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Blogging for Business Simplified

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You have all heard me talking about John Paul and Deb Micek tons of times, they are the epitome of great business people that engage and “get it”. (follow them on twitter:  @JPmicek and @coachDeb).  They are the authors of Secrets of Online Persuasion and have a blog called Tribal Seduction.    The reason I follow them is because I have learned so much from them and find them to be a wealth of knowledge that have helped my business.

Blog Content Creation Question

Just this week, JP announced a new blog series he is writing for Entrepreneur.com about Blogging for Business – go read Part I …..I’ll wait

2 things stuck with me from that article, JP’s quote from his mentor: (which needs no follow through explanation)

Always look at where the person giving advice is at in their life. If their lifestyle and achievements are what you’d like to aspire to, then take their advice in to consideration. If not, then ignore it.

And the never ending, controversial question about BLOG AUTHORS and CONTENT CREATION that we have discussed here many times.  Do you sign your name to something written by someone else?  Do certain types of business allow for others to write your blog-copy?  Would your business benefit from someone else blogging for you?

Don’t do it – It’s bad business – is it?

I know what the consensus here is:  It would not be honest, it could hurt your business, blogging is about engaging and putting your personality out there….etc, etc.   But then a light-bulb went off.  Of course we are going to think so here – we all like blogging, we are all doing it for business, we are getting results!!  We are preaching to the choir….but we may be a bit close minded (read what follows)

I decided to ask JP in the comment section about face-to-face businesses like Real Estate and what it would mean for someone else to write your blog for you.  Mr. Persuasion went out of his way to respond to me in another blog post (JP and Deb are just too cool) – Content Creation and your business blog:

Well, Ines is absolutely right! IF a person has the time, talent and desire to create content for their business blog — they should. Especially in a professional sales situation where direct face-to-face selling is going to take place (like you as a Realtor.)

In these cases it is essential for building rapport and closing more sales. But that still doesn’t mean you need to do it all yourself. More on that dichotomy in a minute. But first let’s clarify what makes content creation for your business blog easier if you are going to do it yourself.

Authentic Blog Copy

He goes on to talk about communication style, personal content creation as a “motivational killer” and how blogging services can make content “authentic” (I confess I’m still a skeptic, but it makes sense for certain types of businesses and different levels of business as well).

Bottom line is that there is not right way or wrong way.  You need to do what feels right for your own business and that fits your personal style.  The answer may be guest authors or supplementing your articles or even as simple as getting a virtual assistant to do your market reports and listing posts for you.  I would never sign my name to something written by someone else, but that’s MY choice and it doesn’t mean it’s the right way.  And then I found this to be genius:

We match the client’s Communication DNA with a member of our team who has as close a matching communication style as possible. And finally we choose a channel (written, audio or video) to match what would be expected from the actual person.

So as a skeptic, my curiosity has gotten the best of me and I will follow the rest of the series – I am sure I will learn something and will be able to apply it to my business. They never disappoint, that’s for sure!

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Mack

    September 19, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the links Ines. You failed to mention that reading the first article was going to be like a slightly condensed War and Peace. Even though it was long, it made a lot of sense and I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment. John Paul’s response via part 1b was on target as well. Perhaps we have some food for thought from these 2 articles. I totally agree that in no way should we put our name on someone else’s work, however a guest author on our blogs may very well suffice.

  2. Jim Gatos

    September 19, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I can’t look at MY blog with someone else’s content; although I sometimes have to “rack” my brains to write a post, I write ALL my own posts. It’s authentic to me and the personal experience of blogging can be just as rewarding as the end result of the blog itself…

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 19, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Mack – what I found interesting is that it WOULD be Ok for certain business blogs to be written by others – depending on the product and industry….and even more importantly, the fact that we enjoy blogging and are hands on about it may even put us in a minute category that not necessarily spells out how it should be done.

    Hey Jim, as much as I agree with you and handle it the same way, I can also say now that I grasp the concept, that it would be OK for someone to do it totally differently and approach this marketing medium with another perspective.

  4. JP Micek

    September 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Great overview Ines. Thanks for expanding the conversation. As much of a dichotomy it may seem to be, with proper planning and production content created by others can safeguard authenticity. Of course successfully marketing with New media starts from the inside out — with you. And that’s what’s critical whether it’s the core concept or the content as a whole,

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 19, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    JP – you accomplished your goal,I have been officially persuaded 😉 I can see where it can work if done correctly. The right tools are always important – you make excellent points.

  6. Bill Lublin

    September 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Ines;
    Well thought and great points – I think the content is important – and depending upon your purpose – so is the author – But AgentGenius proves that the owner of the site can control the content without providing all of it, and still be authentic –
    I guess it depends upon the voice you want you rBlog to have –

  7. ines

    September 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Bill, you are absolutely right – first things first, you need to be able to have a concept for your blog and know what you are trying to achieve and who your audience will be – then it’s easy to establish who’s voice is important for the success of the blog. (sounds simple when I write it but I know it’s an ever changing and developing concept for many)

  8. Missy Caulk

    September 21, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Well, since I am enjoying writing it would not be an option for me. But, I have learned to never say never. Especially with all my localism posts I am trying to keep up with on Activerain. Sure I can add the personal touch to restaurants and events, but it has been tempting.

    For now I’ll stick with me, but who knows………….. it would be interesting if some VA’s chimed in or people that have done it to hear of their successes.

  9. g. dewald

    September 22, 2008 at 9:06 am

    There is always the issue of “authenticity” in blog posts. But really, this is about business at the end of the day. If someone else can write better than you about stuff that your target audience wants to read, it would be foolish not to engage that someone else.

    Some of this would depend on whether your blogging strategy placed more importance on increasing backlinks, increasing new visitors or increasing engagement (ideally all three of course, but in which order).

    I think “authenticity” is just one of several tactics that can be applied to blogging. It gets the most airplay because those of us who blog love our advantage. But hiring out well-written blog posts to someone who can do it better is a completely valid way to run a business blog.

  10. ines

    September 22, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Missy – I think once you reach a level of success with your own blog and have been doing it for a while, you realize that you can get help with certain types of posts. I would also be interested for people to chime in to her of their successes (or lack thereof)

    G – You have a very valid point there. I can tell you that in our own business, we have reached a couple of obstacles when it comes to my own writing. I do not, by any means consider myself a good writer, I’ve just learned to put my personality in my blog posts and you will either love it or hate it. Now that we have buyer’s agents and our team is growing, the question of “authenticity” applies to those clients that contact me for me and don’t want to work with other team members.

    Personally, I think that a well rounded blog will have various voices and will attract different types of clients. It’s about getting to the next level and having different people write may be the answer at least for our business.

  11. Rentals In St George

    September 22, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I like the statement which I have heard a lot through my life. Only follow those who you wish to become like. You do not want to take financial advice from a poor person or from someone that is not as wealthy as you wish to become. I know when I started my St. George Rental business I followed other property management companies who were successful.

  12. ines

    September 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    George – and we can take that a step further in our Real Estate Reality to look at those that are able to come out of the struggle and how they are dealing with the slow market – thinking outside the box, marketing methods and being flexible to change.

  13. Gordon Baker

    September 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    My worry would be that someone who read a blog that I did not write starts to ask me about the information and I have no idea what they are talking about and it becomes evident very quickly. Ouch!

  14. ines

    September 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Gordon – you would always need to keep control of your blog and know what is being written about. It would be similar to having buyers agents writing on the blog and referring a particular question to the writer of the piece since they would be the “experts” on the subject.

    If someone calls Lani today and asks her about Miami Real Estate, do you think she’ll try to answer the question or have them contact me directly?

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Business Marketing

Audio branding: Is this the next big boost in brand recognition?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Brands have invested heavily in audio branding in 2021, here’s how that is changing up the branding rankings for businesses.

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Person at audio mixing table, preparing audio branding

Media consumption and engagement with brands across digital platforms is increasing, according to sonic branding agency amp; and companies investing in audio branding are creating a significant competitive advantage. The Best Audio Brands (BAB) index created by amp uses 5 key criteria to measure audio investment performance: Customer recognition, customer trust, customer experience, customer engagement and customer belonging. The agency claims that companies investing in high quality audio assets for their brands have gained ground by establishing a recognizable audio identity.

Michele Arenese, amp CEO said, “Making a brand heard is more important than ever before. The past 18 months have accelerated the importance of sound and voice as vital elements of the brand identity and customer experience toolbox. Meaningful and purposeful brand communication takes advantage from a ownable and authentic sound ecosystem.”

For the second consecutive year, Mastercard ranked highly across all key criteria measured by the BAB and topped the list. Other brands that fared well on this year’s index were Netflix, which moved up 27 places by using it’s famous “ta-dum” more widely and Coca-Cola which collaborated with Tyler the Creator and invested more in bespoke music. In addition, 5 new brands to make the top 10 this year were Audi, Mercedes, Netflix, Hyundai and Siemens. The highest climbing brands were in the financial sector: HSBC, American Express and J.P. Morgan. The highest climbing sector, however, was beverages followed by automotive. Brands that dropped in the rankings this year were Google, Amazon, Colgate, Goldman Sachs, and Danone.

Björn Thorleifsson, Head of Strategy & Research, amp said: “This year has shown that those who were already embarking on their sonic branding journeys have increased their lead on trailing rivals – now clearly falling behind. Given the evolving ability of sound to reach consumers whatever the device or channel they’re on, we expect to see increased investment from brands looking to stand out amongst the online noise. There are already best practice examples from leaders, such as Mastercard, and we’d encourage those who want to improve brand recognition and even performance, to adopt a little less conversation on sonic branding, and a little more action.”

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

10 easy steps to get into Instagram marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want to up your social media marketing game? Start better with Instagram for your business using these easy tips to quickly get established.

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Instagram post open on a tablet

When Instagram first came on the scene, it was simply a place to share pictures of your cat or a pie that you just baked. While it still is a place for that kind of content, it has also grown into a platform where one can influence others and build an empire.

So, if you’re looking to step up your social media marketing game through use of Instagram, look no further than using these 10 steps from Neil Patel.

  1. Switch to a business profile: This is super easy and can be done in just a few clicks. Switching from a personal to a business profile gives a better look at your followers through Insights, allowing you to see analytics and impressions. It also adds a contact feature that takes a visitor right to an email draft to you – just like it would on your website. All this and it makes it possible to publish ads.
  2. Use free marketing tools: Because Facebook owns Instagram, they operate kind of similarly. As mentioned in #1, Insights allows for a deep dive into personalized analytics to see what kind of posts are clicking with your audience and which aren’t. That way, you know what kind of content to continue with and what to do away with.
  3. Post product teasers: There are a variety of ways to do this, including posting about flash sales or linking business platforms that sell your product to make it easier for your customer to shop. The trick here is to not be pushy, but instead be enticing and make the post convenient for your consumer.
  4. Create a sponsored ad: Like Facebook, you can post ads and include a specific budget of what you want to spend. You can showcase one ad or multiple with the carousel feature. You can also target the exact demographic you’re looking to hit.
  5. Instagram stories: These last 24 hours and don’t have to be as “fancy” as a regular post. Give followers a glimpse into your brand with behind-the-scenes shots, polls, fun questions, etc. Make them feel like they’re part of the experience and use this as a way to tell your brand’s story.
  6. Partner with influencers: Work out a deal with influencers who have a decent following. Send them one of your items in exchange for them posting a photo of the item and tagging your brand. This will reach their whole followership and build your credibility.
  7. Collect user-submitted photos: Share photos posted by customers loving on your brand or product. Either share them to your story, or use a regram app to repost customer photos to your feed. It’s basically free advertising for your product.
  8. Hashtags: Come up with an interactive hashtag solely for your brand. Think in terms of verbs (a la Nike’s “Just Do It”). It can be punny or practical, but something that people attribute to your brand and your brand only.
  9. Timing and over-posting: Look into the best times to post – this is when your users are most active. It will be helpful to use Insights to understand when your time to shine may be. According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. Also, don’t over post. It’s annoying and it’s always best to err on the side of quality over quantity.
  10. Track the right metrics: Insights do no good if you aren’t looking at the right data. You need to keep tabs on whether or not what you’re doing is increasing your follower growth as well as growth for your interaction. With research, use of Insights and a little trial and error, you’ll get yourself to where you need to be.

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