Archive For: May, 2013

The Impact of Blogging on Small Business

The Impact of Blogging on Small Business

Blogging allows you to connect with your audience in a more personal, transparent way. The popularity of blogging has skyrocketed, and this means more competition for you. It also means more opportunity.

How Blogging Has Impacted Small Business

In an otherwise Big Business dominated world, small businesses have the advantage when it comes to blogging. They have the ability to move quickly on implementing and launching new ideas. They’re not bound by corporate restraints. Pockets might not be as deep in the small business sector, but when it comes down to being able to connect with customers, local trumps big business every time.

The personality of your business is able to stand out when you blog. Deep down inside, we’re all cynical towards business because there tends to be too much “fluff”, not enough substance. It’s too gimmicky at times. Once the curtains are pulled back, and the behind-the-scenes footage comes out, people get to see the real picture. And that is exactly what they want to see.

A Real World Example

River Pools and Spas started as a small fiberglass pool installation company in Virginia. In business since 2001, River Pools managed to carve out a name in the pool industry. They also received national recognition. One of the owners, Marcus Sheridan, has even been featured on Problogger. Needless to say, he’s been able to make a name for himself as a blogger. And he did it all, blogging about pools.

How did he do it? By answering questions. As with most industries, real answers can be difficult to find online. It’s either not there, erroneous, or an obvious sales pitch. That is, until blogging changed things.

Welcome to How Content Marketing Really Works

People have questions. The big question in the pool industry was: which pool is better? Is it fiberglass or plaster? They both have benefits, both have drawbacks. What separated River Pools was the fact that they spelled out the facts. They listened to the questions their audience were asking and they responded, no matter the question. Who do you think started showing up in the search results?

Content marketing is about answering the questions your target audience is asking.

Wouldn’t you know, today Marcus has propelled his pool blogging experience into a whole new career. He now writes for his own blog dedicated towards sales and inbound marketing, called The Sales Lion. Not only did he do that, he became a public speaker, delivering keynotes and speeches at major industry events.

It’s Your Move

You will only become remarkable if you do remarkable things. It’s a steady process. Success never comes overnight. If the next story that gets told is about you, what do you want it to say?

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3 Rules & Tools That Will Challenge You To Become A Better Blogger (In 3 Weeks)

3 Rules & Tools That Will Challenge You To Become A Better Blogger (In 3 Weeks)

Blogging takes work. Anyone that says anything different doesn’t know what they are talking about. It takes time and effort to develop a reputation as a good blogger. In fact, if you want to fast track your success, blogging needs to become your habit.

Are you ready? Do you have it in you? If so, it’s time to harness your chi. Unleash your inner badass. If you’ve gotten this far, I’m assuming you’re ready to get started.

The Rules

As with all things in life, rules do apply. You won’t get far without them. Would you expect Floyd Mayweather to keep winning fights if he didn’t train like an animal? Of course not. Your blogging career demands the same level of dedication. It’s the only way you’ll get to the top. If you want to be singing the “winning” phrase like Charlie Sheen, you’ve got work to do. Let’s get to it.

Rule #1: Own Your Niche

This is essential, a fundamental component of your success as a blogger. If you don’t know your niche like the back of your hand, you will not get far. Your niche has to be your passion. It has to be your hobby. It has to be your life. You’ll never be able to keep up the gusto, writing on a topic you care nothing about. It will show in your writing. Find something you love, and start there.

Rule #2: Hone Your Craft

Your “craft” is your voice. It’s how you deliver your message. You have to develop a style that suits your personality and will appeal to your audience. If you sound like everyone else, why would anyone listen? The best thing you can do for your readers is simply be yourself. Don’t get caught up trying to sound professional. Don’t make things overly complicated. Just do you.

Rule #3: Wow The Audience

Overdeliver. That one word says it all. Never write, simply to publish a post. You need purpose. Every post is a chance to offer a solution, to connect with an audience, to gain a subscriber. You should be proud of every post you publish. It’s no mystery: most writers are overly critical of their own work. If you can finish a piece and be impressed, chances are your audience will be, too.

The Tools

Every profession has a toolbox. Blogging is no different. Productivity is important. It’s crucial. You have to approach blogging with the intensity of an entrepreneur. You’re running a business.

Here’s those tools I was talking about:

Tool #1: 21Habit

If you are just starting your blog, regardless of your talent, there is one area where you are severely lacking. That area is content. 21Habit is a free, online app that challenges you to make or break a habit in 21 days. You create an account, enter your habit, and from there check in each day to chronicle your success (or lack thereof).

Here’s your challenge: Commit to writing 500 words each day for the next 21 days.

If you can do this, you’ll hone your craft, develop your writing style, and have plenty of fresh content for your blog, plus a few guest posts to boot.

Tool #2: Evernote

I’ve found this tool to be immensely useful. I know, you’ve heard it before. I’ve only recently began using it. Originally, I simply bookmarked stuff I found online in Chrome, but after awhile, it really becomes difficult to keep track of bookmarks stored in your browser. If you spend a lot of time on the web (which I do, the whole job thing), there’s no doubt you come across a lot of good information. Evernote will help you keep track of it. Then, refer back later for inspiration when you write.

Tool #3: Task Timer

This is going to put the pressure on you – in a good way. Task Timer is a Chrome web app that allows you to set-up timed tasks. You don’t want to spend all day writing a post. The more you can push yourself to get your thoughts down quickly, the faster you will develop as a writer.

You can always refine and edit your post before it goes live. First, get your thoughts on the screen. Personally, I set the clock for an hour and go from there. Decide what works for you and stick to it.

What are you waiting around for? It’s time to get to work.

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The Fundamentals Of Creating An SEO-Optimized Blog Post (For Noob Bloggers)

The Fundamentals Of Creating An SEO-Optimized Blog Post (For Noob Bloggers)

At this point, we’re all publishers. The web fuels the need for content, and that need is growing. There are more people accessing the internet today than at any other point in our history. As internet connection speeds increase, and internet access expands to more regions, people will be consuming even more content.

Obviously, competition is steep. Millions of domains are bought every day, websites are created, and new ideas are born. More websites, more content – more noise. As the search engines work to develop ranking algorithms to award sites with the most relevant content, the need for creating content that attracts readers is more important than ever.

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself how you can cut through the tape and see yourself in the top spot of Google. Granted, it’s going to take more than a few guest posts, but realistically, that’s where it starts.

That’s why you should make sure your post is optimized to appear in search.

It’s Not All About Google

Before we get into how to structure your blog post, you have to remember who you are actually writing for. You’re writing for people. A link is worth nothing if it has no chance of getting clicked on by someone with an interest. You need to shape your writing style and tone to match the people you are wanting to connect with, and the niche you are trying to target. This means two things:

  1. Know your target market. You should understand what motivates your target market. What do they want? What do they value? What questions are they asking? Knowing this allows you to deliver a message within your post that your target market will be receptive to.
  2. Understand the audience you are writing for. Choose a writing style that your audience will connect with. If you’re guest posting, take a look at the other posts to see what people responded to the most. This will help you craft a post that will get more shares and engagement.

Bots Don’t Speak Our Language

Google (and search engines in general) use bots to crawl web pages and index content. Your web page is then filed away neatly within their algorithm, to be pulled up when the right search query triggers it at a later date. To put it simply, a bot cannot read a web page like you and I. It must scan the page and look for recurring instances of keywords, site content, and other variables to determine if the page is relevant to the search performed.

If you want the Big G finding your post when it goes live, you need to follow SEO best practices. Here is what you need to keep in mind when you write your blog post:

  • Put your keyword in your title.
  • Include the keyword in the url of your post.
  • Make sure you include your keyword is included in your meta description.
  • Use your keyword in all of your title tags (h1,h2,h3,etc).
  • Put variations of your keyword throughout your article.
  • Use your keyword in image alt tags.
  • Link out to authority sites to expand your post.
  • Link back to your old posts and other parts of your website.

That about sums it up. It goes without saying that this can be expanded on – but not much. If you are putting out content that is well written, serves a purpose, and is useful, the search engines will reward you. Just keep up the good work.

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