How to Target Your Audience with Your Blog Posts

How to Target Your Audience with Your Blog PostsAre you wondering how you can reach out to more people with your blog? Are you trying to create content that appeals to your target audience?

Part of developing a content marketing plan is taking the time to understand your market. But how do you do that?

Ask!

How well do you know your audience? If you answered “not at all”, then your blog posts aren’t going to connect with them as well as they should.

Market research is neither easy nor quick, but the benefit of asking the right questions and getting responses from your target customer is ultimately invaluable.

When you really think about it, it also gives you the opportunity to turn cold contacts into leads. People like to talk about themselves, and asking for their feedback and opinion is a good way to esteem them. Moreover, it’s a chance for you to let them know what you are doing, and they may even become interested in your business as a result.

There are a variety of different ways to communicate with your target community members. You can’t underestimate the value of face-to-face interaction, but talking to several hundred or even several thousand people over lunch could prove challenging. Here are some other ways to gather feedback:

  • Phone calls: the next best thing after in-person communication is a phone call. You can pick up the tone of people’s voices and get a better sense of who they are and what they value over the phone.
  • Email: you can send out personally addressed emails and ask pertinent questions. With email, it’s important to keep things personal. If your message is too business-oriented, you may not get a response as it may come across as too salesy (“salesy” is not really a word, but you know what I mean).
  • Email campaigns: you can solicit feedback using your email campaigns. You may not get many responses this way, but if you use effective call to actions and other tools to connect, you will likely see better results.
  • Surveys: many email marketing services now allow you to attach or create surveys for your campaigns. This is a great way to get a sense of what your existing audience wants.
  • Video conferencing: you can use tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, or other video conferencing solutions to collect data. These options are almost as good as in-person conversations.

Of course, you need to know what questions to ask. Without a fairly consistent plan, it’s going to prove difficult to find trends and commonalities in your data.

In my mind, these are the most important questions to ask:

  1. What is your goal/objective/dream/vision?
  2. What is your biggest challenge?
  3. What would help you overcome these challenges?
  4. What would it mean for you if you could overcome these challenges?

Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery discuss the subject of understanding your audience in more detail in episode 221 of their podcast. The aforementioned questions come from that episode.

In asking these questions, there are several important things you need to pay attention to:

  • The language that your audience uses to describe their challenges. How do they communicate? What words do they use?
  • The goals that your audience identified. It may seem pretty common sense, but you should note what your community members are interested in accomplishing.
  • The problems that your audience identified. What pressing needs do they have right now? What is their greatest challenge?
  • The solution your audience is seeking. How can you provide what they are asking for and in what format?

Depending on the market you are trying to reach, they may respond best to different mediums. Blog posts alone can take a variety of different formats, but if you were to use graphics, whitepapers and PDFs, audio (podcasts) and video to connect with your audience, you would have a variety of options to consider.

Fundamentally, this process is about creating the content that best connects with your target audience. Some may prefer to read, while others may want to listen or watch. Focus on generating what benefits them.

Conclusion: Target Your Audience

When you take the time to understand your audience and speak their language, you will create powerful magnetic content that will draw them in.

Are you attracting the right kind of people to your blog? If not, don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for. Please get in touch with me so that we can discuss how we can better connect with your target audience.

How to Build Credibility with Your Blog

How to Build Credibility with Your BlogA blog can help to cultivate credibility for your business. It shows that you are willing to allocate time and resources towards developing a relationship with your audience. People tend to feel better about a company that produces their own customized content.

However, a disused blog won’t do you much good. In fact, it might even harm your reputation. If your blog hasn’t been updated in a while, it might be time to delete it or find someone else to manage it (but we’ll get to that a little later).

In this post, I am going to take a look at a few simple things you can do that will build trust with your readers, leads and customers.

Post New Content Consistently

Without regular content additions to your blog, you’re going to find that building credibility is going to be an uphill battle. Consistency will build anticipation, and anticipation will help to solidify your readership. Social proof can play a part in appearing credible, and the more readers you have, the more comments and social shares you will likely have.

In the eyes of a reader, a neglected blog is going to look both unprofessional and untrustworthy. Make sure to develop a plan for content creation and post regularly.

Provide Relevant Information

If your blog doesn’t address a fairly narrowly defined niche, you may find it challenging to gain a solid footing with it. For example, if you offer online guitar lessons, your blog should be on a topic that compliments the subject matter. You might provide your users with reviews and consumer reports, or gear recommendations and instrument maintenance tips.

Though it is sometimes worthwhile to take inspiration from outside sources, don’t deviate too far from your core message. Stay steady, and keep producing content that supports the marketing message of your business.

Provide Useful Information

Relevant and useful content can sometimes go hand-in-hand. When you consistently create content pertinent to your industry, it can help to draw in people that share the same interests.

With that in mind, a lot of people conduct searches and go online to get answers to their questions. By providing your user base with how-to guides, tutorials, tips & tricks and other resources, you can generate more organic traffic for your blog.

Create posts that help people, and your credibility will grow.

Solicit Participation

A blog can help to start conversations with your target audience. If you are making it a point to discuss relevant industry subjects, readers are going to want to weigh in with their thoughts too.

As was hinted at earlier, a significant number of comments on any post can build trust with your readers. It is an indicator that a large number of people read your blog and have the desire to interact with you.

The more readers you have, the more relevant you will ultimately appear.

Conclusion: Build Credibility with Your Blog

The purpose of building credibility with your audience is to increase conversion rates and your bottom line. A regularly updated blog will not only stimulate more user engagement, it will generate more mailing list subscribers, leads and customers as well.

Marketing has increasingly become more about offering value first. In the online world, the best way to accomplish this task is to have a well-maintained blog. Marketing isn’t just about building awareness for your brand anymore. It’s about developing relationships with your audience and providing them with guides and tutorials that they can use and act on.

Though traditional forms of marketing can still be effective, if you want to reach more people online, it is worth considering the advantages of content marketing.

So, if you aren’t sure how to go about building credibility for your blog, I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me and let’s discuss how we can build more trust with your blog.

How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan for Your Blog

How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan for Your BlogIn this post, I am going to take a look at how to develop an effective plan for your content marketing efforts.

Fundamentally, your plan should be your own. There are many determining factors – including the type of business you run – that will change your overall approach.

With that in mind, here are several tips you can use to develop your blueprint.

Choose A Topic

No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to specify a focus for your blog. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to rank well for every keyword of your choosing. If you want to work smart – instead of just working hard – you’re going to want to have a clearly defined focal point for your blog.

More than likely, your focus will be on subjects that are relevant to your industry. If you have an email marketing service, for example, you would likely write about email marketing best practices, effective subject lines, proprietary software tutorials, and so on.

In short, your blog should support your business, and by creating content that your target audience is likely to be looking for, you can create more interest for your products or services.

Create An Editorial Calendar

I’ve talked about creating an editorial calendar for your blog already.

An editorial calendar will give you an at-a-view glance of work that you’ve already done and work that you’re about to do. You can use it to log your ideas, and you can also submit it to your manager or boss to show them what you’ve been working on.

Additionally, you can share your editorial calendar with others on your team, which will allow you to collaborate with them and flesh out more ideas.

Generate Ideas

At first, ideas for blog posts may seem to flow fairly easily. Then, over time, you may discover that it’s getting harder to generate new ideas. When it comes time to write, you end up staring at a screen without any kind of direction.

There are a variety of different ways to stimulate inspiration. Here are a few examples:

  • Stay up-to-date with your industry. If you are not in the habit of reading industry news, you may want to make it a higher priority. Paying attention to various news items and opinion pieces can stir new ideas for your own posts.
  • Vary your input. At times, learning about non-pertinent subjects and industries can spark brainwaves. Make it a point to study a variety of different topics.
  • Create a procedure. Blog posts, for the most part, tend to follow a common format. If you have a procedure list for how to develop interesting titles, simply going through your documented procedure may spark new inspiration.
  • Answer common customer questions. We’ve all experienced the frustration of having to answer the same customer questions over and over again. Creating a detailed guide for your blog and directing your customers to that resource can prove time-saving. Simultaneously, you can build credibility with your audience.
  • Answer questions you would like to be asked. While this may not be a high priority category, it can nevertheless help you to create more ideas for your posts. Consider the questions your customers should be asking, but aren’t. Create a post for each question.
  • Search Quora and answer relevant questions. Quora is a Q&A site where the user base asks and answers a variety of questions. If people are already asking a particular question to do with your industry, you know that they are looking for relevant answers. You can expand on the discussions and flesh out a full post to help these people.

Remember to keep a running list of your ideas, and continue to add to it as you think of more.

Develop Templates

Every writer has their own preferences and styles, and they all have their own unique approach to writing as well. However, once you have been in the habit of creating new content for a while, patterns will emerge, and habits will begin to form. This is a good time to start creating templates for yourself.

If you are developing new content on a regular basis, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. By using templates, you can expedite your process and make it more streamlined.

For example, you may want to create templates for each of these styles of posts:

  • How-to posts
  • List posts
  • The history-of posts
  • Industry news posts
  • etc.

The topic of developing templates will be covered in more detail in a future post.

Create Engaging Titles

Creating engaging titles is another topic that I’ve examined on this blog already.

To summarize, use basic copywriting practices to entice more clicks. Making the post informational in nature can generate more overall interest. Of course, it’s good practice to include relevant keywords as well.

Optimize Your Posts

It’s important to realize that optimizing your posts is going to take some planning. However, it is a crucial component to developing a long-term content marketing plan that works.

Optimizing your posts doesn’t just make them more discoverable on search engines like Google and Bing. It makes them easier to find with internal search as well. In other words, it helps your users and it improves your site’s navigation and interface.

Either learn to optimize as you are writing, or create some margin in your schedule to configure each post for search after it has been written.

Provide Useful Information

People like information that they can act on. By providing useful, actionable blog posts, you can ultimately attract more visitors to your website and build trust with them.

Self-promotion is rarely useful. Company news is rarely useful. Information that could easily be found elsewhere is not as compelling as it could be.

Instead, provide your followers with how-to guides, tutorials, white papers, PDFs, and other digital content that will benefit them.

Provide A Unique Perspective

Nobody’s blog posts are 100% original. They often pull from different sources and summarize the same points in their own words. We’ve all done it before.

However, it’s important to offer a unique perspective where you can. For example, some experts may feel that social media is the best way to promote their blog content. If you disagree, then talk about why, and talk about what has worked for you.

Don’t feel like your content has to be perfect to be valuable. The internet is a fairly forgiving place, all things considered. Moreover, adding your viewpoint to a topic could stimulate a discussion in the comments section. Originality fosters engagement.

Add New Content Regularly

Consistency is crucial to the success of your blog. Unless you have employees that are dedicated to this task, it can be difficult to keep up with it.

Even if you have to outsource the production of content, as many businesses are now opting to do, the long-term benefits of a regularly updated blog will outweigh the limited advantages of a rarely nurtured blog. The increased credibility alone is well worth the effort.

Ultimately, when you are adding new content regularly, more of it will be indexed and discovered in search as well.

Promote Your Content

No matter how much content you create, it still has to be promoted. Rather than seeing creation and marketing as two separate entities, it’s useful to see them as a connected whole.

For example, it’s easy to write content and just leave it or come back to it later. However, it takes a little more work and discipline to remain steady in promoting it immediately after it is published to your blog.

If you find it challenging to do so, create a procedure list for yourself. Outline everything that needs to happen once a blog post goes live (post to social media, submit to social bookmarking sites, email contributors, etc.).

Conclusion: Content Marketing Plan

Do you have a content marketing plan for your blog yet? If not, don’t worry; I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me so that we can come up with a content marketing plan that works for you.

Your Blog is Not a Business

Your Blog is Not a BusinessYou’ve probably heard all about the benefits of blogging. In the online word, content is king, and many businesses are investing more resources into content marketing than ever before. That is as it should be.

However, blogging in and of itself should not be confused for a business model. It is certainly possible to profit from a blog, but not without a well-defined plan and a sharp focus.

Just look at Darren Rowse; he doesn’t just have a blog. He’s an author of a book, he has a job board for bloggers seeking work, and he also has a forum where his audience can discuss pertinent topics. In short, he’s built more than a blog; he’s built an entire community. He’s also quite diversified in his monetization strategies.

Therefore, blogging is a fantastic tool for building a community around a product, a service, or a particular project. But it’s not a business unto itself.

So, if a blog is for community and not for business, how should we go about building our online communities?

Your Blog Should Engage Your Audience

It’s hard to develop a compelling social media strategy without creating new content on a regular basis. Though you can post interesting things that others have created – and it is certainly advisable to do so occasionally – that is traffic that you could be directing to your own website. More traffic can result in more leads and sales.

Email marketing is very much the same. What are you going to share in your newsletters if not for content that your subscribers are likely to be looking for? Targeted content can convert leads into buyers if it is compelling enough. Furthermore, if you aren’t engaging your non-buying subscribers from time to time, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Use your blog to engage your audience. Deliver content that makes people go “wow, I can’t believe they went out of their way to deliver that kind of value.”

Your Blog Should Support Your Business

The benefits of a regularly updated blog should be fairly clear. Search engines like blogs because they are keyword rich and are updated often with new content. Great blog posts are going to increase the traffic to your website because of their inherent SEO benefits. Additionally, anything that you publish today will stay online forever. The long-term compounding effect of more content is more traffic for your website. And that’s just the effect a blog can have on search.

A blog can also lend credibility to your business. As you create increasingly more value-adding content for your target audience, you will come to be seen as a trusted source of information in your particular industry. You will build a positive reputation for your business.

Use your blog to compliment your ongoing marketing activities. Grow your opportunities by generating great content on a regular basis.

Your Blog Should Provide Value

Though you may hope to increase sales through your blog – and that is a reasonable expectation – your primary focus should be on providing value first. When you create value, your website visitors are going to be more interested in following your social profiles and opting in for your newsletters. As a result, you will generate more leads that may also turn into customers.

Use your blog to create value, and more people are going to take interest in your business. If you make it a point to help people, they will think of you when it comes time to purchase a service or product like yours.

Conclusion

This post was not written with the intent of discouraging anyone from starting a blog. If it is something that you want to do, I’m not here to stop you.

Notwithstanding, it’s important to remember that your blog is not a product or service unto itself. It can help you to build your email list, website traffic, credibility and social followers. It can help you to build an engaged community too.

If you’re not sure how to go about building your blog community, you’re in luck. I am here to help.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s discuss how we can increase your blog traffic.

How to Create Engaging Titles for Your Blog Posts

How to Create Engaging Titles for Your Blog PostsOne of the difficult realities of blogging is that even if you create a great blog post, if you don’t frame it correctly, it won’t resonate with your audience. And by framing, I mean the title of the post.

More often than not, the first thing people see is the headline. A good title will draw people in. However, your post has to do more than draw people in. You still have to deliver the goods, or your readers won’t stick around.

In other words, both the title and the content are equally important. Notwithstanding, you have to start with a great title, because that’s the component that is initially going to grab the attention of your audience.

First…

Create a Working Title

You don’t have to start with a meticulously crafted post title, even though that is your end goal. If you have an editorial calendar, chances are good that you already have a title in mind for the post you’re writing.

If you don’t have a title, then you don’t have a focus for your post. If you don’t have a focus, you don’t really have a post at all.

In short, don’t worry about the final title until you know what your content piece is going to be about. You may find it beneficial to…

Write the Post First

If you have a working title, and you know what you want to say with your new post and what you want your audience to gain from it, then write the full post before revising the title. You should have a better idea of what you want to communicate with your content once the whole piece is written.

However, you should make sure to…

Avoid Deception

Even though the title needs to engage, it shouldn’t be misleading. If someone clicks on your post and the content disappoints, you will have a hard time creating a positive reputation with your audience. I know I hinted at that already, but it bears repeating.

Ensure that your post title accurately reflects the subject matter. Then…

Make it Informational

People online are often looking for great information. Terms like ‘how to’, ‘learn’, ‘what is’, ‘what are’, and ‘history of’ are known to pique people’s interest. Numbers are also great tools for devising a title.

Here are several examples of commonly used post titles that engage:

  • How to Promote Your Blog (How-to posts)
  • How to Make Money from your Blog without Ads (Benefit posts)
  • 22 Ways to Promote Your Blog (List posts)
  • Double Your Blog’s Traffic in 90 Days (Results posts)
  • Learn How to Write Blog Posts that Engage (Learning posts)
  • The Secret to Becoming a Six-Figure Blogger (Tutorial posts)
  • The History of Blog Marketing (History-of posts)

In other words, common copywriting practices are often used to create titles that people can’t help but click on. It is worthwhile to study basic copywriting if you want to craft appealing titles, but that’s another subject for another time.

Once you’ve settled on a format, don’t forget to…

Include Keywords

Remember to optimize your title by including relevant keywords. Even though you want your post’s title to be attention-grabbing, it also needs to accurately mirror the theme and focus of the entire post. Again, deception should be avoided.

For example, if you’ve settled on ‘The Secret to Becoming a Six-Figure Blogger’ as your post title, then your keyword is ‘six-figure blogger’.

With all of these considerations in mind, it’s time to…

Finalize the Title

You started with a working title. You wrote the post. You made sure that the title accurately reflects what the post is about. You made the title informational in nature (if applicable). You included several relevant keywords.

Now it’s time to finalize the title. Once you are sure that it conveys what your content piece is about, you are ready to hit ‘Publish”. If you think of a better title later, don’t worry. Blog posts can be edited.

Promote the Post

Even the best content still needs to be promoted. Make sure to distribute your new post to social networks, and promote it to your mailing list subscribers. Encourage your readers to share it and comment on it too!

Conclusion: Creating Engaging Titles

If you still aren’t sure how to go about crafting engaging titles for your posts, I would encourage you to get in touch.

I create content for a variety of different businesses on a myriad of topics, and I would love to work together with you on future projects.

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

How to Create an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

Do you have an editorial calendar for your blog yet? If not, your blogging efforts probably aren’t as effective or efficient as they could be.

By the end of this how-to guide, you will have your very own editorial calendar, and you will be much happier for it too!

The Benefits of Creating an Editorial Calendar

Before getting into the details of how to build an editorial calendar, let’s consider its primary benefits. After all, we’re mostly motivated by what we’re going to get out of it, aren’t we?

So, here’s what you have to gain:

  • An editorial calendar will help you to keep organized. When you know what posts need to be written for the following week or month, you won’t have to come up with new ideas at the last minute.
  • Your calendar will help you to develop content with an end goal in mind, instead of having to force a message in at the last minute.
  • An editorial calendar will keep you focused. When your post ideas are laid out in front of you, you can give yourself some time to mull over the posts before publishing them.
  • You can use your calendar as a to-do list, to help you develop your ideas as they come to you.

An Important Prerequisite

Before you create an editorial calendar, you should have a content marketing plan of sorts. Your content marketing strategy should outline your target keywords and define your ideal customer, follower or subscriber, so that you can create content to draw in your target demographic.

However, that is beyond the scope of this post. Don’t worry; I will be talking more about that in a future post.

How to Create Your Editorial Calendar in Google Drive

Google Drive is a fantastic tool that enables you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and a variety of other media. If you already have a Google account, you should be able to access Drive from drive.google.com. If not, you’ll want to go and create your account now.

Once you are logged in to Google Drive, simply click on the red ‘Create’ button in the upper left hand side, and click on ‘Spreadsheet’. For all intents and purposes, the spreadsheet tool should serve you well in creating and maintaining your editorial calendar.

Building an editorial calendar - creating a spreadsheet

At this point, the most important headings to create in your spreadsheet are ‘Title’, ‘Notes’, and ‘Publish Date’.

The Title, of course, is the title of the post you intend to create.

Your Notes section might include links to articles that you want to reference, or quotes from experts and influencers in your industry. You could also simply link to an Evernote note where you’ve stored all of the information you want to be included in that particular post.

The Publish Date, naturally, is the date you want the post to go live on your blog. Make sure to give yourself and/or your team adequate time to flesh out the post ideas they’ve been assigned.

What an editorial calendar looks like

This is what a basic editorial calendar looks like.

These three headings are absolute necessities, but if you’d like to go into more detail, you might consider adding the following titles to your calendar as well:

  1. Author: if there are multiple writers for your blog, you may want to create a section for contributing writers.
  2. Destination: if you regularly create guest posts or submit articles to other places, you may want to specify a destination for each of your posts.
  3. Status: if you’d like to mark finished posts as ‘complete’, ‘in progress’ or ‘incomplete’, you may find this heading helpful.
  4. Category: if you have multiple categories for your blog, which you likely do, you can pre-determine which category you intend to slot each post under.
  5. Tags: if you struggle to keep your blog tags organized, and you want to be more structured, you can take some time to think about what tags you want to attach to each of your upcoming posts. Don’t forget that tags are supposed to compliment search; in other words, if a blog post is tagged with ‘SEO’, people should be able to find other posts on your site about that topic by clicking on the tag anchor.
  6. Keywords: when you know what your keywords are going to be, it is much easier to write titles and headlines that help with your SEO efforts.
  7. Call to action: if you have a specific call to action that you want to highlight in a post, you can mark them down in a new cell on your calendar.

Share Your Calendar

Once you’ve created your editorial calendar, remember to share it with your team or other collaborators. After all, one of the benefits of creating your calendar using Google Drive is the ability to share it online.

When others can pitch in and add their ideas, it will ultimately benefit the content you create. Working together, you can develop a finished piece that is far better than what you could have conceived on your own!

Conclusion

If you need help setting up an editorial calendar, or you are looking for a writer to create content for your blog, I would encourage you to get in touch with me.

I blog for a variety of businesses on a variety of different subjects, and am more than happy to help. I look forward to hearing from you.

6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your Blog

6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your BlogIf people don’t care about your blog, have you ever stopped to think about why they don’t care?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, our company hasn’t been around that long”, or “Our blog isn’t as important as our product.”

Those things may be true. However, if you aren’t gaining traction with your content marketing efforts, it’s probably because you aren’t doing the right things. A well-crafted blog post will almost always augment your traffic and grow your brand awareness.

You have to create a long-term plan for your blog if you want it to work for you. You have to learn to work smart instead of just working hard, because we all know that writing – especially undirected writing – can eat up a lot of time.

If no one cares about your blog, it might be for one of the following six reasons. Let’s explore each in more detail.

1. Your Blog Isn’t Concerned With Anyone Else

Companies everywhere used to use their blog to post updates about their business growth, their latest client or the recent hire on their team. In short, they were mostly self-interested, and they tended not to stick with their blogging efforts.

However, tooting your own horn won’t help you to get traction with your blog in today’s online climate. People are looking for information; they don’t care about your company unless you first show that you care about them.

As it has often been said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Write for your audience; don’t write merely to self-promote.

2. Your Blog Doesn’t Add Value

It’s one thing to write for SEO purposes. However, if you’re just going to re-present information that’s readily available elsewhere, your blog isn’t doing what it should be doing for you.

Moreover, you need to engage your audience by providing information that they are likely to be looking for. Carefully consider what your customer might need to know about your product or service and write about that.

Additionally, link out to other sources and reference other experts. Don’t fear talking about other people’s products or services, unless you are going out of your way to defame them.

3. Your Blog Isn’t Helping Anyone

Why do people read the blogs they do? Why do they become repeat visitors? Because the author is helping them!

You need to consider what goals your target demographic might have, and create content around that. If you are committed to serving your audience, your blog will reflect that fact.

Use your blog to educate and inform.

4. Your Blog Doesn’t Have A Focus

If you have a blog, you should define your target keywords and hone in on a specific subject. A blog doesn’t benefit your site if it doesn’t compliment the product or service you are trying to sell.

It’s easy to lose focus, and it might even seem difficult to create a variety of content around a single subject, but the sooner you determine a focus, the sooner you will gain a reputation for your area of expertise.

5. You Aren’t Framing Your Content In An Interesting Way

This post could have been titled ‘Your Blog Isn’t Very Good’. While that might be an okay title, ’6 Reasons People Don’t Care About Your Blog’ is far more attention-grabbing.

If you’re already putting significant effort towards writing posts, keep in mind that you may not necessarily have a content problem. You might have a headline or title problem.

It’s important to frame your content in such a way that people can’t help but want to read more. Make sure to craft interesting titles for your posts.

6. You Aren’t Adding New Content On A Regular Basis

Many businesses already know that they should be blogging. However, they don’t necessarily know why. When you don’t know why, it just becomes busywork, and it ends up falling to the bottom of your priority list.

For your blog to be effective, you need to be publishing new posts on a regular basis. It’s not enough to post sporadically, whenever you feel like it. You need a plan and an editorial calendar to keep you honest.

There isn’t much point in having a blog that’s updated any less than once a month, and that’s on the low side.

Conclusion

So, if you find it difficult to stay on a consistent schedule, or you simply don’t know how to create engaging content, I am here to help.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s come up with a plan to tackle your content marketing problem.

Musicians: What is Your Overall Marketing Plan?

Musicians: What is Your Overall Marketing Plan?My primary area of expertise is in online marketing. However, in deciding on an online and social media strategy, I think it’s crucial to have an overarching marketing plan that informs your overall approach.

In other words, you need to define your purpose. Once you know why you exist, the what will pretty much takes care of itself.

You may have heard all of this before, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Let’s figure out what your overall marketing plan is so that every part of your promotional efforts lock together to build a unified whole.

Why do You Create Music?

It may seem a little patronizing to ask, but you have to carefully consider this question (“why do you create music?”) if you want to figure out what your purpose is.

At the center of your marketing – and, for that matter – at the center of your music career should be your reason for existing.

A lot of musicians try to go about it the other way. They start with the ‘what’. When you start with the ‘what’, your marketing messages sound like a whiny, self-important child (check this out, check us out, check out our latest promotion, etc.). People tend to tune this stuff out.

When you start with the ‘why’, your marketing will resonate with the right people. You will begin to attract an engaged audience.

Your ‘why’ doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. It doesn’t even have to be eloquent, respectable or admirable. However, it does have to make you come alive.

How do you know if you’ve found your ‘why’? If it makes you cry, laugh, get angry, or if it sounds too good to be true, you’re probably hitting pretty close.

How to Translate Your Purpose into Your Marketing Plan

Your ‘why’ is your primary motivation for doing what you do. Another way of looking at it is that your core values are telling you how to act.

Is serves to reason that what you value, you will put effort into, correct? If you really love your significant other, you will let them know. If you really care about your family, you will spend time with them and help them when they’re in need.

But here’s a really important point: you’re already living out your core values on a daily basis! Even though you may not be consciously aware of it, if you were to take a closer look at your life, you would soon realize that this is true.

How you spend your time and how you spend your money will tell you what you care about most.

So, in other words, translating your purpose into your marketing plan really isn’t that hard. Your ‘why’ is your marketing plan.

The reason we tend to get off-track is because we don’t feel comfortable being that vulnerable online or otherwise. If you want to live out your purpose, it demands that you feel uncomfortable at times.

Conclusion: Developing Your Overall Marketing Plan

Do you know what your primary motivating purpose is?

If not, don’t worry; I’m here to help. I offer one-on-one consultations with musicians to help them figure out their online marketing and social media strategies.

Please get in touch with me, and let’s explore your ‘why’ together.

Musicians: Do You Have a Website?

Musicians: Do You Have a Website?It’s amazing to me how many musicians (even well-known ones!) don’t have a website.

For my money, online marketing begins with your website. Sites like ReverbNation, MySpace and Bandcamp are great and all, but they’re just rental spaces. There are virtually no guarantees that their terms won’t change, that your profile won’t be taken down, or that the sites won’t get shut down at some point.

If you really want to create a solid foundation for your online presence, you need to own something, and that something should be your website.

Why are Websites so Important?

Here are the main reasons why you should have a website:

  1. A website makes you look professional. If I do a Google search for you and all of the results on the first page are your social profiles, I am less likely to take you seriously.
  2. A website says you’re serious. So you’ve invested time, money and effort into building, designing and maintaining a beautiful-looking website, cool! That means that you have a long-term plan and that you see a future for yourself in music. Congratulations.
  3. A website says you care. While you can use social media sites to provide something extra for your fans, you are somewhat limited in what you can do for them. Since your website is your own, you can do whatever you want, and if you show me that you care about your fans with the content you put on your site, I’m more likely to reciprocate too.

There are many tangent points off of these main ones, but I think you can see why I advocate having a website.

Qualifiers

Just in case; let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about here. A website is not any of these things:

  • A website is not a domain name forwarding to a ReverbNation, Myspace, Facebook, or any other social media page.
  • A website is not a landing page with a bunch of links to purchase your music (there are some strategic reasons for limiting visitor options, but this is both lazy and lackluster).
  • A website is not merely an online business card. It has to be updated, revised, maintained, and tweaked regularly.

Do You Have a Website?

So, do you have a website according to the standards laid out in this post?

If not, you need to rectify that situation; especially if you see yourself building a music career over the long haul.

Fortunately, I’m here to help. I offer one-on-one online marketing consultations for musicians, and I provide actionable tips that you can use to better your career.

If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with me. Let’s get your marketing sorted out once and for all.

Musicians: Do You Have an Online Marketing Checklist?

Musicians: Do You Have an Online Marketing Checklist?

It has often been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many musicians do (or don’t do as the case may be).

How much time are you wasting on empty, non-productive pursuits online? How often do you get sidetracked while trying to work on something important?

The online world can certainly be a distracting place, but if you have a plan for how you are going to approach your marketing activities, you will rarely need to spend more than 15 to 30 minutes a day on the internet (unless you are regularly blogging as this activity may require more time).

On the other hand, if you don’t have a plan, how much time could you end up wasting online? One hour? Two hours? Three hours?

That’s not time you’re going to get back!

Online marketing is important, but it isn’t everything. Practicing, performing, and recording should be higher priorities on your list of things to do.

If you find that your online marketing efforts aren’t organized, I would recommend developing an online marketing checklist to boost your personal productivity.

How to Put Together an Online Marketing Checklist

Your checklist does not need to be perfect. It doesn’t even need to be great. Its purpose is simply to guide you through the tasks that you need to do while you are on your computer.

Take a moment to ask yourself this question: what is important to me?

You already know what you need to do online. No one else can tell you what matters to you most (though you can bounce ideas off of other people).

So, start by making a list of the things you see as being important. Here are a few different items you might consider:

  • Answering emails.
  • Writing a blog post (technically, you don’t have to do this while you are online; if you’re going to format it and post it, you do).
  • Posting to Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on.
  • Posting events on social sites.
  • Answering direct messages on social media.
  • Interacting with your fans on social media (i.e. posts that have comments on them).
  • Reaching out to prospective fans, industry experts and other connections on social media.

This is just a sample list. I’m sure you could think of other things that you’d like to accomplish with your online time. Add them to your list.

3 Steps to Creating a Sustainable Online Marketing Plan

  1. Create a list. Again, make a list of the online marketing activities that you need to carry out on a daily basis.
  2. Organize your list. Put the most important items at the beginning of your list, and the least important items towards the end. Sort them by importance.
  3. Create some boundaries. Figure out how long it takes for you to finish all of your online tasks. Set a daily online time limit.

Not sure how to get started on your online marketing checklist? Not sure what you should be focusing on?

Don’t fret, that’s what I’m here for. I offer one-on-one online marketing consultations for musicians. If you’d like to figure out how to maximize the results of your online marketing efforts, make sure to get in touch with me, and we’ll talk it through.