Never Give Up On Your Internet Business

DSCF9585Does fear of failure keep you from starting exploring new ventures?
Have you ever asked yourself, why online success comes easily to other people, but seems to be eluding you all the time?
Have schemers driven you to the point of giving up?

My advice is short, sweet and to the point: You need to know that, it’s always too soon to quit! Remember quitters never succeed.

Successful people hang in there, they get back up when they fall and try again. You see, your friends who have become Online Success Stories didn’t throw in the towel and quit when the going got tougher, NO, No , No! They knew what they wanted in life and they wanted it badly enough to persevere through the desert, and what happened: They got to the other end. They paid the price and achieved their Online business dream. You CAN too ,only if you don’t quit on yourself and your internet venture.

Remember: It’s always too soon to give up. In other words, Never Give Up until you get the results that you after.
All the best!

Howard Mahere

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A Positive approach is a prerequisite for success

In the course of operating their businessess entrepreneurs meet challenging situations on a daily basis.  However, its how they react that determines their altitude.  It is very important for the business owner to know the value of challenges.  That challenges are meant to make us strong, many of the great achievers we see today turned obstacles into stepping stones and in the end became successful beyond measure.

Today, I have decided to share a story which I am sure will help to make us appreciate the role of obstacles in our different situations .  Lets learn to welcome challenges for our own growth.

Positive Approach

By: Author Unknown

A little girl walked daily to and from school.  Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trip to school.  As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lighting.

The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, through the sky and full of concern, the mother quickly got in her car and drove along the route to her child’s school.

As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile.  Another and another were to follow quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking up and smiling.

Finally, the mother called over to her child and asked, “What are you doing?”

The child answered, smiling, “God just keeps taking pictures of me”.

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What I’m Loving This Week!

“Success is a direct result of ACTION.
Everything worth having is worth WORKING FOR.

Nothing in life is free. GOD gave the birds
food, but HE didn’t throw it into their nests for them!
They have to go and work for it.

If you have the will to win you have ACHIEVED half your
success; but if you DON’T you have achieved half your
Failure.”

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Quote

“Focus on your Potential instead of your Limitations.”
-Alan L McGinnis

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3 FACTORS THAT HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT ON YOUR CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS!

Sharing good stuff:

In today’s business world, it is impossible to even think of building a brand without marketing your content online. Around 75% of marketers have realized the power of effective content marketing and are now investing a lot more in these campaigns than ever before. In this regard, it is worth noting that 70% people prefer learning about a brand through good quality articles, instead of the usual advertisements.

The right recipe for an effective content marketing strategy boils down to three major ingredients.

Great Content That Resonates With Your Target Audience

The core ingredient for a successful content marketing campaign is the content that you present to your audience. Better the quality of content, more is the likelihood of your investment giving better results. At the same time, quantity matters as well, depending on how you want to drive your campaign.

 

The following things should be taken into consideration while creating content:

  • Originality
  • Appealing headline or title
  • Providing value to readers – When people read any sort of content, they are looking for answers and knowledge. As such, your content should be able to provide just that. It is a bonus if the content is also fun to read.
  • Accuracy – Providing sources in the content and being accurate builds credibility.
  • To-the-point content, with minimal fluff.
  • Content should be actionable – it should provide the reader with a sense of direction.
  • Easy to read and consume.

 

Engagement On Social Media Platforms

Social media has a crucial role to play in your content marketing strategy. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, etc. can be used for marketing your content. Having a presence across all social media channels is quite important, regardless of which one works the best for your business. This helps build credibility for your business and reach out to a larger audience.

Social media can be really helpful in reaching out to new and targeted audiences using the paid means. The targeting is much more detailed particularly with Facebook, which will help you reach out to your perfect new audience.

 

Dynamic Website

You need to build a base where all your content marketing efforts will lead to – and this would be your website – the home for your business. Make sure to regularly update your blog and also optimize the content for search engines. This is something you need to give a lot of importance to in order to get an edge over your competitors.

 

Combining the above three factors:

Now that we know the three ingredients, it is time to put them into action.

  1. Understand your market and target audience.
  2. Create good quality content. Don’t have time or resources to do it yourself? You can always outsource it to a professional content writing agency. Never compromise with the quality.

  3. Create social media accounts on different channels.
  4. Make sure your website looks great.
  5. Make sure there is a blog section on your website. Blogging is a great tool to engage your audience and build credibility for your business.
  6. Start sharing your content on your social media accounts regularly. Be active on these accounts and indulge in online conversations with your audience.

  7. Keep track of the results you get out of your content marketing efforts and analyze them periodically. This will help you improve over time.

Maintaining the right balance of the above 3 factors is important. Also, busy businesses can consider using a Social Media Management tool like Drumup https://drumup.io to save time and to make things a lot easier.

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The Ultimate List Of Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging:

A blog post worth sharing.

The Ultimate List Of Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging: http://1.gravatar.com/avatar/77e87d565a0571383928bcdeff7f8bf2?s=32&d=mm&r= Greetje den Holder — October 6, 2017

The Ultimate List of Reasons Why You Should be Blogging

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/blogging/ultimate-list-reasons-blogging-01931429#sYwLSb3Txw6fdoRM.99

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Great article on blogging tips!

How can you successfully set up an efficient business blog on a very tight budget?

A person typing on a computer, on which is displayed the word "blog".

Setting up online presence for your business can be overwhelming. So much to plan and so much to invest (in terms of both time and money).

How much would it cost to set up and market a business site? This is by far the most frequent question I’ve come across for years.

This quick checklist will answer your questions. Below I am giving yearly minimum expenses, but of course the less money you are prepared to pay, the more of your own time you will need to invest in figuring some of the tasks.

1. Setting up costs

To create a site you basically need to pay for the following things:

  • Your domain name (about $10.69/year for a .com domain)
  • Your site hosting

Some hosting companies will include the domain name for free, but you’ll need to start paying for it after the first year.

If you go with the shared hosting option, you’ll pay as little as $3.5 per month, sometimes even less. Here’s a good selection of shared hosting providers you can trust.

While I am torn over whether you need to invest into a shared hosting, knowing how much of a pain it might be to migrate the site to a dedicated solution in the future, I totally understand why it could be a valid option for someone who is trying to save money at the start.

More setting-up expenses will include a basic layout and a design. I would totally recommend using WordPress as a content management platform, simply because it’s a free, regularly updated (hence up-to-date) and easy to customize solution.

You can totally customize it at home for free and even use the free WordPress theme it comes with. It looks professional and modern enough. I was a total WordPress newbie when I started my own blog and I was able to customize the free theme to make it look unique and catchy on my own. And you can too.

You can also get a logo for cheap by shopping at Fiverr or DesignHill. But be prepared to spend at least $100 here. You may invest more in your design down the road, but you don’t want to have to change your logo in a year or so. A logo is something you’ll integrate into social media channels, video and image watermarks, downloadable assets, etc. It’s better to do it right once.

If you are going to sell from your site, WooCommerce is probably your best bet. It’s free, but you may need some paid plugins. This article explains what you may need and how much it will cost. Here are more WordPress plugins you’ll need – all of them are free.

So, to summarize, setting up budget for the first year:

  • Domain name: ~$10
  • Hosting: ~$40 a year
  • WordPress + WordPress theme + WordPress plugins: Free
  • Brand identity (i.e. a logo): ~$100 (at least)

Mind that I deliberately emphasize on the minimum setting up cost to allow for more marketing budgets. You want to see people coming and converting before you can reinvest into setup and design. Even very minimal website designs convert well!

2. Basic SEO and conversion optimization

If you are going to use WordPress, you won’t need too much SEO done. Installing Yoast SEO (free) would be enough for a start. Do go through its documentation thoroughly to make sure you clearly understand all the settings you are playing with. I’ve seen users unknowingly blocking all their pages with nofollow noindex meta tags when using the plugin settings.

Going through keywords is also highly essential at the start. Look at your competitors and find valuable phrases to optimize your page for. Keyword research is the most essential step when you start planning your SEO strategy. Serpstat seems to be the most affordable solution.

Make sure you have your conversion paths set up right from the very start. Don’t wait until you have traffic coming. Your website should be ready to convert even those first two visitors into your customers, or at least members of your community.

I use Sumo (formerly known as Sumome) for my lead generation and opt-in forms. It’s very easy and mostly free. You won’t need to pay any professionals to get it installed or optimized. Unless you have some solid traffic coming in, there’s no need to even upgrade for A/B testing and additional features. Once you are ready to play and optimize, it’s $29 per month.

Here are more landing page tools you may consider, depending on how much conversion optimization and testing you are planning to do at the start. And for other tools to improve your SEO on a budget, don’t miss our list of 26 expert-recommended free SEO tools.

If you are selling services or a SaaS solution, setting up sales management software is essential at the very start. Good thing, it’s quite affordable too. Pipedrive is a neat customer relationships management platform that will help you make your lead generation and onboarding strategy efficient. Moreover it has recently announced an integration with Ringostat, a solid and affordable solution that offers call tracking and call-back features.

So for SEO and conversion optimization, first year expense would be:

  • Yoast SEO: Free
  • Sumo: Free or ~$340 (If you get enough traffic to play with)
  • Serpstat: Free or $182.40
  • Ringostat + Pipedrive: $600 + $100 (You may want to start with either and then integrate the two when you are ready)
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Marketing Tips

15 Inspiring & Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips for the Modern Marketer

Ashley Zeckman on May 1st, 2017     Social Media

After years of using “fuzzy math” to calculate the value of social media marketing, marketers are being tasked with generating and showing true ROI. But the truth is, ROI isn’t always just about revenue.

Depending on brand objectives, social media ROI could mean everything from awareness and social engagement to visitors to the company website from social media platforms.

If you really want to make social media marketing a major part of an integrated and omnichannel digital marketing strategy1, use the tips below to lead your way.

Know What You Want to Accomplish

Without a clear strategy in place, tools won’t make any difference to you. @IanClearyCLICK TO TWEETSet goals. As with any digital marketing tactic, knowing what you want to accomplish before you start will help guide your way.

Document your strategy. Taking the effort to document your approach will help you weed out useless activities that will not impact your goals.

Understand when to adapt. Social media platforms quickly evolve. And as the algorithms and user behaviors change, so should your approach.

Focus on Building Real Connections

Social media is not just a business experience, it’s an emotional experience. @MariSmithCLICK TO TWEETTake an interest. In order to connect with your audience, you have to understand who they are. Take an interest in who they are, what they care about and who influences them.

Encourage interactions. Strive to entice your social media audience to interact with your brand and with each other. The more conversation that happens back and forth, the more connected they’ll feel.  Also, many platforms allow for polls, voting and other opportunities for interactivity. Test on your audience and see which ones they respond to.

Speak human. All too often, brands take on a much too formal tone for social media. And while you want to maintain your brand identity, social media followers expect you to lighten the tone.

Be responsive. Social media has created an always-on opportunity, and expectation. If you don’t have a large team that can monitor interactions 24/7, be as responsive as is reasonable for your team.

Arm Yourself with the Right Tools

Content is fire, social media is gasoline. @JayBaerCLICK TO TWEETMonitoring tools. Many tools exist on the market today that can measure brand mentions, sentiment and more which can help you identify areas of success and opportunity.

Scheduling tools. While what you post is most important, knowing when to post can also have a great impact. Find tools that have an auto-publish feature that is based on the most optimal times to publish social content.

Curation tools. Proper content creation is an essential part of any social media marketing program. Curated content allows you to offer valuable content to your audience without only serving up your own information.

All-in-one tools. Many paid tools on the market can help you accomplish all of the items above (and so much more) for a reasonable monthly fee. If you’re looking for a new tool, see if there are free trials available so you can try before you buy.

General Tips & Best Practices

Social media replaces nothing, but compliments everything. @NealSchafferCLICK TO TWEETConsider giving live video a shot. It can be intimidating, but consider opening up and testing live video. Interviews are a great place to start because they don’t require scripting or as much practice to create interesting videos.

Embed videos natively. When you shoot videos to use in your marketing and are ready to promote, upload videos natively to social media marketing platforms. That will encourage more engagement (due to autoplay) in a format that doesn’t require your audience to click or leave the platform to interact.

Use visuals. Social media marketing messages that include visuals are much more likely to catch and keep the attention of your audience.

Understand where paid social fits in. As it becomes increasingly competitive to gain the attention of your online audience, social media platforms are requiring more and more that brands invest in paid social. Don’t fight it but be mindful of where you invest.

What Next?

While some of these tips may not be new, it’s good to remind yourself why you’re incorporating social media into your digital marketing strategy and some simple tips to keep you on track.

If you’re a social media marketer, what have you found to be the most successful and least successful ways to reach your goals?

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Online Entrepreneurs will love this…….

Evergreen Content Is the Secret to More Traffic. Here’s the One Reason Most Evergreen Content Fails.

The secret to content that keeps drawing an audience over the long run is that it is genuinely helpful.
Evergreen Content Is the Secret to More Traffic. Here's the One Reason Most Evergreen Content Fails.
Whether you’re in commerce or content, we all want more traffic. The reason is obvious and painful. For ecommerce, lack of traffic is the number one cause of failure. And for bloggers, it’s the same. A mere 9 percent of blogs make more than $1,000 a month. Even fewer — 4 percent — crack the $10,000 mark.What’s the solution? Recently a host of case studies have all trumpeted the power of evergreen content:

“The best evergreen content is the holy grail content marketing. It’s the article that consistently ranks well in search and drives 65 percent of your site traffic even though it was written in 2011.”

But evergreen content isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive. The only thing worse than struggling with traffic is pouring your heart and soul into a resource only to see it flop.

The real solution isn’t to jump on the buzzword bandwagon, but to understand what makes genuinely evergreen content so successful as well as why the pretenders fail. In truth, what separates traffic-driving evergreen content from well-intentioned duds is often one missing ingredient.

Related: 5 Types of Evergreen Content for Your Website

Evergreen content has to help.

At first, that sounds obvious. After all, being helpful is the cornerstone of content marketing itself. When it comes to writing copy, “Every piece of content you create has to do two things: (1) rescue its audience from their own personal hell and (2) deliver them unto their own personal heaven. Great copywriting is about salvation … not sales.” That principle is all the more true for evergreen content.

Unfortunately, most evergreen content fails that two-part test. Why? Because we mistakenly equate long with evergreen.

Take a recent example. To protect the guilty, I won’t name names here, but the piece was a nearly 18,000-word, 127-point, influencer-packed article about SEO mistakes. It was a thing of long-form content beauty and contained a wealth of insights and tips. Ironically, I contributed to it.

The downside was it went too far. There’s a world of difference between size and salvation. Rather than a go-to resource to guide readers through the murky waters of SEO, it was unwieldy and difficult to navigate. There was no clear information hierarchy or concrete takeaways. The same problem often exists with anything that wears the title “Ultimate” or “Skyscraper.”

Related: Why Long-Form Content Performs Better & How to Create It (Infographic)

Bigger isn’t better.

Online, people don’t need a list of a hundred-plus tips, tricks or tools. What they’re desperate for are the easiest, most actionable insights to solve the one problem they’re facing right now, and then the opportunity to drill down into further resources when the time comes. Ask yourself: What hell is my target audience suffering from? What problem steals their sleep and haunts their dreams? What mystery can’t they find an answer to? Where do they hurt?

These are the questions that drive helpful and successful evergreen content. They’re about serving your audience, not showing off. And they’re singular: one hell, one problem, one mystery, one pain … all leading to one answer — or at most, five to 10 — designed for one specific audience. As CEB’s landmark book The Challenger Customer puts it, “customers’ reaction to well-designed thought leadership is: ‘Wow, they’re smart.’ Customers’ reaction to well-designed insight is: ‘Wow, I’m wrong.'” Wrong, in this case, is good because it shows readers exactly how to overcome their hell.

So, what does that look like?

Related: American Express Has a Lot to Teach You About Content Marketing

Helpful and easy evergreen content.

Length isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, long-form is a hallmark of high ranking content across the web. But if it is lengthy, then your visitor must have some way to sort and simplify all that information immediately. For example, Joanna Wiebe’s 11,000-word The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever) opens with a linked table of contents so readers can jump directly where they need help the most.

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Content marketing!

The following article is cool…read and implement.

10 Content Marketing Skills You Need to Master

10 Content Marketing Skills You Need to Master

Every two years, Olympic athletes from around the world come together to compete in the alternating Winter and Summer Games. These athletes represent the best of the best from their respective countries, with finely-honed skills and abilities developed over many years of training.

Their tenacity elevates them above your average athlete, and their skills are what earn them a place at the Games.

In our industry, there’s no shortage of content marketers ranging from the blog-focused freelancer writer to the agency professional handling content for Fortune 500’s. The result is a ton of content, varying in quality, being pushed onto every online channel.

Similar to Olympic athletes, the content marketers who stand out are those with stronger, expertly tuned skill sets.

If you want to compete and get serious results, here are the ten skills you need to master.

1. In-Depth Research

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Unless you’re the most knowledgeable subject matter expert, everything you create will need to have some research behind it. Any content marketer can browse popular sites, do a little research, and brainstorm some topics. Effective content marketers go deeper by:

  • Researching the target audience to thoroughly understand their pain points and interests
  • Discovering what channels the audience pays attention to for effective distribution
  • Knowing the terminology the audience uses when searching
  • Uncovering search queries they use to find answers and solutions
  • Using platforms like BuzzSumo to discover the most popular content on a given topic
  • Using a tool like Ahrefs to uncover link popularity for different content
  • Digging into content comments, social groups, and discussion threads for audience concerns/interests
  • Identifying different audience segments, applicable demographics, and psychographics
  • Tracking trends in marketing and their industry
  • Determining which content formats provide the most audience reach and engagement

Marketers who want epic results will keep researching until they have an exhaustive collection of data for their strategy and campaign. That persistence sets the best content marketers apart from the rest.

2. Leverage Trends

Trends come in a lot of forms. Every industry has trends and things that are on the minds of their audience at any given time. Industry trends are important to follow, but so are the trends outside your industry that capture the attention of your audience.

A smart marketer constantly keeps their eyes open for trending topics to stay ahead of the curve.

Being the first to jump on new industry trends to leverage them for your content campaigns is a great way to position yourself in front of a specific audience. But you can’t neglect other trending topics that make the top of the news and get listed in social channels with hashtags.

While some trends may be completely irrelevant to your business, others can be designed to create a correlation that puts your content in front of a much larger audience.

Texas-based LawnStarter jumped on local trends, featuring city growth in their blog. It reported that its home city of Austin had crossed a major growth milestone, and the story was quickly featured in BizJournal and Patch.com. By paying attention to what people cared about and leveraging trends, they expanded their reach to more than a million people.

3. Effectively Promote and Distribute

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The average marketer does some social promotion when new content is published and leaves the rest to organic traffic from search. But if you want more reach and traffic from your content, you have to utilize every available channel for promoting new content.

When Jay Baer publishes a new video for his show, Jay Today, his team immediately begins promoting it through multiple channels. This promotion includes:

  • Uploading it on YouTube
  • Distributing video and audio podcasts on iTunes
  • Posting to two websites (Convince & Convert and Jay Today)
  • Promoting it on social outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • Cross-posting to LinkedIn Pulse and Medium

In addition to using those same channels, you can use tools like Quuu to promote your content, send email notifications to subscribers, ask your connections and influencers you know to share it, and sponsor the content through various social channels.

4. Know How to Read the Data

Being able to tell a story is important, but knowing what to do with that story matters even more. Since every piece of content is created for a purpose, the most successful content marketers know how to analyze data to ensure that goals are being met and the content is performing well.

But, examining lots of data can be exhausting and inefficient, and the metrics you should ultimately watch for will vary based on your goals. To determine what the most important metrics for content marketing are for your business, you need to develop an efficient process for interpreting data, which can only come from really understanding what you’re looking at.

Knowing how to read the data can help you decide which topics to scrap and which top-performing topics you can repurpose into new, traffic-generating content.

5. Superior Strategy and Organization

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Just 32% of content marketers have a documented content strategy. According to LinkedIn, companies with documented strategies are 36% more likely to succeed in their efforts.

A clear-cut content strategy helps you define goals, track your research, plan your content, record your progress, match content to your audience and stages of the funnel, and stay organized for consistent and effective deployment. A detailed editorial calendar and content strategy are signs of an all-star content marketer.

6. Write Better Than the Average Marketer

Writing well for a digital audience might seem obvious, yet a lot of marketers struggle in this department. With more and more emphasis on content marketing and brands struggling to catch up, I still see marketers pushing quantity over quality.

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Content marketing is more than just getting content written, and good writing is more than just avoiding grammatical errors and typos. The best content is high value, long form, and packed with so much value that it might resemble an overfilled water balloon on the verge of bursting.

Moz’s take on writing 10x content should be the minimum standard you aspire to set for your content output.

7. Being a Scrappy Designer

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You could do perfectly fine and get great results without having any design chops, but you’ll have to draw upon some other resources, outsource design elements, and shell out money to make it all happen.

Or, you could work on your design skills and gain more independence in all parts of the content marketing process. You can quickly push out really great content if you’re able to create and edit images that tell a compelling story. Whether it’s an eye-grabbing feature image or some inline graphics, having even a basic designing skillset would be hugely beneficial.

You don’t need a pricey Photoshop subscription to accomplish this. Just learn how to use Pixlr for in-browser image editing or Canva to create incredible, professional-looking images.

8. Telling a Compelling Story

57% of marketers say that creating a compelling story and making content more engaging are their main priorities, but 60% of marketers still struggle to produce engaging content for their audiences.

Storytelling can take a lot of forms, and there’s no magic outline for doing it right. The most successful content marketers are the ones who can elicit emotional responses from readers in ways that further connect them to the brand.

Warby Parker uses storytelling to promote social consciousness by producing content that brings attention to people in need. The company is well-known for donating over two million pairs of glasses, with one pair given to a person in need every time one pair is purchased.

9. Be Versatile

I could crank out articles all day long and do pretty well, generating organic search and referral traffic for my agency. But I don’t settle because I’m more versatile than that for my clients, as well as my own content strategy.

Effective content marketers don’t put all their eggs in one basket. They rely on more than one form of content to reach their audience, because they know their audience digests content in different ways. Your customers read articles, listen to podcasts, watch video, scan infographics, examine case studies, and read through whitepapers for new insights.

Producing a variety of quality content will get you in front of a much larger audience.

10. Knowing How to Collaborate

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Steve Jobs believed it was important to ask for help and lean on others when help was needed. More specifically he said, “Now, I’ve actually always found something to be very true, which is most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask. I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help.”

The ability to collaborate and seek assistance from others is a valuable skill that the best marketers leverage for their content efforts. When you partner with someone, especially an influencer within your industry, you’re greatly expanding your reach into a much larger audience.

For example, I teamed up with Neil Patel to produce a comprehensive guide to building a blog audience. It was a mutually beneficial collaboration because we were able to leverage each other’s skills and resources to produce a highly valuable piece of content that continues to deliver results.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have connections yet. The best collaborations always start with an idea.

Conclusion

This isn’t a full list of skills that every content marketer should have, but developing these ten skills is critical if you want to stand apart from the endless torrent of “so-so” content that’s being shoved in front of your audience’s eyes.

Want to be an all-star content marketer and get epic results? Master the ten skills I mentioned, and you’ll be well on your way.

What skill do you think is most critical for getting big results from your content marketing efforts? Share your thoughts with me below.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: crkmaga/Pixabay.com

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9 Steps to crafting alluring blog posts!

If you want to grow as a Blogger and be a difference maker , you will find the following article helpful:

Digital Marketing Success: How to Blog for SEO Results

A desk with a computer, notebook and coffee on it.

Did you know 61% of consumers report they’re more likely to make a purchase from a business that creates reliable custom content? And marketers who have made blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to receive a positive return on investment (ROI)? In fact, nearly 60% of SEO professionals report blogging as a top inbound marketing tactic.

As you can see, blogging is an important part of your business’ digital marketing strategy. It helps by:

  • Boosting your company’s visibility online through search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Positioning yourself and your business as a go-to expert in your field
  • Giving you access to a global audience
  • Establishing credibility for your potential consumers
  • Amplifying awareness and recognition of your brand

Keep reading for a helpful guide to blogging, from creating topics and writing your posts to incorporating SEO best practices and promoting your articles.

How to Develop Powerful Blog Topics

If blogging is part of your digital marketing strategy, you may find it difficult to constantly develop new topics. A strong blog topic needs to be created with the reader in mind, useful, timely, informative and simple.

The first step to coming up with new blog topics is the brainstorm. Set aside time each month, and don’t be afraid to ask a friend or colleague for help if you need some fresh ideas. Also make sure you keep a notebook handy or a file on your phone for ideas; you never know when inspiration will hit!

Create an editorial calendar to clearly lay out your ideas and develop regular features, such as a monthly product review or bi-weekly recaps of industry news. By planning three, six, nine or even a year at a time, you can see the overall structure of your content topics. Looking ahead like this will also allow you to include upcoming events important to your business, industry and community.

Still stuck coming up with ideas for your blog? Here are a few additional ways to find inspiration:

  • Conduct and review keyword research
  • Look at your websites’ analytics to see which posts have been popular; come up with a new angle to the same topic
  • Set a Google Alert (google.com/alerts) with industry keywords, then scan the headlines for inspiration; you can also use this to pull several articles together into a roundup type of post
  • Think about problems your readers face and write a post with suggestions for solving them

It also helps to change up the format of your blog posts. For example in one post you could create a list post, where you literally feature a bulleted list of helpful ideas or tips for you readers. Then, in the next post you could write a “how-to” or do-it-yourself article that showcases your insight, tips and tricks. You could also interview industry leaders or employees, or write a post of curated content – just make sure you credit original sources.

The Anatomy of a Strong Blog Post

A woman flexing her arms.

Now that you’ve come up with the next topic, it’s time to think about how to make your posts powerful for your readers as well as the search engines.

  • Spend time on the title. It needs to catch your readers’ attention, clearly explain what the post is about, tell your readers why they should care, be short and concise (about 6 words is ideal), include a keyword for SEO and include numbers, questions and/or strong, active words. One strategy is to write the headline last so that it will naturally form based on your content.
  • When it comes to the content, don’t write just to be writing. Make sure each post provides value to your readers and reflects your brand’s voice or personality. In addition to writing well with a clear message, it helps to include current statistics, trends and industry news. You can also make it timely by relating the post to current events or the current time of year. Be sure each blog post includes a call to action, too! Ask your readers to comment, share the post, contact you, sign up for your newsletter, etc.
  • Consider your blog post’s formatting. Strong content isn’t enough for readers’ short attention spans. Make sure your post is easy to digest by using formatting to your advantage. Include sub-headlines, use numbered and bulleted lists, break up chunky paragraphs with quotes or images and add charts and tables to support your content.
  • Include at least one visual in your blog post, if not more. Research shows articles with images receive 94% more total views than those without. Select clear, crisp high-res images that are engaging and related to the post’s content. Make sure you have a right to use any images you use, too.

SEO Best Practices

When blogging as part of your digital marketing strategy, it’s not just enough to write posts your readers will want to read and format them for your readers; you also need to think about SEO(search engine optimization). Here are a few best practices to make part of your blogging efforts.

  • Consider frequency. For strong SEO, it’s important to be consistent – down to your posts going live the same day of the week and time of day. Active blogs engage readers better, which also translates into better search engine rankings. With this in mind, publish new blog posts a minimum of once per week.
  • Incorporate keywords. Not sure which keywords to use? Moz and Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner can be helpful tools. Once you have your keywords, sprinkle them throughout the post in places where it seems natural (3-5 times is plenty). Also include at least one keyword in the first sentence and in the post’s conclusion. To get the most out of your keywords, make sure you include keywords in these areas of your post:
    • The title
    • Sub-heads/section headers
    • Photo captions
    • Image file names
    • The URL of the post
    • The meta-description
  • Think about length. Keep the following length guidelines in mind for various parts of your blog post.
    • Title: 50-60 characters, or about 6 words long.
    • Body of Post: The most recent research is showing that it’s best to aim for about 1,500 words.
    • Meta description (the quick summary that shows up under the title): 150-160 characters, or about 1-2 sentences.
  • Formatting for SEO. There are ways to format your blog posts for better SEO:
    • Use header tags. The post’s title should be H1, but after that use header tags H2-H6 as often as you’d like. This is a great way to break up the content so it’s easy for the reader to use, in addition to the SEO benefit.
    • Include internal links. These can help readers find other interesting articles on your website, plus they’re good for SEO.
    • Use quality outbound links. By linking to other decently-optimized websites with information relevant to your blog post, Google will recognize your website as one with strong links.
  • Look at analytics. You won’t know which posts are bringing traffic to your website unless you track the data. Install Google Analytics to get helpful information about who’s visiting various pages of your website and for how long, and then actually look at what the data is telling you.

Promoting Blog Posts for Digital Marketing Success

What do you do after you’ve written and published a blog post? You need to encourage readers to read it!

How to Promote Your Blog Posts

  1. A laptop with a megaphone on it.

    Share it on all your social media platforms. Customize each update for the followers on that specific site. For example, when you share it on Facebook, make the update more casual than when you share it on LinkedIn. Also, depending on which networks you use, add a few relevant hashtags to make it more visible.

  2. Pay to promote your post through social media platforms. In fact, over the past year, bloggers using paid promotions for their posts saw increased traffic by 93%.
  3. Dedicate a portion of your newsletter to your blog posts. Introduce them in a new and interesting way to catch the eye of your readers; don’t forget to include an image, too!
  4. Set some time aside to read other blogs and comment on the posts. Write something with additional insight about the topic and keep it friendly yet professional; also remember to add a link to one of your helpful blog posts about the same topic.
  5. Share your post in appropriate LinkedIn discussion group. Just make sure the group you share the post in is open to self-promotional posts! Some don’t want you to link to your own website.
  6. Do a simple search in Twitter on your blog post’s topic and see if others are struggling with it. If you can reply, share your post and help them out; they may also share your post and username with their followers and the circle goes round and round.
  7. If you think your blog post is perfect for certain customers, send it to them directly. Add a personal message and make them feel important.
  8. Syndicate your content using the RSS button on your website. This feature is a great way automatically update your readers to your new post; it even sends it directly to their social media pages!
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Inside the big business of being a social media influencer

According to marketing firm Media Kix, Beyoncé can earn $1 million for a sponsored social media post. Selena Gomez can earn more than half a million and Kendall Jenner gets up to $300,000. But these days, you don’t have to be a household name to be a social media influencer.

The influencer category is a $1 billion industry and it’s projected to grow to $2.4 billion in just two years. In some ways, it’s just a throwback to integrated content at the dawn of television. But as one expert says, what’s different now is just who can be the pitchman and how much money can they make.

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Ryan Clark

 CBS NEWS

With the help of a photographer and a bottle of cologne, Ryan Clark is essentially the head of a one-man ad agency.

“I think I go by many hats, so I can go by blogger, influencer, brand consultant. I can go by creative director,” Clark told CBS News’ Jamie Wax.

Clark is paid to post photos and curated videos on social media for brands ranging from Armani to BMW. The Texas native passed up a career as a medical doctor to become a travel and lifestyle influencer.

“So I was three degrees in, a bachelor’s in chemistry, a masters in healthcare management, second masters in biomedical sciences. And completely stopped, dead set in my tracks and was just, like, ‘I don’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life,'” Clark said.

It might seem like a hobby, but running two Instagram accounts with nearly three million followers is serious business.

“We have a set influence over the people who follow us in that regard. They want to aspire to do the things that we’re doing or go to places that we’re going or wear the clothing that we wear,” Clark said. “Managing engagement, managing my followers, managing my brand placement, my partnerships, all of those different things — it’s a full-time job. And I wish there were two of me. I would probably make a lot more money if there were two of me.”

Clark is one of 17,000 influencers in the database of Fohr Card.

“Brands want to go where the eyeballs are,” said James Nord. He is the founder and CEO of Fohr Card, which provides detailed analytics on its legion of influencers to brands, and helps with marketing campaigns.

“So my, like, very back of the napkin, if you kinda want to get a sense of what somebody’s making — and this is for the fashion and beauty space – 100,000 followers on Instagram, you probably make $100,000 a year200,000 followers, $200,000; 300,000 so on and so forth. So, people at a million followers should quite easily be able to make $1 million a year,” Nord said.

Earlier this year Forbes released a comprehensive list of the world’s top influencers. In the field of fitness alone, the top 10 influencers have a combined reach of 106 million followers.

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Fohr Card CEO James Nord

 CBS NEWS

They calculated top YouTubers can fetch up to $300,000 for a video partnership and at least $150,000 on Instagram.

“Not enough. I wish there was more, but it’s certainly growing. You know, I’ve heard that it’s gonna be $5 billion in the next three years. I think global digital advertising is about $150 billion. So it’s a sizeable chunk,” Nord said.

One of those companies is Giorgio Armani.

“What has changed and what is changing very fast is technology, the access to data, and the different ways in which we can access people’s lives. And this is where influencer gives brands an opportunity to exponentially increase the entry point to engage with consumers,” said Giovanni Valentini, Armani’s vice president of marketing.

Journalist Max Chafkin wrote a first-person account of becoming an Insta-influencer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

“There were sort of two reactions. One was, ‘ha, ha, ha, this world is so ridiculous.’ And then on the other side it was like, ‘Can you tell me how to get more followers?'” Chafkin said.

Chafkin worked with the company Socialyte. Its website says it offers influencers talent management, strategies for marketing, content creation and media partnerships.

“I got a professional Instagram photographer to shoot me in various cool clothes. And they coached me on how to act. And I did okay. Like, I added about 1,500 followers or so over the course of 30 days,” Chafkin said. “That sounds pretty good. Except I was spending basically all of my time on this. So I think anyone can do it, but a talent is probably more important than anything else.”

But as Chafkin found out, even with influencers — whose brands are based on authenticity — looks can sometimes be deceiving.

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Max Chafkin’s Instagram account

 CBS NEWS

 “You can buy followers. And as part of my experiment I bought 500 followers for $50 bucks or something, and very quickly Instagram deleted a lot of them. But they didn’t catch all of them,” Chafkin said.

Fohr Card say it’s developed an algorithm to detect fake followers. But there’s also the issue of transparency. An estimated 93 percent of paid content violates FTC guidelines.

Last spring, the agency sent out a letter to more than 90 influencers urging them to prominently display that a post is an ad or sponsored content. In June, Instagram added a “paid partnership” header for when a commercial relationship exists.

“One of our first big deals, and we were able to offer a beauty vlogger $30,000 for a video. And I was super excited to send the offer, because it’s like, it’s kinda fun — that’s a lot of money to give somebody to make a five-minute YouTube video. And she turned it down, because the shade of foundation didn’t match her skin tone. And she said, ‘If I do this video, all of my followers will go out and buy this, and then I will lose their trust,’ and I was so impressed that you could turn down $30,000, because I would have, I mean, give me that foundation. I’ll make that video today,” Nord said.

Nord says the money is more than a safe bet — even the nearly $1 million Kim Kardashian was reportedly paid last year just to attend a party with other influencers.

“That’s literally how many people watch the Super Bowl that are watching her. You got 100 million people that love this one person and take her advice and respect her advice, and your brand gets to be a part of that for a million bucks, that’s honestly a steal,” Nord said.

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