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Posts Tagged ‘content’

Does your Internet Marketing fit Millennials’ Habits?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Millennials, or people who reached adulthood around the year 2000, make up a large portion of many businesses’ markets. These people are graduating from college, starting professional careers, buying products and perhaps most importantly, using the Internet like other generations don’t.

People in this demographic are tech savvy and know how to use laptops, tablets and smartphones and incorporate this kind of technology in their everyday lives. If millennials are part of your target market, you need to make sure your marketing strategy fits their habits.

What are the Habits?

Content Marketing Institute found some technology-related habits millennials tend to share. These habits tell us about how we can create effective Internet marketing strategies.

Staying Connected

Millennials are always connected. Texting, messaging apps and social media allow them to be in touch with friends, brands and news sources around the clock. Get in front of this market by using the channels they are using.

Multitasking with Multiple Devices

People in this group have a habit of looking at more than one screen at once. They will watch television while browsing social media on their smartphone or even check in with their smartphone while working on their laptop.

Knowing this, you can create marketing plans that use more than one platform. Combine television or video with blog posts, ask event attendees to connect with social media and live tweet conferences.

Taking Control of Content Delivery

Millennials don’t like to be interrupted with marketing materials, even when they are multitasking. Pop-up ads, disruptive social media ads and other forceful tactics won’t work with this market.

Instead, create content platforms like blogs, social media profiles, YouTube channels and apps that let people control how they access your content. When people willingly use your content and recognise its value, they may be more likely to become loyal customers.

Engaging with Online Content, not Just Listening

While millennials are connected and controlling how and when they view content, they are also engaging with it. People in this demographic don’t just read articles, consume information and look at content passively, they actively engage with it.

Millennials like to comment, share content, give their opinions, critique and otherwise engage with online content. Make room for this in your content marketing plan by using tactics, like social media, blog posts, and apps, that allow your market to interact with you, not just passively listen.

Valuing what their Friends Think

People in this age group aren’t very interested in what strangers or businesses think, but they are very interested in what their friends think. Use this to your advantage by getting people to talk about, recommend and review your business on social media. Also use testimonials and advertising tactics that allow millennials to see your business the way their peers do.

Valuing Honest and Genuine Marketing

Don’t bother with dishonest or deceiving marketing tactics. Not only could they be considered unethical, but millennials will see right through them. People in this group value transparency and marketing approaches that are genuine. Be true to your story and use real, honest Internet marketing strategies to get better results.

Millennials are such a large demographic and if they are part of your target market, they are an important segment to reach online. Keep their habits in mind and understand how they use the Internet, social media and mobile devices so you can find ways to enhance your marketing strategy to successfully reach and influence people in this group.

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What makes People want to Watch a YouTube Video?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Videos are an excellent way to convey a message and can help you use emotion, images and audio to reach your market in a way few other tools can. The most successful YouTube videos get hundreds of thousands or even millions of views and go viral, creating a buzz about a product or business.

In fact, according to DigitalSherpa, 50 percent of Internet users watch business related videos on YouTube once a week. This means you have a huge opportunity to reach your market.

But, the first step is getting people interested enough in your video to watch it. Then, you can draw people in with content that is so good people will want to share it on social media and on their own websites and blogs.

An Eye-Catching Title

Just like blog posts, articles and emails, YouTube videos require a catchy title that will make people want to watch it. Use the same techniques you use for other content by promising value, keeping it concise and piquing interest without giving everything away.

Keep in mind that your title should use keywords naturally whenever possible so it will appear in search results. You can also optimise your description to make the video more findable.

The Length and Content Keep their Attention

Most people don’t have time to watch videos that are more than a few minutes long or that lose their attention within the first few seconds. Keep your videos to the point and draw your audience along as you tell a story or convey useful information.

Of course, professional videos are also more likely to get people’s attention, so use a good script, lighting, set and editing software so your video reflects your brand and tells people you are an industry expert.

Decision-Making Information

DigitalSherpa also reports that 90 percent of Internet users say that watching a video about a product is helpful when it comes to making a decision about buying something. Use this piece of information to create videos that are designed to give people the information they need to be persuaded to buy your products.

Entertainment Value

YouTube will always be a source of entertainment and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of entertaining your market. Use humour, interesting facts, awe-inspiring footage and other types of entertainment to get people’s attention and get people talking about your brand.

Find a way to tie the entertainment back to your business and goals so that you can raise brand awareness while still making sales or increasing your fan base.

A Social Reaction

As your video starts to get more views and some traction on social media, people will want to watch it just out of curiosity. If all their friends are watching it, there are lots of comments about it and they see it all over social media, they will want to watch it too.

To get to this point you’ll need to start with an excellent video that incorporates the other elements discussed here and then promote it through your own social media accounts.

Use YouTube videos to entertain, educate, inspire and excite your market so you can reach people in a whole new way. Always use content and a call to action that help you meet your goals so your videos will become a valuable part of your Internet marketing strategy.

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8 Creative ways to use Customer Testimonials for Marketing

Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Image courtesy of Nongkran_ch/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Nongkran_ch/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Testimonials are valuable because they can help you reach your customers in a way few other tactics can. The popular idea that people do business with their friends is true. People like to hear from other people who are like them and are sometimes more likely to trust happy customers than they are a business.

There are so many ways you can incorporate customer testimonials into your marketing strategy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Use them Strategically on your Website

Don’t hide your testimonials in a place on your site where no one will see them. Put them on your home page where people will see them, next to product information, on landing pages or on your sales pages. Use them at key places throughout your site where people are likely to be swayed by what your satisfied customers have to say.

Include them in Email Marketing Strategies

Another great place to use testimonials is in your emails. Choose the right testimonials for the right emails and lists of subscribers so they will attract and resonate with your readers. Keep these testimonials short and to the point when possible.

Post them to Social Media and Tag Customers

Get your testimonials in front of a lot of people by posting them to social media. Take it further by tagging the people who wrote the testimonial to encourage interaction and even more sharing. Keep in mind that you should get a person’s permission before publishing a testimonial with her name.

Use them for Infographic Content

Infographics are visual and give you an easy way to share a lot of information very clearly. Consider adding some testimonials to an infographic along with some statistics about your products, the number of people who use your services and the benefits you can provide.

Combine them with Images

Combine testimonials with images so they grab people’s attention and are more interesting. These kinds of photos can be shared on social media and your blog. Pair testimonials with pictures of your products, events, customers or just attractive images that help you build your brand.

Add them to Online Ads

Use testimonials on your banner and social media ads to communicate to your market how satisfied your customers are. These kinds of ads can be very persuasive and can help you build trust as people hear from your customers, not just your marketing team.

Try Using Video Testimonials

Mix things up a little by using video testimonials. There are lots of ways you could do this, including taping customers, showing your products in action and using a voiceover to read the testimonials or using an animated video that uses text to share the testimonials.

Display them in your Stores

Don’t forget offline marketing too! You can display testimonials in your stores on counters, walls or as part of displays. You can also include them in marketing materials like brochures, catalogs and other printed materials.

Using testimonials in your marketing efforts can help you build trust with your market and gain more customers. Start with some solid testimonials that prove your worth, value and benefits and then find creative ways to use them as part of your marketing strategy.

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4 Types of Links: Why You Need Them and How to get Them

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Image courtesy of leigh_east_photoman/Flickr.

Image courtesy of leigh_east_photoman/Flickr.

Link building is a search engine optimisation technique you can use to gain rankings and get more traffic to your website. More sales, more email subscribers and a bigger audience are all perks that often come with more traffic, so link building is a strategy that can bring big benefits to your business.

There are essentially four different kinds of links and each of them is beneficial in a different way.

Natural Links

Natural links are the links that people build to your site without you even knowing it. They happen when someone likes your content or finds it useful and relevant so he links to it from his blog post, article, website or other web property.

These links are very valuable because Google favours links that aren’t forced because they prove that a piece of content is high quality and relevant.

How to Get Them

The best way to get these links is to produce the best content possible and work to become an authoritative resource people know about.

Earned Links

Earned links are very similar to natural links but they are built when you reach out to other people. They are usually on opinion blogs, review sites and news articles. These are helpful because they can help you reach a new audience and attract more site visitors.

How to Get Them

Get earned links by reaching out to bloggers, reporters and site owners with opportunities to write about your business. Landing sponsored posts, guest posts and product reviews are simple ways to generate earned links.

Built Links

Built links are the links we usually think of when we talk about SEO. They are links your business creates with the main goal of gaining search engine rankings. Google penalises links from link farms and other tactics it deems low quality, so only build quality links to your site.

How to Get Them

Built links are one of the easier types to get because you don’t have to rely on other sources to get them. Some common ways to build links include distributing press releases, submitting articles to websites and adding your business, with links, to online directories.

Social Media Links

Social media links are just what they sound like, links to your website from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Search engines can’t always read these links, but they can lead to more site traffic, which could help your rankings. More traffic, a social media presence and increased brand awareness can be very valuable for your business.

How to Get Them

Of course, you can start getting these links by opening social media accounts, sharing links and building a following. Then, create content people will want to share and add sharing buttons to your website so it’s easy for people to post your content to their social media accounts.

Link building is an SEO strategy that can help you get better rankings and bring benefits like more traffic, increased sales and better brand recognition. When you use all of these link types, you’ll have a comprehensive strategy that brings results.

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How to find Content Ideas your Audience will Love

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Image courtesy of Mike Linksvayer/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Mike Linksvayer/Flickr.

Great pieces of content that bring excellent results all start with a good idea. Whether you are creating blog posts, articles, videos, social media posts, podcasts or images, you need to know what will resonate with your audience so people will respond to your calls to action.

The type of content you use will depend on your business and goals, but how do you come up with ideas that will stick and bring results?

Think like your Market

If you were a person in your target market, what would interest you? Put yourself in your market’s position and think about what kind of blog posts, videos or social media accounts you would look for and why.

Sometimes we think we know what our market wants and get stuck in a rut by continuing to provide the same kind content over and over. Take some time to stop and think like the people you are targeting to make sure you have their best interests in mind.

Ask Your Audience what it Wants

But, even when you try to think like your market, you may not completely understand what people are looking for, what they need and what topics or themes attract them. One of the very best ways to get ideas for successful content is to talk to your market.

Use social media, surveys, informal polls, focus groups and other tools to find out what your market wants. Through multiple-choice and open-ended questions you can uncover topics, needs and interests relating to your market and then use them to brainstorm ideas for content.

Find a Need and Fill it

The most valuable and effective content fills a need. It provides something your market is looking for and helps people solve a problem. The need you fill can be as basic as a need for entertainment or it could be as complex as needing how-to advice or even health resources. Find out what your market needs and then find a way to fill those needs with your content marketing strategy.

Watch Market Trends

Look into market trends like what people are purchasing, the services they are using, pop culture topics they are following, how they are spending their time and other trends to find out what might capture your audience’s attention. Of course, you don’t want to blend in with the crowd, but using popular topics and adding your own spin to them can help you get people excited while still standing out.

Find out what Your Market is Doing

Find out what your market is doing both online and offline. What social media sites do they use? Are they reading blogs? Do they spend a lot of time using their smartphones? What kinds of businesses, transportation and stores do they frequent? Information about what people in your market are doing is a great place to go for inspiration for content.

To get the most out of content marketing and encourage people to respond to your calls to action, you need to use compelling content that provides value to your niche market. Think like your market, ask questions and analyse trends, habits and needs to find ideas for content that will grab attention and work for your brand.

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Common SEO Myths: Busted!

Monday, August 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of Ged Carroll/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Ged Carroll/Flickr.

Search engine optimisation has all kinds of myths associated with it. Some believe it’s the best way to promote your business online while others don’t think it offers any value. While best practices, tactics, approaches and algorithms are always changing, SEO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

When you know the truth behind some of the most common myths, you can find ways to more effectively use SEO at your business and even get upper management on board as you plan and execute campaigns.

Myth: SEO is all about spam.

Bad practices like keyword stuffing, content created just for building links and quantity over quality have given SEO a bad rap. In reality, spam doesn’t help you gain rankings. In fact, your site can actually be penalised by search engines if you use under-the-table SEO techniques.

Truth: Successful SEO requires high-quality content that targets your market.

Search engines, especially Google, are battling these practices and are favouring sites that don’t use spam or other low-quality tactics to gain rankings. To succeed, you need to produce high-quality, relevant content that was written for people first and then optimised for search engines.

Myth: SEO requires a big investment for little return.

There’s no question that SEO does require a large amount of time and resources. To gain rankings you will need to work with an expert who knows what kinds of tactics to use and how best to optimise your site.

Truth: It does take time to see SEO results, but those results are extremely valuable.

Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t provide instant results. It does take several weeks or even months to get a website to rank for a specific keyword. But, SEO can bring big results like more traffic, increased sales and better brand recognition.

Myth: SEO is all about off-site links.

Many people automatically start thinking about link building when they hear the term “SEO.” They assume that to get a page to rank, it needs a lot of external links that lead to it.

Truth: Off-site links are important, but SEO is about so much more.

In reality, off-site links are only part of the equation. To get rankings, your site needs to be fully optimised with high-quality content, relevant information, a strong site structure and keywords that are used naturally.

Myth: SEO can stand alone and my other marketing efforts will make up for a lack of SEO.

Another common myth is that SEO is in a world all its own and the strategies used here don’t need to correlate with other marketing strategies. Some people also believe that if they use social media marketing or content marketing they can skip SEO.

Truth: The best SEO campaigns integrate social media, content and Internet marketing.

While SEO is a powerful form of marketing, it can’t do everything. It can’t replace a strong social media presence or a blogging strategy. In fact, the most successful SEO campaigns work in conjunction with social media, content and Internet marketing. When all of these work together, each one will be more comprehensive and you’ll see much better results.

These are just a few of the most common myths surrounding SEO. When you fully understand why SEO is so important to your business and how it is best used, you can benefit from things like more site traffic, more sales and even increased brand awareness.

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What the Most Retweetable Words tell Us

Thursday, August 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of Riku Lu/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Riku Lu/Flickr.

Lots of businesses are constantly trying to increase the number of retweets their account gets to get their content in front of more people, attract more followers and establish a voice on Twitter. Have you ever wondered what kinds of words are more likely to be retweeted?

Social media specialist Dan Zarrella has done the research and compiled two lists: one with the words that are most likely to be retweeted and one with the words that are least likely to be retweeted.

The Most Retweetable Words

To compile this list, Zarrella analysed 30 million retweets and more than two million random tweets. The results are interesting and can give us insight into how to create effective content and get more out of Twitter.

Words Most Likely to be Retweeted

  • You
  • Twitter
  • Please
  • Retweet
  • Post
  • Blog
  • Social
  • Free
  • Media
  • Help
  • Please Retweet
  • Great
  • Social Media
  • 10
  • Follow
  • How To
  • Top
  • Blog Post
  • Check Out
  • New Blog Post

Words like “bored,” “home,” “tomorrow,” “watching” and “work” made the list of words least likely to be retweeted. You can see the rest of the list on Zarrella’s blog.

What these Words have in Common

Did you notice these words have a few things in common? When you look behind the words themselves and think about why people might be retweeting them, you’ll find new ways to boost your content marketing and social media strategies.

Most of the words on this list fall into one of a few categories:

  • Words about Blogs
  • Words that Describe Content and Value
  • Words about Social Media
  • Words that ask for a Retweet

Words like “new blog post, “check out,” “blog” and “post” are commonly used in tweets that promote content. Words that describe the value of content are also popular. Things like “great,” “how to,” “top,” “10 (as in 10 tips)” and “free” all promise value and make people want to share the link.

Tweets that include words about social media are commonly retweeted among social media gurus and heavy social media users. This list also shows that tweets that ask people for a retweet actually do work.

How to use these Words

So, how do you use this list at your business? First, you can use it as a guide as you use social media. From this list, you can see that people are interested in sharing tweets that prove their value right away and that reference new blog posts. You can also occasionally ask your followers to retweet your posts.

These words also reveal what kind of content people are interested in. How-to guides, top 10 lists and freebies are popular and the research shows that they are also more likely to be shared on Twitter.

Whenever you create a social media plan or a content marketing strategy, you should keep your unique market and goals in mind. Unfortunately, there aren’t any magic words that will make your social media posts more popular or your content go viral.

However, research like this does give us some insight into trends and what social media users in general are more attracted to and can help you make your tactics more effective.

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The Content Creation Formula you Should be Using

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Image courtesy of David M. Goehring/Flickr.

Image courtesy of David M. Goehring/Flickr.

The type of content marketing you use and the specific messaging you include will depend on your business and audience. Your blog posts, online articles, infographics, videos and other pieces of content need to resonate with the people you are targeting.

But, there is one key formula you should be implementing no matter what kind of content marketing plan you are using. This formula can be altered and personalised for your business so you can more effectively reach your audience and get bigger results.

The Formula

The formula is simple: relate to your audience, describe a problem and then provide a solution. When you use this format, your audience can’t help but take notice and be interested in what you have to share. Then, when you offer a solution you are providing value that will keep your audience coming back.

Relate to Your Audience

Your audience needs to be able to relate to your content from the very beginning. From the first paragraph of a blog post, title of an article or first few seconds of a video, people should know that the content relates to them and will be beneficial.

Do this by creating content that will be of interest to your audience and then using the right tone and style. Show people that you understand where they are coming from.

Describe a Problem

Now, describe a problem your market has. This can be as simple as needing product information or as complicated as not knowing how to use a service. You probably already have some idea of what your market struggles with because you as a business try to meet those needs.

Find ways to translate those needs into content, showing your audience you are there to fix the problem. Outlining a problem, even subtly, can tell people you understand their needs.

Provide a Solution

Now, provide a solution. The goal of all of your content should be to provide value and solve problems. You can do this by creating tutorials, lists, free samples or guides and even just offering advice.

The most important thing to remember is that you want to position yourself, your business or products, as the solution. Doing this will help you boost sales and establish yourself as an industry expert that people will want to come to.

How to Use the Content Creation Formula

This formula should be used as part of your overall strategy and as a guide for each piece of content you produce. As you decide what kind of content to use and how to publish it, relate to your audience, define the problem and then solve it.

Then, when you create articles, videos, infographics, images, ebooks and any other kind of content, use this formula on a smaller scale as an outline for the piece.

Remember that you may need to relate to a few different audiences and solve more than one problem. Set up a few formulas for your business and then use them as you create a content strategy and start producing content. These simple steps will make your content more valuable and effective, benefitting your entire Internet marketing plan.

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Google Unveils News Publisher Center for Site Owners

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Spencer E Holtaway/Flickr.

Google has launched a new tool called News Publisher Center that makes it easier for site owners to keep the search engine updated on changes to their sites. The new tool can help news sites gain better search rankings and therefore more traffic.

If you have a news site or blog, you may have noticed that it can be hard to get your pages to rank in the Google News search results. This is because when you add new sections to your site, the search engine doesn’t always come back to rank it and add it to its search results. But, the News Publisher Center is designed to solve that problem.

Why News Rankings Matter

If your site doesn’t appear in Google search results, you could be missing a large portion of your audience. One of the best ways to attract new readers and increase your traffic is to increase your site’s rankings so your pages appear in search results when users do searches for terms related to your site.

If you keep your site information updated with the News Publisher Center, Google will be able to rank your content and display it in search results as people look for the kind of content you provide.

With more readers, you can do things like:

  • Increase Ad Sales
  • Get more Comments and Engagement
  • Boost Product Sales
  • Raise Awareness
  • Gain Sponsors

News rankings matter if you want people to find your content and participate on your site.

Using the News Publisher Center

To start using the News Publisher Center, you need to verify that you own your website. This tool is only available for news sites. As of now, it is available to sites in the United States but will soon be offered around the world.

Once you have verified your site, you can start making it easier for people to find your content by telling Google when your site changes. In the center, you will be able to change your site’s name and choose labels that categorise what kind of news site you have.

Whenever you change your site’s structure by adding new sections, Google doesn’t always know that content is there. With this new tool, you can log in and add the URLs of new sections as you add them. You can also label these sections to make them easier to find on Google.

If you have a news site, log in now to make sure your site is verified and all your sections are there. Then, each time you update your site use the News Publisher Center to keep Google informed and make sure your readers can find your content.

The new tool was announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog where you can find more details about how to use it.

If you run a news site, you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to boost your rankings so you can get more readers and make your site more successful. Make sure you publish high quality content, use keywords naturally and log in to the News Publisher Center to keep Google aware of changes to your site.

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Can You use LinkedIn’s New Sponsored Content Feature?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Image courtesy of mars_discovery_district/Flickr.

Recently, LinkedIn made it possible for all users to publish content directly to the website. Now, it has announced a new feature called direct sponsored content that could help you reach more people and grow your audience.

The ability to publish content on LinkedIn and share it with your followers as a way to build your brand and showcase your expertise brings a lot of opportunity to your content marketing plan. But, this latest feature could do even more, making it easier for you to target your market.

Direct Sponsored Content

LinkedIn already offers sponsored posts that businesses can use to reach more people on the network. This new feature is very similar, but allows businesses to create sponsored content.

With the tool, your business can post content directly to LinkedIn’s feed, without posting it on our business page, and target it to a very specific group of people. Of course, the benefit of this is that you can make sure content with specific messages reaches the right people.

Your page’s administrator will have the ability to respond to comments on the sponsored content and can even track a few basic analytics like number of clicks, impressions, interactions and followers acquired for each piece of sponsored content.

To use the feature, you need to have a business page and use LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions. When you are logged in to your dashboard, you will see the new option to create sponsored content. You can see a video tutorial on how to start using sponsored content on LinkedIn’s content marketing page.

Should You use Sponsored Content?

If you already use sponsored posts or LinkedIn is already part of your social media marketing strategy, you should consider using sponsored content. This new feature can help you take your LinkedIn strategy to a new level and get more out of your account.

Even if your business isn’t using LinkedIn yet, now is a good time to consider adding it to your Internet and social media marketing plans. The site has grown and could potentially help you reach a large audience.

LinkedIn is a unique social media site because it attracts a different audience than many of the other social media sites. There are more than 300 million LinkedIn users with 15 million users in the UK alone. The site is also growing quickly, with more than two new users signing up every second. According to LinkedIn, there are 39 million students and recent graduates using the site, and this demographic is the site’s fastest growing group of users.

LinkedIn also says that its users did more than 5.7 billion searches on the site for professional-themed topics in 2012. These numbers tell us that LinkedIn is a major social network with users who search the site for content regularly.

If your business wants to target students, young professionals, industry experts and other businesses, LinkedIn is a great channel to use. To get the best results, use LinkedIn to reach this specific market, build a strong following, engage with other users and experiment with sponsored posts and content.

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