7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

If you are not blogging for your business, you are missing out.

By publishing fresh, new content on a consistent basis, you are giving people a reason to come back to visit your site. The more people to your site means more traffic, which means more opportunity to convert them into loyal fans and one day, customers.

Of course some blogs have all the bells and whistles they install while some are very plain and simple. You need to go with what fits your business’ personality and branding. No matter what you do, you need to always be working to improve your blog. Here are 7 quick and easy ideas you can implement now…

 

Idea #1: Add Click to Tweet.

Click to Tweet is this great site (and plug-in) that you can use to make lines or points you want to make tweetable. This gives your readers an easy way to share your blog post along with a snippet from it. See below.

Click to Tweet is just 1 of 7 ideas you can use to improve your #blog. Click To Tweet

 

Idea #2: Display your social shares.

Social proof is a valuable measure in content marketing. People want to see how many times your content is being shared to validate that it’s something worth sharing. Companies and influencers look at the number of social shares when determining what content to share or who to work with. If I get approached to guest post on a website, I look at their social share numbers before deciding if I’m going to do it. Content worth sharing gets shared. Period. (Hint: it’s all about the quality)

 

Idea #3: Add a Call to Action (CTA).

Including a call to action at the end of your post is a great way to encourage your readers to respond and engage. This could be a question or a prompt to sign-up for an email. Not matter what you choose, you need to prompt your readers to give a response.

 

Idea #4: Use lists and infographics.

Lists make longer posts easier to read. Infographics are a great way to display a lot of information and data in an easy-to-understand format. Most readers will leave a post before they reach the end if it’s nothing but long paragraph after paragraph. Breaking it up into listed bullet points keeps them there. Creating a list post such as “Top 10 Ways…” or even a post that ranks something will see more traffic than others (trust me, I’ve seen it first-hand).

 

Idea #5: Include a pinnable image.

You (should) already know to have a visual in every post you publish. Having an image that is pinnable to Pinterest helps as well. The recommended size for these image types is 735px x 1102px. You can easily make these in programs such as Canva or PicMonkey or you can get more custom with Adobe InDesign or Photoshop.

Here is an example (image has been sized down for display purposes, but was created to the specs above):

7 Easy Ideas to Improve Your Blog

Idea #6: Link to influencers.

We all have people who influence us. And occasionally we like to mention them or talk about their work. When you do, make sure to link back to them. That will usually bring it to their attention you’ve mentioned them. You won’t always get a response from them, but sometimes you do. Also, when sharing that post on social media, make sure to tag them on the platform you’re sharing on.

 

Last but not least…

 

Idea #7: Make sure your content is something people want to share.

Maybe this isn’t so much an idea as it should be a rule of thumb. Good, quality content gets shared. That’s the type you need to be publishing. In the age of content shock, fluff content won’t cut it. I could write a whole post on this, so for time’s sake, I’ll just leave it here.

 

Any writer and incorporate these easy 7 ideas into their blog if they are not already. If you were writing a list of ideas like this, what else would you include? Share with me below!

 

 

5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

5 Engaging Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are currently about 80 million millennials in the US. They have well surpassed the baby boomer population of 74.9 million. Additionally, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, it is safe to say that they are the most advantageous markets for companies to be taking a look at.

 

However, this target market differs from others in many ways. They spot the tricks of the trade. They understand the fact that companies see them as a dollar sign.

 

And guess what? They find it annoying and don’t like it.

 

This is because they are constantly bombarded with media. The constant media is not what they are annoyed with. They understand that their screen time use is off the charts compared to other generations. However, this means they aren’t going to simply buy into everything and anything that you put out there. They are able to cut through the trash pretty quickly.

 

Keeping that in mind, here are 5 modern tips for marketing to millennials.

 

  1. Authentic Content can be Empowering

As a millennial myself, I feel I can seem to be one of the most looked-down upon generations ever. No, we don’t like the idea of a 9-5 desk job. No, we don’t want to sit in an office full of old folks who just want to tell us we are young and naive. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us. No one seems to believe in us but wants our fresh, young perspective. Can you say, “Feeling a little used”? Because of this we put our tech savvy and internet conversation power to use. We like adding to the conversation that is happening on social media. We get lost in video, blog, and photo content for extended periods of time. Therefore, when we come across content that we feel is not only current but honest, we take note. 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. Additionally, we want to share this refreshing content with our friends. If it sparks the feeling of being trustworthy, it is likely to have a domino effect.

 

    2. Collaboration!

Collaboration is key for millennials. However, nailing this aspect definitely calls for some research. It involves looking at the work of companies, accounts, and products that your particular audience is interested in. Take a look at the content they are generating. Don’t be afraid to name drop those places in your content. It shows that your goals align with their current interest and places that they trust. Additionally, don’t forget to reach out to social accounts driving media influence.

 

    3. Outbound Material is Way Out

After mentioning how content driven millennials are, hopefully you have caught the drift that traditional methods are fortunately out. Millennials crave connection in marketing. Therefore, your traditional random/picture perfect girl or guy flipping their hair and smiling for your product unfortunately isn’t going to cut it anymore. In the mind of a millennial, this comes off as impersonal and company driven. Millennials want to feel involved and important in what they invest their time in. We want to add to the conversation and feel we are a part of it.

 

    4. Intentionally Crafted Material

Outbound marketing leads us to out next point… the importance of understating their lifestyle. What is the best way to form a relationship with someone? Ask them questions about what going on in their life.

We are a generation that thrives off of sarcasm and humor. *Note, the success of memes with our generation. They are usually lifestyle based and something that we laugh at and share with/tag our 10 bffs in. Also, take a look into some of the words that are selling products right now: wanderlust, craftsman, discover, organic, escape, authentic. They all have something in common, they exude a sense of being real/in the now. Let’s look back to point number one… Constantly being put down can be emotionally draining. It’s not like millennials don’t understand that this is not how life naturally is. We simply seem to be the generation that has collectively adopted the mentality of breaking free from the routine lifestyle. We value freedom, experiences and living in a different way than others do. By going out and doing it. Also, we don’t let the judgmental forces we face every day get the best of us. This is why EMPOWERING content is so refreshing for us.

 

   5. Millennials Just Want to Have Fun

*Que Cyndi Lauper. Yes… I know who that is. The bottom line for millennials here is that they are all about the now, experience and living in the moment. Things that comes a sense of well… fun. And honestly, is it so bad that we have a generation that is craving a sense of authenticity and genuine relationships. In world that has become so disconnected, give your audience a way to become connected and feel valued.

 

If you nail the marketing strategy for reaching millennials, you will see results. What is your company doing to reach this demographic?

 

 

digital marketing

Staying with the Times in Social Media & Digital Marketing

Working in social media marketing, there is something new to learn every day. A new algorithm to adjust your strategy to, a new platform to try, or even a new way to distribute your content.

 

It’s important for all business owners, or at least those who run your social media, to keep up with what is going on in the social media/digital marketing world. If not, you’ll be doing things that no longer work or using outdated strategies that could lead your efforts to produce little or no results.

 

There are marketing professionals who think they know it all and fail to keep up with the newest changes. I’ve seen examples on most platforms. Let me clarify, we’re not all perfect and sometimes it will take a few weeks to adjust things to the newest changes, but ignoring them outright is never the thing to do. Here are three examples I have seen in the past week:

  • Hashtags on Facebook. These are no longer relevant folks. Yes, use them as funny sidenotes – I do that all the time on my personal profile, but according to a report from BuzzSumo last year, which analyzed more than a billion Facebook posts from over 30 million brand Pages,  Facebook posts without hashtags generated more reach than those with tags added.
  • Share contests on Facebook. Facebook updated their contest rules a couple years ago, allowing pages to use likes and comments as means of entry, but not shares. I see “Like and Share” contests all.the.time. While you have a greater chance of winning the lottery than getting your page suspended or deleted by Facebook for this, ignoring the rules is never a good business practice. Do not trust any marketing professional that says it’s okay to do this. For examples of illegal and legal contests, click here.
  • Robo-commenting on Instagram. Yes, yes, yes I know there are programs that do this for you but some just do not make sense. Example – I post a Monday Marketing Tip every Monday on my business Instagram account. The most recent one had a comment that said “Cute pic!”. Totally random. I will get random comments that have nothing to do with the image all the time. I understand not having time to engage (if you don’t, then just don’t do it), but using robo-comments is the quickest way to having your account reported as spam.

 

I’m sure you are asking yourself just how you are supposed to keep up with it all – where do I find this information? When do I make the time? Here are my top four suggestions, and I do not suggest just anyone!

 

Top Resources to Stay in the Social Media/Digital Marketing Loop

 

Scott Monty’s Full Monty

Every week Scott Monty emails out an amazing round-up of top articles from marketing/pr-sphere. You can even check out his Flipboard for the links that didn’t make the cut. You can subscribe here.

 

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog

Full disclosure – Mark is a personal friend, business mentor, and I do some work for him. He is a wealth of knowledge and if you spend just 10 minutes with him you’ll walk away leagues smarter. His blog, published four times each week, will prompt you to think and give you actionable items you can use. Subscribe here.

 

Sprout Insights Blog

As a member of their All-Star Influencer program, I love to share this one! I’ve followed this blog since I began my business. It is full of social media 101’s, data and metrics, and great commentary and case studies to help your business.

 

Social Media Examiner

I feel like this one has to be here. It’s where I started reading when I started my social media marketing journey eons ago. This is great for those seeking basic to mid-level social media marketing knowledge. Subscribe here.

 

Top Business Publications to Read

 

Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review (you are limited to 4 free articles/month without a subscription)

Inc.

 

All of these can be saved to your favorite reader on your tablet or smartphone to read later – just make sure to read them! If you have someone handling your social media/digital marketing for you, pass this list on to them to make sure they are using the latest strategies for your business. You do not want to be using 2015 strategies in 2017. Trust me, they’ve changed.

 

 

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Bringing Creatives Together with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of those buzzwords that has been floating around for a few years but has really gotten hot in the past 12-18 months.

 

Everyone has this innate craving to be known – to be considered an influencer in their industry, whether it be interior design, cooking, art, or even… social media marketing (yes, I’m calling myself out on that one). Being an influencer is one thing, working with influencers to help promote your business is another.

 

You don’t have to me some mega-company like Chanel or McDonald’s to use influencers, likewise you don’t have to use big celebrity names either. Find those who are passionate about your brand/company who have a good-sized following (it doesn’t have to be a million followers) and start there.

 

When I attended the 2017 Southern C Summit, James Nord of Fohr Card spoke on this topic, which is something his company specializes in – bringing creatives (read: influencers) together.

 

James talked about how traditional digital media is trending towards obsolescence. Consumers are expecting more. They want to be inspired.

 

Take a look at Instagram, for example. Think back and look at how the posts have changed over the past 2-3 years. You see more creative posts involving more people. Companies are sharing more user-generated content. Brands are featuring their most passionate fans, or as Mark Schaefer calls them, your alpha audience. You see accounts with Instagram take-overs from industry influencers.

 

Enlisting these influencers, or creatives, is often driven by passion, not profit. The influencers doing these campaigns and posts for these brands/companies, are not doing it for the money (well, maybe a few are) – they are doing it because they love that brand.

 

Example: me and Sprout Social. I have been a loyal Sprout Social customer since 2012. Actually, more like a raving, passionate fan/customer. I could go on and on about why I love and continue to use their program when, honestly, there are less expensive ones out there. Sprout saw my passion for their company and invited me to be a part of their inaugural All-Star Influencer Program. I do not get paid for it. Yes, I’m asked to post about them a few times a month, which I was doing anyway, but in return for being that passionate customer, I’ve been featured on their Sprout Insights blog, gotten some awesome swag, and even had one of my largest consulting clients referred to me. I do not have a million followers. I do not live in Los Angeles or New York. I’m just a passionate, committed customer who has a good-sized following.

 

In his talk at the Summit, James Ford shared with us lessons learned from his Drink with James video series (which I highly recommend)…

15 Influencer Marketing Items to Consider

 

1. Why are people following you?

You or your client must be doing something right if you have a continual growth of your community. If people are following you, you have to deliver great content.

 

2. Have a business mindset.

If you are wanting to grow your following (or your client’s), you have to think about it everyday – it will be like a part-time job. It’s intentional, much like knowing why you are using social media in the first place.

 

3. Invest in your business.

Make sure you have the right products, equipment, education. Continually be growing as a leader in your industry.

 

4. Be consistent.

Your social feed is your landing page (think Instagram). People who visit your accounts need to know what to expect. This same principle applies to branding. All accounts need to flow across each other.

 

5. Differentiation

You have to be yourself, but you also have to be different. What makes you better than your competitor? What can you deliver that they cannot?

 

6. Build relationships

Influencers for your brand are not built overnight. They are cultivated through a relationship. This is very important. In fact, building a relationship with all of your followers (as a whole) is important. They are your reason why you have anyone looking at your social posts anyway.

 

7. Figure out what it’s worth

If you want to be an influencer, figure out what you should charge. If you are looking to use an influencer in a campaign, figure out what they charge and what you’re willing to pay (cash, trade, free product). A model James gave in his talk, for example with Instagram, take your following, divide it by 1,000 and then multiple it by 10. But also think about the niche. Real life example, @memarketingservices has 1,224 followers. Divide that by 1,000 and that equals 1.22, then multiply by 10 and I could charge $12.24 per post to a company who wanted me as an influencer. For Twitter, it’s the same formula, but you divide by 10,000.

 

8. Work the negotiation

Not all influencers want to be paid. Shocking, I know. Some actually do it simply for the exposure. And that can be big.

 

9. Cold emailing

The thought of cold-calling sends chills down my spine, but cold emailing isn’t as bad. If you are going to cold email a person or brand about an influencer campaign, do your homework first about them and have a great pitch.

 

10. Know how to have your photos taken

James suggested the subject have some alcohol first so they’ll relax, but I’m not going to advocate for that. You do what you think is best. However, whether you are the influencer or you are working on an influencer campaign, having the right photo is key. Work with a photographer – educate yourself – look at other posts for inspiration (but do NOT copy).

 

11. Know the FTC rules.

If you are an influencer for a company or you are working with one, you MUST disclose the relationship. If not, there could be legal ramifications for all parties involved. You can also use a hashtag to disclose such as #brandnamepartner.

 

12. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT buy followers

Not only is this a Terms of Service violation on EVERY platform, Instagram is working on a ratings tool, much like the Twitter ones floating about.

 

13. Know your growth rates and what to look for

You want to make sure you are getting positive ROI (return on investment) on your influencer campaign. Below are some benchmarks to look for.

 

14. Speak outside your niche (go off-brand)

There are certain times and places to go off-brand. You want to stay consistent, but there will be times it’s okay to stray off the path for variety sake. Just make sure it’s relevant.

 

15. Look ahead

Once this campaign is done, where do you go next? Was this a good experience? Would you do it again? Constantly be planning for what’s coming.

 

Still considering influencer use? Here are some statistics to consider:

 

  • Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. (source)
  • Twitter users now trust influencers as much as they trust their friends.
  • Influencer Marketing is more effective than advertising since 47% of online customers use ad block technology.
  • 73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (source)

 

Have you thought about using influencers for your company/brand or have you been tapped as an influencer yourself for a company? We’d love to hear how that experience went. Share below in the comments!