Browsing articles from "September, 2012"

Blogging For Business: Content Marketing Basics

Sep 28, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

Content is King. And perhaps, Communication is Queen.

Traditional marketing methods – TV, radio, print – all have their place in modern society. But they are all forms of outbound marketing; basically, a bullhorn. Content marketing delivers a two-way conversation between businesses and consumers.

Developing this content takes consistency and an awareness of your ultimate business goals. This is a long-term plan, not a short-term gain. Develop and sharing content over time gives you the ability to generate feedback and regularly improve and adjust your strategies based on what your community and the market wants.

And when combined with social media, content marketing gives you the powerful ability to listen to people’s response, pinpoint their objections and then remove those objections with future content as you go. Rewarding advocates of your business can be just as powerful.

If done successfully, buying your product or enlisting your services becomes an easy, low-risk decision in your prospects mind.

The key to content marketing for business is an attraction strategy to turn your website into a long-term asset that offers people real value independent from the products or services you actually sell.

The best platform for delivering fresh content may well be a blog. Blogs help:

  • quickly and easily share ideas and connect your business to potential customers
  • give you the opportunity to automatically notify your audience when you publish new content
  • easily integrate social media sharing tools that promote powerful word of mouth marketing
  • generate links, social proof and authority

In other words, they make your website a helpful, entertaining and sticky destination that gives you the ability to create content, listen to response and continually improve.

And the benefit of blogs for SEO is unparalleled. If you create only one blog a week – optimized with researched,relevant keyword terms – you will have 52 new website pages with SEO-rich content to aid in being found on search engines. See our recent article The Link Between SEO and Content Marketing for more info on that subject.

Tom Pick, via the business2community.com website, wrote an article on fascinating Social Media facts and statistics for 2012. I’ll leave you with some pointed facts on blogging.

  1. Social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. (Mindjumpers)
  2. Social networks and blogs account for 23% of all time spent online — twice as much as gaming. (Mindjumpers)
  3. “Increased frequency of blogging correlates with increased customer acquisition, according to…HubSpot. 92% of of blog users who posted multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog, a figure that decreased to 66% for those who blogged monthly and 43% for those who posted less than monthly.” (Marketing Charts)
  4. The most popular frequency for blog posting is weekly (60% of bloggers). Just 10% post daily. (Marketing Charts)
  5. Blogs are the single most important inbound marketing tool. “When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered them either important (34%) or useful (22%)” for a total of 81%. (Marketing Charts)
  6. B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms. (Social Media B2B)
  7. For those looking to outsource, a professional consultant will generally charge $1,000-$3,000 for setting up a blog, $1,000-$3,000 per month for ongoing content development/editing, and ballpark of $200 for a single guest post. (Mack Collier)

Regarding #7, Netword Plus is far more reasonable than the average consultant (really). Give us a call today and ask us how we can help your business without breaking the bank.

The Value of Social Media and Content Marketing

Sep 19, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

The business press is full of stories about how small-to-medium sized businesses are using Social Media channels to attract and engage customers. But while there are plenty of individual success stories, the confidence in what to do specifically is not always clear for small business owners that are strapped for time, funds and online marketing resources.

We were talking with a small business owner recently who was lamenting about not updating his website, and that his competition was showing up “all over the place” online.  The nature of his product requires some education and an effort to dispel common misconceptions. Like so many others, he runs a small business with limited time and budget.

To us, this was a classic opportunity for the power of the conversation: Social Media and Content Marketing.

According to Hubspot, a major force in Social Media:

There are 55% more website visitors for companies that blog, 97% more inbound links for companies that blog, and 434% more indexed pages (by search engines like Google) for companies that blog.

Our tip for him was to allow Netword Plus to start a blog for his company that answered the most common questions prospects and customers ask, and to do so in a compelling way: with video, images and text. Each keyword-rich new blog post would benefit his SEO efforts and improve his website’s Google rankings.

With 1 post a week, he’d have 52 more pages and videos on his website in a year, each offering interesting, useful content that could position him above competitors. Along the way, he’d be able to gather insight from our analytics, social shares, comments and interactions with the blog posts to refine message effectiveness.

A few key questions would help us start his blog content plan:

  • Why do current customers buy your product? This can come from sales people and/or the business owner.
  • What are the misconceptions & objections? Document the things that are education opportunities.
  • What type of information helps them change perception?  What are the tipping points from skepticism to confidence? Is it demonstration, 3rd party data, credibility of the company, word of mouth?
  • Where do prospects look for information on this solution? Talk to sales people, look at website stats and any logged information about lead sources.

By answering these fundamental questions, Netword Plus can create blog content for the small business owner that specifically addresses the questions, concerns and triggers that will influence prospects to trust, buy and refer.

Many readers might be thinking that more substantial SEO and social media tactics should be set up as well, and they’d be right. But a strong base of content must be the first step. Without powerful content, social networking and optimization won’t work to convert prospects to customers anyway.

Netword Plus can then create daily postings for the business on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, expanding the conversation even further. Netword Plus is able to respond to questions, concerns, and even praise, validating and assuring the business’ established and prospective customer base. Maintaining a “feedback loop” means you’re connecting with real people, interacting with them and providing something of value that they can share and act on.

Beyond Social Media

An email newsletter that re-purposes blog content and the Q/A that happens on Facebook, the blog and Twitter can be delivered to existing customers. Viewing every channel of participation as an opportunity to interact and share will help grow networks, trust and credibility as the “go-to source” for the product category being promoted. It’s important to create value, but also to not lose sight that this is business. Don’t be afraid to suggest solutions or promote offers. Just do so in a relevant way.

Finally, Netword Plus delivers web analytics and social media monitoring twice a month, which helps the business assess how people are finding and interacting with their content. Watch for trends in network growth like fans, friends and followers but especially with quality of interaction through comments, likes, shares and the effect on blog/website traffic that drives inquiries and sales.

For a lot of small business owners not used to online marketing, SEO or social media, these suggestions might be out of their comfort zone. But with the way consumer behaviors are changing and increased competition, getting out of the comfort zone and into a place where direct customer interactions drive content and inspire business outcomes is an essential investment.

You have a business to run. Let Netword Plus run your Social Media and Content Marketing program for you, keeping your business competitive and your cost factor down.

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