5 Amazingly Simple Blog Post Ideas Every Overworked Business Owner Needs to Know

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

And when it comes to digital marketing, working smarter means taking full advantage of what’s already working.

Whether you’re just starting to write blog posts, or you’ve been doing it for awhile you may need some help to come up with topics for your blog posts. 

This post will show to come up with an unlimited supply of blog post ideas based on the premise that you’re going to imitate that which is already working.

5 steps to writing blog posts in your sleep:

  1. Find out what blog posts are already going viral
  2. Improve upon the existing blog post
  3. Be inspired by powerful headlines that are already working
  4. Adapt the headline to fit your blog post
  5. Publish & spend the rest of the day in the hammock, lavishing in the attention from your adoring fans. 

Sure, that sounds easy- but where to start?

First, the research portion. Finding out what posts are trending is easy, if you have this Top 5 Trending list:

Step One:

Find out what to blog about.

  1. Check out alltop.com for posts that are trending
  2. Search Google Keyword + Best + Top 50 + Best 2014 for great blog post ideas.
  3. Go to the Reddit home page 
  4. Go to BuzzFeed.com
  5. Check out medium.com

Step two:

5 Stupidly Easy Ways to Improve Upon Successful Content

Once you’ve found an article that would provide value for your audience to you, spend a few minutes and think on how you can improve it. 

We’re not suggesting you copy the post. Simply use it as a basis from which to start. Then, ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. If it’s a top 10 list, can you make it into a top 15 list?
  2. Inversely, if it’s a top 10 list, can you make it a top 5 list?
  3. Can you improve upon the image used?
  4. Was there any information missed or outdated?
  5. Can you make it easier or more fun to read?

Step Three:

Creating the best headline for your blog post

Again, we’re going to be inspired by the masters. Check out the headlines on websites like these and make note of one or two exceptionally powerful ones

  1. Mashable.com
  2. Buzzfeed.com
  3. Techcrunch.com
  4. FastCompany.com
  5. The Onion

Step four

Create the best headline you’ve ever not written

Take the most compelling headline you’ve found and modify it to fit your subject matter.

Step five

Publish & revel in your glory.

BONUS Advanced Blogging Manœuvres:

  1. Instal Feedly.com and begin compiling a Google Reader Style aggregate of other industry specific sites that may have great content
  2. Instal the Scrape Extension & Use the “Scrape Similar” feature to get even more hot articles and topics
  3. Opensiteexplorer.com will tell you the most popular pages on any given site– ie- your competitors!

How to write blog posts

This article would not have been possible without the amazing presentation by James WD Anderson at Social Media Camp 2014.

Thank you James!

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Please share it ! Or, if you have a minute and are procrastinating right now, leave me a comment below.

Social in 17 now available

Social In 17

If you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed about how to use Social Media as a marketing tool, you are not alone.

This book cuts through confusing lingo and contradictory advice to bring you up to speed in under 10,000 words.

Complete with printable cheat sheets, this book will quickly position you to receive the increased exposure, credibility and leads that result from successful marketing on social media.

Buy the book on Smashwords
Buy the book on Amazon
Buy the book on ibooks

 

By focusing on practical and tactical information, you will learn:

  1. The differences between Traditional and Digital Media
  2. The Common Pitfalls of marketing using Social Media, and how to avoid them.
  3. Straight Up Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
  4. Growing your network exponentially and continually.
  5. Converting Contacts To Customers
  6. What to Post- Content Curation and Creation
  7. Automation- Save time with today’s automation tools
  8. Getting Set Up– Starting from Scratch or Renovating
  9. Execution– Marketing Yourself in Only 17 Minutes a Day

If you want to:

● Learn to use Social Media to build your business- without spending long hours
● Learn the exact, hands on, proven tactics the experts use to deliver measurable returns
● To receive the step-by-step to-do’s that will help to translate these concepts into daily action

Then this ebook is for you.

Get it from Smashwords
Get it from Amazon
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What people say about Social in 17:

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As a budding author trying to market my books online, Social in 17 has given me a perspective on how to manage my social media presents. I believed that social media was another direct sale tool. With this attitude I did not achieve good results and gave up. Laurel Anne Lindsay’s approach of cultivating a network with sales as a result that network makes more sense to me. Laurel gives an easy to follow plan on how to use social media and suggestions on what media to use. I know that with the tools from Social in 17 I won’t be a social media newb for long

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Super job Laurel!
Great read – keeps me engaged throughout.
Good solid advice on social media.
Lays out easy to follow strategies to keep up to date and current on your social media accounts.

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“Really! Social Media can be done in 17 minutes a day. Laurel gives you the structure, the tips, and the ideas. This book is quick and easy to read. She touches on all the major social media platforms but she isn’t short on details. I enjoyed Laurel’s clear and concise style. Well worth my time (and I teach courses on social media). “


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This whirlwind tour of marketing in the social media age gets right to the point(s) with highly actionable, no-nonsense instructions on how to get the job done. While Ms Lindsay does set context with a solid nod to the What and Why, she deftly takes you to the How and When very efficiently so you’re able to put the learning into practice without delay. Social in 17 is an excellent resource for anyone looking to market their business on social media without having to spend extra consuming theories and hypotheses of arguable utility. Its basically a marketer’s Coles Notes for the modern internet!

 

Get it from Smashwords
Get it from Amazon
Get it from ibooks

 

 

3 Reasons Every Business Owner Should Be Blogging (VIDEO)

You know there are a lot of things you should be doing.

As a business owner, manager or entrepreneur it can be challenging to identify the actions that will generate the best results. When it comes to digital marketing, there is so much information it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

However, there are 3 very good reasons you should be blogging regularly.

Watch the video to learn more.

Could your Site & Social use a little Spring Cleaning?

 

new-media-group-spring-cleaning

Attribution: Barret Anspach

“I get more cleaning done in the ten minutes before someone comes over than I do in a week.” ~ Anonymous

How many of you can relate to this quote?

It’s true that tidying up around the house isn’t a real priority for most until a visitor is expected. But what if that house was the Internet? Your website, your social profiles, your SEO activities?

Your presence on the web is available to anyone and everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no notice that people will be there. They just show up.

That is why you need to ensure that AT LEAST once a year you take time out to check in on and update your website and social media profiles. Call it spring cleaning for the web.

Refresh your website

When it comes to web design trends a lot can happen in a year. Here are three trends for 2014 that you will want to consider when reviewing your website:

  • Responsive Design – More and more consumers are viewing the Internet from their mobile phone or tablet. This means that your website needs to be simple and “responsive” to these viewing platforms.
  • Tell a Story – Your website can no longer be only about the sell, it needs to be about the story. Your customers need to know who you are and what your product is about beyond the standard feature sheet. This makes having a blog that much more important, because original content posted consistently is what will continue to drive traffic to your website.
  • Less Text, More Images One of the biggest trends we have seen over the past year is the transition from text to visual stories. People don’t have time to read long articles anymore. They want short text, videos, or visual representations of data (aka Infographics).

Refresh your Social Profiles

Most people think that once they set up their Social Media Profile for Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn they are done.

However, a lot of things can change in a year, and your social profiles should keep up. Here are three updates you can make, no matter what social platform you are on:

  • Update your profile picture – Have you changed your hairstyle in the past year? Have you changed your fashion style? Would people recognize you if they met you at a networking event? These are all things to consider when reviewing your profile picture. Keeping your profile picture up to date allows people to see how you look today. Also, make sure to keep it consistent across all of your social platforms. This helps to create a consistent brand.
  • Update your ‘About Me’ or ‘Company Description’ – Evolution is a natural occurrence throughout a year. Not only for yourself, but for your company as well. That is why you should take the time to review what you’ve previously written about yourself on your social profiles and see if things have changed. Most likely they have, and taking the time to update this information will keep your followers up to date.
  • Sync your site, search, and social – This is by far the most important point. Make sure to link everything together! Your website should contain links to your social media profiles, and your social media profiles should contain links back to your website. This allows people to find you and connect with you much easier. Do a quick audit to ensure all of these links are present and working.

Want to update your Site, Search, or Social but don’t have the time or resources? Book a consultation with The New Media Group today. Limited spots are available for March, so act fast. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

How Using Google Analytics Will Help You Make Smarter Business Decisions

Did you know there is a free Google website tracking tool?

3 things Google Analytics tells you about your website trafficHere is how Google Analytics can help you achieve your business objectives.

Google Analytics is a free website traffic analytics program which provides an enormous amount of data on your website traffic and user behaviour.

In fact, it’s likely you’re sitting on a gold mine of information.

There is an entire industry dedicated to customer, consumer and market research.

It’s widely believed that the more you know about your customer and their preferences, the more successful you will be.

10 things Google Analytics can tell you about your website traffic:

Google analytics, when properly added to your website can tell you at least 10 things you didn’t know about your future customers.

1. How long people spend on your website

2. What website they were at before, that sent them to your website

3. What keywords they typed into Google or other search engines to get to your website

4. What pages they spend time on and which ones they leave right away

5. What web sites send the traffic that generate the best leads for you.

7. If this is their first time on your site or if they’re returning visitors

8. What device they are using on your site ie: Smartphone versus Laptop etc.

9. Where most of your visitors are geographically located

10. What age & gender your website visitors are.

This information is of little use on it’s own, but with a little analysis you can use these analytics to help you make smarter, more profitable business decisions.

If you knew this information for certain, you could then make fully informed marketing decisions like:

1. What marketing initiatives are deserving of their high budget.

You can tell what website are sending you high quality web traffic that consists of users that stay interested and spend time on your website, and even contact you.

You’ll also be able to tell what websites are either not sending you enough traffic, or the ones that send low quality traffic that leaves right away.

2.  What marketing initiatives should be cut

If your email newsletter sends high quality traffic to your website, but that ad on the radio station isn’t, then it makes sense to cut the radio ad.

This way you can use google analytics to make informed marketing decisions, instead of just guessing what is working and what isn’t.

3. What markets have high demand and little competition- and are ripe for the plucking.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve logged into my Google Analytics and been surprised at some small niche that has a high demand, that I am under servicing.

By quickly reacting to the information displayed in Google Analytics, I can quickly provide that market segment with enough information to make a purchasing decision. In this way I use Google Analytics to drive more profits in my business.

4. What content to create.

If you’re blogging, posting to social media properties or creating any kind of educational or marketing type materials you can use the information from your website statistics to determine what people would like to know more about.

Long tail keyword searches like “google website tracking” often show up in my Google Analytics and help me understand exactly what questions my future customers have.

If I can address these questions properly I have a chance to earn their business.

How will you use analytics in your business? Please comment below.

And, if you found this article valuable, please consider sharing it with your network.

 

The Complete Beginners Guide To Blogging

If you’re wondering how blogging can benefit anyone marketing a business, look no further!

Here we’ve outlined what the benefits of blogging are, how often you should blog, what to blog about and BONUS what to do if you’re not good at writing.

5 benefits of regular business blogging:

  1. Creating a regular blog post is a fantastic way to help the search engines find your website.
  2. Posting fresh content will make visitors want to come back to your website over and over again.
  3. It will give you something to talk about on social media.
  4. Blogging helps establish you as about leader in your industry by increasing your reputation for your expertise and credibility.
  5. As a customer service and sales tool it can help educate prospects on the details of your offering & benefits

photoHow often should I blog?

I recommend that every professional and business start blogging at least one post a month.

How do I start blogging?

Typically each blog post should be between 300 and 500 words.

It should take about an hour to create a blog post and then maybe another half an hour to edit it.

Be sure to schedule a time in and keep that commitment to yourself.

What if I am not good at writing? 

If you are not very good at writing you can use the various voice recording tools to translate your speech into text– then you can always edit it later. (I use the voice to text tool on my iphone).

What should I blog about?

The first thing to do when you are starting to blog is to come up with a topic.

  1. Topics to blog about things that your customers or future customers are concerned with.
  2. If you have a frequently asked questions page on your website, for example, you can start by creating a blog post to provide in-depth answers to each one of those questions.
  3. Visit your website statistics or Google analytics and review the keywords, or what people are typing into Google to get your website that will give you plenty of topics.
  4. Get Interviewed: Another easy way to get blog posts done is to have somebody interview you, record it and then publish those interviews.
  5. News Related Posts: You have things that happen in your business that you can write about, such as a move, expansion, hire, new product line etc.
  6. Piggyback on trends: Whether it’s the latest movie, or an internet meme, see if you can find away to incorporate the trend with your business.
  7. Seasonal posts: Whether it’s Hallowe’en or New Years, there’s always a seasonal event you can capitalize on for new ideas.

Ok I have a blog post- now what?

Once you created your blog post you can then post it on your website and share it with your existing and future customers through your email newsletter and your social networks

You can then repurpose your blog posts by creating videos and custom images to accompany the blog post.

Be sure to review your website statistics to see what posts got the best response, and ask your friends, family, customers and staff to provide you with feedback and help share your post.

If you found this post beneficial, please consider sharing it with your network.

Connect with me online via any of the networks below!

The definitive guide to web marketing for beginners

It used to be that when people were ready to buy they would go to the Yellow Pages.

yellow pagesBusinesses could count on generating more exposure to their target market with Outbound Advertising techniques like advertising in the yellow pages.

But lately, it’s become much harder to get the attention of your future customers.

Consumers ignore outbound marketing messages or bypass them entirely with tools like spam filters, paid radio and PVRs.

waterfall

By positioning your business where customers are looking for what you sell, it’s like standing under a waterfall of regular qualified leads.

But did you know?

There are literally hundreds of people every single month that are searching online for what you sell.

These people are spending hours each day on social media, watching online videos, and searching google

Web marketing is the most effective type of marketing because it allows you to be present where and when customers or actively searching for information on what you sell.

 

By adopting to this change in consumer behavior and being present where your customers are, you can cost effectively tap into a steady stream of inbound leads.

The most effective ways of being present where your customers are is through Site, Search & Social Marketing.

These are the three pillars of marketing success in the digital age

Employed strategically, consistently and professionally, you could find yourself standing under a waterfall of opportunity.

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How to Banish Social Media Guilt

Today we’re going to talk about how to alleviate
social media guilt.

If you’re trying to use social media to generate more leads, credibility and exposure for yourself you probably are suffering from social media guilt.

It’s a phenomenon that occurs when you feel like you’re not on the right
social media web sites, you’re not engaging enough, you’re not posting enough and you’re missing something.

I’m here to give you three simple ways that you can alleviate that feeling.

So the first thing is to find a time to schedule in maybe a half an hour where you can schedule your social media posts in advance.

The program is called hootesuite.com .HootSuite allows you to
schedule your social media posts in advance. I recommend taking a half an
hour chunk on a Sunday or a day that’s slow and post all your posts for at least a week in advance, per network.

So, that even if we have everything go sideways that week at least you know that your social media posts are done.
The second thing I want you to do is download the mobile apps for each of the social media accounts that you’re on.

What this’ll enable you to do is whenever you’ve got a spare moment, just
check in to your social media accounts and engage with your network.

This offers you a really quick and easy way to engage when you’ve got me a few
minutes to spare stuck in traffic or if you’re waiting for someone to show up for a meeting or something like that.

The third thing I want you to do is set an alarm so when you are actually on a
desktop computer and you are checking your accounts.

I set my alarm so you’re not on there wasting time, looking at pictures
of cats.

If you liked this video, please share! What do you struggle with in social media? Share in the comments below.

7 Ways Successful People Use LinkedIN

Throwback!! I filmed this video about Marketing your business using LinkedIN over 2 years ago.

While I am happy to report both better hair days and an improved filming technique, the recommendations and information I provided are still true today.

LinkedIN remains one of THE most effective places for business owners to bolster credibility, build community and generate leads.

5 reasons you need to be on LinkedIN

  1. LinkedIN is THE social network for business only use
  2. LinkedIN is being used by your future customers- currently over 238 million users
  3. LinkedIN profiles are critical to reputation management– they usually show up prior to any other website when searching someone’s name
  4. LinkedIN can be used to get on Google- profiles display on search engines for target keywords- they can be optimized.
  5. LinkedIN users are affluent- the median household income of a user is $100,000

7 Ways Successful People Use LinkedIN

  1. To solicit endorsements– boost credibility and your reputation
  2. To stay in touch with prospects, clients, suppliers and any other business contacts
  3. To generate leads through an optimized profile and company page
  4. To find out who knows the person you’re interested in contacting, and asking for that introduction.
  5. To showcase portfolio pieces or projects visually or through multimedia
  6. To make new connections by contributing to conversations in industry groups
  7. To listen to prospects and clients and hear what’s important to them

In fact, it’s become even more effective than it used to be.

Recently, LinkedIN introduced In Page Analytics- which is a fancy way of saying that now you can see exactly how your audience reacts to your posts- in real time.

This means, less guessing and more knowing what resonates with your target market.

linkedIN-in-page-analytics

 

Ebook_Linkedin_mock4Do you want to learn exactly how to leverage LinkedIN to generate leads? Grab your copy of my free workbook here:

Why use Social Media Marketing?

why-use-social-mediaImagine a continual global networking event with hundreds of millions of attendees. This is, in a nutshell, what the world of social media is.

As such, there exists tremendous opportunity to tap into your target market and build connections and nurture relationships with potential customers.

That being said, this world of social media marketing can be a tricky one.

You’ve heard the horror stories of too much personal information being shared and extraordinary time invested with nothing to show for it.

With a little understanding of social media etiquette and some patience, you can significantly increase your exposure to your target market and build a community of qualified leads, prospects, fans and influencers.

The return on investment is certainly worthwhile.

Here are 5 very good reasons you’ll want to use social media marketing.

1. It gets you in front of your target market

The first is that it’s very likely your target market spends hours on social media marketing websites. They’re present and engaged on these sites, and having a presence gives you the opportunity to engage with them.

2. It’s free

Unlike a lot of advertising, you don’t have to spend any money to use the tools.

3. It builds your network

You can build a network of contacts online, beyond the restrictions of the physical.

Whether that’s your geographic location, time zone or the fearsome gatekeeper to your prospect’s direct line, you have the opportunity to connect with people that you otherwise would not be able to.

4. It keeps you in contact

All those business cards you collect in your day to day life can be put to use. Maintain these connections in a manner that’s appropriately light given that you’ve just met, but allows you to stay top of mind as well.

5. It’s like word of mouth referrals-on steroids

Each time you can have someone in your target market engage with your business online, that action spreads out to their network – giving you free publicity and an unofficial endorsement of your business. You get instant, free exposure to hundreds if not thousands.

Beyond the theoretical reasons why, here are 7 statistics to show it works:

Here are 7 statistics that show social media marketing actually works for turning a profit.

1. 85% of Internet users have Facebook accounts; 49% are on Twitter. (HubSpot)

2. B2B businesses experience a 61% success rate in customer acquisition using LinkedIn.(HubSpot)

3. 43% of all online consumers are social media fans or followers. (Harp Social)

4. 80% of people prefer to get coupons, promos, and discounts from brands in social media.(HubSpot)

5. 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands that they follow. (iModerate Research Technologies)

6. 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter, and 20% have closed deals.(Mindjumpers)

7. 20% of Facebook users have purchased something because of ads or comments they saw there. (Ipsos)

Essentially social media websites provide us with a platform to connect with more people than ever before. In connecting with others, we have the opportunity to build relationships and get others to know like and trust us.

“All things being equal, people will do business with — and refer business to — those people they know, like and trust.” – Bob Burg.

 

Learn more about Social Media.

Your Turn!

I’d love to hear your questions or challenges – Tell me in the comments below.

And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Laurel LindsayLaurel Lindsay is a Calgary Internet Marking Consultant & President of The New Media Group Inc. She has over 8 years hands-on Internet Marketing experience.

Laurel is enthusiastic and passionate about helping people live better lives by leveraging the power of the internet.