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How To Write a Blog Quickly

How To Write a Blog Quickly

Here’s some great advice from my friend Kate at Digital Marketing Momma...

Do you want to blog for your business, but can’t find the time to sit down and write?

Almost everyone I know who runs their own business struggles with the same thing. Writing content.

Challenges: 

  1. What to write about
  2. Finding time to write it
  3. Getting people to read it and share it

We all face this.  Even if you love to write, it can difficult!

I came across this post the other day from Huffington Post and I wanted to share why this type of content and blog strategy is brilliant and a great way to get content out there quickly.

This was posted on August 24, 2016.

Stephen Colbert Has Finally Figured Out Hillary Clinton’s Illness

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To date this post has been shared, 2.8k times and the actual youtube video that was posted by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert was viewed 1,232,310 times.   WOW!

Here’s what I love about this post. 

  1.  The author focused on a very trending, hot topic at the moment.  Hillary Clinton’s health during this wacky election.  This has been all over the news lately and all the media outlets are obsessing over it.  So, his choice of topic was spot on for what’s happening now.
  2. The content is obviously of interest since it’s being shared and “liked”.
  3. It probably didn’t take him that long to write it up.

Here’s how you can do this in your own business to post great content at lightening speed.  Hate to write? There are ways to make it not so awful!

First you need some inspiration to write about.

Step 1: Start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Is there anything trending online that’s relevant to your audience? I use an amazing online tool to help me with this.  It’s called BuzzSumo.  Totally worth my monthly investment.  I use it every day!
  • Is there an upcoming event that your audience needs to know about?
  • Is there a product launch that could enhance your products or services that you offer?
  • Did a celebrity jump on board with an endorsement or cause that’s relevant to your business?

Step 2:  Go on YouTube and do a search for videos that will help/educate/anger/empower/ease/bring laughter to your audience.  

Do a search for your topic/industry/idea and see what shows up first.  Find a video that’s from a credible source.  TIP:  Don’t post a video by someone that could be considered your competitor… Just sayin’

Step 3:  Write a short, easy blog about the video.  

Tell your audience your thoughts on the video.  Give them your opinion.  It doesn’t have to be a novel.  Just tell them what you are thinking.  Add in your expertise and wisdom.  Tell them what to do with the content.  Share how it can benefit them.

Step 4:  Embed the Video on Your Blog Post.

Make sure to cite the source of the video and relevant content.  You can see I’ve done it in this post. Give credit where credit is due!  You could even go a step further and tag the author and media outlet in your own social media.

Now your turn . . . What’s the hardest part writing blog posts for you? Please share in the comments below. Also, if you need help with content creation or strategy, reach out.  We LOVE to come up with plans!

Where Do I Find Content for Social Media Posts?

Congratulations.  You’ve got your blog posts up and running and your promotional posts all set, but then you realize it’s all about you – and you haven’t begun to share anything else on your social media platforms.  Hold on a minute . . . to state the obvious, social media is about being social and engaging with others while sharing valuable information that is relevant, timely, informative and ideally even entertaining.
Balancing your social media posts with a healthy dose of third party (other people’s) content is a terrific strategy to keep your social media consistent and robust as well as establishing you as a reliable source for interesting and engaging content that resonates with your ideal audience.

Instead of spending hours scouring the Internet, here are five easy (and FREE!) go-to sources for finding great content:

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Your Facebook News Feed – Ideally, you have “liked” other Facebook pages that are relevant to your business or industry.  They could be news sources, associations, blogs, partners or other like-minded parties in your space.  Regardless, a regular run-through your Facebook Page’s News Feed, where you find the top or most recent posts from these sources is sure to garner many ideas, articles and posts for you to share (using Facebook as your business page, you can find the business page News Feed when you click on “Home” in the upper right hand corner of the Facebook page).

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Twitter Lists – Using Twitter lists is an easy way to filter Twitter feeds into manageable streams of related content from a select group of Twitter accounts.  For example, I have a created a “SMPeeps” list of people who post regularly and often about social media.  Going directly to that list enables me to dive right into a treasure trove of current, trending and popular posts that I can easily retweet and share (you can also simply search on keywords (ex. #socialmedia) for a quick filter on a particular subject but the caveat is that you may not have as reliable sources as you would if you had selected them for a Twitter list).

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Feedly – Whether you are sharing other people’s content or you simply want to get caught up on all of your favorite blogs and websites, Feedly is awesome at bringing it all together in one place for your easy review.  You can set up Feedly by logging in with one of your social media accounts, then start adding your favorite blogs and article sources to your Feedly account.  You can also slice and dice the feeds by subject matter, if you find that you have added varied and unrelated sources.

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StumbleUpon – Though it’s been around for a while, I’m relatively new to StumbleUpon. I find it helps to discover recent and relevant content that others have already established as popular or engaging, so you already know that this will probably be popular with your audience.  Like the others, StumbleUpon relies on you to select interests to help you find content on a particular subject.

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Industry Newsletters – Let others do the work for you.  If you subscribe to any sort of industry or insider email newsletter, chances are that they are also sharing “other people’s content” with the focus on keeping you up-to-date with what’s new and hot.  One of my favorites is Mari Smith’s “Social Scoop.”  Every Friday she shares what she considers the best of the best in the social media space.  What email do you most value and what can you share from it?

Also, if you are using a third party social media applications like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Rallyverse (sadly, Buffer shut down their “Suggestions” tool this month), most of them use algorithms that review your accounts, posts, keywords, trending news (among other things) to find and recommend content customized for you. It’s not necessarily 100% accurate, but it’s a good place to start to sometimes discover something you might otherwise have missed

With the exception of newsletters, each of these options requires a small amount of time to set up with the right sources or searches, but once you do, you’ll see how they can become your one stop resource for staying up to date and finding the right content to share.

Lastly, a few ninja notes about sharing others’ content: 

  • Share your perspective or point of view about why you are sharing the content – don’t just throw something up for the sake of posting.  It’s a missed opportunity to use your voice and differentiate yourself or your business.
  • Don’t share an article or post unless you have read it – many times you may find great sounding titles of posts or articles that have nothing to do with the actual content of the piece.
  • Always give credit and/or tag the source of the content you are sharing.  It often can become a great way to get know peers and influencers in your industry.
  • Thank others when they share your content – what comes around goes around!

Do you have a favorite source for finding content? Please share in the comments below.  Interested in learning more about online marketing? Sign up for my newsletter, or connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.   Thanks!

8 Secrets to Successful Social Media Management

Earlier this month, I spoke at 341 Studios about “Social Media Marketing for Business” where I shared top trends, tools and tricks to help small business make the most of their social media marketing with an audience of small business professionals. It turned out to be a lively discussion, instead of a presentation! We covered the top social media platforms and strategies for making time for social media marketing.

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Here are some of the “secrets” we discussed:

1.     Choose 1 or 2 platforms and use them well: Be where your clients will be. Don’t try to be everywhere.

2.     Each platform has its own language: Try to customize content (tone, text and images) for each platform.

3.     Use feeds, searches and lists for content ideas: This is much easier with third party social media platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, PostPlanner, and Sprout Social.

4.     Use monitors to listen: Set up alerts to email you when your brand name or company are mentioned on the web. www.socialmention.com and www.google.com/alert are great listening tools.  Also, follow keywords and hashtags related to your business.

5.     Automate promotion of your blog posts via email and social media: WordPress assigns a special email address to post by email, or you can use RSS feed-based campaigns with your email program to get your blog posts out in a timely manner.

6.     Work ahead, schedule some posts in advance: You don’t HAVE to start your social media efforts from scratch every day, but always be ready to adjust to unexpected world and local events. Your social media cannot be entirely run on autopilot.

7.     Set time aside to engage and make sure your content is easily sharable: Don’t forget the social in social media! Make it a conversation, not a billboard.

8.     Take advantage of mobile: Your ability to interact quickly to mentions or posts can boost your brand and grow your audience.

What are your secrets for successful social media management?  Please share them in the comments below.  Interested in more tips and news, please sign up for my monthly newsletter and follow me (@sheesalt) on Twitter.

An original version of this piece appeared on 341 blog.

Measuring for Success: A check-up for your website

This article is the first in the “Measuring Your Success with Online Marketing” series reviewing key marketing metrics for you online platforms (website, newsletters and social media) to gauge where you are, where you are going and how best to get you there.

How healthy is your website?  If you have a blog, e-commerce and/or a contact form on your website, you might have a general sense of how active or engaged visitors are with your website.  However, most people who basically use their website as an online marketing brochure (is this you?) don’t really have a sense of how well their website is performing and what they could do to improve its “health and vitality.”

To review the basic website metrics, you will need to have Google Analytics installed on you site, so that you can then log into the Google Analytics dashboard for your site (if you don’t know how to do this, ask your web developer or go here).



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Google Analytics Dashboard

 

Now let’s dig in to the numbers – (which I recommend you do at least monthly) and understand what they mean.

Number of sessions – This is defined as each time a visitor initiates a session.  Ideally, you would like to see this number grow each month or at least remain constant.   Adding new, consistent and valuable content to your site on a frequent basis will help grow your audience.  If there are big fluctuations from month to month, it is important to figure out what or who is helping to spike your traffic (see Referrals via Acquisition below).

Number of users – This is the number of  visitors who are coming to your site for a specified period of time (by default 30 days).  A 50/50 balance of new and returning visitors shows a healthy engagement with fans who are returning to learn more from you and a new audience who is interested to find out more.

** Note- Don’t get lost in the numbers and forget about engagement.  It’s important to be consider quantity AND quality of your audience.  For example, in trying to raise awareness for your site and business, you will be much better served by 500 enthusiastic visitors who return to your website on a regular basis, read your blog posts, leave comments, refer traffic and contact you, than you will by having 1,000 visitors who visit once and never come back. **

Time on site (Avg Session Duration) – Obviously, the more time spent on your site the better, but don’t forget we have short attention spans, so don’t be surprised to see an average of under 2 minutes.  To get people to stay on your site, make it “sticky” by including easy navigation and discoverability throughout your site.  In other words, make it easy for them to get wherever it is you want them to go on your site.  Don’t lead them to dead ends.

Bounce rate – This percentage reflects how much of your audience is landing on your site and bouncing off quickly.  Ideally you don’t want to see a bounce rate higher than 60%.  If it is hovering closer to 45% or 50%, that’s better, but not ideal.  Try to keep it trending downward using the same engaging tactics (mentioned above) for getting them to spend more time on your site.

Sources and referrals via the Acquisition Channel  – Where is your traffic coming from?  Are they coming by searching? Or via email? Or social media? Another website?  Who is your top “referrer”?  Be sure to be developing relationships (online and off) with your most valuable referral sources.

Most popular pages via the Behavior Channel – Once visitors are on your site, what do they do there? What page do they come to first, and then where to they go?  Which are the most popular pages on your site for a given period?  Is it your services, about, portfolio or do they head to the blog?  Does this change or does is stay the same?  Understanding your visitors’ behavior and interest will help you better update and refresh your site with content they are seeking.

In reviewing these key stats on a monthly basis, you will soon get a clear picture about how healthy and effective your website is.   It will also give you valuable insight about how well your other online marketing efforts (social media, newsletters, online advertising, adwords, etc.) are performing.

Stay tuned for more about online marketing measurement and metrics, when we look at social media and email newsletter marketing in upcoming posts. 

In the meantime, let me know in the comments, what did you learn or discover about the health of your website when you dug into Google Analytics.   I look forward to hearing from you!  Thanks.

3 Reasons Why People Will Follow You on Twitter

So you created a Twitter profile, you’ve gotten a clever username and you’ve even figured out the special Twitter lingo and you’ve started to tweet.  Now what?

Now it’s time to build your following.  The best way to gain followers is a pursuit that’s been analyzed, studied and blogged about ad infinitum.  Many a social media expert has eschewed the best time of day to tweet, the most efficient use of hashtags, the perfect number of characters in a tweet, or the best social media apps to use to increase your Twitter following.

But let’s step away from the ever changing and sometimes conflicting stats and recognize that there is no one size fits all strategy.  There is however, a tried-and-true, slow-and steady-win- the-race approach that can be achieved if you follow these three basic principles:

1)   Your tweets are informative, entertaining and/or engaging. – By posting tweets that cause people to take action – be it think, smile, click, favorite, reply or retweet – you will establish yourself as a “source” that people will want to see in their newsfeed on a regular basis.

2)   You are consistent. – Assuming you’ve captured someone’s attention on Twitter and they have come to check out your profile, they will want to find that your Twitter timeline is regularly updated.  That doesn’t mean you have to post 20 times a day, but don’t expect someone to follow you if you haven’t posted a tweet since January.

3)   You follow them. – Twitter is a bit of “quid pro quo” network and you will gain more traction more quickly if you actively pursue and follow people who you would like to see in your newsfeed.  Equally important is to follow people back who have chosen to follow you if you think they are a good fit for the information that you seek to find on Twitter.

Gaining Twitter followers doesn’t happen instantly, but adhering to this authentic and organic method should help you increase your list faster than you thought possible.  Here are few more articles about best practices and gaining followers on Twitter.

I would love to hear from you in the comments as to what you have found is your most successful Twitter style?  Or if you are seeking followers, add your Twitter username below for more people to follow you.   Thanks.

Photo credit: John H. Buck (@wordupbuck)  a leader in leadership and an awesome brother-in-law.