BLOG POST CHECKLIST
So you’ve finished an awesome blog post and you can’t wait to share it with your readers, well your job isn’t quite finished. Now you have to make sure that your blog post can get the best reach possible. How do you do this? simple, make sure to cover everything you see on the blog post checklist below:
Photo credit onlineentrpenista.com
Business + Branding
One of our biggest fears as small business owners is that our business will not appear professional and legit to others. We worry that it will look like we did it ourselves or that it won’t reach the right ideal client. There are several things you can do to make sure that your brand and website come across as professional and well thought out. I wanted to share with you 5 things that could be making your brand and website look unprofessional and how you can fix those things today.
busy + cluttered
Is your website busy and hard to navigate? Does your brand and logo have too much going on? If your brand and website are busy and cluttered it could turn off people from your business. One of the biggest things you can do to look more professional is to keep everything clean and simple. I’m a big advocate for simple logos and layout and a lover of white space because of this. Having white space allows your design to breathe and makes it more visually appealing to the viewer.
To fix this problem, simplify your brand and website. Set aside a day to go through your website and take out things that are not necessary. Think about it from your visitor’s perspective and what they want and need to see. Take them on a journey through your website and show them the most important and relevant information. Make sure that it is easy to navigate and understand. After you’re done, ask a friend or random person to view your website and give you feedback. Ask them what their first impression is and if they understand what you do. The same can be said for your brand design. Simplify what you have first by taking out all the extra things.
TOO MANY COLOURS
Part of coming across as too busy comes from having too many colors. I usually recommend to my clients to choose 2 main brand colors with 2-3 accent colors to use throughout brand collateral and website. Sometimes more can work, but it’s all about how the colors are used. I will rarely use more than 2 or 3 colors in a logo, and one of those is typically black or grey for a neutral. Too many colors is hard on the eyes and can make your brand and website look unprofessional. It can look like you are just using your favorite color of the day instead of sticking with an intentional brand design.
How many colors do you use in your brand and website? If you are using too many colors, or those colors are not complimenting each other well, start fresh. Work with a brand designer to create a set style and consistent color scheme for your business. Choose 2-3 colors that truly fit your brand and stick with them. Get rid of the rest.
Along those same lines, too many fonts can be detrimental too. I never use more than 3 fonts in a brand and typically that will include a serif, sans serif, and script or decorative font for variation. But again, it’s all about how you use it. Best practice is to use one or two fonts in your logo and a third as accent or for emphasis on collateral or website. I always choose one main font over the others and use the other one or two as accent too. Too many fonts can have the same effect as too many colors. It can be hrs on the eyes and make it hard to read. Remember, simple is better.
Choose your favorite fonts and stick to those on everything. Make sure that you are using the same 2-3 fonts everywhere that your brand is represented. Also, decide which font will be your main font and which will be your accent fonts.
The quality of the photos that accompany your brand are just as important as he brand itself. A good brand and website can be ruined by bad photography. The photos you use are what show the quality of your work. This is especially true for product based businesses, but even for service based businesses too. If your photos are poorly lit, randomly arranged, and not on brand, you could be hurting yourself. There are so many great options out there these days for beautiful stock photography that will match your brand and look professional. And if you have a product to sell, it’s important to get high quality images that show off your product.
Work with a professional photographer to get branded stock images that you can use on your website and marketing materials. For products, you can also overlay your product onto a stock image or work with a professional photographer to get quality shots of your products. If hiring a photographer is out of your budget, you can use free or affordable stock photos to freshen up your website and make it look more professional. Get rid of any iPhone photos with bad lighting and poor quality, and be sure to stick with the same color scheme and style for all of the images you use.
UNCLEAR MISSION AND MESSAGE
If your message and mission are all over the place, you could be confusing your audience. If it is unclear what you do or why you do it, your business could come off as unorganized and unprofessional. By establishing a strong message and mission for your business you will be sure to communicate the right thing to your audience and your potential customers and clients. If you go back and forth from day to day on what you do, people will think of your business as more of a hobby that you do on a whim than a well established and professional business. A good rule of thumb is that if your business is confusing to you, it will be confusing to others.
Evaluate your brand and make sure that you have a clear message. Write out your mission and take it to the wall of your office. Make it visible and clear on your office. Constantly check each of your elements of your business against this and make sure that every word, image, and product or service coming from your business upholds this mission.
It is important that you pay attention to how your brand is coming across to others. You want to be sure that you are putting out the right message and appearing professional to others. These are just a few of the aspects of your business and brand that you can check to make sure that you are keeping things legit. The key is to remember that any touch point with your potential customers or clients is on brand and polished.
IS YOUR BUSINESS COMING ACROSS AS UNPROFESSIONAL? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO FIX IT?
THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY INTERNATIONALLY DESIGNED
Acquiring a large social following is great but its meaningless if you keep losing those followers. Understanding what is making your followers leave is as important as acquiring them.
The folks at BuzzStream and Fractl conducted a survey to better understand why people unfollow brands on social media.
When was the last time you unfollowed a brand on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn?
Twitter: 12% of respondents said they unfollowed a brand in the last few days
Facebook: 25% said they unfollowed a brand in the last month.
LinkedIn: 49% said they never unfollow brands on LinkedIn
What would provoke you to unfollow a brand’s official social media accounts?
21% said they will unfollow a brand if the content is repetitive and boring.
19% said they will unfollow a brand on Facebook if it posts too frequently (more than 6 times per day).
8% said they will unfollow a brand on Twitter due to lack of engagement (slow or no response to comments).
Why do you unsubscribe from emails?
24% said they unsubscribe from emails because the content is repetitive and boring
28% said they unsubscribe from emails because their inbox is getting crowded and they want less clutter
33% indicated that people unsubscribed from emails due to overly frequent emails.
Prioritizing social media activities that matter…
New content in posts
Content that relevant to brand
Engagement with followers
Consistency of post
Which is your preferred content type posted by the brands that you follow?
22% of the responses said that images is the most preferred content type posted by brands
15% indicated that the most preferred content type is videos.
15% specified that the most preferred content type is customer reviews.
14% want to see company news.
Less than 7% want to see e-books and white papers.
How likely do you think it is that a brand will engage with you if you follow its page on Facebook or Twitter?
39% think that a brand is either very or quite likely to engage with them if they follow its Facebook page, whereas 27% think that there will be no change in engagement.
36% think that a brand is either very or quite likely to engage with them if they follow its Twitter feed, whereas 33% think that there will be no change in engagement.
When you unfollow a brand on Facebook or Twitter, what do you do?
Facebook: 20% said that they hide the brand’s posts from their news feed.
Twitter: 12% said that they issue a tweet mentioning the change.
Which content type(s) should brand avoid posting (because it will lead you to unfollow their page on social media)?
18% of the responses indicated that they need more than the given reasons to unfollow a page.
12% of the responses said that brands should avoid posting white papers.
11% said that brands should avoid pasting e-books.
8% said that brand should avoid posting company news.
In the online-based economy we live in today, consumers can no longer follow the yellow page road to your business. Traditional methods of print advertising and other low cost methods of advertising that worked in the past are now secondary measures at best. Even the industry magazines are moving to online media and hiking up their ad-placement rates. While the old ways still have their place, particularly for certain demographics, it is important to establish a strong online presence. From a mom and pop shop to a multinational corporation, driving web traffic and promoting widespread brand recognition for your business is vital to success in today’s marketplace.
Start with a Site
The first step to making this happen may seem a bit obvious: build a quality website. Your company’s web page should be a digital storefront that effectively represents your physical operations. The key to any marketing, online or otherwise, is to communicate your unique value proposition to the customer. What differentiates you from all of the other options available to potential consumers? Make sure the answer is evident to visitors of your online store front. It is equally important to communicate information about your unique products and/or services in a language that search engines can understand.
Understanding Customer Intent and Search Engine Speak
I imagine most of us these days have at least a cursory knowledge of how search engines work; at least from a user’s perspective. You type in a keyword or phrase and the search engine returns the most relevant results it can to try and serve up the information it thinks you are looking for. The foundation of any good online business platforms is understanding customer intent. If you can accurately identify what searches are driving customers to your site, and tailor your content on your site to organically incorporate those keywords/phrases into quality content, then you are off to an excellent start in building a sustainable and profitable online revenue stream.
Starting the Revenue Stream
Now, I realize that all of this is easier said than done. Particularly for those of us that aren’t “digital natives” or simply lack the technical skills, time or desire to develop a website this e-commerce migration can seem overwhelming. While there are various content management systems and helpful plugins to help the less technically inclined develop their online presence, sometimes you may find it more worthwhile to hire an SEO (search engine optimization) specialist and a web developer. If you’ve ever looked into contracting out these services, you know they don’t come cheap.
A quality site can cost thousands of dollars and SEO services represent another considerable cost. How can you change your brick and mortar into pixels and product pages without breaking the bank?
Given the recent economic downturn and the increasingly strict lending requirements imposed by banks, it can be very difficult for business owners to get funding for expansion or even to subsidize their existing operations. Luckily, there are alternative financing options available if you can provide sufficient evidence that your new ventures will be successful. Given the vast potential of the internet, an investment in your online development can pay tremendous dividends and prove to be well worth the risk.
Whether you choose to tackle the project alone, or invest in professional help, it no longer makes sense to rely on traditional advertising methods. Start trying to figure out how to use the internet to help you help your customers.
This post was originally published for ResourceNation
Written by Jeff Bullas It started as a trickle and has turned into a torrent as people and companies target you with multiple media such as Twitter and emails with requests for you to ‘like’ their company Fan page on Facebook. The Facebook ’like’ scramble is this centuries version of the frantic email subscriber acquisition tactics of the 1990′s. Business started to seriously take to Facebook marketing in early 2010 as the number of Facebook pages more than doubled with the 1.5 million ‘page’s in December 2009 increasing to over 3 million by February 2010, according to Insidefacebook.com So how do you encourage your brand’s Facebook fans to become more engaged with you rather than just plain ‘begging’ to be ‘liked’? 1. High Quality Images Facebook now allows high resolution images up to 2048 x 2048. Companies such as premium designer labels Oscar de la Renta have found that professional high definition photos are extremely engaging. Beautifully crafted photo quality photos make fashionistas drool and keep coming back for their brand fix. Also the little incentive of receiving a free sample of a new fragrance for liking their page produced a rapid growth of 30,000 fans up from the 130,000 fans to over 160,000 in less than 1 week.
2. Use Facebook’s New Questions Feature Facebook recently added a “Questions” option which you will see just under your top images banner next to your status tab. I have been trialling this to see what interaction it would create with my Facebook fans. The question will appear in your fans news feeds and will entice them to come and visit you. I was not expecting too much but I have been pleasantly surprised with quite a few taking the time to place a an answer to my polls. I think that a “Question” that is relevant and adjacent to a blog update posted to my Facebook wall seems to drive more engagement than a free standing question.
3. Content that is Compelling and Topical I write a blog post 5 days a week and then post it to my Facebook page. The reality is that you need to place your online properties content where your readers are and 650 million people just happen to be hanging out on Facebook and 10 million new users are turning up every month. So treating your website or blog (they are starting to be one and the same these days) as your homebase and continue to publish and promote that content on your other online properties that you don’t own but rent (such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter) is a highly leveraged marketing tactic that will drive engagement. Great content on any medium is essential.
4. Integrate the Facebook Page into your Blog If you have high traffic web properties, take the opportunity to place modules or plugins that put the option in front of vistors so that they can “Like” your Facebook page even when they are not on Facebook. This option could be weaved into other digital media such as emails and online stores websites
5. Provide Exclusive Content To Acquire More Fans “Likes” Saks Fifth Avenue the New York based specialty retailer along with a lot of other brands are following the now often trodden path of providing exclusive content if you “like” their Facebook page. The challenge is to provide content that doesn’t “underwhelm” and so leaves a disappointing taste.
At the end of the day the chase for more Facebook “likes” is not dissimilar to obtaining more email subscribers that is now so “90′s” but we are now on a social web that is dominated by the Facebook 600 pound gorilla. So ignore Facebook “like” acquisition at your marketing peril. So what will be the next ‘hot’ strategy?… obtaining more Google +1′s? Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/04/21/5-tips-to-drive-engagement-with-your-fans-on-facebook/#8DW5zUQLuXSzphOj.99
Google+ for business has continued to be a growth market for businesses and for search engine optimization.
Google+ has definitely succeeded where their previous attempts at harnessing social media have failed. Remember Google Buzz or Google Wave?
Google Plus reached 100 million users faster than Facebook (which took what, four years?) and Twitter it took even longer to eclipse 100 million. Google may have finally created the social network they were hoping for.
Great question! Why should you create a Google+ business profile? Well, it is owned and operated by Google of course. And as a generalization, like YouTube and Google Places for Business, Google+ profiles do have some perks in getting ranked/indexed by Google. You increase the odds of getting highly targeted visitors from Google’s organic search results if you have a Google Plus account.
Similar to Facebook’s “like”, Google has “+1” votes. The more +1’s your pages and posts the better. Those social signal votes, let Google know that what you’re sharing is being read and shared. Google+ profiles and pages can have a significant impact on search rankings.
I’ve got a couple of tips that will show you some ways you can use Google plus for business. The added benefits of increasing the authority and influence of your company, your brand and boost your search rankings.
The About section of your Google+ profile gives you a great opportunity to write about your business. You can write what your business is about, the kinds of products and services you offer. This introduction content will also end up being used by Google as your page’s meta description when it shows up in the search results.
*Pro tip – You can create links within that introduction content that links back to different pages of your site. A couple of smartly used anchor text keywords would be nice, but definitely no keyword stuffing.
If you have any other social media profiles, from Facebook, to Instagram and Pinterest, you MUST add them to the links section of your Google+ profile as well. What better way to get a little more link juice and authority from Google than to have your social profiles included on their page for your business?
You can check out my Google+ profile to see an example.
You can find people to add to your circles pretty easily based on your interest with Google’s search feature. Like Twitter, the odds are in your favor that if you add them to your Google+ circle, they will follow your account back. Doing so can increase your odds of exposure when you start sharing your content with the world!
Your content and others’ content that you find of value. Every article that you share, creates a link back to your site. And with it being Google, you sharing on their social network gets your content indexed almost immediately. Share information, whether it’s an infographic, video, or even something funny, sharing is caring for your Google+ network.
You’re sharing content your own content, re-sharing quality content to your community and that’s great. Take it to the next level, by commenting on what other people are sharing. +1 their content, leave a quality comment. Be involved. That added exposure will naturally draw people to add you to their circles and increase the chances of your content being shared with their circle of influence.
Encourage your employees or coworkers create their own Google+ profiles if they don’t already have a profile. They can help you in just a couple minutes a day, post links to your websites on their Google+ profiles, they can share the posts from your page and even +1 posts. It’s an easy, yet powerful way to quickly and legitimately gain social signals for a new page.
Google+ isn’t going anywhere. I have a feeling its influence will continue to grow in the social media marketing arena over the next couple of years. From the community itself, to the ability to write keyword rich content that links back to your sites, there are definitely some search and social advantages to being active on Google+ for your business.
Every company has a personality and a story to tell. When you reveal your unique story, you help establish credibility and foster a personal connection with your Pinterest followers. A good place to start is to look into your company’s history. General Electric has done a great job of this on its “The Archives” Pinterest board. Here, GE pins images of past ad campaigns and products. If you share your company’s story with your audience, you:
However, the story doesn’t have to be limited to the past. Taco Bell Careers pins current images of employees working in the corporate offices and in stores on their Pinterest “The Taco Bell Community” board. Doing this will give a behind-the-scenes look and help to portray the company as fun and friendly.
Featured on this board are images of a jalapeno-eating contest, company award ceremonies and other fun events. Even if your business isn’t as large as Taco Bell, you can pin images of:
Another way to tell your story is to share the causes that matter to you. Many people appreciate doing business with and can relate to a company that gives back to the community. Mr. Rooter has a Pinterest board to showcase the non-profit foundations they partner with and support. They also highlight what their franchisees are doing on a local level to show that the giving goes beyond the corporate office. These pins display the many ways Mr. Rooter gives back to the community. While sharing your story, it’s important to remember that your company is more than just a logo. Many businesses on Pinterest use recognizable logos for their profile images, but to build a personal connection, pin a photo or video of yourself. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond created a board dedicated to their social media community managers. The only pin on this board is a video of the community managers introducing themselves and explaining what followers can expect to find on the Bed Bath & Beyond Pinterest account. Followers now have a sense of who the people are behind the Pinterest account. Instead of users leaving comments for a large company, they can now communicate with the actual people who represent the company. This simple video makes a large company feel very approachable.
Long ago, before video game consoles became as common as toasters, kids would have to venture out to arcades to play video games. One thing all of the gaming machines had in common was a screen that would show the initials of the top-ranking players. Having your initials listed as a top-ranking player meant that you were pretty darn cool. It took time, skill and money to achieve that status and the initials were the video game makers’ way of rewarding you. As a marketer, you can now use Pinterest to recognize and honor your clients or customers. For example, UGallery is an online art gallery that features upcoming artists. Each Monday, it features a guest pinner to pin to the UGALLERY: Be Art Guest board. UGallery includes the weekly guest pinner’s name and website URL in the description of the board. The guest pinner is featured on the UGallery blog and on the Pinterest board along with their pins. The guest pinners bestowed with this honor are likely to become loyal customers of UGallery and share the good news with their friends.
Lowe’s, an international home improvement retailer, is a good example of a company that uses its Pinterest account to provide value. Lowe’s Pinterest account provides value to followers beyond links to products. The boards Lowe’s has created not only feature products and projects from their website, they also have many pins that link to other websites and blogs for inspiration and instruction. When Lowe’s customers are looking for help with their next project, they can visit the Pinterest account to seek guidance.
Repinning is encouraged on Pinterest. When repinning something that you think would provide value to your Pinterest followers, click on the pin to verify that it leads back to the original source. Remember, the links attached to pins can be changed or broken. Before repinning to your account, verify the origin of the pin by clicking on it and only repin if it goes to the original source of the image. Pinning images with bad or broken links provides little to no value. Pinterest is a great social media platform to help build connections, trust and loyalty in a very visual way. Use these tips to leverage this social media platform to build the trust and loyalty of your audience. What do you think? How will you use Pinterest to build a connection with your clients or customers? It would be great to hear your ideas. Go ahead and share them in the comments below!