John is a blogger and devoted father of his two daughters. He runs his own blog and has also released some products onto the online marketplace. He is a keen product creator and is also a keen producer of infographics and video promotion. When he is not working online with one of his many 'experiments' as he likes to say he likes to chill out with his family or catch a movie.
You can follow John on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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In this day and age each and every website that offers a service should have a blog. Simple as that, and in this post I will tell you why. Gone are the days of complex code and hours of pain to set one up. The costs have come down dramatically and hosting can be found at very reasonable rates now. You can get a blog setup with your own domain for under $10 and hosting for less than $10 per month. So, no excuses in that department.
As mentioned the technical side of things are no longer a big stumbling block. In fact in the Hive you can get access to several step by step videos that will show you exactly how to do this in no time at all.
Does My Company Need A Blog?
Yes. I don’t care if you are the local PC repair man in your village, the garden center, the hobby cupcake designer or a multi-million pound enterprise. You should have a blog. Your blog gives you the potential reach unrivaled by any other of your marketing strategies. Why companies pay to have a large advert on a billboard on a highway is beyond me. Sure – your advertisement is going to get in front of thousands upon thousands of cars each day but how many of them are targeted? A very low number I can tell you.
Whereas your blog is about your chosen niche, and will only get in front of eyes that want to read it. It opens up many doors of opportunity.
What Should I Blog About?
Let’s go back to the local garden center. They should be writing a blog giving tips on all things gardening related and could also do reviews of mowers, products, sheds, you name it. Sounds daft? No – it’s exactly what their audience will be looking for. If they wrote a post on “Top 5 Tips For Growing Tomatoes This Year” the people that read that post would almost certainly be looking at growing tomatoes fairly soon. Giving away free advice like this builds trust and people who have this relationship are more likely to buy and use the services. The blog could be a nice way to bring in leads for more expensive high ticket services. The key point here is that they are putting their services in front of an already interested audience.
For a more established high revenue business the blog should be no different. It should be aimed at the company’s audience and customers again. This is where the real Q & A should come in, even a complaints department should be utilised here. Your customer service department will have complaints, questions, improvements and suggestions. You should take these very seriously. And answer them on your blog! This is the perfect platform to do this.
If you had a small team of 10 people working in a customer service center why not get them all to write 1 post a week on a topic or suggestion from a customer? In no time at all you would have a well-established blog that the search engines would love and more importantly your customers would love – as it is from their input that you are creating the content!
This brings me on to the next point. Get your customers feedback, without this you will struggle. Spend the time to get your customers or audience’s point of view where you can. You can set up a simple form using Google Docs, I highly recommend doing this from the outset.
A simple survey of just a few questions can give you a gold mine of data that you can extract ideas from hopefully with solutions to the issues.
So, with all that in mind and everything outlined above can you or your company really afford not to have a blog?
Having a great headline is essential for any post throughout your content marketing strategy. It’s the title that makes the reader decide to click through to read more, to open that email or post instead of opting for the many others. Magazine publishers spend millions of dollars trying to perfect their content strategy and the headline will be a big part in that.
Next time you are at a magazine stand try and see which magazines your eyes are drawn too (careful, try not to drift up to the top….) and then check out some of the headlines on the front cover. They will have on the front cover titles of articles that are included in that edition.
It is these headlines that will essentially make you decide if you are going to buy it or not. Was it intriguing enough? Did it leave you wanting to know the answer?
People say you should not judge a book by its cover – but essentially people do, whether we like it or not. It’s the same with magazines for the first time buyer. You see the magazine company hopes you will become a new regular reader obviously. But its winning you over from all the other competing magazines that matters the most. Once they have converted you the hard part is done…..
So How Do They Do It?
Well, like with any successful blog post or actually any successful content marketing strategy online or offline they use great, captivating titles; or headlines.
Lets take some examples. If you were a Gardener and just discovered a great way to double the size of your tomatoes, which headline would captivate you the most?
How To Grow Bigger Tomatoes
How I Doubled The Size of My Tomatoes With One Simple Trick!
Sure in some ways both are fairly captivating, but in my view and hopefully most of yours the 2nd headline seems more appealing.
It gives the reader an understanding of what they are going to get from the article. The first one is a little vague and does not really say too much. The next headline draws people in and also gives a promise that by reading the article you will learn something simple that you can apply with your own tomato growth!
Here is a presentation from We Are Visual showing you 12 killer headlines you are free to use and adapt in your own content marketing strategies:
The best thing about these titles is they are already proven – these are taken from some of the top magazines around the world. The publishing houses spend millions of dollars on advertising and making sure they get the best hook from their audience.
They are all everygreen and you can apply them to virtually any niche.
The post is going to be very short – well, in terms of word quantity but not in terms of word power and quality! It’s time to present The BizzeBee Manifesto! This is a collection of thoughts, quotes, sayings and statements that we all live by here on BizzeBee. Feel free to distribute this, print it off, hang it in your rooms, offices, bathroom doors – where ever!
We do ask that if you share it on your site please credit us with a link back here. There is an auto-embed code generator at the bottom!
Often we as writers or bloggers can sometimes hit a wall when it comes to creating fresh new content. Your content whether it be on your blog or on other sites should ultimately have a call to action, sometimes this can be a simple comment, maybe you are driving traffic to a landing page, a sales page or just a blog post you want further exposure. Either way everything you write should have an end goal, and you should want your audience to react in some way.
Quite often the content can already be staring you in the face. It’s just not everyone got the best out of it in its current medium. This content can be re-purposed content, or recycled could be another way of putting it.
Take a look at a post you have already written. Can you present this information in any other way?
This is the way of thinking you should get into. Here is an example of what I mean with a post here on BizzeBee.
This post 15 Blog Post Ideas was a post written by Matt Smith. It is a great post and offers tons of great value. I am sure each and every reader got something out of it. But – did they get absolutely everything out of it? Has it stuck in their minds to go back to now and again? Again, I am sure for some yes. But others as with every post on the internet would have read it once and may never return.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, this post is a great example as this information could be presented in many different ways. For example, you could break each of these tips down and talk about them on camera and upload it to YouTube.
Or, you could create a nice SlideShare presentation of the information. Alternatively you could create an Infographic of the information. This is what I have done below and I have not even included the whole post’s worth of information. The beauty of this is it enables us to share it across different platforms such as Pinterest for example. As you can see below the content is largely the same just presented differently.
What Is The Main Benefit of Re-purposing Information?
Well, to put it bluntly. Traffic. This is one of the main benefits of doing this, as you will ultimately get a larger reach and more traffic if you share your content across different networks and in different ways.
Some people don’t like reading blog posts, they may prefer to watch a video or listen to a podcast on the way to work. Others may prefer to take snapshots of visual information or add PDF files to their Kindles’. Whatever the content, I am pretty sure in can be presented in many different ways.
Think about this next time you sit down to create content.
Do you have any examples of content re-purposing you would like to share with us?
Well, its Saturday again and this time you have John in the chair with you. We have given Andi a well-deserved break from doing the round up this week. Before we get into it I would like to mention some of the great content we have found in our very own Google Plus group this past week, this has been growing nicely and if any of you have any colleagues or friends that you think would benefit then please ask them to join. We are a friendly bunch as you know!
Ok so lets get into the round up. In no particular order….
Me being me, I could not write the round up without including a graphics post. I have actually done what is taught in this post and it is very effective. People do not realise what powerhouse of a tool they have in their arsenal with PowerPoint. You can do so much more than just create those boring old presentations. I love it and use it all the time. This post shows a neat way to create a nice Pinterest piece, which of course you could edit how you wish.
Those of you reading from the UK will be able to relate to this. This is a great post suggestion from our Google Plus group member Joy Bassett. Did you write it Joy? Please let us know…
Anyway, this is all about the changing time of the more traditional “Bricks and Mortar” business. Great post starting off talking about the nation of shopkeepers and how times have changed from the likes of bakers, grocers and butchers now to charity shops, betting shops and estate agents. How true. The demise of the high street is largely down to the massive supermarket chains, but obviously with them comes convenience? What do you think? Well worth a read.
Dan Stelter guest posts on Writer In Charge and this post talks about how he was able to change his mindset when pricing his work. Thank you Matt for this suggestion, it is amazing what people will pay for your services providing you give great quality. I remember when I first started out online I was often questioned on pricing my products too low. This post covers his personal story and how he now goes about his pricing. Are you in business that offer services similar to Dan’s? Feel free to add anything to the comments box.
I am a big fan of Tom Ewer, even from the early days when he first started his blog. This particular post discusses belief, something everybody at some stage or another will question. There is some quite powerful stuff here. Tom’s passion for his writing and how it reflects on his readers shines. You actually feel like he cares, so – by that note, I am guessing that he does. He hates seeing people unhappy in their life when they have the ability to enact positive change. I will finish with a quote from the post, “Its a big world out there. Plenty of room for your own success story”
Video content as we all know is a great way to drive traffic and engage your audience. Whether it be interviews, tutorials, reviews, screen capture or animations there is great potential with video marketing. Myself personally, I prefer video to written text. Ben Walker writes this great post over on NPI about producing great video content without spending a fortune. I showed you a neat trick yesterday which allows you to start making videos for free. This post should give you some more inspiration. Thanks to Matt again for this suggestion.
A suggestion from Andi – and this is a numbers post. Not everyone’s cup of tea and may give you a headache if you are reading this first thing in the morning, but do check it out later on if you can fit it in. You see, with online marketing and with any business in fact knowing your numbers is essential. Bottom line: whenever you sell products or services online, calculate the value per customer and per visitor, and those numbers will help you define your marketing strategies.
This is a great suggestion from Sam. This post talks about a feature Google have put in their comments system for bloggers. Its basically the translate tool, but you can now do it from within the comments. So, if somebody posts a comment in a foreign language you, or anyone else for that matter can translate it. Cool if you have a mixed audience.
Old, or should I say young Glen Allsopp from Viperchill is up to it again, this time though as a guest post on The Moz Blog. This posts is all about how he got 9000 unique visits to his mini site that was neither ground-breaking or mind-blowing. It simply followed a trend and was in the common interest. The tactic here is viral marketing. This is a great read, worthy of checking out – you always get top stuff from the Moz team. (And Glen)
Interesting post talking about why a large majority of online social media tools simply fade out into obscurity. Quite often the technology is no longer supported or has moved to another platform. Sometimes other companies purchase it and completely re-brand it or merge the technology with a product they already have. Thanks to Andi for this suggestion.
This certainly caught my eye for the best of the rest this week. Driverless cars are no longer a thing of the imagination or sci-fi films. A UK town is set for these “pods” as they are called in the not too distant future. With a top speed of just 12 mph, they will be able to ferry up to two people around at a time on designated pathways. This is a similar thing to what Google has done with its own version of the driverless car, which is now claimed to have logged more than 300,000 miles without accident!
Anyway, have a great weekend. Be nice to each other.
Hello, John here and I just want to share quickly with you today a site I use fairly frequently for a number of reasons. I am sure you are aware of the video screen capture tools out there on the market today. The obvious candidates are Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic plus many more. These are all premium, even though Screencast is only $15 for the year, there are not that many quick and free options.
Today I want to share with you Screenr – this is a free tool which allows you to record up to 5 mins of on-screen footage. This is great and is useful if you want to record a short explanation video to a customer or maybe a client. Maybe you have some outsourcing work you need doing and want to explain the job you want done showing the look and feel of some online material. Maybe one of your customers has a query from an email you sent them and would like to be shown how to do something.
Well, all this can be done in a very professional and excellent way now using Screenr. The whole thing is done online and is very simple to use. I made a short video showing you the tool.
Thank you for watching, I hope you found it useful. Please head over to our YouTube channel for more tips like this.
Today I am going to talk about the tremendously powerful traffic method that is AFFILIATES. I wrote this as a follow up post to Matt’s great one The Beginners Guide To Affiliate Marketing. If you are a product creator or are thinking about creating a product for the online marketplace then you need to know this amazingly free traffic source. I have released a few products into the marketplace and am planning more – but the products would not have been half the success they were if it wasn’t for the affiliates that promoted the product.
Affiliate marketing has been around for years and many people make a living off of doing this without ever producing a single product of their own. The two largest affiliate networks I am aware of are Commission Junction and Amazon. Yes, Amazon – you can promote anything on Amazon and they will pay you around 4% for your conversions. Does not sound like a lot but if you are successful at it and you make a large volume of sales this can soon add up.
So, What is An Affiliate?
So, to summarise then as Matt covered it as I said with his post.
An affiliate is somebody or a company that will promote or offer to sell your product in the return for a commission. This is a fair and great way to do business. So, essentially you make the product and the affiliates will do all the marketing and selling for you. This is great because you can get amazing hits to your product page all for free, so you would not mind paying them a commission of say 50% for this would you? I know I would not, in fact I offer up to 70% in some cases as a “thank you” for driving the traffic, the sales and potential further leads onto my email list.
Some affiliates may have huge lists that you are unaware of, in fact just recently one of my products started to fade off with sales and then a certain Andi Leeman put in an affiliate request which I naturally accepted and then he promoted it through the leverage he has with another marketer and the sales took off again!
So here you see a classic example of the benefits of having affiliates drive traffic to your product. It can be and should be win-win for both parties. Your affiliate makes some nice commissions through the front end by promoting your product and you also get a slice of the profits, but you also get buyers onto your email list which you can promote to on the back end. You set the affiliate commission, bear in mind that you have to make it worth their while or else people will not be interested.
Also, make sure your product is top quality and serves some great purpose. Once you are ready to recruit some affiliates you should always offer them a free copy of your product. Straight away this shows that you trust them and often has a positive effect when trying to get them to promote your product. Sometimes people will buy your product and then decide to promote it, other times people will just ask to become an affiliate. I have had all three – it’s usually the affiliates with a proven track record that have the most success.
What kind of results can you expect?
Obviously you cannot expect all affiliates to have the same success as one another. In fact, every time I have released a product to the marketplace I have had affiliates come on board and do nothing, not make any sales. Some new, inexperienced affiliate marketers may just think that sending a tweet out to their 300 twitter followers is enough – usually this method has weak results. If you are lucky or if you have created such a buzz about your product that you have got some big affiliate marketers on board you could make a lot of money very quickly. Imagine an established marketer has a list of over 10,000 subscribers and he sends out a weekly newsletter with a recommendation to check out your product. Even with a low click through rate of just 5% that would be 500 visitors to your product, now even if your product coverts at a low 2% this would be 10 sales from one email.
Let’s go through those numbers again, which by the way are very modest. You need to understand the power of this. Let’s say your product sells for $37.
Your product is recommended on an email list of 10,000 subscribers
Only 5% click on your product link (the affiliate’s link) = 500
Your product converts at 2% = 10 Sales
10 x $37 = $370
You pay the affiliate 50%, you both make $185
From ONE email. All the traffic to your product was not driven by you at all. In fact you did not do anything.
Where can I get affiliates?
Well, first of all you probably have people in your direct marketing circles who will be keen to promote it for you, ask these people first. They are your closest allies and will most probably support your product.
You can also list your digital products through JVZoo, Clickbank, PayDotCom just to name a few. These networks are also very good at getting affiliates to promote for you, I often find if I use these networks the affiliates come to you rather than you having to pitch to them.
But the real “gold” comes if you can get on a well known marketers list. No doubt you are already on a few marketing lists, well if you are start engaging with them. Buy some of their products, give them some good testimonials. Then when your product is due for launch ask them if they would not mind promoting it. What is the worst that is going to happen? They will say, sorry – not right now.
Remember though – your product has to be top quality and relevant to what they do. They are recommending you and your product to their hard earned list of subscribers so they do not want to promote any old rubbish.
So there we have it, I hope this post has given you a good insight into using affiliates to drive traffic to your offer.
If you want any more advice on the topics mentioned above contact me here on the blog. Do you have any other networks you like to use? We would love to hear from you in the comments section.
We are now in a time where physical hard drive space may be a thing of the past. Well, maybe not completely but hear me out. More and more businesses nowadays are looking to the clouds for their storage. So, what is this cloud storage everyone is talking about these days?
Cloud storage is basically hard drive space on the internet. For you. So, you could if you wanted to store all your pictures, files, music etc on cloud storage. There are many packages out there that offer a small amount of storage for free as well as some premium rate packages. And when I say premium rate I mean very reasonable rates.
Why would you want to move to cloud storage?
Well, this has many benefits. The first and probably most obvious benefit is that is does not take up your “actual” hard drive space on your computer. So you can use the storage effectively for running your programs rather than clogging it up with pictures, ebooks, PDFs etc.
The second benefit is the file sharing possibilities it has. Most cloud storage providers will allow you to share the individual files or folders to other people. Usually just an email address and you can send the files to your friend or colleague.
This is great if you are working in teams but may not always be in direct contact with each other. You can share files easily without having to send large files via email which is not always the best way.
But the greatest benefit in my opinion is the ability to access files remotely anywhere. This is fanatastic – no longer do you have to be sat at home on your desktop PC to view those all important designs, or no longer do you have to be at home to watch the latest training video you wanted. As the cloud servers are web based you can access your files from any PC with an Internet connection. Also, the top cloud providers will have their systems running across multiple platforms so you will be able to access your folders and files from not only PCs. But now you can get your data from your netbooks, tablets and smartphones.
So, let’s say an important video is made in the office of your company and one employee is on the train to an informal meeting at a cafe to talk about such video. He arrives, opens his smartphone and opens his cloud storage account and as if by magic the video is already in his folder. As the accounts match or the folders are set to be shared, the account will synchronize live if any editing is done to any folders within it.
What are the top cloud storage providers?
Dropbox has to be considered one of the top cloud storage providers, simply because it was one of the first of its kind. If you mention cloud storage to people they will most likely be familiar with this name. This could be to do with the fact that they offer a referral scheme which get the referrers more storages. We are users of Dropbox here at Bizzebee and whilst it is not my personal favourite it does a great job. The interface is simple, and it is very straight forward to use. There are no pre-requisites before joining and free accounts start with 2GB storage. I mentioned above that you can get more be offering referrals and using their apps and other features. Within a week of getting my free account I was able to bump my storage up to 52GB just buy using it on my mobile phone and referring a couple of friends. You do not have to do this obviously – it’s up to you.
It is very simple to share links and files, and the platform syncs really well with other devices. I use this across four devices and it all runs smoothly.
Here is a little video showing you inside the dashboard and how to share links.
The support is top notch too with teams supporting virtually every operating system, desktop and mobile device.
Next up is Google Drive – my personal favourite. Google is slowly getting (or rather already has) its fingers in many pies and it was not going to miss the opportunity of cloud storage once it hit the market. You get 15GB of storage absolutely free, which is very kind of them. The one thing that you need to have in order to have access to Google Drive is a Google account – this is no big deal, and with all the other great tools that Google have to offer you really should have a Google account by now.
This brings me onto the next point about Google Drive and that is the fantastic collaboration it has with its other tools, formally Google Docs to be specific. This is your docs, spreadsheets, presentations and drawing software. If you have this linked with your Google Drive and you have also shared your drive with other members in your team then they your documents can be updated live across all members devices. This is especially useful in accounting for example if a tracking spreadsheet is being updated, all parties will be on the same page and there can be no arguments over which version is updated!
Again, very user friendly and very generous free cloud storage. Even the premium plans start from $4.99 a month for 100GB.
Next up is SkyDrive. This is Microsoft’s entry into cloud storage. They have marketed it to work with the Windows 8 platform and Office 2013. Sure, it runs without these but the platform really comes into its own when it runs with them. It works really well and updates great with Office 2013 – either on the PC desktop or on the tablet devices. As well as the others above it also has its own mobile apps which all work well and sync with all the devices you have linked to it.
If you were lucky enough to get in while they were still beta testing this service you probably have a nice 25GB of storage – that is not to be sniffed at. However now for a free account they will give you 7GB.
As with the others too there is great potential with the API integration, and also with the SkyDrive app you get access to free versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote viewers in your browser so you can share your documents from your Office 2013 suite on the go and with ease.
Here is a list of some more cloud storage providers, perhaps not as well known:
Any respectable business these days has a social media presence online. Some will have just the one social media profile while others will have the full bag. Either way if you have just one or have many there is one thing that you must do from the outset.
The value of a good timeline cover design is vitally important and will go a long way in getting a Facebook Like, or a Twitter Follower or being added to a circle in Google Plus.
As with all your branding for your business you should obviously keep a running theme throughout all your profiles. So, if your website’s primary colour scheme is green do the same for your Facebook timeline cover etc. This rule should also apply for all other accounts. People get familiar with a brand and the logo. Colour schemes as well as fonts will all be on the readers/fans/followers eyes. They will expect familiarity here, so give it to them.
What should you include on your Timeline Cover Design?
The rules change all the time with the social media giants, for a while up until recently Facebook used to have a 20% rule, meaning no more than 20% of the timeline cover could have text on it. There are some reports of peoples covers getting rejected with very little text on them.
I am pleased to announce that they have now relaxed those rules and companies are allowed and should be encouraged to put their details on their timeline cover designs.
I would advise to put at least the following basic details on any design cover where applicable:
· Name (Company or personal)
· Website URL
· Email and Telephone Number
Although Facebook have relaxed the rules, I would still edge on the side of caution with it. Nothing major is going to happen if they do not like it – they will just tell you to remove it, or remove it themselves. Don’t fill your covers with text. I personally would avoid large brash “Calls To Action” like “Buy My Latest Book Here” – they look too desperate.
Remember branding – try to include a snapshot of what your business is all about. For example, if it is a restaurant try and use a picture that shows the buzz and atmosphere of the restaurant. Include the logo where applicable and use high resolution pictures/photos where you can for your covers.
The thing in the past that has been a problem for marketers and company owners is that the sizes of the various social media timeline covers has been a little bit unknown. It can be a little annoying if you get a great cover picture made up and when you go to install it on the page it does not fit or half of it is cut off.
Well, the simple Infographic below shows the sizes of the more popular social media networks so you no longer have to worry. Also included are the sizes of the profile pictures. Keep to this and you will be fine. All sizes are in pixels. Not to scale.
So, there we go. A handy little guide to getting the best form your timeline covers. Please share it if you think it is helpful.
Have you experienced any difficulty or rejection in getting your timeline covers set up? If so, get in touch and we can help you. Please drop a comment in below.
Everybody online in business or otherwise is aware of social media. But today we are going to look at some alternative social media sites that are not so in the mainstream and people may not be aware of them. Take away the big three (Facebook, Twitter and Google+) and what do you have left?
Well, loads. If you were to look at the close runners behind these three you will see LinkedIn, Pinterest, Stumblupon, Tumblr – the list goes on. But what about beyond that? Well, again there are plenty…
Some are catered directly for specific niches, some are catered for specific industries, some are bookmarking sites, some are designed for photos/pictures like Pinterest. Yet I would say that they all fall into the social media bracket. This is my view.
So why would you even need these alternative social media sites?
Facebook announced in May 2013 that it had 1.1 billion users, this is ridiculous. One point one BILLION. And from this each day around 665 million were active on the site – again, ridiculous. I am saying ridiculous because if you have not setup your Facebook business page – you really should. The numbers speak for themselves. Some companies only have a social media presence on here and if you were only to pick one this would be a good one.
But, this post is about alternative social media sites, many have spun off from these. Some are just simple bookmarking sites, whilst others have gone down a completely different approach. It may not be your business that gains value in terms of marketing from some of these but you may still find value. Some of these can be a great resource for content, ideas whilst others can be great tools to have. Others simply serve as great “link building” platforms.
But it is the specialist social media sites that may benefit some business and individuals. Take App.Net – this social media network was designed purely for application developers to showcase their work but then got so popular it became a fully fledged social network. There is a premium to pay ($5 a month) but it has been kept “real” by its users, no ads. Which makes it a virtually private network.
Anyway, below is an infographic that gives details of eight alternative social media sites. You may have heard of them you may not have. Also, you may find them useful or your business may not have a need for them. However – one thing to think about, are you missing anything by not checking out these sites?
So -what do you think? We would love to hear from you if you use any of these sites. Please tell us your experiences with them in the comments section below.