Tag Archive for Content Marketing

Get People on board with Content Marketing

It’s not been that long since my last post has it? Ok, maybe a few weeks but those weeks have been productive. I won’t tell you what I’ve been up to but all will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.

So! You’re ready to start Content Marketing, you have your Persona, you’ve been practising your writing and are ready to create some Killer content. You’ve freed up your afternoon and even have a title for your first blog post, coffee in hand, biscuits at the ready you prepare to start but the door opens and your manager walks in and asks what you’re up to.

Stop! They proclaim, there’s no point creating content that might not get any links, go out and build the links yourself, that way we get guaranteed results. A prehistoric view of Link Building I know, so how do you bring them onto your side?

Step 1 : Paint a Picture

You’re in business so there can be only one picture that you can paint; Conversions. That’s why anyone is in business so kidding yourself that Links and New Unique visitors to your site are real goals is not the way to go. By all means mention them, but treat them as rungs of a ladder to reach your final goal of conversions. If you start with how this will bring monetary results, you’re bound to ensnare attention.

Step 2 : Process

This is not a plan. The plan you’ll create will be much more specific and detailed for individual members of your team. The Process is the rough outline of the work you’ll be doing.

  • Research – take a look at your website’s Analytics. Are you busier during the week? Are there seasonal peaks and troughs in your traffic? Do certain keywords get searched more in one month or another? These are all factors you’ll need to condsider to get the best out of your campagin.
  • Consolidation – You’ve got the data, you’ve got your team, here’s where you set out your plan. Such things as when you’re on a seasonal spike of traffic, increase the amount of blog posts to maximise the effects.
  • Implementation – What are you waiting for? Get going! Execute your plan and prepare for the next step.
  • Analysis – Setting out with a plan and not stepping back to analyse it? Unheard of! You always need to check your results to see where you might be going wrong, where you might be going right and what you can do to fix where you might have gone wrong.
Step 3 : Expectations 
After the way you’ve just delivered you’ll have everyone baying to get started but before you can there’s one final thing you need to do. Bring everyone down from Cloud 9.
By all means you’re heading in the right direction, but expectations will need to be managed, not just to give you time, but to relax the pressure put on your team.
Once you’ve gone through these steps you should have everyone on board. So get that coffee, go nuts on the biscuits and get that content written.

 

 

 

 

Content Marketing and Social Media – A Perfect Marriage?

Ok, content marketing, I know you’re getting sick of it by now and I’ve been harping on it for a few weeks but trust me it IS worth reading. Dismissing content marketing now would be like dismissing mobile phones as a “gimmick” in the 90s.

Most of us have heard of viral adverts but for the ostriches (head in sand etc.) that haven’t, here’s a brief explanation.

Viral Adverts can be anything that is shared quickly, exponentially and socially. Just like the common cold virus is spread around in the office. It gets to winter and the first person walks in, bloodshot eyes, sneezing, red nose; soon enough the whole office is coughing and spluttering with them. Viral ads work in the same way. Content is created specifically to be shared around.

So you’ve got your amazing content, what next? Share it of course. But don’t just email it to your buddies. You need to further with this and what better than the biggest sharing tool out there, Social Media!

People Like, Tweet, Check In, Instagram and YouTube everything these days. Mostly it’s pictures of cats doing something stupid or a picture of someone’s tea. But there is the odd explosion of virility when someone does get it right. Last year’s most viral content was inescapable and was of course “Gangnam Style” by the Korean musician Psy.

This quirky song exploded onto the national seen and become the most watched YouTube video of all time. It had everything. Great sound track (opinion), brilliant vocals (opinion), meaningful lyrics (opinion) and an amazing dance routine (fact!). People couldn’t get enough and were sharing it on every Social Media Platform out there.

It got so big that national radio stations started playing it. It was #1 in the UK music charts for weeks. Psy became a Global superstar and put South Korea’s music scene on the map.

And how was this started? More than likely it was John Smith posting it on Facebook with something like “Check out this video, it’s Rad!”. Maybe not word for word as I’m not down with the kids enough to know the lingo, but you get the jist.

John’s friends would have Liked or Shared his post allowing it to appear on their Facebook Profile’s. John’s friends would have done the same, duplicating this spread and pushing the video further into the Facebook new feeds. Eventually it spread to Twitter where it was Tweeted, Retweeted, Favourited until is started trending worldwide.

You get the picture with this and can see how Content Marketing and Social Media go together. It may not be as simple as a single post, you have to make sure you’re putting your content in the right place. But with Social Media, your Content Marketing has a great chance of going viral.

And of course I cannot resist. Find the Gangnam Style video below:

Content Marketing – It’s not all about the Links

So we’ve covered quite a lot on this topic recently however we still have quite a bit to go. The uses of Content Marketing go much further than getting new business and Link Juice.

Great! We’ve got lots of new business through our recent content marketing, but what do we do now? I know, let’s run a completely new content marketing campaign to get even more New Business!

Woah Nelly! Let’s not rush into anything just yet. You’ve got all this brand new business and you’re just going to discount it with a new Content Marketing campaign aimed at new people? Surely that’s not the optimum way to manage this influx of new clients. Fair enough not every new client is going to attach themselves to your brand but that’s no reason not to try.

Especially when you consider that this client, if treated right, can become loyal to your brand and then offer out organic recommendations to further boost your business. Take these statistics (Courtesy of Roper Public Affairs) for example:

  • 80% of people asked prefer getting company information from a number of articles rather than advertising
  • 70% say content marketing encourages a closer feeling to the company
  • 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions

All this points to keeping content relevant to new clients that come through for the content. If you were to suddenly change tact and target new users with completely and unrelated content then you’re bound to lose these clients who joined you in the first place due to your previous content.

Let’s inspect the third point. People find these articles helpful, and if you’ve got a new product or special offer coming up who better to target than people already loyal to your brand? Especially when 60% of these people are looking to your content to help them select a product.

Worded correctly, an article published prior to a product release could boost sales from your loyal fan base that are looking to your website for information on product releases.

And that’s another string in Content Marketing’s bow.

Converting with Content

So you’ve got your writing persona, you’ve got your own writing style and you can successfully engage an audience. But something’s missing. Profit! Of course, how could I forget. That’s what it all boils down to at the end of the day isn’t it? Ensuring you accumulate more than you speculate.

Exactly! So how do I do this? You can’t buy steak and chips with engaging blog posts and well written content. So this is where relevance in your content comes in. Let’s say we’re writing a blog for drain unblocking in London, and we want to secure some some revenue from this there are certain ways you can encourage a buying mentality without the hardcore sales pitch.

So lets start with the title. Make it punchy. Make it stand out. Make it enticing. This is where you can make the best first impression so you need to be better than those around you and earn that click through to your well written content.

Once you’ve got your title sorted it’s time to get down to the content.  This is where you can flex your content writing muscles to write very slightly persuasively. You want to make sure that you show you know what you’re talking about, you have the capabilities to carry out what you’re talking about and that you’re the right person to carry out what you’re talking about. OK, so, an example:

As we’re working for a drainage company lets write a piece of content regarding how to avoid getting blocked drains. You’re content writing skills do the work of attracting traffic by getting shared on social networks, forums etc. So here’s the conversion.

Your content covers how to avoid getting a blocked drain around the house using the knowledge you’ve gained from having worked in drainage since the first sewers were laid and your more recent experience of modern sewers too. You show that even if your advanced techniques fail, that you have the knowledge to fix the now blocked drains.

This way a person who has a blocked drain can see that you’ve tried to help them and that you’re the good guy looking to help. This way the next time they have a blocked drain they’ll think “I remember that company that offered great advice free of charge, I should give them a call”.

And that is where your conversion comes in. There are obviously other ways to convert with content which I’ll cover in following blogs but for now that’s your lot.

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and that you all go on to enjoy a prosperous new year.

 

Content Writing and how to Engage your Audience

“Content writing, Argh! Let’s just outsource it.” Stop! Content writing is simple. The hard part is making it engaging. “Then why don’t we outsource it anyway?”. Because copywriters specialise in quantity of content, not quality. You don’t pay for content by the amount of engagement it receives, you pay for it by the hundred words or so. Yes it’s well written and does have your keywords reading legibly, but it is more than likely to be fodder and as deep and engaging as your average urban puddle.

So lets start off with the actual writing and the structure of the content. And I know as soon as I’ve mentioned structure you’ve thought “Beginning, Middle, End = Done”. Wrong, let’s do this properly.

Introduction: Pick a subject, do some reading around it (10-15 minutes) and then introduce what you’ll be talking about at the start of the post.

Information: You’ve introduced your subject, so lets lay down some knowledge and expand it. This can be a few interesting facts around the subject or a more drawn out summary of what you’re talking about.

Opinion: Here’s where you spike engagement from your audience. Now be honest, it’s easy to have an extreme view of anything but with the rise of internet “trolling” this is now not an advisable technique. Definitely sway to one side of an argument as this will encourage the other side to get involved.

Conclusion: Avoid the usual pitfall of just summarising your post. Mention your opinion in relation to your subject and give reasons for why you hold your opinion therefore concluding your writing.

Sources: Remember that reading you did on your subject? Post links to that here so people can make you’re a trusted source.

So there you have it. That’s my guide on writing lovely, engaging content. If you do give this a go, feel free to get in touch and I’ll take a look over it.

If I don’t check in with you next week have a wonderful Christmas!

Are Comments on a Blog a Good Thing?

If you host a WordPress Blog, you will get spammed. As certain as the rise of the moon, spammers will find your blog and post a steady stream of often nonsensical (sometimes hilarious) comments.

The reason WordPress blogs are targeted so is the ability to post a URL as part of your comment. The fact that the “name” field on the comment acts as anchor text opens up the possibility to effectively choose your own anchor text to link back to your site with.

Great! All I need to do is comment on a load of blogs and choose a keyword rich anchor text and I’ll start to rank right? Wrong. You’re not the first to have that idea and there is a lot of software out there doing this automatically at a rate no human could keep up with.

If your post looks even remotely spammy then you’ll be marked as spam and binned with the rest of them. Some tips to help you get posted:

  • No Spam. i.e. No keyword rich anchor text
  • Engage with the author. Give an opinion, show your interest.
  • Compliment the author. No one is immune to flattery, especially if they’re writing a blog
  • Ask a Question. Encourage the author to come back to you.

You’ve got to remember, if an author doesn’t have a captcha on his comment form then they could be getting hundreds of comments a day. And whilst I’m pedantic enough to go through these hundreds of comments ensuring I read the genuine ones, I’m not sure many people will be. Sure they’ll give them a quick skim over, and that’s when leaving a slightly spammy comment can count against you.

As we all know a healthy link profile is good for a site and not all anchor text has to have to keywords in it, so see this as a chance to build your brand. Try laying your comment out like this:

Name: Company Name

Website: www.yoursite.co.uk

Comment: Hi, great post. I agree/disagree with [specific part of post]. What do you think about [an alternative opinion/product service]. Keep up the goood work. [Your name/Company name].

Here we can see a genuine company showing they’ve read the post, thought about it and engaged the author further. Google will see this as a brand reaching out to other sites and building them up in the industry.

And of course, the more relevant the blog is to your industry the higher quality of link you’ll receive.

Next week we’ll be looking at content writing and how to engage your audience.

The Blogger Outreach Strategy – Where to start.

So by now you’ve got your blog up and running and are filling it with a constant stream of excellent posts having also applied a healthy sprinkling of links to your main site. You’ve shared it on Facebook & Twitter and even benefitted from a few employees sharing, liking and linking.

“So why isn’t my Blog earning links left, right and centre like you said in your last post?”

I pointed out in my last post that that was just a theory. But, as ever with SEO there’s always something you can do. Let me tell you about the Blogger Outreach Strategy (sometimes cited as the Blogger Outreach Program).

In a nutshell, you want your blog post featuring on a more popular blog that your own. This way, your blog post will feature on a website with more traffic that your own and it is this traffic that will filter through your post and to your website.

So where do we start? First of all you need to find a list of blogs that are relevant enough to provide a good lin to your website, and topical enough for your content to get listed on there. There are quite a few ways of doing this but one of my favourite ways is to use Google’s Blog Search. It’s a free tool designed to search specifically through blogs making it easy for you to find relevant blogs that are already ranking well in Google’s rankings (albeit for a Blog Search).

Before you blanket them all with an email containing your blog and link to your site, we need to plan this properly. Create a spreadsheet listing who you’ve emailed, with what blog post, which link you’ve sent them (if you’re using deep links), when you did this and leave a column spare to note who responds and who doesn’t.

This way, you can keep in touch with the people who are willing to help you with your outreach strategy. Building up a strong relationship with a few people can transform a “Guest Post” to a “Featured Poster” where you can benefit from another websites traffic on a regular basis.

A few tips:

  • Be prepared to post other people’s work to your own Blog.
  • Be honest, people will respect that and be more likely to post your blog.
  • Don’t Spam. There’s nothing worse than repeated emails on the same thing.
So please take this advice and plan a good and lasting strategy. Soon enough you’ll have people clamouring for you to post on their blogs whilst your website drowns in traffic (again, so the theory goes).

Content Marketing – What is it, and should I have a strategy?

I touched on this in my last post Is Link Building Dead? Building links as we know it has changed, with Google preferring natural links that are earnt rather than manual links created by submitting sites to directories etc. So this now begs the question “How do I earn links?”. The answer, is content marketing.

This is the process of creating content and getting it in the right place so that people can find it, read it and link to it. This isn’t just a process of creating a generic blog post, including “SEO Manchester” in it a few times and posting this to Facebook and Twitter. It goes deeper than that.

Content should be worth linking to. Whether this be an informative, helpful piece on Content Marketing or whether it’s a satirical piece on the pros of black hat SEO and how great those practices are for the Search Engine Optimisation industry. Here’s how to get started with Content Marketing:

Variety is the Spice of Life

10 blog posts in a row concerning SEO in Manchester is hardly captivating. If you’re wanting to generate links then you need to make sure more angles are looked at. SEO is a constant battle between Google’s Algorithm and every optimisation company out there. The fight is on many fronts and there are vast amounts of topics to create content on. So rather than going for the obvious key phrase, immerse yourself and write in and around the whole subject.

A Little Personality goes a Long Way

I recently read a great piece on the art of Proposals (business proposals, I’m not desperate) and a conclusion I drew from this piece was that “Corporate Speak” has a shelf life. By all means be professional, but show your personality through your writing as well. We all have that person in the office who is unrelentingly making bad jokes, you may scoff but you also smile as they’re showing personality (and puns are actually funny). This is where variety again comes in, if you have a range of writers all showing different personalities on different subjects then you’re bound to identify with someone and this is where you earn your link.

Sharing is Caring

You need to get the ball rolling somehow, and what better way to do this than Social Media? Social Media is almost the new word of mouth and in a click you can get your content out on the web and create a digital “Buzz” earning links left, right and centre (so the theory goes). People will then take these links and spread them to a wider range of sources be it their personal blog, their business blog or a forum where your content is of valuable input.

So that’s content marketing and in response to “Should I have a Strategy” the answer is a resounding Yes.

Is Link-Building Dead?

Recently there have been arguments all over the web as to whether Link Building is now redundant or not. You can understand the reasons why as well. With the ever popular Panda and Penguin Google update still sending websites reeling after reclassifying sites, a lot of fingers have pointed at backlinks being the reason for this.

Reason being, a lot of the sites that have tumbled down the rankings will have a skewed Link Profile. A good link profile should look natural and varied. You wouldn’t expect a regular website to have 90% links all from PR4 directories would you? So why should Google prefer a site that has a link profile like this?

That’s not to say steer clear of directories either. As with most things SEO related moderation is key. A website with 5 directory links, 5 forum links, 5 blog comment links and 5 natural links is more likely to perform better than a site with 18 directory links and 2 natural links.

Google also seems to have implemented a policy that rewards sites for link earning rather than link building. Link earning is all about creating quality content that is worth linking to and relevant to the website. Rather than creating a generic post about SEO in Manchester and adding the keyword in a few times, creating a compelling article that will encourage interaction and sharing is a much better idea.

If your new post is a hit and starts to get linked to, that’s when you will start to see the benefits of link earning. Google can see that you have worked to create quality, worthwhile content and that it is worth linking to as links to the post have appeared naturally.

Contrast that to a blog post that only has links from directories, and it’s clear who’s content is more worth listing in the top ten.

So is link building really dead? I’d have to say yes and no. Yes, link building as we knew it is dead and Link earning is now a priority, but no it isn’t dead as a healthy link profile is still beneficial to Search Engine Optimisation.