Want a more engaging blog? Shake up your content
If your blog is starting to feel a little tired and uninspired lately, or if you’re running out of original content to engage readers, then it’s probably time to start diversifying your content. Here are two simple ways to accomplish this:
Shake up your content formats
Even if you have a wide variety of topics discussed on your blog, you could be missing opportunities to reach new audience segments if you’re only posting text-based blogs with an image here and there. Let’s face it: some people don’t have the time or interest to read several paragraphs of content, which is why mixing up your content formats could help you get your brand’s message out to people who might otherwise read the headline and leave.
Different content formats may include: video (after all, over 50% of marketers from around the world agree video content has the best ROI), listicles (think Buzzfeed-type of content but more specific to your brand), audio (podcasts are great for mobile users who tune in during their commutes), slideshows (SlideShare or Prezi are popular platforms for this), infographics (you can have an affordable infographic designed by professionals on sites like Fiverr or UpWork), and Q&A sessions with experts and influencers (great for driving their audience to your blog).
Bring in guest contributors
Speaking of experts and influencers: one of the best ways to freshen up your blog’s content production is by letting someone else take the reins on a subject. Depending on their background, they might have unique insight to offer what you might not have considered, which would be an incredibly useful resource for your audience. Guest contributors might even propose their own topics for your blog and encourage their audience to visit your blog (just as their guest post would likely link back to their blog/website, making it an informal partnership that’s a win-win for both of you).
When social media and social networking intersect
Do you remember the last time you experienced a moment when your social media and in-person networks came together? It could have been at a trade show or just a chance meeting in a coffee shop. Either way, it’s pretty cool when these two worlds collide. We’ll bet you were even able to compliment one of their recent posts, too. This sort of synergy isn’t just good for your personal network, but for your professional one, as well.
In fact, bridging the gap between social media and in-person relationships can be both fun and informative. Meeting with those online connections in person present strategic opportunities to take the relationship to the next level.
That’s why it’s important to participate in regular social-media interchanges before you attend upcoming trade shows. Think about it: your contacts can then help you promote the event! When you arrive at the trade-show event, dive right in to glad-hand the visitors that stop by your exhibit. You should have tables, furnishings and plenty of handouts available.
When you link-up in person at trade-show events with someone who has already connected with you through LinkedIn, that relational exchange brings a synergistic element to the table. Face-to-face conversation strengthens those relationships through the act of bridging the online and in-person aspects of social interchanges. And let’s face it, it also makes you feel better about yourself when you have a digital Rolodex to refer to when meeting an online acquaintance in person. Gone are the days of forgetting about the little personal details that can make or break a business relationship.
That’s why you’ll want to be sure to have all your social-media channels printed on your marketing collateral. Consider including a digital QR Code on every piece of literature, too. Make those connections and remember to smile. That’s the most powerful strategy of all!
Crafting blog posts that engage readers
Blogs have been around a long time, and for good reason. They’re effective channels to engage audiences through fresh, relevant content. The best way to engage audiences is by presenting the most captivating content in the most ideal way. It’s actually not as hard at it sounds as long as you follow this five-step checklist for blog perfection:
Start off with an opening hook
Why should people read your blog post? You’ll want to address that in the first paragraph in the most engaging way possible. A good way to approach this is by thinking of your audience and what problem it will solve or how the information will help the reader. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think about what would engage you in the first paragraph. Also, look at examples of blog posts on the Internet to get a feel for how others do it, especially your competition.
Write a short, creative headline
The headline is perhaps the most important part of your blog post. It is the first thing people see on search engine results, on social media and elsewhere. If you don’t have an eye-catching headline, the reader will just scroll past it or click away. A good rule of thumb is to get the point of your article across in a clear, direct and creative way. Shorter is also better: Research shows that shorter headlines receive far more clicks and engagement than those that are longer.
Incorporate high-quality visuals
A blog post can reach a lot more people and has the potential to become more viral if it has high-quality visuals. Studies show that readers will be more immersed in your content as well as more likely to share it if you include visuals. In fact, the most engaging posts on social media include an image and many of them come from blog posts. Along with increasing engagement, visuals allow your audience to see what your blog post is about rather than just read about it.
Break up your paragraphs with engaging information
The best blog posts consist of information that is easy to scan and digest. Keep each of your paragraphs short and add bulleted lists, statistics, graphs, pull quotes, block quotes, interesting facts, infographics, videos and anything else that is going to make your article pop. Information in these formats will provide more credibility and detail to your post, which can hook people in until the end.
Close with a clear call-to-action
What do you want your audience to do after reading your blog post? Make sure that your call-to-action is clear in your concluding paragraph, but also does not provide an annoying sales pitch. Rather than telling them to buy a product or service or visit a web page, encourage your readers to engage with you. Provide a question and ask your readers to leave comments. You could also present a link to a poll, quiz, or even direct people to a whitepaper or ebook for more information.
Now, we will close this blog post using the final tip as inspiration. Which of the five steps above have you incorporated in your blog posts? Is there anything else you do to engage readers?
How to network via social media
Whether you run a sales team or an entire business, you must have a social media strategy to survive. It’s essential to social networking and connecting with the top influencers in your industry. However, there are other benefits, such as advertising to promote your products and services as well as improve customer satisfaction by analyzing customer feedback. Social media is a great way to give your customers a voice.
Facebook is one of the top social networking opportunities. Whether or not you use Facebook personally, your business should have a Facebook page or a presence with other prominent social networking sites. LinkedIn is another platform you’ll want to consider. By building your core group of connections on LinkedIn, you’ll be growing your business. Your LinkedIn connections will become advocates for your brand and help promote the message of your business. Of course, you shouldn’t forget Twitter. A short concise message to your Twitter followers is an effective way to spread your company’s mission to your target audience.
But each platform is different and attracts a different audience. Experiment with various platforms until you find one that sticks.
By analyzing the feedback left on your pages, you can gather helpful suggestions or criticism of your services or products, often for free. Social networking is also a great way to retain your best customers. They will enjoy the interaction with your company and come back often to hear about your company’s events and promotions. Everyone knows it costs less to retain an old customer than to find new ones.
So, if you’ve found yourself either confused by the proliferation of so many social media networks or just unsure whether it’s right for your business, put some thought into establishing a presence on at least one platform.
Emails are a critical part of web marketing
Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar: your content team has just written the most amazing blog post. It’s been published on your site and promoted via social media. But, alas, nobody is reading your blog post.
If this has happened to you, maybe it’s time to start leveraging email marketing. In fact, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways you can communicate directly with your customers, as long as it is done correctly. Here are some tips to make sure your emails engage your audience from start to finish.
Write a short, attention-getting subject line
The subject line is actually the most important part of your email. It’s the first thing your reader sees and it needs to be compelling enough to make them want to click. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your subject line is short (only about 5-10 words maximum) and creative. Hook your readers with a question, a unique fact, a current news trend or something else that will catch their interest.
Make the email conversational
No one wants to read an email that is too promotional and does not relate to them. Incorporating a conversational tone will allow you to connect better with the reader and engage them until the end.
Keep the copy to around 2-3 small paragraphs
Studies show that the attention span of your audience is about less than a minute when it comes to email. This means you got to make the copy tight and straight to the point. This will allow your audience to quickly read your email so they then in turn will visit your website.
Include a high-quality photo
According to research, emails have a higher conversion rate when a photo is included. A great place for the photo is at the top of the email before the text or on the top right or left of the email.
Include a call-to-action
After your audience is done reading your email, what do you want them to do? Make sure your call-to-action is clear at the end of your email. Many successful marketers include a link to a landing page or to an article as their call-to-action.
Send often, but not too much
If you send out too many emails, you will end up getting a lot of unsubscribers. To avoid that, send out your emails at least once or twice a month at the minimum and no more than once a week at the maximum. How often you send out emails will largely depend on the nature of your business and the content you are pitching in your email.
Following these tips will help to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing and can ultimately increase the amount of traffic on your website.
Website not generating leads? Here’s how to turn that around
While it’s wonderful that websites exist to bring awareness to your product or service to the more than 20 million shoppers currently online, there is a downside: there’s lots of competition out there. Which means your website may be getting lost in the shuffle. And which also means your leads aren’t what they should be.
This could be for a lot of reasons. As you take a critical look at your website, keep an eye out for these common mistakes:
Complicated design: How is the navigation on your website? Can your visitors easily find your landing pages as well as your products and/or services pages? If your website is too complicated and people can’t find what they’re looking for, you’ll need to do a redesign.
No clear call-to-actions: When people visit your website, what do you want them to do? Having clear call-to-actions are crucially important to generate leads and it can be done through a variety of ways. Some popular call-to-actions include an email newsletter sign-up, a contest, a giveaway, a whitepaper, an ebook, or a discount or some other kind of promotion. Make sure the call-to-action is easily visible through a button above the fold on your homepage or landing page.
No email marketing plan: Believe it or not, there are companies that still do not email their customers regularly. Sending out an email at least once a week is a great way to continually receive new traffic on your website. Your traffic, however, will only grow if you add more email subscribers daily. A good way to do this is by occasionally offering something for free like an ebook, a whitepaper, or a contest or prize giveaway.
Low or no social media or SEO presence: If you’re not receiving much traffic on your website, you’ll need to take a good look at your social media and SEO efforts. Social media can help bring in a steady stream of visitors as well as more engagement to your site, especially if you’re offering something your audience wants. Along with social media, you’ll need to make sure your website is driving enough organic traffic for targeted keywords on search engines. SEO will bring in more traffic than even social media and PPC combined if it is done correctly.
Lack of landing pages: Many company websites are missing landing pages, which are crucial for online marketing efforts. Landing pages drive consumers to your call-to-actions so they don’t have to hunt through the navigation on your homepage to find the ebook, whitepaper, giveaway, contest, or promotion you are offering. Landing pages will also help you capture more email addresses and accurately measure online traffic.
As you can see, there are plenty of things that can prevent the success of your website. Make sure you’re avoiding the things mentioned above so you can drive more online traffic.
Do any of these five things accurately describe your website or do you have any other questions about how to generate more leads online? If so, leave a comment below.
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