Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

Is blogging really good for my company? Or just a buzz word?

Broaden your internet marketing program, increase your website’s value, and make yourself more visible to search engines… all at once! Business blogs can deliver all of this and more.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a frequently updated website featuring news, commentary, advice or insight. Blogs are published using third-party content management systems, which makes them simple to manage – even for beginners. Blog content is usually displayed in reverse chronological order (newest post at the top) and can be easily categorized by the author(s).

The Benefits of Blogging

Business blogs are becoming popular for a number of reasons. Blogs have a user-friendly publishing interface, so companies often update their blogs more frequently than their regular website. Some of the most popular business blogs get updated once or twice a day. In addition to keeping readers coming back, this also improves search engine optimization by adding fresh content to your online business presence.

Step 1 – Set up your blog

Ask an employee or hire a firm to install third-party blogging software onto your web host and test it for proper operation. Be sure that you use a software that allows you to customize your business blog with your logo and colors. You may not be able to get the blog to completely match your website. Think of it as an opportunity to create a new online look for your company. It is good for the blog to have you logo and similar colors to your website, but you have a chance to give your blog its own look!

Step 2 – Learn how to Blog

You should be given access to a user-friendly management center where you can log in and begin publishing immediately. If you feel that you don’t have the time to do so, consider assigning this task to an employee. You should pick someone who can write professionally and understands your business and its products. If you do not have anyone in your company with these skills, hire a marketing firm who can write the blog articles for you.

NOTE: Writing articles for a blog is different from writing articles for a press release. Be sure that you hire someone who understands this!

Blogging is easy. In fact, if you can type an e-mail you can post content to a blog. It really is that simple. However, general business e-mail rules still apply. Do not put anything offensive or off-color in your blog articles. This includes images. Keep your content professional, but still with a familiar voice. You don’t need to write an encyclopedia entry. Don’t capitalize entire lines of text or bold every word that you feel needs emphasis. This is extremely annoying to online readers and they will start to overlook your phrases.

Step 3 – Blog

Once you’re comfortable with your blog, you can post content on a regular basis. You’ll actually be growing your website with quality news and information – good for your readers, and good for the search engines too.

Pick at most three key phrases in every post and link them to three different pages on your website that match the phrases. This gives you a chance to create a legitimate linking campaign on the internet. If you will look above, you will see that I chose three phrases and linked them to pages on our company website. I didn’t just choose random pages. I chose pages that match the key phrases. Internet users dislike it when you link a phrase to a web page that does not match the phrase. This might get your blog blocked from ever being used by that user and you will have lost a possible future client. So don’t try to trick the reader.

What to Blog

Stumped over what to write about? Here are some ideas that you can always fall back on.

  • New product or service
  • Upcoming event
  • New hire
  • Awards
  • Spotlight on a client or employee

The topics are endless. Anything that is news in your company can become news on your blog!

Get Started!

Blogging is easy and can bring a valuable resource to your company. Give it some consideration. Look at some of the other blogs out there and see how they are being used. This may be something that you add to your website that gives you the edge over your competitors!

Learn More

If you would like to talk to a marketing firm about helping you to set up a blog for your site, consider contacting Intra-Focus, Inc. Their friendly staff has a great deal of experience with blogs and would happy to help you realize your blog possibilities.

Why Are My Rankings So Bad? (What to expect when you purchase SEO.)

Each day, millions of people turn to internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to find what they’re looking for. At this very moment, there’s a good chance that many of your ideal prospects are using search engines to find the exact products or services you provide. The question is — are they finding you? That’s where search engine optimization comes into play.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the act of improving a website for better visibility among major search engines. From a business standpoint, the goal of SEO is to help your ideal prospects find your website, products and services.

A Good Approach to SEO

A competent SEO firm should take a “holistic” approach to search engine optimization. Instead of relying on any one tactic, they should incorporate a number of proven strategies to give you longer-lasting results. They should also provide a managed service that focuses on steady, long-term improvements in your search engine visibility.

Which Tactics are the Right Ones?

Unfortunately, there is no specific rule as to exactly which strategies work. The world of SEO is in a constant state of flux and what will work for your company might not work for another company.

What Will My SEO Firm Do to Improve My Results?

To start, you should expect your firm to have an extended conference call with you and your team. Perhaps you will meet with them at their office to go over your company, products, services and SEO goals. This gives you a great opportunity to see their office and work environment. If you are not comfortable in their office or, even worse, if they refuse to allow you to come to their building, you should immediately consider going elsewhere! There are SEO firms out there who are in it for the buck and not for your wellfare. Avoid these firms at all costs!

Once you have established the relationship and had your initial interview, you can expect the firm to implement specific SEO actions which may include:

  • Initial website evaluation (structure, content, navigation, etc.)
  • Keyword research to determine the exact phrases your prospects are searching
  • Content development where needed, with a focus on proper keyword usage
  • Link-building campaigns to increase your search engine visibility
  • Submitting your website to directories such as Yahoo and Best of the Web
  • Online article distribution to generate back-links from relevant websites to yours
  • Online press release distribution (with back-links to your website)
  • Constant pursuit of targeted online exposure
  • Regular reports to show how your visibility is improving

Some SEO firms will recommend that you redesign your website. If this is the case, do not panic. Ask them if they can implement some other SEO tactics while the site is being redesigned. This will give you the benefit of immediate optimization results while waiting on the new site, rather than waiting for everything several months down the line. Also be sure to see if the firm offers web design services and have it added to your package. This allows the entire optimization process to be handled by one company rather than being spread to another company that might not have SEO experience. You don’t want to spend the money on a new website that you may have to redo in a few months.

Your first reaction may be “This company is just trying to make another buck by selling me a new website.” Don’t jump to that conclusion. A good SEO firm SHOULD tell you if you need a new website if it is indeed a necessity. The majority of websites are not built to meet good SEO strategies. It is extremely probable that your website was not originally built to optimize your online presence. However, if the SEO company’s web design department is below par, then by all means, look for another design company that will work with the SEO firm to give you an outstanding website!

Don’t forget that you should try to redesign your webite every 1 to 2 years, so this is a great opportunity to have a fresh look and to update your content.

How Long Will This Take?

To install strong optimization features for your online presence, you should expect at least a six month process. This means that your SEO firm will monitor your website, update keywords, submit your site to relevant directories, write and release pertinent articles and make adjustments where they need to be made along with other tasks that they feel will help your results. It is this long process that will give you the best success. Some of the tactics will show you immediate results, but don’t be surprised if four months down the road, your SEO firm is still hard at work for your benefit.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Wikipedia.org defines Black Hat SEO as “methods to try to improve rankings that are disapproved of by the search engines and/or involve deception.” This is a practice that has helped unethical companies make a quick buck while detroying the online reputation of some honest businessmen who didn’t realize they were being swindled. Black hat SEO will most likely result in your website being banned from major search engines, especially Google! You do not want this to happen. It takes between 3 months to 1 year to get your site listed on Google once it has been banned. Make sure that your SEO firm does not do the following:

  • Create a redirect file that will send a user to a different page
  • Hide text on a page
  • Hide text in the source code
  • Create thousands of nonsense pages that do not have original content
  • Stuffing your content with keywords
  • Creation of web pages that contain content that isn’t relevant to your business
  • Links in your content to web pages that have no affiliation with your business

Trust me… if Google makes your website invisible, your online business will plummet. It’s just not worth it.

Get Started Today!

The key to search engine success is to start an SEO program early and sustain it over time. It takes time to “climb the charts,” so it’s best to get a head start on the competition. If you would like to talk to a company who has experience with SEO tactics and implementation, contact Intra-Focus, Inc. and ask about a custom SEO program for your company’s website!

Get Noticed Online

Publishing press releases can support your internet marketing and PR program in several ways. Creating an entire online PR campaign opens up lesser known opportunities and also generate leads to direct inquiries from the media and prospective customers. Use the following steps to help you realize your online PR campaign.

Step 1 – The Press Release

The first step is to identify a topic for your press release. Popular topics include new or improved products, relocations or new locations, website or blog launches, or any other unique stories associated with your company. Be sure that you have a competent person create a professional press release that identifies your target audience. Be aware that writing for print media and writing for the web can differ. If you do not have an employee that can meet these needs, you should hire a marketing firm to write the article for you. You might be surprised at how little it will cost for this service!


TARGET AUDIENCE QUIZ

Which of these sentences would appeal to men aged 16 – 20.

#1. The new Speedster skateboard uses ionized paint to anticipate the retroactive artistic styles of master artisans of the past century.

#2. The new Speedster skateboard has a retro look that will appeal to your senses.

Both of these sentences say the same thing and are professionally written, but the first sentence will probably cause the target audience to immediately stop reading. If you do not have someone in your business to handle these duties, you should consider hiring a marketing firm that has a copywriter. You might be surprised how little you will have to pay for this service.


NOTE: Do not finalize the press release until it has been checked for spelling and grammar by someone other than the copywriter. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes!

Step 2 – Releasing to the Media

Once you have the press release finalized, it is time to release it to the media for release in their publication or electronic medium. Send your PR to prweb.com and prnewswire.com. These websites are two of the most sophisticated online press release services around and many media outlets use these two websites to find news. Your article might just get picked up by dozens of newspapers! By combining your marketing firm’s knowledge and experience with the powerful distribution networks of sites like PRweb, you can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.

You should also send your press release to your local newspaper and any local television or radio stations. Make sure that they have good contact information for you in case they would like to use you in a feature story!

Step 3 – The E-campaign

At this point, you should strongly consider hiring a marketing firm to handle the creation of your e-campaign. If you used a copywriter to write the press release, see if they will also set up the e-campaign. (Better yet, try to get everything in one package!) The e-campaign should be attractive and eye-catching and have at least one link to a landing page. Make sure that the landing page contains a form for lead generation or, at the very least, a button for people to contact you.

An important item that is largely ignored is the size of the e-campaign. If you choose to send the entire press release in the e-mail, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels. This will fit in most e-mail clients. If you choose to send a summary of the article or an eye-catching graphic that will go to the press release, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels and no taller than 395 pixels.

Your marketing firm should also have a system that will track how many people viewed and clicked on the e-mail. Be sure to ask for reports. This is an excellent opportunity to not only judge the success of your e-campaign, but also to remove any defunct e-mail addresses from your customer database.

Step 4 – Updating Your Website

If you don’t have a news page on your existing website, you are missing out on a great opportunity to add fresh content and to expand your profile on search engines. Get your news section built and add your first article.

If you do have a news page, get your article up there with a dateline at the top and contact information at the bottom.

Be sure to link no more than five phrases in your article to other pages in your website. This is called an optimized press release and will be beneficial to your search engine optimization efforts.

Step 5 – To Blog or Not to Blog

This step is optional, but can bring great rewards to your online presence. If you have a blog, post your press releases with target phrases linked back to your existing website. Optimized press releases get a lot of visibility in the major search engines. They can also generate new links back to your website, as other sites republish your release. These "backlinks" play an important role in the overall search engine visibility of your website.


INDUSTRY EXAMPLE – Online PR Campaign (Intra-Focus, Inc.)

An online PR campaign was recently created for Jimmy Jacobs Custom Homes and their work on Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition. In addition to electronic press releases, they also created a special website to generate buzz about the project.

>> Read the press releases
>> View an example of an e-press release
>> See the website
>> Visit the main website


The world is becoming more internet focused by the minute and you need to stay on top of this technology wave or your company will drown. Don’t wait! Get proactive and start your online PR campaigns today!

Learn More
If you are interested in getting a quote from a marketing firm or just finding out more about the process, you should contact Intra-Focus, Inc. Intra-Focus has a wealth of experience writing press releases, optimizing them for the search engines, and distributing them online. They can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.