3 Reasons Why Blogging, Social Media Go Hand In Hand

Blogging and social media are two sides of the same Lincoln log. They are like a beaver and a dam, an umbrella and rain, water and slide.

If you have a blog for your business and you engage in social media marketing, then you understand. These two tools are very powerful when used together. Here are three reasons why blogging and social media go together like a hand and glove.

  1. Branding – A blog is the perfect branding tool. You write daily about your niche to an audience that is intensely interested in what you have to say. How you communicate with your audience brands you in that audience’s mind. It can also distinguish you from the competition. Sharing your branding element through social media solidifies that in your audience’s mind. It has a cementing effect.
  2. Reputation Management – Your reputation is everything. Everything you say on your blog and through social media affects your reputation. Say it and get it out there.
  3. Search Engine Optimisation – Your blog is your best SEO tool. Social media reinforces the search engine optimisation you are able to accomplish through your blog, and it makes it more powerful.

There’s no punch more powerful than a blog coupled with effective social media marketing. It pushes your content out in all kinds of directions while pulling in prospects to communicate and do business with you. What more could you ask of your online marketing?

July 29th, 2012 / Blogging

Why Isn’t Blogging More Popular?

An article at Marketing Pilgrim shows the difference between ad agencies and online marketers. But there are some stats being shown that make me raise some eyebrows.

In 2009, for instance, 37% of marketers and 59% of ad agencies used online advertising to promote their brands, 31% of marketers and 41% of ad agencies used video, 13% of marketers and 24% of ad agencies used mobile marketing, and 29% vs. 40% of marketers and ad agencies, respectively, relied on blog content development. By contrast, in 2012, those numbers broke down like so:

  • Online advertising: 74%, 66%; marketers, ad agencies
  • Video production: 43%, 48%; marketers, ad agencies
  • Mobile marketing: 43%, 34%; marketers, ad agencies
  • Blog content development: 28%, 39%; marketers, ad agencies

So here’s my question – Why is it that ad agencies and marketers both are using online advertising, mobile marketing, and video more today than in 2009, but neither of them are using blog marketing more today than in 2009? It’s almost like they’re both denying that SEO – and blog marketing is SEO – is important for online marketing.

I’d be curious to know how successful online advertising is for these marketers and agencies. I personally think they’d get more mileage out of a well-written blog, but I can understand the mobile marketing. Even as new as it is, there is still an effectiveness at the ground level.

Video marketing and mobile marketing are both in their infant stages. I’d be curious to see how these numbers change in the next 3-5 years.

July 11th, 2012 / Blogging

Don’t Stop, Keep Blogging

Remember why you started blogging in the first place? You had something to say. And you wanted to say it.

Your blog is an incredible marketing tool. It’s SEO, it’s social media, it’s branding, it’s customer service, and it’s a conversation all rolled into one. Why kill it?

SEO Benefits: Every blog post is a separate web page. If you optimize each one for 2 key phrases, then after one year you’ll have 730 potential No. 1 rankings. Plus, you can increase each of your website pages’ SEO potential with internal links, and more. Blogging is constant SEO.

Social Media: As social media, your blog keeps you connected to the outside world. Share your blog posts with your friends and fans on your favorite social networks. Start the conversation on Facebook and bring it to your blog.

Branding: Your message is your brand. As long as you have something to say, say it.

Customer Service: Your customers read your blog. They’ll have questions. They’ll have issues. Interact with your clients on your blog and see how your business improves.

The Conversation: Your blog is a two-way street. Allow your readers to speak to you, then you speak to them. Communicate, start conversations, enter into a dialogue. You build trust when you allow your audience to talk back.

Your reputation is all you have. When you start a blog, you are taking your marketing to a new level. Don’t stop. You’re just getting started.

 

July 3rd, 2012 / Blogging

Is Social Media Better Than Blogging?

USA Today has reported that only 37% of businesses in 2011 were blogging compared to 50% in 2010. So why are these companies abandoning their blogs?

The article says it’s because they believe that social media is easier to manage than a blog. Is it really?

It is easier to manage social media is all you consider is that you log in to your Facebook or Twitter account and make a post, but that’s not really making the most of your opportunities. With a blog, you have to manage the infrastructure of the blog site itself, manage the technology and software to make your blog posts, manage comments, and come up with a creative posting schedule. But the benefits to blogging far outweigh the benefits to social media.

Social media has a low conversion rate. Blogging can also have a low conversion rate, but you have a lot more control over the content and results than you may think.

You own your content on a blog. Facebook or Twitter can wipe away your content without notice. They could do away with their services – although not likely, it could happen. If you own the content and the real estate that content sits on, then you can preserve it.

Another benefit to blogging is search engine optimisation. Facebook has blocked Google so you won’t get any SEO juice from your posts there. Twitter is in bed with Bing, not Google. But your blog can and will be crawled by all the search engines and every blog post you post is another chance to rank for your important key terms.

You can build inbound links with your blog as well. Those inbound links serve as important guideposts for the search engines about the value and importance of your content – not to mention relevancy.

Managing a blog is hard, but the benefits far outweigh those of social media. I wouldn’t say you should abandon your social media profiles, but I would say you shouldn’t abandon your blog. If you have trouble coming up with ideas for your content, hire a blog manager.

April 21st, 2012 / Blogging

7 Blog Marketing Channels To Explore

Today businesses have a ton of content marketing channels, but not all of them are blogging platforms. I thought I would make a list of excellent blog marketing channels for the savvy business owner in Scotland. You don’t have to use them all, but you can use as many as you have time to manage.

Here are 7 blog marketing channels you can incorporate into your business any way you see fit.

  1. Blogger - Blogger.com is the original blogging platform. It’s still strong today and is a great way to have a blog for free. It hasn’t changed much over the years, but the benefits are pretty much the same. Publish your content and build a community for free.
  2. WordPress.com – Just like Blogger, WordPress has a free hosted blog platform. Personally, I think Blogger is better, but WordPress is a good adjunct to use for reputation management purposes.
  3. Your own domain – With WordPress’s free downloadable software, you can add a blog to your own website. This is the best way to blog if you can set it up yourself, or hire someone to do it for you (hint, hint). Either way, there’s no better way to build a community than with your own blog.
  4. Twitter – Called a microblogging platform, you can drive traffic to your web properties 140 characters at a time.
  5. Tumblr – Tumblr is the graphic blog. Some people refer to it as a cross between Blogger and Twitter. I guess that may be true. But throw in a little Pinterest you’ve got yourself a platform.
  6. StumbleUpon – If you don’t know what a Stumbleblog is, then you haven’t been to StumbleUpon. Discover great websites, save them to your blog, and comment on them.
  7. Quora - Quora is a great place to prove yourself an authority on any topic. One of the features this Q&A community is that you can have your own boards and post to them regularly.

With these 7 blogging channels, you can be a marketing powerhouse.

April 15th, 2012 / Blogging

The Problem With Third-Party Commenting Systems

There’s been some talk lately about Google implementing a third party commenting system. But are there problems that might come attached to that?

If you remember Google Connect, then you are also likely aware that it doesn’t exist any more. One of the reasons why is the growing popularity of Google+. But the problem with Google Connect is now all the comments that people made through the service are gone. If you’re a webmaster, that represents comments on your website that simply disappeared overnight.

And there’s the problem.

It’s not that third party commenting systems are bad in and of themselves. Facebook has one. Disqus has one. And there are a few others. I’d say Facebook and Disqus are the most popular ones. They likely won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

Of course, if Google implements a third party commenting system, then that could drive Disqus out of the market. I’d feel sorry for all those bloggers and webmasters who are using it now.

Third party commenting systems can be a powerful addition to a blog or web property, so I don’t want to discount them completely. But I do like Bill Slawski’s recommendation to provide some way for commenters to choose whether to use the third party system or to allow webmasters to integrate it into their existing commenting systems.

In my mind, that would increase the value of a third party commenting system whether owned by Google or someone else. Then, if you get tired of the system and want to discontinue it you can export any comments to your blog posts inside WordPress (or whatever platform you are using) where they belong.

March 27th, 2012 / Blogging

Why Blog Marketing Isn’t Dead

Blogging has been around for a long time. It didn’t start out as a business application, but it quickly became one. As a tool, it is now over a decade old. And more and more blogs are being designed, written, and published every day. In fact, the number of blogs continues to grow.

But is blog marketing for businesses effective?

Let’s talk about the benefits of blogging. What have they been for the last ten years?

For starters, blog marketing is a great way to add new pages to your website. Each new page is another opportunity to rank in the search engines for your important keywords. And every time you update your blog you are inviting the search spiders back to your website to crawl it making it more likely to achieve search engine rankings as well. And you can’t beat the fresh daily content that is added to your blog when you update it.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Other benefits include:

  • Link building (inbound and internally)
  • Reputation management
  • Social media engagement
  • Authority positioning
  • Branding
  • Direct communication with your customers
  • Geotargeting if you are local
  • Natural traffic generation

All of these benefits are still available today if you have a business blog. The only thing that has changed from five or ten years ago is that you have more competition. That’s more people vying for search engine positioning. The sooner you start blogging the bigger your advantage.

In short, blog marketing is far from dead. It’s just as effective today as it ever was. And that’s pretty doggone good.

March 9th, 2012 / Blogging

Keeping Your WordPress Blog Safe

If you want your company blog to work hard for you, then you’ve got to treat it right. That means performing routine maintenance on it to ensure that it is optimized well, free from hackers, and performs optimally in every way. Here are 4 things you should do on a regular basis to ensure your WordPress blog performs admirably and consistently.

  1. Back it up – You should back up your WordPress blog at least monthly. Weekly is better. There are plug-ins available now that will schedule your back ups and send them to you by e-mail or download them automatically to your server. There is no excuse for not backing up your WordPress blog on a regular basis.
  2. Update your software – I’m not one to say you should update to the latest version of WordPress every time a new one comes out, but you should keep it current. Don’t fall more than one version behind. The current WordPress version is 3.3.1. If you have anything earlier than 2.9, then it’s time to upgrade. Also, keep your themes up to date because some themes, especially premium themes, work best when updated regularly.
  3. Update your plug-ins – Plug-ins also need to be updated regularly. This is one instance where I’d say keep your plug-ins up to date. Most plug-in developers, particularly developers who support free plug-ins, will only support the most recent plug-in version.
  4. Diagnostics - Run a periodic diagnostic check on your website to ensure you don’t have any issues. Google Webmaster Tools provides checks that let you know if your website has been infected with malware.

If you take care of your WordPress blog, it will take care of you, perform admirably, and provide you with years of great content that brings you new traffic.

February 9th, 2012 / Blogging

SEO 15 Minutes A Day

Did you know you can SEO your website like the pros in just 15 minutes a day? It’s true. And all you really need to do is spend that 15 minutes telling people what you think.

On your blog.

If you can write 300-500 words, you can have great SEO for your website in just 15 minutes a day. All you have to do is remember one rule: Every time you update your website, the search engines come back and crawl it. And if you know how to write keyword-based content that meets the search engine guidelines for search engine optimisation, then you can achieve great search results in just 15 minutes per day.

Here’s what you do:

  • Do some keyword research and uncover 100 great keywords that are perfect for your niche.
  • Create a spreadsheet with your keywords and make a calendar where you set a date for each keyword.
  • Each day, when you sit down to write your blog post, take a few minutes to Google one of your keywords and see what the hot topics for the day are.
  • Write your blog post and include a great headline with your keyword in it.
  • Tag it, add some SEO meta data, and place it in a category.
  • Publish it.

If you follow that order, you can have a blog post in 15 minutes every day and have great SEO for your website. The problem most small business owners struggle with is disciplining themselves to write every day. If you have that problem, you can hire a ghostwriter to write your blog and perform your essential SEO tasks.

January 15th, 2012 / Blogging

Do Blog Categories Improve SEO?

There seems to be some confusion among bloggers and small business owners who start a blog about the purpose for categories and tags. Are they for SEO purposes? Will blog posts in multiple categories have better SEO opportunities?

The answer is, of course, no. Categories and tags do not improve your SEO. Not much, anyway.

If anything, they could be detrimental to your SEO if you don’t use them properly. Many online marketers will include a nofollow,noindex command in their robots.txt file for category and tags pages. That’s so they don’t get dinged for duplicate content.

You want your individual blog posts to rank in the search engines, not the categories and tags pages. Therefore, preventing the search engines from crawling your tags and categories could benefit you.

Putting your blog posts in multiple categories won’t benefit you.

Those categories and tags are for your readers, not the search engines. They are for easier organization of your content. That’s why it’s better to have fewer broad-based categories and many narrower-in-scope tags for your blog. That way, you can put each blog post in the right category and give them all multiple tags.

That’s the best way to use tags and categories for SEO and blog organization purposes. Try it.

December 17th, 2011 / Blogging