Optimizing your website’s keywords, call-to-actions, and landing pages are fundamental in search engine optimization and getting started with inbound marketing. It takes time to rank higher through organic SEO methods, but inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of capturing the attention of high-quality prospects. The second most important contributor to organic search engine optimization is producing blog content that is knowledgeable on topics within your industry and valuable to your ideal customer. Optimizing your website for conversion and creating content that that resonates with your readers will set you up for continuously bringing in high-quality leads.
Posted on Dec 17, 2012 by Stacey Donelan
Ah, the infamous Fifth Day of Christmas. I don’t know about you, but this might be the only part of the (original) song that I can actually remember every time. But in the case of these Five Content Creation Rules, not rings, I encourage you to commit these to memory as well!
I’m sure you’ve already heard the saying, “Content is King,” but what does that really mean? It all began with content as the key for search engine optimization and the huge role it played in positioning your company as an industry resource. Then came the rise of social and the need to push consistent communication. Creative tactics emerged through micro-sites and with social media popularity exploding, brands had to compete with the thought-leaders or become obsolete in the marketplace.
1. Know Your Audience
Let’s be real. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach there’s no use in creating content at all. Know who you’re writing for. Is it women ages 24-40 or men ages 60 and older? Decide who your audience is and then learn everything you can about them. Find what questions they have, what motivates them and what they like. THEN, create your content.
2. Tell a Story
Tell a story that is personable, approachable, tangible and memorable. For example: Every year, The Hartford sponsors the Paralympics, and just last year the company decided to tell this story. They launched a media and video campaign through the medium of Facebook highlighting the athletes themselves. The result was a very successful and emotional story connecting with people on an individual and very personal level.
3. Limit the Fluff
The average attention span is very, very short. You need to get right to the point or you run the risk of losing the audience. Eliminate any unnecessary points to keep content concise and hyper-focused. If you’d like some additional examples on the process of un-fluffing, check out one of our previous blog posts on a similar topic!
4. Make it Shareable
The best way to get your content out there is to spread it across all appropriate mediums. So making it easy for others to share your content should be a BIG priority. Try to think of a blog that doesn’t prominently display social sharing buttons. It’s tough, right? That’s because most people won’t go out of their way to share your content so just make it simple!
5. Say What You Know…
…and not what you sell. Customers are not looking to read your blog or micro-site to see what you sell, they can view that in a catalog or on the products and services tab on your site. They are interested in what you know and what you stand for. It’s time to start communicating as a trusted and relevant source and not as a sales script. Storytelling is the new content marketing.
See where your expertise and your customer’s interests overlap to tap into your niche. Tell a unique story and communicate in a way that no other competition can touch.
Posted on Dec 15, 2012 by Amy Kauffman
Shelly Kramer is the Founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. A 20+ year marketing veteran, she’s a strategist, brand storyteller, digital marketing pro, content marketing expert, speaker and corporate trainer – basically, she’s awesome and I have been a long-time follow of her and her advice. Recently recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 50 Social Media Influencers, she’s half marketer, half geek, with a propensity for numbers, producing results and a dash of quick repartee. Find her on LinkedIn, Twitter or stalk her blog. You’ll be glad you did.
5 Types of Blog Content That Drive Engagement
If you write content—whether for yourself or for a client—then you’re well aware that writing can be tricky—heck, even downright challenging. But it’s what comes after you hit “publish” that can be even more daunting for marketers. If no one reads, shares or comments on your blog post, you’re not likely to get much leverage from your content—and that doesn’t bode well for your content marketing strategy.
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to crank out piles and piles of witty, informative and compelling content that’s so amazing it automatically makes readers want to share and distribute it far and wide. In reality? Even your best writing might not drive much engagement.
Before you swear off blogging forever, let me share a valuable tip with you. Just as certain types of Facebook posts spark a higher number of comments, likes and shares, certain types of blog content inherently drive more engagement. As you brainstorm and write blog posts, try incorporating a mix of the following content types into your editorial strategy. Then take note about what your audience responds to and tailor your posts accordingly.
5 Types of Blog Content That Drive Engagement
Trends. Regardless of what industry you’re in, there’s always something going on—and that means you have timely, relevant blog fodder ready and waiting. Writing a trends post isn’t only an effective way to showcase your area of expertise, but it’s also a chance for you to put your own distinctive spin on a topic, even if it’s something that’s been discussed ad nauseum.
Interviews. Readers respond well to conversational pieces, and nothing’s more conversational than an interview or Q&A. Plus, interviews lend themselves to different types of media, which means they’re an ideal way to include more video content on your blog.
Book reviews. Writing a book review is a great way to demonstrate your industry smarts and discuss information that’s particularly timely. Check out some of the newest releases in a category related to your industry and share your opinion with your readers. Another tip? Before you publish, reach out to the publisher and/or author and see if you can snag a review copy that you can offer as a giveaway on your blog. Contests are (almost) always a hit! After all, who doesn’t love #winning?
Lists. Talk about some Jedi mind tricks—you’re in the middle of reading a list right now! And you’re loving it, aren’t you? Readers respond well to lists because they’re concise and to-the-point. Plus, they deliver a, well, list of actionable tips that readers can immediately implement.
Rants. Peeved about something? Can’t imagine why—that never happens to me. Funnel your anger and irritation into a thoughtful blog post. Before you hit “publish,” however, be sure to take a step back and make sure your post isn’t riddled with nasty language or name-calling—those unsightly additions won’t do anything to strengthen your position. Be respectful toward the person or organization about which you’re ranting, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to share your true feelings—the ideal result is that your rant will spark some sort of change. And in the meantime, you’ll likely fuel a lively discussion in your blog’s comments section, so be prepared!
The ideas are already flowing, aren’t they? Don’t be afraid to experiment with content formats that work best for your writing style, subject matter and voice. And be sure to keep a close eye on your analytics so that you can see which posts are driving the most traffic and distribution. That way, you can be sure to incorporate those types on a more regular basis and help fine-tune your larger content strategy.
What type of content have you found to be the most successful for your blog?
Image by Search Engine People Blog via Creative Commons
Posted on Dec 15, 2012 by Amy Kauffman
I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Odden and his awesome right-hand lady, Ashley Zeckman, at a marketing conference here in San Diego. Lee has a reputation that precedes him, and for good reason. From search, social to PR and optimization, Lee knows how to breakdown valuable and actionable information whether he is speaking to a crowd of hundreds or taking pen to paper in his book. Enjoy this post from Lee on content marketing, think: “sharable.”
And for more insights be sure to follow him on Twitter @leeodden.
Is Your Content Findable, Engaging & Shareable?
“KISS” is probably the best advice when it comes to giving advice (Keep It Simple Stupid) and for that reason this post is short and sweet on the topic of how to ensure your great content attracts, engages and converts.
Whether your goals are narrowly focused on revenue or more strategic involving branding and community as well as growing the business, the scalability of effective content is essential in today’s competitive marketplace.
No matter how much you invest in content marketing strategy, planning, production, amplification or analytics, there are three key requirements that each content object should satisfy. Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed and shared.
Findability – A lot of our work involves content development and the way many organizations are structured, content discovery isn’t a driver, but more of an afterthought.
Effective content marketing is about creating information that’s useful for specific audiences and with certain outcomes in mind. While intent and context are often satisfied, the question of findability is usually underestimated. In particular, I’m talking about optimizing for search or social discovery. There are also promotion channels such as email, cross linking from existing content, 3rd party editorial links, news release distribution, social promotions, pay per click advertising and social media advertising.
What good is the great content you’re creating if no one can find it? By ensuring findability through optimization and promotion, the reach and amplification for content can be extended dramatically and for a very long period of time. If you set goals for social and organic search traffic for the content being produced, those involved might become as thoughtful about content optimization as they are about content quality. This isn’t either or, expect both.
Engaging– Competition is tough and as more brands employ content publishing in their mix, it’s important that the content being produced considers engagement. How? Relevance, context and experience are good starters.
Is your content object relevant for the audience that will discover it? Is the information useful? Does it provide utility? Is it thought provoking? Does the information help satisfy the reader’s goals and at the same time, help bring them closer along in the buyer journey?
The notion of engagement can be very subjective so be sure to identify goals for engagement whether it’s a combination of page views, comments and social shares or traffic and conversions. Monitor interactions with content to discern trends so you can optimize future content object performance.
Sharability – A lot of optimization for search and social media performance is about making it easy for buyers to do what you want them to do. Adding social share widgets is part of that. Writing compelling titles that work for short character counts in social sharing situations like Twitter is also a best practice. Content quality and relevance come in to play for sharing as well.
Are you creating content that’s so good, people will want to share it with others? Have you made it easy for them to share? Sharing for sharing’s sake isn’t going to solve any business problems, so make sure you know: Does the act of sharing help fulfill your objectives for the content?
There’s a lot of great brand content and story out there that isn’t getting the exposure that it could, simply because content producers are not tasked or accountable to one or more of these three simple requirements: Findability, Engagement and Shareability. Ensuring these characteristics are present for each content object through a process is a sure way to scale content marketing effectiveness whether your goals are social, PR, customer service or marketing focused.