people can people expect to find on your blog, as it pertains to your brand.
Make a promise by putting a message in your blog sign-up that explains what people will receive when they sign up for your blog.
Establishing your categories will also help to keep your blog focused and on track. Don't go crazy. Six to ten is good.
For example, if you sell organic, Fair Trade skincare products and are passionate about Eco-friendliness, you could define your blog as being the place to find great tips pertaining to all-natural skin care, true beauty, and living a holistic, green lifestyle.
Your categories might include best natural skincare ingredients, responsible beauty, natural skincare regimes and tips, Eco-friendly living, inner beauty, holistic lifestyle, sourcing organic, and Fair Trade. Once established, each category should spur a slew of ideas.
2. Look at your competitor's blogs.
Although you don't want to copy your competitors, this is great way to incite ideas. Perhaps they've covered a topic you can cover better or put a unique spin on.
3. Use online tools to scope out industry questions and news.
Here are a couple great tools for finding questions being asked in your industry:
Here are tools to help you keep abreast of trending topics and news in your industry:
4. Utilize your customer's questions.
Blogging is about being of service. This means providing your target audience with useful information that somehow makes their lives better or easier.
Work with your staff to concoct a list of questions your customers ask frequently. You can also include valuable things you know you can teach your customers and potential customers. Things they maybe wouldn't think to ask. This should tide you over with blogging fodder for awhile.
If you're having difficulty coming up with a list, ask your audience via social media or newsletter survey. Creating specific poll options may make it more likely you'll get a response.
You can also ask people what they'd like to learn more about at the end of your blog posts. You include something like, "How can we help? Please comment below with questions you’d like answered or topics you’d like covered in future blog posts pertaining to......"
Professional partners may also be a good source. Ask them what they'd like to know more about when it comes to your services and products.
5. Keep track of ideas with Evernote.
Any time I find an interesting article pertaining to a topic I'd like to write about or I come up with an idea I'd like to use later I put it in Evernote. When I go to write a blog post, I have a bunch of ideas waiting for me. It's brilliant.
Making It Even More Effortless
Once you come up with one blog topic idea, it often creates a domino effect, spurring another. The trick is to not try to tackle everything in one blog post.
Thinking in terms of a series will ensure you have plenty of blog topics to work with.
For example, instead of doing one blog post on serving Italian cheeses, you could do a whole Italian cheese serving series with one blog post that gives a briefing on the different types of Italian cheeses, one that explains how to choose the right assortment of Italian cheeses for a dinner party, another that covers what to pair Italian cheeses with, and another with tips on how to arrange an aesthetically pleasing cheese platter.
Blogging shouldn't be a burden. Ever. It should come easy. Be fun even.
After using these trusty tips, the hope is that you'll finally be rid of your blog topic deficiency, that you'll cross over from a stressed and discouraged state and proudly proclaim "I heart blogging!"
Which of these tactics will you use to come up with new blog topics? Any tips on coming up with blog topics I didn't cover? I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Like many business owners, you may feel lost when it comes to blogging. You probably know it will benefit your business and is worthy of your time, but aren't quite sure how to do it properly.
There is a specific format that successful bloggers use, and the good news is it's not that complicated.
In fact, when formatting a blog post properly, beyond having an enticing introduction that convinces people to read your post, you only need to focus on doing three things: being helpful, accommodating scanners, and attracting search engines.
If you can plug your information in using these three principles, you'll be reaping the benefits of blogging in no time.
Here's how to use these blog formatting principles in 13 easy steps:
Make it Scanner Friendly
1. Use lots of pretty yet pertinent pictures. People are able to grasp things quickly through images. And since they're scanning, you're going to get their attention quicker than if you had no images. But make sure to pick ones worthy of attention.
At the very least, you should include one good one, but using further images to show examples of what you're talking about is really helpful. It adds value and helps people short on time - which is most people on the Internet - absorb what you're talking about.
2. Use numbered lists. Numbered lists are a great go-to format because they signal to people that your content is going to be well organized and easy to read.
Using odd numbers in particular is advantageous. When people see blog posts with odd numbers in the title they feel more compelled to click than if it was an even number.
Here's a blog post by Baker Marketing Services that explains why: http://bakermarketingservices.com/2013/03/3-powerful-reasons-for-using-odd-numbered-lists-in-your-blog-post-titles/
3. Use headlines and subheadlines. The more you break up the copy in your blog post, the more you entice scanners.
Using compelling headlines and subheadlines not only helps those in a hurry, it helps guide people through your content and gives them a reason to keep reading.
4. Put key points in bold. Now you don't want to be excessive with this, but you do want to consider that people are not going to read everything in your blog post. Think about the most important information you want your readers to walk away with and put it in bold.
5. Use bullet points. Using bullet points is another great, user-friendly way to organize your information. Scanners dig bullet points.
6. Keep paragraphs short and concise. Long paragraphs will turn off visitors to your blog quickly. Having super short and to-the-point paragraphs will help ensure they don't click elsewhere.
7. Link to your other blog posts. Not only does this help encourage people to read your other blog posts, but it allows them to easily access other useful information.
You can include links to your other blog posts in the body of your blog post or put them at the end. You can say something like, "If you liked this blog post, you might also like..." or "If you'd like to learn more about this topic, read..."
8. Provide lots of useful information. In addition to packing your blog post with content that truly helps people, don't be afraid to include outbound links to further information.
You want to add the most value possible for your readers. This keeps them coming back and is likely to motivate them to share your blog with others.
9. Invite comments. At the end of your posts, ask readers how you can help them or what problems they have pertaining to your topic.
This opens the lines of communication and helps build relationships, which is a big benefit of blogging.
And not only does it help assert you as an expert, but it's likely to give you good ideas for future posts. It may even give you ideas on how you can better serve your customers.
Attract Search Engines
10. Use keywords in your title and keep it short. Generally, you want more important keywords in the beginning of your title. Your title should be 65 characters or less and should serve to answer questions people are asking about your topic online.
Just doing a Google search for your topic will help give you a good idea of how to title your post. As you start to type stuff in the search box, Google will start to give you suggestions.
You can also use a tool like ubersuggest or the Keyword Planner Tool in Google Adwords.
11. Place keywords strategically. Use keywords towards the beginning of your post. They are also most effective when used in headlines and in bold or italics.
12. Include social media share buttons. How often your content gets shared is an important factor for SEO. Make sure that people can tweet, "like," or +1 your post after reading it by providing prominently displayed social share buttons.
13. Further encourage sharing. Using Click to Tweet is a great way to make it easy for people to quote you and link to your blog posts on Twitter. People on Twitter are essentially promoting your blog for you. Good stuff.
Want to learn more about blogging successfully? Check out my other posts on blogging:
5 Tricks That Will Turn Your Blog Posts Into Marketing Mojo
9 SEO Copywriting Tips To Improve Your Google Rank
All You Have To Do Is Ask: Six Ways To Get People To Share Your Web Content
What's your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging? Love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Not sure why no one is buying your products online? It may be your product descriptions - or lack thereof.
Not having product descriptions on your ecommerce site is a serious missed opportunity. Google - the most integral search engine - covets fresh, authentic content, and so do your potential buyers. When you can't deliver, your search engine rank and sales falter.
A product description provided by the manufacturer will help you get something up - and quickly - but it won't help your bottom line. It's highly likely your competition has the same one. This doesn't help you stand out in the minds of potential buyers, and Google frowns on duplicate content.
If your products are your own, having a product description that just talks about product features or just has bullet points with product features is boring, and when people are bored they click elsewhere - like your competitor's site.
Features usually aren't enough to compel people to buy. As important as size, color and care are, people need to be able to imagine how your product will change their world.
If you want to write ecommerce product descriptions that sell, you need to employ some of the strategies used by professional copywriters.
9 Hot Ecommerce Product Description Writing Tips Likely To Drive Sales
1. Focus on Benefits That Spur The Psyche
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you boycot bullet points. They're important. They highlight key features of your product and you want people to be able to easily decipher those. But as integral as product features are, they aren't as compelling as benefits. They can't stand on their own.
People often buy based on emotions. You have to get in your target demographic's head, you have to be able to speak to what they're really looking to accomplish when they purchase a product such as sex appeal or being with the in-crowd.
2. Know Your Audience
You can't speak to your target demographic's deepest desires without getting to know them first.
Imagine your target demographic vividly. What are they wearing, what are they doing, how do they talk? What's important to them, what stirs their emotions? When you go to write, picture them in your mind.
Learn how to speak their language. Find out where your target demographic hangs out online and listen in. Use their lingo in your descriptions.
If you're still not sure what motivates your target audience, ask them. Conduct a survey or start a focus group. One of my clients set up a group on Facebook for this purpose. She offered freebies to those who participated.
3. Solve A Problem
Some people are seeking out a product because it compliments their lifestyle or makes them feel cooler or more desirable, but some are simply looking to solve a problem such as finding a skin care product that helps them to fight aging, sans harmful chemicals and too many dollar signs, or finding a double D bra that's supportive yet sexy.
Foreground benefits in your product description. Get to the point. Ask yourself, "What problems does my product solve?" and then answer the question. Try to speak to all possible uses for your product.
People dig a good story, especially when it's about them. Painting a vivid picture of your potential buyer's problem using a clever anecdote or story that positions them as the protagonist then immediately solving their problem by presenting the key benefits of your product is a smart tactic.
4. Optimize Your Product Descriptions for Search Engines
You want to make sure you're using search terms, or keywords, your target audience might use to find your product online.
You can use Ubersuggest, Keyword Eye or the Google Keyword Planner tool in Google Adwords to generate keyword ideas and gain insight on search volumes and competition levels.
Include these keywords in your product description, but don't overuse them. You want to make sure the copy flows well and doesn't sound awkward because your primary objective is to appeal to buyers.
5. Capture and Keep The Attention of Potential Buyers
Internet browsers tend to have short attention spans. Hook them right away with questions, bold statements and compelling language.
Keep it short and succinct. Long product descriptions usually don't get read. Three to four sentences tends to be good. If you want to have a longer description, make sure to break the copy up into short, easy-to-read paragraphs.
6. Use Both Action and Descriptive Words
Using fresh, vibrant language throughout your description will also help keep potential buyers enthralled. Get creative. Show personality and passion - it's contagious. Have fun.
Don't use the same word more than once. When I was writing product descriptions for sexy lingerie I spent time brainstorming and made a list of every possible descriptive word or phrase synonymous with sex appeal. Whenever I got stuck and needed to freshen up my approach, I referred to my list.
But don't get me wrong, you don't want to only use descriptive words. In fact, the more verbs the better. This helps keep the copy lively, and it allows people to envision your product in action.
Here is an example of a product description from Fab.com that allows potential buyers to picture themselves using the product. It's fun, it hooks readers right away, it speaks the language of the target audience, and clearly explains the benefits of purchasing the product.
7. Make Sure Your Product Descriptions Match The Tone of Your Brand
Before you start writing your product descriptions, you want to get clear on what defines your brand so you can establish the best language, or tone, to represent what you stand for.
For instance, if you're an eco-friendly or holistic wellness company, a nurturing or empowering tone might be a good way to go. If you're a clothing company selling colorful duds for teens, you might want to take on a more fun, youthful tone. You want the tone that works best for your company to be consistent throughout your product descriptions.
8. Don't Get Overzealous
Don't try to add hundreds of product descriptions at once. Not only will you burn yourself out, but when you do this, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll end up with copious grammatical errors and less than savory copy. This will not help your bottom line.
Set realistic goals for how many product descriptions you'll write and upload each day. Four or five a day is good.
9. Check Your Grammar
Grammatical errors can turn buyers off. Especially if your product description reads awkwardly or is hard to understand. Check your product descriptions for grammatical errors, then check them again. Then have a couple other people check them. Grammar-Monster.com is good source for easy-to-follow grammar rules and explanations.
If English is your second language or grammar just isn't your strong suit, hiring a proofreader is probably in your best interest.
Read any compelling ecommerce product descriptions lately? What made it so tempting to buy? Do share by commenting below.
“When people go to a web page, the thing that they want more than anything else is instant clarity.” - Ken McCarthy
Being able to write well is a good prerequisite for web content writing. Having a good understanding of how to write specifically for the web is even more critical.
But there is another often over-looked attribute of good web content writing: inquisitiveness.
It's the secret sauce, that magical ingredient that makes for lip-smacking good content. The more questions you can conjure - and then answer - the better.
Why is this so important?
Because people searching on the web are looking to have their questions answered - and quick. A vast majority of search inquiries are in the form of a question.
So many websites pussy-foot around crucial information, or fail to deliver it all together.
You don't want the answers to the questions your target audience is seeking buried in a bunch of gobbledygook, leaving them perplexed, and even worse: frustrated. You want to end their quest for answers.
This is why you need to have your business and your unique value clearly defined prior to sitting down at your computer.
Because if your web content doesn't clearly and succinctly answer all those questions swimming in the minds of your prospects, they'll click elsewhere without heed.
If you want to create web content that appeases a curious mind, here are some things you should be asking yourself:
Some of these questions may leave you feeling confused. There may be certain things about your business you still need to define before you worry about writing web content.
Or it may be because you're so inundated with day-to-day operations that it's hard to see the forest through the trees - so to speak. If this is the case, you may need to take a step back, or you may need to have someone else in your company manage the task.
If you can't answer certain questions about your business, then it will be virtually impossible to effectively convey your company's messaging to prospective clients on the web.
The more questions you can answer, the better your content, the better your Google rank, and the more voracious your visitors.
Questions or comments? Love to hear from you!
Have you received an arcane email from an SEO company lately?
Was it packed full of suggestions that made you feel like they were speaking in tongues?
I get them fairly regularly. So do my clients.
In fact, a client of mine received a long-winded email talking about Panda and keyword density just the other day.
My client was utterly confused. She was under the impression that pandas were cuddly creatures native to China.
I explained to her that Google likes to use cute and intriguing creatures to classify changes to their algorithms (a set of rules search engines use to rank search results).
I was half tempted to email the company that contacted her to ask them if perhaps they missed the memo that keyword density is now obsolete.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are some really good SEO companies out there that know what they're doing and would never send you puzzling, spammy style emails with incorrect information. And depending on the size and type of your business, you may very well need to hire one. But you want to make sure you choose one better than the one previously mentioned by educating yourself.
If you're a small, local business with some time to dedicate to SEO, search rank success is likely something you can achieve yourself.
SEO isn't as mystifying as you may have imagined. It's an art. It takes perseverance and online marketing savvy, but it's doable.
And really, the secret to successful SEO lies in your content. If you focus on putting out high-grade stuff and promoting it effectively, you'll be ahead of the game.
If you want to have the kind of web content Google covets, you need to think more like an SEO copywriter. Here are nine SEO copywriting tips to improve your Google rank:
Identify your keywords. Use them. But don't overuse them.
Google is trying to get people to steer away from writing for search engines. They want you to write for people.
It's hard to do that when you're trying to make a certain keyword fit into every other sentence. Stop worrying about how many times your keyword shows up. Google penalizes for keyword stuffing.
On the other hand, not having the right keywords on your page isn't in your best interest either.
Google claims individual keywords matter less and that it's more about the collective meaning of your content, but as of right now, having the right keywords in your content still seems to matter.
You can figure out what keywords are relevant for your industry by using a tool such as ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner - you have to have an Adwords account and must be logged in.
Use long tail keywords.
Since the advent of Google Hummingbird, the focus has been placed on long-tail keywords (more specific search terms with lower search volumes).
Google is trying to accommodate the many people who search in a conversational manner or by typing in questions. Blogging is a good way to target these long-tail keywords.
Put keywords in headlines, italics and bullet points.
Keywords have more weight when they are toward the top of your copy and are in headlines, italics, bold or bullet points.
This isn't something to obsess over, you want your content to read naturally, but if you can make your keywords work well in these formats, do so.
Write an irresistible title tag and meta description.
Title tags and meta descriptions are extremely important for SEO.
Theses terms sound intimidating to people, but your title tag is just the title that shows up for a particular website when someone does a search. The meta description is the short, two sentence description that shows up underneath it.
Not only should these include your keywords, they should also be written in a way that entices people to click on the site.
Your title tag should be 70 characters or less and your meta description should be 160 characters or less.
Your web designer can put these in for you, but if you have a WordPress site, you can get an SEO plugin that makes it easy to put in title tags and meta descriptions yourself.
Write more in-depth content.
Google favors in-depth content - 500 words or more.
Longer content doesn't mean you need to be boring. It means you have the opportunity to provide an abundance of helpful information, the kind people are likely to share.
Make sure to break up written content with headlines, short paragraphs, bullet points, photos and videos.
Concentrate on creating cohesive, well-written, well-organized, highly informative content.
Your content should be authentic, devoid of grammatical errors and read clearly. Once you write it, make sure to read it, re-read it, and then have someone else do the same. You may even want to recruit a proofreader.
Poorly written content could potentially evoke the wrath of Google Panda, the algorithm Google implemented to snuff out article spinning, duplicate content and low quality content.
Avoid possible ramifications at all costs by putting out respectable stuff.
Your content should be well focused, rather than all over the place. Get really clear on what you want to talk about before you start writing. Creating an outline helps.
Your content needs to be easy to grasp, since you're writing for humans and all. Not to mention that most of the visitors to your site will be scanners.
Google wants you to make creating a good user experience a top priority. Be a beacon for your clients. Enlighten them, show them the way.
Offer lots of helpful content that eases their worries and makes them feel empowered. Along with this improving your bottom line, Google will reward you kindly.
Add calls to action.
What good is coming up in the top search results if your site isn't bringing in customers?
If you want people to buy your product or contact you to discuss your service, you need to direct them to the appropriate action on every page. Examples are "Shop now," "Download our free report," "Click here to sign up now," or "Click here to get started for free."
Buddy up with Google Plus.
Your activity on Google + has the most bearing on your SEO results.
You want to make sure you have an account and are posting regularly. You also want to make sure that you have a prominently placed Google Plus share button on your site and are encouraging people to click on it.
And even more importantly, you want to make sure you're publishing your blog posts using Google Authorship. Here's how: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.
If you show Google love, they'll reciprocate.
Once you've created content worth sharing, add share buttons.
Share buttons need to be pervasive on your site, especially on your blog.
Although Google + is the most important, how much the content on your website is getting shared by the other major social media platforms is something Google factors in highly when determining where to rank your site.
The more people sharing your content, the better your search rank. You can use ShareThis.com or AddThis.com to set up your share buttons. Using Click to Tweet within your content is a great way to get people to share your content via Twitter.
Share your content everywhere.
Here's the caveat to my previous tip: you can't just put up share buttons and hope for the best.
You need to be actively promoting everything you publish on all the major social media platforms. This will drive people to your site who are likely to "like," tweet, +1, and share your content - assuming you're putting out good stuff.
Want more information on how to write fabulous web content Google is likely to dig? Click here: How To Write Effective Website Content
Questions? Would love to hear from you. Please comment below.
If you're not posting regularly or your content isn't captivating, then you won't have much success marketing your business through Facebook. The more likes, comments and shares your posts have, the more they get seen.
Without a good assortment of alluring content, you'll swear you're hearing crickets.
Figuring out what to post can be daunting for business owners, and even for social media content managers, but there are certain posts that make choice go-tos.
To take some of the guess work out of it, I've compiled 11 best types of Facebook posts that are likely to create high engagement.
Here is what you should post on Facebook to get people jazzed about your brand and increase exposure through likes, comments and shares:
Fill In The blank
This post by Sunset magazine is doubly effective because it not only encourages comments through a fill in the blank format, it also includes a link to an article about the photo on their website, which helps increase web traffic.
This fill in the blank post by BareMinerals is ultrasmart because it prompts people to talk about BareMinerals products, and a clever hashtag is used to denote the conversation.
Hashtags haven't really taken off on Facebook, but it certainly doesn't hurt to use them, and it's likely this post was used on other social media platforms.
This post from Discover Claremont utilizes a large photo of a stunning historical building. It's an image that inspires nostalgia for those who grew up or live in the area.
This Facebook page had less than a 1,000 likes at the time, but this post got over 350 likes! This happened because people really dig the photo, and they were given a call to action to click like. Pretty compelling stuff.
Encouraging Likes on Steroids
This post by White House Black Market - my fave place to shop - is very powerful because it includes a call to action to click like, it promotes a hashtag with a great photo montage of real women looking fierce, and encourages engagement on other social media platforms. They also include a link to their site for more information - smart move.
You know the old adage, "If you don't ask, you don't get." It's so true. This post by California State Parks is persuasive because first they ask a question, which prompts a response in itself.
Then they tell you to post your guesses - in case you weren't clear on the next step. Then they tell you to share it with your friends, providing a reason to do so - it will be fun to wipe the floor with your friends in a battle of nature knowledge.
This is an aggressive yet highly effective post by BareMinerals. It does three very powerful things. It gives an incentive for liking the post by giving a very specific number of how many likes the post must have to reveal an exclusive gift - it's important to offer gifts that are exclusive to fans because it keeps people engaged.
And they've suggested that this might happen quicker if people share it with their friends. They definitely exceeded their goal of 3,000 likes. Big surprise: people are partial to free stuff.
Sometimes a simple question can go a long way, especially if it's something people really care about.
If your audience is a bunch of foodies, like Whole Foods', asking them about the tastiest thing they ate yesterday will be a hard question for them to resist. Simple yet potent.
You should keep text-only posts to a minimum - pics tend to be more powerful - and limit them to one line. You want the question to be really easy to read and understand. Two or three part questions don't tend to get much of a response.
Come to find out, most people have strong feelings when it comes to defining quality grub. For instance, I've always been unwavering in my opinion that if it's not chocolate, it's not candy.
My husband on the other hand, treats gummy candy like it's crack. Target banked on these intense emotions people harbor about their Halloween candy.
Including a hunger-inducing photo and the brand logo made this effortless yet ingenious post all the more triumphant.
Even though I'm a big fan, I'm not trying to promote or show favoritism to White House Black Market - or BareMinerals for that matter. They've just really upped their game recently in the marketing arena.
Again, it all starts with a fab photo, and well, having multiple doesn't hurt. Showing the necklace with the price tag in large font and then having subsequent photos below showing the necklace with different outfits is genius.
But what really makes this post a superb one, is that this is a special offering that's exclusive to fans. This is very important.
Only posting special offers and promotions is not good social media marketing, you want to mix it up, but posting them from time to time and highlighting the exclusivity of them not only boosts sales, it helps build relationships, along with a fanatical following.
This is a clever way to highlight a new product. Rather than just saying, "Check out our new product," which would be boring, Fab.com found a simple way to engage people with a call to action. It's unlikely that most people know the answer, but it certainly sparks curiosity.
Helpful Update In An Intimate Tone
Having a social media persona is sheer brilliance. All updates by Mama's on 39 are delivered by a fictitious woman with an air of Southern hospitality who simply goes by Mama.
What could have been a humdrum notification about Labor Day hours makes people feel warm and fuzzy. It communicates that Mama's on 39 truly cares about you.
Showing love and concern for your customer's schedule and comfort can go a long way. Perhaps a photo would have made this more effective, and as a copywriter, I can't help but notice the grammatical errors, but Mama's on 39 certainly has the right idea.
Featuring your employees is important for relationship building. La Parolaccia Osteria Italiana could of posted a generic graphic saying "Happy Labor Day," but instead they took the time to gather for a group photo, which is way more personable.
Taking it a step further and featuring photos of individual employees and customers would be even better.
This post is a slick way to take quotes to the next level. Zarusa is a clothing line that is trying to brand themselves as sophisticated and cutting-edge. They chose a quote that helps communicate that, and it's aligned with both a celebrity and major political figure - bonus points.
Zarusa posts all quotes using their company color with a compelling black and white graphic. They also write something about the quote in their status, which shows they're engaged. Not everyone has a graphics department. If you want to put quotes on intriguing pics, use PicMonkey.
Here's a simpler post from Soma. Quoting Judy Blume was a smart move because most of their target demographic grew up reading the celebrated author. Adding their logo to the quote makes it a better post for branding.
Motivational Message With Photo
People are sticklers for inspirational and motivational messages. Chobani has a brand message that's rooted in healthy living and they're affirming that with this post.
The fact that they've tagged people in it and included a nice photo makes this post all the more fruitful.
This motivational message by Kashi is well branded with their logo and colors. And like the post above, the content is not only motivational, it helps support the brand message.
Have you found a new post type you're in love with that you just can't wait to try out? Awesome! But pick a few more.
You want to put out a variety of posts. Only posting quotes or exclusive promotions isn't effective for expanding your brand's presence and building relationships with your target audience.
You'll bore people and they'll start to ignore you. But if you mix it up, have fun, show personality, and engage, your brand's Facebook presence will boom.
Want even more information on how to spur interaction on your Facebook page? Check out How To Increase Engagement On Your Facebook Business Page Without The Boost.
What's your fave type of Facebook post? Did you learn a new one from this blog post? What will you be adding to your Facebook posting bag-o-tricks?
Love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Every blog post you write for your business should help you gain credibility, drive traffic to your website and support your SEO efforts. This may sound like a lot, but if your blog posts aren't doing this, you're wasting your time.
So how do you gain popularity and clout through your blog posts, rev up engagement and boost SEO? Well, it's actually just a matter of employing some simple tricks to make your blog work better for you. Here are five tricks that will turn your blog into a powerhouse that rakes in leads, giving you serious marketing mojo.
Offer Lots of Value
DO NOT put calls to action to buy in your blog posts. Your audience is not at that stage yet. The purpose of a blog isn't to sell, it's to serve. The sales will follow.
Many people freak out about giving away their industry secrets. You don't want to give away all your secrets, but you do want to show you know your stuff and can easily solve problems for people. This paves the way for a trusting relationship.
Most of the time, even if a prospective customer does learn all the ins and outs of how you provide a service or create a product they would still prefer for you to do it for them. And if other people in your industry are using your information, that tends to make you an industry leader, which is the goal, right?
Besides juicy, helpful content, you can provide ample value with links to further information. Definitely link to other posts on your site that might provide more insight on your topic.
Just because there's a comment box at the end of each of your posts doesn't mean that people will comment. If you want people to comment, you have to ask.
Invite comments at the end of each blog post by asking a thought provoking question related to your topic, or ask if anyone has stories to share relating to your topic. People love putting in their two cents.
Follow up your question with something like, "Would love to hear from you. Please comment below." This will make it abundantly clear that you want them to comment.
Just be a good host and respond to all comments you receive. People won't comment if they think you don't read them. Plus, responding to comments is a great way to form relationships.
Want to take it a step further? If you want people to see the comments for your blog post on Facebook, use the Facebook Comments Box. You can get the plug-in here: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments/
Optimize Your Posts
One of the main functions of a blog is to support SEO. Make sure you use keywords in your post.
The title of your post takes precedence. To come up with an SEO-friendly title, brainstorm questions people might have pertaining to your industry and how they might do a Google search to find answers.
You can chat with customers or look on sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers to help with this process. Just experimenting with various Google searches can help, too. Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get clear on how people might be searching for the topic, whether or not it has a decent search volume and how competitive the keyword is.
Keep in mind that your blog is an opportunity to come up for more long-tail keywords. This means using very specific keyword phrases that may draw in less traffic than broader keyword phrases (aka short-tail keywords), but result in more quality visitors.
Use the keyword phrase you're targeting towards the beginning of the title. The title of your blog should be 65 characters or less. If you can, use your keywords in the first few sentences of your post, then a couple more times throughout your post - stuffing keywords into your blog post is not in your best interest.
Make All Your Blog Posts Shareable
Making your blog posts shareable starts, of course, with creating valuable content that's worth sharing. But the key is adding social share buttons, so your posts can be shared on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, etc. with just a click.
Making your blog posts shareable doesn't just help with visibility, it helps with SEO. Google factors in social data when indexing a site. If your blog posts get a lot of shares, Google may favor your site over the competition.
You can use ShareThis.com or AddThis.com to add social share buttons to your posts. You also want to make sure you're sharing every post on all the major social media platforms to drive traffic.
Show Google Some Love
Google is pretty candid about the fact that being their buddy is in your best interest. It makes sense, right? According to Searchmetrics, activity on Google Plus is the most important factor in SEO ranking.
If you want to show loyalty to Google, make sure that a Google Plus button is among your social share buttons. Share your blog posts regularly on Google Plus.
And I can't emphasize this enough: set up Google Authorship. Here's a great article that will walk you through how to set it up: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.
Do you think your blog could benefit from one of these tricks? What have been some of your struggles when it comes to blogging for your business? How do you think some of these tactics might help? Please comment below. Love to hear from ya!
Ready to call a copywriter to create a website that showcases all things fab about your business, or a blog that drives engagement and SEO, or perhaps you're ready to catapult your content to the next level?
Halt. Calling a copywriter to get a quote may seem straightforward. But in many cases it's not.
Content needs tend to differ drastically from biz to biz, which is why most copywriters quote per project and require a more lengthy phone chat than you may have been anticipating.
Assuming they’re a professional, the copywriter knows you’re busy and respects your time.
But in order to provide you with an accurate quote and deliver good customer service, they need to be clear on the scope of your project and your unique content needs.
So when calling a copywriter, anticipate answering questions about things like word count, tone, your target demographic, the purpose of your content, etc.
Being prepared to answer these questions creates a win-win scenario. The copywriter doesn’t have to worry about doing extra work they won’t get paid for and you don’t have to worry about being quoted for things you don’t actually need or not fully getting your needs met.
When both parties are clear on the expectations, it sets the tone for a strong working relationship. If it turns out to be the right fit, it sets the project up for success.
Spending more time initially to get clear on your objectives and clearly define your content needs will save you loads of time in the long run – less copywriters to call, shorter conversations - and will help you find just the right fit, especially if you’re looking to get multiple bids.
Here is what you should do to prepare before calling a copywriter to ensure it’s a smooth, quick and prosperous endeavor:
Know Your Budget
A lot of people don’t know what to expect when they call a copywriter for a quote, but it’s helpful to have a ballpark figure of the most you’re willing to spend.
Most copywriters charge a flat rate for projects, but they base their fee on an hourly rate of $50 - $100 per hour. This is the typical range, but this rate can vary drastically depending on the copywriter. The time it takes a copywriter to complete a project can vary, too.
Keep in mind that just because a copywriter can complete a project in less time or for less money than another doesn’t mean the work will be quality, which is why, beyond budget, you need to make sure you’re getting good value for what you’re paying for.
Spending time looking at samples of the prospective copywriter’s work will help with this.
Take A Good Look At Their Website
You may be in a hurry to get quotes, but it’s worth it to take a few minutes to look at the copywriter’s portfolio and About page to make sure they produce quality work and that the kind of work they do makes sense for your company’s needs.
Assess the following:
Make It Easy To Understand Your Needs
Make sure you’re able to be explicit on your objectives or your conversation with the copywriter will be futile. Most copywriters have a series of questions that need to be answered and it’s important to the success of your project that you’re able to come through.
Here are some things you should be prepared to tell a copywriter:
Make it a breeze by providing the following:
You want to make sure your project will be completed in a timely manner, but you also want to make sure the copywriter has ample time to do what they do best: write blockbuster copy.
Depending on the scope of the project, the turnaround time can be anywhere from five business days to twenty – or more.
Know what your time frame is, and if you can leave plenty of time for the project to be completed, do so. Copywriters tend to charge hefty fees for rush jobs.
Laying A Solid Foundation
Once you do pick up the phone and deliver the details for your project, be prepared to wait a couple days to receive a quote.
Answering initial questions for a copywriter really lays the foundation for the relationship, because once you hire a copywriter, they will have more in order to understand your business.
It’s important that before calling, you make sure you’ll have enough time to answer them once the project commences. Like the process described above, this bit of grunt work will ensure effective copy that compliments your brand.
Questions or comments? Love to hear from you. Please respond below.
You may have noticed that ever since Facebook went public, you have the option to "boost" everything you post for a small fee. There have been more prompts than ever to advertise, and far less people see your posts. In fact, according to Facebook, business pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average. So what do you do if you don't want to pay every time you want people to see your post? How do you still get the most out of Facebook? Well, you have to up your game. Your business has to be even more charming than it was before. Facebook's Edgerank algorithm makes it so that the more people like, comment and share on your posts, the more people are likely to see it.
Here is how to ensure people see and engage with your posts:
Don't be too salesy or self-promotional. People do love special offers, but are likely to be turned off if that's all you post. Plus, Facebook is about branding and building relationships, so if you only post special offers to promote your business, you're losing out on the true value of Facebook. You don't want to be constantly talking at people, you want to talk with them. Social media is about being social.
Post funny stuff, show personality. Again, if you're all about business, people will lose interest. Quickly. The reality is that part of your job as a Facebook marketer is to entertain. Get creative, try different things. Although, you do want to make sure that what you post is relevant to your industry or brand. Photos of cats in bread is amusing, but unless you're in the pet industry, it's not going to help your cause.
Use photos as much as possible. Besides the fact that people are drawn to visuals, especially compelling ones, photos take up a lot of space on a newsfeed, you can't miss them. It will help you capture the attention of those 16%. And when people click on your photos, it increases EdgeRank.
Use quotes, make them pretty. People dig photos, especially on Facebook. So if you find an inspiring quote to post, go the extra mile and put it on a pretty back drop using an app like Quozio. It can be great riding the coattails of famous people - and it tends to be foolproof - but you can also use this tactic to post the witty and inspiring things put out by your brand. Sally Hogshead of Fascinate does a great job at this. Follow her lead and put your website address and name of your business at the bottom.
Post at ideal times. Posting between 1 - 3pm is optimal. Wednesdays are a great day to post. And according to Buddy Media, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday than other days of the week. I don't tend to post before 8am or 8pm, but I can't claim this as a golden rule. When to post really depends on the online habits of your target audience. I had a Facebook focus group composed of 15 - 18 year olds I regularly posted on for a project. If I wanted them to see my posts, I needed to post between 8 and 11pm. Depending on the type of business you have, some of your Facebook audience may be on different time zones. It's a good rule of thumb to post at different times for a few weeks and then look at your Facebook Insights for patterns of engagement.
Hold contests. Facebook has decreed that you must use a third party app to hold contests. Use an app like Shortstack that requires people to "like" your page to enter. Make sure the prize you offer relates to your brand. You can use the same app to create a newsletter sign up or a page that promotes your blog to get the most out of your Facebook page.
Ask people to click "like" share or comment. You would be absolutely amazed how effective this is, especially if you have a cool photo to boot. All you have to do is say something like, "Click "like" if you dig it!" Or you can prompt a comment by starting the post with, "Tell us," or ask a question and end it with "Thoughts?" or "Do Share."
Post regularly. You should post 3 to 4 times a day. This may seem like a lot, but if someone has 600 friends who post regularly, their newsfeed can fill up quickly, and then there's Facebook's pesky Edgerank algorithm.
Posting regularly and frequently increases the chance of your post being seen and your brand staying in the forefront of your follower's minds. To make posting frequently easier, you can schedule posts directly through Facebook or you can use Hootsuite.
Make sure to give enough time in between posts for people to engage - at least two to three hours.
Respond and "like" all comments, and "like" any of your posts people share. Remember, anytime there's action on a post that can prolong it's lifespan and reach. And social media is about conversations. You want to make sure you're encouraging them.
Share helpful and exclusive information. You want to make sure you're being of service by providing information that's insightful and helps people solves problems. This sets up a trusting relationship and gives more people reasons to like, comment and share your posts - especially if it makes them look good by doing so. Infographics are great for this. You want to make your online entourage feel like they have VIP status. Giving them the DL on upcoming products or services or posting exclusive sales just for them will make for one engaged fan base.
Use hashtags. Yep, Facebook finally jumped on the bandwagon. You can now take advantage of hashtags. You can create clever hashtags to start conversations about your product or brand or you can use hashtags for existing topics. To find out what hashtags people are using related to your industry, go to hashtags.org. Don't get crazy with hashtags. It's spammy and in poor taste. Use one or two, preferably in the body of your post.
What do you do to increase engagement on your Facebook business page? What successes have you had? Do you boost? I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Social media does make connecting easy, but that doesn't mean you don't have to put in the leg-work (you still have to exercise social skills). It's tempting, I know. You click a button and you can instantly have a new buddy that you can send updates to about your business.
The only difference between social media marketing and traditional networking, is that social media connects you to a much larger group of people that you can talk to regularly from the comfort of your home. You still have to put your best foot forward, you still have to build and nurture the relationship. A relationship doesn't form just because you've clicked on something. There is no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to social media marketing. CLICK TO TWEET
You are the face of your business, the figure head. After going to a networking event, people remember faces, not business names. Connecting through a personal Facebook page is a good way to nurture the relationship. And now that Facebook has made it so you can create group lists for who you want to post to, such as business, acquaintances and family, using your personal page for online networking is much easier and more comfortable.
There are limitations with a personal page on Facebook, and you do want to have a page specifically for your business so you can reap the benefits of insights, special offers, poll questions and the like, but both play vital roles in making connections.
Although having a lot of "friends" might make you look popular, it won't help you build the kind of relationships for your business that effect your ROI. There are so many people who become friends with me on Facebook, who usually have never met me, and without messaging me or doing anything to start a conversation, immediately invite me to "like" their business page.
No One Wants Fake Friends
The fact of the matter is, even though Facebook has deemed us "friends," we don't know each other from atom. I don't know about you, but I don't tend to care about stuff that's posted by people I don't know. I've rarely liked their posts - if ever - and they've rarely liked mine. I may have liked their page because they suggested I like it, but I don't actually engage with their Facebook page, especially if their content has no real relevance to me, which is typically the case.
You don't want people to like your Facebook business page just to be polite, you want them to like it because they're truly interested in your brand and want to engage. Otherwise, what's the point?
When people send me a friend request just because we have 50 mutual friends - many of which I don't really know - it's awkward. I try not to accept every friend request I get from people I don't know, but I don't like to exclude people. I consider that they could be a valuable resource.
I do try to message them after I accept their invite in attempts to connect, but sometimes I get caught up with projects and lose the window. I've been really pleasantly surprised lately because two people that friended me actually messaged me to introduce themselves. It started some good conversations, it got me excited, it gave me hope.
Change The Spiel
The same concept applies for LinkedIn. Using the generic invite LinkedIn provides is not a good way to start a relationship. Again, I typically don't accept requests from people who do this. You shouldn't either. It doesn't matter how many people you have on your contact list, if you never speak to them, they are of no value.
If you want to truly connect with someone on LinkedIn, you should let them know how you know them or why you want to connect. Just changing the automatic LinkedIn spiel slightly shows you care. CLICK TO TWEET
There are times when I will accept a generic request to connect on LinkedIn even though I don't know the person if I think they may be a good connection or if I suspect they're connecting with me to do business and just don't know better.
When this happens I accept their request and immediately send them a personalized note thanking them for joining my network and asking them how I can be of service. I've gotten some good business this way. It's simple, but brilliantly social.
Follows Can Falter
So many people follow someone on Twitter just so they'll follow back and then never connect with them. No retweet, no direct message, no nothing. You can't just go around following thousands of people and then never have conversations with them. It's not enough to tweet good content. People are less likely to pay attention to your tweets if you don't give them the time of day. If you show you care, they will too.
It irritates me when I thank someone for the follow and they message me back talking about their services. This tells me that they have no interest in getting to know me, so I unfollow them. Or I completely ignore their tweets, which in a sense is worse. Don't miss out on the opportunity to start meaningful conversations because you're too busy touting your services on Twitter.
If you want to start solid relationships through social media:
So if you are a connection of mine via a major social media platform, I invite you to message me. I'd love to chat and get to know you.
Are you guilty of some of the things I've mentioned? Or do you excel at being social? What social media tactics do you use, or plan to in the future? Please comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
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By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips that bring in the moola! Connect on LinkedIn.