You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.
The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.
As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.
It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.
I’ve been there.
I used to hate writing
Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.
Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.
But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.
My insecurities were turning me into a monster
So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.
It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.
I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.
It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.
Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything
I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.
“Write the way you talk.”
It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.
Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.
What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.
Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:
1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend
Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.
If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?
Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.
2. Record yourself talking about your topic.
Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.
This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.
3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself
By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.
Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.
4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.
If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.
This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.
So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.
5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing
If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.
Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.
Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.
Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.
After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?
6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest
Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?
Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.
7. Read what you write out loud
One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.
So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.
The moral of the story
Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.
If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.
I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.
I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”
Need I say more?
So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.
Is it necessary to have a goal to become the best blogger in your niche? Is content marketing something that the public on the web is seeking? Many have asked that questions about the value of content marketing and wondered if it is limited to a few types of businesses. This article was printed in Hubspot in August 2014 titled, How To Become The Best Blogger In Your Niche.
Back in 2012, Max Nisen wrote, “Content marketing is one of the biggest new trends.” He reported NewsCred’s CEO Shafqat Islam as saying, “Every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be.”
Two years later, Nisen and Islam’s prophecies have come to pass. We are in the age of content marketing — and it's showing no signs of going away. The content marketing arena is now so vast and so complex that people are starting to get lost. Don't believe me? Just take a look at this hodgepodge of an infographic from LUMA:
In spite of the scary complexity, blogging is still the one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketer’s arsenal. And the better the blog, the better the content marketing efforts.
So here’s my thesis: If you are the best blogger in your niche, you can be the most successful in your niche. It’s only logical. If blogging is the core of content marketing, and content marketing is the path to success, then we must conclude that being a kickass blogger is the path to marketing success.
And here’s the really good news: You can become the best blogger in your niche. In the post that follows, I will provide three points that explain exactly how to gain that edge.
1) Know your audience.
Answer the most important question: “Who is my audience?”
Too often, bloggers start with the wrong question. They ask things like:
How can I be interesting?
What can I write about?
What will make this post more engaging?
Those are great questions, but they are totally meaningless unless you first understand your audience.
I came across a line recently that stuck with me:
When you blog for someone, you will have plenty of things to write about. What’s more, you’ll communicate in the right way — you'll be more "human" and familiar if you treat your audience like real people.
What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?
How much does the reader know
Is the audience likely to agree or disagree with you?
What will the reader do with the information?
The clearer your view of your audience, the better your writing will be.
Your audience is smaller than you think.
Keep in mind that your audience is probably smaller than you think. Traffic metrics do not reflect an accurate count of your engaged audience. A better way to understand your audience is through engagement metrics.
In a study conducted by Chartbeat on Slate readership, they discovered that the most engaged readers were those who scrolled below the fold. A full 86% of engagement took place when readers scrolled to read an article.
Also, share metrics tend to skew the perception of an engaged audience. The people who share your articles don’t always read the whole thing, as an Upworthy study showed. This chart below indicates how long users stayed on a page compared to the point at which they shared the article.
Your true readership is made of those who are engaged — the users who read your entire article and absorb the material.
You can build your audience.
Even though it is smaller than you think, you can also build your audience. Great bloggers grow in size and reputation. That’s what this article will tell you how to do.
The more you blog, the better knowledge you’ll have of your audience. You discover what they love, what they don’t love, what makes them click, and what makes them convert. In my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, I wrote this:
"A great blog begins with the content you create, but to be successful, a blog also needs a strong community or audience."
So you should not only learn who your audience is, but also shape that audience, too. To a certain extent, you get to decide who your audience is, and what they want to hear.
Everything starts with audience. If you know your audience and speak directly to them, they’re going to love you.
2) Be consistent.
You’re not going to be a wildly successful blogger unless you’re consistent.
"Quality of content and consistency are the most important factors in setting up your schedule … Consistency will keep them engaged, build brand awareness, and — if done right — help convert them to buyers."
It’s easy to talk about consistency, but it’s hard to do consistency. Bruce Springsteen wasn’t exactly a content marketing professional, but he had a great line about consistency:
"Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time."
What worked for The Boss works for content marketers, too. You want to be a blogging rockstar? Take it from a real rockstar: Consistency matters.
Being a rockstar blogger feels good. But waking up early every day, hitting the keyboard every day, and maxing out your mental resources every day doesn't always feel good. But that gritty pain is what consistency is made of.
How often should you blog?
So, what does consistency mean in real numbers? How often do you need to publish a blog post? To answer this question, I’m going to be all evasive and tell you to refer to point one — know your audience.
"As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post: 1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and 2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great. If it’s one per week, that’s fine to. [sic] Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling."
I can’t give you a hard and fast number. I can, however, recommend a minimum threshold — you should aim for at least one post a week.
"We aim for an element of storytelling in each of the posts we write, often starting a blog post with a personal anecdote or moment of transparency."
Transparency is a tricky thing. On the one hand, relationships are built on trust and transparency. But it’s hard to be transparent. Nan Russell, in Psychology Today, had some cogent insights about transparency:
"People want other people, not necessarily themselves, to be transparent … Some people find transparency threatening, especially at work, while others find it exhilarating. Some confuse transparency with authenticity, or think transparency means communicating everything or knowing everything they want to know."
Transparency is important in blogging, because you are building trust, developing relationships, and growing an audience. At the same time you must exercise your transparency in a thoughtful and intentional way. You’re not going to spill business secrets, gossip about others, or divulge information that puts you in a dangerous personal situation.
The best advice that I’ve read comes from the article I cited above, regarding the role of transparency in the workplace. These principles, as I’ve restated them and applied to blogging, will make you appropriately transparent:
Tell stories that demonstrate your openness and vulnerability.
Make sure you are respecting your boundaries of confidentiality and the confidentiality of others.
Use your transparency to help others, not simply for the sake of being transparent.
Transparency engages readers and turns your blog into something that readers love. As I’ve studied many blogging niches, I’ve discovered that the bloggers with the greatest degree of personal disclosure are the most successful. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to get personal and transparent.
Being the best blogger in your niche has very little to do with writing technique and flawless grammar. Those technical skills kowtow to some way more important things:
Knowing your audience.
Being totally transparent.
If you put these techniques into play, you’re on the path to blogging domination and content marketing success.
DR. Raymond Jewell, is a leading economist and Home Based Business Consultant. He is a Alpha Legacy member of Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Markethive Systems is just a click and a sign up and you can witness the power of the Hive first hand.
Take advantage of Knowing These Short article Marketing Tips
If book marketing is the next step for business promo that you feel is right, you wish to initially make certain that you have the very best concepts in mind. If you don't understand exactly what gives posts the power to really promote your company, you cannot get the results you desire, but you can use the recommendations in this article to get the ideal understanding to begin with.
Write 2 posts taking both positions on some topic. You can pull in readers on both sides of the concern if you provide both sides of the argument. Additionally, this can provide a controversy where individuals will take one side or the other and use your short articles as support for their positions.
Use the bio or resource box at the bottom of the article to feature relevant links that cause the capture pages on your website. The short article you compose need to naturally lead the reader to this, so that they will click the links and wind up on your site and hopefully purchase your item.
Do not plagiarize anything from another source when you are composing your post. Make sure you properly credit it and put it within your own content if you have to utilize something from another source. Do not simply copy, send and paste another person's work. Attempt using a program like CopyScape, to make sure that you do not unintentionally plagiarize something that you read online.
Make sure the reading level of your article is ideal for your audience. If your post about payday loans is written at a college reading level, they might be put off or at worst, be unable to comprehend your article.
To contained brand-new blog sites and websites where you post your material, just contact them straight and ask. If you contained a sports blog site, for instance, you can call them and mention that you'll write a fantastic post for their website if they permit you (and you just) to link to your website in the author bio or title line. This is an excellent way to increase your web existence.
Focus on promoting your articles, and do some SEO using social media. Use Digg and Twitter. Leave behind the URL when you are talking about sites and blogs. If you don't have the time, you can try automatic tools or you can constantly hire others to do it for you.
Take a look at to see what is seen the most and exactly what gets published typically. Which categories appear to be the most popular? You can then take a look at how other writers utilize links and keyword phrasing. This will show you what has actually been working for them, and possibilities are they will work for you too.
To really put short article marketing at work for your business's marketing efforts online, you must know what elements truly work, what techniques supply the outcomes you expect and what ideas are crucial to the procedure. Using these suggestions for post marketing will get your company entering the direction you want.
Additionally, this can provide a debate where people will take one side or the other and utilize your books as assistance for their positions.
When you are composing your book, do not plagiarize anything from another source. Make sure the reading level of your article is suitable for your audience. If your post about payday loans is composed at a college reading level, they may be put off or at worst, be not able to comprehend your post. If you present a sports blog, for example, you can call them and point out that you'll write a fantastic short article for their website if they permit you (and you only) to link to your website in the author bio or title line.
Technology, funding and cultural developments are stimulating new business ownership.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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!