Less is Almost Always More in Blogging

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With so much noise out there on the Interwebs today, wouldn’t it be refreshing to visit a blog where one idea is presented in a clean, straightforward fashion? Just think of the sigh of relief you feel stepping into a sleek, modern home after spending a week at your nicknacky grammy’s, or the calm quiet your own home gets once the kids are asleep and their toys are put away.

Well, why not your blog?

One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Brandsplat is taking no more time than absolutely necessary to make a point. We know we’re on borrowed time here, and that your readers are only willing to give you a quick once-over before moving on — unless you can capture their hearts and minds for longer.

You do that by writing in a clear fashion about something you know and care a great deal about, whether that’s the law or making handbags or, well, anything at all. Your voice — the tone you use, the length of your sentences and the words you select — often communicates as much about you as the content. That’s another trick we Brandsplatters know: How to weave content and tone together into a tightly-knit package for your readers.

So take a look at your favorite blogs today. We bet the ones you read time and time again are carefully-crafted, concise nuggets of knowledge, not epic poems of meh.

When you’re ready for your blog to be on your audience’s go-to reading list, give us a call at 800-299-5498 or drop us a line at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com.

The Makings of the Perfect Summer PR

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It’s summer — the season of grilling vs. baking, biking vs. driving and chilling vs. working. It’s that fabulous time of year when we collect around water on hot days and unwind amid warm evening breezes. We’re at our desks less, staying in touch more via mobile. So how does a company’s blogging and social media management help drive business during a time when everything’s so c’est la vie?

Simple: Keep it laid back. Nothing aggressive (unless it’s beach volleyball) is getting any attention until September. Ride the wave by sharing values-based messages on your blog. For example: Going on vacation? Call your last pre-vacation blog post “Gone Fishing” and explain what you’re doing with your time away from the office. Maybe it means quality time with your kids. Maybe you’re volunteering with your church. Maybe it’s catching up on chores at home. Summer is the perfect time to share this side of your life.

And don’t forget the power of images. Customers like knowing that business owners are people, too — so Instagram or Facebook the latest fun from your time off. Keep it clean, of course: No alcoholic beverages or nudity (sadly, these days that even includes even baby bums running through sprinklers). You can also engage followers by asking them to post photo responses to your own (again, keeping things squeaky clean will help you avoid having to clean up a mess later).

Finally, summer is a good time to drop hints about big things you have planned for the fall. Say you’re announcing new services, or expanding your office: Now’s a good time to say you’re resting up for what’s sure to be a busy fall, what with everything you have planned! This helps give the impression that things are booming for you business-wise, and customers love doing business with successful companies.

Now, go enjoy some time off. You’ve earned it! But if you need some help while you’re away, give us a shout. Just contact us and let us know what part of your business you’re hoping to grow, and we’ll get right on it.

Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

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Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

 

Most business owners now understand the importance of blogging in terms of raising the profile of their business, both online and in their local community. But even those who were early adopters of blogging as part of their marketing strategy for their business don’t always think of the following three benefits:

1. Ward off competition

It’s true: Blogging can help your business stave off a competitor. Let’s say you run a small consulting firm specializing in helping companies save money on their telecommunications bill. If you’re doing it well, your blog is full of stories of satisfied customers and tips that make it clear that you’re the expert in a particular niche. Why would a potential competitor want to have to try to prove that she is more awesome than you when you’ve already cornered that market?

2. Attract investors

In the same vein, having this record of your thoughts and experiences can also lead to someone saying, “That company has a great business model and is led by a fabulous person. I’d like to meet with them and see if I can be part of their future success.” And once you sit down with this potential investor, they already feel as though they know you, your dreams and your company’s raison d’être.

3. Organize your own thoughts (and get feedback!)

Kind of like keeping a journal, a business blog helps you keep track of ideas that you’re considering for your company. Better yet, they’re ideas that your audience can weigh in on. Say you run a small chain of coffee houses in a tri-state area and you hit upon an idea: What if your stores hosted an open mike night or a poetry slam? By blogging about it, you can both record your idea and gauge potential interest in these events. Maybe your readers aren’t that interested in either idea, but they would like to see you make room for a mother/daughter tea event. There’s extra revenue, just like that.

We know what you’re thinking: “Man, I have GOT to get on this blogging thing, even though I have no time!” Don’t worry… we can help you out. We work closely with our clients to go beyond informative blog writing — we study your industry, learn its acronyms, talk about your dreams. In short, we capture your voice.

So when it’s time to finally start that blog, or turn your existing one over to a professional who can be sure it gets updated more than once a quarter, give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or shoot us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com. We’ll have your blog working for you in no time!

How NOT to Attract Business with Your Blog

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Just as responsible attorneys deplore ambulance-chasing hacks, we here at Brandsplat get our dander up when we see the art of attracting business through blogging debased with thoughtless posts. After all, our writers take great pride in their work and enjoy partnering with our clients to establish just the right tone and content necessary to increase traffic to their stores or offices. So we occasionally get little rants emailed around the office when they stumble across something especially bad.

Here are the top three types of posts that you DON’T want to have associated with your business (and which we promise never to write for you):

1. The Not-So-Humble-Brag Blog: This post is irritating in part because it has so much promise. The business has won some kind of recognition or reached a milestone and rightly wants its customers to know. So far, so good; sharing these accomplishments can help improve a company’s image with its current and prospective customers or reinforce an already good reputation. But in this case, the writer went tone deaf and belted out an egregiously self-congratulatory blog, forgetting to thank the company’s employees as well as other stakeholders. What could have been a gracious reminder of why customers choose to do business with this company instead prompts customers to ask, “Do I want to be associated with this kind of pompous behavior?” Brandsplat tip: Spread praise evenly for best results.

2. The Close-But-No-Cigar Blog: We’ll admit to geeking out a bit when a blog comes across our laptops with a Big Idea. Maybe it’s a philosophical confrontation of the nature of a company’s business a la Jerry Maguire. Maybe it’s a connect-the-dots piece that helps us write even more meaningfully about a certain topic. These types of blogs are rare and, when well done, command attention. However, the great majority get bogged down by a lack of proper execution. Some of them start out well, but the line of reasoning isn’t clearly borne out. Others have so many grammatical errors that we can’t see the argument for the typos. And nearly all need a good editor to stand back and say, “I do not think it means what you think it means.” Even your shampoo bottle knows enough to recommend that you rinse and repeat — or in this case, wait a few hours and review your work with fresh eyes. Or, even better (and this brings us to our Brandsplat tip): Have someone else look at your blogs before you hit the big button.

3. The My-Political-Opinion-Is-Better-Than-Yours Blog: Sure, most of us know that business and politics don’t mix; you’re more likely to offend someone and lose their business than you are to impress an already-like-minded individual and gain theirs. Unfortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for the politics of business to creep into a company’s blog (say, proposed tax code changes or a news story that criticizes hiring practices in a company’s industry). That’s usually when the trouble starts. This is particularly true when the business owner is handling a lot of the marketing him- or herself, as there’s no counter-check on what’s being put out there (see point 2). But let’s say the writer pulls it off and pens a post in praise of something he or she considers innocuous, like helping little old ladies cross the street. That’s when the blog’s readers take over and start commenting, adding their own two inflammatory cents. Haven’t enabled comments? That’s OK, they’ll just share your blog on Facebook with their own take — likely one you’d never want associated with your business. Brandsplat tip: Remember, it’s all too easy to start out writing about the virtues of a particular position and end up sunk in vitriol.

Interestingly, these poor choices often happen when writers feel pressured to “put something up on the blog already!” and don’t have the time to think through what they’ve written. That’s just another reason to hire a content marketing service, and we happen to know a good one. Let us know if we can help by emailing hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com or calling 800-299-5498.

How to Handle Increasing Content Demand

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Some of our clients already know how to write great web content (and if you’re not sure, take the “So What?” test here.

But once that great content gets noticed, it’s not long before it brings in new business as well as demands for more such great content. And that means less time to create it in the first place.

This is a common, though nice-to-have, problem among successful marketers. In fact, two-thirds of business-to-business marketers recently surveyed say they can’t keep up with content production demands. If you’re in this position, you have three choices: Delegate the writing, continue to hope the writing will somehow magically get done or resign yourself to the notion that the writing will not get done any time in the near future.

So, you’ve decided to delegate, then? How smart. Here’s how to proceed:

1. Choose a writing partner — Ideally, you’re looking for one or more individuals (perhaps even a firm) with a history of effective content creation and great client references. When you interview prospective partners, be sure to ask how frequently they hit content deadlines (we’re still at 100% here at Brandsplat!) and how they adapt their writing style to match your needs. A good copywriter will listen to the words you use to describe your work and jot down notes as you’re talking. He or she will ask questions about any jargon your industry uses and present several potential blog topic ideas based on your conversation. A great copywriter will have done research before this meeting and come armed with a myriad of additional questions, including our personal favorite: “What land mines are out there?” This helps the writer know where NOT to step — politics or religion or a weird industry deference to flamingos… Whatever it is, great copywriters know the wisdom in asking ahead of time.

2. Conduct a brain dump — Once you’ve chosen your writing partner, they will want to sit down with you for anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes to discuss your audience, previous attempts at connecting with them (what worked vs. what didn’t and why) and basically get a feel for how they can step into your shoes. When you’re busy, the thought of finding another hour in your schedule to bring your writing partner up to speed can seem daunting, but remember: That’s the last hour you have to spend worrying about how little writing you’re doing! You’ll be officially off the hook.

3. Sit back and relax — Totally kidding. You’ve still got that huge to-do list waiting for you, and it’s getting bigger by the minute! But now that you’ve delegated the content piece, you have freed up your schedule a bit more and can get down to business. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Whether you or someone you love needs help with delegating their content writing, we’re here for you. Give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or drop us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com and let us take some of the pressure off.