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The Write Podcast, Episode 11: Why Content Marketing is Like Eggs to Your Cake with Brandon Schaefer

If you only listen to ONE of my episodes today, I’d point you to E11. You know why? I connected with someone who was as equally as passionate about content marketing as me–and so wonderfully expressive about their passion. Brandon Schaefer is the bomb! He’s an expert growth and business strategist, as well as mentor; and has helped companies like BuzzSumo, Hashtagify and many others (that he can’t name for NDA reasons) climb to the top. He’s also founded multiple companies of his own, including MyVirtualSalesForce.com. Brandon comes from a family of entrepreneurs and is an avid proponent of content marketing–you can tell it all throughout this episode! I enjoyed having his passion and expertise (not to mention personality!) on my show.

write podcast with brandon schaefer

In Episode 11 of The Write Podcast, Brandon Schaefer joins me for an epic discussion on content marketing:

  • Why it’s absolutely essential to businesses of ALL sizes
  • How brands can get started right now (hint: it’s as simple as writing, writing, writing)
  • How Brandon came from a family of entrepreneurs
  • What a “butt to the gut” is and how it applies to content marketing (basketball term)
  • How to connect with influencers (don’t go for the jugular right away)
  • Shoutout to Sujan Patel!
  • How content types and mediums are like the ingredients to a cake
  • ….& more!

 If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!

Transcript: Episode 11, Why Content Marketing is Like Eggs to Your Cake with Brandon Schaefer

Julia: Hello and welcome to episode 11 in the Write Podcast. I’m here with Brandon Schaefer, who is a business strategist and mentor. He currently owns and runs myvirtualsalesforce.com. He’s a business mentor at Score Mentors and he’s worked with multiple companies in growth hacking and brand awareness. He’s also the author of Wake Up To Win.

Brandon, I’m really excited to have you here today.

Brandon: Oh thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Julia: Absolutely. So let’s start. What would be your number one piece of advice or something fundamental for someone that’s looking to grow their brand?

Brandon: Get a plan, sit down with somebody. [LAUGH]

Julia: [LAUGH]

Brandon: I don’t even write stuff, I type, I don’t even carry a pen, but get a plan and sit down with maybe one or two people in your market segment that you can count on, if you don’t know somebody, find one or two people that aren’t actually trying to sell you anything. That they’re maybe in a similar market segment or somebody that you can sit down with and kinda share where you’re at.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Content marketing is like going to the gym. You have to put time in to look buff. – @MyVSF_Brandon ” quote=”Because most people have spent like six months a year, 12 months 24 months investing your time and money into something, and they don’t see the results so then they get upset and then they just bail, they give up and I understand it. But if you just realize that if you put some time in, it’s like working at a gym you go to the gym you don’t walk out looking buff, wherever the heck you are it takes time.”]

Get an unbiased opinion and not from a wife, a husband, partner anything else like that. Get somebody that can sit down with you and be honest with you and say like, listen how I’m I gonna make this thing work? This is what I’ve done so far, this’s the amount of money I spent and this is the amount of money I have left in the reserve.

What can I do over these next three months and get a strategy together, because I talked a lot of people and they always dumped, like, $70,000 so far and they don’t have a website yet. So it’s like we’ve been launching the website and it’s like don’t wait for perfection.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t wait till you have $70k to start a website. Don’t wait for perfection. – @MyVSF_Brandon” quote=”Get a strategy and don’t spend a lot of money upfront, and don’t wait for perfection.”]

All three of those, you need to really focus on. There’s not anything what, those three are my three magic portions there, strategy, don’t spend a lot, don’t wait for a perfection because none of them are, you’re not gonna have a lot of perfection, you’re not gonna have a lot of money probably when you start and you’re probably not gonna have a lot of strategy either so those three things are the triangle that will yield good results I love it.

Julia: That reminds me of how I started my company. Every point you said just reminded me of how I began. So four years ago, actually five years ago now, I started my company because I was a really busy freelance writer. I had too much work on my hands but I didn’t want to turn away any client.

So I identified the need for a writing agency that had really good writers because back then it was like the industry was more populated with non English writers so I just identified that need and then in five minutes I literally coined my business name and I wish I’d spent a little more time on it [LAUGH] because I just took that business and ran and now I’m like, oh, I could have been more creative.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You know, I just ran with the idea of a writing agency and now we’re a 7-figure company. @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”You know I just took it and ran and now we’re a seven-figure company.”]

Brandon: Yeah, I mean the thing is like with your story, it’s kind of like your sitting then your like, oh this just seems like good idea, just do it. You’re not like spending like a ton of money because you go out you hire these big firms to do these websites to look like Walmart and Target and stuff like that or some like site that spends hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Just go to work, get something starting, blog or something, get something started, prove your model and as you prove your model, then you can start to spend some money, but you just don’t dive into the pool without knowing how deep it is.

You gotta out your toe in, feel it around, see what type of feedback you get like you did. An outlook. You got an incredible experience.

Julia Right. I spent $75 total to start my company. I coded my own website, I learned how to do it all myself, I learned how to post everything so [LAUGH] yeah, you don’t need much.

Brandon: I tell you what Julie, this is what most people that come to me I’m like, most companies, this is what I say initially.

I’ll sit down with you, I’ll go over the strategy, come back to me in 30, 60 days I’m gonna see how you’re doing. If you prove that you’ve done what I’ve recommended, then I’ll work with you. But until then, it’s not going to work because when someone jumps in, everyone has expectations that are like here because all we hear on the web is success stories.

All you hear is the tip of the iceberg, super success stories. Like hey I just started this, or hey I did this and this, we don’t hear about the 20 billion other people that just haven’t made a dime. It’s just shiny object syndrome.

But take the recommendations, start out slow and build it up from there and write Everyday, write every single day, I don’t care if you write 300 words, 500 words, what’s the guy, he posts everyday, he writes, Seth, who is it?

Julia: Seth Godin.

Brandon: Yeah, what’s he write? His posts are 100 words, I mean he has some more in-depths, I mean he’s an incredible guy, incredible resource, but his daily posts are like 200 words.

I mean that’s it.

Julia: They’re really short. Yeah that’s great advice. That’s something I do all the time, is just sit down and write. Maybe three fourths of my week is writing.

Brandon: Yeah it’s a diary. I mean for me personally I take the train on most days, so I just write on the trains. An hour ride each way on the train.

So usually in the morning time or afternoon, really in the afternoon I’ll take half hour and I’ll just write. And whatever I can write in a half hour, I write. And that’s me. I’m not sending this to get reviewed or anything else like that. I’m writing and publishing and firing. And I’m on to the next thing.

I know it’s not gonna be perfect. You hear me speak, I mean I speak crazily. I mean I speak with passion, I get loud, I get crazy.

Julia: That’s great.

Brandon: I jump up and down.

Julia: [LAUGH]

Brandon: Sometimes I have trouble talking, I mean it’s just because I’m excited. That’s it.

Julia: Right, well, your passion shows.

Brandon: Oh cool, thank you.

Julia: Tell me a little bit about your background as a business strategist.

Brandon: I grew up in business, my grand father was an entrepreneur, my mother is an entrepreneur. So I just naturally grew up around business strategy, around people always talking about that at thanks giving dinner, at holiday dinners or whenever, that’s all we ever talked about talked about was kind of business stuff, so he can say at some point it’s unfortunate, but kind of learned a lot.

I learned a lot about testing things, and failing, and that it’s okay and get right back up and tie those shoes on; you got to tie those laces on your shoes tighter the next day and get up and test something else out.

So as for planning, no. I always say failing to plan is planning to fail, right? So and that’s all that strategy is. It’s just taking the time to set out kind of a road map for yourself to go on.

Julia: I love that advice. So tell me a little bit about the companies that you’ve helped grow?

Brandon: Well I know one of them was BuzzSumo, I know you had mentioned that when you first reached out to me.

I recently worked with those guys. And I will tell you, that company does everything that they do 100% correctly. They have a small lean staff but they are truly an incredible model and if anybody on here, you reach out to Steve from BuzzSumo he will definitely talk with you. But yea those guys they do it, they do everything 100% correct and in the content world I guess, so much information is driven through content now that that market space that their in is a home-run because everybody is looking for content to share right? It’s perfect for everything for them right now. So it’s a really great company.

Hashtagify, for certain hashtags and stuff like that, that’s another home run of a company. Great brand that’s been around and is very popular in the social media space for attracting hashtags and searching to see which ones are most relevant, which ones are trending and stuff like that, and then we go all the way to sports equipment companies, you name it.

I’m not gonna go on and on with this stuff, for those who are probably two of the ones that would hit home most with your audience. I mean obviously they’re on all different types of market segments.

Julia: Yes you’re right, I use and I love both of those tools and BuzzSumo has been huge for content marketing.

I look at it like an essential content marketing tool, you can’t do much better than that. I haven’t found one that’s really better and you mentioned that what they do they do the best. I’ve reached out to Steve, he’s actually been on my podcast and I love—

Brandon: Oh my goodness okay.

Julia: Yeah and you’re so right about that, one thing he told me was that he has stayed up later than the competition, and that’s been like their number one secret.

Brandon: Oh and they’ve also got another secret, her name is Susan and she does all the web access and all kinds of stuff. She is a phenomenal lady. I feel like well I work with a lot of people but she is a phenomenal phenomenal resource for them.

Julia: That’s cool. It’s often people behind the scenes that are doing so many neat things and you don’t know them, but they’re there working really hard.

Brandon: Well that’s the key with business, actually probably a good point to bring up is that in business there’s always these secret hidden weapons, these secret weapons right, these people that really can get you to where you want to go or can help you along.

And we all see this bright shiny object and everybody especially when you’re trying to get into an account or something else like that, or get a guest post or something else like that, you always go right for the jugular.

Like we’re on an African plain like a lion trying to take down a hyena or something. You don’t look for the jugular, you hang out in the car, in the Jeep or whatever, see who does what. You’ll see that there’s hidden influencers behind all the big influencers or figures. So, if you can aim and start to hook up with some of these type of people, and whether you’re selling or in type of big sale, or whether it be an enterprise or a big company or whatever, whatever the case is, there’s always these hidden influences.

I always try to find a hidden influences or form relationships with them and then they can lead me when the time is right.

Julia: That’s really interesting, I love the advice. So how do you find someone like that?

Brandon: Well it’s, you gotta have, I call it butt in the gut, right? So, it’s like physical, like if you play basket ball, you will always butt in the gut, I’m not, I’m not like a basketball guy but I know my son plays basketball so he’s always coaching me on stuff which helps.

But yeah, it’s by paying attention, it’s by listening, because we all want to, and not just speaking for myself here and you know it’s like, I wanna say how great this is or what we can do or what problems we can solve and how great we’re gonna do it, but people want to really know what’s in it for them though? Like what effect is it going to have on us? Like if we do this service with you, then what results can we expect? What can we, what’s going to be different in our company? So, it’s important to stay focused on always providing value to the client, keeping them first.

Julia: That is so true and that’s funny, because I just published a blog today about how to stand out as a blogger and one of my number one tips is to focus on your audience, and sort of just you and, your brand whatever you’re selling and if you can focus on your audience and talk to that person, that’s so important, because that draws them in and they feel engaged and they’re probably more likely to go to your site and do something.

Brandon: Yeah and you’ve gotta get active, I mean, as, just as you know, you gotta go out to the conferences, if you can’t afford to go out to the conferences, then get involved in online groups, or Facebook groups, there’s lengthy in groups, there’s Twitter, you name it, just get engaged, get involved, with these different types of people and just give, give a response every once in a while, if they write something, I’m more into e-mail, I will rarely comment on an actual blog but I will get an e-mail address for them and send them a personal note like hey this is where this really hit home for me, thank you so much, like this is really cool, I was just thinking about this, like that type of stuff, so, I’ll take it actually offline right away, in most cases, if I’m gonna take the time to read a comment I’ll actually take the time to find their e-mail address and send them a personal e-mail and that’s, you wanna get your butt in your gut, that’s really get’s you belly to belly with somebody.

Julia: Exactly and that reminds me of how I touched base with you, I think it was just through a tweet.

Brandon: Oh yeah, that’s exactly how it works, you send me something today this is like this or whatever, we took it offline, and it’s a message I said hey send me an e-mail, and a couple of days later we were talking so.

Julia: Exactly, it’s amazing how quickly that can work. You know it’s like something, something so simple just to reach out directly and there’s so many platforms now like you mentioned going to events and Blab is huge.

Brandon: Yes, yeah.

Julia: For the networking, it’s been enormous.

Brandon: And there’s one thing that I always like to do too with these influencers, just kinda circling back on the, influencer stuff.

Julia: Mm-hm.

Brandon: Find out what platforms they hang out on and hang out on those platforms that they hang out on. So you try to get in front of somebody, but if someone’s big on Blab or someone’s big on Twitter or anywhere else and always on there, find out where they hang out the most and then communicate with them on that channel because there’s so many different channels as you know, we’re all kind of flipping back and forth, we’re getting with stuff.

I mean most people use tools, I know we use a bunch of tools to monitor tracks and hashtags and direct messages and email. There’s all day long there’s stuff coming come again, but if it’s sincere outreach, we’ll immediately respond back to that. Or if it’s something bad, we’re gonna immediately respond not that that happens a lot but wherever, but we’re prepared to take that conversation offline immediately as well.

Julia: Exactly. That’s so true about finding the platform where they I remember I was trying to reach out to someone on Twitter, when I was looking for someone to write my book for and I finally got Sujan Patel to do it but whenever I was looking for people, I reached out to someone on Twitter and they were like, well I don’t know you, so this was an influencer there.

Brandon: Yeah.

Julia: He’s like I don’t know you, but why don’t you come join my Blab and then we’ll get to know, to know each other and then yeah, maybe I’ll do it.

Brandon: Oh, that’s cool. Is it Sujan—Sujan?

Julia: Sujan Patel.

Brandon: Susan, okay. Does he run Contentmarketer.io or is that-

Julia: Yeah, he started that.

Brandon: I’ve actually reached out to him real quick about how to actually do something. I’ve actually tested out that software, it was pretty cool. He’s got a couple of different things going. He seems like a pretty cool dude, I like his profile picture and if he’s ever in Philadelphia here I’ll be sure to catch up with him.

Julia: Oh that’s cool. Influencers connecting with influencers.

Brandon: That’s [LAUGH] that’s it, is it.

Julia: So Brandon, I just wanted to touch on as well content marketing, in your experience as a business strategist and growth hacking, how important would you say content marketing is to a business that’s looking to grow?

Brandon: Oh man. It is vitally important.

If I like don’t answer you right away is because it hits directly to my, it’s like you stab me in the heart with a knife because it hits so close to home with me, like I’m actually catching my breath before I say something so-

Julia: [LAUGH]

Brandon: Oh yeah content marketing is vital to any size business, any size.

I don’t care if you’re bricks and mortar, Mom and Dad shop, that you’re 70 years old and you’re in some small town. Content marketing, first it’s free. Well I don’t know if anything’s free anymore because time costs money and you know here and there but if you don’t have the advertising dollars to actually pay Google or pay Facebook or pay Twitter or any of these other platforms to run ads on or banner or whatever and you’re a happy writer, even if you’re not a half decent writer, but you’re writing about making saddles for English riding and horses in Wyoming, if you’re very specific, there’s a very, very good chance and you’re offering some information that’s unique, there’s a very, very good chance that your content is going to get seen by people and have some type of you’re gonna get more leverage and more opportunities to talk to more people.

Not only that but you also have the opportunity to get back lengths like qualified backlinks—

Julia: Right.

Brandon: Not like junk crap backlinks that don’t mean anything. It would be like me linking to you linking to you know and that shows basically free SEO so and there are so many types of different content to like get on a blab you can do a blab then you can transcribe what you went over and what you talked about you can do portions you can do quotes from that you know there is just you can make it into a SlideShare then you can make it into another video on YouTube, there is 15,000 things to do so there is no excuse you know?

Julia: Exactly I totally agree with that and that’s something I found just launching a podcast is in the amount of content I can re-create out of this podcast. You know we’ve done transcriptions for every episode, and the transcriptions have been like 6,000 words, and we post that as a new piece of content on our site and that’s huge attracting already new rankings.

Brandon: Yeah of course it works and it’s important there are so many companies that are still kind of not believing in it And I mean listen you can pay I was just doing a guest post for Tor Refsland, he just picked me yesterday about a guest post for something similar to this so I sent it back yesterday but you got to believe in it right so there are so many companies that are paying Google. And when I pay Google I mean I’m just guilty of it as well right so it’s like when I go to the water falls and I turn the water falls and then water comes out right it’s the same thing with Google when I pay Google traffic comes, right? And then when I stop paying them the traffic stops coming and it just still be a little bit of leakage here and there every once in a while.

But when you implement content marketing and you do it good and consistently and when I say consistently it’s not just like once a week or you can do whatever is comfortable for you like I just share like once a day, once every other day, I’m just here like a business experience that I’m going through I won’t mention any names because we always disclosure agreements but I won’t mention any names but I’ll just share like a similar story or something else like that and it works it’s a way to get it to work.

Julia: Right. So how would you look at different mediums of content as like for example being more important or more essential than another, like blogging I suppose, to doing a video or different mediums like that. So how important is a blog for business in general?

Brandon: Again you are stabbing me in the heart because these things hit so close to home. Always on my mind. You are doing a great job.

I look at it like this right so when you make a recipe at home not that I cook a lot and stuff like that my wife thank goodness for her does that, but so when we cook or something when we do we need all the ingredients right we need something like mushrooms.

 

We need some onions, we need some oil, we need some butter. We need some chicken if we’re gonna put in there or whatever. So those are all the ingredients, and no one type of content is good for everybody. So you gotta take a little bit of each one of the pieces, whether it is video, whether it’s actually an infographic, whether it’s by chair whatever platform it is you need to fold them all into the blender right and you need to hit, it just gets you, you need to touch on all basis and then once you do that for like a month for like 30, 60, 90 days then you can see which one is giving you the most ROI right and then you can start to really focus on that one, but you can’t leave the rest of them out of the picture right because all of them equal to pieces of puzzles.

So if you find one piece that like yields you better results than the others then always have that issue of primary focus but still make sure you are always hitting on this other types of content as well.

Julia: I love it that reminds me of a phrase I’ve seen a lot, like the eggs to your cake. That’s like—

Brandon: Exactly.

Julia: The content to your marketing.

Brandon: Yeah that’s exactly what it is.

Julia: Thanks so much for being here Brandon, I really appreciate it.

Brandon: Anytime and I’m available any time anybody wants to talk, anybody wants to chat in whatever, I’m here to help.

[MUSIC] Thanks for joining today’s Write Podcast. For more online content, tips and strategies, visit expresswriters.com/write-blog and now here’s your host Julia McCoy with a final message.

Julia: I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, I absolutely loved connecting to and talking with Brandon Schaefer, you can find them at myvirtualsalesforce.com or on Twitter @MyVSF_Brandon.

I’m really excited because my, book So You Think You Can Write, The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing came out April 19th and I’ve seen it already hit #2 and 3 on the charts on Amazon. And even better than that, I’ve been hearing from so many people including people around the world that are telling me how much my book is helping them create better content online, and that to me is so inspirational. That’s why I wrote this book, I really think that the hands-on skills involved in online content writing are not taught or talked about enough in a way that everyone can understand. It took me over five years of self teaching to learn all of this skills after a lot of trial and error and finding out what works and what doesn’t. So I’ve put everything I’ve learnt into a book, So You Think You Can Write, the Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing and you can find it right now on Amazon, Print and Kindle as well as Barnes & Noble and iBooks. Go to www.bit.ly/soyouthinkyoucanwrite for all the links.

Thank you so much for joining today’s Write Podcast!

#ContentWritingChat March 29 2016 Recap: How to Develop Your Voice in Content Marketing

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? Or maybe you just wanted to check out some of the highlights from Tuesday’s chat? Either way, there’s no need to worry. We have you covered!

Unfortunately, our scheduled guest host was not able to make it to the chat, but our awesome CEO, Julia McCoy, stepped in as our host for the week. She joined us as we talked all about How to Develop Your Voice in Content Marketing. Now, let’s dive into the recap!

Q1: Why is finding your voice and story so important in content marketing?

Finding your voice and your story is important when it comes to content marketing. You need to be yourself in order to be unique and stand out from the crowd. Here’s what Julia, Sarah from ThinkSEM, Andrew, Kyle, and Michael had to say.

As Julia pointed out, there’s a ton of content on the web today. If you want your content to stand out from the rest, you need to develop your voice and infuse your writing with it.

Sarah mentioned that knowing your voice and your story can actually help you reach the right audience. Your voice is important when it comes to attracting your target market to your content.

Andrew and Kyle both know the importance of finding your voice when it comes to content marketing. They agreed that using your personal voice will help draw people to you and your content.

A great piece of advice from Michael: be genuine! Don’t try to copy someone else or be manipulative. You need to be true to who you are.

Q2: How can brands and businesses hone in on their voice?

Now that you know why finding your voice is so important, how do you figure out what your voice really is? Check out these tips:

Julia knows that research is key when it comes to finding your voice! Get to know your audience and develop content specifically for them.

Both Village Print & Media and Andrew agreed that part of developing your voice comes from knowing the core values behind your brand. What does your brand stand for?

Ryan shared a great tip with his answer: keep track of what your audience is engaging with. When you get to know your audience and you understand what kind of content resonates with them, it can help you in developing your voice and story.

Q3: What are some key tactics to creating great content today?

Do you want to start creating better content? Take a look at some of these tips that were shared during Tuesday’s chat and start implementing them as part of your content strategy:

Julia summed it all up with her answer! The keys to creating great content include time, investment, creativity, genius, and storytelling.

As Andrew and Sarah pointed out, you need to do some research on your audience if you want to create great content. After all, you’re creating it for them! Figure out what they want and need and how you plan to deliver it to them. Then, you just have to go for it!

As Liliana said, great content is informative, but you should also leave your audience wanting more. That’s the key to coming them back every single time.

Another great tip is to stay updated on current events and trends. (Both Kyle and Village Print & Media know this is a must!) As Kyle said, you just need to make sure you put your own unique spin on it. Share your thoughts and opinions as a way to add to current events or trending topics.

Q4: What are some don’ts in creating content today?

To make sure you’re creating awesome content for your audience, you’ll want to make sure you avoid these “don’ts”:

Don’t forget to target your specific audience. And don’t forget to have a promotion plan in place. You need to be able to spread the word about your content once it’s published so you can get more readers.

Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. It’s much better to create a few high quality posts for your audience than it is to create a bunch of posts that aren’t up to par.

Michael and Chris agreed on this one. Don’t focus on selling all the time. Instead, focus on helping your audience and providing value to them.

Don’t forget to optimize your content for search engines. Learn the basics of SEO and take the time to implement it for every piece of content you write

Q5: How is storytelling part of finding your voice in content marketing?

Storytelling plays a major part in attracting customers to you and your brand. To make it part of your brand’s voice, check out these tips:

As Julia said, you can use your story in a variety of ways to draw in your audience. You can implement your story into your social media ads, blog copy, your about page, and more.

As Kyle and Resume Strategists pointed out, storytelling is a way to draw in your audience and get them to care about and relate to your content.

Brittany believes your story is a core element of your brand. It should be infused into everything you do. Very true, Brittany!

As Rohan said, when you’re passionate about your story, it will help you discover your voice.

Q6: What are some tools that can help the storytelling process?

To help with the storytelling process, we got some amazing recommendations from people in Tuesday’s chat. Take a look and start checking out these tools and tips for yourself:

Julia knows that creativity is very important! She also recommended Canva, which is a tool we love to use here at Express Writers. It makes designing captivating images so much easier.

Much like us at Express Writers, Omi Sido is another fan of Canva! Use it to create designs for your blog posts, social media content, and more.

Andrew recommended using BuzzSumo and BuzzStream. Both are great tools for discovering new content and seeing what is popular lately.

Analytics are another great tool to use because you can see what is resonating with your audience. When you see what actions they’re taking and what content they’re enjoying the most, you can create more of what they like.

Jeremy knows you can’t underestimate the power of editing. Before you share your content, review it to make sure everything is relevant and interesting to your audience. Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit or add value.

Q7: What are key content formats of today (i.e. blogs, videos, etc.)?

There are so many ways you can create content these days, but what you create will largely depend on you and your audience. Here’s what some people in the chat had to say:

Julia said podcasts are huge right now. And she should know! She just launched one of her own: The Write Podcast. She’s been joined by some amazing guests so far to chat about content marketing. Be sure to check it out!

For some other popular content formats, she also suggested livestreaming. Apps like Periscope and Blab continue to grow in popularity. What was her most important tip? Make sure your content is evergreen. Create content that will remain relevant and won’t be quickly outdated.

As Andrew said, the content you create depends on where your audience is. Think about where they’re spending their time online and what types of content they enjoy the most. Create with them in mind.

Village Print & Media knows that video content is important right now, especially on apps like Instagram and Snapchat. Are you using these platforms for your brand?

We saw even more love for video from Alberto who suggested utilizing Snapchat, Blab, Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook Live. Is your audience using any of these? If they are, you should give them a try!

Q8: What do you think is ahead for the content marketing industry?

We always love to hear the thoughts of people in the chat. When we asked what they thought was ahead for the content marketing industry, many of them had the same answer (video).

Julia, Kyle, and Michael are all tuned in to what’s hot lately because they know video is only going to get more and more popular. Video content is a great way to stand out from the crowd and help you develop a connection with your audience.

Sarah said that content marketing will become more about connecting with your audience and starting a conversation with them, as opposed to being so focused on selling.

As Zala pointed out, no matter what, you need to find a way to be creative. That’s always a must!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing!

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015 – Infographic

Content is here to stay: no doubt about it. But how is content considered successful today, based on search engine ranking potential and real value-add to readers?

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015

We’ve gathered the top factors of successful content for 2015, based on over 15 top sources (including major content marketing studies) in one comprehensive infographic. Enjoy, and don’t forget to share and comment! (Transcript below the infographic of the content and resource links.)

The Ultimate State of Content Marketing In 2015
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Did You Know? Crucial Content Stats For 2015

  • 95% (9 out of 10) B2B marketers in North America use content marketing.
  • 60% of marketers use content marketing WEEKLY.
  • 41% of marketers confirm content marketing has a positive ROI (Stateofinboundmarketing)
  • 82% of prospects find relevant industry content most valuable (Marketo)
  • Engagement is the most frequently cited objective for content marketing by US B2B marketers. (Curata)
  • Content marketing is now defined as using/creating content that is not promotional but interesting or valuable in itself. (Emarketer)
  • Buyers are most likely to share blog posts more than any other content form. Next most likely shared content form: infographics. (DemandGenReport)
  • Whitepapers used to be one of the most popular content forms (in 2013); now, 95% of buyers prefer shorter content formats. (DemandGenReport)
  • In social media, buyers are more likely to be on LinkedIn & Twitter. (DemandGenReport)
  • Length matters: Blogs that are at least 2,500 words on a 10+ year old domain rank the best in Google. (serpIQ) Content at least 3,000 words gets 2x the amount of shares shorter posts do.

Six Key Factors of Content Success In 2015

What makes successful content tick? Let’s take a look.

1. Quality is the number one ranking factor.

Although authority and relevance win the rankings (Redevolution), quality is the number one ranking factor for web content (Neilpatel).

2. Useful content posted consistently will succeed.

The keyword is useful; if your readers gain something from reading, they will share and engage. Correct SEO copywriting is essential for websites.

3. A lot of time will be spent crafting perfect headlines.

Five times as many people read the headline as read the actual body copy. (David Ogilvy) (represent in a statistic?). This means when you write a headline, you spend 80c out of a dollar (also represent in a statistic possibly?)

Headline copy is one of the top 5 MOST impactful elements for lead generation. (MarketingSherpa)

4. Content auditing is the best way to monitor content quality.

Say goodbye to bad content: embarrassing content and outdated links won’t happen again if you maintain content auditing (Copyblogger).

Content auditing tools: a content expert’s human eye, time, SEMRush

5. Content curation is becoming mainstream.

Most marketers are now utilizing content curation as a key component of their content marketing strategy. 56% of marketers say that quality content is their greatest content marketing challenge. Curation is a top solution for this challenge. (Forbes/Curata)

Curation tools: Scoop.it, Quora, Curata, Storify, Paper.li

6. Creativity will be in demand as content marketers strive to rise above.

Today, SEO copywriting isn’t finished when the content is well-written or even useful: the content must also excite the reader. The more creative the content, the more the engagement.

Storytelling will be in demand as a top engagement tool to connect audience to content. (BruceClay) Just remember: not everyone is a storyteller. (Wordstream)

Examples of awesome creativity in content: Basecamp’s TheDistance.com, Redbull’s Redbulletin.com.

Liked this infographic? Buy one, custom-made to your marketing needs, from us in our Content Shop today!

 

Statistics – Full Reference List

Marketing Sherpa l http://buff.ly/1EO55AY

Neil Patel l http://buff.ly/1yzbM9g

Kapost l http://buff.ly/1OlbN2g

Dev-Edge Internet Marketing l http://buff.ly/1aBTQPx

Copyblogger l http://buff.ly/1cAzSX7

Scoop.it l http://buff.ly/1b2k1zB

Redevolution l http://buff.ly/1J8NJ0X

Emarketer l http://buff.ly/1Hd7VQw

Content Marketing Institute l http://buff.ly/1Hd8qK9

Demand Gen Report l http://buff.ly/1G2a7f0

Forbes l http://buff.ly/1yzB7Qj

State of Inbound 2014 Hubspot l http://buff.ly/1G2aLsP

Curata l http://buff.ly/1Hdj2Jc

serpIQ l http://buff.ly/1b2M9T7

Bruce Clay, INC l http://buff.ly/1b2N6uz

Wordstream l http://buff.ly/1G2DKN7

 

wasting money on buying links

Still Spending Money On Links? Why You Should Buy Content Instead

Back in the “pre-historic” days of Google, just before the first major Pandas rolled out in all their glory, there was such a thing as links.

Through the use of links, from the use of a “linkwheel” to the worst of the negative, black-hat SEO link structures, webmasters were able to gain almost overnight rankings. This dramatically changed in 2011 when the first major Panda update from Google cracked down on thousands upon thousands of websites.

These websites lost first-place ranking and huge revenue streams overnight. The outcry was awful. However, in time, the terror changed to a realization the Internet was getting better. Instead of links and spam-filled, over optimized content, it was time to invest in real, readable blogs, web pages, and content that were written by qualified people and optimized for the reader.

Today, in 2014, exactly how do links still factor in? Do they factor in at all, or offer any use for us? Let’s take a look!

Are Links Still Important?

The biggest thing many people have forgotten is that link building is very different from content marketing.

You need to make sure you have a strong content marketing outlined first before considering your links. Here’s the thing, links and SEO are all about getting you to show up in the search results. Once you’re there, you’ll probably start doing the samba and feeling pretty great about yourself, but if your content is crummy, you’ll lose any visitors you get.

Unfortunately, people aren’t seeing this and are still shelling out lots of dough for links in their content instead of buying great, valuable content. According to a survey held by Moz, about 40% of people they polled said that their businesses were focusing 51 – 75% of their SEO budget on link building. This leads one to the assumption that only a small portion of SEO budgets are aimed at getting great, quality content for their sites. This can really come back to bite you in the tush if you aren’t careful.

7 BIG Reasons Why You Should Start Investing In Great Content

As the majority of blogs out there are pointing out that quality content is becoming more and more the name of the Google game. You either have great content or you start to lose. It is a harsh statement, but quite true.

Let’s take a look at why content marketing is something you should be investing in:

1. Quality Content Keeps Visitors On Your Site Longer. Once you get people to your site via search results and ranks, you are going to want to keep them on your site. If you don’t invest in content, you will not keep those customers. While seemingly unfair, many people are going to skim over your content to see if it is worth their time to read; if they feel that it isn’t, then they will click right over to your competitors. Keeping people on your site opens up the opportunity to become more than just visitors, but clients as well. Basically, investing in content keeps people on your site and converts them into leads. Sounds like something worthwhile, doesn’t it?

2.  Those Links and SEO Keywords Don’t Create Your Brand. Sure, links and SEO can help you rank as we have established, but the thing to remember is that it doesn’t build or create your brand. Only you can do that, and do it successfully. You know what you want out of your brand, what you want people to see, and, most likely, have an idea of how you will craft and achieve it. This is why it is important to invest in great content and content writers. You can easily give them the information you want to share, the voice you want them to use, and let them have at it. This gives your brand a personal touch that is completely lost if you are spending a significant sum of money on links.

3. You Can Save Money By Focusing On Content. Content is a great investment that you will see great returns on over time. You will realize that as you focus a great chunk of your budget on content that you are making more than you thought you would. The more you write and produce great content, the better your revenue will be. For example, if you spent time and money to optimize a product that helps people get to sleep without harsh additives, but not on quality content, you might not get as many purchases as you thought you would. With great content, you will turn that browsing individual into someone who wants to try your product. Like we’ve said time and time again, it isn’t just about getting a visitor to your site, it’s also about converting them into clients. Your quality content will do just that. Eventually, you may notice that you are able to invest more money in your budget for content creation, links, and SEO, but you’ll only get there if you make a content investment.

4. Content Ensures You Are The Expert In Your Field. When you are selling items online, you always want to make sure you come across as an expert or authority in your field. When you purchase items online, you most likely double-check to make sure the person whom you are buying from really knows what they are doing and understands what they are selling. The same goes for when people make purchases from you. A great way to establish yourself as an expert is through, well, content! Ah content, the magic term. Content is going to set you apart as a leader in the industry because you will have webpages, product descriptions, and blogs detailing information surrounding your products, services, and industry news. This is another great reason to move away from spending a large amount of your budget on links and SEO and move towards investing in content marketing.

5. You Will Generate More Client Interaction. Engagement is a big part of any company, and we are sure you already know that when it comes to making sales or dealing with clients face-to-face. A great way to engage in client interaction is to ask clients to give feedback. Clients might be more inclined to provide feedback if you have content that has engaged them in the past and many will be willing to make a review as soon as they receive the product. This is something that is important for all businesses; you can see that when you purchase a book from Barnes and Noble or make a purchase on Etsy. Within a week or two of making a purchase, you are asked to review an item. Now think back to when you last made an online purchase and left a review, did you feel more inclined to because of the level of interaction? Odds are you did feel more inclined. This should be a pretty great example of how other clients will feel when purchasing from you.

6. You Will Beat Your Competition Into The Ground. Besides just bringing in and keeping customers, investing in content will make sure you beat your competitors into the ground. Great, engaging, and high-quality content is going to help you standout from your competitors, especially if they aren’t on the content bandwagon yet. Clients really enjoy reading quality content because they feel like they are learning more about a specific product or service. Quality also helps them decide on a company because if the company has great content, then many believe the company will have quality products, services, and employees.

7. Your Reputation Will Be Maintained. Like it or not, you will get a few negative reviews at some point. While some might be justified, several others might just simply be trolls trying to bring your reputation marks down. This is something that is done for books, music, and any other time of product out there. Just take a glance at various Goodreads pages for books that have yet to be released, several have one-star reviews talking about how bad the book is or will be. Having consistently great content is going to help people know which reviews are truly one to take heed of and which ones they should just ignore. People will generally dig a little more than the basic reviews when they want to learn about the company, and this includes going to the business’s web page and seeing how they handle things. If your content is stinky because you’ve been focusing all of your attention on links and the rest on SEO, potential clients will begin to believe the negative reviews.

In Closing

As you can see, content really is the name of the game and will greatly benefit your company overall. You will start saving and making money, develop great relationships with your clients, and start beating your competition. Start re-considering your current link, SEO, and content budget and start restructuring it to allow for more investment in high-quality content.

 

 

Awesome Copywriting: Can It Replace A Commercial For Your Brand?

You’re sitting there and you have just gone through your site’s traffic statistics. You just released a snazzy new advertisement but have seen little change in the number of visitors coming to your website. You also haven’t had many calls or emails asking about your company or product. Your thoughts could be along the lines of, “What’s going on? I gave them the old razzle dazzle, and still nothing!”

Here’s a handy tip: commercials and advertisements aren’t actually going to bring in that many viewers.

Sure, they may spark interest here or there, and advertisements are a great way to get your company out there but you shouldn’t be focusing solely on that method. This blog is going to talk about how you can move your content marketing strategy away from purchasing several crazy expensive ads and how awesome copywriting can bring in customers. It is possible!

Commercials Are Expensive Nowadays

We all want to make sure we stay within our budgets and this can be difficult when advertisements cost so much. We see the prices, but we keep remembering all the marketing tips we used to hear, “Advertisements are worth their weight in gold! Invest in ads!” This isn’t the case anymore and you can actually save money with your content. You read that right, if you have great copywriting, you can bring in more viewers and save a couple hundred dollars in advertisement costs.

Chipotle Went The Extra Mile

A great example of using content marketing instead of traditional advertisements is Chipotle. We all remember that amazing infomercial they released in 2013. It told the story of a down-and-out Scarecrow who wanted his little garden to flourish into a well-working farm, but it was tough due to all the processed food business bullies out there. The video keeps going until we see this little garden grow into the Scarecrow’s dream farm and we see him setting up shop with a little cart to sell great quality food.

This wasn’t run as a typical ad on a major network like CBS or NBC; this relied solely on the Internet and going viral. It didn’t advertise anything specifically about Chipotle, it just told their story. Because of the layout of the video, people watched all the way through and were more apt to share this video with their friends online. The only time people will share a straight ad to their Facebook is if it is a hilarious Superbowl commercial, otherwise they don’t want to clog up their friends’ news feeds with even more ads. Chipotle knew this and took advantage of it. This was a great marketing strategy without sounding like a used car salesperson giving a sketchy speech.

Going The Extra Mile With Brand Marketing

Since you know about Chipotle, and have seen how successful their campaign is, it is time to consider how you can implement this into your copywriting and content marketing strategy. You are probably feeling intimidated because Chipotle has the funding to hire a great marketing agency, but you have to rely on yourself to market your brand. This is why you are sticking with expensive ads – you are terrified that you won’t get more customers if you don’t use them.

Well, let’s take a moment to look at a few ways you can implement this into your business, without seeking out very expensive marketing companies:

1. When Storytelling Becomes Your Advertisement. What we saw in Chipotle’s ad was a great example of blending storytelling and copywriting. Instead of making a commercial that sounded like something a politician would produce, Chipotle took a very genuine and honest approach by telling their story. They are a company that took a chance and made a huge decision to cut out genetically modified foods from their menus, meaning they would probably have to start charging more because this world is run on processed eateries. You can see the desperation for a healthier world and you can see that they believe the world is changing for the better. It is very powerful and inspiring, making you want to eat there more than if they simply stated their mission in an ad.

2. Web and Product Design Will Be Major Selling Points. In the Internet Age, your website and product designs must be out of this world and awesome. Great designs work incredibly well with your content, and will encourage many visitors not just to stop by but also to learn more about your company and to purchase your product or service. Learn who your target audience is and go to websites that are popular within that audience. For example, ModCloth is a very trendy website for Millennials – their layout can teach you a lot about designing for the Millennial crowd. You can also look to Accenture for a more professional, older generation look that is still quite appealing to younger generations. Just going to these websites will give you great inspiration on how to design your website. Never underestimate the power of a great design.

3. Active and Engaging Product Descriptions Will Save Money. You will find that product descriptions that are written in an active and engaging manner will save you a lot of money in advertising. A person may be interested in a product but if they do not find a great description, they’ll assume the product isn’t very good. Don’t think your product copy isn’t important and put it on the back burner. This will make a sale or break a sale, and if you treat it like it is unimportant, your customers will treat the product as unimportant, according to David Ogilvy’s tips on awesome copywriting. Focus on making all sales copy sound genuine and engage your audience. Try writing in a style that will speak to them and sell them on your product without coming across as overbearing and annoying.

Awesome Copywriting Matters

Storytelling, great product descriptions, and incredible web and product design is going to go a long way in marketing your business. In fact, it will probably go a lot further than those crazy expensive ads you have been posting and sending out. Your customers will be more than willing to share your product and services if you stay far, far away from the sales lingo none of us like to read. Try crafting awesome copywriting and an excellent content strategy to back up a handful of advertisements, and you will watch your client base grow!