Blogging and Why You Should Do It
Writing – most people don’t like to do it, don’t know how to do it correctly, or lack any desire to do it. It takes a certain type of person to enjoy sitting down and cranking out a 300 – 500 word article, let alone enjoy doing it a couple times per week.
In today’s world of social media, though, writing is essential. From tweets to status updates to blogs, writing is critical to the success of any social media marketing strategy. Perhaps the most formidable of these, however, is the blog. People can typically handle re-tweeting a good article or posting a quick picture and status update, but writing a blog about a relevant topic in a manner that is easily read and understood is a bit more of a challenge.
The truth is that blogging can potentially be a goldmine for your business or non-profit and should not be overlooked. There are numerous benefits to blogging, but below are three of the most important.
By frequently writing about topics related to your company, you are able to build relationships with your audience. They can get to know you, your expertise, your beliefs, etc. By them commenting and providing feedback on your blog posts, you can better know your customers, their opinions, their needs, etc. It is a way to put your feelers out as far as topics of concern for them. They can, in turn, be made aware of what is new and exciting with you. Although not as personal as Facebook or Twitter, blogging can be a high-level, relationship building marketing undertaking.
Increase SEO and Web Presence
As you may know, the more you update your website and provide fresh content, the more your website will gain visibility. By frequently blogging, you are giving your website just that – fresh, new content that search engines love to look at! Even though your website as a whole may not be updated frequently (we’ll tackle that another time), if you are regularly posting and promoting your new blogs through your other social media avenues, you will be increasing your SEO and bringing new traffic to your website.
Motivate Yourself and Audience
If you have committed to a regular posting schedule, which is a must, then you will be forced into constantly educating yourself on topics related to your business. You will have to stay informed of news, the latest and greatest, and the needs of your customers and audience. By doing so, your company will be more driven and will be a step ahead of your competitors who are settling for the status quo. By mandating a weekly blog post, at a minimum, you can ensure that at least once a week you are educating yourself and making yourself known in your industry and market. In turn, you can also motivate your audience to act on a promotion, a topic of interest, or reach out to you for a specific need or concern. By reminding them that you are still there, you can prompt them to whatever action you would like. Words can be powerful!
If you still find yourself intimidated by the oftentimes seemingly overwhelming task of blogging, Tre Technologies can help you! We regularly post blogs for some of our clients, from their voice on their behalf (known as ghost writing). This way, you can get the benefits of blogging, without all the stress! Give us a call today if you are ready to take the leap into the world of blogging!
When Free Comes with a Price
Face it – we live in a cheap society. We always want everything for nothing. There are entire companies built on getting you good deals. Fights break out and people are hurt over early bird or Black Friday deals. Coupon clipping has become an obsession (and even a TV show)!
There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, though. In fact, the consumer wins in this type of market. However, when we take it to the extremes that we do, sometimes it is hard to tell when something truly is a good deal or when we are just being cheap and getting ripped off in the long run.
The website market is no different. Website companies are a dime a dozen, and they frequently offer websites for free or deeply discounted costs. In times when individuals and businesses are watching their budgets more closely than ever, why should anyone spend money on a website when they could get one for free?
The fact of the matter is that websites are an area where you will likely “get what you pay for.” You know how when you put on an expensive suit that’s tailored just for you, it feels so much better than your off-the-rack department store suit? Or the relief you feel when you take off the knock-offs and slide your feet into those Jimmy Choo’s? Just like there is a drastic difference between quality for these, there is a noticeable difference in the cookie cutter cheap sites and a professionally designed and developed website.
We may not want to admit it, but image is everything. Your website is oftentimes the first (and only) impression a potential client has of your company. When they pull up your website, that is your chance to wow them. You may never have the opportunity to meet them or talk with them, so the mere image your website portrays is the only chance you’ll have to impress them. If your site looks like all the others out there who are using that free template, you won’t stand out and will just be overlooked and passed on. Investing in a quality, attractive, and unique website will ensure your site leaves your potential clients wanting to know more.
If you manage to impress your viewers into staying on your site, you will need to make sure they stay around once they start digging for information. The one-size-fits-all cheaper websites have no personalization or intuitive navigation included. Unless your business is exactly the same as all the others using it out there, you will need a website that is customized to not only the offerings and services of your business, but also the needs of your clients. A professionally constructed website will be built with user personas, top tasks, and information architecture focused on conversions and end-user navigation and satisfaction.
Usability across any device is also an important factor to consider in deciding between a cheap website or a professionally developed one. Typically, the lower-end websites do not translate correctly across all devices, leaving your website useless for a majority of users.
To bring visitors to your site, you have to do more than just simply have a website in existence. This is not a scenario of “if we build it, they will come.” Search Engine Optimization and content marketing are critical tools to the success of your website. It takes experience from an industry professional to construct your site in a way that will generate visitors and position your site as an authority and destination.
Bottom line, you have to determine your goals. If you just want a virtual business card, then a cheap or free website might be the solution for you. However, if you want a website that will work for you around the clock, representing your company, drawing in visitors, and providing practical functionality; then you should invest in a professionally designed and developed website.
Obviously, we are partial to our company as a source for your web needs, but there’s a good reason for it! Tre has over 20 years of knowledge and experience in web development and design, search engine optimization, online and social marketing, user-centric design, and content development. We really are a full-service web firm that will not only give you a great website, but we’ll develop a strategic plan and roadmap for the success of your website and online marketing.
I used to always come up with New Year’s Resolutions each year, complete with a detailed plan to make them happen. Whether it was getting more organized, losing weight, spending more time with family, or deep cleaning – I was always super committed to making sure they happened. Then February came along, and, well, life always got in the way.
Your business is often no different. You start off the year making big plans for growing your company, for increasing profits and reducing overhead, for promoting your business in new markets, etc. Your dreams are often bigger than your reality can support, and that becomes evident as the year progresses.
One resolution you can realistically achieve, though, is maximizing your web presence to reach your customers and market your business. We run into many small businesses who feel like the world of social media, websites, and blogging is too much to take on. Some of our clients used to feel like they are irrelevant to the business world. The fact is, though, that they are easier and more important than you may think!
Resolution: Create a Facebook and Twitter Account
Commitment: This will need to be updated daily. An idle account will turn away potential customers. Posts should be relevant to your industry, your client needs, and your company’s offerings. However, do not use this as a platform for “selling” yourself. Your fans will not be looking at your social media sites for commercials – they want to see useful information, relevant pictures, or possibly coupons or specials depending on your business. Once you get into a routine with Facebook and Twitter, you should look to branch into other social media outlets, as well, to expand your reach. This is the relationship building side of marketing.
Resolution: Develop an Updated and Functional Website
Commitment: Your website is not an area of your business you want to skimp on. When someone is searching for you or stumbles upon your site, you only have a few seconds to impress them before they move on. Your website design is like a quality suit, and the content is like an elevator pitch. First impressions are everything, and you want to make sure your website not only looks good, but also easily and quickly provides the viewer with what they need. You also want to make sure you are regularly updating your website for better search engine results and to keep your viewers coming back.
Resolution: Write a Blog People Want to Read
Commitment: Just like your social media and website, your blog will need to be regularly updated. The key to a successful blog site is providing new and relevant information, writing it in an easy-to-read format with key words, and connecting your readers with other helpful articles or links (being very careful not to send them to a competitor). You should employ a skilled writer to this task, as a poorly written article filled with typos will quickly turn off your audience.
Once you commit to these resolutions, the next decision is if you should do it yourself or hire a company to help you achieve your goals. There are advantages to both, but you should consider the amount of time you have to dedicate to these and the skill sets you have currently on-staff when making your decision.
If you are ready to make any of these resolutions, we at Tre Technologies are excited to help you accomplish these. Whether it’s taking these tasks on for you completely or just getting you started, we will gladly show you how Social Media, a Website, and Blogging will benefit your business and partner with you to make it happen in 2013!
Happy New Year to our Clients and Friends from all of us at Tre!
That Holy Night – What It Means Today
Last week, our country suffered a haunting tragedy that shook us to our core. The loss of a child’s life is always an unbearable pain to endure, but when it is multiplied to the magnitude of what unfolded on Friday, there are no words.
In the middle of the Christmas season, our hearts are broken over the empty beds in these children’s homes, the presents that will never be opened, and the laughter that will no longer be heard on Christmas morning. During such a joyous time of year, we all have heavy hearts, eyes flooded with tears, and a tug at our hearts to treasure each moment with our loved ones – we never know when it will be our last.
It is so important to remember as we attempt to pick up the pieces and proceed forward into Christmas this year just how relevant the true meaning of Christmas is to each of our lives. The story of the birth of Christ is one that Christians hold dear to their heart. The reading of the Christmas story is a beloved tradition heard in churches and homes across the country.
What should not be overlooked in this story, though, is the power behind it. Christ was born into a violent and sinful world, just as we face today. Christ’s presence, even as a tiny baby, was so powerful that kings were in jealous fear. His arrival beckoned men from far lands, using stars as their guide. Angels proclaimed it, and the heavens rejoiced. In such a dark and desperate time, a newborn baby brought hope – hope to a world when there was none.
Such is the situation we face today – when we live in a world where children cannot have story time at school without being slaughtered at the hands of a lost and disturbed man, when young blood is shed in front of wide and innocent eyes. These are dark times, just as when Jesus first came into the world, and we are desperate for answers, for healing, for vengeance.
Because of that holy night so long ago, though, we do have hope still. That same little baby still brings saving grace to our world. Those tiny hands that curled around His mother’s finger still hold the world in His hands. Those eyes that gazed into His father’s still look down on us with love. Those arms that were later spread on the cross, still embrace us even when we wander far away and embraced each of those little ones that met Him on Friday. There is still love. There is still hope. And because of that, we can have peace and joy restored in this country this Christmas.
Let us focus not on the politics coming out of this tragedy or become immobilized with fear and mourning. Rather, let us focus on taking this anger and grief and turning it into a motivation like we have never before seen to show the power of Christ to this lost world. To mend those broken hearts. To calm those troubled spirits. To bring a healing salvation across the nation.
Define, Connect, Empower – Why Your Church Needs a Website
Stuck in committee, too many meetings, everyone and their mother’s input, no budget, lack of voting – the reasons are endless for why your church has not invested in a website yet. Perhaps you’ve had a church member volunteer to put together a temporary website for you, but then it never progressed from there. Or perhaps you once did invest in a good website; but the functionality and support wasn’t there, so the last update was 5 years ago.
However convincing the reason may be for why you don’t have one yet, even stronger reasons exist for why you must take the leap into an online presence for your church. An effective website and supporting social media will Define You, Connect You, and Empower You – all from your fingertips.
Most likely, your church has well-documented Mission Statements, Doctrinal Beliefs, Statements of Faith, Denominational Alignment and Affiliation, etc. How does the public know these, though? If a family came to your church or your website looking for a community with similar beliefs as theirs, would they be able to easily know your theological stances? Your website can serve as a central location to post such statements and doctrines and will help potential attendees know if your church is a good fit for them.
A strong web presence is also an opportunity to showcase all your ministries. By having sections of your website devoted to each ministry area, you can appeal to a broader range of prospects. A family with young children will know you have established children’s ministries perfect for them, an elderly widow will see all the senior adult activities in which they can be involved, or a young single adult can identify the small groups they will be excited to join. Your website is a portfolio of all you are and all you have to offer. What is yours revealing about you?
These days, personal connection is not just face-to-face. An interactive website and active social media allow members and prospects a chance to communicate with each other, to be alerted to events or special announcements, to register for events or classes, to give online, etc. In one central location, you can provide services that put your target audience (members, prospects, or both) in an active role of staying connected to your church and community.
Your website can also function as a warehouse, so to speak, for all your media such as sermon series, guest speakers, choral concerts, etc. Many people are using the internet and available media as ways to catch up on missed days at church or to supplement their studies throughout the week. By having your website as an online resource for this, you will increase your traffic and consequently increase your influence and connections.
If implemented correctly, a website for your church will give you a voice where you would otherwise be silent. It can serve as a testimony to the amazing things going on in your church body, as a vision to inspire people to reach out or give back to the community, or as a catalyst to bring a lost person back home to church when they never thought they would return again.
Your website is your testimony to the online world, and we at Tre believe strongly that the Great Commission applies there, as well. By establishing your web presence, you are empowering your church to reach a countless number of individuals previously unreachable — far more than any other investment this fiscal year.
Tre Technologies holds firm to the truth that “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) With our skills in web development and social media marketing, your church’s calling and commitment, and God’s blessing and direction – we will all partner together to create a web presence that will complement and further your mission and ministry.
Today being the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third President of the United States, I can’t help but stop to think about the significance this man played in our great nation’s history. Obviously, as primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, he was extremely instrumental in shaping our future and paving a way for our country as it exists today.
Perhaps a commonly overlooked contribution derived from his famous words is the lifestyle and attitude of pursuing happiness. Jefferson’s eloquent phrasing in the Declaration of Independence that we all know so well – “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – has formed a way of life and a set of expectations that Americans follow closely.
I think oftentimes we take this to mean we have a “right” to having other people or things make us happy. We think that the government owes us, that we are entitled to a certain way of life, and that we deserve to be treated by others in a specific way. While there is some truth to certain aspects of this, the overriding lesson we should take from this is that everyone — every man, every woman, every life — all have a God-given right to pursue a free and happy life. There is no guarantee their life will be devoid of oppression, rejection, unfair judgment, or hard times. There is a guarantee, though, that their best shot at happiness exists if they look in the proper places and have their heart focused on the right things.
In a “have it now and have the best” society, Americans have a tendency to focus on the possessions they think make life happy. Granted, we are an extremely blessed society for which we should all be deeply grateful, and there is no shame in enjoying a fun “toy” while it lasts; but there is so much more to a full and rich life. As Christians, our joy comes from the Lord, and it takes focusing on the truly meaningful things to make a life happy.
As parents, hearing our kids yelling “Mommy” or “Daddy” as we walk through the door, feeling their tiny hands in ours, watching their eyes widen in amazement as they discover new things – all these and so much more are what make our lives worth living. As human beings, receiving an act of kindness from a stranger, observing an elderly couple still in love, offering a gift with no expectations in return, getting an unexpected smile or compliment at the end of a long day – all these make waking up in the morning worth it, day after day.
As greeting card as that all may sound, there’s truth in the fact that it’s the free things in life that make us the most happy. Although I know there is abundantly more meaning to be found in those words of Jefferson, I am thankful today for the simple reminder of our daily right to pursue happiness – without a single swipe of a credit card.
The Trinity of the Shamrock
With today being St. Patrick’s Day, I’m seeing green everywhere! Television stations have changed their logos to green, the Google Doodle has gone Irish, Pinterest is flooded with shamrock crafts and rainbow cupcake recipes, and threats of pinching me if I’m not wearing green are dominating my Facebook newsfeed.
I have enough Irish family history in me to have some genuine interest in the holiday, but most of my love for it comes from an excuse to have a party and dress funny. As I was researching the history of St. Patrick’s Day, though, I learned that St. Patrick apparently used the shamrock to explain the conundrum of the Holy Trinity.
This sparked a particular interest to me because that is a driving force behind Tre Technologies. When deciding on a company name, we chose “Tre” because it means “three” in Italian. We all believe in the power, holiness, and truth found in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity.
Our limited human minds cannot comprehend how a Being can be composed of three individual Personhoods, and I’m not sure we were ever meant to understand. However, St. Patrick was genius in using the shamrock as an illustration. The three parts of the clover leaf depict the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, united as one entity by the stem.
I could go on forever about the symbolism here, the illustrations and applications coming from this, and how the model of “3” can be applied to businesses and relationships, but I’ll save that for another blog. I know we all need to get back to our leprechaun hats, green food dye, and cabbage.
Try to take a few moments, though, (as you’re making with your kids that awe inspiring shamrock craft you Pinned) to think about the Trinity, the motivation behind St. Patrick being so committed to sharing this, and how you can apply your belief in this Power to your daily life.
If you have any questions about the Holy Trinity, please contact us! Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!
A Thousand Words
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I ask, what are a thousand words worth?
We are living in a time of texting, pre-rolls, 30 second commercials, and tweets. Communication must be quick, easy, and visually appealing. What are we losing, though, by this type of communication? What is to become of the written word?
Obviously, I have a bias towards writing and the importance of written communication. Stories can be told, people can be inspired, lives can be changed, healing can begin — all through the power of writing. I hope that we, as a society, do not lose sight of this and get lost in our world of rushed media. There is something to be said for sitting in a cafe reading a book while you enjoy your coffee, or snuggling under a blanket by a fire with your favorite love story, or sitting on your child’s bed reading their beloved bedtime story.
On that same note, I hope that we, as businesses, do not lose sight of the importance of having quality writing to represent us. When a potential client reads through a business’s website, it is just as if they are looking at the face of the company. What is presented on the website reflects the company’s personality and essence and is oftentimes the first introduction a client will have. Would you go to a meeting with a potential client looking like you just rolled out of bed?
All this being said (written), don’t forget the importance that writing has played throughout history and the valuable asset that quality writing can be to your business. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand prudent words are priceless.
Social Media – The World Is Not That Big After All
Just the other day, I was looking at a friend’s Facebook page and noticed that my niece had “liked” his page. Now, this in and of itself is not that big of a deal — people “like” Facebook pages all the time. What was interesting about this for me was that my friend is a musician living in Virginia, and my niece is a 15 year old living in Michigan. I don’t believe she has ever watched any of the outdoor shows that his music is featured on, so if it wasn’t for social media, I’m not sure how she would have ever heard his music — let alone, become a fan and purchase his music.
Just two days prior to making this observation of my niece’s “like,” my friend and I were catching up at Panera. He was telling me how well things were going for him in the music business and how cool it was to see people from just about every corner of the earth buying his music — all via social media and all from $0 dollars spent on advertising. Everything he does to promote his music, other than an occasional outdoor hunting and fishing show, is via social media. In just a short time he gained over 4,000 fans and has been able to provide a little piece of home for our soldiers fighting for our freedoms overseas — all from the comfort of his own home.
Despite many businesses having success stories like this (see this story), there are still those out there who cannot seem to understand the value, importance, and influence of using social media to promote their businesses. I have spoken to companies who have said things like, “My customers are not on social media,” or “No one cares that I am sitting at Starbucks,” or “I just don’t have time for that!”
Many times, those comments remind me of a CIO I worked for several years ago. He had an assistant who would print out his emails for him so he could write the responses to them and then give them back to her to type up and send. He just didn’t see the need to learn how to do email, because he never thought it would replace the current forms of communication. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to embrace change and was unwilling to see the impact email was already making in many other companies around the globe.
In many of the same ways that email changed the way we accomplished business and communicated with one another, both personally and professionally, social media is doing the same thing — one could even argue at a much faster rate. Within minutes, companies can have a global presence via FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, or any other of a myriad of social networks. The day of stagnant ”business card” websites is fast approaching an end and being replaced with dynamic websites that have content, in some cases, being updated hourly via blogs and social media.
Those business owners and executives who are still holding on to the notion that this is just another fad should definitely revisit the idea of using social media to boost their business before their competition gets so far ahead they may never catch up. If you are unsure of just how to do this, there are many companies specializing in helping organizations like yours put in place a social media plan, write blogs for you, send out tweets as you, and more. They will help you understand the ROI directly associated with using social media to further your business.
I would be happy to discuss with you how, in a short time, you could be using the many different social outlets available to build your brand and your business.
I bring to the Tre Team over 20 years of technology and management experience including global markets, non-profits, small to medium sized business, and more. My training and experience in the Georgia Air National Guard has dictated my work philosophy of hard work and discipline throughout my daily tasks.
I am also a family man with a gorgeous wife and three great kids. Coaching men’s softball and my oldest daughter’s soccer team keeps me busy outdoors, but nothing makes me happier than a “quiet” evening at home with my family. I look forward to the day I can cheer on my kids playing for THE Ohio State Buckeyes!! I am an extremely blessed man, humbled by God’s continued grace towards me and my family.
One of my favorite benefits of Tre is developing the relationships with our clients. I love getting to know each of them and watching as our unique combination of skills and experiences merge with our clients to bring success to their organization!