You’ve got a blog. You’ve written six posts, but now the inevitable time crunch is happening.
You know your blog is a great way to attract interested prospects and build a list of valuable followers.
But, a week goes by, and then another…and
no blog post.
Two more weeks and despite your best intentions…still no blog post.
We see it all the time: abandoned blogs. They still command a place on your menu bar, but nobody’s home.
Over time, you’ll start to see the consequences of an abandoned blog.
Your readers need to be well-fed! They’re not going to keep coming back if there’s nothing new to come back for…
Not to mention, a regularly updated blog is great for SEO. But more on that another time…
For now, let’s focus on what you can do about your abandoned blog.
One solution? Hire a blog writer.
Sounds simple, right?
You hire someone to write your posts. You sit back, the posts come in, you get more engagement and more business.
But, whoa there Silver!
There are a few things to consider before going down the freelancer highway and starting to read resumes. First, there’s one big question to ask:
Should you hire a blog writer?
As tempting as it might seem to hire a blog writer, you should first consider how important it is to use your own voice in your blog posts.
If you have a content blog sharing great advice, maybe it doesn’t matter so much who wrote it, as long as the content is unique and the writing is high quality.1Two good examples of this areinkbotdesign.com orcontentmarketinginstitute.com.
On the other hand, if you are the brand, then maybe having someone else write your blog isn’t the best idea. A freelance writer is unlikely to accurately mimic your style of writing or humour and certainly can’t match your knowledge.
It IS possible to find a great match with freelancers. After all, ghostwriters have written many of the best-selling autobiographies. At BlogWorks we take the time to develop a complete profile, including your ideal customer, competitors, and business objectives.
But it could also mean higher costs and a longer search process.
A common strategy we use at BlogWorks is to write content pieces, not personality pieces.
A good example of this is Jon Morrow, who writes brilliant posts about his take on blogging, life after his accident, and “living in paradise.”2Jon Morrow talks about how to quit your job and get paid to change the world in this post: www.problogger.com/how-to-quit-your-job-move-to-paradise-and-get-paid-to-change-the-world You’ll also find many freelancers contributing great how-to content to Morrow’s SmartBlogger blog.3Morrow’s Smart Blogger blog is packed with tips to help freelance writers succeed
What to look for in a blog writer
Before you start posting your job or searching forums for writers, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Just like shopping for groceries, if you don’t start with a list it could be an expensive trip to the store.
Your list of requirements will be unique, based on the content expertise you are looking for, but here’s a good list to start with:
Writing skills: As basic as it sounds, there’s nothing more frustrating than bad grammar from a “professional writer.” If you really want to test if applicants are detail-oriented, in your next job posting insert this instruction: “Please mention ‘Blue Moon’ in your application.” If you don’t see “Blue Moon” mentioned in their application it could mean they won’t pay attention to details in your work.
Basic knowledge: As a minimum, your freelancer should have proven experience writing similar posts and basic knowledge of your industry.
Confident writing voice: It’s great to be accurate, but a big challenge for any blog is to stop readers from clicking away. Look for a unique writing style and the ability to improve your writing with examples, analogies, and metaphors.
Commitment to quality: In your interview process, give some feedback. How your freelancer receives your advice is one of the best measures of how well they will work out.
How to get started
We published a detailed post about job posting boards, forums, and even searching for Twitter to find freelancers. If you’re ready to find that perfect writer, that’s a good place to start.
Adding to that post, there is, of course, the Mack truck of freelancing, Upwork4UpWork is our go-to source for hiring market researchers, graphic designers, and hiring for other long-term and one-off jobs.. At BlogWorks, we use Upwork every month to hire freelancers for market research, graphic design, and other one-off jobs.
Want to learn more about finding writers on other job boards? Check this out.
The tip we most often share about using Upwork is to use the applicant filters. There, you can individually invite the freelancers you are most interested in working with (as opposed to letting Upwork send you applicants.)
Invite the right applicants to write
For example, if hiring a blog writer, I would follow this simple routine:
Post the job. You can start with this being a one-off job and set the price level as “intermediate.
When you move to “Invite freelancers”, immediately open “Filters” and start selecting the criteria you are looking for. You can even select your country of choice.
Once you have selected your filter criteria, Upwork will start displaying the freelancers that fit your criteria. This is where you invite the best applicants to apply.
Check out the video below for a step by step guide on using Upwork.
The most remarkable aspect of Upwork is the speed at which you can go from job posting to communicating with qualified applicants. And because you’ve posted a one time job (as opposed to an ongoing contract), your risk is pretty minimal.
Another option? Hire BlogWorks to write high-traffic blog posts that attract more readers and convert more business. We take the time to understand your unique blogging goals and to customize our approach to every article. We also track your blog article performance and conversion on articles. Our goal is to give you a turn-key solution that drives more traffic to your revenue pages.
Oh, and of course we can promote your blogs too. Our team of local writers uses the best of your blog content to write and post daily announcements on social media. Click here if you’re dying to know more.
Whether you hire a blog writer or commit to writing all of your posts, either way, committing to a consistent schedule of publishing is important. The worst option is to have an orphan blog on your site collecting dust.
Your readers want to learn from you and be inspired. Now, get publishing.
Did you like learning about what to look for in a blog writer? You won’t want to miss these posts either:
Seriously, this is great stuff that’s going viral with hoards of hungry readers.
Woah there Silver! First, you need to get their attention.
Before anyone will read your brilliant piece they need to first stop and pay attention.
That’s where images come in..
Pictures, videos, screenshots, diagrams, and illustrations are a great way to keep your reader from clicking away. Adding images to your blog helps readers understand your information and ideas, and remember your post.
The trick is to create and add those blog images quickly and effectively.
In this post, we’ll walk you through all the steps, tools, and tricks to add images to your blog without having to spend hours doing it.
WHY IMAGES WORK
“Our brain is mainly an image processor, not a word processor.” – Psychology Today
We are (literally) wired for images. Neuroanatomist R.S. Fixot estimated that two-thirds of our brain’s activity is dedicated to the visual activity. And it makes sense…
Historically we used our sight to warn us against nasty attacks from predators or to spot food that we could either hunt and kill or pick and harvest.
That’s where images help. Anything from a simple picture to a custom created gif will make the reading experience more interesting and keep your reader scrolling down.
In fact, 65% of senior marketing executives say that photos, video, illustrations, and infographics are core to how their brand story is communicated.
So, if images are so, great, how should you add images to your blog to get more traffic and better results?
Let’s start with image sizes.
PIXELS, FORMAT, SIZE AND ALL THAT STUFF
Trying to understand the different image size options can get pretty complicated. The two basic things to know are orientation and size/compression.
For most blogs, a horizontal orientation (longer width than height) works better. Horizontal/landscape images take up less real estate on the screen, allowing your content to catch the eye of your readers. Horizontal images are also perfect for sharing your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
But vertical or square images perform better on Instagram and are more likely to be pinned on Pinterest. Again the reason is simple – Instagram and Pinterest are all about images. A vertical/portrait image takes up more screen real estate, which makes them more eye-catching.
What orientation you choose comes down to your users and what social platforms they use.
Sprout Social maintains an up-to-date list of the best image sizes for the various social media channels in this post.
The image size can mean two things – the physical size of the image (length x width) and the file size (bytes).
Most images straight from your camera or from a stock photo website are higher in resolution (file size) and physical size than they need to be for the web. The problem with large image files is they slow your site down.
A digital photo is made up of pixels (px) – tiny square tiles of colour. We generally talk about pixels in two ways – pixel count and pixel density. The pixel count is the number of pixels that make up your photo. So an 800px by 600px photo simply means your photo is 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall.
Pixel density, or dpi, is the number of pixels per square inch. The more pixels per square inch, the higher the resolution of the image, and the clearer it is.
For print photos, 300dpi or higher is ideal. But, for the web, a good range is 72-150dpi.
Best sizes for your website
The goal for your website is a good resolution (not fuzzy) and speed (not big).
Your images should only be as large as your blog content width. All modern sites are built with responsive design (automatically resize the page for smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop screens), set your image for the maximum width.
Find a balance between file size and quality
The smaller the file size of your image, the faster it will load for your reader. But, reducing size too much can create a fuzzy image. Your goal is to find the balance between the lowest file size and acceptable quality.
Try to keep your image size between 150KB and 300kb. Take a look at the example below. The original image was 7.6MB and 5000px wide. The image on the left was resized to 860px wide and saved as a high-quality jpeg, which produced a 250KB file.
You can barely tell the difference between this image and the original when viewed online. It’s perfect for the web.
The image on the right was resized to be 860px wide but saved as a low-quality, 30KB jpeg. Sure, it will load quickly but it’s fuzzy and will look amateurish.
Of course, when adding images to your blog it isn’t always possible to keep your images to under 300KB. On retina displays, a complex photograph may likely look fuzzy at 300KB.
The key take-home idea is to keep file sizes as small as you can, especially if you are using a lot of images in your post! Page loading times affect your google rankings and readers are likely to be turned off a page that takes ages to load.
There’s a number of free services for reducing image size, like Pic Resize, and Tiny PNG. Or you can use free design sites like Canva or PicMonkey to get the right size and resolution for any social media site or for your website (more on using those tools below).
Do I use JPG, GIF, PNG, SVG?
If you’ve ever been confused with all the image types (jpeg, gif…) this will help.
When adding images to your blog what’s the best format?
JPG/JPEG – offers great quality images at small file size. It’s the best option for photos unless they need to be transparent, animated or have a lot of text in them
GIF – perfect for small graphics and animations, and they can have transparent backgrounds.
PNG – ideal for detailed graphics, images with a lot of text or transparent images. PNG files tend to be larger than JPG files.
SVG – this is a scalable vector format, which means it stays crisp and clear at any resolution. They tend to be large in terms of file size, but if you have a complicated graphic that needs to automatically resize, and/or has rollover effects or animations, SVG is a perfect choice.
In most cases, use jpeg for all images unless you want a transparent background.
NOTE: Not all websites are set up to automatically handle SVG files. WordPress has plugins that will help. For non-WordPress sites, give it a go and if your SVG file doesn’t display check with your web developer.
Test your images
Not sure how your image will show online? Most content management systems (like WordPress), allow you to preview your draft blog post before you make it live.
Every blog post needs a Featured Image.
Your Featured Image is the first thing your reader sees and is the image pulled by your social media channels. In this article, we explain what to do if your image is not being pulled correctly by your social channels.
Your featured image could be a photograph or, with a little extra work, overlay your headline on the image. Either way, it needs to create some curiosity and make the reader want to read on.
In WordPress, you’ll find the link to choose your Featured Image on the right side of your WordPress menu.
MAKING YOUR OWN IMAGE
Stock images are great, but original is better – even if you are just adding a twist to a stock image.
You don’t have to be a graphic artist or own expensive software to create your own images. Free tools like Canva and Picmonkey have a wide range of templates, images, and ready-to-use graphics and fonts. With a little practice, you can add your unique spin on your images or create quote images, memes, diagrams, and infographics.
Here’s an image I made in Canva in only 5 minutes.
Once you get comfortable with these tools, you can get creative with your results. Simple techniques like resizing images, adding screens, cropping – even choosing more interesting fonts will make your image stand out.
[You don’t have to be a graphic designer to dress up your images so they stand out.]
AVOID THE LAW
You’ve searched the web, found the perfect image, and added it to your blog.
Fast forward two months and you receive a ‘cease and desist’ letter demanding money for damages.
Images have ownership, just like artwork. And you can’t use some images without the owner’s permission. In this post, we explain how creative commons works with images.
The good news is there are more sites than ever to supply you with brilliant images you can either buy user rights to or use by crediting the artist.
Credit the artist
If you are using an image under a Creative Commons license, it’s good practice to credit the photographer and source. Most stock photo websites will supply you with the link when you download the image.
At BlogWorks we use a number of sites for our images. We do have an account with Adobe Stock that we rely on for our clients’ blogs, plus we often use Pixabay, Unsplash, Refe, and Magdeleine.
Adobe provides a high-quality source for images, along with other creative software packages. If you are looking for an easy new way to find or create images, you can check out their products here.
If you still can’t find what you want, go to Librestock where images from over 40 sites are aggregated for you to search. We listed 7 sites to find great pictures in this post.
You can even use Google to add images to your blog – just be sure to choose ‘Labeled for reuse’ under Tools.
Quick tip about searching for that “perfect” image: finding a picture slightly better than the one you found in the first 5 minutes won’t make your post go viral. Limit yourself to 5 minutes to find a good-enough image – you can always change it later if you find a better one.
USE IMAGES OF REAL PEOPLE
Pictures of people are one of the most engaging forms of content on the internet.
Faces are unique and humans have a hardwired visual preference for staring at faces. Images of faces and people will hold a reader’s attention.
But your image needs to relate to the content or help explain a concept or point – studies have found that pictures of people are glossed over by readers when they are generic, decorative images.
If I’m adding images to our blog, I try to avoid cheesy stock images, like the image on the left and look for something more original like the image on the right.
ADDING SCREENSHOTS AND DIAGRAMS
Let’s say you are trying to explain how to use an online search engine or where to go on your site to find your latest book, or even how to make sure your opt-in email didn’t go into that person’s “promotion” folder in Gmail.
Kind of hard to explain in words – right?
That’s where screenshots are super helpful. Within a couple of minutes you’ve captured the image, added a couple of arrows and now your picture is worth a thousand words – plus you get more people going to the right place!
A tool like Snagit is an invaluable investment. For only $50 you have a ready-to-go workhorse for screenshots, videos, and even gifs (all the screenshots used in this post were created with Snagit).
Here’s a video I created in Snagit of using Snagit to edit a screenshot (now that’s meta!).
Custom graphics and diagrams are another great way to explain complex concepts or just add some fun to your post. OmniGraffle and Lucidchart offer flowcharting tools that you can use to make fun diagrams. Piktochart has a free version for creating infographics and data-driven graphics.
Need a chart to help illustrate some information? You can take them right from Excel, Google Sheets, or Word. Just copy your chart and paste it into your text editor, or take a screenshot.
And don’t be afraid to pick up a pencil or pen! Sketch your idea and take a photo. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t an artist – your readers will enjoy seeing that you are just like them!
ADDING VIDEO AND GIF’S
Sometimes text alone isn’t quite enough. That’s where video and animations can come in.
I’ve been asked many times how I add videos to my blog. I’m certainly no expert, but when it comes to anything that smells technical I remind myself ‘done is better than perfect’ and I keep it simple. Start to finish, a simple video should take me no longer than 15 minutes.
Here’s an illustration of the steps I go through.
You do need to host your video somewhere. We have used Vimeo for many years and love the price and how fast and simple it is to use. You can also use YouTube or Wistia.
The steps to adding video to your blog are pretty simple once you’ve practiced them a few times, but they do vary depending on your website and where you are hosting your video.
Here’s how to insert a video from YouTube into WordPress:
This process had gotten super simple. Start by locating the video you want on YouTube.
Log into your WordPress website, open the blog post to edit, locate your cursor where you want the video, paste the URL.
This free tool will allow you to customize the look of your YouTube video and do things like turn off the annoying “related” videos.
Here’s how to insert a video from Vimeo into WordPress:
To get your video’s embed code, go to its page on Vimeo and click the ‘Share’ button.
Click the ‘+Show options’ link and copy the embed code.
Log into your WordPress website, open the blog post to edit, and click on the ‘Text’ tab in your text editor.
Locate your cursor where you want the video and paste the embed code.
Note: You should include text in your post with your video if you want your post to get picked up by search engines like Google. You can see how it’s done on the Gone with the Wynn’s travel vlog. With every blog post they have lots of text, images, and videos to keep you, the reader interested, and for SEO purposes.
USING A CONSISTENT THEME
When you are choosing images or fonts it’s a good idea to be consistent with the theme of your site and your blog.
It could be as simple as using a consistent font (I’m a fan of Helvetica Neue, Marker Felt, Yellowtail, and Bebas Neue), a color scheme or icon style.
The customer service app, Help Scout does a great job of using consistent design elements in their blog that are light, modern, and quirky.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FILENAME
Image SEO starts with the file name. When you use images in blog posts, you want Google to know what your image is about without even looking at it!
Before you upload your new image, take a look at the name of the image. Your image should be named something that relates to the image and/or the content of your article. It should also include your keywords whenever possible. Choosing a keyword-rich name for your image will make it easier for search engines to rank your page.
For instance, if you are writing an article on how to choose the best chew toy for puppies, name your image “best-chew-toy-for-puppies.jpg”. If your image shows a sunset on a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, name it ‘thailand-koh-samui-beach-sunset.jpg’.
Use dashes between words, rather than spaces, underscores, or running all your words together.
This recommendation comes straight from Google. We’re not sure of the exact reason for this as Google guards how it’s search engine algorithm works closer than a magician guards their tricks. But the Google Webmaster says dashes between words help google find your images!
When you upload your image, video, or other media, you have the option to include ALT text. You should do this whenever you can.
The ALT text tells search engines about your image, which helps your rankings. Plus, screen readers read out the ALT text so you are helping your content be more accessible.
Your ALT text should help explain your image or the point you are trying to illustrate. Like choosing a file name, your ALT text should be related to the content of your article or your keywords.
CAPTIONS AND HEADLINES
Image captions usually appear below your image. Many readers scan articles and your image captions can grab their attention and get them to get curious about your content.
At BlogWorks we try to write captions that add to the written content. The idea is if the reader only reads the captions they will get a good idea of what the article is about.
BarkPost, the inventors of the monthly dog treat subscription Bark Box, tantalize dog lovers (like me) with goofy, fun images of pooches matched with Hollywood tabloid-style headlines, like these:
5 Signs Your Dog’s Eye Boogers Are Caused By Something Dangerous
18 Dogs Who Don’t Approve Of This Water Torture You Call “Bath Time”
I Signed My Dog Up For A Dental Care Box, And Here’s What Happened
YOUR FINAL CHECKLIST
Any image you add to your blog should make your readers’ experience better. And entice them to read the article – which means they stay on your site longer.
As a final check, ask yourself these two questions:
Will this image keep the reader on the page longer?
Does this image help the reader to understand my message better?
The extra effort you put into finding and adding images to your blog can pay big rewards. Instead of getting passed over, your post could be shared with thousands of readers and take on a life of its own.
After all, our goal is to get our blog read, shared, and loved. Right?
Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more all about images, video and making your blog go viral:
In a paper published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology neuroanatomist R.S. Fixot estimated that 50% of our neural tissue is directly or indirectly related to vision and two-thirds of our brain’s electrical activity is used for visual processing.
In one study by eMarketer photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide and generated 87% interaction rate from fans (compared to less than 10% from any other post type.)
A study at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs looked at 1.1 million posts on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38% more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces. They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments.
You just spent five hours writing an epic blog post.
Now, it’s time to share your masterpiece with the world.
Moving like a social media ninja you quickly write an update for Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and – just for good measure – Pinterest.
This is going to be huge – maybe it will even go viral.
And then it happens. Ugh!
You check your recent social posts and find that the wrong image was pulled.
Or worse… no photo at all.
We all know that social media updates with images are seen more, get more likes and shares and are more likely to pull traffic to your site. Photos on Facebook posts receive 53% more likes than the average post.
In short, photos work to get our attention and drive behaviour.
Always Be Converting
Before we dig into the details about images and getting the best results for each blog post…let’s talk about the ABC’s.
No, not the spelling ABC’s – I’m talking about Always Be Converting (apologies to Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake in the film Glengarry Glen Ross)
The purpose of your blog post is to attract your ideal client, to influence them and to invite them to take some kind of action. Ultimately, to convert them to a sale.
Sure, you love to get more readers and more people Liking and sharing your updates on social, but that doesn’t pay the bills. You need to Always Be Converting.
At BlogWorks we help experts turn their solutions into SEO-rich blog posts that work 24/7 to bring business to their door. Learn how we can update old blog posts and get a 200% increase in traffic.
Writing original content for your blog is hard enough without the hassle of images that don’t show the way you wanted (learn how to get free images that don’t look like stock images.)
That’s why we wrote this guide – to teach you how to control the social share images of your blog post so they look great every time (and you get maximum engagement).
The good news is once you make these changes, your images will get pulled automatically and you will have one less thing to worry about.
Let’s get started.
(Don’t worry if this all sounds complicated – I’ll show you a super easy, non-technical way to do this below.)
Use social networks troubleshooting tools to check your work
Fortunately, you can check your work with free debugging tools for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This is a super-fast way to see if your social updates are going to display the way you want to and, if not, what to do about it.
When posts are shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin a process called Open Graph is used to extract information from your blog post to create a special social share link. This link includes the title of your article, an image, the URL, and a description.
It’s sort of like how Google pulls your metadata to show your blog posts in search results.
How does the protocol know how to find this info?
The information is sent to the Open Graph via meta tags that are found in the <head> of your website’s code. If not redirected, The Open Graph Protocol will use the information found in the meta tags on your site’s web page, just like Google does.
So, to ensure that the right titles, photos, URL and description, are used for your blog post, you’re going to want to optimize your posts for social media.
Here are Three Methods to Change the Share Image of Your Content:
#1 Add the Open Graph Tags
When the Open Graph Protocol tags are located in the right place, social networks can pull the information needed for your social posts.
If your website doesn’t have plugins (such as Yoast SEO) to automate this process, you’re going to have to add OG tags to your site manually.
The metadata needs to be added to the head section of your blog post. Here’s how:
Step 1: Add this code to the head section of your web page:
After you follow the guidelines and apply the tags to your website, you have to apply to Twitter’s card program. Once approved by Twitter Card’s program, Twitter cards will be added to all of your Twitter posts.
As promised, this is the non-technical way to change your social sharing images!
Yoast SEO takes care of the guesswork and allows you to have complete control over the images seen on your social shares. If a social image has not been selected, Yoast will give Facebook an image to use based on the photo’s metadata.
And Yoast makes it incredibly easy for you to choose your own photos when you select “social’ in the Yoast menu bar (premium version).
You’ll want to follow Yoast’s steps to make sure that the right photo is used for your social posts. Even if you don’t take the time to select a photo, Yoast does a pretty good job of selecting a photo for you.
Yoast also lets you add a title and description and helps you to make it SEO-friendly, so it works well on social media sites and search engines.
If you are looking for an easy new way to find or create images and audio, we recommend Adobe products. You can find all of their creative software packages here.
It’s time to promote your posts
Now that you understand how to optimize your photos for social media and how the Open Graph Protocol works, you’ll be able to churn out excellent content that your social media readers look forward to viewing.
You’ll see your engagement increase and get more traffic back to your site! Your social share image never looked so good.
You might want to also include more images in your blog posts. Every image is a reason for your reader to stay on your page and get closer to taking an action. In this post we detail 7 strategies for crafting your blog to get more conversions (including adding more images).
“The key to success in blogging (and in many areas of life) is small but regular and consistent actions over a long period of time.” – Darren Rowse, Founder of Problogger
Wondering how to get the best ROI from your content?
Most businesses find it at least a bit challenging to build and maintain consistent readerships on their blogs…and many get frustrated.
But we’re here to help you keep going, even when times are tough.
Read on for a few of our favourite strategies for getting your blog working for you.
Blog Content or Social Media: What should you focus on?
Consider this scenario: Your update on Facebook got 15 likes, you just added 7 followers on Instagram, and a few people just added some great comments on your most recent LinkedIn article.
That sounds like a pretty good day, right?
While most people would agree, we need to consider the bigger picture: Is all of this social media traffic really bringing you the revenue and staying power you deserve?
It can be hard to compete with the “sex appeal” of social media, but a good quality, well-maintained blog will help your business stand out from the crowd.
Can you take your social metrics to the bank?
“Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.” – Neil Patel
It might appear that pouring more attention into social branding and reach is the wise choice for marketing professional services or your line of products.
Here are a few points that might change your mind:
Social media is shared on “rented land,” but you own your blog content in perpetuity, so it can (theoretically) make money forever.
These channels have plenty of competition, but with your blog, you can build a consistent relationship with your audience.
Social media might bring you likes and shares, but your blog is more likely to lead people to make a purchase.
Your social media channels and your blog should absolutely be connected, but you can use your blog to build relationships and sell products via a targeted strategy, leading to a higher ROI rooted in your blog, but composed of the two content types.
Blogs aren’t directly for selling, but they are great for educating and informing your readers about what you know best.
Readers who find blog posts online are often looking for information about specific products or services.
So if they are already interested, you lead them to learn more about your product by making a soft offer — for instance, a free e-book — which will help them keep your brand on their mind.
If they have read the entire blog, you can keep on them on your site by linking other blogs at the end of the article. Another option is to take the opportunity to also send them to your revenue pages, whether that be a particular product, or your consult/contact page.
Here at Blogworks, we like to think of your website like a conference.
Imagine your homepage is the main conference room and your blog posts are breakout rooms where different speakers are talking about different topics. While people may stay in the main room for only 1 or 2 minutes to grab a bite to eat; they could spend 7 to 10 minutes in the breakout rooms listening to the speaker.
It is the same with your website. We have found that people tend to stay on blogposts significantly longer than any other page on your site. So why not capitalize on that?
Instead of letting them go from the breakout room, back to the main room, send them to your revenue pages. In doing so, you can turn those readers into leads, and possibly even clients.
If you use social media, think about which type of content sticks with you more: that random post that you scrolled by when absent-mindedly scrolling through Facebook?
Or the well-crafted, thoughtful and handy article you were introduced to after signing up for a favoured company’s newsletter?
The truth is that marketing is always a puzzle – one way can work better one day, and the other the next.
With its capacity to generate an ROI of 3,800% (according to HubSpot), email marketing remains one of the most versatile and inexpensive of all marketing options.
Try using A/B testing to see what subject lines or email content work best. By doing this in conjunction with the statistics generated by whatever CRM you are using, you will be able to better understand what works with your list, and what does not.
Build a Useful Library of Content
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark
When investigating strategies for the best ROI, you will hopefully be thinking long-term. Building a blog is essentially like creating a little business “library” where people can go to learn about your business anytime.
So long as you own this content, you can use it over and over again in different ways in perpetuity.
Here are some ways to repurpose your blogs:
Re-share older blog posts on social media with a fresh image and title
Update old blog posts to include some current relevant information
Mix and match media – combine blogs with podcasts and videos
No matter which way you spin it, keeping a high-quality, consistent blog takes time.
So why not leave it to the experts?
Instagram stories are 24-hour snippets of live video which you can use in a variety of ways to help build brand awareness and trust.
They are simple to view and use: all you need to do is log into Instagram, and find the circles at the top of the screen.
Click on “your story,” (the top left “circle”) and get creative!
Here are some examples of good ways to use Instagram Stories:
Share a new blog
Promote a new product
Introduce a staff member
Talk about something you learned today
This is one social media marketing tool where the possibilities are truly endless, and it’s one of the best ways to get “up close and personal” with your customers!
(P.S. You can use Stories on Facebook, too!)
4. Use Twitter Strategically
If you’re still wondering what Twitter does and how to use it, here are a few things to try which can help you build a following and generate brand awareness.
Microblogging is exactly what it sounds like: creating short, written posts which can be combined with various forms of media.
Twitter is really the key platform for microblogging, but it’s not a bad idea to generate a bunch of short, punchy posts in advance and have them at-the-ready so that you can stay in the conversation on any social media channel.
Engaging with Influencers
Following your influencers on Twitter might be fun, but actually engaging with them is what counts.
Take this Jimmy Fallon Tweet, for instance: A quick little response using this hashtag could get you on the show!
The key here is to find influencers who are relevant to your niche or industry, then connect with them by following them and liking, commenting on, and sharing their posts.
Cross Promoting & Media Mentions
When using Twitter, be sure to use the @ sign to mention other media outlets — for instance, if you have a guest post or interview.
This type of cross-promotion can work wonders for your authority and help attract more relevant followers.
If you want help building an exceptional library of content to base your social media marketing on, we can help!
Want to make your blog stand out? Email us to set up a quick call so we can learn more.
It’s hard to imagine a sales person not asking for the sale or Amazon not having an “Add to cart” button. So why do so many blogs not have a call-to-action?
Before I get to my 7 favourite options for your blog call to action (CTA) let’s take a step back and talk about what your blog is for.
Your blog is there to help people. Even blogs that share travel stories or pontificate about the pro’s and con’s of nose piercing are there to help.
And if you want to help people, you need to offer more than your written advice. It could be coaching, an online course, live events, consulting, or your book. That’s where you CTA comes in – helping people.
Alrighty, with that out of the way, let’s look at my favourite CTA’s.
1. Internal link call to action
By far the simplest and most essential blog call to action is to link to another page on your site. The reader can go deeper with related content and you get them on your site longer. Longer on site means more time to visit your products and services pages.
Of course, you can also link directly from your blog to pages that lead your reader closer to a sale. When I’m writing my draft blog post I will underline a word if it relates to another post I’ve already published. That way I don’t interrupt my writing (like that) to go search for the actual link. I’ll go back and add the actual link before I publish.
One last point…a quick fix strategy is to go back to your top half-dozen posts and add internal links to other posts and to your products and services pages. Don’t over do it, but 4-6 links in a 400-1,000 word post is not going to seem overkill.
2. Bottom of blog call to action
Did you know that 30% of people buying a book on Amazon will buy a second book from the list “Customers who bought this item also bought”. Why not use the same strategy in your blog?
At the bottom of each post simply list 3 more posts they might enjoy. After all, if your reader gets to the bottom of the post they probably want more on that topic. It’s a great blog call to action that can keep your readers on your site.
We started offering a list of 3 additional posts at the bottom of every new post on our blog. It such a simple task, you’d be crazy to not do it. Again, just like the suggestion above for retrofitting older popular posts with internal links, you can easily add suggested posts at the end of those same posts,
3. Social shares
One of the easiest ways to increase traffic to your blog is to have readers share it on social media. The math is impressive:
Imagine if only 20 people share your post. But those shares go to some 20,000 of their followers. It doesn’t take a big percent of responses to see how your traffic will increase.
There are a few tools, like sumome, addthis, sharethis and social warfare that make it super easy to share your blog on social media. All of these tools should work perfectly on mobile (your mobile traffic could be as high as 35-45% of all traffic) with share buttons that stay at the bottom of the phone’s screen as the reader scrolls.
4. Content upgrade
This blog call to actio is a little more complicated to set up, but the results can be impressive. The idea of of ‘content upgrade’ is to deliver a report, or guide or check list that supplements the blog post the reader is on.
For example, if your post is about 5 ways to give feedback to employees, your content upgrade could be a check list that helps you choose the right feedback to use in your next coaching session.
Ideally, the gift can be consumed in one sitting and has high value for the prospect. After all, this is their first impression of you and your business.
To receive the download the reader has to optin to your mailing list.
The trick is to take the reader to what’s called a “landing page” where the offer is presented and there’s an invitation to join your list if they want to receive the gift but also receive future updates from you. The simplest way to do this is to create a hidden page on your site (like www.yoursite.com/offer) with the offer. You can also create custom landing pages in most CRM’s, like Convertkit, Ontraport, Active Campaign, etc.
5. Click to tweet
One of the easiest ways to encourage readers to share your post is to set up a click-to-tweet option. Your reader sees an interesting quote, identified with the Twitter bird icon, they click on that quote and your blog is shared onto their Twitter channel with a link back to your blog. This makes it super easy or your reader to share and you get exposed to their followers.
Once you have the plugin installed add a click to tweet is easy. Copy a quote from your blog that you want readers to share. Click on the location in your post you want to insert the click to tweet. Click on the blue bird in your menu bar, paste the quote and you’re done!
6. Sidebar CTA
Most blogs have a menu of sidebar displayed options. It might be your most popular blog posts, advertising a product, like your book and it can be an invitation to join your mailing list.
Building your mailing list is an important strategy for marketing your business. Even with the explosive growth of Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and other social channels, you will always get stronger sales by directly emailing a list of loyal followers.
The sidebar CTA is an invitation to grow your list, usually in return for receiving a gift, or “lead magnet”.
Many of the mailing list tools, like Mail Chimp (called a signup form) or Convertkit (create form) make it super easy to design and load the “widget” box, complete with image of your gift, into your website. The full sequence of events, like Thank You page, optin confirmation email, etc are easy to set up.
More robust CRM (Customer Relations Management) software, like Active Campaign (create form to capture contacts) and Infusionsoft (create WordPress optin form) also allow you to create the form.
The beauty of these sequences is that once you jump through all the hoops (there are loads of videos on YouTube explaining how to do this), it will run 24/7 for years. Your job is to check the numbers and change to a new gift if you aren’t getting the results you want.
7. The Pop-up Call to Action
Finally, we come to the much maligned pop-up CTA. But, before you run away screaming “I hate pop-up’s!” You need to know something.
Pop-up’s work. The trick with pop-up’s is to not annoy your reader! All of these tools are designed to select who sees your popup and how they see it. For example, you can delay the popup until the reader has been on your post for 2 minutes or they are about to leave you page. You can also set the popup to not show to returning readers.
At this point you might be freaking out and thinking “One more thing I’ve got to do!!” Here’s the deal:
Just like investing in professional pictures of your products (or your profile picture), adding CTA’s to your blog are an investment. Every day you can be helping your readers with your blog or you can be helping them and you by getting them to respond to a call to action.
A small investment now (like 5 minutes to add internal links to a post) could pay big dividends day after day for years to come. So, stop screaming, pick one and get to work.
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