Do I Have to be a Good Writer to Start a Blog?

February 13, 2015

It takes experience and practice to be good at anything. Good writing does matter; anyone can be a successful blogger with the right framework, dedication and attitude.
Throughout the blogging process you will learn what your readers respond to and what topics will appeal to a wider or to a more specific audience (depending on the purpose of your blog). You will become a better writer along the way. There are several other benefits you’ll gain. For example, you’ll become a better thinker. The blogging process encourages you to stop and think deeper. You will delve deeper into the matters of your life or your business and the worldviews that shape them.
When you start a blog think about:
1.   What questions or topics does your audience have? What are they concerned about? Passionate about? Make a list.
2.   Eliminate every word and sentence that does not move the story along. Don’t make your post more than 1,000 words.
3.   Spend time creating an accurate, interesting headline. If your headline does not compel people to “click,” they will never get to the blog post.
If you are just starting out or worried about your writing skills, ask a close friend or family member to read your first few blogs to give you feedback. Don’t forget to double check the spelling, grammar, and an easy to read format.
So, get going! Starting is the hardest part. You cannot become a great blog writer in one day, but you can become a great blog writer someday!
Click here for more tips or contact COGO Interactive to hire one of our social media writers. If you don’t enjoy writing, you have the option to hire a professional. Let us work our magic.

 
Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


5 Online Marketing Questions to Answer in the New Year

January 5, 2015

300x300xtuit-300x300.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jQow44HuBUWith the new year here, it is safe to say that you have a lot of hope for the future of your business. While there are sure to be challenges in 2015, if you play your cards right you know you are in position to do big things.

You don’t want to wait any longer to settle on your marketing strategy for the new year. If you are still lagging behind in this area of your business, here are five questions to answer without delay:

  1. What worked for you, in terms of marketing, in 2014? Once you know the answer to this question, you should implement a plan that allows you to take advantage of more of the same in 2015.
  2. What didn’t work for your business last year? It is safe to say that some of your marketing tactics flopped. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. You don’t want to continually waste time and money on strategies that don’t generate results.
  3. Do you have any new ideas to experiment with? It is always a good idea to keep an open mind when it comes to your marketing strategy. If you neglected to experiment with new ideas last year, now is the time to change your way of thinking.
  4. Are you taking advantage of social media? This is one of the most powerful ways to market your company and reach a large audience. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are just a few of the many social media services to focus on. You don’t want to neglect this area of online marketing any longer.
  5. Do you need help? Some companies have enough people on staff to handle all marketing related tasks. Others, however, need to reach out for assistance. There are individuals and companies that can help with everything from content creation to social media management and much more.

It may take some time to answer these questions, among others, so there is no reason to be in a rush. As long as you are searching for answers and moving forward, you will eventually end up in a good place.

You have the entire year ahead of you, so now is the time to settle on a marketing plan that you can trust. Answering the questions above will help you move forward in a confident manner.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


5 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

December 24, 2014
tumblr_min9taq6l21r1thfzo2_1280 As a small business owner, you are well aware that you can get a lot of ³bang for your marketing buck by focusing on social media. Like many, you may spend most of your resources on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. While these may be the three biggest social media platforms, at least from a marketing potential perspective, there is another to consider: Instagram. Why Instagram? There are many reasons for this, including the fact that the photo sharing site has more than 300 million monthly active users. If you aren¹t tapping into this market you could be leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
Now that you are intrigued by the power of Instagram, let’s take a close look at five tips for getting started:
 1. Connect your Facebook account. This is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to boost your followers without delay. Once you have both accounts running strong, you can cross-promote from time to time.
 2. Use popular hashtags. You want people to find your photos, right? One of the best ways of doing so is by using popular, relevant hashtags. Don¹t worry if you are a bit lost as you get started. Once you become more familiar, it will become clear as to how you should select hashtags.
3. Engage with others. Just the same as any social media service, you need to give in order to receive. Are you following others? Are you liking their photos? Are you leaving comments? You need to do this if you want to get the most possible from your Instagram marketing strategy.
4. Business and pleasure. It goes without saying that you will post business related pictures on a regular basis. After all, this is the entire point of using Instagram. At the same time, you want to keep your profile fresh and fun. One example of doing so is to post random pictures that will make others laugh. Note: if you do nothing more than market your business, people will see right through you. Subsequently, your marketing strategy won¹t be nearly as effective.
5. Don¹t post too much. Unlike Twitter, for instance, you shouldn¹t feel the need to post on Instagram throughout the day. In fact, you don¹t want to go overboard, as doing so can scare followers away. If you have yet to consider the benefits of using Instagram for business, 2015 is the best time to make a change.
Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com

Reflect on the Past, Prepare for the Future

December 19, 2014

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Do you have an annual marketing strategy and plan in place? This is a “yes or no question” that should have a “yes or no answer.”

If you answered yes, you are in better position than those who answered no. But regardless of what you have done in the past, there is no reason to believe you can’t make changes for the better in the future.

Why a Year End Marketing Review is Important

It is essential to have a strong grasp on your marketing plan, regardless of your company’s past and future goals.

With the end of the year finally here, there is no better time than now to reflect on 2014. When doing so, here are some questions to answer:

  • Which marketing strategies generated the best results?
  • Which marketing strategies fell short of your expectations?
  • What types of changes did you make throughout the year to improve your chance of success?

By answering these questions, you can get a better understanding of what did and did not work over the past 11 months.

Armed with this information, it is now time to prepare for the future. Focus on these points as you create your marketing strategy for 2015:

  • Spend the majority of your time and money on the areas that generated top results in 2014.
  • Don’t shy away from experimenting with new tactics, as trial and error is a must.
  • Set goals based on lead generation, reach, and other key measurables.

Tip: the marketing strategy you create now may not remain exactly the same as 2015 wears on. There will be times when you adjust your approach to better increase your chance of success.

Do you need Help?

While some companies have more than enough resources in-house to handle all marketing related tasks and activities, this is not always the case.

You may require assistance from time to time. Rather than fight through this, hoping you can make enough time in your schedule to handle the finer details of your marketing strategy, you can seek help from outsiders.

Some companies hire a full blown marketing firm, one that can handle everything from content creation to social media and much more. Others hire an independent contractor to step in and provide guidance. In the end, what matters most is that you build a team that can help you reach your marketing related goals.

It won’t be long before the calendar turns to 2015. Now is the time to reflect on your 2014 marketing plan while also looking towards the new year.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


Improve Twitter Sales with the Right Tools

December 15, 2014

300x300xtuit-300x300.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jQow44HuBUDo you have a strong Twitter presence? Are you hoping to use this social media service to increase sales and profits in the near future? If you answered yes to these questions, it is time to consider all your options.

There are a variety of tools you can implement to improve sales on Twitter, with these three doing wonders for many businesses throughout the world:

  1. TwtQpon. With this tool, you will soon be creating and sharing a variety of coupon types via Twitter. It doesn’t matter if you want to offer a discount online or a free product in a brick and mortar store, with TwtQpon this is a simple task.

With affordable pricing, starting at $19 per 100 coupons, you can get started with this service without breaking your marketing and advertising budget.

  1. SocialRank. The SocialRank tagline says it all:

“SocialRank is the easiest way to identify, organize, and manage your followers on Twitter.”

If you don’t know the first thing about your followers you will find it difficult to sell to them. With SocialRank, you can generate reports that provide information on the most engaged and valuable followers.

  1. Twibble. There is more to this tool than its cool name. With Twibble, you can send auto-tweets complete with graphics. Unlike other tools, this one stands out in the crowd for its ability to add a featured image. In short, tweets with images have a better chance of being retweeted and clicked on.

While the tools above can help you take your company’s Twitter sales to the next level, there are some basic things you must do if you want to realize a high level of success:

  • Use your Twitter account for more than selling. It is essential to also provide followers with information such as industry news and professional guidance. Too much selling will turn people off.
  • Stay consistent. If you use Twitter for a couple days and then turn your back on the service for a month or so, you cannot expect to gain much traction. Stay consistent, even if it means spending an hour or so a day to remain on the right track.

With the right tools powering your Twitter strategy you can increase sales and collect useful data. By experimenting with the three tools above, it won’t be long before you begin to realize the true selling power of this social media giant.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


Creating a Facebook Ad? Implement these Call to Action Tips

December 3, 2014

Facebook-iconAnybody with a little bit of time and a few dollars can create a Facebook ad and run a campaign. Not everybody has what it takes to create an ad that generates clicks and converts these people into buyers.

When creating a Facebook ad, regardless of your company size or industry, the call to action is one of the most important factors. If your ad is boring and unattractive, you can’t expect it to receive a high click through rate. On the other hand, if you implement a killer call to action, you may be surprised at how much traffic you drive.

Here are three call to action tips that can take your mediocre ad and turn it into something much more powerful:

  1. Use at least one “action” keyword. A Facebook page is full of content and images, so your ad has to stand out in the crowd. By using an action keyword, you are telling your audience that you have something special to offer. You are telling them to take action now if they want to take advantage.

Some of the best action keywords include: save, discount, book now, sign up today, order now, try, and subscribe.

You can build off of these, based on your particular industry and offering, to create an even more powerful message. For example, if you are pushing a weight loss product, you could use a phrase such as “lose weight today” or “lose weight faster.”

  1. Don’t beat around the bush. You only have so much time to grab the attention of your audience and convince them to click through.

Don’t make people read through your ad to find out what you want them to do. Instead, the call to action should be displayed in a prominent and powerful location. If your audience can identify the call to action at a glance, while also understanding what it means to them, you have reached your goal.

  1. Ask a question. This is one of the best ways to engage your audience. Not only does a question draw people in, but it can improve your click through rate as they will be interested in learning the answer.

Note: if asking a question, keep it short and sweet.

With these three call to action tips, you will find yourself taking a different approach when creating Facebook ads. Subsequently, you may also find your campaign generating better results.

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


How to Set Up your Marketing Plan for 2015

November 26, 2014

twitter-icon-150x150With the final month of the year upon us, small businesses (as well as larger organizations) the world over are reviewing the past and looking toward the future.

Once you have a solid idea of how your company performed through the first 11 months of the year, it is time to turn your attention to 2015. By making a few key changes now, you will be able to hit the ground running in January.

Here are three ways to review and alter your marketing plan for the new year:

Determine what did and did not work. Did you have success with social media and corporate blogging? Did you fall short in terms of direct mail? Your goal is to know exactly what worked in 2014 so you can adjust your approach in the new year.
The last thing you want to do is stick with a marketing plan that didn’t yield positive results. If you make this mistake, you could find yourself wasting more time and money in 2015.

Follow recent trends. What worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future. And what works in the future may have had no chance of working in the past.
For example, a growing number of companies are taking advantage of mobile marketing. This is a trend that can put your business on the path to bigger and better things.

Keep a beat on recent trends as well as what others in your industry are doing to achieve success. You never know when you will come across a change that can be easily implemented into your marketing strategy.

Give yourself more than one option. If you put all your eggs in one basket and things don’t work out as you had hoped, you will need to do a 180 in order to get back on track. Rather than take this risk, create a well balanced marketing plan that allows you to take off in a number of different directions on a moment’s notice.
With one month left in 2014, the new year will be here before you know what hit you. Once the holiday season comes and goes, it is back to business as usual. When you make the necessary changes to your marketing plan right now, you won’t have to waste time, energy, and resources on this when 2015 arrives. Instead, you can move forward full steam ahead without delay.

 

Peg McDermott is an award-winning marketing communications expert,Internet marketing specialist, and public speaker. Peg is the founder and president of COGO Interactive, an innovative Internet Marketing firm specializing in helping small to mid-sized businesses increase revenue and awareness by leveraging Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. She can be found on Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, and thecogoblog.com


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