How To Succeed At Content Marketing On A Small Budget

Here’s great news for your small business: You can succeed at content marketing without spending a fortune. In fact, you may be able to out-content market much larger competitors with much larger budgets. In this article, we’ll review a simple, focused approach to creating a content marketing campaign that is affordable and effective.

shutterstock_95024107Why You Will Succeed: Quality Trumps Quantity

Large companies sometimes turn content marketing into link building campaigns for SEO — putting the emphasis on the number of links, and hence the number of articles published. But whether for Google or people, high-quality content achieves the best results.

Small-business owners understand their business inside-out and know how to talk to customers and prospects. Thus, they are in a position to write highly authoritative and useful content — content that high-profile, influential websites and blogs in their niche are eager to publish. Such content holds several important benefits for small businesses:

  1. Improving brand image
  2. Establishing credibility
  3. Expanding brand awareness
  4. Generating sales leads and referrals
  5. Creating natural links that greatly improve the firm’s SEO visibility

shutterstock_164492432How to Succeed: A Hands-on Approach

The secret weapon to small-business content marketing is you. You know what to write about. You know how to write about it in ways that influence customer perception and action. You know the top publishing sites and may already have a dialog with some of them. Set realistic goals of publishing two articles per month and proceed as follows:

  • Set aside one to two hours per month to brainstorm topics with your team. Create a simple editorial detailing topics, key points and a target-publishing site for each article.
  • Set aside two to four hours per month to write two articles. Find an editor, either on staff or freelance, to edit as needed. The level of editing you need depends a lot on your writing skills; don’t be deterred if you are not a master writer. For more insight on editing, click here.
  • Set aside one to three hours per month to pitch your articles to publishing sites. You may be able to delegate this assignment to your top marketing person.
  • Task a staffer to monitor published articles. Keep track of the number of comments and social shares each article produces, as well as how many visits to your website were referred from publishing sites. Have this person alert you to any comments that need your response. Spend one hour per month reviewing performance data.
  • Continuously improve your efforts by looking for new publishing sites, and monitoring customer/prospect feedback and questions from whatever sources for new topic ideas.

This content marketing to-do list requires a little over one day a month from the writer (you) — and not much at all in the way of hard costs.

How to Succeed: Stay Focused on Off-site Articles

It’s tempting to expand into other types of content marketing once you’ve gotten your off-site article publishing off the ground. But take care: spreading yourself too thin could lead to mediocre execution on all fronts. Here are reasons not to venture out too quickly in certain content marketing avenues:

  • Social Media. You can labor for years to build a sizeable, engaged and relevant following on your own social media sites. Far easier is to piggyback on the established social media communities of your publishing sites.
  • Company Blog. An on-site blog is certainly a good thing, but doing it properly will consume a lot of internal resources. Effective blogs require the steady production of high-quality content and energetic marketing to develop an audience. Additionally, a blog should have an underlying SEO strategy that adds another layer of complexity and cost.
  • Visual Content. Infographics, video, slide presentations and photography have a huge “cool” factor and attract attention from valuable publishers. Nevertheless, visual content is expensive to produce and hard to do effectively, even with a substantial budget.

If you see your initial content strategy gain traction, based on lead generation, social shares, anecdotal evidence and other relevant factors, you can always expand. It’s a great problem to have — much better than trying to do too much and getting nowhere.

sn-brad-shorr-2Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, an Internet marketing firm serving business of all sizes with their content marketing needs. You can read Brad’s work on Moz, Smashing Magazine, and About.com.

How Working Collectively Can Create a Better Customer Experience

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, Jamie Patterson-Kaulmann – Enjoy! 

via PhotoPin

via PhotoPin

The concept of the Marketing Hourglass is ubiquitous in the marketing world. An improvement on the traditional marketing funnel, it expands the traditional funnel by adding a back half to the equation and putting the focus of marketing on the total customer experience. In the same way that John has introduced the Marketing Hourglass as a systematic way to improve your customers’ experiences, he has also advocated for focus on strategic partnerships as a way to add additional value to your customer.

Today I’d like to talk to you about the power of collectives and how not only projectizing your organization around collective knowledge and your strategic partnerships, but how actually forming strategic networks can add exponential value for everyone involved. There are several ways you can leverage the power of your network to provide increased value to your customers by working with partners to increase their knowledge, provide them additional services and create projects around their needs.

Leverage collective knowledge

One place to start is by looking within your network or extended network for anyone who could augment your expertise. Look for people with whom your combined expertise could add value across functions and disciplines in areas where you might not personally be an expert. An example of this would be a former executive at a company I once worked. Bob Stangarone recently formed an agency Stangarone and Associates, a powerhouse of Aviation Industry experts who collectively provide value across all disciplines and knowledge areas of the industry.

The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network is another prime example of a network of independent companies working together to provide collective value to the market. We frequently work together and share experience to provide added value to our customers. The beauty of this type of network is that any customer who engages with one network consultant gains access to the collective knowledge of 80+ other marketing consultants in the network.

Form a collective network

Work on becoming a super connector. By looking at your network differently and placing a priority on finding opportunities to bring people together who can add value to each other and who might not have had the opportunity to work together otherwise, you become even more valuable to your entire network. This is especially true when the parties you bring together might have seen each other as competition previously, and you help them see how they can actually add more value to the market together than was possible independently. If you need some inspiration, look to the following examples as guides.

Collective entrepreneurship is epitomized in female entrepreneur Lisa Chuma, who created the Women’s Expo shortly after immigrating to Switzerland. Her Expo allows women business owners to present their products and services to the Swiss population, but her guidance and leadership has created an environment where many of the women now work together to provide enhanced packages and services. This not only has the added value of providing better products and services to the market, it has increased the respective customer bases of everyone in this network.

Unity Mark, a fellow Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, is another example. Their UnityMark project is a social directory platform that allows non-profits and cause-based projects to develop powerful online profiles so that the real story behind their cause can be heard, found and shared. It is a place where businesses, consumers, and causes can connect, communicate and support each other.

And lastly, www.addictlab.com is a platform in existence for almost two decades which encourages sponsors, members, and clients to come together from anywhere in the world to collaborate on innovation co-creation projects. They have recently launched www.yourownlab.com, a platform where you can create your own innovation lab for creative collaboration.

When looking to build a collective network, think of yourselves as a neural network. In a neural network, not all neurons are firing all the time; they only fire when they are needed for delivery of the task at hand. By forming such a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive network and bringing together your respective communities into a larger community, you provide more people with the power to collaborate, increase ideas and provide a value far greater than what would have been achieved independently.

Patterson-Kaulmann Jamie 2 (1)Jamie Patterson-Kaulmann is the founder of Alight Business Solutions GbmH, dedicated to helping mission-driven small businesses implement systematic, workable agile and marketing solutions. Jamie is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and a PMI certified PMP. A displaced Kansan, she currently resides in Switzerland with her husband and daughter. For more articles like this, visit the Alight Business Solutions blog or connect via LinkedIn.

How to Build a Blog with 100,000+ Monthly Page Views

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Vinay Patankar – Enjoy!

how to build a blog

You’ve probably heard that blogging is a great way to generate leads and sales for your business. John has talked about blogging many times on this very blog. And the truth is, it does work, many companies have seen stellar results from creating compelling blogs and building large audiences around them.

But why is it so hard?

While this may be true, building a successful blog is much harder than it sounds. I’ve been blogging for a long time. I ran a personal blog and a number of different niche blogs during my time as an Affiliate Marketer. I wrote hundreds of posts and did various “link building” tactics to try and rank my blogs to get traffic. This did produce some results, I got a bit of traffic and a few sales, but it never turned into the lead-generating-cash-machine I dreamt about every night before bed.

It was only when I started blogging for my startup Process Street did I start to see some real numbers and results from my efforts. We are still in early days (the blog is about 6 months old) but we recently hit the 1,000 subscriber mark and are now receiving over 100,000 page views every month!

traffic stats

What changed?

So what did I do different this time than all the other times I blogged?

The answer is content promotion. In my early days of blogging, I would spend 90% of my time writing content, once it was done I’d share it on my social media properties then move on to the next post. I now spend just 30% of my time on creating content and 70% promoting it.

content creation vs content promotion

This does not mean I write lower quality content by any means, in fact, my content is much higher quality now, I just write fewer posts. Like much fewer. I was writing up to 10 articles a day across my various blogs, now I am lucky if I manage to get 1 per week out. But when I write, I write longer, more detailed, more personal, more actionable and more impactful posts than I ever did before. This is not by chance, this is part of the carefully curated content strategy that I came up with from watching some of the greatest SaaS content marketers in the world like Buffer and Moz.

Creating high quality content is absolutely necessary to build a blog that people read, share and link to, but creating high quality content is only half the battle (or 30%!). High quality content is not useful if nobody sees it. Today, I have a team of 3 Virtual Assistants that focus on promoting my content, and not just content on my blog, I have them promote guest posts I write on other peoples blogs (like this one) plus any post that links to one of my products or posts.

So what is content promotion and how do I do it?

Well I’m glad you asked. It just so happens that I created a very detailed and in-depth checklist that you can follow to promote your content. This checklist is responsible for driving at least 1,000 visitors to every post I have written, it in itself is a huge piece of content that took me 3 days to create! Now it’s all yours. Use it yourself or hand it off to a VA and watch the visitors roll in.

Grab my content promotion checklist below and supercharge your blog today.

vinay headshot process street 100x100Vinay Patankar is an ex digital nomad and startup growth specialist. He is the CEO of Process Street, a platform that manages recurring processes for teams and turns businesses into automated, self growing machines. Find him on Twitter, Google+ or his Blog. Sign up for a free trial of Process Street here: http://process.st

What Customers Want

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Mark Kirkpatrick– Enjoy!

photo credit: shutterstock

photo credit: shutterstock

The only consistent in the wants and needs of internet users is change. This has less to do with finicky temperaments and more to do with the change of the infrastructure of the internet itself. The gap in demands of internet users now compared to ten years ago is just as vast as that between the technologies of each of these two eras.

For online entrepreneurs—or anyone with a website, really—this means that incorporating what your customers want to see online is determined just as much by human nature as it is by keeping current with internet trends, and updating accordingly.

Fortunately, the things people want are not fundamentally different from moment to moment, and are grounded in a few fundamental principles. Knowing these will help optimize the changes you do choose to make in accordance with new developments.

Device Functionality

While the idea that making sure your site or content works on the device being used to access it sounds like common sense, this becomes a little bit more complicated in practice. Currently, internet access occurs from two primary categories of devices: computers and mobile devices. As most are aware, computers are on the decline and mobile devices are gaining popularity.

This is worth noting because, while making sure your site had a mobile component was good enough in the past, in certain cases, mobile should now be the focus of your site’s design. A quick look at a few sites, both big and small, offering currently popular services will reveal a clean, minimal design, ideal for mobile devices.

While mobile access is the biggest factor in the current look and function of the internet, it’s worth looking ahead to new developments, such as 3D printing or “the internet of things” for an idea of how internet use might look in the future. While these two innovations might not necessarily determine the look of the internet in the future, keeping up-to-date with these and other new technologies and offering functionality before other, similar sites, is one way to offer an edge over competitors.

Easily Viewable Content

When providing content to your customers or viewers, your goal is likely not just for it to be viewed, but for it to be understood. This is how content generates sales: with new information, customers now want what it is you’re offering. Accomplishing this is a multifaceted feat: form is just as important as function. While creating quality content has its own set of best practices, the currently dominant shape of popular content is in videos.

Some cynics believe this to be due to a decline in attention span. However, for younger generations, short videos fit into a schedule determined by short periods in between classes or brief study breaks. While a detailed article can likely only be skimmed in that period of time, a short video will get its point across, and, if it’s good, be shared with other young consumers on their breaks.

However some surveys even suggest that people watch even long online videos without any qualms. Small videos are nowadays being incorporated not just on websites and social networks but even within ads. Videos have been popular since the early days of YouTube, but with Instagram, Vine and Snapchat each changing how videos are viewed, and in turn increasing their relevance in consumers’ lives, video marketing is expected to be more important than ever.

Social Media Relevance

In the case of Snapchat specifically, these are not just videos but disappearing videos. With messaging apps on the rise, private, individualized content is likely to be the shape social media will take in the future.

Whether or not things continue in this direction (sites like Ello offer alternate, privacy-centric solutions), staying up-to-date with social media trends is key for business relevancy. While creating a Facebook page was a great tactical move for businesses in the past, Facebook is beginning a slow decline. And when knowing what customers want before they do is starting to determine the speed of marketing, starting a new campaign on a site that’s even just beginning to go stale could offer diminishing returns.

While the ideas above offer some ideas of how to meet customers’ needs, both conscious and subconscious, new news could leave internet users suddenly wanting something they never knew they wanted before. To market to this group successfully, staying ahead of this news, when possible, will ensure your campaign exists even before your customers know that you have something they want, offering an immediate source of gratification. In a constant state of change, keeping one step ahead of that change, while requiring a little more risk, will also lead to the highest rate of success.

author_markMark Kirkpatrick is an online writer and tech enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. In addition to researching how technology affects every industry, he also contributes to 1800-Number.com’s blog with his knowledge of business communications and innovations in virtual office tech.

 

Using Large Business Tactics on a Small Business Budget

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Jesse Aaron – Enjoy!

You won’t find your local pizza shop in the Super Bowl advertising line-up, but you will find Papa John’s there. You won’t find your local shoe store sponsoring an Olympic team, but you will Nike there. However, there’s a strong chance the regional Papa John’s and Nike outlets have not heard of the local charity run or annual Turkey bowl.  Although their brand presence and marketing budgets are vast, they don’t always have their finger on the pulse of local events – but small businesses do. They’re engrained in the fabric of communities and they can use that to their advantage.

Small businesses have these advantages manifest as we convert the marketing tactics and campaigns of large businesses into a smaller formula. Let’s explore a few of them.

Strategic Branding Opportunities

Red Bull has molded their brand image to offer shareable and engaging media channels. Think of Felix Baumgartner and his record-breaking free-fall from 128,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. His most prominent sponsor was Red Bull. What they’ve done is affiliate their brand with various stunts and events that are complete media magnets. Even if nobody is paying close attention to the brand and sponsor information, these televised events will be shared for years to come and because of that it’s next to impossible for the brand to go overlooked.

Now, there’s absolutely no way that a small business could hope to match that kind of media coverage, at least not right away. That said, it’s entirely possible to create something highly shareable and engaging that spreads like wildfire, or becomes a social phenomenon so-to-speak. That shouldn’t be your focus or goal, however.

A small business can adopt a similar strategy by sponsoring local events and charities. Attending talent shows at neighboring schools and featuring one of the local acts is a great way to simultaneously promote localization and attract eyeballs. Who knows, they might be the next Felix Baumgartner.

Take Advantage of Emerging and Real-Time Marketing Opportunities

oreo

photo credit: Oreo’s Twitter Feed

This doesn’t pertain to any one brand, but instead several. Ever notice how the big names always seem to tie their marketing and advertising campaigns into real-time events and opportunities? For example, just take a look at how Coca-Cola and Oreo have tied their brand messages into the Super Bowl.

Along a similar vein of tied-in-branding, small businesses can hop on any relevant trends that sprout on social media. Remember the ice bucket challenge? Everyone and their cat posted a video of that, but the playing field was open to everyone. Countless brands and individuals of all sizes were scoring views and traffic due to their creative take on the challenge.

Create Content Based on Popular and Relevant Search Terms

Another playing field that can be a bit more forgiving than traditional advertising is the results page for search terms. Google factors in locations so when someone starts looking for pizza both local and chains will show up. Pizza Hut will never be able to compete with a locally renowned pizza shop.

When we start looking at the most popular and relevant search terms about our business we uncover paths to content. For example, if we sell mice traps and we notice many people are searching for tips on how to trap mice humanely, we could make both physical and digital cards to send out to customers and friends.

For small businesses with a creative team, we can reimagine search terms as visual content. I came across a great example of this recently with an infographic showing how much Americans spend on cars.  I was searching for the average price someone spends on a car and this was just a small auto-parts shop, but they effectively turned a popular search term into an engaging piece of content.

Flex and Flaunt Expertise

Famous brands consistently try to market themselves as the best, the brightest, and the biggest. Almost every hot tech company today can fuel that initiative because they attract the best and the brightest – but not of all of it.

According to a survey commissioned by the Freelancers Union, 34% of the American workforce freelances. The small web design shops and creative studios can easily home talent on part with the largest businesses. Think about the local mechanic or barber who has dedicated their life to the trade. We’re accustomed to seeing slogans like “#1 practice” or “top-rated in the area” and while this is definitely effective branding, more can be done to actually show expertise.

Blogs and video channels open the door to create educational materials such as tutorials and guides that can help convert potential customers. Local events also present opportunities to demo products or teach classes. Universities are also constantly on the lookout for experts of various industries to give lectures and in-class speeches, which can open your own business to fresh talent.

Jesse AaronJesse Aaron is a community manager and freelancer writer. He runs a blog and forums about social media marketing on Mashbout.

 

The Secret to Working Less Without Making Less

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Jenna Dalton– Enjoy!

Work Less

photo credit: kroszk@

You want a life. You want a successful business. But is it possible to have both?

Yes it is. You just need to know the secret to working less without making less. The key is to be constantly asking this one critical question…

“Am I being productive, or am I just keeping busy?”

The truth is, there are very few things that you need to do to grow your business. But a lot of us fall into the trap of thinking that we’re making smart moves when we’re actually just doing busy work.

Spending 3 hours changing our Facebook page cover photo is not a good use of our time.

Spending 3 hours crafting a great guest blog post that’ll drive more traffic to our website is a good use of our time.

The secret is to know what you should focus your attention on, and what you should either hire someone else to do, or just forget about.

If you want to work less without making less you need to learn how to properly prioritize. And it all comes back to your goals.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that your goals probably look something like this… Get more clients or customers. Make more money. Right?

And you’re going to be able to do that by focusing on three key things:

  1. Doing lots of smart networking
  2. Generating more referrals
  3. Getting more email subscribers

This means that – when you’re trying to decide what you should work on each day – if it doesn’t fit any of those categories, you should question whether it’s worth your time.

I’m not saying it will never be worth your time to do something outside those categories. But, if you want to not work so much and still grow your business, these three things should be a priority for you. These 3 things are what will help you grow your business as quickly and easily as possible.

Networking

Maintaining relationships you already have, and actively pursuing relationships you want to have is smart marketing.

Try reaching out to at least 1 person per day. Send them a relevant, useful article. Mail them a birthday card. Or let them know that you enjoyed their latest blog post.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s simply about keeping in touch and being generous on a regular basis.

Referrals

According to research by Nielsen, 92% of people say they trust word-of-mouth marketing and recommendations by friends and family more than any other form of marketing.

That means that the best source of new business is to make your current clients happy, and then ask them to send other people your way.

So make sure you have a strong referral system in place.

Subscribers

The only reason someone would become a client or buy something you’ve created is because they know, like and trust you.

And one of the best ways to get people to know, like and trust you is through your email list.

Spending time attracting more subscribers, and then giving your subscribers a good reason to stay on your email list – by sharing helpful tips, tools and resources – should definitely be a priority.

Where are your priorities?

If you want to grow your business without working yourself to the bone, it’s time to start paying attention to how you’re actually spending your time.

Prioritize. Delegate. Focus.

Recognize that there are some things that are necessary to grow your business, and other things you can let go (or hire someone else to do).

Focus on what will help you grow your business – networking, referrals, and subscribers – instead of just doing work, for work’s sake.

Having a balanced life – where work isn’t trickling into social time, and social time isn’t trickling into work time – can be tough.

But you can make it easier for yourself by noticing whether you’re productive, or just doing something for the sake of doing it.

So, where are your priorities? How can you shift them so you can work less and still grow your business?

DTMHeadshotJenna Dalton is an Elite Level Book Yourself Solid® Certified Coach. She helps coaches use smart blogging strategies to get more clients. Grab her free toolkit How to Write The Perfect Blog Post. And make sure to come say hi to her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Focus on Important Instead of Urgent

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Paige Wilson  – Enjoy! 

photo credit: Copyright: elnur / 123RF Stock Photo

photo credit: Copyright: elnur / 123RF Stock Photo

As a small business owner, do you know how much your company earns or loses because of the skills of your employees? How can you increase the productivity and efficiency of your business?

Productivity is vital to the success of a business, especially for small businesses. Every business owes its success to the productivity of its employees which is defined as the rate of output per unit of input. Productivity is not about working harder but working smarter and more efficiently.

What are the factors that contribute to productivity?

The most important factors are high morale, encouragement, and time management. Statistics shows that two out of five business owners rank time as their most important asset. Small companies need to keep encouraging and motivating their employees even in times of stress.

Some ways of improving productivity can be using apps and cloud tools which enable tasks to be completed with greater accuracy. Other ways are through steps like managing “dead time”.  Many employees complain that they are unable to manage and complete their tasks within the stipulated time. One great way to resolve this is by using the Eisenhower Matrix. 

Increase your productivity manifold with this simple and effective Eisenhower Matrix

Eisenhower Matrix

This matrix is the very popular Urgent-Important Matrix popularized by Stephen Covey, but originally discovered by President Dwight Eisenhower. President Eisenhower always made decisions regarding work and time on the basis of two simple questions: Whether the work was important? Whether it was urgent? He described it briefly in this form- “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” 

How are important and urgent two separate things and WHY understanding this difference can change you routine and eventually your life?

Before coming to how the matrix can be used, it is important to understand what Eisenhower meant by using the words “urgent” and “important”. The term “urgent” refers to things that demand our immediate attention. They scream out for instant responses and hence can be stress inducing and time wasting. These could be emergencies, telephone calls, meetings, or emails. But do they really merit our attention? Today’s digital technology and extensive use of social media have made it worse with multiple stimuli distracting us.

The term “important” on the other hand refers to those things, tasks, or activities that are important for us in the long term. They may refer to our mission, values, goals and need our time and attention. They are not “time wasters” but may never seem “urgent”.

How can YOU make use of Eisenhower Matrix to help yourself and manage your time better?

The matrix as depicted above has four categories of tasks. Check out which quadrant the task demanding your attention falls into. The top two quadrants fall under “important” and not “urgent” categories. If they are important give them priority. If the tasks do not fall into the above two quadrants, then either do it later or delegate it to someone who has the time to do it. This would help the work efficiency and help you in maximizing your time.

Examples of some activities falling into these quadrants are:

  1. Quadrant 1- Recreation, long term goals.
  2. Quadrant 2- Crisis, problems, deadlines.
  3. Quadrant 3- Meetings, activities.
  4. Quadrant 4- Timewasters.

Adapt the Eisenhower Matrix now

As a small business owner, it would help if you could adapt this approach and incorporate it into your daily life and train your employees to follow this as well.

Paige WilsonAbout Paige Wilson – Paige is associated with http://90dollarwebsite.com, an organization that provides business optimization solutions such as website designing, content engineering, social media and web marketing solutions. She loves to write and pitch in brand strategies. In her free time, she likes traveling with her family.

12 Simple Ways to Improve your Small Business Blog

 It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Steff Green – Enjoy!

angry man with computer

photo credit: Anton

As a business owner, you’re always keen to try new things. So when you heard that blogging was a great way to improve website traffic and brand awareness, you thought you’d give it a go.

Sadly your business blog hasn’t produced the results you wanted. Hardly anyone is visiting, no one is commenting, and you are losing the motivation to keep up with your regular posts. So what do you do if your blog is tired, stagnant, or you feel as if the content isn’t reaching the right audience?

Before you give up on your blog, here are 12 tips to kickstart your stagnant business blog and ensure all your hard work pays off:

  1. Have you gotten started on your blog? If you’ve been thinking about blogging for your business more than you’ve actually been blogging about your business, it’s time to get started. I love the free get started blogging guide at First Site Guide for simple, image-based direction for getting your blog up-and-running.
  2. Are you using social media to help grow your audience and promote your blog content? Perhaps it’s time you started. Don’t head straight for Facebook, though – think about where your audience is most likely to hang out and what they might be interested in. Pinterest and Instagram are growing social sites that love visual content and how-to tutorials.
  3. If you’re writing product tutorials (or any kind of tutorial), include images, videos, diagrams and other visual content. Not only is your piece more likely to be useful if it contains visual guides, but the images themselves will be shared on social media, expanding your reach.
  4. Ditch the “blog” moniker. Many people don’t actually read “blogs” and will assume your blog content is all company and product updates, even if you’re writing fun and useful articles. Call your blog tab “Articles” or “How-to guides” instead.
  5. With every Google update, guest blogging is becoming an obsolete form of generating backlinks. However, guest blogging is still a powerful way to grow your audience, as long as you aim for quality over quantity. Write a post on a lifestyle blog related to your industry; for example, if you’re a tourism company, create some content for a travel blog.
  6. Do you have an old blog post that still pulls in decent traffic? Update the post with new information and better images, tighten up the prose, and republish it with a strong call-to-action.
  7. Use an editorial calendar to plan your posts weeks and months in advance. This editorial calendar should be part of your company’s marketing calendar because you’ll need to plan content around your various campaigns.
  8. Create a top-ten list associated with your industry or product. For example, if you make and sell scented candles, compile a list of the top ten scents for getting rid of a bad mood.
  9. You don’t have to “create” all your content yourself – compile posts of “curated” images, quotes and videos related to a single subject. As long as you attribute all the creators, you can republish their content and create a picture resource for your readers. For example, if you’re an interior designer, you could compile a post of 25 beautiful rustic kitchen designs to help your clients dream up ideas for their kitchen.
  10. Create a playlist in Spotify for an occasion associated with your business. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could create a romantic wedding playlist. Publish this list on your blog and share it on other music websites.
  11. Create a list of popular books in your industry. Choose books by popular industry leaders, and focus on interesting titles that cover a range of abilities. For example, if you were a fashion designer, you might include books on sewing techniques, on the fashion industry, and biographies of famous designers. You could even use Amazon affiliate links to make a bit of extra money when someone clicks through to buy a book.
  12. Have fun! Blogging for your business is a lot better than researching keywords for search, or sending out hundreds of press releases in the hope of getting coverage. Embrace it!

Do you have a business blog that just isn’t working? How are you going to turn things around?

author pictureSteff is the author, blogger and heavy metal maiden behind steffmetal.com, a blog about loud music, alternative subcultures and her adventures living off-grid in rural New Zealand. Steff writes dark fantasy fiction for adults; her latest book, The Sunken, a dark steampunk fantasy set in Georgian London, is now available on Amazon. Sign up for her author newsletter and receive a FREE short story.