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How to validate your blog post ideas

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Blog Post Ideas|How to validate your blog post ideasThe cold, hard truth in the world of writing is that no matter how well you research a topic, and no matter how much passion you pour into content creation, a piece can (and will) still fall flat if there was never enough interest in the topic to start off with.

There’s nothing quite as disheartening as spending hours upon hours writing a blog post (the average one takes roughly 3 and a half hours from start to finish), only to find that it was never going to drive traffic due to minimal search volume.

Fortunately, there are data-driven ways you can validate your blog ideas before you dive into the creation process.

Take stock of these simple steps and work them into your blogging process. You’ll soon find your content marketing is performing far better than you imagined possible thanks to spending these few extra moments on validation.

Use Google to Assess The Competition

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal for validating a blog post idea is actually one of the most common: Google.

By searching your proposed topic or title, Google can give you a strong indication on whether or not you have any chance or ranking with that title and therefore whether writing content on that topic will drive traffic to your site in the long term.

Before you write a post on a given title, put that title into Google and see what comes on the first page.

Google gives preference to bigger sites with more traffic and a stronger presence on the internet generally. Therefore if you see the first page of Google dominated by the websites of big companies and global news sites, you should narrow down the topic that you are writing about.

Ideally, when you search your proposed title in Google you want to see posts on the front page of companies your own size or smaller. Having social media and forum pages on the first page of Google also confirms that you have a good chance of ranking your post, even if your website is still small.

Ask your current audience what topics are of interest to them

Another way to gauge interest in a potential blog topic is to ask your existing customers whether they care about the topic in question.

After all, the whole point of a blog is to engage with your current audience and encourage new leads to interact with your brand; what better way to find out what your customers want to hear about than to simply ask them?

There are a couple of simple ways to do this: if you have an active social media following, you can create an easy Yes/No poll asking whether or not your audience would be interested in reading about a specific topic—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are ideal venues for this sort of outreach.

If you’re lost in the ideation process and could use some direction, send out an email blast giving your audience the opportunity to call out the topics they’d most like to hear about. You’d be surprised by how many of your followers will respond with ideas they’ve been itching to learn more about.

Another effective, yet easily overlooked way to choose blog topics with the help of your customers is to simply jot down the most common questions you receive on a daily basis and use them as inspiration for future posts.

Use forums to find “low competition questions”

Forum sites like Quora and Reddit can help with validating a blog topic idea because the presence of conversations around your topic both indicate a level of interest in that topic, as well as a lack of answers on the internet on that topic.

This latter point is particularly important. People often ask questions on forums when they have Googled a question but not found a satisfactory answer. Therefore if you see a question being asked regularly on forum sites, it is well worth seeing what comes up when you Google it.

If you feel that you can answer the question better than what is currently on the first page of Google, and that question is being regularly asked in forums then you have an excellent chance of creating a post on that topic which will bring in traffic (and leads) for years to come.

Take Note of Fruitless Searches

It’s important for every content creator to always stay vigilant for topic opportunities; that way, you won’t be found wanting when it comes time to choose a topic to write about.

One of the best ways to validate a topic is through personal experience—if you’ve searched and searched for information on a specific subject to no avail, that’s a great indication that there are others just like you looking for the same thing. There therefore may be an opportunity to fill there.

Make it a habit to write down every time you research a topic but come up dissatisfied with your results; you’d be surprised how quickly you amass a list of blog topics just waiting to be created.

The best thing about this method of validating a topic is that all of the work is done for you prior to the actual creation process since your list is already on hand, and it takes the pain out of ideation since these are all topics you’re already interested in.

In the world of modern marketing content is king, but it’s worthless without proper validation; gather data through these simple processes, and you’ll soon find that your blog posts are earning you better engagement and higher traffic than ever before.

Guide to Getting Started with a Blog for Your Business

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Guide to Getting Started with a Blog for Your Business

Having a blog as part of your business website is a brilliant way to help to connect with the customers that you have, and it also adds some strength to your business, and gives you some clout as a brand. However, even with these benefits, there are many businesses that haven’t yet latched on to the idea that having a blog is something that is going to be beneficial. Many businesses think that a blog can be something that is time-consuming. It can take some planning to come up with ideas for posts, and actually getting them written, but that shouldn’t be what stops you from launching one for your business. The time and planning really is worth the effort.

A blog for your business website is not a waste going to be a waste of time. In fact, it has been found that it can be one of the most cost-effective ways that you can market and promote your business, and can help to get more leads, and as a result, sales and customers. You can establish yourself as an authority in your industry, when you share relevant and correct information, and it can help you to get found more easily on the world wide web. Not only that, it is pretty straightforward to blog. You can always outsource it too, but with so many businesses doing it, and seeing the benefit, it needs to be something that you at least consider. With that in mind, here are some of the top tips on how to start a professional blog for your business.

Write for your customers

Writing for your business blog is something that is going to be different to writing for your own personal blog. Although some examples can come into play, they should be business related to demonstrate a point, rather than drawing on personal experience. The business blog is not all about you as an individual. You should always bear in mind that the people who are going to read the blog, are your customers or potential customers. So the content that is out there, needs to be written for them and their needs. Think about who your ideal customer is, and then write content according to that.

Great web hosting

If you already have a website, then the chances are that you are already happy with what you have. However, for a blog, you should have some great hosting, to really maximize the benefits of blogging, and making sure that the look and design of your site works well, and fits in with your brand. There are a variety of options, such as cloud hosting, or using a platform that is specific to blogging, like WordPress, for example. You could even consider something like Hostgator WordPress hosting which is hosting that is designed specifically to cater to any WordPress websites. When you combine cloud and WordPress hosting together, as in this case, it could help you to get a fast, secure, and reliable website and blog. You want the site to be quick to load and reliable, otherwise people will just get bored.

Content is king

In order for readers to stick to your blog, and keep coming back for more, the content that you create needs to be great! Not to mention that Google loves fresh content, so posting regularly helps to have new content for it to index, and helps your website to rank well in searches. Having great content is how you establish your business website as an authority in your industry. When you write about what you know, then it will make the writing easy. As a result, it will be more comfortable and engaging, and keep readers coming back for more.

If you have a business that sells garden furniture, for example, it can be something that can be a little dry, but there are lots of ways that you can go with it. If you are an expert on all things garden and furniture related, and what will work best in different settings or conditions, then that is the kind of content that you should run with. It is all having content that is relevant and interesting, even if on the surface you might not think that it is.

You should also look to answer questions that you think your readers might have. Going on to the garden furniture topic again, for example, you could talk about storage and weather conditions, such as looking after your furniture in winter. This is potentially a question that your customers could have. When they know that they can come to you for all things garden related and have their questions answered, it is more likely that they will come back again.

Little and often

Blog posts don’t need to be long essays. So it is a good idea to keep them short, sweet, and to the point, answering questions along the way. Unless someone is looking to thoroughly look into and research a particular topic, people will only be looking for quick information that they can skim read. As a guide, it is a good idea to aim your blog posts to be around 250 to 500 words. If it is going to involve more words to get your point across more clearly, then that is obviously something that is completely fine to do. There is also no set time to post, or how often you should post. Just think about being consistent. If once a week is all you can manage, then just make sure that it is once a week. Customers will want to come back to see new content each time.

One of the key points is to mix things up a little. Of course, a blog is there to help convert site visitors into sales. But don’t make it all about your products and recommending them. Mix up your posts with plenty of images, link to relevant articles, and even share videos. Engage with those that leave comments, and get the whole team involved; it will make a difference.

How To Get Started On Your Blogging Journey

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, How To Get Started On Your Blogging Journey

Blogging can be many things to many different people. To some, it is a hobby. They can talk happily about the subjects that interest them, and engage with like-minded individuals who also feel a passion for the same topic. For others, blogging is a side-line, a great way of earning money alongside your regular income. Many people, however, can turn their blogs into their full-time jobs and earn a lucrative income from the content that they create. Businesses will also use blogs to fantastic effect as a way of raising awareness of their own brands. It is important to never underestimate the potential of blogging.

If you have ever thought about blogging, you should understand that with the right amount of effort, and with great content,  it is possible to create a successful blog that will be ready by countless people, while generating you a reasonable, if not, substantial income.

But if you don’t know your WordPress, from your Yoast, or your affiliate marketing from your search engine optimization, here is some great advice to get you started on your very own blogging journey.

Pick A Niche

You will have a few decisions to make early on in your life as a blogger. The first one is to decide on the niche that you will write in. You might be able to write confidently and inspiringly in a number of subjects, and if you can do this, and link them all together, you can cover a range of topics on your blog. Generally, readers will have an interest in a specific niche, and if your blog covers too big a range of topics it can get confusing. Stick to the areas that you are the most knowledgable and passionate in. Make sure you pick a subject that you have enough milage in, you will need to write about this on most days for a very long time to come.

Pick Your Platform

There are lots of different blogging platforms out there. Some will host your site on their servers, and in others, such as wordpress.org, you will need to buy for your own hosting from a company such as Bluehost.

Read all about the various platforms that are available and try and understand the differences and what the benefits and limitations of each one are. This is a big decision, and, while it is possible to migrate your blog to a different platform and host at a later date, it is quite a stressful and time-consuming process to carry out.

Creating Great Content

The reason that your readers will visit your site is for your content. You need to regularly create great content. Try and stick to a schedule so that you are posting to a reasonable frequency. Many sites will posts a couple of times a day. You don’t have to post each day, however, if you are going to post six or seven posts all at once, and then not update the site for a month or so, this is not going to do you any favours when it comes to building repeat readerships. If your readers know that they can expect new content on a regular basis, it will keep you fresh in their minds.

Make sure that your posts are of a reasonable length. The bare minimum a blog post should ever be is 300 words, however, longer-form content often fares well, so aim to write posts that are much higher in their word counts.

Include a striking image with your post and a catchy title. You need to bring your readers in any way that you can.

Monetizing Your Content

When you have a reasonably large readership, you should be able to start earning money from your blog. There are many ways that you can do this, though affiliate marketing is one of the most popular. The way that affiliate marketing works is that you will insert a link to a product or service in your blog. This will act as a recommendation to your readers, and, if anyone signs up or buys whatever the link is offering, you can earn a commission. Visit voluum for some great advice on getting started in affiliate marketing.

Remember, if you are using affiliate marketing on your blog, you need to be perfectly clear that you are earning money from the links that you are sharing. Create a disclaimer or disclosure page on your site and make sure and link it on any relevant posts that use this type of affiliate link.

You could also monetize your blog by using adverts, or by selling paid content such as eBooks, or by offering up your services as a consultant in your area of expertise, or as a content writer.

Socializing

Your blog needs readers. You can obtain these by sharing your posts on social media. Create social media profiles and build up a strong following on as many platforms as possible. Engage with your followers and make sure that they are engaging with your content.

Social media promotion is a vital way of generating visitors to your site, and you need to do everything that you can to build up relationships. The bigger your following, the wider your reach.

Search Engine Optimization

An area that all bloggers need to learn about and understand is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO involves getting your website as high in the internet search engine rankings as possible. If you are not in the first few results on any relevant search, then your site won’t be found by people looking at Google.

SEO is a wide subject that covers everything from inserting relevant keywords in the right places in your content, through to building up a web of links between all of your pages. By inserting a link back to relevant content elsewhere on your blog, you will be helping to optimize your website. You should also include links to other sites, and try and get your site linked to from as many external sites as possible.

7 Types Of Marketing You Can Do Yourself

StrategyDriven Online Sales and Marketing Article |Marketing Your Business | 7 Types Of Marketing You Can Do YourselfYou don’t need to hire a marketing company to promote your business. Whilst creating adverts and designing packaging are probably best left to professionals, there are many other forms of marketing that can be easily DIYed. This could save you money and give you more control over the voice of your brand. Here are just 7 types of marketing that you can do yourself.

Networking

Building connections is a great form of marketing. By meeting influential people and telling them about your brand, you can spread of knowledge of your business through word of mouth. Networking events are a popular ways of building connections. You can also use sites like LinkedIn to build connections online. Other forms of networking could include attending conferences, trade fairs, local launch parties, joining local business groups and reaching out to people directly via email.

Web design

It’s also possible to build your own website using a free website builder like WordPress. You don’t need any programming know-how to use these website builders, making it an easy DIY way of acquiring a website. These are hosting providers out there that can offer cheap web hosting with SSL, allowing you to keep to a tight budget. Paying for a more expensive host and paying a web designer to build your site may be necessary if you’re a larger company, as it could help with the speed of your site and authenticity of your brand – however smaller companies can simply rely on a cheap host and DIY website.

Social media

Social media marketing is also something you can easily do yourself. Setting up a Facebook and Twitter page is free and easy and you can build an initial following quickly by inviting all your friend and family to follow. Social media can be a great tool for keeping existing customers in the loop when it comes to events and promotions. It can also be a great tool for attracting new customers by promoting posts – this is something you can do yourself via social media without the need for a social media marketing company.

Blogging

Blogging is another effective DIY marketing strategy. Generating blog posts on your website can help you to keep your website active and utilise more keywords, which can boost your search engine rankings. Your posts can also be a chance to boost your reputation – most companies use blogging as a way of offering advice to potential customers, helping to demonstrate expertise and improve credibility. You can even create guest posts on other people’s sites to expand your web presence.

Vlogging

Vlogging involves creates video content. YouTube is the most popular platform for this – many companies have YouTube channels that they dedicate to giving advice. This is great for one’s credibility as it demonstrates a willingness to show your face and the fact that you’re confident enough to give advice. When starting a business YouTube channel, it could be worth investing in a good quality camera and microphone in order to keep a sense of professionalism. Setting up a YouTube channel is free and you can use other mediums to promote your videos such as Facebook and blog posts.c

PR

PR involves reaching out to journalists, influential bloggers and media outlets in order to encourage media coverage. A lot of businesses use a PR company to do this, but you can quite easily do your own PR. By researching into media outlets and finding people to contact, you can then start emailing them with requests for coverage. It’s best to have some kind of angle in order to encourage coverage – this could include a new product or an upcoming event or an interesting story related to your business. By creating a press release you can help to deliver this angle in a way that grabs people’s attention.

Event marketing

It’s also possible to host your own events without using a marketing company. This isn’t always easy but it can be done. Event marketing could include attending a trade fair, hosting a conference or putting on a seminar. You can even host webinars online. To promote the event yourself, take advantage of social media and use email marketing to inform key people.

How Your Business’ Digital Marketing Strategy Can Best Utilize Online Platforms

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleIf you run a business, you will most likely have a digital marketing strategy in place, and this will probably be one of the main methods in which you communicate with your current customers, and reach out to further potential customers as well. Utilizing your online platforms effectively can see you easily boost your business, but to do this, it is important to understand how best to use the online platforms that are available at your fingertips.

Blogging

Blogging is a brilliant way in which you can not only connect with your customers and potential clients but further keep them interested once they are part of your community. Starting a blog or adding a blog as a permanent feature to your website shows potential customers and consumers that you are interested and engaged in current issues and matters, and you are also a company that values customer retention through the means of sharing information. With appropriate consideration, your business can easily develop and start a blog, where you can post informative pieces that your customers can relate to, and learn from. You can keep up with trends by publishing content that is relevant to your customer base, and the regular posts will mean customers are more likely to come back to read more as time goes on. Of course, adding a blog to your website or business will require a certain amount of effort and research, as it will be obvious if your content is not of a strong quality. You should aim for a balance of quality as well as quantity, with varied posts with the aim to inform and entertain your immediate readership. It is a cost-effective way to promote your business easily, and what you stand for, so what are you waiting for?

Social Media Strategy

Your social media strategy is another vital part of your digital marketing strategy that, when properly implemented, can bring in serious opportunity for your business. Social media can even be a free method of marketing, which you can tailor to suit each platform, as different social media platforms cater to different audiences. Instagram, for example, will require a completely different marketing strategy to a Twitter feed, due to the nature of the content you are sharing and the demographics of each platform’s users. The younger generation that has grown up in a digital age will use social media more, so effectively targeting certain age groups with a media strategy that will specifically appeal to them is a great way to boost business and see potential growth.

Unsure as to whether this is the case? Let’s take the travel industry as an example. It may interest you to learn that a whopping 68% of Millennials found inspiration for their most recent trip through Facebook, and 60% through Instagram. These stats go to show the way in which businesses need to market themselves is rapidly changing. Be sure to stay ahead of the curve if you have a business in the travel industry. Through photos, offers, and blog posts, you can maximize interest in your business and be one step ahead of your competition, in this case, travel agents. To find out more about developing an effective social media campaign, check out a professional Facebook ads agency for hotels who can help you to market your venture using avenues such as paid social for hotels, to inspire potential customers on social media.

Conduct Surveys

Conducting surveys and asking for regular feedback is another way to easily further customer retention as well as potentially gain further business. With every visitor to your website, you are essentially given an opportunity to see how your business appears to ‘the other side.’ Feedback surveys are a win-win situation, as not only are you showing your customer base and potential clients or consumers that you care about the experience they are having, but you also gain an understanding of the areas of your business where you can improve. Getting a customer’s perspective can be invaluable in terms of understanding the best way to improve your business for the better.