The #1 Secret To Get Real ROI From Blogging

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Web Site Guy | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk | Sushi Lover | Cancer Volunteer

We’ve been blogging at Blue Gurus for nearly 5 years and believe in it so much that we coach and execute blog strategy for companies all across Kansas City.

We routinely have business owners and decision makers asking us about the ROI of blogging. The way we see it, the choice is pretty clear: Do you want to educate people about your company, your people, what you do in the community, the services or products you provide…or don’t you? There’s only one logical answer to that question…and a blog is the perfect solution.

Now I know the title of this post is “The #1 Secret To Get Real ROI From Blogging”, but I’m not going to give you the answer right away. Before I do, I want to share a personal ROI blogging story of my own. 

Carol Bush Her name (and the woman in the photo) is Carol Bush. She is a Nurse Navigator and Consultant for the Midwest Cancer Alliance-University of Kansas Cancer Center as well as a Nurse Consultant for Remedy Healthcare Consulting. On March 19, 2013, Carol (who I had never met before) sent me an email with the subject line that said “We Need Help”.

That subject line, and our subsequent interactions, inspired me to write a blog post with that very subject line. You can read it here: We Need Help

Carol’s email mentioned that she had been reading our blog for over a year (This is your first hint: Blogging is a marathon; not a sprint) and liked our approach. She went on to say that she wanted help with blogging, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Read more

A Better Email Newsletter – Blog Updates By Email

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

BloggingMore and more companies are adopting the concept of blogging to promote their business and stay top of mind.  One of the questions that we get is how to deliver new blog posts to people that aren’t necessarily connected to you or your company through social media.

For example, you might be blogging every week and updating your status on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter… but there’s probably a good group of your customers that aren’t connected to you through social media sites.  The only real tie you have to them electronically might be their email address.

Another scenario is that you are currently doing a monthly newsletter and want a more efficient way of creating the content for that newsletter.

Wouldn’t it be great if their was a way for your email subscribers to get an email update automatically when you post new content on your company or personal blog?  The good news is that there are quite a few solutions that can do this for you.  Read more

Blog Series, Part 4: Blog Training & Coaching [VIDEO]

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

httpv://youtu.be/9Hehz7ebsxk

Have you seen this video before?  We added it to the Blog Training & Coaching page of our web site recently.

This is the fourth and final post in a blog series highlighting the videos we’ve done for our web site. We’ve gotten great feedback on the previous posts in this series:
Blog Series, Part 1: Why We Added Video To Our Web Site
Blog Series, Part 2: WordPress Web Development
Blog Series, Part 3: LinkedIn Training

We hope our stories around how it all came together inspire you or your company to start thinking seriously about how video can enhance your online presence and help your business grow!

What It Took To Create This Video

In this video, we talk about why you and your company should be blogging and how we help our clients get this done on a weekly basis.  Blogging is one of our favorite things to do because it hits one of our passions… corporate culture. 

This video was the easiest of the series to create because the topic is the core focus of our business.  You can tell when you watch it that there is no doubt in our minds that blogging is an essential part of any sales and marketing strategy for a successful company.  This was the last video we captured, and it really only needed one take with a couple of repeats.  It felt great to have finished our videos and knew that Mike Snell would do a great job of editing them into 2 minute-ish videos we could put on our services pages.

Why Blogging?

It is hard to summarize all the benefits your will see when you commit to blogging on a weekly basis.  Here are some highlights:

Communicate with your team
How often does your company talk about what is going on?  Current client successes and challenges?  Do your team members even know each other that well? 

By blogging, everyone on your team will have better visibility into what is going on at your company.  Also, it is a good idea to have an internal team of people that contribute to the blog, and they really get to know each other during the process.

Communicate with your clients like never before. 
I bet you don’t talk to your clients enough.  We see this all over the city….so odds are that is a true statement.  When you start blogging, it takes awhile for them to realize that you are talking.  Even so, they will start to see you more over time. 

And every once in a while they will click on your story (as long as the subject is interesting and helpful!)  It’s an opportunity for them to get to know you, your company, the kinds of things you help your clients with, and more.

Communication with your prospects before you even know them. 
When you consider working with a new company for a product or service, what do you do?  Go to the company website?  Go to the sales rep’s LinkedIn page?  Hopefully the answer is yes to both… if not, you really should be. 

Imagine the difference in the initial reaction if they get to the home page of your website and see current stories for the past 4-5 weeks versus a canned, static page?  I promise you it makes a big difference.  The same is true for your team’s LinkedIn profiles. 

Whether it is the President’s profile or a sales rep’s profile, I will be much more impressed with an active profile vs. a static one….ESPECIALLY if I’m comparing a couple of different companies offering the same services!

Staying top of mind with your best referral sources. 
If you have a successful business, you have a bunch of friends out there.  Rarely is a business profitable in a vacuum.  The people that you are making happy, or have made happy in the past, are your best source for word of mouth referrals.  The vast majority of our clients grow their businesses through word of mouth referrals.

If that’s true for you, I hope you are investing time and energy in cultivating those relationships.  Telling stories through your blog on a weekly basis is one of the most efficient ways to stay top of mind with all the people that care about you and the success of your company.

Those four points are just the beginning.  And they touch almost every aspect of your business.  If you aren’t intrigued yet, then you must be independently wealthy and don’t need any new business.  If not, I hope you will consider blogging for your business.  Done properly, it will have a positive impact on your company…especially to the bottom line.  If you need help, be sure to give us a call!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting…  We appreciate you!

We Need Help

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blogger|LinkedIn Trainer|WordPress Content Guy|Social Coach|Rational Optimist|Jayhawk Fanatic|Cancer Volunteer

We need help. :)

That was subject line of an email I recently received from a woman I’ve never met before. She’s a nurse in Wichita and went on to say:

“I am contacting you because I have followed your blog for over a year and like your approach. First lesson for me? Yes, blogging works.”

This email, along with recent conversations I’ve had with people that I love and trust in my life, got me thinking about a couple of things that I wanted to share with you: Read more

What The Heck Is FeedBlitz And Why Do We Love It?

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

JasonOk, you technical people probably have heard of FeedBlitz and might even be using it on your website. For those of you who don’t know what FeedBlitz is, here’s a simple explanation.

If you currently have a blog for your business, and you invest time and energy updating it regularly like you should, then you probably want to make sure as many people as possible see your articles. 

One of the ways people see your content is when they visit your website. You may have a “Recent Blog Posts” section on your homepage that shows the most recent three to five blog posts. Or you might also put links to your blog posts on social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Old School or Out of Touch?

That’s all sound strategy, but what about the people that don’t come to your website regularly, or aren’t using social media tools?  Those people probably have an email address.  So the fallback strategy is to get your content to them with a monthly email newsletter.  And that is a good idea!  But it might be taking you more effort than it should. 

Enter FeedBlitz.

FeedBlitz LogoFeedBlitz is a cloud based service that monitors your RSS Feed for new blog posts.  In layman’s terms, this means that whenever you create a new blog post on your website, FeedBlitz knows about it and can act on it.  Read more

Are You In Banking, Medical or Insurance? Don’t Get Left Behind.

Post written by Jason Terry, Entrepreneur | Social Coach | Web Developer | Scuba Instructor | Guitar Player | Cruise Traveler | Lego Collector

JasonMany people would agree that Banking, Medical and Insurance are verticals that are generally behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with social tools and techniques. There are good and bad reasons for this reality. 

A good reason is the fact that these industries have compliance and regulatory issues to pay attention to. They have to be careful what they say in their marketing efforts, or risk being slapped with hefty fines. HIPAA and FINRA are just two of the organizations that dictate what these kinds of companies can say.

The bad reasons are statements like, “I don’t have time.”, “I don’t care what people are having for lunch.”, or “We don’t want our competitors to know who our clients are.”  These statements, and so many others that we hear on a regular basis, are an educational issue. 

If people understood the importance of being social in their business or practice, they would make time for it. 

If they understood that LinkedIn is a fantastic way to stay in touch with peers and not just a place for people to find jobs, they might change their mind about using LinkedIn more often. Read more

How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?

Mic SpeakingPost written by Mic Johnson,  Blogger | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Content Guy | Social Coach | Rational Optimist | Jayhawk Fanatic | Cancer Volunteer

We continue to see more and more companies in Kansas City finally getting on the content marketing bandwagon.

It’s been a slow process for so many to get the ball rolling in this area. Some of that is because of the recession that we’ve been going through. Some of it is fear of the unknown. Some of it is fear about doing something outside of their comfort zone. Some of it is a fear of writing. Some of it is they simply don’t know where to start. And some of it is (sorry, truth hurts) that they are too lazy to start. When we start working with a company to help kick off their blog strategy, one question that always comes up is…

How Long Should Our Blog Posts Be?

It’s a GREAT question that, not surprisingly, doesn’t have an easy answer. But it’s not that difficult of an answer either.  Read more

Guest Blog Post: How Blogging Has Helped Me Through The Recession…By Mary Hutchison

Mary Hutchison, Realtor, Kansas City

Hello all, it’s Mic here. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read the Blue Gurus blog. We appreciate you very much. Secondly, this blog post was written by Mary Hutchison, who has been a friend for nearly 20 years, helped my wife Missy and I buy and sell our first home and helped us buy our second home (she’s a Residential Realtor for Prudential Kansas City), and is also a client of Blue Gurus. She talked to me recently about how blogging has helped her business through the recession and I asked her to share her experiences with our readers. So take a look and let us know what you think…and thanks again for reading. 

It’s  2009, deep into the Great Recession. As a small business owner who earns a living via commission only (I’m a real estate agent), it was time to rethink my marketing efforts.  With all businesses, word of mouth referrals are crucial, but as the housing market crashed and unemployment rose, no one was in the mood to buy or sell a home.  

Read more

Why Your Business Should Blog: A Real Life Case Study

Blue Gurus has been in business since April 2009. This is our 146th blog post. We blog once a week and have, with few exceptions, every week since the business started. Outside of a few networking events and occasional speaking opportunities, our blog is our only consistent marketing tool.
 
We coach our clients to blog too, whether that be helping them get their blog posts out each week, helping them create the content, or coaching them on how to become better bloggers.
 
Blogging takes time. Blogging takes creativity. Blogging takes effort. Blogging requires consistency. Blogging requires commitment. Blogging requires good, relevant content. Blogging requires writing skills. And it’s for all of these reasons that many businesses fail miserably when it comes to blogging. 
 
So why do we blog? Why should your business blog? Let me just give you one quick example. Recently I wrote an article called 20 Reasons Your Business Should NOT Be On LinkedIn. All that came out of that was: 
 
-Within the first day of posting the blog on our web site and social media accounts, I heard from people I know and people I don’t know commenting on the article.
 
Ragan Communications, a PR and Communications firm out of Chicago, reposted my article for their readers and sent it out with their email newsletter. Others that saw the article retweeted it on Twitter, “LIKE’d” it on Facebook, and re-posted it on their LinkedIn status updates.

-I shared the article with Eric Ly, one of the co-founders of LinkedIn, who I met at a convention over a year ago. His reply: “LOL Mic! Love the reverse psychology of all these points. I should NOT use LinkedIn. Love it!”
 
-In the first couple of days after posting the article, I looked at my “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section on LinkedIn and two people from New York, one person from San Diego, and one person from Lebanon had viewed my profile. And that’s all that I could see (you have to have a paid account to see more).
 
-One of the people from New York also tried to connect with me on LinkedIn (I politely declined because we recommend that you, as a general rule, only connect to people that you know, trust, respect, etc.) I asked her where she saw the article and she said “A coworker of mine forwarded it to me.”
 
-A guy I don’t even know wrote this article about it and shared it with his audience.  
 
-Peter Wilkinson, who owns a company based out of Australia, posted his response to the article and shared it with his audience. 
 
All of the things mentioned above are just the ones that I know about. I have no doubt that other people read the article, shared the article on social networks, reposted the article, emailed the article to clients, coworkers and friends, and more. Most of the time that’s what people do. It’s an added bonus if they actually take the time to comment or tell you that they enjoyed your article. In the end,  the article spurred opportunities for engagement with other people.
 
Blue Gurus is a 3-person company and we blog every week. It does, has, and will continue to lead to business. In February, we had more than 2,200 unique visitors to our web site. A large portion of that traffic came from the fact that we consistently create good, relevant content via our blog. In fact, we signed up a new client just last week who saw Jason’s blog post Why You Should Consider Migrating To Google Apps and reached out to us.
 
Our blog helps create awareness for who we are and what we do. Blogging helps us stay “top of mind” in Kansas City and across the country…even the world. We simply share our stories with people in the hope that it will inspire them or help them in some way. If we do that consistently and authentically, the business will, and has, come. 
 
You want to stress over the ROI of blogging and social media? Be our guest.
 
We’re just going to keep on blogging.