Blog

blog word on a sticky note against grained wood
October 16th, 2014 by: Chris Marentis

Light BulbsEven after your marketing team has gone to the trouble of creating engaging and original content for your blog, there’s still more that needs to be done. Unfortunately, simply publishing new content doesn’t guarantee people will visit your site. By following, content creation guidelines though, you can bring your content to the masses with just a few simple steps.

Use Short URLs for Social Media

First, make sure you’re sharing your new content with people who are already interested in what you have to say—your social media followers. That’s obvious. Use short URL services such as bit.ly or HootSuite to generate a short link that also enables you to track the number of people who click on your link.

Facebook and Twitter posts are most effective when they include an image, so be sure to include a photo that relates to your blog article. Most likely, you’ll be able to use the same image you used in the blog post itself.

And while you’re on Twitter, see if you can tweet the link directly to someone who needs the information you presented in your blog article. Sometimes people ask questions or express concerns on Twitter, and you can find these people by doing a quick search of some of the keywords in your article.

Try Using Shareable Quotes

WordPress has a great new plugin that enables blog owners to embed links to shareable quotes for Twitter. Pick out a few lines from your blog article that might be ‘shareable’ on Twitter, then use Tweet Dis to allow people to tweet just that line from your article along with a link to the full text. This gives readers the opportunity to share a line that resonates with them rather than the headline you chose for the article.

Leverage Pinterest

Pinterest’s growth is outpacing that of Facebook and Twitter, and it’s an incredible opportunity for local social media marketing professionals in some key industries to share their content. Before you post on Pinterest, you may want to create an image that includes a high-quality photo and the title of your blog article.

Tell Top Influencers

Most business owners and marketers know the top influencers in their industry. When you have new blog content to share, be sure to let these prominent people know through Facebook, Google+, or even a personal email message. It’s possible that they will see value in your content and do some of the sharing load for you. However, if you reach out to influencers, keep your communication to a minimum; you don’t want to bombard them with an email, Facebook message and Twitter message all about the same article. In general, an email message is the best bet.


Social media concept. Communication in the global computer netwo
October 15th, 2014 by: Chris Marentis

content

Content marketing can bring enormous success to your company—but only if it’s properly executed. Too often businesses fail to create content that engages their customers on multiple platforms, and there are a few main reasons for this.

Keep Advertising to a Minimum

First, even though the ultimate goal of your business blog is to generate more business, it’s important that it doesn’t come off that way to customers. Your first goal should be to create content that your customers want to read—and that means that it can’t be one long advertisement for your company.

To connect with your target audience, you’ll need to talk about more than your products and services. Think outside the box. If your company sells lawn mowers, don’t just write about all the types of lawn mowers that you sell. Try writing about how homeowners can create their own landscape plans, mowing etiquette tips, and anything you can think of that your customers might enjoy.

Appeal to a Narrow Audience

If you try writing to everyone, you’ll end up reaching no one. Think of your typical customer and write with his or her needs in mind. Making your audience too broad will only make your content seem vague and generalized. People want specifics and details when they’re looking for help.

Avoid Over-Editing

It’s always a smart idea to get an extra set of eyes or two to read over your content to catch errors you may have missed, but sometimes editing can go too far. When too many people in too many departments read over your work, it can sometimes be reduced to nothing. Sometimes it’s best to skip over all of these edits and critiques and enable your local internet marketing professionals to do what they do best.

Make It a Priority

For too many businesses, content creation is simply not a priority. When it comes to content marketing, make sure you’re utilizing the talents and ideas of your entire marketing team. Unfortunately, it’s common for some members of these teams to sit out of the content creation process and this can mean you could be missing out on some great blog ideas and content.

Measure Your Success

If executed correctly and with the customer in mind, content marketing can boost sales and drive new business. In this data-driven age, it’s important to track this success so that you can continue to make it a priority for your business. Be sure you’re using website metrics to prove that your content is making a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.


Spreading The Word - People And Arrows
October 13th, 2014 by: Alexandra Reichenbach

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We find ourselves in an era where it’s no longer enough to simply have great content. Whether it be in the form of a blog, e-book or webinar, if your content doesn’t get shared, its impact will be minimal to nonexistent. Thanks to the convenient social media sharing buttons that are now widely available, it’s easy for your customers to pass along your content to a friend. However, where many fall short is not knowing how to create content that encourages others to share it. This question troubling many marketers has a few solutions that could help the creation of engaging content.

Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Field

When people share your content, they’re in essence pledging their support to your company. They feel confident that what your business provides is valuable and can benefit others. Otherwise, they wouldn’t share your content. After all, they have their own online reputation to look after.

That’s why it’s critical for a business to establish themselves as a leader in their respected field by publishing credible articles that are based on fact. Because of the position you hold in your industry, you’re privy to inside information on new products, cutting-edge technologies, and the latest trends. Make sure you put this knowledge to use by sharing it with your customers in the form of engaging articles that they’ll want to share with their friends.

Do Your Own Research

It’s easy to scour the Internet for various research findings and polls that relate to your business. With this information, you can then write an article or possibly an e-book that explains your take on the research. Even better, conduct your own research by polling your own customers. It can be as simple as an informal email survey.

Ask Customers What They Want

By keeping the lines of communication between your company and your customers open, you can ensure that your content creation is on track. Every once in a while, ask your customers for their input. Do they want more research-based articles? Do they want funny articles that will get their friends laughing? You’ll never know if you don’t ask. After all, the best way to figure out what your customers want can be to just ask them!

Take a Closer Look at Your Content’s Performance

It’s always a good idea for local internet marketing professionals to take a close look at how their marketing has performed. In this case, measure only content sharing and find out which five pieces have been shared most often. Take note of what these five items have in common and try to write more content that follows the general idea of some of these articles without directly repeating it. Consider specifics such as the title of the post as well as the images used in conjunction with the text.

Keep It Positive

It shouldn’t be surprising that most social media users are more likely to share positive news online than negative news. So keep your tone positive and try to find the most optimistic angle of every story.


Close up of a man using mobile smart phone
October 10th, 2014 by: Sean Kidder
Sean Kidder

best practice signNow that more and more people are turning to mobile devices to complete daily tasks and transactions, it has become critical for businesses to develop a mobile optimized website that’s unique from the desktop version of their site. In fact, consumers now a days expect websites to be tailored made and customized for their specific mobile experience.

Developing a mobile optimized website however can be costly, and that’s why it’s important to include all of the right ingredients to ensure your site is as user-friendly as possible.

Discover What Your Mobile Customers Need

Mobile users expect websites that enable them to quickly and easily find what they want, whether it be to make a purchase, check their account settings, or get the latest coupons. If the mobile site provides them with too many options and too much information, it becomes cluttered and will form one gigantic blur on their screen. Then, they’re likely to get discouraged and leave the website altogether.

Check Google’s Guidelines

If you’re just starting to plan your mobile optimized site, you may want to check out Google’s guidelines for building smartphone-optimized websites, which covers some of the basic things to avoid, such as videos that don’t play on all smartphones. Since Google is now the top search engine, it pays dividends to adhere to their advice.

Surefire Social has an informative Google handbook to further assist businesses with optimizing desktop and mobile websites for Google.

Help Them Find What They Need

If mobile users can’t easily find what they need through navigating your website, they should be able to rely on a search box to fall back on for help. Give them this option to search for whatever they came to your site looking for. Often times, people will jump straight into that search box to search for what they need rather than taking the time to navigate your website all together.

Make It Easy to Call Your Company

Many consumers who browse the Internet on their mobile phones are looking for a company’s phone number, location, or both. Because more than 45 percent of mobile users who search for a business end up placing a call to the business, it’s important that you make your phone number and closest locations as easy to find as possible. Better yet, include a click-to-call function on your mobile optimized site so that consumers can call your business in one simple step.

Try Mobile Coupons

The mobile format does have some inherent limitations, but it also offers some unique benefits for marketers. One such benefit is the ability to offer mobile coupons which customers can then redeem right from their phones rather than having to print them from a desktop computer.

Never Stop Improving Your Mobile Website

Even if you’ve already developed a mobile optimized website for your company, it’s important to continue to look for ways to improve it. Mobile behaviors are constantly changing, and local marketing experts should always be checking out mobile websites in their industries and in others for ways to improve in order to stay ahead of the competition.