Hubspot’s Conor Douglas on Business Growth with Inbound

Conor DouglasConor Douglas, Hubspot’s International Channel Manger joined the WSI Digital Summit on 19th November to talk about Growing your business with inbound marketing. This post is based on his presentation.

So let’s start with what is inbound marketing? Conor explained.

Historically, marketers used to ‘shout’ about their products and services to get noticed, but the emergence of digital and social means that this has changed. The old marketing playbook is broken.

 

Consumers behaviour has changed and TV adverts, telephone calls and direct mail is increasingly being replaced with social media and content marketing.

inbound marketing stats

You don’t find customers anymore, they find you! What you blog about and what you say and do on social media attracts customers to you. Give your audience content that makes them want to come back to you – inbound marketing. Continue reading

3 Tips for Content Marketing for Business

content marketing wordsWhat exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing is a way of attracting and retaining customers by producing and sharing regular information that is useful to them. This can be by way of blog posts, whitepapers, video etc.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in publishing information that’s relevant, useful and easy to find for readers, can eventually bring in new business. However, there’s so much content out there, it’s not always easy to know what you should put out or how often.

With Google continually striving to ensure that search result content is relevant to the search term, it is important to make sure that your content is not only easy to find and share, but that it is quality content. Whether you’re producing blogs, whitepapers or producing videos, make sure that the content is relevant to your readers and that any links within that go to other posts are also relevant. Continue reading

5 Ways to Boost Your Business Blog in 2013

This video has tips on how to keep your business blog engaging.

Increasingly the most important currency on the web is great content coupled with a loyal community. Whether it’s to shop, stay up-dated or to be entertained; billions of people access the internet every day prepared to engage with their favourite brands.

To grow a community around your content, your marketing plan should encourage customer interaction via social media websites – and just as importantly, from your blog.

Here are five ways to achieve a more engaging blog for the coming year. Continue reading

Dos and Don’ts for Successful Business Blogging

Business blogging today is much more than a place for companies to share their news and an effective business blog can change the way people perceive your business. Blogs are popular with online audiences because they can offer fresh voices and opinions and can show the ‘human’ side to your business, giving readers a chance to engage with you. A blog can also increase SEO rankings and increase traffic to your website.

However, for a blog to be successful its content must be clear and relevant to its readers. Here are a few dos and don’ts for effective business blogging.

Do:

  • Make sure your content is clear, relevant to you audience and updated regularly to give your readers a reason to return
  • Engage with your readers. Use a good spam filter and moderate if necessary but encourage comments, views and opinions on your posts.
  • Include links in your posts that point back to other important pages on your site that will help your search rankings.
  • Optimise your articles. You can’t optimise for every long tail search term, but you can target niche keywords or phrases, and each one should feature early in your blog post.
  • Use your blog to complement your other social media. If you are running competitions or offers use your blog to highlight them.

Don’t:

  • Use acronyms and jargon that people won’t understand. Use terms that people will be familiar with and keep sentences short, grammatically simple and easy to read.
  • Just focus on your products or services. Give people useful information that they can use, for example, news about what’s on the horizon in your industry? Blog articles should be interesting, informative and not overly sales focused.
  • Put off posts and updates. It’s not just your readers that want new content. Search engines crawl sites looking for new and updated content, so blogging regularly will ensure fresh content on your site.
  • Use other people’s content without crediting them. Most people will be pleased if you are referring to or re-posting some of their content, but always credit the writer and if possible create a link to the original article – you may even find that they will start to refer to your posts and articles. Duplicating someone else’s content and passing it off as your own can result in disaster.

Offline and online businesses can use blogging to reach a wider audience, whether it’s to offer
products and services or provide industry information. If you want help to get your business blog
started contact us on 01454 261111.

If you’ve been using blogging for business, share your ideas with our readers in the comments area.
How do you use your blog?

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Business Blogging In 2011

Often business owners come on our Social Media Strategy Workshops and don’t have a blog and quite rightly are curious and skeptical as to how they could ever be of any value.

The below very useful Infographic produced by BlogStar, is based on data derived from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2011. For the full report, click here.

I think it sums up very nicely in an easy to digest format exactly how those businesses that DO blog, benefit from using a blog as a highly effective marketing tool.

It’s based on over 4,000 responses so is both comprehensive and statistically valid (that’s why we’ve brought it to your attention.

You’ll see that not only is it useful for direct lead generation, perhaps more significant and important for businesses of all sizes is it’s use in building reputation (Online Reputation Management) and vital information sharing.

This is a recent survey in Oct 2011 and is a good snap shot on how things stand now, and Twitter was clearly the top Social Media to help disseminate blog posts in 2011.  With the rise of Google+ it will be interesting to see what the position looks like at the end of 2012!

So, if you don’t already have a business blog or don’t know how to get started, give us a ring on 01454 261111 and we’ll see what we can do to help, or why not come along to one of our Social Media Strategy Workshops or LinkedIn & Blogging ‘Deep Dive’ events to see if one or more of these techniques is right for you to help you work out the next step if any.

2 Questions:
1) Are you using a blog already and if so why did you start or
2) If you’re not using a blog right now, do you plan to start in 2012?

5 Steps to a More Engaging Blog

5 StepsBlogging has long proved itself to be an effective online marketing activity.  A well written and maintained business blog can help achieve a number of business objectives.  It can:

  • Enable you to publish and then archive content easily to establish your expertise
  • Act as a central hub to co-ordinate your other social media activities
  • Help increase visits to your website by attracting search engine traffic

However, whilst considered a worthwhile marketing activity, many businesses struggle to utilise their sometimes limited resources effectively and make their blog interesting and engaging for their intended audience.

The following tips can be used to help make you blog more engaging for your readers:

1. The Content is Key

Whatever format your content comes in, the quality is paramount.  Set aside time on a regular basis to review resources that can help you plan your own blog content, e.g. news resources, other blogs etc.  Little and often – small amounts of time spent regularly reviewing other resources will stand you in good stead when looking for ideas for new content.

2. Co-ordinate Your Social Media Activity

As already mentioned, a blog can be an ideal place to bring all your social media activities together in one place.  For example, enable Facebook comments from within your blog, include your Twitter stream on your website and the increasing ease of placing videos into you blog posts gives you another great opportunity to further engage your audience.

3. Be Consistent

While the quality of your content is vital to the success of your blog, consistency of posting comes a very close second in importance.  Post once every so often and you will be forgotten, post too frequently and you can be seen as a pest.  Take time to plan your blogging calendar in line with your existing regular marketing initiatives to consistently, prepare and publish your content.

4. Don’t Make It All About You.

Other bloggers will appreciate genuine attempts to cross promote content, so look for opportunities to reach out to other business blogs, perhaps as a guest writer or just to recommend some good content you came across.  Having a list of blogs you can recommend not only shows you have your finger on the pulse, but can help in expanding your own business network.

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different

Don’t be afraid to be different, it can help.  Think outside the box and try to think of ideas that will help you stand out in the crowd, things that will make you that little bit more interesting than your competitors.

Your blogging activities are no different to your other marketing plans, fail to plan and it’s likely you will be planning to fail.  Keep your posts, consistent, interesting and don’t be afraid to inject some personality.  If you would like to review your business blogging activities, or wish to set up a new blog contact us here.