Posts Tagged ‘content’
Monday, July 21st, 2014
Monday, July 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of Patsy/Flickr.
Publishing content to your blog is a key part of Internet marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing. But, publishing blog posts is only the first step. To leverage your content and get the most out of each post, you need to follow up with a few key steps.
These steps should be part of your general Internet marketing strategy and your social media marketing plans. If you aren’t following up each blog post with these actions, you could be missing out on some of the benefits of blogging.
Create a Shortened, Trackable URL
Your content management system will most likely create a URL for your blog post. Take that URL and shorten it with a service like bit.ly so that you have a shorter version of the URL that you can track to find out how many people are clicking on the link and get an idea of what kind of content your audience likes.
Share through Social Media Accounts
Blogging brings more value when people see your content. Whenever you post to your blog, you should instinctively share the post through your social media accounts.
Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media account, share each blog post there to reach your market and drive traffic to your site.
Incorporate into Email Marketing
If you use email marketing at your business, find ways you can use your blog posts in your campaigns. New blog posts can help you get your messaging in front of your market, inform your customers and drive traffic to your website.
You could include links to your blog posts in a marketing email or you could let readers subscribe to get email updates whenever you post to your blog.
Schedule the post for Future Use
Posts that have information that will still be relevant and useful later can be scheduled to be used again. If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule the URL to be shared again later as part of your content marketing plan. Otherwise, include it in your marketing calendar to use for social media, content or email marketing again later.
Use for Content Inspiration
You can use your blog posts to brainstorm ideas for more content. Do this formally by creating multi-part posts, blog series or theme days or just informally by finding ways to expand more on the topic or blogging about related ideas.
This kind of blogging also gives you a good opportunity to build internal links on your blog and website, which can help with SEO.
Respond to Comments
Finally, don’t disappear after you publish a post! Keep checking in and responding to comments. It is especially important to respond to the first few comments because it will show other readers that you are listening to them and are there to answer questions.
All of these steps will help you reach your market, gain customers and get more value out of your blog. Start seeing more benefits by including these tips in your Internet marketing plan.
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Friday, July 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.
When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.
So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.
While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.
To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.
Jumpstart your Social Media
When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.
Choose your Sites
What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.
The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.
Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.
Rethink your Blog
Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.
Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.
Who is Your Audience?
Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.
Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.
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Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Summertime is a great time to give your Internet marketing a boost. Right now, people are enjoying warmer weather, going on vacation and looking for projects and entertainment to keep them busy. Taking advantage of the coming months can give you a great opportunity to make more sales and attract new customers.
Depending on your business and the kind of marketing you are using, there are so many ways you can enhance your strategy and breathe new life into you promotional plans this summer. Here are a few ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.
Reassess your Search Engine Optimisation Plan
It is essential that you reassess your SEO plan on a regular basis. Trends, search engine algorithms and your business’ needs and goals are always changing. Identify what your current traffic and sales goals are and make sure your SEO plans are in alignment and will help you succeed.
Look at things like keywords, content plans, on site optimisation and other factors and determine whether each part of your strategy is working to its fullest potential.
Do Something New with Social Media
Are you stuck in a social media rut? If you have found yourself posting the same kind of content over and over and if your audience isn’t growing or engaged, it’s time to try something new. You can rethink your strategy entirely or you can just run some special summer campaigns.
Holding contests, offering discounts, adopting a hashtag or using a specific theme can help you breathe new life into your social media marketing.
Clean up Your Website
Over time, business’ websites can become cluttered and lose focus. You’ve probably added pages, buttons, images and forms over the past several months, or even years, and your site could be overwhelming and confusing to visitors.
This summer, take some time to clean up your website. Remove clutter and pages you don’t need anymore and make sure things are clear and streamlined so people will respond to your calls to action.
Now is also a good time to make sure your site is fully optimised for search engine optimisation so your pages will get higher rankings. Some things to look at include keyword use, conversion rate, site speed and how easy it is for search engines to read and rank your pages.
Plan Upcoming Ad Campaigns
This summer is also a good time to look forward and start to plan some ad campaigns. Pay per click and search ads can help you promote your business and drive traffic to your website. For these campaigns to be successful, you need to strategically plan your keywords, the sites you use and ad copy to attract and target your key markets. If you start planning now, you’ll be ready to launch effective ad campaigns that can help you increase your sales and have a strong finish to the year.
Take some time this summer to revitalise your Internet marketing tactics. When you boost your SEO and social media campaigns and clean up your website and plan some upcoming ad campaigns, your plans will be ready to help your business be successful for the rest of the year.
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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Rob Pegoraro/Flickr.
While we can’t say for sure, it seems that Google has recently started ranking press releases on major press release sites lower. Research done by Search Engine Land and SEER Interactive found that Google’s recent algorithm update, called Panda, could have hurt press release rankings.
The research shows that press releases on major sites like PRWeb, Business Wire and PRLog decreased in rankings after the update. In fact, Search Engine Land found that some of these sites’ SEO visibility decreased significantly.
- PRNewswire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 63%.
- PRWeb’s SEO visibility decreased by about 71%.
- Business Wire’s SEO visibility decreased by about 60%.
It might be a bit strong to say these numbers show “penalties,” but the fact remains that press releases aren’t ranking as high as they used to. Of course, this could be for a few different reasons, but the decreases are significant enough to encourage businesses to be careful about how they use press releases.
Press Releases are Still Beneficial
Press releases aren’t going anywhere. They are still widely used in the public relations and journalism industries to inform media outlets and publics about news items and events. They are the perfect way to make announcements and keep people informed about business and industry happenings.
But, like other content marketing tools, press releases need to be used correctly if you want to see SEO benefits. Remember when Google warned businesses to use guest blog posts wisely and to provide real value? The same idea holds true here.
How to Use Press Releases the Right Way
There is no reason to stop using press releases altogether. The key to benefiting from them is making sure you are using them the best way possible.
Stick with Real News
Originally, businesses used press releases to tell media outlets about newsworthy stories or information. Stick with this original use and only use press releases when you have legitimate and valuable news to share. Things like new locations, changes in leadership, new product launches and events are great for press releases.
Use Distribution Channels Carefully
Choose strategically how you distribute your press releases. Start by sending them to media outlets and industry bloggers and posting them on your own website. If you choose to publish them to press release sites, only use the highest quality sites.
You don’t necessarily have to avoid the sites mentioned above, but keep in mind that your press releases may not get the highest rankings if you use them.
Choose Value over SEO Optimisation
Like all other SEO tactics, choose value over optimisation. Focus first on providing information your market wants and needs, and let keywords fall naturally throughout the release. All links should be relevant and helpful, adding real value to the press release.
Press releases are an excellent, and in some cases essential, Internet marketing tool. When you keep these guidelines in mind you can use them to drive traffic to your website, earn links, raise awareness, increase rankings and promote your business.
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Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Vine has announced that it will now display the loop count, or the number of times a video has been played, for each of its videos. The count will appear on the mobile apps and on the web version of Vine, so viewers can see how popular a video is and businesses can more easily measure results.
The New Feature
The number appears just above a video, in the right-hand corner. It will be updated live as the video is looped so it provides a very up-to-date glimpse at how much a video is being watched.
It’s important to keep in mind though that the loop count only shows how many times a video has been played, not how many unique views it has. For example, if a person watches your video three times, the loop number could be larger than the actual number of people who have watched it.
This statistic is still very important though, as it can still help businesses understand how popular their videos are and give them a basic understanding of the size of the audience they are reaching with each video.
As you upload videos to Vine, track the loop count to see how they gain in popularity and what kinds of videos your audience reacts to.
Vine also announced an update to the activity feed and introduced notifications that tell you when your video has reached certain milestones, like 100 “likes” for example.
Tips for Using Vine for Business
Vine is a great way to reach your market and promote your business with visual effects. Use it like you would other social networks, by building an audience and posting to it frequently. Choose strategically what you want share so that your posts will help you reach your goals.
Demonstrate Products in Action
Vine is the perfect way to give a short, visual demonstration of your products or services in action. It allows you to show people how to use your product and lets them visualise what it will be like to use it themselves.
You can also crowdsource and ask your social media followers to submit Vines of them using your products.
Show off Your Value
Take it to the next level and use Vine videos to show the results of what your products can do. Showing before and after images, how your products solve a problem and any other value you provide through Vine is a great, visual way to communicate with your market.
Promote an Event or Location
With Vine you can give people an inside look at an event or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of your locations. You can show your employees, customers or guests doing things, giving people a taste of the action.
Vine’s new loop count will make it easier for you to measure your Vine efforts as you use these, and other marketing strategies, to promote your business and increase sales. If you haven’t started using Vine, look for ways video can enhance your social media marketing and then use the site strategically.
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Friday, June 27th, 2014
Image courtesy of Mark J P/Flickr.
There’s something about a picture that allows you to capture your market’s attention, convey emotion, illustrate an idea and brand your business. Images can be a powerful part of your content marketing campaign if you know how to use them the right way.
Use Branded, Professional Images
First, always use images that reflect your brand. When the pictures you use in your content marketing plans flow with the rest of your branded material, your market will be able to identify your content and you will even strengthen your brand and reputation.
Stick with professional images. They can still be casual or fun, but for the most part, they should be professional. Images with good lighting and interesting angles and that have a high resolution speak to your level of expertise. There are times you can use amateur photos, which we’ll talk about later.
Make Images Educational Tools
Images can be used to educate your market. Think about things you want to inform your market about, like how to use your product, statistics, your company’s history, or product sales, and then find ways to use images to explain the concepts.
Infographics, illustrated guides and close-up images that label features are all great for educating your market.
Complement other Forms of Content
Images are commonly used to complement other forms of content. Interesting and educational pictures can bring blog posts, articles, ebooks, press releases, charts and guides to a new level. They help to break up large sections of text, capture your market’s attention and set the tone and mood for your content.
Think creatively when you choose images to accompany your content so they become more than a placeholder, but an essential part of the content. They should add something to the piece and help you reach your goals.
Let Pictures Stand Alone
But, pictures can also be compelling enough to stand alone. Infographics commonly stand alone, but other images can too. The key to using pictures as part of your content marketing plan is to make sure they will help you reach your desired outcome.
Pictures with labels or steps can help you teach your market about your products or guide them through using your service. Images with text can do anything from inspire your market to help people understand your mission and brand.
In some cases, a picture doesn’t need very much text, or even none at all. Pictures of your products, a new location, people using your services, staff members in action and events tell a story all on their own and can be a powerful part of your content marketing strategy.
Getting your audience involved through pictures is a great way to engage with your market and get people talking about your brand, especially on social media. Hosting photo contests, encouraging people to submit photos of them using your products and collecting guest images from events are great ways to do this.
Using pictures as part of your content marketing plans is a great way to take things to the next level, capture interest, communicate with your market in a new way and interact with your customers.
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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of Pascal/Flickr.
A major part of Internet marketing is strengthening your brand online. You want people to recognise your content, website, blog posts and even social media accounts as part of your business. When all of your online tactics fit your brand, your marketing campaigns will be more effective.
Start with your Website
First, make sure your website is branded. Things like the colours, images, style, layout and copy should all speak to your brand and help you tell your market who you are. Make sure your website reflects your values and has the tone you want to convey to your customers.
For example, if you have a very professional, business-to-business brand, your site should be a little more formal and streamlined. On the other hand, if your business is casual and targets a laid-back public, your site could be more colourful, have a unique layout and use less formal copy.
Leverage Social Media Settings
Now, use social media settings to brand your account pages. Using things like profile pictures, cover photos and other custom options will make your social media pages look like they belong to your company. This is beneficial because it helps you own the property and helps your market associate it with your business.
Also keep in mind that the style you use when posting can help you brand your pages. The tone you use for status updates and the type of content you share will also help you solidify your brand.
Translate Traditional Marketing to Online Marketing
Look at your brand and find ways you can translate it into online marketing. When the brand you use for your stores, printed materials and traditional marketing tactics match your online tactics, your brand becomes much stronger.
Choose elements like colours, logos and styles that you can easily use on your blog posts, social media accounts and other online strategies to make your brand more complete throughout your marketing, both online and offline.
Be Consistent with your Voice
Some online marketing channels, like social media or even your blog, do require a more casual tone. These spaces are usually a little more casual and a conversational tone can help you generate some interaction.
However, don’t change your voice widely from tactic to tactic. Maintain the same voice across all your channels so that people will understand what your business is all about. People will be confused if you use very formal styles on your blog posts and then extremely casual styles on your social media posts. Instead, find a middle ground that lets you meet the needs of the platform but also allows you to maintain your own, unique brand.
Strengthening your online brand is all about finding ways you can translate your brand to online mediums. Use colours, tones, styles and other elements to make your website, blog and social media accounts part of your brand.
When all of your online content and properties are aligned and branded, you will be able to increase brand awareness and build an online voice for your business so you can reach and influence your market.
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Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
We hear a lot of tips for making content go viral and lots of businesses put time and effort into making sure their content gets in front of as big of an audience as possible. But, once your video, article or podcast goes viral, what next? What you do after your content goes viral is extremely important.
Whether your content went viral in the truest sense of the word, or just gained quite a lot of popularity in your niche market, taking a few steps after it has spread can help you leverage the opportunity.
After a big hit like a viral video, it’s important that you don’t disappear. Continue your social media push and your Internet marketing strategies. A viral piece will help you get some attention and could lead to a short-term surge in site traffic or sales. But, if you want to maintain your market’s attention and keep getting results, you need to stay visible.
Continue to use the same messaging from your viral piece on social media, your blog and your website. Don’t let your market forget who you are and that your business was the one behind the viral content.
Ride the Wave
Riding the wave means leveraging the extra sales and site traffic for even bigger results. Doing things like offering special promotions, giving away free resources, promoting your email list and making sure your site is optimised to generate sales leads will help you take advantage of the extra attention your viral content produced.
Understand Why it Went Viral
Analyse your content and the results of it to understand why it went viral. Look at the key messages it included, the medium you used, where you published it and how people reacted to it.
There are lots of ways to find out why something went viral, but the best way is to make notes about the messaging and style you used and watch how people interact with it and share it across social media.
When you fully understand what it was that your market loved about the content, you can learn more about your audience and how you can enhance your marketing plan to hold its attention.
Make a Follow-Up Plan
After some time has passed and you have maintained your online presence, leveraged the opportunity and analysed why the content went viral, it’s time to make a follow-up plan. This plan should include ways you can use the same messaging and even some of the same tactics you used to see success with the viral piece.
For example, if a video did well consider producing another with similar messaging, using the same messaging across other pieces of content or boosting your social media involvement in some areas.
The idea is to assess your success and then find ways to use what you learned to enhance your Internet marketing plan.
Getting content to go viral or to be shared throughout your market is a big step and one that can bring a lot of benefits. But, when you do a few things after the content goes viral you can take full advantage of the opportunity and see even bigger benefits.
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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
You’ve probably noticed an Internet marketing trend: offering a freebie. All kinds of business offer their customers or potential customers free resources as a way to give them a sample of what they can do, become a valuable resource and build their reputation as an industry expert.
In fact, I’ve blogged before about how businesses can decide if they should offer a free resource and how to make sure the freebie will bring benefits and value to the business. But, once you have decided that offering a free resource should be part of your Internet marketing plan, what kind of freebie should you offer?
Identify your “Thing” or What you do Best
Your freebie should help you define your brand. It should show off what you do best and give your market something only you can give. This doesn’t mean that you can’t give away an ebook because lots of other businesses are doing it. It means that you should choose a topic and then provide information at a high level of expertise, or from a new angle, so your ebook is the best one on the subject.
Choose something that defines who you are and what you offer so that your market can get a taste of the benefits you provide. Your freebie can also help you build your brand and reputation, so choose carefully what kind you offer and what kind of content it includes.
Think like your Market to Find Value
The best freebies provide value to the market they are designed for. Think about who you want to target and what would be valuable to them. In most cases, your free offer will target potential customers. Think about what these people are looking for, that you can provide, and then use that as the theme for your freebie.
The value needs to be big enough that people will take the time to download your freebie and use it. This is especially true if you are asking for something, like an email address or social media “like,” in exchange for the download.
Choose your Format
The type of freebie you use will depend on the value you are providing and the market you are targeting. Some groups of people may respond better to a how-to guide than a template and some businesses can provide more value with a free app than they can with an ebook.
Some common types of freebies include:
- Audio Books
- How-To Guides
- Plugins or Code
- Resource Lists
- White Papers
- Online Classes
This is just a small list of ideas, so get creative and choose a freebie that highlights the content and information you want to share and that works for your market.
Don’t Give it all Away
When you provide a freebie, don’t give away proprietary information or all of your services. You still want people to come to you as customers, so be careful that you provide just enough information to be helpful and capture interest without losing customers.
Remember that when you offer a freebie you are building your reputation and telling your market what you can do, what your value is and what level of expertise you have. Use freebies to your advantage to build your brand and attract more customers.
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Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Pinterest has gained a reputation for being a visual social media site that attracts people who want to save and share ideas and images. But, that’s not all Pinterest users do. According to new research, Pinterest users are also big online shoppers.
An infographic, shared by KISSmetrics, includes all kinds of very interesting statistics, including the fact that 15 percent of users don’t use other social media sites, a pin is 100 times more viral than a tweet and Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
Why People Follow Businesses
The report shows just how valuable Pinterest is to businesses that sell products. Consider the following statistics that show why people follow brands on the site:
- 51% of users follow businesses for deals and coupons.
- 43% of users follow businesses for product information.
- 36% of users follow businesses to read or post comments about products and services.
The Pinterest audience is actively looking for information about products and services and in short, shopping around. When you pin this kind of content you are filling your market’s needs and at the same time promoting your business.
To get the most out of Pinterest, you need to share images of your products and services and offer deals. Do this creatively to capture interest and work to attract a following of people who will also share your pins, helping you build a bigger audience.
User Buying Habits
So how exactly do Pinterest users use the site for shopping? You might be surprised that this audience has major buying power that can help you increase your sales. Users aren’t just looking for ideas and inspiration; they are also looking for, and then buying, products.
- The average order value from Pinterest is £73.39 while it’s only £32.47 from Facebook.
- More ecommerce sites are shared on Pinterest than Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- 50% of orders from Pinterest happen after 2.5 months of pinning.
- Most Pinterest orders happen on Mondays.
The fact that Pinterest users have so much buying power means that you can’t afford to ignore this site as you create your social media marketing plan.
Is Pinterest for You?
We’ve seen just how valuable the Pinterest audience is, but should you use the site to promote your business? Before you add it to your marketing plan, make sure the site matches your brand and can help you reach your market.
Pinterest is very conducive to visual brands so if your products are best promoted through pictures, graphs and charts, your business could be a good match for the site. Other things to keep in mind are that 80 percent of users are female, 30 percent are between the ages of 25 and 34 and 25 percent are between the ages of 35 and 44.
If your market and target customers are using Pinterest, the site should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. When you use it to promote your products and services, you will make more sales and your entire business will benefit.
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