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Marketing Advantages of Blogs

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By James Pruitt – Senior Staff Writer

A blog allows agency over your company’s narrative. With a blog, your company’s news comes from your perspective. With news releases, any information must filter through another outlet. Your blog allows information through the horse’s mouth so to speak.

Blogs are essentially websites with primarily informational content. Your company’s blog should provide information directly from you and your organization. While news releases certainly have value as marketing tools and as evidence for recognition of your company’s accomplishments, blogs eliminate the hearsay factor and allow you to control the narrative of your company’s development.

Blogs are a boom to new companies. In the past, marketing was a more challenging process. News releases, public relations specialists, and advertisement executives mattered far more. Since the Information Age, blogs have done much of the initial marketing work, and applications such as WordPress have placed much of this work directly in the hands of the small business owner.

Assuming access to a newswire, a news release can in fact reach more people. Hence the continuing relevance of news releases. However, blogs allow a starting point for directed marketing.

From your blog, you can begin a directed marketing plan for yourself, under your own thumb. Not least important, blogs allow tracking of website traffic, and hence facilitate marketing through the most appropriate channels. No one likes spam. However, directed marketing works.

As you are starting a company, starting a blog allows opportunities for the initial pitch, for control over your own cycle of news, and for a plan to track site visits. Additionally, a blog administrator for a new business should consider the ins and outs of visitor feedback, and archiving information. The new blogger can trace organizations that may link back to your blog or track the number or origins of site visits. Such information can help with directed marketing and provide cues about the best routes for varieties of outreach strategies.

Blogs can serve as their own news release source.  The business owner can schedule posts over the course of the year regarding any variety of subjects, including new hires, new innovations, and new policies. The owner can set their own rhythm to these updates, and at their discretion, news outlets can respond accordingly.

Also, blogs allow an opportunity for feedback. In other words, blogs are interactive, rather than news sources which are under the control of some third-party news outlet. Therefore customers can provide business owners with feedback, and give endorsements and create greater opportunities for more business. The interactive nature of blogs is priceless for a new business owner. The old-fashion news report only spews information through any channel that will publish it. A blog allows a one-on-one with the ownership of the company.

This direct interaction can provide some of the most important feedback for a small company at its earliest stages.

Traditional routes such as press releases are not irrelevant for your new company. However, this deep into the Information Age, blogs allow the business owner unprecedented control over the initial stages of their marketing campaign. By setting up a blog, you, the business owner, may control your own business plan and marketing trajectory.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that you enjoyed this first article on blogs in our mini-series.  Stay tuned….

If you are not already a member of VAMBOA, please consider joining.  There are not any dues or membership fees.  We provide a great deal of valuable information weekly.  You can also proudly display the VAMBOA seal on your website and collateral.

Here is a link to sign up:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

Turning a News Release into a Blog Post

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By James Pruitt – Senior Staff Writer

Congratulations on your news release. News releases in themselves show interest in your product or services. Whatever the news source, the publisher of the news source clearly feels confident in your business idea. These news sources could be local newspapers, free publications, or newspapers. Engaging the interest of these publications is an outstanding business strategy.

A first-hand blog can and should provide the vanguard marketing strategy of a new business. That supermarket newsletter may validate your product, demonstrate interest, and spread the word about your offerings. However, a business blog allows a business to express itself, through a diverse range of media, without resorting to an intermediary.

Your business has hit the news, whatever that news source may be. Here, we flesh out how to exploit that story in your blog.

  • Transforming a News Release into Web-Friendly Format:

Blogs differ from news releases in the web-based content, which allows the business owners more direct control.  Blogs allow various channels for the owners’ creativity, such as graphics, personal interaction, and other multimedia.  This enables the owner to develop the company’s brand. A cold news release can provide the information “meat” of the blog, demonstrating the successes of the company itself. However, the graphics and other media of the blog demonstrate the character and personality of the company itself.

  • The Headline:

With a blog post you control the headline. A news outlet prefaces information about your company with a line they feel will grab their readers’ attention. However, in your blog post, your own marketing spin prevails. Generally, readers may ignore large blocks of text absent a catchy, attention-grabbing hook at the beginning. Whatever the targeted viewers’ interests, the headline should grab that reader and drag them into the deep end. The headline should cater to their interests and leave them salivating for more.

  • Formatting:

The web offers endless opportunities for multimedia presentation. Use them. Business promotions are not news stories. Viewers know they have no responsibility to “close-read” your content and tend to dismiss content from private companies. It is on you to make the content fun, and to use your own artistic sensibilities to draw in the viewer. The informational “meat” that may go into a news release must be presented in an entertaining manner, else face consignment to the vortex of discarded advertising content we see all around us.

  • Images:

News releases are informational and lack images. Your blog provides an opportunity to color this information as you see fit. Feel free to celebrate your news release on your blog with appropriate graphics. Your company’s image will brighten as a result.

  • Include Details, but Keep them Relevant:

The initial news story hopefully draws readers to your business blog. The news source may or may not have included assumptions or questionable statements, hopefully positive. One strategy is to expound on your own perspective on these statements, and clarify any misunderstandings, as well as address any questions. The news is hearsay, and media is not always 100% accurate. However, news statements that require clarification may be opportunities. In a business blog, owners can expand on these statements to educate readers about their company.

  • Sources:

For the news release itself, you are the source. However, remain mindful of the legitimacy of any of your blog content. Business owners should never venture claims absent tracing the sources.

Connect to Other Content:

On a related note, part of the magic of the web is the ability to link. Once your news release hits your blog, feel free to link to the news source itself. Also feel free to link to any of your other articles, as well as any source that provides information or resources that supports that article. Just use care in the choice of associated content.

In conclusion, successful news releases in themselves provide ample opportunities to promote your business. However, business owners may color and amplify this opportunity by spinning that news information on their blog. Whether the publication is local or widespread, blogging allows the new business to pounce on the opportunity to put their newfound publicity to the best possible use.

If you are not already a member of VAMBOA, please consider joining.  There are not any dues or membership fees.  We provide a great deal of valuable information weekly.  You can also proudly display the VAMBOA seal on your website and collateral.

Here is a link to sign up:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

Social Media Terms : Part 7 of 7

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

With all the new social media terms popping up all the time, it certainly can be very confusing to keep up with all of them as well as trying to understand what they mean or how to use them. Below are even more terms to add to your glossary.

 

 

Social Selling

Social selling is the practice of using social tools to find leads, connect with prospects, and nurture business relationships.

 

Snap

Snap is the company that owns Snapchat, the photo- and video-messaging app launched in 2011. Each post on Snapchat is also called a Snap. Users can add filters, text, drawings, or emoji to their content before sending it. Direct messages last only up to 10 seconds before they disappear forever and are erased from the company’s servers. Snap Stories allow users to share re-playable Snaps for up to 24 hours.

 

Spam

Spam is unnecessary, unwanted, or repetitive content that clogs inboxes and clutters social media feeds. The term “spam” has been used to refer to junk messages since the earliest days of the Internet.

 

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are social media posts in which an influencer or celebrity highlights a brand or product that they have been paid to promote. These posts must be identified as ads using a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored.

Sticker

Stickers are a feature of stories formats like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. They allow users to add extra information to a post, like a hashtag or location. Some stickers offer interactive features such as questions and polls.

 

Stories

Stories are a form of ephemeral content on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat that disappears after 24 hours.

 

Tag

A tag is a keyword added to a social media post to categorize content. You can also tag someone in a post or photo, which creates a link to their social media profile and associates them with the content. Users have the option to remove unwanted tags from their profile.

 

Targeting

Targeting is the practice of selecting a specific audience for social ads to maximize conversions. Social networks offer many targeting options based on factors like demographics, location, and interests.

 

Thread

A thread is a string of messages that make up a conversation. Threads begin with an initial message and then continue as a series of replies or comments. Threads are essential to keeping track of conversations in most forms of online communication, including social media and email.

 

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

Throwback Thursday (#TBT) is a hashtag used to share old photos on social media.

 

Trending

A trending topic or hashtag is one that is popular on social media at a given moment. Trends are highlighted by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to encourage discussion and engagement among their users. The “trending” concept was first popularized by Twitter and has since been adopted by other networks. The trends that you see on Twitter and Facebook are based on your location, who you follow, and the content you like.

 

Troll

A troll is a social media user who makes deliberately offensive or annoying postings with the sole aim of provoking other users.

 

Tweet

A Tweet is a Twitter post. Tweets are limited to 280 characters and can include photos, videos, and links. They are public by default.

 

Unfollow

To unfollow someone is to unsubscribe from their social media account. If you would prefer to maintain the social connection but don’t want to see their posts, you can mute them instead.

 

URL

URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator. It means the address of a website page or other resource on the Internet. URLs can contain codes called UTMs that help with tracking and analytics.

URL Shortener

A URL shortener is a tool that condenses a long URL into a shorter (and more social media friendly) format. URL shorteners such as ow.ly can also provide link tracking capabilities, which allow businesses to measure click-throughs from social media and attribute website conversions to individual social messages.

 

User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is content created by the regular people on social media, rather than brands. Brands collect that content through contests, branded hashtags, or simply reaching out to ask permission. When brands re-share that content with their own followers, they are implementing a UGC campaign. User-generated content can help increase brand awareness and loyalty by allowing businesses to tap into the excitement and creative energies of their customers.

Vanity Metric

A vanity metric is an analytics item that can be measured but is not a signifier of real return on investment. Examples include the number of followers, likes, or comments. These metrics are best contextualized by more concrete numbers such as click-through rate or visitor-to-lead conversions.

Vanity URL

A vanity URL is a web address branded for marketing purposes. Vanity URLs replace common URL shortened formats with something related to an organization’s branding. For example, Time Inc.’s vanity URL is ti.me. The New York Times uses nyti.ms.

 

Verified

To be verified on social media means that you have proven your identity to the social media platform provider and gained a verified label in return, usually in the form of a checkmark. This is usually reserved for brands, journalists, and other public figures as a way of preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of the person or organization behind the account.

 

Viral

To go viral on social media is to have a specific post bring in an unusually large number of engagements. An exceptional number of shares is the clearest sign of going viral, as your post spreads across the internet like a virus.

 

Virtual reality (VR)

Virtual reality immerses the user in an experience so that what they are doing looks or feels real. VR headsets are a common way of engaging with virtual reality.

 

Vlogging

Vlogging is a combination of the words, “video” and “blogging.” It means to create and post video blog content. Someone who vlogs is known as a vlogger.

 

Webinar

Webinar is a combination of the two words “web” and “seminar.” A webinar is a digital broadcast of a presentation intended to educate or inform. Webinars allow users to watch a presentation from their computer or other device, and often interact directly with the presenter or fellow attendees through chat or video.

 

Whew! That is a one long list.  VAMBOA hopes it is valuable and you learned some new terms.   Please print out your glossary and share this article.   Everyone stay safe, healthy and we wish you prosperity!

Social Media Terms : Part 6 of 7

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Since social media is always changing, it can be very difficult to keep up with all the new social media definitions that emerge every month. Here are even more terms for you to know.  We hope we are not making your head spin.

 

Recommendation

A recommendation is a testimonial provided on LinkedIn. You can provide recommendations for your connections or ask them to provide a recommendation for you. Recommendations appear on your public profile.

Regram

To regram is to repost another Instagram user’s image or video. Make sure you have permission to do so, either through a branded hashtag or by asking the user directly.

 

Repin

To repin is to save another user’s Pin to one of your own Pinterest boards.

 

Reply

Reply is a social media function that allows you to respond publicly to another user’s comment, creating a comment thread. On Twitter, you reply by clicking the comment icon under a particular Tweet.  On other social networks, you’ll find a button or link marked Reply.

Repost

To repost is to share another user’s content on social media. This can include regramming, repinning, or retweeting. It also includes sharing another user’s Instagram post in your Instagram Stories.

 

Retargeting

Retargeting is an online advertising strategy that aims to re-engage website visitors who left a site without converting. Retargeting starts with a small tracking tag embedded in your website’s code. You can then target these prospects on other websites, including social networks.

 

Retweet

To retweet is to share someone else’s Tweet with your followers. When you click the retweet button on the Twitter website or app, you can opt to republish the tweet as is, or add a comment to explain why you’re sharing it.

 

Rich pin

A Rich pin is a Pinterest post that contains additional content from the original website. There are three categories: article, recipe, or product. For example, product Rich pins include real-time information about where to buy the product, pricing, and availability.

 

RSS feed

An RSS feed is a format for syndicating web content. It may be short for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, depending on who you ask, but neither is an official acronym. RSS feeds are created in a standard XML format that makes them compatible with a variety of readers and aggregators that readers can subscribe to.

 

RSS reader

An RSS reader is a tool that allows you to collect articles from multiple RSS feeds in one place for easy reading.

 

Scheduling

Scheduling involves planning social media updates and content ahead of time using a social media management platform or other publishing tool. Scheduling saves time by allowing users to draft several messages at once, often as part of a publishing approval process or larger marketing campaign. It also enables posts to be timed for audiences in various time zones.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the organic visibility of a web page in search results. Although businesses can pay for ads on search engine results page, SEO refers to “free” tactics that enhance the search ranking of a page.

 

Selfie

A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, usually taken with the front camera on a smartphone and shared on social media sites.

 

Sentiment

Sentiment is a way of describing the way people feel about your brand on social media. Rather than just measuring the number of posts or engagements related to your brand, it captures the feelings and attitude contained in those posts.

 

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is an examination of how an audience feels about a brand, company, or product based on social data. Sentiment analysis typically involves natural language processing or other computational methods to identify the attitude contained in a social media message. Analytics platforms—such as Hootsuite Insights classify sentiment in a variety of ways. For example, some use “polar” classification (positive or negative sentiment), while others sort messages by emotion or tone (contentment/gratitude, fear/uneasiness, etc.).

 

Share of Voice

Share of voice is a measure of how many social media mentions a particular brand is receiving in relation to its competition. It is usually measured as a percentage of total mentions within an industry or among a defined group of competitors.

 

Social Customer Service

Social customer service is when a company uses social channels to provide service and support to customers. Larger companies often have a separate social handle for customer support issues.

 

Social inbox

A social inbox is the screen for reading and responding to direct messages on a social platform.

 

Social listening

Social listening begins with finding and assessing what is being said about a company, topic, brand, or person on social media channels. Then, the social team acts based on what the analysis reveals. Taking action could be as simple as responding to a happy customer or as major as revising the brand strategy.

 

Social Media Management

Social media management involves managing social media accounts, engaging audiences, and measuring the business results of social media activities. Effective social media management practices implemented at scale across departments and regions allow everyone within the organization to collaborate and achieve measurable outcomes on social media.

 

Social Media Management Platform

A social media management platform is a secure, scalable tool that allows businesses to manage multiple social media accounts across departments and devices. Social relationship platforms are used for monitoring, posting, and tracking social media, and help manage everything from customer service to lead generation.

 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media to increase brand awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads, and build meaningful relationships with customers. Social media marketing should be part of a larger social strategy that also includes social customer service, community management, and social selling activities.

 

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring is like social listening in that it involves tracking what is being said about a brand on social media. However, while social listening involves analysis and action, social media monitoring is primarily concerned with finding and gathering data.

 

Social Media ROI

Social media ROI (Return On Investment) is a measure of how much you get out of the time, money, and effort you put into your social media strategy. It’s a way of evaluating which strategies provide the most value, and which areas of your strategy may not be delivering enough return.

 

We know you are waiting with bated breath for the final article in this series – ENJOY!

Social Media Terms : Part 5 of 7

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

With so many social media platforms, it is quite difficult to keep track of all the different new social media terms. Our long list of social media vocabulary continues to grow!

 

 

Messenger

Messenger is Facebook’s instant messaging app. Originally called Facebook Messenger, this app allows Facebook users to send direct messages to each other through a mobile device. Users can also use Messenger through a desktop web browser.

Metric

A metric is a quantitative measure of social media success. Put simply, it is a figure based on real numbers and can be tracked and measured over time. Vanity metrics include ego-boosting engagement statistics like comments, shares, and likes. Other metrics, like conversion rate, can help prove social return on investment.

 

Microblogging

Microblogging is the practice of publishing short content updates to platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr.

 

Mute

Mute is a social media feature that allows you to edit users out of your feed without unfollowing or unfriending them. They still see that you are connected, and you can still interact, but you do not see any of their activity in your timeline.

 

Native advertising

Native advertising is a type of social media ad that matches the style and format of an organic post. A boosted post is an example of native advertising. Ads are always identifiable by a label that says “sponsored” or “promoted,” but native ads look just like organic social content.

 

News feed

News feed is the Facebook term for the screen that shows all the latest updates posted by people the user follows. On other social networks, this is simply called the feed.

 

Newsjacking

Also known as trend jacking, newsjacking is the act of referencing a news story or trending topic in order to connect with the audience following that story. Hashtags are a common way to attach content to breaking news. Newsjacking only works if there is a close tie to the story in question.

 

Notification

A notification is a message or alert indicating new social media activity. For example, if somebody Likes one of your Instagram photos, you can receive a notification on your phone that lets you know.

 

Objectives

Objectives are the goals of an advertising campaign on social media. Each social network has its own set of objectives that ads can target. For example, Facebook advertising objectives are divided into three broad categories of awareness, consideration, and conversions. The objective you select determines which ad formats and payment structures are available for your campaign.

 

Organic reach

Organic reach is the number of unique users who view your content without paid promotion. People find social content organically through their own feeds—either from companies whose accounts they have liked themselves, or through content shared by friends or connections. If someone visits your social profile based on a search or any other non-paid referral, this is also organic reach.


Pay per click (PPC)

Pay per click is a type of advertising where an organization pays each time a user clicks on an advertisement. The costs incurred during a PPC campaign vary based on the competitiveness of the target keyword. The amount that you pay for each click in a pay-per-click campaign is your cost per click (CPC).

 

Pin

A Pin is the name of a post on Pinterest. Every Pin is made up of a picture and a description. When clicked, a Pin directs users to the source URL of the image. Other users can like or Repin your Pins. Users can also organize Pins by theme or event into collections.

 

Pinned post

A pinned post is a social media post saved to the top of your page or profile on Facebook or Twitter. Pinning a post is a great way to feature an important announcement or highlight some of your best content.

 

Platform

A platform is a social network or a component of a social network. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all social platforms. However, some marketers may consider Facebook news feed and Facebook stories to be different platforms since they may have different audiences and use different marketing strategies. Platform can also refer to a social media relationship management tool. In this case it is called a social media management platform.

 

Post

A post refers to any social media status update, photo, or video, or an item shared on a blog or forum.

 

Private Social Account

A private social account or group is one that is shielded from public view. While the basics of the account or group, like profile picture and name, are visible to anyone, the content shared is accessible only for approved followers. On Twitter, a private account is referred to as “protected.”

 

Promote

Promote is a term used in different contexts by the various social networks, but it always indicates some form of payment to gain access to a wider audience than could be achieved through organic content. Facebook uses the term “boost” for promoting a specific post, but “promote” to describe promoting a Page. Twitter offers promoted Tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends. There’s also Promote Mode, an automated ad program on Twitter.

 

Reach

Reach refers to the total number of people who have been exposed to a social post or ad. This metric does not necessarily indicate that all of these people have actually seen your content. They could have scrolled right past it, for instance. Reach simply indicates that the content appeared in the user’s social feed at least once.

Social media analytics tools usually report organic reach and paid reach as two separate metrics.

 

Reaction

Reactions are a form of engagement on Facebook. In addition to Likes, reactions include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Each of these reactions is indicated by an emoji. Facebook users can access the reaction option by hovering over or holding the Like button.

 

Real-time marketing

Real-time marketing is the practice of using a current event or popular trend to connect with an online community. It can be tricky to strike the right balance between jumping on a trend, maintaining your brand voice, and speaking to your target audience. A “right-time” strategy of focusing on your audience’s current needs and wants may be more effective.

 

VAMBOA hopes you are enjoying this timely series.  Stay tuned for the two final articles in this series, Part 6 & Part 7.

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