3 Chrome Blogging Extensions to Watch Out for 2015

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Blogging has come a long way since the days when it was utilized primarily as a tool for enabling individuals to discuss topics of interest. These days, any business that is not blogging is leaving a lot of potential customers out of the loop. In fact, blogging is now one of the most effective inbound marketing tools available. The best part is that maintaining a blog is free for companies that have a skilled writer on staff. Even those businesses that have to outsource this essential need can typically find what they need for a relatively inexpensive price from online content writers. [Read more…]

Controlling What You Can’t Control: Your Reputation Online

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It used to be that you could draw a firm line between who you were and who you appeared to be to others. The internet changed all that. While it’s still possible to keep some things to yourself, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to appear to be anything but what you are. Social media, hacking, and miraculous leaps from simple web searches make us very accessible to others. If you live a “public” life on the internet, one in which you enjoy a certain amount of attention from others, you can be sure that people know a lot about you, or at least think they know a lot about you. [Read more…]

How to Use Your Blog to Connect With Your Audience

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By now everybody knows that if your want your company to succeed one of the things you need most is to have a company blog. Company blogs are important! They showcase a company’s personality, help endear the business to readers, show off expertise and commitment to their communities, etc. This is something everybody knows. What not everybody knows is how to do the company blog “thing” well.

It’s relatively easy to set up your company’s blog. While many believe that WordPress isn’t the best idea for professional blogs, a simple WordPress installation and rerouting of your domain name servers takes less than an hour to set up. Viola! You’re done! Except….now you have to fill that blog with content. Here are some tips for how to do that. [Read more…]

How Can You Increase eCommerce Conversions In A Competitive Industry

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For those of you running an online store, the summer season is one of your favorite times of the year. However, in a competitive industry like clothing, there are thousands of other online stores vying for consumer attention, and some of them have a better stock in terms of quality/range than your store.

Despite the increase in competition in eCommerce space each year, there is always an opportunity to improve by focusing on increasing your conversions. This is essential if you want to improve revenue this financial year.

What often prevents online store owners from concentrating on the conversion metric is that improving it is time consuming, challenging, and complex. In reality, however, you can significantly increase conversions by making a few tweaks to your website and adding some features, such as the following: [Read more…]

How To Protect Your Brand On Social Media

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Editor’s note: This post was written by Jeff Foster, co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Social media is now a critical component of any marketing campaign. Used correctly, it builds an army of enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand. But social media is a double-edged sword. Negative reviews, PR blunders and inconsistent brand messages are constant dangers – threats that you need to guard against. Brand protection has to be an integral part of your social media strategy, otherwise you are putting your brand at risk.

Implement A Social Media Policy

While it takes time to build an online brand, your employees can damage it very quickly – often without meaning to. There are well-publicized examples of this. For example, when a US Airways employee tweeted a very graphic image on the company’s Twitter account. Sometimes, however, the damage can be more subtle.

Let’s assume that someone in your marketing department sets up an unofficial branded hashtag, which they use to tweet company news – all with the best intentions. But if they do this without tying into your social media strategy, they can end up sending confusing messages that devalue your brand.

To avoid this and protect your brand on social media, put in place a clear social media policy. This should tell your staff things like who is authorized to post content, what approvals are needed, and what type of content can be posted. Also make sure that this addresses your employees’ private social media accounts – tell them exactly what they can and can’t do with their own accounts.

Finally, make your acceptable use policy clear to your followers on social media. For example, state on your Facebook page that you’ll delete readers’ comments if they contain or link to pornographic, racist or other types of unacceptable content. By saying this upfront, you’ll reduce any social media backlash when you censor what readers have to say.

Monitor Social Media For Damaging Comments

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You should also monitor social media for what people say about you. Look at overall sentiment, but also identify specific negative comments. There are several great tools you can use to do this, including Google Alerts, Trackur, SocialMention and BlitzMetrics. The advantage of these tools is that they don’t just monitor your own social media channels – they can monitor the entire social media universe.

When you do find negative comments, don’t make the mistake of arguing online. Craft a reasonable response to what the author has to say. This will reduce the impact of the comment for other readers. If they do respond positively, offer to talk to them offline to address any concerns they might have.

Also watch for sites that rank highly for your company name – or for other brand-related keywords that you use. It’s easy for someone to set up a site with the intent of damaging your business, or even impersonating it for fraudulent reasons. You need to intercept these sites quickly – and you may even need to take legal action to get them shut down.

Create Buzz

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No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to silence all your detractors on social media. Negative feedback is just a fact of life. But you can offset it by creating a constant positive buzz around your brand. This will drown out negative comments – or at least push them into the background.

However, you can’t create buzz by yourself – in fact, readers won’t believe you if you try to do this. Instead, you need to use sites like Tomoson to get influencers talking about your products or services. People trust bloggers and other online thought leaders – much more than they trust company advertising.

Creating positive relations with bloggers is a major topic in itself, but here are a few key things you need to know. First of all, bloggers value their independent voice – and so do their readers. So even if you pay bloggers to write posts, don’t try to bend them to your will. Second, bloggers want to know that you are interested in them – so take the time to read their blog posts and express genuine interest. Third, you need to give bloggers something to talk about, so avoid boring marketing pitches – roll up your sleeves and get creative.

Finally, remember that bloggers are not the only influencers. When your customers talk about your brand, they are selling it at the same time. People will naturally make some comments, but you need to encourage them to say more. For example, by simply responding quickly and positively to comments, you can spark more conversation. Retweeting comments is another good strategy, although you shouldn’t spam your followers by doing this too much. Another good approach is to run an online contest where you ask readers what they love about your brand – and then give prizes for the best comments.

Avoid Controversial Subjects

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Unless your business directly involves religion or politics, you shouldn’t discuss these subjects on social media. Even if what you say is innocuous, you’re going to offend some people in your audience. There’s usually no upside in talking about controversial subjects – and there’s always a downside. Religion and politics aren’t the only controversial topics, so always think about whether you could offend before you post or tweet something.

It’s also a big mistake to exploit natural disasters and other tragedies to promote your brand online. This may seem obvious, but even leading brands get it wrong. For example, when Hurricane Sandy struck the US East Coast in 2012, American Apparel sent out an email blast offering 20% off everything, “in case you’re bored during the storm.” There was a huge social media backlash, including tweets such as “I will forever boycott their stores.” Amazingly, American Apparel wasn’t the only retailer to get this wrong – GAP also incensed the Twitterverse, with a similar post encouraging Sandy victims to shop online at Gap.com.

Another useful article: How an Industry-Specific Writer Can Improve Your Company’s Blogging

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How to Maximize Your Freelance Profits Using the Power of Emotion

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Editor’s note: This post was written by Seb Atkinson, a search marketer at Selesti, a multi-award winning creative digital agency. Seb has helped a range of clients grow their online presence, from start-ups and small businesses to large international corporations. Follow him on Twitter.

Setting prices for your freelance and writing services is a very important part of the sales process, and if done correctly can earn you great profits, or on the other hand leave you little to show for your work. If you’re freelance writing job boards but struggling to close deals at the right price for you and your client, then read on to discover how to improve profitability using the power of emotion. [Read more…]

Clear Skies Ahead – The Shift to Cloud Computing

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Editor’s note: This article was written by Christian Abbas, one of the team at Columbus UK, a provider of business telephone systems, mobiles, networking and IT solutions. He enjoys writing about technology, IT and content marketing.

Talk of the imminence of widespread cloud computing was ongoing for several years. As some services took their first steps in this direction, it became clear that the rise of cloud computing was inevitable. Accessing software in this manner provides a plethora of benefits over more dated methods, and the drawback are almost irrelevant.

Services have been making the transition to cloud computing across the board. In today’s fiercely competitive digital world, businesses must stay ahead of the game and a failure to move processes to the cloud will have inevitably negative consequences. [Read more…]

5 Ways To Transform Your Blogger Outreach

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Editor’s note: This post was written by Jeff Foster, co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Over the last couple of decades, the web has completely changed the way we do marketing. We’ve gone from traditional advertising campaigns to a world where influence drives marketing success. If you’re starting out on a digital marketing campaign, it’s vital that you hook up with bloggers who can connect with your audience. Those who get it right reap huge rewards, but it isn’t as easy as it seems – many marketers make a complete mess of blogger outreach. In some ways, marketing to bloggers is nothing new – it’s another twist on word-of-mouth advertising – but reaching out to bloggers requires a very different approach than contacting traditional media outlets. [Read more…]

Freedom of Speech Isn’t So Free

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While the First Amendment certainly protects your right to free speech, you know that it’s really not that simple. Just because you have the right to say what you want, doesn’t mean you can always say what you want, where you want.

The catch is that regardless of where you say something, there are always consequences. If you say something to your spouse that’s laced with sarcasm, you may end up sleeping on the couch. If a child says something inappropriate to their teacher, they may find themselves in the principal’s office. If an athlete talks back to his coach, he’ll likely end up running or sitting on the bench.

In fact, one of the best examples of not being able to say what you want, where you want involved a recent case of not talking at all. Last NFL football season, Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch was fined multiple times for his refusal to speak with the media.

What do all of these examples have in common, and why are they relevant to you as a blogger? They all point to one important fact: Free speech may be allowed, but you must be wary of the consequences. Each of these instances is legal, but they come with significant results. [Read more…]