All posts by Thomas_Prendergast

6 Easy Morning Success Habits

6 Easy Morning Success Habits
by Art Williams

 

Sure… everybody wants to be successful. But we know that being successful requires developing success habits, don’t we?

The only problem is…we just never get around to it, do we?

So… what if there was a way to break out of this failure-oriented inertia and build a success oriented foundation of success habits one easily managed step at a time? What if we could package this concept into convenient, reasonably fun, highly practical tasks that we could and would actually do?

The good news is that you can do that. Matter of fact you can do it in about 6 minutes of your morning routine. Can you spare your first 6 minutes of every morning to change your life for the better?

If the answer is, ‘Sure!’, then here are the six steps that you can start within the next 24 hrs:

Minute #1 – Start with a minute of silence. Tell yourself that you’re taking control of your day by NOT immediately jumping out of bed like a Pavlovian rat. Just relax. Do it as a positive act of your own volition. Remember… YOU are taking control of your habits, your actions, and the outcomes.

Minute #2 – Pull your written affirmations out and read them to yourself. In silence, out loud. … or both. It doesn’t matter. Just do it. Remember… you’re taking control. You probably know what affirmations are but just in case you don’t, here’s a quick primer (they really do work).

Minute #3 – Practice your goal visualizations. This fits right in with the affirmations you just practiced. With time, they sort of flow together into one mental process. Still…. Remember that you are taking control. You’ll not be able to form major success habits until you can master the formation of smaller ones first. And… you’ll find that affirmations and visualizations can get rather fun too.

Minute #4 – Do some exercises. Remember, the best exercise is the one that you’ll do and there’s a definite connection between taking control of your body and taking control of your mind. Don’t beat yourself up mentally because you’re not the idiot out there running in the road wearing the funny shorts and risking getting run over by early-morning commuters who still can’t see very well in the morning. You’ll be absolutely amazed the results, over time, of doing your max exercises just there on the floor by your bed (it’s different for everybody so just get started and work from there)

Minute #5 – Do some reading. No…you don’t have to wait until the evening when you’re ‘through for the day’! You’re taking control of your life, remember?? It’s perfectly OK to just read a page or two (which you probably can do over your morning cereal or coffee or whatever. If you want to really go premium quality on this part of your new routine, sign up for the free www.blinkist.com, a great service that sends you current, top-selling nonfiction book summaries which you can read on your smartphone or laptop. Many of them even have audio versions. Each chapter gets its own summary thus allowing you to read most of their books in 10 minutes or thereabouts.

Minute #6 – Write something. Start a journal. People used to ery commonly do journals and they are proven valuable not just for psychological reasons but also they’re great for improving your writing, articulation, and introspection skills. Not to mention that someday your kids and/or grandkids will love reading it. And don’t forget to write down some of your goal-setting and pursuit activities. That will subconsciously trigger your mind to assist you.

Summary: the key factor here is that you’ve got to take control and you do that by starting wherever you are. Work onward, upward, and outward from there. Starting small and slow is OK. Just be sure you do it with some conscious purpose.

By taking these small steps first thing in the morning, you establish the habit of being in control during the rest of the day. From there, you can apply the same basic principle to your weeks and even your months and years.

Try it. One of two things will happen: (a) something or (b) nothing. If you don’t try it, you know what will definitely happen: Absolutely nothing.
 

By Art WilliamsCase Study Writer and Markethive Developer
 

 

Facebook Can Shove Their Cookies Where The Sun Don’t Shine

Butt Out! Facebook

 

It doesn't a social justice warrior or Constitutional scholar to know that this news, which simply says that Facebook is now starting to track viewers of their ads who aren't even Facebook users, is bullshit. When I saw the news just now, I wasn't happy at all. 

Of course, I'm not a company stockholder or a major contributor to any US 'super PAC´ or one of Obama's privileged sucklings but I will say that this seems to be one area where Europe might be ahead of the US in their regulation of fascist incest. I mean, hasn't FB been in hot water over already about invasions of privacy on both sides of both oceans?

The way I interpret this article is that Facebook is doing this 'because they can' and they need to do it because they're leaving too much money on the table. Can't leave any money on the table now, can we!?

The battle between freedom conscious consumers (always the minority) and corporate lust for power (information is power….remember) is something we will probably always live with. But, just as Trump's populism seems to be resonating with a growing percentage of the American public, I suspect that we haven't seen the apex of the public's annoyance at such invasions of our privacy as Facebook's new cookie policy.

Also, I'll never forget reading somewhere many years ago that counter-trends always begin before they become apparent to the casual observer and I think that somewhere over the horizon there's something already brewing that's going to replace Facebook. I can't wait to see them knocked off thier high horse and having to respect the rights of the people who make them rich… just like normal companies do.

 

How Digital is Working For Main Stream Retailers

It’s no longer bricks-and-mortar versus e-commerce —“Omnichannel” is the path to success

Consumers have a myriad of ways to shop, and retailers are scrambling to keep up with them. “New technology and tools are transforming the way consumers want to shop,” says Anne Zybowski, vice president of retail insights at Kantar Retail. In response, retailers are re-thinking their operations, from infrastructure and inventory systems to delivery and marketing.

As measured by “STORES annual Top 100 Retailers report”, compiled by Kantar, the evolution of the retail industry displays the fitness and survival skills of some long-time inhabitants. For the most part, chart-topping stalwarts — Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, The Home Depot, Target, Walgreen and CVS — have maintained dominance through an ability to meet consumers’ changing desires, including their appetites for online shopping and digital interaction.

Chart-topping stalwarts like Walgreen have maintained dominance through an ability to meet consumers’ changing desires.

Amazon’s dramatic ascent continues, and while e-commerce has not proven to be the tidal wave that knocks bricks-and-mortar off its pedestal, the old “location, location, location” mantra doesn’t carry the same weight it once did.

Instead, the two channels are continuing to converge: Physical store operators are experiencing considerable digital success, while online merchants — including Amazon — are expanding with showrooms, pop-up shops and other ways of meeting shoppers face-to-face.

“The notion of “omnichannel” remains inspirational. Today’s demanding omni-shoppers know what they want,” Zybowski says. “They want retailers to offer whatever, wherever, whenever they want. And when it comes to value, they want to have their cake and eat it too — they don’t expect to pay more for convenience.”

The challenge for retailers is meeting consumers’ reset expectations.

“Retailers must figure out how to fundamentally transform their business models, ones that have been built for maximum efficiency and scale, and transform them into more nimble, effective ones,” Zybowski says.

This transformation primarily focuses on two key retail functions: selling and marketing. Retailers must sell across all channels, what Zybowski calls being “channel-agnostic or channel-agile,” while the marketing transformation involves personalization and shopper engagement.

QVC comes in at No. 70 on this year’s list, up from No. 73 in 2014.

The Evolving Processes

Many successful omnichannel retailers are broadline general merchandise sellers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart, though Zybowski says that specialists such as The Home Depot have made great omnichannel strides.

Tom Cole, a partner at Kurt Salmon Associates, observes that mobile is a major driver of omnichannel’s push toward seamless consumer experiences, though the volume of transactions conducted via mobile is still low. He says the challenge for retailers is building toward omnichannel via legacy systems already in place.

“Omnichannel is the new reality for all retailers whether they engage or not. If you’re available where and when consumers look for you, great. If not, you lose to someone who is,” says Marge Laney, president of Alert Technologies. “Online-only retailers lack the high-engagement fidelity that only the in-store experience can deliver. Offline-only retailers don’t deliver the comfortable and information-browsing experience that consumers utilize to make their shopping itineraries.”

The omnichannel successes of Nordstrom and Macy’s come as no surprise to Scott Galloway, professor of brand strategy and digital marketing at New York University and founder and chairman of digital benchmarking and education firm L2. “Frequently dismissed as dinosaurs and outmaneuvered by digital players, department stores can not only survive the dramatic fall-off in foot traffic seen over the past few years, but will ultimately fare better than pure play e-commerce,” he says.

Macy’s is so committed to pushing beyond bricks-and-mortar — where it has been downsizing of late — that it opened an Idea Lab in San Francisco and is building another fulfillment center in Tulsa, Okla. The retailer also recently introduced an image-search extension to its mobile application, and Macy’s 300,000 followers can shop directly via Instagram.

Robert Harrison, Macy’s chief omnichannel officer, says consumers are at different stages of adoption; more than half the time, they will research before buying something, frequently using different channels along the way.

The key, Harrison says, is “the convergence of digital and store, particularly for information acquisition.”

The whole process is “an evolution,” he says. “We hope that with one single view of the inventory, we have one single view of the truth. “Omnichannel” will enable the collective merchant teams and marketers to make better decisions because there will not be artificial demarcations” among channels.

YUM! Brands (21), which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, is second only to McDonald’s (12) when it comes to restaurantbrands on this year’s list.

Connecting channels

“Digital is the connective tissue between online and in-store,” says Claude de Jocas, intelligence group director for L2. “Stores have been cast as a liability in an Amazon era, but they’ve been making a comeback as something that’s critical to a retail strategy.”

Nordstrom is advanced in all facets of its omnichannel approach. The retailer has nearly 1 million followers who can shop via Instagram and, like Macy’s, its network of fulfillment centers is growing, the latest opening this summer in eastern Pennsylvania. Nordstrom has also launched a “scan-and-shop” feature within its catalog app that links readers of the print catalog to e- and m-commerce sites.

“We work hard to see our business through the eyes of the customer, and we hope scan and shop creates a more seamless shopping experience for our customers who enjoy browsing our catalogs but also enjoy the many benefits technology affords the experience to make it more personal,” says spokesman Dan Evans Jr.

Nordstrom is connecting with teen shoppers through digital mall Wanelo, and this spring unveiled a test of a “click-and-collect” service that includes curbside pick-up. This complements a more traditional buy online, pick up in-store program that Nordstrom has had in place since 2008.

A third service, TextStyle, was launched in late May and involves all 116 full-line stores; it allows customers to make purchases from their personal stylist or sales associate using text messages.

Dallas-based Army and Air Force Exchange Service (52) was featured in NRF’s Retail Across America: Texas video series.

Both Macy’s and Nordstrom have invested significantly to upgrade and digitize point-of-sale systems so that customer orders — whether made online, in-store or via mobile — can be easily tracked.

The Home Depot, whose quarterly online sales were estimated by Internet Retailer as topping $1 billion for the first time during the first three months of the current fiscal year, is growing into omnichannel. “We not only offered more spring season product online, but also leveraged digital media channels to highlight local in-store assortments,” CEO Craig Menear told investors and analysts on a conference call, referring to the mobile app’s in-store product location capabilities.

Neiman Marcus uses its strong print catalog experience to drive omnichannel efforts. “Catalogs such as The Book for Neiman Marcus and BG Magazine for Bergdorf Goodman have a very important role of bringing the brand to life in a very tactile way,” says John Koryl, president of stores and online at Neiman Marcus. “There is a niche in the market that the catalog services can maintain, but it’s not like the customer is aging out. It’s really across the whole demographic spectrum that catalogs play a role.”

Koryl maintains that catalogs have played a significant role in the retailer’s e-commerce, and thus omnichannel. “With catalogs, you have a data or insight mindset. In 1999, when Neiman Marcus started its web business — which is now 24 percent of our total business — the only way we were able to get such a jump start on everyone is that we already had a different relationship with all our vendor partners. We had this entire fulfillment infrastructure,” he says.

Signet Jewelers, which owns Zale and Kay Jewelers, jumped more than 20 places to No. 77 this year.

Easing into digital

Other retailers are spending on technology in different areas. Wal-Mart and Best Buy began testing buy online, pick up in-store about five years ago; today supermarkets and grocery-oriented supercenter operators use the model to ease into digital and avoid the delivery problems inherent in selling perishables. Meijer began testing a curbside pick-up program in its home market of Grand Rapids, Mich., this spring.

Kohl’s began testing buy online, pick up in-store last year; the program was rolled out across the chain this spring. “We see it as an advantage. Convenience is part of our core DNA, so having someone be able to place an order and then just drive in and pick it up — we’ve seen very positive reactions from our customers,” says Krista Berry, executive vice president and chief digital officer for Kohl’s.

Another benefit is a sales boost in stores where that merchandise is picked up. “Although it’s early, we’re extremely pleased with initial volumes and attachment sales,” Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell said on a conference call to discuss first-quarter performance.

The buy online, pick up in-store program was initially limited to desktop and laptop computer users; the service is expected to go mobile this fall, reaching the more than 7 million shoppers who have already downloaded the Kohl’s app.

Mansell said that Kohl’s can use the app’s wallet function to deliver personalized messages and offers that can be scanned and redeemed in stores. The Wisconsin-based retailer also launched voice-based search on Android and image-based search on both Android and iOS. “The pace of development will actually accelerate in the second and third quarters across the mobile platform,” he said.

The buy online, pick up in-store method is not without complications.

“Omnichannel retailers run the risk of overburdening their bricks-and-mortar locations in a few key ways,” says Dick Seesel, principal at Retailing in Focus. At the top of the list, he says, is a concern that staffing must be “adequate to take care of customers who have actually driven to the store to buy something, on top of processing e-commerce goods.”

The size of the retail operation is an important factor, says Paul McFarren of PD McFarren Consulting. “While some big-box retailers may be able to make this work, the idea that a majority of retailers could efficiently make use of in-store fulfillment of online orders is pretty far-fetched,” he says. “Training a distributed workforce, paying for additional on-site storage and the ongoing management of the exceptions make this model very difficult to support.”

Buy online, pick up in-store, says Zybowski, “is designed for the retailer’s model, not the shoppers.”

Tractor Supply Co. ranks No. 73 on this year’s list, up four spots from 2014.

Consumer focus

The difference between multichannel and omnichannel retailing is one of focus. In the early days, multichannel meant operating in two worlds, often with discrete management, inventories and pricing. Omnichannel brings it all together.

The consumer focus is so integral to the essence of omnichannel that one industry observer traces the origins back more than a decade, to a time when Best Buy was under heavy pressure from rivals such as Walmart.

“I think a lot of people forget or lose sight of the fact that omnichannel didn’t begin as omnichannel or even cross-channel,” says Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research. “It began as customer centricity, and the retailer who should get credit for putting customer centricity on the map is Best Buy.”

Baird says that by focusing on the customer experience at a time when e-commerce was just beginning to find itself — in 2003, the iPhone was four years in the future and Amazon’s retail sales in North America were about $879 million —Best Buy emphasized the essential components of what has become omnichannel.

“That’s where customer centricity was born — in a cradle of cross-channel commerce,” she says. “At the heart of omnichannel is customer centricity. You can’t have one without the other.”

This Was My Dad

This was my Dad:

I spent many hours with my Dad, Samuel Robert Kennedy, of Greenwood, Arkansas, in his later life, recording some episodes of his life. This is one that I didn’t record that shows his real character. I want to set it down now:

In a nutshell, my Dad was a waist gunner and while flying over Germany on a mission had to bail out as the plane was shot down. He survived on the loose for 7 days, but, then was picked up and sent to a Luftwaffe (German Airforce) prison camp. Now, the prisoners that were in the hands of the Luftwaffe (airmen) were somewhat better off than other prisoners of that war. My Dad said that when the prisoners went without food, they knew the guards did also. They honored the Geneva Convention in all things. The Luftwaffe hated the Gestapo with a passion and protected their prisoners from them. This is not to say, however, that he, as well as other Luftwaffe prisoners, didn’t go without hardships, pain, and other consequences of their situation.

I was raised in a family of realists. We make only enough of uncomfortable and unfortunate situations to keep things from getting out of hand, and are always ones to see the “humanness” of a situation – a sort of humor, you might say.

Adhering to the Geneva Convention meant that the prisoners of the camps had to be kept so much distance from active fighting. That is the reason they had to be “marched” here and there. In a particular instance, the prisoners were loaded in train box cars (30 to a car), not for cruelty purposes, but because so many prisoners had to be transported in a certain time and that was the number of cars there were.

He said they were in the box car for 10 days without food or water, awaiting the train. He said one of the prisoners who could speak German got a guard’s attention, who brought water in his canteen, over and over again, to keep the men alive. (Dad said one man had died in the box car he was in.)

He said there wasn’t enough room to lie down, but each man could sit with his knees under his chin, which would provide everyone a place to sit. Of course, they slept like that too.

And then Dad, got that far-away look in his eyes like he was remembering, got a tiny little wrinkle at the side of his mouth, and said, “You know, we could all go to sleep sitting like that with our knees under our chin, but, it’s a funny thing about the human body. When you sleep you tend to relax and, after about 2-3 hours’ sleep the guys would be waking up, grumbling, and trying to untangle all the legs that had stretched out and wrapped around each other. It didn’t make for a full night’s sleep.” And then he sorta chuckled and went on to other stories.

THAT was the finest generation. THAT was the farm boys and factory workers that represented us in WWII. That was my Dad. I thank him for the sense of reality he taught me and the legacy he left me.

Reluctant Boomer Entrepreneurs

I view Markethive as the hope of the Reluctant, Used-up, Boomer Entrepreneur. Let me explain:

I must be the poster child for the millions of good, hardworking people who find themselves in their 50 or 60-somethings, tired and out of steam, going through a forced downsize, out of funds, bankrupt and on their own.

There are millions of 50 and 60-somethings out there that are in the same predicament that I find myself — who have worked hard 24/7/365, built and owned businesses. Our businesses, many times, grew up at the same time computers grew up, from 5 ¼ floppy discs, DOS, 4 ½ disks, AOL, “world-wide-web”, the net, coding, the first images on the web, paying long-distance charges for email – we literally grew up with it.

But, as our businesses grew we naturally let this stuff over to assistants and technicians, and went on our way, peeking in every once in a while to see how things were going and giving directions. We built our businesses. We did it once, and, now, in our necessity we can do it again. We can build a business on the web and survive our “golden” years – maybe even prosper.

But there is one HUGE drawback that is sucking the life out of many of these Boomer “Entrepreneurs-of-Necessity” who find themselves in the position of having to make money to live – their life of hard work and dedication, in millions of cases, wiped out by unique circumstances of this modern life.

They may have had a slow falling from grace such as I had (eroding of business as I dealt with my sick husband for 15 years, loss of home to tornado, forced medical bankruptcy from VA shenanigans); or they may have come upon the same predicament in a “future shock” as their retirement was stolen, their homes foreclosed on, downsized as redundant, their health ruined by over-medication.

Whatever the circumstances, the fact is that millions of mature, experienced people with business backgrounds have very little way to support themselves but by “building something on the web”.

Our problem is; after we turned our backs on the web and its technology and left it to our technicians, IT GREW – AND GREW – AND G-R-E-W.

And, now that we need it – we are afraid of it. Or, actually, we are lost – which means we are afraid. It’s like a monster after you fostered it and knew it so well when it was an infant. It won’t hurt you, but you don’t know what to do with it. And you go through learning curve after learning curve – stumbling around through all the google demands, the snotty-nosed little kids with their “hand-held devices” looking at you like you crawled out from under a rock – you (the pioneer who had developed a virtual state-licensed college, clinic, interactive questionnaires, ecommerce, computerized lab results – in the 1990s).

Now, you’re too tired to deal with all of this – but you have to, to live.

As the poster child of Reluctant Boomer Entrepreneurs, what I need is someone to give me a hand-up once in a while. Someone who will say (without rolling their eyes) “Just click here.” (also without adding “It should be intuitive”.)

Those are my needs, wants, hopes and fears. That is why I’m hanging in there with MH.

Thank you for listening.

Danna G. Hallmark

How To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog

blogging

blogging,markethive

How To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog

Do you own a blog or two? Having a hard time generating traffic to your blog? Would you like to increase your page count?
These are often a blogger’s dilemma. Creating a blog is relatively easy, however, maintaining it to drive in more traffic is the hard part. If you have been experiencing this, there is no need to fret. All bloggers new and old are still bumping into this concern. Here are some tips to help you address this.

Content

More than anything, any reader would be interested to go back to your blog frequently because of the value of its content. As much as possible, make sure that every blog post is truly worth posting. Make sure that the content is appealing and enticing. Make your blog educational by adding in elements of suggestions and even question-and-answer portions, then update continuously your blog. Make sure you do it at least once a week. This will allow your avid readers to expect something new every week.

Social Media

Social media is a very powerful tool that allows you to share your blog easily. You can use this as an instrument to show your blog to other people. Frequently sharing your blog post to social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, allows more people to know about the existence of your blog. For starters, you can begin by sharing the link of your blog post to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, or perhaps you can create a fan page dedicated for your blog. You can also share your posts to different FB groups for a wider audience share.

Forums

Creating a blog means you are an expert on something. To increase your authority, you can share your blog to forum sites. Create an account to a forum that, in one way or another, would easily connect to the theme of your blog. If your blog is about cars, you can join various car enthusiasm forums. You can increase your blog's visibility by participating in the conversation while dropping your blog links as part of your answer. You can even include it in your profile signature.

There are many means and ways to drive traffic to your blog. However, effort must be consistent. It is not an overnight miracle. As a blogger, you must have the dedication to not only write decent content, but also sharing it to others. These are relatively simple tips and ways that you can do in order to get your traffic rolling.

Ida Mae Boyd
Developer

Entrepreneurship on the rise in the U.S.

Technology, funding and cultural developments are stimulating new business ownership.

Everyone is an entrepreneur

It has been a laggard recovery thus far, but the economic outlook shows interesting potential. A combination of developments in technology, financing and corporate culture is behind the rising power and leverage of small companies. As a result, an increasingly diverse cross-section of individuals is leaving large organizations and pursuing the creation of their own businesses.

The general population now has access to affordable computing and treasure troves of information and data via the Internet; new business owners can network their smart phones, touch-screen tablets and inexpensive printers, and leverage low cost storage. Online software tools and services allow entrepreneurs to maximize their capabilities and mask their size, giving their new ventures greater reach and scope.

It has been a double strike against large organizations. Large companies, with their complex integrated systems, are struggling to keep up with the pace of technology developments and finding it hard to respond quickly to meet business demands. In contrast, empowered entrepreneurs can adapt and execute fast, expanding nimbly at co-working spaces and benefiting from the increasing pool of flexible talent.

Also, funding options for entrepreneurs have increased through innovation and expanded investment parameters. The general public can now contribute directly through donation-based crowd funding; equity crowd funding for accredited investors is becoming a viable source of seed capital; incubators, angel groups and accelerators have multiplied over the past decade, and many large corporations invest in innovation through industry-relevant venture funding. Home equity has returned as a key source of business financing as the housing market improves.

In 2013, venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,995 deals, up 7% in dollars and 4% in deals from a year earlier – total funds invested increasing at all stages of development, according to the MoneyTree Report by PwC and the National Venture Capital Association.

Work culture has also changed. To be successful, a holistic culture – value-based and flexible – is becoming a critical component of the evolving work environment in order to attract and retain top talent. Taking an integrated approach to solving the challenging ‘work-life’ balance, this is emerging as an important component of a successful business plan and sustainable growth model.

Millennials have been the most vocal group so far emphasizing these cultural changes with London Business Schools’ soon-to-be released study, indicating that millennials are actively seeking more flexibility, control and purpose at work. This generational group is forecast by the Society for Human Resource Management to be almost half (46%) the workforce by 2020, so successful growth plans necessitate addressing these needs.

The confluence of these developments is encouraging and supporting the rise of a larger, more diverse and dispersed group of entrepreneurs. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity 1996-2013, 45- to 64-year-olds’ share of new business activity rose 22% to 53.4% from 2003 to 2013; Hispanic-owned new enterprises increased from a 16% share to more than 20% during the same period; entrepreneurship-focused education and training programs are catalyzing business launches in St. Louis, the Midwest, Florida and Ohio, not traditionally entrepreneurial hubs.

Meanwhile, there is more support for women entrepreneurs. The Gender Global Entrepreneurship Development Index ranks the US first, ahead of 16 other countries, for fostering high potential female entrepreneurship. While only 15.9% of women entrepreneurs sought angel investments in the first half of 2013, the acceptance rate was 23.6% — higher than the overall market’s 21.5%, according to the Center for Venture Research’s summary of the Angel Investor Market Q1Q2 2013 This suggests that programs helping women get “investor ready” are yielding results.

Entrepreneurs now have a toolbox replete with real and virtual tools and complemented by increasing emotional and environmental support to facilitate their ideas, journeys and successes. Quintessentially American, entrepreneurs of all kinds are seizing the day.

Markethive is the Entrepreneurial marketing toolbox and social network as both an Inbound Marketing platform and the powerful social network driving it.

What is Inbound Marketing? You need to un derstand what it is, if you do not, you will be left behind on the Internet. Know it well!

Inbound Marketing by Markethive

 

Read Hoffman, Paypal and LinkedIn founder:

Reid Hoffman Linked Everyone is an entrepreneur

Markethive is the Social Network for the Rise of the Entrepreneur. A professional, polished Inbound Marketing Platform fused to a powerful social network of Entrepreneurs.

Join the Revolution

 

 

How to reach 200 million buyers with Markethive

How to reach 200 million buyers with Markethive

Markethive Backlinking and Social Networking using Automated Marketing

Markethive did not invent the blog, but we certainly have made it exponentially more powerful.  We certainly have added fun, understanding, reach, groups, daily workshops, understanding and power to the process.

Markethive has successfully combined all the technical and tactical aspects and requirements into one system, but have also overcome the obstacles to make blogging a group process, combined with motivated mentors to help the newbie easily immerse and embrace the process.

We did not invent Word Press, but we have significantly taken Word Press serious and made it exponentially better. This blog’s focus is to help you understand the paradigm dynamic shift Markethive has brought to marketing, blogging and the individual within the hive.

The following video attempts to reveal and illustrate how the whole social blogging platform in Markethive changes the entire Internet field of engagement.

Understanding SEO

You can approach the challenge alone, hire a firm and/or a virtual assistance and take the Internet on. This ego centered approach works for many who have the grit and stamina and educated skills of journalism and polished writing (a note here: As the Internet has evolved, the polished blogger vs the blogger that lacks the polish but has the passion, wins in today’s culture).

Approaching the blogosphere as a crew, a group, a gang or a family wins today.  Because fresh, new, consistent and current content win and win you combine a social network into a blogging platform, the results are impressive.

Understanding  SEO isn’t easy, and Google doesn’t help things much by changing the algorithms and policies on a regular basis. Seems like every time we get a handle on things, the rules change, and we’re all left wondering what we’re doing wrong and what we might still possibly be doing right.

The whole SEO quotient changes when the social network variable is integrated. This is why SEO at Markethive changes the playing field.

So a social network integrated blogging solution is at hand, and, there’s one thing you may have been doing correctly already from the start: That being blogging. You probably have a million reasons to blog, not the least of which include building trust among your buyers, positioning yourself as an expert, and simply sharing news with your company’s followers. Then, of course, there are those activities that help to boost your SEO rankings. These can only help you if you know how to use them, so make note of these 9 reasons blogging can boost your SEO.

Enter the Markethive Social Network Engine combined with the Inbound Marketing Engine. Kind of reminds of the Hot Rods of the 60s like Eddie Hill’s double dragon (see image):

Except with Markethive, the combining the two huge engines of the Internet, Social Networking and Inbound Marketing has an exponential nature to it, not just a geometrical quotient.

This innovative integration of these two power houses has a powerful effect on all that ios Internet Marketing as I illustrate, please read on.

Backlinking

The following is the conventional wisdom perspective to today’s linking approach.

Some of the techniques used for SEO when blogging raise eyebrows, and back linking is no exception. Many will tell you link schemes will get you a slap on the wrist from Google, and they’d be right. Does that mean you can’t build relationships with other companies and blogs by including links and asking for some in return? Not at all.

You can still benefit greatly from being linked and linking to others, but there are some things to keep in mind. First, if you’ve paid for your link, be sure they use the nofollow designation. Otherwise, you’ll be penalized. Next, work with reputable, quality sites that fit your blog’s niche. When links to your blog appear on sites that have nothing to do with your company, you’ll get another ding from Google. Finally, use the same basic rules for any blogs you link to on your site.

Good quality links from popular, well-respected sites can definitely help your SEO rankings, but only if you do it right.

Now, with that said, the amazing change that occurs to your campaign to build organic, condust and create relationships in the blogging power of the Inbound Marketing Social Network of Markethive, delivers a plethora of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SNM (Social Network Marketing) and the advantages therein if developing unlimited streams of unique content, automated into literally millions of sites, social networks, social bookmarks, blogging platforms from the stream of content that flows out of the Markethive Social Network you are part of or built.

So what does all that mean? As the natural order of our recent tech releases of the Blog Casting (Social Broadcaster) and Blog Swiping (where your friends and other members can easily copy and edit your blog) then publish it and with the advent of this opening the possibility with these new tools produce a cacophony of your content, links, back links, side links, social reaches into the millions. All built upon chaos theory and technology.

The natural organic process to build a huge amazing white hat mass of blog and site links and social reach, thereby, the vision of the Blog Cloud has come to be reality, thank you Markethive, the social networked Inbound Marketing juggernaut.

Simply put, not just combining but fully integrating two platforms, the Entrepreneurial Social Network and a fully appointed Inbound Marketing platform, has opened up doorways not otherwise capable or even aware of or identified in the exponential character of the Markethive Hybrid. Sort of like Twin Towers built on the same foundation.

Actually more like a million communities of twin towers all inter connected and pulsing and thriving with the constant flow of content and videos and communications (comments and messaging) even further empowered with a constant thriving community of live conference room activity.

Guest Blogging

Again Markethive takes the awkward and difficult process of guest blogging and turns it into a graceful social dance. I will explain after I share again the Internet’s explanation of what has been defined as guest blogging.

The  latest hoopla suggests guest blogging is dead, but that’s not necessarily true. As with the backlinking, guest blogs can be tremendously beneficial to the SEO of your website. If you work with reputable writers who are indeed experts in their industry, their popularity can only help you.

For this tactic to work, you must be vigilant when screening potential bloggers. Interview them, research their backgrounds, and compare their submission to everything they’ve written before to make sure you get truly unique content. If you follow Google’s quality guidelines, your guest blog from a well-known source will bring you tremendous traffic and boost your search engine rankings.

Markethive has turned this difficult proposition into one of grace and ease. Because the core of your blogging can now be centered within Markethive, which supports and publishes to just about every blogging platform out there.  As a social network, you can build a sphere of influence easily with others who are open to and or capable of assisting in your blogging efforts.

Groups also serve as additional blogging platforms, for the individual who keeps track of different campaigns separated by the groups. Groups also parlay into teams of content creators, allow a team captain to manage and lead the agenda and monitor and choose the array of articles by the group to which blog(s) that article automatically gets sent.

The options that the Markethive tools has created for diverse and distributed content is unlimited and better managed than any other option available in the blogosphere.

Group Blogging not only replaces the old guard of guest blogging, it enhances it, makes it easier to, manage and distribute. It changes the entire playing field.

You can integrate single Markethive members, and/or integrate entire groups into as many blog systems you wish. By simply organizing, selecting and developing different cock tails groups for your blogs, you can literally create unlimited selections and unlimited content for unlimited blogs, your blogs, their blogs, unlimited groups of competent writers and marketers. Get into the mix, join some groups, and get into some Workshops and put the system to work for you.

We can even say that you can produce dynamic content on your blog without as much effort as the conventional way.

Fresh Content

Search engines love fresh, unique content. How often do the pages on your website change? Probably not very often at all. That’s why you must keep a steady blog filled with new information every week. Those search engines customers used to find companies just like yours will pull the freshest and most relevant content whenever a search is performed. If your site hasn’t been updated with new information in over a year, you can bet someone else’s will rank higher than yours in the results.

By blogging, you build relationships with your readers, position yourself as an expert in the field, and perhaps most importantly, provide new content for Google to index.

By joining Markethive you build relationships with thousands of others who are actively building business, blogging, researching, etc. basically being “entrepreneurs” and advancing their businesses and agendas. Often you can join with these people as friends, group members and subscribers of theirs via Blog Casting, Blog Sharing and Blog Swiping.

When you are an active member in a good group (active and current), using meetings and live webinars, discussions breed inspirations which support developing new content. Here is a tip I use to help with fresh content. I want to write about the “current trends for the entrepreneur market”. So I go to Google and I search the tail words SEO entrepreneur trends but I designate a small tool many are not aware of.

It is found in “Search tools” in the Google search as the illustration below demonstrates. Choose last week or within 24 hours to get very fresh current content to use in building your blog article. This way, you are assured to be utilizing current references building current articles, sharing with your groups and creating a dynamic culture. Checking new content with Google daily in relations to your agenda is something that should also be shared (the search link) within your groups for discussion.

Keywords

Keywords go hand in hand with fresh content. It also pays to see what current or newest results are shown for current sites utilizing the same technique for current content for your research and agenda.

Even though keywords really don’t hold the same weight they once did, it still needs your attention.  In fact, this is another aspect of SEO you can do really wrong and end up punished for. The age of cramming keywords into a blog over and over, regardless of what they add to the content, is over. Now those keywords have to serve a purpose. You really want to make sure you choose unique keywords that will lead searchers to your site but not so unique that no one thinks to use them. If you choose words that are used too often, you won’t get much benefit out of them.

Your best bet with keywords and search terms is to use long-tail keywords and phrases that people may use when searching. Instead of focusing too much on keyword placement and making sure you include the words a certain number of times, concentrate on simply answering questions. Provide knowledge for those who reach your site. They don’t need a million keywords; they need answers.

For instance, the long-tail keyword “Inbound Marketing” had barely begun trending in 2009 with a slow crawl upward until just recently, with the advent of Markethive’s soft launch and discussions of the definition of “Inbound Marketing” and the increase of Social Network chatter in that regards we are now seeing the current trend start to grow.

My first company invented what we called “Automated Marketing” but today fits the new definition “Inbound Marketing” As you can see the term “Automated Marketing” is trending down from a long crown of being a top searched keyword.

See the trend towards “Marketing Automation” beginning? Why is Marketing Automation trending up and Automated Marketing trending down? Does it deserve research?

In my opinion no, but, what does need to be looked at in my regards is our new pre launched/soft launched company (as of May7, 2016) is the Trademark “Markethive”.

Because if we read these trends right, we want to make sure we mention Markethive often in connection to “Inbound Marketing” and “Marketing Automation”. This will place squarely in front of the trend curve binding the “long tail” keywords together.

Markethive’s SEO keyword system leads us to these research outcomes, but until the Google API is fully integrated to Markethive’s Keyword platform I go to the Google Trend panel here as well.

https://www.google.com/trends/

Popularity

When your blogs are shared and consequently clicked on, they move up in the search rankings. If you’re providing quality content, your readers will want others to know. Of course, the only way to make sure your blogs contribute to your website’s popularity is to create unique content, provide answers for visitors, and then share your blogs wherever you can.

That key point “Share your blogs wherever you can” is another way of saying “Broadcast” them. And Markethive has taken Broadcasting to new heights with Blog Casting and SNAP.  Blog Casting is a Markethive subscribe feature that other Markethive members use to subscribe to your Markethive blog. When they subscribe (and the potential is 1000s of them), your blog posts are automatically posted to their Facebook Newsfeeds, LinkedIn activity feeds and your Twitter tweets feed.

When you understand that this down stream of subscribers, fellow entrepreneurs at MarketHive, are exposing their connections to your message, they are lifting you up, increasing your popularity and building greater branding for you.

Then there is the Blog Sharing feature that also allows your fellow Markethive entrepreneurs to import your blog posts to their WordPress blogs using the SNAP plugin increasing your message (your posts) to another 25 of their social networks, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn company pages, SumbleUpon, Tumbler, Livejournal, Blogspot, ets, exponentially increasing your exposure and adding to your back links.

When you discover the responsibility this represents that you show respect, produce quality content to your loyal downstream, you now have the opportunity to build a huge popular following. Markethive, The Rise of the Entrepreneur. We have put a great future in your hands. Now it is up to you.

Images

Image search Automated Marketing Inbound Marketing from Markethive

Including images in your blog gives you one more way search engines can find you. Make sure you name them according to the search terms or keywords, and then do the same for the alt-text. The alt-text is meant to describe what’s in the image for those who don’t or aren’t able to see images on their computer screens. For this reason, your alt-text must be carefully crafted to serve two purposes: SEO and information.

I search a lot in images and so do others. They may be looking for an image to fill a need, the reasons vary, but a lot of traffic does come from image searching, so do not ignore this small duty. Alt tags serve an important batch of duties.

When installing images in the Markethive HTML control panel, the following Image control panel, second tab, is where to enter your keywords and descriptions.

Alt tags Google search Markethive

When looking at the HTML code, this is exactly what ALT tags look like and search engines Index.

Alt tags html code

Video

Google indexing video

As with photos, video simply gives you more dynamic content that you can share with your readers. Remember they’re looking for excellent, unique content, so be sure you include only videos that serve a purpose. Proprietary videos are always the best bet, since syndicated content will show up on several different sites during a search result.

If you have never made a video, get some screen capturing software. I use Camtasia (cost about $300)

https://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html

Camtasia the video capture software used by Markethive

A viable alternative (I cannot recommend as I have not used it) is called MOVAVI

http://www.movavi.com/

Markethive has not evaluated Movavi

I also down load others videos to use them in my final productions. I build titles and other content with Photoshop Software, but there are other cheaper alternatives. Many of my friends recommend GIMP for image editing. https://www.gimp.org/

A video download app for Chrome I use is free. http://keepvid.com/

I recommend you make as many of your videos you can, but do not produce bad or funky videos. Today, you need quality and you are welcome to download and use all Markethive videos I produce for yourself.

Be sure you tag your videos with appropriate search terms before you post. Let readers know exactly what’s going on in the video so they can find your content in a search.

Youtube and Markethive

I know video editing and production can be daunting to many at first. However, we have plenty od excellent talent that offer video workshops in Markethive. Just check the calendar or enquire within the membership (Social Network).

Remember we are all Entrepreneurs and most of us are also philanthropic and want to help you succeed. I know I do.

Check the calendar

Social Media

Markethive Marketing Automation and Social Network Integration

Believe it or not, Google also returns social media search results. If you connect your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, you give search engines one more thing to find when people look for your company. As long as you use search terms in your titles and meta descriptions, you’ll boost your SEO through social media listings, too.

A popular set of current wisdom pulled from the Internet void (5 Things to Think About When Considering The Impact of Social on SEO) :

1. Social Links May or May Not Boost Your Search Rank

Okay, social signals pertaining to a profile’s authority are out, but does Google consider links published on social accounts to be credible backlinks? When a blog post goes viral on Twitter, do those new links boost the post’s search ranking?

Many marketers believe that links to your website via social media accounts do have a major impact on your rankings. Says Marketing Consultant Brian Honigman:

Today, links are mainly achieved through developing original content that is in turn, shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.

In Danny Sullivan’s 2010 interview with Google and Bing for Search Engine Watch, Google first says that it doesn’t incorporate the number of times a link has been tweeted into their search rank algorithm, and then it goes on to say that it does (doh). Bing says that it definitely looks at this data:

We take into consideration how often a link has been tweeted or retweeted, as well as the authority of the Twitter users that shared the link.

While Cutts’ 2014 video is crystal-clear about the absence of social signals from the search algorithm, he does say that Google crawls social websites for data in the same way that it would any other site:

Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index, and so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it then we can return that in our search results.

This leads me to think that while the authority of a social account doesn’t impact search rank, links published on social media could be marked as credible back-links and thus influence a page’s rank.

Takeaways: When Cutts made his statement about Google not factoring in social signals I understood him to mean clues about a particular company’s authority on social media, which, for me, is distinct from the number of times a page has been linked to on social media. Further research didn’t help me get much clarity on this point.

If there are any SEO experts reading this, I’d love for you to chime in below in the comments.

2. Social Media Profiles Rank in Search Engines

While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. When I searched “General Electric” in Google, the company’s Instagram and Pinterest profiles appeared as the 5th and 6th listings, respectively, and Twitter was the 8th result.

Google Search Markethive

Moreover, Google displayed the company’s Google+ profile information in the right-hand sidebar at the very top of the search results page.

Google Markethive Profile

While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence the content of your search results. In fact, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names. When I searched “General Electric” in Google, the company’s Instagram and Pinterest profiles appeared as the 5th and 6th listings, respectively, and Twitter was the 8th result.

Social channels can feel more personal than webpages, and they’re a great way to get a sense of a company’s personality off the bat. When I’m researching a company I don’t know much about I typically go straight to their Twitter or Facebook page. So if a social account shows up at the top of the search results, I’m just as likely to click on it as I would be to click on their website.

Takeaway: There’s no doubt that your social profiles matter to Google and especially to people who are looking for you online. A few active social channels can make the experience of getting to know your brand online more fun, engaging and personal. Also, while some may consider Google+ a non-essential social channel, marketers shouldn’t discount the fact that a company’s Google+ profile is one of the first things a searcher will see (and potentially click on). As such, it pays to have a profile with up-to-date info and engaging content.

3. Social Media Channels Are Search Engines, Too

Nowadays, people don’t just go to Google and Bing to look stuff up; they also use social media channels to find what they’re looking for. Patel makes this point in his article on why social is the new SEO: “We need to understand that search engine optimization includes the search that happens on social media search engines.”

This works in a couple of ways: First, if you’re active on Twitter, it’s entirely possible that people will discover your company’s new content distribution app after searching for content marketing-related tweets with Twitter’s search engine. Likewise, brands that lend themselves to beautiful visual content can benefit from making their content visible in Pinterest and Instagram by using hashtags and properly categorizing their pins.

Moreover, as mentioned in point #1, if someone wants to check out your company, they’re likely to open Twitter and Facebook and do a quick search to see what kind of presence you have on each channel. YouTube, and, of course, Google+ are also search engines.

Markethive Instagram

Here are some impressive stats that illuminate just how much people are using social media to search:

As of 2010, Twitter handled 19 billion search queries a month (that’s more than 5x the queries handled by Bing!).

In 2012 Facebook said it got around one billion search queries per day.

As of March 2010, YouTube got roughly 3.7 billion search queries a month. Also, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it one of the largest content repositories on the web.

Takeaways: Companies should expand their concept of SEO to include not just the traditional search engines––Google and Bing––but also social search engines.

When searching for a brand on Facebook or Twitter it’s not uncommon to see several different profiles pop up, and it’s not always clear which one is the real deal. Marketers need to ensure that it’s super easy for users to identify their official social profiles.

This may mean deleting duplicate accounts and/or clearly labeling each social account so that users understand what purpose they serve (for example, accounts for HR or press versus general brand pages).

4. Not Now Doesn’t Mean Not Ever

Just because Google says that social signals don’t currently impact search rank doesn’t mean they never will. Social media shows no sign of becoming a less important part of a brand or person’s online presence anytime soon; moreover, given that link-building strategies like guest blogging have become a less reliable way to indicate the quality of a webpage, it makes sense that search engines would begin to look for other signals of authority and value.

Takeaways: There’s no reason why social signals won’t begin to affect search rankings in the future, so smart brands will continue to build their authority in key social channels and think about social when designing their SEO strategy.

5. Don’t Forget Bing

Google may have back-tracked and changed their stance on social signals, but I haven’t found any evidence that what Bing told Sullivan for his Search Engine Watch interview doesn’t hold true today.

Remember, Bing said:

We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results.

Takeaways: Bing, which is the second most-used search engine, has been crystal clear about how their algorithm incorporates social signals into their search results, and, unlike Google, they haven’t flip-flopped on the issue. With its market share steadily growing, companies would be wise to include Bing in their SEO strategies.

Wrapping Up

Cutts’ claim that Google’s search algorithm ignores social signals should not be seen as an invitation for marketers to dismiss social’s impact on SEO. Instead, marketers should broaden their concept of search and SEO to take into account the myriad ways that people find content on the web. They also need to think about the positive effects that increased traffic from social can potentially have on their search rankings as well as the prominence of social profiles on first-page search results.

Ultimately, the web is all about building relationships, fostering audiences, expressing identity and sharing ideas––it’s inherently social, and there’s no reason that SEO best practices would go against the grain, especially since the rules that govern SEO are ultimately meant to make the web a more enjoyable and useful place.

Indexed Pages

Google Markethive Indexed pages

Perhaps the most important reason of all to blog is the fact that each post counts as a new page on your website. Google really does like fresh content and will reward those who share frequently. Those who do include a business blog on their site will see up to 55% more traffic than companies who don’t. The reason for this is the indexed pages. For Google to index those pages, you need to include at least 300 quality words. That means reblogging, short blogs, and duplicating content won’t help you. There is a time and place for the previously mentioned blog types, but not when you’re hoping to boost your SEO.

Now that you understand why blogging is essential to improving your SEO results, you probably want to get started right away. Don’t get bogged down or feel overwhelmed. A systematic approach is what you need, starting with a content calendar. Simply start by answering those burning questions your potential customers have. Plan blogs that will touch on their pain points. You’ll see results sooner than you ever thought possible.

Markethive
Join the Revolution

Thomas Prendergast
CMO Markethive, Inc.

The Best Social Media Platform For 2016 Is… It Depends

The Best Social Media Platform For 2016 Is… “It Depends”
by Art Williams

I’m not going to rehash this article but simply summarize and support its conclusions. That conclusion is that if someone asks the question, ‘What’s the best social media platform for today?’ the answer is still….”It depends”.

So that’s nothing new, right.

The articles comes from socialmediatoday.com, normally a very reputable website on social media subjects. I couldn’t immediately detect who the author was. But…the article makes three basic but accurate and important points about the answer to the above question. It says that the answer ‘depends’ because….

  1. You need to first know your market. The social media sites you’d use to reach 18 years olds, isn’t usually the same site you’d use to reach retired baby-boomers.
  2. It says you’re also got to make a decision on whether you want to stay local or go for a global reach (or something in-between). That makes sense too…especially if you’ve seen the social media sites over in Aisa!
  3. And, last but not least, it recommends staying alert to market changes. Certainly social media is constantly changing.

So….so what?

What could that possibly have to do with Markethive?

To me, it simply validates our basic methodology of mixing evergreen marketing principles, e.g. building trust by generating excellent content, protecting the integrity of our membership and our platform, and providing our community with tools that simple do what no other tools do (e.g. Blogcasting, BlogSwipe, Supersized Syndication, HiveRoom, et.al.

No matter what social media platforms come and go, the things we do and believe in at Markethive will always make sense. Considering that we give away for free a tool suite that costs, at a minimum, hundreds of dollars a month anywhere else (and that’s even if they have anything similar..which very few do)… Markethive is poised to become the Platinum Standard on Inbound Marketing and entrepreneurial social communities.

For those who are not familiar with what Markethive has to offer, it’s easy to find out. It’s free to join….here.

 

Art Williams
Case Study Writer and Markethive Developer

 

Profile Pages: Online Branding and Building Authority

Profile Pages: “Online Branding and Building Authority”

What is the difference between online branding and building authority? Some would consider it the same thing, but in reality it can be two completely different processes. Online branding is a way to get more exposure for your brand on all levels of online marketing, especially search and social.

Building authority takes online branding to the next level by making each online presence for a brand authoritative. It goes beyond just about creating a blog or social media account. The following are ways you can build your online brand as well as your authority.

Everyone wants to be an authority. READ: How to be an authority (Know Your Why First)
https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/how-to-be-an-authority

Start a Blog with Awesome Content

Blogs are beneficial for brands for three reasons. First of all, blogs help you rank well in search engines – Google loves fresh, unique content on websites that are constantly updated. If you’re looking to meet this goal, be sure to use Markethive’s blog platform and build a blog team in a Markethive group to assist in greater content and curation.

RE: WordPress Markethive’s technology super charges WordPress campaigns.

Next, blogs provide for great content to share on social media networks. It’s hard to get traction if your just sharing product and sales pages. But if you’re sharing informative blog posts about your industry, you’re likely to get a lot of traffic and social shares.

Markethive provides plugins and widgets and tech that allows visitors to subscribe to your blog from their Social Networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, thereby allowing your new Markethive posts to publish to their news feed automatically.

Finally, great blogs can help your brand build authority in your niche. This is where you go above and beyond cookie cutter posts that talk about your product to creating awesome content in the form of:

  • Tutorials
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Industry Interviews

Awesome content will show fans of your industry that you know your stuff and therefore are the brand to go with for their business needs. A great example of this is the blog you are reading right now – Markethive has Inbound Marketing technologies, the go to Social Network and infographics that have been tweeted and liked over 10,000 times and posts that have been viewed on Facebook, LinkedIn and Stumbleupon over 100,000 times.

There are two great fears that brands have when it comes to blogging. One is that they won’t have anything to blog about, and this is a complete myth. Everyone can find something to blog about. You just have to expand your definition of the target audience. Imagine you had a body shop. You probably won’t get a lot of attention if you’re writing about paint booths and sanding tools all the time, but you will if you think about broader topics that would interest the people likely to visit an auto body shop. You can blog about the latest coolest Hot Rods at the coming Hot Rod Nationals show or the latest NASCAR winner to grab fans of those programs. Or you can blog about environmental issues and the Prious to grab environmentalists. Just think bigger!

The other fear is that they will be giving away “trade secrets” and lose their business. This one is especially common within industries like SEO, where a brand might feel like giving out ten steps to link building will give their customers the info they need to just do it themselves. But this just isn’t true. I have found that most of the time, if you give a complex, in-depth tutorial, a potential customer will see that your brand has the knowledge to do the service, but they won’t have the time or resources to do it for themselves. Hence, they’ll go with you because they feel confident that your brand has the expertise demonstrated in the content provided on the blog.

The key with your brand’s blog is to make sure that it is apparent who is behind the content. Whether you have your blog on your domain (yourbrand.com/blog), as a subdomain (blog.yourbrand.com), or as a separate site (yourbrandblog.com), be sure that it is matched to your brand. Check out Markethive’s site, blog, and subscribers profile pages, logged in dashboard and display variances on hand held devices. All are unique yet all are well branded and follow a conventional identity protocol (all on separate domains and different devices) as an example of great branding.

Guest Blog for Others (This is a major component in Markethive)

When it comes to blogging, you don’t want to keep the good stuff all to yourself. Guest blogging (join a Markethive Group to share content is that easy) is a great way to build your online brand presence and authority. The basic goal is to find a (GROUP) blog whose audience will be interested in your brand, and create a great piece of content for that blog.

Notice I said great piece of content. I would go so far as to say that the content you create for another (GROUP) site’s blog should be even better than the content you create for your own site. You want the content you create for another blog (GROUP) to rock. You want that content to generate additional social shares, comments, and traffic for the blog owner.

As you create GROUP posts for others, be sure to save the links to those guest posts for future reference. As you approach new GROUPs that you would like to guest post upon, you will want to include those links as examples of your successful guest posts in other Markethive GROUPS. If you can convince the GROUP owner that your post will be a perfect fit for their audience and will drive significant traffic and response, the GROUP blog owner will have a hard time resisting.

My main tips for GROUP blogging for your brand include:

1. Find the best GROUPs to guest post on.

When it comes to blogs you want to get a guest post on, your goal is to find those whose audience would be interested in your brand. The blog should get a significant amount of traffic and social shares as well – there’s no reason to post on a blog that has no visitors just because it has high PageRank or any other criteria – you want to get some brand exposure out of this! Use the Markethive GROUPs directory to start your search for blogs in your niche or industry.

2. Find the GROUPs blogging policy.

If you see that a GROUP allows guest bloggers or outside contributors, the GROUP should have some page or post posted that describes their post policy. If they do have a policy page or post, then be sure to note any and all criteria.

3. Start building a relationship with the GROUP owner first. (Markethive Groups is excellent for this)

Now that you’ve found the blog you want to pitch an idea to, don’t just jump in and pitch them yet. Start by getting to know the GROUP owner first by following their Markethive blog posts, their Twitter and their Facebook fan page. Comment on some of their latest posts – make those comments valuable to enhance discussion and demonstrate your writing skills and expertise in the industry. CoPromote their posts using Broadcasting tools and widgets. Do this for at least a week or two before pitching content to them.

4. Research and pitch great topic ideas. (Join others in our live Markethive Work Shops)

Don’t create the content first and then try to find it a home. Once you’ve found the right blogs and started engaging with the blogs themselves, you’ll get a feel for the type of content they publish.

To get an even better idea of what content is successful for each blog, subscribe to them in your Markethive back office blog platform. Then you will be able to see the site’s latest traffic scores. The higher score, the more comments, tweets, Facebook likes, and other social shares the post received. Use these high-scoring posts as an indicator as to what content does well on each blog.

Now you can message via the Markethive message system or request to join their group saying that you have recently enjoyed reading their blog (as evidenced by your commenting & social sharing) and would like to contribute to their site as a GROUP member. After reading their guidelines, you would like to see if they would be interested in the following topics. Then add three to four great post ideas that you believe will fit their audience to choose from. And of course, if you’ve done guest posts elsewhere, include some of your best links. If not, just include some great links from your own brand’s blog.

5. Create Awesome Content.

Once you get approval from a GROUP, your next job is to create an awesome piece of content. Make sure it fits the theme of that blogging GROUP and that it has the overall feel / tone of the GROUP blog you are submitting to. Also be sure to add in relevant links throughout your blog post – not to your own properties, but internal links to the blog itself. This shows the blog owner you’re really giving it 100% for them and their audience and not just trying to promote yourself.

The self-promotion piece should come at the end with your guest bio. Check out other author bios on the blogs and create yours to match. This is where you can say you are John Smith, an industry enthusiast from ABC Company.

Again, be sure to consider the blog’s guidelines and previous guest author bios when deciding to add one or more links back to your brand. The blog owner ultimately reserves the right to edit it as they feel is necessary.

6. Support your GROUP post once it goes live.

It’s not over yet. After that guest post goes live, you should give it your unconditional love in the form of social sharing with your brand’s audience on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well as coming by to respond to comments. That kind of response on your guest post will further boost your brand’s reputation as a great guest blogger as well as a confident authority in your niche.

Don’t Forget Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is a great branding and authority building exercise you can do on any blog in your niche. I would suggest subscribing to the top blogs in your industry in Google Reader, and each time there is a new post, be sure to read it thoroughly and add a valuable comment. Remember this isn’t about link building – this is about building your brand’s presence online as an authority in your industry.

Get a Disqus account as well as it is a sort of social network of people that comment.

You can use the blog’s previous comments as a guide as to how you should format yours. Some blogs require you to only use your real name, while others are a little more lenient in using your name – your company. I would suggest linking your comments to your blog as people are more willing to click through to a brand’s blog than their main website.

Your Online Branding & Authority Building Strategy Using Blogs

What is your brand’s strategy when it comes to building your brand’s authority using blogs? Be sure to share what you find brings your brand the best results in the comments!

Create a Consistent Brand Image for Each Profile

Have you ever visited a company’s social profile, and you were not sure that it belonged to the company? One of the most important parts of branding is keeping a consistent image across all of your online properties so that no matter what path a person takes from one property to the next, they will always know it is your brand. For example, someone might:

Find your fan page through a friend’s activity stream and then follow it to your blog, then website

See a tweet from someone they are following, visit your Twitter profile, and then continue onto your website.

Start at your website, then go to check out your social profiles to see if your company is engaging with fans. Engaging is fuel and grows awareness, authority and respect. Comment, recommend. Just drive by liking and endorsing does no one any good and makes you look like a tire kicking couch potato.

Just like you wouldn’t want pages on your website to be different themes, you will want your social profiles to do the same. Markethive also leads the way in doing it right as well:

MARKETHIVE

Markethive probably does the best with branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube accounts as shown above. All five are branded with the honey comb logo, color theme and climbers ascending Mt. Everest in representation of the entrepreneurial social community of entrepreneurs helping each other achieve their agendas, so you can feel the consistency moving from one property to the next.

BMW

The above shows BMW’s branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles. Each online property uses the same color scheme and is currently focused on automotive technology. The logos are all consistent, and the auto focused in the pages is different perspectives, the coloring and themes are consistent as well

BOLTHOUSE

Bolthouse’s (organic farm fresh juices) branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles as shown above uses the same color scheme, logo, and focus on their primary product, carrots and selections of juices. Excellent example of branding and consistency!

Help People Find Your Profiles

I do a lot of competitive analysis in my line of work, and one of the most frustrating things I have to do is search for a brand’s social profiles. Don’t hide your social media presence – flaunt them! Be sure to:

  • Put Social Icons on Your Website – Let visitors to your website know that you are engaging with your audience on social media as well by adding social icons to your website design. The most common places to place them include the header / menu bar, sidebar, and footer. They don’t have to be large and in charge – BMW’s are none existent on their main page and Bolthouse are right up top left of center where they should be and get the job done..
  • Put Social Links in Your Communications – Do you send emails regularly? Add social links to your email signature. Do you send newsletters? Add social icons to them.
  • Make Your Profiles Search Friendly – If I Google your brand name + Twitter, I should get your Twitter handle in the search results. To make this happen, be sure that the name of your social profile (and the username if possible) matches your brand name. You might be tempted to keyword optimize your profiles instead of optimizing them for your brand name – this is something you need to resist. You can learn more about social media SEO on how to optimize for both effectively for search engines.

Another frustration is the direct sales industry.

Even though the size of this industry is huge by any comparison with a market measured in the trillions, even the top 100 fail miserable branding with social media. Do not be like them, rather show them a good example with your efforts. After several days of research I was able to find one such company that at least had the top 5 Social Medias registered with a similar array (not the same name) of usernames. The super majorities only have a token Facebook page, even less with Youtube and Twitter and nearly nonexistent with a Google+ and for that almost none of them are engaged.

BEACHBODY

Team Beach Body with a yearly market of 250 million, struggles with social media but has managed to set up the top 5 social medias, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin and Google+, albeit, the account usernames vary, and across the media branding is seriously lacking. It becomes painfully clear this industry needs Markethive or at least their distributors seriously do.

Get Engaged with Your Followers, Fans, and Subscribers

You probably know that it is important to maintain an active account by posting lots of updates, and that it is best to do something other than blasting advertisements non-stop about your brand. So the question is, what should you be doing to stay active in your social networks? Get engaged with your audience, of course. Here are the top networks to get socially engaged in for your brand.

Twitter Engagement

If you’re goal is to build a strong presence on Twitter and demonstrate your brand’s authority in your industry, you need get involved with your following. Some ways to do so include:

Monitoring Brand Mentions – If you use Twitter itself, just do a search for your brand and save the search for future reference. If you use a Twitter management tool like HootSuite, create a keyword search column that will constantly update you with brand mentions. Anytime someone says something about your brand, whether it is good or bad, you should be responding to it if at all possible. This may mean adding some extra team members to your social media GROUP as a response staff. But over time, if people see that you are always on top of any discussion of your brand, you will gain trust and receive lots of great word of mouth marketing. People will tell their followers what a great response they’ve received from you and likely recommend you based on their satisfaction level.

Monitoring Industry Conversation – One of the best parts of Twitter is that you can jump into any conversation, anytime. So if you are a company providing Inbound Marketing services and technologies like Markethive, you can monitor anyone who talks about Inbound Marketing, SEO, linking, Entrepreneurial interests, and other related topics and just answer simple questions that anyone asks about those topics demonstrating your expertise.

Curate the Best Content – Even if you are the best content creator in your industry, people often like to see a second opinion. Find out who other authorities are in your industry and share their opinion on industry topics with your following. You will gain more relevant followers simply for sharing the best news.

Facebook Fan Page Engagement

There are several different ways you can engage with your fans using your fan page that will keep your current fans active and bring new fans to your brand. These include:

Updating Your Fan Page on Facebook – It’s tempting to use HootSuite and other automated programs to update your fan page. But it’s becoming more and more obvious that if you want your updates to show up in fan’s news feeds that the updates must be organic, or originating from your fan page itself. So take the extra time to disable all of your autofeeds and start updating your fan page manually on Facebook. And when people start engaging with your posts or posting directly on your wall, be sure to respond to them. If they know they’re getting response, they’re more likely to return. No one likes a one-way broadcast.

Try Out Different Types of Updates – Don’t just post links or ask questions. Spice it up – add some video updates and photos. Different types of people like different types of content – be sure to try to cater to everyone by mixing your content up!

Thanks to the last major update to Facebook fan pages, you are able to use Facebook as your fan page. This means you can like pages as your fan page instead of your personal profile and then comment on them as your fan page. If you can find pages that are not direct competitors but whose audience will be interested in your brand, you will want to get active on them. For example, social media consultants should be living on Social Media Examiner’s fan page to connect with other individuals and businesses looking for social media help.

LinkedIn Engagement

If your brand isn’t on LinkedIn, you are missing out. LinkedIn allows you to add a company page where you can post your products, services, job openings, and even send status updates to your company followers including your latest blog posts. But some of the best branding and authority building activities for this network lie in the activity of the professional profiles including:

Participating in Groups – There are lots of great, active groups on LinkedIn in a wide variety of industries. Find the groups that have your potential client base within them and start getting active in discussions and posting useful content. Just be sure not to do anything that the group moderator would consider as spamming!

Answering Questions – The next best area to build a great professional reputation and strong authority in your industry is in LinkedIn Answers. There are questions asked every day in topics ranging from administration to technology. The people who answer the most questions are also featured on the answers’ home page as the week’s top experts!

Gaining Recommendations – Last, but not least, is recommendations. You can get recommendations on both the company pages and the professional profiles of your employees. Imagine if someone is browsing your company’s page and sees that the top employees have a ton of recommendations. It will show that you have a lot of experts in the industry which will make potential clients even more confident in your brand!