Posts Tagged ‘Content Marketing’

How to Make News Content Viral Using People-Based Marketing

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Guest post by Jack Dawson.

There are a lot of resources online that can help you move from newsjacking – “stealing” potentially viral news items before they become viral – to creating potentially viral news yourself. The most important technique to date is through people-based marketing.

Using PPC ads to promote newsWhat this means for marketers is that it is no longer necessary to research and pitch thousands of publications, hoping and praying that some of them stick and make news. By creating your own news, you gain an opportunity to earn greater PR for your organization as well as win over higher traffic and more inbound links.

Pay-per-click marketing provides an important platform through which content promotion and other social PR efforts can be successfully driven, and just a minimal investment can lead to huge returns for your business. This article describes just how to do this.

Introduction to people-based marketing

Also called identity targeting, people-based marketing is founded in creating audience segments based on different characteristics; this allows you to actually target a certain person with a specific ad that will appeal to them. Some characteristics include location, employment status, age, income level, purchase history, interests, among others.

Essentially, PPC harnesses the power that email and social media marketers have had in their arsenal for a while now.

PPC Marketing for PR Pitching

Online marketing technological advances have enabled us to automate many time-consuming and tedious processes. PR pitching also has the potential for automation, which would be a breath of fresh air compared to the present technique:

  • Create stellar content which you are ready to transmit to the world
  • Identify news media and opinion influencers within your niche
  • Pray that you have some kind of previous relationship, at least a few, so that they are not all cold pitches
  • Find their Twitter handles, emails or other contact info
  • Draft a personalized form letter which can still be considered impersonal, or spend hours personalizing all pitches you send out
  • Pitch and pray and pitch and pray some more, until you catch someone’s interest before you’ve annoyed them so much they block your contact

As an alternative, you can take the same stellar content from about and share it on all your social media profiles. In Twitter, for instance, you can create a customized list of your influencers using Twitter Ads.

On Facebook, you can do even better. Facebook allows you to get more granular by creating different layers according to demographic information. For instance, you can target people within your contact list that have a specific interest, or job title.

Within a few minutes, you have placed your content within the reach of industry experts, journalists, or influencers with huge social followings. Your content will show up on their activity streams/newsfeeds, where it’s difficult to miss. They can then click, read through and share within their networks and voila! Job done!

Value of Virality through PPC

Using the scheme presented above can get your publicity within a few hours, and all for less than 10% of the effort you use on old-fashioned pitches. You can earn hundreds of mentions on media, not forgetting backlinks to the post and your site in the process, all of which improve your search engine optimization strategy.

All you need to do is have newsworthy content, and have it picked up by just one journalist. Soon, others will flock in on it to stay ahead of the curve before it blows up, and then all you need to do is sit back and watch traffic, links and mentions come in by the truckloads. They may not all be potential consumers, but it is a more effective way of content marketing and raising brand awareness.

 

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The SEO Journey – How long before you start seeing results?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Guest post by Jack Dawson.

Everyone implementing SEO usually has the same question – how long before I rank first for my keywords? This question does not have a simple answer, mostly because it’s not in itself a legitimate question. It comes from misunderstanding the current nature of SEO and it is stuck in the rudiments of what SEO used to be.

Old vs. new SEO

In the past, SEO was about identifying the best keywords for businesses. These are relevant words with little competition and high organic traffic. You had to pick out 5-10 of those “golden keywords” which would help you capture the majority of your online traffic. If you’re still telling your SEO professionals that you want first rank for this keyword or that, then you’re stuck in the old paradigm.

Old SEO tactics vs. new SEO strategies

Today, there isn’t a single keyword, or keyword group that can solely drive most of your traffic, especially when long-tail search is considered. If your focus is on a group of keywords, you’re missing out on the majority of users looking for you.

Currently, natural language searches drive SEO, i.e., users are searching in much the same way they would ask a normal question, instead of inserting a keyword or two. Google in fact offers voice search options, so that people can speak out their questions. This allows people conveniently to carry out more detailed searches that will provide them with better results.

The result is long-tail keywords, which are less competitive and therefore easier to rank on. They are also more relevant and hence lead to higher conversion rates. Therefore, you should base your ranking objective on a larger group of natural language queries, which is constantly shifting.

Rankings are important, but not quite

There are more important metrics you should focus on rather than just ranking. If you stay focused on getting top rankings, you will have a skewed view of the really important things. It’s not just about getting top rankings. Your rank is worthless if it does not come with leads, conversions and revenue increases, which are the real outcomes.

How to do SEO in 2015

The right question

Rank is a mere output, your SEO firm/professional should be focused on these more than just getting you higher ranking. As you search for the right SEO partner, your question shouldn’t be how long it will take for you to get the top rank but rather how long before efforts culminate in leads, conversions and sales.

How long SEO takes to work

The real answer to this question is highly subjective. A lot of factors come into play to make SEO efforts effective, or not. A few of those include:

  • How long the website has existed
  • How much and what SEO techniques had been applied in the past
  • The layout and general shape of the website
  • How much content is uploaded on the site
  • The website’s link profile, among many others

Even when there are two businesses in the same field competing for the same target market, SEO won’t work the same for both of them because of the above differences. However, here is a brief outline of the kind of results to expect from a valid SEO strategy over time:

Month #1

Website audit, discovery and research, keyword strategy building and general planning. If you get through the research fast, you can start to make technical changes by the first month of operation. For larger or more complicated sites, the research and discovery phase can spill over longer than a month.

Month #2

Implementation of major technical SEO techniques. Basing on results of the audit, you will make modifications to the site. Sometimes, the site requires a complete overhaul, a process that can take several months. Other SEO techniques include building one’s link profile and content marketing, which you can carry out along with technical changes.

During this phase, and especially if a complete overhaul is in progress, you’re likely to see little or no results for SEO efforts. You must complete the changes before seeing any real impact.

Month #3

Major focus on improvement of content and content marketing. These include whitepapers, FAQ section updates, blogging, expanding product descriptions and company information. Where the budget is not a severely limiting factor, you can do this simultaneously with the technical overhaul phase; otherwise technical changes come first.

You may see some ranking improvements towards the end of the month. This may or may not lead to conversion and sales improvement yet, but if they’re not there quite yet that’s okay.

Month #4

Involves a continuation of content creation, technical optimization and link profile building, including link audits to clean out bad/low quality links. This month should produce a notable rise in rankings, traffic as well as lead generation. It won’t be as big as what you’d see after a year, but enough to show that efforts are paying off.

Month #5

By now, social media management and marketing is also part of the SEO strategy to increase direct traffic and promote content created. This simultaneously builds up healthy natural links. Content creation goes on, coupled with PR and other media outreach techniques (collectively, these techniques encompass a web presence optimization strategy). You’ll see more traffic by now, and your leads and conversions should also be increasing.

Month #6

If you have traffic of 5,000 visitors monthly and higher, you can begin to direct SEO efforts towards conversion rate improvement. This converts the traffic coming in to leads and eventually sales. After this, your strategy revolves around content creation and promotion. Any other specific techniques will differ depending on the nature of your business, your website and your business goals.

Conclusion

The majority of SEO professionals and firms tell clients that results are visible in 4-6 months. This is an accurate description, but clients must remember that results only start to show within this time, growing as the time passes. By the time your hit one year, your results should be significantly better than what you saw at the sixth month.

Also, you may notice a tapering in results after a certain point, after which SEO efforts will be directed at maintaining the results as opposed to improving them. The key is not to stop just because there aren’t any results in the first 2-3 months. The minimum budget time for SEO should be 6-12 months, because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Plan properly and invest knowing you’re in for the long haul.

Author bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

It’s blogging for business week on Webbiquity. Along the lines of the content marketing week series presented here previously, starting tomorrow and running through next Tuesday, a series of posts will cover business blogging strategies, tactics, tools and resources.

Blogging for Business Week 2015As reported here previously, content marketing is nearly ubiquitous, with 93% of b2b marketers using content while 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.

Blogging is often viewed as the core of content marketing strategy, and its use continues to expand due to its compelling benefits:

  • • 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)
  • • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)
  • • 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)
  • • Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)
  • • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)

Want to join in? Just write a post focused on some aspect of blogging for business, and tweet it out using the hashtag #b4bweek. That hashtag will be monitored, and the posts (subject to human limitations) shared. The best may even be bookmarked for inclusion in a future best-of post here.

Hope you enjoy (and share!) the posts here over the next week, which will feature valuable guidance from dozens of top experts.

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How to Build Content That Attracts the C-Suite

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Guest post by Tom Whatley.

Getting in front of senior decision makers is a common struggle among marketers. When it comes to C-Suite marketing, cutting through the noise and creating content that senior executives will find valuable is hard.

How to reach the c-suite with content marketingThere is a methodology that can make this process easier. It’s a methodology that’s helped companies such as NetSuite, SAS and Ixonos to build trust with the senior decision makers in their target market and, eventually, secure seven figures in sales pipeline.

Before we dive in, there are some foundational elements you should be aware of. There are some things you need to understand about the C-Suite when marketing and selling to them.

C-Suite marketing foundations

A recent Harvard study discovered that the C-Suite spends only 2% of their time with vendors like you and I. That’s around an hour a week, so no wonder it’s so difficult to get their attention.

There are two elements to C-Suite marketing that make up this entire methodology: value and trust. By value we don’t mean how-to articles and other traditional forms of content, though they do have their place in the process.

To the C-Suite, valuable content means insight, statistics and hard facts that provide a logical argument for change. It’s okay to compliment this form of content with how-to guides, but you need to give them a reason to get involved in a discussion with you.

To do this, find out what your market is saying about a topic closely related to your value proposition. Leave all assumptions at the door and really listen to what’s already being discussed. Find a unique angle that aligns this message with your own value proposition.

Once you have their attention, you need to build trust. It gets pretty lonely at the top, and the C-Suite rarely get challenged on their decisions. Everyone reports to them, so it’s not often that their opinions are tested.

This is a huge frustration for senior decision makers, but a great advantage for the C-Suite marketer. By challenging their views, you cut through the noise and put yourself into a trusted space.

You can do this by bringing the opinions of several executives together and seeking out differences of opinion. Turn your content into a discussion and have them leaving feeling like their opinion has been challenged or confirmed with confidence.

Turning content into independence

These two principles of value and trust need to be communicated in a way that positions you away from the stance of a “seller.” Even if your content ticks the boxes above and provides incredible value, when you come from the position of the vendor the C-Suite will still have their guard up.

To get through this, and build trust quickly, try creating an independent brand to position you a trustworthy entity.

One way to do this is by creating a club platform. The club brings together C-Suite executives and decision makers from our clients’ target market and focuses on the elements above.

How NetSuite used a club platform to secure a seven-figure sales pipeline

NetSuite is a cloud business management suite. Their most challenging sales & marketing goal is targeting and getting in front of senior decision makers in their target markets.

In order to do this, The Ortus Club was created. The club platform was built in order to explore and debate upon how to increase visibility and growth within the organisations of the senior decision makers who engaged with it.

The club took on a digital format, utilising content and LinkedIn as platforms to nurture their target audience, as well as a face-to-face element – which was crucial in developing solid relationships based on trust and value – in the form of a dinner.

One of the most recent dinner and discussion events had attendees from fast growing software and online companies. These were executives that they would not have had access to previously.

Conclusion

It’s easy to dismiss this form of C-Suite and content marketing due to its face-to-face element, but when marketing to senior decision makers it’s an important piece of the system to include.

If you’re only creating content online, then you’re ending the journey there. Marketing to (and securing sales from) the C-Suite means getting out there and bringing them together.

This methodology I’ve just shared with you should speed that process up, as long as you remember to separate the message from your core brand and create an independent entity. This is the key to cutting through the clutter and getting their attention.

Tom Whatley is a Digital Marketer at Seraph Science. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

 

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How to Use Reddit to Boost Your Marketing through the Roof

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Guest post by Scott Masson.

Reddit is the 30th busiest website in the world, attracting  a whopping 56 billion pageviews and helping to popularise millions of pieces of content each year. Although Reddit is dwarfed by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, its influence on the internet is huge, and its potential for marketers as a way to reach customers is incredible.

Tips for marketing on RedditDespite all of this, Reddit has been almost completely abandoned by marketers, largely due to its reputation of apathy and even hostility towards marketing efforts in the past. However, when used correctly and with the interests of the Reddit community in mind, it can be used to drive highly specific traffic to your website, build a fan base around your brand, and reach internet “influencers” who can help spread and promote your best content.

What is Reddit and How Does it Work?

Reddit is a content curation and sharing site. Users share links to interesting articles and funny pictures, or create discussion posts on almost every topic imaginable. Every piece of content on Reddit is voted upon by millions of active users, and the content with the most “upvotes” grows and gets more exposure, whereas bad content gets downvoted into obscurity.

Reddit users can also build up karma by getting involved with the community through sharing and commenting on content. A good karma score shows other users that you are a legitimate part of the community and are well versed in Reddiquette.

The real value for marketers comes from the way Reddit is segmented into hundreds of thousands of subreddits – communities dedicated to one specific niche or interest. Subreddits exist for everything from the absurd and ridiculous, to the insanely specific, to the universal and generic. Thanks to this huge range of subreddits, users can find a community discussing anything they’re interested in, and marketers can directly reach their specific target audiences with ease.

Reaching Your Potential Customers

If your content gets upvoted enough, it’ll land on Reddit’s front page. Thanks to the popularity of the site, having your content on the front page can drive a website-crashing numbers of visitors. However, huge amounts of traffic shouldn’t be your ultimate goal; sure, you may be able to drive a million visitors to your site, but if most of these visitors won’t actually engage with your brand, what have you really achieved except for an overwhelmed server?

Instead, you need to concentrate on driving people who actually care about what you do to your page. The more targeted the people you can drive to your website, the higher the conversion rate will be. You need to ask yourself: “what’s more valuable, 1,000 visitors who don’t care about my business, or 10 who really do?”

This is why finding highly relevant subreddits is so important, as it allows you to find and interact with potential customers who are already interested in you (or your client’s) industry or niche, and are therefore that much more likely to be interested in what you’re doing.

For example, let’s say that your business sells collectible music memorabilia. By posting your most interesting blog articles and pieces of memorabilia to subreddits like /r/music, /r/vinyl and /r/musiccollecting, you can reach the section of Reddit that is already interested in your content and products. Sure, the number of visitors you’ll drive may not be as large, but the people you do reach will be much more likely to share your content with other enthusiasts, interact with you and perhaps even buy something!

This is why identifying your key subreddits and becoming a part of those communities is crucial if you want to make the most out of Reddit.

Honest Marketing

According to this infographic, 90% of Reddit users are college-educated, with an average income of $37,500—which most of them earn from working in web-related industries! For marketers, this tells us that the Reddit community is intelligent, educated and very web savvy; in other words, the kind of people who are familiar with marketing tactics, and tend to be suspicious of them. In fact, Reddit has very popular subreddits dedicated solely to shooting down and mocking unwary marketers, which goes some way toward explaining the hostility many marketers complain of when trying to use the platform.

However, when used transparently and earnestly, Reddit is a great place for marketers to get involved. The bottom line is this: success on Reddit comes down to quality and value added to the community, regardless of intention. If you’re trying to hard sell and spam Reddit, your content will get downvoted into oblivion. But if you submit truly interesting and useful content, which is relevant to the subreddit you’re targeting, Redditors will embrace and promote your efforts.

Reddit shouldn’t be seen as a blind traffic driver, or a place to sell or promote products, but rather as a place where you can make the most out of your content marketing efforts and build relationships with your target audience.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any room for brand promotion, however. Stories of brands doing something interesting, newsworthy or worthwhile tend to perform very well on Reddit, which makes it a great place to promote PR messages. Similarly, some brands have had massive wins with specific Reddit marketing plays, such as the notable Amazon/Nissan campaign, which succeeded not because Redditors didn’t realize it was marketing, but because Redditors liked it anyway.

It just goes to show that Reddit doesn’t hate marketing—it just hates boring marketing!

Timing is Everything

Hundreds of thousands of pieces of content get shared on Reddit every day, and this sheer volume of stuff being pushed out means that, on popular subreddits, it is very easy for your content to get buried before Redditors even have a chance to read it and upvote it.

To help tip the scales in your favour, you can strategically time your posts to go out at times when lots of people are online. According to the aforementioned statistics, almost half of Reddit’s user base is on the U.S. East Coast. Therefore, it follows that the best time to post would be at times when lots of people on the East Coast are online, such as lunchtimes and evenings in EST.

That said, you shouldn’t allow your posting schedule to be decided by that statistic alone, instead, you must keep track of when users tend to use specific subreddits and make your own posting schedules based on your community’s behavior.

Timing your posts well can make a huge difference in how they will perform. Thanks to the way the Reddit voting system works, pieces which get lots of exposure get more upvotes, and the more upvotes something gets, the more exposure it is given. Therefore, popular items can quickly snowball and grow exponentially.

Learn from Reddit

You don’t have to be a prolific poster to benefit from using Reddit. In fact, just reading without contributing (or “lurking”, as it is known) can give marketers a great insight into emerging trends and how content performs online.

Reddit is the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet”, and based on the amount of viral content and internet memes which have originated or been popularized on the site, this motto is well-earned. Redditors often joke that what is popular on Reddit today will be trending on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow!

As internet marketers, we need to keep ahead of the latest internet trends, and thanks to the huge number of internet tastemakers on Reddit, it pays to pay attention to what is performing well, as it might well be the next big meme.

Reddit’s voting system lets marketers see exactly what kind of content will become popular, which can inspire your own pieces of content, or give you a sneak peek into how something is likely to perform on bigger platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Can Reddit Help SEO?

Gaming Reddit for backlinks is a bad idea. Yes, when links get a couple of upvotes, they do become “do-follow”, but the actual impact these sorts of links will make to your SEO is negligible. After all, if link building was as easy as simply submitting a link to Reddit, ranking websites would be the easiest job in the world.

However, what Reddit can do is help marketers build the kind of links which really matter: contextual, organic links from trusted websites. Reddit is full of writers, bloggers, webmasters and other internet influencers who are instrumental in sharing good content and building links, and the sheer amount of viral content spun out of the site every month is a testament to the influence Reddit users have.

In addition, countless websites ranging from Buzzfeed to international media like the BBC have writers and web journalists scouring Reddit for newsworthy content, which makes it one of the best places to promote your content and get it in front of journalists and web writers who are covering your niche.

Diving In

While this article has hopefully given you a strategic overview of the way Reddit can help with your internet marketing, actually using Reddit successfully is a different story. The only way you can really start to use Reddit effectively is through diving in and getting involved!

I suggest you start off slowly—sign up for a free account and use it recreationally for a few days while getting a feeling for the website and the communities you will be involved with.

If you already use Reddit to market your company or your clients, please get involved in the comment section and let us know what tips and tricks you use!

About the author: Scott Masson is hopelessly addicted to Reddit, although he can stop any time… You can reach him on Reddit here. When he isn’t plugged into Reddit, Scott writes about marketing and fitness for a range of publications.

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