May 31, 2010

Breaking Routine

A routine is not necessarily a bad thing but if blogging topics have become routine for you, chances are that your audience feels the same. One way to break the routine is to put very short survey questions on your blog asking your readers what topics they would like to read more about. What are they interested in today? Surveys on your blog will identify topics of interest to your specific audience. Just remember to keep it very short. You don't want them clicking out before they are finished and most readers today move quickly from screen to screen.

May 28, 2010

All the relevant content to all the right contacts...

For those of you using Facebook, make sure and use the friend lists feature. Assign your friends to lists to help manage your relevant content. Your top client may not need to know your sister is getting married and your sister very likely does not want to know your latest business tip while she is planning a wedding. Each friend can be on more than one list so there is plenty of flexibility in how you use this functionality. You can have lists that are "just girlfriends", "all friends", "family only", "business contacts", "active clients" and "women entrepreneurs" as just examples. These lists are organized and maintained by you in the format that works for you. They allow you to easily send only relevant content to each of your contacts. It takes just a few minutes to set your lists up and it is well worth the time saved when blogging and sharing.

May 20, 2010

Remember Your Audience

Keeping blog content relevant to your target reader is a key factor in blog success but can easily get lost in our rush to get everything done. One way to slow down and remember your audience is to sit quietly at your keyboard for even a minute or two, just before you compose your post, to think about the topic you are addressing in terms of your target reader. Once you place yourself in your reader's chair, it becomes easier to write specifically to them. This short moment of meditation will absolutely increase your focus and build your blog success. Keeping your posts relevant, interesting and helpful will have your readers returning for more.

May 13, 2010

What's being said about you online?

An easy way to monitor your online reputation is to set up a Google Alert. It's quick and free. Follow this link and enter your full name with quotation marks around it - like "Linda Daley". It's a good idea to set one up with your company name as well. You'll receive an email every time your name shows up on the web. (If you have a common name it's a little trickier to filter, so read the FAQ to find out how.)

May 12, 2010

Finding Inspiration

Finding inspiration can be a challenge for frequent bloggers. One of the ways to grab relevant topics is to expand on industry surveys, white papers, scientific study results and company or government published reports. All of these forums tend to be rather dry reading and your clients could appreciate your providing an executive summary for them by taking only the relevant points and making them interesting reading. This helps your clients get all the relevant information in an easy and entertaining way right on your blog.

A word of warning is that you should not post topic series. Today’s readers will not be captured with series posts and many will be lost. Some will decide to check back when the entire series is posted and never come back. Some will decide they may not get back to finish reading and won’t start. If the topic is large enough to break it into sections when blogging, post each section independently and link them together with a wrap up post after all individual sections are posted.

May 11, 2010

Can Iceland's Volcano Drive Blog Traffic?

One way to drive traffic to your blog is to use current popular news stories as a jump off point to hook your audience. Readers often search current news stories and, if your post headline contains one of them, the same thought process will have them following the link to your blog post.

For example, emergency preparedness planning was a hot topic during the swine flu pandemic warnings in 2009. Emergency preparedness is less discussed with the story dropping out of the headlines. If you would like to open up the topic again with your clients, try using the Icelandic volcano eruptions and the havoc resulting at UK airports as a jumping off point.

Be sure to include the story headline in your blog post title to have your readers clicking in and keep the post content relevant to keep them there.

May 10, 2010

Dynamic Signatures

The importance of using email signatures is generally well accepted today. A signature should include, at minimum, your name, company name, contact information (not including street address) and company branding statement but can include so much more. With all of the options today for signatures, you want to make sure that you don't "overdo" such that people cannot hear your email content because the banner is so large, or loud, that it is taking over the screen. Keep it simple, small and information packed !

One feature available today that we feel is well worth the addition to your signature is inserting an RSS Feed from your blog. The feed will automatically update your email signature with a link to your most recent blog post. This will absolutely drive traffic to your blog as long as the content is relevant to your customers receiving your emails.

RSS Feeds added to your dynamic signature are another way to get your blog content in front of the largest possible audience but will also work with any web content. You can choose to drive the traffic to your latest web page content or use the same functionality to insert your most recent newsletter link provided the newsletter is located on the web.

Here is a shareware, freeware and trial ware list of programs that can help you manage your dynamic signatures.

May 9, 2010

Blog Posting Frequency

There are many reasons to blog for business so it is important to determine what your goals are with a business blog. A blog is the same as any other business process. You need to determine your end goal and plan a strategy that gets you there.

For those of you blogging to gain new customers, here is an interesting statistic from a hubspot survey they shared in a recent webinar.

100% of those blogging multiple times a day received a new customer contact through their blog. 90% of those blogging daily will achieve the same result. However, when you go out to those blogging weekly, only 58% received a customer and out at monthly blog updates it drops to 13%.

This does not mean that a business blog cannot serve multiple purposes but it does show that if your primary goal is to gain new customers, blogging has to be a commitment in terms of content relevance, frequency and promotion through social media tools.

May 7, 2010

Paper Counts

The paper you use when providing printed documents to contacts and clients is a big deal. Well, I should say that it's a big deal only if you use the right paper. It's a non-issue if you use plain old 20lb. paper and it's a real detriment if you use cheap photocopy paper. I have had a lot of people comment on my paper over the years and many have said it's an important part of my brand. Not only does quality paper look good, but it also feels good to the touch - it engages other senses - which makes it (and you) memorable. I think it also says that the person you're giving it to is worth the extra cost and effort.

The environment: I try to compensate for my excess by recycling all the paper I print for my own use. Once done with, paper gets flipped over and used again. I had read that this isn't good for your printer but I just retired a printer after doing that for 11 years - can't ask for a printer to last much longer than that! (I also buy cheap recycled paper for my own use.)

My recommendation: Domtar FirstChoice ColorPrint - 96 bright - 28lb. - available in a purple wrapper at Staples. It'll cost you an extra penny per sheet but well worth it.

May 2, 2010

Use Linked In to keep your Contact List Up-to-date

You can export your connections from Linked In and import them into your Outlook address book or other contact list database.  On the MY CONNECTIONS page, in the bottom right corner, click on EXPORT CONNECTIONS.  Follow the directions to easily create a spreadsheet of all your Linked In connections.

May 1, 2010

Search for the Best Blog

Although I've set up the odd blog for other people, I've never really considered having one myself... until 2 days ago.  My friend, Danielle, convinced me to contribute to a 'photo a day' blog.  In 2 days, we've explored WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger, but ended up liking Blogger the best.  It was the easiest to set up and navigate.  Of course, I'm happy as long as I can manipulate the colours and fonts!  So, after the learning curve was done, I decided that Daley Progress deserved a blog... and here you are.  Check back or subscribe because I'll be posting technology tips and other ideas for busy people.