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4 Rules to Live by for a Successful Blog

It’s no secret that blogging has become vital for perpetuating the success of businesses, organizations and individuals.

They increase search engine traffic, build authority in competitive industries, generate more leads and improve conversion rates.

Small businesses employing blogs report a 126 percent increase in leads, search engines index 434 percent more pages for websites with blogs, and companies that blog receive 97 percent more inbound traffic from outside links.

 

The following are four reasons why those blogs win and why so many others fail:

  1. Content

Blogs should provide information about trends and developments in trades that will benefit visitors. They should spotlight your proprietary knowledge and expert wisdom, not spew sales pitches.

Blogs attract visitors when they profit from your expertise, so bloggers should write with those visitors in mind. The lack of a defined voice and specific niche represents the downfall of many blogs.

 

  1. Consistency

It helps to say, when posting new material, “This blog is updated every Thursday at 9:30 am,” or, “Check here for new content on the second Friday of every month,” so readers know when to return. They might visit every so often without a calendar, but they will move on if they don’t see new content consistently. Vagueness in timing for the sake of attracting a few additional page views is counterproductive.

Many bloggers fail because they begin with an overly ambitious mindset. They blast out of the gate, publishing three times a day with writing that engenders a fury and zeal for their subject.

A consistent post schedule is the key to attracting regular readers.

 

  1. Promotion

Visitors won’t read your blog solely because it exists. The internet is too vast to expect that readers will somehow discover it themselves and then remember to return. Bloggers often spend too much time on content without a corresponding amount of effort pitching it digitally.

You need to promote whatever content you write. Using multiple social media platforms, email marketing, online advertising, giveaways and partnerships with larger brands to create a core following that can expand.

 

  1. Money and prestige

Most blogs fail because their writers set out to earn riches and gain celebrity overnight. They set incredibly ambitious goals of pulling in lots of advertising dollars and attracting millions of followers. It rarely works.

Successful bloggers are passionate about their vocation and informing their audience. They offer a rare perspective on their industry and commit to weekly or even daily updates, in addition to marketing themselves aggressively.

8 Tips for More Engaging Content

With an infinite amount of content posted and uploaded to the internet every minute, there’s very little chance that it’s all great.

So how do we create a content strategy that cuts through the noise? How do we generate content that excites and inspires our audience? Most important, how do we use that content to generate sales, revenue and customers?

Here’s our tips on how to create the most effective content:

 

  1. Start by asking why.

Before you even start typing, ask yourself why you’re writing.

Too much content is produced without consideration for its purpose. What will this piece of content achieve? Why is this content so important?

By answering these questions, you’ll give your content purpose and focus. That means you’ll create better content.

 

  1. Tell a story.

You don’t have to come up with the next best-selling novel, but try weaving stories into your content. Stories are infectious. They keep us reading; they intrigue us. A story gives your brand a human side, making it more relatable.

 

  1. Start recycling.

Good content should take hours or even days to create. Don’t waste it with just a blog post

Use the scraps for a podcast or a video. Take the key bits of data, and turn them into an infographic. Host a webinar or a live chat. Recycling content gives you multiple chances to use your research and insights.

 

  1. Go live.

Live streaming is too important to ignore in this day and age. Facebook has altered its algorithm to prioritize live streams, and Snapchat and Twitter have made live, instant video a core part of their platforms.

 

If you’re not coming up with live streaming ideas for your business, you’re missing out on the fastest growing content element of 2017.

 

  1. Deliver it faster.

It’s easy to get creative with content ideas. However, don’t forget about the tech aspects.

Speed matters when it comes to showing off your content. If you’re curious about how fast your website server responds, check out the speed checker at Bitcatcha. You might want to prioritize speed after seeing your results.

 

  1. Embrace native advertising.

For the uninitiated, native advertising is advertising that blends into the content you produce. For example, National Geographic might publish a piece about the Canadian Rockies, but it’s paid for (and sponsored by) the Canada tourism board.

It’s neater and less intrusive than banner ads or popups, and it generates direct income from content.

 

  1. Start using data and analytics.

It may be a bit boring but it will help you see your content strategy much more clearly.Look at which content is working. What generates the most clicks? What content is shared most often? Which stories generated the longest time on site? Which drove conversions to your products?

Identify what’s working, and do more of it. Ditch the ideas that don’t hit the mark.

Next, get deep into your audience analytics. Who are your readers? Determine their location, demographics and interests. You can mine all this data through Google Analytics and social media metrics. Find this information, and use it to create better content.

 

  1. Double your promotional time and efforts.

Too many content marketers are still focusing on quantity over quality. Pumping out hundreds of blog posts is not a content strategy. Generating engagement is.

 

Why Visual Content Should Be Your Top Priority

Strong visual content is vital in crafting a successful organization in today’s communications world whether it’s social media, email marketing or content creation.
Building strong visual content doesn’t always prove to be so easy. Nearly half of all businesses only have one person in their organization working on content marketing. Also, 75% of marketers say they don’t have an effective creative collaboration process.
Here are a few statistics as to why visual content is such a challenge:
49% of businesses have small (or 1-person) content marketing teams serving the entire organization
Content creation challenges are one of the top three issues cited by struggling marketing organizations
85% of marketers do not use content collaboration or workflow software
75% of marketers say they don’t have an effective creative collaboration process
So, how are these organizations supposed to create visual content that entices consumers to view it?
Even though it can be a difficult task for brand managers, visual content is everywhere. The majority of marketers say they already deliver content consistently and most B2C marketers (73 percent) say they plan to increase the amount of content they produce next year.
Here’s more on how marketers are sharing content every day:

• Top 4 content marketing tactics used by B2C marketers:
o Social media
o Blog posts
o Email newsletters
o Video
87% of the most successful content marketers deliver content consistently
73% of B2C marketers plan to boost the amount of content creation next year
76% of companies think of content marketing as an ongoing business project, not a campaign

When viewing how successful content marketing with strong visuals can be, it makes sense why marketers would share it online daily. When content contains visuals, it receives 94 percent more views than when there are no images.

Here are even more statistics on how powerful visuals can make your content strategies:
• Visuals are processes 60,000x faster than text
94% more views when content has relevant images
52% of marketers say video gives the best ROI
• Conversion rates when using custom visual content are 7x higher

7 Tips for an Eye-Catching Subject Line

An email’s subject line is just as important as the actual content, acting as its own mini-marketing campaign.

47 percent of recipients open emails based on the subject line.

Coming up with the perfect email subject line is as much science as it is art. Here are seven approaches that work:

  1. Ask a question. Pique your audience’s curiosity.

Example: “How can you increase e-commerce revenue in 2017?”

  1. Imply that the recipient isn’t good enough.

By suggesting the reader is flawed, you’re likely to induce them to open the email. Proceed with caution, though; there’s a fine line between grabbing people’s attention and insulting them.

Example: “Don’t make these 7 email subject line mistakes.”

  1. Identify with your audience. Get your recipient to identify immediately, saying, “Oh that’s me!” and open it.

Example: “Poor college student’s guide to healthy shopping!”

  1. Use a “cliffhanger.” People feel driven to resolve a conflict. If half the subject line is readableand it’s followed by an ellipsis, a recipient will feel compelled to open it to feel satisfied.

Example: “The secret to streamlining your workday is …”

  1. Be direct. Make a promisein the subject line, and deliver a solution in the body copy. Be concise and specific.

Example: “Increase your web traffic by 40 percent.”

  1. Get personal. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent likelierto be opened. To a human being, nothing sounds sweeter than his or her name.

 

  1. Employ emojis. 56 percent of brands using an emoji had a higher unique open rate.

 

The effect of specific words will depend on your industry, goals, and calls to action.
What not to do:

Just as some words can be opening triggers in subject lines, others spur recipients to send it straight to spam. Avoid these:

  • Phrases like “Winner!” “100 percent Free!” “Free Money!”
  • Special characters
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Spelling errors
  • ALL CAPS

4 Phrases to Remove from Your PR Vocabulary

Every industry has buzzwords and jargon we wish people would stop using.

The most tired and frustrated things to hear in the PR industry by far are why a public relations program can’t or won’t work.

Below are some of the worst phrases a PR professional can use, along with how we can replace them:

 

  1. “It’s hard to measure that.”

 

It might be hard, but it’s not impossible. Stop talking about how hard it is to define success. Instead, craft measurable, sustainable programs that garner results. The first step is to ensure you’re set up for success by defining goals and objectives. Your goals must be tangible and not broad. PR is not defined by earned media anymore. Because so many of the ways we promote our clients are digital, we have tools and resources to track our results beyond vanity metrics.

Start saying, “Here’s how we can measure this.” Set goals and implement the systems to measure them.

 

  1. “Nothing is ever guaranteed.”

This is probably the single most harmful sentence for the PR industry. It implies: “You can pay us, but we might not deliver.” Clients hire PR agencies for creative ideas, relationships with members of the news media, and for industry knowledge. A PR agency should never use “earned media is never guaranteed” as an excuse for failing to deliver against its goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). The better option is to start out with an inkling of what will work and what won’t before sending the pitch.

Instead, tell clients: “If this doesn’t resonate with our media contacts, here is plan B.”

 

  1. “That idea probably won’t work.”

Stop telling clients “no” when they come to you with a perfectly good idea.

When a client or boss suggests a PR pitch or program, you immediately figure it’s a long shot. It’s called covering yourself, and we all do it. What it communicates to clients, however unintended, is that you’re uninterested or uninspired by their business.

 

Instead of having an awkward conversation about whether something warrants media attention, think creatively.

Instead say, “This might not garner much earned media attention. However, we can do a Facebook Live post from our next trade show. Then, we could invite three major industry influencers to run bylined guest blog posts the following week.”

 

  1. “There’s no news here.”

One of the most frustrating moments as a PR pro is when a new PR agency pitches you a great plan and proposal full of fresh ideas then says, “There’s no new news,” when you don’t see any earned media placements.

The first thought is “Why did you sign our business? You didn’t seem to think that was an issue in your proposal.” Followed by, “Isn’t it part of your job to create news?”

Some organizations have obvious stories to tell, but it’s part of a PR practitioner’s job to anticipate journalists’ needs and sniff out the real story so we can be successful in generating media placements.

If we don’t think we can do that, we must ask more questions during the proposal process, or decline the business altogether. If we realize we are in over our heads and the news hook isn’t obvious, it’s our job to find a legitimate news hook.

Next time try, “In order for our media contacts to go for this, we will need access to XYZ. Is that something we can have? And if not, what else is in the pipeline?”

 

 

5 Tactics to Live by for a Successful Social Media Presence

To keep up in today’s digital age it is vital to have a savvy social media presence that captures an engaging following.

With every brand being completely different, it’s more important than ever for every social media marketing campaign be just as unique.

There are countless strategies that help guide you to a successful social media presence, but we’ve rounded up the tactics we believe are the most efficient for garnering a large and active following.

 

1. Brand development and consistency. 

Branding is one of the most valuable components of a company. Branding is responsible for public perception of a company’s philosophy, tone, character, values and commitment to customer service.

Without a solid, well-defined brand, customers will have a hard time understanding what you’re about, and you won’t carry much appeal with your specific target audience.

2. A/B testing. A/B testing entails executing and comparing two similar yet distinct experimental conditions. When you start out in social media marketing, you won’t have a reliable idea of which strategies work and which ones don’t; you may have an inkling based on your prior experience, but you don’t have any hard data. Over time, A/B testing can help you find the best of the best strategies to use.

3. Social media monitoring. Sprout Social says this entails “tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands, and then leveraging them to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences.” It’s a way of learning what your customers are talking about and what’s important to them. With that information, you can build a better all-around strategy, sculpting your content to appeal to people in those demographics.

4. Follower engagement. It’s not enough to create and upload posts; you also must help your followers realize that they’re an active and recognized part of your community.

You can do this through follower engagement, which can be as simple as responding to a user comment or as complex as having an ongoing conversation with your followers.

Doing this makes each individual feel more engaged, and it’s attractive to prospective followers who see how your brand responds to vocal followers. If your followers feel unheard, they’re going to unfollow you, so this strategy is crucial to success.

5. Measurement and analysis. In addition to A/B testing, you should be measuring multiple metrics related to your campaign: “likes,” shares, comments, post popularity, and click-throughs and traffic patterns to your site.

Without this objective information, you’ll be flying blind, unable to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. You should also be able to tie these metrics to a return on investment (ROI) figure, so keep track of how much you’re spending on your campaign.