When you’re first starting out in business and you haven’t got much client work coming in then it’s very easy to spend time on your marketing, whether that’s going to networking events, posting stuff on Twitter or Facebook, or writing a blog.
However, the challenge comes when your workload starts to increase. How do you juggle your client work with your marketing activities?
When I mention to people that I blog and do email marketing, a lot of people say that they would love to do it but just don’t have time to put content together. Now I sympathise with this. In fact, I was only saying to someone the other day that because I was so busy, I was now finding it difficult to write one blog a week. However, I have gained clients through my email marketing activities and via my website, so I know how important it is to do this – however challenging it gets sometimes!.
If you want to be found online then you need to be creating and sharing content, otherwise you could be losing work to your competitors.
So if you haven’t posted a blog in a while, or perhaps it’s been a few months since you contacted your list, then you need to get back into a routine, otherwise you’re wasting a huge marketing opportunity. See my previous blog about being consistent with your email marketing activities – The Key to Successful Email Marketing Campaigns – in fact that applies to all your marketing.
The only way to stay consistent is to make a date with your blog. Set a day and time in the week when you’re going to write your content, eg Thursday afternoon. Put that date in the diary and stick to it – don’t put it off or tell yourself that you’re too busy. If you put it on your weekly schedule then there’s no excuse not to do it and you can plan your work around it. And if an emergency strikes, then just reschedule to the next day.
By thinking of your blog and newsletter as an essential part of your business, then you’ll work it into your schedule in the same way as you do for raising invoices. If you didn’t take the time to send out invoices, you wouldn’t get paid; if you don’t spend the time creating valuable content that you can share with your online audience, then you won’t be able to attract prospects and build relationships with them.
So make a date with your blog and start getting into a routine to write content that will help you to build a network of people that are interested in you and your business.
And if you want help setting up and managing your blog or email marketing newsletters, then check out our online marketing services. We can help you to design a blog on WordPress, proofread and post your content, as well as set up and manage your email marketing campaigns. So click on the link to check out our online marketing support.
Writing an Ebook is all the rage nowadays and is a great way to generate leads for your website. However a lot of people put off creating an Ebook because they tell themselves that they don’t know what to write about.
However, most people have actually got the content; it’s getting it into some kind of format that they find a struggle.
So if you want to create a professional looking Ebook that you can use to share your knowledge and expertise and attract leads for your business, then here are 3 tools to help you write an Ebook.
Mindmaps: Using mindmaps are a great way to brainstorm ideas for your Ebooks. So if you don’t know what to write about, then use a mindmap to dump down all your ideas. Then pick a topic and create another mindmap to map out the structure of the Ebook, such as chapter headings, main topics you are going to cover etc. Because mindmaps are visual and creative, they will help you to get into the creative process when you’re putting together ideas and content. You can either draw mindmaps by hand or use software such as MindMeister.
Evernote: This is a great tool for capturing ideas for your Ebook. So once you’ve found a topic you want to write about, you can create a swipe file on Evernote of relevant blogs and articles that you come across, and you can add your own notes and audio recordings as well.
Voice Recorder. Very often what puts people off starting to write an Ebook is the blank screen on their computer. You can overcome this by dictating the content rather than writing it. You can do this with software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking or you can record your voice using a Dictaphone or Smartphone. In fact, having something that you can dictate notes into is a great way of capturing ideas as they come into your head.
So these are just 3 tools to help you write an Ebook. You can use them to overcome writer’s block, get into the creative process, and capture ideas and content. As I mentioned before, using an Ebook to share your knowledge and expertise is a great way to show yourself as an expert in your field and promote your business to a wider audience.
And if you want more help with your Ebook, then check out our guide “How to Design an Ebook“. This guide gives you the key resources that you will need to design and create an Ebook, and to promote or sell it online or publish it as a physical product. Click on the link to download the guide now >> How to Design an Ebook
A great way to promote your blog posts to a wider audience is to market your content to your readers via email. Because if you aren’t working to convert your blog readers to your mailing list, then you are simply ignoring a large source of traffic that will visit once and never come back again.
There are various ways to grow your mailing list through blogging:
Use an opt-in form. By getting people to sign up to your list to receive your blogs via email, you can keep in touch with them on an ongoing basis rather than having them come to your blog, read some content and then leave again. You can also use RSS feeds but many people don’t check them as regularly as email.
Offer an incentive. As well as having the chance to keep updated with your blog, you need to offer a valuable incentive for people to sign up to your mailing list, whether that’s a free guide, access to videos or an information product.
Get personal. Email is a far more personal and direct way to communicate with your readers. By sending your blogs by email, you can directly address each reader personally.
Keep in contact. You can use the emails to keep in contact with your blog readers and extend exclusive special offers and promotions to them, as well as educate them about the services or products that you offer to clients.
As you can see, you can create additional marketing opportunities by adding a subscriber sign up form on your blog.
It’s a good idea to put the sign up form in the sidebar of the blog and make it compelling so that it’s eye-catching and your readers won’t miss it. You can also add it to the end of each blog post. Also mention any relevant offers in your blog posts, such as a free guide related to the topic that you’re writing about.
So maximise your blogging efforts by encouraging people to subscribe to your blog content. By doing this, you won’t be losing your blog traffic and can use it to build a loyal following of people who are interested in what you do.
Blogging is like any form of marketing, you need to have a reason why you are doing it. Because if you don’t, you will not be successful with your blogging activities.
So ask yourself the question: Why do you blog?
Most people start out thinking that they would like to start a blog because they see other people doing it. However, they have no real plan or strategy on what they want to achieve – whether that’s to create an effective online presence, to showcase their knowledge and expertise, to monetize their content, or to grow an engaged and loyal audience.
Having a strategy means that you can shape your blog around your specific goals. So if you want to showcase your expertise around your services or products then you need to write blogs related to these topics. If you want to make money from your blog then you want to design your blog with advertising and put in place a strategy to drive traffic to it.
The most successful blogs have a focus and something unique they deliver to their audience. It may be that you are targeting a particular audience such as mumpreneurs or over 50s starting up in business. If you belong to that audience already then that gives you an edge as you understand their challenges and issues. This means that you can deliver something unique to your audience.
It’s your uniqueness that will draw people to you.
So whether you’re just starting a blog or you’ve been blogging for a while, it pays to take a step back and ask yourself the question – why do you blog? – to ensure you’re on the right track to achieve your goals.
First of all, start to brainstorm some questions about your blog:
What makes you unique in your niche? Why do people come to read your stuff? How will you grow your audience? How will your blog make you money if relevant? How will you drive traffic to your blog?
Once you’ve got the answers to these questions, then you will start to get an idea of why you are blogging and what you want to get out of it. You can then put plans in place to help you achieve the success that you want with your blogging activities.
If you want to start blogging or revamp an existing blog then download a copy of our free guide “How to Start a Blog”. Click here to download the guide now >> How to Start a Blog
Adding images to your blog posts helps to make them more appealing and engaging to your online readers. In fact, web users are expecting a more visual and interactive experience when consuming content nowadays, which you can see in the design of websites and use of videos.
So if you are regularly writing blogs then you need to ensure that you are adding images to them. This isn’t just for the design and visual aspect, you can also use images to create unique blog content that will attract more readers.
There are various benefits of using images in your blog posts:
- They will grab the readers’ attention
- They can provoke an emotional reaction, eg funny, sad, outrage, etc
- Display your photographs, artwork or design concepts
- Screenshots can show instructions and concepts
- Illustrate product reviews with “before” and “after” pictures
- Visual learners will find your content easier to absorb than just text by itself
- Images help to break up your writing and make it easier to read
- Improve SEO by adding keyword-rich Alt tags and links to the images
Remember that most people are visual so adding images to your blog will make it far more attractive to the majority of readers.
Also, it’s very easy to find royalty-free images online that you can use commercially. For instance, you can buy images on sites such as iStockphoto.com or Shutterstock.com, or if you want free stock photos, then check out stock.xchng or morguefile.com. Alternatively you can use sites such as Google image search or Flickr but double check that the images are available for commercial use before you upload them to your blog.
If you are taking screenshots then you can do this yourself by either using a browser add-on such as FireShot to capture web images, or using the ‘Ctrl+Alt+Print Scrn’ command on your computer to capture what’s on the screen and then pasting it into the appropriate picture manager on your computer.
Once you have added an image, don’t forget to add the appropriate Alt tags to it. The Alt tag will display text in place of the image if it doesn’t show for any reason, eg it’s being viewed by someone who is visually impaired and has images switched off by default. Alt tags also help with SEO so it’s a good idea to add keywords in the Alt tag.
If your website is hosted on WordPress then it will often automatically add a hyperlink to the image which is where the image is located on your website. Always change this link so that it goes to another page on your website, eg a services page that is related to the blog topic.
So images will help to make your blog content more appealing and engaging to your visitors and, if they are combined with quality content, will attract more readers and subscribers to your blog.
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