Archive for Blogging
There is a lot going on in the energy industry right now (some good and some not so good) and the media likes to target the industry. So how can you, as a leader in the Energy Industry speak up and get involved in shaping the image of the industry as well as your position?
One of the best and most manageable ways is to create a blog. It’s inexpensive, easy to do and allows you to get your fresh content out to the people you want to reach.
A blog will help;
- Drive Website Traffic: According to HubSpot, companies that blog get 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages. So what does this information mean to you? Blogs make it easier for you to be found and drive site traffic… the more traffic you have the more opportunities you have to increase business.
- Build credibility & establish yourself as an expert: Being a blogger that is consistent and true to a single topic is one of the fastest ways to be perceived as an expert. After all, if you are consistent, you have done a great deal of research and have developed a lot of comprehensive content related to your specific topic.
- Show that you have an Industry Commitment: People want to work with “liked-minded” people. An industry related blog shows that you care about the industry enough to write about it and share valuable insight with others in your industry.
- Give you a place to voice your perspective: The media world is no longer in control of the “Voice of the People”. A blog gives you a platform to help shape the image of your company and industry as well as dispel the myths and misconceptions that riddle the energy industry.
- Enable yourself to be a better communicator: Writing a blog is somewhat of a liberating feeling. It forces you to think different and deeper about the topics you are writing about. You will get a greater sense of empowerment as it relates to your subject matter… after all, to your subscribers and followers, you are the expert
- Gain a more in-depth understanding of issues impacting your industry: Writing a blog forces you to really think about key topics that impact your industry. By having to really think though an issue, you gain a better and more complete understanding of the issue and are able to be more concise in your communications.
- Provide a platform to create and cultivate open discussions: Your blog posts will provide great talking points for your subscribers and followers that are not just following your blog, but also on other Social Media networks that you re-post your information to.
- Establish exponential impact online: The great thing about the internet verses “Traditional Media” is that it is exponential. Once it’s out online it is always there. You can really maximize your time and efforts over the long-haul.
- Increase your search relevance: As you strategically write and “TITLE” your posts, you will want to decide on what KEY SEARCH TERM you would like to try to dominate. If you are consistent with your blog posting and focus on the same search term, you will quickly become search relevant.
- Increase the size of your digital footprint: 80 to 90% of people conduct an online search before making a business transaction. By having a constant blogging strategy, you will be able to increase your odds of being found online. And this goes without saying… the more effort you put in to your blogging program, the more you will get out of it!
- Build “Brand Advocates”: Over time, a lot of people who follow your blog will end up becoming Brand Advocates for your cause. They will become promoters of your blog and help you to promote it to their network of friends, followers and fans. This is the ultimate goal… you want your information to be compelling enough for others to want to forward it… that’s the power of Digital Communications.
- Create community awareness & trust: A blog enables you to consistently engage with the community at large. You will be able to write about issues that impact the community, answer questions quickly and effectively before the can get out of control and ultimately build trust with in the community.
These are just 12 reasons why you should blog… there are many others.
If you have any additional information you would like to share on this topic, please feel free to comment.
Having a successful advertising & marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor for energy marketers.
Football coach Jimmy Johnson once said “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
Social Marketing doesn’t have to be a big undertaking.
To be successful you just need that “Little Extra”.
- Little Extra TIME: Once your Social Marketing Program is up and running, you should only have to put in an hour or two a day to keep in running smoothly.
- Little Extra RESEARCH: With the proper tools in place, the information required to conduct your Social Marketing program can be right at your finger-tips.
- Little Extra CONTENT: Outlining a predefined strategy for providing valuable content will help keep you focused, stay on-task and maintain consistency.
- Little Extra COMMUNICATION: Having the ability to interact and respond in real time with your Target Audience will help your company save time, shorten the buying cycle and become more efficient
The use of this new media will allow you to reach decision makers in areas you have never explored and could open new markets that you haven’t even considered.
To Get What We Have Never Had
We Must Do What We Have Never Done.
As a marketer for the power & energy industry, do you believe that Twitter is a Scam? Or, have you started to embrace this Social Marketing trend?
I believe that the fear of the unknown is what holds a lot of energy marketers back from diving in the the Social Marketing arena.
As with most bloggers, I love getting good feedback on my posts… I get some good and some bad. Either way it helps to keep me motivated and stay focused.
I like to (and think it’s a must) take part in LinkedIn Discussion Groups. The other day, I posted a discussion topic based on one of my recent posts (most popular to date) 10 Twitter Mistakes Made By Marketers In The Power & Energy Industry, and I follow up on every comment that is made to my posts & discussions.
I received an interesting comment and wanted to share it with you. This comment made me think a bit about how the power & energy industry always seems to be behind the times when it comes to embracing new and unique marketing strategies. The industry really needs to start changing their mind-set if they want to stay ahead of the curve in this dynamically changing global market.
Here’s the comment that was made:
Twitter is a scam. Most of those “followers” aren’t even real people.
Check it yourself. Send a message to one of your followers who just showed up, with no connection to you and nothing in common.
You won’t get a reply.
Go ahead. I dare you.
Here was my response:
Thanks for contributing to the conversation. You are not alone in this thought process. Although I can understand how some people think Twitter is a scam, I would have to respectfully disagree.
Of course there are a lot of people employing automated systems out there to try to increase their follower-ship, but the true power of Twitter (and other Social Media Tools) comes from the followers YOU actually pursue and build relationships with based on providing them with valuable content.
This is a TIME investment. You just can’t create a Twitter Profile and then sit back and wait for people (or in your example, automated systems) to follow you. That is not what Social Media/Marketing is all about.
Remember, true marketing is about developing relationships based on like-mined topics. That is the beautiful thing about Social Marketing, you are able to create a “follower-ship” based on mutual interests.
The key take away here is
- You need to be very strategic in how you implement your Social Marketing Strategy.
- You need to be proactive in gaining your followers, subscribers & fans.
- Have realistic expectations when it comes to “Spam Followers”… you will get them.
- Make sure you have realistic & measurable goals.
- And most importantly, make sure your are consistently contributing valuable content to all of your Social Media Channels.
In the end, people want to follow (and do business with) people they know and trust… Social Marketing is by far one of the best ways to make this happen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories about Twitter.
Please leave a comment – Do you think Twitter is a scam or is it a valuable marketing tool?
Many marketers in the power & energy industry are finally jumping into social media but have no strategy. A good number seemingly are checking off a list of social media tools they have subscribed to show their participation. What is more telling is their lack of credibility and comprehension of how to use social media to generate new business for themselves.
Twitter is one of the social media tools that can be used as a tool for your company’s social media marketing strategy to generate online traffic and a pipeline for new business leads. It is the leading traffic generator to my Wright-To-Know blog.
Here are ten mistakes marketers in the power & energy industry should avoid if they want to generate new business through Twitter:
- Signing up then not participate. A tell-tale sign that Twitter is nothing more than a check-off on your social media check-list. When you rarely post to Twitter it will show.
- Self Promotional Tweets. Marketers that sound more like cars salesmen, constantly using promotional Tweets to tout their company’s new hires, new business acquisitions, awards, etc.
- Hiding behind the Company’s veil. Using your company’s name as the Twitter account without revealing who is doing the Tweeting. Even Ford Motor Company gets this right, having allowing @ScottMonty to be their social media spokesperson under his own Twitter name rather than through the company’s name. It’s awkward to try and engage with a company. Social media is about people. A lot of the same principals of face-to-face networking applies to social media networks such as Twitter.
- Auto Responses. These drive not only me but will drive your followers crazy. They are impersonal, and usually contain no value other than to clog up your Direct Message box forcing you to scan through dozens and dozens to reach those who have sent you a personal one.
- Little if any value to your Tweets. 80 to 90% of my tweets are resources for my audience to help them with their new business challenges. They are a combination of posts from my blog and other resources that I usually find and pass on in my morning ritual of reading my RSS feeds in Google Reader. I use a tool called bit.ly to post an article, along with a shortened URL to Twitter.
- Fail to generate Twitter traffic ‘to anything”. I have recommended to power & energy companies that they should have a blog that becomes the “gateway” to company and generate traffic to the blog through tools such as Twitter. The blog serves as the central component to your social media strategy.
- Failing to use 3rd party Twitter tools. These tools can help you identify your best target audience and build your Twitter account’s data base of followers within the ratios mandated by Twitter. Your company’s blog content can stay fresh with new postings but older posts have a very long shelf life from not only SEO but also through repurposing posts to Twitter using some third party Twitter Tools. At our firm we have a process in which we syndicate our clients content over and over again… very much like a traditional media schedule. It’s naive to think if you have written a post and everyone has read it.
- Using the reply function when you should use a direct message. Not every reply needs to be share with your entire Twitter audience. Almost all replies should probably be sent by Direct Message to the person.
- Failing to engage in the conversation. It amazes me that most marketers in the power & energy industry have reservations about engaging with their prospective audience. Social media and tools such as Twitter, provide the most efficient means of creating personal network with your company’s best prospects. I have thousands of followers on Twitter alone and it is easy to stay engaged and be part of the conversations without it requiring an undue amount of time. I probably spend no more than 15 minutes a day responding through Twitter.
- Allowing the early adopters of Twitter to mandate how your company should use it. Face it, Twitter has superseded anything envisioned by its creators or early adopters “way back in 2006.” It’s amazing that it was the celebrities, not ad agencies, that first figured out the value and potential of Twitter.
If you are in charge of the marketing for your energy company, you should have your blog be a central component to your social media strategy for new business.
It is the site that you want to bring your prospective customers & clients to, the gateway and face of your company.
“Build it and they will come,” is not the answer to generate traffic to your company’s blog. You must employ proactive tactics to create awareness and interest among prospective customers. The more traffic that you can generate, from among your target audience, the more inbound new business leads that will follow.
Denise Wakeman, Online Marketing Advisor and Founder of The Blog Squad, has created an excellent list of tips to generate traffic to you blog. I would encourage you to create a list of “to dos” from her suggestions. For more details, be sure to check out her article, “19 Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Blog”
Here are the 19 tips:
- Publish as frequently as possible
- Pay attention to the headlines (blog post titles)
- Send an email broadcast
- Add a link in your email signature
- Include multiple subscription options on your blog
- Try article marketing
- Comment on blogs in your industry
- Do some guest posting
- Conduct surveys and polls
- Submit your blog to directories
- Make a Google profile
- Syndicate to Twitter
- Syndicate Facebook
- Syndicate to LinkedIn
- Use Hootsuite
- Distribute your video
- Add the retweet button to your posts
- Consider share buttons
- Use social bookmarking
Denise’s list isn’t an exhaustive list of tactics but these are the core that you need for your own list. Just be sure that someone from your company is charged with implementing it or work with your agency to make sure they know how and what to do.
I would add at least six additional tips:
- Make your target audience crystal clear. If you can’t clearly and narrowly define your audience you wont build significant traffic.
- Optimize your posts content for search. Identify and dominate a few key words that your target audience will most likely use to find you. Use these words consistently in your posts titles and copy.
- Knowledge is power. Get in the habit of checking your blogs analytics frequently. Keep it simple, but know at least daily the number of unique visitors, page views, top posts, how people got to your blog, search terms and incoming links.
- Don’t be afraid to re-purpose older blog content through multiple social media channels. Posts that I’ve written a long time ago are still pertinent and continues to generate traffic to my blog.
- One thing to not do that will impact traffic. Don’t sell! The moment you start to sell on your blog is when you will most likely LOSE your audience.
- Identify who your audience is in your post titles. This is especially helpful when you re-purpose your content on Twitter and an important part of SEO for your blog.
To keep your power and energy company’s new business pipeline full, create an informative blog.
The primary “gateway” to your company is shifting away from the website (static, online brochure) to a value based blog. As important as it is to have a website for your company, it is now becoming more important to have a blog that adds value to your audience.
Benefits for creating a blog for your business:
- Is better designed for SEO
- Provides more “benefit” to your prospective target audience
- Gives your audience a reason to come back frequently
- Is a platform for dialogue and rich feedback from your audience
- Generates new business leads for your products and services
Here are 14 tips and recommendations on how to get started:
- Use the WordPress.com blog platform. It is easy to use. You don’t have to involve your IT Department or initially anyone from your creative department. Keep the process simple. To begin just concentrate on doing two things: reading and writing. Content trumps everything.
- Own your URL. WordPress is a free service but they do charge $10 to allow you to use your own URL. It is a necessity to own your URL. It will allow you to change blog platforms in the future without losing your traffic.
- Identify your audience. One of the most critical questions to answer, “who am I writing to?” Your blog will have no focus and you wont be able to generate traffic without choosing an audience. Think “narrow and deep” rather than “wide and shallow.
- Create the subtitle for your blog before your blog title. The subtitle should be your “descriptor” that states clearly what your blog is about. Mine is “Digital & Traditional Marketing Intel To Power The Energy Industry.” The descriptor statement is more important than your blog’s title so create one that is crystal clear.
- Identify the categories that you will be writing to. This provides an outline for your blog and will help you to stay focused. I would suggest keeping them around 10 to 12 instead of a large number.
- Prominently provide a way for your readers to subscribe to your blog. Place it toward the top, above the fold in your sidebar.
- Use your photo as a logo. Keep it consistent, not only for your blog but across all other social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
- Get in the habit of publishing a post 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. These can even be written and a publish date and time preselected.
- Re-purpose your blog’s content through an email newsletter that highlights the posts that are trending higher in traffic. This simplifies the creation of a newsletter which helps you to be consistent. Also repurpose posts through Twitter and tools such as Tweetlater. These things will also greatly increase your blog’s traffic and traffic generates new business opportunities for your power and energy company.
- Write your posts the way people read online. They usually don’t start reading a posts word-for-word, they tend to scan. Make your posts scan-able.
- Lead with the “nugget” the “benefit.” The inverted pyramid style of writing that copywriters use. Peoples attention span and patience for online reading is much shorter than print.
- The “Top Level Executive” or “President” should have a prominent role writing for the blog. They are the consistent face of your company in the power and energy industry and prospective customers want to know the “leaders” perspective. People always want to work with people they know, like and trust. A blog provides a great way to introduce yourself to them.
- Create a list of keywords your audience will most likely use to find your blog. Check these keywords with Google’s Key Word Tool. Select the words or phrase that you should try and dominate in search.
- Read. Read. Read. – The more you can stay current on the news, tends & happenings in your audiences industry, the easier it is to continue your writing (posting). Get an RSS reader and start subscribing to blogs and news sources that pertain to your target audience.
Are you Search Relevant? Everyone wants to know how they can increase their websites search relevance on Google, but few actually go to the source to find out the basics.
Google’s presentation (video below) isn’t the end-all to understanding SEO and getting the results you desire, but it is a great place to start. Optimizing your website is one of many ways your can become search relevant if done properly.
Page ranking is based on both Relevance and Importance. The more specific your search term or title (Be Narrow) the better… this will aide in your over all “Relevance”. The more relevant and constant information you publish (Go Deep) the more “Important” your information appears to the search engines. You can and should think about other SEO strategies that go well beyond your website (see other posts on this blog)
For the most part, Google has a very simple process in which they determine the relevance and importance of your website and its subsequent pages. Here are 4 of the basic processes they follow;
- Discovering: Google first needs to know that your site exists. A lot of companies build their website and assume that the search engines just magically know they are there… that’s not the case. Make sure you submit your URL directly to Google Add URL and you should also consider submitting an XML Sight Map. This will help index all of your site pages quicker with google and other search engines find your content.
- Crawling: The “Google-Bots” need to and will scour your website for new and updated content. They will also be checking links and cross-linking with in your site. Make sure that you don’t put a “road-block” up for them. Review all of your links making sure they work.
- Indexing: Treat each webpage as if it was the only one you have… making it unique unto it-self. Be specific with each page title, keyword & meta descriptions. Make the information relevant to that particular page and then create “cross-linked references” in the body copy to other pages on your site.
- Ranking: The Ranking is based on the two principals I discussed at the beginning of this post – Relevance & Importance, based on the “search query” and interest of the user. That is why it is important to be strategic when you Index your pages.
Stop being everything to everybody. People want to work with and buy from companies that are the best at what they do. Your goal isn’t just to keep offering “stuff”, but to understand the needs and desires of your marketplace and the trends in which it is going.
- Go Narrow. Go Deep: Consider eliminating products and services that don’t define who you are and what you stand for. Be purposeful in the product & service offerings you want to present to your loyal followers in your marketplace. This builds trust and credibility by being an expert not a generalist.
- Read. Read. Read: You need to set up a process in which you can get consistent real time feedback from your customers & prospects as well as industry insights. Use tools such as; electronic feedback forms, RSS readers, online polls, blog comments, etc. to create an ongoing flow of inbound information to help shape your message and your product offerings.
- Create Content: You need to continually be refining and shaping your message and how you present it to your market. Be creative not only in the content you create but the with the mediums you choose. Write a blog, develop SlideShare presentations, create youtube videos, create webcasts, host webinars and distribute the recorded programs, design process maps & arresting graphics… your options are nearly endless.
- Expand Your Reach: Your strategy should not only include traditional marketing outlets such as; trade magazines, direct marketing, news releases, etc., but also you should start stepping up your digital marketing. Leveraging the online marketing tools will help you get your message to the right people and will also aide in your organic Search strategy.
- Be News Worthy: Get your team together and have a brainstorming session on what you; do, have, seen, heard, tried, built, etc. Write New Releases and distribute them online through the various PR distribution sites. Also, don’t forget to submit your releases to all the trade magazines in your industry… the ones you advertise in as well as the ones that you have been considering.
Obviously there are many other things you can do to impact your marketing strategy but this is a good starting point. Feel free to add to the list for others to consider
Now you can Create an eNewsletter from your Facebook Fan Page as well as other social networks with this NutshellMail application.
Automatically send the latest feeds from your page to your fans’ email inboxes. A free Email Newsletter application allows your agency’s fans to keep track of new activity on your agency’s Facebook Fan Page.
The NutshellMail Facebook application allows users to add an “Email Newsletter” tab to their fan page, letting fans opt-in to receiving emails that highlight recent content from your page.
The NutshellMail online service that lets users send and receive your messages from social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter, in your email inbox. You can easily create an automated email newsletter campaign.
The free Email Newsletter application enables your fans to keep track of new activity on your page.
- Automatically send the latest feeds from your page to your fans’ email inboxes.
- Increase readership and fan engagement
- Encourage more shares and comments
- No work for you — use your existing feed
Start diving in to the application section on Facebook and the other social media sites. You may be surprised at the number of useful tools available to you.
Being Search Relevant on Google and other popular search engines has become a very important part of the marketing mix for Energy Marketers.
If you build it they will come… not true. If you build it, you need to let them know where you are, how to get to you and what you have to offer is of value to them. Maintaining your SEO program is not a one time process that you can check off of your to do list and walk away from.
To maintain your search presence you need to Be Consistent - Be Relevant - Be Searchable - Be Valuable
Here is a very nice interview with Stephanie Leffler CEO at Juggle, LLC and former Senior Vice President Channels & Partners at Network Solutions that will give you a little more insight and a few tips on strengthening your SEO Ranking.
- Good Content: Be the authority… make sure you put out a lot of good content through articles, blogs, etc.
- Increase Inbound Links: Google looks at links as a type of “Voting System”. Make sure you link keywords not generic links
- Title Tags & Meta Tags: The tags placed are on your website and are based on your keywords & phrases