Eight Reasons Why Blogs Can’t Go Dormant

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A recent conversation with a small-to-medium business (SMB) included the question, “If my business is booming, then why should I keep blogging?”

Great question because blogging takes a boatload of consistent time and attention. Not only is a blogger responsible for creating and publishing genuine and authoritative content, that blogger needs to nurture a community and comment on others’ blogs, too.

I get it; but, here’s what I said to my peer, friend and colleague:

  • If your blog goes dormant, you can’t walk the talk with clients.
  • When you disappear longer than four weeks with no activity, people stop coming to check in and you’re forgotten.
  • Prospects that want to check out your work expect to see up-to-date product. If a date on the most recent blog post is 60 days prior, then that sends erroneous messages. You may lose a lead if a blog is inactive.
  • To compete, you need to stay inspired. A blog gives SMB brands an opportunity to differentiate from the competition.
  • Becoming an authority is no easy task; keep the insight fresh and trendy, and the brand will benefit.

8 Tips To Get Back On Track

1. Post from the archives — there is content no one has seen in 12 months; select a favorite, add a more current opening paragraph, and voila — a fresh post!

2. Write shorter pieces. Blog posts should average about 500 words, give or take. If you’re trying to get back on track, write 350 words (you can do those in your sleep!).

3. Acknowledge your community with a list of the last 25 commenters and their blog urls. That pingback will bring peeps back to your house in droves to welcome you back.

4. Aim for one post weekly for a few weeks to get your mojo working again. Anyone who has blogged more than 12 months knows how to get back to it; just like riding a bike.

5. Remember that community you built? They’re not gone; just dormant, too. But, if you call them back with consistent posts, you’ll earn the traffic once again.

6. Think about SEO juice — what’s the number-one rule? Fresh, frequent content to boost organic attention.

7. You can’t be a one-channel wonder. Great that you’re on Facebook, but where did you really get your start? Twitter. What happened next? Blogging. Where are your clients, community, employees and prospects hanging online? A little bit of everywhere, so you need to engage equal parts Twitter, Blogging, Facebook and Google+.

8. Feeling down and out? Remember the ‘raderie your blog community inspires. There’s absolutely nothing like a good ‘old #TeamBlogJack to raise the spirits of bloggers who’ve been dormant awhile.

So, what do you say? C’mon back! You’re missed!

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Brands Need Storytelling

Remember when you sat at Grandma’s feet and she told you stories about the Great Depression, or what it was like to be the biggest Irish clan with 13 kids? Perhaps your stories aren’t like those, but you can relate with a few you’ve heard or have told.

I promised to recant the richness of my discussion as a gift for Gregg Morris, a Twitter pal with whom I only recently made verbal connection yet trust was established long ago on Twitter in 140. (Watch for new posts on earning trust.)

Gregg makes it his business to uncover the stories that make brands come alive with history, human memories, and a piece of friendly relevance. He’s a storytellin’ guy, and that’s where he’s building his business these days – looking back through time to pull what’s relevant for today’s modern consumers and brands.

Gregg says brands are out of touch with their customers because product stories are missing. In thinking about this, mass merchandising and the Internet have made brand loyalty non-existent. To push a buy decision, there’s less or zero focus on a product’s historical significance and an emphasis on “Made in America” (for example) to combat global merchandising and manufacturing. If companies took that “Made in America” platform and threaded the back story through the product, imagine the richness of the result.

Gregg shared some fascinating thoughts with me, and I’d like to invite you into the loop, too:

  • People inside businesses today are so close to their product crafting a customer story becomes difficult for most.
  • The definition of a story is “a character moving through a series of events toward resolution.”
  • When a company has a product and/or service, a story needs to be told around customers. Customers need to know how a company’s product provides resolution. The better the story, the more enhanced customers’ loyalty.
  • Who is your target audience? Don’t kid yourself; it’s not everyone! When companies zero in on a target audience, only then can they begin to craft a story that resonates with the audiences’ persona.
  • Stories have become lost. Think of a product in your house. Is there one with a story that drove your buy decision? Can you relate to the brand’s back story that keeps you engaged? (When I see Clydesdale horses, I still think of beer. The irony is I got the brand wrong, and Gregg corrected me! That story was told over and over during holidays when I was a kid; saw it on TV. Where is that story now? That taste of Americana resonated with many people, and now it’s lost and ignored in an archive.)
  • It’s trust that’s earned when real stories are told. Gregg informed me businesses have an opportunity to retell their robust histories with stories that live dreams.
  • Storytelling is necessary for the small business. (I love the potential of this statement for SMBs.) The dry cleaner that competes with the same service provider around the corner and up the street must differentiate. Ever walk into a dry cleaner to be greeted by the proprietor who rarely speaks English and wonder about his/her story? You can guarantee there’s a significant one waiting to be told which may tug at the emotional/personal enough to make a customer brand loyal. But, that story is not getting told.

Gregg gave me much food for thought (another analogy for the SMBs, Goldfish & Social Media post). I’m hopeful your interest is piqued enough to let the pondering begin!  If you’re struggling to tap your story, I know just the right guy to help…http://greggmorris.com .

(Image credit courtesy of http://greggmorris.com)

Social Media — Hype or Reality?

Today’s Wall Street Journal Small Business story “Entrepreneurs Question Value of Social Media” contains the usual pro/con, plus/minus stance journalists must take for fair reporting. It also states new evidence suggests social media is more hype than reality.

A marketing professor, Larry Chiagouris of Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, believes strongly social media can be harmful…if you say something stupid, offensive or grammatically incorrect.

Certainly, he’s right — words can kill, hurt or maim.

But, social media provides an opportunity for the small business owner (SMB) and entrepreneur to saddle up with the big guys. In fact, the SMB can do social media a whole lot better — with more flexibility, speed and targeted messaging.

According to the story, in 2009, “social-media adoption by businesses with fewer than 100 employees doubled to 24 percent from 12 percent in a study by University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and Network Solutions.”

The crux of the matter is this — any new communications channel provides opportunity. Stick the big toe in, test the temperature. Being timid may be safer for your company’s culture and comfort zone; however, with time comes confidence. Once you understand that you cannot be on Twitter alone or launch a Facebook page strictly to regurgitate press releases, you’ll have more success.

So, here’s something to chew on SMBs:

1. Listen to the naysayers and get the eyes wide open to what may be a passing fad (says academicians). Then ignore it!

2. Stick your neck out of the comfort zone and jump in — tweet, do a Facebook fan page, try a blog, do some Internet press releases that point to a content-rich landing page, etc.

3. Lower the expectation and get ready to be pleasantly surprised with the experience.

You see, there’s something the academics are not telling you in their lofty commentary and market research. When you engage with real people who are peers,real or potential customers, you learn. You learn more than you ever expected, and that’s the value social media brings.

Nope, it’s not hype; it’s definitely reality. What do you think?