Category

Blogging

Should an image be included in a blog?

By Blogging, Internet marketing, Social media, Websites No Comments

For some time, I have been asking myself: should an image be included in a blog? I realise that this is not the greatest question facing humanity, but it certainly has been bugging me. I am a visual person and I like to see colourful images. However, when I create a blog I have noticed how time consuming it is to find an appropriate image that I like, download it, check the file size and if necessary shrink it, add some text and a logo and then upload it and check it within the blog entry. Phew!

Not that I mind the work involved. However, I want to ensure that I am using my time to the best effect. So I revisited two of my favourite bloggers: Seth Godin and Neil Patel and Voila! Neither of them use images in their (text based) blogs. By the way, in Neil’s case you have to click around a bit to find a text blog, in that he does a lot of video blogging. (He is famous for the Marketing School podcast).

Now let’s think about the blog entries themselves. When you visit someone’s blog, is it the big image at the top of the entry that you are interested in – or the words that they have written? I have been using ‘Set featured image’ within WordPress for some time, after I discovered that by doing this, the image appears properly within social media. The problem is that by doing this, the image dominates the screen when you visit the blog page.

In addition, an image can slow down the page loading speed (which is a Google Ranking factor, by the way). Have inadvertently uploaded some massive images to my blog, I started using Tinypng to shrink PNG and JPEG images.

I am an inveterate Mind Mapper and I use these ‘thought organisation diagrams’ in my marketing training and public speaking sessions. A Mind Mind or a process schematic would help my readers to understand the text – so that would be a good reason to include them. When I do, I must remember to add an alt tag. (So much to do, such little time).

PS As I am sure you know, blog, blog entry, and post mean the same thing.

Social media broadcasting versus engagement

By Blogging, Internet marketing, LinkedIn, Social media, Twitter No Comments

Within social media, an example of ‘broadcasting’ would be sharing your blog entries. Some companies do little else.  A few of them are very good at doing this, particularly if the blogs are relevant to their target market and are well written, helpful and useful.

Sadly, this is not always the case. You may be aware of some enterprises / brands that churn out huge volumes of blog material, much of which is of little value.

An alternative strategy is engagement. For example, you can ask a member of Twitter a question by sending a Tweet which includes their Twitter handle. They will see that they have been mentioned via ‘Notifications’.

Another example would be the use of instant messaging with LinkedIn or Facebook. As I am writing this post, my smartphone has been pinging, as new instant messages arrive via LinkedIn.

In addition, you can of course Like, Comment or Share other people’s content. I am selective when I do this and I only Like content which is interesting, thought provoking etc.

When I comment on someone’s social media content I am always positive. I am not saying that you should do what I do, and I have noticed that other people can be controversial or negative in their comments. I have always wondered if this works for them, if they have something to market / sell?

An effective strategy is to combine broadcasting with engagement. Yes, I realise that this is time consuming but it beats cold calling,  doesn’t it?

As always, I welcome comment and feedback on my posts.

The 3 most important things to consider when writing a blog

By Blogging, Internet marketing No Comments

Margi Ross http://consciousfeminine.org has created a body of work with regards to the next stage in the development of the Feminine, the ‘Conscious Feminine’. Margi is a published author and she gives talks on the Conscious Feminine and the issues surrounding it.

Margi is a member of The Marketing Compass and she asked me: “What are the 3 most important things to consider when writing a blog?”

Of course there are many things to think about, however, here is my reply:

Hi Margi, Thank you for asking this question. There are two approaches to blogging:

A) As an SEO technique. This would start with the blog headline which would comprise a long tail SEO phrase. I have looked through your blog headlines and I don’t think that you are using this approach. I suggest that some of your blog headlines are ‘Google friendly’ i.e a search for “What is feminism?” generates an astonishing 152 million page results. If you haven’t already done so, you could write a blog with the headline: What is feminism? …and include that phrase a few times within the blog.

Therefore the first important thing is to: “Think headlines.”

B) The second approach is ‘just to write’ as, for example, Seth Godin does here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com …notice that Seth does not write his headlines with Google in mind. Seth blogs every day and writes interesting, thought provoking blog entries.

The second important thing is to “be interesting”. Clearly, this is a big subject in its own right. For example, you can take a position on something; share some research; provide a new perspective; or talk about your experiences.

The third important thing is to increase your blog frequency. The more you write and the more frequently you post, the more awareness, shares, likes and interactions will be generated.

Kind regards, Nigel

Photograph courtesy of VeggieVision: http://www.veggievision.tv/feminine-integrated-society-margi-ross

Could you write 100 words per day?

By Blogging, Copywriting, Internet marketing, Writing No Comments

Typewriter. Photography by Nigel Temple copyright appliesWriting all of those ‘marketing words’ can be a challenge, can’t it? Business owners and marketers are already working flat out. How are they going to find the time to get the writing done?

Make writing a habit

Here is an idea for you. Aim to write 100 words, every day. 100 words isn’t very much is it? You may find that once you start, that you can exceed this target. If you write every day about your business and your products or services, your brain will be working away in the background about the subject matter, even when you are not aware that it is doing so.

250 words is sufficient for a blog. So if you were able to write 100 words, 20 days per month that amounts to 2000 words, or eight blogs per month. Alternatively, you could think in terms of four 500 word blogs (i.e. one per week).

My first book was 19,000 words long. If I had used the 100 words per day approach, it would have taken me under 10 months to write. As you can imagine, upping the word count target to say 250 words per day turbocharges everything.

You will find it helpful if you are reporting to someone about your writing output. If you work within an organisation, this could be your manager or a colleague. If you work for yourself, could a family member help you out? As the saying goes:

What gets measured, gets done*

In conclusion, setting a target for yourself really works. It used to be said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit and the other day I heard that it takes 60 days. Even if it takes as long as this, with regards to writing, it will be well worth it.

*There is some debate about who coined this phrase, some say that it was the management guru Peter Drucker, whilst others quote Lord Kelvin.

Extracted from ‘How to Write Words Which Generate More Response’, soon to be available via Amazon Kindle. Here is Nigel Temple’s Amazon Author page.

Nigel provides copywriting training services.

Google Analytics and deciding what to blog about

By Blogging, Internet marketing, Social media, Webcopy No Comments

Have you ever been stuck when it comes to deciding the next blog topic for your website? If you blog frequently, coming up with new topics can be a challenge.

Here is an idea for you. Log into https://analytics.google.com and click on Behaviour / All pages. [I am assuming that you have Google Analytics installed within your website; if you don’t, you may be using a different stats package that should reveal the information that we are looking for].

This will show you a list of the most popular pages on your website. The first result will probably show a forward slash / ….this is your homepage, so you can ignore this.

The first thing to do is to change the date range in the URHC (Upper Right Hand Corner) of the page, to at least a year’s worth of data. Experiment with this and see what happens to the list if you look more recently: is something new on your site attracting attention? You can also extend the date range: are some pages / blog entries of continual interest?

Once you have ascertained the most popular URLs within you site, think about the blogs that you could write. Could you reword a blog title and write about the subject from a different angle? Could you combine two topics into one? What has changed since the original blog or page was published?

You may well find that your most popular blog entries contain ‘long body copy’ (i.e. a lot of words). For example, this post on brand strategy is one of my most popular posts during the last decade:

Brand strategy

Here are some of my other blogs which may help:

How to generate ideas for content marketing / blogs …part 1

How to generate new ideas for content marketing / blogs part 2

What are the benefits of business blogging?

By Blogging, Copywriting, Promotional techniques, Social media No Comments

What are the four benefits of business blogging? Do you blog? Discover the answers within this 2 minutes 23 second audio blog.

How often do you blog? What challenges do you face? Share your blog URL via www.marketingcompass.co.uk and I will give you some feedback.

 

Can you write a blog in 15 minutes?

By Blogging, SEO, Webcopy, Writing No Comments

The Marketing Compass logoThe answer is that yes, you can if you follow these principles:

* Capture blog ideas as they come to you
* You can do this via your smartphone or by using a (paper!) notebook
* If you work in a team, ensure that your colleagues continually feed you blog ideas
* If you can’t already touch type, learn to do so
* Set yourself a time limit to write a blog…
* …for example, I gave myself 15 minutes for this blog and it was finished within 14 minutes
* Write blogs early in the morning, before you get stuck into emails…
* …which means that you may have to get up 15 minutes earlier
* You don’t have to include an image within all of your blog entries
* If your blogs need to be cleared, have a pipeline of blogs
* A lot of time is wasted going over the writing and trying for perfection: you don’t have time for this
* Having said this, always allow at least five minutes for proofreading
* Although it is true that Google likes long form blog posts of over 1,000 words, short blog entries are fine

We are finding that members of The Marketing Compass who blog the most, receive the most sales leads (click on the logo to find out more).

See also:

How to generate ideas for content marketing / blogs …part 1

Copywriting training for digital marketing communication

Should I blog within my website or somewhere else?

By Blogging, Internet marketing, SEO, Social media No Comments

I am quite often asked: “Should I blog within my website or somewhere else?” The ‘somewhere else’ part may refer to separate blog (i.e. separate from your website), or a social media platform such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

It used to be the case that many people had a separate blog, using, say WordPress (which is free) and then point back at their site via hyperlinks. However, times have changed.

I strongly recommend that you initially post your blogs within your own website.

Then wait for at least an hour before posting them somewhere else.

Every time you post a blog within your own site, it gets larger and you add another URL (web page address).

This is a good thing, as Google favours larger websites.
It has been reported that Google gives preference to sites that are over 100 pages in size. Search engines read your websites’ log files which tells them the date and time that content (i.e. a new blog) has been uploaded.

The upshot is that they give you credit for being the original publisher.

Key factors include:
* Coming up with original ideas for blogs
* Keeping the flow going; for example, by posting a new blog at least once a week
* Answering your customers’ questions in depth, via your blogs, in an interesting, helpful and engaging way

You can ask about blog strategy via: www.marketingcompass.co.uk

26 ways to write better headlines

By Blogging, Copywriting, Internet marketing, Selling, Writing No Comments

headlinesHeadlines are the gateway to your website, blog, newsletter, e-shot, advertisement, direct mailshot or any other promotional piece. Ineffective headline? The result = fewer readers and sales.

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” ~ David Ogilvy

When I was 26, I landed a job as a trainee copywriter. For the next three years, my boss would disembowel my words every single working day, with a blunt red pen. Ouch!

We spent a great deal of time talking about headlines.

Marketers live and die by their headlines and I cannot stress how important they are.

Here are 26 tips for you:

  1. Start your headline with ‘How to”
  2. Use questions in your headlines
  3. Write about what you deliver, not just what you do
  4. Include a benefit statement
  5. An emotional appeal outsells a logical approach
  6. Create pictures inside the readers’ head
  7. Use positive language and never be negative
  8. Include numbers, i.e. “7 ways to save money”
  9. How long will they have to wait?
  10. Talk in the language of your audience
  11. Write several versions, before you select your headline
  12. It is OK to write long headlines as it only takes a moment to read it
  13. Include facts and figures, if you have them
  14. Study advertisement headlines
  15. Avoid superlatives regarding your fantastic product
  16. Help, don’t just sell
  17. See your headline from the reader’s perspective
  18. Provide proof
  19. Be bold
  20. Where appropriate, convey a sense of urgency
  21. Don’t Use Leading Capitals As They Are A Bit Harder To Read
  22. Avoid humour in headlines; they won’t all get the joke
  23. Ask whether the reader has a specific problem?
  24. Don’t be vague
  25. Don’t make the reader think too hard
  26. Ensure that your message is clear

Oh, and tip #27: Employ a professional copywriter (like me, for example). If you would like to learn how to be a better copywriter or if you would like someone to do the writing for you, email me via nigel@nigeltemple.com call me on +44(0)1628 773128. I have written over a million words of copy for thousands of clients and I love to write.

Who reads blogs?

By Blogging, Internet marketing, SEO, Websites One Comment

wordpress logoI have just been asked an interesting question within The Marketing Compass website: Who reads blogs?

Google loves bloggers. Their algorithm scores a website higher if it can find a blog there. The key issue is that Google is moving towards semantic search.

Semantic search = a search query that determines the intent and context of the search phrase.

Google likes subject experts who write regularly and at length about their area of expertise. This thinking lines up with semantic search. For example, a brochureware website is arguably not as helpful to a searcher as a content rich blog that provides in depth information on a given subject.

Googles does not like websites that attempt to ‘game the system’ by using keyword stuffing, link farms and discredited black hat SEO techniques. A business contact of mine told me recently that she had lost 60% of her turnover when Google removed them from organic search listings. They had inadvertently used black hat search techniques. Why bother to go in that direction, when you can write about what you know and let the search engines do the heavy lifting?

Adding new pages to your site does not produce the same results, even if you add meta data – because of the way that blog technology works. A blog is a journal of your thoughts. When used for business purposes, it is used to focus on a specific subject area. Within a WordPress blog, for example, categories and tags give a different level of
experience for both Google and human readers. In addition, RSS functionality, ping backs and a vast array of blog related WordPress plugins all help.

A well written and interesting blog is something that people want to return to and recommend, like a good novel. When was the last time that you recommended a sales brochure to a friend?

If your competitors are not blogging, then this is a digital marketing opportunity for you.

Blogs are an easy to read, easily accessible form of online content. They behave well on smartphones and tablet computers – which is where many blogs are consumed.

According to Wikipedia, a blog is published every second: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

So the answer to that question is ‘a lot of people’.

Written by marketing consultant, trainer, speaker and author Nigel Temple.
3,000+ clients over a 30 year period.
Nigel is available for hire as a marketing consultantmarketing trainer or marketing speaker.
Join the marketing conversation within The Marketing Compass community.
Attend a marketing strategy meeting for free: click here.
Talk to Nigel 1-2-1 in a meeting or via Skype about your marketing: www.navigatorplus.co.uk