LinkedIn Publishing Platform Yields Lackluster Results

LinkedIn Pulse Publishing Yields Lackluster ResultsLinkedIn is a critical social media tool for networking, while adding significant value to B2B marketing and sales. I recommend that every individual stay active on the network, along with regularly updating your profile. Many businesses should have a LinkedIn strategy, too.

When LinkedIn launched its publishing platform, I was excited to try it out for my clients. Here are the benefits I was hoping would result from publishing on Pulse:

  • Providing content directly to a member’s network would promote more interaction from relevant audiences.
  • Articles would get an SEO boost from being on LinkedIn.

Several months later, and tests of Pulse have yielded lackluster results. Articles of similar theme and content perform better on my clients’ other platforms than on Pulse.

The Drawbacks of Marketing Your Small Business with LinkedIn Pulse

  • Articles from small business seem to be effective only if your subject matter surrounds networking, career advancement or recruiting.
  • Posts are published live. Without the ability to schedule posts, it’s difficult to publish at optimal times for your audience.
  • SEO appears to be less effective on Pulse than other networks.
  • Only three tags can be assigned to any one article.
  • Image size and placement customization are very limited.

LinkedIn Pulse could become a useful platform for marketing your small business. But first it needs to mature by adding features and giving authors more publicity.

Blogging is Not Dead. It’s a Vital Marketing Tool.

Blogs increase traffic 77%Blogging has been around since the 1990’s, and the practice has been fairly universally panned ever since. In the early days, detractors sneered that no one wants to read what bloggers ate for lunch (before the rise of foodie blogs proved them wrong). Today, blog belittlers insist that businesses should stop blogging and focus solely on social media.

But the truth is that blogs remain a vital small business marketing tool.

Why Blogs are Great for Marketing Your Small Business

  1. When you write with focused keywords, blogs are great for SEO. Search engines value websites that are regularly updated.
  2. Interesting blog posts provide content for your social media campaigns, while directing customers to pages that promote your brand in the best way.
  3. Packaging one or two interesting blog posts with your promotional emails increase open rates and customer engagement.

HubSpot published a helpful article last year, “21 Essential Strategies for Growing Your Business with Inbound Marketing.” Included is helpful research showing how blogs increase your small business marketing effectiveness, such as:

92% of all online experiences begin with a search engine 61% of people say they prefer content

If you’ve been neglecting your blog, start it up again! Try posting one interesting piece of content each week, including posts, videos or pictures. To keep on schedule, follow my tips for creating an editorial calendar.

Overcoming Blog Writer’s Block

Overcoming Blog Writer's BlockHaving a regularly-updated blog is an important part of your small business marketing strategy. Well-written blog posts help your organic SEO rankings and give customers a reason to explore your site. These articles can also be used in your email marketing and social media efforts. Conceptually, almost every small business understands the value.

But then you actually have to write the posts, develop the videos and create the graphics! Publishing a blog requires creativity, imagination and… time.

Here are some tips for overcoming writer’s block and keeping your blog up-to-date.

  • Schedule a brainstorming session. Take 30 minutes to an hour to write out ideas and create skeleton blog post drafts. When you’re stumped, you can rely on your previous creativity.
  • Need a blog post right now, but don’t have any drafts? Let your mind wander over the last week. What problems have you solved? Have customers been asking any particular questions? Did you complete a successful project that customer’s will find meaningful? Usually, by answering these questions, you’ll find a topic just waiting to be discovered.
  • Beyond your actual business, is there anything in your personal life that relates to your business and customer interests? For instance, sometimes I will share effective or ineffective marketing executions I’ve seen.
  • Get creative with using your SEO keywords. Craft a compelling SEO headline and let the story flow from there.

Sometimes, though, small business owners are simply too busy to publish their blog and other marketing content on a regular basis. If that sounds like you, give me a call. I help many businesses with content creation and would love to learn more about your business.

How to Keep Your Blog Regular

Does your blog suffer from ennui?

It does if you’ve ever posted something like, “I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated my blog!” Even though posting regularly is the number one key to blogging success, it can be hard to keep a schedule. From finding time to finding something to write about, there are many obstacles to keep you from posting as much as you should.

Here are some tips to keep your blog regular.

Know your blog’s purpose.

Many writers can’t figure out what to write about because they don’t know the goal they are trying to reach. If you have a business blog, what are the business goals you are trying to achieve? One goal could be to find qualified buyers interested in your products. Another could be to engage your current customers. You might be trying to get referrals. What is your blog’s purpose? Write to fulfill that purpose and reach your goals.

Record your thoughts.

If you find it hard to sort out your thoughts in writing, don’t! Use a voice recorder to compose your blog posts. Many people find it difficult to write, but almost everyone can have a conversation. Once you determine what you’re trying to say, use the transcript as your blog post.

Make notes.

It seems obvious, but ideas for a blog post can strike at any time. Be prepared with your favorite notebook, iPhone app or even that voice recorder. You never know when a visit to a restaurant, dramatic sunset or chance encouter could be the impetus for a fantastic post. Capture the details as they happen.

Use your notes.

Don’t just take notes! Use them to write blog posts. And here’s a secret: if you’ve written a book or two, you’ve got hundreds of pages of notes conveniently published for your convenience. Use advice from your books, coupled with current events or recent experiences, to create fresh, engaging blog posts.

Develop an editorial calendar.

You should post to your blog at least once a week. To keep that goal, you need a schedule. You probably schedule appointments for oil changes or hair cuts, so why not schedule writing time? Your calendar can be as detailed as deciding on topics in advance or as general as just deciding on the day and time a post will go out each week. Get someone to help you stay accountable to your calendar, and you’ll have even more success.

Get ahead.

A counter-intuitive strategy to saving time is to write several blog posts all at once and schedule them for the future. It saves more time to get in the writing mindset once and write five posts than to find time to write on five different occasions.

Get help.

If blogging is truly part of your strategy to reach your goals, then it would be worthwhile to invest in a writing coach or professional writer. A coach will hold you accountable to schedules and topics, while a writer will consult with you and write excellent posts that meets your goals. (Might I mention that Zoo in a Jungle Marketing provides such services?)

I’ve developed these tips after years of making and breaking writing commitments to myself and my business– and seeing many others do the same. If you have any tips of your own for keeping your blog regular, I’d love to read them in the comments.

Blogging for Small Business

Advice for small businesses thinking about starting a blog

There is an abundance of hype around blogging. Some people claim to have made a fortune with their blogs, while others assert blogs are frivolous and a waste of a business’ time. For most small businesses, the truth lies somewhere in between. A well-designed and regularly-updated blog can be a great addition to your marketing mix and sales-generating activities.

This article will explain the pros and cons of blogs for small businesses and give you some expert tips for publishing a successful blog.

Why a blog is great for your small business

  • Blogs are great for search engine optimization (SEO). You can incorporate your keywords, the content changes regularly, and other websites will likely link to your posts. Search engines love all of these things.
  • If you do it right, you will become a trusted resource for your desired audience. Trust will lead to customer relationships. Relationships lead to profit.
  • When a potential customer contacts you after reading your blog, you have the advantage of being a partner instead of a vendor.
  • As an expert in your field (hopefully), you should easily be able to create content of value for your desired audience.

Why blogs are terrible for some small businesses

  • You have to update a blog frequently for it to matter. If you aren’t updating once a week, any readers you gain will lose interest. Dormant blogs also do nothing for your search engine rankings.
  • Your blog must be interesting to your desired audience, or you will be writing to an empty room (forgive the mixed metaphor).
  • Blogging is a long-term part of your success. There won’t be immediate gratification, but as you build a reputation and body of work, you will see results.

Things successful bloggers know

Make your blog an integral part of your website. Don’t create a blog that no one can find. Replacing your home page with your blog is often a good solution for small businesses, especially if your home page currently says something generic like, “Welcome!”

Investigate blogging software to find the right option for you. For my clients, I use WordPress blogs. The software is easy to use and highly customizable—and free!

Blogging requires discipline. Make a schedule and stick to it. Create an editorial calendar. Set apart time each week dedicated to writing. If you have trouble doing this, find someone who will hold you accountable.

Get a professional editor who knows your goals. Regina Spektor has a song all about editing, and she sings, “You can write, but you can’t edit.” She might as well be singing to the world, because behind every great writer is a great editor. If you want proof, ask for my original draft of this article.

Work on finding “your voice.” Every great writer has a distinctive voice. Writers aren’t born with these voices; they cultivate them. A professional editor will also help with your writer’s voice.

If you have trouble getting started writing, or your sentences come out in an incoherent jumble, just start typing exactly how you talk. Imagine you are talking to a friend, potential client or your aunt—whatever makes you comfortable. Consider getting a voice recorder and speaking your posts before you write them.

If you want other bloggers to visit your blog, post links to articles and to comment, you have to do the same for them.  It’s as simple as the biblical advice in Proverbs, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” Just replace “man” with “blogger.”

Learn about (or hire someone who knows about) search engine optimization. All the concepts from my post on growing visitors to your website apply. If you do SEO right, your blog will be tailor-made for helping the people searching for your products and services to find your website instead of your competitors’.

Write really useful articles for your desired audience. For example, if you are a caterer, consider writing about the top five appetizers to impress guests rather than the latest innovations in keeping food warm. A caterer wants potential clients to find her blog, not necessarily industry-insiders.

Thinking about starting a blog for your small business but still need more advice? Feel free to give me a call or email me with your questions—513.833.4203 or amanda@zooinajungle.com