Ten reasons to start a company blog.

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When blogging first came on the scene it got a lot of flack as being a useless mouthpiece for individuals that had nothing better to do. But time has proven blogs to be useful resources for individuals and businesses. Now more than ever, blogging offers powerful benefits for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. So as a business, why should you blog? Here is

1. Establishes you as an expert in your field. When you write on a regular basis about what you know, you can’t help but deliver what you know about your business. You may take it for granted that your manufacturing technique for making widgets is unparalleled. A blog can be a great platform to educate potential customers about your expertise.

2. Gives your brand a voice. A blog is like a story. Every company has one. By offering up an inside look into your day-to-day operations, you are able to humanize your brand in a way that you really couldn’t do in a brochure, television commercial or print ad.

3. Content enhances SEO. While you may have a great SEO or SEM strategy in place, great content updated on a daily basis can really help make your company more findable on the internet. The more content you write that utilizes strategic keywords related to your business, the better your chances are ranking higher on the SERPs for those keywords.

4. A chance to connect with other industry specialists. Many bloggers start off as lone writers, but find there’s a larger community of bloggers out there writing on similar subjects. Tapping into this community by commenting on other blogs can offer relationships that would not otherwise be available.

5. A chance to initiate a two-way conversation. A good blog invites conversation with the outside world. This affords you the opportunity to get first hand market research on how your company is doing, what you can do better and what your customers think about your brand.

6. Link Juice. Getting other related sites to link back to you can help with SEO. If you are a shoe manufacturer, you may want to link to sports related sites to further legitimize your site with the major search engines.

7. Incubate new ideas. Good bloggers ask their audience for their advice on any given subject matter. Or better yet, you can use a blog to crowd source new ideas for products or services. You already have the attention of an audience that is clearly interested in your brand. Why not let them take part in create it with you?

8. Instant feedback. Blogs can be used to beta test new products or services to fans of your blog. By collecting data on who is following your posts, you can reach out to people interested in your brand instantly with an email or a direct invitation right on your blog. In the past, companies would have to hire special focus group companies to find potential customers and gain valuable market research information after an interview. Blogging can help you bypass all that.

9. Self-promote. OK, this one may be obvious. But you really don’t need to hard-sell anyone with a blog. The mere fact that you are offering up content related to your industry will put you on the map. Blogging great content on a regular basis will keep people coming back for more.

10. It helps you focus. Blogging forces you to focus your ideas and to really evaluate why your brand is unique. Do this on a daily basis, and you won’t be able to help but hone in on your company’s unique selling point.

If you have a company and you don’t have a blog, you may want to consider getting one up and running. If you don’t have the resources or time to create or manage a blog, you may want to consider hiring a company like Brandsplat to handle it for you. Either way, blogging can offer lots of great benefits for any size company.

7 tips for social media PR

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Old school press releases follow a standardized template: write a catchy headline, get the five W’s and one H in your release (the who, what, why, where, when and how), include some good quotes, and at the end of your release, don’t forget to put in the about us and contact information. OK, maybe I’m simplifying it a bit, but most press releases of yesteryear follow the same format more or less.

While some of the old rules still apply, it’s a whole new digital world out there. Social media has changed the landscape for getting the word out on newsworthy stories. Because the Internet has made the world of finding information super easy, you will need to follow some digital guidelines if you want to get your press release noticed by publishers, editors, reporters and bloggers. If you already know how to use social media to promote yourself, you’re in good shape. Below are some tips to help get you ahead of the game:

1. RESEARCH. Research appropriate keywords and create a list. The internet works on indexed words and topics. You want to include words and phrases you think someone who is searching for similar information found in your press release will come across. There are a whole slew of free services that can help you determine which keywords might be best for your press release. I am a big fan of Google Adwords, but find what works best for you.

2. KEYWORDS. Put your juiciest keywords in your title without sacrificing a catchy line. Put yourself in your audiences shoes and write a headline that will attract their interest without sounding like you stuffed the headline with a bunch of keywords. Remember, you have plenty of time to get more keywords into the body of your press release.

3. ASSETS. Put together a packet of digital assets. Once you’ve written your release, make sure you save it in a non-formatted standard like RTF (or Rich Text Format). This will make it easier for a publisher, reporter or editor to quickly post it in an HTML friendly site. You may also want to consider attaching other visual assets to your release like photos or videos. Publishers are always looking for visuals to accompany their content to give it more appeal. This makes the publishers job easier if they don’t have to go out and get assets on their own.

4. DISTRIBUTE. Distribute like crazy. There are a multitude of sites that offer distribution. Some are free and some you have to pay for. Which you use may depend on the subject matter, your audience or the geographic location you are targeting. Regardless, do your homework before choosing a press release service.

5. SELF-PROMOTE. Promote your own press release. Use Twitter, facebook, your blog, your main site, email and any other digital tool you can think of to get people interested in your story. Start with the audience you already have then work your way outward. Often times if you can get a large audience interested in your story, a publisher will be happy to pick it up.  Get it out there and create your own buzz.

6. NETWORK. Get in touch with editors via email or even by phone. This is a bit old school. Writing an email to an editor or writer is an art in itself. Be creative. don’t just forward the press release. Introduce yourself and pitch the story in a short, concise way. Tell them why your story would be of interest to them. Most people who are looking for content get tons of press release submissions a day. Figure out a way to stand out. Do your research before sending out an email blast of your press release. Make sure that your release is relevant to who you are sending it to.

7. AMAZING CONTENT. Be Amazing. Be original. Your press release must be newsworthy.  Ask yourself if you really have something that people will want to read about? Publishers, bloggers, reporters and editors all want the same thing; original content that will attract lots of readers. That means that the content has to be extraordinary. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and give the world something amazing.

Email Marketing Gaining New Friends

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There appears to be an increase in the popularity of email marketing particular  when it comes to customers who are now welcoming informative emails. As a marketing tool, it seems to be losing its ‘spam’ tag due in part to the policies of many businesses and how they conduct email marketing campaigns.  If a business follows current guidelines, they are marketing to individuals who have opted-in to receive these emails.

Current trends are showing that businesses are starting to show more interest in email marketing. There are several reasons for this, one being the relatively low cost to run an email marketing campaign. Another is that marketers are delivering better content via email marketing, thus creating a better end-user experience. Returns from well designed campaigns are also on the increase with many businesses reporting that email marketing delivers their highest ROI when it comes to a cost comparison.

For businesses selling tangible products, email marketing may well lead to a decent increase in revenues. The biggest problem for many businesses is simply getting started and developing an email list to market to. There are many services (such as Aweber) available to help manage your mail list, however this does still leave the task of acquiring email addresses.

Ensuring your web site has multiple entry points to sign up for newsletters is certainly one tactic that is working  well.  Popular entry and exit points are obvious areas to place newsletter opt-in forms or buttons. Ensuring the sign on process is as quick and painless as possible is also important. Often a name and  email address is all you need to get started.

Email marketing is finding a lot of new friends both in the online and offline world. Brick and mortar businesses are also requesting email addresses and many shoppers are obliging. As a form of marketing, it can be inexpensive and the returns can be sizable.