Following are five elements that can consistently be found in popular business blog posts, regardless of the industry, niche or topic. Structuring your posts around these elements will give you the most interesting, eye-catching and readable posts possible.
Clearly defining your audience makes all the difference when you’re creating content. If you’re writing a piece about social media management tools, how do you frame it correctly? The answer, of course, all depends on who you’re writing for. Any of the following are reasonable approaches or working titles:
Starting a new business is exhilarating. A world of possibility awaits, including the possibilities of incredible success or catastrophic failure. The dichotomy between those two extremes leads many to a purgatory of indecision, making them apprehensive in making the final push to become an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, there is never a perfect time to start a business. No matter how long you wait, you’ll never be experienced enough, you’ll never have enough capital, and you’ll never have zero risk. There’s always a chance that your business will fail, but there’s also always a chance that it will succeed. That being said, while there are no perfect times to start a business, there are good times to start a business. And if you’ve experienced one of these five signs, it could be time for you to finally begin your entrepreneurial journey:
1. YOUR JOB IS NO LONGER FULFILLING. In every job, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Just because you have a few bad days in a row, that doesn’t necessarily mean the only way out is to start your own business. But if, through both good days and bad days, you feel like your job truly isn’t fulfilling, it may be time to consider owning your own business. Typically, people stop feeling fulfilled when they aren’t able to do the work they want to do. Oftentimes, this is because someone else is calling all the shots. If you’re thrilled at the idea of setting your own schedule, delegating your own tasks, and tackling the work you want to tackle, it may be time to pursue entrepreneurship.
2. YOU UNDERSTAND THE RISKS OF BUSINESS OWNERSHIP. Of course, it’s not a good idea to simply jump into business ownership. There are serious risks involved, and only when you understand those risks fully should you consider yourself ready to take the next step. Before you make any major decisions, do some research. You may already be aware of some of the more obvious risks (such as losing your capital investment, losing your current job, running into legal problems, etc.), but you may find more than you thought existed. It’s also helpful to talk to other entrepreneurs in your area—especially the ones who have started a business and failed.
3. YOU HAVE AN IDEA YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT. If you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, you probably already have an idea for a business. Is it one that you aren’t very interested in, but you think it could make a lot of money? Is it one that you’re passionate about, but you aren’t sure of all the details? Believe it or not, the second option is a better sign that you’re ready to start a business. Even if you have a great idea on paper, if you aren’t passionate about it, you aren’t going to be driven to make that idea successful. The most successful entrepreneurs are ones who begin with passion in their hearts, and if you’ve already found yours, you could be ready to begin.
4. YOU HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM. Very few entrepreneurs are able to go it alone. While you might be the only person making decisions at the top, you’re going to need friends, family members, and mentors who can guide you through the toughest decisions and be there to pick you up when you inevitably fall. Your spouse, your children, and your friends need to know your desire for entrepreneurship, and even if they’re not sure about it, they need to support you through the process. In some cases, that may mean being ready to pick up additional income should the business not turn out as you expected. In others, that simply means being someone to run decisions by. In any case, having a support system is an important step before you officially pursue the startup life.
5. YOU KNOW WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU. Some people go their whole lives without realizing what’s actually important to them. They may think that being their own boss is what matters to them, but feel unfulfilled when they actually attain that position. Take a critical look at your motivations for becoming an entrepreneur. Are they rooted in perceptions you have about how great entrepreneurship is? Or are they more focused on what you truly want out of life? Only you can make this distinction. Don’t be discouraged if the first few phases of starting your own business don’t turn out to be what you expected. Entrepreneurship is a volatile world, but as long as you stay committed to improving your ideas and continue to work hard, you’ll always have a chance to succeed. Trust yourself. Otherwise, you run the risk of failing before your business even gets off the ground.
And remember, dont stop running towards your dream. There will always be someone out there that has done what you want to do.
Chances are, you’ve already come up with a business idea at some point in your life, whether you realize it or not. Some people come up with a possible idea for a solution to a common problem and dismiss it, never to address the subject seriously again. Others generate an idea for a business and fixate on it, trying to take action but never getting off the ground. (more…)
Quitting your job on a whim based on a fleeting idea that popped into your mind probably isn’t the best course of action, no matter how cool that idea seems at the time. Before delving into the world of entrepreneurship, first you need to prepare yourself for the sometimes-harsh realities of business ownership. Some people are destined to be entrepreneurs. From the time they get through school, or maybe even before that, they’re hungry to start a business and lead it to success, and they’ll stop at nothing to make that dream a reality. For others, starting a business is a scary, intimidating notion. There are too many unknowns to take the plunge. But if you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur, don’t forget all the benefits that go along with it:
Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.
This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding of how to achieve those results. Here’s a look at just some of the ways social media marketing can improve your business:
1. INCREASED BRAND RECOGNITION.
Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a news feed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.
2. IMPROVED BRAND LOYALTY.
According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.
3. MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO CONVERT.
Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert.
When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant. And as I pointed out in my article, “What’s the point of social media marketing?” “opportunity” is the first element of any action.
4. HIGHER CONVERSION RATES.
Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because of people like doing business with other people; not with companies. Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.
5. HIGHER BRAND AUTHORITY.
Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people who are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.
6. INCREASED INBOUND TRAFFIC.
Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and people searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.
7. DECREASED MARKETING COSTS.
According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Six hours are not a significant investment for a channel as large as social media. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts. Even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheap (depending on your goals, of course). Start small and you’ll never have to worry about going over budget—once you get a better feel for what to expect, you can increase your budget or talk to us and increase your conversions correspondingly.
8. BETTER SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS.
SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.
9. RICHER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES.
Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly show your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend more products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.
10. IMPROVED CUSTOMER INSIGHTS. Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can check user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue. These are the benefits of sustaining a long-term social media campaign, but if you’re still apprehensive about getting started, consider these points:
- Your Competition Is Already Involved. Your competitors are already involved on social media, which means your potential social media traffic and conversions are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits while you stand idly by. If, somehow, your competition is not involved on social media, there’s even more of a reason to get started—the field is open. Let us hold your hand
- The Sooner You Start, the Sooner You Reap the Benefits. Social media is all about relationship building, and it tends to grow exponentially as your followers tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, and so on. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to start growing that audience.
- Potential Losses Are Insignificant. Realistically, you don’t have anything to lose by getting involved in social media. The amount of time and money it takes to create your profiles and start posting is usually minimal, compared to other marketing channels. Just six hours a week or a few hundred dollars is all it takes to set up your presence.
Content strategy is at the heart of SEO; it results in inbound links, social signals, and brand trust, and provides fuel to search engines in the form of organized, informative material. But how do you know where to start? How do you create and publish content that will result in positive ROI? To start, you need to have a good understanding of who your target market is, what they like, and what they tend to share. This will give you the insight you need to create the most effective and engaging content. Begin by taking some time to look at what’s working for your competitors. Take note of what your customers and target audience tends to share the most. What gets the most tweets, likes, and shares within your industry? Is it breaking news? How-to guides? Industry expertise? Simple little tips? Once you have some basic topic ideas, it’s time to start planning. There are many different types of content that you can create, depending on what your goal is. Here’s a simple guide to some different types of content and what they’re best used for.
BEST FOR ENTERTAINMENT:
• Branded videos
BEST USED TO EDUCATE:
• Press releases
• Trend reports
BEST TO INSPIRE YOUR AUDIENCE:
• Celebrity endorsements
• Community forums
BEST USED TO CONVINCE YOUR AUDIENCE OF SOMETHING:
• Case studies
• Interactive demo’s
• Product features
• Data sheets and price guides
GOOD FOR BOTH CONVINCING AND INSPIRING:
• Special events
GOOD FOR BOTH ENTERTAINMENT & EDUCATION:
GOOD FOR BOTH CONVINCING AND EDUCATION:
• Demo videos
As you can see, there are many types of content – blog posts are not the only option. Your goal should be to develop content that engages your audience while providing useful, helpful, or entertaining information. Aim to become the go-to resource for your industry and your brand, along with your audience, will bloom. The easiest and most effective way to plan your content strategy is to use an editorial calendar. Plan when you’re going to publish blog posts, videos, and white papers, and adhere to the schedule. The more consistently and the more frequently you post, the better—but remember, quality needs to be your top concern.