So, You Wanna Be a Rock Star (in Content Marketing)?

be a content marketing rock starContent marketing was once an effective means to draw visitors and establish thought leadership until Google Panda (Penguin, Hummingbird, etc) mandated fresh content on a consistent basis. Now, being a content marketing rock star is difficult as content fights for attention in an increasingly crowded internet.

Of course, the solution is to get others to share your content (as well as sharing your own content effectively). Content marketing success means harnessing the power of your engaged community, but first you have to get them to see what you’ve written. That’s easier said than done.

For example, every day, more than 2 MILLION blog posts get published and more video is uploaded to YouTube than all the TV programming around the world. Add up the nearly 300 billion emails and billions of posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social networks and you have a crowded space where it’s difficult to get your content in front of your target audience.

Recent algorithm changes at Facebook, with others likely following suit, caused organic reach to approach 0, making your job even more challenging.

Become a content marketing rock star

So, you wanna be a content marketing rock star — to take a few liberties with the 1967 Byrd’s song?

  • Maybe you wanna build your online reputation to get a better job
  • Maybe you wanna use content marketing as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website
  • Maybe you wanna create more visibility to sell your consulting or speaking services

Whatever your reason for wanting to become a content marketing rock star, content marketing success is a lot harder than it was even 5 years ago, but still the easiest and least expensive means to achieve your goals.

So, let’s look at ways to become a content marketing rock star — and check out this very cool infographic from Canva and RazorSocial for more insights on becoming a content marketing rock star.

Create great content on a consistent basis

You can’t become a content marketing rock star unless create great content on a consistent basis. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But, if you’ve ever stared at a blank screen trying to come up with a great idea for content, you know how hard it is to create content on a consistent basis.

Lucky for you, I recently posted an infographic containing the perfect post for every different social network, including your blog.

Writing great content: Knowing what the perfect post looks like is only half the battle, you still need to know what to write about. That’s where tools like BuzzSumo, Google Trends, and Feedly come in handy.

Feedly (which is also great for content curation) brings recent content created by others to your inbox so you can see what others are talking about. BuzzSumo and Google Trends identify which topics are trending and, in the case of BuzzSumo, show how successful these posts are in getting shared.

Use these tools to identify trending topics and even help identify headlines that work well.

A killer headline: Headlines are the most important part of your content marketing success, so spend some time crafting a really good one.

Portent is great tool for crafting the perfect headline (notice in the infographic the importance of a great headline in getting your content shared).

Other tips? Include a number (doubles your shares), strong words (like killer), and don’t be afraid to go negative or create some controversy.

Add a compelling image: Posts with images get shared much more than posts without an image. Luckily, a number of tools exist to help create or find compelling images for your posts, including Canva.

Optimize your images for various social networks and include Twitter cards (a way of sharing images) to increase sharing. And, don’t forget to optimize images for Pinterest.

Organization means consistency: Using a content marketing calendar will help you become a content marketing rock star. Create your own using Excel or use this template.

Get help: Use your community to help create content. A contest is a great way to generate user-generated content, for example. Or invite guest bloggers to contribute high-quality content. (If you’re interested, I do accept guest posts. Please read my guidelines here).

SEO

While many tools in the SEO arsenal don’t work (or actually work against your efforts to become a content marketing rock star), don’t ignore traditional SEO.

Keywords: Keywords now become keyword phrases. You should emphasize keyword (phrases) searchers use to find your content, but don’t overdo it (keyword stuffing). On average, I like to use my main keyword once for every 100 words on the post, although there’s no definitive optimal number of keywords.

Another suggestion is to use variations around your focus keyword. For instance, in this post, my focus keyword is:

content marketing rock star

Now, I realize few folks will query “content marketing rock star”, but I chose this keyword since it almost begs viewers to click. I mean who doesn’t want to be a content marketing rock star.

To appease the Google robots, I’ll beef up my focus keyword with several others likely to address searchers’ needs.

content marketing

content marketing calendar

content marketing success

A good SEO plugin (if you’re using a CMS like WordPress) goes a long way toward helping you manage your keywords. I use WordPress SEO by Yoast — the best in my opinion.

Google has a great, free tool to help with keyword planning. It’s part of Google AdWords, but you can use it to estimate the number of searches and competition surrounding your keywords and even help identify related keywords.

Social media sharing

Social media sharing is the holy grail for content marketing success. The more your content is shared, the most folk will click over to your website and the higher your sales.

Being a content marketing rock star means rocking social media.

Make your content easy to share

Adding share buttons on your content is the best way to encourage readers to share. I use AddThis, but other social sharing tools work great. Using a sharing tool that displays the number of shares increases sharing by acting as social proof.

Share your own content

Building an engaged community and sharing your content with that community creates content marketing success.

 

optimize social media sharing

I share each piece of content several times using the recommendations from Buffer in this infographic. I like this schedule because it’s based on experiments at Buffer to identify the optimal sharing schedule.

I add LinkedIn to this list, following the pattern for sharing on Facebook.

Another tool I use to share my old content is Outbrain, which places related content at the bottom of each post to encourage readers to visit another page, and AddThis, which recommends popular content when readers get about 2/3 of the way through a post.

Don’t forget to share your content with your email list. Some bloggers share every time they post, I prefer to save up a few posts, then send them all out together so subscribers don’t find their inbox overflowing with messages from me.

The infographic lists other tools that make social sharing easy and effective.

Mind your numbers

As with anything else, analytics matter. I check metrics from my blog and my social networks every day using tools like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, and Buffer, as well as analytics from the social networks.

Along with other measures, look for what’s working in your content marketing strategy and what’s not by monitoring which pages get the most views and which pages get the most shares. Then look for what popular posts have in common so you can create more content that matches these popular posts.

Need help?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get the 1st chapter of our book – FREE, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of Hausman Marketing Letter, is a full service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and social media.

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How To: Digital Marketing

digital marketing
click on image to enlarge

In today’s How To, I’m sharing perspectives about digital marketing – which includes all electronic efforts to promote your products. I know I’ve done this before, but digital marketing evolves quickly meaning you’re constantly adapting your strategies and tactics to succeed. Take a look at the infographic provided by Sydacast to see some trends for digital marketing in 2014.

Some examples of digital marketing

  • Social media
  • Corporate website/ blog
  • Electronic kiosks
  • Mobile marketing
  • Apps

Basically, any electronic location where brands can promote to their target market is part of digital marketing.

How to: digital marketing success

Content marketing

Content marketing is all the rage in the digital marketing space now. Of course, many of us ALWAYS focused on creating high quality content on a consistent basis and Google is now giving us our rewards for refusing to play backlinking, keyword stuffing, and otherwise gaming the search system. That’s because we knew high quality (valuable) content converts and, what is traffic if it doesn’t convert?

For those of you new to the content marketing game, check out my new content marketing ebook for some pointers.

Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update was the final nail in the coffin for questionable SEO and new rumors that Google is reducing (or eliminating) the impact of backlinks creates the necessity for better content marketing strategies. Storytelling, video, and other content tools for driving emotional engagement are critically important for success in digital marketing.

Analytics

Big data is a phenomenon unique to digital marketing, since traditional marketing suffered a distinct LACK of data. But, are we better off for having so MUCH data? Most experts agree: No!.

Instead of helping, big data ensures we waste valuable time trying to make sense (and better decisions) from all that mess — BTW, take a look at my Four-Factor Model for generating actionable insights from big data. Despite problems, having data is better than having no data, so analytics are a big part of what’s changing in digital marketing.

Mobile

We’ve said this for years, but mobile is now a BIG part of digital marketing success. Not only is responsive design a must for websites — destroying the model of having 2 different websites — but mobile apps are both more ubiquitous and resonate better with users. Think UX (user experience) and gamefication in your app development.

Advertising

Social media was never free — hiring folks (or agencies) with the right skills was always expensive. But, now platforms are maturing and need revenue streams ie. ads. Facebook ads will likely be de rigour in the near future if brands want to show up. BTW, we’ve always suspected Adwords impacted Google search results and my own experience suggests a strong correlation between Adwords spending and search results.

As a result, I’ve added Adwords as a service offering and several team members are well on their way toward Adwords certification to supplement our existing Analytics certification.

Social retail

The line between online and offline retail was never clear and is blurring even further. Smart stores offer coupons through mobile devices (and mobile apps) so customers can simply swipe their device rather than bother with clipping coupons.

Retail stores now feature kiosk allowing customers to order online from the store, QR codes to discover more about the products they’re seeing, and apps like Shopkick to incentivize customers in the store. What’s needed is better WIFI within the store and enhanced apps to allow customers to consult friends for opinions prior to making purchases.

Need Help?

Whether you need a complete content marketing strategy, some help with Adwords, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

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Social Media Advertising: Are You Winning?

digital advertisingIs your firm still spending most of it’s advertising budget in traditional media channels?

Are you winning with your social media advertising?

Take a look at the infographic to see why you need to up your game with social media advertising:

Social media advertising is HUGE!

I mean look at it — social media advertising is less than TV advertising, but beats out all other forms of advertising.

And, there’s good reason for all this growth — reaching eyeballs (that’s how we talk about it) is getting harder and harder.

  • folks listen to non-commercial radio
  • fewer folks subscribe to newspapers
  • movie goers are wising up to your commercials and don’t show up until after the previews to avoid them
  • Only 18% of TV ads generate positive ROI (HUH? You’re paying huge fees (up to $2 million/ 30 seconds) and not getting much in return. That’s crazy).

In addition, traditional advertising faces a huge amount of clutter — the average person sees over 3000 advertising messages a DAY.

Plus, you can’t really respond to trends when it takes weeks or months to get a message up on traditional media.

What you get from social media advertising

Meanwhile, social media ads, if done right, can really create ROI because you’re building on the reputation of users who share your message — thus making it more trustworthy.

Plus, with social media advertising, you get a tool that not only build ROI through amplifying your messaging, it helps build loyal customers and deal with any nasty problems they encounter. Addressing customers who increasingly complain on social networks is a great tool for reducing the impact of their criticism on your brand performance.

Social media advertising is also highly targeted — so you only reach people likely to buy your brand. I recently ran a simple ad on Facebook for a local non-profit event. I was able to select by geographic area, age, and gender (among other criterion) so my ads only reached folks likely to attend. We got a huge reach for very little money and drove lots of folks to the site to purchase tickets.

Another big bonus of social media advertising is it’s measurable. John Wannamaker once exclaimed

I know half my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half!

Social media advertising overcomes this problem because it’s completely traceable. You know which ads worked and exactly how much money they brought into the firm.

Social media advertising is versatile. You can create very cool ads without all the cost and time of traditional advertising. Respond immediately to trends and tweak your ads based on A/B testing.

Besides, everyone else is advertising online, shouldn’t you?

Need Help

Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel or  developing a market information system that matches your needs. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Media Marketing in 30 Minutes a Day?

Rock Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day [INFOGRAPHIC] - An Infographic from Pardot

Can you REALLY do social media marketing in 30 minutes a day? Well, I’m not sure. Here’s a cool infographic I found yesterday and I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Social media marketing in 30 minutes a day?

Certainly, social media marketing is doable in 30 minutes a day — you could even probably get away with less. Especially if you automate your social media sharing. I use HootSuite (and, it’s worth the $9.99 a month for the pro account, but try out the free first). Hootsuite makes it easy to see comments, RT, DMs, shares, etc so you can respond. You can also create messages or, using the Hootlet in your browser toolbar, curate content from anywhere on the web.

So, you can do everything on this infographic is 30 minutes (or less) a day.

The question is: can you maintain SUCCESSFUL social media marketing in 30 minutes a day? And, my answer is an emphatic NO!

What’s missing from the infographic?

Lots.

Building your social network

While responding to comments and thanking folks who share your content will help, you really need to spend more time finding influencers and engaging them to build your social networks.

How do you build your social networks?

  1. search hashtags related to your brand on Twitter to find influencers — you can look at their Klout score to ensure you’re following folk who’ll help your brand. Or, follow folks who RT frequently.
  2. same thing with Facebook, although hashtags may not be as effective. You can still search on topics and follow brands in your market. Be prepared, the norm of reciprocating follows is NO WHERE near as strong on Facebook as Twitter. So, you’ll probably have to go further by joining groups and sharing comments/ posts/ questions in those groups.
  3. LinkedIN, Google+, Pinterest, etc work very much the same as Facebook, but it’s a little wonky unless you have a pro membership as you’ll not be able to message folks you aren’t connected with.
  4. Most pervasively, you’ll need to curate great content across social networks. Don’t just share YOUR OWN posts. Find great posts and news from other sites. And, you probably need to curate about 80% of your content and create 20% in your sharing strategy. Each network has some idiosyncrasies in each platform, so modify your posts to optimize reach.

Creating content

There’s nothing in this infographic about CREATING content — and that’s a serious requirement for successful social media.

You want to create any number of different types of content as unique content is what really let’s folks find you on Google (especially after the Hummingbird update). If you want a more details explanation of why you need to create content as part of a successful social media marketing campaign, you can read more here.

While the infographic does mention SHARING your recent content, it fails to mention the time necessary to CREATE that content. It typically takes me an hour or so to create a single post. Creating images and video takes much longer.

I try to post 3-4 times a week, but, I read yesterday that the most successful blogs post 4 times a DAY. Now, you’ll need a staff to create that much content a day and I’m not sure you REALLY need that much unless you’re hoping to attract large numbers of visitors.

Don’t take the shortcut of copying content from other websites. Google fixed that. The exception is news sites, like Mashable and Social Media Today, where they publish SO MUCH content they’re forgiven for re-using content posted on other sites first.

Also, think about posting on related blogs. This gives you more visibility (bringing more visitors to your site) and backlinks. Although Hummingbird reduces the impact of backlinks, they’re still somewhat valuable.

Keywords are still important in your content marketing strategy. So, a sound keyword strategy should focus on particular keywords in hopes of showing up on the first page in users’ queries.

Optional types of content include:

  1. posts
  2. videos
  3. images
  4. email newsletters
  5. infographics
  6. ebooks or white papers (especially if you want to gain subscribers)
  7. slideshare presentations
  8. adwords ads

Sure, you can run your social media marketing in 30 minutes a day, but you’ll not see the market performance you want in 30 minutes.

Running your social media marketing also isn’t something you had over to your cousin, who’s got a lot of friends on Facebook, or something you do in your spare time when you get home from running your REAL business. If that’s all you can do, then don’t waste your time. Social media marketing isn’t a case of doing a little: getting a little. You need to reach a certain level of engagement to see ANY significant return.

We  can help

Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

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How to Outsource Digital Advertising

google adwordsTraditional forms of marketing are dead. As a small business or startup, it’s just not feasible to spend large amounts of money on cumbersome marketing campaigns and waste hours meeting with agencies to perfect the message you’ll slap on a billboard or pay high fees for a newspaper ad. Thankfully, the internet age offers a solution and thanks to outsourcing, it has never been easier to do your marketing online.

Digital Advertising

As Marc Andreesen once said, “Software is eating the world.” and he couldn’t have been more right in his observation. If we look at a few examples, it becomes abundantly clear where the world is heading. Do you remember Borders, the bookstore? Well it was eaten by digital bookstore, Amazon. There was once a time when we would listen to CDs or turn on the radio to enjoy the latest tunes. Today, digital solutions, like iTunes and Spotify, replace older technologies. Digital advertising agency, Google, is now the largest advertising agency in the world.

Looking at this global trend shows us the way businesses are heading and it also forces businesses to redirect the way they deploy their resources — forcing more into digital advertising. Why would you write a book when you can write an eBook? And why would you take out an ad in your local paper when you can buy an ad on Google and potentially reach 100 times the audience?

Traditional advertising is OUT and DIGITAL advertising is IN.

Why digital advertising works

There are two key reasons why traditional marketing doesn’t work for businesses today.

Firstly; it is clumsy, expensive and very difficult to measure ROI from traditional advertising. Imagine you coughed up the big bucks and paid to have two billboards on major highways. When they go up, your revenue nearly doubles, which is fantastic, but you face a significant problem. Firstly, which billboard performed the best? Was it highway 1? Highway 2? A combination of both? Or perhaps neither at all! The problem is that you cannot measure how well your billboards actually perform.

For the sake of the argument, let’s assume it’s the billboard on highway 1 that causes the huge spike in revenue. We have a huge, expensive black hole on highway 2 that is doing nothing for your business and costs a lot of money. Compare this with Google AdSense, for instance, where you can track absolutely everything – how many people see your ad, how many people click on your ad, how many people move around your website and how many people pull out their credit cards and buy something. Not all ads are equal. If an ad is not effective, then replace it with a new piece of copy or a different angle. The great thing with Google AdSense is you can create 5 different ads within the same budget, spread them around and cull under achievers.

Secondly, your customers don’t look at billboards anymore when deciding what to buy. They are online! That means you must be, too. According to Forrester Research, by 2016 more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web, making it very important that you position your business to benefit from this shift.

I already mentioned Google AdSense, but that is not the only way to gain traction in online advertising. SEO, email marketing, Facebook ads, blogs and other tools help you turn your digital advertising (inbound marketing) into revenue. Just like with your Google Ads, you should try a number of different forms of online marketing because you won’t know which will perform the best for your business until you try them!

I am sure by now you’re convinced that online advertising is an exciting opportunity for your business. However some of you might be scratching your head and thinking, “How on earth am I going to have time to be a statistician, advertising expert, marketer and business owner all in one?” The great thing is you don’t have to be because you can focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest!

Outsource your digital advertising

With global crowdsourcing websites like Freelancer.com, it has never been easier to outsource jobs, freeing up your time to focus on running your business. Using a freelancer is great for two main reasons. Firstly, they are experts in their field so you have them focus on specific tasks, knowing you have the best person for the job. Secondly, having a global workforce at your fingertips means that there is always someone available to work on your project and charge you only for the hours worked. Using freelancers provides your business with the flexibility to complete jobs and grow when your business requires it, and also to scale back if necessary.

When using an online global crowdsourcing marketplace, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. When you post a project or a contest brief, make sure it is specific and detailed. The more effort you put in up-front, the easier it is for the freelancer to hit the ground running.

2. Every freelancer is different, so make sure you find the best one for you. When working online, freelancers have a work history in the form of past reviews, recommendations and previous work. It is vital that you get to know your freelancer before you start to work together.

3. Talk to your freelancers! Just because you are working with them online, in different countries or time zones, doesn’t mean that communication goes out the window. Utilize chat and email functions to interact with your freelancer and work together on the project.

4. Use a milestone payment system. Setting up milestone payments that will be paid throughout the course of the project gives you and your freelancer structure and security when working together.

5. If you are not entirely sure what you are looking for, then host a contest and crowdsource the perfect idea! For instance, you know you need a new logo for your business, but you are not exactly sure what you are after. Post a $200 contest and in days, you could have hundreds of ideas to work from.

This is a guest post from Nikki Parker, Regional Director at Freelancer.com

Nikki is a Regional Director at Freelancer.com, the world’s largest crowdsourcing and outsourcing marketplace. Freelancer.com connects more than 8 million skilled professionals from all around the world, allowing business owners to get just about any task completed quickly and at a fraction of the cost. Nikki travels around the world meeting with business groups and entrepreneurs, coaching them on online business building and effective crowdsourcing. Nikki is passionate about getting SMEs online and working with entrepreneurs and startups to grow their business through developing their online offerings and eCommerce capabilities. To join this outsourcing revolution visit www.freelancer.com.

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