Entries Tagged 'Thursday is Words Day' ↓

Questions to Answer When Telling Your Business Story

Telling the story of your business

Sharing the story of your business with your readers helps “humanize” your company. This is one of the reasons many large corporations began blogging. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what to say about your business, so I’m going to share with you a list of questions to answer.

  • Name of your business – Is there a story behind your business name?
  • Location of your business – Was there a particular reason you chose your location?
  • When did your business open?
  • What type of goods and/or services do you offer and why?
  • What prompted you to begin your business?
  • What is your business’s mission? What inspired you to choose that?
  • What makes your business unique from others in your market?
  • What do your customers like most about your business?
  • What has helped to make your business successful?
  • What is unique about your products and/or services? How do they benefit your customers?
  • What impact has your business had within your local community?
  • What special events do you sponsor or host each year and why?
  • What is your slogan or tagline? Why did you choose that motto?

These questions should help get you started as you share the story of your business. Again, this isn’t something you’ll put all in one blog post or article, but drip feed content about your business by interspersing it within your regular content.

For instance, if you’re writing a story about industry-related travel and something you did or saw on a trip inspired an element of your business, share that snippet of your business’s story within that particular piece of content.

Go through the above list and use the questions to brainstorm ideas for content that will be relevant and useful to your audience but at the same time, shed some light about you and your business. Let them get to know you so they’ll like you and trust you.

So, what about you? Care to answer any of the above questions in the comments section and share with the rest of us?

 

Telling the Story of Your Business

The Story of Your Business
Telling the story of your business is an important element of building an authority blog. I probably use the phrase “Know-Like-Trust” every week (at least!) on this blog, and that’s because it’s such a vital tactic for setting yourself apart from the competition.

Telling your business story isn’t a one-time action.

  • Weave the story of your business throughout your blog posts. Include a little part of frequently.
  • Your business story shouldn’t be told in the beginning-middle-end format from “soup to nuts,” but each time you choose to share part of the story of your business, write that part in beginning-middle-end.
  • For example, when you tell why you picked this particular field to build a business in, share the beginning, middle, and end of the “why” part of your business story in one post (or a series, if it’s a long story).

What part(s) of your business story should you tell?

  • Share who you are. What makes you qualified to do what you do? What life experiences have brought you to this point?
  • Share what it is that you do for your customers and readers. What benefits will they receive by reading your blog and/or doing business with you?
  • Share the “when” of upcoming (or past) events that either have shaped or that you hope will shape your business. Have you learned something at a conference or convention you attended that took you in a different direction? How has that helped (or hurt) your business?
  • Share where you hope to go in your business. What are your goals? How to you plan to attain them?
  • Share why you chose your particular niche. If you’re a novelist, why did you choose to become a novelist? Most why stories are very compelling and inspiring.
  • Share how your readers and customers can help. Make a clear call to action in every blog post and article, whether it’s something as simple as asking them to pass along your post via social media, leave a comment, or if it’s a request for them to buy one of your products or services. Be specific about exactly what they need to do and (if applicable, such as in a purchase or email opt-in) exactly what will happen when they do it.

As you share the story of your business, bring it home for your readers. Let them connect in the “if he/she can do it, I can do it” sort of way. Inspire them. Give them confidence.

Remember, readers read your blog because they want to be like you. Did you ever think about that? So, sharing your story will not only increase the Know-Like-Trust relationship you have with your readers, but it will help them as they work to build their own business.

Photo Credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Selling with Stories

Selling with story

On the recent list of 63 types of blog content, “tell a story” was near the top. Storytelling is vital in marketing, and it should be a regular component in your blog posting. Why sell with stories?

I’ve talked about what bloggers can learn from storytellers before on this blog, but it’s been a while, so, since storytelling is such a powerful tool, we’re revisiting that topic again.

  • Stories help people identify and connect. You want your audience to identify with you so they’ll like you and begin to trust you. When you share that you had the same pain or problem they’re currently facing and how you found the perfect solution, they will become a captive audience.
  • Stories keep people’s attention. Today’s society is rampant with ADD. Maybe not the clinical kind, but at the very least, we’re all so busy and in such a hurry that we’re perpetually distracted. When you launch a blog post with a story, you immediately grasp your reader’s attention. And keep it.
  • Stories are memorable. I’m not great with memory, so I’ve become a compulsive note-taker. My desk is literally covered with sticky notes. I blame information overload (it’s certainly not AGE!). And today’s market struggles with information overload. Facts and statistics are important in marketing and blogging, but use a story to gain your audience’s attention. Our brains process information received through storytelling differently than they do with a bunch of numbers and charts. Tell a memorable story, and then support what you’ve said with the facts.

Before we continue further down the types of content list (we won’t be discussing all 63 in detail, by the way), we’re going to pause on the topic of storytelling and blogging for a while. In the coming weeks on Thursday is Words Day, we’ll talk about what types of stories to share, what information should be included in our stories, and look at some businesses that have effectively used storytelling in their blogging strategy.

Have you read any great stories on a blog lately? If so, please share the link in the comments section.

Finding Great Images for Your Blog

Finding great images for your blog

Last week I posted a list of 63 types of content to create for your blog. I started this creating compelling content kick because, well, because we want to provide great content for our readers plus we want our sites to rank well, right? Since Google has made the whole ranking thing very clear – either provide great relevant content or else – I’m going to stay on the content creation theme.

And that’s a good thing, in my opinion. There are too many cheesy corner-cutting websites out there. With the content-focused ranking algorithm, higher quality sites will rise to the top of the search engine results pages. Hopefully one of those rising star sites will be yours! Besides, good content is just good for blogging.

The first item on the list of 63 was images. I’ve already covered the topic of using pictures on your blog a couple of years ago, but I didn’t go into much detail on that post – it was pretty much just a list of 18 free online image sources. Today I’ll go into a bit more detail about some of the best free online image sources, and I’ll share (and even revisit from that earlier image post I mentioned) some sources.

Why use images on your blog?

Images are a type of content that instantly gets your reader’s attention. The old saying, “a picture’s worth a thousand words” is true. But where can you find great images for your blog?

Morgue File

One of the sites I had on the list I mentioned earlier was Morgue File. It’s a great free stock image source because the files can pretty much be used for any purpose – alter them, reproduce them, use only a part of an image – just be sure to check the license of whichever image you wish to use before doing anything, but for the most part, the images here can be used without attribution.

Stock.xchng

Like Morge File, Stock.xchng has flexible image licenses. But do note that you can’t give away redistribution rights and you have to get permission to use the photos in print media. Check each image’s license for details.

iStockPhoto

This is my favorite stock photo site, although the images are a bit pricey. The site does feature free images every week, so you can build your image library if you take advantage of their free weekly download. The higher the resolution you choose, the more expensive the image will be, but this site has a lot of images to choose from and they are typically excellent quality.

iStockPhoto uses a pre-paid credit system, although you can purchase images individually without buying credits. (They cost more that way.)

Dreamstime

Dreamstime allows you to choose which type of license you need. If you plan to use an image on promotional materials for anything from T-shirts to web templates, then you’ll need the extended license. However, if you’re simply posting an image to your blog, the Royalty Free license will work.

Like iStockPhoto, this site uses a credit system, but the images are typically cheaper than iStockPhoto’s are.

Open Clipart

Clipart is different from photography because it’s created, often through vector drawings. Open Clipart is one of the largest clipart collections on the Internet. The site is open source (community based), so the files are free to use – with no restrictions!

Flickr Creative Commons

Many members of the Flickr community choose to license their images for others to use. Flickr makes it easy for you to sort by the type of license you need, but be sure to read the agreement for the particular image you want to use before using it online or in print.

Google Advanced Image Search

A lot of bloggers do a Google image search and download images without checking the licensing agreement. That isn’t a professional way to manage the images on your blog. You can do an advanced search based on image licenses. Click the “Settings” button on the right hand side of Google Image Search.

Google Advanced Search

Scroll down to the bottom to choose the license type you need:

Google Image Search License Type

Next, type in the keywords to describe what you’re looking for and click “Advanced Search.”

Photo Dropper

Another way to find great images for your blog is by using the WordPress plugin, Photo Dropper. This plugin searches licensable images directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Once you’ve downloaded and activated the plugin, you’ll see the Photo Dropper button appear in your page and post edit screens.

Photo Dropper WordPress plugin

Enter your search term and you’ll see a number of search results displayed. Click the one you like. Be sure to double check the license because the plugin isn’t 100 percent accurate. Next, click “insert into post” and Photo Dropper will “drop” the photo into your post.

Now all you have to do is edit the size if you want, add alt text, links if needed, and add any other style edits you choose.

Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to use Photo Dropper:

Hopefully these eight resources will help you find some great free images to use on your blog.

Until next time,

Happy Blogging!

63 Types of Content to Create for Your Blog

antique typewriter

Since we typically share content ideas on Thursday is Words Day, today I’m posting a list of 63 Types of Content to Create for Your Blog

If you’ve ever struggled with the “What, oh, what shall I blog about?” syndrome, this post will get you started with ideas. Over the next several weeks (or possibly months), we’ll take the items on this list (a few per week) and go into detail about how to use them and where to find good examples and, if applicable, how-to create the content. But for today, I’m just sharing the entire list of 63 types of content to create for your blog – add your own content ideas in the comments so we can go through them in detail in future posts, too:

  1. Images
  2. Man on the Street interviews
  3. A “day in the life” of ___
  4. Rants
  5. Story – the story of your business or your life (or someone else’s story)
  6. Industry trends
  7. Glossary of terms
  8. Product unveiling (video or text with images)
  9. Animated GIFs
  10. Competition analysis
  11. eBooks/PDF reports
  12. Comics and/or cartoons
  13. RSS feed compilations
  14. Livestreaming video
  15. Ads
  16. Embedded tweets
  17. Tutorials (illustrated guides and/or videos)
  18. Event info – reporting, take-aways, etc.
  19. Social media updates
  20. Infographics
  21. Interactive content (Think: Tournament brackets, etc.)
  22. Competitions
  23. Memes
  24. Music videos
  25. Polls
  26. About Us pages (if you think these are boring, take a look at Pixar’s about us.
  27. Controversial content
  28. Collaborative content
  29. Trivia/Factoids
  30. Data graphics (different than infographics)
  31. Humor
  32. Podcasts
  33. Quote collections
  34. Scavenger hunts
  35. Video
  36. Portfolios
  37. Regular old b-flat blog posts (they really don’t have to be boring, though)
  38. Slideshow presentations
  39. User-generated content
  40. Reviews
  41. Guest posts
  42. Contests
  43. Mini-courses (series of posts)
  44. Curated content
  45. Success stories
  46. Reviews
  47. Survey data
  48. Mega lists
  49. Webinars
  50. How-to’s
  51. Testimonials
  52. Articles
  53. FAQs or Q&A’s
  54. White papers
  55. Interviews
  56. Facts and Stats
  57. Interviews
  58. News stories
  59. Case studies
  60. Roundups
  61. Multi-media
  62. Cross-platform
  63. Riddles or Quizzes

There you have it – 63 types of content for your blog. Next Thursday, we’ll start marching down the list so you’ll know exactly how to get the best use out of each of these types of blog content.