blogging

5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts That are both SEO and People Friendly

A great way to drive traffic to your site is to consistently blog on topics that relate to your business. It’s important to follow a few guidelines so that your post is not only SEO friendly, it’s also people friendly. These five tips will help you write a better blog post that looks well-formatted and eye-catching. Your posts will be easier to read and will also be naturally SEO friendly as well.  

Blogging v Brand Publishing: What's Right for Your Business?

What's right for your business? Blogging, content marketing and brand journalism are not mutually exclusive: in fact, they go hand-in-hand in a well-defined content strategy. Inbound marketing attracts your target audience to your website by sharing high-quality, useful information that they want to receive. 

How Blogging Affects Your Bottom Line

A successful communications strategy should always lead back to achieving the basic goal of boosting sales, raising funds or achieving a similar objective depending on the industry you work in. Creating a blog and writing great content can be a fantastic way to connect with your audience, build an engaged following and establish your presence online, but do these things really help us accomplish our business goals? We say yes, but don’t take our word for it. Take a look at these interesting statistics gathered by Quiksprout explaining how blogging contributes to an organization’s bottom line.

57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog. In other words, if you blog more, you’ll reach more customers. Your blog can be found by anyone online, which means you have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people every time you hit ‘publish’. In less than 24 hours, Alex Turnbull got 1000+ subscribers from a single blog post and in eight short weeks Todd Giannattasio increased website traffic by 1000% simply by using blogging.

Blogs highly affect consumer buying behaviour. 61% of US consumers have made a purchase before based on a blog post. We all understand that advertisements are designed to push consumers into a purchase and although your blog may be designed to have the same influence, the reality is that 81% of US customers trust advice and information from blogs, not ads. People enjoy reading relevant content from brands, which is why building that relationship with your customers can be so powerful.

Blogging is also one of the most effective ways to get more traffic. If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website, start blogging. Companies that blog have 80% more unique visits and business that blog 16-20 times a month have earned twice as much traffic compared to those that do not. Social media, search engines and email are ranked the top traffic sources generated through blogging and as long as your website is mobile friendly, your blog can be viewed from any device including desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

How blogging affects lead generation? With an increase in traffic, leads follow suite. Research has shown that businesses that blog generate 126% more leads than those that do not. Many believe blogging can be the best lead generator, particularly in B2B businesses. Blogging 16-20 times per month has earned B2B businesses nearly 3 times as many leads.

How to make sure your blogging efforts actually generate results? It is all in the execution. The most important thintog is that your content provides value to your audience. You also must ensure that your content is unique, that you have built a strong social media following , that opts into your email list are generated and finally you must be consistent.

Ultimately, blogging pays off in time. The content you create will remain online and your posts will even rank better on search engines the longer it exists. While ROI can be difficult to determine with so many varying factors, marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to generate a positive ROI.

3 Tips on Building Relationships with Journalists

Relationship building is an invaluable skill. If you have strong relationships with the right people in your industry, you’ll have no problem boosting your business. When it comes to the world of media, developing relationships with journalists is key.

Here are three tips to help you connect authentically:

1. Read a journalist’s work

If you think that sending a generic pitch to every media outlet in the city is going to get you tons of traction every time, you are sadly mistaken. The first step in showing a journalist that you are interested in more than just getting your story out there, is reading their work. Once you have an understanding of what kind of stories the journalist covers, send a personalized email and demonstrate why you are sending your story to them. If you can make a connection between their past work and your pitch, you are more likely to get the coverage you desire.

2. Start a conversation on Twitter

Most journalists enjoy interacting with their fans online. Again, you want to show journalists that you have an invested interest in the work they do. A simple retweet, favorite, or reply can help you get on the journalist’s radar. If you find that your relationship begins to develop through Twitter, don’t be afraid to try an innovative approach by direct messaging your pitch.

3. Know that journalists are human

Journalists are walking, talking, breathing, thinking individuals and we have to treat them like we would any other person in our life. If you’re looking to build a relationship, go sip some cocktails after work, or squeeze in a coffee date. Talk about anything, other than business. It’s okay to crack a joke and show some personality from time to time. Knowing when to take off your professional hat will allow genuine relationships to develop effortlessly.

For more Relationship Building Tips

http://www.ipra.org/secciones.php?sec=8&nid=69

Tips for Using Images in Your Blogs

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 Articles with images get 94% more total views

Visual marketing grabs attention and communicates a message that is retained longer than text alone. Adding images to your blogs is more likely to get the viewer to read what you say, and reduce your bounce rate. If you're new to using images in your blogs, there are free and easy to use tools that make adding images to your blog simpler and more effective.

1. Search for photos that are approved for use ~ BlogHer

If you are using images from the internet, make sure that you are sourcing images that are free to use, or subscribe to an image subscriptions site where you pay to use that image on your blog.

Sources for free images include

Stock photos sites you can subscribe to - some are by the image, others weekly or annual fees - include

2. Take your own photos

You don't need to be an expert photographer to take and use photos for your blogs. Many mobile phones now have built-in cameras, and there are free and easy to use photo editing toolsand apps that you can use to create collages, add text, crop, or enhance your simple photo. Some free and simple to use photo editing apps are

3. Create images

There are many free and paid tools to design and edit images. Many of the basic free tools also have upgrades to versions with more features and functionality. Some free tools we like are

4. Use screenshots

A screenshot is an excellent way to visually capture and share information on your blog. Using photo imaging tools, you can also edit your screenshot to include

  • arrows and circles
  • text and captions
free screenshot editing tools
free screenshot editing tools

To take a screenshot, just use the prtscr(print screen) key on your keyboard. Free and easy tools for capturing and editing screenshots are

5. Quote makers

Quotes are a great way to add emphasis and authority to your blog post. Instead of just citing  your source in quotation marks, free quote generator tools add an impactful image to your blog. Some free quote generators we use are

articles with images get 94% more views
articles with images get 94% more views

For More Information on Images in Blogs
My Site Auditor: 8 Ways to Make Your Blog Post More Visual
Social Media Today: 10 Benefits of Using Images in Blogs

Tips for Brainstorming Blog Topics

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56 percent of businesses that blogged at least monthly
acquired customers through their blogs

~ HubSpot

The decision to start a blog is a smart strategy for your business to build relationships with your customers and become more visible online: search engines give a higher ranking to sites that update their sites regularly with relevant, quality content. Whether you decide to blog monthly, weekly, or even daily, ultimately you will ask the question:

What am I going to blog about?

Every online business should create a content strategy that attracts the right viewers to their site, captures their interest, and converts visitors to customers or fans. A content strategy can evolve and change over time as the business evolves and changes, but investing the time to create a content strategy will payoff when you're too busy to come up with blog ideas.

Blog Topics For Any Business

1.  Questions you are asked by your customers, suppliers, or fans

The chances are if one customer or supplier asks a question, other customers have the same question but just haven't asked yet. Your website may have a FAQ page. Perhaps your sales team has questions they are asked regularly maybe you have a comment or feedback form on your site.

An ongoing Q and A blog column provides information your customers need to know in a location they can easily find it: right on your website.

2.  Seasonal and special events or news

Whether it's Christmas or summer or national hot dog day, seasonal events and promotions are a good topic for business blogging. Nearly every business, service or nonprofit sees changes in their activity level due to seasonal shifts. You probably already know the reasons your business activity shifts during the calendar year: use the seasons as a blog topic to educate or entertain or provide additional benefits to your followers.

•    seasonal promotions or special hours or customer events •    special uses for your products during different times of year •    photos of your team at a special event

3. Your hobby or passion

Some businesses truly don't have a product or service that can attract a fan base, or that they want to blog about. Some businesses instead blog about something they are passionate about, or that their customers are passionate about. If you own a small business but don't have a service that you want to write about, think about why you opened this business, what your employees care about, what your customers care about. Blog about topics you and your customers care about.

For example, you may not want to write about the technical benefits of your product line for your auto parts business.  But your customer base may be big NASCAR fans, just like you are. Writing about the NASCAR circuit and racing news on your blog could attract a big following who reads your blog, make comments, and share your stories. A highly engaged fan base will help your search ranking, but also provide information that is relevant to your customers.

4.  Fun information

Does your receptionist or the delivery guy have a recipe everyone raves about at the monthly team potluck? Share that recipe with a photo of your staff member: keeping your website and blog personal is an excellent strategy for building relationships with your readers.

5. Customer news

Instead of focusing your blog on your business, talk about your customers: who they are, what they do, what they care about.  A blog can entertain as well as educate: we've all seen photos of travelers holding up their daily newspaper in a far-off location: people like to know you're interested in them, and customers - and potential customers - like to see who else is using your product.

•    spotlight your longtime client who coaches Little League and the team just went to the finals •    introduce a new client who just moved to the area and has a business •    congratulate a donor who reached a career milestone

Tip: Sometimes writers block hits, and you know the topics you want to blog about, you just can't think of what to write about today. There are several easy to use blog topic generators that can help you come up with specific blog topics or ideas. HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator is a free tool: all you do is enter 3 words, and see what blog topics pop up. If you're not inspired, try it again, put the words in a different order, use different words: play around with it and see what pops up. I tried the words

business        blog          topics

and Blog Generator suggested the following 5 blog topics:

Your blog can be technical information you need to share with customers, motivational images and videos and quotes that inspire your success, or fun information you want to share. A blog is your opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and grow your fan base - and help your SEO while you're at it.

For More Information on Finding Business Blogging Topics
Entrepreneur: Need Ideas for Your Business Blog?
Business2Community: Content Topics and Ideas for Your Blog