Author Archives: smg

Writing a blog

5 Steps to Build a Better Business Blog

Stop making excuses or procrastinating; if you’ve thought about posting regular business blogs or you’d like to sharpen up your skills and increase your posting frequency, the time is NOW!

Why are blogs so important? They:

  • – Improve SEO so you’re easier to find
  • – Give businesses clout to position you as an industry expert
  • – Increase leads
  • – Open lines of communication with customers

Learn how to write a blog for your business with these 5 steps:

Blog Target Audience

Marketing communication is all about your consumer: Who are they, what do they like, what are their goals, hobbies, and interests? Find answers to these questions and formulate customer personas to more effectively connect with your audience.

A woman standing in a crowd waving.

This will help you choose topics, guide your writing style and find the best avenues to promote your content. You spend valuable time writing excellent content, so make sure it speaks to the leads you are trying to generate!

How to choose a blog topic

You have identified who you want to speak to, now it’s time to choose something to write about. Keep your business blog conversational and not entirely product- or service-oriented.

Potential clients want a solution to a problem – not to be bombarded with messages about your product or service. Keep your content focused on topics that offer useful information that adds value to the lives of your customers.

A person drawing black business graphics.

 

How to write a blog headline and intro

Content is surely king these days when it comes to a marketing strategy. We live in a Game of Thrones-esque world where there are more kings than you can count, with more and more popping up each day. In order to conquer the content world, you will need an epic headline and an intro that not only grabs attention but keeps the readers wanting more. Using numbers, keywords, and exciting verbiage is key – tell them why they must read this article!

How to organize a business blog

You’ve figured out the who and the what, now it’s time to write, organize, and condense your content so it is easy to read and retain.

Start with research. You’re well versed in the products and services your business offers, but it’s also helpful to research what others are doing and search for industry updates. This allows you to see how you stand out from the competition and helps you find new, unique, and interesting ways you could connect with potential clients or solve their problems.

A person typing on a laptop, the screen shows a WordPress blog.

After research, organize your information for optimal readability. Try breaking up the information into 3 to 5 sub-topics that would be most beneficial to the reader. This helps to keep your blog full of valuable information but organized in a way that the viewer can easily retain.

Remember to keep it short and sweet. Your blog doesn’t need to be a novel with every last feature and benefit, just something to answer potential clients’ questions and get them interested. A good starting point to go by is a maximum of 1,000 words but remember every blog goal is unique so do what works best for you.

Posting and promoting a blog

Once you’re done writing, the fun begins! It’s time to take a break, delete the blog from your brain for a bit (at least a few hours!), and focus on something else. Giving yourself a little time to refocus will allow you to have fresh eyes and reassess what you have written, reorganize, and edit better.

It is paramount that your content flows well and doesn’t contain grammar and spelling errors, which can reduce the blog’s credibility. Always allow an outside set of eyes with grammar and spelling strengths to take a second look and make necessary proofreading corrections.

Two people sharing an Apple laptop.

After that, you are ready to post and promote. Writing your blog is only half of the equation; in order for potential clients to see and benefit from your content, it is vital that you choose where the best place to reach your target demographic is, both online and through your active social media platforms.

We get it – building and writing a business blog can seem like an extremely daunting task when you aren’t one of the few who loves to write, but not having a blog can be a business marketing killer in this modern research- and consumer-driven market.

Let us check this task off your to-do list with our team of professional content creators, who love to write engaging and shareworthy content. Meet the team today by getting hold of us at 701.757.2000.

Typography

Content is King and Typography is its Crown

The importance of content to your marketing is incredible. Well-written and eye-catching copy attracts and sustains your audience. “Content is king” is undoubtedly true in the world of marketing, serving as one of the most essential components to a solid marketing and SEO strategy for your company.

So what will help get your content noticed? How can you get your customers to look twice at your website or your direct mail piece? Well, if content is king, than typography is its crown. Typography is the art or process of printing with type. In other words, making your copy look bigger, brighter, and better with careful selection and planning of typefaces, point size, line length, leading, etc (and we’re not talking about switching your font to Comic Sans here!)…

Typography is powerful, and learning more about what it can accomplish is invaluable to your marketing efforts.

Check out your not-so-typical history lesson by watching The History of Typography.

 

 

 

 

 

#RunHogWild

#RunHogWild with Team SMG!

It’s that time of year, when we invite you to #RunHogWild with our crew! Join us on September 22nd and 23rd for the Stray Media Group 10K at the 6th annual Grand Forks Marathon. It’s shaping up to be the best year yet, with the great swag they’re known for; fast, fun, flat courses; and local hospitality that can’t be beat. Whether you are with a group of friends or pounding the pavement solo, our 10K distance is the perfect course for runners of all levels, ages, shapes and sizes.

Register for the Stray Media Group 10K Now!

Don’t miss our booth at the SCHEELS Health & Fitness Expo and packet pickup on Friday, September 22nd, from 10AM-7PM. We have some awesome prize drawings and sweet photo ops awaiting your arrival!

#RunHogWild with Stray Media Group!

We’re pumped to see you out on the course, so register today or at the Expo! Looking for the latest news for the race weekend? We’ve got you covered here.

Why 'Good Enough' is Never Good Enough

Good Enough Syndrome

Ahh yes, the ever-present ‘good enough syndrome’ as we like to call it. What exactly is it, and why should your business steer clear? We’re going to take on the subject head-first in this installment of ‘Powered By Creativity’.

Good Enough Syndrome

When people say “it’s good enough,” to us marketers it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Why? Because we see the potential in businesses and where they could be if they would ditch this attitude and begin settling for nothing less than excellence. When we all explore possibilities outside of what we’ve always done and strive for excellence – that’s when great things happen.

BRAND IDENTITY

Made up of every component your business has, from your name and logo to your tagline, “brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers,” (Investopedia). Just like how you decide to present yourself to the world in your day-to-day life, businesses must also step into their metaphorical closet and decide what they want to be perceived as by those who encounter them on a daily basis.

Here is where it can be extremely dangerous to come down with a case of the ‘good enoughs’. Compromising how your brand is represented to the world – whether it’s a poorly designed website that doesn’t work or a print ad that lacks a call to action – is a missed opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers.

While solidifying brand identity is no easy feat, it is essential to define who you are as a business and what you want people to identify with regarding your brand. Is your business more of the sleek suit and tie variety? Or perhaps a more fun, happy-go-lucky vibe? Pick a lane and stick to it, all the while ensuring your entire marketing strategy presents your unique identity to the world in a professional, well-thought-out manner.

CONSISTENCY

How do you ensure your brand is represented as it should be at all times? Consistency, consistency, consistency. Quality control is huge here – every single item, from your business card to your storefront sign, needs to exude the look and feel of your brand. Regardless of what material or medium it is, it needs to be made clear to any person who sees it that it’s your business – without making them think twice.

Consistency and quality control are essentials to a solid marketing strategy

We often see people develop the ‘good enough syndrome’ when it comes to consistency. Perhaps you are on a tight deadline and choose to go with the “free” graphic design services that tabloid offered you, even though they don’t know anything about your brand (learn why this service is never actually “free”). Or maybe you’re trying to save some budget dollars and have your niece build you a website for free (seriously, never actually “free”).

Whatever the case may be, it all comes down to this – is it serving the brand you’ve worked so hard to build in the right way? Is it up to the brand standards you’ve worked so hard to set up from the beginning? If it’s anything short of excellent, it’s NOT good enough.

USER EXPERIENCE

Why is all of this such an important part of your brand? It all comes down to the relationships and engagements you make with your audience. After all, that’s what marketing is all about – connecting with people and communicating what you have to offer that will improve, simplify or enhance their lives.

Marketing is all about connecting with people at the right time and place.

If nothing on your website works, your billboard has a fuzzy picture with no call to action, or your logo hasn’t been updated in 10 years – this all affects the way a user experiences your brand. Consumers are smarter than ever these days. When you say, “ahhh, I guess that’s going to have to be good enough,” people notice that and their perception of your brand gets knocked down a couple of pegs.

Opt to have marketing pieces so undeniably excellent – on par with brand identity, consistent messages, beautiful design – that they can’t help but see your dedication to the brand and consider you a trustworthy source that deserves their business.

Find yourself in these predicaments from time to time, but not sure where to begin? No sweat; that’s what we’re here for. We love this stuff and have an eye for where your business can be. All it takes is some T.L.C. for your brand and a dedication to striving for nothing short of excellent. Give us a call to discuss your marketing strategy and how we can help.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing 101

What is inbound marketing, and why should you care about it? Inbound is the new, shiny tool in the marketing shed when it comes to sharing with others what your company is all about and why they should care about you. In the digital world we live in, businesses can’t afford to give inbound marketing the side eye; rather, you should opt to embrace this immensely powerful tool to give your company’s marketing strategy a boost.

The 2-Way Difference

This form of marketing focuses on a two-way communication system, engaging and informing consumers about your products or services while simultaneously receiving information from said audience. Inbound is all about establishing and maintaining connections with customers, rather than trying to give them a hard sell like the traditional methods (although both have their place in your strategy).

Customers want solutions to their problems. Inbound marketing strategies give the people what they want by providing answers to questions, innovative solutions to problems, and rich content that engages an audience and leaves them with a delectable taste in their mind’s mouth when it comes to your business.

The Mediums

Inbound is chock-full of digital mediums to explore in your marketing strategy. A few of our key favorites we like to get people started with are:

Websites are an absolute must if you want to make it in today’s marketplaces. Without a dependable online hub for your audience to visit, your company will quickly be forgotten and consumers will travel to the next competitor that has what they’re looking for.

Blogs are an exceptional way to help engage customers, build your credibility, and do some essential SEO in the background to boot. Providing rich content that solves problems positions you as a credible, go-to source and leaves an audience coming back to you for more. Plus, blogs are great for building a strong SEO foundation to help you stand out and be more easily found by potential customers.

Social Media presence is a vital ingredient in the well-rounded marketing cocktail, too. It offers wonderful platforms to receive customer feedback and to showcase what you have to offer, and even allows you to share that hilarious meme your followers will get a kick out of.

Use It or Lose It

What makes inbound marketing even more wonderful? Analytics. These digital avenues provide exceptional data on who is coming to your material, what they’re doing during visits, and so much more. Wielding this information to your benefit is made easier than ever before with fabulous tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. The more you know about your audience, the better you are able to give them what they want. It’s a win-win.

Ready to get your inbound marketing strategy up to snuff? Our team can help get you started in the right direction. Give us a call today for more information, and to set up a time to chat about implementing these innovative solutions into your marketing strategy today.