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How to Hire a Blogger – Ask the Right Questions

When you hire a blogger do you look for someone with other content skills?Jen Miller explains How to Hire a Blogger, in her recent podcast on Be Seen Blogging. Today we’re going to talk about something a little different. Every day I get calls from clients interested in starting up blogging service. Many of them don’t understand how to make the transition to hiring a blogger. Realizing you may be in the same boat, I decided we needed to discuss questions you should ask when hiring a writer for your blog.

First and foremost, you have to find someone who is the right fit and understands your tone and style. What voice will they use to engage your readers? Next, you need to explore whether the writer is informed on your topic. If all of this seems to mesh with your company and goals, then you’ll need to get into more serious questions.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Blogger

  • How were you trained to write and why are you interested in writing my blog posts? How do you do your research? Will you conduct interviews?

This question is easily answered by someone who has experience. Prior to blogging I was a journalist, so this is one of my favorite questions to answer. I love conducting interviews and researching new topics to find the untold story or take a topic deeper and have put together a team of writers who feel the same.

  • Do you write other types of content?

This question can be a double-edged sword. On one hand hiring a writer who is spreading themselves too thin with varied projects can be a real issue. However, a white-paper writer who can utilize graphs and statistics in a post or someone who has the vision to see how your posts could eventually create book material is invaluable.

  • Do you blog or write elsewhere and can you send published samples?

Post samples should always be requested and it’s best to see them when published so you have an idea of the finished product vs. stand-alone text. Our posts, for instance include stock images, headers and other formatting such as bullets or sections to break up the text. Plus, with published work, you’ll be able to see any engagement tools, from sign up forms to links, also known as calls to action.

  • Do you have an error-free guarantee or process for eliminating grammar issues and avoiding mistakes in spelling?

This is key to presenting a professional image on your blog and is especially important to watch for when you hire a blogger. We have a 3-part edit system in place that goes way beyond spell check to ensure that our blogs posts are error-free.

  • What blogging platforms do you use and will you upload the posts directly for me?

Do you consider copyright when you hire a blogger?It’s always helpful when you can find a blogger that will post directly on your platform and alert you when a draft is ready for review. Otherwise your time savings is drastically reduced as you still need to login to the site and format each post yourself.

  • Do you have copyright protections in place to protect yourself and your clients? What are they?

The answer to this should be yes and a specific strategy should be outlined. Options can include use of stock imagery and plagiarism scanners as well as professional liability insurance.

  • Do you use search engine optimization best practices in your writing?

Any experienced blogger has learned how to optimize posts for search and even beginners have tools that can teach them the necessities. If your blogger doesn’t answer this question well, it’s time to look elsewhere.

  • Will you promote the posts after writing and if so, where?

Some bloggers use their own byline and will promote your posts on their social media. We prefer to think of the content as yours, so write under your byline and share it under your social media. The most important thing, however, is that the promotion of each post occurs and is shared repeatedly over time, regardless of which accounts shares.

  • Will you post to my blog consistently? What are the emergency plans you have in place should become ill, vacation or lose power?

Consistent blogging is the reason why you hire someone. If your blogger doesn’t have a plan in place, such as scheduling, backup posts or a plan to get online when times are unique, you may want to reconsider.

  • What is the biggest improvement I will see in my blog by hiring you?

This answers depends on the blogger, but consistency, engagement, and website traffic should all be on the list.

Thank you for tuning in to Be Seen Blogging today. If you have more questions on how to hire a blogger or other website content topics, please reach out to me, Jen Miller, on Twitter @jenblogs4u or through my website at NeedSomeoneToBlog.com.

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Adding Local Romance and Gift Ideas to Blog Posts Episode 21

Hi everyone – this is Jen Miller and I am so excited to be talking to you on Be Seen Blogging once again after the holiday break. I hope you, like me, enjoyed time with loved ones and had a chance to recharge and prepare for the new year! Thanks you for taking the time to tune in to learn ways to ramp up your blog and website content, all in under 10 minutes.

I know we  talked about featuring lists as blog posts in episode 12 but since a major gift holiday is on the horizon, I figured it was an ideal topic to revisit, with a twist. Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it and NOW is the time to gather the ideas for your Top Ten Gifts posts — for him, for her, for kids, for pets, you name it! You can position your list by topic or budget, for example shoestring ideas to warm the heart or glamorous gifts to take her breath away and really have fun as you consider the possibilities in your post. Since location is a priority in most of the content we write, a series featuring local getaways, treats or boutique finds makes for perfect posts!

If you own a business that offers products or services that could be included in the gift list, consider adding a gift certificate option to your post.

interview-shop-ownerCatchy headlines and beautiful photos are needed to create content that will be shared and your featured items should not be run of the mill, either. Seek out the unique. Ask shop owners about their gifting favorites and best and worst sellers. Have some fun with it. An interview or two with local shop owners of someone who runs a favorite restaurant or bed and breakfast in your area can add life and length to your post! Plus you may find that as you reach you develop more fans who will link to your site and send you customers. Make friends as you research!

If you don’t have time to shop local and have a feeling your readers might be pressed for time, you could create posts featuring ideas from online and quick shipping options, such as online florists, fruit bouquets and chocolate shops (my favorite is Dan’s Chocolates, by the way) to Amazon’s Prime NOW service which I can attest delivers in under and hour. A few minutes making phone calls may also help you to discover nearby pizza places that specializes in saving the day with heart shaped pizza delivery. I know there’s one in my town!

Anyway, regardless of what you choose to feature, this is the type of post you’ll want to publish on your social media profiles. With the right featured image, these posts pull in clicks as sponsored ads, too, since good ideas beg to be shared. You’ll definitely want to feature your post in your newsletter and ask friends and family to share it. Afterall, who doesn’t like great gift ideas?

Sharing a story of young love, seasoned romance or love that has been tested is always a great addition to any gift post, as well. Here are some ways to weave that into your copy.

  • In real estate? Write about a client who fell in love with a home and/or each other through the home buying experience.
  • Are you an insurance salesman? Explain how your policies protect and provide security to couples through generations and share how you’ve witnessed this comfort clients and their families.
  • If you’re an artist or developer, share what inspires you to create objects and websites that change lives. Share the vision beyond the creation, looking past the details and headaches, to the idea that made you excited about the project in the first place.

element-of-passionEvery profession has an element of passion — a love that can be explored — and in most cases sharing that story can be very powerful. When attached to an actionable gift list, even one that only includes tech tools, you produce a post that has the ability to go viral. So go and do and send me a link. I’d love to feature your lists (and links to your blogs) when I write my post on gift giving later this month. Email your links to jenmiller@needsomeonetoblog.com to be included in the list. You can also find me on Twitter @jenblogs4u or through my NeedSomeoneToBlog website. I look forward to hearing from you. Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Good Content Can Rank Your Website Faster

Understand how good content sets the ground work for allowing your website to rank faster. Take the time to think about and research your keywords before you write.

graphics_three_1_thumbTranscript: Today in episode #19, we’re going to be discussing, “How Good Content Can Rank Your Website Faster.” I’m going to share a little more of what Joost de Valk said at WordCamp US last week because his topic is applicable to all platforms and touched on key points that when implemented will help your website rank better and faster.

Even before discussing keywords and content, Joost stressed two things. “You need to have a website that is mobile friendly,” and “You’ll always need some form of cache,” he said. Without these two essentials you will lose your ability to rank well as search engines value mobile functionality and speed. You can test your website to learn how it performs (and get other insights) at https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly

Once you’ve completed that step, you should move on to analyzing your content and you can find a lot of the information you need using Google’s search console. Study the search analytics so you can see what search terms are bringing readers to your site, as well as your internal and external links. You can see which of your pages have been indexed and if your site has errors. Joost urged that everyone who cares about their website become familiar with the search console.

Good content can turn your website into a masterpiece.Next he brought up a topic that I get a lot of questions on… which keywords should I use. Most businesses want to be found for their company name, however as Joost explained, “You need to do keyword search and 9 times out of ten, that’s not the name that you gave your company.”

We’ve talked before on this podcast about the importance of thinking like your reader when choosing keywords you use in your posts and pages. Joost stressed the importance of thinking about keywords BEFORE you start writing. “You simply cannot be found for new words that you never use. This is the most important truth in SEO,” he shared. So when you create a list of words you want to be found for, you need to find a way to work each into your posts and pages.

Joost went on to define that each topic needs a post or a page, saying, “Don’t try to cram 50 different things on each page.” What he meant is that each page can only have one targeted keyword or keyword phrase – and you should only try to rank for that keyword or phrase on that one page, not all pages, in your site.

I often say that keyword strategy and website creation is like a puzzle. You have to figure out your cornerstone pieces and place them within your site. After that, you build good content from there until you’ve created a masterpiece.

Joost suggested that all bloggers review their current websites for older content that performs well. Once found, that content can be updated with a new publish date. He also advised that webmasters view their websites as a library, with organized categories and tags.

Many of you will find solace in the frequency of posting recommended by Joost. Rather than trying to blog daily, Joost advised, “I really, really, really would prefer any of you to write good content once every week or every two weeks and have one good post. It’s so much more preferable.” He continued to emphasize, “Good content takes a lot of time to create. Don’t look at the time spent, look at what it will get you.”

If you need help figuring out how to make your content work better in the new year, reach out to me @jenblogs4u on Twitter or through NeedSomeoneToBlog.com. Thanks for listening to episode #19 of Be Seen Blogging. Look forward to talking with you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Building Links For Website Ranking

Building Links Means Making Friends

Jen Miller answers a client question on whether building links or buying links is best for SEO and website ranking. Jen recaps what Joost de Valk recently had to say on the subject at an international WordPress conference, WordCamp US, in December 2016.

Building links is about having the conversationTranscription: Hi, it’s Jen Miller and this Be Seen Blogging show, episode #18, is a little different than usual. You see, I just returned from a conference in Philadelphia called WordCamp US where I attended a talk entitled “SEO in 2016” by Joost de Valk. If you use WordPress you likely know Joost as the developer behind the Yoast plugin, an amazing SEO and content marketing tool. Otherwise you’ll just have to believe me when I say he’s an authority on content marketing and deserves your respect. I’ll be sharing with you some of his comments today as we talk about today’s episode, “Building Links For Website Ranking.”

Just last week I had a client ask if we were building links on his site or if he should buy them elsewhere. I immediately explained that link building happened over time as his website content earned merit and that buying links would be a mistake.

Ways to Go About Building Links

Typically we include external links in blog posts and community type pages if an authoritative link is available as the content is written.The hope is that the authoritative website will link back. We create internal linking as well, connecting related pages and posts in a website, because it makes it easy for readers to go deeper into the website and can reduce the bounce rate or how quickly a viewers leaves the site.

Depending on the desired goal, we may also use other methods to encourage link building, such as guest blogging on high ranking sites, establishing individual and company profiles or writing wiki-type articles that link back into your content to achieve this goal.

When it comes to ranking in search engines, interesting and carefully crafted website content is critically important. Links are important as well. You really need to do everything you can to build authority in your site and spot on content combined with credible links accomplishes this!

Many years ago I started adding the Yoast SEO plugin to our blogging sites and recommending it to people learning to blog. Once added to a site, I believe Yoast SEO is the ultimate security blanket for bloggers. It assists by pointing out possible post failings AND suggests methods of resolution. Once the post is optimized for search engines, a green light appears, telling the writer that it’s time to publish. A brilliant and well-executed plugin developed initially by Joost so he could resolve his own content issues and “scratch an itch,” Yoast SEO has enhanced millions of websites.

Conversation Is a Great Way to Start Building Links

Joost de Valk, explained that getting a website to rank takes work. “The thing that people seem to think is that Google will find everything by itself. It will not. You need to link. If you don’t link to content, no matter how good it is, you will never rank,” he said. “You still need links to rank.”

Joost de Valk Explains that conversation helps in building links.Joost encouraged conversation as a way to build connections with other websites, “So work on that,” he suggested. “That in itself is also hard work. Link building is not easy. It’s something that comes from a lot of talking to other people, saying, “Hey I wrote this piece, do you like it and would you want to link to that?”

If you are new to blogging you probably haven’t done that before. You might not realize how connected your website – your virtual world – and your real life interactions are, until you seek out links. As you make friends or partner with others to add links to your website, you’ll realize that you can create more traffic by helping one another.

As Joost said, “You have to do the work. The problem with most of us human beings is that you don’t really get into real conversations.”

Speaking of himself and his company, Joost explained, “We don’t link to many people, but we link to people that we know and love and trust. So the chance of you getting a link from me is sometimes a lot higher if you talk to any of us here and we see and we talk to you for awhile. Then we’ll link to you. We’re not unique in that. Everybody wants linkbacks.”

Building Links That Relate To Your Topic.jpg“Do that. Go out. Talk to people,” Joost encouraged. “Figure out who’s writing about your topic and go to where all these people are.”

And finally Joost said what I was desperately hoping he’d say. “Don’t buy links. Don’t do any of the things that feel fishy. If it feels fishy to you, you’re probably right and it’s harder to get sites to  rank well after you’ve done stupid stuff.”`

So, there you have it. Don’t do stupid stuff. Buying links fits into that category. So to answer my client’s question, build links, don’t buy them. Thank you for tuning in to Be Seen Blogging. Have questions about your website content? Reach out to me on Twitter at jenblogs4u or through my NeedSomeoneToBlog.com website.

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Using Yoast SEO as a Guide Not as Law

Using Yoast SEO as a Content Guide

Jen Miller explains the importance of using Yoast SEO as a guide rather than a content dictator. Blogging allows freedom of expression and the words used need to fit your audience. Readability scores, while valuable in many industries, have less value when your readers expect the use of industry terms and advanced verbiage.

Hello, I’m Jen Miller and you are listening to another episode of Be Seen Blogging, the podcast that shares tips and tricks of how to create winning website content, all in under 10 minutes. On today’s show, #17, we’ll be discussing one of my favorite plugins, Yoast SEO. I began using Yoast SEO while it was in beta. While I agree it earns the title of “Definitive Guide” on website SEO, I also understand that the term guide is not law…. and you should too!

You see the plugin is useful because it reminds bloggers, new and seasoned, of the important elements to include in each post. From title and chosen keyword placement, to permalink, text length and meta description, using Yoast SEO results in more powerful blog posts. These suggestions increase performance. Readership grows as your post reaches more readers. Users refrain from using stop words. The plugin encourages that posts be written for a common audience, generally accepted as a 4th-5th grade reading level. And, it absolutely works.

If however you are in a technical or medical industry or happen to be a lawyer or astrophysicist, the Yoast SEO plugin may give you trouble. It encourages the use of familiar phrases and words, steering the writer from using too advanced of a tone. In some professions this can be rather limiting. In fact, business bloggers may find this to be the case often as case studies make reference to less common words and industry terms. This explains why Yoast SEO is used as a guide, not law.

The Yoast SEO plugin provides two indicators on post quality – the SEO factor and the readability factor.

Give your blog post the highest chance of success. Follow all SEO dictates outlined by the plugin (unless you are an advanced user with a specific purpose in mind). Use the recommendations I’ve outlined in past Need Someone To Blog posts, such as Go GREEN with Intentional Blogging to turn the Yoast SEO light from red to green.

Readability, however, is completely dependent on your audience. Review the suggestions given by the plugin and make an educated decision as to whether or not they apply to your post. In most cases, energizing a passive voice phrase  makes sense. In some cases, such as an interview situation, it does not. Removing industry terms or “dumbing down” a post for academics would be a travesty. Yet, shortening a sentence to give it more punch is an excellent suggestion.

I’m a believer in using what works for you.

Follow every SEO recommendation and judge the readability after evaluating your goals for the blog post. Does your mandatory keyword phrase include a stop word? Use it. If you can only describe your product with industry jargon, then do so… but consider that you may need to break down the words to a level your customer’s understand. Should you find that longer sentence convey the feeling you want for a post, don’t shorten them and change meaning due to a low readability score.

Your website and your blog posts need to be in your recognizable voice, even if that means it may not be 100% correct in form.

Trust the plugin, but trust yourself more.

Thanks for listening to Be Seen Blogging! I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the Yoast SEO plugin with me – it really is my favorite WordPress toy. Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Gratitude Posts and Why They Work

Express Gratitude Through Gratitude Posts When Blogging

Learn the what and why of gratitude posts. Discover how expressing thanks in a blog post can encourage reader engagement and increase product sales in business, all in under ten minutes on the Be Seen Blogging podcast.

Transcript:

Hello, it’s Jen Miller and you are listening to Be Seen Blogging, the podcast where you learn tips and trick for improving your website content, all in under 10 minutes. Today we are going to be discussing Gratitude Posts and Why They Work.

At the year closes in, each of us experiences moments of reflection on the highs and lows of the year. We think about the surprises, the people, the milestones and the experiences for which we are most grateful. For this reason (and many others) gratitude posts resonate with readers. Based on expressing personal feelings, gratitude posts are a key way to connect and mirror life experiences, because even though details may be widely different, we all can relate to stories of triumph, challenge and vulnerability.

Expressing gratitude makes the world a little smaller and each of our relationships more significant. Showing you are thankful for your clients, co-workers or the impact a speaker or friend has had on your life makes you more approachable. Maybe there are a hundred and one little things you’d list that make you grateful. If so, write them up in a blog post. You’ll find that the more of those you share, the more others will want to bring you into their lives.

You may be thinking that gratitude has nothing to do with your business, that it won’t help you in search results and that it has no place on your blog. And if you do, I’d say you are out of touch. Everyone likes to be thanked. Every reader likes to know that you know they follow you. When you reach out through a blog post and acknowledge others it shows you care. If you take it a step further and email the post with a special note to your key contributors – whether they are clients or collaborators – you become more memorable. Be authentic and show some heart – these people will champion you!

Explain the milestones you’ve seen or share a story of how you’ve helped someone as it relates to your industry. Mention names and places, numbers and goals. Write about how you are going to do better in the new year and explain where you thought things went right in the last. Share photos and letters of appreciation you’ve received and how those made you feel. You’ll find that once you start, the words will flow. I’ve had some clients use this type of post as the groundwork script for creating a video, too. You’ll find that your audience will appreciate every word and that it will change you, too.

I love when my clients come back to me with stories of how they met someone new because of a blog post. I especially love when clients share a gratitude post and call me explaining that it helped them connect with someone who they hadn’t spoken with in years. I’ve had this experience myself, so I know it works.

Last year a friend of mine suggested I write up a post on gratitude and it prompted my post, Finding Gratitude in Simplicity. I found myself flooded with phone calls and emails – from new, current and past clients and friends. I’m telling you these posts really work! An added bonus is that they will make you reflect on the goodness in your life.

Gratitude plays a big role in my life. As a business owner I am responsible for the livelihood of our staff. Need Someone To Blog has grown at an incredible rate in the last 3 years and as we’ve grown our staff has increased and flourished, in more than business.

Lives have been changed.

Some team members have gotten married. Others have announced babies and advanced degrees on the way. Others have found writing as a tool for focusing as they’ve gone through hard personal times. One of our writers took a leave of absence to serve in the Peace Corps in Africa and has experienced life in a way that few can understand. Reading Chris’ posts has given me a greater appreciation for sacrifice and for my own freedoms.

Life isn’t easy but as a team we have been blessed. It has been an amazing year for all of us and I am grateful to have witnessed it.

I started this podcast not knowing what it would bring and have been shocked by the opportunities it has given me. I am grateful to my business coach, Darin, who encouraged and pushed me to launch Be Seen Blogging even when I didn’t feel “ready.” I am grateful to you, my listeners, for downloading episodes and sharing them with your friends. Because of you, my podcast has reached far beyond what I could have imagined. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve connected with many new clients due to the podcast launch and I thank you for that!

I’m grateful to live in a country where I have a voice that can expressed and that I have opportunity to live the values that I choose. My family and friends bring me joy. Life is good most days. Now it’s your turn, what are you grateful for? Who can you thank? Start writing it down and I’ll catch up with you next week (unless I hear from you before)! You can reach me on Twitter at jenblogs4u or on through NeedSomeonetoBlog.com Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

The Importance of Post Conference Blog Posts

Capture the Moment in Post-Conference Blog Posts

Discover methods for creating post conference blog posts that are worth reading! Utilize the topics of the conference to expand and share your knowledge. Your posts create resources on your website on relevant, trending topics, making it even more valuable.

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jen Miller your host on Be Seen Blogging, the podcast where you get ideas, tips and tricks on ways to improve your website content in under 10 minutes. On episode #15, today’s episode, we are going to cover the Importance of Post Conference Blog Posts.

If you have your own website, chances are that you are pretty involved in your cause, group, industry or business. As such, you likely attend conferences, summits, Meetups or some other type of influential get-together. Writing about these on your blog can be a golden opportunity. Why? you ask. Because they show that you were in the right place at the right time, they demonstrate that you are ever-learning and that you care and want to excel in your field. Plus, conference bring new speakers, topics and keywords into your world… and your website.

A conference may spark several blog posts – however even one will build your authority and provide new keywords for which your website can be seen.

What are the important elements to include in this type of blog post? Photos and a recap in your words. Don’t quote the program on inline description, show up to the workshops and listen to the speakers. Tweet out comments you like so you can reference them later or take notes. AND get a picture or multiples photos from the presentations, of you with fellow attendees or of anything you feel will add color and enthusiasm to your blog post.

Make sure you have permission to include the photo before taking it to protect yourself from future issues. This applies to video as well.

Before going to the conference – schedule out time to write the post – whether it’s later that night or the next day. Do not let too much time pass or you start to lose relevancy and interest.

At the conference listen in for related materials you might want to add to your post – slide decks, websites and other resources. When taking photos, try to position yourself so that the room looks well-represented. If you can’t see an audience, your readers might wonder if people really showed up.

Speaking of that, if a keynote speaker shares statistics you find valuable such as the number of people in attendance, write about them! And ask someone in the room what they thought of the talk, people love to be quoted and it adds authenticity to your post as well. Before publishing, check social media profiles and hashtags used for the event – you may find other great material that can be added as links in your own post.

As far as what to write – that depends on your note taking abilities. Great notes make for great posts. Share your experience or aha moments as it relates to the topic. Share ideas you may have overheard in the group discussion.

Above all share interesting material.

No one really wants to know the speaker lineup after the event is over – what they want to know is the most valuable information gained. You may find that asking a question of the speaker following the talk brings you unique content and if so, sprinkle that in as well.

I recently spoke at a WordPress event in Orange County and I loved having people approach me afterwards with questions, comments and gratitude and seeing others share their experience on social media. You can bet I will remember those people! So don’t be intimidated! I know you’ll have the same experience when you reach out to speakers at your conferences, too.

As a recap, Pick your top 5 highlights and any other that keep coming to mind and only write about those. Remember that sideline conversations and rehashed overused topics provide little value to your reader.

Consider embedding a survey or poll in your post to find out what people learned in other sessions. You can do this using your own form with solutions like jotform or wufoo or if you have WordPress website there are a variety of plugins you can use,es. like Gravity Forms or Caldera Forms. I’ve even seen people use services such as Survey Monkey to collect such information.

The idea is to generate interest – to get people talking and responding to your post. When you start the conversation, you become a resource.

I hope that listening to Be Seen Blogging has helped you to become that resource – whether to your readers or to your team. I’m Jen Miller and I’m excited to share tidbits of what I do everyday with you, all in under 10 minutes. Please review the iTunes and let me know that I am adding value for you. Thank you. Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Will Blogging Boost my eCommerce Website Sales

Listen to the Be Seen Blogging Podcast by Jen Miller

Understand the tie between blogging and eCommerce website sales in this interview with Scott Buscemi, founder of Luminary, an eCommerce agency based in Los Angeles.

Transcript:

Hi, welcome to Be Seen Blogging. I’m your host, Jen Miller, and today’s episode #14 Will Blogging Boost my eCommerce WebsIte Sales? includes blogging ideas that go beyond eCommerce so listen in even if you don’t have a shop yourself! I’ve had some calls recently about whether there is value to adding blog posts to an eCommerce website. Intrinsically I’m sure you already know the answer is yes, but I thought it might be helpful to explain why to anyone who might be wondering this same thing… and point you in the direction of where you can get more advice.

So on today’s show I’m going to run through some reasons why you need to be blogging on your eCommerce site and then you’ll get to listen in on a conversation I recently had with Scott Buscemi, founder of Luminary, an eCommerce consultancy company in Los Angeles.

So, first off, let’s go to the why of blogging on an eCommerce site.

The number one reason is you need traffic to your site and blog posts engage potential customers.

The number two reason is your competition is probably not taking the time to do it!

The third reason is that the basics of search engine optimization or SEO are that you need to add keywords into your site so that search engines know what it is about.

Your blog is a natural way to do this. Each blog post builds your site with a new page that will be indexed and categorized by topic, plus other vendors and customers may link to your posts or share them, further enhancing the ROI for that blog post.

Need ideas on topics for your eCommerce blog?

Write on a challenge your readers face or answer a question you’ve been asked by one of your customers. Don’t be afraid to get personal about how you may have experienced something similar – readers love to share in your experience!

Speaking of this, a behind the scenes post is always fun – for you and your reader! Disclose secrets about your business, specific products or the industry at large. Include a video of your warehouse or employees packaging a box to be mailed with care. Use this type of post to get personal.

Tell recent client testimonials and your reaction or response to getting them – again this adds a human touch to your eCommerce shop, as do tutorials on how to use your products, which show you care.
Reveal how you got started and what changes your business has made over however many years to better serve your clients. This is an excellent post to write when you are rolling out new systems to make the customer experience better.

Sharing yourself or your team in your blog posts builds trust in your company. It gives people more to hold on to than “Fast Shipping” or “high quality,” it makes your business real and it gives people and publications a reason to repeat your story and will eCommerce repeats, whether they are sales or visitors is always a bonus!
With that in mind let’s turn to Scott Buscemi, an eCommerce consultant who focuses on helping clients build their brands on the web and recognizes the importance of being human in eCommerce and business.

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Writing Profiles as Posts

Listen to the Be Seen Blogging Podcast by Jen Miller

Everyone like to be a star and that is the goal when you write profiles as posts. In doing so you create content that will be shared well beyond your own website!

Transcript:

Hi! Welcome to Been Seen Blogging, the podcast that gives you tips and tricks to make your blog more effective, in under than 10 minutes. I’m your host, Jen Miller and I’m excited to see that you tuned in today. In our last 2 episodes of Be Seen Blogging I discussed the importance of 2 specific blog post types, the how to post and the listicle. Today we’ll be discussing a 3rd type, one that I often suggest for locally based businesses and individuals, known as Profiles as Posts.

Every blog and website has its own feel and audience, so engagement can often depend on the type of post you write.

If you write as a national figure or company, posts based on locality may not apply unless you are writing about a trending news topic in a specific community. However if you write for a business that relies on readers in a certain community, you’ll have more success in making connections with potential users of your service when you localize your posts. An added benefit to this is that many search engine algorithms favor searches based on area, allowing you to rank better in your community for keywords that are relevant to local search. So if your business and customers are in Flower Mound, Texas, your posts should mention it!

One way we help our clients do this is through profile posts. We research and/or interview people and places in their community and write about them on the blog.

We generally focus on unusual or well-loved businesses or people, a trending cafe or politician, a distinguished teacher or favorite museum or a business that is having an event for the entire community.

There are a few reasons why this type of post is successful – it’s local and familiar, it’s relatable and interesting and it’s extremely shareable.

The first reason is that its familiar – readers recognize the name of a restaurant, business or local leader in the headline and pause to click to read more. This is a technique that community publications often use to get people talking and you can use it too! Focus on showing what the business or person being profiled is like rather than providing a narrative by involving the senses: sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste in your post. The more your reader identifies with, the longer they will engage in the post and the more they will connect with the website in general.

The second is that is relatable. If you find the topic interesting, chances are other people will too. If the person or place you are writing about recently had an event that is newsworthy, play that up as well. When possible, get additional perspectives and quotes to add depth to your post.

The third reason that this type of post is a success is that it is interesting and sharable. The goal of the post is to paint your subject using words. You want to share the essence of who or what you are writing about. If it’s a local business, show their involvement in the community or how their unique method redefines an industry. If it’s restaurant, share specific menu favorites and discuss the ambiance and mood of the environment and level of service.Discover what motivates the person or business owner to operate in that particular town. All of these create an interesting post that begs to be shared visually on the blog, in social media and by word of mouth.

At the beginning of this podcast I mentioned research. Use community guides and reviews to find topics of interest if they are not readily obvious. Ask friends about some of their favorite local venues or people they would like to know more about. Do your background research and then follow up with questions. Oftentimes you’ll make friends with the subject of your posts simply because they are excited that you already know something about them.

Through my lifetime I’ve had opportunity to interview many people – from the local grocery store owner to world leaders – and each has an inspiring story to tell. The interview is all about asking the right initial questions and then really listening to the answers and creating a conversation that builds on them. The post is about pulling the best parts out and really highlighting the individual or company in an unusual way and tone that tells their story. It’s all about the details.

I’ve been told time and time again that I ask really good questions. And maybe it’s true, because I do prepare for interviews by considering why I am writing the story and who will be reading it. But honestly I think that what is seen as me asking good questions is more of a development of conversation. My initial questions may be written down by they are only a guide to watch the story unfold. Every interviewer needs to be able to modify and transition through topics and that is a skill you will gain as you continue to write profile posts. Be careful to wait for the answer and to listen and ask rather than summarize – that’s when you get the best material for your story.

Here are some questions to consider as guidelines to get you started:

  • How did you get started?
  • Were there specific qualifications needed?
  • Before doing this, what did you do?
  • How do you see your role in the community?
  • What do you value most in life?
  • What would you say your greatest challenge/success has been?
  • Where do you see yourself/your business in 5 years?
  • To whom do you owe your success?
  • What should we have talked about today that didn’t come up?

In my experience those questions lead to many more and produce stories worth telling. Please let me know if you have questions that you like to use when interviewing. You can reach me on Twitter at Jenblogs4u or through my website at NeedSomeoneToBlog.com. I hope you found today’s Be Seen Blogging podcast on profiles as posts worthwhile and look forwarding to hearing from you! Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business

Quick Content – the Value of Listicles

Listen to the Be Seen Blogging Podcast by Jen Miller

In the need for quick content, look no further than listicles! A top 10 or longer list is quick to pull people in, especially when written on a topic that grabs interest. Have fun with these posts and you’ll find they add very valuable content to your website.

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jen Miller host of Be Seen Blogging, the podcast where you get ideas, tips and tricks on ways to improve your website content in under 10 minutes. On today’s episode #12, entitled, Quick Content – the Value of Listicles, we’ll be looking into why it’s important to include list-focused blog posts on your website and the basics of pulling them together.

Commonly referred to as listicles, a list based blog post typically presents text and images in either a numbered or bullet point style. Lists make learning easy. I remember the numbered spelling texts I had to take as a kid. If you’re anything like me you did great when the teacher read the words in the numbered list on the test – having those numbers helped me to order and remember the spelling. When I had teachers who liked to mix the order up, it was definitely more challenging to take those tests. Our brains like order and lists draw upon that to help organize content so that it makes sense and helps the reader feel comfortable.

You’ll see listicles on sites like Buzzfeed or Mashable and I’m sure you’ll remember the Top Ten lists from David Letterman and the Late Show way back when. Many authors use lists to create an outline as they write books. Lists can be used on every platform to help engage an audience and really, they should be included on every website, including yours!

It’s a fun trend and a form of content that is easy to read, remember, quote and share. Many listicles are opinion based as their point is to entertain. I’d suggest you focus on making your list oriented posts funny and accurate so that they show personality while still building your authority. Often times you’ll find that your lists may write themselves and if so, use that extra time to find just the right add-ins (images, videos, sub headings and amusing gifs) to deliver more punch to your piece.

Here are some other tips to follow when pulling together your listicle:

Make your headline fun. Use it to draw attention. The goal is to bring the spotlight to your list so choosing a funny, questionable and universal topic is important and must be highlighted in the title. Use a number in your title. I find that odd numbers seem to attract more visitors.

There are numbers that are more attractive than others so choose one that seems to fit your audience.

I remember when I first started in website project management. As part of the service, I would need to set up social media accounts. Often I wouldn’t know the client’s personal information and one day I asked my sister, how should handle entering birthdates – every channel wants them? She thought for a moment and then said 29. Jen, she said, everyone wants to be 29 so just subtract that from the current year and use today’s date. We laughed and I implemented that strategy. Numbers are important to people, so use them!

Number your listicle to make it easier for people to reference your points and remember how many you had. If you number your lists, it makes long form content seem more snackable. Rather than leaving the post because the length seems overwhelming, readers can scan it and read the numbers that they are most interested in and then bookmark it to return. And, if you make the commitment to go long on the post, then make sure you have plenty to offer. A long form list should have at least 33 points to call upon, while a short form post can be kept to under 7.

Visuals such as gifs and videos can be used to break up your content and really they can deliver the point much in most cases and related quotes can add flavor to your post too.

Linton Weeks NPR article 10 Reasons Why We Love Making Lists broke down why lists are so enticing to us as humans. His article was of course, in a list format – so I wanted to share it with you.

1. Lists bring order to chaos.
2. Lists help us remember things
3. Most lists are finite.
4. Lists can be meaningful.
5. Lists can be as long or as short as necessary.
6. Making lists can help make you famous. He noted that Benjamin will long be remembered for his lists.
7. The word “list” can be tracked back to William Shakespeare, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
8. Lists relieve stress and focus the mind.
9. Lists can force people to say revealing things.
10. Lists can keep us from procrastinating.

So with that in mind, it’s time to make your own list. What topics should you feature in your listical posts on your blog? Thank you for tuning in to today’s podcast. I’d love to know your thoughts! Please reach out to me on Twitter @jenblogs4u, through my website at NeedSomeoneToBlog.com or by leaving a review at iTunes or Stitcher. Talk to you next week!

Posted in Blog, Podcast Business
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