5 Tips for Writing a Business Blog Post

This is the second entry by guest blogger, Emily Sidley from Three Girls, a PR firm that specializes in Media Relations. Too often people slap together a few random items and flood the media channels in hopes that someone will pick up the news. Follow these steps and you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed.

As we often say, maintaining a blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field, help visitors to your site get to “know you” a bit before potentially working with you, and increase your website’s SEO.

Blogs have come a long way in the past few years. With most major companies and news organizations hosting a blog on their site – not to mention experts and practitioners in a wide variety of fields – blogs are starting to lose the stereotype of a 13-year-old’s online journal. Writing a personal blog is extremely different than writing for a business blog, though. So how do you get started?

Here are 5 tips for writing a business blog post:

  1. Pick a Topic. What do you want to write about? You can include a list of tips, provide your commentary on industry news, answer frequently asked questions about your company, share client case studies, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to coming up with topics for blog posts.
  2. Brainstorm Content. What do you want to include in your blog post? Although you want it to be promotional, remember that the purpose is to provide something of value. What helpful information can you share for your readers?
  3. Write the post. Once you have your topic and know what you’re going to write about, start typing out the actual post. It’s always a good idea to write as if it’s a note to a friend. In addition to keeping the tone pleasant and casual (as blogs tend to be less formal), this will help you avoid the industry jargon. How would you explain it if you were talking to a friend that doesn’t work in your field? Use the same language for your readers as well.
  4. Edit. This is a step a LOT of bloggers miss, but it’s extremely important! Read over the post you’ve written and check for words spell check mis-corrected, sentences with extra words, and typos. Since your blog is a way of introducing yourself to potential customers, you want it to be as accurate as possible. Even if you aren’t a trained writer, your credibility is established through correct grammar and spelling. For editing tips, read this blog post.
  5. Publish. Once your post is ready to go, upload it to your blog and publish away! I always recommend previewing the post before hitting “publish” as you can often catch last-minute typos and formatting errors. Feel free to include an image within the post, too, as it can make the article even more appealing to readers.

We want to hear from you! How do you approach writing a blog post for your business? Do you have any tips to share?

Before You Pitch

Today I want to welcome guest blogger, Emily Sidley from Three Girls, a PR firm that specializes in Media Relations. Too often people slap together a few random items and flood the media channels in hopes that someone will pick up the news. Follow these steps and you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed.

Securing media coverage takes time. A lot of consumers think getting coverage is just a matter of calling up a reporter, but in reality it takes a lot more work behind-the-scenes to be ready to contact the media.

Reporters are busy people. They have constant deadlines, and don’t have the time to wait for you to compile info or take photos, so make sure you’re ready before you approach them. Anticipate what they’re going to ask for so you can send it right away when they ask.

For each campaign we put together at Three Girls, we have a checklist of items to prepare prior to press pitching:

  • A Virtual Press Kit: This document includes contact information, information about the company in who-what-where format and high-res images. We always recommend posting it online so anyone you’re talking to has 24/7 access to it (see our client page for an example). If you don’t have a place to post a press kit on your site, you should at least have it ready to go in case information or images are requested.
  • 3-5 High-Res Images: Although these are included in the Virtual Press Kit, I wanted to go into more detail. It’s important to have several images for the media to choose from. For print publications, they need to be at least 300-dpi and 3×5 in size, although larger is okay too. We also recommend a plain white background so the media outlet’s art department has more options (they can drop it into a collage of products, make the background whatever color/design they want, etc).
  • A Sample Letter: This document is most of the same information in the Virtual Press Kit, but limited to one page. We have clients send this one-page information sheet in every single package they send out to provide the journalist with vital information they can reference quickly.
  • A Sample Package: Prior to press-pitching, we make sure all our clients have Sample Packages that will really “Wow!” the press. They don’t need to have a lot of bells and whistles, but they do need to be clean, sharp and look professional. Before you contact the media, make sure you have everything you need to ship a few samples, including boxes, tissue paper, packing tape, etc.
  • A Fact Sheet: For clients that offer a service as opposed to a product, we create a Fact Sheet to send interested journalists in lieu of a Sample Letter. This is the same information that’s in the Virtual Press Kit as well, but formatted more like a bulleted list that is easy to skim and pull specifics from quickly.

Did I miss anything? What else would you make sure you have ready to go prior to pitching?

The Next Social Media Trend: Geolocation and its Business Application.

By Johanna Stutz

Consider for a moment the speed at which the tech industry evolves. If you are not part of the newest “thing”, then you are behind in your online marketing potential.
The most difficult part of following these trends in not identifying them, but leveraging them for business.

Let us consider the new attention to geolocation sharing sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Both sites use GPS to verify their uses location to their “check-in.” Both are claiming tens-of-thousands of new users weekly.

Often referred to as location-based social networking, these sites build off of the use of smartphones, status updates and connecting with people you know by highlighting your current location.

But how do you leverage this behavior in the business world?

Option 1: Your Website

WordPress has already built an inventory of plugins and widgets that can identify the geolocation of the visitors of your site. Web content or ads can be altered depending on the region, city or neighborhood of each viewer.

Option 2: Email Marketing

Automatically segment your email mailing list into geolocation groups and tailor marketing campaigns to the needs of these different groups. How? Through Mail Chimp WordPress plugin.

Option 3: Play the Game

The most enticing aspect of joining these Geolocation sites is the users ability to turn real life into a game. Users earn “badges” for checking-in to specific locations or types of location numerous times. Some businesses give out discounts and other rewards to the current most-frequent visitor (mayor) or individual who have reached a minimum required number. As a participating business you gain valuable information on the demographics of these individuals who have digitally confirmed to the world that they visit your place of business.

There are other possible applications for location-sharing –a travel blog comes to mind.
However, successful marketing with this new service, as with any other, requires that you make it work for your needs.

Avoiding the Glazed Eyes Syndrome – Writing for Your Website Front Page – Part II

It’s a  fact. There is nothing more appealing to us than to know that we matter to others.  Creative use of web data mining by way of Google Analytics can help you unearth the hidden gold  “in them thar hills”.  The golden nuggets of information that, when used correctly in good content writing, can make your site visitors feel like the King of the Mountain.

When you meet a new person for the first time, do your eyes glaze over and your ears stop hearing them after a while, when all they can do is to go on and on about themselves?  How great their service is, how fantastic their qualifications are… on and on….

You want them to hear about you as well – a give and take of conversation.  Well, it’s exactly the same on-line.  If your Home Page isn’t focused totally on who your site visitor is, what their concerns and needs are, then they will do the on-line equivalent of the “glazed eyes” which is, to click-off your site and go elsewhere – where they are more appreciated and their concerns heard.

Use of  Google Analytics,  either on your own, or by using a web analytics consulting company,  can make the task of finding out what is going on with your site visitors so much easier.  Why  keep digging in soil that has no vein of gold? When just a few feet away the proverbial Mother Lode may be waiting for you.  Discovery may be as simple as website analysis.

In order to provide your on-line visitor with an experience that makes them feel heard and appreciated, you need to clearly understand who your visitor is – the whole demographic package.  Once you have this crucial piece of information you can use that as the foundation for your writing.

Your writing will be totally different if your primary audience is 20 years old, male and going to college verses 45 years old, female and working in a corporate job.

Until next time, Happy Data Mining

Suzanne Elliott
Website Content Copy Writer

2.0 to go (web series): WordPress from start to finish

Let’s face it, the best part of take out is that you don’t have to do the cooking.

Come spend the day in our local Tech Kitchen as we whip up some fantastic web pages with WordPress. We call it “Make it and Take It,” but you can call it a mini miracle, you decide :-)!

I’m not saying that WordPress is easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy, but let’s face it: you’re all intelligent people with a keen eye for what you want in a website. Why let someone else control the wheel? We’ve designed this workshop with beginner and intermediate users in mind. By the end of the day you will have a better understanding of WordPress and sit in the driver’s seat of your own, custom-made site. And the best part is that you won’t have to pay someone else $5,000 every time you need a picture added. (Well, the best part is that you get personalized attention from the best in the Bay Area, but saving money is a close second).

Benefits of the Workshop

  • Install WordPress on a web host using FTP
  • Select themes, add content & publish
  • What are the best WordPress plugins / widgets to install
  • Keeping your WordPress website safe and secure from internet hackers
  • Controlling spam comments
  • Getting the help you need and putting it all Together

The Details

  • Hosting
  • Installation
  • Customization
  • Configuration
  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Widgets
  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Media
  • Links

All this for only $99 with the discount code “mpthree” ($149 from August 1st to the 18th and $199 at the door, if space is still available.)

Chopsticks are optional.

P.S. Future 2.0 To Go workshops include SEO, design, social media, and content generation. Join our mailing list and you’ll be the first to know!

PPS. For those interested, we will be having one/one trainings for people – $25/15 minutes for either Massimo or Clyde.

Your Front Page – It’s Not About You…

One of the most important things you can do to improve the content of your Front Page, in addition to use of Web Analytics,  is to ask yourself this question.   “Does this page address the concerns and needs of my site visitor?” – Will your site visitor immediately feel a connection and want to keep reading your content – and then take the next step, which is to be interested enough in your site to stay and check out some more information – maybe even sign up for your ezine or special offer… Read More about Your Front Page – It’s Not About You…

When a Mentor Becomes the Mentee

I just finished working on a web analytics project through the Analysis Exchange. It was a great experience and so I wanted to take this time to encourage other web analysts to consider donating the time and expertise as well.
First, after signing up with the exchange, I was matched with the Myelin Repair Foundation–the world’s largest research organization looking for the next generation of MS treatments. Coincidentally, I have two people in my life who both suffer from MS and was thrilled to be able to work with a group that is working so hard to help people like Sylvie and Derek. The foundation has a full-time employee working on the site’s web analytics, but they needed some extra guidance on working with the conversions. After initial consultations, we decided to focus on good alternatives to their existing system in order to track conversion to it’s conclusion. Read More about When a Mentor Becomes the Mentee

Web Intelligence Details: Your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

If you’re new to web intelligence and struggling to gather data, how do you know if your efforts are really paying off? Well, there are these wonderful things called “benchmarks” and KPI, and this is where they come into play.

What is a KPI?

Not to be confused with SEO’s KEI (Keyword Effective Index), KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. As Avinash Kaushik would say, KPIs are measures that help you understand how you are performing against your objectives. They can help you define and evaluate whether you’re making adequate, successful progress towards your long-term goals.

    KPI's as explained by Avinash KaushikA good KPI used to measure performance should meet the following criteria:

  1. Uncomplex
  2. Relevant
  3. Timely
  4. Instantly useful

Read More about Web Intelligence Details: Your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)