Posts

In Blog Marketing, Is Timing Everything?

“You’ve probably already seen a lot of tricks and tips about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of success,” says Michael Breus, author of a book on Circadian science. “But there is another crucial question that must be addressed,” he posits. In fact, Breus claims, the question When? “ is the very foundation of success.”

Is timing, in fact, “everything”, when it comes to blogging for business? Dr. Breus writes about the best time to eat lunch, ask for a raise, write a novel, and take meds. Depending on the chronotype of the writer, there may well be a “best” time for creating  blog content. The question is, since there’s no way to know the chronotype of each blog visitor, is there a best time to publish blogs?

Over the years, blogtyrant.com relates, various studies have analyzed data to find out the best time to publish a blog post. Each study has a different slant, measuring social shares, comments, or clicks. Several studies found Monday to be the best day for maximum traffic (pageviews). On the other hand, Saturday appeared to be the best day for comments, keeping in mind that 80% of the U.S. population is found in the Eastern and Central time zones. For B2B marketing, the hours of 7-9 AM and then again from 4-6 PM seem to draw the greatest number of eyeballs. When promoting your posts on social media, the best time to get noticed appears to be around 5PM, bluleadz.com adds.

A sort of contrarian view on the subject is offered by trackmaven.com: “While planning your blogging strategy and schedule, you want to avoid busy times, when a lot of brands are posting to their blogs and there is increased competition for readers’ attention.”

At Say it For You, we tend to agree with this blogtyrant statement: “Creating consistently high-quality content is more important than the time you publish your blog post….Remember, once a blog post is published and indexed by the search engines, it can be found.”

The issue for many business owners and practitioners is often less that of choosing the optimal posting time and more about finding the time to create content to post! Because blog content writing takes considerable time and effort (two scarce commodities in business owners’ lives), writing for business too often is put on – and too often stays on – the back burner.

Research continues apace on the “when” of blog post publishing. Dan Zarrella of Hubspot comes to one important, albeit rueful, conclusion: “It is “increasing publishing frequency that leads to more traffic and incoming links.”

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Best Blog Content Writers Read Around and Toggle


“Dreams, I’m convinced, are just one more dimension of our minds,” writes Sylvia Browne in her best-seller, Book of Dreams...

At Say It For You, I teach the principle of “reading around” in order to attain “go-to industry authority”.  In fact, I stress, business bloggers are going to need to spend at least as much time reading as writing. Even after almost a decade and a half creating blog content for business owners and practitioners, I continue to need to keep up on what others are saying on the topic, what’s in the news, and what problems and questions have been surfacing that relate to what my client sells and what it does for its clients. At least half the time that goes into creating a post is reading/research/thinking time, I’ve found. The writing part can flow only after prep time is complete.

Just last month, I quoted Carina Rampell of the Content Marketing Institute, who explains that our reading needn’t be limited to the subject of our blog content.  Poetry, she explains, can teach us clarity and precision, while the classics can teach us compelling storytelling structure. Browsing through the Sylvia Browne book on dream interpretation (hardly my usual choice of reading topic!) made me realize the truth of Rampell’s statement that “reading helps us get away from our subject or product expertise and unlock our creativity”.  

Every dream experience, Browne posits, is one of five kinds:
  • the prophetic dream
  • the release dream
  • the wish dream
  • the information or problem-solving dream
  • astral visits
“Knowing what type of dream I’m trying to interpret, Browne explains, “is always my first step in unlocking its mysteries.”

Business blog posts also come in different varieties.  From the content writers’ point of view, I’s generally a good idea to toggle back and forth among those varieties over time, keeping returning visitors engaged, but also in order to appeal to different types of reader. There are “how-to” tutorial posts, resources and link lists, reviews, opinion pieces, interviews, case studies, breaking news, and personal story posts. But, precisely as Sylvia Browne observes, knowing what type of post you are presenting helps unlock its “success”.

The best blog content writers have learned to read around and then – toggle among the types!
Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

The Memo Meme for Blogging


Memos are usually written for one of the following reasons, explains Tony Rossiter, author of Effective Business Writing in Easy Steps:

  • to provide a written record
  • to give the reader background information for a specific visit or event
  • to make a suggestion or proposal
  • to give advice or make recommendations about a particular issue or problem

Interesting – I couldn’t help reflecting: the key characteristics of a good memo which Rossiter lists are remarkably similar to the key characteristics of good blog posts:

  • they’re short
  • they’re clear and concise
  • they’re reliable, with information that is 100% accurate
  • they’re reader-friendly
  • they’re easy to read

To be effective, both blog posts and memos must clarify the issue (explain the need for action), provide “arguments” in favor of taking that action, based on essential facts surrounding the issue or topic.

You might like to do several things in your memo, Rossiter suggests (every one of these, our Say It For You content writers know, can apply to effective blog posts):

  1. draw attention to a track record of successful involvement in similar actions or projects
  2. acknowledge the expertise of the people who will be heading up the project
  3. suggest next steps (perhaps a planning meeting or further information-gathering)

In the case of a marketing blog post, that next step might be signing up for a newsletter, subscribing to the blog, downloading a paper, or clicking on a link to a landing page showing various product or service options.

A printed or emailed memo typically begins with a “to” (“to: managing director”, “to: all technical staff”, “to: all regional managers”… While a blog post relies on incoming online traffic, it’s crucial for the content writers to direct their message to a specific target audience.

When composing a blog post, it helps to remember the memo “meme”!

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

Selling Dreams Through Blog Marketing

dream

 

“Apple’s strategy involves selling their consumers a global package of dreams, personal experiences, and status,” explains Camila Villafañe of Postcron.com. “Apple is different from all other brands because for Steve Jobs, consumers weren’t just consumers, they were people. People with dreams, hopes, and ambitions, and he got Apple to create products to help them achieve their dreams and goals,” she says.

There’s been a lot of buzz around the “Starbucks experience” – the crackle, the aroma, the barristas – all of it. I think there’s a lesson here for blog content writers: online visitors to your blog need to find an experience along with information.  “Analyze how it feels to use and buy your products, and think what you need to improve, and what you need to focus on”, Steve Jobs taught.
Each blog post needs to get readers to visualize themselves benefiting from an experience: “You won’t know how good you’ll feel until you do”, one bankruptcy attorney’s commercial says. After using your product or service, will new users feel relief? Pride? Belonging? Strength? Security? When you’re composing business blog content, I tell writers, imagine readers asking themselves – “How will I use the product (or service)?” “How will it work?” “How will I feel?”

Villafane pointed out another Steve Jobs marketing lesson:  Find an enemy. “Make it clear who the enemy is, and try to get people to take a side. The idea is that people are drawn to belong to the ideology of a brand that matches their own thoughts and values,” she says. “If you don’t stand up for what you believe in, you’ll go unnoticed. And what better way to state what you believe in, than stating clearly what you DON’T believe in,” she asks?

In training new blog content writers, I always remind them of the importance of including opinion in marketing blogs. Whether it’s business-to-business blog writing or business to consumer blog writing, the blog content itself needs to use opinion to clarify what differentiates that business, that professional practice, or that organization from its peers.
Before you publish, subject each blog post to two tests:

  • Is it designed to get readers to visualize themselves benefiting from an experience?
  • Does it reveal what you do and don’t believe in?

 

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail

The Hire or DIY Decision in Blogging

 

taxes
Should you hire an accountant or do your own taxes? That’s the Point/Counterpoint question John Peragine tackles in Speaker Magazine this month.

“Don’t hire” responses included:

  • “Organized people can do their own taxes.”
  • “I’m a trained CPA, so I don’t need outside help.”

“Yes” responses included:

  • “Tax professionals know their stuff.”
  • “I hate taxes and billing. I sleep well at night knowing the experts are doing what they know how to do best while I am doing what I do best, which is bringing in the money that they have to work with.”

Reading Peragine’s column, I couldn’t help thinking that the same two “camps” would form when it comes to hiring professional content writers for a corporate blog. Just as many speakers felt they can handle their own financial records; others felt they lacked the time, the expertise, and the inclination to prepare their own tax returns.

In the same way, while a minority of business owners and professional practitioners prefer to do their own writing, most lack the time – or the inclination – to compose corporate blog content with enough consistency and frequency to make a difference in search results and customer engagement.

There’s another important way in which business tax reporting and maintaining a blog are similar. No speaker’s CPA (who is not the CFO of the company, keeping track of finances throughout the year) can prepare tax returns for that speaker without being given correct and detailed information by the client. As one professional speaker described her process, “I have a bookkeeper for my everyday finances and payroll, and a CPA for my tax returns.”

Similarly, a freelance blog content writer can do the most effective job on any business owners’ behalf when there is a free flow of information from owners and from their boots-on-the-ground  sales and customer service employees to the writer.

Just like a CPA, a ghost blogger is a specialist – in writing, and in particular, writing for online marketing, and writing with consistency over extended periods of time. Most business owners lack the time to keep up that effort.

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedintumblrmail