Month: January 2016

Does My Business Really Need A Blog?

Blogging-for-Business-The-Ultimate-Guide The marketing industry kicked off 2016 by announcing it is the year of content marketing. One of the most valuable content marketing tools that businesses have to engage and connect with customers and share relevant information is a blog.

A blog is a key aspect of your content marketing efforts, offering fodder for your business’ social media and online content in the form of Facebook and LinkedIn posts, tweets and email newsletters. Not only do blogs fuel SEO, as search engines love valuable content and will reward you for it. According to a HubSpot survey, 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly.

In addition to marketing reasons, there are compelling ROI reasons for having a business blog, yet so many business owners are still reluctant to start a blog because the time commitment and level of writing expertise required. There is no doubt that blogs require an investment of time for planning and of course writing, but the benefits of blogging (creating content and sharing it online) far outweigh these downsides which is why you need a blog.

Here are the top 5 reasons why every business needs a blog:

  1. A blog creates a two-way conversation with customers, prospects and industry peers, positioning yourself as a subject area expert and thought leader, and encourages interaction, comments and feedback
  2. A blog builds confidence, relationships and sales. Customers will look to you as a reliable resource for information on your industry, then come to you to buy.
  3. Helps you stay ahead of the curve. You have to stay on top of news, trends and competitors to be a successful blogger. It helps you be a leader, not a follower.
  4. You can tell your brand’s story. It gives your company a voice. A blog is a great place to offer more insight into your company, philosophy, employees, and ideas. Tell your customers why you’re in business and how you can help them.
  1. Blog analytics allow you to track readers, click-throughs, popular topics, shares and comments. You can even tell what day of the week your visitors prefer to stop by.

If your business doesn’t have a blog, and as the CMO or CEO you don’t feel you have the time or skill-set to write one, consider hiring a marketing agency with a solid content development team. In addition to helping you create a content strategy, they can create a blogging schedule for you, write the blogs, categorize them for you, and also post them with appropriate visuals that are all in line with your brand and business direction.

Have you made blogging part of your content strategy? What are you looking to get out of your blog?

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Why Generic Content Won’t Cut it in 2016

content-is-kingWith 76 percent of marketers indicating they will increase their content marketing this year, businesses need to take note and not only create quality content but focus more on tying their content to business results and driving activity around creating content, connecting with audiences, and optimizing the entire process.

With all this attention on content, we can’t forget the importance of a content strategy because without one it often leads to inconsistent content with no core themes or purpose. This is confusing to your target audience and can negatively impact your brand’s credibility.

Additionally, the days of content being generically created and without a strategy like that from inbound marketing companies like HubSpot simply doesn’t cut it any more. Generic content is unlikely to rank organically. Generic content doesn’t get shared. Generic content doesn’t engage people and is therefore unlikely to deliver against your wider marketing objectives.

If you skip the strategy and head straight to delivery you’re in danger of creating content, which could either confuse or alienate your audience, or fail to reach them at all.

As a strategic marketer, I’d like to share with you some essential steps to help you create a content strategy for your business. A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective.  Make sure your content strategy:

  1. Ensures your content is consistently aligned with your brand message and values
  2. Ensures your content enhances your credibility
  3. Ensures your content helps you stand out from the competition
  4. Ensures your content delivers against your objectives

To develop a content strategy you need to start with clarifying your brand’s values and core strengths as well as reviewing the content you already have to make sure it is delivering on your objectives.

Once you have conducted an internal review, take a look at your customers to understand their wants, needs, and purchasing journey as well as where and when they consume content.

As a final step before developing your content strategy, you’ll need to look at your commercial competitors to better their brand values, unique selling proposition, and how they are communicating them to their customers. It would also be worth looking at your content competitors. These might be different from your commercial competitors, as they could be anyone who creates content about the service or product you offer.

With this research conducted, you need to conduct a GAP Analysis to determine what is and isn’t working and identify the gap where you’ll position your brand.

As content is usually goal-driven, so too is your content strategy. What you create depends on what you want to achieve.

There’s a great book I’d recommend on content marketing by Dan Norris. He outlines the importance of content marketing and is worth a read!

Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising by Dan Norris (2015-08-09)