looking good

5 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Blog

woman-relaxed-reading-tablet-happy-female-model-ipad-bed-relaxing-410169591.    Consistently publish interesting content

  • Plan your posts to appear at regular intervals
  • Create an editorial calendar and pre-schedule topics and themes
  • Use images, videos, quizzes & questions, and judicious reblogging to keep your reader interested

2.    Make sure you have a SUBSCRIBE feature

  • Display it prominently on your blog, sidebar or footer
  • Collect emails and add them to your master list
  • Understand the difference between “subscribe” and “Follow”
  • Explore the WordPress Reader and Follow other WP blogs, ask them to follow you.

autosharing

3.    Automate your blog to post to your Social Media accounts

Use the Publicize settings found under SETTINGS/SHARING/PUBLICIZE
Also encourage your readers to use Social sharing with available buttons
found under SETTINGS/SHARING

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • And more

4.    Promote your blog in your email marketingconstant-contact-stacked

5.    Maximize Social Media impact

    • Post to relevant pages & groups on Facebook et.al.
    • Use an automated scheduling tool like Tweetdeck, HootSuite, Buffer to repeat social media mentions
    • Take advantage of reblogging offers and special #hashtags and events on Twitter
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Are You Blogging for Business?

The democratization of media empowers us all to be publishers, if we choose,  of everything from top 10 lists to serious think-pieces for your industry.

Blogging has evolved to become an essential marketing tool. In fact, businesses that blog get 67% more leads than those who don’t.

Publishing valuable content on a consistent basis positions you as a source of solutions, and helps prospects understand what you do.

If you haven’t waded into the blogging stream, it’s easy to get started without a huge investment of time and money. I often recommend that you start with a free WordPress.com blog (it can be linked to your site) because of the huge universe of WordPress bloggers who read, comment and reblog each other.

There are simple ways to leverage your blog posts across social media to boost impressions and feedback. If you’d like more suggestions, leave a comment, ask a question or get in touch.

Click here for 5 types of blog posts that have proven performers: 5 Breeds of Posts to Promote Your Business 

 

Advertising an Issue, Then & Now

While we can laugh at the 70’s style , the ‘crying Indian’ ad is still legendary in environmental circles. It rallied a nation to care about their environment, and to support creation of clean air and water regulations.

What strikes me today is how light the pollution and litter look.

The Issue has Changed & So Has Marketing

Compared to what washes up along the Potomac River today, the video’s litter looks cute. At this year’s annual river cleanup, volunteers removed over 300,000 pounds of plastic bags and bottles, foam cups (all light weight materials) in three hours. Walk the shore a week after and it’s covered again; the tide of trash is relentless.

The Ferguson Foundation has been working on river cleanup for 28 years. When I first took part in 2003 they called their effort “Trash-Free Potomac 2013.” They’ve since dropped the date. But the work goes on, and it really engages people to care about the river.

But there’s worse things fouling the waters. Excess ‘nutrients’ from farms, sewage, run-off and lawn fertilizers are choking our streams, rivers and bays with aquatic plant overgrowth and algal blooms. This disturbs and eventually ruins habitats, and can even create dangerously toxic conditions. 

Few people take time to consider how lawn chemicals, street run-off or farm waste are affecting their natural environment. There are campaigns to educate the public, but they aren’t as widely seen as the public service campaigns of the 70’s.

This video by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is probably only viewed by people on their mailing lists or or those who seek them out. Too long for TV, it’s not likely to reach as broad an audience as our Indian, above.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years. Habitat destruction, poaching and pollution have eliminated half of the living creatures on the planet.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is a consequence of the way we choose to live. Nature, which provides food and clean water and air, is essential for human wellbeing.”

That we need marketing to convince us the the natural world is essential strikes me as absurd, but in our busy-busy world it’s somehow become the norm to take the natural world for granted.

One of the biggest challenges today is the multitude of media channels, unimaginable in the 70s. Network TV no longer reaches families – people from multiple generations -watching the evening news together at the dinner table.

Messages must be targeted not only in content but especially by delivery. I recently marketed a musical event relying heavily on Twitter and Facebook, and missed a swath of an older audience. Not a mistake I will make again!

If you had to mount a campaign to protect your favorite cause, where would you start?

How would you prioritize the audience? What channels would you choose to reach them, and why?

Christmas Time Blessing to All

Advertising can indeed be a thing of beauty.

Enjoy this beautifully told tale of friendship, gifts and shared holidays:

This animated holiday ad was created for John Lewis,the UK retailer by Laurent Simon and Aidan McClure of DDB Worldwide. I highly recommend watching the Behind the Scenes video. It’s a combination of stop-motion and hand drawn animation that’s quite extraordinarily detailed.

Why You Need a Good Writer

typingYou know your business. You can probably construct a decent sentence, too, if you got this far. But there are times when you need a professional writer.

We aren’t always the best promotors of ourselves, or even our products. We hold back where we should crow the loudest, or we display proudly the details that aren’t all that meaningful to the audience. It’s hard to remember, but you are not your target market.

Also, it’s very likely that the value of your time has risen to great heights as your business has grown. The cost of a copywriter will pale in comparison to the value of you, creating product and/or business in the way that’s made you successful.

Here are five situations when you need to hire a writer:

1. You’re just no good at it. Not everyone is a great word slinger. If writing isn’t for you, hire or partner with a really good writer to make sure that part of your business is getting the attention it needs.

2. You don’t have the bandwidth Writing is a time-consuming endeavor. there’s a limit to how many words we can consistently get onto the page or screen every day.

3. You need particular expertise You might need a subject expert, or a persuasive sales writer

4.  You’re too close to the topic. The reason it’s so hard to move from features to benefits is that it can be really tough to be objective about your own business.

5. The stakes are high.  If you’ve got a big launch or an important marketing campaign, you need to make sure your copy is making a great impression.

from Copyblogger

A writer who’s focus is on engaging the customer can see from a perspective you do not have. And the copywriter’s skill as a story-teller can bring intrigue, mystery, drama: the right kind of lively interest-engaging energy by virtue of that detachment.

Would you benefit from a writing pro on your current project?

Have you used freelance writers in your business? Tell us about your experience.

 

 

Soapbox Time: the Midwest

I was born in Michigan and now live among highly educated East Coast types, who refer to my homeland as ‘flyover country.’  As if that weren’t bad enough, when something happens in Minnesota, they may gesture vaguely north and west and say “out there in Mich-zouri, right?”

Enough with this verbal and geographic ignorance! I can hardly imagine Michigan and Missouri in the same sentence, they are such different places. The American Midwest is an awesome slice of territory, upon which we all depend for food, fuel, industry, and even culture (seriously. click the link).
Most of us are a little vague about what the Midwest is. Fortunately this post from Vox goes into glorious detail about my home region. The current Census definition is based on the area’s evolution from ‘Northwest territories’ to ‘North Central Division,’ which now includes the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Those pale pink states, plus Oklahoma and Kentucky do not qualify.

freighter

we even have our own ships

That is a serious chunk of real estate, smaller than Australia, but larger than Mexico. It’s function as the breadbasket is due to the lucky confluence of climate and excellent soils plowed down by the glaciers which also carved the Great Lakes.

The population is slightly larger than France. And if it were a country, it would have the 6th largest economy in the world, sandwiched between Russia and Brazil.

So, think about that next time you enjoy your corn (in the form of soda, beef, packaged food, gasoline, and so much more.)

The “Selfie” Phenomenon

While the self-portrait has a long and venerable place in the history of art, the democratization of media in our young century collided with our first-world self obsessions to create a robust trend.   Chosen by the OED in 2013 as Word of the Year, “selfie” has charged into the English language with remarkable vigor.

The first recorded use of the hashtag #selfie took place on Flick in 2004, but the word didn’t really catch on until 2012. Since then, the use of ‘selfie’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has exploded, growing by over 17,000 percent.

Consider these stats:

selfiestats

Click on the above to see the whole graphic, which is chock-full of amazing selfie info!

Now we have smart phones specifically designed for taking selfies, including this one from SONY, who created the info graphics in this blog.

And feel free to post your favorite selfie in the comments below.

Here’s my latest favorite:

I grow broccoli, therefore I am.