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Archive for April, 2013

The joys and perils of launching a blog

Posted on: April 11th, 2013 by lauren

So you are thinking about launching a new blog for your business – but where to start?

Blogs are multifarious tools – they can market your product, build your brand and drive customer engagement. Ultimately, they can be a source of revenue.

Budgets are changing. The content marketing institute reports that 86% of B2C companies are planning to keep or increase their content marketing spend in 2013. 54% of B2B companies are planning to increase their content marketing. These figures demonstrate the increasing importance of content marketing, of supplying, through various channels, relevant, informative content to your customers. Done right, loyalty and increased business are the reward. There are, however, many, many ways to go wrong with the launch of a blog. There are questions to ask before you even start messing around with themes in wordpress.

Are we really committed to funding a content marketing strategy?

Is management really onboard?

Blogging can cost more than you think. Designing an attractive blog with a good interface requires, well, good designers.  And you’ll likely have needs which aren’t met by the current suite of plugins – which, again, may lead to consultancy costs. Hosting your blog, hiring writers to produce regular content or for a specific project, email marketing services, A/B testing your call to actions – the costs quickly add up.

You can become a prisoner to your own success, as your blog starts to generate a deluge of customer feedback, whether through email or comments. The time you had for posting, you know actually producing content, begins to shrink. You start asking yourself whether sleep is really that important, or whether it might be prudent to hire additional staff.

Budgeting for known and potential expenses is vital.

Ask yourself why: Why start a blog? Why get into content marketing and social media?

Is it because everyone else is doing it? Is it because it might increase sales? Don’t let your answers to these questions be this vague. Establish what content marketing means for your brand – is it videos, is it blog posts, is it email marketing? And what exactly do you want to communicate about your brand, in addition to information about your product and services? Likely it’s passion, authority and expertise. How have the best done it – analyse the offerings of leaders in your field to see just how they achieved their results (intimation is both flattery and necessity).

Brainstorm! You want plenty of content ready to go on launch day – at least 10-15 brilliantly written blog posts and plenty of ideas in reserve. Thinking up new content is a challenge but one that is made easier when your writers have the results of brainstorming sessions to call upon.

Get your social media channels in order and make sure your team knows what to share and where. Writing great content is vital, but without similarly great promotion it will never reach its target audience. SEO is a vital part of getting your content out there. If you are targeting particular keywords, and you should be, then make sure your content writers are aware of this.

Launching a blog is an exciting moment for a business. Blogging can be a fun activity – millions do it – but it’s also a great business tool. Knowing your goals, your brand and best blogging practice, and taking the time get everyone on the same page will make the launch of your blog as headache free as possible

Have you launched a blog? Are you long on ideas but short on content? Find out more about our services here.

The many benefits of guest blogging

Posted on: April 5th, 2013 by lauren

Great content produced on a consistent basis is definitely at the core of a successful blog. But many writers and blogs ignore strategies which would massively increase their traffic, in the naïve hope that content is the only requirement for success.

Think of all the dusty corners of the internet where reams of well-crafted content languish, never to be seen, never to do their job.

Promotion and marketing, terms which encapsulate a host of techniques, tools and approaches are equally as fundamental as great content to online success.

One strategy which has remained popular for some time is that of guest blogging. Guest blogging is simply pitching and writing articles for blogs relevant to your niche or market.

Working for my competitors?

At first glance guest blogging might seem like producing content for your competition. And it can be.  Yet, it’s still an excellent strategy for many reasons. Here’s just a sample of those reasons.

Authority

Of course you will need to maintain the same high standards of content in your guest posting as in your own postings – the more popular sites within a niche can afford to be very picky as they will be inundated with pitches.

But if you do manage to get something posted, you have the opportunity to engage a new audience with your brand. Two crucial points of engagement are the author bio and the comment field.

Responding to comments is just good practice. Popular blogs will have large and responsive communities. Don’t ignore their questions and comments – they represent another opportunity, in addition to the guest post itself, to communicate your authority on the subject.

The author bio is where you lay out who you are what you do. It’s brief window where you can communicate your brand – and of course link to your own blog. If you write great stuff, people will naturally want to know who you are.

Building relationships

So you’ve reached out to another audience – but done right guest posting can also develop new relationships. If you pitch and write great content for a blog, they may return the favour by writing for your blog. And when it comes time to release a new product or service, this relationship may be a source of free marketing. Perhaps you can invite them to review the product – if the product is good, you get a great review and exposure to the readership of a popular blog. The writer of the review can directly link to the product or service through an affiliate marketing scheme – making this a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Those precious backlinks

The competition for ranking will always be fierce. It’s such a huge advantage to appear on the first page of results (68% of users will find what they are looking for on this page). Linking to your website or blog from the author bio of your guest post will increase your ranking. Google gives weight to backlinks, particularly from reputable or popular sites. But it’s also important to link from the right part of your bio. Presumably, you are already trying to rank for a particular keyword or group of keywords (if not, why not?). Make sure to include and backlink this keyword on the author bio you submit for your guest post.

Expect change

Guest posting is a popular and fairly well established technique; but because of this its popularity will, over time, reduce in effectiveness. Content marketing is a constantly evolving world – its vital to adopt new techniques when they come around (and to know which ones are useful and which are duds) because they have the most power when they have yet to be adopted by man and his dog.