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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We've moved!

Corporate Blog Writer has moved! I'm a Chicago freelance writer who loves to help with corporate blogs, but I do a lot of other types of writing too, including ghostwriting for blogs, newsletters and trade articles, brochure writing, Websites, video script copy, and more.  For more information and to get a FREE report with 50 business blog ideas, visit Fine Point Writing.  See you there!

Friday, October 8, 2010

5 Big Business Blog Fears

There are a million reasons why you don't have a blog - or haven't kept it up, or hate posting.  Even when you know that good business blogs increase Web site traffic and customer acquisition.  What are your reasons?

1. What if they don't like me (and say bad things on my blog)?

Opening yourself up for negative feedback can be scary, unpleasant and downright maddening.  However, in a study by Forrester Research (reported here by AdWeek), only 16% of Internet users trusted the content of corporate blogs.  Ouch!

...we'ved moved! To read the rest of this article, here's the direct link at Fine Point Writing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Statistics: How blogs improve your business

Today, various bloggers are writing on the topic, "Are bloggers as important as bloggers think they are?"  One of my favorite bloggers, Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design wrote a great post on the subject.  He did a much better job than I could do, so you should read his post if you want a thoughtful answer to the question.  He's also someone who has built a solid offline business based on the success of his blog.

The part of his post that was most relevant to business blogs was the statistic he posted about blog readers, which he got from Technorati and media agency Universal McCann.: 77 percent of Internet users read blogs. That is huge! In North America, that means more than 205 million people are reading blogs.

How do I get some of those millions over to my business blog?

Targeting happens by creating content that's relevant to your potential audience.  Here are some statistics about how business blogs have improved leads, sales and Web site views.  All data is from

  • Frequent blog posting improves the chances of acquiring a customer.  In a survey by, 100% of businesses that blogged multiple times a day got at least one customer directly from someone reading the blog.  Companies that didn't blog often received fewer customers -- only 13% of businesses that blogged less than monthly acquired new prospects.
  • Blogging improves businesses' rankings in Web searches. Companies that blog have 434% more idexed pages than companies that don't.
  • More people visit business Web sites that have blogs. In a survey of more than 1,500 small businesses, companies that blogged had 55% more visitors than companies that didn't.

Making decisions from the data

Obviously, businesses need to weigh whether the cost of running a blog is more effective than other costs in the marketing budget.  There's more statistics on that demonstrate how inbound marketing efforts are much more cost-effective than outbound.  But then again, if you have blog five times a day and no one reads it, that's also pretty ineffective.  To make your blog relevant, it needs to have:

  • Keywords that allow your target to find you
  • Content that keeps your customer there
  • A call to action: products or services that solve your customers' issues - the reason they were searching the Web in the first place!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Top blog posts and what you can learn from them

Problogger has a great series of business case studies where they ask blog authors which were their most successful posts.  Here's a quick summary of top posts and why:

Simple, but effective list

Leo Babauata from Zen Habits said his most popular blog post was "10 tasty, easy and healthy breakfast ideas."  He was interviewed in 2009, and this one post received more than 500K views to date.  

Another example: My daughter is doing a report on jellyfish.  On Google images, we searched for a photo of a jellyfish eating a fish and used the term "jellyfish eating."  The photo that came up was a blog post titled, "Ten Amazing Facts about Jellyfish."

Leo's success and the jellyfish post both echo what I've read a lot lately.  Lists work.

Roundups and tutorials

Summarizing information and organizing it into a tutorial or roundup is another version of the list tactic.  Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine, a resource for Web designers, said his top post was "

Adobe Photoshop Tutorials – Best Of," which received more than a million unique hits (and this was over a year ago).

The Search Engine Optimization tips for bloggers presentation I listened to recently, by Copyblogger's Brian Clark, said that the reason these types of posts are good is that people bookmark them.  So an ideal tactic would be to create a step-by-step tutorial, or "best of" list, and then summarize all your posts onto one page for readers to bookmark, for themselves or on some kind of aggregate bookmarking service like Delicious.

Lead the pack on a timely news item

We do this in PR all the time: tie your client to a timely news hook.  Duncan Riley from The Inquisitr, a celebrity news site, got more than 600K hits on his post, "Is American Idol’s Adam Lambert Gay? Is there really any question?"

In PR, we look for timely news hooks that apply to our clients.  For example, I used to do PR for a bank. Doesn't sound exciting.  But we always got the chief economist air time to comment on Fed announcements and other market news.  News media, and now, your average Internet searcher, want to read commentary on  hot news items and trends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Keyword research for a business blog - first try

This is my first foray into learning more about search engine optimization.  I did some research to see which keywords might be most appropriate to get this blog seen more by people looking to improve their business blogs.  I used the keyword tool on Google Ad Words to look at the most popular searches and related searches.  I know there are more sophisticated ways to go about this, like buzz pocket mining (ugh - who made up that phrase?) but I am taking baby steps here.

So, the title of my blog is "Corporate Blog Writer."  But very few people (relatively) search for the phrase "corporate blog" per month -- only 9,900.  Maybe they're a very targeted 9,900.  Just the people I want.  Maybe not.  Who knows at this point.

What is interesting is that the next, related search has nearly twenty-five times that number of searches: more than 246,000 people search the term "business blog" per month.

Other top searches:

  • Search engine optimization: 9,140,000
  • SEO: 7,480,000
  • Keyword: 5,000,000

And much smaller searches that might be more appropriate to what I'm doing:

  • Freelance writer: 135,000 (and look how high this lady turns up!! Nice job!)
  • Copywriter: 135,000
  • Online writing: 135,000
  • Blog content: 110,000
I know that I shouldn't spam my own content with these keywords, I am definitely going to throw in "business blog" more often.  

Any other hints for keyword research? Also: good site analyzers to evaluate your own keywords as they are now?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#1 thing you can do that will make me want to hire you

Right now I am hiring for a digital communications manager position for one of our clients.  This is not what I normally do (as I mentioned, I mostly write).  Kind of random since I am learning about all this search engine optimization/keyword research stuff myself.  But also good, since I am at the point where at least I know what I don't know.

Back to interviewing though: frustrating!  First of all, about 90% of the emails get immediately trashed because they are too long, too short, or too boring.  We are looking for someone who can WRITE.  Every woman who comes in wears this uniform: a black pants suit and a white shirt.  Boring.

What you can do to impress me the most

I ask the interviewee questions, trying to see if their experience matches the job description.  Trying to get clues to see if they are a self-starter.  Near the end of the interview, I usually ask: "is there anything else you want to tell me?"

The last three people have said, "nope, that's about it!"

They are missing the opportunity! Now is the time!

Tell me exactly how your qualifications match the job description.  It's all out there in the original ad.  Bullet points. Tell me, "I think I'd be great at this job because I can do A,B and C, just like you have in the ad.  I'm learning about D and E and I know I can do it because I did Z in my last job."

What am I doing wrong?

Am I doing something wrong as an interviewer?  Should I ask straight out: "What qualifies you for this position?"  What do you think?