February 2016 - Gooey Digital
Gooey Digital

The Beginner’s Guide To Writing a Brilliant Business Blog.

Every piece of digital marketing advice tells you to do it. Other brands seem to be brilliant at it. And the whole thing is turning out to be much harder than it looks. Writing a business blog for your website that’s readable and interesting has benefits from driving traffic to cementing your reputation as a expert in your field – but where do you start?

Read Other Blogger’s Work. 

reading writing

Whether it’s for inspiration, or for finding out exactly what it is you don’t want to do, dedicating some time to find out what others are doing – from full time bloggers to your competitors – is definitely worth doing. If you really hate a blog or writing style, work out if there’s a reason for this. Is it your personal taste, or is it just bad? Think about how you can avoid being similarly terrible, if this is indeed what it is, and take a little time to work what it is about your own writing that will make you stand apart.

Also, if you make sure you don’t steal any ideas (which is very frowned upon in both internet-land and in real life), there’s a world of creativity out there to draw from.  A little time spent looking around what’s already been written should get your brain sparking with inspiration, and let you work out how your voice is going be heard in a noisy market.

Focus.

writing focus blog

Writing content that people will want to read is not something you can do in a spare half hour. You need to set aside time, and then you need to focus, even if your brain is in full rebellion and wants to go watch Corrie or get on with something it thinks is more urgent. You’ll have to be strict with yourself, and let your brain sulk as much as it wants.

Think Around Your Subject.

thinking writing

Now there’s a reason you started your business. It’s your particular area of expertise, something you are passionate about, and something that requires the skills that you excel in. If you find yourself staring at a blank page, bereft of inspiration, with no idea about how to start writing about your brand, think around your business and rely on your enthusiasm for the subject. While “Top Tips” guides and writing about the industry news of the day will always be popular and completely valid choices, there are other ways to engage your audience.

If your industry, craft or service has a long and interesting history, write about this. For example, people working in insurance could explore particularly fascinating cases, those who run a café could talk about the favourite cafés of famous literary figures, and a jeweller may explain the story of the world’s most remarkable precious stones. There’s huge scope whatever your business specialises in, and if you can’t find anything directly to write about then your blog is a brilliant opportunity to showcase your business practises, and let people get to know you and your staff.

Beat Writers Block By Writing.

writers block

Write anything. Type out any words that have the vaguest association with your subject. Brainstorm until your brain hurts. You don’t have to publish what you write and you can edit away later, the trick is to get away from a blank page. Even the most ridiculous gibberish can have a glint of a idea in it, and if not, at least it will make you chuckle reading it back.

Reread and Edit. A lot.

writing editing business blog

Oh, typos, they are nearly inevitable. Everyone does them. And you may think that if you haven’t accidentally replaced the N with a C in “funk” or left out the L in “clock” that it’s fine, and people will be understanding. But unfortunately, they are not. Pedants hide in every corner of the internet and if they aren’t ready to fact-check every inch of your article or pull apart your grammar, even the average reader will find misspellings and typos unprofessional.

While your tone can be conversational, and perfect grammar isn’t always necessary if it’s going to detract from your writing style (lots of people will start a sentence with a “But”, for example) generally you will need to be spot on, or it will reflect badly on your attention to detail. Also, something that you thought was a brilliant idea may, after a bit of contemplation, suddenly seem very ill-advised. Make sure you get at least one other person to look over your work, re-read carefully and edit ruthlessly.

Have fun! 

ha

There’s a reason why people blog in their spare time – it’s FUN. This is a chance for you to write about what you care about, connect with others, and express yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity for a creative outlet, and you could find that writing your blog could become one of the pleasures of running a business.

Title Image Credit- Sharon Drummond 

What Do The New Facebook “Reactions” Mean For Your Brand?

Things are about to get a lot more emotional over on Facebook. After years of resisting a “dislike” button for fear of making the social media behemoth too negative, Mark Zuckerberg has introduced Facebook Reactions – icons that allow users to respond in a much more emotionally expressive manner than has previously been available. While the “Like” button is still in action, the narrow scope of this function (where you were limited to either liking or ignoring a post. Unless of course you decided to comment with your opinions instead, which anyone who’s ended up in a Facebook argument with oddly virulent strangers knows can be a big mistake) led to users demanding more options.

In this update, this is exactly what they have. Now you can love a post, express your sadness, and even let people know your frustration. With some small potential to ruin friendships, (“Why did you say that my selfie made you angry?!”) posts will now show their top three reactions- putting brands in the new position of knowing when their followers and customers have responded negatively to their content.  Or, indeed, absolutely loved it.

fackbook reactions
Image Credit: Facebook

This is fairly unchartered territory. People are famously free and easy with their opinions on the internet, and can be much ruder than they would ever be in real life. This being said, more often than not people on Facebook would either like a post, or scroll past it, even when it elicited a minor negative reaction. The lack of an appropriate response to convey their feelings meant that they simply went unrecorded.

Previously, brands would know by the number of engagements- measured in comments and likes- how their content had gone down, but only in the broadest sense possible. Now, if you were aiming to be funny, you can have a much better idea whether the joke completely bombed by the lack of “Haha” reactions. You’ll also be much more aware if you’ve pissed customers off. Of course, if you wanted to evoke an angry emotion in your audience (perhaps in a “look how outrageous and unfair this is”) then an “Angry” response will be exactly what you were looking for, but generally brands will be aiming to be Loved.

Unfortunately, although you can assess with much more accuracy how people feel about your branded content with Reactions, in marketing terms it’s still a very blunt tool. An “Angry” response counts as engagement as much as a “Love” response does, and at the time being companies have no powers to target their content according to these reactions. So a post may be getting an overwhelmingly negative response – but it’s still engagement, and Facebook will still target your ads at these Facebook users, simply because they have interacted with you.

In finding out more about your audience, and tailoring your content, Facebook Reactions will be an incredibly useful tool. Being able to distinguish between what people have Liked and Loved will give a much greater insight into what goes down really well, rather than just fairly well, and you can assess whether your posts have had the emotional response that you intended. You will also know very quickly if a large number of people have found your post offensive, and it will increase empathetic relationships between brand and consumer.

A potential downside, apart from the current inability to target ads based on Reactions, is a new nervousness when you are creating content. Even a few “Angry” responses that you didn’t foresee or intend could really throw you off your stride and shake confidence, especially given the very public nature of this medium. Here it’s important to remember that not everyone will be a fan. If your pleasing most people, then there’s not an issue, especially as only the top three reactions will be displayed to those viewing your posts.

Targeting your ads accurately so they do not irritate the people for whom they are irrelevant will be a good start in making sure your reactions are positive, and you should be aware that many more people are now going to be empowered to interact with your content. Where the limited emotional range of the “Like” button meant that many people who would see your posts didn’t engage with them, the Reaction buttons gives them much more a chance to do so. This could be a great opportunity for your brand, and this new insight could end up improving your social media presence and benefitting your business.

Changes To Adwords: Organic Search Just Became A Little Bit Harder

After some initial testing, Google have now rolled out their new search layout, removing the paid text ads that we’ve been accustomed to viewing at the side of the SERP’s – and it’s a fairly significant shake up!

Removing up to 10 ads from the side of the results page essentially leaves less “real estate” for businesses to promote themselves. It’s early stages, but we may see a generic increase in Cost Per Click rates as businesses vie for first page positions.

Google have also included an additional paid listing at the top of the page from three, to four ads.

Changes to Adwords

In response to the changes, Google have stated:

“We’ve been testing this layout for a long time, so some people might see it on a very small number of commercial queries. We’ll continue to make tweaks, but this is designed for highly commercial queries where the layout is able to provide more relevant results for people searching and better performance for advertisers. ”

So basically you’re more likely to see this new layout for very popular queries where there’s an intention to buy a product or service. It’s less effective for a user to be presented with four paid ads if they’re in the research phase, or simply using Google to find our how long sheep spend chewing grass.

For brand searches a user will typically see the knowledge graph….

Knowledge Graph

….and for products, PLA’s (Product Listing Ads) will appear.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 10.42.51

With fewer choices for a user to click on, advertisers on the first page may see an increase in their Click Through Rates, but it may come at the expense of having to ramp up the maximum Cost Per Click you’re willing to spend.

What all of this ultimately means for SEO, is that for some of the more popular queries, the old “first position” in organic search will now move down a place. Long tail search queries appear to be unaffected so depending on your strategy, it could be business as usual or you may see a slight decrease in organic traffic. It’s time to take a close look at Analytics over the coming weeks.

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