#MondayFun – DIY #StarWars Fun

This Week’s Fun

DIY Star Wars X-Wing made from office supplies.

Why I Like It

  1. It’s Star Wars.
  2. It’s fun.

And who hasn’t tried to build things with the office supplies while waiting for that conference call to start? I had almost all of these things readily available at my last full time job, and attended a ton of meetings and conference calls. My colleagues and I could’ve had mini spaceship battles as we waited. *sigh*

Why Aren’t You Using SlideShare?

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on different content types, and keep coming back to SlideShare. SlideShare is a great platform to share content, in particular business (or B2B) content, since that’s where a lot of business professionals hang out.

Just check out these stats on SlideShare:

  • 60 million unique visitors each month
  • 215 million page views
  • One of the 120 most-visited websites in the world

It’s one of the best places to generate website traffic for your business, and gets you credibility with search engines. Check out this edition of the Social Media Marketing podcast with Michael Stelzner, where he interviews Todd Wheatland, author of The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare. Michael and Todd chat about how to use SlideShare to generate more exposure and leads for your business.

Ask These 10 Questions to Get More from Your Business Blog

Congrats! You’ve started (or re-started) your business blog. You’ve been writing with a clear purpose in mind, publishing content on a regular basis.

But nothing’s really happening. Upper management’s started asking about the “ROI on this blogging thing”, and you’re worried that they’re going to shut down the entire project.

Secretly you’re worried about the blog too, as it just doesn’t seem to be working out. You’ve gotten some new traffic to it, but not a lot. You’ve gotten a few leads, but not many, and they’re not converting well.

Worried about your business blog? spacebarpress.com/blog

If you’re having a hard time showing a measurable return from your business blogging efforts, it’s likely that your blogging strategy lacks direction. I’m here to help.

Here are 10 questions designed to help you assess your business blogging strategy and ensure you get the results you’re looking for.

Ask yourself these questions to improve your business blogging strategy

1 – Do I know my audience?

This is the main affliction of any business blog that’s not getting any traction. It’s easy to miss the mark on a blog audience, and a simple mistake to fix too.

Every post you create should target your buyer’s pain points and the obstacles they face. They have concerns and issues, and it’s your job to alleviate them.

You can only do this if you’ve got buyer personas all ready to go. (I’ve even given mine names, Mark and Jessica.) By clearly defining the audience you’re looking to reach, you’ll be able to create the right content for them. Use your buyer personas to guide your business blog’s topics and formats.

2 – How frequently am I posting?

How often you post has a big effect on your business blog’s traffic and lead generation abilities. For some it’s once a week, for others it’s once a day. HubSpot did a survey of their customers and found that ones that published 16+ blog posts per month got 3.5 times more traffic than those that published four or less per month. Three-and-a-half times MORE! Now who wouldn’t want that?

Keep it simple! spacebarpress.com

In case you were wondering about lead conversions, in that same HubSpot survey, they found that blogging 16+ times per month got 4.5 times more leads than those that published less than 4 per month. Again, four-and-a-half times MORE!

Take that information and build your editorial calendar accordingly (remember that quality still matters.)

3 – Is there enough variety on the blog?

Response to certain types of blog posts is always good, however it’s possible that in time, they may get tired of those posts and start to crave something else. When that happens, you can be sure they’ll turn somewhere else to get that information if you’re not providing it to them.

Experiment with different blog posts to keep your readers satisfied. It helps you cast a wider net for your audience, and attracts different types of readers and learners. Here’s a quick list of different business blog post types to get you started:

  • infographics
  • surveys
  • listicles
  • videos
  • interviews

4 –  What’s my keyword focus?

In order to find your blog, readers have to be able to find it. That means you’ve got to include keywords & phrases in your posts that they’re interested in and would search for.

Remember that search engines are looking for more natural language when it comes to providing search results. That means your business blog posts should be written in a conversational tone, and answer your audience questions.

5 – Is my information true & credible?

Publishing content online is easier than ever today. That’s why readers are often skeptical of what they read. Only 26% of respondents in an Insight Marketing survey found advertisers and marketers to be trustworthy. Ouch.

Readers today don’t hesitate from doing a little research of their own whenever they read content. Especially if it’s making grandiose claims. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fact-check everything though.

Fact-check my business blog - spacebarpress.com/blog

When citing information, always use reliable resources to back up your content. Calling on unreliable resources can diminish the perceived value of your business in a heartbeat.

What’s a marketer to do if you can’t find any data or information to back up your content?

  • Look into your own information! We track everything these days, so why not mine your own sources and use that instead?
  • Reach out to thought leaders in your industry/market. This’ll boost your credibility as readers will associate your business with them, but you can also use the opportunity to get some quotes to strengthen your argument.

6 – Would I click on my blog post title?

Titles are the hooks that grab readers’ attention and pulls them in to your content. If they’re not working well for you, then you’re only getting 20% of the clicks that you could be getting.

Heidi Cohen came up with 5 guidelines for killer blog post titles that I think bears repeating:

  1. Provides a benefit for your readers.
  2. Has a sense of urgency.
  3. Delivers the goods.
  4. Is short & to the point.
  5. Contains your keywords.

Andrew Warner over on Boost Blog Traffic (Jon Morrow’s blog on blogging) says that the key is to be outrageous. An outrageous blog post title “whisks you from indifferent to incredulous in a split second.” While this may be true I’d caution using this tactic on a business blog. Your target audience and market will dictate whether it’s an option for you.

Your own business blog analytics will help steer you on this one. Check out which posts are getting the most clicks and reads. Do a little split testing on social media: try two different messages and see which one gets more clicks (I do this one all the time for the Blog @ Spacebarpress. Though I admit I haven’t yet combed through all my results.)

7 – Am I using the right CTA?

(Reminder: CTAs are calls-to-action)

Every blog post should educate your readers and encourage them to do something, like download a resource, contact you, sign-up for a webinar, etc. They should be moving to the next stage of your buyer’s pipeline.

CTAs do that for you, but only if it aligns with the content on the page it lives on. That is, the CTA has got to be specific and appropriate for the blog post it’s included on. Relevant CTAs will drive conversions, ones that are off-target will not.

When you first start your business blog, you may not have the right offer to include on every post. And that’s okay. It’ll become easier for you as your blog matures and you create more resources for your readers.

8 – Is my point of view unique?

Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners calls this “narrowcast time“.  Simply put, we marketers (and content marketers in particular) are pumping out so much content, that’s it getting increasingly difficult to get heard by our readers. It’s hard to be heard over all the content marketing noise out there.

Get your business blog heard above the content noise - spacebarpress.com/blog

What that means to you is writing from a unique perspective from everyone else. Sure, you can tackle the same topics others are writing about, but put your unique spin on it. Write about it from your unique perspective.

Here are a few tools you can use to find out what’s popular, and then give it your own spin: Buzzsumo, Topsy, Alltop, Google Trends, Social Crawlytics, Strip the Blog, and Content Strategy Generator by SEO Gadget.

9 – Did I answer my readers’ questions?

Before you publish your post, take a moment to determine whether you’ve answered every single question your readers might have on the topic. Every. Single. One. If you don’t, then they’ll jump off to another web page. You can hope that it’s another page on YOUR site, but chances are, it’s on a competitor’s site.

Don’t give them that chance. Some questions that’ll help you keep them on your business blog are:

  • Are there any lingering questions about the topic?
  • What helpful tools or tips am I leaving out of the post?
  • Would an example help clarify any of my points?
  • Has someone else read the post before I publish it? Like a colleague, friend, boss, or mentor?

10 – Where else can I distribute this information?

Publishing to your business blog is just one of your options. Implement a distribution strategy that gets your content in front of your ideal audience and watch your content traffic increase. You do this by publishing your content in places where they already hang out. Might be a guest post on an influencer blog, an article in a trade publication, messages on social media, or presentations on SlideShare.

The point is, if you publish where your audience hangs out, you’re increasing your odds of them coming back to your business blog and your website. Look at your marketing metrics to find out which channels to focus on. Then create content that takes advantage of those channels.

Success won’t happen overnight

Business blogging success takes time. It’s not something that will explode overnight. Answering these 10 questions will help you leverage the success you do have, and evolve it into something more. You’ll make smarter decisions about your business blog content going forward, and help it grow in the long term.

Business Blogging Success with spacebarpress.com

#MondayFun – #TheXFiles Has a Premiere Date

Why I like it

I’m a HUGE XFiles fan, and so am looking forward to this 6 episode mini-series next season. There are all sorts of rumours about what the story lines will include, but the one that has me most excited is that they’re going to include William, Mulder & Scully’s love child at some point. IMO that should have been the focus of the 2nd movie, but that’s water under the bridge now. The XFiles is coming back! Wheeee!

The point is, we’re getting new episodes with my two favourite FBI agents! Yay.

Mulder & Scully on the Simpsons - #TheXFiles
Mulder & Scully – Eff Bee Eye (Credit: Simpsons Wiki)