June 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Small business marketing is no small feat. With the digital world growing every day, marketing is becoming a confusing cluster of social media, email newsletters, websites, blogs, ads – the list goes on and on. With limited resources compared to large corporations, small businesses can have a difficult time coming up with marketing ideas and content.
The two no-brainers in the digital marketing world right now are a solid website and active social media platforms. (If you need help with either or both of these, give us a call for some references.) But a very important and often overlooked opportunity in e-marketing is business blogging, of which there are some great benefits. You might think, “I don’t have the time,” “My industry can’t sustain an interesting blog, and I don’t know what to write,” or “I don’t have the writing skills to blog.” Well, buckle up for another few minutes, because if I can write a blog, so can you!
I don’t have the time. The beauty of business blogging is that the topics are things in which you already have expertise. When you sit down to write a blog, knowledge will flow from your brain right through your fingertips onto your computer screen. In fact, maybe you sent an email about a new industry policy to your team members earlier today. With a little polishing, you have yourself some content. To save yourself even more time, engage your team members in writing blogs, and re-publish some of your most successful blogs.
My industry can’t sustain an interesting blog, and I don’t know what to write. Let’s be real; are there many industries that are so interesting that we could all read news blogs about them every day or every week? Personally, I think not. This is where some creativity comes in. That may sound daunting, but actually, it can make business blogging much easier for you. As we talked about in the former paragraph, industry blogging is a great thing; share news with your customers. However, sometimes, there is only so much news to be shared. Your readers aren’t robots, and they want to know about your company, your life and your ideas. Share your pride in your team members on the latest company-wide award; after your summer vacation, blog about the beauty of taking time to unwind from work; if a family members graduates from school, share your excitement about the future of the next working generation. The key is to make your blog relatable to your readers in some way. Sometimes, that means telling them about the newest company development; other times, it’s simply saying, “I’m a human, too, and here’s what’s on my mind.”
I don’t have the writing skills to blog. Every single person out there has the potential to be a great writer. Perhaps you aren’t right now, but practice makes perfect. You don’t have to get a perfect blog written in your very first draft. In fact, that’s nearly impossible no matter your skill level. Think about what you want your main points to be, and write an outline if necessary to create a map for yourself. Then, type out that first draft. It might be horrible, but luckily, it’s not permanent. Read through for errors and self-edit your blog. After just a few times, this will be a lot easier than you think. I would also encourage you to purchase an AP Stylebook (or something similar) as a reference for when you just aren’t sure whether to use “effect” or “affect.”
When it comes to business blogging, I want you to remember:
You are the expert. By blogging, you are positioning yourself as the expert in your field. If your competitor down the street isn’t blogging and you have the latest information, I’m choosing you and your company for my project.
Content is king. For the foreseeable future, content is what drives marketing. By blogging, you are creating original content for your company that you can share on your website and your social media outlets. And guess what? That increases your search engine optimization, meaning when people search for “[your industry] in [your region],” there you are – a glistening beacon at the top of the search results.
A strong business blogging culture doesn’t happen overnight. But without a push, it never will at all. Sit down with your team and map out ways you can post at least one blog per month, increase it to every other week, and if you can, every single week. The more, the merrier. Now get out there and take the blogging world by storm!
Marketing Assistant – McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.
June 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
As the weather changes and it’s sunny and warm, I can’t help but think about vacations. Studies show that employees who use their vacation days are happier and more productive in the workplace. Whether it’s a vacation or a long weekend it’s great to get away and come back refreshed.
My family has already scheduled our big vacation for the year. Our vacation will include my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, another sister and her husband and nieces and nephews, and a grandma and aunt. Some may cringe, but we love going and spending time together and making memories. This year we are going to drive to Orlando over Christmas. YES, I said drive to Orlando, Florida. Two years ago we went on a similar vacation; my husband, I and our one-and-a-half year old flew to Florida. On our return trip we got stuck in Chicago with weather delays – or the normal Midwest snow storm. Some members of my family drove back to Iowa faster than we flew with the delays. The memories of the hours in a packed airport with a one-and-a-half year old are still fresh, and we paid money for that fun experience!
Some vacations are a lot of work, but you are making memories with your family or friends that you will never forget. In fact, you may feel like you need a vacation after the vacation. We have all been on one of those trips. Other vacations are relaxing like a beach in a tropical destination.
Have you started to schedule your vacation or time off? Is it a long weekend going to Omaha, Kansas City, or the lake? Does it include any extended family? Do you plan vacations with children and without children?
Ashley Mowery, CPA
Manager – McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.