6 Tips for Using Content Marketing & Social Media for Any Doctor

Are you a doctor who’s interested in learning how content and social media marketing can help grow your practice?

For decades doctors were able to get away without investing too much money in advertising or marketing. Then when the Internet changed everything, many of you started to use (and are still using) costly methods of online advertising to market your practices e.g. banner ads.

The problem is patients have completely tuned out to some these tactics and developed chronic cases such as banner blindness.

According to Pew Research, today’s patients are increasingly turning towards the Internet to find information (not advertisements) about symptoms, treatment and support. That means if you want patients to find you when they go online, you need to be involved in content marketing and social media.

And in case you’re wondering how social media and content marketing are related here’s what you should know…

Both are about educating people, answering their questions, and sharing interesting news about your practice. When you do this primarily on your blog it is content marketing

But there’s more.

Social media promotion is critical to online content marketing success. Because there are millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social sites, it is very likely that people who need your medical expertise (yet don’t know that your blog exists!) are hanging out there.

The best way to reach them is by taking the stories that you’ve posted on your blog and placing them in these sites.

It’s that easy?

Well, yes and no.  Yes, because once you have all your content ready, all you have to do is promote it on your social media networks. But preparation is key.

Social media is a very active space. There are a lot of interesting conversations taking place at the same time and since your target audience has a short attention span, they can get distracted very easily.

The challenge for you as a doctor using social media, is that you have to be more interesting and more creative than the other people or brands in your target audience’s network!

How do you that?

Here are 6 content marketing and social media success tips for your medical practice.

#1. Blog Regularly

If you don’t already have one, develop an editorial calendar to help you blog regularly and consistently. Remember too that social media content benefits from planning and regular updating.

You need to plan for the interesting stories that you will share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Of course many of these stories will be inspired from your blog, but once in a while you may also need to add other content (photos, video, podcasts etc.) to engage audiences within those specific networks.

#2. Tell Awesome Stories

Use your blog to tell stories about your industry, practice, people and events. Each story should be unique and interesting enough to create appeal and draw new audiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites that you use.

Human-interest stories are very popular on social media. As a doctor, you have no shortage of such stories although you have to be careful not to violate patient privacy. Patient stories help to illustrate how your practice is impacting people’s lives, and thus generates more interest from other online audiences.

#3. Execute well

Even though 99% of patient stories are interesting by default, how you execute them on social media is very important.

For example on Facebook and Pinterest, posting visually appealing and well-edited photos will go much farther than posting links to your blog. On Twitter you will need different executions skills such as how to craft a compelling tweet with 140 characters, or how to use relevant hashtags to make it easy for people to find your content.

Every social media platform is different. It’s important for you to learn those environments and leverage their unique features to reach a wider audience with your message.

#4. Include location

One of your primary marketing goals is to attract more patients to your practice. So start by creating or updating your Facebook page, Twitter profile and Pinterest account and adding your physical location and your contact information.

When patients come in for their appointment, encourage them to ‘check-in’ to your location using Facebook Places.

Checking-in on Facebook has the same effect as word-of-mouth marketing. When a Facebook user sees (on her Newsfeed) that her friend (your patient) has checked into your location, she’ll be curious to learn more about your practice and will probably click through to your Facebook Page for more information.

#5. Work on your ‘About’ section

The ‘About’ section of your Facebook page should be optimized with keyword rich names, categories and descriptions. The words you use to describe your practice should reflect the natural conversational language that your audience uses. This will increase the likelihood of appearing on Facebook’s Graph Search results.

Similarly, the ‘About’ page of your website should not just focus on keywords that match the medical conditions you treat, but also on answering questions that typical patients would ask. Think about some of the common questions that your patients have asked in the past and update your About page with content that provides those answers.

#6. Consider contests, promotions & giveaways

Contests, promotions and giveaways are very effective ways of acquiring new clients via social media. Because contests can produce outstanding results, it’s important that you make yours stand out by offering a prize that will create excitement and enthusiasm among your audience. Giving away a free iPad has nothing to do with your practice, so don’t bother.

You can give away a relevant product with a ‘limited time only’ message to create a sense of urgency and interest. Avoid giving away free services as this might encourage people not to buy until they find out if they’ve won. To ensure high participation encourage Facebook fans to submit photos of themselves, or share stories for a chance to win.

Your Turn:

Which of these content and social media tips have you used to market your medical practice? Please share your experience in the comment box below.

Blogging is Top Focus for Marketers Research Shows

Do you ever wonder what tactics, tools and strategies other social media marketers are using?

Regardless of how long you’ve been involved in social media, chances are you have some questions that you’d like answered.

Questions such as, “What are the best social management tools?” or “What are the best ways to engage my audience with social media?”

These and many more questions were answered in the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which surveyed over 3000 marketers with the goal of understandinghow they use social media to grow and promote their businesses.

Here are some interesting findings from the survey:

#1: Marketers Want Most to Learn About Blogging

When asked what social media platform they wanted most to master, 62% of marketers said blogging, putting it in first place slightly ahead of Google+. This answer is consistent with other studies, which show that the appetite for blogging education is growing.

An important trend to consider is that 28% of marketers now have mobile-optimized blogs. This is highly significant when you consider that the number of smartphone subscribers in the world has broken the 1 billion mark.

Key Consideration:

The power of blogging to reach huge audiences and prospective customerscannot be underestimated. If you want your voice to be heard on the social web, you need to have a blog.

If you’ve just started blogging for business, focus on consistently giving your audience helpful advice that solves their problems. If you’re not 100% sure what kind of content to offer, survey your customers and ask them to tell you. Asking your customers not only gives you valuable insights about what they find useful, but can help to promote your blog as well.

Here are more tips about blogging for business.

#2: Blogging Highly Valued by the Pros

Most marketers (49%) selected Facebook as the single most important social platform for their business, followed by LinkedIn (16%), blogging (14%) and then Twitter (12%). But for the Pros (marketers with three or more years of social media experience), blogging jumped to second place!

Similarly, a recent Technorati report on Digital Influence also indicated that 86% of influential marketers blog consistently, and a majority of them do not produce much content outside of their blogs.

Key Consideration:

Consumers are looking for “trusted digital friends” to give them advice on what to buy and where to go. Experienced marketers know that offering valuable advice on their blogs generates trust and influences consumers’ buying decisions. If youproduce compelling articles and useful advice on your blog, you’ll become a trusted source of information, and people will start to spend more time there, eventually becoming your customers.

#3: Podcasting Finally Growing Up

Marketers were asked to indicate how they plan to change their social media use in the near future. While only 5% are currently using podcasting, a significant 24% plan on getting involved this year. That’s a nearly five-fold increase!

The report shares three reasons why interest in podcasting is growing: Apple’s introduction of a dedicated podcasting mobile app, smartphone subscriptions topping the 1 billion mark, and major car manufacturers such as BMW and Ford starting to integrate podcasting technology into new cars.

Key Consideration:

Marketing expert Seth Godin says it’s not a good idea to try to sell anything to a stranger. It’s true. But when the right people connect with your voice through podcasting, they gradually become engaged and start to pay attention.

Pat Flynn often says that other than meeting face-to-face, podcasting is probably the best way to interact with your prospects. So if you’ve been thinking about breaking into podcasting, here are the technicalities of setting up, as well as some tips forbuilding a successful podcast with a loyal audience.

#4: Only 1 in 4 Marketers Able to Measure Social Media ROI

When asked to rate their agreement with the following statement, “I am able to measure the return on investment for my social media activities,” only 26% of marketers agreed! What’s interesting about this survey is that social media is clearly a core strategy for businesses, yet measuring it remains a mystery.

Key Consideration:

Research shows that for many businesses, measuring social media ROI is still too basic—focusing on likes, followers and mentions.

During Social Media Marketing World 2013, Nicole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media, said business executives and funders of social media campaigns are looking for real business metrics such as sales, revenue and costs. The challenge for marketers is to learn to speak their language by showing how social media fits into the sales funnel and how it impacts the bottom line. Here’s a great piece from Nicole that explains how to measure social media.

#5: Two-Thirds of Marketers Uncertain About Facebook Marketing Effectiveness

Perhaps the most surprising finding in this study was that most marketers don’t really believe in Facebook! Sure they use it, but they don’t really think it is effective. Only 37% agreed with the statement “My Facebook marketing is effective.” Specifically, 44% of B2C marketers agreed with this statement, while only 29% of B2B marketers concurred.

Key Consideration:

Make no mistake, Facebook IS an effective marketing platform and there are numerous case studies to prove this. It’s possible that some marketers who participated in this survey hadn’t actually tracked their Facebook marketing campaigns and were uncertain about their own efforts.

However, research also indicates that Facebook seems to work better for B2C than B2B. If you have a B2B brand, don’t be discouraged. Here’s some advice from Marketo, a B2B company that has been very successful on Facebook.

Other Significant Findings

Tactics and engagement are top challenges for marketers

When asked what top social media challenges they are facing today, marketers said that tactics and engagement strategies were at the top of the list. No matter what kind of company you have or what products you sell, you can improve engagement with your audience on any platform including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Here are some great tips to improve engagement.

Increased exposure and traffic top benefits of social media marketing

A significant majority (89%) of marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, while 75% said that increased website traffic was the second major benefit. Social media is essentially a word-of-mouth tool. It’s where friends discover and share interesting ideas, including the ones on your site! Here are some tips to drive traffic to your site using social media.

More time spent on social media equals greater benefits

If you’ve ever wondered whether more time invested in social media produces better results, the answer is “yes.” According to the survey, with as little as six hours per week, 92% of marketers indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. More than half of marketers who spent 11 hours or more per week saw improved sales. Do you think you could put a little more time into social media marketing every week?

Fascinating differences between B2B and B2C

As expected, Facebook dominated among B2C brands, though it was interesting to see LinkedIn and Facebook tie for first place among B2B brands. Only 5% of B2C marketers said LinkedIn played an important role for them. Twitter and blogging are also valuable platforms for B2B marketers. Another surprise was that B2B marketers showed zero interest in Pinterest.

Your Turn

What do you think? How does your own experience compare to these findings? Please share your comments in the box below.

Effective Content Marketing: How to Solve Your Customers Problems

What problems do you solve for your customers?

A content marketer’s biggest challenge is to solve customers’ problems while maximizing the effectiveness of his or her content.

Now pay attention because this is important. No matter what you do in life you should be adding value to other people’s lives. The way to add value to others is to help them solve their problems or challenges and for that you need to have the mindset of a “problem sniffer”. 

What does that mean?

It means that people (i.e. customers) generally buy pain killers, not vitamins (even when times are hard and the economy is down). In other words people will pay more money to avoid a problem (loss or pain) than they will to gain a benefit.

So when you create a product or service that solves problems or fulfills a need, you get paid! For example Facebook solves a social problem and advertisers pay them big bucks for your personal data…and you thought you didn’t matter ;).

So what problem(s) do you solve?

Here’s a very helpful exercise that I want to share with you (it could take some time – or you might have to come back to it later but it’s oh, so worth it!). In content marketing, we call it creating customer profiles or buyer personas. Your customer could by anyone – your students, your co-workers, your neighbors, your actual customers or anyone who has a problem that you might be able to solve. Developing a buyer persona helps you to understand the people that you’re trying to target so that you can create something (a product or service) that solves their problem or fills their need. (That’s assuming of course that you’re in the business of pain killers not vitamins).

So take a pen and paper and answer these questions:

  • Who are the people that could (potentially) buy your stuff? (Age, gender, occupation, title, industry, size of organization, income level etc?)
  • What do they do? i.e. what does their job involve, how long is their commute, what are their interests, what kind of problems are they trying to solve at work (or home), what are their career/life goals?
  • What frustrates them about their job or life? e.g. do they have a resource issue or a technical challenge that is holding them back? What do they need to improve their work process or their life situation?
  • What problems motivate them to buy? e.g. sickness, financial or legal challenges, relationship issues, lack of time, lack of help, troubled kids etc.
  •  What would actually drive them to make the purchase? e.g. a friend’s referral, cost, efficiency, good service, confidentiality, etc.
  • How much money do they have? (you’ll be more successful if you offer something they can afford to buy).
  • What would they expect from you? e.g. if they expect confidentiality about what they’re buying and you don’t disappoint them, then you gain repeat business.
  • What do they think about you? e.g. Do you have a reputation that makes it difficult for them to come to you – how can you solve their problems if they don’t even like you?
  • What do they think of your competitor(s)? Knowing what they think of your competition makes it easier to approach them and stay ahead of your rivals.
  • And finally how can you craft a message that appeals to this kind of person in their specific situation? (Hint: empathy, like-ability and trust come to mind. And by the way, this last part involves blogging and is really what content marketing is all about – get it right!)

The only way you can solve people’s problems is if you really understand who they are and what their circumstances are. If you don’t know them how can you presume to offer them something they may not even need?

And finally remember that content marketing success is not just about you. Even as you ‘sniff out’ people’s problems in order to offer them a solution remember to appreciate them for who they are as people, not just as ‘accounts’ or ‘opportunities’. Building strong relationships with your customers is a worthwhile goal too!

Your Turn:  How do you solve your customers’ problems? Please share your tips in the comment box below.

Why Do You Blog? 4 Motives for Posting a Blog

Happy New Year!

Have you made any resolutions? Perhaps this is the year that you will start a blog, or get published? For many writers there are big, audacious goals in the air for 2013.

But what drives bloggers to blog? Why do you blog?

Is it sheer egoism as George Orwell suggests in his not-so-famous short-form essay, ‘Why I write’ (public library) or are there other reasons for writing and posting a blog?

In this article I examine 4 possible motives for blogging. Where do you see yourself?

#1. To influence

These days there are blogs for every industry and category. And in some ways, bloggers in these niches have become more influential than the media. Think about it – because audiences are segmented by special interests, culture and life circumstances bloggers are able to target and influence specific groups by giving them content that resonates with them in a powerful way.

According to data provided by BlogHer 81% of women who use social media trust blogs so much, that 61% bought an item recommended in a blog.

#2. To be known and talked about

A good number of people prefer the quite, obscure life mentioned in Scripture, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands” (1 Thess 4: 11-12). Unfortunately most bloggers do not fall in that category (except the working with your hands bit).

For many bloggers and content writers there is a slight (or severe) strain of vanity that makes us want to be known, admired, talked about, followed, re-tweeted, invited and so on! Even when we say that our content helps to solve other people’s problems, the fact is we badly want to be regarded as ‘the problem solver’ in that scenario. If you’re a serious blogger examine yourself and see if it ain’t so.

#3. Sheer enthusiasm

Some bloggers do it out of sheer enthusiasm. They are highly motivated to tell their stories and share their experiences, which they feel are too valuable to be missed. Because of their passion these bloggers are likely to provide quality content simply because they enjoy what they do. They’re not stressed out about what to write – and it shows in their content. Their blogs tend to promote a more natural conversation, which invites many readers to converse and engage.

What’s nice about this group is they’re not typically driven by money or ambition (even though money tends to follow those who enjoy what they do!). Sharing their stories is for them a way of spreading enthusiasm about the things they love.

#4. To tell it like it is

Reporters must wait until every source is confirmed, and novelists might spend months or years before publishing a book. But there are bloggers who just tell it like it is, as it happens – now! Their motivation is to express personal thoughts about public, and real life situations that are unfolding at the moment. They don’t have time to gather their thoughts and wait for clear patterns to emerge in a story. Their words flow more freely, have less formality, more mistakes and yet ironically more life.

Bloggers who ‘tell it like it is’ are brave because they are most vulnerable to public criticism and brutal feedback. But what’s great about this group of bloggers is their willingness to embrace the hazard that comes with honest and forthright blogging. Better that than to operate in a safe sanctuary where bold perspectives are muzzled.

Over to you? What are your motives for blogging or starting a blog? Do you see  yourself in any of these categories?

5 Ways to Know it’s Time to Update Your Medical Website

I always tell clients that their website is their “face” to the world and their customer’s window into the business.

But once their dream website is built, majority of businesses, medical offices and hospitals tend to forget all about the content.  Many do not give it the attention needed to keep information fresh, interesting and relevant

Here are 5 ways to know when it’s time to update your content to ensure its effectiveness.

Loss of Audience Traffic & Low Analytics

This is probably the easiest tell all.  If your hosting company provides you with monthly reports, it’s easy to tell if your website is attracting new visitors and if the content is engaging. ‘Stagnant content’ is content that has lost its effectiveness or is not engaging to readers.

Google analytics and metrics can also demonstrate how your website operates and how your visitors interact with it. If visitor numbers are low and not regularly increasing or if you have a high number of click-offs (bounce rates), then it’s time to update your website content.

Remember, the ultimate goal of your website is to increase traffic, improve user experience and ultimately your customer base and profits.

Measurements Of ROI

Do you know how many people use your medical website? Are your web visitors converting? If not, there’s your answer.

Every business needs to understand the business goals behind the website and then measure the ROI based on achievement of those goals. For medical websites, this can be measured by the number of online registrations for benefits or analytic reports reflecting increases in traffic and readership.

Drop In Search Engine Rankings

Google looks for the SEO value of websites based on keywords, page titles, tags, frequency and quality of content.

If your website’s content was only optimized at inception, that content needs to change & evolve regularly in order to be indexed and thus increase your website search rankings. But in order for that to happen, the content needs to be fresh, engaging and contain important keywords that potential customers would use to find you on the web.

Colleagues & External Client Reactions To Your Site

If your website hasn’t changed in the last three, six months, or even a year—what does that tell people about your business?

Are people commenting on how helpful your website is? The design and content may have been great when it was first built, but is it still generating good feedback with both internal and external users? If not, visitors may look at your website as pointless or containing irrelevant information.

The response to your content should convey the opposite – that it is interesting, eye-catching and informative with what your customers need to know about your products and services

Outdated Images & Blog Articles

Don’t undervalue the correlation of imagery with content or publishing blog articles.Imagery plays a key role on websites. Clip Art images or seemingly outdated ones can cause customers to see your business, products or services in negative light.

If your most recent blog articles are dated six months ago, that is seriously stagnant content that leaves a poor impression of your site.  Bloggingis an excellent way to reach out to your customer base, update your content, create more opportunities for customer relationships and give your website a more personalized touch.  Plus blogging shows your customers that you are tapped into relevant industry information and that you care about improving their readership experience.

So think about the importance of updating and evolving your web content and then wait expectantly for customer responses and analytics to change.  And before you know it, your ROI will reflect your TLC.

Back To You: In what ways do you see the need to improve and update your medical website content?

Yvonne Barber is the Wordsmith & Content Marketeer for Design Theory, a Florida-based web design firm that provides social media management, email, domain registration, and graphic design services. Aside from writing content for client websites, brochures, and all marketing communications Yvonne blogs weekly for Design Theory on various subjects and across several social media channels.

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How to Get Writing Gigs On Twitter

Whether you’re a part-time freelancer, full time web content writer or professional blogger, you’re always looking for new writing opportunities. As a writer, you’re a part of a large community of organizations, fellow curators and social media enthusiasts that need your talents.

There are a number of ways to find writing gigs via Twitter, whether for freelance or staffed employment, and I’m willing to bet that you haven’t been using them to their full extent:

Gig-seeking via Twitter

This social media platform, while known for quick interactions and short-worded engagement, is perfect for the gig-seeking writer.

“There is a lot of latent value in Twitter as a business network. You’ve just got to know how to approach connections and build engagement in your followers.” – Mediabistro.com

About Me Blurb

The first place to start optimizing on Twitter is your own profile. Every account has a space at the top that I’m calling your “About me blurb.” This is the one opportunity you have to market yourself, your talents, etc. Make sure that this space is enticing and includes key-words.

  • What you do: Are you a freelance writer, professional blogger, or full-time web content curator?
  • Your title: Are you the founder, owner, author, or CEO of anything? This gives you instant credibility.
  • What you want: If you are looking for freelance work, say it. Looking to be a full-time writer, well give it a go.
  • Call to action: How can someone get in touch with you? Twitter, email? Make sure you state that clearly.

Follow the Right People

They key to making this work is being connected to the right people. There is a certain amount of effort that will initially go into this. However, it is an on-going project to follow, engage and connect with new people that can become a great networking asset.

  • Your reach connections: What are some organizations that you could only dream of writing for? Get connected right away. You never know who handles their Twitter account or what might spark their interest.
  • Search it out: If you’re connected to any groups on LinkedIn, follow several blogs, or are heavily involved in social media, then you know that almost everyone has a Twitter account. So be sure to follow people that you think have something to offer – whether it’s advice, jobs, whatever.
  • Who you’ve worked with: Always follow and engage with editors or professionals that you have worked with in the past. Following them is just another way to get back in touch or re-connect for more opportunities down the line.

Get Out There and Ask

In an ideal world, you would always be approached with writing opportunities. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Sometimes it takes being proactive and advocating for yourself to get something in the writing funnel. Make time to engage.

  • Simply stated: Just go ahead and say it, what are you looking for?
  • Direct message: Another option is to direct message a business/company/person you’d like to work or write for.
  • Mention (@): You can publicly reach out for opportunities. Keep it casual, friendly, and to the point. This can be seen by other writing connections which could lead to another opportunity you weren’t planning to have.
  • Lists: Twitter has a great tool called, “lists.” Here you can create a list of all the writing connections you’ve made on Twitter, and simply send writing specific tweets in bulk.

Key Takeaway

Using Twitter as a networking tool is a great opportunity for any a writer. Even as a full-time employee, you’re always looking for new opportunities and more writing experience. Start engaging and take initiative. You never know where that road might lead!

Over to you: Have you used Twitter to find any gigs – writing or otherwise? Please share your experience in the comment box below.

Blogging: Top 3 Most Pressing Questions Answered

With the rise in blogging popularity, there is always a new writing technique or blogging standard being preached. But whether you’re blogging for business or for personal reasons, the rules are hardly written in stone. From posting frequency to image usage, it’s all about what works for your site and for your readers.

“With a blog, you set the agenda. You write as much or as little as you like, you write as frequently or infrequently as you like, and nobody can tell you what to do.” – YourNicheBlog.com

Posting Frequency: Daily or Weekly

A popular topic of discussion in the blog world is posting frequency. It’s been noted in many cases that there is not one correct answer here. Some blogging professionals believe that posting every single day is a requirement. On the other hand, some suggest that consistently writing 2-3 good posts a week is enough.  Neither of these is right or wrong, so which do you choose?

  • Daily: Posting every single day takes a lot of work and time. This may not be possible, or necessary, for your blog. It will depend on the kind of blog you maintain: If you run a news or trending blog, you’ll need to be writing at least Monday through Friday.

OR

  • Weekly: For a personal or smaller blog, 2-3 posts a week, coupled with good SEO practices will keep your unique traffic at a steady rate and be enough for your readers.

Blog Length: Long or Short

Another hot blogging topic: what length will be best for your readers and Google? While many argue that quality is better than quantity, there is an aspect of good SEO that comes from writing longer posts. Still, your blog audience and theme can be a significant factor as well.

According to FullTraffic.net, “Articles should be as long or as short as they need to be in order to hold the reader’s interest. They should respond to the search queries in a thorough and compelling way.” So, what works best for you?

  • Long: 600-1,000+ words. As far as SEO goes, longer, interesting content (with relevant key words) is ranked better. Longer content looks more authoritative (e.g. Social Media Examiner), therefore Google likes it. However, it might also be tedious for your readers to get through an entire article of that length.

OR

  • Short: 300-400 words. For some, this length is just fine. Personal, photo or coupon blogs can still do well with relatively shorter content. It is also easier for readers to get through a quick post. The sweet spot between long and short is 500 words. Long enough to have substance, but short enough for short attention-spans.

Target audience: Niche or No Niche

Dictionary.com defines niche as, “A place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one’s niche in the business world.” Blogging niches are both valuable and constricting, and there has been talk amongst bloggers about whether it’s necessary to choose one or not.

  • Niche: Having a niche may be a positive choice for the life of your blog for one reason: It gives you a spot in the blogosphere to fill. If your niche is Horseback Riding in California, you will stand out from the rest because of your specificity. This also makes reader targeting much easier.

OR

  • No niche: Having no niche gives you a broader range of content and readers to work with. However, your one blog may be competing with 10 others because you touch on a variety of topics.

When writing your blog, whether personal or business, keep these options in mind. No one of them is right or wrong, however each one does have its pros and cons. Decide what’s right for your blog, and make that work for you.

Over to you: What kind of blog do you have? A daily, niche-focused blog featuring long articles or just the opposite? Please tell us about your blog in the comment box below.

21 Dangerous Blogging Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Are you struggling to get the results you want from your blog?

Successful blogging can be complicated, so you want to make sure you’re doing things right.

Writers from Social Media Examiner were asked, “What’s the single biggest mistake bloggers make and why?” Read their answers carefully to see how you can improve your blogging to get the results you want.

Mistake #1 Covering too many topics

I believe the single biggest mistake bloggers make is covering too many topics. Many bloggers want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, so they write about a myriad of topics.

The problem with this is that the scope of the blog can become lost and possibly disengage the audience. Defining a few key areas that a blog’s posts will cover can finely hone the content and laser-focus the knowledge and expertise of the blogger.

Stephanie Gehman, marketing manager for Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania.

Mistake #2 Not committing to the process

Oh, there are so many mistakes business bloggers make. If I had to choose just one, it would be not committing to the process. Too many people get into blogging thinking that it will have an instant impact on their business. Their search engine visibility and inbound traffic will skyrocket, and they’ll be sleeping on a bed of $100 bills. Read full article here.

Should Content Marketers Go on Vacation?

Ask yourself this question: As a content marketer, is there a connection between vacation and creativity…between vacation and clarity of thought?

I  think so.

As I write this, I’m preparing to head up north to Ithaca for a much needed summer break. But I’m worried about my blog. You see I’m the sole content creator here in my little world.

Who will write my blog when I’m gone? Should I stack up several blog posts and automatically schedule them over the next two weeks?  Or should I just give my blog some breathing space?

The Vacation Narrative

The idea behind vacation is that everyone needs time to slow down, to refresh and re-energize. This is especially true for bloggers and content marketers.

Time away from the computer screen allows you to acquire different experiences, to stimulate your imagination, and to support new ideas. To put it simply, vacation time is extremely beneficial to your content marketing efforts.

But.

Who will feed the sheep?

Let’s agree on one thing. In content marketing there is no such thing as a ‘slow season‘.

Even when clients and customers are away and your staff takes the opportunity to go on vacation themselves, the blog must still be fed and your social media networks cannot be ignored. Someone has to tend to your audience because they still expect to hear from you.

If the person in charge of content marketing takes off, they better make sure that there is continuity.

Content, consistency and contingency plans

Consistency is one of the most crucial elements of content marketing.

If we’re constantly urging our clients to be consistent with their content marketing efforts, we better be seen to be doing the same. Content marketers do not have the luxury of letting their content go while they’re gone on vacation.

And so a lot of planning and preparation is needed before you decide to hit the beach (or the mountains!).

That might mean that you make arrangements with a guest blogger, or that you accumulate several articles before you leave. And if the worst comes to the worst, be prepared to multi-task while you’re sun-bathing in Ocean City. But I just don’t think that your content marketing should miss a beat. (Sorry – that’s just me!).

It’s true: planning to take a vacation can cause anxiety (especially if you’re American or Japanese – Europeans, not so much!). But with some forethought and planning, a break can be a really good thing. Heck you might even conceive an idea for a book!

Over to you

What do you think? What can content marketers do to ensure continuity while they’re on vacation? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Not Blogging? 5 Reasons Why You’re Missing Out

The numerous strategic benefits of business blogging are HUGE, and quite frankly I’d have a tough time trying to scratch that surface in this article.

But supposing for one moment that you’re one who knows the benefits of blogging, but hasn’t got around to doing it. Let me tell you what you’re missing.

  • Content Marketing:

Content marketing is the use of content to attract and retain customers. It’s a trend that’s hard to ignore these days, especially since it has relegated the  ‘hard sell’ approaches of yester-year to a very tough and endangered marketing space.

Brands that have something interesting to say – something that educates and brings value to the consumer – are saying it through dynamic and versatile content i.e. business blogs, video, slide-share and social-media. Not only do these platforms provide a subtle marketing approach but they also facilitate the kind of responsiveness and customer engagement that ‘push’ tactics cannot.

  • Community Building

When readers have a personal attachment to your content, then they will return again and again.

A blog that creates and sustains its own community (via comments, track-backs, RSS etc) is one that engages readers and creates a positive impression about your brand. At the same time, that sense of community creates more loyal readers and leads to the growth of the community. Think of Seth’s blog and the ‘tribe’ that he has created through that platform.

What ties a community together is your leadership (as a blogger)  and the ideas that you generate through your blog. This opportunity provides HUGE  potential benefits for your brand.

  • Social Media

In a world where consumer information changes fast and furiously,  customer demand for new information is insatiable. This morning’s news is history! If you’re not blogging then clearly you’re missing the opportunity to create fresh content. And this has a social media implication.

Social media is primarily a distribution channel for fresh content. Think of brands such as Huffington Post and Mashable – they generate new content several times a day and their social media influence is unparalleled in their respective industries (according to Technorati.com). Without fresh content, your social media existence is at risk of a quick demise.

  • SEO

Blog pages are naturally search engine friendly because they contain rich key-words, links and frequently up-dated content that search engines love. In turn, search engines reward fresh content with increased traffic.

This means that your site can be ‘crawled’ or indexed more frequently, allowing your content to be found faster and therefore encouraging new visitors.

Also blogs that post product or service information can link anchor text to purchase pages or landing pages within the website, facilitating the conversion of visitors to customers.

  • Influence

Fresh content is a sign of an authoritative website. Kevin Gibbons a highly respected blogger, founder and CEO of UK search agency SEOptimize offers good advice:

The potential benefits of a well-executed corporate blog are simply huge. In addition to boosting your organic search engine optimization (SEO) by filling your pages with keyword-rich link bait, it also builds your reputation as an industry authority.

Because of the social nature of blogging, blogs link very easily with other blogs much more than static websites do. By employing highly sharable content such as video, audio, breaking news or trending topics, blogs attract in-bound links which enhance their credibility and authority in that particular industry.

Now I realize that consistent blogging is tough for those who are not bloggers by profession (or passion), and I have some special tips for you to help you start or improve your blogging experience.

However I think we’re in agreement that the ‘social content revolution’ is here to stay. Web site platforms are now being built as content management systems (with the assumption that they will support and manage new, versatile, and user-friendly data). I think consumers will gradually come to expect corporate brands to provide key product information through their blogs as well.

What are your thoughts on blogging? Can you think of other reasons why non-bloggers are missing out? Please share.