The IIA’s Social Media Working Group is pleased to be able to present a short selection of business bloggers in Ireland. This list was gathered together as part of our recent research into business blogging in Ireland. We asked each of the participants in that research if they would like to be featured as a case study and the following are the bloggers that graciously agreed.
As you will see the blogs stretch across many sectors of business in Ireland, including financial services, marketing, member associations, professional services, recruitment, retail, technology and a number of individual consultants. While this list is not exhaustive it will hopefully give a flavour of the types of business blogs that exist in Ireland.
We will happily add other blogs to the the complete list which will be maintained on our dedicated wiki. Simply email email@example.com if you would like your business blog to be included.
If you are interested in finding out more about the potential benefits of blogging to your business, then join us on April 22nd at our “Join the Conversation – Business Blogging” breakfast briefing in Dublin city centre.
Irish Mortgage Brokers – http://www.mortgagebrokers.ie/blog
The MortgageBrokers.ie blog mainly deals with economics and business related issues with a strong focus on mortgages and market trends. As an Internet-drive sales company, Irish Mortgage Brokers see their blog and website as central to the growth of their business.
No Nonsense Car Insurance – http://blog.nononsense.ie
The No Nonsense Car Insurance blog offers tips on buying insurance, saving money and talks about a range of other topics that No Nonsense feel their customers would be interested in. The blog has so far delivered increased visibility on search engines and has seen an increased profile for the new brand.
PaddyPower Trader – http://www.paddypowertrader.com
The Paddy Power Trader blog supports financial markets traders (many of whom trade from home, some of whom are novices) with education, views on the market and examples of ‘how the professionals do it’. Paddy Power see blogs and community as a unique selling point of their service, engendering loyalty, attracting new customers, improving stickiness and increasing average spend per client.
RaboDirect – http://www.rabodirect.ie/blog/default.aspx
The RaboDirect blog was established to give customers and potential customers the chance to comment on the kind of things being talked about everyday at RaboDirect; the changing financial climate, existing products, new products or what customers think of them in general. RaboDirect sees their blog as an important part of their strategy in helping to build trust in their brand.
FBD Insurance (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/fbd_ie
FBD Insurance launched its Twitter activity to support their mission to be a customer-focused insurance company, seeking to replicate online the familiar approach developed through their nationwide local office network. The Twitter activity has helped to manage customer feedback and generate leads to the FBD website for the car and home insurance products. Twitter has helped the company to build a positive perception of the brand as progressive, innovative and customer-focused.
Applied Signs and Display – http://applied-signs-and-display.blogspot.com/
The Applied Signs and Display blog presents news, opinion and information on all manner of topics relevant to their business and their varied customer base. The blog features an ongoing ‘Product Glossary’ series and they host guest bloggers from the fields of Design, Event Planning, Exhibiting and Sales, as well as General Business and Marketing within an Irish context.
Biz Growth News – http://www.bizgrowthnews.com
The Biz Growth News blog covers resources and tips to build buzz about your brand and your business both offline and through digital marketing communications and social media. It does so through multimedia using articles, podcasts, photographs and online video’s. The blog has enabled the company to extend it’s reach internationally and has enabled the organisation to attract clients and establish strategic joint ventures from across the globe. The blog is authored by the company founder and they also syndicate their blog posts across Twitter, Facebook, Linked in and other social networks where their customers are congregating therefore attracting more visitors and readers to the site.
CadaMedia – http://blog.cadamedia.ie
The CadaMedia blog is a news and events page for clients and a general discussion area for internet users in the Southeast. CadaMedia were the 1st in Ireland to mention the new VAT Rates and it brought them in thousands of hits. The blog has provided their customers with a less formal way of getting in touch and asking questions.
Channelship – http://www.channelship.ie/blog/
The goal of the Channelship business blog is to share useful information and opinions gathered from business networking events, seminars and people in Ireland and abroad. The team also enjoys commenting on the highlights of their daily activities. Channelship have found it to be fantastic way to interact, learn, meet new people and promote their company, enhancing their PR and Google rankings.
Interactive Return – http://www.interactivereturn.com/blog
The Interactive Return Online Marketing blog is used to provide insights and news to the Online Marketing industry, paying close attention to trends in Ireland. Blogs includes company news, industry news, advice and best practices for their areas of expertise, and opinions on current industry topics. Their website has seen an incredible increase in traffic due to blogging activities. They have added credibility to their client case studies and are being received positively in social media.
iQ Content – http://www.iqcontent.com/blog
The IQ Content blog is updated by a group of staff within the business, posting thoughts, observations and opinions on the world of usability. The blog has delivered inbound leads and sales calls, has helped to attract new staff and has supported building a positive brand perception.
Made In Hollywood – http://www.madeinhollywood.ie
The Made in Hollywood blog is supports the core business of creating objects from polystyrene foam(EPS). The aim of the blog is to show readers how versatile and manifold are the uses of EPS, as well as featuring particular projects. The business hope that the blog, which has just launched, will be able to add interest and improve SEO with added content, as well as engaging with customers to make sure they are delivering the correct product/service to them.
Red Cardinal Limited – http://www.redcardinal.ie
The Red Cardinal team blog about Internet marketing and search engine optimisation.
Newsweaver - http://www.newsweaver.co.uk/emailnewsletters
The “…Email Matters!” blog has been running for two years. It is written by denise cox, Newsletter Specialist for Newsweaver. Newsweaver is Europe’s leading email newsletter software provider. In 2007 Newsweaver won the IIA’s Best Business Blogger Net Visionary award. The aim of …Email Matters! is to help any marketer interested in best practice for best results in their email marketing. Posts always pertain to email, and generally cover examples, benchmarks and statistics, best practice, legal updates and tips. The blog has proven to be an excellent retention tool – with clients providing feedback that they find it very useful. It has also helped to attract new customers. The blog has helped with the Google ranking for the company website. Also, having embedded a discreet link at the end of each blog post to a free trial offer of Newsweaver software, they have seen many new leads come through this link. The blog has given the author, denise cox, a visibility in the international email marketing/ESP field, and has resulted in requests to speak at conferences, contribute to publications and appear on panels around the world.
Irish Internet Association – http://blog.iia.ie
The Irish Internet Associations blog An association blog that seeks to promote the products and services of member companies and promote IIA events. The blog has helped to increase credibility among members of the association.
Junior Chamber International Dublin – http://jcidublinpresident2009.blogspot.com/
This is the blog of the president of the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce Dublin and is intended to keep members up-to-date on activities and events throughout the year. This blog has just been launched an it is anticipated that it will help to raise the profile of the organization, building credibility online with their members, partners and sponsors.
Moore Group – http://mooregroup.wordpress.com/
A specialist business blog, the Moore Group blog deals with archaeological, environmental, energy and heritage issues. One of the principle goals of the blog is to disseminate the results of their work (a legal obligation) and to inform our stakeholders on archaeological and environmental issues and new knowledge, as well as to sometimes entertain.
FranchiseYourBusiness.ie – http://www.irishfranchiseblog.com
The Franchise Your Business blog provides information on franchising in Ireland. Within a short space of time the blog has helped the business achieve higher search engine rankings for their preferred search terms.
Sensei Learning and Performance – http://www.sensei-winbeforehand.co.uk
The Sensei Learning and Performance blog talks about all things business-related. Favourite topics include social media; customer services; education/brain/learning; personal and professional development; emotional intelligence; assertiveness and confidence. The blog has helped to bring in bookings, raise the company’s profile, inform people of services and provide a human face to the business. Feedback from customers is that they love it.
CV Café – http://cvcafe.com/blog
CV Café decided after reading up on blogging that there was no other way to go for their business. They started blogging recently and are planning to use it to get their name out.
Flexitimers – http://www.flexitimers.com/flexible-future
Flexitimers use their business blog to engage companies on the benefits of flexible staffing. The have a separate blog, FlexiTimes, which is to engage professionals looking for flexible work. The key benefits that the business has seen to date include improved search engine rankings and greater engagement with the online community.
RecruitIreland (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/recruitireland.
RecruitIreland began to microblog on Twitter to give the website a personality and to answer questions from candidates and companies who are recruiting with a view to differentiating themselves from the competition. The activity on Twitter has generated sales leads in addition to feedback and suggestions from candidates about how to do things differently or feedback about usability which they see as invaluable. Overall the Twitter activities make them more accessible and interactive and gives them another invaluable way to communicate with their users.
Working Nine to Five – http://officejobsireland.wordpress.com/
The Working Nine to Five blog features career tips, issues that may arise in the working environment, recommended events, books or work practices and sometimes just light observations on working in the office. The blog has provided the core business AdminJobs.ie an additional medium to create a personality to their business. It has also allowed the business to communicate on a personal level with their site visitors.
Curious Wines – http://www.curiouswines.ie/blog
The Curious Wines blog talks about anything related to wine but is presented in a light-hearted, accessible manner. Topics include everything from sector comment, to educational pieces, to recipes and food-matching, to book reviews, to their promotions. The blog has helped build a small community interested in their business and brand. For a new brand it was essential to provide a public face and personality in a cost effective manner – blogging is allowing them to achieve this.
Ice Cream Ireland – http://www.icecreamireland.com
The Ice Cream Ireland blog is the business blog of Murphy’s Ice Cream. In addition to dozens of recipes the blog provides news and updates to customers on the business’s activities and new products. The blog has brought customers to their retail shops, helped facilitate comments, complaints, and suggestions and sense of community among customers. The business has received much publicity as a result of the blog and a book deal for an ice cream cookbook “The Book of Sweet Things” came directly as a result of the blog.
Nice Day Designs – http://www.nicedaydesigns-ruth.blogspot.com/
The Nice Day Designs blog provides insights into the processes of the author’s design business. Ruth Crean is a young designer and artist based in Limerick. Because she is selling hand craft she feels it is important to give people a narrative and a face to the product they are buying. As a direct result of her blog Ruth was approached by RTE1′s Nationwide, and therefore received national advertising for free, this in turn has led to other media attention. The blogs has also helped to build up a very positive and accessible identity to her business.
PuddleDucks – http://blog.puddleducks.ie/
The purpose of the blog is to post information about the PuddleDucks business and website, along with information on running the business that might be useful to others. It is a mixture of product information, how PuddleDucks utilise online marketing tools and snippets of news about running a home business. The PuddleDucks blog has provided the business with better visibility and brand recognition. Building awareness among the blogging community has shown positive benefits through networking opportunities.
Rangoli Jewellery – http://rangolijewellery.blogspot.com/
Rangoli Jewellery is run by Aisling Nelson; a bridal jewellery and hair accessories designer. The blog is designed to share ideas and inspiration with existing and potential clients and to elaborate on special commissions that the designer has undertaken. The blog helps to provide a more of a human face to the business. The main website is a catalogue, whereas
this forum allows the owner to engage more with existing and potential clients while sharing information about current or future projects.
Rules of Golf – http://www.barryrhodes.com
This blog provides miscellaneous content for anyone who wishes to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Rules of Golf. The objective is to widen the market for the author’s CD and book products. Barry Rhodes is developing a worldwide following in his narrow niche market at practically no cost.
Tast.ie – http://www.tast.ie
Initially a personal food blog featuring a large catalogue of delicious recipes juxtaposed with a small amount of personal content about the author’s family. With the assistance of the Offaly County Enterprise Board, Tast.ie grew into Spicendipity.com, an artisan food business which sells homemade, 100% natural spice mixes, baking mixes and a range of sauces over the Internet.
Worldwide Cycles – http://www.worldwidecyclesblog.com
The Worldwide Cycles blog presents the view from behind the counter of a bike shop and from the saddle whilst on the road. The blog has helped the business raise its national profile, enlarge its catchments area and increased sales of high end products.
BH Consulting – http://www.bhconsulting.ie/securitywatch
BH Consulting’s blog provides expert commentary and insight into information security issues that would be of interest to the Irish Business community. The blog has delivered business leads, media coverage and helped secure a book-writing deal.
Blacknight – http://blog.blacknight.com + 17 others
The Blacknight blogs cover a variety of topics, from promotional / marketing through general news and technical topics. The blog has won numerous awards as well as generating PR and press coverage for the business.
EchoLibre – http://blog.echolibre.com
These technologists blog about things they are passionate about; PHP, MySQL, CouchDB, Linux, Apache – web development standards. They also write about building web apps and working with web technology. EchoLibre see their blog as one of the easiest ways they have of establishing a reputation and credibility. As a young company they see this as very important.
Saastek – http://saastek.com/company-blog/
The Saastek blog deals with software and technology for small to medium businesses and offers reviews of Enterprise 2.0 software. The blog has helped to increase Google ranking. It also helps the business crystallise their thinking about particular products and trends and has been useful in attracting customer to their website.
Toca Sports – http://www.tocasports.com/blog
Toca Sports, a sports technology company, blog about everything from upcoming events to posting training videos to general interest pieces in the area of video analysis. Toca Sports see their business blog as a great way to kep people up-to-date with company news and events. They see it as a way of being less ‘corporate’ and allowing them to create a more human interaction with their potential customers.
Darragh Doyle – http://thisiswhatido.org
Darragh’s blog presents its audience with a mixture of articles, interviews, photos, reviews and stories. Business specific he highlights charity campaigns, publicises, works with and reviews art and cultural events and talks to and about people. Virtually all his opportunities come via his blog as he has no need for a corporate website.
Keith Bohanna – http://keith.bohanna.com
Keith Bohanna is an internet consultant and trainer and in his blog talks about himself and his business. The positive outcomes he has seen include engagement with his peer community and his personal brand development.
Keith Shirley – http://www.keithshirley.ie
Keith Shirley’s blog is mainly about the practical uses of IT and technology for small businesses. The blog has helped Keith pass on information to customers that is helpful but does not fit directly into daily business. The blog has opened up new business opportunities and helped with networking and raising Keith’s profile.
Krishna De (Twitter) – http://www.twitter.com/krishnade
Through sharing links to articles, resources and events, this micro blogger has developed a network of followers in Ireland and overseas. She has also found that it has helped her connect and engage directly with some of the most influential marketers in the world, something that would have been much harder to make happen before social media communications were available. She recommends and has created a specific Twitter landing page on her blog to provide information and resources for her Twitter followers.
Mr. Yap’s Blog – http://mryap.com/blog/
This blogger uses his blog to share experiences and offer advice and opinion on usability. He uses it to find new business, network and seek employment. Blogging offer his new prospects supplementary information to his resume and interview.
Reverb Studios – http://www.reverbstudios.ie/blog
The Reverb Studios blog covers mostly IT, Technology and Internet-related topics as well as some Current Affairs. The blog has been up and running since about autumn 2007 and since then it has attracted a massive increase in traffic from only a handful to around 4,000 unique hits a month. This has lead to a much higher profile and brand for Reverb Studios and has created networking opportunities and sales leads.
A guest post from Will Roche who works with IIA Member company Bluecube Interactive with some great tips if you are looking into starting an AdWords Campaign on Google to attract targeted traffic to your site. Will previously worked with Google so he knows a thing or two!
“The noblest search is the search for excellence”
-Lyndon Baines Johnson
Advertising on search engines is one of the most effective methods for driving qualified traffic to your website. Compared to traditional forms of advertising, it is more cost-effective, you can measure performance from the very beginning of the campaign and you will be reaching out to potential customers at the precise time when they are looking for information on products and services they want to buy.
At its very heart, this form of advertising is wonderfully simple – a user sees an ad based upon their search – but there are many factors that you must consider to ensure you don’t pay more than necessary and that the clicks you receive are actually contributing to your profitability.
With this in mind, Bluecube Interactive has created this guide to help you get started in this much-misunderstood area. The advice that follows will help you to lay the foundations but remember, our search team is always available if you need to take your advertising to the next level.
The structure of an AdWords account is vital to achieving a great return on your investment. The right structure will ensure that users are served the most relevant ads at all times and it will make reporting, account navigation and optimisation much easier.
The ideal account structure is one which separates the products and services offered into their own campaigns. A good example would be a company who offers two services – web hosting and web design.
Each service should have its own campaign. This has numerous advantages. For instance, if web hosting is the more prominent service, a greater proportion of the overall marketing budget can be allocated to that campaign. It also makes comparing the cost-per-click performance of both services much easier as you can see at a glance which campaign is driving the most traffic, achieving the most conversions and is providing better value for your business.
Within each campaign, there should be numerous ad groups which group related keyword phrases together that are reflected by specific ad text variations. Examples of ad groups would be:
- web hosting
- website hosting
- UK hosting
- Linux web hosting
The goal should be to make your account as granular as possible and to think about the user who is searching for your keywords. If they are served an ad that relates directly to their search, the user is more likely to click on your ad and convert into a sign-up, lead or sale.
As mentioned previously, keywords should be as specific and targeted as possible and they should relate directly to the ad that the user sees. If a user is searching for product codes or other specific terms, they are likely to be further along the purchasing cycle than those searching for more general terms and therefore, more likely to convert on your website.
General keywords like ‘photocopiers’ or ‘printers’ can be very good for driving large volumes of traffic and can also be beneficial for branding purposes. However you should be aware that general terms are also more expensive and may not lead to the same return on investment that can be achieved with specific keywords.
Another keyword type that you should be aware of is the negative keyword. Almost as important as the keywords which trigger your ads, this type of keyword prevents your ad from showing on irrelevant or unrelated searches. For instance, if your keyword is ‘printers’, this term is liable to be expanded to show for searches like:
- inkjet printers
- laser printers
- free printers
- screen printers
- second hand printers
If your business only sold inkjet printers, you may not want your ads to be displayed for searches on laser printing terms so you could add ‘laser’ as a negative keyword and reduce the amount of irrelevant impressions on your ads. This would result in the same amount of clicks, less impressions, a higher clickthrough rate and because Google’s system rewards highly targeted advertisements, you should see a reduction in your average cost per click.
The actual ad text shown to users searching on your keywords is very important and we recommend using three variations which the AdWords system will rotate evenly until it determines that one variation is performing better than the others.
As mentioned previously, the ad must relate directly to your keywords. It is also very good practice to have the keyword in the ad text itself. If the searched keyword is part of the ad, that text will be highlighted in bold letters and makes your ad stand out to your prospective clients.
Another best practice is to give the user an idea of what you expect them to do once they reach your website and you should certainly use call-to-action phrase to do this. Phrases like ‘order online now’ or ‘contact us today’ can be very effective in driving conversions. If your goal is to have potential leads call your sales team, you may wish to try an ad variation which has your phone number. In this way, you could potentially solicit leads without the need for any chargeable click activity.
Once a user clicks on your ad, the landing page is the next important step in ensuring a strong conversion rate and ROI. More often than not, advertisers use their home page as the destination for their ads but if you have many products or offer different services, you should choose the webpage that is most relevant to the keyword searched and the ad displayed to the user.
It is always worth remembering that more you make a user click, the less likely they are to convert. Generally speaking, if a user is searching for ‘accounting software’, you should bring them to the page with all the relevant information about that software to make their purchase decision. We would also recommend not bringing users directly to ‘contact us’ pages unless those pages contain an adequate amount of information on the product or service itself. Landing pages which only contain large contact forms and no information tend to have very high bounce rates (the amount of users who leave your website) and do not convert very well.
If you are mostly interested in driving phone calls to your sales teams, I would recommend having your contact details and phone number on every page of your website. Once again, this prevents the user from having to navigate your site for the information they require. As with all things related to Google advertising, the focus should always be on the user experience and how you can make their conversion as easy as possible.
About Bluecube Interactive
We are a small company with big ideas, and we have a lot of big ideas about search engine marketing. Our experienced search specialists offer a range of services to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Our Services include:
After researching your existing online environment we will create keyword lists, text ads and calculate your optimum cost-per-click settings to ensure your ads appear on the first page of results for the most relevant searches. Our expertise will ensure detailed campaign performance analysis and increased budgetary control.
One of the key success factors with a PPC campaign is the continuous refinement of keywords and ad texts based upon historic performance. Our specialists can recommend and implement changes that will noticeably improve the performance of your campaigns.
We use traffic analysis software that allows us to see how valuable each keyword really is, if your conversion goals are being met and what we can do to maximise these conversions.
We offer full-time account management services that make us solely responsible for the success of your PPC campaigns. We will discuss your marketing goals, research the online environment for your industry and create the campaigns that will deliver strong results. We also provide regular reporting on account performance and how users are interacting with your website
Our account management service ensures that all areas of your search engine marketing are in the hands of experienced professionals who will be in regular contact with your marketing team.
I always wondered how guest bloggers decided how to start their blog posts.
All I can tell you is that when it came to my turn, I was lost for words – anyone who knows me will find that incredible!
You see being handed over the prime real estate online such as the IIA blog is quite some privilege. When Fergal approached me to be a guest blogger here I was rather bemused.
You see I am not at all technical. What could I offer the esteemed readers of the IIA blog I wondered?
So I am afraid over the next three weeks if you are looking for the inside track on search marketing, useability or new platforms like Ruby on Rails (I heard about that at BarCamp Dublin) you might want to look elsewhere.
What I do know about is building brands:
- your corporate brand so that you can attract more of your ideal clients
- your employer brand so that you can attract and retain great people to you team and therefore deliver against your business objectives
- and your personal brand as a business leader so that you realise the professional and personal success you desire.
I also know about what mistakes are easy to make when you venture online – some of them having been costly mistakes made by yours truly!
Over the last couple of years since I left my wonderful corporate life, I have also ventured into learning, applying and educating others in new media platforms to build their brand, from blogs, to podcasts and wikis.
In fact just this week I have launched a new corporate podcast called The Podcast Sisters with two fellow podcasters aimed at explaining the world of business online to women in Europe (you might be aware that women are under represented in the online world especially in the field of podcasting). Of course if you are male you are still welcome to join us over at the Podcast Sisters – after all no-one need know you are listening to three non-techie women if you listen to us through your headphones when travelling on the Luas!
So what I hope and plan to do over the next few weeks is share insights and tips about what I have learnt about building your brand online. I don’t promise to have all the answers but I hope my thoughts and articles will provoke you to think about building your brand online and therefore enhance your ability to build your online reputation, attract more of your ideal clients, differentiate yourself from your competition and use this wonderful platform of marketing online to generate more leads and more profit to your business.
I look forward to sharing my experience and things I have learnt on my journey into the online world.
If you have any questions, observations or comments I would love to hear from you – just post your comments here.
And if you want to know more about your guest blogger, you will find me building my personal brand online at at my business blog where you can also access further branding and business development tips, subscribe to my ezine Biz Growth Express, and find out how to join me each week for no-cost teleseminars with world leading experts where we bring you strategies, inspiration and tips to attract more clients in less time with less stress.
©Krishna De, 2007