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:

3 Video Marketing Gifts: Content Repurposing Tools & Inspiration for 2013

Content Marketing - repurposing written blog posts to video Repeat after me: This holiday season, I resolve to take into consideration the increasingly mobile and visual preferences of my customers or readers, and to create and repurpose content to meet their needs, on whichever platform they use to connect with my business.

Recently, TopRank’s Alexis Hall and Lee Odden have each shared with us a few figures that underscore the importance of video in a modern day marketing strategy:

  • Sixty percent of executives will watch a video before reading a word of text on their screen.
  • Forty-two percent of executives have made a purchasing decision based on an online video.
  • 500 years worth of YouTube videos are shared each day on Facebook.
  • Over 3 billion hours of video is consumed monthly on YouTube.

A Recipe for Better Blogging: Optimize & Socialize #bweny

better bloggingOn Saturday I participated on a SEO panel at the first Minneapolis TECHmunch food blogger conference put on by Babette Pepaj with the help of local foodies like Stephanie A. Meyer. As prep for the event, I outlined a few things that I thought food bloggers might find useful for helping to improve organic search traffic to their content. Of course these tips aren’t limited in their usefulness to food bloggers, they apply to anyone interested in creating awareness, attention, interest and engagement with themselves or their brand.

I will be giving a track keynote at BlogWorld this week on Thursday morning (9am) covering bigger picture topics and specific tactics to help attendees to better use blogs as content marketing tools. Here’s the presentation info:

5 of the Most Important Content & Social Media Tips For A Successful Business Blog

business bloggingThe tendency for corporate marketers and their agencies to chase shiny social objects seems to be manifesting as conflicting trends in the usefulness of social media for business. Companies that execute their social media marketing tactics poorly often conclude the channel doesn’t work. A good example is the “corporate blogging is dying” story which contrasts with a study that shows blogging is the second most effective B2B lead generation tactic.

I’ve always said that tools are only as good as the skills of the people using them and the moving target of social savvy customers along with a rapidly evolving social web make social media marketing skills acquisition a bit tricky. I think part of the answer to the distracted approach to social media marketing efforts like corporate blogging could be arrested by mastering these basics.

Practical Tips to Make Your Blog More Useful & Interactive

blogging tipsIt’s amazing how a meme can turn into a stream of content when it resonates well with a community. Recently I was sent a set of interview questions and one of the questions asked about building blog community. I took my response to that one question and turned it into a blog post, “How to Increase Business Blog Readership, Traffic & Community” that was well received. In fact, that post prompted two different social media chats to ask if I’d be a guest host on the topic: #smchat and #nptalk. Thank you for inviting me!

Now I’m turning the questions from those chats and my answers into yet another (unique) blog post full of practical tips.

How to Increase Business Blog Traffic, Readership, & Community

grow blog readershipOne of the key objectives and performance metrics for business blogging is to grow the network of people that find, interact with and share blog content.  An optimized approach to growing a blog community relies on an understanding of who the audience is and what their information goals are, not just what the brand wants to achieve. Many companies start out blogging about their own products and services, company news and essentially the kinds of things that belong in a corporate newsroom.

An ego-centric approach to business blogging misses the opportunity to create meaningful connections with people empowered to publish, share, refer and buy. Blogging is a publishing platform that allows both one to one and one to many communications so content should take advantage of those engagement opportunities by thinking about content that’s interesting from the reader’s perspective.