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.

A-to-Z Internet Marketing News: Bloggers Beware, Google Trust, Mobile SEO, New Twitter, SMBs Heart SEO

B2B Content Marketing Report

New Report on B2B Content Marketing for 2012:

This week started off right with the new report (pdf) from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:  “B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends”. The report offers a great mix of insight into most and least effective content marketing tactics, social media tools, measurement, budgets and compelling data points like:

  • 9 in 10 organizations market with content
  • Content marketers use 8 different content marketing tactics (on average) in their mix
  • The most popular content marketing tactics included social media, blogs, newsletters, case studies and events
  • The least effective content marketing tactics: podcasts, mobile content, digital magazines

Blogging On A Budget: 3 Tips for Bigger Impact

Blogging is one of the top sources of online content creation for many companies. Blogs are a great vehicle for interacting and engaging with current and prospective clients.  Blogs are also an effective way for prospects to associate stories, anecdotes, and personalities with a company or brand.

Taking on a blog can be a large undertaking.  There are many things that should be considered including cost, availability of resources, strategy creation, time commitment, and measurement.  Simply creating content and expecting instant success is not realistic.  If you have recently decided that you would like to start a business blog, or have started a blog and are not seeing the success you had anticipated then the tips below are for you.

The Dynamic Duo of Business Blog Marketing: Optimize & Socialize

optimize socialize business bloggingBlogs are often rated one of the top content marketing tactics for attracting and engaging customers and eMarketer has reported blogs reach over 50% of the internet audience. But many companies fail to combine two of the most important tools for boosting relevant traffic and reach: Optimization for search engines and for social media.

Most marketers and bloggers understand the basics of a good business blog and the notion of search engine optimization but often focus more on keywords than the customers that are actually searching.  Adding keywords to blog posts is a common SEO tactic but developing a blog content plan around both search keywords and social topics that represent what customers care about can result in content that is inherently more search, social and customer media friendly.

Content Marketing Optimization: 8 Content Ideas for Business Blogs

Blogging ContentAt the SES conference this week I gave several presentations on Content Marketing: “Content Marketing Optimization” and “The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing”.  In the CMO session, I provided SEO tips for each spoke in a hub and spoke model. The hub in this situation was a blog and one of the most common issues with business blog success is fresh content. In fact, one of the most common reasons companies don’t start a blog is over their concerns with creating useful content.

I can empathize with that concern and have addressed it with many companies over the past 7+ years that I’ve been blogging here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. To help anyone interested in ideas for creating business blog content, check out the following 8 tips. They’ve worked for us and for many of our clients and may very well work for you too.

Big Business Blogging, The Right Way #IntelSMP

Lionel Menchaca DellAt Intel’s first Social Media Conference in Portland this week, 100+ Intel social media practitioners from all over the world came together with about 20 industry subject matter experts to share and engage social media best practices.

One of those speakers was Lionel Menchaca, the Chief Blogger at Dell and a real pioneer in the world of blogging and social media for the enterprise. Lionel told the story of Dell’s initial blogging efforts that turned the tide of Dell Hell as well as other practical insights. Here are his tips on best practices blogging for the enterprise:

1. Write about topics that matter to your customers, especially the tough ones. Dell has a social media command center to track topics and inspire ideas, issues to deal with.

Social SEO & PR Events: BlogWorld New York, OMS Minneapolis, SES Toronto

The disciplines of search, social media, content marketing and online PR continue to intersect and often combine to create a powerful mix. Besides leveling the playing field, companies and individuals are creating competitive advantages as they adapt to shifts in technology and consumer behavior. Learning and mastering the ability to integrate should be top of the personal development list for marketing and communications professionals.

Here are the details for four upcoming events to do a deep dive into Optimized Online Marketing and PR. I hope to see you there:

Blogworld New York 2011

Event: Blogworld Expo New YorkSocial Media Business Summit
May 24-26, 2011
TopRank Presentation: Dominate Your Niche with Social Media, SEO & Blogging

Use Google to Write Your Blog Posts

Content Marketing with Google“To be a good search marketer, you must be a good searcher.” That’s sage advice for SEO and it’s also pretty handy for any kind of content marketing.

Recently I’ve found myself offering more advice on content creation by showing some of Google’s Advanced search features in combination with other content sourcing “tricks”. Since one of the most pressing issues with content marketing is content sourcing and curation here’s a sample of those tips you might find useful:

These tips assume you’re already working in the context of a planned editorial calendar with content types, topics, keywords, promotion and repurposing identified.

Start by creating a list of your topics.  Then get into audience pain points and characteristics, document types, contexts/situations for use. For example:

Essential Statistics from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2010

State of the Blogosphere 2010Jon Sobel of Technorati has published the latest State of the Blogosphere Report for 2010 including stats from 7,200 blogger respondents world-wide. Started in 2004 by Dave Sifry, this annual report has provided insight into the growth of the blogging community and helps answer questions like: who is blogging, why, what are they blogging about, how often and where are they blogging from.

In 2008 Technorati added insights of individual bloggers to the report with an emphasis this year on women blogging. As a long time blogger and advocate of blogging for online marketing, I’ve always taken a lot of interest and insight from these reports.

For marketers and communications professionals seeking to better understand the changing nature of the social web and the role blogs pay within in it, here are some essential statistics from Days 1 & 2 (of 3) from the 2010 State of the Blogosphere Report:

6 Tools For Better Blogging With An iPad

iPad blogging Like many others, I recently purchased an iPad out of curiosity. While my intentions were of discovery, I quickly found some productivity gains with blogging.

The upside to blogging with an iPad is that it’s portable and you can easily log your thoughts on a screen that is a lot more convenient than typing into an iPhone or other smartphone. Also, there are a number of apps to make it fairly easy.

The downside is that even though typing is easier on a much larger screen, typing on a screen vs. a tactile keyboard still takes some getting used to, even if you’re an iPhone owner. I also found some issues with copy/paste and for web based tools, anything that uses Flash is a no-go.

How I Started Blogging. What’s Your Story?

While today’s online media are abuzz with the latest and greatest social media tactics and tools, for many of us that have been around a little while, it was blogging that started our social media careers.

It’s funny to think that in 2002 a type of site called “blog” came up on my radar as a possible marketing tool. At the time, many blogs were personal diaries posted anonymously or by people with a little tech savvy and plenty of opinion. Writing personal thoughts on a public web site was absolutely the last thing I would ever consider doing.  However, it was a curious thing and I started a few blogs anonymously to see what it was like. Unfortunately, the excercise was so foreign, poorly executed and without feedback, that I deleted them.

5 Tips for Better B2B Branding

Think branding only falls in the B2C court? Think again.

In fact, three of the top 10 brands in 2009, as ranked by Interbrand, generate a sizable amount of revenue from their B2B customers: IBM, Microsoft and GE.

As a B2B marketer your brand is your most valuable asset.

B2B branding is less about cool, hip monikers (the Apples and Starbucks of the world) – and more about thought leadership.

Particularly in down economies, B2B prospects and customers conduct significant research leading up to purchases. That means you as a marketer have to educate them early on, and establish your brand as a trusted resource that gets their problems and has the solution.

To help your organization be seen as the thought leader it is, we’ve identified five B2B branding tips: