Category Archives: Blogging

Beat blogger’s block with 4 tips

QuestionAs you develop an identity for your blog, consider some offbeat options or creative ways to present your content. Keep a list of topics handy when you begin to write so you don’t struggle for content at the last minute.

Here are some ideas you can use immediately:

1. Stand out from your competitors by taking a fresh view. For example, one company posted a blog for an engineer in the perspective of a guide dog. The dog talked about what the engineer did throughout the day. You can also keep things interesting with video, audio, infographics, pictures and links.

2. Make the customer a hero. Write a story that explains how a customer used your products or services to save the day.

3. Satisfy inquiring minds. You know what people ask, so be proactive and answer the questions in detail. You can post one question and answer each week to get more mileage from your blog. Capture readers’ attention by making each question the headline.

4. Showcase your employees. Introduce the team and what they do. Inject personality by including their favorite quotes, sports teams, foods, etc. Here’s an example of how to have fun with employee profiles.

Blogs are a way of expressing yourself. Tell your readers what you feel and what you’ve experienced. Teach them something about your company or share a unique perspective on a topic. Get more blogging tips here and here.

How do you keep the blog content machine going? Let us know in the comments below.

B2B marketing trends to watch in 2014

IncreaseAs you wind down on last-minute holiday decorating, shopping and cooking, it’s a good time to think about 2014 and strategize ways to promote your business. Knowing key B2B trends will help you prepare for a successful year. Among the trends to watch:

  1. Companies will spend more on content marketing. Fifty-eight percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2014, according to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Most of the companies that plan to boost their efforts are small firms with 10 to 99 employees, according to the survey. Top B2B marketing tactics include social media, website articles, e-newsletters and blogs.
  2. Original and engaging content will remain king. Keyword-driven SEO shops are reinventing themselves as content marketers for a reason. Google continues to update its search algorithms, placing more emphasis on well-written, relevant copy, and thwarting keyword stuffing. This practice involves the overuse of a word or related words and phrases on a single page to improve search engine rankings. Having useful content signals that you’re a subject-matter expert and boosts search engine rankings. Find out why SEO isn’t a magic pill.
  3. Visual content will surge in popularity. Smart content marketers will offer compelling videos and infograhics to stand out. The study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs shows that 73 percent of B2B marketers are using video now, while 51 percent are using infographics. While there’s still a market for six-page white papers, audiences increasingly want multimedia and visual storytelling. Here’s an example of the magic that happens when you marry creativity and visuals.
  4. Mobile-responsive design will no longer be an option. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that more people will access your site and learn about your company from mobile devices. A study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that nearly two-thirds of mobile users in the United States use their phones to access the Internet and check email – a number that has doubled since 2009. Learn more about mobile-responsive design.
  5. Social media monitoring and measurement will become more sophisticated. If you don’t have an enterprise social media analytics tool, it’s a challenge to determine what’s working and what’s not. Enhanced technology will make it easier to track engagement and interactions that contribute to lead conversions and sales. Learn more about some of the tools that will help B2B marketers.

What content marketing trends do you foresee in 2014? How will they influence your B2B marketing plans? Let us know in the comments below.

Build your blog one story at a time with these 7 tips

BlogIt’s time for another blog post, but you stare at a blank screen and can’t figure out what to write. Many bloggers get writer’s block at some point. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Have fun — just tell your story. Skip the headline and introduction, and start writing about the topic. Once you have something on your screen, it’s a lot easier to continue writing.
  2. Post regularly. Whether you publish three times a week or 10-15 times a week, stick to a schedule.
  3. Find inspiration from other blogs. Can you think of exceptional blogs that keep you coming back? Learn from what they do.
  4. Focus on quality content. Make sure your posts are well-written and error-free.
  5. Plan ahead. Think about future blog posts and what you would like to write about. Keep a list handy so that on the days you’re stuck, you’ll have a grab bag of topics from which to choose.
  6. Include a picture. Photos draw readers in and through your post. Bonus: If you share your post on social media sites, they’ll pull from your most recent picture.
  7. Share the wealth. Include a share button and add your blog link to your social media accounts.This will send traffic back to your website.

Where do you get ideas for your blog? Do you have favorite bloggers you read regularly? Let us know in the comments below.

Inject your marketing with personality in 4 easy steps

fishCompanies are giving their customers a more personal touch. Why? It’s simple: People want personal connections with the companies they do business with. Here are four ways to kick-start your efforts:

  1. Write a blog. Blogs give you the freedom to communicate directly with your target audience. Use an informal tone and write in first person, incorporating “I,” “me,” “you” and “your” throughout your posts. Give your staff a voice by letting them contribute to the blog. Your team will appreciate it and it will allow your customers to get to know your business on a deeper level. Online video, animated graphics and slide shows are another great way to show a human face. Bonus: Regular updates will boost your site’s ranking.
  2. Include employee profiles. Professional bios engage readers. In addition to featuring your employees’ expertise, allow the staff to have some fun and share their personalities. Customers love finding out what makes your people tick!
  3. Use real pictures. Many companies use stock photos on their websites. Although this is not a bad thing, using genuine pictures of your products and employees allows you to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Ultimately, your customers want to do business with people they like and trust. It’s easier to do this when your website contains real images.
  4. Add testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to show potential customers how satisfied past clients are. Make sure they express how clients benefited from your products and services. Try to distinguish results from before they used your products and services and after they became clients. Earn extra credibility by including a picture or video of each person who provides a testimonial.

How are you making your business more personal and human? What do you want to try next? Let us know in the comments below.

Blogosphere: The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

post-it maniaBlogging appears to be on the upswing among leading businesses in the United States, a new report from The Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Inc. magazine shows.

According to the new “Social Media and the 2012 Inc. 500” study, 44 percent of companies in the Inc. 500 had a corporate blog, up from 37 percent the previous year. Leading the charge? Corporate brass increasingly are getting in on the blogging fun, the new CMR report shows.

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8 simple ways to beat writer’s block

It happens to the best of us. Whether you’re working on a presentation, a blog post or a newsletter, it can sneak up on you at any time.

Say hello to writer’s block.

Even professional writers experience moments when the words won’t come. Staring at a blank screen can be frustrating, especially when you’re on deadline. Whether you’ve got days or only a few hours to complete your project, try one or more of these winning strategies to smash through creative obstacles:

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A Thanksgiving worth reliving

As we collectively prepare to eat our weight in candied yams and stuffing (probable), watch the Texans stomp the Lions (extremely probable), and sleep for the next three days in a turkey-induced coma (guaranteed), it’s time to extend our gratitude to those who helped make these last 12 months better than any other in The Simons Group’s 31-year-history.

Our founder
In the beginning, there was Lee Simons Zoldan. So let us start with her, because without her, there is no “us.” Every day, she incubates a company that allows good people to do great work. Through her trust and objectivity, the rest of us have thrived on successes that would be unheard of in other agencies.

Our creative culture
The Simons Group would be useless to its clients if it were shackled and muted. Innovation, integrity and optimism would not appear in our work if we weren’t encouraged to insert ourselves directly into it.

Our staff
The Simons Group knows precisely who it wants working for it and plucks only the most fitting personalities onto its creative roster. There are no close-enough associates, no good-for-now temps, no stopgap employees. Today’s staff is a chain without weak links.

Our opportunities
Talk to enough people in this industry about the work they do and you’ll find a certain amount of dry rot setting in because they think it isn’t rewarding. None of us at TSG feel that way. No words can express how indebted we are to have the irons to match our company’s fire.

Our customers
Look, I get it. I can hear your eyes rolling around in your head. Of course, a business is thankful to those with whom it does business. But you have to understand something: All of us at TSG are hungry to create, improve and optimize. We’re junkyard dogs; our clients regularly toss us raw steak. As our feasts and famines shift with them, what better time to give thanks than on Thanksgiving?

Once again, thank you all.

What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. New websites don’t promote themselves – people do. If you’re not getting the kind of traffic you expected, you’re probably not marketing the new site, or you’re relying on Uncle Henry to spread the word.

Big mistake.  Killer landing pages, blogs with bells and whistles and fresh content don’t do any good if no one knows about your new site.

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Your website: The great differentiator

Many companies are spending time and money to create customized websites that show off their products and services, and what makes them unique.  Once you get customers on your website, it helps to offer content that adds extra value. Even if clients don’t want a personal relationship with your company, they want to know you understand their needs.

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Going mobile

When it comes to websites, small is in. Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, most people spend more time cruising the Internet on their phones than they do making calls. Companies are responding by creating mobile versions of their websites, making it easy to check your credit card balance, order dinner or book a vacation from your phone.

So, should your business create a mobile site? If so, what should the site include and, more importantly, how much will it cost? Read on for our crash course on all things mobile.

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