How to Build Your Brand’s Voice Through Blogging #NMX

Branding, #NMX, content marketing, online marketingWhen you think of your brand’s online voice, what comes to mind? Perhaps it is embodied by the people running your social media accounts, or by the marketing professionals that craft content for your website. In any case, your online brand goes far beyond the logo – and it needs to be nurtured with a robust content marketing strategy.

Digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi used her NMX session to stress the importance of identifying and optimizing brand voice and reputation. Businesses that don’t tend to their online identities risk appearing isolated and disconnected from their audiences.

The process for building or repairing an organization’s online identity begins with an analysis of the current situation: How are people talking about your brand now?

12 Easy, Simple Ways to Up Your Blog-Writing Game… From a Fortune Cookie

spud hilton #nmxFortune cookies are notoriously cheesy. They tend to be something that could happen to anyone (e.g. you’ll meet someone special today) or something extremely vague (e.g. there is a big success in your future). But what if they could teach you how to become a better blogger and a better writer?

Spud Hilton made it so they could. While in San Francisco, he had tips printed and folded inside the sugary cookie to pass out to random strangers. He dedicated his NMX session to teaching those 12 tips, and elements of good writing to help bloggers up their writing game.

Why Quality Matters:
People will tire of you before they tire of the topic. Your topic is always going to have more longevity than you do. You need to make sure you’re presenting that topic in a straightforward way that’s unique.

How to Build Your Blog Community with the Right People

Blog communityThe internet has redefined communities. My grandparents, who are in their 80s and 90s, still consider a community the people they see pulling out of their driveway, or those they run into at the grocery store on a weekly basis. To them, a community is the physical people around them that share a similar lifestyle to their own. They also don’t own a computer.

For those of us that do, we know that a community doesn’t have to be made up of those in close proximity to us, and often times aren’t.

Take the TopRank blog for instance. We have loyal readers from Minnesota, Texas and Illinois. Then we have international readers from India, Australia, the Netherlands and France. They’re all joined by east and west coast readers from California and New York. Regardless of where they’re from or how far away they are, they make up our community.

For Small Businesses: When Is the Best Time to Start Building Your Social Networks?

social networkingDuring a neighborhood gathering I met a small business owner and after sharing our respective backgrounds, he proceeded to tell me his troubles with not having the time to keep his website current. Competitors were seemingly overwhelming his category online. He also disclosed that his offering requires a bit of an educational sales cycle and the industry category has had some mixed press.

As we talked, I learned that innovations in the product line have advanced the capabilities significantly, but awareness of those advancements were hardly common knowledge within the target audience.  The good news was a significant demand in search volume and conversation on social networks about the problems his product offering solves.

Build Credibility and Trust For Your Business With This Blogging Template

Blog Post Template

Have you planned to start a company blog and aren’t sure where to begin? Maybe you’ve created a business blog and haven’t been able to attract the audience and exposure that you intended?

Companies start blogging for a variety of reasons and things don’t always turn out as hoped. The good news is that when it comes to creating content that builds credibility and confidence, there’s a fundamental format that I’ve used over the years with great results: new business, inbound recruiting, speaking gigs all over the world, a book and credibility across multiple industries.

However, this kind of content template depends on planning, sequence variety. In other words, it’s not a “one off” tactic and not the only format you should use. It’s also not a silver bullet.

Small Business Blog, Big Business Results

small business bloggingBusinesses of all sizes often struggle to find high impact, low cost methods of attracting and engaging customers.

While some say social media and SEO have leveled the playing field, blogging is by far one of the most effective ways for small businesses to achieve numerous business objectives.

What can you achieve with a blog? As a content management system that can be optimized for search and social shares, blogs with great content can help a company attract new customers, engage existing customers, connect with journalists and connect with potential new hires. There are many business communication goals that can be realized through blogging.

How? The fundamentals that many companies seem to gloss over include:

  • Create a hub and spoke framework for blog publishing and promotion.

Use Content Curation to Grow Your Company Beyond Being a Me-Me-Me Brand

Don't be that guy who talks only about his brand or sells, sells, sells. Most children are taught at an early age to share and that everything is NOT all about them. It can be a painful life lesson for some to grasp – especially if they don’t pick it up until later in life – but it’s an important one nonetheless.

This particular life lesson also applies to how brands approach content marketing. In the age of brands-as-publishers and empowered consumers, companies need to understand that what they publish cannot only be about themselves.

Why Drop the Me Me Me Act?

Because you don’t want to be “that guy.” You’re so much better than this.

How to Integrate Blogging With Content Marketing that Inspires Action

blogging inspires actionCompanies all over the social web are confronted with the need for  ROI in corporate blogging.

Despite blogs being named as more influential than social networks in shaping consumers’ opinions and purchase decisions, many marketers and communicators  are falling short.

Why? A focus on self-promotion has many brands running out of content  ideas and time to show a return on their blog content investment. Tolerance for quantity of content and superficial social engagement metrics as a basis for results is diminishing.

Despite these challenges, blogs provide an incredible content marketing platform for connecting directly with prospects, the media, customers, new employees, investors and the industry at large.

To offer companies a roadmap to realizing these business blogging and content marketing benefits, I will be giving a presentation at the inaugural Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego on Tuesday, April 9th.

Blogging For Business or Pleasure? Personal Expression vs. Creating Value for Your Community

Is your blog content a form of creative expression or serving your community?Within the blogging community there’s a substantial number of bloggers that are independent business people and even more that run a personal blog. With the rise and fall and rise again of blogging as an online communications channel there are the expected debates about best practices and such.

One of the debates is around writing content as a stream of consciousness with the assumption that it will attract the audience that it deserves, causing it to be shared and exposed to even more readers.

Then there are the opportunists that seek to scale the reach of their content though blogging by creating processes for generating topics, keyword optimization and social sharing schemes to blast the content everywhere the internet’s sun doesn’t shine.

Inspiration, Engagement & Other Content Marketing Storytelling Lessons from Robert Munsch

Robert Munsch, Author and Master StorytellerI am a huge fan of Robert Munsch and have been since he visited our public school, many moons ago, to read to our class the story of The Paperbag Princess. You might remember Munsch from your own childhood; he travelled Canada and the U.S. visiting classrooms and sharing his stories, not because it was a sales driver, but because it was what he loved to do.

If you’re not familiar with his work, Munsch is a popular and much-loved Canadian/American children’s author originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His personal story and professional accomplishments are fascinating, yet it wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to think about how his successes translate so well to marketing.

Online Marketing News: Google Gets Explosive, Facebook Graph Gets Creepy, Tumblr Gets Sexy

How to Play the Content Marketing Game

How to Play the Content Marketing Game

Content marketing software company SocialEars share 14 methods for winning the game of content marketing in this fun infographic. Follow the rules to earn more relevant eyes on your content; be careful, though, over-promotion could result in your company losing the game.

While it’s certainly true that promotion is important, the infographic misses the mark in exactly when this becomes an important consideration. As TopRank CEO Lee Odden has said time and again, the time to think about how a piece of content will be discovered and shared is in its planning. Content promotion should be baked in from idea conception; thinking about how you’re going to get people to read your next big piece after you’ve finished it means you haven’t accounted for your audience’s needs at all in the creative process. You’re already late to the game.

Happy New Year! 11 Lessons Learned After 9 Years of Business Blogging

blogging lessons learnedHappy New Year and Welcome 2013!

Also, Happy Birthday to TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog!

A little over 9 years ago I started this blog as a way to save and share links to industry news. Over the years it has evolved in many ways thanks to our community and our team at TopRank.

Since 2003 Online Marketing Blog has generously shared thousands of posts, reaching millions of online marketers all over the world. Every time I speak at a conference, whether it’s in New York or Sydney or London, multiple people approach me with thanks for our blog’s contribution of insight, tips and useful information. That feedback is priceless and very much appreciated.

Now for some thanks back: