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Will Blogging Help My Business?

Will Blogging Help My Business?

Why do I need a blog?

By the time you’ve read to the end, you’re more likely to be asking “Why would I NOT need a blog?”

Quite simply, every business can benefit from a regularly updated blog.  There are many positives and virtually no negatives (apart from the fact that it takes time to set up and keep updated –  but every business activity takes time, doesn’t it?)

Let’s explore a few of the reasons you need a blog for your business.

Blogging boosts your search engine rankings.

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a term the majority of business owners will have heard.  Put simply, it means “getting found on Google”.

Google is by far the most popular search engine and it’s where the majority of people go nowadays when they want to find something, whether that’s a particular product, or specific information.

But here’s the thing: most people aren’t going to look beyond the first page of search results (unless they have plenty of time to spare).   If your website isn’t on that first page, chances are it won’t be found.

These days, Google is very clever – it understands far more than single keywords.  A well-written blog post that answers a specific question has a very good chance of appearing near the top of the results –  what if you’d written that post?

Also, Google pays attention to websites that are frequently updated – by its very nature, a blog is updated frequently.  Google therefore sees this as a signal that the website is trustworthy and a valuable resource.

Establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

Regular blog posts that provide information about topics relevant to your current and potential clients, and that answer frequently asked questions, go a long way towards making you a “thought leader”.

In other words, you’re positioning yourself in your clients’ eyes as someone who can be trusted to help solve those problems that keep them awake at night.  They’ll soon begin seeking you out when they need help – and maybe referring you to their colleagues too.   How beneficial would that be to your business?

You ARE an expert – you know more about solving specific problems than a potential client,  even if it’s only a little bit more!   It’s your job to make this clear throughout your marketing, and business blogging is a key strategy you need to use.

Blogging is free.

We don’t get much for free these days!  OK, you’ll need a website if you don’t already have one, but there’s no need to pay for anything other than your domain name and hosting fees.  £50 per year should easily cover everything. The horror stories I’ve heard about astronomical prices and highly unethical practices from website companies would fill an entire blog post, so let’s just leave that there…

A regularly updated blog is a free source of traffic to your website – we’ve previously mentioned that Google loves fresh content, and what could be better than getting potential clients to your website WITHOUT running pay-per-click ads or spending a fortune on SEO (lots of unethical companies in that niche too!)

Email marketing is often free, but most people don’t read marketing emails –  and with GDPR in force, it’s a bit of a minefield.

Anyone can blog.  Yes, that includes you.  If you can write, you can blog.  It’s not rocket science.

What do I blog about?

This has to be the most frequently asked question, and it seems to be a major sticking point for people even when they understand how important blogging is.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Think about the questions your current and potential clients are always asking – write answers to those.
  • Write a case study –  how did you help a client get great results? (obviously, ask permission before doing this, and change names if required to preserve anonymity)
  • Write a list – tools or apps you couldn’t live without, blogs and websites you always visit to keep up to date – people love to read lists!
  • Write a “how to” post.  Explain comprehensively how to do something that your clients would find useful – even better if you include a video demonstration. “How To” is one of the top search terms in Google and YouTube, so this type of post is always valuable.
  • Take a look at competitors’ blogs for further ideas and inspiration.  You should never copy word-for-word, of course, but writing a similar post in your own words, with your own slant on the topic, is perfectly OK and very worthwhile.

Are you getting the idea?  Write down a few potential blog post topics now –  keep a folder specifically for this.

Ready to start blogging?

I hope you’re beginning to understand how important blogging is for your business.   If you need further inspiration, take a look at my post “Blog Like You Mean It

I’d love to read your blog –  why not share in the comments,  or message me on Facebook.

Not blogging yet and not sure about the best way to get started? Have you been blogging for a while but there are aspects you don’t understand, or you’re not happy with the way your blog looks?
Either way, my blogging support package Be A Better Blogger  has something to suit your needs –  why not take a look now?

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Unsubscribe at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of every email. Your details will be stored in my email marketing software but will never be sold to third parties. For full information on how your data is processed, please see the Privacy Notice.

Copyright © 2019 Naomi Jane Johnson t/a Value Added Video
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Blog Like You Mean It (And Keep Your Readers Coming Back)

Blog Like You Mean It (And Keep Your Readers Coming Back)

21 Ideas To Supercharge Your Blog Posts

The more you blog, the quicker you’ll become at writing effective, impactful posts that readers love and want to share.
Here are 21 ideas and tips to help speed up your blog writing process.

Try these tips for better, faster blog post writing.

  1. Eliminate Distractions.

    Close Facebook and other social media. Don’t be tempted to check email.  Put your phone on silent. Shut your home office door, if you can.
    Try to pick your ideal day of the week and time of day to write – for example, Wednesday at 9:30, when you’ve got that freshly-made cup of coffee sitting on your desk, the kids are safely in school and the dog is fast asleep.
    And make that time slot sacred: You’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to start writing creatively, when it’s a weekly habit.  Of course, you don’t have to blog weekly – monthly or even less frequently is fine, as long as you don’t go months without writing.

  2. Keep It Short.

    One idea per blog post will easily fit within 500 or so words. (If you find yourself passing 750 words, you’ve got two or more ideas – split them up!)

  3. Re-use and Recycle.

    Do you have any old articles you’ve written? Reports? Blog posts that never got off the ground? Put them to good use and re-purpose them into new blog posts. Here’s how…

    • Go through your piece of old content and use highlighting to isolate individual ideas
    • Pick one
    • Write a short post (no more than 500 words) on that single idea alone
    • If you do this for an entire document such as a report or even just a longer article, you should have a great batch of related blog posts in an afternoon!
  4. Write about what you know.

    Your biggest problem, if you stick to subjects you know off by heart, will be keeping the word count down! (See Idea # 1)

  5. Write first, research later.

    This tip fits with Idea # 3. When you’ve finished your post, re-read it. You’ll know if you need to expand on a statement with a line or two of research to add credibility to it.

  6. Write first, find images later.

    If you start looking for the right photo in the middle of your blog post, it’s far too easy to become distracted by pages full of wonderful visuals as you scroll through your favourite image site.

  7. Share a gem.

    If you discuss a fascinating fact, helpful link, hidden shortcut or little-known resource, you won’t need to write pages and pages! All people will see, want and grab is that one golden nugget.

  8. Use a screenshot or video.

    If your post sharing that amazing resource doesn’t quite make the magic 500 words,  boost interest and value by adding a screenshot or a screenshare video, showing some aspect of the resource that’ll make the reader want more.

  9. Start at the end!

    (aka reverse engineering) One trick widely used by professional bloggers is to write a conclusion first. Then write the introductory paragraph and several bullet points leading to the conclusion.

  10. Leave your reader keen to discover more.

    It’s better to leave your readers wanting more than bore them with pages of weighty research or – even worse – your unedited, in-depth opinion. (Think “teaser”).

  11. Create a series.

    This is a great way to break up a lengthier topic, dealing with it point by point.  Your readers will be eager for the next instalment!

  12. Dig out that never-used PLR bundle.

    If you’re like the majority of business owners who spend time online, you’ve bought PLR (private label rights content) and never got around to using it (my hand is raised here!) now is the time to dig it out and use it. Reword, move things around, or just use as the basis for your own ideas.

  13. Keep an Idea Jar.

    -either a literal one (I’ve seen people with these on their desk) or a document on your desktop or phone. Every time you think of a new idea,  drop a post it note into the jar, or update your Blog Post Ideas document.

  14. Pick a keyword.

    This is important! Similar to the Idea Jar, keep a keyword list or Excel spreadsheet. This numbered list should contain keywords that are evergreen – ones that will never go out of date for your niche.

  15. Use online tools.

    Try answerthepublic.com and contentideagenerator.com for blog topic ideas – you’ll be amazed at some of the suggestions. And the grumpy man on answerthepublic will make you smile 😉
    Not all the suggestions will be appropriate, but you’ll certainly find something of value –  these tools are great to try when you feel totally stuck.

  16. Set a timer.

    If an idea hits you, just write the post (not while driving -that’s when I often get lots of ideas)! But before you begin, set your phone timer for a short period of time (no more than 15 minutes)
    If the timer goes off before you’ve finished, save your post into a folder called “In Progress” (or whatever name works for you). Go back to your regularly scheduled work. Much later – perhaps even weeks later – dig one of these semi-completed blog posts out, when you need to come up with an update for your blog (or for a client, if you’re a content writer).
    Finishing a half-written blog post is much easier than thinking up an entirely new one. It will feel like cheating – and you’ll gain lots of practice in self-discipline and  writing faster by using the timer. Basing your post on one single keyword can help you focus and streamline each post.

  17. Write (something) daily.

    Nothing speeds up writing time more than getting into the habit of writing. Daily is good – social media posts count too, but make them meaningful! One blog post a month is better than none – but why not make it 2 or 3 posts?   It’s fine to keep them short (up to 500 words), although longer posts (over 1000 words) are also worthwhile occasionally (Google values longer blog posts).  However you tackle it, regular writing is good for self-discipline!

  18. Use a template.

    -especially if you’re writing reviews. It’s not always easy to write a short review post. In fact, many times you will get better results if you write in more depth, but using a template helps make the process relatively painless.

  19. Stick to a basic structure.

    If you don’t want to use a template, make sure you learn the basic structural elements of a strong blog post:

    • A beginning paragraph that makes a statement and promises what the reader will learn
    • At least two or three middle paragraphs that expand on the premise
    • A summary to bring your post to a strong conclusion
    • A call to action, encouraging comments or click-throughs from your reader – it’s so important to tell people what to do next.  I see so many bloggers write a brilliant post but forget to include any calls to action…
  20. Don’t edit as you write.

    Doing the latter is the surest way to:

    • Take the momentum out of your writing
    • Go off on a tangent
    • Lose the conversational feel and immediacy of your post (side note – don’t use jargon and technical language, write as if you were explaining the subject to a friend)
    • Undermine your own confidence
    • Prioritise layout, spelling and grammar above your vital message
    • Throw off your pacing (story flow)
  21. Create a plan and use a blogging calendar or schedule.

    Brainstorming and planning all your topics for the month ahead is a wonderful way to get you into the habit of writing,  and will speed up the whole process (try this for a useful calendar) Knowing your post topics ahead of time also helps you to:

    • Grab a great graphic whenever you come across one
    • Note any useful research links
    • Mull topics over in your mind
    • Seize the opportunity to ask questions of experts
    • Read related material

Final Thoughts

Do use sub-headings (H2, H3 etc in HTML terminology) and/or a few bullet points, if your blog post is over 350 words long. Sub-headings and bullet points break up the text, helping the reader feel that your post is easier and quicker to read.

The outcome of following this method means that all the fiddly stuff is done in advance.

For example:  you are browsing online, looking for graphics for today’s posts. While checking out the “People” category in your favourite photo site, you come across a photo of a small girl in a lilac dress, holding a posy of violets.

You realize this photo is the perfect illustration for next Wednesday’s post on “Styling Bridesmaids For Your Wedding”. Download it, edit, add text, your logo etc – and save it. Your photo will be ready to instantly drop in and go.

I know from personal experience that image editing can take quite a while, so the more you’re able to streamline this process, the better!

Even if you don’t use every one of these twenty-one speed tips for blog post writing, adapt as many as you can. Writing blog posts efficiently and quickly is mostly a matter of habit and practice. And the best part is… anyone can do it. Yes, YOU can reduce your post-writing time.

Try it and see!

Over To You

I hope I’ve encouraged you to write more and better blog posts. I’d love to see some of them –  why not share in the comments,  or message me on Facebook.

Need Further Help?

If you’re not blogging yet and you’re not sure about the best way to get started,  message me and we’ll chat.  Maybe you’ve been blogging for a while but there are aspects you don’t understand, or you’re not happy with the way your blog looks?
Just ask, I’m here to help 
🙂

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Keep In touch

If you’d like to receive occasional emails with useful hints and tips for your online marketing, simply add your details on the right and click SEND.
Unsubscribe at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of every email. Your details will be stored in my email marketing software but will never be sold to third parties. For full information on how your data is processed, please see the Privacy Notice.

Copyright © 2019 Naomi Jane Johnson t/a Value Added Video
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How To Create An Animated Logo Using Powerpoint

How To Create An Animated Logo Using Powerpoint

How To Create An Animated Logo With Powerpoint

You’ve probably noticed that video is everywhere – more and more business owners are realising that it’s pretty much an essential part of any marketing strategy these days.  If you’re creating videos regularly for your business, that’s great.  But are YOUR videos getting lost in a sea of sameness?  With so many videos now being shared on social media, it’s important to ensure that yours are seen – what are you doing to make them stand out and get noticed?

An animated logo – often called a logo reveal or logo stinger – is a simple way to add your branding and identity to every video you create and share online, either at the start, the end, or even both.  And it’s very easy to create your own in just a few minutes, using a tool that the majority of PC owners have access to:  Powerpoint.

Yes, our old friend Powerpoint has capabilities you probably hadn’t dreamed of – it’s by no means limited to creating those same old presentations that cause people to fall asleep in meetings and workshops.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Death By Powerpoint 😉

Add Branding – Get Your Videos Noticed

If you want to be seen amongst the ocean of video content, your videos need to stand out and be unique to your business.  An animated logo adds a touch of essential branding!

As well as adding your animated logo to existing videos,  use it as a standalone clip to share on social media – it’ll work well on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.  It’s even possible to upload videos directly to Pinterest nowadays.

You could also convert it into a gif and include that format in your emails (gifs are equivalent to images and they’ll autoplay wherever placed).  Try the EZGIF site –  it makes the process very straightforward.

So how do we create a logo animation in Powerpoint?   The simplest way to explain is in a video –  watch below to follow the process step-by-step as I produce a simple animated logo and tagline.  Why not add music to your video too – there are many places you can download royalty-free tracks, including YouTube’s own audio library  (select “attribution not required”)  and Facebook’s “Sound Collection” –  find this under “Publishing Tools” in your own Facebook page.

NB the video has my previous branding, please contact me via this email if you have comments or feedback.

 

Over To You

I hope I’ve inspired you to try creating your own animated logo! I’d love to see what you produce –  why not share in the comments,  or message me on Facebook.

Need A Bit More “Wow”?

Want even more visual punch to your logo reveal?  Here’s a showreel of examples that I’d love to create using YOUR logo – can you believe they’re just £20?  Message me to get started.  I’ll need your choice of design (let me know where it appears in the video), and your logo in png format. Not sure what that means?   Just ask, I’m here to help 🙂

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Copyright © 2019 Naomi Jane Johnson t/a Purrfectly Social
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Is Business Networking Worthwhile?

Is Business Networking Worthwhile?

Business Networking – could it work for you?

“Networking doesn’t work for me. I went to a couple of meetings and got no business from them”.

What is wrong with this statement? I’ve heard it (or similar) a few times over the last 7 years.

I’ll let you into a secret. I don’t generate a huge amount of business from networking. The majority of my clients find me through social media, in particular Facebook (LinkedIn is starting to deliver results, too).

But you won’t hear me saying “networking doesn’t work for me”. Why?

I work from home – I don’t even have a “home office” as such. It’s just a desk in a (somewhat untidy) room. However, because my business involves being online all day, and therefore in front of a computer, I could rapidly become unhealthy, not to mention very lonely.

I’m an introvert

Networking gets me out of the house and into situations that a few years ago I’d have avoided – as an introvert, I still get nervous about walking into a roomful of strangers, and I really don’t like (and avoid) “social” occasions.

Networking has enabled me to build a large circle of contacts – not just those who’ve bought from me, or vice versa, but people I can refer business to.

Naomi Johnson speaking at networking meeting

It has also given me the opportunity to practise my public speaking, by giving short presentations on a range of topics.

Contacts and referrals

So, when someone asks if I know a graphic designer, web developer, business coach, photographer, plumber, electrician – or pretty much any business you care to mention – I can give them at least one name immediately.

Would you feel good if someone referred enquiries to you because they’ve got to know you and your work over a period of several years? 

Would you be happy if someone you knew through networking asked you to do business? Of course. 

Would you love the chance to raise awareness of your business and develop your speaking skills?

Give networking a chance

If you give it a chance, networking works – in many ways other than the obvious. 2 meetings are nowhere near enough. I always tell people to give it 6 months of consistent attendance as a minimum. 

What’s your experience of networking?

Need help?

Want to know about local business networking groups?  I regularly attend several local meetings, and I’m currently the leader of the 4Networking Retford group – we meet every second Friday at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, Barnby Moor.  I’d love to welcome you to a meeting in the future, so please contact me for details.

Copyright © 2019 Naomi Jane Johnson t/a Purrfectly Social
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