Business Blog Posts, 8 Steps to get started

Business Blog Posts

According to Ignite Spot, 77% of Internet users read blogs, 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites, and 12 million people blog via social networks. Here’s a brief guide to creating great business blog posts.

Business Blog Posts

Blogging is not going to go away. As marketers, blogging is essential to our jobs – but it’s not simple. We have to come up with a subject, write in an engaging matter, optimise for SEO and take a ton of other steps to make sure we are writing the best possible post we can to make it stand out.  Against 6.7 million people

Though blogging is not a science there are certain steps you can follow to make sure it has the essential components necessary to perform well.

Here are 8 steps that can get you on the right path to blogging like a pro.

1) Understand your audience.  Having a clear understanding of your audience is vital. What is their demographic? Are they computer literate? What will engage them? Consider what you know about your customers’ personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for the blog post.

2) Have a topic and a working title. Before you do anything, you need to choose a topic for your blog post. It can be pretty general, but it is essential to come up with a few topic ideas to get you started. After you choose one to run with, you need to create a working title. What’s the difference? A topic is general, while a working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.

3) Write an introduction (and make it grab the attention). Grab the reader’s attention as soon as humanly possible. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs of the introduction, they will stop reading. Full stop.  Thereafter explain exactly WHY the reader should continue with your post – how you will entertain with a story or explain away a problem. Make it succinct.

4) Organise your content. Sometimes a post can contain a huge amount of information. That said, even if it is a short, precise piece the trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content or receive the content in the most convenient method. The organisation can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organised! Remember attention spans are short and probably getting shorter!

5) Write your content. Use the outline you created in step 4 and fill in the blanks – you can do as much research as you need. Having some writing skills here is useful but not imperative. Writing is learned with experience and even the most seasoned bloggers had to start somewhere.

6) Format! Tags are imperative as they act as keywords and help readers find your blog post with ease. Meta Description is a snapshot subtitle which should inform the reader exactly what to expect from the article. Then you must consider the visual elements. A graphic is not always necessary but it will be included in any social media post or tweet you  post. The layout of the text is imperative as it can easily deter readers before they start. 

7) Include a Call to Action. At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and, eventually, you get a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your blog post — they’re going to click on the CTA if they enjoyed your blog post and want more information on that particular topic. A great article on CTAs can be found here.

8) Optimise for Search Engines. So many articles have been written on this subject it is easy to become overwhelmed. We have a whole series of posts we will be publishing ourselves soon. For now why not try here?

With thanks to Rachel Sprung at blog.hubspot.com

9 ways (plus a few top tips) to use Facebook to promote your event, without annoying your friends

Facebook events

There are a few simple, yet smart ways you can

Use Facebook to Promote a Public Event

without posting the same irritating messages to the same circle of friends. These tips will not only create genuine interest and standout for your event but will also engage your audience.

  1. The first recommendation would be to always have a holding page for your event, so a website or similar that will host all of the relevant information about your event. You can encourage users to sign up by promising additional insight or a freebie on arrival.
  2. Social share buttons to your registration page on the event. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective marketing and if people see other people are linking, following and sharing your event, the more visitors will perceive your content as being popular and will also want to share.

TOP TIP: The best place to position your social share buttons is at the top right “above the fold” (visible without scrolling).

  1. Use your Facebook page wisely! Even the banner/image on your page is valuable to you. At 180px by 540px there is an opportunity to use all of that space to talk about what it is you’re promoting. As does the event icon itself. A call to action – Free drink on arrival or free olives or complimentary bread and oil – these are all more appealing than the repetitive wallpaper that is: BUY TICKETS.
  2. Give your readers/followers/friends/likers MORE than just constantly harassing for a sale. If you’re a restaurant or a pub offer a recipe? Post pictures of the mouth-watering food – Instagram is a great app to do this through. If you’re hosting a festival, audio clips of featured artists can be really popular, if it’s a charity event post some case study stories of the good work the charity does.
  3. If you supply decent content, you’ll engage your audience. They’ll feel loyal towards you. They will feel as though they’re getting something back from you and won’t doubt investing in your event. Now is a good time to try and start some dialogue with your audience, start with a question – something like “Have you got your ticket yet to our next event?” or “Hands up who’s attending this event?!” You could use both your sharing link and your webpage link/registration link
  4. Facebook events – the fundamentals…
    1. Facebook Events is one of the most misused features of the social network. There are 2 ways to create an event:

In a personal profile – here you have the ability to message all invitees directly into their inbox

Via a fan page – best to use for business related events. Any changes or amends will simply go out as an update rather than a message as it would on a personal event

Do note that users have 2 inboxes and so be mindful that some messages may disappear into their ‘other’ inbox.

TOP TIP: If you’d rather not receive Event invitations/emails from certain friends but you don’t want to unfriend him/her, help is at hand! There’s a little-known feature on Facebook that allows you to block Event invitations from specific friends. Just go to Account > Privacy > Block Lists > scroll to Block event invites and type in the friend’s name. Voila. Your friend will be none the wiser.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask your attendees to share. Ask your engaged fans to please invite their friends or at least put the event on their profile giving you additional visibility.
  2. Be clear that there is a link that Facebook users need to click to register. Some people might think that by clicking the “I’m Attending” button they have signed up for your event. Write periodic updates and messages on the Event wall to encourage everyone to go get their ticket if they haven’t already.
  3. Finally, how about encouraging your audience to curate your next event. Ask them what food they love, which film they want to see or which band they like best. By having this additional involvement in the event they’ll feel more excited and part of the event itself, becoming evangelists for you!

I hope these few fundamental tips have helped. Facebook can be a really valuable asset in event planning, used poorly it can also be really irritating and off-putting to fans. There are loads of useful hints and tips all over the internet on the smart use of Facebook, its well worth having a trawl around to learn more. 

Otherwise we can always help you plan your social media effectively – info@magnificentstuff.net

8 questions to help you define your content marketing strategy

8 questions to define content strategy

So you understand the need for content. You know WHY big companies use content to market their business and keep their customers engaged. How do you go about deciding on  a  content marketing strategy to suit your company’s needs?

It is quite possible to become confused by the myriad of information available on this subject. To help here are some simple questions to help you decide.

1) What do I want to be known for? 2) What do my customers want? 3) What kind of content will they consume? 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? 5) Where should I publish my content? 6) How often should I publish? 7) What business results do I want from my content? 8) How do I know whether my content is working? Let us assume, for example, that you run a gardening firm that has progressed well and you’re looking to improve your visibility on-line through content marketing. If we address these 8 questions sample answers might be:-

1) What do I want to be known for? – Quality plants.  Stylish landscaping. Promptness of service. Originality. Customer service. 2) What do my customers want? – All of the above plus assurance of professionalism,. Value for money. Peace of mind. 3) What kind of content will they consume? – Videos. Articles. Photography. 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? – By using personal knowledge. By researching trends and fashions. 5) Where should I publish my content? – A website? Blog? Social media? 6) How often should I publish? – Weekly? Bi-weekly? Daily. At which point do I risk over-saturation? 7) What business results do I want from my content? – More customers and MORE sales 8) How do I know whether my content is working? – By periodically checking traffic stats and sales since commencing content marketing.

It is not a panacea but if you apply these simple 8 questions you should be able to see a clear path towards a successful content marketing strategy.

8 ways to ensure your website works

 

web-navigation-04

 

We all know that a well designed website can improve your company image and help to generate leads and sales. How well is your website designed though? Could yours be costing you money rather than making it?

Here are eight errors to look out for:-

1) Any music or other audio playing immediately or loading without the specific link being clicked or chosen. Guaranteed to annoy and irritate.

2) Any use of pop-up windows whatsoever. Particularly ones that fade into the background and hide behind the current browser.

3) Any ‘front-door’ page or intro that states ‘If you don’t reach website within 5 second click here’. Research shows that 25% of customers will be gone before the 5 seconds is up.

4) Badly designed from-end. Your home page should tell customers what you are about IMMEDIATELY.

5) Any type of of auto-play video, animation, scrolling, flashing text, marquee or other gimmicks. Unless you’re selling the gimmicks, of course.

6) Clashing colours, too many colours or a colour scheme not consistent with your company or brand. We have written a great article on the psychology of colour here.

7) Web pages too large for different browsers, or non-responsive sites. No-one wants to scroll horizontally. Not since 1998, and remember many of your audiences will be viewing your site from a mobile/tablet sized device

8) My pet hate. Navigation buttons which flash, drop excessive shadow, revolve, vibrate or do anything other than help the customer navigate.

Beware of anything on your site that smacks of style over effectiveness. Any navigation icon or element MUST have explicitly user-friendly text and function.

Research has shown that ALL of these design errors have a negative effect on loyalty and stickiness to your site. Why not check your website today?

 

Website design errors – with thanks to Red Website Design