Blogging Strategy – Plan in Advance Based on Season and Products

When you’re blogging, it’s important to make your plans in advance for the content that will appear on your blog. This needs to be based on the season as well as the products and services that you plan to promote or launch. Just like a retail store is planning fall sales in the summer, you should have a blogging strategy in advance for each season too.

Things to Consider in your Seasonal Blogging Strategy

Survey Your Audience – Just that because you’ve studied your audience once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t survey them occasionally to ensure you’re still delivering to them the information that they need and want. Try a quarterly survey so that you can find out what’s on their mind, and get a deeper insight into their problems.

Research Your Industry– Keeping up to date on the industry you’ve aligned yourself with is imperative if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Read industry news and study regular news for clues to the state of your industry. Look ahead for killer technologies that might turn your industry on its head.

Check Out the Competition – You should always be aware of what your competition is doing… not to copy them, but to stay one step ahead on whichever way you want to compete with them. For example if you offer higher quality, test their merchandise to ensure that your quality is better.

Know What’s Coming – Not all businesses are seasonal, but all of your audience is. They think of things in terms of certain seasons depending on where they are in their life. For example, if they have school-age children they are thinking differently during back to school time than summertime. Plus, if you have a product or service launch or other event coming up, you should be planning it in the quarter before the event.

Know Your Realistic Schedule – If you have a regular job, or children at home, or other responsibilities that will get into the way of your blogging duties, be honest about that as you create a schedule for yourself. If you have a lot to do, set a realistic blogging strategy around these other responsibilities.

Brainstorm Topics – Once you have some of this other information set up, it’s important to take some time to brainstorm topics based on the information you’ve gathered above, plus the events you know that are coming. At this point nothing is wrong; just write it down.

Organize Your Topics – Take the brainstormed topics and categorize them for your blog. Throw out anything that doesn’t fit. Then organize them and match them with the seasons, events and products that you want to promote.

Create a Publication Calendar – Add everything to a publication calendar. If you use WordPress, there are numerous plugins that you can use to help create editorial and publication calendars, we particularly love and use Coschedule. Here you enter the information so that during the times you’ve set aside for writing and producing content, you can get right to work.

Set Aside the Time to Create – Now that you have everything ready for you, each time you have the time to work you can get the information from the publication calendar and get going. You can also look ahead easily so you can know whether some of the content needs to be outsourced.

Planning in advance will actually end up saving time and ensuring your success. Working off the cuff will rarely work when it comes to building a successful blogging strategy. What will work is planning, knowing what is coming up, knowing what products you want to promote, and relating the seasons and current events to your blog posts.

Get More Mileage From Your Social Media Content Creation

social media content creationOne of the types of content that you need to create in your content marketing endeavors is social media content. Social media content is any content that you will use for purposes of promoting on social media. It might be a blurb that goes with a link to a video or blog post, or it might be an infographic or meme to help you get a point or two across. Social media content creation is an important part of every business’s marketing strategy. Here are 8 tips that can maximize your time and impact.

8 Social Media Content Creation Tips

Plan Ahead – Most people seem to totally forget to plan ahead regarding social media content. This is a mistake. If you create a blog post, for example, then you should create a tweet, a Facebook post, and other blurbs for whatever social media network that you plan to share the information on.

Add the Content to Your Calendar – Include social media content on your editorial calendar. If you know that in August you’re going to promote a great new product or service, then you should also be planning for social media content to use in that promotion – both leading up to the launch and during the launch.

Create Images for Social Media – Remember that images are a form of content, and that you need to create images for social media sharing. Images are more likely to be shared than text and are an important part of your marketing actions on social media. Using a variety of images as content, like infographics and memes, will increase shares and engagement.

Outsource It – You can use your content calendar to get help creating social media content with experts. These experts can help you create infographics, memes and a with a copywriting expert they can also help you craft just the right words to use for a blurb supporting your other promotions, products and services.

Share More Than Once – It’s important that you promote the content that you create and that you do it more than once. People do not check their entire social media stream, so sharing the same content with new blurbs and a new spin on the information several times will increase the view rate exponentially.

Conduct A/B Testing – Also called split testing, you want to see what times, headlines, and topics get more attention than others. As you collect this data, you’ll soon know exactly what time is best to share any updates with your social media followers.

Target Each Audience – Each social media network has its own personality, and the portion of your audience that follows you and engages with you on each network is usually slightly different. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the content you create for each network is exclusive to that network.

Create Content Often – With social media you need to have content for every day of the week, and share it more than once per day. This can seem like a lot of content to create, but it all stems from the basic message you want to get across to your audience based on your promotions.

Social media content creation will be a large part of your content program. It will help ensure that the products, services and information that you need to communicate to your audience gets the attention it needs. If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments section below.

How to Promote Your Blog Posts, Proudly!

promote your blog posts

Publishing content these days isn’t enough. There is no such thing as “build it and they will come.” In fact, if you really want a successful blog, you’re going to have to spend time promoting each piece of content that you create. There are several ways to promote your blog posts and for best results, be sure to try all of them.

8 Strategies to Promote Your Blog Posts

1. Write Awesome Blog Posts – When the content you create is awesome, you’re going to be much more likely to want to promote it. Work on each blog post to make it the best that you can. These days, in-depth authoritative content is more important and “Google worthy” than shorter “keyword” blog posts.

2. Don’t Leave SEO Out – While the most important part of the blog post is the content, you should still concern yourself with using keywords properly and naturally. Do keyword research occasionally to find out which keywords you should be using. Remember to look for low-competition keywords for best results.

3. Include Relevant Images – They say an image is worth 1000 words, and that’s likely very true. Therefore, include relevant images in your blog posts that help advance your meaning and purpose of your blog.

4. Build Relationships – Believe it or not, part of your blog’s mission is to build relationships with your audience. Ask questions at the end of each blog post, give them something fun to do, ask them to share something with you, or conduct a poll. Find ways to build your relationship with your audience.

5. Build an Email List – One of the most effective forms of marketing is email marketing, and bloggers should build email lists too. When you have an email list it’s a good way to inform regular readers about your new blog posts, promotions and events.

6. Be Courteous – A really good way to promote your blog posts is to promote other people’s blog posts too. When you share other people’s content, they will return the favor and share yours too.

7. Use Social Media – Create varied blurbs introducing your new blog post for different social media accounts to help them click through to read the blog post. A good way to do that is not to finish your sentence in the blurb; instead put dots to get them to read more.

8. Know Your Audience – It may sound like old news but it’s very important that you know your target audience, including where they hang out, what they like to do, and when. That way you’ll know where to promote your posts for maximum impact.

If you’ve taken the time to create your blog posts, you need to take the time to promote them. Using these strategies you can find new readers and ultimately grow your following, which potentially should lead to growing your business.

Create a Blog Publication Calendar

blog publication calendarBlogging is a great way to earn income, promote your business, or just have a venue to discuss your passion. One way to keep up with blogging is to create a blog publication calendar. A calendar will take into consideration important upcoming events, product launches, and other issues, helping you work in advance to keep your blog full of interesting and relevant content.

All successful bloggers have three things in common:

1) They post blogs regularly
2) They post unique content
3) They post audience-focused content

If you do at least these three things, you can have a super successful blog. You can have a blog that attracts an audience who wants to read what you have to say and take your advice, and who comes back for more on a regular basis.

In order to make a blog publication calendar, you need to first make a few determinations such as:

How Often You Will Blog – First determine how often you plan to publish a blog post. This could be daily, weekly or whatever your choice. This helps you know how often you’ll need to write blog posts, and when you’ll need to publish them or schedule them.

Who You’re Blogging For – Write down a few different personas for your audience so that you can know to whom you’re writing the blog posts. It can help you keep focused better if you can look at these personas when you are ready to write.

Which Blogging Categories You’ll Use – Depending upon your niche, you’ll need to choose some categories that a post will go under when you blog. Spreading out the categories can help you come up with more interesting content. For example, if you have a blog about Labrador Retrievers, some categories might be Rescued Labs, Feeding, Exercising, Training, Chocolate Labs and so forth.

Upcoming Events or Product Launches – On the calendar you may want to list any upcoming events related to your niche. For example, is there a conference coming up, or are you launching (or someone else) a new product that is perfect for your niche? Keeping up with these dates can help you create content that will entice readers to buy the item at launch.

When Industry News Is Released – You’ll want to keep up with the industry news, too, so it will help you to know when the different online magazines or blogs release new information for you to use. For example, if the state of your industry is released every quarter, keep that in mind as you create the publication calendar so you can include important information.

Once you have determined this information, you can start brainstorming content ideas to match upcoming events, product launches, and industry news. In between those types of blog posts, you can put other types of posts up such as educational, informational, interesting and fun blog posts. List these ideas in the calendar so that you can then use the calendar to generate a list of timely titles and subject matter for your blog posts.

Get Creative with Your Blog

CONTENT MARKETINGThe wonderful thing about blogs today is they don’t have to be boring and only include text content. You can get creative and include all kinds of content on your blog. The more types of content that you include, the more interesting it will be for your audience. They’ll want to read more, engage more, and even buy more when you have more creative content.

Video – You can easily create videos using your webcam to educate your audience, or software like Camtasia to record your screen to visually teach your audience how to do something or to go through a slide show. Video brings a brand-new element to your blog that is truly unsurpassed in opportunity.

Audio – Podcasts are super popular; people love downloading them and listening to them later in the day or when on the road. You can turn any blog post into a podcast by recording it using software already on your computer.

Infographics – An infographic is a pictorial depiction of data put together in an interesting way. Most infographics are fairly long and can include a lot of data. If you have any data-centric blog posts or informational articles, consider making them into an infographic.

Memes – Use beautiful imagery, quotes, facts and data to create pictorial images that are about 350×350 pixels depending on where you use them. You can put them on your blog; share them on social media, and more.

Guides – Longer blog posts that are very complete guides to something are very popular, and will increase the authority level of your website. These are very long blog posts with a lot of information links to other information on and off your website.

Reviews – Anytime you’re not sure what type of content to put up, try doing a review. There are likely books within your niche, movies, educational programs, info products and more that you can easily do reviews about. Be honest, include images, and disclose how you came by the product you’re reviewing.

Interviews and Webinars – Believe it or not, interviews, webinars and other recorded events can become content for you on your blog. Record, cut it into shorter versions, transcribe it, make infographics to support it and you can create a lot of content out of one interview, webinar or hangout.

New Formats – When new formats come out for content, include them in your content mix. Mixing things up and making things look a little different will go far in keeping the interest of your audience.

Blogging is lucrative, fun and interesting. You can make it even more wonderful by being creative in the types of content you include on your blog. As long as the content fits your audience, go ahead and include the type, and be creative with how you present the information.

How to Save Money on Content

contentEvery business today needs online content to help market and promote the business. The best way to do this is to ensure that you have a plan for your writing based on the products and services that you offer. Once you set up an editorial calendar it will help you come up with content on a regular basis.

Here are several ways that you can save money on content

Hire a Writer – That might sound like you’re spending and not saving, but a good content writer can be a life saver. If it takes you an hour to write one blog post, and you could earn more doing other work during that hour, it only makes sense to let a writer do it for you.

Buy and Use PLR – Private label rights articles are very useful to use and very inexpensive. If you choose well, you can use PLR for a lot of your content. When you use PLR it’s important to update it and change it around to make it your own first, but that will take minutes to do.

Write It Yourself – If you think you can’t write, you’re wrong. If you know a topic well, you can write about it. Just write how you talk, and act like you’re just telling someone who would be interested the information. In fact, using voice to text on your computer might help you.

Repurpose What You Have – Every piece of content you create can be used again; you will just need to change it up a little bit to use it in other places. You can use a blog post in a newsletter, compile them together into a book and more.

Refresh and Update What You Have – This is a little different than re-purposing in that you will take older content that has what is now wrong advice, due to changing technology and so forth. Updating it will make it new again.

Curate Content – In addition to your own content it’s important to tell your audience about other people’s content by curating content. The way that works is that you find excellent content that would be of interest to your audience, write a short blurb about it, add in your thoughts and link to the content.

Make the Most of the Content You Have – When you already have content, you can make the most of it. Turn a blog post into a video. Turn a data-centric blog post into an infographic, turn several newsletters into an eBook – if you keep a plan in place it will see as if the content you have multiplies.

Mix It Up – As mentioned, creating different types and forms of content is really a great way to expand how much content you have. A newsletter becomes an eBook; a blog post becomes a video and so forth. Use many types of content to keep your audience’s interest.

Promote Your Content – Promote each and every piece of content that you spend time creating. If you aren’t willing to promote it, then it’s probably not that good.

Creating content is one of the best ways to market your business inexpensively. Saving money on the content that you create is essential because you need so much to stay in the game today. But, it doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective.

Local SEO Strategies – Leverage a Blog to Attract Customers

leverage a blogAttracting local business using a blog could be among the most effective strategies currently available. Potential customers can leverage a blog to initiate contact with a company. With constant changes to Google’s methods, blogging can also enhance rankings by making your site more relevant to the local market.

Three reasons to leverage a blog

Local Audience Targeting

Products or services can be featured in a blog from the local audience’s perspective, making them more appealing to customers in the area. Writing from a potential customer’s point of view is a good way of engaging their interest in doing business with a company. Articles could be written about charities that serve the area, services offered that help the local community in some way, or local events around the city.

Interviews with local business owners or experts could also be used to provide customers insight into company goals, values, and what the business has to offer, in addition to issues that are important to the community. A news blog would keep your readers informed of sales, celebrations, current events, and other happenings.

Focusing on the Customer

A customer’s special day or milestone could be acknowledged and featured, with their permission of course. This would demonstrate to the person, and other readers, that you value and appreciate those who do business with you. It also shows that you genuinely care about them, not just from a business standpoint.

Some of the creative or unique ways someone has used your product or service could be reported. This could include a video or audio clip of an interview or demonstration of the way the product or service was used. Readers will be able to relate to local residents and their solutions to issues they might also face.

A genuine or creative way to relate information about the local weather and how it affects your community in a blog post could also be used to engage the interest of your readers. You might offer suggestions for weatherizing, advice about storing items for the winter, or tips for when is the best time to plant.

Improving Search Rankings

Keeping your site constantly updated with new information is a good way to improve Google search rankings. A daily blog will demonstrate that your site is a valuable resource for information. It is important to do so in an authentic way, however. A well-known authority on the topic should write the blogs, for example, and thorough research should be conducted to ensure accurate information is included.

Making your site more relevant locally is a key component in attracting customers through Google searches. Keeping your focus on the customer when using a blog can help with not only getting attention but also driving new leads and sales. There are many more options available leverage a blog in creative ways. Hopefully the material presented here will spark some inspiration for your own ideas.

It is important to note that a blog will not always be effective, but if done correctly, it can be a powerful tool in connecting with potential customers. You can leverage a blog to create great local SEO advantages that can help your bottom line.

 

Content Marketing – Take One Idea & Use It Ten Ways!

content marketing

Guest Post by John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing.

The only way to wring more value out of your content marketing is to understand the intricate connection between your content and your strategy.

Now, don’t hit the back button just yet – I purposely left the word strategy out of the title of this post because I know that what you want is a magic bullet, but here’s the deal – content put in the context of strategy is the closest thing there is to the magic bullet.

The purpose of a business is to make and keep a profitable customer – the purpose of content is to help you make and keep a profitable customer – if that’s so – and it is – then why don’t people create content with that intention?

The idea of content marketing begins and ends for so many with – “It’s Monday, what the heck should I write today?”

What if instead you thought a little bigger – what if you thought we want to be seen as the trusted, go-to service provider for what we do and our value proposition is that we bend over backwards to make you happy when nobody in our industry even tries to.

Now, perhaps you’ve had a strategy meeting with your team and you all agreed that’s your core strategy, but no one thought to bring that into the content you produce.

If you did you would:

  • Write a blog post that outlined the 7 questions you should ask your current provider and make it a core lead generator
  • Turn that blog post into a series of videos that the sales team can send out one by one to prospects
  • Develop a Slideshare deck and presentation that you feature on your LinkedIn profile
  • Turn that presentation into a value packed webinar
  • Record the webinar and feature it on your homepage
  • Create an autorepsonder series that delivers emails to prospects over the course of a month
  • Create an infographic and shop it around to high traffic websites
  • Turn your infographic into a direct mail postcard for a targeted blast
  • Get seven of your happy customers to pose one of the questions via video and feature it all over your website
  • Dig up case studies that map to each question and extend the original post and graphics into an eBook

Did you see what I did there – I just took one landmark content idea and turned it into 10 useful iterations. See, the secret to success with content isn’t quantity – it’s intention. If you create content with the intention of finding ways to use it to create awareness, trust, connection, education and conversion, you’ll likely create an asset that provides massive return.

Now, understand this isn’t simply recycling content into different mediums, it’s giving the same content a different and needed useful stop along the customer journey.

Oh, and I didn’t even get to point where you turn this content into an evaluation process and ultimately a part of your service delivery.

So you see you don’t need more content in your content marketing strategy – you need the right content in the right context – and that’s all.

Secrets of Highly Effective Social Media Marketing Experts

social-media-marketingSuccessful social media marketing experts know what it takes to make social media work for you. Aside from including regular updates, relevant posts, and stand-out content, make sure that you stay involved in each social media network in a personal way.

Secrets of Social Media Marketing Experts

Make Your Social Media Profiles Stand Out – Fill out your social media profiles in full, and learn what constitutes best practices for social media profiles on that particular network. Each network has its own personality that you should mind, but let your personality shine through too.

Make the Right Connections – If you can connect with other experts and movers and shakers, you’ll be able to get more traction because if you can have a conversation with them, all their followers will see it.

Make Your Business Pages Interactive and Informative – Don’t skimp on making your pages represent your business appropriately. On each social media network you can create pages that look awesome and get results.

Share Relevant Industry Topics – If you want to quickly become a go-to expert, find relevant industry news and share it with your followers. Don’t worry; giving it away works.

Join the Conversation – Don’t just be a robot by posting things without ever commenting and entering into discussions with others. You want to jump right in and talk to others just like you would if you were at a live social gathering.

Learn to Use Hashtags Correctly – Hashtags help you organize and search for relevant content on social media. Always use the # before the word, use no punctuation, keep it as short as possible and use letters and numbers.

Advertise Strategically – Running advertisements on social media is a great way to get the word out about a new product or service. However, be strategic when running an advertisement so that you know exactly what you expect to achieve with it.

Use Sponsored Ads and Posts – When you have something important to get across to your audience, it’s important to use sponsored ads where many eyes are on the post. Mind your budget.

Hire an Experienced Copywriter – For some of the posts, it’s imperative that you work with a copywriter who understands your business and your voice, to help you with many of the posts and get them right within the space needed.

Be Yourself When You Post – When you are in a discussion on social media, outside of representing your business you are also representing yourself. Be who you are so that your social media presence has a personality.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you get involved with social media marketing. Follow the experts and do what they are doing. Focus on differentiating yourself and being a real person with a unique voice that represents your business.

What You Can Learn From Your Competitors’ Content Marketing

competitors' contentWhile you should not steal your competitors’ content, it’s important to read it as often as possible. Sign up for their email lists, follow them on social media, and get reminders about new blog posts. Also follow your competitors when they post a guest article or blog post or conduct an interview. Why? You might learn something important that you can use to make your own content work better.

What You Should Look For In Your Competitors’ Content:

1. Identify Content Marketing Gaps – When you go to your competitors’ websites, how do you feel as you read the content? Are you confused by the navigation or does it lead you right where you want to go? What do you like about the website content and what do you dislike? Take notes so that you can find deficiencies in your own website that can be fixed.

2. Determine Effective Content Types – By watching the amount of engagement on any article or blog post, you can see first-hand what types of content works best for your audience. Since you share an audience, you can be reasonably sure that this method will work. On their blog, notice which types of blog posts get more likes, shares and comments. If you can identify popular topics and types of content, use these in your own work.

3. Help You Find Your Voice – If you’ve identified more competitors, you can compare which type of content is more fun to read. Which one is closest to a style you’d like to write? As you read, take notes on styles that you like and those that you do not like. Is there a missing component of style that you can add to your content to make it more interesting and feel more like part of you?

4. Push You to Do More – When you observe how your competition is motivating, engaging, and grabbing customers right out from under you, it will make you do more. You’ll produce more content, post more on social media, create more products, develop more services and just do more. Because when you see someone else doing it, you know you can do it better.

5. Teach You What Not to Do – When you read content that is poorly written, or fails to reach its potential, you’ll be able to tell that it’s bad. When you realize your competitor has made a mistake, you’ll be able to avoid those mistakes.

6. Teach You What to Do – Sometimes your competitor will do something right. That’s great, for you too. When you see your competition delivering effective content to customers, you see what can be accomplished. Remember that competition is never bad. Have you ever noticed that gas stations and coffee shops tend to open in pairs? There is a reason. If there is a profitable coffee shop or business on the street and you open one that’s just a little better or different across the street, you’ll be successful too.

7. Help You Find New Resources – As you read your competitors’ content, you will be introduced to new resources that will help you in your business. You may find resources that are great, and you may find some to avoid.

8. Learn New Keywords – A really useful aspect of your competitors’ content is the keywords that they choose to use. They may use some keywords that you didn’t think about before. You don’t have to content their content in order to use the keywords in your content.

You can learn a lot from your competitors’ content. You can learn what to do and not to do, new resources, keywords and more. Keeping track of your competition is an important part of making your business better. It helps you craft better content that helps you get your message across effectively.