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Tag: marketing

Google Uses Alexa’s Information For Ranking and Indexing!

The Alexa Toolbar: Why You Need this Piece of "%#*&%@#".

Google Uses Alexa’s Information For Ranking and Indexing!

So you’re probably wondering why I have the Alexa Toolbar Installed on my browser and why I tell my fellow marketers, webmasters and SEO gurus to do the same.

It’s simple. The Alexa  toolbar monitors all my surfing and collects information about what domains I visit. They don’t know that it’s “me” — they collect it as anonymous user data and use it to rank your web sites. Not only does Alexa use this information for determining where people surf on the web but so does google. Let me repeat that fact so it sinks in:

Google Uses Alexa’s Information For Ranking and Indexing!

Installing the Alexa toolbar and surfing your own site will absolutely help you get your sites indexed by Google more quickly. I just started this blog today, and the GoogleBot has already come by without any inbound links!

Because the Alexa toolbar is such a pile, no one ever keeps it installed. So just by updating and surfing your own site daily, (assuming NO ONE else does), you can get your Alexa ranking from 5,500,000 or “no data” to around 300,000 in under a month and to 100,000 in 3 months.

Alexa Rankings and Google PR are two of the main factors uninformed people look at when considering link exchanges. (Page Rank is completely useless BTW we have a white hat PR 4 site that gets 20 visitors a day and unranked sites that get several thousand per day).

If you remember the Nielsen Company, famous for the Nielsen Ratings, you understand that what is put on television was once determined by what a minute fraction of TV viewers watched: The people with a Nielsen box on their TV Set — The Nielsen Families. Having the Alexa toolbar installed on your browser is like being a Nielsen Family for the web. Your surfing habits will determine what is most “popular” and what sites should be ranked higher in the SERPs.

Alexa’s Toolbar is a Great POWERFUL SEO tool.

That was reason enough for me to install the Alexa Tool Bar. Download it for yourself, and watch your Alexa Rankings Skyrocket over the next several weeks. We know Google looks at the Information, which means that Yahoo and MSN are probably looking at it too.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

41 Tips that Get Over 10,000 People to your Email Sub List

Of course, not everyone struggles to reach these different stages.  Some people skyrocket to success in a few weeks, other people do well with traffic levels but not with your mailing list.

This particular blog has well over 10,000 people on the mailing list and gets a few thousand visitors per day.

In this post I’m going to show you a few really cool lessons I’ve learned while building it up to this level — a level that I think it genuinely attainable by any blog.

Let’s do it.

 

How to get to that magic 10,000 email subscribers mark

As always, I’ve probably forgot a lot of really cool things.

1. You need a strategy

Without an overarching strategy you are just blogging blindly. I spend a lot of time working on my blogging strategy because it gives me a laser-focus for what I want to achieve in the short and long term — and I know exactly what outcome I want from every article that I write. If you want more email subscribers you need to make it part of your strategy.

2. Your traffic sources matter

Some niches prefer Google traffic, others prefer referrals. Either way, you need to figure out which one works for you and go after it. Not all traffic is created equal. If you aren’t getting conversions it might be because of the places your visitors are coming from.

3. You need your own host

If your blog is on a free host with a free domain name you are shooting yourself in the foot from the start. It’s time to start a WordPress blog on your own host and make use of all the plugins and extra features that this allows you. Do it early, before it’s too hard to move.

4. A fast blog can make a huge difference

Speed matters not only for Google rankings but also for conversions. This study showed that for every second your blog takes to load you lose a massive amount of conversions. Figure out how to make your blog faster — it might mean a new host, a cache or some tricky coding fun.

5. Making friends will make or break you

The people that you connect with (both blog owners and readers) will make or break your blog. The more genuine connections you can make the more likely you are to grow a blog quickly as they help promote it and give you the right advice.

6. Free eBooks and courses still work well

Offering a free eBook to email subscribers still converts better than offering nothing. People are reading eBooks more than ever thanks to all our new portable devices. If you can give them something good you’ll make an instant impact.

7. You need to use Aweber or similar

Aweber is a service that hosts your email subscribers, lets you send them a free eBook after they subscribe, gives you access to a huge number of stats and also lets you design your own opt-in forms. It’s not hard to use and makes a huge difference to how a professional blog can function.

8. Costs add up

Website hosting, email subscriber hosting, advertising, purchasing images, etc. all adds up. A blog like this one costs around $300+ a month to keep online. Unless you are making a strategic income from it the costs can make it not worth while.

9. Your goals are important but can often change

It’s extremely important to have goals for your blog or website but it’s also important to make sure that they change if they need to. If something isn’t working and you’ve given it a lot of time and effort than it’s sometimes better to be strong and let it go and try something else.

10. You still have to sell the list

Just because you have a mailing list doesn’t mean that people will automatically subscribe. Don’t just stick a form in your sidebar and hope that people will give you their details — sell it. Mention it in posts, develop landing pages, talk about it in your guest posts. You need to let people know what’s going on.

11. Split testing can change your business

Glen wrote a really good post about split testing and how it can literally grow your conversions/income by 1000%+. You can split test your landing pages, your opt-in forms, your mail outs, etc. and see which versions works best. It’s easy to do nowadays so there really isn’t an excuse not to. Just make sure you’re testing things that matter and giving them enough time to show meaningful results.

12. Write on other blogs more than you write on your own

A lot of bloggers just write on their own blog and then wonder why no one is reading it. Well, it’s probably because no one knows it exists! Use guest posts as a starting point to get your name out there. Write more on other blogs than your own until you have a big reader base.

13. Text is great but other media is growing

Writing is, in my opinion, still the most powerful form of content on the net. People read a lot and not everyone can watch videos at work. But things like podcasts, videos, info graphics, etc. can play a huge role in getting you new and improved traffic.

14. SEO is dangerous

Relying on Google for anything is, as I’ve said before, a really stupid idea. They constantly change their algorithm and cause websites to go from fame to misfortune and visa versa. Play around with it and obviously try to do all the right things when it comes to blogging SEO and getting heaps of traffic but don’t ever rely on Google for your main source of income alone.

15. Advertising is a good idea

Dabbling in advertising can produce some really cool results. You don’t have to spend much. Try out Paid Discovery on StumbleUpon to give your posts a bit of a boost. There is nothing wrong with promoting your blog in this way.

16. Colors make a difference to conversions

Things as simple as colours can have a huge impact on how well your product or opt-in form convert. Again, you want to split test this stuff but I’ve noticed big changes in sign ups when switching my sidebar button from green to red and so on.

17. Social proof works in different ways

My friend wrote a really cool post on how different types of social proof can influence people in different ways. He explains it a lot better than I’m going to so have a read of the article and try to test whether social proof statements like subscriber counts are right for your blog.

18. Less is not always more

The idea that less is more is rarely true for a blog. You want more traffic, more subscribers, more sales. Of course, if the traffic isn’t any good it won’t make a difference, but try to to use ideas like “a small number of loyal subscribers” to stop you from growing a mailing list with a HUGE number of loyal subscribers.

19. Research is important

I spend a moderate amount of time researching keywords and competition before I write a blog post. It makes a huge difference about where I rank and how well the post is received. I show you my methods for this in Subscriber Special Ops — but until that opens up you might want to figure out your own ways to research before you write.

20. Pop ups work

I don’t care what anyone says.

😛

21. HelloBar is a great way to divert traffic

The bar at the top of this site is called HelloBar — a website/tool owned by Neil Patel that lets you put a message and a button up top and then split test two different versions. It’s a really cool way to divert traffic to a landing page or a mailing list sign up area. And it works really well.

22. Trying new things can inject a bit of magic

As I wrote in a recent post, sometimes you just need to do and try new things to see huge changes take place on your blog. You might not always know why it’s working but trying new things and failing is better than being stuck at a plateau for months on end.

23. Tracking and stats give you real insights in to what’s working

The statistics that you get in Aweber, Google Analytics and so on give you valuable insights into what is working. You can even use services like Crazy Egg to see where people are looking and clicking on your website. This stuff takes out a lot of guess work and lets you focus on real metrics.

24. You need to be different

Being different is the most important thing you can do online. Find a way to make your brand stand out from the crowd and then push that difference as often as possible.

25. What works on their blog might not work on yours

Sometimes I have “borrowed” ideas from my blogging icons after hearing how well it works for them only to find that it completely tanks for me. It’s a good lesson — what works for one blog doesn’t always work for another. And, yet again, this is why you need to split test different ideas and make sure what you think it the source of a success is actually the true source.

26. Find different reasons to mention your list

At the top of this post I mentioned that SSO was closed but that it would be open again soon and be announced to the mailing list. Moments like that are a very powerful way to get new email subscribers. Find different methods like that to work your mailing list in to your content and you’ll see new and curious subscribers on your mailing list.

27. Explain it in a really simple way

A lot of people who visit your blog will have absolutely no idea what a mailing list is or why they might want to give you, a total stranger, their personal email address. Spell it out for them very clearly, whenever you can.

28. The successful strategies change regularly

Something that I’m really only just learning is that successful strategies change regularly. I used to try to be really conservative with my online stuff because I was worried about compromising a “long term” blog for short term gain. But, what I’m seeing now, is that most of the successful people go after lots of little short term things and push them hard while they are working.

29. Don’t sell too early

Once you get to a certain level of subscribers it can be tempting to sell your blog/website and make a quick dollar (or 20,000). But what I sometimes regret is that I didn’t stick with that blog because I reckon it would probably be pulling in at least $100,000 a year by now. Just because you’ve reached one of those milestones, don’t sell up.

30. The homepage header works

You know those blogs that have the first half of their homepage devoted to an opt-in form? Those things work. I’ve heard of people who have them converting at 10% of all homepage traffic. You can get one of these added to your blog by a good designer and coder probably for a couple of hundred dollars.

31. Don’t forget mobile death windows

Not everyone can afford a beautiful responsive theme and some of us are too lazy to launch their beautiful responsive theme (guilty). But at least make sure your opt-in forms and pop ups work for mobile users. For example, if you use the lightbox version of the pop up you might find that people on iPhones have trouble closing the pop up and thus might exit your site without reading your content.

32. Target your offer in different segments

One thing you can do in AWeber is create different segments. So, you might have one landing page that lets people subscribe to your updates, another landing page that let’s people subscribe to updates only about “watermelons” and so on. By doing this you can target your offers and go after selective sources of traffic to ensure you’re really honing in on what people want.

33. Be consistent in your mail outs

One thing that I have learned the hard way is that inconsistency really gives subscribers the shits. If you tell them that they are going to get updates once a week don’t send them updates three times a week. You’ll lose them very quickly.

34. Email subscribers often hit “spam” first

Related to the last point, often you’ll find that an email subscriber will mark an aggressive or inconsistent email campaign as “spam” as opposed to just unsubscribing or deleting that particular email. Perhaps it makes them feel better but more likely it’s just easier to send it all into the spam folder dungeons.

35. Don’t be afraid to lose lots of subscribers

And now to throw a spanner in the works from the last three points — don’t worry about losing lots of subscribers. Every time we send out an email to the list we lose between 30 and 60 subscribers. That’s good. It means you’re getting rid of people who aren’t interested/aligned to your content.

36. What gets people to open an email might not get them to click through and buy

I ran an email campaign recently where I split test two different subject lines. The first email had an open rate of 41% and the second email had a dismal 26%. The funny thing was that the second email converted better than the first. I think this shows us two things: noise (attention grabbing tactics) doesn’t always lead to conversions, and that split testing is vital.

37. WWSGD?

There is a really cool plugin called WWSGD which stands for What Would Seth Godin Do that puts a little dialogue box at the top of your post and welcomes people based on cookies — new visitors get a message that old users don’t. But you can take this further. For example, if you came from Twitter you might get a message like “Hey there Twitter user! Check out our posts on getting the most out of Twitter”. These types of WordPress plugins are an amazing and easy way to attract more email subscribers by getting people deeper in to your content.

38. Tell me why I don’t like Mondays (but Sunday is okay…)

I’ve also found out that Monday is terrible for new posts, even though some people say it’s the best day. For me the best days are Tuesday and Wednesday but test for yourself.

39. Always be tired

Generally I find that the best traffic is around 9am East Coast time which tends to be around midnight in Australia — unless it’s daylight savings. Sure, I could set an automatic scheduler but I find that readers really love chatting to me in the comments section and if I’m in bed I get a lot less interaction. So — always be tired.

40. Redirect those comments

One of the coolest things I ever did on this blog (and one of the most popular and widely copied posts on my site) was redirecting comments to a “thank you” page using a simple plugin. As soon as someone leaves a comment for the first time they’ll get redirected to a little page that thanks them for their interaction and shows them the mailing list and some other cool content. It converts at around 7%.

41. Be genuine

Unless you can make all of this come together in a genuine way you’ll find that your readers will know. People are looking for a place/person to connect with — offer them genuine friendship through quality content and you’ll grow in leaps and bounds.

What has worked for you?

Growing an email list is one of the most important aspects of a successful blog. It is your mailing list that allows you to promote your content, sell products and launch new projects. So, what has worked for you? Leave a comment and let me know if I’ve missed anything obvious.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Why You Must Become An Entrepreneur

Why You Must Become An Entrepreneur

If anyone has lately been searching for a job lately it soon becomes clear that it’s not just startups that do not want traditional employees, Google does not want them, small businesses don’t want them, agencies don’t want them.

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Who do they want then? Entrepreneurs

And companies are using lots of resources to get them.

For example 30% of large tech companies have already set up a seed fund to provide capital for startup entrepreneurs. In the administration of traditional companies, entrepreneurship is more sought after than ever before in history. The use of the term “intrapreneur” dates back to 1992, but it is historically at the present era that intrapreneurship has become a global phenomenon with companies hiring entrepreneurs-in-residence, holding “hackathons”, which are company-wide startup competitions, and encouraging employees to work on creative projects by allowing them a percentage of their regular hours to learn entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneurial worker has become a popular person. However, the question is then, Where does that leave employees who were molded in the tradidional way, the ones that you could tell what to do and they would do it. Does that literally mean that everyone needs to become an entrepreneur?

The robot model wherein employees just do what they are told is quickly becoming outdated.

Consider an appliance building factory. You can either hire two people at $50,000 per year or buy a robot for $100,000 that will serve you for 15 years, with no coffee breaks, 365 days a year 24 hours a day and no absences due to Illness and the like.

No wonder robots are catching on. The current world robot population is around 10 Million. In South Korea, where the highest number of industrial robots exist there are 347 robots per 10,000. How valuable are these robots? By 2030 it is estimated that robots will perform as well as humans at most manual jobs. That means that it would be good to look into the future and consider our job prospects, whether our jobs will still exist in 10 years.

The good news is that there is one quality that robots don’t have — a human factor- which distinguishes robots from entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have the capacity to understand humans, to know the problems humans are faced with and to be able to create value out of nothing.

Suppose You Don’t Want To Become an Entrepreneur

What if entrepreneurship just rubs you the wrong way? You are a very good at what you do and you just want to keep things the same? Ok, then let’s suppose in your lifetime there will not be any robots able to do what you do. Well, there is another problem you have to deal with: other people. There are people living in other countries who are willing and able to carry out the same work you do for less, being the same level of a specialist as you may be. In many areas of work roles does not matter if other people live elsewhere. And here is a compelling statistic; wherever you live, there are probably other nations where the type of work you do is cheaper. For example, IT coders from Russia code for 3 times less money than American coders. If we consider India, the rates would be even cheaper. But what about the newly emerging labor sources?

If there might be any safe haven from this entrepreneurialization of labor, it might be that your creativity would prevail to preserve your merit. If it falls to you to be creative perhaps this would preserve your particular niche of employment. However you must consider that an entrepreneurial creative type person would probably try to leverage his creativity outside his main job, so that he would receive more recognition as being someone who is considered to be creative. This creative aspect could be manifested in blog posts, an interesting ebook or an exceptional profile on LinkedIn.

So everything resolves to this: you need to be someone who can create their own opportunities and market the result. That’s entrepreneurship. If you happen to be a mid-level manager, you’ll never rise to the top unless you are able to create substantial value for the company, measured by profit. That’s what it means to sell. And if you don’t want to rise in the ranks, then sit tight, your replacement will probably be someone more dynamically entrepreneurial.

For those who are not happy about this turn of events, this state of affairs is actually a betterment of the workplace. The world is becoming better, but in order to stay competitive you only have to do one thing; you have to change with it — and the best way is by learning to become an entrepreneur.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Rise of the Entrepreneur — Get Started Now!

Rise of the Entrepreneur — Get Started Now!

While being your own boss can be scary and a little risky, it’s not as difficult as people think. You do have to be someone who loves his freedom, likes to be able to set his own schedule and likes to work on things he’s excited about.

Is that all there is to it? No, it takes a ton of hard work, and an ability to learn from your mistakes, and an ability to get up and go again.

Let’s briefly look at some of the things that will help you on your journey to freedom.

First: Can Anyone Be Self-Employed?
Not everyone should, because some people just love working where they’re working, they love the people they’re working with, and they absolutely love what they do. They couldn’t be happier working on their own. And, that is probably great if you want to be in the same situation year after year.

But … there’s a fallacy that those who start their own businesses or work on their own are somehow born with an “entrepreneurial spirit” that the regular workaday employees just don’t have. They aren’t “risk-takers”, they aren’t self-motivated, and they just can’t manage themselves.

That is just a load of excuses.
Sure, some people like the security of a regular paycheck, but if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that this kind of security is an illusion because they usually spend everything they earn and are no farther ahead at the end of the year as when they started.

Sure, some people are afraid of starting their own business, because it means they have to figure out things they know nothing about … but don’t we all do this, anyway?

No-one really likes being told what to do, or work on what someone else wants to do. We all like freedom, but we allow our freedoms to be sacrificed out of fear.

It’s this fear that stops us. And so the question really becomes: can anyone overcome this fear?

It is possible. Whether you’ll be successful at overcoming the fear, and at starting your own business, is another question — it takes work, and time, and an ability to accept failure and learn from it.

How to Overcome the Fear
Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen?

For some, it’s that you’ll lose your mortgage and become bankrupt. But that’s happened to millions of people recently, and they’re OK. They just can’t get another loan soon, but they’re still living. For others, it’s a fear that you’ll be out on the street or hungry. Ask yourself, though, if you have a safety net: family and friends who will take you in if it ever comes to that.

That’s the worst case scenario. Now ask yourself: is that likely to happen? Probably not. If things get bad, you can take a job with someone else, or try a new tactic, or figure something out so that things don’t get that bad.

Stay Lean and Small
Lean and small and hungry and nimble and flexible are good things. It means you don’t need to pay a lot of bills, you don’t need a huge amount of revenues, and you can change as you need to. Big corporations need to make huge revenues, need to sell millions, and have a hard time changing because of a massive corporate structure and thousands of meetings and lots of invested time and lots of people who are resistant to change. Small and lean has none of those problems.

Don’t start with a lot of expenses — start small, with zero or almost zero expenses.

Sure, not everyone can start for free, but you can start small.

Want to run a ballet studio or fitness studio? Start by going to your clients, or start in your home, or do it at schools and use their space. Want to start in retail? Start online, with a cheap host and free web software. Want to be a marketer? Do it out of your home, with a cell phone, a computer and a car. Want to be a landscaper? All you need is a lawn mower to start out. Want to start a health clinic? Operate out of your home, or make house calls, in the beginning.

There are lots of ways to start out cheap — if your business requires lots of money, think about scaling it back or finding a different way of doing it, for free.

Starting out cheap means it’s hard to fail and easy to succeed.

Start Right Away
Don’t wait for perfection. Figure out the simplest way to start, and just start. Don’t worry about taking a bunch of expensive courses — just do it, and learn as you go. You might even start for free if possible, so that you can gain experience and as you get better, you’ll get good word of mouth.

Start out without an office, a website, business cards, employees, and a lot of equipment and software. Sure, you’ll need some of those fairly soon, but you don’t need them to start. Well, unless your business is a website — then you’ll need a site, but those are cheap.

You can get a business card later. You can set up your accounting structure later. You can figure things out as you go. The important part is just starting.

Does that mean you don’t need to plan? Well, you should, but don’t overdo it. You should give a lot of thought to what you’re good at, what you can offer, who your target customers are, how you’ll make money, how much you should charge, how you can add value beyond what is already offered out there. But don’t let it stop you — if you can’t decide on something, just start and adjust your targets as you learn.

On Quitting Your Day Job
For most people, it’s best to keep your day job at first, just so you have some income while you get the business started. Work in the morning, on your lunch break, after work, even during work if you’re not super busy — just don’t get fired. This is a good way to fund your start up — have a steady income and get the business going until you’re ready to quit the day job.

For some, quitting the day job is best right away, because it gives them the kick in the butt they need to get moving. It’s scarier this way, of course, but there’s no better motivator. This is best for people who don’t have a big family to support — singles or couples without kids — or if you do have a family, perhaps you have some savings you can live on for at least 2-3 months while you get the business off the ground.

Even if you quit your day job, you might be able to do some freelancing or consulting business to get some regular income right away, as you also get the business going.

What to Do
First, you should choose something that you love and know a lot about. If you love gardening, do something related to that. If you love writing, do that. You should ideally have some experience, or be willing to put in a lot of hours learning at first. If you’re already good at something, and you love doing it, you’re off to a great start.

Next, you should figure out what you have to offer, and how it will be different than what’s already out there. How will you meet people’s needs in a new way? Who needs your service or product? How will you reach them? Where do they go now, either in the real world or online?

And what’s the simplest way you can reach them and offer your product or service? Simplest means the least work, the least amount of steps and complications, the easiest for the customer, the least expensive, the least amount to start up.

And how fast can you get started? What’s the bare minimum you need to get started? For many, this is signing up for a free web account and putting up some content. For others, this is calling the right people and meeting with them with an offer to provide services. And that’s all — get the basics started, and add the rest later.

Again, you can get the business card later. You can figure out accounting and corporate structure and all that later. You can refine your marketing and product later — just start, and keep improving.

Never Stop Learning, and Never Stop Failing
Failure is not the end of your business. It’s just the beginning.

You have to take the attitude that failure won’t stop you from making it on your own. If your business doesn’t get off the ground, learn from that. And try again, but do it better this time. You might need to get a job temporarily to fund your life as you make another attempt, but that’s OK. You do what you gotta do.

Failure isn’t a reason to get depressed, to quit. It’s a learning opportunity. Failure is a stepping stone to your success.

And if you make it, don’t take that as a reason to get complacent. You should always be learning, always improving — not because you’re not satisfied with what you’ve done, but because if you stop learning, you’ll stop having fun. There should always be new challenges, new things to explore, new skills to learn, new ways to grow.

One more thing: do not be afraid of hard work. You’ll work harder than you ever have. Becoming an entrepreneur is not about laying around in a hammock and drinking Margaritas. Although you can do that, when you want to. It’s about loving what you do, about working hard to build something you’re proud of, about pouring your heart and soul into something rather than giving it to someone else. Make no mistake about it: you’ll work hard, or you won’t succeed. But you’ll love every minute of it.

Should you Start in a Bad Economy?
Yes.

This is the best time to start. This is a time when job security is low, so risks are actually lower. This is a time to be lean, which is the best idea for starting a business. This is the time when others are quitting — so you’ll have more room to succeed.

And with social media and networking taking off, this is the easiest time to start a business, the easiest time to spread the word, the easiest time to distribute information and products and services.

And while the big corporations may struggle in a bad economy, you’re small and lean, which means you don’t have the fat that the big guys have, you are able to adjust to the market much better, and you’re less subject to the problems of financial markets, real estate markets, and other external realities.

But What If Everyone Were Self-Employed?
What if everyone were in business for themselves? Would this be a horrible thing? I can imagine a world of tiny businesses and free agents. I think people would collaborate — with many people — but they’d do so as free agents, not as employees. And that’s a huge difference. A world of difference. Because then they’d come in as equals, and they’d be collaborating because they want to, because they’re excited about a project. Then the world of trying to motivate employees disappears, because people are motivated already — they’re excited, they have freedom, they choose to do the work.

Origional article by Leo Babauta

Dennis Roeder Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member — http://markethive.com/alzibluk

The 23 Suggestions to Improve Your Writing Skills

The 23 Suggestions to Improve Your Writing Skills

Words are hard.

Whether you’re a published author or just getting started with blogging, it’s not always easy to string words together in a way that makes sense, sounds good and makes the reader feel something.

But every marketer should be able to write — and, more importantly, every marketer can write. It’s just a matter of finding the writing environment that works best for you, expanding your vocabulary, asking for feedback (and listening to it), and practicing.

Luckily, there are a slew of great tools you can use to help improve your writing. Check out the list below, and feel free to add the most helpful ones you use in the comment section.

1) ContentIdeator

The Content Ideator is an easy-to-use topic generator tool that’s similar to Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Input your noun of choice, and it will show you all the results related to your keyword. You can view up to 90 pages worth of topics according to your search.

For example, if you enter the keyword “writer’s block,” the Content Ideator will generate more than a hundred potential topics such as:

Writer’s Block — How To Overcome A Writer’s Greatest Curse
Writing Prompts To Overcome Writer’s Block Considered — Case Study
How to Write an Outline: I’ve Got Writer’s Block and No Time Until My Deadline!

Check out other tools first unless you’re up for digging to find the topic that speaks to you.

2) Portent’s Content Idea Generator

This tool is a piece of cake to use, and its chalkboard background makes it fun to play with. Simply add the keyword, and hit the “enter” button. You get one title and content suggestion each time you click.

This generator has some personality, adding witty comments and jokes in bubbles alongside the topic suggestions. If the title isn’t what you expected or seems silly, you can refresh it as many times as you wish to find a gem. (The only difference between a content idea generator and a blog topic generator is that the former lets you fill in only one keyword per search while the latter allows you to enter three.)

3) 750 Words

Another way to practice your writing is to do a “brain dump” exercise using a tool like 750 Words. “Brain dumping” means getting all that stuff in your head down on paper — without having to worry about incomplete ideas, tangents, and private stuff.

It’s not blogging or status updating — it’s just you, writing whatever you want on a totally private account, without ever having to title your content or tag topics or share with your friends.

What it does do is track your word count so you’re sure to write 750 words (about three pages of writing). Plus, it’s gamified, which makes it kind of fun: You get a point for writing anything at all, two points for writing 750 words or more, and more points if you write consistently. And every time you write, it’ll give you some cool statistics on how much time you spent writing, the feelings and themes of your words, and so on.

4) Twords

Publishing content on a consistent basis is crucial in the blogging world. Our own research concludes that companies that commit to regularly publishing quality content to their blogs tend to get the most website traffic and leads — and those results continue to pay out over time. Tools like Twords can help bloggers commit to writing consistently.

Twords calls itself “the app that nudges you to write.” It notifies you when you haven’t written in a while so you can keep yourself accountable — and even gives you the option to connect with others who will help keep you accountable. It also tracks your writing so you can start to see patterns for the days you’re blogging more versus less, and so on. Finally, it includes some cool resources like a prompt library and articles about habit formation, writing resources, and so on.

5) Swipe File

If you had asked you what a swipe file is, You would probably reply with something like this:

“Umm…does it have something to do with stealing?”

Swipe files aren’t stealing. In fact, they’re not even borrowing.

Basically, a swipe file is just a folder where you can curate cool stuff you come across, like advertisements, copy, emails, etc. “Save things that make you click, sign up, laugh, or go ‘whoa!'” says the post. The purpose? To flip through it for inspiration.

Christopher Penn defines a swipe file as being “a collection of stuff that has worked, arranged in such a way to inspire you and give you future ideas.” Sounds simple enough, right? Actually, we put together swipe files all the time without knowing it.

Brides put together binders full of pictures and wedding planning articles. Interior designers create mood boards. If you’ve ever used Polyvore or a similar site, you’ve (in a way) made a swipe file. By putting together resources that spark new ideas, you’re doing yourself a favor in the long run. No marketer, copywriter, or creative professional can go through his or her career without getting stuck. It just happens. We’re human and when the idea well runs dry, we have a tendency to give up.

The importance of a swipe file isn’t its size or its diversity of material. It’s the swipe file’s ability to help you through creative roadblocks.

As SEO copywriters and marketers, we can keep a swipe file filled with headlines, social media campaigns, blog posts, landing pages, lead generation techniques, calls to action…if it helps you write great copy, include it there. It’s that simple.

In terms of putting together your own swipe file, there are many tools that you can use. Personally, here’s what I use or have used to put together my own collection of inspiration:

I have three techniques I use for my Swipe Files

1. I copy the article, ad, blog, whatever and paste it into a MS Word document then save it to my dungeon of articles and it is huge. But remember text based files can be searched. I use UltraFileSearch

2. I also keep track of reference and interesting sources, blogs, news feeds to curate content with my online bookmarking service @ Delicious as well as my browser’s bookmarks.

3.I use Pinterest as another alternative swipe depository and it also gives me brand credibility and SEO juice.

6) Help me Write

If you can’t decide what you want to write, let the community make that decision for you. Simply, add your ideas, share them, ask your friends what they’d like to read about, and write and publish! By knowing what your audience wants to read before you even start writing, ensures you’ll have readers as soon as you hit publish and will save you time.

7) Trello

Writing efficiently and organizing well is a part of writing well. Use a tool like Trello to collect content ideas, assign them to different members of your team, attach due dates, collaborate with other team members, track their progress, and move them from conception to completion.

8) Draft

Putting the edits you made to the forefront of its interface, Draft shows you where and what you’ve changed, giving you the option of accepting it or reverting it back to what it was originally. What’s even more useful is the Mark Draft feature that saves that version of your work as you go.

With many other options that make iCloud and Google Docs seem dated, this tool can help you write and share your writing for other presentations not limited to blogging.

9) Quora

Quora is a great place to go for crowdsourced answers if you want to reach outside your network. Simply search for a keyword, follow topics related to the topics you’re interested in, and/or post your own questions.

10) oTranscribe

If you’re writing something that includes an interview with someone else, oTranscribe is a great tool that’ll make the transcription process much less painful — allowing more time for your own writing and analysis.

It’s a web app for transcribing interviews created by Elliott Bentley, a graphics writer at Wall Street Journal. The audio player is integrated with the editor meaning you won’t have to click back and forth. You can pause, play, rewind, and fast-forward using keyboard shortcuts. Every second, it automatically saves the transcription to your browser’s storage. You can export it to plain text or Google Docs.

11) Coffitivity

Ready to start writing? Here’s a tool that’ll boost your productivity. A study out of the University of Chicago found that a moderate level of ambient noise, or “white noise,” helps people be more creative. While there are a lot of white noise generators out there, Cofftivity is my favorite. It offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from “Morning Murmur” and “University Undertones” to “Lunchtime Lounge” and “Brazil Bistro.”

12) Tomato Timer

If you like to write with a little pressure (or you’re just on deadline), then Tomato Timer is useful (and free). This tool offers a “Pomodoro” option, which refers to the Pomodoro technique: a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo based on periods of distraction-free work followed by short breaks — which is supposed to be optimal for productivity.

13) ZenPen

A clean and minimalist approach to where you write. Blocking out visual distractions, with features to stylize the text, add hyperlinks, and block quotes.

14) Power Thesaurus

Power Thesaurus isn’t just any thesaurus: It’s a crowdsourced thesaurus that provides alternative word choices from a community of writers. The word suggestions are totally original, and are based on the editorial work of a team of writers and years’ worth of reviews visitors’ suggestions.

15) Twinword Writer

Here’s another help that’ll help you if you get stuck on a word and don’t want to leave your browser or skim through synonyms. If you type using Twinword Writer, it’ll automatically sense if you pause because you’re stuck on a word. Then, it’ll analyze the context of your writing and open a box suggesting alternate words you can use. You can also click any word to get suggestions. A better writing environment for delivering your ideas and thoughts in the most suitable vocabulary. Everyone from journalists, bloggers, marketers, to amateur cooks, students, and daily writers improve their writing.

16) Squirt

Letting you read an article one word at a time, Squirt enhances your reading speed. You can also use this tool to improve your grammar and spelling errors, and improve your brain’s transition between flow of thought and writing output.
17) Factbrowser

While you’re writing, you may find you need to support your ideas with research. Tools like Factbrowser search facts, stats, reports, studies, and surveys. Their research covers a wide range of topics, including social networks, gaming, specific industries, holidays, coupons, marketing, and so many more.

18) BrainyQuote

You may also find you want to include a quote from a famous author, politician, celebrity, or any public figure to strengthen your writing or inspire your readers. BrainyQuote is a library filled with millions of interesting quips that you can search by a speaker (from Aristotle to Dr. Seuss to Audrey Hepburn) or by topic (like peace, success, leadership, and more).

19) Grammarly

Once the actual writing part is done, it’s time to edit. While human editors will be able to catch most grammatical errors, editing tools like Grammarly are great tools for triple-checking before you press “publish” or “send.”

Writing for many is a challenge, even for me. It takes focus, determination, and some confidence. But it is the foundation of the Internet, you know information.

I put this list together to help make it a little less stressful. It should remain a challenge because we should embrace challenges. That is what makes us, especially as an alpha Entrepreneur, right?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributer

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member — http://markethive.com/alzibluk

Markethive, The rise of the Entrepreneur

Basic Orientation and the Legacy Alpha Founder special.

How are these two related? Well, they are and they are not.  In the orientation as I take you through a new Markethive account, we cannot avoid the Alpha default promotion and subsequent video and disruptions. So let me digress:

As we discover how the system works, how we set up our picture, our profile page, videos, blogging etc and how all that is centralized via our profile page, it becomes important to understand the current Alpha program and how that effects a major benefit the profile page has.

The Alpha program makes the profile page into a powerful advertising platform that connects all subscription registrants into your field of children.

The children: We are using the term “Children” and “Parent” to illustrate the relationships you will build advanced towards becoming an Alpha Voyager up to Alpha Founder.

You the “parent” sponsor a new subscriber “child” via your Alpha-powered profile page. This relationship never breaks. The “child” can de-friend you, go their own way, join different groups than you, basically become lost to ever connecting with you again, or they can remain your friend, become a strategic partner in your agendas, campaigns and strategies and belong to the same groups you do, join your coop programs. Either way, as your “child” and as long as you are an active Alpha Leader, every purchase they make in Markethive (ads, boosts, calendar displays, Blog promotions, Alpha upgrades) pays you up to 50% of their purchase as a direct commission.

Markethive is built upon the foundation of a free social network empowered by the culture adhesiveness of entrepreneurs and a powerful platform of inbound marketing technology and an advanced broadcasting platform not found anywhere else. The platform itself is priceless and would cost over $3000 per month to acquire anything like it.

The orientation part of this video is produced so you understand the basic nature of Markethive, it’s platforms of incredible marketing power, the culture, your engagement within that culture and how your Profile page becomes a serious tool to build a powerful  sphere of influence, a lifelong network and a source of a long term sustainable living income.

And this is at the core of the building of Markethive. Building a social network of entrepreneurs, in a social network system easy to navigate, with a clear to follow program to engage and indoctrinate entrepreneurs into becoming Alpha Entrepreneurs, alpha like the lead Dog in a pack.

Alpha Entrepreneur:
a) ability to protect oneself (rarely senselessly endangering oneself)
b) leading others
c) being a successful speaker that can persuade people with logic
d) not being afraid of confrontations such as arguments
e) high social intelligence
f) very high work ethic and drive to succeed; a strong desire to produce, earn, and excel 
g) a strong desire to shape one's environment rather than be shaped by it.
h) being the exact opposite of a loser (one who justifies quitting and rejects personal responsibility)
 i) promoting survival and inspiring others with good ethics.

Legacy Alpha Founder (Alpha Legacy)

Originally launched as the first version of the affiliate program, the “Legacy” Alpha Founders was designed to raise money to fund the “pending” marketing campaign as 2015 came into play. However, events being as they were, the system was not ready to promote or capable of broadcasting and as of July 2015, new engineering was required and major changes have occurred.  I am pleased to announce Markethive has a brand new Chief Engineer, Stephen Hodgkiss. We have also moved to Amazon servers, have rebuilt 90% of the previous code, have all brand new mail servers which are 100% approved through Amazon which means email delivers over 90% of the recipients.

Which leads us to a whole new level of an affiliate plan called the BeTheAlpha affiliate program. This program has replaced and added a whole new level of titles, rewards and achievements, through single level multi rank; step by step process with a progressive path to achieve top ranks. Those titles and ranks are as follows:

  1. “Free Member” (this is the new signup that has just discovered MarketHive) and will be consistently navigated to the Alpha presentation page until action to join a level occurs
     
  2. Trail Blazer” is the first step of a series of growing your “business”, getting orientated with “Markethive” and customizing and configuring your “profile” page.  It is this step that prepares you to become a “parent” as well as understand the concept.
     
  3. Voyager” activates the “profile” page to start gathering the “children” It is at this option another tool appears (Invite Contacts) allowing the member to invite everyone from their Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and Lycos accounts to the profile page. The system also begins orientation into advanced functions like the Blog Widgets, Plugins and Leads capture page widgets and broadcasting.
     
  4. Navigator” orientates and motivates to take leadership in organizing teams with Groups, Skype screen sharing and Web conference rooms. Also continues with tips and techniques using Markethive. This is the first level that also pays commissions from all the “children” the “parent” has gathered to date.
     
  5. Commander” almost doubles commissions and comes with greater advertising benefits. Also includes weekly seminars with CEO and other company “Founders” regarding the power of and vision of Markethive.
     
  6. Odyssey” like Commander gives a greater leverage in advertising advantages and greater commissions.
     
  7. Founder” is the top of the chain of command, advertising credits and commissions plus a profit pool.

Thus being the coming Alpha Affiliate Program in 2016

The new Alpha Founder position @ $5000.00 in the new affiliate program will offer the following:

  1. One time deposit of $10,000 in ad credits
  2. $200 per month ad credits for life
  3. 50% commissions on all financial transactions by your children
  4. 1 share of 5% of the company’s revenue pool shared with unlimited Founder members.

The current 2015 Alpha Founder, now referred as Alpha Legacy @ $1200.00 offers the following:

  1. One time deposit of $3000 in ad credits
  2. $200 per month ad credits for life
  3. 50% commissions on all financial transactions by your children
  4. 1 share of 5% of the company’s pool (limited to 250 shares; members)
  5. Share of new children (customers) from corporate marketing and advertising campaigns
     

Alpha Legacy Year End 50% off sale. There are a limited number left and we are selling the contracts for $600 each. You can use these contracts to apply the terms to any number of Markethive Accounts, yours or someone you transfer the contract to or sell it to.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 to further fund engineering, and empower you to become serious entrepreneurs.  We all own this thing together.

See you at the meetings

Chuck Reynolds
C
ontributor

 

Al Zibluk

Get at least 10,000 Pageviews and High PR dofollow backlink from Reddit

Get at least 10,000 Pageviews and High PR dofollow backlink from Reddit

 

Do you know Reddit is one of the largest and most diverse online community. Reddit is filled with millions of people who have separated themselves into various subreddits based on their interest. As I know there is a subreddit that applies to apply to every kind of business. Now a days most social media marketing is a grind. With Facebook, you always have to spend some bucks to get likes, and this likes are of no value as Facebook is killing organic reach of business pages.

It’s very tough for a small business, blog, marketer to Log on to Facebook, Twitter and drive 10,000+ page views a month from beginning until you have huge cash to spend.

What is Reddit, and Why should you use it ?

Reddit is very different among all other social media, it is quite simple. Reddit is a platform where people share interesting things they find on internet. When something is submitted it will get  “Upvoted” or “Downvoted” As any submission get some upvotes, it will be over the “Hot” Page.

It depends on number of upvotes you get, whether your submission will go to the Hot page of subreddit or across the Hot page of whole site.

NB : In short more upvotes your submission get, more visibility it gets.

Difference between Reddit and other social platforms, is with very few submissions you get insane traffic, immediate access to users. Suppose you have a post and you think it will go viral, when you shared that post on Facebook only few people your friends, fans will have access at first or You can buy ads on Facebook and still a fraction amount of people will have access to it for whom you will pay.

No one else is going to have access to it until, your post get likes, comments and shares. Sames goes with twitter, when you tweet something it will be visible to your followers and out of them only few will see it.

Reddit is different anyone can submit anything from anywhere. There are some rules and regulations which are there but are not applicable until you post something stupid. Every post have to be submitted in subreddits (Sub-Communities), and the front page of reddit gathers the best post among the whole submission from the most popular subreddits. So it means, whenever you post something, you have immediate access to all the users of subreddits, although you need upvotes to have more visibility. This is the reason I say “Reddit is the Best Viral Engine in existence”.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Get at least 10,000 Pageviews and High PR dofollow backlink from Reddit

 

Do you know Reddit is one of the largest and most diverse online community. Reddit is filled with millions of people who have separated themselves into various subreddits based on their interest. As I know there is a subreddit that applies to apply to every kind of business. Now a days most social media marketing is a grind. With Facebook, you always have to spend some bucks to get likes, and this likes are of no value as Facebook is killing organic reach of business pages.

It’s very tough for a small business, blog, marketer to Log on to Facebook, Twitter and drive 10,000+ page views a month from beginning until you have huge cash to spend.

What is Reddit, and Why should you use it ?

Reddit is very different among all other social media, it is quite simple. Reddit is a platform where people share interesting things they find on internet. When something is submitted it will get  “Upvoted” or “Downvoted” As any submission get some upvotes, it will be over the “Hot” Page.

It depends on number of upvotes you get, whether your submission will go to the Hot page of subreddit or across the Hot page of whole site.

NB : In short more upvotes your submission get, more visibility it gets.

Difference between Reddit and other social platforms, is with very few submissions you get insane traffic, immediate access to users. Suppose you have a post and you think it will go viral, when you shared that post on Facebook only few people your friends, fans will have access at first or You can buy ads on Facebook and still a fraction amount of people will have access to it for whom you will pay.

No one else is going to have access to it until, your post get likes, comments and shares. Sames goes with twitter, when you tweet something it will be visible to your followers and out of them only few will see it.

Reddit is different anyone can submit anything from anywhere. There are some rules and regulations which are there but are not applicable until you post something stupid. Every post have to be submitted in subreddits (Sub-Communities), and the front page of reddit gathers the best post among the whole submission from the most popular subreddits. So it means, whenever you post something, you have immediate access to all the users of subreddits, although you need upvotes to have more visibility. This is the reason I say “Reddit is the Best Viral Engine in existence”.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Get at least 10,000 Pageviews and High PR dofollow backlink from Reddit

 

Do you know Reddit is one of the largest and most diverse online community. Reddit is filled with millions of people who have separated themselves into various subreddits based on their interest. As I know there is a subreddit that applies to apply to every kind of business. Now a days most social media marketing is a grind. With Facebook, you always have to spend some bucks to get likes, and this likes are of no value as Facebook is killing organic reach of business pages.

It’s very tough for a small business, blog, marketer to Log on to Facebook, Twitter and drive 10,000+ page views a month from beginning until you have huge cash to spend.

What is Reddit, and Why should you use it ?

Reddit is very different among all other social media, it is quite simple. Reddit is a platform where people share interesting things they find on internet. When something is submitted it will get  “Upvoted” or “Downvoted” As any submission get some upvotes, it will be over the “Hot” Page.

It depends on number of upvotes you get, whether your submission will go to the Hot page of subreddit or across the Hot page of whole site.

NB : In short more upvotes your submission get, more visibility it gets.

Difference between Reddit and other social platforms, is with very few submissions you get insane traffic, immediate access to users. Suppose you have a post and you think it will go viral, when you shared that post on Facebook only few people your friends, fans will have access at first or You can buy ads on Facebook and still a fraction amount of people will have access to it for whom you will pay.

No one else is going to have access to it until, your post get likes, comments and shares. Sames goes with twitter, when you tweet something it will be visible to your followers and out of them only few will see it.

Reddit is different anyone can submit anything from anywhere. There are some rules and regulations which are there but are not applicable until you post something stupid. Every post have to be submitted in subreddits (Sub-Communities), and the front page of reddit gathers the best post among the whole submission from the most popular subreddits. So it means, whenever you post something, you have immediate access to all the users of subreddits, although you need upvotes to have more visibility. This is the reason I say “Reddit is the Best Viral Engine in existence”.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Al Zibluk

Social Media Marketing Made Simple Using IBOtoolbox

 

If you think Social Media is not effective, why are there more people on Facebook than there are people in China?  There are over 200 different social media sites available.

So how does IBOtoolbox fit into this mix?  Like any tool, it depends on how the tool is used.

These are the recommendations to use this tool effectively.  

1) You need to create interesting and engaging content.  This is a challenge for any writer, but goog copywriting really just takes practice.  The more you write, the greater skill you will develop.

2) Use hashtags.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest all use hashtags to let you describe the topic of your content or mark them as part of current trends.

3) Compliment your promotion on IBOtoolbox with more powerful networks.

MarketHive is one of the most powerful networks and gives entrepreneurs a complete platform of tools at no charge whatsoever.  This link will tell you all about this very unique network.  Markethive explained

4) Use video in your marketing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJCXwxvLNkY  from Steve Jobs.
 

Al Zibluk

How Inbound Marketing and Social Media compliment each other.

Social Media Addiction!

How Inbound Marketing and Social Media compliment each other.

What makes people addicted to social media?

Social interaction has been a human trait for as long as humans have been around.

However, relatively speaking, social media on the internet is only a recent phenomenon. Is it here to stay? There are many indications to suggest it is.

Only recently, Facebook announced they had one billion users on their site in just one day! There are so many aspects that attract people to Social Media.

…keeping in touch with friends and family; in some cases finding long lost friends and relatives.
…the ability to find new friends and associates interested in the same subject as themselves.
…attracting new customers to their business and keeping them informed of special offers, etc.
…keeping club members informed of events.
…carrying out research based upon answers to posts, etc.
The list goes on and on.
…but why has Social Media become so addictive? For example, why don't people stick to traditional methods such as the telephone to tell a family member about an event they are going to, or have been to?

There are many people who will even post a picture of their evening meal on a Social Media website but they won't pick up the telephone to tell someone what or where they have eaten.,
Is it because they can tell lots of people at the same time with just one post?
…or is it because they want to "show off" that they have been to a particular restaurant?
Maybe it is because they want to see the reaction from other people.

There is some research to suggest that the majority of people are basically insecure and many believe using Social Media as a means of communication and conversation is possibly less stressful than face to face interaction.

The kind of communication on Social Media is usually asynchronous, meaning the original comment and its response happen at different times. Therefore, a post is not always likely to receive an immediate response; sometimes it could be days, weeks or even months later (if at all).

Have you ever made a post on FB and then been disappointed that no one took the time and trouble to leave a comment?
Could the need for interaction be at least one of the hooks of Social Media? Of course it is.
Everyone is expecting others to join in their conversation. If not expecting, they are at least hoping. The "hook" is such that many people will log in "just one more time before they go to bed" to see if they have had a response.

It gets even more addictive. With Social Media on mobile devices being the current trend (a trend set to last a long time), many people are almost glued to their devices. It is no longer a case of waiting until they get home to switch on their pc. They are now in a position to see responses as soon as they occur. This creates even more "panic" amongst some users because every bleep of their device could mean someone is responding to their post or a conversation they are involved in.
Is it now a case of them wanting to be the first to know what is happening so they can then send a further response?

So what does all this mean for MarketHive?
Markethive.com is a Social Communication Platform designed for the Entrepreneur to compete with the Multi-Million dollar corporations in their quest to gain their fair share of business.
I expect that most people who become MarketHive members will be business minded. However, there will be some members who do not have a business.

There are many features in the MarketHive system for everyone, not just business owners.
All members of MarketHive are obviously potential customers for other members…
…and of course for MarketHive itself when optional services are offered.
…but as already discussed elsewhere, just having members is not enough.
Engaging the members will be necessary. They need to be 'hooked' on using MarketHive.
One of those hooks will surely be the Social Media sharing capabilities of the MarketHive system.

Origional article by: Thomas Prendergast, CMO, Markethive.com

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Al Zibluk

Profile Pages: Online Branding and Building Authority

Profile Pages: “Online Branding and Building Authority”

What is the difference between online branding and building authority? Some would consider it the same thing, but in reality it can be two completely different processes. Online branding is a way to get more exposure for your brand on all levels of online marketing, especially search and social.

Building authority takes online branding to the next level by making each online presence for a brand authoritative. It goes beyond just about creating a blog or social media account. The following are ways you can build your online brand as well as your authority.

Everyone wants to be an authority.  READ: How to be an authority (Know Your Why First)
https://markethive.com/group/marketingdept/blog/how-to-be-an-authority

Start a Blog with Awesome Content

Blogs are beneficial for brands for three reasons. First of all, blogs help you rank well in search engines — Google loves fresh, unique content on websites that are constantly updated. If you’re looking to meet this goal, be sure to use Markethive’s blog platform and build a blog team in a Markethive group to assist in greater content and curation.

RE: WordPress Markethive’s technology super charges WordPress campaigns.

Next, blogs provide for great content to share on social media networks. It’s hard to get traction if your just sharing product and sales pages. But if you’re sharing informative blog posts about your industry, you’re likely to get a lot of traffic and social shares.

Markethive provides plugins and widgets and tech that allows visitors to subscribe to your blog from their Social Networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, thereby allowing your new Markethive posts to publish to their news feed automatically.

Finally, great blogs can help your brand build authority in your niche. This is where you go above and beyond cookie cutter posts that talk about your product to creating awesome content in the form of:

  •     Tutorials
  •     Infographics
  •     Videos
  •     Industry Interviews

Awesome content will show fans of your industry that you know your stuff and therefore are the brand to go with for their business needs. A great example of this is the blog you are reading right now — Markethive has Inbound Marketing technologies, the go to Social Network and infographics  that have been tweeted and liked over 10,000 times and posts that have been viewed on Facebook, LinkedIn and Stumbleupon over 100,000 times.

There are two great fears that brands have when it comes to blogging. One is that they won’t have anything to blog about, and this is a complete myth. Everyone can find something to blog about. You just have to expand your definition of the target audience. Imagine you had a body shop. You probably won’t get a lot of attention if you’re writing about paint booths and sanding tools all the time, but you will if you think about broader topics that would interest the people likely to visit an auto body shop. You can blog about the latest coolest Hot Rods at the coming Hot Rod Nationals show or the latest NASCAR winner to grab fans of those programs. Or you can blog about environmental issues and the Prious to grab environmentalists. Just think bigger!

The other fear is that they will be giving away “trade secrets” and lose their business. This one is especially common within industries like SEO, where a brand might feel like giving out ten steps to link building will give their customers the info they need to just do it themselves. But this just isn’t true. I have found that most of the time, if you give a complex, in-depth tutorial, a potential customer will see that your brand has the knowledge to do the service, but they won’t have the time or resources to do it for themselves. Hence, they’ll go with you because they feel confident that your brand has the expertise demonstrated in the content provided on the blog.

The key with your brand’s blog is to make sure that it is apparent who is behind the content. Whether you have your blog on your domain (yourbrand.com/blog), as a subdomain (blog.yourbrand.com), or as a separate site (yourbrandblog.com), be sure that it is matched to your brand. Check out Markethive’s site, blog, and subscribers profile pages, logged in dashboard and display variances on hand held devices. All are unique yet all are well branded and follow a conventional identity protocol (all on separate domains and different devices) as an example of great branding.

Guest Blog for Others (This is a major component in Markethive)

When it comes to blogging, you don’t want to keep the good stuff all to yourself. Guest blogging (join a Markethive Group to share content is that easy) is a great way to build your online brand presence and authority. The basic goal is to find a (GROUP) blog whose audience will be interested in your brand, and create a great piece of content for that blog.

Notice I said great piece of content. I would go so far as to say that the content you create for another (GROUP) site’s blog should be even better than the content you create for your own site. You want the content you create for another blog (GROUP) to rock. You want that content to generate additional social shares, comments, and traffic for the blog owner.

As you create GROUP posts for others, be sure to save the links to those guest posts for future reference. As you approach new GROUPs that you would like to guest post upon, you will want to include those links as examples of your successful guest posts in other Markethive GROUPS. If you can convince the GROUP owner that your post will be a perfect fit for their audience and will drive significant traffic and response, the GROUP blog owner will have a hard time resisting.

My main tips for GROUP blogging for your brand include:

1. Find the best GROUPs to guest post on.

When it comes to blogs you want to get a guest post on, your goal is to find those whose audience would be interested in your brand. The blog should get a significant amount of traffic and social shares as well — there’s no reason to post on a blog that has no visitors just because it has high PageRank or any other criteria — you want to get some brand exposure out of this! Use the Markethive GROUPs directory to start your search for blogs in your niche or industry.

2. Find the GROUPs blogging policy.

If you see that a GROUP allows guest bloggers or outside contributors, the GROUP should have some page or post posted that describes their post policy. If they do have a policy page or post, then be sure to note any and all criteria.

3. Start building a relationship with the GROUP owner first. (Markethive Groups is excellent for this)

Now that you’ve found the blog you want to pitch an idea to, don’t just jump in and pitch them yet. Start by getting to know the GROUP owner first by following their Markethive blog posts, their Twitter and their Facebook fan page. Comment on some of their latest posts — make those comments valuable to enhance discussion and demonstrate your writing skills and expertise in the industry. CoPromote their posts using Broadcasting tools and widgets. Do this for at least a week or two before pitching content to them.

4. Research and pitch great topic ideas. (Join others in our live Markethive Work Shops)

Don’t create the content first and then try to find it a home. Once you’ve found the right blogs and started engaging with the blogs themselves, you’ll get a feel for the type of content they publish.

To get an even better idea of what content is successful for each blog, subscribe to them in your Markethive back office blog platform. Then you will be able to see the site’s latest traffic scores. The higher score, the more comments, tweets, Facebook likes, and other social shares the post received. Use these high-scoring posts as an indicator as to what content does well on each blog.

Now you can message via the Markethive message system or request to join their group saying that you have recently enjoyed reading their blog (as evidenced by your commenting & social sharing) and would like to contribute to their site as a GROUP member. After reading their guidelines, you would like to see if they would be interested in the following topics. Then add three to four great post ideas that you believe will fit their audience to choose from. And of course, if you’ve done guest posts elsewhere, include some of your best links. If not, just include some great links from your own brand’s blog.

5. Create Awesome Content.

Once you get approval from a GROUP, your next job is to create an awesome piece of content. Make sure it fits the theme of that blogging GROUP and that it has the overall feel / tone of the GROUP blog you are submitting to. Also be sure to add in relevant links throughout your blog post — not to your own properties, but internal links to the blog itself. This shows the blog owner you’re really giving it 100% for them and their audience and not just trying to promote yourself.

The self-promotion piece should come at the end with your guest bio. Check out other author bios on the blogs and create yours to match. This is where you can say you are John Smith, an industry enthusiast from ABC Company.

Again, be sure to consider the blog’s guidelines and previous guest author bios when deciding to add one or more links back to your brand. The blog owner ultimately reserves the right to edit it as they feel is necessary.

6. Support your GROUP post once it goes live.

It’s not over yet. After that guest post goes live, you should give it your unconditional love in the form of social sharing with your brand’s audience on Twitter, Facebook, etc. as well as coming by to respond to comments. That kind of response on your guest post will further boost your brand’s reputation as a great guest blogger as well as a confident authority in your niche.

Don’t Forget Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is a great branding and authority building exercise you can do on any blog in your niche. I would suggest subscribing to the top blogs in your industry in Google Reader, and each time there is a new post, be sure to read it thoroughly and add a valuable comment. Remember this isn’t about link building — this is about building your brand’s presence online as an authority in your industry.

Get a Disqus account as well as it is a sort of social network of people that comment.

You can use the blog’s previous comments as a guide as to how you should format yours. Some blogs require you to only use your real name, while others are a little more lenient in using your name — your company. I would suggest linking your comments to your blog as people are more willing to click through to a brand’s blog than their main website.

Your Online Branding & Authority Building Strategy Using Blogs

What is your brand’s strategy when it comes to building your brand’s authority using blogs? Be sure to share what you find brings your brand the best results in the comments!

Create a Consistent Brand Image for Each Profile

Have you ever visited a company’s social profile, and you were not sure that it belonged to the company? One of the most important parts of branding is keeping a consistent image across all of your online properties so that no matter what path a person takes from one property to the next, they will always know it is your brand. For example, someone might:

Find your fan page through a friend’s activity stream and then follow it to your blog, then website

See a tweet from someone they are following, visit your Twitter profile, and then continue onto your website.

Start at your website, then go to check out your social profiles to see if your company is engaging with fans. Engaging is fuel and grows awareness, authority and respect. Comment, recommend. Just drive by liking and endorsing does no one any good and makes you look like a tire kicking couch potato.

Just like you wouldn’t want pages on your website to be different themes, you will want your social profiles to do the same. Markethive also leads the way in doing it right as well:

MARKETHIVE

Markethive probably does the best with branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube accounts as shown above. All five are branded with the honey comb logo, color theme and climbers ascending Mt. Everest in representation of the entrepreneurial social community of entrepreneurs helping each other achieve their agendas, so you can feel the consistency moving from one property to the next.

BMW

The above shows BMW’s branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles. Each online property uses the same color scheme and is currently focused on automotive technology. The logos are all consistent, and the auto focused in the pages is different perspectives, the coloring and themes are consistent as well

BOLTHOUSE

Bolthouse’s (organic farm fresh juices) branding between their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube profiles as shown above uses the same color scheme, logo, and focus on their primary product, carrots and selections of juices. Excellent example of branding and consistency!

Help People Find Your Profiles

I do a lot of competitive analysis in my line of work, and one of the most frustrating things I have to do is search for a brand’s social profiles. Don’t hide your social media presence — flaunt them! Be sure to:

  • Put Social Icons on Your Website — Let visitors to your website know that you are engaging with your audience on social media as well by adding social icons to your website design. The most common places to place them include the header / menu bar, sidebar, and footer. They don’t have to be large and in charge — BMW’s are none existent on their main page and Bolthouse are right up top left of center where they should be and get the job done..
     
  • Put Social Links in Your Communications — Do you send emails regularly? Add social links to your email signature. Do you send newsletters? Add social icons to them.
     
  • Make Your Profiles Search Friendly — If I Google your brand name + Twitter, I should get your Twitter handle in the search results. To make this happen, be sure that the name of your social profile (and the username if possible) matches your brand name. You might be tempted to keyword optimize your profiles instead of optimizing them for your brand name — this is something you need to resist. You can learn more about social media SEO on how to optimize for both effectively for search engines.

Another frustration is the direct sales industry.

Even though the size of this industry is huge by any comparison with a market measured in the trillions, even the top 100 fail miserable branding with social media. Do not be like them, rather show them a good example with your efforts. After several days of research I was able to find one such company that at least had the top 5 Social Medias registered with a similar array (not the same name) of usernames.  The super majorities only have a token Facebook page, even less with Youtube and Twitter and nearly nonexistent with a Google+ and for that almost none of them are engaged.

BEACHBODY

Team Beach Body with a yearly market of 250 million, struggles with social media but has managed to set up the top 5 social medias, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin and Google+, albeit, the account usernames vary, and across the media branding is seriously lacking. It becomes painfully clear this industry needs Markethive or at least their distributors seriously do.

Get Engaged with Your Followers, Fans, and Subscribers

You probably know that it is important to maintain an active account by posting lots of updates, and that it is best to do something other than blasting advertisements non-stop about your brand. So the question is, what should you be doing to stay active in your social networks? Get engaged with your audience, of course. Here are the top networks to get socially engaged in for your brand.

Twitter Engagement

If you’re goal is to build a strong presence on Twitter and demonstrate your brand’s authority in your industry, you need get involved with your following. Some ways to do so include:

Monitoring Brand Mentions — If you use Twitter itself, just do a search for your brand and save the search for future reference. If you use a Twitter management tool like HootSuite, create a keyword search column that will constantly update you with brand mentions. Anytime someone says something about your brand, whether it is good or bad, you should be responding to it if at all possible. This may mean adding some extra team members to your social media GROUP as a response staff. But over time, if people see that you are always on top of any discussion of your brand, you will gain trust and receive lots of great word of mouth marketing. People will tell their followers what a great response they’ve received from you and likely recommend you based on their satisfaction level.

Monitoring Industry Conversation — One of the best parts of Twitter is that you can jump into any conversation, anytime. So if you are a company providing Inbound Marketing services and technologies like Markethive, you can monitor anyone who talks about Inbound Marketing, SEO, linking, Entrepreneurial interests, and other related topics and just answer simple questions that anyone asks about those topics demonstrating your expertise.

Curate the Best Content – Even if you are the best content creator in your industry, people often like to see a second opinion. Find out who other authorities are in your industry and share their opinion on industry topics with your following. You will gain more relevant followers simply for sharing the best news.

Facebook Fan Page Engagement

There are several different ways you can engage with your fans using your fan page that will keep your current fans active and bring new fans to your brand. These include:

Updating Your Fan Page on Facebook — It’s tempting to use HootSuite and other automated programs to update your fan page. But it’s becoming more and more obvious that if you want your updates to show up in fan’s news feeds that the updates must be organic, or originating from your fan page itself. So take the extra time to disable all of your autofeeds and start updating your fan page manually on Facebook. And when people start engaging with your posts or posting directly on your wall, be sure to respond to them. If they know they’re getting response, they’re more likely to return. No one likes a one-way broadcast.

Try Out Different Types of Updates — Don’t just post links or ask questions. Spice it up — add some video updates and photos. Different types of people like different types of content — be sure to try to cater to everyone by mixing your content up!

Thanks to the last major update to Facebook fan pages, you are able to use Facebook as your fan page. This means you can like pages as your fan page instead of your personal profile and then comment on them as your fan page. If you can find pages that are not direct competitors but whose audience will be interested in your brand, you will want to get active on them. For example, social media consultants should be living on Social Media Examiner’s fan page to connect with other individuals and businesses looking for social media help.

LinkedIn Engagement

If your brand isn’t on LinkedIn, you are missing out. LinkedIn allows you to add a company page where you can post your products, services, job openings, and even send status updates to your company followers including your latest blog posts. But some of the best branding and authority building activities for this network lie in the activity of the professional profiles including:

Participating in Groups — There are lots of great, active groups on LinkedIn in a wide variety of industries. Find the groups that have your potential client base within them and start getting active in discussions and posting useful content. Just be sure not to do anything that the group moderator would consider as spamming!

Answering Questions — The next best area to build a great professional reputation and strong authority in your industry is in LinkedIn Answers. There are questions asked every day in topics ranging from administration to technology. The people who answer the most questions are also featured on the answers’ home page as the week’s top experts!

Gaining Recommendations — Last, but not least, is recommendations. You can get recommendations on both the company pages and the professional profiles of your employees. Imagine if someone is browsing your company’s page and sees that the top employees have a ton of recommendations. It will show that you have a lot of experts in the industry which will make potential clients even more confident in your brand!

Al Zibluk