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Inspiring Minds: Blogs to Read

776 415 Shout Out Studio

We are a digital team who lives, eats, breaths all things digital. On any given day I have about 30 blogs that I read through with my morning coffee, and I always encourage my team to share with me new blogs they come across and yes, I read them all. I have learned and understand that you have to share the content you find that is a hidden gem. There are a handful of bloggers who I always go to first, every single morning, and they each bring their own asset to the table for different reasons:

Chris Lema

Chris Lema is all about helping businesses use wordpress. His blog is pretty awesome, spot-on, and the best part is it’s personal. I respect a blog that represents the transparency of a company or individual – it shows me they have nothing to hide. Quite frankly, that isn’t something every company has. My favorite recent post from Lema is Three Lessons I Learned (and could only learn) In A Startup. Coming from someone who has watched our startup well, startup, I enjoy a different perspective.

Copyblogger

Oh, Copyblogger. My blog crush. This gang is all about solutions for smarter content marketing, and their blog perfectly reflects this. My favorite recent post from these guys is How To Be Authentic, for good reason. Being authentic is the most important aspect of doing really good business.

“Being “authentic” means being genuine. It means having an honest conversation with your audience.”

Seth Godin

This guy constantly is throwing out bits of inspiration left and right. I love sharing is posts. The recent inspiring piece of Seth Godin’s blog that I actually read this Tuesday morning over coffee was, Set A Date. “If you haven’t announced a date, you’re not serious… If your project can’t pass this incredibly simple test, it’s not a project.” Since this post caught my eye I’ve been working towards setting dates (not deadlines). I find deadlines stress me out, making my work suffer. However, respectable dates allow me to stay focused. Godin is my most inspirational blog. His posts are dead-on and true. One of those bloggers who makes me think “why didn’t I think of this?!”

Moz Blog

I like these folks because they are focused on SEO and Inbound marketing, different aspects of marketing than my other primary blogs for reading. I may be biased but I am quite the fan of blogs with different perspectives of marketing. This blog as a large range of posts however they are all interesting, informative and quite frankly, just stuff I actually want to read.

Do you have a blogger you check up on every day? Share with us.

Photo Credit: MarcelaPalma

Why Do We Have A Website?

776 415 Marsh Williams

Why do we have a website? Every-once-in-a-while it’s really important to stop and ask this question. It’s important to validate what we are doing as a company and make sure that we’re still on point with what we are publicly communicating about our organization.

I can tell you this, what we were when we started is not what we are now. Change is inevitable and we love it. Change is growth, learning, movement, adaptation, and natural, but we need to remember that our story and how we communicate it needs to keep pace with that change in all we do. This is the hard part. It’s so easy to just put something out there and leave it alone and have it be fine, and in reality, it’s what we all want, but in reality, it’s never going to happen. So what do we do? We stop and ask ourselves three key questions:

  • Why do we have a website?
  • What does it say about us?
  • What do we want from it?

It gets to be a little convoluted from time-to-time but here is how we handle it.

We have a website to tell our story. It’s not a sales tool it’s a tool that lets people see into our organization, what we do, how we do it, who we are, and what we’re like. If they like what they see we offer them opportunities to get to know us better and hopefully they will get some insights from our blog,—”Why do we have a blog?” is another topic for later—but we do not expect our website to sell anything…ever. We just think of it as a way to share, our knowledge, something about who we are and tell our story.

What our website says about us is important, not in the description of what we do, but in the words we choose and how we present ourselves. We want our site to reflect who we are as a company and what we are like as individuals. We like long-term relationships and that means we have to be really honest about ourselves. It doesn’t do any good to present ourselves one way on the website and actually show up and be different people. We are, for better or worse, unique. We are the only “us” there is and that’s what makes us different from every other firm in a very crowded space.

We cultivate that difference and work hard to reflect it in our communications. It took a long time and a lot of effort to find our genuine voice and eschew the standard marketing speak for real communication that people can identify with. We do not want to lose this and it’s incredibly important that our website says what we believe and reflects our culture as it really is.

Some companies just don’t care for what we put out there and think that it’s too informal or too “creative,” but that’s alright we are very comfortable with who we are as a firm and a team, and for the companies that can relate to that it’s usually a great place to begin our conversations.

Lastly, what we want from our website is interest. That’s it. We want our website to generate interest in knowing more about our firm. We want our website to generate interest in knowing more about our people and how we dissect and solve problems for our clients. We want someone who needs our services to visit our website and say, “I don’t know if this is the right team or not, but I’m crazy if I don’t meet with them.”

That’s why we have a website…why do you have yours?

Photo Credit: jonathan mcintosh cc

dictionary

Digital Marketing Terms Defined

880 461 Colin Smith

If you’re new to digital marketing, you may find yourself in a world full of unfamiliar acronyms and jargon. It can seem intimidating, confusing, and even exclusionary. But, most of the time it’s a way for marketers to communicate with each other in the most efficient way possible. Knowing some of what it means can help you as your company enters a digital marketing venture. Below is a list of commonly used terms you will come across in digital marketing, and what they mean. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can feel confident moving forward with your companies marketing goals.

B2B:

Business to Business refers to business interactions that occur between two businesses. It is the way goods or services are exchanged between two companies. This is usually part of the development or manufacturing of one company’s consumer goods.

B2C:

Business to Consumer is similar to B2B. A business to consumer transaction is when a consumer buys a final product or service from a company for use.

CTA:

A Call to Action is a something on your company’s website that grabs the attention of a viewer and invites them to view another part of your site. It can be something like a banner or button, such as a “Learn More”  button at the end of a paragraph, inviting the viewer to continue reading. In other words, it is a lead or a prompt.

Bounce Rate:

This is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site but leave it without visiting any other page. It is better to retain a viewer’s attention and get them interested enough to visit more of your site.

Blog:

A blog is what you are currently reading. For a business, it is a chance to self-promote. You can put out original content, create site traffic, and grab the attention of potential clients. It’s a good way to interact with your audience by starting a conversation.

Brand: 

In marketing, a brand does not just refer to your logo or tagline. It is identifying what you want the target audiences’ perception of your company to be, and how your company’s voice reflects that image.

ROI:

Return on Investment basically comes down to getting the biggest bang for your buck. You want to see results, and developing a strategy geared towards providing ROI (Return on Investment) is the first place to start.

SEO: 

Search Engine Optimization is the visibility of your site in a search engine’s “natural,”  or unpaid, results. The better your site’s SEO is, the more views it will get from this “organic”  traffic.

SEM:

Search Engine Marketing is the promotion and SEO development to increase site visibility.

UX:

UX is an acronym for User Experience. In terms of digital marketing, this is the experience your visitors will have when they visit your site. User experience takes into account the actions you’d like the user to take and the information you’d like them to obtain. The more they enjoy that experience, the more likely they are to spend time looking at what you have to offer.

While this is not a complete list, it can give you a better understanding of what’s being discussed in digital marketing. In the fast-changing culture of the Internet, and therefore digital marketing, it is nice to have a base of reference to lean back on.

Photo Credit: MrPhilDog

Photo of Weight Lifting Action Figure

How to Find Your Blog Writing Confidence

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Maintaining a blog on your business website can have some super cool benefits but getting started can be scary for some people. When you blog you are vulnerable, you are putting your thoughts out there for the WWW to see. Of course, you are going to get stuck in the middle of a great thought, critique it and lose confidence. It happens. Here are some thoughts to help you build your blog writing swagger. read more

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