How to Start a Successful Blog

How to Start a Successful Blog

It takes creativity and motivation to start a successful blog… The Internet is a crowded place. New blogs are launched on a daily basis, and there are hundreds of millions of blogs on the Internet. This means two things: People still read them. You have to do something original to stand out. There are a number of factors you’ll have to consider if you’re looking to start a successful blog in 2017. Blogging and online marketing are not really things you can do and achieve immediate results. It’ll take some persistence and planning… Make this the Year that You Start a Successful Blog…  Take a Deep Dive Into Your Industry – You’re going to want to take a look around and see what kind of posts your competition is publishing. Find out what the industry leaders publish as well. Make sure you know what the hot-button conversation topics are, and get a sense for what your future audience might want to read. Many businesses fall into a bit of a trap here. Following competitive blogs doesn’t mean you have to print your version of everything they print. In fact, you don’t want to be a blog copycat. But… “Every idea is a juxtaposition. That’s it. A juxtaposition of different concepts.” – Steven Grant So, if you see a concept or an idea that resonates with you, or that you want to share with your audience, do it. Take an idea and own it. But don’t just recycle. At best it’s boring. At worst it’s plagiarism. Find A LOT of ideas – If you’re looking to start a successful blog,...
Kickstart Your Blog in the New Year

Kickstart Your Blog in the New Year

As the year winds down it is important to remember that sometimes the best intentions get derailed. Sometimes nothing really goes the way you intended after the morning coffee. That’s ok though – it may not be as hard as you think to kickstart your blog. Your blog can be closely tied with the vitality of your online marketing efforts. Your website is “home base” for your business and the blog offers hundreds or thousands of windows into your site for your customers to find you – depending on how many posts you have. So if you’ve been sidetracked by client work, new projects, or life in general – try a few of the below strategies. Kickstart Your Blog in the New Year   Carve out the time Businesses that blog receive 67 percent more leads than those that do not. The growth your business will see from increasing your blogging efforts is worth a few hours a week or month. But you’re busy, and that’s how you got sidetracked to begin with. You can set the alarm clock earlier. You can call put your blogging time on the calendar as a meeting with yourself. You can shut the office door, put on headphones and close out of your social media and email tabs. Whatever it takes for you to find the necessary blocks of time, it can help you to reprioritize your marketing efforts and kickstart your blog in 2017. Know your goals  What are your blogging goals? Are you looking to become a top-notch industry thought leader? That might take blogging nearly every day. Are you looking...
3 Ways to Improve Your Skill Set in the New Year

3 Ways to Improve Your Skill Set in the New Year

What are you doing to improve your skill set?  In order to thrive in business, one thing we have to do is keep learning and improving. Luckily, there are more ways than ever to take in added knowledge, and some of them don’t require a significant time commitment. The first step to improve your skill set is to identify the specifics of what you want to learn. How does having that added skill set benefit your business, or benefit you personally in the future? The knowledge is better retained when there’s a practical use. I’ll give you a recent example out of my personal life. I’ve been learning a lot about dog training. It always goes better when I intermittently put the knowledge to use by working with my dog. The same is true with any new information. Practical use helps you retain. We adopted our dog Captain about a year and a half ago. He came very well trained, but I’ve been able to teach him a few new things, and reinforce some behaviors in our home. For instance, I taught him to drop it while playing fetch. I taught him to shake. And I’ve also taught him to stay sitting until I release him – which is extremely helpful after walks in the messiness of winter. Back to how to improve your skill set. 3 Ways to Improve Your Skill Set in the New Year: Ask someone who knows – Sometimes the most direct ways to improve your skill set are the best. It might be time to find a mentor or a coach to help guide...
6 Website Copywriting Tips to Make Your Presence Pop

6 Website Copywriting Tips to Make Your Presence Pop

Has your website copywriting lost its luster? Does it not sing your song the way you want it to? It may just be that your marketing isn’t connecting with your audience the way it should. A little brush up may do the trick. Try these 11 ideas to improve your presence. Website Copywriting Tips   It’s about them, not you – If your website is 100 percent about how great, smart, or perfect you are, you may be doing it wrong. Sure, you need to strike a confident tone, but you also need to address customer needs. Your website is about how well you meet your customers’ needs. It’s about serving. Not taking. Strike a conversational tone – Your website doesn’t need to sound like an academic dissertation. Write it like your talking to a customer over a cup of coffee. That conversational tone sets up a level of authenticity. Go ahead and use contractions, spell out your acronyms on first use, reduce the geek-speak, and simply write how you talk. Keep it updated – Have your offerings changed? Make sure that you are updating your product and services pages to reflect the current state of your business. An outdated web presence can send readers the other way. This goes for your blog as well. If you blog less than once a month, you should probably pull the dates off your posts. Spend more time on your headlines – It’s the smallest piece of real estate on your page, but it’s what the reader uses to determine just how far they want to commit. Make a promise in your headline....
Writing Home Page Content That Converts

Writing Home Page Content That Converts

Writing home page content is a crucial part of your marketing process. It used to be that when a potential customer had questions they’d pick up the phone. If they liked what they heard, they may get in the car and drive down to your business to find out more. Impressions were made on the phone and in the store – where business took place. Now, there’s another layer to the process. Instead of going through the trouble of talking with someone, when a potential customer has questions, they’ll go to your website first. That’s where first impressions take place. 3 Key Components to Writing Home Page Content   Go ahead, Tell Them What You Do – Now is not the time to be shy. Your reader is in investigation mode when they click on your website. They’re still not 100 percent convinced they’re in the right spot. The easiest way to keep them reading is to tell them what you do. When you network, do you have a 30-second elevator speech? Do you know how to cut to the chase and tell people how you help in the most concise way possible? That quick hit explanation should be front and center on your home page. It eliminates any confusion, or any potential thought from your reader that they might not be in the right place. A few more thoughts on that explanation: Eliminate the geek speak. Your customers probably don’t understand your industry the way you do. Eliminate business jargon and acronyms. There’s also no need to use words that would otherwise belong in a doctoral dissertation. This...
Giving Your Audience What They Want

Giving Your Audience What They Want

Are You Keeping Your Audience Happy? Your audience has pressing questions they want answered. People have problems they want solved. By the click of a mouse, they chose you. The words you give them matter. Do you spend high valued blog real estate easing their pain, or do you spend it talking about yourself? There’s a big difference. Understanding your audience and providing the type of content they’re looking for is a big part of online marketing. People new to your website will literally spend a few split seconds determining if it’s the right location for them. If what they see is more about you than about them – they are likely going to move on to the next search result. What can you do? Create a Valuable Blog Let’s spend a quick second establishing what your blog is not. It is not a place to hammer home why people should buy your product 1,000 words at a time. It’s not a place to carry on in the same tone as a television commercial. It’s not a place to be you-centric. Instead, it’s a place to: Address the most common customer questions. You can think back to think back to the questions you’re asked in person, ask your customers, or conduct some simple keyword research to determine what your audience wants to know. Give away your best content. Routinely offer tips, tricks, strategies and how-to’s designed to make your readers’ lives better. Make your posts easy to read. This means reading and copy editing your work before you publish it. It means making your posts visually friendly with great...