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Cost-Effective Ways to Market Your Local Business Online

Decades ago, small businesses only had a few ways to market their business. They would sponsor local events, put up bill boards or print out fliers. In today’s digital era, there are several marketing opportunities out there on the web.

The internet is teeming with marketing platforms. The good news is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on marketing. You just need to know where to look.

Listed below are 4 cost-effective ways to market your local business online. Use these tips to raise awareness of your products and business.

Get social

With the ever-prevading power of social media, you can easily reach a wide audience from across the globe. This can be done with just a few clicks of a button. But in order to make the most of your social media campaign, you need to build your fan base and target audience in your specific niche.

Determine which social media platform your target audience use the most, and build a strong presence there. Be active and engage with your audience. Make meaningful conversations with your fans and followers. Provide useful and relevant information. Offer advice and support. This will help you build your reputation and establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Get listed in local business sites

Before, people would look up businesses in Yellow Pages. Today, however, people will just bring out their smartphones and will find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds. As such, it is important to have your business listed in multiple online directories. This will make it easier for potential customers to find you and increase traffic to your website.

USdirectory.com, Yellowbook, EZ Local,Yelp, and Google My Business are just some of the free listing sites your business should be on. Don’t forget to include your business name, address, phone number, email address, and website on the listing.

Have your business listed on online review sites

Local business reviews get higher rankings in search engine results. Encourage people to post authentic reviews based on their experiences with your company.

Take time to create a good listing. TripAdvisor is a great site if you’re in a travel-related field. If you’re selling services, why not list on Angie’s List? These sites give you the opportunity to reach an enormous audience of potential customers who are looking for products or services in your industry. Reading through reviews from past customers will be beneficial for consumers who are looking to make informed purchase decisions.

Create a blog

One of the best ways to promote your business online is by creating a blog. Posting high quality content on a regular basis will do wonders for your SEO efforts. It will help drive traffic to your site, develop better relationship with your target audience, and position yourself as an industry leader. It may take a while before you see results, but all your efforts will be worth it in the end.

Cost-Effective Ways to #Market Your Local Business Online | #OnlineBusinessMarketing | #DirectoryListings #BusinessListings | Where to Market Business Online

60 Blogs in 60 Days – Unexpected Consequences of Blogging Everyday [Recap]

Wow! Time sure flies. The past 2 months I have been blogging Every Single Day. This was an experiment to not only see the effects of blogging on our business, but also to embark on an educational adventure. Change obviously isn’t instantaneous, but my new attention to the business and writing blogs certainly had unforeseen outcomes.

In this blog post I’ll be reviewing some of the trials and tribulations as well as things I’ve learned, real results, and where we go from here.

Setting the stage:

In 2017, I wanted to take a more purposeful interest in our own digital marketing. So many of our clients are through relationships we’ve built offline, that as a digital marketing agency, I knew at some point we needed to start walking the walk. We’ve been cruising along with a 6 figure business managing marketing efforts and doing web design for small businesses, but our own online presence has always been more of an afterthought.

After years full of competing commitments and lifestyle changes, 2017 became the clear year that I needed to attention on the business to really get it to the next level! In 2015 I graduated with honor from the Leeds School of Business after getting my MBA while working and running BIMS full time. Then in 2016 we welcomed our gorgeous (and tough) little girl to the world. I was back to jumping on conference calls while breastfeeding within days (probably more like hours) of bringing her home. Though I cut back face to face meetings, I continued to run a networking group and somehow managed to juggle a transition to motherhood as a business owner as we went into our most profitable year in business. However, throughout this time, I knew there had to be an easier way to do business. I love working with clients face to face, but sitting as the face of the business certainly has its pitfalls as you can never really step away.

My goal for 2017 is to set the systems in place to redirect our business to less hands on work and more digital assets. Blogging for 60 days straight was meant as a launch pad to refocus attention on the business, our email lists, and ultimately launch a program that could be repeated over and over again. Surprisingly, besides blogs for clients, I had never actually written a post for our site as we always have had interns and contractors writing for us.

Not sure quite what to talk about, I followed the advice we  give to our clients and created a content plan utilizing Trello as an organizational guide. Before technically starting the 60 Blogs in 60 Days challenge, I was off to a good start with a weeks worth of posts ready as drafts in Trello. About 30 other topics were listed with notes and bullets to make the writing of the content a little easier. Then I jumped in!

Getting Started with Blogging:

It was exhilarating writing the blogs and publishing them on the site. Not one to really share personal information on my own social networks, I set up tools to automatically post the blogs including:

  • Zapier: On Zapier I create 3 Zaps. Two Zaps automatically posted the featured image to Pinterest (on 2 different boards) and the third was actually to automatically post our business Instagram images to Pinterest.
  • SNAP (Social Networks Auto Poster) Plugin: This plugin is great for WordPress. It automatically links your blog with Delicious, Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook and other networks so each blog post is published or back linked elsewhere. Though I never quite got the settings figured out for LinkedIn and the Medium SNAP became disconnected, I theoretically had the blogs going out to a handful of networks without needing to do anything else on my end.

Finding time to write the blog posts got more difficult, but at the  start of the 60 day challenge, I often used Voice to Text while walking our dog. Unfortunately, Mary Kathryn started wanting to walk during our walks rather than just hanging out in the stroller. Once this started, I decided not to multitask and just focused on playing with the girls on our walks. That’s when evening blog writing started and I’d carve out time after dinner to write the blogs hoping I wouldn’t need to finish them during the sacred morning nap time (or as I like to call it, the most productive part of the day).

Initial Results from Blogging:

The initial results from daily blogging were fantastic! Within weeks we had seen an increase in traffic to the site. Now keep in mind, like a lot of business websites, our site was really just a brochure for our business should someone we met in person want to read about our services. It was really built as an afterthought, rather than designed to fulfill a specific purpose.

We were pretty pleased with the initial traction we were getting from the blogs and actually sharing the blog posts to our social media networks online. To track this, I ran a Google Analytics report comparing the date range of 4/2-4/22 to the previous period. From here, I pulled the reports for Acquisition > Traffic > Source/Medium and Behavior > All Pages to see where people were coming from and what pages they were visiting on our site.

Traffic to BIMSTeam.com has INCREASED 117.65%!

Pageviews on BIMSTeam.com has INCREASED 83.02%!

An increase in traffic of 117.65% certainly was exciting even though our traffic numbers are still relatively small for a 6 year old business making 6 figures. This increase had to be a good sign, right? The only problem was that the site wasn’t set up to capture emails and leads. Once someone landed on a blog, that was that. We didn’t have any freebies or downloads. Recognizing this, my schedule of blogging once per day because a little more challenging.

I now recognized that we needed these additional resources as a way to actually capture the leads and again walk the walk of the advice we always give to clients. Traffic to the site is great, but you need to make sure you are being purposeful about what you then DO with those individuals.

Competing Priorities:

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but when I launched the 60 Blogs in 60 Days, I also signed up for ConvertKit as a way to provide daily emails to other individuals who wanted to commit to 60 Blogs in 60 Days. The one problem was that the day I first posted the landing page to some Facebook Groups, I immediately got 20 signups in a day. Great right!? Not for me. As I wrote the blogs, I also needed to make sure I wrote the corresponding daily email to be sent to subscribers. These emails include tips, blog topics, motivational quotes, and how to’s for SEO, sharing your content, writing headlines, and so much more. At times I was able to turn the email into a  blog post, but often it came down to basically writing 2 blogs Every Single Day.

I urge you to sign up for the 60 Blogs in 60 Days Challenge if you want to read all these tips 🙂

60 Blogs in 60 Days

So what did this mean… Well, basically from the beginning I had competing priorities. I wanted to fulfill the challenge myself, but I also had a commitment to the individuals who had registered for the challenge. To date, the landing page for the challenge has a 34% conversion rate – not too bad, ehh?! It was the first landing page I created with ConvertKit, so looking at it now, I would probably adjust the page and content some, but at 34% visitor to lead sign up rate, I may just keep it as is and test a second design if I decide to keep pushing the program.

As I also mentioned, I realized a few weeks in how important it was going to be to offer resources and freebies for site visitors as a way to grow our email list. This resulted in me continuing to write the blogs every day, but slowly nearly falling behind as I also was creating guides, ebooks, and a digital course.

About 3 years ago or so, I remember stumbling upon the Nectar Creative and loving the resources Melyssa Griffin offered. It seemed really unique to have one signup and then access to her full collection of downloads. Of course she’s now one of the business owners you want to emulate and has done an incredible job growing her business. But, when I first saw her resource library, I set out to recreate all of the resources. Getting caught up in business school, growing a family, and managing every day business operations, I never actually created a single download.

Knowing that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today, I jumped in and got started. There is only so much you can do by kicking yourself for not acting on something years ago, but life is about prioritizing, right? For the past few years, my priorities weren’t growing the BIMS Team’s online presence. Now, at last, it is!business blogging, how to blog for business

SO, in addition to the daily blogs and daily emails, I now set out to create resources. As you work on projects like this, it can be difficult to stay committed and focused. Though I’ve always tried to be really good about not multitasking, I began to feel like my head was spinning and I would start jumping from project to project while trying to also finish up web design projects, on-boarding new clients, and fulfilling client obligations.

With hundreds of browser windows open, I began scrambling to balance the time I spent educating myself, committing to furthering BIMS, and working with clients. Above this, most days I also had Mary Kathryn by my side. Time management and prioritizing, one my dear friend, became a distant memory. So much for following tactics laid out in the Four Hour Workweek or discussed by Todd Herman. In the span of one month, I went from one neatly organized notebook to a cluttered desk and three notebooks each with meeting notes and to do lists from every day. I’m so excited as a am moving back towards normalcy as it comes to my time management and prioritization of tasks.

Did I mention that at this same time my husband left his job to focus on building his freelance business? At least I now have more consistent help with the girls 🙂

Actual Results from 60 Blogs in 60 Days:

Beyond slowing picking myself up from complete disarray, a lot has been accomplished in the past 60 days! Actually, even more than I imagined has been pulled together. Granted, some of the blog posts were god-awful and never edited and I think some may have been published without actually being completed, I did fulfill my goal of posting a blog every single day for 60 (actually 64) days.

But above and beyond that, through emphasizing a commitment to my business, I’ve begun creating some REALLY great resources for business owners, people just starting out, and bloggers.

Some examples include:

  • This Website Planning Guide: A free workbook that covers the steps you need to take before you start designing and developing your own website. It includes prompts for your brand values, fonts, and colors, as well as a step by step guide for writing you About, Services, and Product pages. My goal is for this to turn into a Website in a Weekend Program for those Do it yourself-ers who want to make sure they are building their site the right way without spending thousands for a web designer to build a site for you when you don’t have the money coming in the door.
  • Blogging Your Business: This course was built mostly using content from webinars we ran last year, but also provides the exact template we use to build an editorial calendar, broken down to daily posts, for our clients. It is a go-to resource to understand how blogging can be useful for your business  as an avenue to propel growth to the next level.
  • Blogging 101: This is a easy to implement guide for outlining your blogs and best practices for SEO. It is a great tool for those who just need a little extra help outlining their blog topics. [Sign up form is below].

The process of writing a blog every day allowed me to explore certain topics in much more depth than I ever had in the past. It created an avenue for me to actually set aside time to begin creating resources and to focus on the digital marketing for The BIMS Team.

We’ve always gotten clients through RFP’s or word of mouth and networking, so a lot of changes needed to take place on my personal accounts specifically and some of the layout of the website. These website changes are almost complete, but prior to a month ago, we had no forms or calls to action.

Additionally, as you can expect, website traffic increased as did email sign ups! We currently have 928 active email subscribers, of which 100 are new from the various calls to action and content upgrades on the site!

Where to from here:

While I wish I could continue blogging every day, the posts with the highest engagement and most traffic were, as you can guess, the longer blog posts. These posts I never wrote in one sitting and very clearly show cased more information than the shorter and sometimes poorly written posts.

My game plan after this is to:

  • Write 1 blog post per week that comes in at 1,500 + words
  • Write 1 blog post per month that is 5,000 words
  • Create 1 video per week or audio to complement the blog post
  • Focus on building Pinterest with more of a game-plan
  • Continue creating, updating, and optimizing the Content Upgrades or Free Resources on our site
  • Turn my attention on continuing to grow our email list
  • Update the Blogging Your Business course to include even more actionable advice

You can follow the progress and receive free tips, tutorials, and advice on our email list here.

Hopefully this overview of my experience with blogging 60 days straight was informative for you and provided advice and guidance that you can bring with you as you create your own blog and digital marketing plan!

Blogging | Blogging Management | Best practices for blogging | blogging for business

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Blogging Is Dead: The Startling Truth About Blogging in 2017

Ahh! Run for the hills, blogging is dead!

Wait, what? After all this work blogging every day for 2 months, I’m now saying blogging is dead? Let’s step back a moment.

There is always someone talking about social media being dead or blogging being dead, but the truth of the matter is that even if one strategy isn’t working as it used to, another strategy jumps in and takes its place.

Let’s take a look at blogging.

[Disclaimer: I do not think blogging is dead. It has absolutely changed in the past year or two years, but doesn’t everything shift, change, and get better over time?]

In 2015, Hubspot reported ideal blog lengths. The report stated that:

  • Shorter is better for blogs. In fact, Forbes even published an article stating “After 750 word — or sometimes after only half that — you risk losing your readers’ attention.” [Source]
  • Most posts on WordPress were only 280 words long.
  • In general, however, for this short blog post strategy to work, you needed a large network and needed to post frequently. In essence, your blog feed started looking more like a social media account news feed.
  • Around this time, articles also started popping up that stated blogs under 750 words received the most shares, whereas blogs over 1,200 or 1,500 words ranked the highest organically.

Blogging in 2016

As the months passed, this shifted drastically! By early 2016, it started becoming clear that not only was content still king, but LONG content reigned top. The longer the content, the more shares and inbound links you would find. But, it wasn’t just articles 1,500 – 2,000 words long. We were now talking 3,000 – 10,000 words long!

Shares by Content Length

 

What this means is that even though in 2015 bloggers were posting short blogs frequently, they were overlooking the importance and response they could get by going more in depth in a topic. Most bloggers weren’t taking the time to go into depth about their topics. The surge in shares for pieces of content that were between 3,000 – 10,000 words went against older common sense that people would lose interest in longer articles. The truth was that these longer articles actually capture more of the reader’s attention!

Looking back at 2015/2016 it actually was that bloggers didn’t want to spend the time going into depth.

During this time, as well, Medium.com completed a study on the optimal post length to capture a reader’s attention. Not surprisingly, considering the data we’ve already reviewed, the best length was approximately 7 minutes, or  between 1,500 and 1,750 words. Again, however, we see the same trend that a majority of posts on Medium represent 3 minute reads. These 3 minute reads were viewed the most frequently, because there are more of them, but the best length for engagement was at the 7 minute mark.

Total Engagement or Time on Article

Total Views By Post Length

Okay, so it is pretty clear from this data that blog posts generally have been getting longer and readers tend to enjoy this longer content. We see this in not only the time people stay on a longer article, but also the number of times longer content is shared and the organic rankings of longer content. This is still all in the past, however!

Let’s jump to 2017, what can we do now to make the optimal blog post?

Researchers are still pointing at longer blog posts and unfortunately tend to reference older data to stake their claims. There are, however, some incredible insights about what this data now means!

In 2017 long form blog posts are where you need to be. It is more difficult for some people to create this content than others, but if you are hoping to use blogs for SEO and to appeal to clients, you need to make sure that a majority of your blogs are over 1,500 words and at least a few blogs every month are in the 3,000 to 5,000 word range.

Why is this?

As you write more in depth on a topic, you are utilizing more related keywords. Google and other search engines are able to pick up on these related keywords and understand the topic you are talking about more clearly. Think about it… the longer your content, the more words you use, and the more likely the words you are using relate to one another.

You want to be mindful about these related long tail keyword phrases you are using.

One way to double check your work as it comes to long tail and related keywords is to simply turn to Google.

Let’s say your keyword was Search Engine Optimization. Type this into Google. The text box automatically pulls up other keywords people often search for. Here we see definition, how to do, techniques, etc.

search engine optimization related words

These words and others also appear at the bottom of the search results page. Just scroll all the way to the bottom and you will see a section titled “Searches related to search engine optimization”.

How to use Related Keywords

Each of these words can make great long tail keywords to include in your content. You can also get a sense of what spin you should take in your writing. Are people looking for how to’s and tips or for more informative background or even specific products relating to your content?

Include media embedded in your longer blogs to make them more shareable.

Longer pieces of content also tend to have more media inserted. Blog posts with at least one image tend to outrank and be shared more than those with no image.

When you have a longer piece of content, you also have more opportunities to insert images, videos, and podcasts. Each of these then may appeal to one individual or another. Take the time to build graphs, infographics, and other imagery that can help your content stand out.

Internal and External Links in longer blog posts for SEO

Additionally, writing longer content creates more opportunities to increase your internal linking and provides more incentive for external websites to link to your content. As you are writing, you are showing your expertise and knowledge on your subject. As you write, be sure to add links to other blog posts you’ve written. These longer blogs also create an opportunity for yourself to then highlight an eBook or freebie on your site.

Longer blogs create prompts for additional content on your site.

Often times, a longer blog post actually works very well as a starting point for your marketing for webinars and products. When you write the blog you are cultivating the information that can then be shared through different avenues. You are better able to repurpose your information that appears in the blog post.

To repurpose content, start with your blog post. This information can then be expanded upon in an eBook, which can be used to collect email addresses. Your email newsletter then in turn works as an avenue to share additional blog posts that are on information related to the eBook.

From here, you can measure which topics get the most response from your own market. These topics that get the highest engagement rates, then provide the basis for more in depth blog posts, eBooks, webinars, and finally products that you can sell online (or in person). Each blog post should also be shared on social media, as LinkedIn articles, and through sites like Quora and Medium.

Through repurposing the content you are building even more links between pages and reaching even more individuals.

2017 how to increase seo | Blogging | Blogging and search engine optimization | How to use blogging for SEO | Search Engine Optimization in 2017 | SEO | SEO 2017 | State of industry with blogging

Lastly, we need to look at where the industry is heading.

In the future, I don’t think studies of blogging will only measure effectiveness based on how many words appear in an article. Recent trends show that it is becoming increasingly important to include video and audio in blog posts. My hypothesis is that the research on blogging effectiveness is going to shift to measure the effectiveness of having these more personal elements. This unfortunately means a lot of us are going to have to step out of our comfort zone!

If you take a moment to consider how we choose to work with certain businesses and individuals, it really boils down to us knowing, liking, and trusting the person. Video is such an incredible way to tell people who we are and to show our personality.

As a Recap

  1. In the past, shorted blogs worked well for business
  2. Businesses and bloggers still tend to write these shorter posts, but need to dive into more detail
  3. To run an effective blogging program, you need to write posts that are 1,000-5,000 words long
  4. In these long posts, be sure to include Related Keywords, link to other blogs on your site, and share the posts to your other networks and email list
  5. Base eBooks and freebies on your site on content repurposed from your long blog posts as a way to manage your time more effectively
  6. Start stepping out of your comfort zone and include audio and video in your blogs posts in addition to images and infographics

SEO | Search Engine Optimization | State of Blogging in 2017 | Making the most of your Blog

 

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How to go from 0 to 100,000 Website Visits

Moving from 0 to 100,000 visitors takes a lot of leg work, no matter how easy a blog post or interview makes it sound. Unless of course you are buying ads, which provides a short-term solution, you’ll need to get working!

Depending on your industry, Pinterest. Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn can all provide avenues to increase your site traffic. I’ll take a look at each below.

In order for any of these to be successful, however, you need to make sure there is a reason to go to your website. I recommend a combination of new blog posts, freebies, and diverse media (videos, infographics, etc).

  1. Pinterest: On Pinterest there are a variety of ways you can boost your traffic. You need to start with the basics.
    • Complete your profile and confirm your website. By confirming your account, your profile tends to rank higher in search results. Also, let people know what to expect if they follow you.
    • Use Rich Pins. These add more content to your pins from your site, which can increase their impressions and clicks.
    • Optimize Descriptions: Not only do you want your pins and boards to appear in search results, you also want to entice people to click them.
    • Engage: Don’t just go through and Follow everyone you can to gain Followers, go through and Like, Comment, and Repin appropriate Pins before Following someone (yes, there are automation tools like this, such as NinjaPinner or Tailwind*).
    • Participate in Group Boards: Find group boards that fit your business and request to join them. Of course follow the rules when you pin to these boards, but they open the door to a much wider audience (BoardBooster* is great for automating your pinning).
  2. Reddit: The goal on Reddit is to get a lot of Upvotes. When a post makes it big, it can bring thousands of visitors to your site. Reddit is set up to prevent spammers, so you do need to be cautious about what type of content you are posting here.
    • Find your subreddits: These are the subcategories that you can post to. You need to find the ones that is made up of your target market. You can find these subreddits through searches on Reddit. Look for the results that are relevant and have high traffic. You can also use Metareddit to find subreddits. Just make sure that the subreddits you decide on FIT your topic and aren’t too broad.
    • Research the posts in the Subreddit: take note if you see consistencies in the posts and what the most upvoted posts tend to be. You will want to emulate what works within each specific subreddit.
    • Participate: Hold off on posting your links for just a bit more and focus your energy on commenting on other posts (new accounts can only comment once every 10 minutes or so).
    • Post your own links! But only if it fits the guidelines for the subreddit. When you are posting, don’t hesitate to test different headlines and time of day. Always be clear about what the post is about and then don’t try to upvote your own things. Redditors can smell marketing from a mile away, so don’t try to hide what you are doing. Of course sometimes, even if you get downvotes, you still may make a sale, which has happened a few times to me).
  3. Quora: We are just starting out on Quora, so there are other folks who can provide better insight here, but participate and provide great answers to questions.
    • On Quora the best way to  is to get traffic to your website is to find questions to answer have followers, but less than 10 answers. This means you have found a question people are interested in learning more about, but you can have your answer stand out compared to others.
    • Don’t be afraid to answer questions that aren’t directly related to your business, either. You have expertise in a lot of different areas, so you can more generally have your profile stand out if you start receiving up votes across the board.
    • Research how other people are answering the question. Are they writing quick responses or going into detail? This can show you how you need to be writing the replies.
  4. LinkedIn: If you are B2B, you need to be on LinkedIn. I highly recommend using Group Discussions to push out your blog posts and LinkedIn Articles to re-publish your popular blogs with a call to action back to your site.
    • Find Groups: LinkedIn has switched around their interface, but the goal is to find active groups that fit your target market.
    • Participate: Just like with Reddit and Pinterest, you need to participate. This means liking and commenting on other members’ discussions.
    • Post Discussions: Often your discussion will be flagged if you just post the link to the blog post, so you want to start by asking a question as the discussion title. In the body of the discussion, use some of your blog post and then provide the link to your site.

With each of these tactics, you need to be CONSISTENT and focus on sharing high-quality content. If you want to learn more about how to grow your traffic, please join my free email course on digital marketing.

*Affiliate Link

The Definitive Guide on How to Grow Your Website Traffic from 0 to 100,000: Moving from 0 to 100,000 visitors takes a lot of leg work, no matter how easy a blog post or interview makes it sound. Unless of course you are buying ads, which provides a short-term solution, you’ll need to get working!

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The Truth About Repurposing Content

70% of small businesses in the US are owned and operated by a single person.*

As a solopreneur, how on earth are you supposed to create enough content to fill 365 days in a year? As a small business where you wear multiple hats everyday, how are you supposed to create enough content? No matter what systems you have in place there simply isn’t enough time in the day to create a new piece of content every single day of the year.

So, what should you do as a small business to make sure your followers remain educated and in tune with your brand?

The number one thing you can do to streamline your posting is to repurpose your content.

Wait, what? This is an incredible time-saving tip that often is overlooked! Your Twitter followers aren’t necessarily the same as you LinkedIn connections and your newsletter list may not include your Facebook fans. Though you don’t want to publish duplicate articles in such a way that Google will penalize you, repurposing is much more than copying and pasting a blog post on multiple article websites.

Brochures and Traditional Media

We all still have some sort of ‘traditional’ marketing. For some this is in the form of flyers, brochures, presentations, newspaper articles, and even commercials in networking groups. Each of these present an opportunity to reuse content.

Flyers & Brochures

Grab the headers and images from these to create social media posts. You can additionally create a quick blog post with the content from the brochure.

Presentations & Interviews

What an incredible source for content. Create videos from your presentations and audio from your podcasts. You can then create a blog post that features these, as well as the transcription of the piece (hint use an app for this). Slides from your presentation can be turned into standalone social media posts and the videos can also be turned into lead-generating freebies.

You may even find that some aspects of the presentation or interview provide prompts for more in depth articles. Run with it!

Blog posts and articles are meant to be reused! Think of a typical blog you write, is there a list or bullets? Do you break the content up into multiple segments? Are there different ways to phrase the blog title? Your blog post can be recycled as social media posts and shared to other networks in its entirety.

Commercials from Networking Groups

If you really want to take control of your content calendar, you should plan out your networking group introductions. Typically these 45 second elevator pitches end up being last minute decisions, but if you plan ahead, not only will you see results within your networking group, but you also will create a new social media post for your business each week! Just as with interview questions providing prompts for longer blog posts, you may find people are especially drawn to one elevator pitch, pay attention and it may turn into a great article!

Blog Posts

Blog posts and articles are meant to  be reused! Think of a typical blog you write, is there a list or bullets? Do you break the content up into multiple segments? Are there different ways to phrase the blog title? Your blog post can be recycled as social media posts and shared to other networks in its entirety.

Using Blogs for Social Media

The first week you publish a blog post, you should also share it to your social media channels (e.g. Facebook Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc). Did you know that there are numerous services that can do this for you? We automatically share published blogs to our social media accounts utilizing wordpress plugins and Zapier or IFTTT. Using these plugins, you can decide which pieces of your content should be shared and how it should be structured.

After the posts are automatically shared, re-share the post the following week. The featured image can be shared on Pinterest and Instagram, whereas the blog title or a quote from a blog can be used on the other social media networks. But, that’s not it … If your blog contains the ‘Top 7 Ways to …’ SHARE each of the points as a post and link back to the blog. If your blog contains easily identified sections (as in you are using header tags as discussed in a recent blog on SEO and your blog) take each of the headings and share it as a social media post.

THEN, after a month or two, cycle back through your blogs and reshare them.

Blogs in Newsletters

Have you ever sat down to write a newsletter and found that after 45 minutes you still had a white screen? Newsletters can be difficult to put together because they are a personal communication with your tribe. Rather than trying to create fresh content for your entire newsletter, use your recent blog posts to provide valuable and educational content to your recipients.

A typical newsletter could include a brief (2-3 sentence) introductory greeting from the owner followed by top articles that you’ve published since the last blog.

Blog posts and articles are meant to be reused! Think of a typical blog you write, is there a list or bullets? Do you break the content up into multiple segments? Are there different ways to phrase the blog title? Your blog post can be recycled as social media posts and shared to other networks in its entirety.

Publishing Blogs on External Sites

On LinkedIn Pulse (Articles) and Medium.com, you can also copy and paste the content from your blog in its entirety as a way to share the information with your networks and position yourself as an expert in the field. LinkedIn currently doesn’t allow this through apps, but Medium.com has an API that allows numerous apps to automate this process.

Rewrite Old Blogs

The last step here is to actually rewrite and update old blog posts to keep them relevant and then start the sharing-cycle all over. When you rewrite an article, you can expand on ideas or just make the article more relevant to the current industry landscape. You can also combine older, shorter blog posts to create longer ones that tend to rank higher in organic listings.

Repurposing Images

Images drive digital engagement. Don’t shy away from reusing product images, event photos, or other pictures that relate to your business. The same image can be used multiple times with different captions, text overlays, and in blogs, newsletters, and social media posts. The repetitiveness of the images, provided you aren’t posting the same image every single day, can increase your brand awareness.

Time Savers for Repurposing Content

Time savers for repurposing content. The best time to repurpose content, believe it or not, is actually when you first click "Publish" on your blog. How so, you might ask. When you publish a blog, you already know how many subtopics or bullet points are in the post. Additionally, you've just created images to enter into the blog.

The best time to repurpose content, believe it or not, is actually when you first click “Publish” on your blog. How so, you might ask. When you publish a blog, you already know how many subtopics or bullet points are in the post. Additionally, you’ve just created images to enter into the blog.

Using tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you should create the various iterations of the the social media posts that link back to the blog. Schedule these to be posted at different times during the day and different days of the week. Then move forward a month or two and create copy and paste a handful of the posts to be republished. On Twitter specifically, it is absolutely okay to publish the same post multiple times. On your other networks, consider the number of followers or fans before scheduling the same post or similar posts multiple times in a row.

Reusing and repurposing content is the number one thing your business can do to ensure you have enough content to fill 365 days of the year. By following the ideas laid out above, you can ensure your brand remains on point and that you still have time to focus on the aspects of your business that require daily attention.

How else have you repurposed content for your brand?
The Truth About Repurposing Content: 70% of small businesses in the US are owned and operated by a single person.* As a solopreneur, how on earth are you supposed to create enough content to fill 365 days in a year? As a small business where you wear multiple hats everyday, how are you supposed to create enough content? No matter what systems you have in place there simply isn't enough time in the day to create a new piece of content every single day of the year. So, what should you do as a small business to make sure your followers remain educated and in tune with your brand?

(eCapital: 20 Small Business Facts Your Might Not Know)

The Truth About Repurposing Content: 70% of small businesses in the US are owned and operated by a single person.* As a solopreneur, how on earth are you supposed to create enough content to fill 365 days in a year? As a small business where you wear multiple hats everyday, how are you supposed to create enough content? No matter what systems you have in place there simply isn't enough time in the day to create a new piece of content every single day of the year. So, what should you do as a small business to make sure your followers remain educated and in tune with your brand?

The Truth About Repurposing Content: Your complete guide to recycling and reusing blog posts as marketing collateral

 

25 Blog Topics for Your Business

Let’s face it, coming up with blog topics is difficult even for the most creative writer. This blog post covers 25 blog post ideas for your business!

  1. Your story and the story of the business: This personal information draws readers in a helps to put a face to your business. Through being authentic, you can help to build lasting relationships with clients and prospects.
  2. Provide look into the behind-the-scenes of your business: Are there any projects you are working on? How about any insights into how you structure your day? A post like this, again, shows your personal side, but also works to teach others with less experience how they can manage their time more effectively.
  3. Feature one of your services or products: Your services and product pages can only share so much about the specific product or service. Use your blog as an avenue to dig deeper.
  4. Dive down deep into your values: Business nowadays is all about showing your authentic self. Your values help others to truly understand your why and what it will be like to work with you.
  5. Feature an interview with a professional in your industry: Not only will this be educational for your readers, but you can also benefit from connecting with another professional in your industry. LinkedIn can provide a great first touch for these interviews.
  6. Compare two apps or pieces of software that you use: If you are like most business owners I know, you have tried a hanndful of apps from tools to schedule social media posts to CRMS, accounting software, and more. Highlight the pro’s and con’s of two different apps for your readers.
  7. Write an informational post about a service you offer: Rather than just featuring a service, provide a case study and what people can expect from using your services.
  8. Create a checklist for how a reader could implement a service you offer: With so much free information online, it is okay to give away some information about how you do business. This checklist should be pretty robust, but doesn’t need to include EVERYTHING you do for your clients. An example is with our Blogging eBook.
  9. Review a book about your industry that you recently read: Book reviews show that you want to stay on top of industry trends. It not only provides a resource for your clients to learn more, but dives into some of the interests you have within your business.
  10. Explain a misconception in your industry: Everyone likes myth buster posts! Take the time to explain a misconception you often hear from your clients and the truth that you have seen.
  11. Answer the top 3 questions you receive from clients: We all receive questions from our clients and prospects. Though a FAQ page can answer many of these questions, you can also write longer answers in blog posts!
  12. Share a free resource: PDF’s can create an incredible way to capture someone’s contact information. Using PowerPoint, you can create a hig quality pdf for the download.
  13. Explain the secrets to your business:
  14. Identify your ideal client and tell their story
  15. Interview one of your mentors about what makes them so successful
  16. Share a testimonial
  17. Feature another service
  18. Create an infographic
  19. Explain a misconception in your industry
  20. Highlight important events in your business
  21. Feature one of your employees/teammates/contractors
  22. Tell a story about your background and history
  23. Share your brand mission
  24. Explain the meaning behind your name
  25. Write a blog post listing topics to write about 🙂

25 blog topics for your business

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Reasons to Power Your Website with WordPress

Having a business website offers a lot of advantages. For one, it makes it easier for potential customers to find you. A clean, professional website gives people an impression that your business is doing well. Once you gain their trust, you can easily turn visitors into paying customers.

The problem is that most business owners tend not to consider setting up a business website because they think it is a complicated process and will require a lot of money. Luckily, there are several website builders available in the market that makes the process a lot easier. WordPress is one of them. With WordPress, designing and launching a website is a breeze.

Still not convinced? This blog post will help you make an informed decision on why you should use WordPress to power your website with WordPress.

Grow your site as your business grows

WordPress started out as a blogging platform. Today, it has evolved into a dynamic content management system. You can add unlimited amount of blogs, photos, posts and pages to your site. You can even add some plug-ins to extend and expand the functionality of your site.

Easy to use

For those who are looking for an easy way to set up a business website, WordPress would be a great place to start. It is one of the most popular website builders, and is extremely easy to use. In fact, you can build your website in under an hour. No coding required. Plus, they have thousands and thousands of free themes, which you can use to change the look of your website. Now, all you need to do is to add your content. It’s that simple.

Search engine optimization

Search engine loves WordPress websites. Even before you add plug-ins into your site, WordPress has already done the hardwork to ensure that your website gets crawled. This will give you headstart in ranking your website.

But please don’t expect your website to land on the first page of Google just because you have WordPress website. Of course, you also need to put in some effort to increase your search engine ranking.

Save money

A lot of small business owners are hesitant to build a business website because they think it’s expensive. But the truth is you don’t need to spend a lot of money to set up a website. In fact, you can set up a WordPress website for free. The only real cost is domain and web hosting.

Since WordPress is easy to use, you can easily make simple updates to your site yourself. You no longer have to pay your web designer to add new blog posts or new pages. Thus, allowing you to save money in the long run.

 

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Can you use that image?

As a small business owner, the last thing you want to be caught up in is a legal battle and additional expense for an image you, at the time, didn’t think twice about using. Even though it is alright to share posts others have made on social media in most circumstances (typically because sharing a post gives credit to the source and links directly back to the original post), you should not assume that every image you find online is okay to use for marketing or on your website.

Watch out, you could be sued.

How to Find Appropriate Images (For Free)

Luckily, there are a handful of sites with tremendous databases of high-quality, “royalty free” images. Additionally, Google has a search feature to sift through search results to find images that have been marked for commercial use. As long as you are grabbing the images from one of the below sites and giving credit where asked for, you should be in the clear!

Can you use that image? The top sources to find free images that are labeled for commercial reuse, free tools to edit images, and what to do if you get sued for using a copyright image online.

Pixabay

pixabay for free images

With over 920,00 free stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and VIDEOS, Pixabay comes in at the top of our list. Even for commercial applications, attribution isn’t required.

FoodiesFeed

FoodiesFeed top database for free images of food and beverages.

Food Blogger? Nutritionist? Just like food? This is the free image directory for you. With new images added frequently, FoodiesFeed offers a great selection of, you guessed it, food and beverage oriented photography.

Iso Republic

Iso Republic - Another great database of images offers images of architecture, food/drink, nature, people, urban, technology, textures, and other images. The wide variety is easy to sort and updated frequently.

Another great database of images offers images of architecture, food/drink, nature, people, urban, technology, textures, and other images. The wide variety is easy to sort and updated frequently.

Stokpic

Stokpic uploads new pictures every 2 weeks with a focus on lifestyle photography. These images are perfect for blogs and social media and the site is easy to navigate.

Stokpic uploads new pictures every 2 weeks with a focus on lifestyle photography. These images are perfect for blogs and social media and the site is easy to navigate.

Superfamous

The Superfamous database of images offers a vast variety of nature, landscape, and abstract images. These images are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.

The Superfamous database of images offers a vast variety of nature, landscape, and abstract images. These images are free to use for both personal and commercial purposes.

Pin now and read later!

What Tools Can You Use to Add Text?

Adding text to images can also help make them pop. I used to tend to make templates in Adobe Photoshop, however, this was a little overkill for most situations. Now I use free tools that are available to anyone online. My go-t0 tools include:

Canva

Canva - empowering the world to design

Canva allows you to make streams for different image templates allowing you to easy copy a previous image to then adjust the background and text. Additionally, with Canva you have the ability to upload new fonts if your brand font isn’t a present and select your brand colors so you are sure to stay on point. Additionally, beyond social media sized images, you can create banners for blogs, ebooks, infographics, and more. Canva comes with free images, text layouts, and icons, but does offer the option to purchase some premium ones for $1.

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo by Buffer - An easy to use interface for creating image with text overlay and publishing directly through Buffer.

Buffer created Pablo as a way to make it easier to create images with text overlay. They offer a variety of different options you can control, such as filters and sizes, though much fewer than Canva. Pablo has free images you can use as backgrounds and various fonts preloaded. We use Buffer to schedule social media posts, so Pablo is a go-to choice for images with quotes that we wish to load directly to the client’s account.

What Happens When You Get an Email or Letter from Getty Images?

The goal should be to always use images that are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons, but at times everyone makes a mistake and overlooks using one image vs another. You may wake up one day to an email from Getty Images, for example, stating you owe $800+ for the use of a single image. My best advice here is Do Not ignore this notice.

Reach out to the sender and explain that you thought the image was royalty free and are incredibly sorry for utilizing it. Inform them that you have already removed it from the site (delete it from your image directory not just from the page it appears) and ask as politely as possible for them to work with you on the price of the violation.

Often they will come down in price depending on the number of copyright violations you have had. Just make sure you pay quickly and are more careful in the future!

The top sources to find free images that are labeled for commercial reuse, free tools to edit images, and what to do if you get sued for using a copyright image online.

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Interview: Joe, Owner of Pebble+Oak, Storyteller Extraordinaire

This interview with Joe, the owner of Pebble+Oak, discusses the importance of speaking to your audience in both blog posts and on your website. We don’t expect our in-house team to be able to write coherently on every topic nor get the voice of all of our clients, so we rely on other writers to step up and fill in the void. Joe at Pebble+Oak is one of our go to copywriters who’s able to understand the vision of a business and articulate the unique selling points and their competitive advantage of their service.

interview with pebble and oak

BIMS: So Joe, how did you get into the biz?

Joe: I have always had a passion for writing, and after spending 10 years and the technology sector I saw the opportunity to begin working with clients to discover their own voice in an online world.

BIMS: When you write for your clients how do you ensure that you are capturing their voice not your own?

Joe: At the end of the day, writing is simply telling a story. Before I put anything down on paper for a client, I spend some time getting to know them, their company, who they’re trying to serve, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. I find that these conversations are incredibly insightful in terms of identifying and interpreting their voice and their message.

BIMS: How important do you feel it is for business owners to concentrate on SEO in the blogs and articles that they are writing?

Joe: Is SEO important? Yes. But, I found when business owners and writers concentrate too much on specific keywords, the message they are trying to convey gets lost. When this happens the connection with prospects and customers suffers.

I recommend coming up with a topic and outlining your article, then writing it without necessarily thinking about the keywords. If you need to, you can always add these in afterwards to make it a little more clear for search engines. Often, however, just the process of creating an outline for your article will innately highlight your intended topics.

BIMS: If we aren’t necessarily focusing on keywords in articles, what can we do to make sure that we are getting a big bang for our buck when we are writing blog posts?

Joe: There are a few tips that I highly recommend. First, make sure you or your IT person correctly knows how to load a blog or article onto a website. This means utilizing header tags and adding alt tags to your images. It’s great if you can break up the long content utilizing bullet points or numbers! Within your blog post don’t hesitate to add links to other blogs on similar topics or pages on your website that relate to the blog post itself.

Second, always make sure that you are sharing your article to external sources. My favorites are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, digg, delicious, StumbleUpon, and reddit. (In other words, the Internet….)

And third, I always recommend finding external websites to write articles for rather than just your own site. Common examples include LinkedIn articles and Medium.com. Often, however, online publications and niche trade journals have the option for experts to contribute articles and content, as well. Contributing articles to these sources not only increases your reach beyond your current network, but it also helps to position you as an expert in the field. Above all, these articles create backlinks to your website!

BIMS: I know you are very busy, so thank you for your time! I’m sure you will be back for more interviews in the future. Before we sign off, do you have any closing remarks that could benefit new and old businesses alike?

Joe: There are a lot of buzzwords and “Flavors of the Week” when it comes to marketing your business online. It is easy to get lost in the noise and think “I should be doing that!” While many of these new ideas have merit, don’t lose sight of your values and your brand. Trends will come and go, but the companies who are consistent with who they are the ones that last.

60 blogs in 60 days challenge