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The Write Stuff

28 Mar 2015 | Posted Under Blogging

Most people who work the web realize thatblogs and social posts are two of the best ways to promote themselves and their business. The problem is that even the best prose can easily get lost in the vastness of the Internet. In this article, we're going to explore a number of ways that anyone can create, grow and engage an audience. Even better, I'll introduce you to a number of resources that you can use to enhance and even monetize your online content. If you think you have the "write stuff," then keep reading and get ready to absorb the knowledge from this week’s, Working the Web to Win.

When it comes to generating results online, most people still act as though a website is the be-all, end-all of Internet marketing.  That kind of thinking is so 20th century.  Sure, before the year 2000, there were only two things you needed to succeed online: a website and a search engine.  Fifteen years later, not only is this clearly not the case, in some cases you don’t even need a website to generate results.

English: a chart to describe the search engine...
English: a chart to describe the search engine
 market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you consider that it takes from four to six months on average for a website to work its way up the food change onto the first page of the majorsearch engines, this isn’t always the best route to success for many businesses.  Sad to say it, but 99% of websites never make it onto Page One.  In the first place, a website only represents 25% of the criteria that search engines use to determine ranking.  The other 75% consists of off-page media, including blogs, social networks, and videos.  Unless you have the time or money to post relevant content to Facebook, Twitter,Google+, Blogger and YouTube on a regular basis, then your chances of making it to the top of the search engines is slim to none.

However, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.  Especially if your resources are limited, it's sometimes a better course of action to choose your battles and start growing your web presence on the installment basis.   One of the quickest ways you can create a growing audience that you can sell to is by blogging.

Blogger Ain’t Your Daddy’s Blog

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Started on August 23, Blogger was originally created in San Francisco by three contract programmers during the dot-com boom.  When dot-com became dot-bomb, Blogger barely survived the shake out.  Then Google came calling in 2003 and bought Blogger.  Since that time, Blogger has seen quite a few changes.  Today’s platform allows users to do much more than merely post blogs. Fully fledged, a writer can do everything with Blogger that they can do with a website, including:

  • Post text
  • Embed videos
  • Include banner ads
  • Host forms
  • Create subsidiary pages
  • Add backlinks
  • Automatically resize to any platform
  • Generate a loyal following

Even more importantly, as soon as you click on the "publish" button, the Google bots will index your blog.  This means that a properly optimized blog post could wind up on Page One of Google in as little as a few hours.  Try doing that with a website.

Face it, the reason anyone builds a website is to get found on the web.  The problem with that idea is that the current search engines have a monopoly and they tightly exerted their control as to what get exposed. There are only approximately 15 to 20 listing positions (per search engine) on the three biggest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing. That makes trying to get a page one listing very hard to accomplish. 

But what if there was a way to generate the same or even better exposure for your business without having to rely on search engines at all?  In fact, what if I could show you a way to generate a bigger audience and increased conversion without the use of a website.  Would that interest you?

Stats for a Strong Website

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Before I do that, let’s take a look at the best case search engine scenario.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that you woke up one morning to find your website in position 1, page 1 on Google.  Let’s also assume that it was for a highly coveted keyword or phrase that produces 10,000 relevant searches per month.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  Well, it should, because on average the top organic listing on Google generates nearly two thirds of the clicks that go to that page.  So your website would receive around 6,500 clicks that month. 

That’s the good news.  The bad news is this,  just because your site generated a few thousand clicks doesn’t necessarily mean that it will generate a lead, a registration or a sale.  Far from it.  That’s because on average, a visitor to your site from a search engine is going to spend less than two minutes on your site before they either take action or click back to search.  After all, there are upwards of 20 listings on Page One of Google search from which to choose.

Unless your website fulfills a need, or contains an irresistible offer that compels the visitor to act, they're going to peruse several sites other than yours.  That’s the main reason people “google it” in the first place, to comparison shop.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Website!

Blog readers are a different breed of cat.  In the first place, blog readers spend, on average, twice the time on a blog as a visitor does when they a website.  They are interested in reading what you have to say.  Secondly, a well-written blog can not only make an impact on the reader, but it can also elevate the writer to the level of expert. That’s right, it raises your credibility!  Since it is important that a visitor know, like and trust you before they make a buying decision, you can convey much more authority with a timely blog than you can with even a highly targeted website.  Best of all, once immersed in your blog, the only subsidiary clicks available are not to competing bloggers, but to the other content contained on your site.  Just like your website, Blogger comes complete with analytics that can help you adjust your message, your subsidiary content and your offers. (Take a look at a snapshot of our readership below.)

Our Blog Stats as Of mid-March 2015

Currently, our blog is being read by almost 50,000 people per month.  This figure far exceeds the 6,500 clicks per month that our mythical website above achieved during the same period.  These blogs are well-read and our offers and ads produce results nearly every day.  Our readership was generated by writing an average of one blog every week for the past three years.  So this is something that anybody can do as long as they follow the ABCs of successful blog writing.

The A B Cs of Successful Blogging

A - Always intrigue the reader.  The last thing anyone wants to read is about your last board meeting or ad copy.  To create a following you need to answer a question, fulfill a need, or provide real value. A catchy title and lead paragraph are also a plus.  The objective is to inform and entertain at the same time.   (We refer to this as Infotainment.)
B – Bring your readers a great read.  We have found that the minimum copy for a great blog is 1,200 words or more.  Don’t short sheet your readers by penning only a few paragraphs.  Think magazine article, long copy or in-depth info as opposed to a fat tweet or short copy.  Your readers will thank you.
C – Create a sharing atmosphere.  Provide your audience with information that they can’t find anywhere else and they will treat you like an authority figure. Also make it easy to share your blog with others. Post it to your social nets daily so that your current following can stay current.

A few other must haves:
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1.      Keywords embedded in the title and text
2.      Backlinks to your website (if you have one)
3.      Brief bio of the writer at the end of the blog
4.      Appropriate images and/or videos embedded in the copy
5.      A clear offer or call to action

Then there is just one more task and that is to generate distribution.  The problem is if you write the world’s best blogs and no one reads them what you have created is a billboard in the desert.  Content marketing (a.k.a., business blogging) requires real dedication. While there are a number of ways to create an audience. There is pay per click and promoting your post.

Don’t forget the Social Nets

However, the two best ways to get the word out are by posting to your social nets and by working with other successful bloggers.  If you already have a substantial amount of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and/or Google+, pushing your blog posts couldn’t be simpler.  That’s because at the bottom of your blog is the F, T, P and G that are created for you to do just that.  Simply point, click and add a comment on each of these icons to push your blog to your followers.

Team Teach is the Bomb

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An even better way to generate a following is to pool your resources with fellow bloggers.  One of our award-winning services that we offer to clients is called Team Tech.  This is a peer-to-peer blogging club where members are matched with five bloggers from non-competing businesses.  Every week, these blog buddies are tasked with reading each other’s blog, adding an appropriate comment and then pushing member blogs to their social nets.  This creates instant readership, since their blogs are seen every week by thousands of readers who would otherwise have no way of seeing their blog. 

On top of that, we coach each team to make sure they are optimizing their blogs and acting in each other’s best interest. The last way we help them is by also getting in on the team spirit by sharing their blog post to our 65,000+ followers and the groups we belong to. This gives each of the team tech members an additional bump each week and really kick start their viewer growth.

The important thing is that with a little imagination, you can create an audience without having to duke it out on the search engines.  If you do have a website, adding a blog is a great source of Google Juice, since the world’s most popular search engine puts a premium on blogs that generate a substantial following.  You can also use these blogs to bolster your social networks as well, in essence killing two birds with one stone. All you have to do is apply the write stuff. 

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