As days go by: blogging matters

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Blogging can be fun; it can be tedious. It’s a task for an intern, or for everyone to share. No matter how you look at it, what you say online is crucial to growing your business while also demonstrating your expertise. Let me explain…

We’ll start by exploring a little thing called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). People who know and use your business can get to your website whenever they want by entering your URL into their web browser.

What about growth, though? When new customers or clients are searching for the product or service you offer, you want them to find your website first. That is what SEO does. You can make sure that your website is clear and informative, stating exactly what it is you do; relevant information helps your website appear higher on the list of results when certain terms are searched. You can even pay for advertising around the keywords that people are typing in to increase the position in which your website appears.

But all of that applies only to your relatively static website. Each time you create a blog post, you create a new web address with relevant content for the audience you want to reach. You’re gaining credibility by talking about what you know best, and you’re stretching your online presence by providing new information for clients and customers to find when they search for a service like yours online. So now, instead of appearing in search results only once, each blog post has the potential to appear as a separate site, increasing your online presence dramatically.

What happens after you blog? Does that post disappear deep into the archives of your website? Nope! Hubspot, an inbound marketing company, explains the idea of “compounding posts,” which basically means that you may get 100 views on the first day you publish your post, but over the next few months, a good post will continue to generate traffic to your website, sometimes exponentially.

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From a PR perspective, contacts generated and credibility gained are really going to make the difference. By blogging regularly, you gain a captive audience that will now see your press releases as soon as they’re posted, while we’re still in close contact with other news sources that will reach the rest of the population you’re hoping to target. You put yourself a step ahead of the game, so as days go by, it’s bigger growth for your company.

Getting started, or ramping it up (if you’re already blogging)

As far as content for blog posts, write about what you know best—piece of cake! Images make a post more attractive, so don’t forget to include one or two. Social Marketing Writing has some stats that will improve your blogging performance. My top three favorites include:

  • Once you accumulate 51 posts, blog traffic increases by 53%, goes up by 3 times when you hit 100 posts, and by 4.5 times after 200 posts. Posting more often will help you get there!
  • Blogs get the highest traffic on Monday mornings, so at the least, plan to have a post published every Monday morning.
  • Posts published on Thursdays get the most social shares.

Blogging is a low-cost way to keep in touch with your clients and grow your business. We think it’s an essential part of any company’s marketing and PR strategy.

To find out more about how we can help you achieve results through blogging, contact us today!

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Create compelling video content

Ready to create your your own videos? The Kimball Communications team has some tips to get your started.

Know your audience: a content lesson from the middle of the woods

Don’t appeal to empty seats—know your audience.

Recently, a minor controversy flared up on a Facebook page for an outdoors magazine. In a web feature on getting fit for hiking, the lede read: “Doughy is a lifestyle choice.” Huh?

On certain fitness blogs or emblazoned on across a “fitspo” meme, such a statement wouldn’t be out of place. But to the readers of this magazine it seemed an odd crack aimed at heavy hikers. Most of the comments below the related Facebook post were some variation of this, from a commenter named Todd: “LoL I am doughy and I out hike lean athletes any day of the week. It’s not all about the cover. Over weight people can have very good fitness.”

If commenters were not taking the magazine to task for shaming bigger hikers, they were confused by the very nature of the article. That is, they didn’t understand why a hiker would need these fitness tips. As commenter Katherine quipped, “I got in shape for hiking by… hiking.”

So what’s going on here (aside from insensitivity)? If we examine this from a writing and public relations angle, it becomes clear the magazine made a basic, yet extremely common mistake: they misjudged their audience.

Under ever-increasing pressure to produce more and more content, companies sometimes forget for whom they are writing. They seek out new formats and approaches to writing quick blog posts and features, often mimicking what works elsewhere on the web. Though this can lead to content that is more interesting to readers, writers and brands have to keep those readers in mind. You can adapt a form or approach to mesh with the information and tone your audience seeks from you.

So let this little hiker dustup serve as a reminder: next time you sit down to write a new blog post, article, white paper or other piece of content, ask, “who is this for and what do the want from me?”

3 Business Success Trends for 2014

take the plungeWelcome to 2014. This year will be more competitive. This year, the marketing din is going to get a lot louder. This year is also going to be the year you get savvy about marketing your small or medium size business. To help you do so, here are three trends that will affect the business landscape, and your own bottom lines.

Social Media Is Not Optional. The days of just dipping your toe in the social media waters are long gone (circa 2011). You’re either engaged in social media marketing or you’re not, and – trust me on this one – you have to be engaged. No modern, effective marketing plan is complete without a social media component. Get expert advice on how to start. Pick your platforms with care. Develop a content strategy that is authentic to your brand and develop protocols and best practices for conversing with your followers. When all of that is done, then you can jump into the social media pool. (Remember, no toe dipping. This year calls for a full on, no hesitation cannon ball into the deep end – but you have to plan it out first.)

The Value of Public Relations Is Growing. While publishers may be consolidating media outlets, the ironic twist is the demand for quality content is disproportionately expanding. What this means for your brand is opportunity; opportunity to develop meaningful content and, more importantly, content people want to share. One caveat – that content must rarely be brand-centric. While the content should be relevant to your space, it cannot put your brand front-and-center if you want it to be seen as authoritative, authentic and of innate value to the public. PR is increasingly going to require a mix of earned and owned media, but that owned media – if executed well – can pay significant dividends. This content marketing (or brand journalism) trend is growing rapidly, and your public relations advisor or team needs to be leading the charge.

Smartphones Are Windows to the World. As mobile access continues to become part of everyone’s new normal, brands need to consider how to engage their consumer audiences via this medium. A responsive designed website is just the start of ensuring your brand and/or products are accessible on any mobile device. You’ll also want to track your website’s analytics to monitor your level of mobile web traffic and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. Additionally, opt-in SMS text messaging campaigns and branded Apps are two mobile marketing tools we’ll be seeing more of in the year ahead.

These and other tactics are the new business as usual tools. More and more, companies will need to adapt to the latest technologies if they want to engage with their audiences. Meanwhile, the New Year offers new challenges and ample opportunity. On behalf of everyone at Kimball Communications, may your businesses find success in overcoming the former and excel at leveraging the latter.

Refreshing Your Content This Fall

Autumn is the perfect time to evaluate your company’s social media performance. You can consider what has and hasn’t worked, and adjust accordingly to make the most of the holiday season. It’s also the ideal time to map out your content strategy for the following year based on this year’s analytics.

Below are five tips to help you refresh your content this fall.

Nature Pictures by ForestWander / Foter / CC BY-SA

5 tips to refresh your content this autumn 

  • Are you attending conferences and events this fall? Make the most of them by doing your research early. Ensure you have your booth numbers and appropriate hashtags.
  • Peruse each platform and see how you can make your content more visually appealing.
  • Check out the competition and see what  they’re posting. Are they sharing seasonal articles and specials?
  • Sift through your current content. See how you can make it more exciting and shareable.
  • Relate some of your content to the season. If you own a salon, consider creating fall specials, sharing the latest trendy fall looks, etc. Overall, be aware of fall holidays, awareness months and seasonal weather.

Do you have any tips to add? Do you review your content each season?

Photo credit: Nature Pictures by ForestWander / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Picture – or Rich Media – Is Worth 1,000 Words

For the public relations practitioners out there, let’s take a poll: How important do you think visual elements are to journalists?

A) Very important.

B) Not important at all.

If you answered A) Very important, then your views align with 80 percent of the journalists polled in a recent PRESSfeed survey who said it is important or very important to “have access to photographs and visual images.”

While your answer might have matched up to journalists, nearly half of the PR practitioners polled said visuals in news stories are not important at all to journalists.

Of the surveyed PR professionals, 45 percent said visuals were unnecessary in news stories. Another 39 percent said the same for press releases. Even considering the wording of the survey and how answers might have been perceived, these results demonstrate a stark divide between journalists and PR practitioners regarding the value and need for visual content.

As social media trends continue to embrace highly visual platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, I ask: how could the polled PR practitioners not answer in favor of visuals paired with news content?

Although journalists have controlled the media straps for decades with article placements, PR professionals have their hands firmly on the reigns regarding social media content and engagement. The polled PR practitioners should have considered the volume of pictures and video populating all social media pages as they were clicking in answers to the PRESSfeed survey.

PR Newswire also conducted a study demonstrating the increasing number of press release views where visual content is added. In that study, press releases with photos, video and other media receive 77 percent more views than text-only releases – a lesson PR practitioners know – or should know – instinctively, and need to consider when filling out future surveys on the subject. Get the picture?