Quick Blog Writing Tips

Here’s some quick, random blogging tips:


1)   Be consistent. Have a blogging schedule and stick to it.

2)   Don’t wear out your welcome. Many experts say you should blog as much as possible to get your company name in front of people, but you don’t want your audience to get sick of you.

3)   Always have evergreen blogs you can run in case of emergency.*

4)   Keep a list of topics to cover. Many of my best topics come from conversations with other professionals.

5)   Never publish a blog without printing it first to make sure it is right. You will be amazed at what you will find when your words are jumping out from a piece of paper.

6)   Read your blog out loud to catch mistakes.

7)   Then read it backwards, starting with the last sentence. It will help you focus on each sentence.

8)   After you proofread your content, highlight key words for tagging to boost traffic.

9)   Highlight any words where you can install links. If you mention a company, for example, put a link there. This is also traffic boosting device.

10)  Write authentically for people, not search engines.  Both seem to know the difference.

* With today being the first truly beautiful day of spring in Washington, D.C., I must go for a walk!

Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Business-to-Business Marketing

Ready to harness the power of social media for your company? Then check out my recent article, The Case for Social Media http://www.contingenciesonline.com/contingenciesonline/js2012spring#pg4.

Published in a supplement of the American Academy of Actuaries’ Contingencies Magazine, my article is not just for actuaries. It answers many of the concerns about using social media in business-to-business marketing and strategic communications. There’s also a sidebar on how to get started.

Social media is exciting because it is a great equalizer. A small company has the same Internet access as a large one. As with anything new, its pursuit can be intimidating. Producing quality content online that showcases expertise is the new name of the game.

Traditional means of promotion, such as media relations, producing effective brochures and attending conference booths, still play a role. Going forward quality content for websites and blogs will become the priority, making brochures and other promotional material easier to produce.

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If social media were easy every business on the planet would be engaging.

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This is good news for customers. Websites and social media enable customers to make more confident purchasing decisions as they become more educated and savvy through the plethora of information offered via search engine.

This is also good news for companies that have struggled to write or disseminate their value proposition messages. Social media encourages companies to “show” their uniqueness and not just “tell” customers there is a distinction compared competitors. Now, your company can showcase its expertise instead of simply claiming to be “experts.” My article features other advantages, which far outweigh the challenges.

And there are challenges. If social media were easy every business on the planet would be engaging. Picking up the technology is relatively easy, producing quality and effective content that keeps people coming back is not. And optimizing this tool requires re-thinking marketing strategy.

Social media, as I am learning firsthand, is not really “free,” as its advocates say.  It requires a commitment beyond making so many business calls a week. It requires a level of engagement with customers current and future as never anticipated in the past. One major barrier is consistently writing blogs and coming up with 140 character tweets. That takes time and creativity – if you want people to come back for more.

Small companies, which make up the backbone of the American economy, will likely be more tempted to take the DIY approach. I have taken this approach so I can learn as much as I can to help my clients. Trust me: It’s a huge time investment. I am still learning to master WordPress and ultimate search engine optimization.

But I am not alone. Professional communicators and marketers are also working hard to keep up with all the opportunities social media offers. I particularly like what Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson, director of Media Relations at Milliman said. “Our approach was to be very humble,” he explained, because best practices are emerging and there is still a lot to learn.

I sincerely hope my article will encourage you to engage in social media with your eyes wide open to its benefits and challenges. Even if it means gradual baby steps, do get started!

Please share my article — or fire — at will!

Promising Value through Proposition

Your company must have a value proposition. It identifies what makes your company, and its products and services, unique in ways that benefit current and potential clients. Trust me; a lot of companies do not have them.

Value propositions are promises. In my blog about business plan neglect, I promised my readers blog value by explaining value propositions in more detail. This week, I contributed my blog to aartijk.com. Enjoy!