It’s frustrating when you put time and effort into a blog, and it hardly gets seen and read – or even worse – if you don’t even know where to start when it comes to blogging for your business.
Here are some practical tips to increase your blog viewings to get more of the right people reading it, and get it found in search engines.
Think about who buys from you – you’re not writing for yourself, you’re writing for them!
What is their job ? What is a typical day? What are their challenges? What blogs do they read? What social networks do they use? How old are they? Are they married, do they usually have kids?
Hopefully this kind of thinking will really get you into their mind set.
Not all about you
So now you’ll realise, they don’t just want to read about your product or service.
They may be interested in it, but posts just full of special offers are only interesting to those who are already considering your business. You need to appeal to those who don’t even fully know about you yet. What else would they be interested in? Do you have any insight into the industry or related issues?
For example, if you’re a Kitchen company, you can post about top recipes for the season, new styles that are in fashion, co-ordinating the right colours, tips for picking the right taps / chairs.
The list is endless and none of it needs to be directly about your company.
But it is providing useful or interesting info to your potential buyer, and so the benefit is two fold.
It shows you are an expert in the field, making you an industry leader – which boosts credibility. And regular blogging on these expert topics also makes you more likely to be found by search engines. Win win!
People often search in Google with a question or query. So how can you solve their problems? Are there common question you always asked?
Be prescriptive and give real help or advice – if applicable explain how to do something, or really go about it, not just describe a process superficially.
You really must add images to your blog posts. It makes them look more engaging, exciting and it will aid the memory of whoever is reading, whilst also helping to establish credibility.
There are plenty of places where you can get free stock images for your blogs. But it’s also advisable to use your own photos where applicable, as they may be much more relevant.
Generally a photo every 350 words is considered good – a recent study showed the world’s 100 most popular blogs followed this rule.
My conclusion from this is that it breaks up the text a little and give the reader a small rest with something visually engaging, before the carry on reading.
Here’s an infographic video on the Picture Superiority effect – for info on image retention too.
These days, most blogs are written in a more conversational tone. Even if you’re writing a business blog aimed at other businesses, you don’t need to be very formal – you’re still writing for a human. And it’s not a scientific paper after all!
Personally, I write in quite a casual way, but it’s very important to keep the grammar, spelling and punctuation perfect. As slips can really let you down and you lose your credibility instantly.
Where possible, give evidence for your statements. This isn’t applicable for all blog posts, but if you’re trying to convince people of an idea and you’re making bold claims, then you need something to back this.
It doesn’t need to be metric based, though it helps if there are figures and facts that relate to your idea. You can also give real life examples (like a case study) as evidence.
For example, here’s a quick one from Hubspot in this year – “Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.” So go forth and blog!
The old guidelines for blogs posts used to be 300 words minimum. Now, the average blog post is around 400 – 600 words minimum. Many of my favourite blogs have posts regularly 1000 words or over.
You don’t need to write quite this much, but you can see the trend is for more in depth knowledge. people are really searching online to learn something, so shallow content doesn’t cut it any more.
Your blog title and first few lines matter more than you think. They are the first thing that viewers see before they even decide to read more, so keep it exciting and fairly short (less than 70 characters).
Lists with numbers always work well (though the post should reflect this), and don’t be afraid to use strong words to create excitement. ‘How to’ type titles, or questions are also popular devices.
Generally, I have 3-4 attempts at the title before settling on one – it’s definitely worth spending some time on. Think, would I read this post, based only on this title?
Really this topic deserves a whole blog in itself, so read this good one from Hubspot – A Simple Formula for Writing Kick-Ass Blog Titles
You can link to your relevant pages, if they are indeed relevant – it will help to boost your page and it helps guide the viewer.
But please don’t spam the page and add lots of links that have no relevance! Keep it just to a few.
Here’s a quick example for a Printing company. The link is the text that is bold and underlined.
Here’s a recent leaflet print projectwe did, that demonstrates this example of paper folding and cutting well.
This allows the viewer to explore further, if they want to, and is directly relatable to the blog post.
Another way of linking, is to link to similar blog posts you have written on the same topic.
If you’re interested, you can learn more about designing flyers in our in depth post How to Create the Perfect Flyer
These all aid the viewer, and lets them discover more, but interlinking also boosts your site SEO.
People don’t read online, they merely skim. Many usability studies over the years have shown that people do read very differently online to printed materials. So long paragraphs get completely missed.
As well as short paragraphs, it’s best to keep sentences short – usually under 25 words.
If you’re making a list, then you can use bullet points to aid reading. They catch attention and are often well read.
If you want to bring emphasis to particular words or phrases you can also make them bold.
It’s also important to make good use of headings to separate the content out – allowing people to scan to the section they want.
All of these factors allow a user to scan through your post – finding just the parts they are looking for and the main parts you want the user to read. .
If you incorporate these ideas into your next post, soon enough, you will get the type of results you’re hoping to achieve from your blog posts. And if you want a hand, to boost your marketing – then just let us know
It’s too easy to have a static camera, capturing one shot – of a static interviewee.
Resulting in a lifeless video that no one really wants to watch.
To tackle this issue, here’s a selection of different ways to spice up your testimonial videos:
On the go
If you film someone while they’re walking, it has a very dynamic effect and can bring great energy to a video.
Filming on the go also steers well away from from the stagnant, someone sitting on a chair in a small office, looking bored kind of video – that we’ve all seen a million times.
Static shots can be done well, but you see the same thing all the time – so why not try something new!
Using 2 cameras or more for your video shoot is becoming more and more common, and for a great reason!
Editing seamlessly between two different shots gives a much more interesting feel to the video – especially if they are quite contrasting.
For example a wide shot that shows the world behind them, then perhaps a close on on the face or the hands (if they move them a lot) Then the final video uses a mixture of both these angles.
It also has another benefit, the video editor can easily remove sections that don’t sound as good. For example if the interviewee rambles a little bit, or has a long pause – cutting this out and switching the the new shot keeps the overall flow of the video very smooth.
Why not try standing your customer in front of a green screen whilst filming. This is means that instead of a natural environment, you can add graphics behind.
This is great if you want to have a more ‘technological’ feeling approach, and want to include lots of support from charts or data.
Or with green screen video you can also include lots of captioning, which helps to reinforce their statements.
In their environment
If you film your customer at their offices or workplace – it’ll help them feel more at home, as they’re in their own surroundings. Which can make their testimonial sound better, as they’re not as nervous.
This is especially good, if their office or shop environment is quite typical of your customers, as it’ll be even more relatable to watch for the audience.
At your premises
Filming the interview at your places of work can work out really nicely. But really only this if this is a typical scenario – ie customers often visit your work.
Filming there can show the interaction between you and your customer, and helps the viewer to imagine themselves in this harmonious working relationship.
Lots of B Roll
If the person on camera is a bit shy, then B roll is your best friend. B Roll is simply footage that appears over the top of the person talking.
So you continue to hear the voice – but instead of seeing their face the whole time, you cut to shots of them working, them interacting with colleagues, etc.
Usually these are related shots, like the person working or carrying out an action that’s relevant to what they are saying.
B roll footage is really helpful for putting the whole testimonial into context.
Film a few people
If you film 3-4 people and have video that includes a combination of all – it creates excitement.
And it also gives the impression that everyone is already on board! So if you have a number of happy customers – you can fillm individual testimonials, then make a combination video.
Above all – try and keep testimonial video shooting natural, and unrehearsed!
Obviously you want positive statements, delivered as best as possible, but rehearsing can come across false and a bit stifled.
Hopefully, you can use one or more of these tips in your next Testimonial Video.
Here is an easy checklist to make sure your website is working for you – follow these 9 steps and you’ll be well on your way to getting more visitors and more enquiries.
Websites with images always look more appealing – and more memorable.
But don’t fill it with extremely generic stock images, you need images that really relate to your business, and to your audience.
Photos of your premises / products / staff are all great, as long as they have been professionally taken! They will have more of a emotional impact on web visitors than generic images of models pretending to work.
Remember, keep file sizes low otherwise they affect site speed!
2. Quick Speed
Google now check your site speed – and it can affect your search rankings.
A slow website will more than just hinder usability for visitors – if it takes too long, they will simply leave.
But now you will actually lose rankings, it if continually takes seconds and seconds to load.
For a lot of local businesses, you rely on word of mouth – which can do wonders if you get known. But what if you want to expand further than that? How do you make sure potential local customers can find you online?
Make sure your website is top notch – it needs to look modern and be full of up to date information. Paying someone to build it once 4 years ago and then leaving it alone will simply not do any more.
Particularly, it needs to be optimised for mobile users, as more and more people are searching on the go. A new Google Study showed that 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search – you can read this in depth study about local and mobile search here
So make sure your address is prominent, so they can come find you – this sounds obvious, but sometimes it’s overlooked, and can be tricky to find!
Keeping an active blog (once or twice a week at least) is also integral, as you’re constantly letting search engines know that your site is a great source of new expert information on your company’s industry – and so in turn, you get more traffic.
For any location based searches in Google, for example “hairdressers Wigan”, Google maps results still appear at the top of the listings, before any website listings.
It’s also an opportunity to get Reviews – which (if good!) boost your credibility.
It’s important to make sure you’re not missing here. It’s free add for your business and is quite straightforward.
As a small business, it can seem like quite a lot of hassle to keep posting on social media platforms, but the truth is, that’s where your potential customers are!
There were over 1 Billion users on facebook last week, so get active on social!
You can post a variety of things, not just special deals – think about what your audience would also be interested in (it doesn’t always have to be about yourself). A few times a week should be enough to start with and be sure to include any good photos or videos, as they always get more views.
You also need to make sure your profile is fully filled out, and has all your address contact details, opening times, phone number etc on.
Business Listing Websites
Add yourself to any local business listing websites – for any reasonable sized town there’s usually a few free sites where you can add your company details. This is just a small step, but you want to cover every option.
A few UK wide sites include Yelp, Thompson and Free Index.
Get to know other local business in the area if you don’t already. Local connections, whether online or offline can be invaluable – you never know when something pops up and you’ve been recommended by someone local to you for the job.
A good place to find and connect with other businesses / people is Twitter.
Sponsoring local events is always a good way to get your name known to the local community. As there’s the build up promotion online as well as the printed material etc on the actual day.
However, before you hand out any money, find out exactly how big the event is, what their target market is likely to be, and whether you’ll be added to their website as part of the deal (which is a big plus).
This research will ensure that your business gets seen by the right kind of people, and not time wasters who won’t need your services.
Hopefully these ideas will give you a quick taster of the work that needs to be done to ensure you reach full potential with your local online marketing.
Outside of the world of video (which is indeed, a very nerdy world!) you don’t hear about the term ‘Post Production’ very often.
But in fact, it’s a very important part of video making – and is the one of the most noticeable aspects for the end user, which is most cases is a potential customer.
So as a potential video buyer, post-production is something you need to be aware of when specifying a production company to make a video for your business.
Post Production is all the final touches – it’s the fine tune editing, the colourising and comesticising, captioning, music, sound effects and animated graphics.
A final video can be ‘ok’ with limited post production, maybe just a few quickly done captions – it’ll gain some acceptance. But will it achieve a good ROI? Will it wow people who watch it? Will it make your company look impressive?
If you see any professionally made video (not just your friend’s homemade job) it should include a number of these polished features – and the video will be much better for it!
Here are a few quick visual examples from a recent video to show you want impact post-production makes.
In most cases the original HD footage is fine – it’s not awful. But the added colour, graphics, light and captions bring it to life:
And for a bit of fun, here is the full impact and potential of full post production and visual effects on a massive scale!
Next time you’re thinking about producing a video for your company, then take a look at the post production quality of the samples you’re looking at.
Do they make any real effort after filming and basic editing? Or is the footage not coloured well, and generally not thought about?
Here are some ideas and practical tips to help you make sure that everyone who needs to know, knows about what you’re planning!
Write a press release – Keep it no more than 1 page. It needs to be descriptive, with all the main details, but not boring please!
Send the press release out to local and related magazines and newspapers along with a photo or event logo for them to publish.
Run a small contest that asks users to like and comment on a post on facebook or use a hashtag if on twitter to get your name out.
Produce 1 or 2 promo videos to let people know very quickly what to expect – it creates a big impression.
Follow related people on Twitter. Generally the more people you follow, the more will follow back, so if it’s a gig, then follow music lovers in the area, gig promoters, music news, bands etc.
Get in touch with any local bloggers who are related to your industry – eg fashion or dance – ask them to come along and cover the event.
Make sure your website has a very easy to find tickets page, and that the home page is written and designed for guests, and not just gaining staff.
Keep blogging on your website with the latest news – not only is it good for guests – but it’s good for Google (Google will see you have an active site and push your further up the rankings).
Ask any speakers / performers to write a short guest post about their involvement or themselves for your blog.
If your performers or speakers are not big on writing, then do an interview with them – and post the transcription as a blog post instead.
Email your subscriber list – you can do this once per month before the event, as long as you have interesting news for them and don’t spam them too often!
Produce lots of graphics – for use on the website and social media. Of course you need the main poster, logo and leaflets, but it’s also good to have supporting graphics to post on social media, for example announcement of news or a ticket promotion.
Don’t make the graphics yourself, even if the event if fantastically organised – amateur design will make you look bad and can put people off.
Get some photos taken for online use – eg behind the scenes / the venues / the staff / any pre show activities that look interesting. Social posts with images get way more views and clicks.
Get leaflets printed and distributed around town – get as much help as you can with this (it’s a tiring job)!
Ask to put posters in local shops / cafes.
Track down any related online forums that would be ok with you posting there about your event.
On the day of the event, get some staff / volunteers outside the venue and around the local with leaflets.
During the event, keep posting on social media with updates of what’s happening to generate excitement throughout the day.
Make sure you photograph and video the event – for post event promotion.
Produce a post event press release – recap what happened and send (along with a few great photos) to any press / news who are interested to posting the review.
Produce a general promo video from the footage captured on the day – it’ll be invaluable for any new events you hold in the future.
More than ever, Facebook are pushing Video advertising for business. And it’s working! In a recent blog post they stated “Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. So there’s definitely an audience.
Here are some tips to help you gain more facebook video views and a higher retention.
As facebook videos now autoplay in newsfeed with no sound – it’s imperative that the video needs to show the message well when on silent.
This means that visually it needs to have high impact – it needs to stand out on a screen that may have the brightness turned down. So a bold opening to the video will catch their attention as users scroll down the page.
With more videos being played on silent, the need for captions is increasing if you want the viewer to get the whole message.
Some news sites add subtitles for the entire speech – which can work well. But for most videos this amount of detail is not entirely necessary.
In general, it’s good to keep them quite big and very legible. Here’s a great example from AJ+
The captions are nicely designed – using bold and colour to emphasize important words, but it’s still clear and the caption doesn’t take up too much of the screen. All in all it’s well balanced and well designed.
According to the latest studies – for higher engagement, it’s recommended to keep your facebook video about 1 minute or under.
Up to 2 minutes is ok – but any longer than that and users will not make it to the end of the video. You don’t want your all important final message to be missed – so keep it concise.
If you’re proud of the video, add it video as a featured video on your account – for maximum exposure.
When you upload a video you have the opportunity to add it as a ‘Featured Video” Do this!
This will give the video full prominence, as it will always appear on the left hand side of your Facebook Page in the About section. It’s very easy to turn it on and off if you want to replace it in the future.
If the default thumbnail option is a bit bland when you upload the video (as it usually takes a random image from the video) – you now have the opportunity to upload a custom image.
This can be better designed as a image, and give viewers a real reason to watch. Sometimes the default thumbnail is good enough, but it’s worth reviewing – think to yourself, does this make me want to press play?
Call to Action
Always include a call to action. This is a button that will show at the end of the video play, that invites the the viewer to go to your website.
It means users can take further action if they like what they’ve seen. There are a few options, such as Shop Now, Sign Up etc – so you may as well take advantage.
Once you’ve uploaded your video – the chances are it’s a big occasion, and you want it to be seen by as many people as possible.
So it’s worth spending a few pounds on ‘Boosting’ the post. This kind of advertising is a quick and easy way to get as many people as possible to see your video.
You can choose just to spend £5 (to try it out) and get some good traffic to your page – or if you’re really confident the sky’s the limit!
You can also choose whether you want to target your existing facebook fans or new ones.
For something like this, I would recommend targeting existing fans first, and if it goes well maybe try a second campaign where you ‘Boost’ the post to people you target audience and location.
Use strong visuals
Clear and bold captions for maximum readability
Keep it short
Design a custom thumbnail if needed
Make is your ‘Featured Video’
Include a Call to Action to bring traffic to your website
Consider spending a little on advertising
For a local business – I understand a video may seem like a big expense – and a bit daunting to go about if we’re honest. This is especially the case if your marketing is usually low key, such as a bit of local newspaper advertising.
But with any local business, competition can be quite fierce.
And for a potential customer, on the surface, you may look quite similar to your competitors…
unless the person enquiring makes the effort to come and actually visit you – which is when of course they see your value proposition and USPs.
But you need to catch your potential visitors even before they plan a visit to your premises. How do you get more visits or more enquiry emails from potential customers?
And how do you get more customers, who have already part made up their minds, by the time they’re talking to you?
A video on your website gives you an instant edge and style.
– for a lot of local smes, the popularity of marketing video still hasn’t quite caught on for the local sector – or not as much as with larger companies.
It can be seen as lot of effort to organise and with unknown results – but working with professional – this fear is mostly unfounded.
Online video has proven over and over again to have a good ROI and impact on your website presence.
Even so, these fears exist – so it’s still relatively new and exciting for small businesses to produce and feature a video online.
It doesn’t need to be long, just 1-2 minutes will do to show the world what you’re about and why a potential customer should pick you.
And of course it should be professionally made – as a poor quality video, in terms of looks or content, can actually be detrimental to your online credibility!
There’s the obvious use – put it on your homepage, but a video is also a multi purpose marketing tool.
As well as the website there’s your social media channels (you can upload directly to facebook), upload to youtube (which’ll also boost your website), any exhibitions, client meetings and more.
There’s also the possibility to get low cost re-edits, to produce different versions you may require, from just 1 video shoot.
In a local marketplace – video is still not being fully used to its fullest extent – so get on board and show your potential customers quickly and with style – why you’re the one for them.