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Saturday November 1st 2014

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‘Blogging’ Archives

Quick Tips To Help Create A Professional, Successful Blog

Blog

Blogging has been an effective way to market your brand or business for quite some time, especially for those professionals who take the time to develop an impressive, informative blog. Finding topics on which to write can prove to be time-consuming or troublesome if you are just starting out. Businesses should strive to create content that enhances their reputation and promotes their brand. Making great content takes practice. Here are a few quick tips to help create a professional and successful blog:

  • Double-check everything prior to posting online. An embarrassing typo can be easily avoided with some attention.
  • Experiment with varied content to engage your fans and followers. Be creative and focus on topics that your ideal client will find useful.
  • Grab the attention of your audience and retain their attention- start with your title and build upon that, make it something catchy and unique so people feel compelled to read it.
  • Utilize social-media platforms- Creating your blog is only half of the battle, you have to ensure that your intended audience will find it.
  • Make your blog itself, or a link to your blog visible on your website in a prominent place.
  • Refresh when needed- Keeping your blog current and up to date is important and will prove to be a very large part of your success.

You will not have overnight success, yet you will gain attention when you earn it. Continually work to keep your blog relevant and current, people will respond to your diligence in a positive way.

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How To Maximize Your SEO Potential

SEO Word Cloud

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires a lot of time and effort to reach its full potential.  Designing your website to be more searchable and noticeable is the ultimate goal.  When someone searches for key words, or a specific business on any search engine, you want to be at the top of that search; you also want to have the best reputation from that search.  Below are some tips to help you improve your SEO.

1.)    Word Recognition- Find the words that are most often used to search for your business.  These key words or phrases are what you need to focus your page title on.  This will help to ensure that searching in this way always results in your page showing up.

2.)    Simple Navigation- Keep an open site that is clear, and try not to clutter it with too many links or videos.  Many search engines have difficulty with flashy websites, so keeping it simple increases the potential reach of your site.

3.)    Great content- By filling your website with content that is clear and concise, you make sure that once searchers have found your page, they stick around to actually explore it.

4.)    Discoverability- You and your company have an ultimate goal of being one of the most if not the most visible company in your field on a search engine.  It is up to you to make yourself that way by building a website that is trustworthy and honest.

 

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3 Ways To Better Manage Time Using Multiple Social-Media Networks

The Ibis Network Social-Media Marketing Tips

A large variety of social-media networks have launched and are now considered an essential key to successful online marketing. If you are just starting out, or struggling while the economy makes a recovery, you may be short of the extra funds needed to pay a full time social-media manager. Below are a few ways to tackle multiple social-media networks while staying active, saving money and time.

One-Click Wonder: A great way to save time is by saving all of your daily social-media networks in your browser’s bookmark file. This will allow you to make one simple click and be ready to post your information on the site, saving you trouble and time. However, Twitter does not work as well using bookmarking, so it’s recommended that you use TweetDeck, a tool that will allow you to post to multiple accounts with one click. You can save this tool in your browser bookmark folder, as well.

Go Mobile: You want to be sure to stay active across all the various social-media sites through which you are marketing. Since this can be very time consuming, consider downloading your chosen social-media platforms to your mobile device. This means that not only can you avoid being glued to your PC in order to keep track of new followers and friends, you can also stay socially active with them while being proactive in other areas of your business.

Post Interesting Information: By providing your readers with compelling and relevant information, it is more likely that they will revisit the post and recommend that others view it. This makes your job easier and less time-consuming, and reduces the need to stress the post repeatedly in an attempt to make sure the maximum amount of people are being introduced to your information. However, if it is a time-sensitive post, sometimes it can be useful to post the same information multiple times. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to make small changes to repetitive posts, so readers are not overwhelmed or annoyed.

 

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3 Marketing Tips For your Company Blog

Blog

Blogs have become a major tool for marketing strategies, and are used by many businesses to drive traffic to their other networks, create authority and, most importantly, create business. If used correctly, blogs can help companies generate more revenue. Below are three very simple online marketing tips you can use to optimize your online presence and attract a larger audience to your blog, and in turn your company.

1) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is a very useful and strategic method of marketing. By using keywords that are widely searched, you can ensure that your blog will rank more highly in search engine results, which will generate more traffic to your blog. With just a little research, you can find a list of commonly searched words that will naturally fit in your blog.

2) Back Linking – Back linking is essentially linking to another website on your own website or blog, or having your page linked-to via someone else’s site or blog. This is a great way to add credibility to your business while also optimizing your search engine results. You can support other individual or company blogs while adding a bit of information about your company through the “links” feature that many blog networks provide.

3) Stay Socially Active – Engaging your site’s visitors on a regular basis is essential. If your readers post a comment, be sure to reply and let them know that you received their post. You should also read and comment on other blogs. This will keep your name in the public eye as you gain new connections, and allow you to subtly market your business. Remember that activity and interactivity are the keys to social media marketing.

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How Going Mobile Can Better Your Marketing Campaign

Mobile

In recent years, mobile devices have become the primary source of social media interaction. As the mobile device market continues to grow in size and accessibility, it brings with it a new age of marketing overall. These devices provide marketers with a resource that is both well established and highly regarded in the social media world. Going mobile can improve businesses in a variety of ways; below are just a few helpful tips on how going mobile can help your marketing campaign.

1.) Convenience – It is now easier than ever to do your social networking “on the go,” with handheld devices making access to sites like Facebook and Twitter infinitely more accessible. Updating Facebook or sending “tweets” (Twitter updates) from smartphones and tablets has gone from being a fad to being the most wide-spread and accepted method available. This presents a huge opportunity for mobile marketers to enhance their campaign and build a client list.

2.) Get Personal – Mobile devices, by design, are an “always on” technology, and most people are checking their devices multiple times throughout the day;  this gives mobile marketers a great advantage. The opportunity to create a more personal relationship with clients because of accessibility and traffic has never been greater. Making those immediate personal connections will help grow your client base, and in turn will help your brand grow as well.

3.) More Participation – Participation is a must in marketing, and the more “present” you are with your marketing plan, the more you can increase that participation. How quickly you respond is often key to retaining interest. Participation will grow over time as people see the immediacy of your responses and interactions. The more acquainted your clients get with you, the more trust you will build.

4.) Numbers – This new landscape of mobile-driven social media infinitely increases the possible reach your marketing campaign can have. Now every person walking down the street looking at their phone is a potential client. This means that it’s also easier for your campaign get lost in the “noise” of the internet. Gaining the trust of followers will help to set you apart, and will greatly improve your chance of increasing your numbers. More than ever, your marketing campaign depends on your reputation as a brand. Establishing that trust with your client base is very important and, along with a solid marketing plan, is the best way to see those numbers grow.

 

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Why Blogging Is an Essential Tool For Marketers In 2013

Blog

2013 will be a monumental year for blog marketing. Blogging, when done correctly, can be used as a direct and indirect mechanism to attract a large variety of visitors to your desired social-media page. The more visitors you drive to your sites the better probability of driving business awareness, and essentially, new customers. Blogs establish authority and interaction with visitors, existing clients, prospective clients, and referral partners. Listed below are 3 important reasons why every business should utilize business blogging as a marketing strategy in 2013 and beyond.

1.) Builds Your Brand: Blogging will help people understand what your company is all about and will further your company’s credibility by showcasing your knowledge. If you update your blog daily with compelling and relevant information, people will continue to visit. Visitors will be more likely to explore your other online sites and your company will be more likely to earn their business.

2.) Creates A Relationship With Clients: Blogging is an excellent way to connect with your clients if you cannot find the time for a face-to-face meeting. Blogging also allows you the opportunity to gain feedback from your clients, grow your database, and most importantly, strengthen your relationships. This is also an excellent way to show authenticity to your prospective clients by staying clear of solicitation or sales-talk.

3.) Expands Your Own Knowledge: When blogging, you are constantly researching and finding new information to highlight for your customers. Blogging will keep you, and your business up-to-date with current information and will make sure your business reaches its optimal potential.

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Why Content Marketing Is Essential

Social Connections

The importance of content marketing is vast; it encompasses all formats and can be utilized to attract customers. Content marketing is an expansive term for marketing via digital media such as social media, blogging, content syndication, newsletters, email marketing and more. If you are neglecting to use content marketing, then you are failing to connect with prospective clients and referral partners that you may not have been able to connect with using traditional channels. When content marketing, it is a necessity to provide your customers with fresh, relevant, and advantageous information. Listed below are three reasons why content marketing is essential to achieve a successful marketing campaign.

1.) Keeps Happy Customers: The general pubic is being perpetually assaulted with advertising; people are exhausted from seeing ads covering every website they visit. Content marketing is a way to get beneficial information about you or your business to the public without hassling them with ads. The key to hooking your targeted demographic is simple: Give them what they want. Trusted, useful, reliable information that they will find valuable.

2.) Spread The Word: Content marketing, when done correctly can have a dramatic impact on customers if they enjoy the provided information. Viewers that benefit from your material are more prone to share your information online or by word of mouth. Businesses can generate a large customer base by putting their voices to use. Word of mouth can also have an opposite effect if you have not marketed properly. Make sure that the information you post is not wasting readers’ time and is relevant to your readership.

3.) Build Trust:
Learning customer concerns, asking questions, answering questions and providing readers with useful information will, in turn, create a bond between you and your client. Through natural interactions and reciprocal dialogue, you will be learning about their needs and wants, allowing you to build trust and assist them while also working to continually improve your business and strengthening the core building block on the chassis of healthy client-relationships.  Trust is key.

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HereDeixis – In linguistics, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information.

The Top Reasons You Still Need A Business Blog In 2012

We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “It’s 2012, do I really still need a business blog?” Well, the short answer is yes. Though blogs – in Internet years – are a nearly ancient form of online communication, they’re still an effective and totally customizable platform for furthering your business and boosting your brand.

Here are a few reasons you still need a blog in 2012 …

It’s RSS, Baby: RSS stands for “real simple syndication.” And syndication is the name of the game, even in this age of smart phones and tablets. Having a blog means you have an RSS feed. Having a RSS feed means your content can be easily spread across the Internet through any website or app that links via RSS. This feed contains all the words and photos and anything else you post to your blog. Now say you’d like to share that content on your Facebook page. Well that’s as easy as finding a RSS app and filling in the address to your feed. In other words, you need a business blog to use as home base for all the content you create to share with your clients, customers, partners, followers, and fans online.

It’s A Custom Fit: Blogs, as they were originally known, were nothing more than an online scroll of entries posted by whomever set up the page. These days, however, your blog can do just about anything. In fact, you can even set up a storefront and sell products complete with a credit-card checkout and shipping rates, if you wish. There are an endless number of themes and plugins, which make having a blog a completely customizable form of social-media and online marketing. It’s the closest thing available to a paint-by-numbers website. Having a dynamic online presence can only improve your reputation and help convince potential clients of your expertise and professionalism.

It’s Home Base: Think of your blog as home base for your social-media campaign. It’s where you create content and test new ideas. From your blog, you can see what does and doesn’t work and then take that to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. With a blog, you’re afforded more freedom and function than you are on any of the major social-media platforms. Because of this, you’re better able to get creative and see what your audience responds to the most. It’s also a great way to create traffic between your pages by linking to your blog from your social-media pages.

A Short History Of Blogs Or How To Maximize Your Online Opportunities

Blogs are to social media what Elvis was to popular music. Now before you declare this post ridiculous and stop reading, hear us out. Sure, Elvis didn’t invent rock-and-roll but he popularized it and inspired so many young musicians that he could rightly take credit for giving birth to everything from The Beatles to Black Sabbath. In much the same way, the basic idea behind blogs goes back much further than the late 1990s. But the popularity of blogging gave rise not only to social media but also the general idea that businesses could enhance their brand and Internet presence through a properly maintained and regularly updated online property.

Here are some tips and ideas to help build your business blog …

The Beginning: In the beginning, blogs were the domain of the self-absorbed. Developed as a sort of online diary, blogging soon became the Internet-based past time of anyone who believed they had something to say. And thus, the idea of the basement blogger sitting in his or her pajamas, cluttering the Internet was born. But the blog also became something more important than that. Blogs are easily updated and quickly customized websites. And businesses interested in having a presence online soon figured out that their static business website wasn’t drawing enough attention. So keeping a blog updated regularly with interesting content and relevant info became a way of expanding on their business’ online reach.

The Strategy: Social media, of course, isn’t really anything other than a way to share information with a group of friends, family members, clients, or connections. In other words, blogs stressed the importance of having content to share and social-media made it easier to share it. Which means, having a blog and a social-media presence is the most effective way of getting word out about your business and services. Posting information to your blog that will be interesting and helpful to your clients and connections is the first step. From there, share your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social-media sites you are using. That will maximize the number of people that see what you’ve shared and also the possibility that they will then pass it along to their list of online contacts. Do this consistently and you’ll see an uptick in the amount of attention your online properties receive.

The Results: Developing a consistent posting strategy and sharing it across your social network will undoubtedly lead to an increase in traffic to your sites. But getting the right traffic is the most important part of any blogging strategy. If you’re running a business in Topeka, Kansas and your blog and social-media sites are receiving the majority of their traffic from Japan, you’re not doing it right. Targeting your region and industry is important. Share content that pertains to the people you want to attract and actively seek out new connections in your area, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Once you begin receiving some attention from the right audience, you’ll have an easier time converting blog visitors into business. Be patient and avoid the temptation to use heavy-handed sales tactics. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Give it time.

By The Numbers: The Business Of Blogging

Here’s a stat for anyone that believes blogs aren’t a viable lead generator … More than half of businesses that blog report having acquired a customer specifically through their blog. According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing survey, 57 percent of company blogs have pulled in a new client, that’s better than Facebook or Twitter. In other words, if you’re thinking of starting a social-media campaign for your business and you’re convinced business blogging is a thing of the not-so distant past, here are some things to think about …

Sharing is Marketing: The percentage of businesses with a company blog has risen in all of the past three years and has now reached 65 percent. In other words, if you’re not blogging, you’re behind the times. You’re a dying breed. A dinosaur. And there’s a reason the majority of companies are maintaining blogs. First, they’re a cheap way of increasing your web presence. Secondly, in the Internet age, marketing means getting your content passed along. Sharing is key. And a blog gives you a place to begin generating content and an audience. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to producing content set yourself up on a few social-media sites to syndicate your content even further.

More Is More: So you set up a blog, posted twice, and when it didn’t result in any new business, gave up? Well what did you expect would happen? According to the HubSpot survey, among businesses who reported acquiring a customer through their blog, 92 percent posted multiple times a day. In other words, the more you share, the more likely you generate traffic, make new contacts, and build new business. Now you may be thinking you don’t have the time to post multiple times a day. Well, 66 percent of those business blogs acquired a customer while only blogging once a week and, among blogs that only updated monthly, 56 percent gained a customer. In other words, even if you’re too busy or too lazy, chances are a business blog will benefit your bottom line.

The Future Is Now: Among respondents to the HubSpot survey, 62 percent say social media has grown more important to them in the past six months. And, on the flip side, only 14 percent named trade shows and nine percent said telemarketing. In other words, if you believed social media was a passing fancy and there was no need to participate, you’ve been proven wrong. More and more businesses are incorporating and benefiting from social media and blogs. And more of them are reporting their successes. The same survey found 81 percent of businesses said their blog was useful or better, with 34 percent calling it important and 25 percent saying it was critical. Yeah, critical.

The Basics: Turning Blog Visitors Into Business Leads

 

If you opened a retail store and had a flood of customers coming through your door everyday but never buying anything, you wouldn’t call that success. Sure, you would have succeeded in getting people to visit but, if your visitors do nothing but look, you wouldn’t be able to afford your rent, employees, or merchandise. Which means, you would be out of business just as quickly as you got into it. Social-media marketing works the same way. Converting visitors into customers takes effort and some organization. Concentrating on quantity over quality can leave you with an impressive stat sheet but no new leads.

Here are some tips on organizing your efforts and making the most of your online properties …

The Operations Center: Maybe you feel like blogs are yesterday’s news and you’d prefer to skip a step and take your online efforts directly to Facebook or Twitter. Don’t. A blog gives you much more control over how and what your customers see. Facebook, for example, is continually changing and evolving. You have no control over the next update and how that may affect your ability to share your content with potential customers, clients, and partners. Set up a blog and use that as your central hub. From there you can send your posts to whatever other online properties you use for business. In short, start with the blog and share from there. You’ll have more control and an easier time organizing your info and where it’s shared.

Use Your Base: Maintaining a blog takes effort. If nothing else, it requires regular content. That can be a challenge. So much so that getting your blog in front of your target audience can be a secondary concern. Turning your latest post into a lead generator can be tricky but building an audience may be easier than it seems. For one, you can use existing and past clients to generate an audience that’s focused and familiar. How, you may ask, would having past customers reading your blog help build your business? Well it will boost awareness and readership, in addition to providing all important word-of-mouth. After all, a past customer who’s already familiar with you and work will be more willing to pass along your info to family, friends, and colleagues.

Merge and Integrate: Too often, professionals set themselves up with social-media sites and blogs but don’t take the time to link them together or to their business website. Using RSS feeds or any available plugins and widgets online makes it easier than ever to incorporate your blog into your business site, your Facebook fan page, and your Twitter feed. If the purpose of keeping a business blog is to build business, then your main objective should be getting people to visit any or all of your online properties. Driving traffic back to your business website is key. Make sure you’re making it easy for visitors to find you before complaining that your online marketing efforts are a waste of time and effort.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

The Basics: Business Blogging For The Busy Professional

 

If there’s a television network you watch more than any other, it’s not because they run more commercials than their competitors. It’s because you like their shows. In short, it’s the content. A cable channel devoted to food-related advertising wouldn’t garner nearly as many viewers as any one of the many cooking/food networks.

The same applies to your business blog. You’ll have to create content that makes people take interest and you’ll have to post it regularly enough that they come back in the future. And, if that sounds like a lot of pressure, here are a few tips to remember while blogging for business …

Give it Time: The good news is nobody is likely going to be reading your blog when you first get going. And, though that doesn’t sound like good news, it will provide you some time to come up with a plan, some content, and a schedule that fits your schedule. Don’t be afraid to try things. Gather some industry-related stats or surveys, news or links and focus on the most interesting bits and pieces. Grab a couple, write up a short explanatory sentence or two, then summarize the details. That’s a blog post. Experiment with lists and how-to posts. Most importantly, keep at it. It’ll take some time and a little promotion before you have any readers, use that time wisely.

Write it Right: Okay, we understand that one of the biggest deterrents to keeping a business blog is the writing. But you don’t have to be the second coming of William Shakespeare in order to have a successful blog. You only need to pay a little more attention. Turn your spell check on and fix any mistakes. Keep it short and simple. You don’t need to know what a semicolon does. You don’t even have to use them. You do, however, have to make it readable. Break it up into shorter paragraphs and read what you wrote before posting. In fact, step away for a half hour or so and reread what you wrote with fresh eyes.

Keep a Schedule: There are those that will say, “Who has the time?” And yeah, the day is only so long. But keeping a regular schedule is better than keeping a bruising schedule. Which means, while you may notice more attention from search engines if you post 10 times a day, you’d also notice fewer hours in your day available for doing business. The answer is setting a schedule in advance. If you only blog on Monday and Friday, but you put something up every Monday and Friday, any readers you have will know when to check in for your latest offering. If you post 49 times the first week and then once a month and a half later, you’ll lose any momentum you had. Be consistent.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

WordPress Made Easy: Top Plugins For Your Business Blog

Keeping a business blog can be an effective tool for branding your business, generating leads, and keeping in touch with clients, partners, and anyone else who stumbles across your site. It can also be a headache. That’s why you should be taking advantage of the large directory of plugins available to WordPress users. Plugins, like apps, are easy-to-use and greatly increase the functionality of your site. They can help with everything from reducing spam comments to spell checking to syndicating your content and improving your search-engine rankings. Best of all, they’re typically free and shouldn’t require a degree in computer programming to use.

Here are a few to benefit your blog and your business …

Postie: Posting regular content to your business blog can be challenging, if only because it can be difficult to fit into an otherwise busy work schedule. Using the Postie plugin, however, can take some of the work out of blogging by making it possible to send your posts via email. You can set categories and tags, include pictures and videos, and strip off your email signature and anything else you wouldn’t want appearing on your blog. Easy to set up and customize, Postie requires nothing more than a dedicated email address to send your posts to. After that, posting to your blog will be no more difficult than sending any other email.

Network Publisher: In order to use Network Publisher, you’ll need to register for an account with the plugin’s author, Links Alpha. That’s the bad news. The good news is it’s free and will make updating your entire social network a breeze. Network Publisher allows you to publish your blog posts to any, or all, of the 30 social-media sites offered, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, and Google Buzz.

WPTouch: In the age of the iPhone, iPod, and Android, it’s important that people accessing the Internet from their phone or tablet are still able to find and use your site. WPTouch will automatically transform your blog into a mobile-friendly theme without requiring any coding. In other words, this WordPress plugin will provide an accessible and user-friendly version of your site for mobile visitors without affecting your regular blog theme.

Jetpack: Jetpack is actually a set of plugins, including a widget for displaying your Twitter feed, stats, a URL shortener, and a collection of share buttons that allow your readers to easily pass your posts along to their social networks. It even includes a spelling, style, and grammar check to help you edit your writing efficiently. The all-in-one package is allows users of self-hosting WordPress sites to access the same easy-to-use widgets and tools available from wordpress.com.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

The Business of Blogging: Why You Need A Blog And How To Get Started

The Internet doesn’t stand still. It’s constantly evolving and ever changing. And for that reason alone you need a business blog. Unlike your business website, a blog can – and should – be updated regularly. So, while your website may have all the most pertinent and relevant information about you and your business, it’s the same info anytime anyone visits. A blog gives you the ability to provide potential clients and customers with fresh content and a reason to return to your site in the future. It also gives you a platform to further impress, explain, and inform, in addition to driving page views and traffic to your website.

Here are the basics …

The What: A blog isn’t a replacement for your business website. It is a supplement to your other online destinations. Which means, you’ll benefit most if your blog and website are linked and driving traffic to one another. Promote your blog on your site and your website on your blog. The same goes for any other social-media sites you’ve set up. Creating a network of online properties that are professional, well maintained, and regularly updated gives potential customers the ability to investigate you and your business and become more comfortable with your expertise, experience, and services. It’ll also provide increased customer interaction and loyalty, as well as helping your business appear higher in search-engine results. And, let’s face it, not many people are using the phone book anymore. People search online when looking for goods and services. It’s best that you’re there when they get there.

The How: It’s always easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you’d like to start a business blog and another altogether to actually maintain and update one on a somewhat regular basis. And the number one reason for that is the writing. You’ll have to have some content to share. And you’ll have to have a fair amount too. The good news is content is easier to generate if you think in terms of types and not topics. In other words, come up with a few types of posts that seem easier to craft and then alter the topics each time. Lists, for example, are an always popular choice for blog posts. Others include, how-to posts, insider info and expert opinions, predictions, polls, and surveys. Eventually, you’ll develop a rhythm and schedule that works for you. Don’t give up too quickly.

The When: One would assume, if you’re in business, you’re in business to make money. So you’re likely thinking, “When will I see actual business after writing all these lists, posts, and updates?” Well, your blog is not a sales tool. It’s a marketing vehicle for your brand and an opportunity to attract a new audience for your services. In other words, think of it as added value. It sets you apart from your competition by offering extra information and expertise that benefits your customer. It makes you more accessible online and more easily found. In short, it provides a lot of value to your business and your clients while building your brand, online presence, and reputation. But it may take time and it’s success all depends on your goals and expectations. If you expect to put up a blog and be ringing up sales after your first post, you’ll likely be disappointed. Give it time. The more content you share on your blog, the higher you’ll rank in search-engine results. It adds up. And again, when’s the last time you used a phone book?

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Ideas, Inspiration, And Where To Go When Your Blog Is Blank

Face it. You’re no Hemingway. And frankly, you don’t need to be. Keeping a business blog doesn’t require you to be a literary giant but it will require you to come up with some topics to write about.

In the end, knowing what to write is more important than knowing how to write. Which means, you can stop worrying over whether or not you can wow an audience of online onlookers and start worrying about having some ideas to start with. Here’s a quick list of places to go for topics when your blog is blank …

Your Clients: We’re not talking testimonials here. We’re talking about turning your customers’ problems and successes into the basis for blog posts. Take a particular client and address their issues and the solutions you came up with to solve their problem. Try to illustrate a larger point using their specific example. Chances are there are other people out there facing some of the same troubles and would benefit from reading the story of someone’s positive experience. You’ll have to be careful not to sound too self-serving but writing about what you know is easier than crafting content out of nothing. And what do you know better than your own business?

The News: Scanning news headlines for hot topics and relevant industry info can provide inspiration for blog posts that benefit your business. Relaying important news and information in a way that’s easily read and understood can be a perfect way of educating your clients and boosting your reputation as an expert in your field. Also, have a look at competitor’s blogs. Having an idea of what others in your industry write about can be a great way to drum up some ideas. Of course, you can’t steal their material but you can see what works and what doesn’t and take it from there.

The Rest: The Internet is a treasure trove of material and ideas are never further than your next Google search. There are plenty of sites with never-ending lists of blog topics and starter ideas. Polls, lists, trends, industry surveys, frequently asked questions, how-to articles, glossaries of common terms, beginner’s guides, statistics, mistakes, dos and don’ts are all among the usual suggestions. And they’re good ones. Mix ‘em up, keep it fresh, and don’t get easily discouraged.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Writing For Readers: How To Craft Blog Content That Attracts A Crowd

Unless your business is writing, keeping a business blog doesn’t mean you have to be a wordsmith. It doesn’t require that you have a flair for sentence structure, a stockpile of four-syllable words, or unparalleled wit and wisdom either.

In fact, successful online content is less about your way with the written word and more about offering easy-to-read, useful and unique posts that can be digested quickly. After all, people visiting your site have the entire Internet to search through. They aren’t likely to want to wade through a 10,000 word thesis. You have to catch their attention quickly. That means writing in a conversational tone and less like you’re trying to get an “A” on your 8th grade English paper.

Here are some tips to creating successful blog content …

Keep it Short: The Internet has trained us to move quickly as we search and scan for the information we’re looking for. In other words, visitors to your Facebook page or blog aren’t going to give you a lot of their time. Keep your paragraphs short and your posts concise. If you have a lot of information, break it up in a list or over a series of posts. In general, the easier it is for your readers to quickly understand your point, the more readers you’ll have.

Keep it Simple: Think of the last thing you enjoyed reading online. Was it because it was challenging and sent you running to the dictionary to look up words every other paragraph? Or was it because it was incredibly involved, filled with technical jargon, and kept you glued to your screen for the better part of a Tuesday afternoon? Probably not. Conversational tone means writing as though you were talking to someone. Chances are you have an easier time expressing yourself in conversation than you do when you sit down to write. Get the idea down, leave it alone, then read it again in an hour. Fill in the gaps and take out anything unnecessary. Now post.

Keep it Interesting: Thing is, no matter how well you craft your blog posts, a screen full of text is going to turn-off a lot of visitors to your site. Sure, you have to give them something to read but it helps if you include some visuals as well. Adding photos, diagrams, charts, and video to your posts will make your site more visually interesting and increase the chances that someone lingers long enough to get interested in what you’ve written.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Common Sense Steps To Reaching Your Audience and Building a Better Business Blog

If you’ve ever scoured the Internet for tips on how to make your business blog more effective, you’re well aware that the available information can range from the contradictory to the incomprehensible. In the end, you’re only trying to reach the right audience for your services and have little need for number-one rankings on all the major search engines, especially if they’re only delivering empty clicks and hits from half way around the world.

Here are some simple steps toward more effective blogging …

Keep a Schedule: You can find so-called experts that will advise you to post, at least, five times a day . You can find others who will advise that you should post no more than once or twice a week. Both of them are right … and wrong. Only you can determine how much time to invest in your business blog. But don’t become discouraged if you can’t generate enough content to post every 20 minutes. If you keep a consistent schedule, readers will know when to expect updates. If you only post once a week, people reading your blog will learn to expect your weekly post and return to your blog accordingly. Sporadic posting, on the other hand, will leave even interested readers confused about how often to check your site.

Don’t Get Personal: There’s a difference between a personal blog and a business blog. If you’re sending your blog out to clients and referral partners, chances are they’re going to be more interested in relevant information about your business, industry, and region than they will be about your daughter’s birthday party. Keep focused on your audience and write posts that will be interesting, entertaining, and informative.

Make It Easy To Find: There are plenty of sites that will tell you about the importance of keywords, tags, and search engine optimization. And all of those things can be an effective way of getting your site noticed. But an even easier, and more targeted, way of attracting readers to your blog is telling people about it. Put links to your blog on your website and in your email signature. Put the address anywhere you’d put your website’s, including business cards and marketing materials. Syndicating your content through social media sites is another good way of spreading the word and luring readers.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Benefits of Blogging for Mortgage Professionals

These days, people seek information online before making even the smallest decision. Which means, having a presence on the Internet is vital to building a business in the age of Google, Twitter, and Facebook. And a great way to build that presence is to establish your brand through blogging. Need convincing? Here are some things to consider …

Blogs Generate More Traffic: To establish your business online, you need to show up in search-engine results. And to show up in search-engine results, you need regularly updated content. Search-engines such as Google, Yahoo! And Bing respond to frequent updates. In other words, if you’re blogging, you’re more visible to potential clients and referral partners. You’re also providing an ongoing source for useful, relevant information in your industry that will only increase your chances of setting yourself apart from the field.

Your Blog Is Your Brand: Setting up a blog and updating it regularly is an excellent way of showing potential clients that you’re more knowledgeable, credible, and committed than the competition. A traditional website isn’t updated often, or ever. Which means, that anyone viewing your business website won’t find much more than a short bio, contact information, and some testimonials. A blog offers you the ability to further brand yourself and make an impression while offering them pertinent news, industry info, and chance to build trust in your services.

Your Blog Will Cost Nothing But Time: In comparison to the cost of traditional advertising, a blog will cost you next to nothing. It will, however, require some patience. The most successful blogs have an average age of nearly 34 months. That means, you have to make a commitment to keeping your blog updated with fresh material and you have to keep at it. You can’t write three short blog posts and then get frustrated that the money hasn’t rolled in. Frequent content and time are a winning combination when it comes to creating better search-engine rankings and building a reputation in your community.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here and here.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

If you’d like a free Real-Estate blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-real-estate-blog-for-free/

If you’d like a free Mortgage blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-mortgage-blog-for-free/

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