content strategy guide

What Guides Your Content Strategy?

Just think about it: having an excellent content strategy is like having money in the bank. There’s at least one good reason why you should always plan ahead when it comes to crafting content: it’s easier to reach your destination when you know where you’re heading. Truth be told, at this point your prospects can be influenced to respond to your calls-to-action through a plentitude of marketing channels. But the question is this: do you promote and distribute your web writing randomly or is your content strategy as elaborated as a well-played game of chess?

3 Dangerous Pitfalls of Content Strategizing

A cohesive, personalized, long-term content strategy can help you become an extremely competitive player in your industry over a short period of time, leading to:

  • Improved conversion rates
  • Increased brand visibility
  • A solid community and a bigger client database built around your brand
  • Superior organic search rankings
  • Reinforced social following

However, these improvements can’t be witnessed overnight and require sustained efforts on your part. To stay on the right path to content strategizing success, you have to be able to spot and avoid the most common pitfalls associated with this process.

3 of the Worst Mistakes You Could Make Instead of a Great Content Strategy

1. Putting the responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders. (Half-heartedly tossing a list of keywords at your secretary and having her come up with a few blogs for the week, for example. Is this you? Don’t feel too bad…we have some helpful steps for you below.)

2. Thinking that your product, brand or industry is boring. There are no boring products; there are only boring marketers. Every item available for sale has a value, a price and a well-defined market. Your job as a marketer or content creator is to put its unique features and benefits on full display and make it look insanely attractive in the eyes of all potential buyers.

3. Acting like what you write and how you write about your company won’t affect your online reputation and your bottom line. In a world in which online interactions are your most powerful ally when it comes to getting and staying on the same page with your audience, what you write helps your readers determine who you are and why they should (or shouldn’t) do business with you.

10 Ways to Guide Your Content Strategy

1) Evaluate Your Unique Marketing Techniques and Unique Business Objectives. Before getting to work, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve and how you plan to accomplish your mission. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. Many content creators, strategists and marketers get stuck at some point simply because they don’t know which business goals they are supposed to follow. So ask yourself this: why are you investing time, money and energy in a content strategy in the first place? Do you want to rank higher in search engine results, boost customer loyalty or increase conversion rates?

All these objectives are different and require different courses of action. Instead of opting for an overarching goal that doesn’t say a lot about who you are and who you plan to become, it would be better to come up with a list of smaller, manageable ones.

For instance, if you run a small-scale auto shop ensuring affordable repairs and you also sell used cars, you will try to attract 2 different segments of prospects: those who wish to get their car fixed and those who are interested in buying a used vehicle from a local dealership. In this case, you will most likely try to grab the attention of local clients by promoting your inexpensive, high-quality repair services, while spreading the word about your decently-priced line of used cars. Based on these small goals, you can elaborate your own content strategy and make wiser decisions.

2) Understand Your Audience. According to Search Engine Watch, it is extremely important to build your content marketing strategy based on the particular interests of your targeted audience. We all get it: your end goal is to improve sales and increase brand awareness but to do so, first you need to build credibility and trust. Keyword research and social media listening tools are two valuable elements that you can rely on to find out what makes your segment of public tick.

3) Understand Your Industry.  If youwant to win big you have to become familiar with the rules of the game. Find the most accurate answers to the following questions:

  • What motivates your prospects make online purchases?
  • Who are the most powerful influencers in your industry?
  • Is your audience service-oriented (and eager to spend more on premium packages) or price-focused (and always determined to pinch pennies)?
  • Are you out-shined by an influent competitor that is currently dominating the entire industry? (If the answer is yes, it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look at its community, web content and social media presence).
  • What type of content is received with more enthusiasm in your niche?
  • Are there any gaps in the content creation strategies displayed by your competitors, which you may be able to fill?
  • Would you be able to create and maintain solid relationships with industry experts and influencers?

4) Find the Perfect Distribution Channels. How exactly do you plan to reach your audience while distributing your first-class content? According to The Guardian, the mix of media channels that you select to broadcast your message is extremely important. You should evaluate the strengths, drawbacks and costs associated with every single channel before making a final call.

5) Use Surveys and Rely on Real Customer Input. Do you want to know how your digital content, blog or website is performing? Are you really ready to assess the quality and effectiveness of your web writing? If so, explore the unmatched power of surveys, accessible online or included within a certain publication. Surveys are the 21st century oracles that will tell you what you need to know about your current content strategy and the best course of action that you may want to embrace.

Furthermore, note that big brands do everything in their power to guarantee a memorable experience for all their buyers every single step of the way: from the “I’m just looking” phase to checkout and doorstep delivery.

For excellent results, follow in their footsteps and listen to what your clients have to say long after they hit your “buy now” button. How would they rate your content? Did the product match its description? Sometimes, the most brilliant ideas allowing you to take your content strategy to the next level come straight from your buyers.

Since they get to test your product, they are the ones who could point to flaws, features and benefits that you would have never thought about. Therefore, you should keep in mind that a good strategist is always a good listener. Pay attention to new directions indicated by clients and find the best way to include real customer input in your content pieces. There’s one more aspect that you should take into consideration: credible testimonials are a great way to build trust and attract new potential buyers.

6) When in Doubt, Just Ask! Even the most experienced strategists get stuck at some point. If you don’t know how to resonate with your audience and how to guide your content strategy in a new direction, don’t hesitate to ask the right questions. At the end of the day, your curiosity will be rewarded. Ask your visitors:

  • What do they enjoy reading the most?
  • What are the topics that they would like you to expand on more often?
  • What kind of content are they interested in finding on your website or blog? Do they prefer text-based content, videos, infographics or a combination of all these elements?

By simplyasking a few basic questions, you show that you care and that you are looking forward to improving your content strategy based on the specific needs, demands and expectations of your targeted audience.

7) Look for Awesome Opportunities in Your Own Backyard. Before setting extremelyambitious goals and targeting new playgrounds, make sure you explore all the tempting opportunities that may be hiding in your backyard. Analyze your existing audience and find out if you could deliver more value to your customers.

After all, you can enjoy pancakes without that delicious maple syrup, but what would be the point to do so? In this case, value represents the sweet syrup that prospects wish to taste when they choose to buy your product or do business with you. A feature blog would enable you to inform, educate and entertain your prospects and give them another reason to land on your website, purchase your merchandise, subscribe to your newsletter or spread the word about your brand or your new line of products.

8) Create a Useful Editorial Calendar (and Stick to It). One thing’s certain: content planning should not involve any guesswork. Unfortunately, in some cases, this is easier said than done. To prioritize your goals, stay relevant and come up with first-class content pieces designed to attract clients like a magnet and improve your bottom line, you have to stay organized at all times. According to HubSpot, when it comes to guiding your content strategy, you have to map your web writing to the buying cycle and elaborate an editorial calendar.

In this case, the key is to set up and follow very strict weekly (or monthly) benchmarks, indicating who your public really is and what it wants from you, what kind of topics you should expand on, the best ways to share your content, what type of formatting you should use and so on. Never forget that practice makes perfect; creating and following a strict timeframe will give you the chance to put your thoughts in order, avoid distractions and strategize in a much more effective manner.

Ideally, you should be able to take a small step back every 3, 6 or 12 months, harvest the fruits of your labor, evaluate the end results of your content strategy and optimize the aspects requiring urgent improvements. Before you start working on your content pieces, first make sure that you can count on a large audience that is interested in what you have to say and is willing to share your web writing. This is the moment when you start reading what your competitors are writing, while keeping an eye on social media to spot excellent engagement opportunities. According to Moz, by investing in long-term relationships with influencers and powerful players in your industry you will manage to get the bigger picture and upgrade your current content strategy fast and painlessly, without breaking the bank to make it happen.

9) Give the Green Light to the First Batch of Fresh Web Content. Ultimately, you will guide your content strategy based on a trial-and-error process. Even though you’ve done your fair share of keyword research and have used every SEO tool in the box to perfect your web writing, only time will tell how your readers will rate your content. Before launching the final version of your content piece, you have to make sure that it actually:

  • addresses the real needs and concerns of your readers
  • provides value and presents certain topics from a different perspective
  • helps you reposition yourself as an industry leader
  • reflects the vision, mission  and purpose in business of your company and is accompanied by a number of extras ( illustrations, photography, charts, infographics, videos and so on), which enable your audience to filter and assimilate your message much more effectively

10) Measure Your Results. After a certain period of time, you have to go back to your old content pieces and measure their effectiveness. By assessing your own website and reviewing past campaigns you can find out what types of content make your prospects rub their hands in anticipation and which ones make them yawn. You can use various tools to measure your success and improve your interactions with your readers. For example, Google Analytics allows you to reengage with your potential buyers by interpreting their particular set of on-site actions.

All in all, a clear understanding of your industry, audience and your own business goals will help you make the best decisions when it comes to creating and implementing a successful strategy. Keep in mind that no industry or product is truly boring. The key is to identify and reach your own segment of public and build interesting, informative content based on a solid plan. As long as your content is shared and enjoyed by a large audience, you are ready to strategize for success in the long run.

 

 

harry potter marketing

Dragons, Sphinxes, Dark Lords: How Harry Potter Wins at Marketing

Image credit: HDWallpapers.in

It has been almost three years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two came out and almost seven years since the last Harry Potter book was published, yet Warner Brother’s is still winning at marketing. They have yet to give up on Harry Potter as quickly as most companies give up on their mega-films, which is proving to be an excellent strategy for them. Scholastic’s marketing team is also not giving up on Harry Potter bringing in customers and money. Both of these companies know just how to engage everyone while also providing people with wonderful items to buy. People say Harry Potter is a cash cow for these two companies and they’re right! Let’s take a quick look at how these companies are still making millions by using excellent content.

Pottermore: Which House Are You?

This is an excellent example of utilizing fun content while convincing people to buy your brand. J. K. Rowling and Scholastic teamed up to offer fans an experience with the world of Harry Potter by immersing them in Hogwarts and the wizarding world. They started with beta users to test out the site and, in fact, made a big hoopla about becoming a beta user. You were able to take a trip into the virtual world of Diagon Alley to purchase your books, your wand, your animal (cat, frog, or owl), your robes, and anything else Hogwarts required of you. While doing so, you were able to find random little things along the way such as chocolate frog cards or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

The wand purchasing required you to take a test written up by the master herself, J. K. Rowling, ensuring you got the correct wand. “The wand chooses the wizard, Harry.” You can then go through Harry Potter’s first chapters in the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone and then proceed to be sorted into your house. This was the moment every Harry Potter fan was waiting for and the moment new fans are excited about. This quiz was, yet again, written by Rowling, ensuring you couldn’t guess your way into your favorite house and made sure you were sorted correctly. This caused much rejoicing and much sorrow, depending on house loyalties.

The lesson you can learn from this is that you should be creating content that is fun and engaging for your customers. The more engaging you make your content, the more likely your client base will grow, bringing in more revenue and readers. In addition, you should be involved with your content just like Rowling. This will make sure adequate knowledge is shared about your product and people will enjoy that you took the time to be involved.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

To keep audiences craving Harry Potter goods, Warner Brother’s studio created an excellent Harry Potter theme park for all the old and new fans. At first, the park was limited in what it offered, yet it was still, dare we say, a magical experience for everyone. People got to go through Hogwarts, purchase wands, and drink Butterbeer, and, of course, purchase many other Harry Potter items. The park is a huge success and because of this, the park will be expanding to allow people a ride on the Hogwarts Express, head to Gringotts, and many other fanciful locations we all want to experience.

How can copywriters take inspiration from this? Copywriters can use this as inspiration to keep their product out there in different ways. You don’t have to go to the extreme of the Wizarding World, but come up with some neat ideas to let people use your product in various ways. This could also be a great time to do some storytelling with your product. Basically, anything that engages your audience will keep your product out there longer and will bring in more buyers and customers. You can also use this as a chance to recycle and repurpose old content. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Accio New and Gorgeous Covers!

Older Harry Potter fans all enjoy the older covers and remember seeing them revealed upon release. It was an exciting time seeing the latest artwork but now there is a new audience growing up and that audience needs new covers. Or so says Scholastic. The new covers are just as gorgeous and still capture the magic of Harry Potter but connects with a newer audience. These new covers aren’t only for the newbies though, because many old-time Harry Potter fans are finding themselves purchasing the new books just for the covers. In fact, the spines of the new books make the castle of Hogwarts and who wouldn’t want that on their bookshelf? What a great marketing ploy, Scholastic!

Gain Marketing Inspiration from the Boy Who Lived

Sure, your product will probably never reach the Harry Potter level but Scholastic and Warner Brother’s Studio can give you great inspiration. Follow a few of their steps by engaging with your clients, using your product in different ways, and spice things up with new content. Try implementing these three elements and watch your content and product soar! You’ll graduate from the realm of Muggles to the wonderfully magical Wizarding world in no time.

target copywriting

Brand Showcase: Target’s Copywriting Is on Target

Target. That wonderful, mystical land where one can buy shoes, clothes, novelty tees, movies, Legos, and food when they were simply going in to buy a crafty little graduation card. Target is a place that sucks you in, makes you spend every penny to your name, and you never feel like you wasted a dime. How do they do this? How do they bring in thousands of people a day and convince them to buy what they need and more?

Copywriting Tips from Target

Let’s take this opportunity to look at Target’s various copywriting and marketing campaigns, as well as taking a little journey through the store to see just what makes us spend all our money there.

1. All The Things! First off, Target tries to appeal to a very wide demographic from Millennials to the Greatest Generation, all while “targeting” the latest group of little ones with cute designs. They have something for everyone in their store and they know that’s what brings in the cash. However, their “something for everyone” isn’t dollar store cheap material; most of Target’s merchandise is very good quality. Many of their clothing items and shoes are even designed specifically for Target by many well-known designers around the world.

What can a copywriter take away from this point? Offer something for everyone and you will please a wider audience. Take the time to learn your demographics – you may be surprised by just how diverse your potential customer base is.

2. Epic Lighting and Easy To Find Items. Their content marketing goes beyond just their Internet and mail content – it goes into their store design. The store is one that makes every shopper feel chipper, which helps foster the feeling of needing to purchase everything in sight. The lights are bright and the aisles are laid out in an interesting and easy-to-follow pattern. Because of this, we are all ready to purchase everything we see since we can easily go through the store.

This is an incredible lesson for copywriting experts and for web designers. While you most likely will not be focusing on a physical shop, you will be focusing on the website people come to. If it is drab and difficult to navigate, people won’t stay for very long. Follow Target’s example and make your site an easy and fun experience for readers.

3. Creating Memorable Advertisements That Last Forever. Target has some of the greatest ad campaigns and many of these campaigns are ones that we will remember for a long time. For example, everyone remembers the Target dog, especially when it came to the Holiday season. Whenever you saw that dog, you thought of Target. Whenever you saw that dog on an item, you bought it.

Their latest ad campaign is called “The Everyday Collection” which features photographs that look like high fashion photo shoots but they incorporated the typical everyday items such as laundry detergent, food, and vitamins. It is very much a typical Target ad campaign filled with witty one-liners, all while advertising their product. Every single marketing campaign is incredible; just look at their 2013 back-to-school campaign and their 2013 Holiday season campaign.

The lesson copywriters can learn from this is common sense – create content that will be memorable. After you have begun creating memorable, compelling content, you will start seeing some excellent results!

4. Responding to Controversy. Controversy is never too far these days and it seems just about everyone is right in the middle of one. Target isn’t any different. They’ve had their fair share of controversy from the big security breach pre-Heartbleed to the Terry Richardson controversy. Target always takes adequate steps to ensure that these controversies are dealt with properly by not reacting immediately and thinking over the issue.

This may not seem like part of a content marketing strategy, but Target always considers how many customers they will lose if they do not carry out appropriate measures. Instead of sweeping these issues under the carpet, Target deals with them in the open. This is a great lesson for every company to learn. Your copywriting can be great, but it can only go so far; having proper responses to any controversy whether large or small will help keep your business afloat.

5. Making Things Fun and Enjoyable For All. Target is the expert at making their content strategy a fun and enjoyable one. Their commercials are always upbeat or silly, their ad campaigns in the local paper always capture your attention, and they’re just plain ole good at creating successful marketing techniques. Many times, they utilize storytelling in their ads and content, which connects with their customers.

This shows every copywriter why it is important to actively engage with your client base and make things fun. Create something that is unique to your company and that people will enjoy.

In The End…

Use Target as inspiration for how to engage with your customer base and how to have fun with your content strategy. Having fun is a huge element in the majority of Target’s marketing campaign and it sure works like a charm! You’ll start seeing excellent results if you follow some of Target’s great copywriting strategies.

 

 

modern copywriter skills

10 Necessary Skills for Today’s Modern Marketers

The world has changed so much. 50-60 years ago, the “complete marketer” could just walk into his or her newspaper and print store, finish editing yesterday’s draft of today’s newsletter or news piece, publish and print, circulate, and that was almost their entire circle for marketing.  Today, 2014 – wow. You might as well say we advance 50 years in a year, with the way online marketing increases in value, assets, tools, structure, and possibilities every single month.

There’s the online press release that can be sent to over 200,000 journalists at once via PRWeb; infographics that can be designed, created, shared to go viral; blogs, articles, email campaigns, website content, all your social media platforms like G+, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and oh-so-much-more.

Valuable Skills for Modern Marketers

With all these valuable tools and structures available, what are the crucial skills that a modern online marketing genius should (or already will) have? Let’s take a look.

1) Adaptability. Adaptability is a key skill that should be displayed by all modern marketers who don’t plan to change their profession anytime soon. Why? Take a look around. The so called complete marketer is now the 21st century version of the Homo Universalis, who basically has a plentitude of intellectual interests and is good at everything. From creating content creation to analyzing web analytics and developing and creating successful social media campaigns, the modern marketer can do it all on time and on a budget.

According to the Guardian, one of the biggest challenges that marketers face is poised by technological advancements. However, what doesn’t kill today’s modern marketers makes them stronger. The 21st century men of letters who know online marketing like the palm of their hands are able to adapt to any kind of new situation. Even when they get thrown off their routine by a sneaky algorithm update sent with love by Google, they still manage to get back in the game in no time.

Adaptability is one of the most important skills of all times that ensured the survival of the human race. At this point, all modern marketers should put this skill to good use and learn how to explore technological advancements to their best advantage. With so many tools and resources available online, their daily tasks become simpler and less time-consuming. The key is to get familiar with innovations in order to fill their digital skill gap. All in all, a successful marketer is part artist, part scientist. Once these professionals learn how to get closer to a beneficial left brain-right brain balance, their success is guaranteed.

HubSpot supports the same idea and introduces a new point of view. According to HubSpot, modern marketers should have mad coding skills. This would help them be on the same page with the nerd that is developing, maintaining and improving websites. To code or not to code?-this is the question. Even though coding skills are not considered an important part of the marketers’ job requirements, they represent a major plus that is always appreciated by employers. Why is it so important for marketers to code like a pro? Here are only a few reasons why understanding code is important:

  • Knowledge Is Power: As a marketer, you have to have full control over the project that you’re working on, and this means that you have to understand the basic structures that bring your blog, website or app to life. Knowledge is power and it also represents a major source of inspiration. Once you get the basics of coding, you can create your own masterpieces (new tools and apps, for instance) that could wow your customers and spread the word about your geniality.
  • Fix Simple Issues on Time: Do you really want to call your website developer every single time you stumble across an itsy bitsy error that can be solved in 2.5 seconds by a pro? The answer is no. Calling an expert just to ask him to resize your pictures or embed a YouTube video is embarrassing and doesn’t make much sense, from a financial standpoint. You can save time and money by learning to do all this on your own. It’s much easier than you may be inclined to think.
  • Gain a Competitive Edge: The online marketing industry is extremely competitive, so why not burry your rivals 6 feet under by simply learning how to code?

2)  Awesome Copywriting Skills. Marketers should be talented writers. But they should also have the highest level of empathy and the ability to write for a certain segment of public. Web content as we know it should be original, informative, educational and entertaining. Therefore, all marketers should be able to create and publish content with their readers in mind. Crafting content pieces without any substance or motivation would be like planting palm trees at the North Pole. All their masterpieces should include powerful calls to action enabling prospects to act in a certain way (buy a product, subscribe for a newsletter, post a comment, test a new service and so on).

3) Superior PR Skills. According to MediaBuzz, if you want to become a successful marketer, killer Public Relations skills are a must-have. As a marketer, you have to interact with clients, staff members, brand evangelists, bloggers, media representatives and more. Your goal is to build solid relationships that will stand the test of time. You use every single opportunity to make new connections and preserve the old ones. In a world in which everybody knows who’s who and only want to work with the cream of the crop, you have to learn how to make a name for yourself, take your company to a whole new level, spread the world about your accomplishments and your competencies and fish for new clients. Obviously, in order to do all this you need killer PR skills, which are an important component of today’s marketing mix.

4) SEO Skills. Search Engine Optimization is one of those things that you can’t live without these days. SEO is just as important as oxygen for modern marketers whose mission is to improve the online visibility of certain brands, boost their competitiveness and maximize their profits. To get a certain website on page 1 in Google, Bing and Yahoo you need lots of energy, commitment and of course an understanding of SEO. You have to be familiar with all the white-hat optimization tactics that can help you reach your target. Moreover, even if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, in a world in which people are obsessed with SEO you don’t necessarily have to flatter anyone to attain your goal. What we’re trying to say is that copying someone’s SEO plan won’t guarantee you the positive results that you are hoping to witness. You have to speak SEO and try to enhance your own vocabulary. In other words, you should follow SEO leaders, learn from their success stories and mistakes and find your own path. You can become a respectable optimization expert only by conducting countless trial-and-error processes, analyzing results and perfecting old strategies. And it at first you don’t succeed in optimizing a website like a pro, just dust yourself off and rewind.

5) Social Media Skills. Social media platforms are the favorite playground of modern marketers. You cannot think that you are working on an effective communication plan unless it is backed by solid social media marketing strategies. Social networking websites are a huge pot of gold for companies of all sizes, operating in different sectors. These gigantic platforms offer extremely attractive and affordable marketing opportunities that should never be neglected. Therefore, today’s marketers should be able to tap the enormous potential of social media to represent the best interest of their clients. All in all, whether they want to improve brand awareness, boost customer loyalty, attract a new segment of potential buyers or stimulate sales, social media networking websites are the perfect channels where modern marketers can distribute their messages and turn their objectives into accomplishments.

6) Strategic Planning Skills. Let’s face it: marketers are those busy bees who have lots of ideas and the know-how that supports all their creative processes. Marketers don’t follow the heard; they are the shepherds. This is because the really competent ones have awesome strategic planning skills. They know how to create, improve and implement even the most complex concepts and make them appeal to clients. They are able to come up with a cohesive marketing strategy, select the best course of action, indicate the most reliable back-up plans and determine the KPIs (key performance indicators) of their program right from the start. A marketer is a man with a plan, who always has a set of strategies, an exit route, a word of advice and a prediction for just about anything.

7) Editing and Video Production. Content is king, we are all fully aware of this fact. But is your king mighty and extremely influent, or is he about to be dethroned? Please allow us to explain. Content based solely on text is boring and will never manage to help you get and stay on the same page with your readers. At this point, website visitors are craving for first-class multimedia content that comes in many forms. Vlogs are increasingly popular and tend to make old-school bloggers blush. Well-crafted videos capture the attention of a larger audience and build credibility and trust. Clever words may say it all, but videos back the statement. Videos and infographics allow marketers to have the last word on any matter. These extremely popular forms of content can make it easier for you to create and distribute meaningful marketing messages that have higher odds of being analyzed and filtered by a larger segment of public. Infographics and videos allow you to become noticed and also support your optimization efforts. Killer content that is likely to interest many influent players operating in the media industry will help you collect tons of backlinks from reputable sources, which is always a major plus. Of course, you could hire someone and let an expert handle the editing and video production, but this would cost you. If you want to become a better version of yourself and save some money in the process, it is highly recommended to take on these new responsibilities and cultivate your own progress.

8) Website Management Skills. A website is one of the most powerful tools that you can rely on, to take your company and all your clients to a whole new level. A properly optimized website is clearly the most powerful ally that you could ever count on: it reinforces your online presence, helps you connect with your targeted audience, generates leads and boosts traffic. All in all, a fantastic, fully-functional website is the most valuable business card that you could ever get. Because webpages are incredibly effective lead-generation and web content publishing tools, they have to be handled with gloves. These days, having a website is not enough.

The real challenge is to create, run and constantly improve websites that are flawless from all points of view. The perfect website loads fast, profits from the best on-page optimization practices, is incredibly eye-catchy and user-friendly and attracts visitors like a magnet. Moreover, marketers also have to become fervent bloggers. Sometimes, brand that are driven by ambitious goals need to make their voice heard through a series of blog posts. Blogs are not overly adorned bedtime stories; they are extremely powerful tools used by modern marketers to interact with prospects, improve the online presence of a certain company and ultimately drive business growth. Blogs require awesome writing skills, consistency but also extensive research and attention to detail.

9) Paid Search Marketing Skills. For many deep-pocket business owners who are expecting to witness radical improvements, there comes a time when paid search marketing also comes into play. This is precisely why marketers should be able to anticipate their needs and demands and address them in a timely fashion. PPC (pay per click) campaigns are a smart investment, as long as they are properly developed and implemented. Despite the fact that they differ a great deal, based on the needs and objectives of every client, PPC campaigns comprise a few common elements, including an accurate budget estimation, a clever segmentation, powerful calls to action and suitable optimization tactics. To be able to focus on all these essential details, marketers should be able to understand how paid search programs really work.

Do you think that this is the most difficult part of the job, where the left side of the marketer’s brain is about to explode? Think again. Marketers don’t get easily intimidated by numbers. As a matter of fact, data analysis plays an important part in this equation. Real professionals should know how to interpret numbers and how to prove marketing investments via ROI. Analytical skills are extremely necessary, especially since marketers have to interpret info, evaluate the success rate of their campaign and communicate their end results. According to IBM, marketers have a huge responsibility: they have to convert data into intelligence and then turn intelligence into action. Putting numbers into words is not always easy, especially when you have 1 billion other things on your mind, but somehow the best specialists in this field of activity have everything covered.

10) Intuitive Skills. Marketers are very adaptable people. This means that the best experts in this line of business are also highly intuitive. They may not be able to take a good look at the sky and tell you if it’s going to rain or not; however, they can predict the wind of change way before it starts wiping companies off the face of the earth. Intuition put to good use can do wonders for both marketers and their clients.

Could a certain social media marketing strategy reinforce the buyers’ interest and stimulate sales? Could a certain website design change boost click-through rates? Could a certain marketing campaign idea be the secret recipe for success that your client has been struggling to uncover or a total bust? Intuition offers marketers the chance to provide the best answers to all these questions and more. Naturally, those who make final calls based solely on empathy and intuition are gamblers, not competent marketers. The really good ones don’t use crystal balls to decide the faith of their clients or to select the best course of action. They follow marketing savvy leaders, learn from the best, conduct extensive research and consult data analytics before making a decision.

Write Tomorrow’s Success Story!

These are the 10 basic skills that any competent marketer should take pride in. All in all, professionals who are on a quest to conquer both online and offline environments and protect the best interest of their clients should focus on content creation, clean, Google-friendly optimization tactics, PR strategies, PPC campaigns and social media marketing. Those who work around the clock to expand their understanding of solid data and improve their technical know-how are the ones who are writing tomorrow’s success stories.

 

 

repurpose content

16 Ways To Get MORE Mileage Out Of Your Web Content

The World’s Largest Webinar happened last Wednesday (#WLW14). Hosted by Hubspot, it featured three awesome leaders from today’s most powerful online platforms: Hubspot, Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter. We at Express Writers were a part of the lucky 34,000 who attended. Our exclusive recap blog features our notes from the webinar.

During the webinar, Russ, Twitter’s speaker, spoke about some ingenious ways to get more mileage out of your web content. He basically described content as if you have “fundamental” pieces like blogs, ebooks, etc. These can be cut up and delivered in bite size pieces to your social media audience and go a LONG way.

How Do You Repurpose Web Content?

It’s pretty simple, really. It may seem a little daunting at first, but you will find yourself getting more bite size pieces of content quicker than ever before. In the following section, we will talk about the different ways in which you can repurpose your content and get more mileage out of one simple post! How nifty is that?

1. Use Your Email Campaigns. This is often a lost gold mine of information. Russ, Twitter speaker at #WLW14, shared some awesome tips regarding using email campaigns for Twitter. You might not realize it, but those emails can produce some amazing Twitter content! Here are a few ways you can use your email content in this fashion:

  • Cut Up That Newsletter. Instead of telling people to click the link and read a longer blog, give them small pieces of information from your newsletter. You can fashion this by saying, “did you know?” or giving other information that your client base will appreciate.
  • Send Out Tips All Day. An important aspect with Twitter is consistent interaction. Once a tweet has been made, it will be seen for a few minutes before being lost in the myriad of other tweets. Tweet out tips from your long newsletter or blog post. Those bullet points you love so dearly will help a lot when doing this!

Always remember TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) when it comes to content and Twitter. The Twitter universe relies on short tidbits of info, not long drawn out opinions or news.

2. Cut Up E-Books Into Blogs. Give your blog copywriters your ebook — they can easily use that as fodder for more than 5-15 blogs, depending on the length and the topic areas covered in your company ebooks. The sub-sections of an ebook will make excellent blog postings and each post can end by encouraging people to pick up your ebook to learn more.

3. Re-share Older Blogs. SocialMediaToday often retweets blogs published on their site over a week ago. They re-purpose the blog by tweeting it many days after it was published. Consider doing this for your “older” blogs. In Internet-land, a few days old is very old and a week old blog is ancient. If you want to make sure your readers read a specific blog or blogs, retweet, retweet, retweet!

4. For Your Social Media, Get Someone Who Can Speak Social. It’s not easy to write those one-liners that go viral on Twitter – being concise, short and still impactful can be more difficult for some brains. A social media manager is a great investment. That is, someone who knows how to copy write for your social media. For example, a person can take your old blogs and give them a fresh new one-liner for a short Twitter message. These one-liners are what will bring in the Millennials and the Millennials are who will bring in the business for many companies.

5. Create a SlideShare. Many people love slideshows. It gives them the ability to learn bits of information at their speed and is always divided up nicely. This is a great way to highlight the most important parts of your content. This ensures that your readers will read what you want them to. Just make sure you don’t over share on a slide show. Professors did this to us in university and we all hated it, so don’t make their mistake.

6. Make a Whitepaper Post Out of Your Content. Do you want higher-ups to take notice of a content piece your company has published? Craft a Whitepaper. This may be a chance for you to hire a professional, but creating a Whitepaper for your business is a great way to publish content in a more professional setting. It will get you noticed from professional entities and they are more apt to take your company seriously if the content isn’t in blog format.

7. Turn that Long-winded Post Into A Handy Infographic. The Internet really has a hard time sticking with long posts, as we stated above. Millennials use that annoying semi-colon phrase (TL;DR) but it holds a lot of weight when it comes to constructing great online content. Infographics are very popular with many in the web community and are great if you are aiming to get your content viral, according to Quicksprout.com. Don’t worry, you can still write up that long-winded post! Infographics serve as a chance for you to highlight key points that readers might miss if they are reading the long version. These are easier to read for many people and you’ll find those people want more, in-depth information after reading one. (This is where that long-winded post comes in handy.)

8. Lights, Camera, Action: Make A Blog Post A Video Post! Video blogs and posts are all the rage right now. This is a chance to put a face and voice to the business. Videos make readers feel like they are getting a different, more personal experience when they see someone from your company sharing information via video blog (also known as a vlog). You can write up a script from your blog or select a specific aspect of your blog to define. A great example of this is Mashable’s blog series on the Heartbleed bug that affected a huge portion of the Internet. They wrote various articles on different aspects of the bug and attached a video at the bottom discussing what the bug was. This helped readers learn what the bug was without having to search through hundreds of articles. It is important to have someone who is comfortable being in front of the camera and speaking without notes. It needs to come across as natural. If you are afraid of the camera, don’t put yourself in front of it. Ask other employees or hire someone – an awkward presentation will chase viewers away pretty quickly.

9. Podcasts Are The Future. These handy audio tools are great for commuters or those who work data entry jobs. Many listen to a wide selection of podcasts and always look for new ones to learn about different topics. Some non-science folks find themselves listening to science podcasts while non-literature folks find themselves listening to literature podcasts. Podcasts vary in length and are generally broken up into a multi-week series. This will work perfectly to repurpose your blog post or article. Talk about one point in one podcast and unpack it with further detail than made available in your blog. For example, if we were to do a podcast on this topic, we would do one session focusing on the first, and possibly, second points and expound on them and then the following week we would do points three and four and so on. This will engage your reader base and provide some excellent, sharable resources. The same rule from point eight applies to this point, as well. Get someone who is comfortable talking into a microphone and being recorded. The less awkward the person sounds, the better.

10. Share Your Knowledge: Provide A Webinar. Webinars are excellent ways to repurpose your content and teach information to others. These are done in a class format and are easily viewed at any time. You can break your content down and share it in teachable moments. Use this as a way to share information with others in your field and help their knowledge base grow. This works particularly well for librarians or those who can’t travel to conferences. They are able to learn about one specific topic and focus on implementing that into their daily work. Webinars can also be done in a live format where you can have viewers ask questions and can interact with your client base. It is recommended that you field questions instead of letting them appear live without being checked. You never know when someone is going to play a little prank!

11. Don’t Leave the Leftovers To Rot. Don’t throw out those clips and snippets you took out of your video for the sake of length. Don’t let them gather dust and grow moldy. Utilize those leftovers. C.S. Lewis said that you could always tell the quality of a writer’s content by how full the wastebasket is; what he didn’t say is that “waste” can actually be put to good use. If you are unsure of how to use the leftovers, call a professional in and have them create different content from them. Put it in an infographic, in a slideshow; use it in a Whitepaper post, or as a point in your next blog post. The only time you need to leave content in the wastebasket is if it is really stinky, but you can usually find someone who can freshen it up.

12. Repurpose Your Content While You Are Still Writing It. While you are writing up your long content, how about Tweeting out a few tidbits or trying out smaller bits to see how well they work. This will help you see if the content you are crafting will work and if it doesn’t, you can change before making the huge commitment of writing it all and then publishing. This can save you a lot of time if you find you have to change your approach to your content strategy.

13. Take That Blog Post and Format It Every Which Way. Seriously, don’t ignore any format – you’ve got to catch them all! Every format will bring in a different type of reader and viewer. If you focus on one form of content only, you will only bring in a select few – you don’t want this. You want a diverse reader and client base because diversity will grow your business. Hubspot discusses the importance of using multiple formats for your content and points out that you will generate more leads for your company, therefore, increasing sales. If you find yourself struggling to adapt your content into multiple formats, ask others in your company if they are skilled with a particular format. You can also hire professionals to do things such as videos or making infographics. The money you put into multiple formats will be worth it. People love variety; the more you mix it up the better.

14. Stop Yakking About Yourself, Write About Others. Repurposing your own content might get a bit droll; consider having guest bloggers on your site and repurposing their material. You can utilize their writings for your site in other formats and can generate new leads if the person redirects their readers to your site. You can also gain inspiration from your competitors and repurpose lessons you’ve learned from them. However, we will say that if you repurpose something a competitor has done, it is important that you do so without plagiarizing. Plagiarism is awful, often illegal, always unethical, and you need to avoid it. If you find yourself plagiarizing your competition too much, scrap it.

15. Make It Pin-able. Pinterest is a social network that seems to be on the sideline of all the social network excitement, but it is becoming quite the contender in the social media marketing world. This is a great opportunity for you to not only reach out to a new demographic but to begin a marketing strategy many of your competitors aren’t thinking about yet. Craft your content into a pin-able format such as an infographic or photograph with a quote from your blog. By doing this, you can link the pin to your website so that pinners are able to follow the link to the source material. You can also set up your content in a format that allows people to do crafts, do a DIY project with your product or that promotes your product, and also gives them life hacks for basic every day projects. Pinterest is an easy way to share all of these on “boards” and doesn’t take up a whole Facebook feed. Go take a look at Pinterest and the way some companies are using it to see how your company can benefit from this social media format.

16. Cheesy Photo – Simple One-liner. We’ve all seen those cheesy stock photos with a quote over them and while we all joke about them, we like them. We also know that others like them and will share them. This is a great opportunity for you to highlight poignant quotes from your blog and create a shareable format this is easily shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This is a great way to cover your content on multiple sites and repurpose it for those multiple sites. If you don’t want to keep using stock photos, hire a photographer or take your own photos. Just make sure they are eye-catching; this is the only way these photos and quotes stand out on Facebook.

How Does Repurposing Content Benefit You?

The simple answer is that repurposing content saves you time spent on crafting content. Yes, you want to stay fresh but staying fresh does not mean publishing consistently new content. You can stay fresh with your content by reusing it in different formats and those “old” blogs can still be relevant in the “future.”

Here are a few ways repurposing your content will benefit your company:

1. It is Excellent For Your SEO Strategy. This is a simple concept to grasp. You utilized certain SEO practices with your original content and repurposing it gives you a chance to utilize those practices again. Repurposing will improve Google’s view of you and will bump your rankings right on up.

2. You Reach A Wider Audience. As we’ve said, repurposing brings in a lot of different clientele for your business, which is important to business growth. All of these different formats are difficult to maintain but repurposing your original content into the different formats will save you time and bring in a diverse reader base.

3. Repurposing Will Retain Clients and Generate New Leads. By repurposing your content, you are able to publish great content while also spending time by building relationships with your customers. Customers that have a relationship with a company will stay with that company for a long time. In addition, the consistent updates of repurposed content will generate buzz and bring in new readers and clients.

 

 

viral content

A Blogger’s Kidnapping Prank: When Viral Content Goes Too Far

Every company wants to have viral content and some may be willing to do whatever it takes. The question posed is whether or not “whatever it takes” is a good notion to have. Many viral video ads out there are hilarious and have converted into incredible sales for companies, but many question the ethics of some of these ads.

Let’s use the example of the Pepsi “Test Drive” ads and discuss if “whatever it takes” should be left to the professionals.

Pepsi Max: Test Drive

We have all seen this video at some point and it is pretty funny. Jeff Gordon dresses up as someone who is interested in buying a car and “kidnaps” the salesman, taking him on a wild ride. We all laughed at it and loved when Jeff Gordon revealed who he was, but some felt sorry for the poor salesman. Some even wondered what else could have happened to the salesman or other unsafe ways he might have reacted. These concerns led to one blogger saying the video was faked. He said the salesman was an actor and “in on it.” He also stated that Jeff Gordon didn’t really do the driving.

The Response

In response to this blogger, Ray Wert (a friend of the blogger) decided to get the ultimate revenge. He had his friend kidnapped by Jeff Gordon and they filmed “Test Drive 2” for Pepsi, proving that this wasn’t a hoax. It was, again, funny and especially entertaining watching revenge being enacted on someone. In this case, the blogger thought he was in the taxi of an ex-convict who decides to run from the police when they pull him over. They ended by driving the taxi to a garage filled with Pepsi logos and told the blogger he had been, well, had.

Should This Be Left to the Professionals?

In short, yes. Pepsi and other companies that have staged these types of pranks have strategies in place. They don’t make the kidnapping public and they do it in a confined area. Just look at how many people it took to pull off the “Test Drive 2” prank. When other companies go about kidnapping, it can cause a negative stir and hurt business. In April 2014, a group decided to film an educational video on child kidnapping and the response of witnesses, according to the Dailydot.com. This left parents enraged when they found out this “prank” had been pulled and it didn’t bode well for the group that performed it. In Australia, five men were arrested for a YouTube kidnapping prank because of an observer calling authorities. It took five months of investigation time to learn what exactly happened before the men were charged with creating a “false belief.” This shows that it takes more than a handful of people to adequately and safely pull off a prank like this; only then do many consider it funny.

Take a Lesson from Spock

Be logical about doing pranks as a form of advertisement. Leave the hilarious ads to the professionals and stay away from causing extreme negative side effects for your company. Just play it safe and find new ways to launch viral content and bring in customers and readers without possibly breaking laws and angering a lot of people.

 

 

too much content

Too Much Content: Could It Happen?

Short answer: yes. Too much content can actually scare potential clients and readers away. If they have to wade through a pool of different content to get to the meat of your website, they will run away very fast. “When is content considered too much?” you ask.

Let’s discuss this and how to avoid publishing or creating overwhelming amounts, and as a bonus give you some ideas on how to use your content to tease readers into wanting more. So, get your thinking caps on and get ready to learn about The Day of Too Much Content.

How Do I Know I Have Too Much Content?

If you start noticing that you are losing readers and visitors it is a very good indication that your content might be overwhelming. We know that you have spent countless hours preparing your content and we know that is pretty awesome, too. Just because the content is great and has had a lot of preparation does not mean that your customers will like it, though. Less really is more when it comes to content writing.

Business2Community suggests self-examination when you start realizing your website is losing readers. We are going to unpack what this means in the following section.

1. It’s a Tough Crowd, Charlie Brown. Just ask any comedian – audiences are hard to please. When you are writing your content, you need to know your audience and what they expect from you. If you aren’t talking their “language” you are going to lose them quickly. If your audience is in the tech world, you shouldn’t write things that aren’t related to that field. If your audience doesn’t know much about tech, don’t write about tech. Simple as that. Too much of the wrong content will hurt your company.

2. Are You Living up to Your Expectations? You have expectations for your company; everyone does, but are you living up to them? If you aren’t, it is time to re-evaluate your content strategy and re-evaluate what you expect from it. You may think you’ll go viral if you post a ton of photos a day on your social media site but instead you realize that your page likes are going down. This means you need to stop sharing so much and start sharing small, impactful photos or updates. Don’t spam people’s newsfeeds.

3. Where is Your Audience Going? Are you sending them to your front page or to a specific landing page? If you’re sending them to your homepage, you should know that they will feel very overwhelmed. Most front pages are packed with information, photos, links, ads, etc. and that gets very confusing and overwhelming. Tweak your landing pages to bring in customers to a specific place. You can use a landing page to give a brief description of your company, encourage people to sign up for updates, and give links to your social media sites. A landing page is crucial to a successful website and company.

Tease Audiences into Wanting More

If you want to bring in more people, you have to tease them, not overwhelm them. Here are a few ways you can do this and start gaining back your readership.

1. Giveaways. People love getting free stuff and giveaways are a perfect opportunity to build relationships with clients. You can use giveaways to keep your existing clients but you can also use them to bring in more readers and promote your company more. Giving people the ability to get extra entries is one of the ways to do this. Tell people they get one entry simply by commenting but can get X amount more (chose how many entries you’d like to give) by sharing on social media sites and blogging about it. People will do whatever they can if there is a potential to win, so take advantage of that!

2. Spoilers. If you have a big announcement coming up, think about spending a few days/weeks prior by vague tweeting and updating. This will start garnering interest because curiosity is a major part of human consciousness. Occasionally let something “slip” to make people chortle at your “mistake” as they attempt to solve what the big news is. You can even implement giveaways into this and give a prize away if someone guesses the big news (just don’t tell them until you have announced your news!).

3. Ask for Input. Your clients and readers are the best resources to utilize to find out if you post too much content. Send out questionnaires and make a web poll for them to access. You could create an anonymous tip box where people can freely tell you what needs to change. Take their suggestions and start implementing them into your content creation and you will see tremendous growth in visits to your website. Creating client participation is very important to all businesses.

Make Changes and Succeed

Creating enough content that isn’t overwhelming will save your business and will bring in more clients. Stay away from making common mistakes with your content and begin to be more personal with your readers. This isn’t the time to feel bad that your site isn’t drawing in readers; it is time to take action and make changes!

 

 

market your content

7 Essential Ways to Market Your Content

Your content is written, but your funds are limited. So what do you do? Clearly you would think that you should start looking for marketers to market your content, but those limited funds come right back up. This is a chance for you to save some money and begin marketing on your own. You can still utilize the services from other companies, but this blog is going to help you learn several nifty ways to market your content without breaking your bank account. 

To Market or Not To Market

Believe it or not, there are people who wonder if marketing is important. In fact, you might be one of those! We can tell you that marketing is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting your content and product out there. How else will people find you? How else can they learn about your amazing products and services? Just because you have published your content does not mean it stops there. You have to market or else your other efforts will fall flat and you will notice your site going downhill fast. There are many ways in which you can market your content and according to Convince and Convert, some of these are:

  • Emailing employees on an internal network. If you do not have an internal network, you can still do this via Google+ or sending out an employee newsletter.
  • Social Media news release.
  • Traditional news releases.
  • Appearing on local news stations.
  • YouTube demos for apps and other products.

These are based on what one company did when creating a nifty app to help parents find the best car seat for their children. The app was successful because of the marketing this company did. Instead of treating the release as the end of the line, they advertised their product as much as they possibly could. While some of their methods may not work for your business, following some of what is listed above will help you. Do not neglect marketing or you will live to regret it.

Now, we are sure you are wondering how to market your product, content, and services. We will discuss a few handy tips and products that can help you immensely as you begin your marketing campaign.

1. Great Strategies and Strong Foundations. In order to market your content, you need to have solid content foundation. You cannot just jump into the content marketing game, you need to have a plan and follow it. Strategy is the best way to make sure your content will be noticed. If you do not have a strategy for your content and your content marketing campaigns, you will see it slipping. Once you have a strategy and a strong foundation, you can begin to publish great content and market it wonderfully. A good strategy will help you keep up with your marketing needs, but bad strategy will make you lose more customers and money. Never underestimate the power of great strategy!

2. Street Teams. These have proven to be pretty effective for a lot of groups and companies. Street teams rely on clients to give out information regarding a company or group. These can be done in numerous ways. For example, the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club (IGGPPC) has several street teams throughout the world. Their teams give out postcards, pins, stickers, pencils, and other things that relate to letter writing. This is a great way for people outside of the IGGPPC friend circle to hear about this group. Because of the street teams, this group has approximately 45,000 site views a month. The street teams combined with social media get the information out there to a huge audience, creating a tremendous success for this year old group. Utilize your social networks and start creating a street team that will be appropriate for your business and content, you’ll be amazed at how much your name will get out there by getting clients to give out information around their towns!

3. Social Media. One of the biggest helps in marketing your own content is social media. It is so important that you have read it a thousand times over, but we keep saying it because a lot of people are ignoring this. Social media is a great marketing technique. A big help in social media is that share or retweet button. When you have an active social media marketing campaign, you will see more and more of your information being shared on the basic social media sites. It is really great when your info starts being shared a lot; it means you are one step closer to going viral, which is absolutely perfect in the world of the Internet and marketing!

While Facebook and Twitter are great ways to market, there are some other social media sites and tools that will help you in your marketing campaign. It is time to start thinking outside of the generic social media box. (And do not worry; we will be discussing these awesome tools in this blog!) As we have said and will continue to say, social media is the greatest way to self-market and promote your content and product, as it gets to a wider audience and can be shared many times over.

4. StumbleUpon. This is a great resource for marketing. StumbleUpon users will “stumble upon” various webpages that have been added. They then rank the web page as being something they are interested in or not, which will help StumbleUpon streamline the web pages the user sees most. This is a great opportunity for your marketing campaigns. Firmology gives a few examples of how StumbleUpon can be used in your content marketing:

  • Add a Page. This is an easy way to promote your page. Go to the drop down menu beneath your profile photo and locate the link that is appropriately titled, “add a page.” From there, you can add links to pages from all over your website. Be sure to add applicable tags so users can find you quicker! Make sure the content you add is engaging and do not overwhelm users with a lot of information from your site.
  • StumbleUpon Plug-in. You can add this to your Google Chrome or Firefox browser to share your content quickly. Just click the little thumbs-up button and you are good to go. If you see that it is already green, that is a great sign! It means it has already been shared on StumbleUpon. That would be an appropriate moment to do a little happy dance.
  • Badges. Yes, badges. Badges are cool. Using a StumbleUpon badge is a great way to get your content shared. The more people who like your content via the StumbleUpon badge, the more other people will see your site. This will assuredly lead to going viral. (Remember, that is what you want!)
  • Payment. The above listed items are the free ways to get your content noticed, but you can also pay StumbleUpon to share your content. This is another excellent way to get your content noticed, but you should keep in mind that it will show as a sponsored post on StumbleUpon, meaning some folks might ignore it.

We can personally attest to StumbleUpon being worthwhile. We have found that certain blogs and infographics are shared quickly. It has really helped to bring in more readers. In fact, our infographic The Era of the Content Beast received 91 shares on StumbleUpon! Pretty nifty, huh?

5. HackerNews. HackerNews is a great way to get your information out there if you are just starting up and you are in the techie and entrepreneurial world. Before you start thinking this is yet another social media platform, it is actually a news source for all in the technological and entrepreneurial realm. If you make it onto the home news feed, you will find your content receives thousands and more visits to your site. It is a great community that is dedicated to a niche topic.

6. Reddit. Following in the same vein as HackerNews is Reddit. It has the potential for a wider variety of topics, so it does not just have to be for tech related companies. Mashable discusses the various ways in which marketers can use Reddit in their upcoming campaigns and points out that this simplified format also gives consumers and readers the ability to discuss the elements they like or dislike. It is a great format to receive client feedback, as many will be able to stay anonymous and will feel freer letting the company know how they feel about certain aspects of the business.

7. HootSuite. You will start to feel really overwhelmed with all of these social media platforms and keeping them up-to-date, but never fear! There is a great app to help you keep all of those social media platforms together in one central location and make sure everything is adequately updated. This is an app called HootSuite. It allows you to add up to five social media accounts for free so that you can monitor them all and update them, as you need to. You can schedule an automatic RSS push to go out from HootSuite to all of your social networks, effectively covering all of the bases. It is a great way to make sure you do not forget about one of the social networks you are using, which is highly possible the more you increase your social media presence.

Be Sure to Use DIY Marketing With Paid and Earned Promotions!

These DIY marketing tips will be very helpful because they will save you a lot of money. They are also perfect ways to interact with your clients on a personal level and make them feel involved with your company. People who feel involved are more likely to share your content with others. However, according to Marketing Land, you need to use your own marketing in connection with paid and earned promotions. In the marketing world, you cannot rely specifically on one form of marketing, because you will miss reaching a lot of different viewers and potential customers.

Let’s take a look at paid and earned promotions and how they will help in connection with your own form of marketing:

  • Paid Promotions. This strategy is a good way for your content to be seen by a wider audience. You can do paid promotions by paying for sponsored tweets or Facebook posts that will show up in people’s news feeds. While some people might skip over the promotions, you will find that many people will start coming your way due to this sponsored item.
  • Earned Promotions. These are simply when you go viral; hence having the title “earned” promotions. Viral content means you have a lot of viewers and readers, it also means that your viewer and readership will grow with each new share. You can also obtain earned promotions by having a visually appealing website, as well as having an easy to navigate website, by writing for your audience and not the search engines, and by making your content easy to share on social platforms.

By combining your own marketing, paid promotions and earned promotions you will see that your content is being viewed more and that your company is beginning to be a tremendous success. Marketing is vital to getting your company running and keeping it going like the Energizer bunny!

In the End…

You cannot forego marketing, no matter what others might be saying and no matter whether you feel awkward or silly marketing for yourself. Self-promotion does feel strange to many people and you may feel like you are constantly trying to make yourself look good, and that is what you want! That is what marketers do already, why not do it for yourself? Go on and begin that self-marketing journey and you will see a significant amount of success for your company in 2014!

 

 

content strategies

9 Content Strategies to Get Unstuck from a Content Rut

Are you a new business, a mid-size to large business, or any other size business with a stagnant online marketing campaign? Do you feel your online presence is not really going places yet? Let’s talk about how to get you on the road to success!

Here are a few ways to stop stagnating and come up with new, fresh material that will make readers love you:

1. Don’t Stop Your Yapping

We’ve all heard someone, somewhere say “stop your yapping” but when it comes to content marketing strategies, if you aren’t yapping you’ll start drowning. Talk about your content with other marketers within your company and start sharing ideas. Someone will have at least one idea, but are too scared to share. Opening up a sharing ground will be a great way to begin getting out of the stagnant content marshland and beginning to create new content strategies that will be the bee’s-knees, the cat’s pajamas, and the best darn content out on the Internet.

2. Spot Those Problem Areas

Get your magnifying glass out and get ready to find those problem areas in your content. We know you really love what you have published and you just cannot understand why no one is reacting to your wonderfully crafted content. While it may be amazing and well written, if it is not bringing people in, there is a problem and you have to find it to move on.

When you begin to correct the problem area and find a new, impactful way to create content, Moz suggests that you create a small list of goals you would like to accomplish. They urge writers and marketers not to spread themselves too thin when creating these goals. If you are trying to juggle twenty semi-important goals instead of, say, five important ones, you will find yourself burning out quickly and the content will continue to be stagnant and not have any sort of impact whatsoever. Once you have found the problem, it is time to make a strategy.

3. Ender Didn’t Beat the Buggers With Luck

He beat them with strategy. If you do not know the story of Ender Wiggin, check out Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In this story, Ender is chosen to be the leader of humanity in a war against an alien race referred to as “buggers.” Ender had to do a lot of strategizing and learning from his mistakes before he finally beat them at their game.

This goes for your content. You can’t just whip something up and expect it to go viral in an instant. If you constantly just write or create stuff and throw it out there without a strategy, you will see your content marketing campaign going stagnant and you will watch as your viewers back away with looks of consternation. Do not let that happen! Start working on that strategy and learn from your mistakes. Your mistakes are your best teaching tool. You will learn what needs to change if you are willing to open up your mind to take those mistakes as learning aids and not failures.

4. Everyone’s a Critic

The Internet is a lovely place of opportunity, but can turn into a stinking quagmire of criticism quickly. Many people say, “Avoid the comments!” because this is where most of the horrible criticism is but you should not let that bring you down and stop you from producing great content. Just because someone says it is awful does not mean it really is. Take a lesson from some famous, classic authors. One critic of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn said the book was, “No better in tone than the dime novels which flood the Blood-and-Thunder reading population.” Did that stop him from continuing to write his amazing novels? No! So, do not let those comments stop you from promoting your company and producing your content.

However, by avoiding the comments section your content will become stale. Within those horrible comments are some real gems of information. You will be able to learn what people like or dislike and can implement that into your new content strategy. Many authors have used negative reviews as a way to grow their writing, hence becoming national bestsellers.

5. You Do Not Have a T.A.R.D.I.S.

So stop acting as if you do. If you spend all day in meetings, chat with coworkers over lunch, and work through your mountain of emails every day, you will find your content is beginning to stink like a disgusting swampy pond. Swat those mosquitoes away and start managing your time. No time machine will be here to take you back and, according to the Doctor, you can’t cross your time stream anyway. Business2Community points out that humans tend to be more alert in the morning. Sure, we all may be groggy without our morning cup of coffee but we also do not have a whole days’ worth of worries and to-dos floating around in our brains. We can think much clearer in the morning and, in fact, many people come up with some of their best ideas in the morning. The first thing to do when you get to work is to carve out about 30 to 45 minutes to sit and think. Start brainstorming and you will see that you come up with some pretty epic ideas!

6. Become a Lurker

Lurking is creepy when done in real life but it can be very beneficial on the Internet. We aren’t talking about Facebook stalking, rather going to the different social media sites and looking at what is trending or what articles Buzzfeed and Upworthy are currently posting. Apart from Buzzfeed and Upworthy, HubSpot also suggests listening to new TED talks. TED talks are really interesting and provide amazing inspiration on a variety of topics. Gaining web inspiration is an excellent way to learn new information and to begin to spruce up your content marketing. While you’re at it, how about looking for inspiration from your competitors? We know you wonder why they are doing so well and now is the time to become Sherlock Holmes and find what they are doing. This will help you discover neat tricks for talking to clients within your niche market and you can also see what mistakes your competitors are making. This will show that they are human and give you a heads up about things that will not work, before you ever make that mistake. Pretty nifty, huh?

7. Try On a New Format

Sometimes, new clothes help make people feel amazing and buying new clothes gets them out of whatever rut they find themselves in. The same goes for a new format for your content. While text content is great, it is becoming boring for many readers. Try out a few new formats and see how readers react.

Social Media Today suggests a few formats that you can try to change up your content:

  • Videos and Photographs. Changing your content into a video or photo format, will standout to your readers. It is not something they’re used to so their attention will be grabbed and they will be more willing to stick with you.
  • Infographics. Infographics are at the height of fashion and you would be silly not to use this to your advantage. Create some content and implement it into an infographic. This format is easy to share and the more people that share it, the more readers you will acquire.
  • Question and Answer Sessions. People really like question and answer sessions. Let readers and clients submit questions to you and do a live webcast or do a video recording of you and your company answering the questions. This will help your clients feel like you are actually listening to them and this is a great way to encourage them to share more information about your company. Of course, always read the questions before doing anything live, some people really like submitting strange or inappropriate questions to sidetrack speakers.
  • Micro-Content. All that long content you have been working on might be your problem. Sure, lengthy blogs are great for in-depth discussions, but most readers want to make choices. Do they want to read something long today or do they just want a tiny bit of information? Utilize things like Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters and start putting out micro-content. You can share links, photographs, or tips/facts of the day. This will help engage your readers and keep them interested enough to read your lengthy content when you publish it.

8. Shift Your Focus

We see you over there with your nose glued to your computer screen. That’s cool. We understand that you are crafting content and are dedicated to making it the best content ever, but you are focusing on the wrong area. Yes, writing and creating content is important, but one of the most important things is building a relationship with customers. You may have started out with quality, compelling content and you now have a great client base due to this.

However, the reason you are “stagnating” and losing customers might not be just about the quality of your current content but how well you are relating to your clientele. Start focusing on your existing clients and make them feel involved. You are reading this because you feel stuck in a rut, so how about when you are finished reading you go and ask your customers what they would like to see. You will gain so much inspiration simply by asking people what their interests are and you will watch your clients feel appreciated to the point that they start saying, “You’ve got to give this company a shot, they are incredible!”  Once you’ve shifted your focus, you will begin seeing just how much inspiration you are gathering and you will get out of the rut. Do not fear your customers – learn from them.

9. Reading Creates Creative Content

People do not want to see bland content when they go to a website; they want to see something that is creative and fun. If you are trying to be creative and are stuck, how about reading some new-to-you books that are full of imagination? Books are great at promoting creativity and many writers find that if they have not read in a while, their writing reflects it. They also realize that their ability to come up with new topics suffers. Even if they are writing on how to install a kitchen sink or about some other construction project, they find that books are huge sources of inspiration. Try branching out of your comfort zone when it comes to reading, as this can give you new ideas or help you look at things in a new way.

“What if I’m not a reader?” you ask. Never fear, movies, television, music, and video games are other awesome ways to gain inspiration. Don’t listen to the naysayers who say all of those things dumb people down, because they really don’t. In fact, many newer video games have some absolutely amazing in-depth stories. Try playing a game like Mass Effect or Dragon Age where your choices affect the outcome of the game. This keeps you on your toes and stimulates your brain similarly to the way reading a book does.

Let’s Not Forget

We all get into content ruts, so do not feel discouraged that it is happening to you. Google will show just how many artists out there feel creatively stuck and you will notice that many copywriters are the same way. One last tip before we go is that while your company might be your passion, writing may not. Find people within your company who have a passion for writing or hire copywriters to help you. You’ll see your content improve significantly and watch it blossom into something beautiful. Getting a professional writer will turn that stinky, stagnate pond into a flourishing pond that is teeming with life.

 

 

boo to woo

From Boo to Woo: 10 Benefits of Publishing Compelling Content

By now, you’ve probably read (skimmed, noticed, you-name-it, we know you saw it…*insert wink face*) all our articles about how to create compelling content and are well on your way to changing your 2014 content strategy.

As you make your changes, you are probably wondering if content truly is that important and if you will see any changes within your company. Well, we can tell you that it really is important and you will begin to see amazing changes soon. This article will discuss a few of the benefits you can expect when you begin to publish quality content.

First, Let’s Start with a Little Testimony From Our Books. At Express Writers, we truly know what good content means and the power of content that’s not just written for rankings. We upgraded our content campaign in 2013, invested some of our best writers in writing our content campaigns, utilized tools like editorial calendars, planned out seasonal topics, and switched from keyword focus to reader, tone, voice, structure and research. It was a big switch, and it has boosted our return by over 200%. Google ranks our posts better–even though they are NOT centered around keywords; we have received more connections, followers, and subscribers for our published content (from newsletter campaigns to guest blog RSS) than we ever have before; and people like what they read and are more quick to look to our team for their own quality content. It’s the truth: investing in your content–putting real elbow grease and investment–will bring you return.

Now that you have read our little testimonial, it is time to look at changes you will see once you start publishing your quality and fascinating content:

1. You Will Make and Save Money

Once you begin to write and publish your stellar content for the world to see, you will begin to see something amazing in your budget and bank account. How so? Well, by writing quality content, you will not have to spend an inordinate amount of money on marketing campaigns. This may not seem true at first, especially if you hire a copywriter; but look at it as a whole:

  • Is what you are spending on the copywriter for a handful of pieces more or less, than how much you spent on other forms of continual advertising?
  • You do not have to pay the copywriter continually in order to use their work; once they’ve finished it, it is yours for good.

You will find that paying a copywriter to create great copy will save you money in the long run. You don’t have to keep paying a copywriter in order to use the content they created for you and, in fact, you are able to reuse and make your own changes to the material when you are ready for a change. Quality content will bring in more money from sales as your generic advertisement route will not cut it anymore; sales are relying heavily on content marketing. Once you have made the change, you will begin to reap the benefits financially, which is pretty exciting if you ask us!

2. It Saves Time

Yes, it does! Once you have your content written, you are done with your content marketing campaign. You do not have to keep going back to make changes to fit with seasons or focus on advertisement campaigns that will not bring in the revenue your business needs. By creating great e-newsletter content, great PRs, web content, and blogs, you will find that you have more time to focus on getting to know your customers and working to keep them as part of your business for a long time. Compelling content saves you from having constantly to change a content strategy that isn’t working anymore. This is why we say quality is of the upmost importance. Don’t slack off.

3. Become the Authority in Your Field

By publishing consistent, compelling content, you will be deemed an authority in your product or service area. People are more willing to trust someone who writes consistently and knowledgeably; Google will rank you higher the more you publish with their Google Authorship if your blogs are published frequently and with high quality. You will find more people trusting you as a source over your competitors and this will bring in more customers or more people looking to you for information. You may even find that competitors will come to you as a resource, trying to learn from the compelling content sensei you’ve become.

4. Traffic + Comments

Simply put, quality content increases the traffic to your site. People are not going to share your site if it is drab and filled with uninteresting content. Do not spend all your time focusing on whether or not your keywords are perfect; spice up your content and make it readable. Intriguing, readable content will guarantee more shares on social media and this is how the traffic will increase to and around your site. The more traffic, the better ranked you will become. In addition, it will just feel great to look at your statistics and see the traffic numbers rocketing from minimal to viral in a snap! Comments on your blog postings are another great benefit of writing fascinating content. Readers and customers will be more willing to discuss information with a business that is open minded and knowledgeable.

5. Customer Interest and Support

Quality, compelling content will help you create a great customer base of interested clientele. According to Social Media Today, customers are more willing to support the business if the business’s content is exciting and from the heart, they will share any information regarding the business with colleagues, family, and friends. People will even share it on their social media platform, helping to increase the audience your business wants to reach.

There are many other ways in which gripping content helps with customers such as:

  • Learning More About Your Customers. Customers who are truly interested in your product due to your content will give you great ideas on how to tweak services provided. You will find customers to be more willing to give you tips and tricks on how to beat the competition as well as telling you what they expect from your company. Customers are your best resource when it comes to slamming the competition. Because of this, you will be able to gain useful information that will prove effective when setting up winning strategies.  
  • Creating Lasting Relationships with Customers. If you continually post great information and content, customers will stay with you and stay in contact for a long time. They will be committed to your business and will prove to be great forms of advertisement when they know of someone who is looking for a business such as yours. Do not forget that quality content is absolutely necessary when it comes to customer relations.
  • Bringing in New and Unexpected Customers. You may be surprised when one day you begin to realize you are reaching customers you did not expect to reach. That is a huge benefit of quality content. A wider range of people will notice content that is captivating and you will be able to create interest in more diverse companies or communities. Reaching different groups will be great for your business and be another advertisement point when people begin researching your services.

6. Your Designers Will Thank You

Designers are great at making an awesome looking website and creating something that works wonderfully, but many are not up to the task of creating content. You may think it is part of what they do, but designers will tell you that they would rather design than write. Hiring a copywriter to write compelling content will take all that stress and worry off your designers and you will find that their productivity is greater than before. They no longer have to worry about writing content thus making them more apt to stay with your business and not burn out. You will also find that you are able to recruit great employees. Stellar writers and designers will not apply to a business with boring content, but if your site looks inviting and is written in an engaging manner, you will begin to see professional people taking interest in working for or with your business. Having great employees will help your business become highly successful.

7. Your Competition Will Start Losing to You

Guess what? Fascinating content will help you beat your competition into the ground! That very real struggle of trying to win will become easier the more you publish great material. Customers and search engines will take notice that your information is more interesting and valuable than your competitors, leaving your competitors in the dust. They may be focusing too much on what kind of content to publish or using antiquated methods of outreach, giving you a great opportunity to outshine them, so start creating interesting content and keep creating it! Take a lesson from what your competitors are doing and tweak it to make it a tremendous success for you.

8. You Will Go Viral

Achievement unlocked! Quality, compelling content is the key to going viral. Think about the kind of content you share on your social media site. Is it fascinating? Is the quality amazing? You should be writing the kind of content you would share on your personal social media site. If you write something you would never share, the likelihood that others won’t share it is high. As we keep saying, do not slack off when it comes to writing your content. Your unique, captivating content will help you stand out in the overabundance of articles and web copy out there. By having a unique style and “voice” you will find that more of your content will go viral after the initial viral post. Your blog and site will gain new readers each and every time you go viral. Soon, you will be doing that happy dance of achievement as your posts continue to be viewed by hundreds of people, all because those posts are quality, unique, and sound like you.

9. Great Content Grows with Technology

Technology will never outgrow quality content; that much is clear from Google’s new algorithms. Your compelling material will grow with the available technology and you can use content you already have by implementing any changes that come out from Google or other search engines. You will find that your content will always be excellent and able to be used at any time. That is one of the great things about creating great web content – you can reuse it! Sometimes, all you will have to do is make minor tweaks and edits. Of course, it is always great to refresh your material so it does not always sound the same, but it is easy to use existing content on your site and rewrite it in a new and compelling way. This saves you significant amounts of time and money.

10. You Will Maintain Your Reputation

Have your products and services received high marks from customers? Yes? That’s fantastic! Now, you want to keep those high marks and show potential clients that you are as great as the reviews say. Quality content does just that, it shows potential clients that those high marks are not just from your mom and a few friends. Great content makes you look professional and knowledgeable, leading to a lasting good reputation and more sales for your business. Your reputation will plummet if you post boring material, start writing that great content and keep your already excellent reputation.

You Will Reap Many Benefits When You Use Compelling Content!

The benefits of quality content marketing will tremendously help your business generate more leads, make more revenue, and become an authority in your field. People will flock from all over to a site that has expertly crafted content and are more than willing to offer support to companies. By focusing strongly on great content, your business will boom, and as we said in the beginning go from boo to woo quickly!