Category Archives for "Business Blogging"
Just since 2007 visual content on the internet has increased over 9,900% . There is good reason for that.
Human brains like visual information. Our brains retain visual information better than other kinds of information.
Conversion rates go up to 300% by ONLY adding visuals to your content marketing![bctt tweet=”Adding images to your blog increases conversion rates by as much as 300%! “]
That is pretty amazing! I am not surprised. What I am surprised by is how few people marketing on the internet are actually using visuals in their best presentation if any at all.
Everything from the color you choose to the fonts you pick- it all tells a story. It speaks your brand.
It is time to throw out all those silly looking clipart graphics – so old school now that we have so many powerful free and almost free graphic creation and editing tools where you don't need a degree in design to create!
When I see the clipart it screams tacky and when I see stock photos that look like stock photos it feels like the content marketer did not take much thought and then it feels the rest of the content may also not be coming from a point of service or adding value.
There is simply no excuse to use such thoughtless imagery these days.
Remember the saying: “A picture speaks 1000 words”? Studies of the brain show it can process an image in about 13 milliseconds. Our brains will only remember about 10% of the information we absorb through text yet for visual information we can retain about 65%.
Human faces create emotional responses in other humans' brains. People remember images of people. Using people in your graphics is very effective.
Color is another element that triggers emotional responses. Be intentional with your colors you use in your brand, your designs and in all your graphics that you use on your social postings and on your websites and blogs.[bctt tweet=”Choose your colors wisely when posting visuals. It triggers emotional responses. “]
You also want to have consistency in your color choices. While it is fun to use an array of different colors every time you post- that will not necessarily increase brand awareness. What is the purpose of your using the color? What is the response you wish to achieve through your color choices? These must be taken into consideration.
There is a reason why doctors use blue and not red for their logos, colors and content.
When I first started blogging back in 2006 most people called them weblogs and it was all text. We evolved in 2007 to adding images to blog posts. It was a huge deal!
Fast forward through the internet evolution to where we now have Instagram and Pinterest, two of the most visual content platforms and those two companies are growing. We now have live streaming, heck, back in 2006 YouTube was such a small company and no one really used it then. Now it is not only the third largest search engine, it has billions of views and video. Now we add in live streaming with Periscope and Blab. We are really talking about life changing technologies.
If you have not embraced visual graphics in your content, now is the time to do so. After all, don't you want to have increased chances of people doing business with you?
I am teaching a webinar on December 9, 2015 at 8 p.m. Eastern time where I will show you how you can create effective and engaging graphics in 2 minutes or less. I will also be sharing the list of websites and tools I use to create my graphics fast and easy.
Tips to Create Graphics that will Rock your Social Media postings and blog posts:
I asked permission from copyblogger to use some of their images to show you what effective and engaging graphics look like. Copyblogger gave me permission to exhibit their graphics on my blog. They have an excellent article about creating graphics for your blog posts.
You will notice in this first image- how the text is set over a background that is not too busy. You don't want your text to compete with the images in your graphic. The man taking the photos is interesting and the detail is intriguing. You want to pay attention to details in your images. This image is watermarked very simply by copyblogger. I also like how the shoulder of the person is over into the red background just a bit. This makes the image flow. Otherwise it can look very amateur.
When you are creating graphics for your blog posts- sometimes you just can't find a good image to match your content or sometimes the post should not have an image. In these cases, you can do some very interesting design on a canvas with text like this one below from copyblogger. Study this graphic to gain some tips into ways you can use typography to arouse interest in what you have to say.
Sometimes you don't want a bunch of people in your graphic but you do want it to be about people. This is a great graphic, again from copyblogger where the handshakes are just enough to get the message across about the importance of having your legal stuff all in order. Again, you see how the transparent overlay of color to hold the text grabs your attention but also looks like it belongs with the image. Taking your background and using your opacity slider in your editor works like magic!
If you are featuring yourself or a guest on your podcast or blog– here is a great way to feature them that is classy and respectful. Chris Ducker looks great in this image. You want to make sure the image is wide enough for Twitter and Facebook and your blog – so a profile shot of Chris would not work well visually. Copyblogger used the right tonality of color and design to keep your eyes on the image. Human eyes are naturally drawn to other human eyes. You want to draw the audience into the eyes. This graphic does that perfectly.
Creating graphics is easy and fast. There are some very simple and free to low cost tools you can use. The more graphics you create, the faster you get. The best way to save time is to find all your background images first, then pull them all into your editor or software, and then edit them all, then add the text.
I use keynote on my mac to make the fastest images. The images at the top of this blog post- I created in less than 2 minutes each on my mac in keynote. I will be showing you how I do this and more on my webinar: Create Graphics Fast & Easy to Boost Your Engagement & Rock Your Social Media Posts and Blog Posts.
If you don't have a mac, don't worry. There are some editing tools you can use online that will also make the process faster.
What does Cecil the Lion have to do with your reputation management? A lot.
We don't take kindly to the dentist killing Cecil the Lion. We don't condone his behavior. We don't agree with what he did. I want to make that perfectly clear since mob mentality seems to run ramped these days.
There are good things and bad things about social media just as there is with nearly everything, you can call it: Ying and Yang.
There are of course consequences to all of our actions. However, we have judges and juries set up for this purpose in our country. Although we all have our qualms about our justice system, we still do have one.
Back in the wild west days someone could be accused of a crime whether they did it or not. The mob would gather and someone would lead in the instigtaion and incite the mob to hang the person. Most often, the punishment did not fit the crime. We have come a long way from the mob mentality, or have we? History has shown us that mobs are not the best instruments of justice.
With the speed of rumors that fly, the news that flies and gossip - facts get twisted out of shape quite quickly. Remember the game we played when we were younger, "Telephone". In this game one person would whisper a sentence into the person's ear sitting next to him, then the person who just heard the sentence would whisper into the next person's ear and this would go on until you reached everyone in the circle. The last person would then state what the sentence was. It most often was not even remotely the same as the initial sentence.
People will complain in a heartbeat but be very slow to give a compliment, especially on the internet. Social media is even worse.
You MUST be proactive in your reputation management.
Let's actually take a look at how fast the dentist's business, livelihood and life was destroyed:
When the news hit social media that Cecil had been killed the internet manhunt spread like a wildfire and included trying to kill anything along the path to find this dentist. But not only was the anger so infused as to attack his business and threaten his life and those of his children and his wife but also anyone who had helped him ever in his business.
There was a local SEO company that had his account at one time but currently the dentist is not their client. However, as you know from history of how mobs behave, this did not matter to the angry crowds. They started to attach the local SEO company online and writing bad reviews.
What is the one way that you can take down someone you hate that is faster than any other? Writing bad reviews.
All review platforms have rules and algorithms in place, filters to keep out spam. The TOS of all the companies is Reviews must be about the business, not about the person and not about their family, etc. Reviews must be done ONLY by customers who have actually been to the place of business and therefore have a reason to write the review.
We do the Local SEO for our chiropractor. Some person called the chiropractor's office to make an appointment to come into the office but did not ever come in. The person did not like the way the receptionist spoke to her so she left a scathing review on Yahoo reviews and yet, she had never even stepped foot inside of his office. The doctor contacted Yahoo and explained what happened and Yahoo could then remove the bad review as the person who left the review violated their terms of service.
Page 1 Solutions had Red Bluff Dental as a client back in 2013. The angry people were trying to find out who did his website and his online marketing. If you pay enough money you can find out what you want to find. So the vicious attacks started against Page 1 Solutions. Their Facebook page was being attached with horrible threats and vile language. Page 1 Solutions acted swiftly to protect their reputation. This is not easy against a mob.
The president of the company came out with a statement:
"We started receiving calls and social media posts attacking Page 1 Solutions. Then the angry social media posts and negative reviews started to appear. Initially, this took our staff by surprise because nobody was familiar with the doctor's name. Although River Bluff Dental had been a client of ours, we always referred to the client by the name of the practice and not by Dr. Palmer's name. Brad, our Senior IT Specialist, took three angry calls from people who were upset that we were marketing Dr. Palmer's website. This was confusing since our contractual relationship with River Bluff Dental was terminated in 2013 and we had not even hosted his website since then."
This can put any company on the defensive and wondering what the heck to do to save their reputation. The guilt by past association was ringing strongly. This is why we have due process in this country.
The mobs found the dentist's Facebook page and started attaching the dentist there. His Facebook page was shut down. So then the angry people went over to Yelp and Google Local Reviews.
At first I wondered, how did all those people get past the spam filters and the algorithm that makes sure the reviews are about the businesses and not about the people. No personal attacks are allowed in the reviews. In fact, Google local requires the review to be ONLY about the business itself. The reviews were coming in so fast and furious I think the systems failed. I saw hundreds of reviews that were full of death threats, foul and filthy language and threats against his family. None of those should have passed the filters.
One of the ways I noticed people getting through the filters was by using dental terms in between the foulness, filth and death threats to trick the filters. It worked.
Internet vigilantism can take any business down within 24 hours. Even the crisis management company that the dentist sent his message through to the press, was attacked and he had to withdraw from doing anything with the dentist. The dentist name and information had to be scrubbed from every dental organization.
Yelp received thousands of reviews on the dentist's page with death threats and all kinds of really nasty comments, even showing pictures of the home where his two children live. Yelp started to delete the reviews because the nastiest ones were getting 5 stars so they were moving up to the top of the reviews. Then the mobs virtually attacked Yelp for removing the reviews.
Yelp told BuzzFeed :
“Media-fueled reviews typically violate our Content Guidelines. One of these deals with relevance. For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience. Yelp reviews are required to describe a firsthand consumer experience, not what someone read in the news. Our user support team ultimately removes reviews that violate these guidelines.
Although most instances like these do not reach the current level of scrutiny and media attention, Yelp has proven policies in place to deal with such events and will remove content that violates our Terms of Service.”
Yelp has been able to scrub over 2000 of the reviews so far.
Google reviews were also bombarded with thousands of horrible reviews. Google local Specialists started escalating the issue once they saw how badly these were violating Google's terms of service.
Warning: there are bad words in this screenshot. Please don't read them around children.
Google had to start deleting the reviews manually. They said they had to read each review to see if it violated the TOS. We are talking about thousands! The only reason I added the screenshot was to show the severity of this mob mentality.
The casualties also include people who have names similar to the name the mobs are virtually and physically hunting down. Businesses who ever have an association with anyone the mobs decide to come after are at the mercy of those mobs. You are being held guilty by association. We each need to act and put safeguards and steps into place in case this should ever happen to any of our companies.
Take the steps now to be prepared should you ever be associated with anyone that has committed a malicious act. Page 1 Solutions did a very good job of being transparent about their past relationship with Red Bluff Dental and also with hiding the nasty threats their Facebook page was attacked with. They received 9 ( 1 star) reviews within 20 minutes on their Facebook page. They unpublished their Facebook page. They are waiting for Facebook to remove those reviews.
Get management approval ahead of time for the following:
You need to regain the public's trust by coming clean, make amends and get back confidence. If you are guilty by association, you have a client who needs to make amends, remember to be transparent, come clean and state the facts.
Follow the example of Page 1 Solutions and act swiftly and decisively. The biggest mistake businesses make is being slow to act and not having assigned a point person to execute your Reputation Crisis Plan.
Another company that was swift to act when they were guilty by association is Subway and how they dealt with the scandal of their Jared when he was investigated for child pornography. Subway did the right thing to get rid of all things Jared from their website and marketing. They had a point person who made the calls, they held press conferences and acted quickly.
A part of your social media plan needs to be to listen and then to respond. Put out all the fires. Sometimes it takes hiring an entire team of people to just do that 24/7.
You must get ahead of the news. Do NOT let the news lead. That is going to end up in a disaster. End the speculation by getting out there and telling your story. Don't blame. Don't point fingers. That will not solve anything.
No matter what you think about Cecil and the dentist- use this as a wake up call to create a plan of action for your reputation risk management.
In this article I am going to go over the what is working now when creating content. I will share with you what we are doing to get our content to rank quickly and get the Google bots to crawl our site often and index it.
Creating content should be at the top of your list of marketing priorities. Content creation has always been important. But since the Panda update which is in a constant roll out content creation has never been more important.
Google loves not just fresh content but also frequently updated content and also long content. You can also curate content with your added commentary and your own images.
Longer content is the new metric. We used to be able to write 300 to 500 word posts and they would fly to the top of the SERPS. That is changing. Also, searching behavior changes over time. Looking for answers to our questions is taking on a new meaning in search. We want to know in depth answers and how to’s not just a gloss over.
41% of businesses struggle with creating enough content according to Contently.
Our Wellington Chiropractor is on page one for many chiropractor terms but he was not on page one for Wellington Acupuncture which is another part of his practice.
Since we already have links going to his main website for chiropractic terms and I did not want to start a niche website just for acupuncture we decided to test out Google’s apparent love for long page content of over 2000 words.
I named a main page instead of a post the acupuncture terms that we want to rank for. Then I did the research for acupuncture and wrote over 3000 words of content on this page: Wellington Acupuncture Treatments. I added alt tagged imaged throughout the content for visual appeal, added bullets and sub-titles so readers can easily scan the content.
What Google research has found is that people who are really studying, researching, learning are staying on long content pages. Yes, they are still skimming and scanning but they are staying longer and tend to read more than average if the topic is relevant to their search.
So in this case, someone searching for information about whether they want to get acupuncture treatments or not is going to want to know everything about acupuncture in order to make a decision to call for an appointment or not.
Within 3 hours of publishing the page he was on page one for several geo tagged terms revolving around acupuncture. The phone is already ringing with patients who want to book acupuncture appointments.
The added benefit to writing long form content of over 2000 words is you can get an extra indexing spot in Google’s “in-depth” article index. That is something your competitors are most likely NOT doing!
It takes time and research.
My goal is to write one 2000 - 3000 word article each week.
A solution for you might look like this:
Add images to the page at one time instead of with each section to save time with the exception of your featured image.
You can also publish your content on week 1 and then add to it each week until you have the word count you want to achieve. This way you are only going back into your article to edit it, to save some time.
Personally I like to write my content at one or two sittings. Everyone has their own particular writing structure so follow what is best and most comfortable for yourself.
The biggest tip I can give you about content creation is to write first and edit last. If you suffer from perfection paralysis you need to get over it. Good is good enough. Struggling from sentence to sentence is going to take so long you won’t be able to write 2000 + word articles or blog posts or page content on your website.
Not sure how you are going to write to think of 2000 - 3000 words on one article?
Images will spark your imagination with more content you can write.
We process images way faster than we do text. Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. That is a lot! Take lots of photos in your niche and also other things that you can use in your posts like:
Research shows that you should have one image for every 350 words of text you write.
You can follow the format I used for the Acupuncture page.
Add a video or a slideshow to your post, article or page for visual appeal and to interest the visual learners and viewers. Get on YouTube now- there is still plenty of room. Engagement on video is growing fast and furious. Don't miss out on this.
Make sure to stay within one main keyword topic and its related keywords and use plenty of semantical terms throughout your content.
Google’s algorithm is smart but not no smart that it can read your mind. You still need to make it clear what topic you are writing about. Another perk to writing long content is that you have more areas and places within your content to sprinkle in your keyword phrases, their related semantical terms and topical relevant textual content.
To this point in this article we are at 625 words of content so far.
Here are some more ways to add more content to add to your article:
This technique also gives a nice visual appeal to your article along with helping you attain more credibility.
"When we talk about "content marketing," we mean the creation of storytelling material that attracts readers, viewers and listeners to a brand. Mashable
Writing in-depth articles which are quality rich and add value are more likely to get shared than short posts. Educating, informing and entertaining; these are the keys to getting your content shared across the social medial platforms.
Add quotes to your content articles, source your quote for credibility.
Answer questions. Make a list of all the questions that your customers, buyers, sellers ask you.
Gather your answers and write articles answering those questions. You don’t really need to create your titles in question format because the algorithms are now smart enough to know what question you are answering.
To write longer content write about more questions and answers.
Instead of the usual Top 3 or Top 5, change the content to Top 20 and Top 25, etc.
To a serious searcher, what do you think they would be more interested in, 3 or 20 things they can learn right now? Also, which one would Google like better?
Since Google is looking for “better” content it is natural that the math adds up to : longer content = better content. We know this is not necessarily true but to a math equation it is.
Check out this graph from SerpIQ from an in-depth study they did:
There is a perk you typically can get from writing longer content: more people tend to share longer content. This helps bring traffic to your site.
Keep a notebook, notes on mac or Trello with a running list of ideas to write about. Some of those you many never write about but the important part is to keep the list and keep on adding to it.
A huge time waster is sitting around trying to think of what to write your next blog post about. You can avoid this by keeping an ongoing list.
Take time aside each day - just 10 minutes will do- to get your idea muscle exercised. I like to keep mine in Trello. Here is a video tutorial playlist I created about using Trello to get organized and more.
Set a goal to come up with 10 ideas in those 10 minutes. 1 idea per minute.
Don’t judge whether they are good ideas or not. Just write them down. Of course some will be good and some will not be. The point is to get into the practice of writing them down.
Speaking of time, choose to write your content when you write the best. Some people write better at night and others early in the morning. Whenever that time is for you is when you set your time aside to write.
Make an appointment with yourself on your calendar to write and then don’t let other distractions get in your way. This is important marketing time. Your writing time should be sacred. Those around you also need to know this is your time to write, stop the interruptions.
You can also add more content by using words people who are seriously searching look up:
Add your keyword to the end of each of those words to create the layout for longer content.
Look at what your competitors are coming up for on the top 10 on Google SERPS in their lists and tip articles and do it better. Google your longtail keywords in Google’s incognito window. Check what content is ranking on the top 10 in the SERPS. Proceed to write a better, more in-depth article about the same topic. You may just outrank the competition using this technique like we did.
Add more detail to your content. Many writers in your space are not adding detail to their content. This can set you apart from the pack and help get you a spot on page one.
Go into detail on every step you write. This alone will add value and more words:).
Back up your claims with verified industry leaders. Most industry leaders publish all kinds of data, survey results and statistics.
Structure your content so that it is easy to read and easy on the eyes.
Before you publish your article make sure to apply the ‘Eye Candy’ test.
Is your article visually appealing?
Don’t make your content a wall of words. That is the fastest way to turn your readers off and they will click right off of your blog or website.
Easy ways to make your content visually appealing:
Some examples of these are throughout this post you are reading.
Make sure your content is:
People who read very fast stay on pages that have about 100 characters per line while those who read slow like to read about 55 characters per line.
Choosing a character count in the middle is best. Some tests show that 66 characters per line is best. Here are some results from some testing: http://webtypography.net/2.1.2
Also, setting your font size to 16 is now optimal. It is much easier to read.
Here are a few tips in capturing the attention of your readers longer:
Ask questions in your content. This causes the reader to hesitate and think on what you wrote.
Add your images and videos to your article or post so they peek “above the fold” encouraging the scroll.
Add down arrows for this same reason. People are curious.
The last step is to sprinkle your content with your long tail keywords and semantics of those longtail keyword phrases. Do this last so as not to stop your creative flow and the intent of your articles.
To learn more about writing with longtail keywords get started with Fast Track SEO.
Finally, make sure your article or blog page or page you are adding the longer content to is valuable to your readers. Make sure it is of high quality and relatable to your niche readers.
You want to write great content that your readers will stay on your page and read, then call you or connect with you to do business with.
By the way, I am now at 2010 words in this article. This is what it looks like to write a post or page or article with 2000 words.
If you would like to take this further ~ Text me to work with me: 561-502-1577