You probably already know that regular blog posts can be great tools for improving your SEO performance. Blogging is also a great way to establish your company as an authority in your industry and keep your regular readers up to date on what you are doing. The power of blog writing is such that companies such as mine over at Connotations invest a lot of time and energy in producing them for our customers.
Assuming most of today’s modern websites are created using content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Drupal, blog posts need to be managed a certain way in order to get the most SEO benefit possible. Here are five tips I encourage my customers to consider:
1. Take Advantage of Post Slugs
When you create a new blog post, your CMS assigns it a unique URL that is placed on the end. For example, the default WordPress slug is a letter followed by a number. However, you can choose your own slugs for SEO purposes. Common practice today is to use the title of the post as the slug. Some use specific keywords too.
2. Take Advantage of Tags
Search engines do not place much emphasis on tags at all, but tags do carry a little weight. So use them. Choose three or four tags that are directly related to the content of the piece. This helps the search engines to better analyse each individual post found on your site.
3. Minimise Main Categories
The number of main categories you have on your site does influences how it is ranked. You need to have a few categories for purposes of clarification, but too many could potentially lead to a drop in your search engine results. It is generally accepted that 3 to 5 main categories are enough. Anything more is too much.
4. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is an archaic practice and you shouldn’t even think of doing it. Even still, there are many people that insist on adding a specific number of keywords to their content. But know that if your keywords and key phrases are too dense, search engines will interpret your content as being keyword-stuffed rather than usable information. Hence, your content will not rank.
5. Use a Tagline
This last tip is more of a general one rather than relating only to blog posts. I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity to use a tagline even if the theme you have chosen to use with your CMS does not make it visible to the reader. Search engines pay attention to taglines as a way of legitimising you as an author of online content. Your tagline should be related to you and your business but in a way that creatively expresses your philosophy or what it is you do.
Regular blog posts can be very beneficial for improving your SEO ranking. These present your website as being current, relevant, and actively engaging readers. Search engines love that kind of thing. As always, the content of your quality should not be ignored either. That is where my company could help you out.
At Connotations, we provide regular blog posts for a number of customers engaged across multiple business sectors. We can do the same for you. Whether you are a professional, a contractor, or an individual service provider, my team of knowledgeable writers can produce outstanding content that will achieve positive search engine results and build the reputation of your business. Please click on the above link for more details.
On my business website over at Connotations, we are constantly investigating methodologies that we can use to help the businesses of our clients. From this, one of the services we offer is white paper writing. Among the many different types of content we produce, white papers fill a very special need that is hard to fill in any other way. They also happen to be one of the hottest marketing techniques available right now.
Just to be clear, white papers are not right for every business or organisation. For example, if you own a business that sells party supplies aimed primarily at parents of small children, a white paper is not something that is likely to appeal to your customers. White papers are best suited for companies and organisations that need to prove to their customers that they have the knowledge and expertise to compete in highly specialised sectors.
If your business fits the bill, here are three reasons why you need to consider using white papers and white paper writing services:
1. Proving Your Authority
A few years ago, the Business2Community blog published a very important piece talking about how companies can use white papers to enhance their marketing efforts. That post is as valid today as it was back then. Although the post made many salient points, perhaps the most salient was its insistence on using white papers to prove the authority of a business or organisation. Simply put, you need to do more than say you are the best – you have to prove it.
A white paper helps to establish the authority of your organisation by demonstrating you actually know what you are talking about. By its very nature, the white paper does the following:
- presents a problem requiring a solution
- presents evidence the problem exists
- lays out very clear solutions to the problem
- explains why your solutions offer the best opportunity to solve that problem.
When you present your customers with a thought-out and well-written white paper, you are demonstrating to them that you not only understand your industry, service, or business, but also how to best help them. You are establishing yourself and your organisation as an authority in your sector.
2. Introducing Your Company
White papers are also a great tool for introducing your company to potential new customers who have never heard of you before. It has been said that the first impression is the most important one, and white papers have the ability to present a very dynamic and memorable impression. If a potential customer is impressed with the thoroughness and integrity of one of your white papers, he or she is likely to become a paying customer.
3. Brand Development
Branding is an essential part of any marketing campaign, be it online or off. Nevertheless, in order for branding to be as effective as possible, it needs to be consistent across all channels. White papers provide an excellent tool for establishing and maintaining branding continuity.
To that end, it is a good idea to develop all of your white papers so they share a consistent:
- informational structure
- writing style
- graphic presentation.
When your white papers are consistent, they are easily identifiable, whether found online or across the room at a trade show. Customers who have come to trust your authority will recognise your white papers and make a point of picking up a copy. That is the whole point of branding.
Should social media content creation be part of your marketing strategy? Some say no. Those who think the days of social media are over, as a marketing tool, are content to move on to other means of reaching potential customers. However, there are still plenty of people who believe that social media is valuable. They believe that today’s social media content strategy is a continually evolving animal requiring content creators and SEO managers to adapt.
For the record, my company over at Connotations is in the latter camp. Over there we still believe in the power of social media to make a real difference online. Nevertheless, we recognise that times are changing. In light of that, here are three reasons social media content strategy, in my opinion, continues to evolve:
If there is one thing marketers have known for generations, it is the fact that consumers change all the time. That’s why we have what are known as ‘consumer fads’. It is also the reason why we have professional advertising companies that specialise in identifying and exploiting the latest fads. So where are we in relation to social media marketing?
Research suggests that only about 20% of all branded social media posts elicit some sort of reaction among consumers. One particular research project came from a joint venture between two companies that utilised facial response software capable of determining individual reaction to stimuli. Not only did the research reveal apathy regarding branded content, it also demonstrated that social media users were largely uninspired by posts from friends. The solution is to create content that is purposely disruptive, shocking, amusing, or controversial.
The internet is a wonderful and dynamic place that changes almost as quickly as the preferences of consumers. The latest technology to challenge that environment comes by way of wearables introduced by Apple, Intel, Samsung, Motorola, and others. This new technology will result in a new type of social media content capable of taking advantage of the GPS functions of wearables.
Exactly what this content looks like remains to be seen. After all, we still do not know exactly what types of functionality wearables will offer. Nonetheless, as soon as the industry has a better idea of what we’re dealing with, you can bet that social media content will begin to move in that direction.
Social Media Changes
Last but not least, social media itself changes. Anyone with a Facebook account knows how true that is. With some sites, the changes come so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with them. And with every change in a given platform comes a new way of reaching customers by way of posts designed to get their attention.
Within the arena of social media change is the reality that consumers can very quickly adopt a negative perception of a given social media channel. Again, Facebook is a great example. Every time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces another platform change that alienates a large number of users, those users marginalise their Facebook use in deference to other platforms that they find more appealing.
No, social media is not the same animal it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Nor will it be the same animal 5-10 years from now. As with anything else, it changes over time. That means your social media content strategy must also change to adapt to the evolutionary nature of the medium.
Publishing online articles is one way to generate traffic to your website. If you do it well, generating traffic through article writing is also a way to improve your online reputation and boost your exposure among potential new customers. But to do it right, you need skilled writers and the right topics.
I’ve talked about writing skills in other blog posts, so here I want to focus on the topics you might choose for online articles. Over at Connotations, my writers produce all kinds of articles for clients on a wide variety of topics. As a website owner, your range is not going to be as broad as ours. You are somewhat limited in that you are writing only for the sector with which are involved while we cover numerous sectors. But not to worry, there are still plenty of ideas out there.
There are three kinds of online articles you can publish in order to generate traffic. Think of them as topic categories, if that makes it easier:
1. Informational Articles (how-tos, tips, etc.)
One of the reasons people will return to your website is that they find information that helps them do whatever it is they do. Take a web hosting company, for example. I count several such companies among clients of Connotations. For them, writing online articles means producing content that their customers find useful. This could be anything from an article explaining how to incorporate SEO into WordPress to an article offering tips for using video more effectively.
The point here is that a web hosting company’s customers have legitimate questions about how they can best use their websites. The hosting company provides answers by way of their online articles. That brings customers back time and again for valuable information.
2. News Articles (global, local, or industry news)
The second category pertains to news articles. It’s surprising how many website owners don’t understand the power of news for generating traffic. Let’s face it, the internet age has made news junkies out of all of us to one degree or another. It’s just a matter of what kind of news you prefer.
A website owner whose business is part of a niche industry with limited news coverage could find him/herself generating significant traffic by focusing on industry news. On the other hand, another website dealing with a more broad-based topic (like sports, for example) would be far better off publishing online articles covering a complete range of mainstream sports.
3. Controversial Articles (politics, social issues, etc.)
This last category is a touchy one that needs to be treated delicately. That said, being willing to tackle a controversial topic is one way to generate a huge amount of traffic. You just have to be careful to approach the topic in a way that does not purposely insult, offend, disparage, or incite others to violence or criminal activity. It does take a skilled writer to pull it off.
The one caveat to controversial articles is that they should never be gratuitous. In other words, the topic you choose should still be somehow related to the main theme of your website. Content that isn’t related may still generate traffic, but it also risks punishment by search engines that recognise its gratuitous nature.
Imagine a growing business and you decide to expand from its current single location to a total of three locations scattered across your city. The expansion warrants a major announcement to let customers know what’s coming. At the same time, the announcement could serve to attract new clients that are destined to benefit from the additional locations. One way to make that announcement is through a press release.
Press release writing and distribution has been an effective business tool since the very first press release was created by public-relations expert Ivy Lee in 1906. In the more than 100 years since, the press release has evolved to accommodate different distribution channels along the way. From newspapers to radio and television to internet, the press release has come a long way.
It Starts with an Idea
Every press release starts with a particular idea a company or organisation wants to communicate. More often than not, these ideas centre around some sort of major announcement. A company might be launching a new product line or shutting down an old one. A new executive might be joining the team, and the company wants the entire industry to know. Although press release ideas cover a wide variety of things, the one thing they all have in common is that they are ideas that cannot be expressed through marketing or sales channels.
Writers Go to Work
With idea in hand, press release writers can get to work. It is the job of writers to express the idea in question in a way that is clear, concise, and that speaks directly to the target audience. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
Have you ever listened to a typical ‘man on the street’ interview and found yourself wondering what on earth the person being interviewed was talking about? Press releases are subject to the same kind of thing. An unskilled writer may believe he or she is clearly communicating the idea in question when, in fact, this is not the case.
In any case, the writer’s work is submitted for review and final approval. If it needs edits, the press release goes back to the writer. Otherwise, it’s on to distribution.
Seeking Distribution Channels
This final stage is where press release writing and distribution really gets exciting. There are a tremendous number of distribution channels that companies and organisations can use today, channels that were not available prior to the introduction of the internet.
Yes, press releases are still submitted to television and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and even trade periodicals. But we can now also distribute them through online press release services. The advantage of online distribution is that it allows for better targeting. There’s another benefit as well: a well-structured press release distributed online can improve a company’s search engine performance.
The one thing to consider with distribution channels is cost. Most of the old-school channels still accept press releases for free because they value the content. Some online channels do the same. But there are others that only accept press releases from paid members. This is something that companies should think about when choosing distribution.
And now you know how press release writing and distribution basically works.
Case studies have been around for several decades now. Just within the last few years, though, they have emerged as a reliable marketing tool companies can use to reach customers that are not easily reached through other marketing methods. Case studies have proven especially effective for B2B marketing.
Whether your company has an in-house writer or you hire a firm such as mine at Connotations, there are five great reasons for writing case studies. All five are listed below, along with brief explanations to help you understand the power of the case study as a marketing tool.
1. You Have a Disruptive Product or Service
Market disruption has proven to be a very effective way to compete in business without having a well-known brand or name recognition to work with. But in order to demonstrate your company is a disruptor, you need something that will catch the attention of potential customers. A case study is a perfect tool.
The case study lays out some kind of problem or requirement your customers have. It then gives you the opportunity to explain why your product or service is the answer. If your product or service is disruptive enough, the case study can point that out by comparing what you offer against what the competition offers.
2. Advertising Doesn’t Work for Your Business
There are some industries that do not see any tangible results from traditional advertising on television or in print media. Take white label e-cigarette manufacturing as an example. It would not do a white label manufacturer any good to buy TV time because their clients don’t rely on TV adverts to find products. A case study is a perfect alternative. The manufacturer could write a study that demonstrates how its white label products are superior to the competition, then send it out to every e-cigarette company that purchases white label products.
3. Your Company Is Building a Strategic Service
Imagine your company is a technology company that provides server migration services. You offer a strategic service that is limited to a small number of firms with the knowledge and expertise to do what you do. A case study can serve to explain server migration to potential clients who may not otherwise understand what it is, thus drumming up new business at the same time.
4. You Need to Clear the Air
Let’s face it, there are times when unforeseen circumstances could give your company a bad reputation. Whether it’s deserved or not, a well-written case study with verifiable data can clear the air and begin the process of restoring that reputation. Case studies are, by nature, authoritative documents that present your company in the best possible light.
5. You Have a Major Accomplishment to Share
Imagine your company has a major accomplishment that needs to be shared with your customers. One vehicle for doing so is the press release. However, sometimes the case study is a better option because it affords a lot more detail. Using a case study to share news of a major accomplishment gives you the opportunity to let others know what your company did while at the same time promoting the solutions and services you offer.
These five reasons for writing case studies should give you a good idea of how compelling the case study can be as a marketing tool.