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How Serious Writers Expand Their Audiences with Guest Blog Posts

Note: While we encourage you to explore guest posting to grow your audience, Copyblogger does not currently accept guest post…

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How marketers’ influence can expand beyond lead gen: Utilizing remarketing for nurturing leads

Marketers are often responsible for generating leads, but columnist Elizabeth Laird explains how they can also help move those leads down the sales funnel.

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Expand Your Content Marketing Toolkit

Expand Your Content Marketing Toolkit

On Monday, our friend Jon Nastor shared the top tips he’s learned from conducting more than 350 podcast interviews in two years. He has a lot of solid advice here on how to better prepare for your interviews — without making your content stiff or robotic.

On Tuesday, our editorial assistant Will DeWitt revealed how his experiences on a recent cruise shaped how he thinks about customer experience — and how you can structure your content to make your audience feel like treasured guests.

And on Wednesday, Stefanie Flaxman saved us from the humiliation of 12 different word choice errors. Because content marketing is just more fun when you’re not embarrassing yourself in public.

On the Copyblogger FM podcast this week, I talked about how to attract the specific audience you want to your business, podcast, or blog. Everything you do will get much easier when you know you’re talking to the right folks.

And on our brand-new Sites podcast, Jerod Morris covered easy ways you can use excellent design to forge a stronger connection with your audience.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


if you want interesting responses, you have to ask the right questionsHow to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews

by Jon Nastor


we didn’t feel like customers. We felt like family3 Ways the ‘Cruise Ship’ Model Invites Your Audience Aboard

by Will DeWitt


write the correct words the first time and you’ll spend less time editing laterStop Making These 12 Word Choice Errors Once and for All

by Stefanie Flaxman


How to Attract the Exact Customers You WantHow to Attract the Exact Customers You Want

by Sonia Simone


3 Ways to Better Connect with Your Audience through Design3 Ways to Better Connect with Your Audience through Design

by Jerod Morris


How Award-Winning Short Story Writer Abigail Ulman Writes: Part TwoHow Award-Winning Short Story Writer Abigail Ulman Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


The Power of the Company of One, with Paul JarvisThe Power of the Company of One, with Paul Jarvis

by Brian Clark


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Google Rich Cards expand to local restaurants and online courses

Google updated their structured data documents to support new rich cards and their suggestions around AMP HTML.

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SearchCap: Google Mobile Usability Reporting, Flash Warnings Expand & Groupon Pages

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Groupon Pages Part Of Company Evolution Into Local Search Site Depending on your viewpoint, Groupon’s new Pages offering is either a helpful new tool for…



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5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy

rainbow over a neighborhood of houses

When talking about content marketing, discussions often focus on decisions about topics, headlines, platforms, and distribution.

But how much do you consider the data that supports these decisions?

I’m not talking about demographics, like age, gender, or location — although those matter, too. Rather, I’m talking about the answers behind qualitative questions:

  • Who are your community’s influencers and why?
  • Which events are your community members attending?
  • What will be your first touchpoint with your community?
  • Where is your community getting their information and news?
  • Where is your community having meaningful conversations?
  • How do you choose which headline will resonate best with your audience?

Gathering this type of intelligence will allow you to develop a stronger content strategy with better results and deeper relationships.

One of the best (and most efficient) ways to conduct this research is by listening to current and potential customers on the web and social media.

Web monitoring and social listening allow you to go directly to the source — your current and potential customers.

Here are five ways to use community data to help expand your content creation process.

1. Identify and develop brand ambassadors

“Listening” online to what current and potential customers say about your brand, competitors, and related topics will allow you to build meaningful relationships with people who will actually use your product or service.

You can learn more about their interests and even recruit your first brand ambassadors.

If you’re a startup, building a community pre-launch can be incredibly beneficial.

To find and recruit your brand ambassadors:

Look beyond the numbers

At Mention, we recently analyzed one billion mentions delivered to companies across the globe and found that only 8 percent of people talking about a brand or company have more than 500 followers. Meaning, anyone can be a brand ambassador, and all interactions matter.

Conduct a search on social media channels or use a monitoring tool to discover who’s talking about your brand or related topics the most and what types of interactions they’re having. See who’s leading these conversations and reach out, no matter how many followers they have.

Be helpful and friendly without being overly promotional. Most importantly, add value to these conversations. And if they’re singing your praises, make sure to show them your gratitude.

Join the conversations

Our data shows that 31 percent of company mentions on Twitter don’t include a company’s handle.

It’s important to capture these potential community members with social listening and engage with them. Start a conversation, answer any questions they have, or offer a demo. Convert them to people who are not only talking about you, but also with you.

31 percent of tweets

Most importantly, make sure to answer every question, even if not aimed at you. Every comment and reply fosters more interaction, more brand awareness, and more committed readers who know you’re there to help. Do it right, and someone who might have just mentioned you once could turn into someone who will consistently recommend your brand.

Build relationships

After identifying your potential brand champions, get to know more about their interests. Converse with them and ask questions. If you’re trying to decide on a topic to write about, ask them directly which would be the most useful. Foster a relationship.

Or take advice from Courtney Seiter at Buffer:

Create alerts for your brand name plus words like ‘love’ or ‘great’ to find more positive mentions. Maybe you can reach out to your fans with a little token of your appreciation? (At Buffer, we try to surprise some of our fans with these awesome Stickermule stickers.)

buffer

I don’t know about you, but I love a good surprise and delight.

The tools

At Mention, we “drink our own champagne” — we use our own product for monitoring our key terms and joining in on our community’s conversations, but there are several other options on the market.

Rand Fishkin from Moz runs through them in this Whiteboard Friday.

You can also monitor hashtags and Twitter lists with a social tool such as Tweetdeck, interact in relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups, or join forums.

My personal favorite content, marketing, and community forums are:

  • Inbound for anything inbound and content marketing related.
  • GrowthHackers for all things startup marketing.
  • Hacker News for all tech and startup news.
  • Product Hunt for new, useful products and apps, and to find out what’s trending.

2. Turn support queries into quality content

Monitor support-related interactions where people ask questions, seek assistance, or ask for advice, such as “Does anyone know a good alternative to …?”

Social interactions are beginning to rival support through tickets and email. Take this as an opportunity to leverage your content to raise the bar in your customer service.

The tools

Listen to what your community has to say via social media and support queries, blog comments, etc., and then incorporate their questions into valuable pieces of content, such as:

3. Reach out to guest bloggers and journalists

Track topics closely linked to your product or service to discover people who are likely to be interested in your brand. Take a look at who is leading conversations on such topics, whose names appear the most in these conversations, or who is cited the most often.

Join these conversations and follow these thought leaders on social media or subscribe to their blogs. Build relationships with them by leaving valuable comments on their articles and social media posts (but please, exercise moderation to avoid scaring them).

Eventually, you will get to the point where you can invite them to contribute to your blog, or visa versa. This is a win-win situation, as you will both be broadening your networks and audiences.

The same approach can be used when identifying journalists for outreach. Use media monitoring to identify the reporters writing about relevant topics, then dig deeper into their interests.

Discover what other types of conversations they are having, and what their personal interests are. Find a shared interest you can use to strike up a conversation — a starting point for building a relationship.

The tools

A comprehensive media monitoring tool is ideal for identifying people who share interests related to your offering, but there are other options that can replace or complement such a tool:

  • Swayy pulls quality content that your social community is talking about based on your personal interests. The site, with email updates, is a great way to discover who’s talking about topics relevant to you and your community, and where they’re published.
  • Prismatic is similar to Swayy and pulls popular posts among your social network based on your topic preferences.
  • Rapportive for Gmail is useful for uncovering basic information such as a person’s title, company, photo, website, and links to her social media accounts.
  • Riffle by CrowdRiff, a Chrome extension, gathers important insights and displays information about an individual, such as Klout score, top hashtags, mentions, URLs used and shared, whether she’s an Android or iPhone user, links to her other social profiles, and an activity breakdown between items such as retweets and favorites. (We love Riffle so much that we added an integration in Mention.)

Riffle Example

4. Gather insights about your community’s needs and wants

A membership section of your site allows you to collect interesting and insightful information about your audience that you can use to tailor communication and gives your community a chance to get to know each other better, increasing the likelihood of them talking to each other.

When your community engages in conversations, you can learn critical information, such as:

  • their problems,
  • the advice they seek,
  • the resources they use,
  • tools they find valuable, and
  • popular events.

This data is gold when determining what to publish, where to publish, where to speak, and new touchpoints for your audience.

The tools

Hosting a community forum or members area on your site is the most direct way to gather this intelligence.

Another option is hosting a branded (or non-branded) Facebook or LinkedIn group. Pin a question to the top of the page and ask the community to introduce themselves and give a fun fact.

Other community and forum tools include:

  • Mightybell for hosting community conversations or meetings.
  • Meetup if you’re up for hosting IRL events.
  • Intercom, which we use for support at Mention, for A/B testing messages that resonate with your community.

5. Find speaking and sponsor opportunities

Social listening is a great way to learn about the events that interest your community.

Gather this information into a database of events that you can either attend, speak at, or sponsor.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to community members and let them know you’ll be there and would like to meet in person!

The tools

I use Google Sheets to keep track of events. I also have an alert in Mention for “Marketing Conferences,” where I can mark certain events as “favorites,” so that later I can pull a list of them and gather more information.

Speaker Opps

Content goes beyond the page

At content.NYC, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs (who is a fantastic presenter, BTW) introduced content as “everything the light touches.”

I couldn’t agree more. Content goes beyond blog posts, podcasts, webinars, forum submissions, social media posts, etc. You create content when you present at a conference, create collateral for a sponsorship, or reply to a question.

Content is any touchpoint with a human. Ask yourself: what does my community really want that hasn’t been given to them yet? Then produce, test, gather feedback, and repeat.

How have you used community data to strengthen your content marketing strategy?

Let’s go over to Google+ and discuss the factors that influence the type of content you create!

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Tollen.

About the Author: Shannon Byrne is the Content & PR Manager at Mention, a media monitoring app, where she crafts words, creates strategies, and recruits loyal advocates. She’s based in New York. Get in touch with her at @ShannnonB.

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4 Ways to Use Email to Increase Followers and Expand Social Media Reach

followersEmail subscribers can be ambassadors for your brand, helping you gain new social media fans and followers spread your content far beyond your existing audience. Thanks to simple widgets provided by your email service provider or the social networks themselves, it’s easy to connect people directly from your email messages to your social networks.

Here are four ways to use email to increase your social media followers and expand your reach.

1. Include ‘Follow Us’ Buttons

Add ‘Follow Us’ buttons or links for each of your social networking accounts (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) in the sidebar, header, or footer of your email templates.

When fast-food chain Chik-Fil-A used this technique to promote its Facebook
fan club to its email subscribers, it grew its Facebook fans from 25,000 to 1
million in less than a year, according to a MarketingSherpa case study.

2. Add Social Sharing Buttons

Add social sharing buttons to each article or link in your email messages that allow subscribers to share that content  (e.g. the “Tweet This” button, Facebook’s “Like” button, LinkedIn’s “Share This” button, and now Google’s +1 button).

Using social sharing buttons in email messages results in a 30% higher click-through rate (CTR) on average, according to a study by GetResponse. The study also found that the more sharing options you provide, the more activity you’ll generate. Messages with three or more social sharing icons generated a 28% higher CTR than messages with one icon and a 55% higher CTR than messages with no social sharing icons.

3. Include Content From Your Social Media Presence

Include content from your social networks in your email messages to entice email subscribers to become social media fans and followers, too. Look for any opportunity to show email subscribers the value of connecting with your brand through multiple channels. For example:

  • Highlight an individual as “fan or follower of the month”
  • Feature the best discussions or comments from Facebook or LinkedIn in your email newsletters
  • Alert email subscribers to recent social media-only promotion or contest winners

4. Add Links to Social Accounts in Email Signatures

Include links to your all your social network accounts in your email signatures. That way, even your employees’ personal email communications can help grow your social media audience.

By making it as easy as possible for subscribers to share your email content, you can reach new prospects by tapping into the massive reach of users’ personal networks. According to a case study from email service provider StrongMail, the online personal finance site Mint.com used social media-enabled email messages to ask existing customers to refer the service to their friends on various social networks. More than 10% of the recipients of the message shared that offer with an average of five friends each, and those invitations generated a 61% click-through rate. In the end, the site signed up one new user for every 2.6 clicks.

Are you using email marketing tactics to complement your social media marketing efforts? In what other ways can you use email to expand your reach?

This article is a modified excerpt from one of our newest ebooks, “The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email.” Download your free copy here.

integrating-email-and-social-ebook

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