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.

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
Date:
May 24-26, 2011
TopRank Presentation: Dominate Your Niche with Social Media, SEO & Blogging