Email Marketing Workshop

I’m delighted to be presenting a workshop on email marketing in conjunction with Craddockstown Golf Club, Naas. Co. Kildare Ireland.  The workshop will take place over two evenings and is practical.  Participants should bring their own laptop for full benefit.

There are only 20 places available at €40 per person.  Book your spot now call 045 897610.

Email Marketing – How to create your own effective email newsletters

Email marketing is a powerful and cost effective tool for your business. It gives you the opportunity to connect directly with customers and nurture leads.

Over two evenings you will learn how to construct better email newsletters, how to get more subscribers and how to measure your results.

On completion of the course you will have learnt

  • How to build your email marketing list
  • The benefits of using software
  • How to segment your email list and the benefit of segmentation
  • How to create email headings that work
  • The different styles of email newsletter and which works for you
  • How to measure the results of your email marketing campaigns – what statistics matter
  • How to design email templates in Mailchimp
  • How to create segmented lists in Mailchimp

You will also get hands on experience in creating an email marketing campaign using Mailchimp either individually or in groups.

Where: Craddockstown Golf Club, Naas, Co. Kildare. Map here.

When: 3rd & 4th December 2012 6pm- 8pm

Cost: €40

Booking: 045 897610

photo credit: Biscarotte via photopin cc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I’ve included an odd post about how to determine if we are living in the Matrix, some tips on using Instagram, some brilliant features you may have missed on Facebook timeline and more.

Are we living in the Matrix?

Could we really be living inside a computer simulation? Is it possible that the real me is holed up somewhere and the me that is typing this blog post is just an Avatar playing a game?  It looks like scientists are going to find out.  But if we are in fact living inside a computer do we really want to know?  Would the reality be even worse than the game?  If we are in a simulation how long will it be until we create our own simulation so convincing that our characters won’t realise it’s not reality?  OK so it was Halloween so stories like this were bound to capture my imagination.  Read more about the tests that will be used to determine if this reality is the real reality here.

How to know if you should promote a Facebook post

Businesses are beginning to cave in, we know that we are going to have to start to budget for Facebook advertising in the future.  Promoted posts are one of the most cost effective solutions for small businesses but what sort of post should you promote?  This handy four point checklist from Convince & Convert blog will help you make the decision.

3 reasons your social strategy is failing

I’m constantly surprised by the number of people I meet who don’t have a social media strategy or at least a basic plan for their online activities.  However a strategy needs to be constantly reviewed.  Having one doesn’t guarantee success.  If you’ve put the effort in to creating a plan and it’s not working it can be quite disheartening so keep reviewing an tweaking.  This great article from Social Media Today by Brad Smith is a great read. If you haven’t considered these three key points before it’s time to tweak what you are doing.

Verify your website with Pinterest

Those of you who follow this blog will know I’m not a massive fan of Pinterest, that’s not to say that I don’t think it’s a good fit for business.  It is certainly still growing in popularity and it looks like it will continue to do so.  Pinterest have just added a new feature that allows you to verify your website with them.  Once you have completed verification your website will appear with a big tick next to it on your profile.  It’s simple enough to do if you have editing privileges on your own website and should have some impact on traffic coming from the network as well as making you look a little bit more legitimate.  Here’s a great tutorial on how to get verified.

5 ways Instagram can boost your marketing plan

From a network I’m not mad about to a network I love. Instagram, I love taking shots and choosing my filters and sharing on it but more than that I love seeing what is going on in other peoples lives via Instagram.  There are some fantastic photographers on Instagram, having the app and following some great contributors is like having an art gallery in your pocket.  And yes, like any social network there is the potential to utilise it for business.  Here’s five ways that you can integrate it into your marketing.

Oh and as a bonus here’s an Instagram photo that made it on to the front cover of Time from Hurricane Sandy.

Facebook Timeline features you may have missed

It’s hard to keep up with the new features that Facebook adds, hardly a day goes by without them testing or adding something new.  Some are handy some are annoying some are just downright confusing.  Luckily it’s usually the good ones that stand the test of time.  So here’s 19+ new features on your personal Timeline you may have missed from Ching Ya.  Even I may have found one here that I’d missed.

People in Ireland access the internet via a mobile device more than those in most other countries

You may remember last week I wrote about Niall Harbison’s presentation at the Dublin Web Summit where he predicted that the future is mobile.  It’s quite scary to think that even big business in Ireland is not prepared for this revolution, particularly when you see statistics like these in the Irish Times:  77% of Irish internet users access via a mobile device so if you aren’t already considering how to make your site mobile friendly it’s time to think about it now.

And from Spiderworking.com this week

I’ve been trying to decipher the changes in Facebook Edgerank and how businesses can get their content seen by a larger portion of their audience.  Here’s my guesstimates on what will work.

Have a great weekend.

 

If you’ve been using social media for business for some time you will start to recognise specific people who contribute to your posts, discussions & tweets the most. They start to become the core of your community and will recommend you, your pages and your services to others they know.  These are your ‘Brand Advocates’.  This is a hugely powerful group of people and gathering a strong group is essential for increasing the reach of your message.  How can you nurture these people? How can you encourage them to share more?  Here are four recent examples of businesses using user generated curation or content to engage with and create new advocates.

@Ireland Twitter Account

WorldIrish.com launched a very clever initiative giving people the opportunity to curate the @Ireland Twitter account for a week. It’s totally up to the curator to decide what to post.  As I’m typing this the current curator is Jonathan Lynn whose day job involves curating and promoting street art.  As you can imagine there has been much talk about street art on the page this week.

The aim of the project according to the World Irish Website is:

…@Ireland is based around the idea that a single voice cannot represent a country. By sharing peoples’ experiences and lives with the world, project curators WorldIrish believe @Ireland can help to further connect Ireland to the world and the world to Ireland.

You can view the tweets from previous curator on the WorldIrish website.  I have my hand hovering over the send button on an email applying to be a curator… I’ll keep you informed if I do decide to go for it.

ProBlogger

Another country, this time using user generated content to promote itself is Australia but this time it’s being pushed out by ProBlogger.  I love the story behind this one.  Darren Rowse, from ProBlogger decided that there were very few products he’d be happy to promote via his extensive social media channels and blog. One of those oh his list was his home, Austrailia.  With this promotion he’s managing to fulfil that wish.  I first saw it pop up on Google+.

The competition will bring 10 bloggers on an all expenses paid trip to The Great Barrier reef.  In return the winners will be expected to blog about their experiences.  Sadly the deadline for entries on this one has passed.  Those that did enter had to submit their ideas on how they would approach the task as well as submitting links to their own blogs and social media sites.  It’s clear they won’t just be selecting the winners on audience size but also on their ideas and how the experience will relate specifically to their readers.

The rules of entry will ensure that they get the best 10 bloggers with the biggest influence to participate in the project. By throwing the net wide and by running it as a competition rather than just researching influential bloggers in the field ProBlogger has already created a buzz around the project, many readers, myself included will be following the stories of the winners avidly.

Irish Rail Blogger

It’s fantastic to see Ireland in the European Soccer finals this year.  I doubt many of the people planning to attend have looked further than an aeroplane for getting there, however you can get there by train and Irish rail have come up with an excellent way to promote this service by engaging bloggers and potential bloggers.

The winner will travel over-ground via InterRail , get accommodation on a fan campsite in Ponza, have tickets to the three group games and receive €1,000 spending money.  A great budget holiday that is bound to attract the student and the all important Millenial generation.  Winners will be expected to produce daily blog posts in return.

To be in with a chance of winning applicants are asked to submit a sample blog post covering a journey they’ve taken or a sporting event they’ve attended.

The good news is that there is still time to enter this one, the deadline is Friday 27th April at 5pm. Details here.

Getting to the Euro’s is going to be a big stretch for a lot of people this year and the news has been full of the huge prices of flights and hotel accommodation. This competition should draw attention to the budget options that I’m sure will attract many of the people who otherwise could not have attended.

A-Wear

Engaging your audience this way and encouraging brand advocates is not a new thing.  Clothing chain store A-Wear have always been very smart at bringing their audience on board and as I started to read about the ProBlogger and Irish Rail blogging competitions I was reminded of a promotion from A-Wear and the Electric Picnic a couple of years ago.  They recruited bloggers via their Facebook page, narrowed it down to a few finalists, styled them in A-Wear clothes and asked their community to vote on a winner.

This competition was hugely engaging to watch on social media, appealed exactly to their target market and although it only produced one blog entry as far as I can work out, it definitely created a buzz around the brand as well as sending customers into the store to pick up their gear for the festival.

Have you seen any clever ways that brands have engaged their communities?

 

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the reading and research.  I could spend all day reading the fascinating articles that pop up in my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Reader streams, so much so that I have to limit the time I spend doing this every day.  For 2012 I thought it would be fun to share my top reads of the week with you.  So here’s my first round up.  If you read a great article this week that you’d like to share leave it in the comments box and you may find it popping up in next weeks roundup.

Facebook ads in Newsfeed

Facebook rolled out ‘featured stories’ this week. These are ad’s that will appear in a users news feed. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.  Will Facebook users resent seeing adverts directly in their streams? Will companies be cautious of using these ad’s in case it upsets potential customers?

Google Search Plus Your World

At the beginning of the week Google announced that it is changing the way we search by making it more social and prioritising results from our Google+ contacts.  For a better explanation on how it works and a good example involving werewolves read the Matt Cutts blog.

101 Social Business ROI Examples

I discovered this story yesterday and it’s since become quite controversial. Why? Social ROI (return on investment) is a hot topic within the social media world. We’re always looking for new ways to measure it and this post outlines some fantastic examples of successful campaigns.  It’s controversial because of it’s title.  These are success stories but it doesn’t go into enough detail.  It doesn’t tell us what goals were set, what matrix’s were used to measure it or what costs were involved in running the campaign.

If you’re in Ireland and want to find out more about measuring the results of your social media campaigns check out Measurement.ie a one day conference on the subject in Dublin. Run by Damien Mulley and sponsored by DoneDeals.ie it’s one I won’t be missing.

Chris Brogan On Twitter

Whenever I see a post titled ‘Get More Twitter Followers‘ my heart drops.  In this case though it’s all good advice.  There’s no advocating automated following, mass following or anything else that would boost numbers without adding value. Chris Brogan shares his ideas on how to build your follower count by nurturing your community and posting valuable content.

How To Keep Your New Years Blogging Resolutions

I’m cheekily adding in one of my own links here. This week I asked people what their social media new years resolutions were and I found that almost everyone (including me) listed blogging more.  In fact this post is part of me fulfilling that resolution. Here are three tips on how to keep those resolutions but I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Beatrice Whelan’s Prezi on SEO for Bloggers

On Monday we had our first KLCK Bloggers meetup of the year and this is Beatrice Whelan’s excellent presentation on SEO for bloggers.  I also asked some of the attendees to share the tips they had picked up for our videocast. You’ll find that on our Podcast page later on today.  I should also mention that it was Beatrice that introduced me to Matt Cutts whose article features above.

Lorna’s Blogging Experiment

Another one inspired by the bloggers network, Lorna Sixsmith conducted an experiment on blog traffic and the Google keyword research tool.  Enough to ensure you start taking search engine optimisation seriously on your business blog.

*UPDATE* The Google+ Directory has now moved to it’s own site. You can register directly on www.gplusireland.com I’ve closed comments on this post to avoid confusion.

 

On Monday Google+ finally released the long awaited business and brand pages. It seems to have given the network a much needed boosts with general activity on the site growing significantly amongst my circles.

To create your page click here and follow the instructions. We’ll be making a video or two over the next week or so to help you get started and share tips on how to make the most of it.

Here are some of the Irish business pages we have found so far, if you’d like to be added to this list please leave your page link in the comments section. For now it’s just a list but I’m looking into some tools to make it a stand alone directory.

Write on Track

Write On Track offers a blog coaching and mentoring service. Not sure of where to start with your blog and like a couple of training sessions? Or perhaps you would prefer a couple of months of mentoring until you are confident? We offer blogging services tailored to your needs.

You can also outsource your blog writing to us.

Lorna and Marie have both reached the finals of Blog and Social Media awards in previous years.

Greenside Up

Greenside Up shows people how to grow their own food, whether it’s at community gardens, allotments, private gardens or schools we can come to you.

Garrendenny Lane Interiors

Garrendenny Lane Interiors is an Irish online home, gift and lifestyle store.

Purchase wallpapers for your home, buy your Christmas gifts here, we will giftwrap for free and can send them abroad for you too.

We source from various European companies that are not readily available elsewhere in Ireland and we also stock many new Irish designers too.

Eco Evolution

Eco Evolution is a highly professional renewable energy company specialising in the consultancy, design, supply and installation of renewable energy technologies such as Wind Turbines, Hydro Turbines, Solar Photovoltaic (PV), Solar Thermal (Hot Water Supply & Space Heating), Heat Pumps, Heat Recovery Ventilation and high efficiency Ecorad aluminium radiators for the domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural markets in Ireland.

CG Online Marketing

CG Online Marketing customises all services to maximise your online endeavours and produce targeted results.

We cover:

  • SEO and SEM
  • Online marketing strategies + consultation
  • Website audits and projects
  • Social networking strategies, management + customisation
  • Copywriting and content generation
  • PPC advertising
  • Online promotions
  • Competitor analysis
  • Analytical reporting for insights + online behaviours
  • *NEW* Marketing outsourcing

Wedding Singer Cork Siobhan Oliver

Wedding & function singer based in Ballincollig, Cork. It has been my privilege to study with renowned Irish sopranos Cara O’Sullivan and Mary Hegarty. I have a B.Mus Hon in Vocal Performance from the Cork School of Music.

Puddleducks

PuddleDucks.ie is Ireland’s leading online specialist for ourdoor clothing for children. Our range includes waterproof jackets, dungarees, trousers, hats, gloves and much more. We also sell a fab range of cosy and fun fleeces. In fact everything that is needed to allow kids to have fun and stay warm and dry in the great outdoors – whatever the weather has in store.

The Secret Garden Centre

The Secret Garden is tucked away in the beautiful countryside of North Cork. Stocking a wide range of plants, trees, shrubs, perennials and gardening sundries, it’s the perfect place to come and find something different for your garden.

With tea, cake and birdsong we are well worth discovering

iamhandmade.com

Luxury Irish Artisan Handmade Bath & Body Products from Dublin, Ireland

Sligo Genealogy Research Services

I provide a friendly and reasonably priced research service specialising in genealogy, local history research, and related photography in County Sligo, Ireland.
I can undertake searches in the Flax Growers Index, Tithe Applotment Books, Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements, Parish Records, Gravestone and Memorial Inscriptions, 1901 and 1911 Census for County Sligo and I can also obtain Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates for County Sligo.
I hope I shall be of help to you in tracing your ancestors. Meticulous research is assured.

And don’t forget us!

Spiderworking.com

At Spiderworking.com we love social media. We help small business with social media using big business knowledge.

Leave your link below to be added

This is a belated post for Blog Action Day that fell on a Sunday this year. I’m rarely online on a Sunday and even though I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something I couldn’t pinpoint it until today. So apologies for my tardiness, but this is what I would have said.

The economic slow down in Ireland has affected the food industry here in many ways. We’ve seen restaurants close down, a resurgence of nostalgia foods – most recently old-fashioned sweets – and a whole host of new artisan producers rise. Cooking has become a massive pass time. People may not be eating out as much but there is more cooking going on in the home. I’m not sure we can blame all of this on the re**ssion but maybe there are positives we can take away from it.

Social media and blogging have become a great cost effective way for food producers, venues and enthusiasts to communicate with their customers. Sites like Any Given Food and the Irish Food Bloggers Association have sprung up and events like Savour Kilkenny have become massive social media events as well as physical events.

So how can food businesses leverage social media?

Venues

Restaurants and cafes have the opportunity to engage customers on premises. Mobile applications like Foursquare and Foodspotting may not have a huge reach in Ireland, but the users they do have are pretty passionate about utilising them. Both of these applications can be linked to Twitter and Facebook so users have the opportunity of spreading the love beyond their fellow food geeks and into the Twittosphere. By offering deals for checking in or becoming a mayor of the venue you are encouraging more visits and more shares from these hardcore users.

Incentivise your customer to stay in touch. Have you dropped your business card into the bowl in Wagamama? I know I have and I’m always delighted to get the deals that arrive in my inbox because of it. But can you be more creative? I love this example from Jay Baur’s Convince And Convert blog of a sandwich bar that uses QR codes to get you signed up to Facebook whilst waiting in the queue.

Food producers

Recipes are hugely popular online. And what better way to promote your product than sharing recipes that require its use. Text recipes are great but putting a face on the brand by making a video could be even better. As often as possible include a photograph as this will get your followers tastebuds working.

Incentivise customers to Like your Facebook page by offering exclusive taster packs in a competition. Take a look at Keith Bohanna’s Irish Artisan Food Producers Facebook page for a collection of really good giveaways. (If a little out of date).

Feature the suppliers of your product and link to their Facebook pages, twitter accounts or blogs.

Tell the story of your product, what inspired you to create it, people love to hear stories and will feel more connected with you and your brand if you share.

Ask your fans to review the product – have a competition for the best review or recipe including it.  Again this gives your potential customers some ownership of what you do and they will be delighted to see their recipes featured on your Facebook page or blog.

Food writers

Recipes again! give a way a little bit of what you have to offer. Blogging and sharing recipes from other social media users is a great way to connect with people and give a taste of what you do. I’ve always loved Kieran Murphy’s Ice cream Ireland blog. The recipes are mouth watering and when I saw Murphy’s Ice Cream shops start to appear in Dublin I was straight in to try some of the flavours he’d been talking about.  Two food writers Mona Wise from Wise Words and Marian Hearne from Dairy Free & Spelt Living are launching cook books and their Facebook pages and blogs are great advertisements for what will be inside.

My Top tips

Connect with as many other Irish food businesses as you can; through Twitter, through Facebook business pages, through blog comments and anywhere else you find them online.

Tweet during as many food events and TV shows as possible. #rtemc (RTE Masterchef) for example was a great way to connect with other passionate foodies.

Share – don’t just post about yourself, share the love, link to other foodie Facebook pages, share their recipes and their blog posts. Interact and converse to become part of the community.

Recipes, recipes, recipes! People love recipes so whether they are your own or someone else’s you are sharing, make sure people know that your page or blog is the place to come for the best recipes within your category.

Do you have any tips to add? I know that I must have missed some. I’d love to hear what has worked or not worked for you.

 

 

Ruairí Browne is the Managing Director of Kro IT Solutions Limited; a software development company in Dublin. He has over 12 years’ experience working in web technologies and he counts some very well-known companies as his clients. In this guest blog post for Spiderworking,com he examines the part a traditional website has to play in the age of social media.

I have noticed an increasing number of businesses operating from social media only and eschewing a traditional website. It is not something I am against in principle – actually I think a good social media presence is a lot more useful and cost effective than a bad website. It is also technically very feasible – you can sell products directly from Facebook now with no major setup costs. However for serious business owners here are some reasons why I believe you should keep a website as the central hub of your online activity.

1) Watch the T&Cs

Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter all have seemingly daft rules about competitions, promotion, and other aspects of being a respectable user of their site. If you break these rules you will often be banned without warning or any right to state your case. By using social media as a channel to send users back to your website where they can then enter competitions or purchase deals you are ensuring that you do not fall foul of these rules. You may also consider that some websites such as those related to breast feeding or alcohol may fall foul of American prudence on those subjects that would not be applicable in Ireland.

2) Fashions Change

A well-known Irish band that I worked with spent a lot of money on a social media campaign to launch themselves on MySpace and Bebo. They also had a website which could be maintained, managed, and edited by the band themselves. However they never really took to the website and decided to run all their promotions and competitions exclusively through social media. At one point they had a major fan base of over 100,000. I asked them once if they had email addresses for all these fans and they laughed at me and told me email was old school (man). That was all very well until all their fans moved to Facebook and they had to start again back at zero. If they had driven even a proportion of their traffic back to their website they could have captured their fans contact details there and when the band moved to Facebook they would at least have been able to inform people. As it happens the change in fashion more or less finished the band because the second time around they had all left their jobs and could not sustain a second long campaign back to popularity. I am not sure that Facebook is about to follow Bebo down the drain, but if it does (and let’s face it Google Plus would like it to) then are you ready to move with it? Also imagine that one day you wake up and all your followers are gone from your Facebook page due to some glitch. It could happen and if it does Facebook will issue a brief statement saying that some customers were affected and there is nothing we can do about it.

3)     Information is Powerful

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google Plus are all great places to interact with your customers. However your website is owned by you and therefore a “hit” to your website is of great value to you. For starters you are on message right across the screen – you are not sharing your screen space with messages from the social media website or advertisements or anything else. Secondly you are capturing user data such as where they came from, what country they are in, what keywords they used to find you, etc. You essentially have control of the customer and it is up to you to lose them or make the sale. The same cannot be said with Facebook (or similar) where your customer is really Facebook’s customer and you have to compete for their attention. People picture Facebook as like a big shopping mall that attracts millions of visitors and allows you the privilege of selling to them. However remember that reality is that we are attracting millions of visitors to Facebook and then they are the ones that are trying to sell to those visitors. Think of the Arab guy in the market in Morocco. He comes out into the street with a monkey on his shoulder to attract attention and he tries to make you feel special by telling you he is Irish and his wife is Irish and his dog is Irish. All the time he is pushing you into his store. He knows that the market is a dangerous and fickle place where everyone wants a bit of you. If he can get you into his shop he has your undivided attention to try and make a sale. Facebook is like that market and you need to get people back to your website where you can get their undivided attention.

4)     Credibility

Users are not stupid. They know a Facebook page takes 3 minutes to create and that you can get 100 fans just by asking your friends. A website shows much more commitment. A website says that if I have a problem this person will still be here in a few months. This may not be accurate but it is going to be a factor in your customers mind. When e-commerce first took off the most successful shops were those with a brick and mortar presence backing them. Nowadays people expect that a social media presence will at least be backed by a website and if that in turn is backed up by a bricks and mortar operation then all the better.

5)     Value

Finally a web based business is worth money and can be sold. For all the reasons above and many more a business based solely on social media is of no value to an investor, bank manager, or buyer. Social media is also perceived [appropriately] to be about people. It is very rare that a small business has an effective social media presence that is not in reality based on one or two key personalities. Having a website behind your social media presence gives it a focus and a focal point that will make it easier for other personalities to take your place and continue to run your business.

You don’t have to look too far to see an example of a business run in the way I recommend. Spiderworking.com is a strong brand tied together by a good website. However Amanda is herself a brand on social media but she tends to filter most of her potential customers back to the Spiderworking.com website (after all where are you reading this blog post?). She is embracing social media fully but she is using it to strengthen and nourish her core business rather than as an end in itself.

I always picture a website as the trunk of a big solid oak tree. Social media is like a part of the root and branch system – it brings nourishment to the website and it allows the website to express itself. If a tree loses a branch or a root it will not die, but without many of them it will not live. There are many other roots and branches such as email, cold calling, marketing, advertising, and networking. They are all important but I suspect that right now social media is for a lot of businesses the one to concentrate on. Just don’t forget the basics – you need a good solid place to call home.

This week’s videocast is a bit different. We asked people to submit 30 second video pitches either in person at this weeks Bloggers International event or via the internet. Here is the result!

Thanks to all who participated and to all who took part and helped with the organising of Bloggers International.

An extra big thanks to our sponsor Blacknight.

To find out more about Bloggers International visit our websiteFacebookTwitter

Many people may not think of Blogging as Social Media but I am a big believer that not only is it social it’s also the most important social media.  It can become the hub of your social media campaign, feeding into your other social networks, I often tell people that if they do nothing else they must blog!

Whether your blog is part of your website, independent of your website or even if you just blog using Facebook notes blogging can have a massive impact on your entire Internet marketing.

What is a Blog?

A blog can be a website or a segment of a website that is updated by the owner on a regular basis. People who visit the website are able to comment on blog posts, making it interactive.

There are different kinds of blogs; personal blogs that can extend from an online diary to a blog written around a specific topic.  Some famous personal blogs have even been turned into films, for example Julie and Julia.  I also love 101 W**kers (excuse the language but that’s what it’s called) the blogger behind it has now branched out and is contributing to the Guradian bike blog. There are also political blogs, photo blogs, video blogs and of course business blogs.

Why Should A Business Blog?

Blogging has many benefits for businesses.

1. If it is part of your website it will work well for SEO (search engine optimisation). Using keywords that you want your website to be found for in your headlines and the body of your blog will push your website up the Google rankings bringing more traffic to your blog and website.

Feeding your blog to your other social networks and encouraging others to share your posts will increase the inbound links coming into your website – also good for SEO.

2. It establishes you as an expert – Blogging gives you the opportunity to showcase your passion and expertise about a topic.  You can become the ‘go to’ person about your industry.

3. A resource for customers – If your customers commonly ask specific questions blogging gives you the opportunity to address them on mass.  If they are asking those questions online and find the answers from you they are more likely to buy from you.

4. Spreads your message further - If you are a local business looking to expand, blogging and social media gives you the opportunity to reach beyond the local market.  You can target markets further afield within Ireland or even international customers.

5. Attract press attention – more and more journalists and researchers are turning to the web to research their stories.  Having an active blog about your topic of interest can mean getting more press attention and being asked to comment on specific stories within your field of expertise.

What Should You Blog About?

There are a number of topics you can blog about

1. Your business. It may seem obvious but you need to blog on topics related to your business and industry.  A political blog may bring lots of traffic to your website but not the right traffic. Make posts relevant to your offering.  Absolute Dental handle this really well showcasing their services with out the hard sell.

2. Your own expertise. What information do you have that you can share? – What information do you give to customers on a regular basis?  Turning these into tips and hints will make great blog content.

Teamwoodcraft’s relatively new blog does this excellently.

3. Topical issues about your industry. What’s happening in the news related to your industry? Add your comment or take on relevant stories.

Always providing up to date information on financial issues Red Oak Tax Refunds blog handles this well.

4. Who are your target market and what are they interested in? When I used to sell organic food I targeted people with an interest in the environment so blogged about a range of green issues, not just organic food but local food, cycling, organic gardening etc.  This was information that would draw my target market into my site.

Greenside Up Veg include both recipes and gardening tips in their blog.  They offer training on growing your own veg and if you’re growing it you are probably wanting to eat it too so this works perfectly.

5. Case studies and testimonials. Do you have happy customers?  If so ask them to write a short piece on their experience with you and include it as part of or as a blog post.  Use case studies of work you have done or customers you have helped.

This is done really well by Buyers Brokers, the photo and language of the testimonials leaves you in no doubt that they are genuine.

6. Guest bloggers. Once your blog is established find other bloggers that might have something to share with your target market.  If you sell Wedding Dresses for example is there a Wedding Car company or a venue that would like to contribute a blog post.

Garrendenny Lane have a weekly guest blogging slot, all adding value to their blog and business.

 

More Blogging Tips

To find out more about blogging, and blogs both business and personal join us at Bloggers International, an International panel of experts will be sharing their knowledge of Blogging both technical and creative.  We can help you get started or help boost your current blogging.  Sponsored by Blacknight the event takes place on 29th June 2011 at 7.30pm in The Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Laois, Ireland and The Chequers Inn, Chipping Norton, England.  We’re also streaming online live… details to follow on the Bloggers International website.

If you’re interested in coming to this free event RSVP on Facebook, Linkedin, Via The Website (on the right hand side toolbar), leave a comment below or email wave@spiderworking.com.

If you’d like to book a place on the two way video conference for the night you can book your spot for free by clicking here.

Bloggers International