How Blogs Play a Role in Promoting Your Service or Products

I woke up this morning thinking about my blog and how important blogs play a role in the “PR”. I have friends and colleagues that “think” blogs are a waste of time (offer little or no value). Blogs are the new PR world order, a blog can become a destination, aggregate of knowledge and expertise that helps customers, clients (or investors) make decisions while also building relationships. Relationships are THE name of the game.

Blogging also helps bring customers and relationships back to your company site and also helps point them to specific landing pages. This additional and internal linking traffic will help brand awareness, sales & leads, and Google rankings.

How many blogs per week? To boost organic traffic (from search engines, for example), you should publish 3 to 4 brand new posts per week, each of them fully optimized for search engines (HubSpot). For a specific industry like financial advisors, blogs are a great way to market your Company’s compliant content. Content shows up in Google Search and helps drive visitors back to your website.

You can also post Advisor compliant blog content across social media platforms that will also drive prospective clients (visitors) back to the website and fill out a “contact form” that will turn into a quality lead.

Publishing a blog post really depends on the platform, demographic, and region. There is no blanket “best time” to publish. Ideally, should be published when your target demographic is getting home from work and they start checking their favorite websites as well as checking in on Facebook and Twitter.

Need blog traffic? Just write good compelling content. It’s that easy. Content Marketing goals really depends on your overall business challenges. If your website has lack of visitors, then Content creation should center around getting website visitor traffic (“clicks” and “time on site”). If your product lacks branding or “awareness,” content marketing should center creating high-quality content that speaks to your target audience’s pain points will position you and your company as a helpful, knowledgeable subject matter expert. Other goals we can drill down to include: Revenue, Lead Generation, Trust, SEO, Target Audience, Returning Visitors, Customer loyalty, Website Bounce Rate…the list can go on and on depending on what stage your business or service is currently at.

Other techniques to get your blog up and pumping traffic include: Links to other blogs, Link Building, buy PPC ads that link to company blog, submit blog sitemaps, post blog content on social media platforms, or write guest articles for popular websites which allows you to tap their brand equity, user trust, and traffic stream back to website. So many ways.

Why Teens Love Instagram

  • The proliferation of iPads (Air, Mini), Amazon Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Microsoft Surface Pro, Smartphones = Frictionless share culture. Teens love to Share
  • Teens love self expression and identity development (creative outpost for ideas, somewhere where kids can share their ideas and photos)
  • Instagram fulfills fundamental teenage needs (discover what’s new and what’s next)
  • Teens want to be where their favorite celebrities/brands are
  • Teens are where their parents aren’t (although that is changing as more parents are now on IG to monitor their teens as well as enjoy the platform themselves

If you are a “brand” or business, Instagram is a great way to expand your business’s reach and engagement (tell a story) with your customers. Growing a dedicated following on Instagram won’t happen overnight. But the bright side is that Instagram users are very active and love to engage. Instagram is the ideal choice for SMB‘s. You can engage with your customers, advertise your products and build awareness for your brand of service!

What is your Brand’s Story? Are You Prepared to Capitalize on it?

The best way to get into the press is by having an amazing brand story. Once you figure out your Brand’s story, its time to dial-in the digital marketing aspect. Time to get some media attention. Start building relationships (example: Twitter) with Journalists before you need them. Distribute Press Releases. Create a website Resource Center for media. Write guest articles. Make Podcast appearances.

Now its time to capitalize on it! The next biggest thing you need to figure out is where your readers & visitors are going to go after hearing about your company (brand) product or services. The target should be company website or specific landing page. The focus should be on a conversion strategy and website funnel design. Ideally, this should be figured out and created BEFORE seeking media coverage. Once everything is in place and the website conversions play out out, its manifest destiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Advisors: The Basics of Pay Per Click Online Advertising

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click (PPC) is one of the many ways of promoting your financial service or business. You only pay when a user/potential customer actually clicks on an ad to visit your website. You pick keywords or phrases such as “shopping” or “Green used car” and when the results come up your ad will be displayed. Google AdWords, and Microsoft Bing Ads are some of the largest PPC network operators. PPC is often used to refer to keyword advertising on search engines and social media website such as Facebook & Twitter. With PPC, search engines & social media platforms can give you instant traffic and allow you to test out new business models and ads in real time.

Getting Started with PPC Online Advertising

To get started, you will need to create a (campaign) simple text ad (or banner ad) that will catch your specific  customer or ideal client’s attention. Customer research (demographics) is crucial. The key to online advertising is to think creatively. You need to find specific keywords that are related to your service and/or business. You must word your ad in a way that it manages to attract only that reader who might be interested in your product and/or services. You are actually paying on a per click basis and hence you must only get those visitors who will buy and utilize your product or services. The best way to go about configuring the perfect wording is tweaking the ads that you have created. If your first ad is not working out, try re-wording or adding or deleting a sentence.

Once you start getting results, track your progress in Microsoft Excel or use the PPC tracking results manager that can easily export to CSV file. Most PPC Ad managers have visual front-ends and easy to track success rates. Use one column for keywords, and another for keyword clicks. Back to Excel…Create columns that will represent category phrases. Once you figure out your phrases, think about what local or geography you will sell your product or services. Once you input the data, take out any phrases that are too generic. Start using the keywords that are left in your PPC campaign and then grab the click through rates and conversion data and add the new columns and paste next to that particular keyword. This way you can get a organized visual of what keyword is working and what keyword is not working. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner for validating the keywords you’ve found by showing you search volume data and trends, cost per click, and competitive data.

  • Understand what makes you special and why people will want to choose your service or product.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors’ keywords, messaging, and deals/offers.
  • Cater ads to different buyer wants and needs.
  • Test price, information that reassures buyers (e.g., “official site,” “24/7 support”), and time sensitivity (e.g., “Offer ends soon”).

You can also choose where you would like to advertise (demographics) such as:

  • Geographical location
  • Age and gender
  • Income levels
  • Popular sites
  • Blogs
  • Your favorite websites
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day (morning, afternoon, or night)

Don’t have a website but still want to advertise online? No problem. Most PPC networks will allow you to create a “mini” website that your ad will point to. You can add graphics, images, color schemes, and videos to your mini website. Anyone without a website no has no excuse to advertise online. For “brick and mortar” stores, make sure your PPC campaign list the city you are advertising. When your ad is seen, you want to make sure the person surfing notices that your ad is specifically for the area you are advertising for which will increase the quality of your click throughs. Avoid sending the reader of your ad to the home page on the first click. If there’s nothing local about the landing page, the user may abandon the page and move on. Send the reader directly to the product page you are advertising.

What I like about buying keywords on a PPC search engine, Facebook, Twitter is that it provides a trackable medium. Before you start any marketing campaign, you will need to decide what the goal of your marketing medium. If you are just “branding”, then you should know up front to expect to lose money to gain mind share or reinforce your brand.

The advantages to advertising online enables site owners to receive new traffic, new client leads and more measurable ROI. Another advantage include small businesses to be able operate nationally & globally. If your plan is to target the U.S. or the world with your ads, you better have a big budget. Broad PPC campaigns can get very costly in a short amount of time. Instead, begin by targeting the local market you’re familiar with. Your geo-targeted “buyer-persona” ads will cost less, and they will be better aimed at your specific audience. Make sure you localize your keywords. Not only do you have a greater chance to appear in the top SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), but you have an opportunity to do so much faster than if you were targeting global customers.

Your Social Media Strategy Must Include These Platforms

  • FaceBook (encourage Likes and Shares)
  • Twitter (create robust profiles that link-back to your company website)
  • LinkedIn (many forums you can promote your business)
  • YouTube (create marketing & product videos to technical support “how to” solutions)
  • StumbleUpon (StumbleUpon now accounts for more than 50% of all referral traffic from the top social media sites)
  • Wikipedia (The key to getting traffic from Wikipedia is to simply post external and reference links)
  • Blogs (base your blog on the WordPress or Tumblr platform. The “reblog” strategy helps generate traffic. Post at least one blog post a day. Don’t have blog content? Pull some content out of existing white papers, or marketing collateral) 
  • Forums (get active in your online community!)
  • Social News Sites such as digg, reddit, Slashdot, etc.
  • Q & A Sites such as Yahoo Answers, Quora, Answers.com, etc.
  • Document Sharing Sites such as Scribd, docstoc, slideshare (generate good content that people will want to share)
  • Check-in sites such as foursquare

These Social Media sites create “signals” to Google in which they take into account when ranking search results. They also push enormous amounts of traffic back to your website. An active social media presence creates branding opportunities as well as goodwill for your customers (think customer support). In cases of PR messaging, social media delivers instantly.

PR and Blogging

I woke up this morning thinking about my blog and how important blogs play a role in the new “PR”. I have friends and colleagues at other companies that think blogs are a waste of time and offer little or no value. However, they are mostly in HR and/or engineers. They think that blogs are just rants with random entries people pontificate in their downtime. What they completely underestimate is the fact in this new world PR world order, a blog can become a destination, and aggregate of knowledge and expertise that helps customers (or investors) make decisions while also building relationships with them. Relationships are THE name of the game.

Most companies are paranoid (see legal dept.) that if their employees start blogging, then it can also hurt relationships and even start creating misinformation that could lead to lawsuits. Every company (public) and most private need to have a safeguard in place if it’s to allow employees blog about the company and products on company time. There needs to be a final sign off on all blog posts (preferably PR or legal) before it goes live. This safeguard is a necessity. Now, if the employee has their own personal blog and they do not write on company time, then so be it. They can write anything they want if it’s their own personal blog. Nothing wrong with that.

Everyone within a company is responsible for Public Relations. Media or investor relations are specific responsibilities of communications professionals. Those conversations are going to happen out there with or without them, and if companies aren’t on the radar screen, then they are missing valuable opportunities.

Blogging also helps bring customers and relationships back to your company site. This additional traffic will help brand awareness, sales (duh), and Google rankings.

Need blog traffic? Just write good compelling content. It’s that easy. Other techniques to get your blog up and pumping traffic include: Links to other blogs, Link Building, buy Blog Ads (many sites out there offer this service), submitting to blog directories, sitemaps, or write guest articles for popular websites which allows you to tap their brand equity, user trust, and traffic stream for free. So many ways. This is the new PR world order. Go get your company some exposure. Create relationships that go viral. The traffic and exposure will follow. Blog……….because your competitor is already doing it.