Idea Sprouts Online Marketing Blog

5 Simple Ways to Reuse Your Blog Content

Posted by Allison Semancik

You spend a lot of time creating great blog posts and once it's posted, you forget about it, right? Nope!

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Blogging for Your Business

6 Quick Tips for Making Your Blog Posts More Readable

Posted by Allison Semancik

Often, when people begin blogging, they write the way they were taught to write while in school. And that's okay - we all do it.

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Business Blogging

Blogging: It's Not All About You

Posted by Allison Semancik

When businesses tell me that they want a blog, I always ask why.  I like to find out what type of information they want to post on their blog.

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Blogging for Your Business

5 Blog Directory Submissions Worth Your Time

Posted by Allison Semancik

Bloggers are always looking for a way to get traffic to their blogs.  Using social media is a great way to share your articles and pique people's interest to get them back to your blog.  And if you are writing about topics using long-tail keywords that people are searching for, you'll surely get traffic.  But what about submitting your blog to blog directories?  Are they worth your time?

If you do a search for "list of blog directories", you'll find lots of lists with hundreds of directories, but a lot of these are from 2007 - clearly outdated.  So I'll save you some time.  I think that submitting your blog to a few good directories is all you really need. 

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Blog Directory Submissions

5 Tips for Setting Your Business Blog Up for Success

Posted by Allison Semancik

Over the last two days, I attended the Empowered Woman Success Summit here in Miami.  I had the opportunity to hear some brilliant people share their business advice to help women grow professionally.

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Blogging for Your Business, Business Blogging

3 Ideas for Business Bloggers to Beat Writer's Block

Posted by Allison Semancik
So you already know that your business should be blogging. You've created a blog strategy and you've added some great posts to your blog.  You're writing consistently to stick to your blog schedule.  And then one day - you hit a wall.  You can't think of another article to write and when you're under pressure you freeze like a deer in headlights.  

Don't despair.  It happens to us all.  While talking to other bloggers about how they get ideas for blog articles, I learned that we all have unique ways to spark our creativity.   Try some of these methods the next time you need to get your creative juices flowing. 

1. Get out of the office 

Sitting in front of a blank computer screen trying to figure out what to write is the surest way to frustrate me.  I like to get out of my office and sit down with a legal pad and pen.  Jotting down notes helps me focus on what are good ideas, and which are bad ideas.

I find that if I spend 30 minutes brainstorming blog ideas, I can come up with 10 great articles to write and then be inspired to get back in front of the computer and get typing.

2. Write when you get inspired

When the writing bug hits you, take advantage of it!  Write more than one article and save them for the future.  You may find that you're able to write one long post and divide it into 3 posts.  

3. Work on the weekends  

Sometimes the best ideas come on a Sunday morning while you're relaxing after a nice brunch.  When an idea for an article strikes you, take a few minutes to jot down notes.  Or better yet, get in front of your computer and write that article.  

The key to successful blogging is consistency.  With these ideas, I hope you can get past the block and continue to add good quality, relevant posts to your business's blog to attract new traffic and engage your current readers.  
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Tags: Blogging Tips, Business Blogging

Why Your Business Needs a Blog Strategy

Posted by Allison Semancik
Like most everything we do in life, endeavors that have a plan are much more likely to succeed.  Deciding to start a blog for your business is no different. You could just jump into it and wing it . .  and you'll probably wind up frustrated and quit writing before you see any results.  A well thought out blog strategy will focus you on the task at hand so you can go the distance with blogging.


Questions to Ask Yourself to Develop a Good Blog Strategy

1. What is your objective?

Think of this as a mission statement for your blog.  It should be something along the lines of:

*To provide great content about my industry so that I can be seen as an industry thought leader.
*To attract my target market to my website in order to generate leads.

The objective you write will help you stayed focused so that you use your time wisely. 

2. Who is your reader?

The reader you want to attract to your business blog is going to be your target market.  Think about what their questions and concerns are - and then write articles that help solve those issues.  Not every single one of your readers is going to have the exact same set of problems, so by varying your topics, you'll reach all of your target market.

3. What is your blog schedule?

Deciding how often you will contribute to your blog upfront will keep you on a schedule.  If you only plan on blogging when you get an idea or when you have time, your business blog will lack consistency and you won't attract loyal readers.

At a bare minimum, aim for 1 article a week. If you have a larger staff, more time or have a lot to say, try for 2-3 posts per week.  With blogging, the more content you have, the better.  Commit to something you know you can handle now and you can always adjust your calendar later.

4. How are you going to measure success?

Setting goals will help you celebrate wins, spot any issues and analyze how your blog is doing.  Do you want to set a goal of a certain number of readers? Traffic? Inbound links? Leads? Customers?  

How do you plan on keeping track of these metrics? You will need to use tools to analyze the traffic, readership, lead and customer data.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you have a blog strategy created, you're going to feel so much more confident in moving forward with a blog for your business.  Periodically, you will want to review your blog strategy and do some tweaking.  Calendars and goals may not have been realistic or keeping up with quality content may be difficult.   Reassess your strategy at least once a quarter to keep your business on track.

If you want to generate more leads and sales for your business with a blog and use the tools that will help you reach your goals, schedule an online marketing consultation with me.  We can discuss how I can help your business set up a solid blog strategy that will put you on the right path.    

 

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Business Blogging, Blog Strategy

4 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Posted by Allison Semancik
With a few rare exceptions, I firmly believe that all businesses should have a blog.  Here are 4 reasons why I believe your business should be blogging.

1. Build Credibility and Trust

When you share your knowledge in a blog, people automatically look to you as a credible source of information (I hope I don't need to mention that you need to write credible content.)  The articles you write will speak to the problems your readers have and the information they crave.  As they read more of your content, the trust builds.  This kind of trust and credibility is very difficult to do on your website without a blog. 

You can think of a blog as the living, breathing part of your website.  The part that speaks to the people who are on your website.

2. Keyword Rich Content Will Attract Traffic

Your blog articles should contain keywords that you are trying to rank for in SEO (search engine optimization).  If you haven't started a list of keywords you want to rank for yet, now would be a good time.  Get started with the words you know your prospects are searching for online.  Then design articles around these keywords.  The idea is that you listen to what they are asking and you answer with a blog article.  
By writing content that provides a solution or answer, you'll attract visitors who are searching for those answers.
 

3. Start a Conversation with Possible Leads

You and your employees know a lot about your business and industry.  And you share that knowledge on a daily basis; answering questions via email and phone, at events when you meet someone new or working with your clients on a project.  But people who don't know you yet, don't know you know what you know (get it?) So a great way to show them you know your stuff is by writing about it in a blog. 

To invite readers to learn more about you, make sure you have an offer (free webinar, report, etc.) after your blog posts or on the sidebar of your blog. 

4. Share Your Knowledge with Current Clients

Your current customers ask you a lot of questions and you probably spend a good amount of time responding to those questions.  Why not just share it in a blog?  I use this technique a lot to generate ideas for blog articles.  It works wonderfully because I can send a quick email to my clients letting them know I posted an article that I think will be helpful to them.  They are grateful I've gone into detail to answer a question they had and it even helps other clients who hadn't even thought of the question yet.  

Remember, as with any new endeavor, it's important to start with a plan.  A blog strategy will help you stay on track and keep up with your blog for the long haul. Once you start blogging and reaping the benefits, you'll wonder why you didn't start a blog for your business sooner.


Photo: Annie Mole

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Business Blogging

Successful Miami Blogger Shares His Blogging Secrets

Posted by Allison Semancik
Miami realtor, Riley Smith, writes a popular real estat e blog, The Real Estate Coconut.  His blog focuses on real estate in Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami.  He started his blog 2 years ago and has successfully generated so many leads from the blog that it now accounts for 50% of his business.  When you hear a number like that, you are ready to jump into blogging, aren't you?  Riley was kind enough to share his blogging secrets with us.

What did you do to get started in blogging?


I created a list of keywords that I wanted to rank for.  Not only words like Coconut Grove real estate, but I included plenty of long tail keywords that I knew people would be searching for.  When I first started writing articles, I made sure to include those keywords in my articles.  My goal was to start ranking well for these keywords so I could generate traffic to the my site.


How do you come up with ideas for articles?


It was tough at first, I wasn't always sure what to write about.  I focused a lot of my articles on the keywords I wanted to rank for.  I also looked at other real estate blogs throughout the country to get an idea of what they were writing about.  It's a great way to brainstorm. 

Over time, creating good content has gotten easier.   I can always come up with a blog article idea because of a discussion I've had with a client or the latest real estate news.  I don't have to focus so much on ranking for my keywords because using them now comes so naturally in my writing.

What  do you see as the #1 benefit of blogging?


Blogging builds instant credibility.  When people read your articles, they see how much you know about your industry and they get to know you a little better.   This is something difficult to do online without blogging or social media. 

And you don't have to fear that you are giving away too much information (that's something I hear a lot from people who are resistant to blogging).  Once people read your blog, they feel more comfortable to  contact you because they see you as an expert. 

Blogging Advice and Tips:


1. Blogging takes time and effort.  It will take some time before you begin to see results and you need to keep working at it until you see those results.  It took my blog about 6 months until I started seeing I was ranking for the keywords I wanted.  Once I saw that all my hard work was paying off, I was sold on blogging.  But it does take time and you need to be persistent  and patient.

2. Pictures are important.  I make sure that there is an image in every article.  It helps break up the text and makes reading much easier.

3. Find another blog or website to promote your blog on.  I advertised on a local blog, The Coconut Grove Grapevine, when my blog was new and I generated a lot of traffic from it. 

Marketing Takeaways:


1. Riley developed a niche for his blog - he only writes about Coconut Grove real estate and Coconut Grove happenings.
 
2. Riley is not using every blog article to pitch his listings to readers.  He uses his blog to share his expertise and create content that will draw readers to him. 

 

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Tags: Blogging Tips, Business Blogging