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    Steal These Headlines: 35 Blog Post Ideas for Your Local Business

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Building a dynamic web presence through a combination of a website, a dynamic blog or content hub and a consistent social media presence on sites like Twitter and Facebook can help your local business get discovered online by local consumers. To do this effectively, you need a regular, unique, fresh stream of content to fuel your web presence and help generate consumer engagement. That means creating content that search engines and humans love. But generating content ideas can be challenging, not to mention time consuming.  So, we put our content marketing creativity to work for you to generate 35 headline ideas you can  blog about for your local business today!

    Informational & Industry Expertise
    One of the top reasons to create content is to help share your expertise with clients and consumers. For example, a jewelry store could share tips on how to identify a high-quality diamond. Try one of these headline ideas to get you started writing an expertise-driven article:

    1) 5 Effective Ways to (Blank)
    2) What You Need to Know Before Buying Your Next (Product/Service)
    3) 7 Keys to Identifying a Quality (Product/Service)
    4) What Everyone Needs to Know About (Product/Service)
    5) A Beginner’s Guide to (Product/Service)

    How-Tos & Product Info
    Customers enjoy content that helps them get the most out of the product or service they’re buying from you. For example, a spa owner could share tips on how clients can get the best stress relief on the day of a massage. Here are five headlines to spark your imagination:

    6) A Quick Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your (Product/Service)
    7) The Best Way to Maintain Your New (Product)
    8) How to Reduce Stress by Outsourcing (Service)
    9) 5 Easy Ways to Extend the Life of Your (Product/Service)
    10) 3 Steps for Ensuring (Service) Quality

    Customer Testimonials
    Sharing the story of a satisfied customer is one of the best types of content to share with customers or prospects. Not only does it feature your products or services, but it also helps illustrate to readers exactly how your business could help them, too!

    11) How A (Business Name) Customer Accomplished (Desired Outcome)
    12) Customer Spotlight: (Customer Name) Uses (Product/Service) to (Desired Outcome)
    13) Can (Product/Service) Help You (Desired Outcome)? One Customer’s Story
    14) 5 Ways (Product/Service) Helped (Client/Customer) with (Desired Outcome)
    15) They Love Their (Product/Service)! What One Customer Had to Say about (Business Name)

    Promotional & Editorial
    Editorial content is the opinion of the person writing it, and promotional content is essentially an advertising message, so it’s often best to try these kinds of headlines when the business owner or a credentialed expert is the one writing the content. Here are some headline ideas for creating promotional articles:

    16) Why Everyone Needs (Benefit of Service or Product) And How (Product/Service) Can Help
    17) What’s (Product/Service)? A Quick Introductory Guide
    18) Need Help With (Problem)? How Our Specialists Can Help
    19) How Does (Product/Service) Work? Our Experts Explain it All
    20) Why (Product/Service) Is A Good (Problem) Solution

    Inside Your Business
    Many consumers enjoy supporting local businesses because they’re supporting a business that employs and invests in the local community. So articles that bring your business to life can be great content ideas. Here are a few headlines to get you started:

    21) A Day in the Life of a (Business Name ) Employee
    22) (Business Name) in the Community: How We Get Involved in (Community Name)
    23) Behind the Scenes: What is (Business Name) Doing this Week?
    24) Congratulations, (Employee Name)! (Business Name) Announces (Employee Accomplishment)
    25) Out and About: Where to see (Business Name) in (Community Name) This Month

    Timely & Seasonal
    Writing content that plays off of a timely or seasonal theme can be a great way to grab the attention of readers. Is there a celebrity whose name is in the news? Is an upcoming holiday getting a lot of buzz? A new research report about your industry? These headline ideas can help you make the most of timely topics:

    26) The (Celebrity Name) Guide to (Blank)
    27) This Just In: Report Shows The Benefits of (Product/Service)
    28) (Holiday) is Almost Here! Make Sure You Get Your (Product/Service) In Time
    29) New Report Shows (Product/Service) Boosts (Desired Outcome)
    30) It’s Almost (Season)! What You Need to Know About (Product/Service) This Time of Year

    And last but not least, the controversial headline is a popular content type. Not for every businesses (or for the faint of heart!), these headlines are catchy so that they get read and shared broadly. But be warned: they can also invite a lot of commentary, including negative comments. So, if you choose to select a controversial topic, be ready to vigilantly monitor the conversation around your brand to see how people respond. And make sure that what you write isn’t offensive, libelous, or defamatory to any entities (including competitors) and that you stick with the facts.

    31) The Idiot’s Guide to (Product/Service)
    32) Are You a (Problem) Victim? How (Product/Service) Could Help
    33) Warning! How Not to Use (Product/Service)
    34) (Product/Service) for Dummies: Everything You Wanted to Know But Never Asked
    35) 5 Signs Your (Product) Is A Fake

     So, there you have it! Thirty-five blog post headlines, topics and ideas to help you get started with your content marketing to build a more robust web presence for your local business. Have you tried any of these ideas? What’s worked? Share your content marketing insights in the comments!

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    subscribe today to learn more about creating compelling content.

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and local business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    HOW TO: Set Up & Optimize a Google Places Page for Your Local Business

    Last updated 3 years ago

    To reach consumers in your local market, it is essential that your business can be found in organic search results. One of the easiest ways to do this is by setting up your Google Places page. Since Google recently launched many new changes to its search results, the map listings are now integrated with the organic search results, with many Place pages ranking near the top of the results page. Plus, in addition to giving you a boost in your organic search traffic, setting up your Google Place page helps you make sure your business information is visible and accurate to consumers searching for your products and services.  Follow these simple steps to get your Google Place page set up and optimized in as easily as possible!

    Claim or Set Up Your Place Page
    Before you begin, make sure you have a Google (or gmail) account for your business – don’t use your personal account, such as the one tied to your personal e-mail address. Then, make sure you’re logged out of your personal Google account. Next, to get started setting up your Place page, visit the Google Places web page and, if you have an account, sign in. If you don’t have one, click “Create an account now” to set up your new account.

    1) Once you are logged in to your account, click the button that says “List your Business.” You’ll need to enter your primary phone number to see what information, if any, Google already has about your business. If your business is already listed on Google, you can still verify it and personalize it with your business details.

    2) Add or edit your basic business information, such as your physical address, email, website URL, description, and business categories. Google allows you to select up to five, so take advantage of this option and give your potential customers many potential ways to find your business. However, it’s important that one of your categories is one of Google’s default suggestions, which can help your Place page rank higher in the search results.

    When it comes to your business description, include your top product and service keywords – but make sure you’re writing for actual consumers, not just for the Google algorithm. Because this description is what will show up to describe your business on the Google search results that display your Place page, you want it to entice consumers to click through to your page for more details.

    3) Next, you need to verify your listing with Google, either via phone, postcard, or SMS text. Google requires verification with a PIN, or code, to validate that you are the business owner or representative.  To ensure a smooth verification process, make sure the phone number or address you submit matches the contact information on your map listing so that you receive your PIN, which you’ll need to enter into your Google Places account when you receive it. Google maintains that verification via postcard is the safest route, but keep in mind it could take 2-3 weeks for your PIN to arrive in the mail.

    Optimize Your Page with Content
    Congratulations! Once your verification is complete, your page is “owner verified,” and it is showing up on Google Maps, it’s time to optimize your listing to improve your Place page’s rank in organic search. This means adding interesting, valuable content to your Place page, like pictures, videos, and descriptive details about your business. Because photos on your Place page may appear in the Google search results next to your business’ listing excerpt, make sure you post images that are clear, appealing, and relevant to your target audience. For example, if you own a restaurant, add photos of some of your most popular dishes. Google allows you to add up to ten photos and five videos (via YouTube) for no charge. You can swap them out for new photos or videos at any time to keep content fresh.

    Manage Your Customer Reviews
    The final component to a robust Place page is customer reviews. Because they, too, can appear in up in your Place page excerpt on the Google search results page, it’s important to make sure you are actively monitoring reviews posted to your Place page. If your reviews are mostly unfavorable, or you don’t have any at all, ask some of your most loyal customers to write a review on your Place page. Also keep in mind that Google aggregates reviews from other sites, like Yelp, Citysearch, and TripAdvisor. So, your online reputation across the web will play a role in how your Google place page reviews stack up. Brush up on how to manage the reviews you receive online.

    Monitor Your Analytics

    Just as with any marketing, tracking your results is important. When you log in to your Place page account, you can see details like the top search queries directing consumers to your page, the number of clicks on your website URL, and other data. You can even select to have your Place page analytics emailed to you so you can regularly review your results. 

    Need help setting up your Google Place page? Our ReachCast Web Presence Professionals will claim, set up, and optimize your Google Place page, as well as your other accounts on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To learn more about ReachCast, check out this video tour or call us at (972) 267-2222.

    Have you claimed your Google Place page yet? How are you using Google Places to reach more local consumers online? Let us know with a comment!

    About the Author
    Tamara Farley helps equip local business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal.

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    5 Ways to Use New Facebook Page Features to Get More Likes

    Last updated 3 years ago

    There’s been a lot of chatter these last few weeks about all the changes Facebook is rolling out with the upcoming update to Business Pages – which are essentially the Facebook hub for a business, brand or entity. So, we’ve put together five ways you can make the most of the new Facebook Business Page updates with the goal of generating likes and engagement.

    1) Upload and tag photos. With the new Page layout prominently featuring images, you should consistently upload new images of your business, team, and work, so that fresh and interesting content is front-and-center. Adding interesting images that bring your business to life will increase the chance that people who visit your Page for the first time will like it and engage with your Page. This update is also a good reminder to make sure you’re tagging people who appear in your photos – like yourself, as well as employees and other people your personal Facebook Profile is connected to – because tagged photos will appear on the Facebook profile wall of those tagged, which promotes your Page in other places on the site, boosts brand awareness, and helps you build likes.

    2) Optimize your avatar image. The new default size for Facebook images will be 180 by 540 pixels, and the site will automatically resize your existing logo to fit within that space. Now is a good time to make sure your profile image is optimized for getting more likes. Make sure your business logo is sharp, not pixilated or fuzzy, and create space on your image below your logo for a short snippet of helpful information about your Page and why fans should like it. Optimizing your Page’s avatar image is important because the new Page design no longer includes an “Information” box about your business beneath the logo. Instead, tabs are moving to this space – which means it’s also important to have a Page avatar image that isn’t too long, because your tabs will be pushed down the Page according to the length of that picture.

    3) Set a custom tab as a landing Page. The new Facebook rollout will move tabs below your avatar image, which means that people will no longer see these at the top of your Page when they visit. So, if you’ve created special tabs to help build fans and likes, under “Edit Page,” “Manage Permissions,”  you can set one as a default landing tab. That way, fans who have not yet liked your Page will be directed to the custom tab that requests them to like the Page, rather than defaulting them to your wall, which can create a better experience and increase the number of “likes” for your Page.

    4) Comment as your personal Profile on your Page. The new Facebook Pages are changing the way Page administrators can interact with the Page. Now, an admin will be able to switch back and forth between using Facebook as their personal profile and using Faceook as the Page. This means you’ll now be able to leave comments on your business Page as yourself, not just as the business. So, take advantage of this feature and comment on the Pages you administer, so that your comments will be shared via news feed with your personal Facebook social graph. This will introduce your Page’s brand to people like your friends, family, colleagues, and peers who are likely to interact and respond with the same content you do.

    5) Interact with other Pages. With the new Facebook Pages, you’ll also be able to use your Page to visit any public Pages or profiles (though most profiles won’t be accessible since most include some sort of privacy control). This feature enables you to and interact other Pages in your local community that you have “liked” as the Page, like news organizations, non-profits, and businesses you are friendly with. Then, take advantage of the “Use Facebook as Page” feature to view a custom news feed that features the activity of the Pages your Page has liked and comment on their content. This will ensure that your brand is showing up in important local conversations and help boost visibility for your fan Page.

    These five quick tips can help you make the most of the new Facebook Pages and help you build engagement – as well as boost the number of people who like your Page. Have you switched over to the new Facebook Page layout yet? Have you tried any of these new features? Let us know what you think about the changes – and share your Facebook like acquisition tips, too! – in the comments section .

    Enjoy this Article?
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    subscribe today via RSS, or get updates straight to your inbox.

    About the Author
    Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and local business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.

    Three Ways A Mobile-Ready Site Can Help Your Business

    Last updated 3 years ago

    With smartphone ownership growing by 72% a year, there is no doubt the rise of mobile usage is leaving many businesses wondering how they can ensure consumers can find and engage with them via their phones. In fact, Morgan Stanley predicts at the current rate of change and adoption, mobile Web usage will surpass desktop Internet usage by 2015. Therefore, if you aren’t offering a mobile-ready experience to consumers searching for you on their phones, it could mean lost customers. Plus businesses that take advantage of this trend now will build more momentum with these three core benefits of mobile-ready sites.

    Get Customers Via Mobile Search

    More and more consumers are searching for businesses via their mobile phones. In fact, research suggests that that nearly 16% of all searches in 2011 will be on mobile phones. Additionally, Google data on the U.S. smartphone users states that 88% of people looking for local information have taken action within a day. So businesses with a mobile-ready site are much more likely to avoid losing potential customers who are ready to take action. 

    Get Higher Engagement

    Not only do you want users to have a good experience when they land on your site, but you also want them to engage and convert when they get there. Research from Omniture found that: “mobile-optimized experiences produced an average 75% higher rate of engagements per visit for mobile users.” More importantly, well-designed mobile-ready sites focus on providing the mobile user what they need on the go like phone number and address. 

    Improve Visibility for Your Brand

    By enabling a mobile-ready website for your visitors, you are also building the image of a savvy brand. When consumers have a positive online experience, it can lead to a better brand image for your company. Consumers are making judgments every day based on their experience with your brand across a variety of media types. So depending on your target audience and the competitiveness of your industry, a mobile-ready site may be what differentiates you in the market.

    Get A Mobile-Ready Site With ReachCast™

    There are many tools and services you can use to get a mobile-ready site. When we built ReachCast, our goal was to optimize and improve the Web Presence of our customers across many sites and devices. With ReachCast, every Cast page is automatically mobile-ready the day it’s published. Not only does it feature a fast loading page with clear calls to action such as a phone number and the ability to easily navigate content, but it is also aimed at improving conversions. Overall, businesses that are planning and preparing to offer a mobile-ready site are better positioned to capture customers where they are surfing, searching and socializing online - even on their mobile phone.

    If you would like to learn more about ReachCast, check out this video tour or give us a call at (972) 267-2222

    Mike Merrill leads the content marketing team at ReachLocal and writes about technology, social media, personal branding and his love of bacon. He speaks regularly on social media and leads the Social Media Club of Dallas.


    The Five Stages of Humanization in Social Business

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Today, in a continuing effort to include some of the best and brightest minds in social media marketing on the ReachCast blog, we’re excited to feature a guest post by the authors of the book The NOW Revolution, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert and Amber Naslund, VP of Social at Radian6.

    There is no one-size-fits-all playbook for engaging and responding in real-time business. There is, however, a progression for building and extending your social media engagement that we call the Humanization Highway. Your company culture combined with your customers’ desire to interact with you in social media, determine where on the Humanization Highway of engagement your company is located. 

    The starting point on the highway is the “head in the sand” scenario whereby the company chooses to ignore customer pleas for interaction. 

    The first stop on the highway is the basic listening program where the company is monitoring and analyzing what is being said about them and how those conversations may be affecting brand perception. 

    The next stop is responding. This is perhaps the most customer service–oriented step, as it usually involves the company answering specific questions from customers or prospective customers about product and corporate attributes. It can be saying “thank you” when the company is mentioned positively in a blog post, following up on a request for more information, or offering to lend a hand when there’s a problem.

    Creating content and communicating about issues that are of interest to your customers, but not necessarily about your company in particular, is stop three on the highway. Because the entirety of your engagement is not tied to messages about your own organization, this is when your company starts to be social, not just do social media. 

    Active participation humanizes your organization by making it relevant on a broader scale. It’s the online equivalent of someone who can converse on many subjects, rather than that lady at the cocktail party who refuses to discuss anything but herself and her Pilates class.

    This is when you start to become a documentarian, communicating in multiple formats about company history, people, and behind-the-scenes information. The blog by e-commerce and catalog retailer of geeky goods ThinkGeek, featured a post about their newest employee Guillaume, who is French—and evidently “largely ignorant of our favorite American movie and television memes.” So, ThinkGeek launched “Operation Guillaume,” a full-scale effort to “convert” their newest employee to red, white, and blue geek-ness.

    For Part 1 of “Operation Guillaume,” the company launched an online poll of their fans to identify the highest-priority “geek” movies. Guillaume then watched the top movies and posted reviews to the ThinkGeek blog, connecting this employee with the company’s fans in a perpetual feedback loop.

    This is the paradox and genius of the storytelling stop on the highway. You’re marketing your company, but so indirectly that it becomes “UnMarketing” as coined by consultant Scott Stratten, who wrote an excellent book on the subject.

    Each part of the Humanization Highway you travel is inclusive of the previous stops, it doesn’t replace them. So just because you’ve decided that you’ll be on stop four, storytelling, it doesn’t mean that’s the only type of engagement you offer. 

    The point of social media, and certainly the point of online engagement, is to create kinship between company and customer. And your logo, press release, and other “look at me” information doesn’t create kinship. It creates boredom.

    Your company is made up of many great people. Engagement lets you prove it. Focus on your people and your customers, telling their stories, and you’ll be soaring in no time.

    Guest post by Jay Baer of Convince & Convert and Amber Naslund, VP of Social at Radian6. Their new book, The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social is available everywhere right now for less than the price of a decent pizza.

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