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Does my business need a company blog?

Assessing a company’s need and commitment to having a company blog is more than just slapping up a site and installing an intern – it is an extension of your brand’s voice in a meaningful way and can be very rewarding if done properly.

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Does your business need a blog?

If your company is wholeheartedly behind having a blog, understands that it must be promoted, given some content latitude, given the full weight of the company’s SEO, branding, and corporate dollars to sustain it, then you can consider whether or not your company needs a blog. These questions are purely for the directors of the company brand, as a business blog is an extension of your advertising and marketing, as well as your public relations, and customer service. Your company blog is an expression of your company culture and ethos. If you’re not careful, it can quickly become the snotty nosed kid standing next to mom and dad in their Sunday best – not attractive.

So back to the question – you’ve assessed your commitment, now to assess what your blog is. Is it a product blog for selling? Then call it that. Is it a newsletter? Then say that. Is it educational about your product or service? Whatever it is, be clear and call it what it is so your consumer knows exactly what message or content they’ll find within its pages. Your blog can be many things with proper categorization, but if you envision something truly specific, then you’ll want to be specific.

A blog doesn’t need to be religious, or political unless that’s what your business or organization does. In fact, a blog should express the consumer experience they could expect when using your service or standing within your stores. Snarky blogging does nothing for a company that isn’t truly snarky inside of it’s retail environments. Your blog should be true to your company, follow it’s messaging from advertising, and enthusiasm of it’s marketing – it’s voice is seamless with your brand.

Being seamless with your brand

Being seamless with your brand means you’re not a news organization (unless you are). Your job is not to originate news content (you’re not TMZ), or to be the first to a story (CNN). Instead, a business blog may be filled with news stories that relate to your company’s culture, company news, and rather, relating to the consumer using news, but again, you’re not going to need a full time journalist to operate your blog. It isn’t your blog’s job to be a primary traffic driver, it’s your blog’s job to support your company as the primary traffic driver – it solidifies any messaging vehicle your company has already used to drive traffic. So if you build a blog for your company that develops into a traffic driver over time, this is a win, but if you’re expecting millions of pageviews with a blog three months old, you may be sorely disappointed, sorry.

If you’re creating a blog because you want to interact with your consumer, count yourself blessed if the consumer consumes content and then consumes product, not leaves a comment. The currency of comments has dramatically changed over the past five years, transitioning to shares via Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest. This is how your blog develops into a new traffic driver for your company. Consumers identify with your blog and your company culture, and you’ve done your job – your channel is now a two way street, and you are resonating with your consumer base and probably growing that base, but it isn’t something your blogger is going to create overnight. It’s anguishing, sometimes painstaking work identifying fans, cultivating friendships or partnerships with like folks or even vendors via other social channels I mentioned above.

The unseen side of your blog

The side effect of your blog you won’t see (unless your blogger is an analytics fan) will be Google, Bing, and other search engines that read your content via your submitted blog sitemap. Levels of and dedication to creating content regularly that are ideally matched to your company’s branded website, demonstrate that they are related by the density of the company message, titled properly, and are richly written around focused keywords will begin to rank along side your company page. Again, this isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s something that happens with conviction, with loyalty to the communications channel you’ve created, and your willingness to not distance your company from it’s own messaging platform (this happens all the time).

Some or all of this article may sound complicated, but that’s because of the lingo – it’s not complicated at all. What I’m driving at here is that you must be committed to it – long term. That you understand the voice and content you wish to deliver and your dedication to it. That your expectations of your blog as a traffic driver are in line with reality, and that you understand the light at the end of the tunnel. The investment in time is well worth it.

Words of advice

One last thing… I said that your blog could be many many things with proper categorization, and I meant it. Having the flexibility to build a channel (category) that you see growing faster than others will save you from a hard pivot later to different content, whereas over time, you may see that popular category fizzle, so adapting and building up an old or even a new category is just part of daily operations. We as businesses reinvent ourselves, we change our messaging, we feature new lines, and we change with the seasons – remember that going in.

My final piece of advice for channel builders (company blogs) is to create a content plan that matches the company seasons, and watch your analytics  adjust and calibrate until all of your channels within your blog are humming seamlessly – this is where the magic happens.

Nervous? It’s just like any other media campaign you’ve ever endeavored, except this one is more cost effective, more meaningful to consumers, is a mirror image of your company, and most of all, relatable to the average consumer.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Wordzopolis

    October 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Benn,
     
    I am a firm believer that a real estate blog is a great way for agents to showcase their expertise, create brand awareness, generate leads and build relationships with prospects. With some creativity and time real estate agents can grow their email list and turn readers into clients.
     
    Jennifer

  2. phone systems

    October 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Blog is one way to market a brand and it is also one of the most important especially for small business. It is easy to market your business or brand if you consider creating a blog it is because blogs consists of updates about your business, and customers like to always update them in every products and services you offer in your business.

  3. Emin3m

    January 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I just took a huge dump. I wanted to share that with you Benn.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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