Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ways to Find New Ideas for Blog Topics

After writing blog post after blog post, you may find yourself struggling to come up with fresh and relevant topics to elaborate on.  However, to keep your audience engaged, you need to continually generate simple yet powerful new content.  Here are some easy ways to find new ideas for your business blog.

Answer customer questions.
Your customers come to you with questions because they see you as a knowledgeable expert in the industry and value your opinion.  It’s likely lots of other people out there have the same questions as your customer.  Those questions you receive are the perfect starting point for a blog post.  There are a couple benefits to this type of post too.  First, you will establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Second, you’ll increase the chances that others will find your blog when searching for this topic and possibly earn yourself some new readers.

Photo via worthofweb.com
Read industry related blogs.
While you don’t want to completely steal other people’s blog posts, reading industry blogs can spark a new idea for a post and you can add ideas of your own to complement it.  If you see a post that you like, take the topic and discuss your own thoughts in relation to it.  Don’t forget to rovide references and data to support your thoughts.

A great way to think of a new blog topic is to write a blog about a recent news story.  When something happens that makes the news, use the event to write a post.  Discuss the possible impact it may have and make a point to add value and provide additional insight to make your post stand out.

Share and discuss Infographics.
Look around for Infographics related to your blog’s focus.  Check sites like Mashable and Pinterest and upload the image, then do a brief write up on it.  You can even create your own Infographic and write a post about it too.  There are lots of reasons why your business should be using Infographics, and this is just one.

Hold an interview.
Instead of scouring online for ideas, seek a customer or thought leader who is willing to help you and discuss industry trends.  Hold a face-to-face interview or send the questions via email and use your response as content for your blog post. Interviews are nice in a lot of ways – they are also a great opportunity to collaborate with others in your industry.

An active blog with fresh content is a great way to boost your business’s bottom line.  Consider these tactics to generate more topics for content.

What techniques do you use to think of new ideas for blog content?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ways to Show Customers You Care in the Digital Age

Customers are the lifeblood of a successful business. Of course – any customer likes to feel appreciated – so it is important to express your thanks.  After all, a solid business is founded on good relationships so showing your clients you’re invested in them is a smart move -- it establishes trust and loyalty, pure and simple.  According to Gartner Group, 80 percent of your company’s future revenue comes from 20 percent of your current customers.  So it’s a must when it comes to customer retention and saying thanks will help you do just that.

Most businesses have the same ideas when it comes to saying thanks to their customers.  Instead of doing what the other businesses do, you need to think outside of the box to make an impression that will draw repeat business.  Here are some ways to show your customers that you care in the digital age:

Use a video to thank them
A brief video is a great way to personally thank your customers.  Address them by name and it will resonate like nothing else.  A personalized video is the equivalent on a handwritten letter in our age of digital everything.  It’s personal and unexpected and truly makes your customer feel as though they are appreciated.
Photo via onthecloud.mycroburst.com

Name drop
Thank your customer individually with a personal message or on your Facebook page.  You can even thank them in your blog or in your company newsletter.  Drop their name and it will let them know you notice them and show them that you value their business.

Brand outside of the box
It is as good of a time as any to be the business known for the cool… anything.  Skip the pens, coffee mugs and mouse pads – they’ve all been seen time and again.  What other ideas do you have?  Chances are anything you want to brand is possible.  If you give away another calendar, it is likely going to be shoved to the back of the drawer with all of the other calendars your customers already have from their dentist office and their plumber.  Brand something your customer will love – and you may even make their Facebook page too.

Handwrite a letter
In the era of digital everything, there is nothing you can do for (nearly) no cost that will make a bigger impact than sitting down and writing a thank you letter. The feeling of opening your mailbox and finding an envelope with a handwritten letter inside is unlike anything else.  Don’t underestimate the power of traditional snail mail – it can be a refreshing change from the world of technology.

You don’t have to do what all of the other businesses do when it comes to showing your sincere thanks to your customers.  Break away from the stale and unimaginative ways of expressing your gratitude and get creative.  You and your employees are likely an untapped spring of resources – you just have to dig beyond the surface to find them.

How do you show your customers you appreciate their business?
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5 Practical Reasons You Should Run Your Business Remotely

Running your company remotely is a feasible and very attractive option for many entrepreneurs.  The technological tools exist to share and collaborate on documents, you can communicate in real time and it’s attainable to meet your deadlines.  There are also many practical advantages.  Here are some reasons you should run your business remotely:

Photo via amistadbonds.com 
Lower startup costs.
This is a no brainer, but a very important advantage.  For a young company, lower overhead costs are a dream come true.  Saving on office rental and running costs allow you to hit the ground running with minimum expenses.  You can use those funds to best develop your product or service and make yourself more competitive.

Purposeful communication.
Not sharing a brick and mortar physical space doesn’t mean less communication. Often it promotes a need for more frequent and purposeful contact.  Without the ability to walk into an employee’s office at any given time or have a talk in the break room means each and every point of contact becomes essential.  Meetings have a new meaning and employees have a mutual respond for one another’s time.

Team quality.
On paper, remote working may seem like you’ll be more relaxed…and it’s a possibility with the right team.  Due to distance from your workforce, it’s essential to make the right hires.  Find a team of people that are disciplined with a strong work ethic. 

Give your employees space.
Space from your employees promotes a sense of trust.  If you have the right team, your employees can feel empowered and produce quality work, even without you breathing down their necks.  Working together, but at a distance encourages employee growth and hopefully they’ll thrive on the responsibility.

Extend your reach.
A business without a localized office gives you the ability to hire employees around the world. A global presence gives your company diversification while allow you to tap into problems with a different mindset and expose your product or serves to more markets.  Through hiring people that can’t commute to an office like working moms, you’ll see different ideas and innovation.

So many entrepreneurs live and breathe their startup. Their passion is the drive of the young business.  Sometimes being up close and personal can lead you to see problems in just one way or approach things from a specific angle.  Having some distance encourage you to look at opportunities differently.  Running your startup remotely is practical and more young entrepreneurs are seeing the undeniable benefits.

What are your thoughts on working remotely?

Lori is a work-at-home mom living in Noblesville, a suburb of Indianapolis.  She is mom to two young children and enjoys spending time watching them grow.  Lori enjoys shopping, spending time with her husband and kids, reading, and traveling.

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