If you are running your own business, then you know how tough it can be. A blog significantly improves search rankings and gives you a chance to connect with more customers.
But what if you’re not an amazing writer? And what if you don’t know what to blog about?
Don’t worry. The first blog post is always the hardest. That’s why I collected examples of different kinds of posts for your inspiration.
Check these out and consider writing to tell your story, announce a sale, or give a guide to your products today.
Make a List of Influencers to Follow
Here’s an easy way to create good content – and offers the potential to be widely-shared:
Make a list of the top 25 blogs, Twitter accounts, or even Tumblrs, for someone interested in your industry to follow. Compile that list, write a few sentences about why you included each blog or Twitter account, publish it, and send it to the people you feature. If you do it tastefully, there’s a good chance that they’ll share the post with their audiences. That will get you lots of traffic – in addition to improving your SEO.
Answer Questions About Your Industry or Vertical
Some of the most successful pieces of content marketing ever comes via Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas.
River Pools and Spas installs fiberglass pools, the cost of which is not always transparent. Sheridan decided to write blog posts about every aspect of fiberglass pools.
Sheridan’s posts were so good that the New York Times profiled him with a headline: “A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers’ Questions.”
His blog posts often rank on the first page of Google for their search terms. And that’s driven both traffic and sales.
Profile Your Team or Staff
Your team is made up of interesting people. Why not feature their stories? There’s a variety of things that you can do. You can write up a short bio of them that includes their interests and where they’ve been. This can also take the format of a Q&A, when you spend 15 minutes chatting with someone on your team and then write up the questions and their responses.
This is an especially easy way to generate some good content. Most importantly, it gives your customers a sense of who they’re dealing with. When they purchase a product from your store, they know that they’re buying from real people with real passions.
Give a Sneak Peek of New Products or Services (and Ask for Feedback)
There’s two ways that this tactic can be valuable:
First, it generates excitement from your customers for a new product. If they like what you do and are loyal towards your brand, they’ll feel especially good that they get to see a new thing first.
Second, it has the potential to increase engagement. If you manufacture your products, consider floating a prototype for people to see; they may offer valuable input on what can be improved. And if you don’t manufacture your own products, ask your readers which of the options you can stock most appeals to them. Let them anticipate something that they’ll buy from you.
Make a Tutorial for Your Products
Everybody wins when your customers know how to use your products.
Not every product needs an in-depth tutorial on how it's used. But for certain products this can be a big help.
Does your product have cool, non-obvious uses? Is it best enjoyed in a certain condition? Is there something that the customer should do to make the most of it?
Point these things out. Potential customers may see one more way to use your product and existing customers may be pleased to discover a new way to use it.
Announce a Sale
This one's obvious. When you have, a big sale coming up, announce it on your blog. It'll give people something to link to.
Use the space to talk about the products you have on sale, and if it's applicable, why these products are right for the occasion. (It may be, for example, the perfect present for Mother's Day.) And if you're able to design something, put together a graphic.
Run a Contest
Running a contest is like announcing a sale. They're both effective and attractive ways to get more attention for your store. Just make sure that you’re not making the common mistakes with giveaways and contests.
You can have all sorts of giveaways, of your products, of gift cards, or even special experiences like a visit to your store. And entering the contest can take a variety of forms. The easiest way is to submit a comment at the end of the post. You can also ask people to tweet about your store or share it on another social media platform.
Set up Gleam to make the most out of your contest. Gleam offers one-click entry, built-in viral sharing, and multiple ways of picking new winners.
Write About an Event You Participated In
If you help put on an event then you should definitely write about it. But you can also write about something that you don’t own, like your thoughts on a conference.
Write up your impressions and thoughts about a conference or meetup you went to. It shows that you’re paying attention to where your industry is going and people will appreciate the insights. Make sure to snap a few pictures and post them up too.
Tell the History of Your Company
Being an entrepreneur means something special. Few people think of it, and even fewer people act on it.
So, what’s your founding story?
Share the story of why you decided to become an entrepreneur. Was it driven by an event? Was it the result of a special trip? Were you struck by inspiration of some sort? Tell the story and connect better with your customers.
Make a Video: Product Tutorial
Okay, we don’t want to give the impression that content marketing is only blogging. It can be making videos, writing emails, and other kinds of content-generation too.
Sometimes you just can’t write about how to use a product. You have to show, not tell. Then it’s time to post a video on YouTube (or some other platform).
Besides, video marketing is effective. By one estimate, consumers are 64% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
Shoot a product tutorial to introduce your product, its benefits, and how it can best be used, or talk to us here at FDMC Social and Digital Video on how we can help you.
Make a Video: How Your Product Is Made or the Service You Offer
Our last suggestion for an easy piece of content: Make a video of how your product is made.
Do you have a very interesting manufacturing process? Does it require special tools and equipment? Is the process fun to look at? Shoot a video of its production.
You know your business well, and there are lots of opportunities to create good content by telling people about cool things in your industry. Write a blog post, shoot a video, or generate some other type of content today to tell your story and improve SEO.
FDMC Social and Digital Video
Although I don’t have a ton of friends or contacts on WhatsApp, I continue to use this app and have been now for several years. I like it and now advertisers are starting to see the benefits of WhatsApp. The traffic is less crowded and there is a lot of potential here at lower advertising costs.
Right now, brands are finding that a WhatsApp strategy makes sense for the always-time-strapped consumer. Instead of asking them to seek out the brand’s mobile app for a personalized experience, brands will come to them to talk where they already are. And since only 20 million of WhatsApp’s 1 billion users are projected to be based in the U.S. in 2017, according to Statista, the app serves as a door to an international audience.
On WhatsApp, customers can select items they want to be delivered by scrolling through the latest updated stock. A Reliance Brand representative said in 2015 that conversion rate was as high as 80 percent, and that “cash-rich-time-poor” customers appreciated the convenience of the direct conversation. It helps that that conversation doesn’t cost the brands a lot, either.
“One of the most appealing things about WhatsApp is its success rate. 98 percent of WhatsApp messages are opened and read. “Second, it’s cheap. Cheaper than any customer service or advertising on any traditional media, with the bonus of the automatic opt-in, since the customers gave you their telephone numbers.”
Over the holidays, high-end lingerie brand Agent Provocateur set out on WhatsApp with a goal to help couples buy items. The customer service strategy was aimed at the “time-poor” customer, a brand spokesperson told Digiday, and also the retailer’s VIPs, who are becoming increasingly important in a competitive retail market.
WhatsApp’s current advantage: It’s less crowded by other brands than the Facebooks and Snapchats of the world. “The challenge brands have is finding an uncluttered environment where they can talk to customers,” said David Cooperstein, an advisor to the programmatic platform Pebblepost. “They know people are spending time on WhatsApp, and they’re looking for ways to get visibility.”
Outside of WhatsApp, brands have tested conversational-driven customer service and marketing on apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger, as customers are becoming more open to the idea of chatting with a brand. So far, WhatsApp’s full potential is still yet to be tapped.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
Social media moves fast. Just as you’ve wrapped your head around a set of features or developed a great new marketing tactic, the rules change.
Looking back at the recent developments can help us work out what to expect in the future. So here are our predictions for the social media trends of 2017.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
I know, I know… you’ve been reading predictions of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) taking over for the last few years. It never quite happens.
But think about what happened this past year. For a while, you could barely walk down the street without someone bumping into you while they tried to catch a Rattata. Pokémon Go introduced a lot of people to AR, and it showed that there is mass appeal for it when it is executed well. Several VR sets went on sale and generated hype, although they don’t seem to have that killer app yet.
The practical application of these technologies is yet to be worked out beyond gaming. Brands with physical stores are likely to be interested in AR development, as it makes proximity-based offers and engagement possible.
We are still at the beginning of the VR/AR journey. While I don’t expect AR or VR to be a dominant social media trend in 2017, a few brands will surely experiment over the coming twelve months with these new technologies.
Pay To Play Stays Social
How do you best reach your audience? It’s a vital question for marketers, and one where the answer is always changing.You may choose to aim for the 3.5 billion searches per day conducted on Google. Alternatively, you can aim for social media. Facebook holds 1.71 billion people. Instagram has 500 million active users. WhatsApp has 1 billion. Youtube has 1 billion.
With search, an SEO practitioner can get your content high in the results page. A PPC expert can deliver ads that drive traffic to your site. With social, the halcyon days which saw brands’ content being distributed at no cost are over. The changes brought about by the social networks mean that organic reach is greatly reduced.
Brands have two choices: pay up, or have a true understanding of the content your audience wants to see and provide it to them. Even then, you would need to think about how you can maximize sharing, and engage influencers to increase the reach. In the end, a successful strategy will most likely have to include paying money to the networks.
Live Streaming Video
Last year Meerkat brought live streaming to the masses. (Sadly Meerkat could not compete with Periscope.) Earlier this year, Facebook introduced live streaming for celebrities. Recently it was rolled out for all users. YouTube Live is about to launch too.
Video has been responsible for a lot of the growth enjoyed by Facebook this year, and consistently shows higher engagement than other formats. As social networks fight to keep people online, this push into live video makes sense.
At this early stage, it’s difficult to know what the possibilities for brands are. Facebook will surely have rules around this. However, forward-thinking brands will be watching this social media trend for opportunities. Brands have the potential to release engaging content, conduct marketing around an event, or even pay influencers to feature their products.
With the priority that Facebook gives to video and the reduced organic reach, we should see brands experimenting with this new format in 2017.
Rise Of The Chatbots
Artificial intelligence is now reaching a level where it is useful to many people’s daily lives. The rise of digital assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant have got people used to talking to their phone rather than exercising their fingers.
With Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google Allo all introducing integrated bots to help with bookings and customer service, prepare to start talking to machines much more often.
Chatbots make sense for brands, allowing common questions to be answered and simple bookings to be managed. This can free up customer service representatives to answer more in-depth queries.
More expiring content
The success of Snapchat has seen many of its competitor’s introducing features inspired by the ephemeral messaging app. Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp have all ‘borrowed’ Snapchat features recently.
It seems disappearing content might be about to become even more popular. It will be interesting to watch the inventive ways brands embrace these new features, just as they have for their Snapchat campaigns.
The amount of data available increasingly allows ads to be shown to the right people at the right time, both across the web and specifically on social networks. The huge increase in the amount of content published online means that this needs to be seen by the right person at the right time too.
There is so much choice for the reader that if you don’t personalize and focus on a specific target, your content is much less likely to resonate with consumers.
Niche content, interactive content, innovative campaigns: it’s all part of the content arms race, trying to win limited attention in a very busy space.
‘Optimize for mobile’ could have been on every social media trends post written in the last five years. That doesn’t make any of those predictions wrong, nor does it devalue it’s entry this year. Its importance has increased every year, and this year is no different. It is no secret that mobile traffic has overtaken the desktop on the web this year. Google is working on a new, mobile-first web index. These changes mean that it is more important than ever to make the mobile experience as good as possible. Increasingly that means putting mobile first, rather than simply optimizing for mobile.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers. There are several ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI. Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.
Producing strong content
Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing. At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll. Regardless of what type of content you are producing, such as a video, image, blog or social media post, you need to have a clear vision of how your content is going to add value to the life of the reader. Successful small businesses don’t just produce content for the sake of keeping a schedule. Typically, they know exactly what the concerns of their target audience are and they gear their content to address them in a profound, meaningful way. Everyone benefits from quality content Small business can take advantage of their tight-knit followers and cater to their precise interests.
Localized SEO strategy
A good SEO strategy is the key to getting noticed.. Local SEO is extremely important for small businesses, especially ones with a physical address. The end goal of local SEO is to gain high rankings for searches around your geographic location. When users search keywords or phrases in the area, you want your website to be at the top of the list. Localized SEO is great (but very competitive) for smaller companies such as dental offices or law firms. For example, Abrahamson and Uiterwyk, a Florida injury law practice, has used local SEO to dramatically boost their rankings to increase business. With consistent efforts, they’ve ended up ruling Google’s Map packs and local results for keywords like “injury lawyer Tampa FL.” Google them and see for yourself. Currently, only 17 percent of small business are investing in SEO. Now is a great time to jump onboard and find the best ways you can leverage the Search Engine to increase your online exposure.
To compete in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, having a strong website is a must for businesses of all sizes. Keep in mind, 51 percent of website traffic comes from organic search. Your positioning depends on the reputation of your website. Perhaps one of the most important factors that go into a website’s reputation (that influences Google Rankings) is speed. Loading time has a huge impact on how users interact with your platform. Page abandonment drastically increases after each second. A great way to optimize website speed is to select a good host for your web server. A lot small businesses miss the mark in this area because they’ve put together a site using a basic CMS like WordPress, but don’t have a good technical team to support them. For a small business evaluating a website platform, the free trials are typically pointless. Building and marketing a good website takes a lot of work and resources. Committing to this task is one of the best investments of time and money you can make for your business. One of the greatest things about online marketing is that it gives small businesses a chance to compete a relatively level playing field as the bigger enterprises. Success is based on smarter rather than total money spent. Having a solid content creation plan and SEO approach is crucial in getting your website in front of the eyes of your target audience. No need to rush it, a strong foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC