How NOT To Blog

iqtechnologies.com
iqtechnologies.com

Blogging is cool. So cool, in fact, that blogs have become a staple in the online world of many businesses. Blogs are an excellent tool to reach an audience. However, if they aren’t utilized correctly, they can quickly become ineffective.

Business professionals and entrepreneuers have laid out six common blogging mistakes made by businesses. Here’s how NOT to blog:

1. Using your blog as a promotional platform

Blogging is not a form of free advertising, so businesses shouldn’t treat it like that. Instead of filling a blog with the latest on a business’s oh-so-amazing products and services, it should offer content that is useful and interesting to the reader.

2. Posting inconsistently 

If I were a business, I would definitely be guilty of this one. Blogs may seems like a great idea (because they are), but keeping them updated takes work. Blog posts should be consistent. Resources and a steady level of commitment need to be dedicated to the upkeep of a blog or it will quickly become ineffective.

3. Not engaging with your readers  

The blogosphere is a unique environment in which two-way communication should occur. When readers comment on your blog, respond. If they ask a question, answer it. Pretty straightforward.

4. Being too SEO-focused 

Search engine optimization is a beautiful thing. Keywords and phrases are cool, but don’t fill up a post with content that is solely based on driving people to your blog. Provide quality content that readers will find interesting. “The most successful business blogs write for humans, not machines.”

5. Not using images the right way 

Bloggers often dedicate a significant amount of time to writing a blog post, but very little time to finding pictures to compliment the post. It’s important to use images that in some way reflect the content of the blog. It’s also SUPER important to not break the law. If you use a visual in your blog, give credit where credit is due. Just because you found it on the internet, that doesn’t make it yours!

6. Not listening to your readers 

ANALYTICS ROCK! Most, if not all, blog sites have tools that will tell you exactly what your audience wants. If a specific post gets significantly more traffic than the rest, it might be a good idea to write similar posts. Analytics will tell you which posts are successful and which ones aren’t. Pay attention to the analytics, people.

Chelsey

  

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The Bible says, Thou Shalt Blog?

Blogging is an essential digital marketing tool that should be used just as much as any other social media platform. Blogging not only allows a company to engage with consumers, but it allows for companies to be down-to-earth when engaging with consumers.

Just like anything else, there are rules for success. I found an article that outlined the 10 commandments on blogging. Though I agree with most of them, there are some that I added myself.

  1. Thou shalt use catchy titles – Who wants to read a boring blog? Well, with a boring, mediocre title you will probably fit into the boring blog category even if your content is interesting to the readers. Remember, titles are the FIRST part of your blog post that someone reads. If your title is boring, chances are people are thinking the content probably is too. Avoid this by creating useful titles that your readers can benefit from.
  2. Thou shalt look attractive – Don’t be boring! Branding is essential to your company. When creating blogs, incorporate your branding image in there. Colors and phrases is a good way for your blog to not only look attractive, but gives you the opportunity to promote your brand.
  3. Thou shalt avoid content clutter – There are millions of blogs out there. Not to mention, there are millions of blogs that discuss the same content as your blog. The last thing you want for your company is for your blog to “blend in”. Try to avoid content clutter at all cost. You can do this by publishing interesting and relevant content. The more interesting, creative and relevant your blog’s content is, the higher the possibility of it standing out.
  4. Thou shalt publish and update frequently – Have you ever stopped using something because it no longer excited you? For example, when you were a kid you probably watched cartoons because they were so interesting but the older you got, cartoons probably began to bore you. Blogs are no different. Update your blog at least twice a week. Blogs that do not have constant updates quickly lose readers. Remember, your blog feeds people’s needs and wants. If you do not constantly feed your audience, they will go elsewhere.
  5. Thou shalt praise SEO – Google is the top search engine where people go to find information. Be sure to use frequent keywords that will drive people to your blog. You want your blog to be at the top of the list. People tend to only look on the first page for information. Being at the top puts you at an all time high advantage. If you do not know what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, you are behind. Learn it. Like it. Love it!
  6. Thou shalt engage invite comments – One of the best ways to learn how your consumers think, is to just simply ask them! Try to end your blog post with a question. For example, do you agree with this article? What are your thoughts on xyz? Not only do you gain insight from consumers, but you also give off a friendly, inviting tone which could potentially bring new consumers. Everyone likes friendliness right?
  7. Thou shalt track everything – Google Analytics is a new tool that everyone should take advantage of. It allows you to track everything…no literally! Google Analytics allows you to see how long someone stays on your page, where they go while on your page, which of your posts attract the most attention and so much more. You want to know who these strangers are reading your blogs, what they like and why they like it right? Google Analytics is a way to do so without directly asking your audience. How resourceful is that right?
  8. Thou shalt cross promote blog – All of your audience’s use social media differently. Some are on Facebook and not on Twitter. Some are only on LinkedIn. Some may be on all major social media sites but use certain ones frequently. It is important to cross promote your blog on all social media platforms so that you may reach ALL of your audiences. You can do this by creating posts that includes the link to your blog post for that day.
  9. Thou shalt have a strategy – Just because your company gets a blog, doesn’t mean you just write something. What’s the point in that? Have a strategy when writing content on your blog. You want your blog post should have some sort of action. You want your blog post to ALWAYS engage with the audience by understanding subjects that they are interested in. Maybe you want more consumer awareness for your business. Maybe you want to promote a new product. There is a way to do those things without being too direct. It’s called content strategy.
  10. Thou shalt know that your blog is a MARKETING TOOL – Blogging is simply a marketing TOOL. It is not the only tactic that you use to engage with your audience. Understand how to use your blog that will gain some type of consumer engagement or action. After all, isn’t that the whole purpose of social media as a business tool?

Ashli Harris

Let’s blog!

Is blogging important for all businesses? Do small companies need to blog? Will it improve your business? These are all important questions to think about.

Blogs-will-change-your-business

(Karen Brand Roy)

This article describes four ways blogging can improve your business.

1.) Drive Traffic

You want to have a quality blog that will attract new customers. Share your content on various social platforms. Take advantage of hashtags and keywords. Post blogs that will stand out and hopefully they will get shared.

2.) Increase your SEO

You want to come up first on search engines. Use keywords and make your blog stand out. Make sure you words, topics and categories are easy to find. Keep them basic and look up whats popular.

3.) Become a thought leader

Have thoughtful articles and become a trusted brand. Research your content and make sure all your facts are credible.

4.) Improve customer relationships

Make a section for just informational blogs. This will look less self-promoting and customers will gain knowledge. Most customers are still in the research phase when they visit your site. They want to learn facts before they buy a product.

Blogging is so important

If you don’t blog your company is really  missing out. You will be missing out on a huge new audience and a chance for new customers. Just make sure you blog has quality information!!!!

By: Bobbi Jo

Zen And The Art of Timing

Have you ever posted something on Facebook or Twitter and received about a dozen “likes”, “favorites”, or “retweets”, then the next day (or even an hour later) someone posts something similar and receives over 100 “likes”, “favorites”, or “retweets?”   There’s a good reason for this according to TrackMaven, who analyzed over 4600 blogs to see when bloggers posted and when people viewed and shared the blog posts.

According to the study, 18% of blogs are posted on Tuesday and Wednesday, the most popular days for bloggers to blog. Thursday and Monday are a close third and fourth with 17.9% and 17.2% respectively. Friday is the fifth most popular day to blog with 15.9% of blogs posted on this day. Sunday and Saturday are the two least popular days to blog with Sunday totaling 6.8% and Saturday with 6.3%.

It’s important to remember that just even though so few blogs are posted on Saturday as opposed to Tuesday, that maybe Saturday is still your blog’s best chance to gain followers. In fact, this study backs up this particular idea.

According to the same study, Saturday’s enjoys the most blog posts being shared with 18% of all posts shared on this day. Monday is the least popular day for posts to be shared with only 12.5% of posts shared. What is the reason for this? The study theorizes that people spend more time reading blogs on Saturday’s than they do during the work week, especially Monday’s. Bloggers need to keep in mind that some blogs are better suited for specific days. If you blog about church and religion, Sunday’s are probably the best day to post on a blog.

The study also tracked the times that posts are shared. Most blogs are posted between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm, with the highest hour range being from 11 am to noon. The second highest hour range is from midnight to 1 am. However, most posts are shared between 9 am and midnight. Why is this? Most people are working from 9 am to 6 pm and don’t have time to read blogs. However,  people want to read blog posts while they relax at night.

The most important aspect to take away from the study is that in order to run a successful blog, it is important to know when their target audience reads posts. If you blog about a sitcom that airs at 7 pm, maybe you should publish your blog at 7:30 or 8 pm.

By: Chase Burgess

Blogging: Carrie Bradshaw style

Who doesn’t love a little Sex and the City? When it comes to blogging, Carrie Bradshaw was way ahead of her time.

Throughout Sex and the City, we see Ms. Bradshaw share her life virtually. Our text explains the importance of creating a content strategy and the marketing value in creating content that generates interest in your brand and/or product. Though Carrie encouraged sales of her book, her brand began as New York’s “it” girl in her newspaper column. Her content, full of personal stories and fashion advice, became her brand. The book suggests being as specific and as “niche” as possible. Carrie did just that.

Bloggers today can take away many lessons from Ms. Big. Write about a specific topic and for a niche group, while staying away from as many details as possible. Consumers are looking for very specific content; a problem as well as a solution to that problem. Carrie was able to generate a huge following by writing about every day romance, fashion and life in the city. Each “post” offered a common issue women face every day. Heart break, an argument between girl friends or simply the choice between Gucci or Channel. By the end of the “post”, Carrie offered a solution to the problem. Often times a metaphor about cloths, a solution, none the less.

Carrie’s writing followed several points shared by the blog. Thus, explaining her fictional success.

1. Use Catchy Titles. “Are men in their twenties the new designer drug?” There was not a single episode that did not a include Carrie’s wit and humorous analogies. This tactic keeps readers engaged and challenged. The title of a blog can immediately evoke interest for readers.

2. Update Frequently. Carrie had an exciting life. Young, rich, famous. Maybe we don’t all live such a life. Be prepared before starting a blog. Make sure you have the content and plenty of it; enough to post at least once a week.

3. Keep Posts Focused. No one enjoys listening to or reading the words of a rambler. Keeping posts easy to read will keep people coming back for more.

4. Invite Comments. Offer the option for followers to share their feedback on your posts. This provides an opportunity for constructive criticism or to build relationships with readers. Carrie wrote about personal aspects of her life. She invited readers to get in contact with her to share their similar stories.

5. Promote the Blog and Engage with Others. Creating an online presence takes patience and time. Utilize existing relationships. Quantity over quality when it comes to  followers.

6. Avoid Negativity. Carrie never talked poorly about  friends , family or competition. Being encouraging and positive engages with a wide variety of followers.

7. Stand By the Content. Carrie and her girlfriend’s made a lot of … brave decisions. They never go back on their choices. Confidence is key in your posts.

8. Cross Promote. On a personal site be sure to include your other social media sites and share each post on those sites. This tactic creates a greater opportunity to gain followers.

Carrie Bradshaw is the queen of main stream forms of publishing. Though, her strategy to be honest, specific to her target market is proven to be beneficial for present day bloggers. .

Brooke

Easy Research…Just Listen to Socials?

Listen

Most businesses have a pretty good understanding of how to strategically use traditional marketing. However, there’s a new sheriff in town: social media. There is no doubt that social media has become a vital component of integrated marketing. In fact, social media has become so popular over the years that businesses are now establishing marketing campaigns that social media based. However, some businesses struggle to successfully reach their goals because they are not quite aware of how the research aspect of social media. It’s very simple actually; you just need to LISTEN. Here are five ways to listen to social media to increase social media marketing success:

  1. “Listen to conversations about your brand or company” – The great thing about social media is that people are willing to express how they feel about your brand in just 140 characters. It is important to know how people currently feel about your brand. Do you have a strong social media presence? Are people fully aware about your brand? Are the conversations about your brand positive or negative? Is there opportunity in the remarks? Listening to what people have to say gives you a better understanding of where your social media presence is currently and where you can take it.
  2. “Listen to what people say about the competitors” – While paying attention to your own brand or company is important for effective social media marketing plans, it is just as important to listen to what people are saying about your competitors. Do your competitors have a strong social media presence? Are their mostly positive or negative conversations about your competitors?  Has your competitor’s social media presence brought them more consumers? How are your competitors using social media to bring profit? Is there opportunity to steal your competitors customers? Evaluating your competitors social media marketing strategies helps to give your brand or company insight on how to conduct your social media marketing plan. You can stay one step ahead of your competitors by paying attention to them.
  3. “Listening to what people say about the industry or category” –  It is important to stay up to date about what the public is saying about your industry. Does your industry spark positive or negative conversation? Are there any opportunities from the conversations about your industry? Is there anything being done in your industry that has not been done before that is creating massive buzz? Understanding how people feel about your industry also helps your brand or company know the level of importance your industry is to people.
  4. “Listening for the tone of the community” –  When referring to traditional marketing, businesses typically have a distinct form of one-way communication. However, social media creates a level of two-way communication that has never been done before. When using social media, it is important to understand HOW your target audience communicate on social media? Jargon, acronyms or slang is common on social media sites so it is important to take that into consideration when establishing a social media plan. Social media sites are not as formal. As a business, you want to fit in with your consumers. You want them to feel comfortable communicating with you so that you meet both their needs and yours.
  5. “Listening to different social media channels”  – Understand that not all social media sites are the same. Therefore, social media sites have different audiences. The way your target audience communicate on Twitter and Facebook may be completely different from the way your target audience communicate on LinkedIn or YouTube. Though you want a centralized message, the way your brand or company communicates their message on social media sites will be different. Remember, consumers communicate their feelings about your brand or your industry freely. Take advantage of that free research by just LISTENING!

– Ashli Harris

The Eight C’s of Strategy Development

The eight C’s of strategy development should work as an outline for marketers. Customize the strategy to fit with the companies own strengths and weaknesses. Develop a plan that connects the goals and strategies together. The eight C’s will be the first step in the overall plan.

1.Categorize: Rank social media platforms based on who reaches the companies target audience more. Focus on the websites that fit the companies target audience and the ones they view the most.

2.Comprehend: Observe how each social media site works. It is important to follow the trends of the website. Observe how others behave on the website and start conversations like they do. Behaving the right way on a website will gain the company respect and people want to work with a respectful company.

3.Converse: Create content for the website and not just promote a company. Post content that consumers will learn from and understand the companies interest in the content. That will get a consumers trust with the companies knowledge and they will keep viewing content.

4.Collaborate: Collaborate with members on the website and build connections. Connections help the company and get the member more attention. This is a great way to build up the companies audience.

5.Contribute: Share content on the website frequently and become a respected member. Share the companies knowledge and get the reputation of being an expert.

6.Connect: Connecting with big names on the website can get the company free promotion. Have great customer service so they have a reason to praise and promote the company.

7.Community: Poll the website and see what they want from the company. Give the community options and see which one they like better. Involving the consumers will get you free promotion for the product.

8.Convert: Have desired outcomes for the company and convert them for each individual website. Know which websites use hashtags and when they use key words. Becoming one of the top search results is great for companies. Know how to use every website and customize each post.

By: Bobbi Jo Meskill