Posts Tagged ‘content’
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Your business blog is a marketing, search engine optimisation, social media and public relations tool. It allows you to reach your market, get your story out there and drive traffic to your site. As your blog acts in all these capacities, it can help you indirectly make money as your business grows. However, there are also ways you can earn money directly through your blog.
Whether your entire business is based on a blog or your blog is just one aspect of your business, these tips can help you earn more money from your blog.
Participate in Affiliate Marketing
When you become an affiliate marketer, you will partner with a company and get paid based on the number of products you sell or the number of leads or traffic you generate. Some bloggers see a lot of success with affiliate marketing, and this approach may work for your blog.
To make money this way, you’ll need a large audience and a good sense of how to pitch products to your market. Good affiliate marketers are able to persuade their audiences to purchase a product without losing readers. Usually affiliate marketing is implemented through links or ads on a blog and many times the links are included in actual posts. Marketers can sell products by posting product reviews or sales pitches or by simply mentioning and recommending products.
Earn Sponsorships or Sell Ads
Of course, your ability to gain sponsorships and use ads will depend on your blog. If your entire business is based on your blog, you may be able to take this approach. However, if your blog is just one entity of your business, you may not want to send potential customers to sponsors and advertisers, since that would likely hinder your own sales.
Many bloggers that have large, niche followings are able to earn revenue through sponsorships and ads. Sponsors who want to get their name in front of your audience and encourage your readers to visit their website will often pay a monthly or yearly fee to have their logo and links added to your site.
You can also sell ad space on your blog or write sponsored, or paid, posts to earn money from businesses that want to sell their product to your audience.
Sell a Product
This may seem like an obvious way to make money, but many people don’t associate product selling with blogging. You could use your blog to market an ebook, a newsletter subscription, a paid forum or any other product. The secret to doing this well is finding or producing a product that will appeal to your readers. For example, if you are a food blogger your audience may be interested in purchasing a cookbook you created or subscribing to your recipe newsletter.
Selling a product through your blog is slightly different than the classic business approach. Many businesses sell their products first, and blog second, treating their blog as a necessary aspect of their website. However, if you’re a good blogger, you could focus on building your blog, then introduce your products as an additional offering, next to your blog posts.
Your blog has the potential to add to your bottom line. Whether your blog is the foundation of your business or it is a branch of your larger organization, these strategies can help you reap monetary benefits from quality blog posts, a niche target market and a substantial following.
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
Last week YouTube announced that it would start offering new paid channels as part of a pilot program with a small group of partners. The fees will start at 99 cents per month and each channel will offer a free 14-day trial.
Some of the paid channels that have already launched include National Geographic Kids, PGA Digital Golf Academy, Pets.TV, UFC Select, and more. There are currently 54 paid channels (there are more than 1 million channels on YouTube) and the company says it will be adding more.
Currently, users subscribe through their account and once they have paid for a channel, they can watch it from their computer, TV, smartphone or tablet. YouTube also says that additional viewing options will be available in the future.
In a YouTube blog post the company states that the paid channels are a response to requests from video posters who are looking for more ways to monetize their videos and channels.
Can Businesses Create Paid YouTube Channels?
Businesses that are interested in creating their own paid YouTube Channel can fill out a sign up form. Currently, all submissions will be reviewed and may or may not be accepted as a paid channel partner.
Since the paid channel program is currently a pilot program, it remains to be seen how YouTube will develop it and how businesses will get to use the new option. However, assuming the service becomes more popular, businesses will likely get to be a bigger part of the program.
Will Your Business Benefit from a Paid Channel?
If your business already has a successful YouTube Channel it may very well benefit from a paid channel, since you could earn revenue from subscriptions, not just advertisements. If your business and products are conducive to things like previews, how-to videos, product reviews and event videos, it may benefit from paid YouTube Channels.
However, the benefits of a paid YouTube Channel aren’t just monetary. Businesses with successful videos and channels benefit from things like increased exposure, viral ad campaigns, social media buzz, raised awareness, increased site traffic and more sales.
How will Users React?
As with any major social media change, one of the biggest questions being asked is “How will users react?” YouTube users aren’t likely to leave the site in droves, since the site has become an Internet video staple, but will they be wiling to pay for content? Many feel social media should be free to use, much like email. Normally, businesses are able to profit directly through ads on the site, whether that be the social media business or the businesses that use the site. However, some sites, like LinkedIn do offer paid features, which seem to be successful.
Much like any other product or marketing tool, paid YouTube Channels will likely be successful if the content being shared is valuable to the audience, helpful, entertaining and useful. Channels that are able to provide the best content may find it easy to gain subscribers. Will you apply for a paid channel? Do you think the new feature will benefit your business?
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The right keywords for your brand and company are the foundation of a successful search engine optimisation strategy. If you’re just starting SEO at your business, or if it is time to revamp your current strategy and reassess the way you do things, choosing keywords is a vital step in the process.
Brainstorm Keywords that are Relevant to Your Brand
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that are associated with your brand. Your list could be quite long, since it will include very general words as well as more specific words that reflect your business, what you do, your products and your services. Remember that the point of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as possible, so don’t hesitate when building this list.
Put Yourself in Your Markets’ Shoes
Now, consider your markets and think about what kinds of words they may use when they conduct searches. Think about words people would use if they were specifically looking for your business and words they might use if they are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer. This part of the process requires you to think differently, since you are likely very used to thinking about your business from an insider’s point of view.
Check Your Analytics
If you already have a website or blog with analytics, check to see what kinds of search terms are bringing people to your website. As you look at this list, add keywords you haven’t already thought of to your list of potential keywords.
Narrow Down Your List
At this point you likely have a nice long list of potential keywords. You probably have more than you need or that you can realistically target. Go back down your list and cross off the keywords that are extremely general and highlight the ones that you think will bring the best results. You may want to keep the words your audience is already using to find your website and words that are more unique to your specific business.
Add Long Tail Keywords
Examine the remaining keywords and add long tail keywords wherever possible. Long tail keywords are key phrases that make a more general keyword more specific. For example, a general keyword would be “printing services” long tail keywords would be “London printing services,” “affordable banner printing services,” or “sign printing services in London.”
Research Search Volume and Competition
Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to decide which keywords you should target. Search for the keywords you have on your narrowed-down list and look at how many people search for the term and how competitive it is, or how hard it is to rank for the keyword. Google’s tool allows you to see related search terms, which can help you add more targeted keywords to your list.
When you finalize your keywords, keep in mind that you may have a few different categories of keywords to target. You may want to try to rank your product page for one keyword, and your home page for another keyword. You may also decide to use different keywords for different link-building and SEO techniques.
Many businesses want to know how many keywords they should target, but the answer to this question will be unique to each business and its goals and industry. Every business and every campaign will require a different amount of keywords. Also keep in mind that as your campaign develops and you begin ranking for certain words, or as your business changes, your list of keywords will also likely need to change.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Image courtesy of Chris Blakeley/Flickr.
According to the Content Marketing Association, 82 percent of consumers like reading content from businesses when it is relevant. In general terms, relevant content is content that speaks to your audience. It is content that provides helpful information and is applicable to your target market.
Marketing experts often tout the importance of relevance in content marketing and search engine optimisation plans, but how do you discover what “relevant” means for your company?
Study Your Audience
The best way to find out what is relevant for your market is to study it. Learn about its demographics, its needs, its tendencies and what influences it. You can use market research your business already has or you can do new, content-specific research. When you understand what makes your audience tick, you can develop content that is relevant.
Know Your Place and Fill a Need
Once you have a strong understanding of your target market, understand where you fit in. The place you hold in your potential customers’ eyes will depend on what kind of business you have. For example, if you sell an online video streaming service, you fill an entertainment need. Or, if you are a healthcare company, you fill an informational and health need.
Your business probably already strives to meet the needs of its market, so carry that same strategy over to your content marketing campaigns. However, keep in mind that the need you fill with your content may be slightly different than the need you fill as a business.
One excellent way to find out how you can deliver what your market wants is to do research. Surveys and focus groups can give you a good understanding of what your market wants and can direct your content marketing planning.
Get Creative with Your Content
Not every audience needs another article or another YouTube video. When you understand what your audience needs, be wiling to creatively fill that need. For example, maybe you have an audience that doesn’t have time to read long articles. Visual content may be more useful for that audience.
Providing relevant content is not just about the themes or the message in your content, it is about creating content that is accessible to your market.
Stay on Message
Content that is based on a well-researched message rarely fails. You can make sure your content is relevant to your brand’s audience by sticking to one message. This will avoid confusion and will allow your content to resonate with the audience as you fill its need.
Avoid Unnecessary Content
Content that is created just for the sake of content is an enormous waste of time. When you use content marketing, it can be tempting to try to produce content in mass, just to get the job done. However, this strategy rarely works and is a waste of time and money. Instead, make sure every piece of content you produce will fill one of your market’s needs.
Relevant content can help you build an online presence and better reach your audience. If you provide content that fills a need and sends your business’ message, you will have a much more successful content marketing campaign.
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are lots of well-known search engine optimisation tips for blogging. You know that you need to use keywords, share your blog posts, and build links to them. However, have you ever considered why blogging is such a vital part of an SEO strategy?
Blogs House Fresh Content
It’s no secret that search engines love new content. Websites that are regularly updated with new content are crawled more often, which means they often earn higher page ranks and appear higher in search results than other sites. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to make sure your site always has fresh content.
Blogs Drive Traffic
The amount of traffic a website receives is one factor that determines what kind of page rank it has. Interesting, controversial, insightful and helpful blog posts can drive traffic to your site. If you share your posts through social media accounts, RSS feeds, press releases, email marketing campaigns and newsletters, more people will visit your website.
Blogs Help with Off Site Link Building
Link building is an essential part of SEO and more recently, natural links are becoming more valued by search engines. Your blog can help you build natural links to your site as people share your posts across social media and other websites and blogs.
Blogs are a Place for Internal Link Building
It’s incredibly easy to link from your blog posts to some of your previous posts or site pages. Internal links are a powerful SEO tool that you can put to use every time you write a blog post. Add anchor texts that are keywords and you’ll see even more benefits.
Blog Post URLs are Easy to Crawl
The easier your site’s URLs are to crawl, the easier it will be to gain rankings. Most blogs have basic, understandable URL structures that make it easy for search engines to crawl and rank your site. Each time you write a blog post you are adding content that search engines can easily crawl.
Blogs Create Site Activity
The level of activity on your blog can influence your search rankings. Sites that have more comments and user interaction usually rank higher than those that do not. You can use your blog to build a community around your site that encourages people to link to and comment on your blog posts.
The ability to earn higher search engine rankings is one of the biggest benefits of maintaining a company blog. To make the most of these benefits, create an attractive blog with unique and interesting content. Then, use a content calendar, internal linking strategy and social media strategy that helps you leverage each post.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Image courtesy of tungphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Has it been a while since you’ve read the about sections on your social media accounts? When was the last time you changed your profile picture? Business social media accounts need a spring-cleaning every year so they continue to be useful in your digital marketing efforts.
Decide Which Accounts are Worth the Investment
You likely have several different social media accounts; but are you using all of them? Is each account benefiting your business? Hopefully you’ve been tracking your movements and successes on each social media account, but if you haven’t, go back and assess the success of each one. Social media management takes time and resources, and part of your social media spring-cleaning should include deciding which sites are worth the investment.
When you know which sites are helping your business the most, you can put more effort into those ones and slow down on, or even stop using, the others. A word of caution: be very careful if you discontinue the use of a social media channel, as you may abandon or confuse a portion of your target market.
Edit the About Section and add Keywords
The about section on your social media accounts is very important. Read your current description and make sure it accurately portrays what your business does. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated this, the goals or even services at your business may be different.
You should also use keywords in your social media biographies. Not all social media sites are crawled by search engines, but keywords can help users find you within the site.
Upload Branded Images
Some believe you shouldn’t change your social media profile picture often, to avoid brand confusion. Others believe that updating your picture periodically will keep your account fresh and prevent it from fading into the background noise of social media. Only you can decide if you should change your profile picture, but, if your picture is outdated or doesn’t fit with your current brand, it’s safe to say it could use an update.
If the accounts you are using allow for additional pictures, like Facebook’s cover photo or Twitter’s background image, make sure the ones you use speak to your brand. The colors, messaging and type of image should all enhance your business’ social media presence.
Use Every Applicable Feature
Social media sites add new features quite frequently. Look over your accounts and see if there are any features you aren’t using that you should be. If you are able to link to your other social media sites, add any accounts that are missing. Also check to make sure things like categories, business hours and URLs are all correct.
Reassess Your Strategy
Are you using your social media accounts to their fullest potential? Are you successfully reaching your markets and reaching your goals? Now is a good time to reassess your strategy, making changes where necessary to make sure your strategy is as efficient as it can be. Also keep in mind that changes in your services or traditional marketing efforts could trigger a change in your social media marketing strategy.
Spring-cleaning your social media sites can help you decide where to focus your efforts and how to best use your accounts. You can start now by updating your accounts and then making sure you are using all the features that will help you build your online presence.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Image courtesy of Charlie Trotter/Flickr.
If you’ve been tweeting for a while, and have yet to see your efforts pay off through increased traffic and sales, these tips are for you. Twitter is fast-paced, conversational tool that has the power to bring groups of people together and spread news very quickly. When you understand how to leverage its features and benefits, each of your tweets will work for your business, improving your traffic and sales numbers.
Use Hashtags to Tap into the Right Crowd
Hashtags are more than a way of categorizing tweets, they are a way of connecting to other people. When you use hashtags that relate to your business, product, or market, the followers you gain will be in your target market and will be much more likely to click on the links you share.
When you add a hashtag to a tweet, you are in essence adding your voice to a conversation. If you join the right conversations, the people tuned in will make up a valuable market of people who are potential customers.
Promote Your Site Strategically
When you tweet links to your site, do it strategically. Be careful not to overly self-promote your business, but strive to share links that are likely to help you make more sales. For example, your lead form and product pages would both be great places to send potential customers.
Tweeting links to your new, and old, blog posts can help you establish yourself as a resource and an expert in your industry, which can also help you increase your sales.
Engage with Influential People and Customers
Twitter is a more valuable tool when you use it to have conversations with other people, not just to send self-promoting tweets. Connect with other people in your industry or community that could influence your customers and engage with your market by retweeting their posts or responding to what they share.
This will help you gain a presence on the site, which will help your account be more recognizable and encourage your followers to interact with you. As your followers click on your links and converse with you, they will be more likely to visit your site and buy your product.
Write Attractive, Enticing Tweets
Writing tweets is similar to writing subject lines for email marketing campaigns. On Twitter you only have 140 characters to encourage someone to click on your link, so use your words wisely. Remember that these few words could be the only thing standing between your site and more Twitter-driven traffic.
Leaving a little room for people to add their own thoughts to your tweets, by using less than 140 characters, can encourage retweeting, which will get your message in front of a bigger audience.
Make Sharing Your Content Easy
Don’t forget to include a link to your Twitter profile on your website and to add Twitter sharing buttons to your blog posts and other content. The easier it is for your site visitors to share your content, the more likely they will be to tweet links to your website. It goes without saying that the more tweets with a link to your site, the more Twitter traffic you will get. This strategy is also a great way to involve influential people, since potential customers may be more likely to be persuaded by a friend who tweets about your content than by you.
These strategies can help you make the most of every tweet you send, so that you can use Twitter to increase traffic to your site and make more sales.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Image courtesy of @notnixon/Flickr.
As your list of email subscribers grows, the last thing you want to do is drive your readers away, causing them to unsubscribe. Even if your marketing emails are successfully driving traffic to your site and increasing your sales, you should still be cautious of these common email marketing mistakes.
Sending Emails too Often
The number of emails your business sends to its email list will depend on your goals, your market and your business. There isn’t a certain magic number of emails that works for every business. You’ll have to experiment and see what works for your business. Once you find out what kind of frequency works for you, be careful not to send so many emails that you annoy your subscribers who will then mark your messages as spam or unsubscribe from your list.
Assuming One Email Works for Everyone
Even if you think you know your market very well, take some time to consider what your subscribers want out of your emails. Remember that your email subscribers may be different than your general market. Sending unwanted information or messages that don’t apply to or interest your audience is one sure way to lose subscribers. Research like surveys, focus groups and A/B testing can help you create the perfect email marketing campaign for your market.
Some businesses have multiple email lists, divided by demographics or varying markets. This strategy lets you target each email and message to the group that it will resonate with and that is most likely to respond to the calls to action.
Abandoning Your Mobile Audience
Image courtesy of Phil Roeder/Flickr.
A study done this year by Nielsen showed that 68 percent of smartphone owners in the United Kingdom had used their phone to check their email within the 30 days previous to taking the survey. This is big portion of the population, and it’s probably safe to assume that some of your subscribers will read your emails from a mobile device. If your emails are hard to read on a small screen, they won’t get read. They could also be viewed as a nuisance by your subscribers, who will opt out of receiving future emails.
Over Promising in the Subject Line
Your subject line can make or break your email campaign, and it does need to entice recipients to open your email. However, if you over promise in your subject line, and then fail to deliver in your email message, your readers will be disappointed, annoyed and tempted to unsubscribe. Make sure your email subject line is an accurate description of what your email has to offer.
Sending Unwanted Email
The best way to maintain a list of subscribers, and to reach success through email marketing, is to use opt-in methods. Let your users sign up for your emails or newsletters, rather than sending emails to unsuspecting people or using a purchased email list. This not only helps your company’s reputation, it makes it more likely that your email list will be made up of valuable leads.
Even businesses that have been using email marketing for years are susceptible to making one of these mistakes. Whether you are developing your first campaign or have been sending emails to subscribers for a long time, don’t make these mistakes that can drive your readers to unsubscribe from your list.
Image courtesy of Rawich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Does your content marketing plan need an overhaul? Or maybe you haven’t used content marketing and are ready to try something new. Every plan will vary depending on your business, but there are some characteristics every successful content marketing plan needs.
Relevance to the Correct Market
The content you create needs to resonate with your target market. Every content marketing task you undertake, from blogging to posting podcasts, needs to be done with your target market in mind.
To leverage your opportunities, you need to have a content marketing strategy to follow. Your strategy should consist of a defined target market, messaging, calls to action, content creation and publishing plans.
As you create content with your target market in mind, make sure it is meaningful. Content that is created just for the sake of creating new content or linking back to a website doesn’t have much marketing potential. Create content that appeals to your market and that builds your brand.
When you undertake a content marketing campaign, consistency is key. Create a content schedule and decide when and how you will share your content, and then stick with your schedule. Consistency is about more than just sharing regularly though, it also means using the same messages throughout all your content.
Branding can help you create a consistent look and feel for your content. It can also help you build your reputation, grow your business and increase your sales. If your audience instantly recognizes a piece of content as part of your brand, you will build your reputation and your content marketing campaign will be much more successful because your audience will be more likely to respond to your messaging.
Some of your content will most likely be published on your own website, blog and social media channels. However, you should also publish content in other places. Identify influential websites and blogs that you can share content through. These publishing opportunities will give you the chance to share your content with your target market and even reach new audiences.
Content marketing can include more than just articles and blog posts. Get creative and find ways to use images, videos, podcasts, infographics, interactive content and even crowd-sourced content. Using different kinds of content can help you stand out from the competition and get your market’s attention. Sometimes, when a business uses the same kind of content for a long period of time, its audience begins to tune it out. This strategy can help you avoid this problem.
Compelling content that sparks engagement can help you drive traffic, create a social media buzz and generate more leads. Engagement has also been shown to help increase search engine rankings, bringing more traffic to your site. Engagement takes time, since you will need to interact directly with your audience, but it will pay off in the end.
Calls to Action
The majority of your content should include a call to action. Consider what you want your audience to do, and then find ways to include it in your content. Remember to make your calls to action clear and easy to follow.
The best content marketing plans evolve over time. As you find what works for your market and what doesn’t, you will need to adjust your plan. You may also find that over time your audience is tuning out your current tactics, and a change of pace can help generate renewed interest in your brand. As your market and business changes, your content marketing plan needs to adapt.
Including these 10 characteristics in your content marketing plan can help you build a strategy that will help you reach your target market, encourage your audience to respond to calls to action and build your brand.