September 21, 2014

How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years

Posted by: of Stephan on 05/14/13

I left my blog dormant for a few years, but I’m finally back in the saddle! I drafted up a post entitled “How to Restart a Blog When You’ve Been on Hiatus for Three Years” because it seemed fitting. Here are my main points to get you started:

1. Jump in and write something. No apologies. Or a lengthy explanation or justification for being off the grid.

2. Get some tools or processes in place that will make it as painless as possible to post. Like Dragon – which incidentally is available as an iPhone/iPad app.

3. Hire a virtual assistant if that will help you. (More on using VA’s in a future post).

4. Roll out a site redesign at the same time to let everybody know you’re reengaged and committed.

5. Don’t try to get all your readers all caught up on your life all in one post. You’ve got plenty of fodder for many blog posts – so save it for later.

6. Finally, silence the perfectionist in you. I have this bad habit of pouring over my blog posts – my articles even more so – trying to make them perfect. I put a dozen hours or more into articles on search engine land. That’s crazy. That’s not good use of your time. Much better to freeze all those great ideas and insights stuck in your head – share them with the world. It’s okay if the sentence structure isn’t always on the mark. It’s a blog post for Pete’s sake.

Blogging Top Ranked Digital Marketing Tactic for 2009

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 04/21/09

Companies world-wide are cutting costs as well as looking for creative, high impact and accountable marketing. With concerns over the recession and its impact on marketing, I recently ran a poll of the 17,000 subscribers at Online Marketing Blog to discover their intentions for digital marketing tactics in 2009.

Poll respondents cast 1,559 votes for their top three digital marketing tactics (from a list of 45) for 200. Blogging, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization topped the list. Out of the top ten rated marketing tactics, six fell into the category of Social Media Marketing.

The actual question asked was, “What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?” Here are the top ten tactics selected:

• Blogging (34%)
• Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
• Search engine optimization (28%)
• Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
• Email marketing (17%)
• Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
• Pay per click (14%)
• Blogger relations (12%)
• Video marketing (10%)
• Social media advertising (7%)

Email marketing rated higher than PPC which is surprising given the budgets spent on PPC vs email. Some tactics are much easier to implement than others, or less expensive, which may explain a few of the top choices, such as Twitter.

Corporate web sites didn’t rate in the top ten tactics. Does this mean the death of company web sites? Some companies are succumbing to the social media perspective to extremes, like the Skittles site which had been simplified to a page of search results from Twitter and then changed to their Facebook page. Others are adding social features to their company sites to complement existing messaging and functionality.

By now, most companies have their 2009 online marketing plans in place. Does this ranked order of tactics mean you should change up your online marketing mix? The answer is that digital marketing tactics should match the needs of the situation, company resources, the target market and end consumer preferences. The proper tactical mix for a digital marketing program could be anything from the 45 tactics listed in the TopRank Blog poll and still be successful as long as they support a valid strategy.

Some companies are prepared for digital and social media marketing programs and many are not. To get “ready”, companies need to develop a social media roadmap and get up to speed on both best and worst practices. Whether those methods of reaching and communicating with customers reconciles with existing marketing plans or not, companies would do well to allocate resources to some level of ongoing social media training, testing and development of expertise in the social media space.

Being Direct About Social Media Marketing

Posted by: of Online Marketing Blog on 02/10/09

Compared to typical direct marketing efforts (snail mail, DRTV, email, etc) where an offer is created based on a company developing a product and packing it to meet a need or purpose, a social media marketing program will focuses on creating awareness, relationships and possibly involving communities with creating the offer before it’s every promoted.

As a comparison, take a look at what a typical direct marketing program might look like:

  • Develop top level messaging
  • Research and build an email list
  • Acquire snail mail lists and segment
  • Create and implement a series of email offers to the list with landing pages
  • Create and implement a series of direct mail pieces
  • Setup and run PPC campaign(s) with landing pages
  • Craft story and press releases
  • Research publications for planned stories and journalists covering the topic
  • Distribute optimized press releases via wire services
  • Pitch story to industry and regional publications, editors/journalists
  • Leverage coverage from pitching as part of final email promotions
  • Solicit feedback from those signing up and use as testimonials for subsequent promotions

The list could go on and on really, depending on the budget, timeline and objectives. From the perspective of a traditional marketer, it seems pretty logical, right? It’s a straightforward marketing campaign based on developing an offer, defining a target audience and creating a series of messages intended to communicate the offer and convert. It also uses public relations to augment direct marketing efforts in addition to leveraging positive feedback for subsequent promotions.

While the above overview marketing plan is pretty straight forward, it runs contrary in many ways to the kind of digital marketing programs that companies the world over are warming up to: Social Media Marketing.

With social media marketing, there is an assumption that there is already involvement with the social communities involved – profile(s), network of friends, content submission, voting and participation. That’s the big mistake most marketers make when trying to promote products and services on the social web. They’ll create an account on a social media site, put up some content and expect the social media world to be their oyster without having built a network first.

So, what would a social media marketing focused program look like as an alternative to the direct marketing promotion above?  Let’s take a look:

  • Monitor discussion on social communities and networks for key conversations, keywords and topics
  • Identify top concerns relevant to what the company is promoting and develop messaging for solution
  • Identify influentials in the social communities, bloggers and authorities – ask them their opinion
  • Identify media types most often used with topics and communities – text, video, image, podcast as well platforms for communication: blog posts, comments, microblogging, status updates, social network notes, social news and bookmarking and as possible, direct messaging and IM
  • Create messaging specific to media type and platform as way of sharing information about the offer
  • Create content destinations that explain the offer and that also offer the opportunity to interact, share opinions and comments – blog posts, video, event pages on social networks (like a landing page, but focused on being informative and encouraging discussion, not salesey)
  • Reach out to influentials on a one to one basis, recognizing them for sharing their opinion, explaining the offer and your goals – ask them to join in in spreading the good word. Explain what’s in it for them and what’s in it for the community.
  • Monitor the communications that result in the most signups and provide feedback on progress
  • Offer influential bloggers a “free pass” to blog the event or a preview of what’s being offered
  • Recognize participation and contribution to reaching goals
  • Continue to engage interested participants and communities

Seems like a lot of work and possibly more effort than it’s worth to a traditional direct marketer. But to those involved with social media and social communities, it’s familiar territory. Focusing on developing solutions based on what the audience wants, then involving the community in developing and promoting creates evangelists for the promotion. Recognizing participation energizes the community and can multiply the speed and breadth of message distribution, discussion and action.

Social marketing invests in social communities with useful content/solutions as well as participation and recognition. That investment delivers long term dividends far beyond a one time promotional program using direct marketing tactics.

If the budget, timeline and resources warrant it, a combination of both sets of tactics can be very appropriate.

How To Share Your Blog Content?

Posted by: of BizGrowthNews on 06/28/08

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Have you ever wondered how to make sure that you provide the opportunity for people to share the great articles on your blog to their social networking sites?

You might recall I wrote about one tool recently that you can add to the side bar of your business blog that allows people to save PDF’s of your articles and even email them to others.

A plugin that you might want to consider for your business blog that is becoming increasingly popular is ShareThis. ShareThis is available to use across a host of blog platforms including WordPress.org and TypePad.com

You’ll usually see the ShareThis logo at the bottom of an article or blog post.

When you click on it you will see you have several options:

  • You can post the article and share it to your favourite social networking sites such as Digg and Ma.gnolia
  • You can make sure that your friends at your social networks such as Facebook and Twitter know about the post or article you have read
  • And you can even email yourself or others a copy.

Of course it’s not just making sure the readers of your business blog understand what the ShareThis logo means – it does rely on us as content creators writing content that people want to pass on to their friends or keep as reference material.

So why not consider adding ShareThis to your business blog? And if you have added the ShareThis plugin to your business blog, perhaps you can share with us your experience of it as a tool to encourage people sharing your great content?

Plurk: Is This for Business?

With all the recent outages and downtime over at Twitter (no doubt stirred up because of my recent article on How to Use Twitter for Business), many people have been checking out Plurk, a similar but different approach with the same 140 character message limit.

Plurk has some nice add-ons that separates from Twitter. There’s an interactive timeline that shows threads and makes it easier to follow a conversation. There’s karma points for signing up people. You can create “cliques” to better organize friends. It doesn’t constantly crash (so far.)

Plurk

Is this a business tool? Who the hell knows. I doubt the telephone appeared like a good business tool out of the gate. Is it fun to use? Definitely.

There are game-like features to it that make you want to invite more friends, post/plurk more often and get more involved. I’m not giving up my twitter account, dropping Facebook or giving up my blog for plurk, but like an 80′s arcade video game, I’m sure it’s going to get a few more of my quarters.

If you’d like an intelligent, detailed explanation of everything Plurk check out Frank Martin’s post on The Question of Plurk.

And, if you’d like to play around in Plurk, click on this invite or come visit my page on Plurk.

How To Name Your Business Blog

Posted by: of BizGrowthNews on 04/24/08

One of the questions I often get asked is how to name your business blog or name your business.

Many people call their business blog by their own name which is great especially if you are in the area of professional services and want to be known online by your name, therefore building your personal brand online.

In fact I always recommend that you purchase your own name as a domain name whether you are ready to start business blogging or buiding your personal brand online.

However I always consider whether the name of your business blog will be easy for people to understand if you speak it outloud on a teleseminar, at a speaking event, on a podcast, at a networking meeting, at a speaking gig or when on the radio.

My name is difficult for many people to understand and also difficult for many people to spell – in fact other than my family, I do not know anyone who has ever correctly spelt my surname when first meeting me - you pronounce it ‘Day’ but you spell it ‘De’.

That’s one of the reasons I chose a name for my main business blog ‘Biz Growth News’ - it’s relatively easy to understand when you say it outloud and it does what it says on the tin – I share strategies and insights about growing your business.

My business blog sits on my portal site represnting me online and after naming my business blog, I purchased a domain name for ‘Biz Growth News’ which points across to the blog.

I recently came across a great business blog by Paul Stamatiou. Paul as obviously recognised that his surname is difficult to pronounce and spell correctly. You see, at the bottom of his business blog is a note that says

Can’t spell my name – use pstam.com

What a great idea. Paul has purchased a domain name that is a shortened version of his name and one that most people will be able to understand and spell.

So if you have a business blog consider how easy is it for people to find it online when they hear you speak out the name of your blog.

If you are not starting a blog from the get go and don’t wish to re-name your blog, consider if you could purchase a domain name that you could re-direct to your blog so that you don’t lose that all important blog traffic because people can’t understand your business blogs name when you speak it out loud.

Do we have to join every social network?

This might be a question just for us social media consultants, but I think it is more generally applicable: do we need to sign up for every new social network that comes along so that we can reserve our names thereon?

This came up because I just signed up and joined friendfeed.com (and yes, the obligatory link: You can find me on friendfeed.com as DaveTaylor) partially because I was curious about it, but also because I received email from a colleague that included the comment sign up now to get good user names.

But do we really need to do this?

What’s your opinion, fellow blog and social media consultant?

 

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