BarnRaisers



7 tools to find trending topics for your blog 0

Posted on December 21, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

tending topics blog ideas

By Antonio Tooley

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve written a killer blog post that will dazzle your readers and have them asking for more? Of course you have, but more often than not, those posts would wind up getting maybe a few Facebook likes, and not much else. That’s because you are going about it all wrong. Lots of bloggers make the same mistake: they create their content based on their own personal preferences, or what they think the readers want to see. The final result are posts that nobody seems to be interested in, and after investing all time and effort into writing them, the bloggers give up on the blog altogether.

Instead of repeating those same mistakes, try going about it the opposite way: bring the content to the people. Give them what they want. In order to achieve this, you need to be aware of what’s currently grabbing their attention. Sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t because there are tools which can do that for you. We have chosen 7 tools that will help you discover trending topics. Keep on reading for more.

Trending Topics - Buzz Feed

BUZZFEED

It’s no secret that Buzzfeed is one of the most entertaining websites on the web, covering a wide range of topics, anything from pop culture, food, music, social news to gadgets, life hacks, and everything in between. But, it can also be used as a tool to give you a keen insight into what’s trending at the moment. With millions of viewers every day, Buzzfeed is definitely one of the tastemakers as far as content is concerned.

Trending Topics Google Trends

GOOGLE TRENDS

Since Google is the most powerful search engine on the web, you would be right in thinking that Google Trends have a good idea about topics that are trending among internet users. It allows you to search through trends in several different categories, if you want to fine-tune your research, or you can simply make use of the “Trending Now” button, which provides you with a detailed list of topics that are hot at the moment. You can either choose to view the results of your search with the help of a visualizer, or with the tried-and-true method of top charts. You can also customize your search based on your location, month, and plenty of other parameters.

Trending Topics Buzzsomo

BUZZSUMO

Another great online tool which can help you discover popular topics, as well as the most influential people on the web, is Buzzsumo. It is a bit more flexible than its competitors, because it allows you to perform your search by entering either a keyword, a topic, or a domain. Now, the clever bit is that it ranks the results based on a total number of shares across all major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, as well as Pinterest.

Trending Topics Twitter

TWITTER

And there it is, the mother of all websites when it comes to trending content: Twitter. Apart from being one of the most popular platforms on the Internet, Twitter also allows you to discover trends in several different ways. You can choose to search through topics that are trending throughout the entire world, or you can simply limit your scope to your own country. You can even check out the topics that are trending in some cities, as well. You should also take the time to check out trending hashtags and read what other influential users have to say on that particular subject. Once your blog attracts enough followers, you can use Twitter to expand your influence and become one of the trendsetters.

Trending Topics Flipboard

FLIPBOARD/ZITE

Flipboard is basically a news and digital magazines aggregator that is also compatible with social media’s news feeds, which allows users to browse through all kinds of content in a single very pleasing space, where focus is put in one content at a time. However, what makes Flipboard really interesting is its recent addition of a news curation software, designed by its former rival Zite, which lets the app deliver to each user only that content that is really relevant to him or her. Thanks to a powerful Artificial Intelligence core, Zite learns from users’ habits and interactions, and constantly perfects the content selection it displays. It was thanks to this great power that the app was first bought by CNN for $20 to $25 million dollars in 2011, and later on bought by Flipboard in a deal that the press estimates may have been as high as $60 million, in order to improve its own application.

Trending Topics Reddit

REDDIT

Reddit is one of those resources you have to check out if you are interested in trending topics, if only for the fact that is so popular. In fact, there have been many reports that the influx of visitors from Reddit was sufficient to crash smaller sites. You don’t want your blog to go down, but you do want to take advantage of Reddit’s massive influence. Finding your way around trending topics on Reddit can pose some difficulties if you are new to the site, so we suggest that you subscribe right away to subreddits that are related to your industry, or simply your personal preferences.

Trending Topics FollowerWonk

FOLLOWERWONK

FollowerWonk was designed as a site to help users find and follow influential content creators and brands within one’s area of interest. You can also be clever and use it as a tool to figure out your target audience. For instance, if you are running a blog that is reviewing digital cameras and providing useful guides on photography, you’ll want to find influential blogs on Twitter that are similar to yours, and discover if they have a common audience. Simply use the “Compare Users” feature, after which you will know if that particular niche you are targeting has enough readers to make it worth exploring.

With these 7 helpful tools, you will never be out of the loop when it comes to trending content. But, even if you are leaning on trends to find topics for your blog, don’t just follow in everyone else’s footsteps. This is your chance to provide your own fresh take on popular topics.

Antonio Tooley studied journalism at Rutgers University and lives in New Jersey. He’s a writer for a dissertation writing service Edugeeksclub. He will be happy to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

23 tips to create a killer email list that builds your brand 0

Posted on February 09, 2014 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Email List Growth

  • 81% of marketers use email for lead generation (source: Marketing Sherpa)
  • 60% of marketers believe email marketing produces positive ROI (source: Litmus)
  • $1 spent on email marketing returns $44.25 on the investment (source: Experian)

These and other statistics show email marketing is a very worthwhile investment. As the numbers and chart show, most marketers see the return. Plus, it’s gratifying to build an audience that looks forward to hearing from you.

How do you create an email list that builds your brand? The most important requirement is quality content, relevant to your audience.

If you’re up for the task, here are 23 tips to a create a killer email list that builds your brand.

MAKE IT SIMPLE TO SUBSCRIBE FROM YOUR WEBSITE

  1. PUT AN EMAIL “SUBSCRIBE” BOX “ABOVE THE FOLD.” The best place is the upper right. They are easy to install from any email marketing service like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or iContact.
  2. OFFER SOMETHING OF VALUE: Provide an incentive like an offer, free trial, video or eBook. This site offers a free eBook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI. 90,000+ people have downloaded it. If you download it (no information is required) and like it, please consider subscribing to our email through the subscribe box right about it.
  3. CONSIDER POP UPS BOXES AS VISITORS ENTER OR EXIT: I’m not the biggest fan of Pop-Ups because they can scare away new visitors, but, as the chart above shows, I’m wrong. They also can be timed as visitors come or go and are relatively easy to install as a plug-in.
  4. SUBSCRIBE VIA COMMENTS: When someone comments on your blogs, why not ask if they would like to subscribe to your email. If they value your content, most generally want to continue to hear from you.
  5. SUBSCRIBE VIA CHECK OUT: If you sell products on your website, give customers the option to continue to receive news, offers and other relevant information at check out.
  6. KEEP INFORMATION REQUESTS SIMPLE AND VERY BRIEF: Even just an email address often reveals a lot, so limit the amount of information you request to get the maximum number or responses.

REACH NEW AUDIENCES WITH RELEVANT CONTENT

  1. DO GUEST BLOGGING: Gain some attention by blogging on websites that attract the audience you’re seeking. I guest blog for  Mike Moran’s Biznology and Mark Shaefer’s Grow blog. We teach together on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD. We’re colleagues, not competitors, and share similar audiences.
  2. REGISTER WITH A BLOG SEARCH ENGINE: To reach people who are searching on your particular topic, you can register for Technorati and Alltop. This website is registered with the latter for both Marketing and Social Media.
  3. RUN A WEBINAR: Participate in a webinar or run your own. Invite a guest. Promote on their email list as well as yours. Offer sponsorships for the webinar to gain additional email lists. Here’s an example of a webinar BarnRaisers conducted with Biznology, 12 Myths vs. Reality on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  4. FIND SUBSCRIBERS OFFLINE: Don’t focus only on online followers. Potential sign-ups are people you meet at events and trade shows.
  5. RUN AN ADWORDS CAMPAIGN: Do some keyword research to see if your newsletter is a good match for search queries, even get free Google AdWords credits. Measure through the Google Analytics for your website.
  6. ADD A QR CODE TO SUBSCRIBE ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD: Or your print marketing collateral that people can scan on their smartphones to opt in to your email database. 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices (source: TopRankBlog)
  7. ASK YOUR CURRENT EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS FOR HELP: You could segment to ask current subscribers (e.g. highest open rates, longest subscribers or highest click rates) or you could ask your whole list. Just ask: Did this help you?

HAVE FANS HELP BUILD YOUR LIST

  1. ADD AN EMAIL APP TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE: Use a Facebook app like ShortStack to enable you to ask for people to join your email list on Facebook.
  2. RUN A SWEEPSTAKES, CONTEST OR GIVEAWAY ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE: There are many promotion apps for sweepstakes, contests and offer on Facebook. Some we recommend are Heyo, Strutta and WooBox. They all require email addresses on the entry form and an opt-in to receive email newsletters
  3. DO “FAN GATING” FOR YOUR GIVEAWAY: Many of the promotion app require “Fan Gating” where entrants have to “Like” your Facebook page to participate. This also helps email subscriptions.
  4. LINK FROM YOUTUBE VIDEOS: At the end of each of your videos, make sure you have an end card and a linked annotation to your website to join your list.
  5. PUT PRESENTATIONS ON SLIDE SHARE PRO: The premium version of Slideshare offers a Pop-Up Box to capture emails and leads. Slideshare is often underrated but can be very effective for not only creating attention about your blog but capturing leads.
  6. CREATE A TWITTER CAMPAIGN: Promote an offer like an eBook or a free resource to your followers that requires an email address to redeem
  7. TARGET OFFERS ON YOUR LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGE: Or in appropriate LinkedIn Groups, or recommend an offer as the answer to someone’s question in LinkedIn Answers.
  8. USE PINTEREST TO PROMOTE OFFER: Pin useful information to generate new leads and grow your email list.
  9. PROMOTE OFFERS AND EMAIL SIGNUP ON GOOGLE+: Make use, through your Google+ Business Page, of your Google+ updates and your Google+ about section for email subscriptions.

FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE

  1. JUST ASK: You’d be surprised how many opportunities to grow a list are missed simply because no one thought to ask.

Do these tips help you? Did they teach something new? Would you consider subscribing to our email or sharing this blog post with a friend or colleague?

 

40 facts on blogs every business needs to know to grow 5

Posted on August 24, 2013 by Rob Petersen

companies with blogs

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More businesses are blogging for marketing purposes. And more people are reading them. Blogs are the lowest cost marketing channel; yet, as the fact below show, they can produce high returns.

Why? Blogs drive traffic to a website; raise page rank on search engines; create high quality leads and generate revenue and ROI.

They reveal a truth about human nature and relationships: People like to do business with people they know. After a product or service, relevant content is a a business’ next best asset.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. The benefits of blogs don’t accrue without regular publishing, listening to the needs of your audience and engaging.

Is it worth it? Here are 40 facts on blogs every business needs to know to grow.

VISITORS TO A WEBSITE

  • 55% of businesses with blogs see more visitors to their websites (HubSpot)
  • 3X more minutes is spent on blogs by US internet users than on email or social networks (HubSpot)
  • 5X more website traffic comes to businesses that blog 20 times per month (4-5 week) than those that blog fewer than 4X times per month (HubSpot)

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

  • 434% increase in “indexed” search pages for businesses with a blog; said another way, businesses with a blog are found on 4X the number of search pages (HubSpot)
  • 97% more inbound links are found on website that have a blog. This means the search engine are much more likely to credit a business with a blog as being an “authority” in their industry and raise their search rank  (HubSpot)
  • 95% of businesses with a blog report higher search rank (HubSpot)
  • 85% of blogs use tags (Technorati)
  • 75% of us read a blog a day (Technorati)
  • 4X more search pages for businesses with blogs than those without blogs (HubSpot)

LEAD GENERATION

  • 77% lift in median monthly leads occurs to businesses with over 51 blog articles (HubSpot)
  • 4X more leads occur for businesses that blog 20X per month than those that don’t (HubSpot)
  • Average % cost per lead of various marketing strategies: Tradeshows=47%, Direct Mail=27%, Telemarketing=21%, SEO=13%, Blogging=9% (HubSpot)
  • Average % lead acquistiion by companies through internet marketing channels are: 57% Blog, 57% Linkedin, 48% Faceboook, 42% Twitter (HubSpot)

PURCHASE INFLUENCE

  • 70% of us say blogs influence what we buy (Marketing Sherpa)
  • 67% of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business (HubSpot)
  • 45% of companies with a blog track additional revenue from their blog (HubSpot)
  • 15% say they are paid to give speeches on the topics they blog about (Technorati)

RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): CASE STUDIES:

  • GENERAL MOTORS’ FAST LANE BLOG: GM’s blog, written by senior execs, saves the company $200,000+ a year (Forrester)
  • IBM: Let company employees set up their own internal blog to crowd-source innovation and new product idea across its global network. Crowd-sourcing identified 10 best incubator businesses, which IBM funded for $100 million. They generated $100 billion in total revenue for a 100-to-1 ROI with a 44.1% gross profit margin (Social Media Examiner)
  • ZAGG: an online retailer, knows its blog results in sales, as it earns 172% ROI and 10% of the company’s site traffic (Marketing Sherpa)

BRAND IMAGE

  • 71% of all respondents who maintain blogs for a business report that they have increased their visibility within their industries through their blogs (Technorati)
  • 59% report blogging more frequently this year than they did last year (Technorati)
  • 58% say that they are better-known in their industry because of their blog (Technorati)
  • 56% say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry (Technorati)

REACHING INFLUENCERS

  • 64% of bloggers say brand representatives treat them less professionally than they’d like
  • 42% of bloggers say they blog about brands they love (or hate)
  • Among respondents who say they do blog about brands, 51% they said they rarely review brands, services or products among companies
  • Among respondents who say they do blog about brands, 48% say they post reviews weekly

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 87% of all bloggers use Facebook (Social Media Today)
  • 81% use Facebook to promote their blog (Social Media Today)
  • 64% use Facebook to interact with readers (Social Media Today)
  • 45% say Facebook drives more traffic to their blog than it did a year ago (Social Media Today)
  • 73% of hobbyists and 88% of professional bloggers still use Twitter (Social Media Today)
  • 50%+ of all bloggers link Twitter to their blog (Social Media Today)
  • 34% of bloggers say Twitter is a more effective traffic source than it was a year ago (Social Media Today)
TRUST
  • 64% trust the information in a blog post by someone they know (eMarketer)
  • 46% trust traditional media less than they did 5 years ago (eMarketer)
  • 36% trust the information in a company blog (eMarketer)
  • 35% believe blogs are taken more seriously (HubSpot)
  • 19% believe blogs are written better than traditional media sources (eMarketer)
  • Blogs are the #1 most trusted social media source (eMarketer)

A great infographic on the “Blog Economy,” developed by Ignite Spot  and shared by Linda Bernstein in a recent session of #blogchat contains some of these facts and more. It is well worth reviewing.

Almost half of all companies now have a blog; roughly double the rate from five year ago. But that mean half of companies still haven’t started blogging, yet.

Where does your business fall? Do these facts convince you to start? Do you need help getting started?

The Blog Economy

 

What I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes 6

Posted on July 21, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

Social Media mistakes

  •  90% (over 9,000,000) businesses say they actively engage on social networking sites
  • 74% find it valuable
  • 42% say 25% of new customers  find out about their business from social networking sites  (Source: Mantra)

The numbers indicate businesses find value in social media.

My experiences started a few years ago when the numbers were lower. I didn’t have a guidebook. My most valuable lessons came from mistakes.

Now, I teach social media at both Rutgers CMD and the University of California. I have an ebook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI (downloaded by 55,000+ on the sidebar of this website. it’s free). A decent portion of company revenue at BarnRaisers comes from social media related activities.

I’m still learning from mistakes.

Here’s what I learned from (at least) 14 social media mistakes I’ve made.

  1. TO BUILD AN AUDIENCE TAKES TIME: Social media is “earned” media (not “paid”). It takes more time to build an audience you earn. Most people, including myself, underestimate. But an “earned” audience stays with you longer than one you pay for and is worth the effort.
  2. GRATITUDE TO OTHERS WORKS MUCH FASTER THAN TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF: It was humbling at the start to look at how slow an audience builds until I stopped telling and started thanking others. Chris Brogan said to talk about others 3X as talking about yourself. It was very good advice.
  3. YOU CAN’T BE GOOD OR BAD AT SOCIAL MEDIA; YOU CAN ONLY BE YOURSELF. Initially, I wondered if my contributions were good or bad. It would have been better if I wondered if I was being myself.
  4. RELEVANT CONTENT IS A BRAND’S 2nd MOST VALUABLE ASSET: After a product of service, relevant content is a business’ most relevant asset. I found the valuable posts came from people who were able to teach someone something new.
  5. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT METRICS: There was a time when I thought a Klout or Kred score was worth pursuing. Now I know the metrics in the Google Analytics of your website that show the social networks (Traffic Sources) where your audience comes from is a much more valuable guide.
  6. TECH DOESN’T WORK AS WELL AS TOUCH: I’ve never relied on automated posts. There nothing wrong with sending the same message out on different social networks. But I was concerned that it relied too much on tech, I would miss the opportunity to touch.
  7. SHOW UP CONSISTENTLY: You don’t have to be on social networks 24/7. You do have to be there consistently and at the same time usually helps. You’ll find your audience looks forward, even relies, on seeing you and that’s a way to earn their trust.
  8. RE-PURPOSE YOUR CONTENT: You’re going to be putting in time so why not make the most of it. The time you put into your content can be re-purposed. For example, a blog can be re-purposed as an email newsletter. A series of blogs on the same topic can be made into an e-book.
  9. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FREE: The commodity in social media is time, not money. I didn’t realized how valuable that commodity was until I had less of time because of social media. Value your time appropriately.
  10. LOOK FOR HOW YOUR AUDIENCE EVOLVES: Foiled Cupcakes owner Mari Luangrath built her cupcake business to +600% above forecast by building relationships on Facebook and Twitter. As her audience evolved to corporate accounts, her attention went more to LinkedIn.
  11. ALL COMMENTS ARE NOT EQUAL: When I initially got comments like “I’ve bookmarked your blog” I thought I was doing something right. It was actually spammer trying to get links. You have to look at the email address of someone writing a comment.
  12. DON’T BE AN OBSESSIVE EDITOR: I’ve spent, and spend, way more time editing than the attention the obsession to editing yields in visitors. I’m not discouraging people to pay attention to details. But, if you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re likely not to start.
  13. DO IT FOR THE FRIENDS: Fellow Rutgers CMD faculty and friend, Mark Schaefer, is a well known name in social media. When he started, he did it for the friends. Why wouldn’t you. Your friend can come from any social network and from all over the world.
  14. INVITE MORE OFTEN: I thought if I invited people to join my networks, it might seem as if I’m too pushy. Now, I realize that, without actively inviting others, I just have less fans and followers.

When you started in social media, did you make the same mistake I did? What have you learned? Have you learned more from your our successes? Or your mistakes?

36 reasons why I blog 3

Posted on January 27, 2013 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

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The reason I began to blog was inspiration I got from others’ blogs.

It wasn’t a plan but what I lacked in planning was made up in heroes. People in my field who blogged were knowledgeable, smart and generous in spirit with information and ideas I found of great value. They stood out, seemed genuine and real. They still stand out. (A  few of the posts that served as inspiration years ago are listed at the bottom).

It motivated me to start, learn and stay with it. After that, I learned there were many benefits to blogging. What are they? Here are 36 reasons why I blog.

  1. It’s how to have 1-to-1 relationship with 1-to-many
  2. Nothing works like writing about what you know
  3. We want to share what we know with others; it’s in our DNA
  4. Studies show no other form of digital expression is better at securing trust (source: eMarketer)
  5. People return to a place where they know they will learn something new
  6. It’s never stopped being gratifying to teach someone something new
  7. It’s synonomous with the term, personal brand
  8. It’s how you find and attract people who share the same values
  9. Your audience is global from the moment you begin
  10. It’s friendships and bonds you couldn’t have developed any other way
  11. It’s how to put you personal values into your profession
  12. Blogs get through to people in ways that an email or phone call never could
  13. Blogs provide the means to move between personal and professional with credibility
  14. Blogs help people get to know you; people like to do business with people they know
  15. It is the best way to drive traffic to a website
  16. The search engines recognize and reward those who continually put out fresh content
  17. Each and every one of your blog posts are individual web pages, indexed by search engines to build your brand presence
  18. A keyword strategy is easier and more effective to execute through a blog than any other digital medium
  19. Blogs help with long tail search term rankings and keyword phrases you never would have found otherwise
  20. Other bloggers link to you; the search engine recognize your authority in a particular niche or market.
  21. Relevance and authority are the two attributes that drive search rank; blogs are designed to accelerate both
  22. The algorithm of search engines, especially Google, recognize original content and “social authority” from blogs more and search tactics like “metadata” and “metatags” less
  23. The content and keywords that drive people to your blog is very measurable
  24. The content from your blog can be re-purposed to  many other aspect of your content or communications plan (e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, PR)
  25. This re-purposing of content doesn’t re-duplicate anything; it sends your message to new audiences
  26. Although there are lot of tips for blogging, the only way to really go wrong is not express yourself genuinely
  27. We all have a story to tell
  28. Blogs make it easy for others to share what you have to say
  29. It’s a direct and authentic way to ask readers what they want to hear and grow your audience with their collaboration
  30. It’s how you can do market research without research and travel costs
  31. Ir brings peace of mind
  32. It forces you to think better and smarter
  33. It brings out your innate ability to create and share ideas
  34. Like everything, you’ll get better at it the more you practice
  35. You’ll lead a more intentional life
  36. You may just inspire someone, like the posts below did for me, and there no greater legacy to leave than to inspire others.

These are reasons why I blog. Are they the same as yours? Are there any I missed?

If you blog, do they help to keep you going? If you don’t, do they motivate you to start?

Here are a some posts that inspired me:

David Berkowitz: 100 Ways to Measure Social Media

Chris Brogan: Grow Bigger Ears

Mack Collier: How Much Does Social Media Cost Companies

Peter Kim: Social Business ROI

 

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    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.



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