The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Engagement

Business Blogging

Business blogging is a great way of pulling in new customers.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s why blogs matter…

  1. Blogs mean business. They’re not just pretty window-dressing for websites. 61% of US online consumers have purchased an item based on a blog’s recommendation
  2. Blogging wins over paid ads. Research shows that up to 80% of people ignore paid ads in search results. These are people you can only access by creating great content that they want to read.
  3. The more you blog, the more customers you’ll get. A study by Hubspot found that the more frequently brands posted new content, the more customers they acquired. Nearly nine in ten (89%) of brands who posted content multiple times a day won a new customer during the study, compared to just 33% of brands who posted content less than monthly. The lesson? Blog frequently, and you will almost certainly bring in customers.
  4. Blogs are seen as trusted sources. We live in a world where there is increasing distrust of marketing messages. Blogs are bucking this trend, with 81% of US online consumers trusting information from blogs.
  5. Blogging frequently means more traffic to your website. Businesses who post to their blog more than 20 times per month (that’s the equivalent of once a day, Monday to Friday) generate five times more traffic compared to businesses who only post to their blog four times per month (i.e. once per week).
  6. Blogs come in all languages. Wherever you are in the world, your business can benefit from blogging. WordPress hosts blogs written in more than 120 languages. English is by far the most popular, accounting for 71% of blogs. Spanish takes second place, with 5% of blogs written in the language of love.
  7. Blogging is a low cost way of generating leads. It costs 62% less to generate a lead using inbound marketing compared to outbound marketing. In other words, blogging can help you save money on your marketing budget.

Sources

BlogHer, Women and Social Media in 2012

Search Engine Land, Eye-Tracking Study

HubSpot, Websites With More Content Generate More Customers

WordPress, A live look at activity across WordPress.com

HubSpot, Lead Generation Lessons From 4,000 Businesses

Hubspot, Everything You Need to Sell Your Boss on Business Blogging

Top 10 Blogs 2015

If anyone tells you blogging is a dying art, block your ears.

Sure, video is taking center stage. But that’s just pushing up the quality of all content. Blog articles are getting better and better. We’re either in the golden age of blogging, or we’re on the way there.

With that in mind, we’ve selected the top 10 blogs and bloggers to watch in 2015. They’ve made it into this list because they write amazing blog posts – but also because they’re friends and mentors.

Oh, and to make it extra special, we’ve included our favourite posts from their blogs over the past year.

Don’t take our word for it about how damn good these guys and gals are. Check them out for yourself…

1. James Altucher, The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine

For James Altucher ideas are “the currency of life”. He explains:

Good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, save your life. Financial wealth is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.

As social marketers and content creators, ideas are the core of our work. Good ideas lead to flourishing content that’s widely shared.

Mediocre ideas? Let’s not talk about those…

James Altucher has created a step-by-step guide to becoming an idea machine. Following his guide, you’ll have an output of 10 ideas per day, or over 3,500 ideas per year.

Take a look and get inspired here.

Follow James Altucher on Twitter here.

2. Jonathan Fields, The Seven Lies that Keep Us From Success

We are the primary authors of the thoughts, words and limitations that tend to do the most damage to our potential. It’s the stories we tell ourselves. The lies that stop us from taking action.

So says Jonathan Fields, and in a seven part series he explores in depth the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from being successful. Even better, he shows how to bust up those lies for the myths they are.

Need some motivation to keep you moving forward in 2015? This is the post to read.

Get your buzz on here.

Follow Jonathan Fields on Twitter here.

3. Social Media Examiner, 26 Creative Ways to Publish Social Media Updates

Ever stuck on ideas for what to share on social media? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

In this post – our favorite from Social Media Examiner in 2014 – the prolific Ali Luke gives 26 fresh ideas on what you can do with your social updates.

Post ideas include book recommendations, company milestones, evergreen content, and interviews with your team members.

This post has over 15,000 social shares, so it looks like all the social media lovers out there enjoyed it too.

Check it here.

Follow Ali Luke on Twitter here.

4. Jeff Bullas, 10 Ways To Create Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing

What we love about this post is that it delves into the why. It gets deep into the psychology of why people share content, so you can apply the advice whatever industry you’re in.

Our favorite part of the post is the 6 guidelines that increase the chances of content being shared:

  • Appeal to your audience’s motivation to connect with each other (not just with your brand).
  • Tell a story.
  • Credibility needs to be established, as does trust, which is the cost of getting shares.
  • Keep the message simple.
  • Appeal to positive emotions like inspiration, illumination or amusement to build a positive brand connection.
  • Embed a sense of urgency.

Read it here.

Follow Jeff Bullas on Twitter here.

5. Neil Patel, The Formula for a Perfect Headline

In the world of the internet, headlines matter. They’re more than important. You could say headlines are the key to great content.

In Neil Patel’s terms:

On average, when I write a great headline, I generate 6,591 more visitors the day I publish the post. I also generate 292 more tweets and 137 more Facebook shares.

That’s why we enjoyed Neil Patel’s Formula for a Perfect Headline. It distills the art of headline writing into a simple infographic that anyone can use.

Learn the headline formula here.

Follow Neil Patel on Twitter here.

6. Jay Baer, Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy

Jay Baer throws the cat among the pigeons with this post, and points out that “reach” on social media is often much smaller than we imagine.

If I send out a tweet, the 124,000 who have said they want to hear from me won’t see that tweet. A small cross-section (usually about 2,000, according to my Twitter stats) will see it instead. Thus, my theoretical reach is 124,000, but my reliable reach is about 1.6% of that, and the actual people comprising that 1.6% shifts somewhat from tweet to tweet. The same dynamics exist on Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, and especially Facebook.

What this lack of reliable reach means is that we keep trying to communicate with people who have asked to hear from us, but when we send those messages what we mostly get are busy signals.

What’s the solution?

Read the article here to find out.

Follow Jay Baer on Twitter here.

7. Francisco Rosales, After 1.5 Million Posts Analyzed, Here is the Perfect Facebook Post

What does the perfect Facebook post look like? After analysing 1.5 million posts from across 6,000 pages, Francisco Rosales reveals what works and what doesn’t – with some surprising results.

See for yourself here.

Follow Francisco Rosales on Twitter here.

8. Derek Halpern, I got a $310 haircut. I learned 3 SURPRISING things about raising your prices.

In this short but sweet post (plus 7 minute video), Derek Halpern reveals what he learned when he splurged $310 on a haircut (when he usually spends $40).

What did he find out?

Check Derek’s conclusions here.

Follow Derek Halpern on Twitter here.

9. Guy Kawasaki, The Art of Evangelism

You’ve got something awesome to share – but what’s the best way to share it?

Guy Kawasaki, formerly chief evangelist for Apple, provides 11 steps for sharing the good news.

We love all of them, but especially number 5:

Look for agnostics, ignore atheists. It is very hard to convert someone to a new religion when he worships another god. The hardest person to convert to Macintosh was someone who worshipped MS-DOS. The easiest person was someone who never used a personal computer before. If a person doesn’t “get” your product or service after fifteen minutes, cut your losses and move on.

Read all 11 steps here.

Follow Guy Kawasaki on Twitter here.

10. Michael Hyatt, The Top-10 Characteristics of Lousy Leaders

It’s always good to learn from your mistakes, but even better to learn from the mistakes of others.

Leadership coach Michael Hyatt shows how you can avoid the mistakes that lousy leaders make, and so put yourself on the path to becoming a great leader.

Check his post here.

Follow Michael Hyatt on Twitter here.

2015 Social Media

A new year, a fresh start. That’s the theory anyway. Why not make it real too – at least when it comes to social networking.

This is the ideal time of year to press “reset” on your social strategy. You can take a few moments to make sure you’re getting the best out of the time and money you invest in social marketing.

Even if you’re doing really well with social (great job if you are!), it’s still worth doing a raincheck. The landscape of social media is constantly changing, and there’s no right way of doing social. So it’s always good to make sure you’re on the right path.

Here’s how to make sure 2015 is the year you rock it on social media…

Find Out What’s Been Working Well

You’ve heard the phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”. That applies here. Just because you’re rethinking your social strategy doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch.

Look over what’s gone well for you on social media in the past year. For example, you might notice that you’ve:

  • Interacted with an influencer (or influencers) in your niche
  • Received lots of comments from your fans or followers
  • Had a good amount of clicks on the content you’ve shared
  • Performed particularly well on one or two social networks.

You can get some of this information by looking over your social interactions. But you’ll get better information (and be able to see if you’re improving) if you track your metrics. We’ll come to that in a moment.

For now, notice what’s working, and commit to doing more of it.

Throw Out What’s Not Working

Spring cleaning is when you tidy up your house, and it often includes throwing out broken stuff.

The concept of spring cleaning actually comes from the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring. On New Year’s Eve, people in Persia clean everything in their home, as a way of having a fresh start.

So far, you’ve looked at what’s working on social media. Now, it’s time to consider what’s not going so well. This can be tough – because it could mean it’s time to trash projects you’ve spent a lot of time on, or that mean a great deal to you.

When you’re considering what’s not going so well, you might look at:

  • Types of content that doesn’t get shared or commented on
  • Networks where you don’t get much interaction
  • Influencer’s you’ve been targeting who continually ignore you

And so on…

Of course, it could be that you can’t see what’s worked (or failed) on social media, because you’ve been doing very little social networking. If that’s that case, then throw out your laziness, and get to work at making a social splash!

Replace the Broken With Sparkling New Things

You’ve seen what’s working in your social strategy, and you’ve thrown out what’s not.

What’s next? By getting rid of what’s not working, you’ve freed up time to try out some new things.

Remember, social media is an experiment. Not everything you try out will work. But some of it will. So, try out what you’re drawn to, and see how it goes.

Here are some ideas for what you could do.

Find “Influencers” to Connect With

You’ve probably heard that it’s good to connect with “influencers”. Typically, these are people with lots of followers. More followers, more influence, right?

This is only true to an extent. A better way of looking at influencers is to think of the people who can help you because of their position, and the influence they have. For example:

  • If you’re a start up company, then “influencers” could be potential investors
  • If you’re a freelance writer, then “influencers” are the editors who could commission an article from you.
  • If you’re an ecommerce store, then an “influencer” could be a potential supplier you want to get in touch with.

For advice on how to connect with influencers, check out our guides here, here, here, and here.

Try Out a New Network

Which networks should you be using? That all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. For most businesses, we’d recommend you use Twitter and Facebook at minimum, but even those aren’t for everyone.

The right networks for you are the places you can best connect with your customers. For B2B businesses, this is likely to be LinkedIn. If you sell a highly niched product, then you might find the best place to connect with your customers is in an old-school forum. Selling interior design or craft products? Then you can’t ignore Pinterest.

So, take some time to investigate the niche networks that could be a good fit for your business. Then go join them!

Make Sure You’ve got the Basics Covered

The bread-and-butter of social media can seem boring, which is why we’ve saved it until last. But if you’ve not getting the basics right, then there’s little point in growing what you’re doing.

Two simple mistakes we often see are:

  • Not scheduling updates. Scheduling updates using a simple tool such as Buffer App will save you a ton of time if you’re not doing it already. It also has an added advantage: scheduling updates means you’ll be following the most basic role of social media – frequent updates.
  • Failing to track your metrics. Keeping on top of your stats is the only way you can discover what’s really working on social media. It also helps you see how you can improve. Tracking stats doesn’t have to be difficult – there are a ton of different apps that will do it for you.

Over to You

What are your New Year’s Resolutions when it comes to social media? What changes are you planning to make to your social strategy in 2015?