Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Business Blogging - 6 tips to get you started

Starting up your own business blog? OK, first thing’s first. We’ve rounded up our top 6 things you need to get sorted before you even think about hitting that publish button….

  1. Listen To Your Audience - First off, you really need to learn who your customers are, where they hang out and what they are saying. There are lots of monitoring tools out there and the great news is that many of them are free. As well as Google Alerts and Twitter searches, tools such as Social Mention (a real-time search engine that pulls in data from a range of social media) are a great way to plug in relevant keywords and get an insight into who your audience is and what they want to hear.
  2. Position Your Blog – When creating your blog it’s really important to consider the value that it is bringing to your target audience and to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Your blog should provide pertinent information for consumers interested in your area of business. A clear goal and theme makes it a lot easier for readers to understand what to expect and more importantly it helps them to connect with the content.
  3. Choose Your Bloggers - Picking your bloggers is one of, if not THE most crucial things to think about as they will be the voice of your brand. Make sure you find a “voice” that is authentically yours. Pick people that are both knowledgeable and interested in the areas you want to cover and have a great writing style and presence. It they are truly passionate then that enthusiasm will shine through and ultimately make your blog a lot more interesting to read too.
  4. Write Some Guidelines- Once you’ve chosen your bloggers it’s worth creating a set of editorial guidelines for them to follow. Before embarking on your blogging journey, you should consider the “dos” and “don’ts” of blogging from both a company and a blogosphere point of view. These guidelines will help you to set the level of interaction and help you to avoid bad publicity and diminished credibility.
  5. Create Cornerstone Content – Absolutely vital. You only get one shot at a blog launch, so make sure you have plenty of well-organised and targeted content planned and written. Create something interesting and useful that will act as a motivator for subscribers to get on board.
  6. Find Guest Bloggers - If there are other blogs in your industry, seek out the top influencers and ask them to do a guest spot. Google Blogs: Is particularly useful for finding the volume of conversation occurring on particular search terms while BoardReader and Board Tracker are useful tools for tracking conversations happening within forums.

Next week we'll take a look at how to promote your blog once it’s gone live, including our number one top tip to really get you noticed!

Friday, 8 October 2010

The new GAP logo, was it all just a cunning viral marketing ploy?

Ever since GAP quietly introduced their new logo to the company’s web site for the first time on Monday morning, critics have been quick to voice their dislike of the new design, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites have been literally buzzing with reactions.

One Twitter user has even created a site where you can ‘make your own Gap logo,’ which is already making its rounds on the web (users have already created close to 5000 logos of their own).

But is the new logo just a clever move by Gap to spin some of the public outrage into a self-deprecating defence of its unpopular change? I definitely smelled a rat, a brand as strong as Gap doesn’t just release their logo without thought, warning, or a plan of action. Surely all their employees, stores, and partners would have had to been notified months in advance?

In response to the backlash Gap offered the following “Well, can you do any better?” response on its Facebook page:
So was it Gap’s original plan to crowdsource the project or more of a reactionary coping strategy than a well-laid marketing plan?

Either way, as a marketing strategy it has certainly done it's job. People who might not have shopped in GAP's stores, looked at their website or even thought about the design of it's previous logo are now talking about the GAP brand. It's a brilliant idea to keep the news fresh in peoples minds, and to engage them in your brand. You even have to 'Like' the GAP facebook page to leave a comment and I'm writing a blog about it now...genius!

Monday, 27 September 2010

7 Simple SEO tips to get you Started...

We get lots of people asking us about SEO, what they should do, what they could do and what they definitely should not do. It seems that a lot of 'gurus' and unscrupulous SEO companies have been over-complicating the whole thing unnecessarily and in light of this we have decide to shine a much needed spotlight on the often confusing area of SEO information and misinformation.

SEO is not rocket science. Yes, SEO moves fast. Yes, the strategies change periodically, but the simple essence of SEO basically stays the same. A respectable SEO agency will admit SEO is challenging but will explain as much as they can to you simply and will tailor your campaign to your budget.

Don't believe the hype. SEO results don't come quickly. Ethical SEO campaigns can take a considerable amount of time to develop and become effective but it will definitely be worth the wait.

Some SEO companies use the same SEO techniques for every client they work for and claim this is an efficient approach to SEO. This just isn't true. Every business is different and requires a unique SEO campaign. If your SEO campaign is not tailored to the wants and needs of your business, it is highly unlikely to make a difference.

Oh and our favourite...you really need metatags…yeah, if this was 1999. Now you need so much more: social bookmarking, press releases, content syndication, a blog and someone to run it, some viral content as linkbait, and about 500 more good sites linking to yours with your targeted anchor text.

In our experience, SEO is all about understanding our client and their customers, following good practice and utilising a combined understanding of search engines and web technology.

Here's a few tips to get you started:

  1. Know your market – choose your keywords based upon what people are looking for, NOT the other way around. There are a range of free tools and some paid ones which are perfect for helping you, Google Adwords & Word Tracker are ideal programs for this.
  2. Clarify your business goal, brand objective and value proposition. These are extremely difficult to do, but essential to your success. Answer these first!
  3. Solve a problem for your customer. Make sure the page does this with proper SEO and a call to action. It comes down to answering a user's specific question.
  4. Re-Work & Write your content - If you have already worked on some content think about re-working it to include some of your new keywords but be warned: don’t go over doing it and make sure it still reads well.
  5. Start a Blog. Blogs are all about content. Search engines love content. They don't love Flash, and they're still struggling with photos and video, but they absolutely get content.
  6. Get Social. Social Media is a great option of getting quality, inbound traffic.The nature of the social web encourages participation: sharing, voting, commenting and linking. Popular social content gets exposure, traffic and can result in a substantial number of relevant inbound links.
  7. Great content + Great User Experience + SEO = Traffic simples!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Do You Know Who's Watching You?

Well, do you? You might be surprised....

I thought I would share this infograph I received from the guys at Wordstream, it's easy to forget just how much of your personal life is accessible through social media and this graph is a great little reminder of the importance of being 'in the know' when it comes to privacy and controlling the information you share online. (click on the graph for full view)

Infographic byWordStream Internet Marketing

Infographic byWordStream Internet Marketing