5 Smart content Marketing Strategies

Content marketing is something of the past for many but something that I consider the past, present AND future. It is a topic that never goes out of season. I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I wanted to give my readers something valuable for my “return”.

I have recently been working on a number of things from other blogs, to consultancy, various campaigns and my offline-online career, but something that I always push people to perfect is content. Now I don’t just mean what, how and why you write things, content isn’t just what is written, but it is also important to take care how you present it, support it, share it, your investment and frequency of publishing. So here are a few FRESH tips to Refresh the old saying of content is king!

Content Marketing

Story-Telling

This is something that people have been doing for a while now, but it has been a hot strategy this year and is set to continue. Consumers love to read about the how a product was created, the who behind the product and the what makes this product better than the rest. It has always created a sense of trust within buyers and that is set to continue my friend! However, a little change I have noticed is that words can be replaced my pictures, captions, symbols and weird of all…emojis! A picture tells a thousand words has never been so relevant! So don’t feel you have to write out a long ass story in just words, use your creativity and imagination!

Know your audience

This is NOT stressed enough in todays content marketing; it is one thing to know WHO your audience are but to KNOW your audience is a completely different cattle of fish. Just having a target audience isn’t going to cut it, you need to stalk these people, find out what they want, what are they currently searching, browsing and buying? What influences them? What else do they like? These are the types of tests and preliminary research questions you should be asking and answering. Sometimes it helps to put yourself in their shoes and search like them, be your audience to know your audience.

Be needed, not needy

My next tip is something that should be common sense but need and needed can cross over SO EASILY… You want people to take action because THEY need to, you don’t need them… I once attended a seminar that used Maslows hierarchy of needs as a basis for this, you can heck out the theory HERE, but it basically suggests a pyramid hierarchy of a persons needs, it’s a famous theory in psychology, focus on the psychological needs of the theory.

Be bold

Something that will never get old fashioned is how brave you are about your content, don’t play it safe with your old tricks, mix things up a little and explore the wider world beyond your usual subject matter. For example, if your blog or site is a photography blog, showcasing your work and the work of others, move beyond photography. Maybe you could write about the news in a city you photographed, talk about the locals and the great places, without going crazy out, bend the rules a bit. If you are already mixing it up, be bold and STICK to one subject matter for a few months. It is a two-way road my friend

Budget, Budget, Budget

As more and more bloggers turn to blogging and the online world for an income or a passionate hobby, more and more bloggers are investing in their content, because ROI right? There has been an up-rise in SEO, although it has always been an up down market, this generation is definitely keeping it up. More and more bloggers are also using social media to promote their content, a few made the mistake of using social media as their sole content, but that phase soon died and the bloggers were back on the road baby. Social media and SEO are great ways to shoot your content out to people, even if you are not selling, traffic is good in the online world right? (Another post for another day)

Facebook Audience Network Now Open for All Advertisers

Facebook has been texting and expanding their Facebook Audience Network (FAN) for well over a year now.  It started out with the option just to run advertisements using their network in a wide range of different mobile apps.  To build on that success they have been running a closed beta test that would allow advertisers to use FAN to run ads on mobile websites.

They have just announced that they are opening up the network for all advertisers to run their ads on mobile websites as well, in addition to the app ads.

This is very significant news for the 2.5 million advertisers who currently use Facebook’s ad service as well as many others who will likely begin.  In fact, some experts are calling this a “Google AdSense Killer” since it will largely open up Facebook’s ad network to compete in most of the same areas that Google has formerly dominated.  Google will, however, still control the shrinking desktop ads.

While I don’t see this move as being able to ‘kill’ AdSense, it will certainly give it some very stiff competition!

Facebook has also done an exceptional job at making it easy for mobile publishers to join their network.  They use a simple HTML tag rather than an SDK integration.  This means that new publishers can be using their system the very day without any trouble.  Whether they will make more money switching to FAN or continuing with AdSense remains to be seen.  Of course, many will choose to use both networks to attempt to maximize their earnings.

In Q3 2015 Facebook earned 78% of their $4.49 billion in ad revenue from their mobile ads.  With this move we will almost certainly see that number shoot up considerably.

Whether you are running a mobile website and want to add another income stream or you are a marketer looking for exciting new advertising opportunities, the Facebook Audience Network just became more attractive.

You can learn more about this move from Facebook’s announcement HERE.

Native Advertising Guidelines Released from the FTC

Using native advertising practices has been one of the most effective options for marketers for quite some time now.  The reason they are so effective, of course, is because they look and feel very similar to the rest of the content on the page.  Even if consumers can see that it is a sponsored post, the content has the same feel as the rest so they naturally seem to trust it more.

Unfortunately, many marketers don’t go far enough in ensuring that the visitors to their page can easily see whether they are reading a normal post or it is an advertisement.  This is where violations to laws and regulations can come into play.  Unless you have an attorney to review every native ad you post, however, it can be hard to determine whether you are in compliance with laws or not.

To help address this concern, the FTC has just released a new guide called, “Native Advertising: A Guide for Business” that will go through this potentially complex form of advertising to help marketers learn what they can and can not do.  According to the FTC this report was designed to, “help companies understand, and comply with, the policy statement in the context of native advertising.”

Any marketers who are using native advertising will want to go through this report to learn whether or not they may be in violation of any laws.  It is written in an easy to follow format that will allow you to quickly gain the information you need without having to waste hours of time (or hire an attorney) trying to figure it out.

Director of the Bureau Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, said of this report, “The FTC’s policy applies time-tested truth-in-advertising principles to modern media.  People browsing the web, using social media, or watching videos have a right to know if they’re seeing editorial content or an ad.”  This set of guidelines will help make marketing using native ads much easier and less risky.

If you are a marketer who uses, or is thinking about using, native advertising make sure you take some time to read through this new set of guidelines.  It can be found on the FTC’s site HERE.

One more thing to keep in mind is that if the FTC has taken the time to put together this set of guidelines to help marketers, you can be confident that they will be taking a closer look at digital marketing practices in this area in the coming months.  Marketers who continue to violate their set of standards will likely face fines of some sort.  The publishing of this from the FTC may be a signal that they will be taking greater enforcement efforts against violations related to native advertising in the near future.

‘Facebook Mentions’ Becoming Valuable Tool for Public Marketers

Facebook Mentions is an application that is designed to let people know what users are saying about their articles and other posts.  It is most commonly used by celebrities, journalists and other public figures who need to keep up to date about how people are interacting with their posts.  Many marketers, however, could benefit from this application too, especially with a new update that is being rolled out.

Mentions will now allow users of the app see what those on Facebook are saying about their posts on the social network, even if they are not tagged or otherwise mentioned in the post.  This is a great feature that will allow people to learn about how others are reacting in a near-real time way.

Vadim Lavrusik, the product manager, and Liz Heron, the head of journalism partnerships, said in a blog post, “Today, we’re adding the ability for journalists and content creators using Mentions to see what people are saying about their articles on Facebook, even if the person doesn’t mention the author by name.  As a journalist, you can use this feature in your mentions feed to get a sense of how people are reacting to your articles and connect with them directly.”

The Mentions app is only available to ‘public figures’ who are verified on Facebook so this will not help all marketers or brands.  It is increasingly popular, however, that ‘Internet Celebrities’ are transitioning into real public figures.  This can even be the case for many marketers who are building their brand around their own name.

Anyone who has qualified to become a ‘verified’ Facebook user will certainly want to use this mentions app, and the new features being rolled out into it are very attractive.  In fact, these new features may make it worth it for many ‘mid-level’ public figures to attempt to become ‘verified’ by Facebook so they can access this platform.

Part of the new features include an ‘author tag’ that public figures will need to put on their website.  This will allow Facebook to associate all activity associated with a post to be tracked.  This is a nice option to take the place of the Google Authorship tag, which has fallen out of use over the past couple years.

Anyone who has a verified Facebook account will want to make sure they add this new tag to their site to ensure they are getting all the great benefits of this new app.

Native Ads Often Seen as Better than Real Content?

In a recent survey conducted by Contently it was found that native ads are often seen in a better light than actual content on a site.  Native ads are sponsored content where the owner of a site gets paid to publish something about a product, service or company.  The content is made to appear similar to other content on the site so that it adds a level of trust and authenticity.  Due to regulations and business practices, however, native ads need to have some sort of disclaimer in or around them to let people know that they are advertisements.

Even with this disclaimer, however, many readers mistake native ads for real content.  The survey was given to 509 consumers.  In the survey they were asked to review a brand sponsored piece of content in either The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Onion, BuzzFeed or Forbes. In addition, they read an actual article that was published in Fortune.

Once done, they were asked to say whether the piece was an ad or an article. In all but two of the samples the readers thought that the native ad was actually a real article.  The results were as follows:

  • New York Times – 29% Ad, 71% Article
  • Wall Street Journal – 20% Ad, 80% Article
  • Atlantic – 53% Ad, 47% Article
  • The Onion – 71% Ad, 29% Article
  • BuzzFeed – 29% Ad, 71% Article
  • Forbes – 35% Ad, 65% Article
  • Fortune – 31% Ad, 69% Article (note that this one was actually a real article)

As you can see, even in The Onion, 29% of people still thought that the native ad was a real article and that is the lowest rating of the bunch.  For other publications a large majority of readers were thinking that native ads were actually real articles.  In some cases they thought this at rates higher than the actual real article published in Fortune.

This is an important study for several reasons.  First, regulatory organizations like the FTC and others may look at this information and decide that more needs to be done to let people know when they are viewing an ad.  It has been a while since updates to the disclaimers on these types of ads were made, so it may be time for some changes (or at least the regulatory agencies may think that).

Second, and more importantly for marketers, it shows that native ads are an extremely effective way to put a message out to potential customers.  When customers read them they think it is real content written by the site.  This lends the ad additional trust and influence, which can lead to more sales, improved reputation and better recognition.

Using native ads is well known to be effective, but with the results of this survey it seems they are even better than most people have thought in the past.  If you’re not using native ads as part of your overall marketing strategy already, it might be time to do so.

New Study Provides Insight on Content Marketing Strategies

All affiliate marketers know (or at least should know) the power of good content marketing strategies.  The right content can attract thousands of viewers and generate significant sales.  Bad content, on the other hand, can actually repel users and cause a business to have some very serious problems.  Not everyone, however, likes the same types of content and they don’t all like consuming it in the same way.

That’s why a new study by Buzzstream was recently conducted where they looked at some of the content consumption habits of people of a diverse set of ages.  When broken up by generation (Millennials, Generation x and baby boomers) it is easy to see that some things work well across all ages, while others don’t.  If you know the age of your target audience, you can use this information to dramatically improve the results of any content marketing campaign.

Types of Content

The study looked at a wide range of different types of content and how different generations liked them.  The different options were blog articles, images, comments, eBooks, audio books, quizzes, webinars, slide shares, white papers, memes, flip books, case studies, and reviews.

Across all age groups everyone liked to consume content in blog articles the most followed by images, comments and eBooks.  This shows that age doesn’t have too much influence on how people like to consume their content, which may surprise some.  On the opposite end, all three generations least liked reading white papers.  Baby boomers liked slideshares second least while the other two generations put webinars in second place.  You can see the full breakdown here, provided by BuzzStream:

Content Generation 1

Length of Content

The next area that was looked at was the length of the content.  Here too the three generations had a lot in common, but not everything.  For all three groups, content that was about 300 words in length was ideal.  Baby boomers seemed to be much less picky about length than the other two generations though, as can be seen here:

Content Generation 2

Time Spent Consuming Content

The final area that the study looked at was how much time people in different generations are spending consuming content.  Of course, the longer they are on a page the more opportunity there is for them to make a purchase, sign up for your list, or take some other action you want them to. About 25% of baby boomers spend 20+ hours per week engaged with online content.  This is quite a bit more than many would expect, and more than other generations.  Both generation x and millennials have about 22% of people spending 20+ hours on content.  You can see the full chart on this here:

Content Generation 3

As you can see, while there are a lot of similarities in how different generations are consuming content, the differences are quite important too.  Taking this type of information into account when planning your content strategy can help you to improve your engagement rate with your sites quite significantly.

Five Content Options for Attracting Traffic

When it comes to making affiliate sales one of the most important things you need is a steady stream of traffic.  For most marketers today, that means putting up new content on a regular basis.  New content provides visitors a reason to come back, encourages sharing, builds links and helps give the search engines the information they need to rank you well.  It can, however, be hard to think of content options that are related to your niche without getting overly repetitive.

The following five options have been proven to engage readers, encourage sharing and bring in traffic both while it is published and for months afterward.  When done properly, these ideas can give you an almost endless number of ideas that you can turn into blog posts, videos, tweets, Facebook posts, infographics or any other type of content that you need for your site.

Case Studies

These don’t have to be overly complex studies to be informative and important for your readers.  Find something that you’re doing anyway, and write down each of the steps you take.  Take a little extra time to document the results and you’ve got yourself a very useful post.  If you have recently brought in a new customer, for example, you can write about the steps you took to get the customer to make their first purchase.

Customer Interaction or Reviews

If you can get a customer to take a picture with your product or record themselves opening it or using it, you can turn that into a very popular post.  People love seeing real people with products before buying them.  Consider offering a ‘bonus’ if they provide you with an honest review, a picture, an ‘unboxing’ or some other type of user content for your site.

Responding to Customers

If your customers are asking you questions or making comments on your social media pages, you can take those and turn them into posts.  Choose a few of the best questions or comments, put them up in a post and then reply to them.  You can also record yourself reading the posts and giving a response on camera.  This is a very good way to show your customers or potential customers that you really do care about what they do and say related to your brand.

Tips & Tricks

Come up with 5 or 10 ways to help people who have purchased your product to get even more out of it.  Simple tips that can make what they already purchased even more valuable than it normally would be.  This will not only show potential customers that you care, but will also get existing customers to come back again and again.  Even if you’re just promoting an affiliate product you can still offer this type of content to show that you’re more than just a portal to buy.  You’ll be there for the customers well after the sale.

Timely Posts

Look at the news or look at what time of year it is and try to associate your content with that.  If it is the start of a new school year, consider writing something about how your product can benefit students.  If it is almost spring, write about your product and spring.  Any holiday, news event or other time specific item will due.  This not only gets extra popular when you post it, but each year at that time you can often get a resurgence of traffic, especially if you remember to ‘reshare’ it.

Five Important Points for Successful Data-Driven Content Marketing

Not too many years ago people wouldn’t have really understood what was meant when someone used the term content marketing.  Today it is one of the hottest methods in marketing, and one that most experts agree will be essential for digital commerce long into the future.  This is because content marketing is the base for just about all other types of marketing efforts.

The content on your site needs to be great to keep people there, and encourage them to come back.  It also helps to improve sharing, which drives more traffic.  Good content builds trust and helps with SEO too.  The bottom line is, the right content marketing is essential to every brand.  The problem is, many people are doing it all wrong.  BingAds has put together the following five points for successful content marketing that is data-driven.

Search & Social Data

The first point they stress is that you need to start with the search and social data you can get.  Content is only going to be found through effective ranking in the search engines or having it be shared on social networks.  With this in mind, you need to know who your customer is, and what types of things they will like.  You can gather some of this information directly from your analytics and online keyword research tools.  Once you’ve gathered the data, you can optimize your content to meet the needs of your target audience.

Creativity

People today don’t want to see another page with the same things they’ve seen on countless other pages.  Using creative insights to form your content will improve engagement, which can translate to improved conversion rates too.  Using different approaches to engage with your customer will help keep them coming back for more.

Trending Topics

Not surprising, making content about trending topics can be very effective.  Look on the social media sites or the ‘top searched’ reports to see what people are looking for, and produce the content directly for them.  While this does require you to act quickly to get your content out in front of the trends, it can drive a lot of high quality traffic.

Listening on Social Sites

Most people in marketing know that social media is a great way to get your content out in front of people.  What many miss, however, is that it is also a great place to listen to customers or potential customers.  Reading every comment on your posts, as well as posts on your competitor’s pages, can be a great way to learn more about your customers.  This information can then be used to improve your content marketing efforts.  Of course, you can also reply to those comments to improve engagement even further.

Distribution is Essential

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you are properly distributing the content you create.  If you don’t put your content out there in the right ways, it will never be seen by your target audience.  This doesn’t just mean publishing content on as many places as possible.  It means learning about your audience, finding where they like to consume content, and taking steps to ensure you are there.

These aren’t revolutionary ideas, but they are proven to be effective.  Unfortunately, many people don’t put these types of efforts into effect.  They simply publish the content on their sites and hope it will get attention.  Why not try each of these items with your content marketing campaigns and see just how effective they can be.

Just 31% of Websites get Passing Score for Content

It is common knowledge that in order to have a good website that attracts traffic, you need to have good quality content. In fact, this is likely one of the very few things that almost nobody in the digital marketing industry will disagree about. Despite this general consensus, however, only 31% of websites are getting a ‘passing’ grade when their content is evaluated for quality. That means about 70% of sites, including many major business sites, are completely failing in this area.

website content

These numbers were determined by a recent analysis from Acrolinx, which operates a linguistics engine that scanned through about 150,000 pages of websites run by 340 companies generating at least $250 million in annual revenue. These should, in theory, be some of the highest quality sites on the net, yet the majority of them are producing content that couldn’t even get a ‘B’ in high school English class.

The study looked at a wide range of different points to evaluate the overall quality of the content. Included in this were spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes and others. Some of the most common errors that were identified were subject/verb agreement, double negatives and the proper use of pronouns. These are all fairly simple things that any professional should have learned long ago.

Readability

Remember too that even sites that ranked above the passing grade (which was 72 out of 100 by the way) may not have had what most would consider good quality content. It was just passable in terms of how it was written. Many people write grammatically correct content, yet it is not interesting or engaging. This means that the actual percentage of websites that have well-written content that people will want to read is likely well under 30%.

Why Quality Content Matters

Some people may be wondering if it really matters how good the grammar, spelling and overall readability of the content really is. The fact is, according to a 2013 study from Global Lingo, 74% of eCommerce customers report that they notice when there are errors in content. 59% of those said that they may not make a purchase from a company based on the quality of their content.

On top of that, Google has confirmed that the quality of content is one of many factors that go into ranking websites. Of course, when people do find your site, they are going to be much less likely to share it on their social media pages or link to it on their own sites if it is poorly written. All of this combines to a significantly reduced number of people seeing your content, and of those that do see it, fewer will make a purchase.

Quality is Essential in Content Marketing

As you can see, when it comes to content marketing, quality should be the #1 factor. While there is no doubt that publishing content frequently can be helpful, it is far better to publish new content less often, but with higher quality. This will help to ensure the people that read and share your content will always come back to you. Whether this means you spend more time producing content yourself, or you hire a professional writer to help you, quality should always come first.

You can read more about the full study HERE.

How to increase the chance for your content to go viral quickly

When you write content for your blog or website, do you believe that your content will go viral quickly? Most probably, you will think that people will spread your content around, but the reality hits you that the content you’ve written is not getting readership in a fast pace.

Viral content marketing

Then, you will look at some popular blogs and wonder why their content can go viral in a short amount of time and get spread by hundreds of thousands of people on social media. It seems too easy for them. But, why not you?

The answer is that it’s because their content clicks with their readers. Here are 5 tips to increase the chance for your content to go viral quickly:

Create an emotional click with your readers

This is something that needs to be your top priority. Your readers will not share your content anywhere if it doesn’t give them any emotional click. What is emotional click? You know, when you read something on the internet and you feel that the content inspires you, you will naturally hit the share button so that your friends can read it as well. This is called emotional click. It can be in the form of inspiration, motivation, some enlightenment, knowledge, or something else that comes right after reading your content.

Help your readers in some ways

Creating content that is pure information is not going to help you to spread it around. You need to create content that will be able to help your readers in some ways. You should be able to connect with them personally by helping them solve their personal life problems. For instance, creating content about getting out of debt quickly will give you more chance to go viral rather than content about the percentage of debt in the world. So, always make some effort to help your readers, and help them good. Really give solution that they can use indefinitely.

Use the passive strategy

What does it mean to use the passive strategy? Using the passive strategy simply means letting your readers to spread your content around by their own free will. You don’t encourage them to spread your content. You don’t keep reminding them to hit the share button day in and day out. You just create excellent content, watch their reaction, and create another. Don’t force your readers to share your content, but just leave the decision to them. This is the more effective strategy to help your content go viral quickly.

Know what works for your audience

The only way to create an excellent content that will go viral quickly is to observe your audience reaction toward your content. You need to test each of your content and determine what works to excite your audience. In other words, you need to spend some time in creating various types of content and find the type of content that brings the most traffic. Once you found it, it will be easier for you to create content that will have a high chance to go viral.

Make sure that your audience know and trust your brand

The last tip that you should pay attention to is your own brand image. People will be more willing to spread your content if they know and trust your brand. If you are still unknown to your audience, then you shouldn’t expect your content to get spread quickly the first day you hit the publish button. But, once you grow your brand authority, you will see that more of your content will get spread around more quickly simply because people know and trust your brand.

Those are some tips you can follow to increase the chance for your content to go viral quickly. Are you still having trouble attracting traffic to your content? Those tips may help you change your situation quickly.

5 Important qualities that must exist in viral content

I have seen many people on CPA Lead generating millions of clicks to their content locker offers by making their videos viral so i though i should share a little info about how to make your content viral. Lets take example of YouTube have a look at some YouTube videos for a while, and you’ll find many videos that have millions of views on them. How can those videos achieve those views? Let’s think about it.

You see a video that was published a year ago, and it has 3 million views. Well, it means that the video gets approximately 250,000 views per month, and it can be translated into 8000+ views per day. That’s an impressive number. Now, how can a video gets such an impressive number of views in a day?

The answer is that because it has certain qualities that make it appealing for the viewers and encourage them to share it. What are the most important qualities that make any content go viral? Here are 5 important qualities that must exist in viral content:

viral Marketing

Brand Personality

Almost all viral content have strong brand personality behind it. Take a look at BuzzFeed. This company releases short videos that become viral very quickly on YouTube and elsewhere. Their content always has their brand personality on it, with their own unique way of presentation that makes their audience recognize their content in an instant. You need to have this kind of brand personality in order to create identity for your content. Before sharing your content with others, your audience needs to know about your brand and like your brand personality.

Fun And Engagement

There are lots of funny videos that go viral on YouTube, and you can also see funny articles go viral on Cracked.com. This is another element of viral content that you need to be aware of. Fun and engagement are important because it creates good feeling for your audience, and when your audience feels good, they’ll tend to spread their feelings to others. So, inserting the fun element to your content can help you to increase the chance for your audience to share your content. And don’t forget to engage with them as well.

Success Replication

Another element of viral content is success replication. What does it mean? It means to replicate the success of other viral videos. When you see a successful video, you make a similar video and it will achieve similar success. That’s how the success replication works. It is not only for videos. It happens everywhere in business, either online or offline. You simply go for what the masses like, and replicate the success of the people who already achieved their success. In terms of viral content, you simply replicate the success of any viral content and create a similar thing out of it.

On-Demand Content

Your content will go viral only when your audience wants it. When there is huge demand for such type of content, it will become popular very quickly. Where can you look for on-demand content? You can simply take a look at the current trend in your niche. Of course, the trends will come and go. The key is to keep yourself busy in creating new viral content according to the newest trends.

Reaction Trigger

Content that demands the reaction from your audience will tend to go viral quickly as well. For instance, when you write a controversial blog post, and your content naturally attracts hot discussion in your blog, you will be able to make your content popular in a short amount of time. What you need to do is to put some reaction triggers within your content in order to encourage your readers to give their response toward your content. Thus, in this way, you will create healthy discussion around your content. Lots of successful viral Facebook posts have this kind of reaction trigger.

 

Those are the important qualities that you must add to your content in order to make it viral. Without those qualities, your content will just become a regular content that will not have any significant appeal for your audience. Even if you follow one of those qualities you can make your campaigns go viral easily.