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Monthly Archives: May 2013

21 Quick Tips: How to Write a Blog for Your Business

21 Quick Tips: How to Write a Blog for Your Business

Do you want to improve how you write a blog for business?

Here are 21 tips on how to write a blog for your business blog in a step by step way. Below the how to write a blog for business graphic is a few tips on each step to help you get more clicks, more traffic and build your brand community.

21 Tips On How To Write a Blog For Your Business

My father always used to lecture me of getting the foundations right, getting the research or work done so you know what your doing. As a teenager whilst that was good advice I often ignored it and learnt the hard way (luckily no serious damage was done only some minor accidents e.g. a tree house that fell down with friends and me in it), that this approach did make sense despite my impulse to just jump in and do it.

If you want to learn how to write a blog then you need to understand your customers and write content that they are going to find useful and engaging. Do your homework and you will get more traffic, more click and more leads. But it does take time to get it right and for it to be on target with your customers. You need to prepared to make mistakes and learn from them. Here are 21 tips to help you write a blog for your business blog and get better results.

Targeting Your Customers
how to target customers when business blogging
When you are learning how to write a blog you can easily spread yourself too thin and you will not get the results you are looking for – staying focused is critical.

  • Key action – write down who you key target customer is just one e.g. if BtoB: size of business, number of people, turnover, their sectors, greaography…
  • narrow down your marketing to niche market/market segments – think long tail here
  • Use marketing personas to build out who you are targeting and give them a personality.
  • Use any data you have to support your marketing persona e.g. age, demographic data.
  • Check with others in the business e.g. sales, customer service – that the persona(s) are right.

Find Them Online
how to focus on your customer when business blogging
Understand where your customers spend time online and you will be able to listen to them and connect in the right places.

Social Media Listening
how to write a blog and improve how you listen to your customers online for business blogging
Set a budget for the tools – whilst some are free, the better ones do cost but are worth the investment.

Understand Their Problems
how to write a blog for customers online for your business blog
When you are trying to master how to write a blog always put your self in the shoes of your customers. Listen to their problems – what information are they searching for, what service problems do they have, is their misunderstanding about a product or service, do they have wishlists…

  • Key action – Write a list of the most common problems, gaps in information and issues
  • Prioritise your list

Identify How You Can Help Them
how to write a blog and get to grips with customers problems when blogging
This is where you need to be realistic and match what you and your business are good at to their problems.

  • Key Action – With the list of problems highlight the ones you are confident that you can write about and fit to your business.
  • Draft a list of ideas around each problem – this will be used later

Review The Competition
how to write a blog and review competition when business blogging
Take into account what your competition are blogging about, what topics tehy are focusing on

Key actions

  • Identify their key topics e.g. categories on their blog page
  • See what posts have been popular and assess why
  • Identify how you can be different / better than them
  • Don’t be a copy cat

Identify How You Can Help Them
how to write a blog tell your brand message in your business blog
What do you stand for and why should people follow your – what is the core message that will attract and be relevant to your audience.

Key Actions

  • Develop an easy strap line that helps people understand what your about
  • Build your message into your blogs and communications

Set Your Goals, Objectives and Metrics
how to write a blog for business content marketing
This is the critical part. If you are going to invest in blogging set your self some clear goals for the results. What do you want to achieve (be realistic) and what business benefit will it deliver e.g. 5 leads per week.
Key Actions

  • Use SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed)
  • Be sure you can measure them
  • Produce a spreadsheet and plan out your targets by week/month and then your results

Develop Your Strategy and Tactics
set your how to write a blog strategy
Plan in the strategy that is going to work for you – how your blog content fits to your overall marketing plan and communications mix.

Key actions

  • What are the key resources and actions needed to achieve your goals?
  • What are the daily/weekly tasks you are going to schedule?

10 Build Your Blog
build out your business blog using wordpress
A good blog needs a good home. Invest in a WordPress blog that is going to fit to your brand and be easy for people to engage with.
Key actions

  • Make sure you choose a responsive theme – the rise of the mobile consumer is here see these stats
  • Build in the styles and design features that can help your blog stand out
  • Blogs are increasing becoming more visual so add in the styling that will help you produce a good visual layout – think more magazine than blog

11 Build Out Marketing Functionality
build into your blog the marketing plugins and themes you need
Your blog needs to be able to turn traffic into buying customers and to do that you need to have the right marketing functionality. Looking good is not enough.
Key actions

  • Build in your key conversion points and methods to convert customers
  • Add in tracking e.g. goals so you can measure performance

12 Link Your Social and Email
how to write a blog and build in social and email
Key actions:

  • Hook up your blog with your social networks so that people can easily share your content.
  • Also build in your email subscriptions to build your email list.

13 Develop Your Editorial Calendar
build your business blog editorial calendar for effective blogging
This is probably on of the most important steps. An editorial calendar will help stay focused and give you a good schedule to work to. It is even more important if you have more than 1 person in your business blogging.
Key actions

  • Be realistic and don’t forget to add in the other content that you are producing
  • Balance out your categories to make it more varied and interesting for your audience

14 Research Your Keywords and Phrases
develop the seo that is right for your blog

Key actions

15 Develop Your Killer Headlines
how to write a blog killer headlines
Your titles make the difference between a click and no-click a share and just a read. Spend time coming up with awessome titles.
Key actions

Key Actions

  • Think like a magazine editor here
  • Download our content marketing guide and use our list of formulas for killer headlines

16 Write Your Blog and Format
how to write a blog and format headlines
Write your blogs and rewrite them. Find your own personal voice and practice – it takes to to develop a writing style that is right for you. Write as if you are talking to your marketing persona and helping them.
Key actions

  • Don’t be afraid – everyone goes through times of uncertainty and doubt when writing. It can be hard but bit by bit you will improve
  • Remember there is only one you and that is unique and special use it to to your advantage and intertwine the personal and business
  • End each post with a call to action or ask for people’s opinions

17 Publish To Your Social Networks
publish and market your business blog
You have to promote your blog and ensure it is found.
Key actions

  • Publish to your main social networks and invite comments and feedback

18 Respond To Comments
respond to your audience comments
Comments are the gold of blogging and so actively invite comments and always respond promptly to them

  • Use a good commenting system such as Disqus
  • Respond and be helpful, never rude. Remove any spam to keep you blog clean

19 Track Your Performance
track the performance of your blog
With each blog post you move one step closer to achieving your goals. Track your metrics and review regularly.

20 Rinse and Repeat – Improve
how to improve your business blog
Some blog posts will do well whilst others may not achieve the results you had hoped for. Learn from your spikes and dips and continually refine your editorial calendar to improve titles, content and how you reach and attract your audience. Importantly make sure you are turning your blog into tangible business results.

21 Don’t Forget To Enjoy It and Be Creative
how to write a blog and be creative
This may seem obvious but have fun, enjoy it and if you are passionate about helping people and equally enthusiastic about your business your blog will do well. Experiment by adding in different media and help to make your business human. Your customers will appreciate being part of your tribe.

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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Blogging

 

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5 Key Lessons for Authors and Self-Publishers from Neil Gaiman

5 Key Lessons for Authors and Self-Publishers from Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman (source: Wikipedia)

Neil Gaiman, one of the world’s most beloved authors, gave the keynote speech at last week’sDigital Minds Conference and although his audience was primarily made up of book industry executives, his talk was just as relevant to authors and self-publishers. If you haven’t seen it already, the full presentation is now online and well worth watching.

For me, there were five key lessons to draw from Gaiman’s talk and I have taken the liberty of both paraphrasing him and, in some cases, expanding upon his ideas.

1. Be nice

Gaiman recalled a time when he was sharing a signing with a big-ticket crime author, back before he found himself on the bestseller lists. Incredibly Famous Author, who remains anonymous for the duration of the anecdote, made a scene when presented with an ex-library book on the basis that he ‘got nothing for it’. In response several people in Famous Author’s queue defected, buying copies of Gaiman’s book and waiting in line for him to sign it.

All authors, and especially self-published authors, should bear this in mind at all times. It only takes one example of obnoxiousness for someone to change their mind about buying your book and, on the internet, such examples can travel widely. Instead, give people something to love, give them something to remember and to treasure. Give them an opportunity to take a chance on you; don’t give them a reason to change their minds.

2. Readers discover authors they love, they don’t buy them

People find their favourite authors through word of mouth, not by going into a bookshop and buying a book. They are introduced to their favourite authors by being given or loaned the book by a friend, or by borrowing it from a library. Said Gaiman:

“We don’t normally find the people we love most by buying them. We encounter them, we discover that we love them, which is why I decided early on I was never going to go to war [on piracy], I was just going to encourage, I was going to go for word of mouth.”

3. What is valuable is what is unique

The publishing is in the business of producing lots of things that are identical, ie copies of books. But people buy things because they are unique, because they remind us of an experience, because they have some emotional impact on us. We need to appeal to people by producing beautiful objects. We need to festishise books and give people a reason to buy them.

4. Make yourself heard

We live in a world of abundance now. The days of scarcity, where it was hard to find things, are over. The question is how do we make ourselves heard? How do we find the signal in the noise? And how do we make ourselves heard? A world in which there’s too much information means we no longer rely on gatekeepers but on guides and on word of mouth. That means you have to get out there, you have to be a part of your community, and you have to be the signal, not the noise.

5. Be lucky, be a dandelion, try stuff

For me, this was the most important part of Gaiman’s talk and it starts about 15 minutes in. Mammals, he reminds us, have a small number of offspring and nurture them, pouring all their energy and resources into helping them grow up. Dandelions, on the other hand, produce many, many seeds, the majority of which will never germinate, but — and it’s an important but — some will.

We should, he says, throw our seeds to the wind and see what works. Not everything will pan out the way we hoped, and he gives some good examples of failure, but enough will succeed. It’s important to remember, however, that just because something works well once for someone else does not mean that the same thing will work for you. Sometimes it won’t even work again when the same person does it. Gaiman’s model, he tells us, is this:

“Try everything, make mistakes, surprise ourselves, try anything else, fail, fail better, succeed in ways we would never have imagined a year ago or a week ago.”

Too many authors and self-publishers are looking for the One True Path To Success, but that path doesn’t exist. Tactics that seem to work for one author fail for many others (although we’ll never know how many as no one counts the failures). And strategies that worked once upon a time no longer do. So we have to be inventive, try things out, not get disheartened when we fail, and just keep on being creative, no matter what.

There are more opportunities out there now than we can count, more chances to throw our dandelion seeds to the winds than ever before. There has never been a more exciting time to be a writer than now.

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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Self Publishing

 

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Secrets of successful self-publishing

Secrets of successful self-publishing

A one-day workshop aimed at anyone who wants to learn how to be successful at self-publishing

Date and times: Sunday 9 June 2013, 10am-5pm

Overview

In this dynamic seminar, you will learn the secrets of how to successfully self-publish your book including: how to ensure your book is the best it can be, how to evaluate and choose service providers, what you should do yourself and when to use professionals, how to maximize your chances of selling your book once it is published, and how to avoid expensive mistakes.

Course content

• How self-publishing, and independent authors, fit into the current publishing eco-system
• Prerequisites of successful self-publishing
• How to self-publish ebooks & sell them online, including formatting, major book distribution sites and pricing
• How to self-publish in print, using print on demand or small print runs
• How to evaluate self-publishing services and how to avoid the most expensive mistakes
• The business side of self-publishing including timelines, budgets, the entrepreneurial mindset and psychological aspects
• Top tips on marketing your self-published book

Tutor profile

Joanna Penn is the independent author of ARKANE thrillers, Pentecost, Prophecy and Exodus, as well as the non-fiction book, Career Change. Joanna’s site for writers www.TheCreativePenn.com has been voted one of the Top 10 blogs for writers and self-publishers and offers articles, audio and video on writing, publishing and book marketing. Joanna is also an Advisor to the Alliance of Independent Authors and a professional speaker. Connect with Joanna on twitter @thecreativepenn

To book

Go here.

Details

Date: Sunday 9 June 2013
Times: 10am-5pm
Location: The Guardian, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, London N1 9GU
Price: £150 (includes VAT, booking fee, lunch and refreshments)
Event capacity: 30

To contact us, click here. Terms and conditions can be found here.

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Self-Published

 

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Which Publishers Are the Best at Selling Ebooks in 2013?

Which Publishers Are the Best at Selling Ebooks in 2013?

Everyone knows that The Hunger Games was a huge hit in 2011 and 2012 and that the next movie based on the series, Catching Fire, comes out soon, but who knows which publisher has been the beneficiary of such success?

Everyone knows self-publishing is growing by leaps and bounds, but who can say how well self-published authors in aggregate are doing against the big publishing houses?

To answer these questions, we at Digital Book World created Ebook Publisher Power Rankings to rank how well each publisher is doing at ebook sales. The methodology is simple: look at the 13 weekly top-25 ebook best-seller listsfrom the first quarter of 2013 and count how many times each publisher had a title that appeared on the list.

ebooks

Here are the top-five publishers so far in 2013:

1. Hachette: 88 appearances
2. Random House: 87 appearances
3. Penguin: 42 appearances
4. Self-published: 22 appearances
5. Macmillan: 18 appearances

See the rest of the list.

Three things we learned:

1. Self-published books are making more waves this year than ever before. Some 7% of all weekly best-sellers were self-published in the first quarter of 2013 and two No. 1 best-sellers in that time. In the weeks since, there have already been two more No. 1 best-selling self-published ebooks.

2. Penguin Random House will dominate the best-seller list when the merger between the two large publishers closes in the second half of 2013. Between the two of them, they published 40% of the best-sellers in the first quarter of 2013.

3. Harlequin has begun to figure out how to find mass-market success with ebooks. Harlequin has not benefited from the rise of ebooks despite the huge popularity of romance ebooks. The largest publisher of romance titles has seen more of its paperback business disappear than it has been able to replace with a rise in ebook sales so far. But in the first quarter of 2013, Harlequin had a handful of hits on the best-seller list, indicating that it might be turning its digital performance around.

Read more.

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Self-Published

 

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Tips on Writing a Book

Unsure how to go about writing your book? Here are some tips:

When writing a book, there is no rule of thumb on the number of pages or its chapter length, regardless of genre. However, there are some important things that you need to keep in mind when determining your book’s chapter length and page count.

PAGES

Consider the reader’s attention span. There are readers, many of them, who read ‘on the go’ – it could be on their way to work or while having lunch. They are those who enjoy chapters that they can finish within ten or fifteen minutes.

Setting your chapter length may depend on the amount of time it takes to finish reading the material. For example, if it is more than fifteen minutes, you might want to split your chapters into two. This should work well when writing a non-fiction book.

Keep in mind that writing a fiction and non-fiction book is entirely different. Fiction book writing requires the use of shorter chapters, some only a page, if only to immerse the reader into the story. On the other hand, writing a non-fiction book requires a more detailed content, specific to your chapter title or heading.

While it is good to set your chapter pages to twenty, perhaps the most important thing that you need to consider is to incorporate everything relating to a specific topic in a chapter, so as to sum it all up without the shilly-shally. For instance, if you are writing a book about makeup, include all there is you need to write about eye makeup. Tips on applying cheek blush should be in another chapter.

 

CHAPTERS

There is actually no given rule when setting the chapter length of your book. However, for your work to be considered a book instead of a booklet, your word count should be at least 10,000. In addition, you can create two volumes if your book has over 450 pages.

Submission of manuscript is usually done in a word-processing format, so a 300 word count can fit approximately one page of a 12-point font text, standard size, perfect-bound book. However, you cannot be completely certain of the final length of your book until your publisher will have formatted it for printing.

If you are interested in publishing a book, get this FREE publishing guide and start your journey to publication.

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Publishing Schedule Planning

(from the Nationaal Archief. Yes, our early schedule drafts may indeed be just as incomprehensible as this one is. What, you’re surprised?)

We finalize our publishing schedules over a year out.

What does that mean?

That means today, as I’m sitting at my desk, we’re assigning final publication dates in our schedule for our spring 2014 season — May, June, July, and August 2014.  (And actually, I’m writing this post on April 17th, so ‘today’ is actually ‘a week ago.’  We’re planning even further out than you thought!  It’s like a mind-vortex.)  And when I say ‘assigning final publication dates,’ I don’t mean seasons or months — I mean actual week-by-week dates on the calendar for every single book in that spring 2014 season.  We’ve been working on this version of the schedule for two or three weeks now; the dates will be final tomorrow morning.

So at this point, we have to be sure that these books are all definitely making these lists — that most if not all of the final art is finished if not turned in, the books have gone through our editorial process, we’re working on starting the conversation about cover design and figuring out the actual book design; I think at least one of these titles has already been completely laid out.

So we’re not sitting here, over a year out from the publication date, and saying, ‘well, we can publish BOOK X on June 17th, 2014, if the art is in by May 1st, 2014.  And we definitely-probably know that’s going to happen.’  We’ve got a final list of the books we’re publishing for spring 2014 with most of our materials in and we’re in the process of designing books out of them right now.

Rather than making our month-by-month or week-by-week scheduling decisions on the materials due-dates, we make them based on opportunities.  What does that mean?  Well –

Is a certain book a strong candidate for an extensive author school visit schedule?  We’ll want to publish it in the winter or in early fall so that the author can go talk to students in the classroom. If we’re publishing it in spring, it should go in the first possible release date.

Does a book’s author have a strong relationship with a convention?  We’ll plan to publish the book in time for it to debut at the show.

Are we publishing a book for the same age/audience/media outlets on that same day?  Maybe we should move this book to another month so we don’t have to make booksellers or media or consumers chose between two great books of ours to feature.

Are we publishing five other books on the same day?  Maybe we shouldn’t do that, so we’re able to give each book its time in the spotlight.

Does the book have a seasonal hook?  Is it about love (Valentine’s Day) or summer (summer books come out in early spring) or school (September)?  We should put it in a month where stores and media will be able to best feature it.

Once we’ve performed this tightrope balancing act with our whole season of books, it’s pretty difficult for us to change our publication dates.  Our schedules are like those mobiles that are all hanging interdependent pieces — if you move BOOK R out of May to July at the last minute, what can we switch to fill its place so that we’re not accidentally publishing four books in July and only one in May?  And will BOOK J that we’re moving up now miss out on the opportunities that we were planning on for its July publication?

Why do we work this far in advance?  Well, one of the reasons is that we like being prepared.  (No, really).

We also work with a number of distributors and stores and schools and libraries who we want to be able to give accurate early information to when they need it so they can best sell and promote our books and nominate them for awards — in some cases, this can be as far as eight to twelve months before a book’s publication date.  We also print our color books in China, and we’ve got an extensive proofing process for all of our books (at least three rounds of proofs and one set of blues) after we send them to the printer, so the shipping and the proofing both take up a great deal of time.

In short: we want the books to be the best possible books, and we want to create a publishing schedule for them so they hit the time of the best opportunity for them to make a splash in the marketplace.

So we take a long view of things.

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