Is it just us or can blogging be kind of weird? Maybe even a bit intimidating? If you’re struggling with the idea of starting a blog for your business, you’re not alone. Your marketing maven has put together a cheat sheet to a home-run blog post.
You can break down a blog into four parts. Think of it like this:
SHAREABLE CONTENT + CORRECT TYPE OF ARTICLE + RIGHT LENGTH + GOOD IMAGES = A GREAT BUSINESS BLOG
PART 1: SHAREABLE CONTENT
Make sure your posts are “shareable” meaning you have a Social Sharing option at the beginning and end of your blog pieces. This will allow interested people to share with their friends and in return increase your blog’s exposure.
The topics need to be interesting and relevant. Below are some ideas of what types of articles you should get started on! Start your blog off with a catchy headline. This will immediately provoke interest and engage your reader.
PART 2: TYPES OF ARTICLES
#1 - Relevant Q & A’s
What questions do you receive from new clients over and over again? These are the questions you should answer in a Q & A blog! Start keeping track of repeat questions and begin an archive of answers. Having answers to these common questions make you look like an expert and a resource!
You could also reach out to leads and ask them what they want to know about your business. One way you can do this is through a short survey via. Survey Monkey or another survey service.
#2 - Break Down Hot Topics
Explain a “hot topic” or a topic that you’ve found most of your new clients don’t know much about. You can make a series out of a topic so that you articles stay short and sweet -- this strategy piques audience interest and offers you more opportunities to post.
#3 - Interview Guests
Sit down with one of your favorite business consultants and ask them questions about their process. Get some great advice that can prepare your current and/or potential clients. Depending on what your business is, these guests will change drastically. So make sure your guest is connected enough to your business that it makes sense to post about them. It should not be a stretch for your audience to connect them back to your business.
#5 - Puff Pieces
Also known as success stories. Yes, those feel-good stories you get to be a part of everyday! When you have an exceptionally great experience with a client should write about it! Of course you should ask them for their permission first, but real client stories are a great way to tell your audience you truly care about the people you serve and that your work MATTERS.
PART 3: LENGTH
The ideal length for a blog is something your audience can read in under 10 minutes. This is usually around 1,600 - 2,000 words. Anything longer you risk losing their attention. Even shorter articles broken down into easy to read sections, ie. “5 Tips to [Insert Topic Here]” are best for quick reads and are easily digestible.
PART 4: IMAGES
A high-quality featured image is important as an aid for your text. These images should be crisp and clear, no blurry or pixelated photos. They should also match the topic of your article. Generally, lighter and brighter pictures are better than really dark photos. Also, make sure that you are not “stealing” photos from the internet. Taking your own images is best, but you can also purchase stock photos for relatively cheap or find public domain photos online.
Originally written for Montana Association of REALTORS® as “How to write a good Real Estate Blog” and adapted for A & M Marketing.
“Doodling is just a visual map of what you see, hear, and think.” - Melissa Hughes
I love getting podcasts from my friends. Most recently I was gifted episode 62 of Chris Spurvey’s podcast, Leverage Neuroscience to Become a Better Entrepreneur with Melissa Hughes. Dr. Melissa Hughes is the Founder and Principal of the Andrick Group and author of Happy Hour with Einstein. She recently facilitated a session at the “No Longer Virtual” conference in Atlanta where she met my gal pal Sarah Elkins. Sarah was the conference organizer and is a huge podcast fan.
The episode covered a lot of stuff from the anatomy of the brain, gratitude, productivity, multitasking, and doodling (my personal favorite). Melissa connects doodling with successful brainstorming and big thinking.
I’ve been doodling for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would choose drawing over just about anything. In college, my notepads and planners would be filled with not only words, but drawings. When I heard this podcast I finally knew that my doodles were more than just graphite on paper, they were my brain trying to remember, solve, and understand the world around me. Here are some powerful ways you can implement doodling in your everyday life and/or your business.
#1 - Taking Notes
If you’re at a conference, in a meeting, or listening to an online class, then sketch noting (as Melissa calls it) is a great alternative to typing out plain notes. Doodling will allow you to capture things that words could never illustrate. I suggest using more than one color in order to highlight important things or to add contrast to your drawings.
#2 - Problem Solving
Step away from the Word document. If you have a problem you are trying to solve and you take a chance to draw it out, then you can see how the problem and the solution comes together as you put it down on the piece of paper. Melissa claims that doodling is the essence of “whole brain thinking” and uses more areas of your brain to allow you to tap into deeper moments of cognition.
#3 - Brainstorming
Doodling is not linear, which allows you to reach ideas outside of the one-way path that you might be taking. I almost always doodle my ideas when I am just beginning a project, it helps me visualize and construct a tangible idea out of my thoughts. Try it out! Get your group of core project participants together, give them some different colored pens, and see what happens.
Learn more about doodling in Melissa’s book Happy Hour with Einstein.
Social Media Troll (DEFINITION): Someone who creates conflict on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit by posting messages that are particularly controversial or inflammatory with the sole intent of provoking an emotional [angry] response from others. (Source: Huffington Post)
We’ve all experienced those negative people trolling our pages. I've got the best tips from the National Association of REALTORS® Director of Member Engagement on how to combat trollers on your business social media pages.
1# - Know the “Hot Button” issues. Mainly Politics. Your business pages are not the place for your personal opinions, and bringing those personal beliefs to the the public opens it up for people who don’t have the same beliefs as you. Leave those “Hot Button” issues off of your business pages
2# - Keep it positive. Everything you post on your business page should be positive. This is not the place to vent and posting negative content attracts negative people.
3# - Make sure your facts are correct. Fact check, fact check, fact check. Before you post something, do your research. This will save you from embarrassment in the long run.
4# - People don’t read. In today’s age, people don’t read; they skim. This means that your headline is the MOST important aspect of the content you’re sharing. Make sure the headline matches what the article is about and that it's what you want to share with your audience.
#5 – Respond to the bad comments. Not to start and argument, but to educate. By responding to the negative comments with FACTS you can educate not only the troll, but the public reading your comments. Don’t over educate, sometimes the best comments are the shortest and the simplest.
Created for Montana Association of REALTORS® and posted on 11/8/2016
A video marketing perspective from a 21 year old college student:
Videos are a tool to connect and share with people outside your field of work and have the ability to be professional and at the same time entertaining.
The advantages of video marketing are vast and almost untouched at this point. The amount of information received and retained from a video vs. traditional print materials is impressive to say the least. According to Allegra Marketing, after 72 hours, a person retains about 10% of the text they’ve read, 65% of an image they’ve seen, and a whopping 95% of a video they’ve watched (Allegra Marketing – Hot Trends in Marketing Seminar June 2014).
What I learned by contracting with a service firm (CWG Architects) was that they are not focused on pushing products but rather ideas. Having the ability to have their message “stick” with people is a huge advantage and influences the quest of top of the mind awareness in the town of Helena, MT to end successfully.
These videos are reusable. They may be shown on your website, social media posts, at tradeshows or lectures, really the possibilities are endless. A well done video catches attention on all of these platforms and may even intrigue people outside your normal audience.
They have the ability to be viral in the blink of an eye. Viral phenomenon’s have created a curiosity in our culture, when is the next viral video going to immerge from the web? This curiosity leads to an open minded approach when viewing videos on the web because we are always searching for that one new video to share with our friends.
In my own opinion, the largest advantage is the ability to show your audience that your business has character. Presenting your perspective clients with a video filled with information and insight as well as adding in your own personality can change people’s viewpoint of your services. It’s less uniform and more personal. For some, this is inviting and engaging and might spark an interest they didn’t know they had. Being genuine is the key when portraying your personality in these videos. I believe people can sense when this sincerity is missing and you don’t want to pretend to be something you’re not. For myself, I work with people who are great, hardworking, genuine, caring people so there is nothing here to fake. The personality seeping out our office is the reason our work place is so successful and the reason why we interact with clients the way we do.
The downfalls are the expenses attached to the product. A mere $1500 a minute are some local fees I came across once looking into getting a promotional video created about a recent project our firm has completed. Investing in equipment such as a nice camera, video editing software (Adobe Premiere), and learning opportunities (Lynda.com) as opposed to paying for production expenses would be more profitable in the long run.
In short, investing is some sort of video marketing in today’s time may pay off greatly in the future whether it is a short promotional video about a recent project or product or a company Christmas card greeting.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so feel free to comment below or tag me in related articles. Thanks for reading!