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!



earn the art & science of pinterest

Learn the Art & Science of Pinterest

Pinterest is for yourself, not your selfie.


When I attended this year’s Southern C Summit, I had the privilege of hearing Nikki Bazzani from Pinterest present. It was great to be in the room with someone who could give answers from the source. Her presentation was about the art and science of Pinterest, and yes everyone, there is a true art and science to it.


Here is what she shared, and every business owner using Pinterest needs to take note of this! FYI, Pinterest is second largest search behind Google 😉


It’s no surprise that every story is rooted in an idea. And every idea is a pin. Those pins are what helps us discover and ultimately do what we love.


Pinterest provides a wealth of content for anyone who is looking – the mom looking for new recipes, the marketer looking for an infographic, the bride looking for ideas for her wedding, the husband looking for birthday ideas for his wife. A good number of businesses have an audience on this platform, and they should with 150 million active monthly users pinning away.


But where do you start? How do you use Pinterest for your business, much less create that perfect pin that will capture the attention of the pinner scrolling through?


Before you put together a pin for Pinterest, keep these things in mind:

  • Text is allowed – call out unique things, get that pinner’s attention.
  • Vertical images are optimal – use – 600px x 900px (Don’t go higher than 1560px high. Pinterest is going to start not showing/decreasing visibility of the really long pins. Keep them at 900px high.)
  • Be authentic to both you and your brand.
  • Be helpful instead of clever with text overlay and descriptions.
  • Avoid looking like a banner ad.
  • Content and detail in description is encouraged (200-400 characters). Use keywords. You can have 500 characters max.


Knowing those few things, there is a psychology behind creating a pin, much like the psychology advertisers use in creating their ads and how you see them. Here are three principles to stick to.


3 Good Principles of a Pin

  1. They are visually arresting
    • The pin is a canvas, so use it. Play with text color (bright that pop), texture, pattern. Use black and white. Play with space. Add your products, logo, etc.
  2. They are inspiring
    • Motivate pinners with helpful tips, lists, and how-tos. Show the pinner what they are going to find when they go to your site.
    • Motivate with variety.
    • Motivate with novelty.
    • Motivate with trends and cultural reference (check out their Pinterest 100 trend report here).
  3. They are actionable
    • Make it easy – tell them what to do.


Once you have your pin planned out, that’s not the end of it. You have to nail it. Think of the pin as your piece de resistance. Ask yourself these eight questions…

    • Does this pin appeal to my desired audience?
    • Is this pin a stand-alone idea?
    • Is the idea novel, inspiring, entertaining, or helpful?
    • Would I save this pin?
    • Does this pin pique my interest enough to click and get more information?
    • Can I visually grasp what the idea or product is in less than 1 second?
    • Is the pin designed for mobile?
    • Does it stand out in the Pinterest feed?


Of course, there are more ways your can always make your pin more helpful…


Show lists and multi-products.


Instructions and How-tos –  let the pinner know what they are getting.


Detailed descriptions – use all the space you can.


Text overlays – just be careful not to use too much.


Tasteful branding – use your branding, your logo, list your website.


Once you start using Pinterest for your business, there are a lot of opportunities for you to grow your brand there. For example, take advantage of group boards. Look at Tribes through TailWind (an AMAZING Pinterest management tool). Pin from brands you want to work with, pin to support small businesses.


Monica Lavin of Lavin Label, who had partnered with Pinterest, also shared her experience and some helpful tips on how to get the most out of this platform.


Monica’s Tips:


  • For every 1 pin you pin, re-pin 2 pins from other people.
  • Pin throughout the day (You can use Tailwind or Co-Schedule to schedule pins).
  • Look at pins that are doing the best – create new content similar to that. Re-pin pins that are not performing well.
  • Take advantage of Promoted Pins!
  • Use Rich Pins from your site.


Here are some best practices for all of us to take –

monica lavin pinterest



Are you using Pinterest? If so, what are your success stories? Remember every idea is a pin. Those pins are what helps us discover and ultimately do what we love.


Images courtesy of The Southern C Summit



Study- Most People Share Links Without Reading Them

Study: Most People Share Links Without Reading Them

Here is one marketing stat that will may (or may not) surprise you…


According to a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked.”


Yep. Cited in the Washington Post this summer, most people share articles without ever reading them. I do it. I know you do it.


Did you read this before you shared it? This post is a test to see if anyone is actually reading…


Comment below and let me know if you read before you share (it’s okay to admit if you don’t).


This itty bitty post was inspired by Mark Schaefer’s post, Why it’s a very good sign that people don’t read your content.




Why Your Content Should Be the Centerpiece of Your Marketing

Lately content strategies seem to be everywhere. I have clients adding them to their social marketing plans and I’m working a project based around content analysis.


Let me tell you now – if you are not actively and regularly creating fresh content – and I’m not talking about social media posts – you and your business are missing out. In the age we are in, you have to be constantly creating content. Yes, I know all about content shock, but you still need content to be relevant.


Okay, social media posts are content, but that’s not what matters. What I’m talking about is content from your website. Blogs. Infographics. Video. Podcasts. You know, things that will get indexed by Mother Google. If you’re not feeding Mother Google on a regular basis, she’s going to forget about you and you’ll be lost in the Googlesphere while those who are feeding her will get prime spots at the table.


Why have a content strategy and distribute regularly?


Content drives people to your social networks

How many times have you visited someone’s Facebook page or Pinterest page after reading a blog post or an article? Continually publishing new content gives people something to read and while they are on your website, they’ll stay and look around or click and visit your networks.

Content drives people to your website

Once you write it, you have to get the word out. When you publish fresh content, one of the first things you do is share it all over social media and maybe email it out. People will see it, click on it and go to your website. Having regular fresh content gives people a reason to keep coming back.

Content conveys a message to your audience

Your content is a way to provide value to your audience. This could be through tips, testimonials or helping them solve a problem. No matter what it is, you are sending your audience a message. Hopefully it’s one that shows you care. This is their way to get to know you.

Content sets you apart from your competitor

If you are a small, local business, I can almost guarantee your competitors are not publishing fresh content. If they are, that right there gives you a reason to start. If you’re the first one doing it – great! You’ll have an easier time getting those people’s attention and web traffic. If you aren’t first, don’t worry – provide great content of value and share it and people will come (with a strategy of course).

Content can give you authority

The longer and more regularly you publish content, the more authority you build in the search engines. However, you’ll also build authority in your audience’s eyes because they see someone (or some business) that knows their stuff and is helping them out. Look at the people you consider to be influential and have authority – they’re publishing new content all the time.


How do you spread your content?


Share on your social networks

Of course this is a no-brainer. When I publish something new, I share it to Google Plus first (for indexing reasons), then Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest – in that order. You want to share it as many places as you can. You have a similar, yet different audience on each platform you are active on. You can also share content to sites like Flipboard, Scoop.it and Stumbleupon.

Ask your employees to share

Having an employee network that is active and shares is a goldmine for your business. Your employees are vested in your business – ask them if they would share the business’ content on their social networks and sites. Empowering them to take an active role in promoting the business will help ignite your content. I have a client that does this and we see a uptick in traffic when their staff members share.

Syndicate it

Content syndication can be your best friend. This is an easy way to get your articles out in front of more than just your audience. You can take advantage of sites such as Triberr or Business2Community. An example of how this can work – I published an article, 4 Reasons Social Media Marketing May Not Be Working for Your Business. On my site it did okay, but I syndicate my content on Business2Community. They picked up this post and to date it’s been shared 977 times (650 came in the first 48 hours). In the first 48 hours, I saw a dramatic increase in retweets with my Twitter handle and traffic did spike on my site. Syndicating content can work for your content.

Befriend your influencers

Your influencers want to get to know you. Build a relationship with them – tweet them, mention them in an article (and tag them), send them an email. Befriending influencers and sharing their content first will help your content. I befriended one of my influencers and since then this person has shared my content on their social networks, allowed me to guest post twice on their site and now I’m working on a project with them. Building an authentic relationship with those in your industry will pay off – not immediately though. These things take time.


Your business’ marketing strategy has to now include a content strategy. You have to know what you are going to publish and where and to whom. The days of ‘just’ posting on Facebook or Twitter are over. You have to have a plan behind it and the right people to execute it.


My friend Mark Schaefer shared this awesome Slideshare presentation last year giving you ways to spread (ignite) your content. Scroll through it below and you’ll get some great ideas to use in your content strategy (if you’re not doing some of these already).


When you’re done, check out his book based around content, The Content Code. I’ve read it and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to amp up their content strategy.




So, let me ask you – what’s your business’ content strategy?


Photo Credit: Flickr.com/proflowers & ProFlowers

A {Short} Beginner's Guide to Instagram Strategy

A {Short} Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Strategy

There’s been a lot of talk about Instagram this past year or two. It’s a platform that is growing fast, much like Pinterest in its early years. Now that users can switch between accounts, it makes life easier to switch between your personal and business accounts.


Before we get too much into how you can use it, let’s look at the stats:


  • 400 million monthly users
  • More than 75 million daily users
  • Of all Instagram users, 51% are male and 49% are female
  • 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35
  • Instagram users share an average of 2.6 posts per day
  • 80 billion photos are posted daily to Instagram


Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/


A recent Sprout Social article mentioned,

“As people join Instagram in droves, brands have a unique opportunity for engagement with their fans: Instagram posts generate a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%, which is 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.”


Before you jump headfirst into using this platform, there are some basic elements to consider when crafting your plan for your business. Let’s take a look…


Why are You Using it?

Like anything you do for your business, you have to know why you are using it. Are you trying Instagram because you are tired of Facebook? Maybe you want to be your competition to the punch? Before taking on more than you can chew, make sure you have the time, energy and resources to dedicate to doing this right. Once you have, start crafting your Instagram strategy. To save time and not reinvent the wheel, I’m going to recommend you bookmark Sprout Social’s Instagram Strategy Guide (it’s linked at the end of the article).


Which Photos Will You Use?

Photos are the backbone of this platform – without them, Instagram simply wouldn’t exist. Choosing what graphic to post is very important. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:

  • Optimal photo size is 1080px x 1080px
  • Will your photo be landscape or portrait?
  • Filter or no filter?
  • Does it match the message you are wanting to convey?
  • Is it appropriate?
  • If I’m sharing someone else’s content, do I have permission?


Unfortunately at this time, there is not a direct way to upload a photo via your computer. I’m sure one day we may have this option, but right now, there’s not. Here are the most common ways to post your photo to Instagram:

  • Take a photo on your smartphone or tablet and direct upload from the device.
  • Create a DropBox folder or a folder in Google Drive and upload the photos you’d like to use and sync it with your smartphone or tablet. You’d then download the image from the cloud onto your device and post from there.
  • Repost App. This is an app that allows you to share other people’s Instagram photos. When you open it, it brings up the feed of who you follow and you just tap the photo you want to share and it allows you to open it up in your Instagram account to post.


What About Hashtags?

Hashtags are very important when using this platform for your business. Like Twitter, these allow you to be found when someone searches. Instagram’s guidelines on hashtags can be found here. Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends is one of the top Instagram strategy people I know. She wrote an article about using hashtags on Instagram and here’s what she says (and I suggest as well) –

  • Use relevant keyword hashtags
  • Don’t use too many hashtags
  • Use industry related hashtags
  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Don’t hijack hashtags (basically using a popular hashtag to butt in on a trend or conversation)


One of her best suggestions on using hashtags was to create a list of hashtags and save them on your mobile device ,

“On your mobile device, I recommend you create a notepad note (on whichever app you prefer) with your favorite/preferred hashtags. You can even create multiple lists if you have multiple types of content you share on Instagram. Set the list with your core hashtags and simply copy and paste it into your Instagram post caption to save you having to type them in each time. It’ll also make sure you don’t leave any out!”


How About Following People and Having Them Follow Me?

In the question above she mentioned only seeing the posts of people she’s followed, not everyone. On Instagram, in your feed you will only see the posts from those you follow. If you click on eyeglass at the bottom, it pulls up the search where you see photos from people based on the people you follow. You can also search people and hashtags as well. To be found and get followers, it’s important for you to use hashtags (see above). Most people you follow will follow you back, however here are some tips when you follow people and getting people to follow you back:

  • Have your bio completely filled out and include a link to your website. Also, make sure you have a legit and professional-looking profile photo (read: no bikini pictures or topless (if you are a guy), no vulgar expressions, etc.).
  • Post relevant content. Your stream should not be a collection of selfies.
  • When you do follow someone and they follow you back, do not immediately unfollow them. This is my biggest pet peeve. I’ll have people follow me and I’ll follow them back if I like their content and 2 days later, I’m scrolling through my followers and see they are not following me anymore. Talk about rude. Beware of those who follow you who are following A LOT less than follow them.
  • Check out who is following your competitor and follow those people. Keep in mind to only follow quality people.
  • Comment on other people’s posts. If someone comments on mine and I’m not following them, more often than not, I’ll follow them. Of course, look at their bio and what they’ve posted first.
  • Use relevant hashtags.


Promoting Across the Web?

Of course you’ll want everyone to know you are on Instagram now. When you launch your account, make sure you have your Instagram link on your website. Also, post a status update with your link on your other social accounts. I have several I follow on different social media platforms and their Instagram posts are much different (for the better) than their Facebook updates. Here are some ideas to promote your Instagram account across the web:

  • Status update on your social platforms.
  • Link on your website.
  • Write a blog post about why you’re using it.
  • Share your Instagram photos to Twitter and Facebook.


How Often Do I Need to Post?

Like any other social media platform, you have to use it regularly to benefit from it. Posting once per week is not going to do it. Plan on posting 2-3 times per day. The more active you are, the more your account with grow. Right now there are very few ways to schedule Instagram posts. The program I use is Schedugram. They are based out of Australia and run about $20/month. I’ve used them for almost a year now with no issues. Of course, Instagram allows you to share your photos to other platforms, but if you do choose to go that route, I would only recommend sharing the photo to Facebook. Twitter only show the link and caption, not the image.


Tracking Analytics?

Last but not least, you need to be able to track and measure your Instagram efforts. Fortunately there are two options – Iconosquare and Sprout Social – to help! Both programs let you manage comments on your Instagram photos and gives you analytics on your accounts. Sprout’s Instagram services are included in their social management software while Iconosquare is a stand-alone program.


Using Instagram can be A LOT of fun. It’s a great way to get a behind-the-scenes peek into the daily lives of business and individuals. If you use it the right way, you’ll see your presence grow. What are you doing with your Instagram strategy?


Follow me on Instagram –

Personal Account – @mandyedwards0821

Business Account – @memarketingservices


Instagram Resources I Recommend:

Sprout Social’s Instagram Strategy Guide


Jenn’s Trends (take a look at her Jenn’s Friends Program too!)

Sprout Social (Link takes you to a free 30-day trial and is my referral link).