Business, Business writing, Marketing

Excel with Business Blogging: The Customer’s Voice

ID-10034913Capturing the customer’s voice is a value-added feature for a blog because it invites people to share their thoughts and ideas. A customer’s voice is captured in the comments that are made on the blog’s platform. Comments providing stories about how the customer uses your product or service are golden. They uncover new techniques, tricks and tips that can benefit your customers and help your research team, sales team, marketers and product developers. Most importantly, these stories can express the value of your offerings.

Customers are more prone to share their thoughts about a business’ products and services when they have developed a relationship. Remember, how you respond to a customer’s comments on your blog speaks volumes about your business. The response can encourage more interaction and more valuable information. Typically, the more ongoing the interaction, the more the business learns its customer’s needs and wants and the more comfortable the customer feels sharing the information.

The relationship you create with your customers can instill confidence that their voice will be heard. Research has shown that the customer’s voice can predict customer retention. It’s positively linked to behavioral intentions that  increase future purchases. It can generate favorable word of mouth, and it influences other customer’s willingness to engage in marketing research initiatives, such as surveys that can help with the evaluation of advertising campaigns and insight on unfulfilled customer needs.

The positive interactions you have with your customers via conversations occurring in your comment section can help heighten the comfort level customers have toward your business.

Learn more about this topic and content marketing with the courses “Excel with Business Blogging” and “Create Your Brand Narrative Bank on Content.”

Images courtesy of phanlop88/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Business, Business writing, Marketing, Small business

Excel with Business Blogging: Niche Blog

Diamond

Diamond

A blog can solidify your connection with your clients. It can establish your reputation and credibility. Browse the blogosphere and you’ll find several blogs covering various topics. However, you’ll likely come across blogs abandoned or rarely updated compared those that are active and frequently updated with fresh content.

The overwhelming amount of blogs may intimidate you as you begin to create your own blog. It may appear that every topic has been addressed more than once. However, don’t let it discourage you. Your unique approach on a topic and passion will bring you success.

Begin your niche blog

The more specific your niche the more likely you’ll build traffic because the content isn’t commonly discussed; and, for some visitors, it’s like finding a rare gem. Your unique approach encourages readers to keep coming back for more.

People often visit your site in their spare time; therefore, the niche and content needs to be appealing to continue to draw traffic. Here are some ways to help define your content, create a theme and make your blog unique.

  • Describe your topic in detail. Leave no stone unturned by discussing all of its components.
  • Compare and contrast your topic with other subjects
  • Uncover the origins of your topic and explain its history, evolution and events that influenced it and what it has influenced.
  • Discuss how others have approached the topic and argue for and against it.
  • Find out how the topic has been applied to provide solutions to challenging problems.

Evaluate your blog posts

Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with a structure for a blog post. Begin with a draft or an outline that answers the questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Get creative

Elevate your creativity and keep eyeballs glued to your content with writing prompts. A writing prompt maybe a single word, short phrase, paragraph or picture that encourages an idea to help you write and it helps encourage your creativity. Here are some examples:

  • It was the beginning of spring
  • The meteorite flashed across the sky
  • The joyous glint in her eyes

Websites like creativewritingprompts.com can give you more prompts to help fuel your creativity. It’s possible to create your own writing prompts by using headlines from the news, a phrase from a conversation you heard or from inspirational quotes.

Learn more about this topic and content marketing with the courses “Excel with Business Blogging” and “Create Your Brand Narrative Bank on Content.”

Image Courtesy of  Boykung/Freedigitalphotos.net

Business, Business writing, Career, Marketing, Small business

*New* Business Blog Series: Excel with Business Blogging

Many of you have asked me how to develop your own blog, so I created a new course on Udemy called: Excel With Business Blogging. I am also going to submit a blog post each week discussing ways for you to develop your own blog and to improve your blog post.

First, here’s more information about the course:

Are you ready to CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE and FULFILL YOUR BUSINESS GOALS?

Do you want to create deeper relationships with your customers to build brand loyalty?

You can in EXCEL WITH BUSINESS BLOGGING.

https://www.udemy.com/excel-at-business-blogging/

This course offers an effective way to IMPROVE YOUR BLOGGING ACTIVITIES via a STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS

You’ll FIND OUT WHY BLOGGING IS THE BEST MARKETING TOOL for your business, LEARN HOW TO PRODUCE COMPELLING CONTENT for your blog posts and DEVELOP THE SKILLS TO WRITE FOR AN ONLINE AUDIENCE.

The Excel with Business Blogging course PROVIDES you with:

  • AN OVERVIEW OF BUSINESS BLOGGING: Learn how blogging gives your brand a personality
  • CRITICAL WRITING TECHNIQUES: Find out how to get creative with your content.
  • BLOGGING GUIDE: This guide acts as textbook for the course.  It provides you with additional information and emphasizes important concepts.
  • CASES STUDIES: Discover effective methods from top business blogs.
  • A CONTENT PLAN: Create a plan that addresses timing, quality, topics, legal risks and policies.
  • AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR DEMO: We don’t just tell you about we arm you with the tools to set up your editorial content today.
  • TEMPLATES: You’ll receive templates for your editorial roadmap calendar, blogging policy, blogging privacy policy and blogging comment policy.

IT’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS BLOGGING AND THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO GET STARTED …

DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS OPPORTUNITY START TODAY. TAKE 50% OFF WITH THIS COUPON CODE: ITSWRTN50

REVIEWS:

J. Nemetvaraga writes:  “Great course!” I found Brigitte’s approach in presenting this course absolutely spot on; because the lecture material had been presented in a way that it was easy to digest the information and more importantly to the point!”

L. Valderas writes: “Awesome”

Business, Career, Marketing

Screening Job Candidates Online

Social networking conceptJob recruiters circumvent traditional methods when pursuing a job candidate with a few taps on a keyboard. The old methods involved an advertisement, a short list of candidates to interview and a list of their best references.

Now, recruiters use a more cost-effective approach to find and screen top job candidates: social media.
In fact, CareerBuilder, an online job site, produced a recent study that found more employers are using social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to learn additional information about job applicants.
Nearly 39 percent of employers it looked up information about job candidates online; yet, within that amount nearly half of these employers found information that led them not to hire a candidate. This information included provocative and inappropriate photos. On the other hand, almost one in four employers found information that influenced their decision to hire the candidate, such as a professional-looking profile.
Social media gives employers the opportunity to peer into an individual’s personal life. This glimpse has consequences. Employers who rely on the information found on social media to make hiring decisions are opening themselves to an array of legal troubles and headaches.
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Photo Credit: GraphicStock.com
Business writing, Marketing

Keep Your Customers Wanting More: How to Engage Your Audience with an Effective Brand Story

open book-apeekatkarensworld.comBusinesses are changing the way they talk to you.  Have you noticed? Many of them have realized that their customers can develop and build their company with a single share on social media.

They’ve also learned not to talk at consumers. Instead, they are trying something new. They are bringing consumers along on their journey through the art of telling a story.

Finding ways to ‘entertain’

Remember the last time you were entertained by a brand?  TV advertisements, such as SuperBowl commercials, may come to mind.  However, many businesses are finding other ways to engage an audience. Building their customers’ experience, learning their customer segments, and talking less and listening more have become top priorities.

Businesses are providing consumers with more educational information and promoting this content on different platforms from email to social media. They are using stories as a way to help consumers escape their daily lives and enter their world.

The environment businesses create draws an appealing picture of their firm, and they are infusing emotional hooks into their narratives.  The narratives are consistent and visually appealing in order to create a connection. Several examples can be found in a recent survey by Aesop, a UK brand storytelling agency. They include Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Heinz and IKEA.

Developing the story

Writing brand stories and presenting them as online content is something a few people are trained to do, points out Susan Gunelius in the Forbes article, “5 Secrets to Use Storytelling for Brand Marketing Success.” The teller of a story must understand the elements of a story. Many people make the assumption that a story only needs a beginning, middle and an end; however, good stories establish the setting, characters, conflict and resolution.

Well-told stories have the ability to build a following, especially when they give the audience some type of value, such as actionable items. Many businesses utilize different storytelling techniques.  For instance, The Guardian describes in its article, “Three steps to better storytelling for brands,” using myths to forge a shared identity that describes what people value, what they don’t and what they want for the future; and, casting the target audience as heroes by providing information that uplifts them.

Another method involves drawing attention to a social problem or issue. A business will align their mission with a cause that relates to their values.

Businesses have the opportunity to tell their story multiple ways and on many different platforms to give consumers numerous chances to interact with them on and offline.

Use the tools to help you create a good brand story. Take the course, “Create Your Business Narrative: Bank on Content.”

For a limited time only, save 50% off the regular price ($50)  with the coupon code: HALFOFF2013.  Click here to start creating an effective and engaging business narrative today.

Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons, apeakatkarensworld.com

Business, Marketing, Small business

Establish your business as a thought-leader

ID-10092332While surfing the Internet, do you ever come across a company website and wonder whether it’s a credible business? When you are looking for services or products you want to make sure the place where you get them is a real legitimate business.  In addition, you may want a well-established business; one that is reputable within its industry. This way you can feel comfortable anticipating that the quality of the product or service will be good.

Establishing your business as a thought-leader within your industry is a way for it to become well-known and respected.   Thought-leaders introduce new and innovative ideas and many times provide insightful perspectives.  These ideas are presented or shared through an example, a logical argument, a statement of fact via demonstration or an emotional appeal, according to the article” Thought leadership: a radical departure from traditional, positional leadership,” in the publication Management Decision.

Businesses that have established themselves as thought-leaders often are the ultimate, “go-to” resource within their industry and for their customers. This alone demonstrates their authority. Arriving at this level of a leadership, though, includes having strong foresight.

The role of a thought-leader has several tasks and they are not limited to the following:

  • seeing the challenges your customers face and the potential issues within your industry before and as they arise; then addressing them on various platforms
  • locating and finding best practices for industry insiders and customers
  • seeking out opportunities to collaborate and share different perspectives that will create more solutions for your customers whether developing professional conferences, a committee within your industry’s top organization or a taskforce
  • adopting new technologies
  • introducing or practicing new techniques
  • specializing in your niche
  • showcasing your expertise through speaking engagements, blogs, books and offering classes
  • making discoveries through brainstorming sessions, debates and even through trial and error
  • identifying or defining how the company will be known within its industry

When executives are accessible to customers appealing to their needs and sharing their wisdom, some customers feel at ease with company, yet thought- leadership is not exclusive to C-level executives. It can be practiced among employees as well. However, enthusiastic employs who believe in the mission of the business make great members of your thought leadership team.

This type of leadership is ubiquitous. Thought-leaders work inside the company to develop the company culture and business environment, and thought- leaders work outside the business to help it become known.

As a thought-leader, you are connecting with an audience providing new ideas for people to digest, process and possibly implement. You are also providing a glimpse of the inner-workings of your business, its values and its fortitude. You are also defining the company’s brand.

Image courtesy of nattavt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marketing

Promoting your brand with content

So you want to promote your brand– draw awareness of your products and services or increase customer loyalty.

Well, your efforts are likely to include figuring out your target markets, creating marketing and communication materials and sending out all of that material to your specific audience whether online or offline. This is all content marketing.

The strategy though has changed.  No longer are people easily swayed by the monologues of traditional marketing. Now, they are immersing themselves in dialogue. They want to have a conversation.

So, instead of inundating your target audience with sales messaging, businesses are providing informational content that addresses challenges customers face.

Content is generated to create value and today businesses are distributing volumes of content to engage their target audience. Marketing budgets are pouring more money into the creation and distribution of content.

According to B2B, the content that’s used the most includes social media, websites, email, newsletters and video. On the otherhand, the content delivery system considered most effective are in-person events, case studies, videos, webinars, blogs, research reports, ebooks and white papers.

The contents value won’t mean too much if it’s riddled with mistakes. These errors don’t necessarily have to revolve around grammar and punctuation. Rather errors are made by the way you choose to approach your audience.  Here are three questions to ask yourself and your team:

  • Is the company the central topic of the content?
  • Is the company using the right channels?
  • Is the company really addressing customer’s troubles?

 Is the company the central topic of the content?

Talking too much about yourself would turn people off so will talking too much about your company. It shows that you’re not listening and that there’s less of an exchange of ideas or thoughts. Address your buyers’ pain points. Not only will you want to use the right channels but you will want to use them effectively.

The following is an example of how one company used content to discuss a topic:

In 2010, Russell Investments tapped into his clients’ desire for insightful research for the brand campaign “Conversation Yields Innovation,” reports BtoB. The print and online global thought leadership branding campaign was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  The intent was to show that companies in the financial industry needed to listen to their clients and innovate. The campaign used op-ed style print ads in The Economist, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, an online video featuring investment strategies from Russell CIO Erik Ristuben was created.  The whole effort was to create a “bold and honest” conversation.

Is the company using the right channels?

As the number of marketing channels continue to multiply you or your marketing department may feel overwhelmed attempting to cover all of them. Remember, some channels have been found to be more effective than others. So, determine whether you are getting a good return on your investment in a particular channel; know your customer and their buying habits.

Is the company really addressing customer’s troubles? 

Buyers want to go to a trusted source to make their purchase for a product or service. They are looking for solutions and throughout each stage of the buying cycle you can provide them with  tips and advice.

The content you provide needs to encourage people to participate, intrigue them so they want more and will want to share the information with others and build a community.

Photo Courtesy: Suwit Ritjaroon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net