ClearVerve Marketing, LLC

Promise Marketing Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

You decided to start a blog, now what?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — 

 

You made a good choice. Blogs position you as an expert and help you build trusting relationships with your prospects and customers. What you write helps them get to know you better, and through their comments and your site analytics, you come to know them better too.

Your blog will pay off. People always prefer to work with those they know and trust. So, when they’re ready to get down to business, they’ll call you.

But, how to start? Here are a few tips to help you develop your blog.

Choose your blog domain name carefully. Be sure to buy the URLs so that if you ever want to change platforms, you can easily do so without losing traffic.

Keep the design clean, simple and easy to navigate. We use WordPress, but there are other easy-to-use blog platforms as well. Remember it’s more about what you write. Well, what would you expect a director of content to say?

Content. Speaking of content, your blog should be reflective of your principals and personality. Also, keep social media etiquette in mind when blogging. You must understand the importance of transparency and motive. Don’t always be selling. Often times adding value by giving advice is better. You might even want to develop a style outline for your blog. This will provide clear direction for the tone and objectives of what you write. Keep a running list of blog post ideas and check your blog metrics so you can see what posts generate the most traffic. And remember to write using key words so that your posts can be easily found by your audience.

Set a goal for the number of posts to write per week or month. We’re all more likely to stick to a schedule if we set one — plus there’s the added bonus of posting fresh content. Most of your blog posts should contain original content, but others can highlight information, resources or research that you know your audience likes or appreciates.

Repurpose your blog content. Think how simple life will be when an editor calls asking for you to contribute a column or opinion piece for publication. Not an issue, grab an appropriate blog post from the past and you’re ready to roll. Don’t worry about running your blog posts in other places — email newsletters, in your ezine, on Twitter or on your Facebook page, as the basis of news releases, or in print in a professional organization’s publication – they’re your messages and you’ll want to get plenty of use from them.

Jackie Costa, the director of content marketing at Clear Verve, works with clients to create and distribute smarter, better marketing communications materials. Listen for her on Twitter @JackieMCosta.

Related Posts
Five reasons your organization should be blogging
I don’t have time to blog
Nobody reads agency blogs

Five reasons your organization should be blogging

 

I read recently that fewer than half of all Fortune 100 companies use blogs as a communications tool, and that smaller to midsize organizations are only a little more engaged in blogging than their Fortune 100 counterparts.

That’s a cryin’ shame. Having a blog is well worth the time and effort. It provides great benefits and ultimately, can be your most highly effective, powerful, low-cost marketing tool. You should take advantage of this medium. Use this tactic and make it the key component of your social media and content marketing efforts. Here’s why:

Blogs bring new business or new donations. It’s important for your prospective customers, clients or donors to find you online. Blogs make it easier for them to do that and initiate contact with you when they are ready to engage. You become part of their mental furniture and when they’re ready to rearrange some things, you’ll be the knowledgeable, helpful organization that’s top of mind.

Blogs provide prominence and show leadership. A blog can become the gateway to your organization and provide a reason to visit it often. If your website is your online brochure, your blog is your sales call. In addition, blogging enriches you professionally; it keeps you in the loop, which thought leader usually are. As you read more about your industry you’ll be excited to share and comment on it. You’ll be up to date with the freshest thinking and be acquainted with the newest trends — all good things for the people you serve. Blogging positions you in their minds as a trusted expert. However, you have to be a little careful. As soon as you start to sell your organization or crow a little bit too loudly about your credentials, accomplishments or awards, you’ll lose your street cred and your audience. Stick with writing rich, helpful content about people, things and activities that make life a little better … or funnier.

Blogs help you build trust and allow you to practice what you preach. If you volunteer at a nonprofit, you can blog for them about the people who’ve met and helped. If you sell vegetables, you can blog about how to use them in recipes. If you work at a marketing company that recommends blogging, you better be doing it. Plus, blogs offer lots of flexibility. Posts can be long or short, visual or not, and incorporate just about any type of media. Videos, photos, infographics, even presentations can all be embedded into your organization’s blog. With a blog, you own the content, control the platform and decide on the format. Say what you want to say. Be the authority.

Blogs are always fresh. By its very nature, a blog is one of the best ways to continually produce fresh content for your website, and search engines love fresh content. A steady stream of new information will attract new visitors to your site and keep your fans coming back too. Additionally, blog content can be repurposed on websites and reposted on other social media sites.

Blogs boost your search engine rankings. Unless your company or product line is very large, blogging is the most practical and valuable way to expand your website content. By creating more content through blog articles, you create more opportunities to rank in search engines. Because of a much higher number of keywords, blog posts can organically attract diverse high-quality links, which are far more likely to be shared in social media than standard website content; just make sure your blog is hosted on your company domain (e.g. blog.yourcompany.com or yourcompany.com/blog).

Blogging isn’t free, but it is a bargain. Setup and hosting fees plus the time you or an employee invest in writing are minimal compared to the amount you’d spend calling and traveling to meet people at their offices or networking at a tradeshow. What’s invaluable though is the traffic and trust you’ll build by simply adding content.

Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve and works with clients to create and distribute smarter, better marketing communications materials. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.

Related Posts
I Don’t Have Time to Blog
Nobody Reads Agency Blogs
Niches: A Smart Strategy

 

Nobody reads agency blogs

 

Two of my favorite bloggers, Michael Gass and Chris Brogan wrote blog posts prompted by a blog post from Jason Falls. (Can you follow that? It almost sounds like a middle school chain of gossip. But it’s not.) All three posts make great points about corporate blogging in general.  It seems that many corporations are investing less time in their blogs and many agencies are following suit, saying they are too much work for too little results.

Well duh! Most agency blogs aren’t all that great. Both Gass and Brogan point out that most blogs have no strategy behind them and that nobody likes to read self-serving posts. We agree. We also think that agencies generally have horrible websites too. I think it’s because as creative people our own websites are a great place to turn the creative faucet all the way to high. This sometimes leads to beautiful, oddly-functioning, hard to navigate websites. Also, agencies often flock to the latest, newest, shiniest tool and get bored quickly with “old” (as in 6 months old) stuff.

We continue to advise our clients to blog and to (gasp!) publish e-newsletters. They work. But you have to be willing to share what you know. Remember, you can talk all day about what you know and a good prospect will recognize that it’s better to pay for your expertise than to try to figure out how to do something for themselves. If they’re a DIY kind of business, they’re not a great client anyway. At least not yet.

Don’t give up on blogs. They’re great for SEO. They’re great for forcing yourself to read and write on a regular basis. They demonstrate expertise. And they do work!

 

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

Related Posts
Common Sense Content Marketing Tips
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I don’t have time to blog!

 

This is a very busy week at Clear Verve. In the last two weeks, we landed three new clients, and just this week picked up projects from some former clients. While we are most certainly GRATEFUL for the additional work and glad to see our former clients call us when they have needs, we have a lot to do. On top of the increased workload, Susan is on vacation, and we are moving the office to a larger location at the end of next week. I’ve been working at home nearly every night just to keep up. In fact, I’m typing this as I sit in the bleachers during my kids’ swim lessons so I can get it done.

So, why am I taking the time to write this blog? There are a couple reasons. First, blogging is good for our company. Continually adding to our website via our blog is good for SEO and helps keep our Linkedin profiles and our Facebook page up to date. Also, we think it’s important to practice what we preach. Because we focus on working with professional service providers and not for profits, we are always talking to our clients about content marketing and sharing their knowledge. We tell them that blogs, newsletters, and social media are ideal ways to help them showcase their expertise and their personalities. We bug them (in a friendly way of course) to provide us with information we can use to generate content for them or to generate the content themselves. So if we expect them to do it, we should also be doing it. Otherwise, we’d be like the shoemaker’s kid with no shoes.

I hope that when your business gets busy, you can also remember to take time – even if it’s just a few minutes each day – to do something that helps your business grow. Small actions over time add up to great things. Don’t wait – the time to grow your business is NOW.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

Niches: A smart strategy

 

In his blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O’Keefe makes several compelling arguments for why attorneys should blog on specific niches rather than writing a blog on general legal topics. It’s a great, short read and we recommend you check it out, particularly if you’ve ever worried about defining your practice or your firm by a niche.

We think niches are a smart strategy. Not just for blogs, but for your business. Whether you’re an attorney, an accountant, or any other type of service provider, niches can help you market your firm because your prospects will understand when you are the right person to call. Will it exclude you from some opportunities? Sure, but it will also ensure that you get more of the work you enjoy most because when you explain what you do, eight of the nine people you are talking to will not be interested but that ninth person will hand you a business card and say, “Call me. I’ve been looking for someone like you.”

Choosing a niche is scary, we know. But it is the best way to differentiate yourself from other service providers who describe their work in such general terms you can’t tell why on earth you’d ever want to engage them.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns.  Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

The Commercial that Stuck

Thursday, October 14, 2010 — 

 

Most of us can remember really funny commercials. Or really annoying ones. But what about commercials that take a different route?  I got very attached to one of those commercials back in 2005. Sony launched 250,000 bouncy balls into the streets of San Francisco and filmed it from all different angles for a Bravia commercial:

I’ve been watching it over and over (and over) again lately. It’s so great! My consistent desire to watch it made me wonder why it’s so great. Here’s what I came up with: the colors are vibrant, the lively movement is pleasing to the eye and the music adds to the overall idea that you stumbled upon something you don’t see everyday. And it finds a way to connect to the viewer without demanding the purchase of a television. It says “your TV-watching experience can be this clear and beautiful” using color, movement and sound, not words. The commercial is also timeless – taking advantage of gravity will never go out of style. In my opinion, commercials that manage to do all of this are unique because so many commercials (while still wonderful) take a more direct route.

Sony truly let consumers see what their Bravia brings to the television-watching experience table. I haven’t been in the market for a flat screen TV since watching the ad back in 2005, but when I do reach that point, I will definitely remember the commercial that has become a permanent fixture in my mind and look into purchasing a Sony Bravia before making any final decisions.

On a side note, after delving into my wonderful five-year Sony commercial experience, I discovered that Nissan recently took Sony’s bouncing ball idea and made it their own. With bowling balls. Somebody was definitely paying attention to that Sony experience:

Are there any commercials that have stuck with you for years? What about them makes you love them so much?

Erica Gordon is a Marketing Associate at Clear Verve and works part-time at a Milwaukee area nonprofit. She recently received her Communication MA from Marquette University. Follow Erica on Twitter @erica_g.

Ready, Set, Go!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 — 

 

It can be difficult to write a story that is still being written.  But an in-progress story can often be more interesting than a completed story. After all, nobody knows how it will end! Our Clear Verve Marketing story is definitely a work-in-progress.

We decided to share our knowledge and our story with you on a more frequent basis through this new Promise Marketing blog.  Watch for weekly information on promise marketing, tips for small business owners, and guest blog posts.

When people meet us for the first time, we often get asked two questions.
1) What is the meaning behind your company name?
2) What is Promise Marketing?

We thought it appropriate to provide you answers to these questions to kick off our blog.

How did you come up with the name Clear Verve?
When Christina started Clear Verve, it made sense to have the company name represent our approach to marketing.  We believe marketing should be clear and jargon-free. Verve is the enthusiastic expression of ideas.  Thus, our company name reflects the dictionary definitions for these two words.

What is Promise Marketing?
It’s a phrase we coined! (That’s why we get to put the SM behind it.) We focus on working with those that sell the promise of future satisfaction in services, experiences, and causes.  Promise marketing can be a lot more challenging than traditional product marketing as services are intangible, can be hard to differentiate, and are often reputation-based.

What gives us Verve?
We are inspired by many things – nature, architecture, other professionals and organizations, reading, learning, as well as business and personal development.

What gives you Verve?
What inspiration gives you the verve you need for marketing your organization?  Let us know in the comments below (you can always leave anonymous comments if you wish).