Thursday, June 28, 2012

How Do I Start Blogging For Business?

In the previous post I wrote about why your business needs a blog. In this post we'll look at how to get started writing your blog for your business.

 Original Content

Google loves quality content so you can't just go and copy (steal) someone else's work and post it to your blog. You can however use another blog as a start point and write about what that article raised for you and add a link to that blog with some additional commentary about what you see as useful - or not useful if you want to be provocative or just write the alternative viewpoint.

You could curate a blog with content from around the web and this can be effective if your blog is about a topic that is highly visual, but if you do this you will need to be very mindful that content is what you are aiming for and if your blog is mostly pictures then these need to be well tagged and some content to draw this together with your key topic for which you want to be associated.

Images can be your own or they can be bought as stock photos but images of real products or events or situations will be more powerful as they are authentic. Be clear that you are not contravening copyright.

Your Voice

For those who are not accustomed to writing it can be a little disconcerting thinking about putting yourself out there. Your blog will be a reflection of you so you want to consider what tone your business has and write in a way to reflect that. There is room to be personable without being personal. You can share your observations, without invading your own privacy. Or maybe you are in a business where sharing personal experiences in an intimate way fits with the tone of how you run your business.

 Just imagine that your business was a person.

How would they talk? What would people think of them. How would they approach topics? Would they be someone that was clever and knowledgeable about their topic and attract people because they have good technical ability, or would people be drawn to them because they are fun to be around?

Give some thought to these questions before you start your blog and start to write down headline ideas or just topics that you think would be good to cover on your blog. This is an easy way to start getting your head into the idea.

What Are The Top 5 Things You Want People To Know?

For most businesses, there are at least five things that customers don't understand when they are looking to buy something. Whether it is a product or a service, there may be questions they need to ask to buy well, that they don't know.. They may need to know things about where that product will go that they have not considered. They may not know that some other businesses sell what you sell but without some special service that you provide that makes or better performance or takes away some hassle that they could have if they buy somewhere else.

Whatever it is, work out what the top five things are that you wish all your customers knew about why choosing you is a good idea. These are essential things that you want on your blog.  You can share these five blogs over and over with different people and use them in printed form or other places to reinforce your story. This is just a start but as you begin to flesh out these ideas you will discover other ideas coming to you that you can write about too.

Looking Through Your Customer's Eyes

Blogging is a great way to turn your mind to how the world looks to a customer. What does a customer search  for when they need what you do? It may not be what you would look for. This is a tricky element that can make all the difference to your blogging and translates into having a good understanding of your customers needs and wants and may be their fears.

When you look at your offers and your service model through the eyes of your customer, you communicate with them that you care about their business and that is a very attractive quality for a customer.

Do Some Research.

Search online for some blogs and notice what appeals to you. Notice the  style the layout, what things are they writing about? What is it about this blog you like compared to that blog you don't much care for. Make notes on what you learn from your research and you can use some of this knowledge to create the environment on your blog that meets with what you want to portray. 

Start An Ideas Book For Your  Business Blog

Think about events that happened through the day and just make some notes about funny events, things you learned, problems that customers have that you see over and over again, and add these notes every day. You just need to write enough so that you remember the point that you would share about these and these notes can act as a prompt for you when it comes to posting a new blog.

Remember your blog doesn't need to be long. It should be useful though. It should have a  purpose in reading it. Either it is something good to look at, something funny, something that teaches me something. or informs me about something that I am interested in, or educates me about something that I don't know.

By starting your ideas book you can get your unconscious mind on the job too, and that will make writing your posts much easier and organic.

Next post we'll look at some examples for some different businesses of topics that could work for them.

Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855

Part 3 Blogging For Business: Ideas
Part 1 Your Business Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Your Business Blog

For any business, informing the public that you are in business, where you are located and what products and services you provide is key to being successful.

Once upon a time we did this through word of mouth, advertising in the newspapers and on TV and radio.

We still need to do this but now we have more options.

You'll have noticed that the newspaper industry is going through a lot of turmoil now. That's because the area that made the most money for them, is drying up. Classifieds are not generating the profit that they used to bring into the newspaper.

What does that mean for business? It is a clue to what's happening in the marketplace. Why are the newspapers not selling so many classified ads? Because the marketplace - customers - are looking elsewhere to find out about what they will buy.

Customers are looking on the internet to find out about what is available, what works best, what price should it be and who they know who has one.  Searches directly on  Google are one way that we research now. Asking our friends on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is another way.

Our blog is the key to getting our information out to the marketplace - all the things that we want customers to know about our services and products, and why they should do business with us.

  • Our blog gives us the place to put that information and update it regularly.
  • Our blog creates a link that can be shared on the social platforms like Facebook or G+
  • Our blog is the space where we can continually share new stories about the business. Where customers can get to know us, know what our values are, what we are great at.

Just like having our own media and public relations office, our blog allows us to  expand our reach and answer all those questions that customers need to make a good purchase decision and to feel welcome to do business with us.

Next time we'll look at how we can approach content marketing using a blog.

Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855

Part Three: Blogging For Business: Ideas
Part Two: How Do I Start Blogging For Business?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Local Statistics Online Sales Australia 2011

Think local: Google explains how businesses can get a piece of Australia's $189 billion online market
"Figures published yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show online business in Australia is up 32% on last year with Australian businesses receiving online orders worth $189 billion.
However, search giant Google has warned many SMEs are not online and not optimised for local search, the area which is booming.

The ABS figures show that just as over half of Australian businesses reported placing orders via the internet, a 9% increase from 2009-10 and the proportion of businesses that reported receiving orders via the internet increased by 13% to 28%.

Half or more of the businesses in the wholesale trade and manufacturing industries reported receiving orders online while 35% of retail businesses did.

The ABS figures also show that businesses reporting a web presence increased from 40% to 43%.
However, many small business owners have yet to fully embrace the web with only a third of businesses with four employees or less having a web presence." See full Smartcompany article here

If you are waiting for the market to go back to the way things used to be, you can stop waiting. The old ways are never coming back.

The question for local businesses in Australia is: Do you want to be part of the new marketplace?

If you do then there is a lot of work to do to catch up. 

Fortunately it is doable and easier than you think, when you know how.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Online Is Everybody's Business

A comment on the radio this morning shared that a local business had complained about the broadcaster talking about online shopping and basically this being against the interests of local business. Indeed nothing could  be further from the truth.

Online shopping is what every business should be putting into place. Your business can benefit enormously from being online no matter if you sell construction, or coffee.

Have you ever :

had a Yellow Pages ad
wanted a Yellow Pages ad
advertised in a local newspaper
bought space in a magazine?
had a radio ad
had a TV ad
wished you could afford to advertise on tv and radio

Online marketing is the best thing that has ever happened for small and local business.

Your job now is to make it work for your business. And for the customers who want to find you to buy.

If only they knew.

Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
Quick And Dirty Business Review

What every business should know about social media

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Google Places Moving To G+ Local

Google Places is where local businesses can build a profile to help with search.
It used to look like this:

But that's gone. Now Google Places has been replaced with G+ Local. And it will let you set up your profile for your business like this.  The arrow point to where you can put photographs, a map, and now new reviews that are posted on Zagat.

Google+ Local For Local Search Helps You Get Found Online
G+ Local has not rolled out for my account to date so I'm not sure if it is available in Australia yet but it will be soon I expect. In the meantime if you are able to set up a Google Places page you may be able to get started on your verification process that does take time and requires a pin number to be sent to you by regular mail to finalise. Your Google Places account should transfer into the new system. Just go to Google and search for Google Places and it will take you to the page.

Google Place and G+ Local are both free products you can use for promoting your business on Google and is well worth doing. Don't be conned by those who tell you that it costs. Help costs. The platform doesn't.

G+ is your personal profile on Google and it is in your interests to start your account here too. Google + Business Pages are also available for you to post news for your business and engage with your customers and network.  You can find my Google Page by clicking on the icon on the sidebar of this blog. There are real benefits to your website too, in securing your authenticated ID through G+ and I'd be happy to explain that to you if you would like to give me a call.

Has your Google Places account been updated to G+ Local yet? Let me know if you have!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Privacy Online Does It Matter?

How much is too much when it comes to revealing your personal life to your connections online?

Thanks to Tony Hollingsworth for bringing this to my attention.

Would you trade your privacy for the chance to gain social popularity?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social Media Training in Newcastle

are you confused about social media marketing for business

Is your business using social media yet to promote your services and products? One of the key areas for this to be effective is in developing a network and a channel that you can use to communicate with people who can use what you do. Many business owners are confused and feel like this social media stuff is just too hard. In fact it is not hard just new. And like anything new it helps to get the training to save you the time that it takes to learn this stuff the hard way.

Now mind, that good use of social media marketing for business is not the same as barking ads at people! Nobody follows us to be abused and  bombarded with junk ... not in their letterbox and not online.  But you can raise interest in your products, reach friends of your existing network who until now were not accessible and extend your reach into the marketplace more effectively.

This doesn't necessarily replace your existing marketing, but should support it and your business and extend the effectiveness of all your marketing efforts.

Even for those businesses who decide not to use social media, it's vital to have a good understanding of how it works and how you can manage your reputation online. Remember - you might not be online but customers are and they talk. They talk about the good stuff sometimes. Sometimes they talk about the bad stuff. You need to know when that is happening... and what to do to counter it. And that might not be the way you expect.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Local Business Gets An Even Playing Field

For too long local businesses have been fighting an unfair adversary - big supermakets and department stores can afford to sell for less than many small businesses can buy their products to sell.

With the internet this all changes. No longer just for corporations with bottomless pockets, social media opens the door for local businesses to promote what they do and be in the space with customers no matter where they live.

This blog is all about how local businesses can leverage the internet and local customer networks to compete for that next sale.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to me just contact me and I'll be happy to get back to you.

While this blog is centred on the Hunter Valley, NSW  Australia, you can get help just as easily no matter if you live in Perth - or California. Just another benefit of the new medium of social media and the internet.

My best to you.

Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855