5 Ways to Improve Your Blog Posts for Search in 2020

Google never fails to keep us on our toes. Luckily, Google is pretty clear about what they want from content and these general guidelines stay the same regardless of algorithm changes. Here are five strategies to improve blog posts for search in 2020 — and beyond.

Google never fails to keep us on our toes. Just when we think we’ve perfected our content creation strategies, an algorithm update happens and everything is upended. Luckily, Google is pretty clear about what they want from content and these general guidelines stay the same regardless of algorithm changes. Here are five strategies to improve blog posts for search in 2020 — and beyond.

1. Write for Humans

Repeat after me: Google is not your audience. Many of us who work in SEO fall into the habit of writing for Google and not for people. If you construct your blog posts based on a checklist of what you think Google wants to see, it leaves them subject to all those algorithm changes we so dread.

Write for your reader. (And yes, you should have readers.) What do readers want? First, they want topics they’re interested in — this happens to work out well for SEO because people search Google for these same topics. They also want expertise about these topics. Maybe the business you’re creating content for doesn’t have time to write their own blog posts, but they should at least be reviewed for accuracy and noted as such in the post; this alone will set your content apart from the rest.

Finally, people want engaging writing. If you or a member of your team can’t write your blog content due to time constraints/resources, don’t outsource your blog writing to the lowest bidder. We all know these types of posts when we see them — 1000 words that say nothing at all and add nothing to the conversation. When someone lands upon a post like that and quickly leaves, your bounce rate goes up.

Don’t think Google doesn’t notice when you’re not meeting users’ needs.

2. Choose the Right Keywords — and Don’t Overdo It

This connects with the last point, as writing that attempts to stuff in as many keywords as possible isn’t engaging or easy to read. In fact, it can be quite cringe-worthy and, unfortunately, it’s often the standard when it comes to SEO writing. If you’re using WordPress, then you can use a tool like the SEO Yoast plugin to review your keyword ratios, which can help you find the right balance.

Don’t shoehorn unnatural keywords into your copy. You might be targeting “sparkly cowboy hats Nashville,” but insert an “in” in there so it sounds natural.

3. Make Content Skimmable

People don’t read the Internet the same way they read a book. Instead, they skim the content they’re reading. Google skims too, so setting up blog posts to be skimmable is a win-win proposition.

Skimmable means:

  • No giant walls of text
  • Small paragraphs
  • Using relevant images
  • Bullet points (yep, just like this)
  • Using headings and subheadings logically

Let’s talk about that last point. The value of a compelling headline should be no surprise. But remember the humans we’re writing for — headlines should make sense and add order to a post, not a sense of chaos. Using an <h2> tag every few sentences makes it harder to skim, not easier. Headings should tell Google what’s most important; when you use too many, you’re telling Google everything is important.

4. Put the Topic in Context

Rather than repeating keywords, build a robust web of related keywords in your content. In your blog post about sparkly cowboy hats in Nashville, perhaps write about sparkly cowboy boots too. Maybe even bedazzled jean jackets and rhinestone cowboys!

What if Sparkly Cowboy Hats was the name of a country band, though? Well, then you’re going to build that web of keywords differently. You’ll pepper your post with words like music, country, album, gig, guitar, singer. How does Google know the difference between sparkly cowboy hats and Sparkly Cowboy Hats? It’s in the context.

To use a more serious example that I often fall back on, think about contract law. Contract law could be a class in law school. Or it could be a practice area at a law firm. “Contract law” is an important keyword, but it’s the supporting, related keywords that really tell Google what the page is about.

5. Optimize Outside of the Copy

If you’re writing copy for readers, then the page title, meta description, and alt tags are where you can go to town (within reason) and optimize for Google.

Remember, though, Google wants alt tags that are written for people with visual impairments who use screen readers. They’re not a place to shove all your keywords; instead, use a keyword in the context of a description of what the image depicts. Metadata should also reflect what your blog post is actually about rather than attempting a bait-and-switch.

I’m not going to promise that following these guidelines will leave you completely immune to every upcoming algorithm change, but these simple-to-apply strategies will improve your blog posts for search and for your audience.. If anything, 2020 has already taught us to expect the unexpected. That said, if you create solid content for real people rather than jumping on every SEO trend you see, it usually pays off in the end.

Want more tips to improve your SEO?  Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.

 

How Google’s Paid Search Layout Affects Organic Search Results

Changes to Google’s paid search results are making it harder for SEO experts to get traffic to their websites the old-fashioned way. As always, though, online marketers are finding ways to adapt — but with less real estate available, it isn’t easy. The big change came earlier this year, when Google stopped showing paid search results on the right side of its search engine result pages (SERPs).

search-engine-76519_640 googleChanges to Google’s paid search results are making it harder for SEO experts to get traffic to their websites the old-fashioned way. But as always, online marketers are finding ways to adapt — but with less real estate available, it isn’t easy.

The big change came earlier this year when Google stopped showing paid search results on the right side of its search engine result pages (SERPs). Google made the change to streamline the user experiences for mobile and desktop, following the announcement that mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches worldwide. But all changes have consequences. To make up for losing side-rail ad placements, Google added extra ad space to the top of some SERPs. Organic search results had already been forced down the page by videos, images, news listings and the Knowledge Graph. The additional ad listing is enough to force organic results completely below the fold, requiring users to scroll down to find them.

Obviously, the change is a huge win for marketers who invest heavily in AdWords. The prices for those top-ranked positions have increased, but suddenly you can buy your way to what used to be the top organic search result.

What does this mean for marketers who focus on organic results? The short answer is “it depends.” The full answer is a bit more complicated, and it starts with understanding Google’s goal of delivering the best possible experiences for people that use its search engine.

Imagine that it’s the dead of winter and your furnace stops working. If you don’t know much about furnaces, you might immediately grab your smartphone and search Google for “furnace repair” or “emergency furnace repair.” Try this now, and you’ll likely see four above-the-fold ad placements above a map with nearby companies beneath it. You’ve got to scroll pretty far down to find your first organic listing.

On the other hand, folks who are handy around the house might do their own troubleshooting before finding a repairman. They might end up making search queries such as “Bryant furnace blower won’t turn on.” They’re not actively seeking help; rather, they’re looking for answers for a DIY fix. Try that search query, and you’ll probably see a full page of organic search results without a single ad in sight.

Starting to see the big picture?

Organic SEO definitely took a hit when Google reshaped its ad layout, but only for buyer-oriented search queries. By showing more ads with these queries, Google realized it could increase its profits while still providing a high-quality user experience. Meanwhile, Google users in search of product details, research materials or other types of information are more likely to value organic results.

This leaves online marketers with several approaches to the change, and we’ll consider each one below.

Solution No. 1: Invest in AdWords

If you’re not already using Google AdWords, now is a great time to get started. Getting a top placement in the paid results can be much easier than organic SEO. In fact, savvy advertisers with compelling ads, strong landing pages and high bids can instantly get top-ranking placements.

Of course, paid search results have an obvious downside: They cost money. The days of converting tons of free traffic directly into sales are long gone. That said, don’t be intimidated by the thought of paying for traffic. With help from Google Analytics and tools offered within AdWords, it’s easy to monitor your advertising accounts and determine which campaigns are boosting your bottom line.

2 Words to Get You Through 2017

Last week during our annual holiday party, our president Dave Leskusky gave a thoughtful speech, sharing that he wanted to spend more time in 2017 saying “thank you.” He thanked us for our hard work, the effort we make to accept new challenges and the strides we take to keep running at the pace he asks of us. At the time, it seemed like an apropos holiday party speech. Nice. Not too long. Just the right amount of jokes added in the right spots. But then I thought a little more about it.

Last week during our annual holiday party, our president Dave Leskusky gave a thoughtful speech, sharing that he wanted to spend more time in 2017 saying “thank you.” Thanking us for our hard work, the effort we make to accept new challenges and the strides we take to keep running at the pace he asks of us.

He thanked the room of people surrounding him, some of us receiving shout-outs for specific projects, and at the time it seemed like an apropos holiday party speech. Nice. Not too long. Just the right amount of jokes added in the right spots.

Thank You Fallon gifBut I’ve thought about it off and on for the past week, and while “thank you” might seem like two simple words, when said with genuine gratitude, it’s much more.

It reminds us that we’re seen, that we matter and that we have an effect on others. That’s pretty powerful.

So, for my final post of 2016, I have this to say: Thank you.

Thank you for clicking on my headlines in the e-newsletter, on the website, on social media sites, or if you’re one of my close friends, for clicking on the links I text you when I’m especially excited about a piece I write or a video I shoot.

Thank you for reading and watching. Thank you for taking the time to comment publicly on our site, or to reach out to me privately. We all lead busy lives (by the way, “busy” is the the four-letter word I ban from most of our editorial meetings, because, duh, we all are), so when you take the time to reach out to me, I realize you could have spent that time doing something else, possibly much more important.

Thank you standing with me when you agree with one of my points, and thank you for — respectfully — challenging me when you disagree. Trust me, I learn something every time you do.

As we head into 2017, let’s all take more time to thank those around us. Our friends and families, our colleagues, our customers. And mean it when you say “thank you,” otherwise you’re just meaninglessly uttering two words that can have a lot of power when used for good (all right, now I’m stepping into cheesy territory … time to doggie paddle out).

And if you didn’t see the video we shared yesterday, celebrating our team’s accomplishments in 2016, check it out below!

We had a lot of fun this year, and we couldn’t have done it without you … thank you! Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you in 2017!

Does Blogging Help Build Your Brand?

There is one thing in common about my Target Marketing blog posts. They take an incredible amount of time to conceive and write, but do they provide any value? Do they help improve my personal brand?

I post a Target Marketing blog every 2 weeks — and have done so since April 2012 with fairly steady regularity. That’s over 100 posts on topics that range from educational in nature to commentary on my personal brand interaction experiences to industry news. However, there is one thing in common about my posts. They take an incredible amount of time to conceive and write, but do they provide any value? Do they help improve my personal brand?

Every week I rack my brain to come up with a topic that I think will interest my followers. And, if reader comments are any gauge of my success, the most provocative ones get the most engagement … but not always in a positive way.

As a source of news and information about the business of direct marketing, Target Marketing has long been a trusted source of trustworthy industry intelligence. By associating my brand with the organization, then by extension, it should legitimize my own brand. And, over the years, I can truthfully say that it has helped position me as an industry expert.

While I was always on the speaking circuit, associating myself with Target Marketing has given me additional opportunities to participate in industry webinars, conferences and other venues. And, it certainly looks good on my profile!

But, in speaking with several different clients, I have met those who have found their blog to be a less-than-satisfactory marketing channel. And in every instance, it was because their commentary was so self-serving, that instead of turning them into an industry expert, it became one more way to promote a product or service.

No one wants to read a sales pitch. Period.

Blogs are a way of demonstrating expertise, providing commentary on an industry topic of interest, or educating prospects or customers. They, by definition, create an environment for engagement and debate.

As you begin to wrap up the year and plan for your marketing efforts in 2017, take a critical look at your organizations blogging efforts. Look at the number of reader engagements and the feedback that’s been given. If it seems that no one is engaging, liking, responding or participating, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate.

Gimme Presents! Sass Marketing Turns 1

On Thursday, Oct. 6, this sassy little corner of the Web hits its one-year blogiversary. Now sure, I could quote Grateful Dead with the classic, “What a long strange trip it’s been …” but that’s not accurate. It hasn’t been strange — it’s been eye-opening, it’s been challenging and, most importantly, it’s been career-driving.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, this sassy little corner of the Web hits its one-year blogiversary.
Dancing Tina FeyNow sure, I could quote some Grateful Dead with the classic, “What a long strange trip it’s been …” but that’s not accurate. It hasn’t been strange — it’s been eye-opening, it’s been challenging and, most importantly, it’s been career-driving.

I’m not a classically trained journalist, or even someone with a shiny degree in marketing hanging on her wall. I’m a former English major/theater minor who decided teaching a classroom full of children was not for her, so I went to graduate school to study the nitty-gritty of the publishing world, and I ended up here.

Need a layout crafted? No problem. Need an article edited and copyfitted, and some design notes drafted for an art director? I’m your lady.

Need a marketing automation case study? *Crickets*

And because of that, for a very long time I had convinced myself I wasn’t a writer — at least in this industry — and my place wasn’t to write for Target Marketing … instead, that’s something my colleagues do very well, while I excel at project management.

Then I went to Content Marketing World in September 2015, got all fired up and upon my return I basically walked into Thorin’s office and told him I was going to keep a weekly blog. I declared that I was going to be sassy and have an opinion on just about any little thing I found in marketing … and his response was “Cool. Do it.”

And so I have done just that, thanks to support from friends and colleagues, as well my never-ending bucket of opinions. In honor of this milestone, here’s a quick list of both my favorite posts, as well as some fan favorites!

Fan Favorites

Netflix Causes Customer Freakout. Fun fact … a number of my coworkers found out about the Netflix increase through this post! It’s one of my most-viewed posts, and while it was a bit more newsy, but my major takeaway was this: “Your customers, subscribers, readers should not have to google to find out about necessary information, like a price increase.”

Finger Lickin’ Gross: KFC Goes Too Far. Much like me, people had FEELINGS about this one … so much so they jumped into the comments. Of course, this was simply the start to KFC taunting me (in my opinion). And though I am trying to be less cranky, this still stands true for me: “I’m a firm believer in creating and marketing worthwhile products. Does that mean I’m anti-fun? No. But there are limits, and lickable nail polish exceeds the limits for me.”

You Won’t Believe What Happens Next in this Shocking Post About Clickbait. Yeah, I went there. I wrote a jokey, clickbait headline and people clicked, read and commented. The key takeaway? “… remember, there is a difference between provoking your reader to make the click, then delivering on that headline, and being a lazy marketer who’s just out for clicks. Don’t be that guy.”

Sass Favorites

Stop Kanye’ing Your Audience. First confession: I have a professional crush on Wil Reynolds because he is both incredibly smart and a fantastic presenter. But I digress. What has always stuck with me is when he said, “People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves …”

Making Customers Better Selves

David Bowie: The King of Reinvention. This was a piece that I knew I needed to write, but I also wanted to make sure it was appropriate for our audience. I found my connecting thread as I wrote: “We could all stand to learn a thing or two from The Thin White Duke, as marketers, as dreamers, as humans.”

Though this probably hits home the hardest for me:

Know who you are, and if you don’t, stop and figure it out. It might take a while, and that’s okay. Bowie spent time in his early career grinding through things, figuring out the industry, music and himself. …

Marketers: Find yourselves, then find yourselves again. Shake things up. Be weird. Be genuine. Believe in what you’re doing, put yourself into it, and delight people who go from being strangers to being  your customers, then finally declaring themselves your most loyal fans.

Through Sass Marketing, I’ve found myself. I’ve found my voice, and while every post may not be genius, I keep reaching for the brass ring. One of those brass rings was launching the video series “What Were They Thinking?” and I’m excited to see what 2017 brings.

Thank you dear sassy-pants readers … here’s to another year of opinions, memes and gifs.

Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Blogging to Generate Leads

Blogging to generate leads can feel overwhelming. We’re being bombarded with “must dos” from content marketing experts who make it seem effortless. What’s their trick? It’s a practical, refreshing approach to blogging. Here are three pitfalls to avoid and a proven system to create leads. Let’s start with busting a popular myth: Blogging to generate leads demands LOTS of blog content.

Blogging to generate leads can feel overwhelming. We’re being bombarded with “must dos” from content marketing experts who make it seem effortless. What’s their trick? It’s a practical, refreshing approach to blogging. Here are three pitfalls to avoid and a proven system to create leads.

Let’s start with busting a popular myth: Blogging to generate leads demands LOTS of blog content.

No. 1: Writing Frequently at the Cost of Proper Form
Yes, we need to blog frequently and “have a rhythm.” However, the pressure to crank out a tons of blog posts causes problems. In the rush to “just do it” we often forget effective blogging fundamentals. We forget to:

  • start with customers pains, goals, fears, ambitions or cravings and
  • structure blog posts to teach, guide or answer in ways that
  • creates hunger for more of what we have to offer (a lead generation offer).

Beware: Investing too much time and energy in writing frequently can torpedo you. Tired of the stress of wondering, “Am I blogging enough?” Give up the habit!

Focus on following the structure outlined above. Form the habit. Start putting this process to work for you.

No. 2: Losing Visibility by Forgetting Google Authorship
In its effort to clean up the Web, Google launched Authorship. The essence of becoming a recognized Author with Google is all about one thing:

Giving authors of high quality blog articles (you) more exposure.

Here’s how. Google gives maximum attention to registered Authors by including a photo next to ALL blog posts appearing in its index. This grabs eyes. This beats out competing writers who aren’t Authors.

This drives more leads to your page!

You’re losing visibility if you’re not aligned with Google via Authorship.

No. 3: Investing Too Much Time Writing ‘Epic Content’
For a long while, I invested time writing blog posts that convert leads really well. Every single post I made “counted.” However, Google would only rank them on page 1 sometimes.

This wasted my time. I was literally writing great articles that nobody would ever read. Ouch.

Even more frustrating, sometimes Google does rank our articles—yet nobody clicks. Ugh!

So here’s the fix: Invest time in getting ranked on page 1 or 2 first. THEN, monitor for visitor traffic … and THEN tweak to optimize lead generation from your post.

I don’t recommend writing total crap. However, take the pressure off. Write, first, for search engine ranking. Use an effective blog post writing template (that generates leads) but don’t over-invest your precious time.

Here’s how to get into the habit. For example, let’s assume you:

  • completed keyword research—you know what customer pain, fear or goal you’ll address in your post;
  • understand and practice the 3-step system summarized in No.1 above; and
  • know how to make an effective call to action and are ready to earn leads.

You know how to get prospects to your site and what to do with them once there. You’re armed and dangerous. You can earn attention with magnetic headlines, get prospects to read and act on your post.

This blogging system is quality-intensive. But it can be a trap!

It’s very easy to over-invest time in a post that nobody will ever read. So write to get found in search engines first. Be diligent about structure (for search engine and human discovery). However, don’t over-do it. Wait.

Protect your time investment. First, write to be discovered. Don’t neglect proper form but don’t over-invest in polishing … optimizing it for peak lead generation performance. Good luck!

Why Engaging Passionately Fails Us (and What to Do Instead)

“The experts” claim passion is the key to a successful B-to-B business blogging strategy. They say results will come when you show customers you care in LinkedIn groups and give away your best advice. But this advice is misguided. Caring and giving are merely costs of entry. Process is the force multiplier. Process is at the heart of effective business blogging and using LinkedIn for lead generation.

“The experts” claim passion is the key to a successful B-to-B business blogging strategy. They say results will come when you show customers you care in LinkedIn groups and give away your best advice. But this advice is misguided. Caring and giving are merely costs of entry. Process is the force multiplier.

Process is at the heart of effective business blogging and using LinkedIn for lead generation.

So how can you make “the doing” of blogging and generating leads on LinkedIn systematic—yet free-flowing, enjoyable and effective?

In my experience and research, mixing passion with structured diligence is the answer. Creating a way to use technology that feels effortless and scales our time. Ok, let’s quickly explore what the heck that means and how to get going on it.

The Passion Myth
If all you do is “write from the soul,” pour your deepest passion into it and give away all your best advice what’s the result? I’ll tell you what the result was for me, for the longest time.

(Insert sound effect: crickets)

I suffered myself from investing time in having passionate monologues online. As an author and trainer, I spent years doing the research. What works at generating new business with a blog and LinkedIn is striking a balance between passion and process.

Ignore anyone who says or implies, “blog passionately and the results will come.”

No they won’t. And if they do it won’t be because of your passion.

Ok, ok. Nothing great ever materialized without passion. But creating sales on social media depends less on passion and more applying a systematic approach—out of habit.

Does that mean you need to suck all the fun and passion out of what you write? Heck no.

The Yin and Yang of Business Blogging
By striking a balance in your blogging you’ll discover a faster, easier, more enjoyable way to get leads and sales.

How can you make everything you do systematic yet enjoyable and effective? Have some yin for your yang.

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are complementary forces that only appear to be opposing each other. In reality, forces of nature work together. They form a whole greater than either separate part.

It’s the same with business blogs and LinkedIn lead generation strategies that create leads and sales.

What the Process Looks Like
When blogging or engaging inside LinkedIn Groups …

  1. Teach prospects how to reach goals in ways they can act on;
  2. create confidence in them and (in doing so) trust in you in ways that foster hunger for more success;
  3. ask for the lead and/or sale with a call-to-action that affirms a customer’s right to say ‘no thanks.’

Simple.

Plus, it leaves a LOT of room to find joy in writing—helping, teaching and guiding prospects. The process is flexible, not rigid.

This process lets you share your passion, helps prospects become more confident buyers and puts food on your table more reliably.

This proven, effective process gives customers miniature tastes of success … or “results in advance” of purchase. For example, it can help them determine the best fit for their situation. Or it can be structured to help prospects gain confidence—that what they want (what you sell) can actually happen for them on time, on budget and without pain.

Your success, and this process, is all about helping prospects become more confident buyers.

I apply it and, believe it or not, prospects often ask me for the sale. All because of confidence created in their abilities to achieve or improve. It’s what my free training (lead nurturing) program is all about.

Hang in There
Are you running out of patience with blogging, using LinkedIn for sales leads and social platforms in general? I was too. But then I discovered this simple, practical way to change things up, to get more of what I wanted from social media, faster and easier.

Now you have that way: A means to balance process with your passion, knowledge and ability to help prospects see their way through the weeds. What will you do with it?

Blogging for Sales Leads: The No. 1 Reason Your Blog Isn’t Getting It Done

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

Today’s most successful B-to-B sellers are using blogs to do one thing really well: prove they’re worth investing in before customers pay a dime. They’re giving customers a few results and letting them experience what success feels like.

Blog to Help Prospects Believe in ThemselvesNot in You
The blogging gurus love to tell us to build trust with prospects using social media. Yet they never mention the best way to build enough trust to close a sale. (probably because they’ve never actually closed a sale)

I’m talking about helping a buyer get so confident in themselves—so sure that buying will give them everything they want—they can’t help themselves. They buy because they cannot argue against not buying anymore! (and of their own free will, of course)

Enter social media and all the bogus short-cuts we’ve been told will create trust. Telling stories, being honest, showing customers our “human side.” These things might help you foster trust but only if you apply them to help prospects get more confident in themselves.

Give Prospects Results In AdvanceNo Excuses
What’s the connection between convincing a prospect to buy through your blog and giving them overwhelming confidence? How do you execute this idea without wasting time? You create a process that manufactures “mini-successes” for prospects—in advance of their purchase.

This is the practical, tried-and-true strategy at the center of every blog that creates leads.

Start blogging in ways that prove your product or service is worth investing in. Start giving prospects a free taste of success before they purchase.

Help them do something that they really need to do, learn or accomplish. This gives them partial satisfaction (in themselves) and creates hunger for more. Not hunger for your product or service.

Hunger for more satisfaction in themselves.

Give It Away—All of It
If this sounds like a free trial you’re right but let’s say you’re selling a complex product or service. You’ll need to go further—convince prospects to buy based on what you’ve actually done for them lately.

I’m describing a situation where buying what you sell isn’t a point of consideration; it’s a logical next step for your prospect to take. Purchasing becomes part of the journey your prospect is already on.

By doing meaningful things for people that actually move the needle (solve a problem, teach a skill, etc.) prospects build a sense of achievement. Even if it’s a small one potential customers build trust in you based on this sense.

They begin to trust in your ability to deliver the FULL result if they were to actually buy from you.

Make sure your blog articles, video tutorials, white papers, ebooks and such are:

  1. Taking prospects on a journey toward (or away from) what it is you sell and
  2. creating confidence along the way by solving problems and/or teaching them new skills.

Lots of Examples…
This strategy is at the heart of thriving companies like HubSpot. I, myself, apply the technique to generate leads for a social media sales training program. Sure, money back guarantees help us close, so do customer testimonials. But nothing works better than giving away my best knowledge and helping prospects begin to experience actual success.

Nothing creates trust like having a material impact on your prospects’ lives before they buy. Nothing. Because it proves you’re able to create success for them and willing to prove it up front.

Again, all you’re really doing is building prospects’ confidence in themselves that they cannot argue with.

Look at every one of the social media sales success stories I’ve documented on this blog, in the magazine or on my other blog. Each of these B-to-B social selling success stories are finding a way to give out samples of results in advance.

Every successful B-to-B social seller I’ve found ever (and I do this full time!) is helping prospects get confident in themselves as buyers—before they’re doing anything else.

Let’s be honest. Can you really afford to not blog in ways that give prospects miniature versions of what it is you’re so darn good at? Especially when your competitors probably are—or are thinking of it?

Is Blogging the Online Dinosaur?

A friend and fellow marketer said something to me recently that caused my eyeballs to nearly pop out of my head. Her comment was short and to the point: Blogging is dead. I beg to differ. 

A friend and fellow marketer said something to me recently that caused my eyeballs to nearly pop out of my head. Her comment was short and to the point: Blogging is dead.

When I asked what made her make such a profound blanket statement, she responded that with the increasing popularity of social marketing, as well as the inundation of free ezines (or free e-magazines), blogs have become the online dinosaur.

I beg to differ.

You see, each platform has its own communication style; thereby, attracting different types of readers:

  • Blogging is a more raw experience for the reader. Informal undertones which are unedited and uncut. Giving the inside scoop.
  • E-newsletters or similar still contain valuable information, but the content is more polished and editorial in nature.
  • Social marketing is typically a combination of short, pithy posts that are fun, friendly, or business-related. Sound bites that grab attention and allow followers see the writer as both guru and virtual friend.

When it comes to marketing, I never like to put all my eggs into one basket. I don’t totally use social marketing as my platform of choice. Nor do I totally rely on email marketing or blogging as a prime driver for sales or leads.

What I like to do is diversify my online marketing mix—similar to when you diversify your retirement portfolio—and deploy several means of organic and paid Web marketing strategies based on target audience, budget and business objective.

In addition, I like to use tactics that complement one another.

Know The Flow: Understanding “Push” vs. “Pull” Marketing
Blogging, social marketing posts, and free ezines/e-magazines (email marketing) are all conduits; that is, ways to communicate with readers albeit subscribers, friends, followers, or fans.

The initial goals of each are virtually the same: To provide information in exchange for a readers’ interest (bonding) and interaction. The information can be editorial, marketing or random thoughts. And the interaction can be in the form of a free subscription (email address), website visit, retweet, ‘Like’ or sale (cross-selling, affiliate or third-party ads).

With blogging and social marketing, you’re deploying “pull” marketing—you’re pulling people to your “home-base hub” whether it’s your blog, profile page or wall with “content nuggets.”

Once live, that content has become part of the Web and is now subject to search engine spiders and similar tactics that will help your nuggets get increased exposure in organic search results pages; thereby, pulling like-minded visitors from your “nugget” to your “hub” with more of that great useful, valuable, and actionable information such as SEO, SEM, article marketing, or what I call SONAR marketing.

Now, since these readers are seeking you out and visiting your “hub,” you don’t have a direct line of contact with them. In other words, you don’t have their direct email address and have permission to correspond with the user personally.

… Which leads to ‘push’ marketing.
E-newsletters and e-magazines are correspondence being “pushed” out to your audience. Since the direct message itself is going through an email service provider and then to a specific individual, it is not widely available on the Web for all to see (including search engine spiders) and will not show up on organic search engines results pages.

You already have the recipients’ email address, so the main purpose of your effort is typically bonding or cross-selling (via newsletter ads and solo emails in your sales funnel).

So you see, as long as there’s different ways to reach people and different ways people prefer to be reached, blogging isn’t dead. For some marketers, it may be on pause; but for smart marketers, it’s still part of the big plan.

I think, nowadays, marketers need to test all online platforms to see which one is right for their business, audience, and objectives.

Don’t rule anything out. Learn how to be strategically creative to satisfy YOUR specific goals and communication flow.