Posts Categorized: Blog

Link

Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

Not sure what link building is?

Even more confused on how to accomplish it?

Well, you’re not alone….Link building is one of the most difficult tasks that an SEO professional faces each day. That’s right – it challenges professionals. So it’s not hard to imagine how the novice would run for the hills at the thought of a link building campaign.

In a very small nutshell, link building is an online form of promotional marketing, whereby you find great websites (content) to link your website/brand/company/content to. You are essentially attempting to spin an SEO spiderweb that reaches across the vast expanse of the world wide web. The larger your web, the more you’ll “catch,” so to speak. Ever seen Charlotte’s Web? Be Charlotte – steady, methodical, with fierce determination.

Ok, so……On the internet, there is this mega-giant called Google. They pretty much say what to do, when to do it, and most importantly, how to do it. And seeing as though Google has gabillions upon gabillions of web pages to sort through, it must use a structured algorithm in order to organize the chaos. One factor in Google’s algorithm is links.

Links = Votes

Basically when a particular page links back to your website, you’ve earned a “vote” from the online community. The more votes you get, the more popular you must be, right? Well, while that may work for prom queen selection, it’s a little more complicated in the grown up world. The answer is: yes and no (I know, trick question).

You see, Google analyzes the popularity of a page based on the number AND the popularity of the pages that link to them. So not only do you have to be popular to win prom queen, but the people voting for you must be popular too! Hence, you become popular by association (The parallels to real life are astonishing, don’tcha think?). Similarly, trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites. Respected news sites and government sites are good examples of this.

According to a Moz.com survey, 81% of companies increased their link building spending over the last 12 months, and another 73% intend to increase their spending over the next 12 months. People are catching wind of the “Make Google Like Me” game, and they don’t want to lose to the competition. And you shouldn’t either. So, what tips should be considered when beginning your link building campaign? Well, we’ll tell ya.

Global Popularity

As mentioned above, the more links you have from other sites, the more popular you are. Just how far does that web of yours span? Work on making it larger and stronger.

Local Popularity

This refers to the popularity you have among others in your niche. Example: You manufacture coffee. You’ll gain much more popularity with links on coffee shop websites and other coffee-related sites, than you would a link on your best friend’s blog telling the world how wonderful your coffee is. Make sense?

Anchor text

This is anchor text. It is the highlighted portion of words that are visible when another page is hyperlinked into a post. These are important because Google, the smart little devil that it is, assimilates what the hyperlink (anchor text) says and what is actually in the content. It learns to associate those words with the content of the link.

Trust Rank

As stated previously, the more trustworthy the company you keep, the more trustworthy you will be – in the eyes of Google.

Link Neighborhood

Inversely, spam sites generally link to other spam sites. So if you have despicable neighborhood friends, you’re bound to be despicable as well.

Freshness

Just as bread turns stale if left out, so do links. Times like these require a little refresher in order to maintain popularity. What we mean is, continue to link build to keep heads turning, and more importantly, Google smiling.

Social Sharing

We’re not sure how, but Google does take into account the social scene. The more shares and retweets you receive, the higher you jump on the totem pole of coolness. (Find out how to get more Facebook likes and shares!)

Also keep in mind that buying links is frowned upon. It’s considered a high-risk tactic. Big Brother will find out and he’ll slap you off your high horse by penalizing you. So, utilize these tips in order to boost your google authority through link backs.

Happy Linking!

By Lori Isbell

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Benefits of social media marketing

7 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for SMB’s

Let’s do this backwards.  Normally I would list 4 decent benefits of social media marketing, build you up to the big climax and then lay the big one on ya! But, not today. Today, we’re going to cut the crap and get right to it.

So, you wanna know the MAIN reason you and your business need to be active on social media?

And if they’re not, you’re missing the point.

Those fury cat pics are cute and the “Happy Friday” posts will probably get you some Likes. Oh and the video of Jimmy Kimmel performing the History of Rap with Justin Timberlake is sure to be a crowd pleaser, but where are all those posts getting you?  How much money are you making from them?

No answer required here.  Those were rhetorical questions.

You need to concentrate on posting original content created by you that takes your fans off of Facebook or Twitter and onto your website blog. And when you’re not promoting a blog post, you need to be directing your fans and followers to landing pages on your site. I’m not just talking about a page on your website that people “land” on. I’m talking about a webpage specifically designed to capture leads that has a free offer in exchange for an email address (and sometimes more info).

To learn more about landing pages and how to create a killer one, check out Chapter 3 in our FREE eBook “The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.”

Other Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Increased Exposure: Obviously, this one goes without saying, but the power of social media is extraordinary in terms of reaching a lot of people with minimal effort. It is the perfect outlet for promoting your useful, relevant and timely content.  But, it better be all 3 of those things or your fans will start dropping like flies.

Getting to Know Your Customers: If you post intriguing material, fans will tell you what they think. And those comments are priceless when you are trying to discover who your ideal customer is, what they need, what they want and how you can help them. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage and interact with your fans not as a business, but as a human running a business. This is an easy way to set yourself apart from your competition because many of your competitors are not taking advantage of this.

Social Listening: There so many tools out there now that allow you to monitor conversations, hashtags and keywords of your choosing across multiple social media channels. There’s Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, Social Mention, Hubspot, etc.  The list could go on and on. Find one and use it!

Why should you care what everyone else is saying?  Suppose you have a local liquor store and you monitor words like #party, #rum, #goodtimes, etc.  Then, when someone tweets out “Getting ready to make my famous rum punch for our New Year’s Eve party!”, you can tweet back with a discount or some special deal to draw them into your store instead of a big guy like ABC Liquor.

Perhaps even more opportunistic is monitoring social feeds for your competitors’ names. Now-a-days, the first thing people do when they have a bad experience with a company is take to Twitter or Facebook to vent their frustration. Be there to offer a better alternative and be the hero.  Timing is everything in life and social media marketing is no different.

Social Proof: Your website tells people what you want them to know. Social media tells people what they want to know. Your website is going to look like a glowing resume of all your strengths….and it should! But, the interactions you have with your fans on your social profiles speak the truth….volumes of it. And you’re crazy if you don’t think that consumers check you out on social before buying from you. So, start capitalizing on it!

Marketing Budget Savings: Everyone has their panties in a bunch over Facebook only allowing less than 5% of your fans to see your posts. It’s not fair….I agree. But, the truth of the matter is that even though you now have to “pay to play”, it’s still cheaper than running magazine ads, tv commercials and radio ads. Plus, when you run an ad on Facebook (for example) you can choose your target audience right down to the type of food they like. You can’t control who picks up a magazine or hears your radio ad on the way to work.  You know the general demographics of their readers/listeners and hope the right people see/hear your ad.

SEO: The text you fill in under the bio section of your social media profile is SEO gold when optimized properly. Think of each one of your social profiles as another opportunity to rank for your keywords. Google crawls your profile bios much the same way it crawls your website pages in order to deliver the most accurate search results for Googlers. In addition, Google gives serious weight in search results to websites who have a Google+ page.  So, while its hard to picture Google+ as a social network like Facebook right now, the SEO benefits of it are crystal clear. Don’t miss this boat….you’ll be kicking yourself down the road.

How about you?  Have you personally experienced any of these benefits of social media marketing?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

By:  Kelly Gretzinger

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


Keywords SEO key open shiny gold lock cylinder

5 Tips for WordPress SEO

Looking for the best tips to optimize your blog posts?

Need your blog to get noticed?

We’ll let you in on a few important secrets to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game. Well, they’re more like “tips” rather than “secrets”….I mean, a few thousand people may already be privy to this information. But we want YOU to know a little WordPress SEO how-to. So listen up!

The concept of SEO is multifaceted. There are many ways to spruce up your posts to get them viewed, but one of the most – if not THE most – important factor is: keywords. Your posts should be centered around a target keyword. When planning your post, it’s important to begin writing with the mindset that you are trying to promote a specific idea.

While we won’t get into the process of choosing an optimal keyword in this post, know that keyword research is not to be taken lightly. You want to use one that gets Googled. Because, after all, Google is where it’s at (in our humble opinion). There are several sites that can help you chose a great keyword, such as HubSpot and Google Adwords. Check ‘em out.

Once you have chosen a keyword(s), you can proceed to writing your post, infiltrating the word(s) where ever you can. You want to make the presence of the keyword(s) noticeable, while maintaining the integrity of the post by not over-saturating it with nonsensical keyword placement.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this post….

In order to optimize your post based on a focused keyword, there are several components that must contain the exact verbage of your keyword. Your post will show up on a Google search provided the keyword is written exactly as the “Googler,” if you will, types it into the search bar.

WordPress SEO components:

 – The Article Heading – The actual title of your blog/article.

 – The Page Title – (aka: SEO title) The link that you click on to visit a page in the search results.

 – The Page URL – The address to your page.

 – The Content – This is where you strategically plug those keywords, but only if it makes sense. To preserve readability, don’t try too hard. If you’re struggling to get that keyword in your content, it usually shows.

 – The Meta Description – The meta description is that descriptive line or two under the SEO title when you Google something. Ever notice it? That’s the meta description.

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Now that you are aware of the components, check out this handy dandy little plug-in called Yoast. Yoast is an excellent tool to use as a guide while optimizing your blog posts. The way it works is, you enter your focus keyword, and Yoast will analyze your post and let you know what you’re missing. It will show you how many times your keyword appears in all 5 of the above-mentioned categories.

 

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To delve a little deeper into the analytics, Yoast will give you a detailed page analysis by clicking the “Page Analysis” tab…

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You can also take it a little further with the “Advanced,” “Social,” and “Manual” tabs, but for the sake of learning the basics, the first two tabs should help you get a running start.

While there are many ways to optimize your blog posts, we utilize Yoast as a quick, reliable guide to ensure we are hitting our benchmarks in regards to the focus keyword(s). Best of all, it’s free!

 Having trouble narrowing down a topic to blog about? Take a peek at this helpful guide.

Do you use another plug-in for keyword analytics? Tell us about it!

By Lori Isbell


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


what is a landing page

What is a Landing Page?

You hear the term all the time, but what is a landing page anyway!?

A landing page is a designated page on your website that is designed to capture leads. It must contain a form for contact information submission and should offer something for free in return.  It’s sole purpose is to convert website visitors into leads, so its unlike your other static webpages on your site that simply give information.

A good example of a landing page is this one giving away a free eBook about Online Lead Generation tips.

Elements of a Perfect Landing Page

A Giveaway

The most important aspect of a landing page (by far) is that you offer something for nothing.  Offer a free eBook, whitepaper, checklist, template of some sort, free trial or a free consultation in exchange for minimally a name and an email address.  Without your giveaway, you aren’t giving visitors any incentive to hand over their info.

A Form

So, you got the lead to your landing page, but that doesn’t mean squat if they can’t give you their contact information!  You should have a form with fields for minimally the visitor’s name and email address.

Add more fields requesting more info as the value of your giveaway increases.  For instance, a free eBook would warrant a name and email request and maybe one more piece of info.  But, a free consultation or trial with a $50 value would allow you to ask for name, email, website, phone number, etc.  People give more when they get more.

Cory Eridon over at Hubspot goes a little more into detail with the explanation of a form and how important it is.

No Navigation

You know all the navigation links you have at the top of your webpages to get around your site?  Get rid of ’em.

What is a landing page?

You want people focused on one thing and one thing only when they hit your landing page…….downloading or getting your offer.  If you give them the option to click around your site, there’s no telling where they’ll end up.  People get distracted because they have 100 things going on in the room behind them. Don’t make it easy for them to jump ship before becoming a lead.

Clear Title

This kind of goes without saying, but don’t try to trick people or be intentionally vague.  If you’re giving away an eBook, the title should say “FREE eBook on …” or even “Grab this Free eBook on …”.  Don’t be afraid to tell them what you want them to do right in the title. Grab it! Download it! Get it!

Short and Sweet Description

Less is more here.  Use bullet points and short sentences to give a brief description of your offer and list the ways they will benefit from it.

Try to leave as much white space as possible because it throws off that “clean and simple” look.  It screams, “This will only take a sec!” The idea is not to scare people off with 4 paragraphs of boring text, but instead to give them the option to skim if they need to.

Your time is valuable and so is their’s.  So, earn respect by not wasting it.

To take it one step further, a short, direct description just may spark a few questions that make them download the offer in an effort to find out!

A Call-to-Action

Your title and description let your visitor know exactly what you are offering. Now what?

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)!  That’s what!

A CTA tells visitors what you want them to do next. “Try it free for 30 days!” “Download your copy today!” “Get your free checklist now and get organized!” You get the point.  Don’t leave it up to the visitor.  The best way to get anyone to do anything is simply by asking.

Thank You Page

Lastly, every landing page form should link to a thank you page where you deliver the offer. This thank you page should have clear instructions on how to get the offer as well as a secondary offer that will continue to move your new lead through your sales funnel.

If you’re not very tech-savvy and are concerned that these landing pages will cost you an arm and a leg with a web developer, don’t worry. There are many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) sites out there that do all the coding behind the scenes and allow you to visually build the pages with templates. But, our favorite so far is Lead Pages if you’re looking for an affordable option. They have tons of templates to choose from as well as video tutorials for just about everything.

We personally use Hubspot to build our pages and LOVE it.  Hubspot’s landing page builder is just one element of a larger marketing suite, so it costs more, but is well worth it.

Over to you!  If you have any other suggestions for killer landing pages, tell me in the comments below or tweet at us @scuttlebuttsm!

By Kelly Gretzinger


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


Light Bulbs

15 Best Categories for Blog Topics

Have you hit a mental road block?

Don’t have the faintest idea of what to write about?

You’ve set the mood to get those intellectual neurons firing….you’ve changed the TV from Jerry Springer to the “Best of Mozart.” You’ve put the dogs outside, made yourself a nice Colombian brew (or grabbed a brew from the fridge, if that’s your style), and snuggled up on your couch with your favorite blankie and your laptop. You’re ready to write…But first you check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram….Ahem, NOW you’re ready to write….

You’re staring at the screen…….

Still staring…..

Hello? What are you doing!? Write!

Ah, yes my friend. You need inspiration and you need it fast. You’ve got a deadline to meet and staring at a blank screen will get you nowhere.

Mental road blocks happen to the best of us. The key is figuring out how to overcome them.

We have compiled a quick list of blog types to help you attempt to get those juices flowin’….

15 Best Categories for Blog Topics:

  1. The How-To – We live in a do-it-yourself world, people. Everyone wants to know how to do this and how to do that. Pinterest is all the craze lately because people love to be able to follow instructions and recreate a project, stand back, and admire their masterpiece with a sigh of achievement.
  2. The List – Such as this one. :) Give your reader ideas/suggestions on anything and everything. From activities for children on a rainy day to best excursions in Jamaica, the possibilities with this one are endless.
  3. The Resource – Compile some reputable resources on a particular topic, and instead of writing your own blog/review of that topic, post the links to allow readers to discover what they think for themselves.
  4. The Cheat Sheet – These are more commonly referred to as a Checklist or a To-Do list. The need for planning is human nature. Many people are visual learners/doers, therefore they are much more likely to accomplish their goals when they see it in front of them in black and white.
  5. The Review – Are you an unemployed wine connoisseur (aka wine enthusiast), a world-traveler, or just a knower-of-all-things? Write about it. Compile your favorites, review ’em, and rank ’em.
  6. The Controversy – You know those topics. The ones that other people have BIG opinions about. Light the fuse and run.
  7. The Infographic – These are great for visual learners. It’s like a picture book for adults.
  8. The Podcast Notes – If you’ve just watched a valuable podcast that you feel others could gain insight and knowledge, go ahead and share your notes in the form of a blog.
  9. The Video – Come across a video that you can use to help make your point? Use it! You could even team this one up with #6 and make it a controversial video.
  10. The Interview – Use past or present interviews to showcase a cause or corporation. You don’t have to have been the interviewer, but if you weren’t, make sure you give credit where credit is due.
  11. The Profile – This is an interesting type of post. The purpose is to spotlight an individual. You can make it strictly factual – like a mini biography – or add your opinions/comments into the mix. Either way, make sure to do your research. No one likes mis-information, especially the profiled subject.
  12. The Guest Post – If you’re ever really short on time and ideas, a guest post may just save you. However, be warned that utilizing guest posts does not happen with the snap of your fingers, or even over night. This takes a little planning and communication with the prospective guest blogger, depending on if you want an already-written blog or original information specifically for you. But once you have that dialed in, it may save you from conjuring up ideas for future posts.
  13. The Blog Series – These posts are dependent upon one another. They are essentially the sitcom episode that ends with “…to be continued…” (Don’t you just hate those?) Usually in groups of 3 or more posts, they give a continuance of information from one post to the next.
  14. The Comparison – Ever wonder how cow milk compares to goat milk? We don’t either, but somebody may. And that somebody may be you. Write about what interests you. Hey, if goat milk interests you, there’s bound to be others out there researching whether they should make the switch or not. Point being, do a little research and cross compare 2 (or more) products.
  15. The Comedy Show – Ahh, lastly, a long-time favorite. The humorous post. In this day and age, there’s enough seriousness to dampen even the brightest of spirits. Laughter is the best medicine, right? So give your readers a healthy dose.

Hopefully you’ve found this list helpful. When you’re staring at that blank screen, it may just give you the jumpstart you need to get creative.

Take it one step further and check out these suggestions for intriguing Facebook posts and incorporate your blog!

Want to add your two cents? Feel free to comment below!

By Lori Isbell


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


Social Media Buttons

How do I promote my blog? [Infographic]

Want to drive traffic to your blog?

Want to ensure that people will share it?

You’ve written your blog post. You’ve posted it on your WordPress/website. With a sigh of relief, you kick your feet up on the coffee table with arms crossed behind your head, eyes closed.

You drift off into an Alice in Wonderland type of dreamlike state. You see “like” and “share” bouncing off clouds. “Retweet” materializes in the sky from the fireworks off in the distance. Everyone you encounter says, “Hey! Great blog post!” and “Thanks for blogging about your extensive knowledge”…or “YOU are the smartest person alive!”…….Ahhhhhh, this IS the life, you concede. But then the faint sound of dog barking in the forest entrances you. You begin to follow the unmistakably familiar tune to a hole in the sky. (What? A hole in the sky? Whatever, this is awesome). So you climb a ladder that has magically appeared in front of you. And as you emerge from the rabbit hole that you so gracefully squeezed through, you realize: the dog that’s barking is yours. He’s outside, tearing up every panel of your screen enclosure because he’s chasing a squirrel – he’s never going to catch that squirrel. Why won’t he learn?

So, to dissuade the propensity to strangle Rover, you decide to check your blog post. You can’t wait to see the comments, shares, likes, and retweets. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t LOVE your post?! No one, that’s who.

But when you check your post – nada. Not one comment. Not one share. Nothing. “Oh, wait, I need to refresh the page. Duh”……….[crickets]……..nothing. You check the clock. You’ve been asleep for 3 hours?! Whaaaaaaaat? Secretly loving that you got in an amazing nap, you wonder why the heck no one has seen your blog. And if they have, why on Earth didn’t they like it?

Truth is, it’s not because your content is weak. Well, maybe it is, but to give you the benefit of the doubt, it’s not. It’s because you have done nothing to promote that blog! You may have just written the epitome of all blogs, but it’s just sitting in the blogosphere with all the other blogs, waiting to be viewed. You need to make others see it. So you think,

“How do I promote my blog?”

Well, funny you should ask. I happened to have found a sweet, super simple little infographic that is sure to help you get the views that you’ve dreamt about. The folks over at HowToMakeMyBlog.com made a dummy-proof guide to the steps you should take AFTER your blog post is written. And by dummy, I mean me. Hey, everyone needs a little help now and then. 😉

Enjoy, and you’re welcome.

Content Marketing Routine After Publishing A Post (infographic)
Get more content marketing advice at HowToMakeMyBlog.com.

 

Want to know how to get more Facebook likes for your post? This article is JUST what you need!

By Lori Isbell


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


My Blog Button On The Keyboard Key Close-up, Keyboard Keys

Best Blog Directories

Looking for new ways to promote your blog?

Trying to break into the blogosphere with exciting new content?

Want to gain online authority?

A blog directory may be just the ticket.

So you’ve established your blog – or maybe you’re trying to –  and you’re not sure how to get your name out there. Besides social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and marketing yourself on your own website, it may be time to incorporate a little more narcissism. Yes, narcissism.

We live and work in a dog-eat-dog world, folks. Which means, you’ve gotta be your own biggest fan. Be your own cheerleader. Be your own sports agent. You’ve gotta jump up and down, flailing your arms, while screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!….Put me in coooaaaccchhhh!” And we feel that submitting your awesome content to a few of the best blog directories will help you get in the game.

The basis behind these sites is pretty simple, yet genius at the same time: You submit your blog posts to a site, where it gets indexed and becomes searchable for others who are browsing the site. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Whether you’re trying to drive traffic to your website/blog for potential customers, trying to gain a loyal following, or trying to get picked up by other companies as a content writer, this is a great place to start. Most of them are free, but others require a membership that entitles you to some perks. We’ve found a great list that was created by SEJ (Search Engine Journal) that we feel gives a simple breakdown of each site. So, take a look, visit the sites, and see which ones best fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to utilize several different sites to see which ones are capturing your target audience.

23 Blog Directories To Submit Your Blog To

Once you’ve driven the traffic to your site, find out the best ways to convert that traffic into leads!

Happy Blogging!

By Lori Isbell


Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!


Spelling Concept

What is the writing process?

Writing. It’s an age-old process. We learned it in school. We’ve written tons of useless papers in an attempt to perfect it. Some of us are good at it. And some…well, not so good. But that’s ok! Writing usually requires practice. And as with most things, practice makes perfect, right?

So, what is the writing process?

Anytime you sit down to write – whether it’s an essay, short story, novel, or in many cases nowadays, a blog – your process of writing usually follows some sort of guideline. For many experienced writers, this guideline is engrained. They don’t have to think about the process because it comes naturally. But less-experienced writers may need their guidelines written out in front of them in order to keep them on track.

So whether you’re new to this game called “writing” or if you’d just like a short refresher to reorganize your mental files, here’s an easy 7-point guideline to spark your writing spree.

1. Prewriting

This is a fancy way of saying “everything that happens BEFORE you actually begin writing anything.” Easy enough, right? This mostly entails entertaining your rambling thoughts, browsing your mental stockpile of abandoned knowledge, or summoning inspirational ideations. More simply: you’re brainstorming. You may have a topic that you want to write about, but if you don’t, this is the stage where you think it up. Sometimes this can be the most cumbersome step in the process. If you’ve ever sat down to compose a creative writing piece, and all you managed to think about was the mating habits of elephants (why are you thinking about that?), you’re not alone. Don’t get discouraged. Just keep thinking.

Also included in prewriting is your research. But don’t let the word “research” scare you. You’re not gonna get swatted on the hand by Mrs. Finkelstein for not learning everything there is to know about, well, the mating habits of elephants. You just need to research what you want to write about and find factual information.

 2. Outlining

After the mental anguish of brainstorming and researching, your next step is to outline your information. This will keep you on track for the duration of your writing. If you find yourself getting sidetracked, just go back to the outline to regroup and refocus. Remember to outline your writing so as to ensure readability. It must flow to keep a reader’s attention.

 3. Drafting

Here is where you actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and commence your writings. This is also known as the rough draft. During this phase, don’t stress too much about misspellings, grammar, or flow. Just get those ideas down on paper. I’m sure you’ve had those moments when a really good thought pops into your mind, only to be lost when you answer a phone call or your pizza rolls are ready. Even if it doesn’t make sense yet, write it down.

 4. Revising

At this point, you have a bunch of sentences written down, which may look like a foreign language to someone other than you. Now is the time when you read through your rough draft and make the changes necessary to make it readable. Cross out, add in, delete, delete, delete….These are all done during the revision step.

 5. Editing

Here is where you need to become, or enlist the help of, the grammar police. Any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, punctuation oversights, etc. will all be corrected now. Take your time editing your work. Sometimes one misspelling can destroy a reader’s perception of your credibility. And commas should never be taken for granted! Cuz “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” is one comma away from cannibalism – “Let’s eat Grandpa!”

Tip: Often times it helps to print a hardcopy of your work for editing. Seeing it in black and white vs. scrolling the computer screen may help mistakes jump out atcha.

 6. Polishing

During this stage is when I like to add character to my writing. Now’s the time to add images or a fancy signature at the bottom. You may want to italicize or bold some words to affect importance. You may also wish to insert your call-to-action or outbound links if this is a business piece. Make it shiny and pretty by “polishing” it.

 7. Publishing

Alas! You’re finished. Well, almost. But this is the easy part. After your ducks are all in a row, and your work is polished and sparkly, it’s time to publish. This entails submitting to your publisher via email, mail, fax, etc. If you’re blogging, it involves posting it on your site. Whatever your medium, go ahead and get rid of that thang!

Always give ample thought and planning to your writing. A well-thought-out post will always shine over a mish-mash of last minute fluffery. Remember to take into account how long your blog or article should be and who comprises your audience. These will help you breeze through the above steps.

Happy writing!

By Lori Isbell

Have any of your own unique rituals or steps? Let us know!


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Inbound Marketing Process

Need help with your inbound marketing process [infographic]?

“The inbound marketing process is just a bunch of “fluff” for internet based businesses.”

“Why do I need to change my marketing style – it’s worked for years!”

“My business is just fine the way it is.”

If there’s an excuse out there, people will use it.  Truth is, the inbound marketing process isn’t a fad, tailored to a certain industry, nor is it to be considered a secondary approach.  Inbound marketing defies the laws of traditional marketing and seeks to attract and then convert visitors into paying customers.  The main difference, as you may have heard by now, is that inbound marketing works as a magnet to pull people into your website via useful & attractive information whereas outbound, or traditional marketing, takes the opposite approach to push products and services on people – through advertisements, direct mail, etc.

Check out this article to learn more about the differences between the two.

If you’re looking to start an inbound marketing campaign OR just need more direction on where to go from here, check out the infographic below from Sons of Thunder marketing – it gives a lot of great stats as well as a chain-of-events look at the inbound marketing sequence.

By Nikki Blews

Inbound Marketing Process

Inbound Marketing Process


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How long does my blog post need to be?

How long does my blog post need to be?

There are many answers to this popular, yet frustrating, question – How long does my blog post need to be?  The first is around 1,000 words or more, the second is about 300 words and my personal favorite is “however long it needs to be to offer value to your readers” – or some variation of that response. The last is my favorite because it’s the only response that directly correlates to the reason you are writing a blog post to begin with – for your readers’ benefit! Although it’s tempting, you should not be writing a blog post for the Google machine or for aesthetics, it should be to educate your readers.  If you’re not addressing your readers’ concerns or giving them valuable information in your blog post, then it’s useless to them, won’t be shared or viewed and in turn won’t be the big SEO cheerleader you anticipated.

Answer #1: 1,000 words or more

The longer-blog-post theory usually lends itself to great SEO value…greater keyword density, increased chance of linkbacks, more information, etc.  But before you go slapping thousands of words down on a blog post thinking Google will increase your ranking, understand that Google is smarter than you think (and getting smarter each day) and they actually crawl your post for relevancy. One thing that may surprise you about a long post is that, according to John Rampton at Forbes, “posts which contain more then 1,500 words gained 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more facebook likes”.  Maybe it’s because they appear more “meaty” or because all things seem more legit when cumbersome – who knows – but that’s a fact, Jack.

Answer #2: About 300 Words

Again, Rampton points out that shorter blog posts are great for converting on product or service offerings.  This is because you’re giving the reader a short, but exciting, snippet of information about the product or service and then leaving them wanting more, thus prompting them to engage your call-to-action.  Short blog posts are also argued to be more attractive to today’s reader – who are usually short on time, hungry for information and not willing to invest 30 minutes to find what they hope is an easy answer.

 Answer #3: Whatever amount you need

So, that brings us to the last option which states a blog post should be however long you need it to be in order to achieve your goal.  Your goal may be to write about the inner workings of a wind turbine – aimed to educate your readers about wind energy, looking to entice them to join your mailing list for all things wind turbine related.  Or, you may want to write a blog post about the best local hotels for holiday weekend stays – with a goal of increasing holiday reservations.  Point is, if you need 2500 words to achieve your goal AND offer value to your readers, you type your little heart out.  If you only need 125 words to offer value and convert leads – kudos! Just make the words count! No matter the length of your blog post, MAKE SURE IT’S RELEVANT, VALUABLE, and INSIGHTFUL.  The SEO, shareability, and conversion rate will speak for itself.

This blog post is 483 words – just in case you were counting! :)

Need more tips on blogging? – check out the secret sauce here!

By Nikki Blews

Need more info like this? Let’s keep in touch!