Tag Archive | "Smart"

SearchCap: Smart devices, SEO in 2018 & ad targeting

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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The Bold and the Stressful: Smart Ways to Make a Big Move

Sometimes, you just have to muster your courage and do something Big. It might mean making a brave statement with your content, or creating a splash by launching something new and amazing. On Monday, Brian Clark shared a strategy for telling a more gripping story by using the framing power of contrast. And he showed
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Building a Community of Advocates Through Smart Content

Posted by Michelle_LeBlanc

From gentle criticism to full-on trolls, every brand social media page or community sometimes faces pushback. Maybe you’ve seen it happen. Perhaps you’ve even laughed along as a corporation makes a condescending misstep or a local business publishes a glaring typo. It’s the type of thing that keeps social media and community managers up at night. Will I be by my phone to respond if someone needs customer service help? Will I know what to write if our brand comes under fire? Do we have a plan for dealing with this?

Advocates are a brand’s best friend

In my years of experience developing communities and creating social media content, I’ve certainly been there. I won’t try to sell you a magic elixir that makes that anxiety go away, but I’ve witnessed a phenomenon that can take the pressure off. Before you can even begin to frame a response as the brand, someone comes out of the woodwork and does it for you. Defending, opening up a conversation, or perhaps deflecting with humor, these individuals bring an authenticity to the response that no brand could hope to capture. They are true advocates, and they are perhaps the most valuable assets a company could have.

But how do you get them?

Having strong brand advocates can help insulate your brand from crisis, lead to referring links and positive media coverage, AND help you create sustainable, authentic content for your brand. In this blog post, I’ll explore a few case studies and strategies for developing these advocates, building user-generated content programs around them, and turning negative community perceptions into open dialogue.

Case study 1: Employee advocates can counter negative perceptions

To start, let’s talk about negative community perceptions. Almost every company deals with this to one degree or another.

In the trucking industry, companies deal with negative perceptions not just of their individual company, but also of the industry as a whole. You may not be aware of this, but our country needs approximately 3.5 million truck drivers to continue shipping daily supplies like food, medicine, deals from Amazon, and everything else you’ve come to expect in your local stores and on your doorstep. The industry regularly struggles to find enough drivers. Older drivers are retiring from the field, while younger individuals may be put off by a job that requires weeks away from home. Drivers that are committed to the industry may change jobs frequently, chasing the next hiring bonus or better pay rate.

How does a company counter these industry-wide challenges and also stand out as an employer from every other firm in the field?

Using video content, Facebook groups, and podcasts to create employee advocates

For one such company, we looked to current employees to become brand advocates in marketing materials and on social media. The HR and internal communications team had identified areas of potential for recruitment — e.g. separating military, women — and we worked with them to identify individuals that represented these niche characteristics, as well as the values that the company wanted to align themselves with: safety, long-term tenure with the company, affinity for the profession, etc. We then looked for opportunities to tell these individuals’ stories in a way that was authentic, reflected current organic social media trends, and provided opportunities for dialogue.

In one instance, we developed a GoPro-shot, vlog-style video program around two female drivers that featured real-life stories and advice from the road. By working behind the scenes with these drivers, we were able to coach them into being role models for our brand advocate program, modeling company values in media/PR coverage and at live company events.

One driver participated in an industry-media live video chat where she took questions from the audience, and later she participated in a Facebook Q&A on behalf of the brand as well. It was our most well-attended and most engaged Q&A to date. Other existing and potential drivers saw these individuals becoming the heroes of the brand’s stories and, feeling welcomed to the dialogue by one of their own, became more engaged with other marketing activities as a result. These activities included:

  • A monthly call-in/podcast show where drivers could ask questions directly of senior management. We found that once a driver had participated in this forum, they were much more likely to stay with the company — with a 90% retention rate!
  • A private Facebook group where very vocal and very socially active employees could have a direct line to the company’s driver advocate to express opinions and ask questions. In addition to giving these individuals a dedicated space to communicate, this often helped us identify trends and issues before they became larger problems.
  • A contest to nominate military veterans within the company to become a brand spokesperson in charge of driving a military-themed honorary truck. By allowing anyone to submit a nomination for a driver, this contest helped us discover and engage members of the audience that were perhaps less likely to put themselves forward out of modesty or lack of esteem for their own accomplishments. We also grew our email list, gained valuable insights about the individuals involved, and were able to better communicate with more of this “lurker” group.

By combining these social media activities with traditional PR pitching around the same themes, we continued to grow brand awareness as a whole and build an array of positive links back to the company.

When it comes to brand advocates, sometimes existing employees simply need to be invited in and engaged in a way that appeals to their own intrinsic motivations — perhaps a sense of belonging or achievement. For many employee-based audiences, social media engagement with company news or industry trends is already happening and simply needs to be harnessed and directed by the brand for better effect.

But what about when it comes to individuals that have no financial motivation to promote a brand? At the other end of the brand advocate spectrum from employees are those who affiliate themselves with a cause. They may donate money or volunteer for a specific organization, but when it comes down to it, they don’t have inherent loyalty to one group and can easily go from engaged to enraged.

Case study 2: UGC can turn volunteers into advocates

One nonprofit client that we have the privilege of working with dealt with this issue on a regular basis. Beyond misunderstandings about their funding sources or operations, they occasionally faced backlash about their core mission on social media. After all, for any nonprofit or cause out there, it’s easy to point to two or ten others that may be seen as “more worthy,” depending on your views. In addition, the nature of their cause tended to attract a lot of attention in the holiday giving period, with times of low engagement through the rest of the year.

Crowdsourcing user-generated content for better engagement

To counter this and better engage the audience year-round, we again looked for opportunities to put individual faces and stories at the forefront of marketing materials.

In this case, we began crowdsourcing user-generated content through monthly contesting programs during the organization’s “off” months. Photos submitted during the contests could be used as individual posts on social media or remixed across videos, blog posts, or as a starting point for further conversation and promotion development with the individuals. As Facebook was the primary promotion point for these contests, they attracted those who were already highly engaged with the organization and its page. During the initial two-month program, the Facebook page gained 16,660 new fans with no associated paid promotion, accounting for 55% of total page Likes in the first half of 2016.

Perhaps even more importantly, the organization was able to save on internal labor in responding to complaints or negative commentary on posts as even more individuals began adding their own positive comments. The organization’s community manager was able to institute a policy of waiting to respond after any negative post, allowing the brand advocates time to chime in with a more authentic, volunteer-driven voice.

By inviting their most passionate supporters more deeply into the fold and giving them the space and trust to communicate, the organization may have lost some measure of control over the details of the message, but they gained support and understanding on a deeper level. These individuals not only influenced others within the social media pages of the organization, but also frequently shared content and tagged friends, acting as influencers and bringing others into the fold.

How you can make it work for your audience

As you can see, regardless of industry, building a brand advocate program often starts with identifying your most passionate supporters and finding a way to appeal to their existing habits, interests, and motivations — then building content programs that put those goals at the forefront. Marketing campaigns featuring paid influencers can be fun and can certainly achieve rapid awareness and reach, but they will never be able to counter the lasting value of an authentic advocate, particularly when it comes to countering criticism or improving the perceived status of your brand or industry.

To get started, you can follow a few quick tips:

  • Understand your existing community.
    • Take a long look at your active social audience and try to understand who those people are: Employees? Customers?
    • Ask yourself what motivates them to participate in dialogue and how can you provide more of that.
  • Work behind the scenes.
    • Send private messages and emails, or pick up the phone and speak with a few audience members.
    • Getting a few one-on-one insights can be incredibly helpful in content planning and inspiring your strategy.
    • By reaching out individually, you really make people feel special. That’s a great step towards earning their advocacy.
  • Think: Where else can I use this?
    • Your advocates and their contributions are valuable. Make sure you take advantage of that value!
    • Reuse content in multiple formats or invite them to participate in new ways.
    • Someone who provides a testimonial might be able to act as a source for your PR team, as well.

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Practical Strategies for Smart Content Creators

Practical Strategies for Smart Content Creators

Before we get started — just a reminder that if you’ve been thinking about moving your site to StudioPress Sites, this is a fantastic week to do it. Not only will you get your first month free, we’ll even migrate your existing WordPress site for you. Also for free. Hooray for free, my favorite amount.

StudioPress Sites lets you keep the power and flexibility of WordPress … without the hassles. The special deal ends a week from today, on April 28, 2017, so go check it out now before you forget.

On to the content! On Monday, Jerod Morris explained how he’s leveraging those impressive new-dad time management skills to get more efficient at content creation. He walked us through a great way to take a single strong idea and turn it into multiple formats, without spending a ton of time.

On Tuesday, Brian Clark showed exactly how to build a content strategy for a business or project … demonstrating how he’d approach a specific persona with a specific sequence of relevant, useful messages. Twenty bonus points if you can catch the incredibly subtle promotion he works in there …

And on Wednesday, I wrote about the magical powers of doing your homework. It may not sound sexy, but when you approach influencers or companies and they don’t curse at you and mark you as a spammer, you’ll find out how sexy homework can be.

Over on the Copyblogger FM podcast, I talked about what I suspect was behind that spectacular United Airlines fail the other week … as well as the genius moves from Pepsi and Nivea.

Your winning difference is the reason people do business with you and not someone else — it sets you apart and makes you the only real choice for the right people. And you reflect that difference with your content marketing.

So, how do you find your winning difference?

On Unemployable, Brian shared three different five-minute exercises that will shake loose an idea that works for your content marketing efforts.

Hope you enjoy all the good stuff, and we’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


this is how you increase the likelihood of reaching new audience members with your best workQuality Over Quantity: Repurpose Your Best Ideas and Distribute Them Far and Wide

by Jerod Morris


content marking is broader than email marketing, but your email list remains your core focusHow Strategic Content Converts to Email Subscriptions and Sales

by Brian Clark


I can’t tell you how many cold sales emails I get from people who demonstrate they have no idea what my company does3 Ways to Get What You Want by Doing Your Homework

by Sonia Simone


WordPress Made Fast and EasyFirst Month Free + No Charge Migration to a Faster WordPress Website

by Brian Clark


How to Do Simple PPC Advertising for Your Online BusinessHow to Do Simple PPC Advertising for Your Online Business

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


The Painful Core Lesson Taught by 3 Astonishing Big-Brand FailsThe Painful Core Lesson Taught by 3 Astonishing Big-Brand Fails

by Sonia Simone


How Hugo Award Winning Sci-Fi Author John Scalzi Writes: Part TwoHow Hugo Award Winning Sci-Fi Author John Scalzi Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


Are You Doing Enough with Your Best Ideas?Are You Doing Enough with Your Best Ideas?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


The Essential Guide to Hacking the Growth of Your Online BusinessThe Essential Guide to Hacking the Growth of Your Online Business

by Sean Jackson & Jessica Frick


How to Find Your Winning DifferenceHow to Find Your Winning Difference

by Brian Clark


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The Smart and Simple Framework for Finding the Right Pricing Model for Your Membership Site

don't guess! discover the pricing model that works

Building profitable membership sites is one thing we know a lot about at Rainmaker Digital, and one question we often receive is:

How do you create the right pricing for a membership site, especially one that is just launching?

Even sophisticated online entrepreneurs struggle with that question.

And while there are many ways to optimize your pricing plans once your site is launched, starting with the right foundation will make it easier to improve.

In this post, I will walk you through a basic framework you can use to determine the best pricing models for any type of membership site.

Rule #1

The most important rule you must remember is this:

You are in control of your pricing.

There is no national database of pricing that you have to follow. You are in control of everything when it comes to pricing — so don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else does.

Yes, the “market” does decide if your price is “right.” But you influence the perception of your price through the unique value you offer.

So toss out any preconceived notions of what you have to do and focus on what works for you.

Know your costs

I know what you are thinking right now:

“Damn it, Sean. I am a marketer, not an accountant.”

Don’t worry. You just need a “bare bones” understanding of basic math and a little logic to find your costs, so that your site will “live long and prosper.”

All membership sites share a common set of annual costs, including:

  • Credit card or PayPal fees
  • Hosting costs
  • Platform costs
  • Time spent on customer service
  • Time spent on contributing to the site

You should think of your costs as the money you spend to fulfill the customer’s purchase.

And these costs are different from expenses.

An expense is the money you spend to run your business.

Typical expenses include:

  • Sales and marketing: the money you spend on promoting your products and services, including affiliate commissions, advertising, or content marketing
  • Research and development: the money you spend on building your membership site, developing content for the site, or educating yourself on digital commerce
  • General administration: expenses like your internet connection, rent, or accountant

Expenses are not costs even though you spend money on them.

Why is this distinction important?

Unless you identify your costs, it makes it very hard to determine your profit. Profit is defined as your revenue less your costs and before you pay any expenses.

And as a general rule of thumb, a membership site should generate a profit margin between 90 percent – 75 percent.

Or put another way, for every $ 100 you collect in revenue, your costs should be $ 10 – $ 25, netting you a profit of $ 90 – $ 75 per sale.

An example of membership site costs

Let’s say that for a year, you estimate your costs as follows:

  • $ 12,000 on credit card fees
  • $ 1,500 for your Rainmaker Platform site (includes hosting)
  • $ 6,500 for a part-time assistant to handle customer service questions
  • $ 80,000 for you to manage and contribute to the membership site

Based on these items, your total costs are $ 100,000 per year, before you pay for any expenses. And if your costs are 10 percent – 25 percent of your total revenue, your target revenue is between $ 400,000 and $ 1,000,000 per year.

Your profit will be between $ 300,000 and $ 900,000 per year.

membership site profit example

That’s a lot of money, but don’t get too excited yet.

You will still need to pay for your affiliate commissions, advertising, and any other expenses you incur to operate your business — and that comes out of your profit.

Now that we have covered your costs, let’s get to work on pricing your different membership categories and offers.

Create an anchor offer

An anchor offer is the most expensive membership type you sell.

For example, your anchor offer could include telephone consulting, personalized daily emails, and/or exclusive access to webinars, conferences, or other high-touch events.

Basically, it is the offer you would give to someone that includes everything you would ever want to provide to a person willing to pay you a huge premium.

The good news is that very few people, if anyone, will buy it because it is so expensive!

So, why create it?

By creating a very high-priced offer, you anchor the expectations of website visitors for your lower-priced offerings. Your goal with your anchor offer is to create an emotional desire for it, knowing that most people can’t afford it.

Luxury brands use this tactic all the time.

Buying a luxury car? The most expensive ones are in the showroom. Want a deluxe coffee maker? They show you the $ 5,000 model first, before they show you the $ 500 one.

When you create your anchor offer, you set the expectation of quality in the mind of your customer, even though they will probably buy your lower-priced membership.

Next, create two lower-priced offers

Once you’ve defined and priced your anchor product, you can create two other offers or categories for your members.

Why just two? To avoid analysis paralysis.

The first offer you need to create is the lowest price for a membership to your site — ideally between 10 percent and 25 perfect of the price for your anchor offer.

This low-priced offer should meet the basic needs and wants of your customer, including some, but not all, of the features and attributes of the anchor offer.

The second membership category is the mid-tier offer that is priced between the low price and your expensive anchor offer. It should have more benefits and features than your low-priced offer and is generally priced between 30 percent and 49 percent of your anchor offer.

So, let’s say your anchor offer is priced at $ 97 per month, and you want your lowest-priced offer at 20 percent and your mid-tier offer at 40 percent.

Your lowest price will be $ 19 per month and your mid-tier price will be $ 39 per month.

Pretty easy, right?

But now comes the real question …

Can you afford your customers?

We started this article with a basic discussion about costs, but we did not determine if those costs are sufficient to run your membership site.

This is where a little math and a basic rule of thumb can help.

In general, the average revenue per member you will receive from a membership site will be between your lowest-priced offer and your mid-tier offer.

For example, if your lowest price is $ 19/month and your mid-tier price is $ 39/month, then your average revenue per member will be around $ 29/month.

Let’s look back on our costs. We identified $ 100,000 of costs per year and we want to target $ 400,000 per year in revenue. That means that every month we need to generate $ 33,333 in revenue ($ 400,000/12 months).

If the average revenue per customer is $ 29/month, then we just need to divide our target monthly revenue ($ 33,333) by the average monthly revenue per customer ($ 29) to find the number of customers you need:

$ 33,333 / $ 29 = 1,149 customers per month

Now you want to ask yourself:

Does your $ 100,000 in annual costs allow you to support 1,149 members per month?

If the answer is “yes,” then you are good to go.

If the answer is “no,” then you either need to increase your pricing or lower your costs.

Get all the details in this SlideShare presentation

Your head might be spinning right about now, but we want to make it easy for you.

Here’s a SlideShare deck that breaks down all of the information above:

Learn about profitable membership sites each week

We have a new podcast called Members Only that helps you not only develop the pricing model for your membership site but also gives you the tactics and techniques you need to grow a profitable online business.

Every week, Jessica Frick and I provide an entertaining format to discuss the challenges online entrepreneurs face with ideas that you can implement to improve your own site.

So, if you are serious about running and growing a profitable membership site, we hope that you will tune in.

And since the show is free, we know the price is right.

Subscribe Now to Listen

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3 Smart Moves that Supercharge Sales Funnels with Content

use content to power up your funnel

The problem with many business blogs is that they’re boring, product-centric, and full of corporate jargon — not exactly the juicy, engaging, personality-filled content that readers love to consume and share.

While you want to establish trust and authority with your audience, content that helps you meet business goals also fills your sales funnel with interested prospects.

So, if you’d like your content to be share-worthy and generate leads, this post is for you. Read on for three ways to supercharge your sales funnel.

1. Eliminate fuzzy funnels

If your current sales funnel is vague and amounts to something like, “I’ll get people onto my email list, and then when my bank account gets low, I’ll make an offer,” don’t worry; you’re not alone! But as a Copyblogger reader, I know you can do better.

At its most basic, your sales funnel is an intentional path that turns a website visitor into a paying customer — and then into a happy, repeat customer.

Your sales funnel might be an email autoresponder that utilizes marketing automation. It helps your audience get to know your business, builds credibility, and makes an introductory offer.

Here’s my main point: if you create content to generate new leads, you first have to establish what your sales funnel looks like.

Action step

Draw out your sales funnel, digitally or with good old pen and paper.  

  • What are the steps that turn a website visitor into a paying customer?
  • How do they hear from you?
  • What offers do they receive and in what order?

2. Give your audience a “little slice” as your opt-in

To fill your sales funnel with the most qualified prospects — your ideal customers — give them a “little slice” of your product or service for free.

Here’s how the “little slice” technique works:

  • For each offer in your sales funnel, identify the problem it solves for the customer.
  • How can you take a “little slice” of that problem and solve it for free in your opt-in gift?

Let’s first look at an example of what not to do

Imagine you’re a weight loss coach. You need an opt-in gift, so you decide to make a PDF with “5 Healthy Recipes.” Unfortunately, this recipe PDF attracts all sorts of different people. (Or, as is the problem with lots of generic content, it attracts no one!)

So, now you’re filling your sales funnel with people who might want weight loss advice, but also busy moms, broke students who need quick meal ideas, bodybuilders, diabetics, and anyone else interested in healthy cooking.  

When you eventually make an offer for your weight loss program, there are only a small percentage of people in your funnel who are seriously interested in losing weight. Everyone else has problems that you’re (probably) not solving.

Contrast that example with the “little slice” technique

This same weight loss coach might offer a free seven-day weight loss jump-start challenge as an opt-in, which then leads to an offer for her paid weight loss program.

That “little slice” opt-in attracts prospects who are interested specifically in weight loss and who also want to participate in a program to help them reach their goals.

These prospects are much more likely to buy a full weight loss program than the random mix of people interested in “healthy recipes.”

The “little slice” technique works for all types of businesses

A software business might offer a free trial or free plugin with a portion of their product’s functionality, which leads to an offer for the full product. 

The “little slice” technique attracts the right people into your sales funnel because your content focuses on a central problem that you solve with your products or services.

Action step

For each product or service in your funnel:

  • Identify the problem it solves
  • Take a “little slice” of that problem and solve it in an opt-in gift

The next step will show you how to extract more “little slices” for additional pieces of content.

3. Create content that attracts your ideal customer

As you know from your own experience, you’re not always in buying mode. Sometimes you’re searching online because you’re ready to buy, but most of the time you just want information, connection, or entertainment. It’s the same for your prospect.

Writing content that your ideal customer wants to read (and share!) starts with identifying which phase of the sales funnel he is in.

Sales funnels can get really complex, but there are essentially three major phases:

  1. Awareness Phase. The prospect has symptoms, may realize he has a problem, but isn’t looking for solutions (he might not even know that solutions exist).
  2. Consideration Phase. The prospect knows he has a problem and knows solutions exist, so he’s actively researching solutions.
  3. Buying Phase. The prospect is actively evaluating solutions to choose the best fit.

We’ll focus on the first two phases, which is when the majority of leads will enter your sales funnel. (You’ll want to handle leads in the Buying Phase differently — by tracking visits to a pricing page and making it easy to get answers to last-minute questions.)

Imagine the type of person who is attracted to the blog post with the headline “Why So Tired? 6 Little-Known Causes.”

This post attracts a reader who feels tired and wants to know why she might feel this way. This reader is most likely in the Awareness Phase.

She has symptoms but isn’t sure about the underlying cause — so selling her directly on your “Quit Caffeine” course wouldn’t work because she doesn’t realize caffeine consumption is related to her tiredness.

Now imagine the type of person who is attracted to the blog post with the headline “How to Quit Caffeine for Good.”

This post attracts a reader who already knows she needs to quit caffeine. She’s probably in the Consideration Phase because she’s looking for a solution to her problem.

You’ll want to bring both types of readers into your sales funnel, but you’ll communicate with them differently.

Readers in the Awareness Phase want to read about their symptoms, the underlying problem, other people who have the same problem, and that there are solutions to fix their problem.

For this phase, consider creating content related to these questions:

  • How can you help them solve a little piece of their problem for free (“little slice content”)?
  • What are the symptoms they’re experiencing and what’s the impact on their lives?
  • What’s the underlying problem that you recognize as an expert, but they don’t?
  • What does a beginner need to know about Problem XYZ?
  • What are the first steps to solve Problem XYZ?

Readers in the Consideration Phase know they have a problem and are looking for a solution.

They’re attracted to:

  • Case studies — how others like them have already solved this problem
  • Review posts that compare various solutions, including yours
  • Buying guides that help them make a smart decision
  • Content that addresses objections
  • Implementation tips, advice, and FAQs

Content that is more likely to be shared isn’t only about your specific product or service; it’s beneficial guidance related to the type of product or service you offer.

Action step

Make a list of content topics based on the ideas above and remember to include topics that provide a “little slice” of your opt-in gift, as well as topics that address the concerns of prospects in the Awareness Phase and prospects in the Consideration Phase.

Plan this content into your editorial calendar to meet your ideal customers’ needs.

Over to you …

When you follow these three methods, you’ll find that your content attracts more of the right customers who also want to share your useful content.

How do you make sure your content helps convert prospects into customers? Share in the comments below.

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Bing gets smart: adds trivia, quizzes & polls

Replacing the “hotspots” previously listed atop the image of the day is a graduation cap icon that leads to a three-question quiz.

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Attraction Content: The Foundation of a Smart Content Marketing Strategy

4 Essential Content Types - Attraction Content

This article is part of our series on the 4 Essential Types of Content Every Marketing Strategy Needs.

Let’s start at the beginning: you need to attract people to your content.

Creating Attraction content is the first step in a successful content marketing strategy and the focus of our first lesson.

Here’s a working definition of Attraction content:

Attraction content is freely available on the web for social sharing and for search engines to index. Your goal for this content is for people to consume it and spread it.

In other words, this is the content that drives traffic — ideally, a lot of traffic. Let’s look at a few examples of Attraction content.

List articles

Some like to call these articles “listicles.” Others like to call ’em “rubbish.”

Call them what you will, but creating a high-quality article around a numbered list like the 109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to the Media simply works.

And, yes, you will typically see better results from higher numbers (as long as you make each point a beefy, satisfying item).

But Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well or The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living prove that short list articles can also be popular.

Infographics

The most-shared piece of content on Copyblogger is an infographic called 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly.

We’ll dig into why it works so well — and why it doesn’t — below.

In the meantime, here are two more examples of successful infographics:

Both of these infographics were large drivers of traffic and social shares the year they were published (2014).

And check out these articles if you are interested in learning how to make winning infographics without risk or transforming your ho-hum infographic into something extraordinary.

Downloadable assets

Give people resources to make their lives easier and they will be happy to share them with others. That’s the purpose behind downloadable assets like worksheets, checklists, and inspirational posters.

Definitive guides and content libraries fall into this category, too.

Definitive guides are resources like QuickSprout’s The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Branding or Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.

These are monster resources that pile up the inbound links, generate thousands of social shares, and dominate the top rankings in search engines.

Content libraries like My.Copyblogger accomplish the same result, but instead of focusing on one topic, we offer 15 different ebooks on topics ranging from copywriting to content marketing to landing pages.

And yes, in exchange for one email address we give you access to all 15 ebooks. If you are interested, you can read up on the results of this approach in a report published by MarketingSherpa (spoiler alert: the experiment was a smashing success, in more ways than we imagined).

SlideShares

Another method for attracting new people to your content is creating slide presentations and publishing them on SlideShare. On Copyblogger, we publish a new post with a SlideShare presentation embedded in it, like we did with 10 Rules for Creating Content People Can Trust.

By doing it this way, we drive our Copyblogger audience to view the SlideShare, which then (we hope) raises the number of views to a point that it gets featured on the SlideShare home page.

Since all of our slide presentations point back to Copyblogger, this additional exposure potentially introduces us to new audience members.

Surveys and stats

Sometimes you don’t have to create all the content by yourself. You can ask your audience to provide the raw material for you. That’s the idea behind surveys.

A survey is also a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry by becoming the go-to source for the latest research on a particular topic. In fact, we used a survey to launch our native advertising series, and that survey attracted a number of links.

The SEO software company Moz elevates its authority and visibility in the market by releasing its annual search ranking factors report. Surveys are a reliable way to attract links.

Stats are another way to reuse content (whether they are yours or someone else’s) to drive traffic to your site and attract links. For example, take a look at NewsCred’s 50 Stats You Need to Know about Content Marketing downloadable report, which is also a SlideShare.

Attraction content mashups

As you can see, and as you will continue to see over the course of this week-long series, Attraction content can embody a number of different formats and mediums.

You can also transform one piece of content into different formats and mediums. Almost two years after we published Stefanie Flaxman’s 30 Quick Editing Tips Every Content Creator Needs to Know, we updated it and turned it into a SlideShare presentation.

In another case, an infographic became a series of podcasts and then eventually became a series of articles. And don’t forget, you can always republish old blockbuster articles to expose them to a new audience.

Now let’s discuss a common problem with Attraction content.

The problem with Attraction content

As I mentioned above, a great example of Attraction content is our 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly. This is easily our most popular post. It’s generated a ton of links and social shares.

In addition, it’s driven a lot of traffic to our site. But there is one problem with the traffic. And it involves delivering the right value to the right type of person.

Unfortunately, many of those people who find Copyblogger through Grammar Goofs are not part of our target audience, so they tend to drift away. They care about grammar, but not content marketing.

This is not always an entirely bad thing. Traffic surges can lead to surges of free publicity. Let me explain.

When bad traffic can be good

In their early stages, Buffer published hugely popular posts on body language and happiness. They were great posts, but I always thought it was strange for a social media app company to write about these topics.

Until I understood what they were doing.

See, those popular posts were getting picked up by big-name media sites like TIME and The Huffington Post, which drove a ton of traffic back to Buffer via the links embedded in the articles.

As expected, the conversion rates were low, but Buffer got publicity from these articles.

This is (sometimes) the beauty of content syndication.

Eventually, though, Buffer narrowed its content focus to attract the right audience. Once they reached a critical mass of visibility and traffic, it was time to focus on conversion.

The same was true for Copyblogger. Attraction content is now typically part of our content mix about once or twice a month.

When to use Attraction content

Let’s close with a couple of thoughts about when you should use Attraction content.

  1. New websites. Your new website will need a heavy dose of Attraction content to get attention and links. If you publish twice a week, for instance, you could publish Attraction content once a week. This ratio is a good starting place because it’s not easy to predict which piece of content will become a stellar performer.
  2. Mature websites. In general, it will take you anywhere from six months to two years to start seeing your content rise in the search engines, regularly get shared, and routinely pick up links. Once you reach that point, you may want to publish Attraction content about once or twice a month.

It’s comforting to remember that it’s quite easy to blend your Attraction content with other content types, like Authority and Affinity. This way, you not only drive a lot of traffic to your site, you also attract the right type of traffic.

Fortunately, we will discuss Authority content in tomorrow’s article. See you then.

Over to you …

Do you have any questions about Attraction content? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

And let us know about your favorite piece of Attraction content (whether you or someone else created it).

The post Attraction Content: The Foundation of a Smart Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Copyblogger.


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3 Resources to Help Content Marketers Learn About Smart Web Design

Copyblogger Collection - web design tips for content marketers

I like to snack. I’m a big snacker.

And I like to examine the packaging that houses my snacks. It’s a side effect of being a content marketer.

Recently, I studied the wrapper of a granola bar. One side listed the ingredients, and the other side was white with small, green polka dots.

Polka dots seem upbeat and happy — feelings the manufacturer wants you to have when you eat their granola bar, so that you associate their product with positive emotions and continue to purchase it.

But I have no idea if that was the intention; I’m no design expert.

That’s why I’m going to direct you to distinguished designers who will help you enhance your content with smart and beautiful web design.

This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:

  • How to use visual hierarchy to create clear and easy-to-read web pages
  • How to use web design to better connect you to your audience
  • How to know when your web design is done

As you work your way through the material below, think of the following lessons as a mini web design course for content marketers.


How to Use Visual Hierarchy to Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages

visual-hierarchy

Website visitors get frustrated when they don’t have enough information to make a decision.

Without realizing it, you may be confusing your readers and making them guess about the actions they should take on your site, rather than clearly guiding them to your best content.

Pamela Wilson is here to squash that guessing game in How to Use Visual Hierarchy to Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages.

You’ll learn ways to quickly communicate that you have valuable information that will benefit your visitors.


3 Ways Your Web Design Can Better Connect You to Your Audience

connect-web-design

How can you help your visitors feel good about using your site?

Rafal Tomal says:

Take some time to get to know your typical visitors and study their behavior on your website. Find their common questions and problems, and try to solve them.

In 3 Ways Your Web Design Can Better Connect You to Your Audience, Rafal reveals little-known design tips that dive deep into practices that help you form strong bonds with your visitors.


How to Know When Your Web Design Is Done

when-is-design-done

Pamela Wilson is back to expose what it means when you say, “I’m still working on my website.”

You want to sound like you’ve got an important project on your plate, but sometimes it’s just an excuse for not moving forward with your business.

We’re not judging you; it happens to the best of us. So, Pamela gently breaks down How to Know When Your Web Design Is Done.

Once you have the most important parts of your website in place, you can confidently promote your business and accomplish your goals.

Get our best-ever deal on StudioPress themes

Ready to create a stunning and powerful website?

Consider this before Monday, November 16: one of our Black Monday deals is a huge discount on the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Pack.

Pro Plus includes immediate and unlimited access — plus support and updates — to all 37 existing StudioPress themes, all of which are built for the Genesis framework. You also get three gorgeous third-party Genesis themes right out of the box.

Our other Black Monday deal is Charter Membership pricing on Digital Commerce Institute.

Learn more about both Black Monday deals

(Offers expire Monday, November 16 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time)

About the author

Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is Rainmaker Digital’s Editor-in-Chief.

The post 3 Resources to Help Content Marketers Learn About Smart Web Design appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Win a Free Pass! Get Content Marketing Smart at MarketingProfs University in Minneapolis

MarketingProfs-University-Minneapolis

One of the biggest problems that many marketing organizations are facing today is creating quality content on a consistent basis. It can be a challenge to make sure every piece of content you produce is effective at helping to attract, engage and convert target customers.

In fact, according to research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, only 38% of B2B marketers state that their content marketing is effective. If you are one of the 62% of marketers that really need to improve content marketing performance, we have just the ticket. Literally!

Our friends at MarketingProfs are hosting a series of workshops focused on helping marketers reach content marketing success. From September 30 through October 2nd, these workshops will be held in Minneapolis.

Get Creative and Win! TopRank Marketing will award one free pass to the workshop of your choice in Minneapolis to whomever leaves the most creative comment on this post about why they should attend.

What Will You Learn at MarketingProfs University?

“MichaelWorkshop Title: Content Rules
Date: September 30, 2015
Instructor: Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy at NewsCred

In this workshop, Instructor Michael Brenner will cover the many ways to make content magic through industry best practices and show you how (and where) to find inspiration as well as how to reach the ideal audience(s) with whom you want to develop a lasting relationship.

Michael will also guide you through many group exercises focusing on critical elements in developing award-winning content, exploring various content formats and platforms, and creating relevant personas and messaging to drive conversions. You’ll walk away with a toolbox full of tactics that you can immediately apply back in the office.
Enroll Now

Kerry O'Shea GorgoneWorkshop Title: Everybody Writes
Date: October 1, 2015
Instructor: Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Instructional Design Manager, Enterprise Training at MarketingProfs and Host of the Marketing Smarts Podcast

This workshop will focus on audience-centric writing and the fundamental shifts in thinking that require marketers to inspire, educate, and help rather than talk up benefits and features. Learners will receive hands-on training in creating different types of content for their ongoing marketing initiatives, so bring some current writing projects with you to the workshop.

The session will demonstrate various ways to collaborate on content creation, and you’ll have the opportunity to give each other feedback on voice, tone, and medium. You’ll not only learn to develop long- and medium-form content, but you’ll examine how these different types of written content align with various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Enroll Now

Letisha MillsapWorkshop Title: Finders Keepers
Date: October 2, 2015
Speaker: Letisha Millsap, Marketing Strategy and Demand Generation Consultant

In this workshop, you’ll learn the difference between a lead nurturing and general marketing campaign. You will be able to review specific programs geared towards prospects and customers, the ten steps to create a lead nurturing program, and the different types of tests you can apply to measure your campaigns’ effectiveness.

Letisha will guide you through many group exercises focusing on critical elements in developing a nurturing program—from creating a buyer’s persona, to building specific messages for that persona, to documenting your content library. You’ll walk away with a toolbox full of tactics that you can immediately apply back in the office.
Enroll Now

For even more reasons to check out the MarketingProfs University workshops, here are the top three from MarketingProfs marketing manager, Matt Snodgrass (plus a BONUS):

1) People will learn these three topics (writing, content marketing, lead generation) in a way that’s standardized and easily repeatable. We’re calling it the ‘MarketingProfs way.’ The way we (you, really, for content and writing) do things. These are proven tips, tactics, and techniques.
2) Small, intimate workshop sizes. Lots of instructor interaction, group work, peer collaboration and cooperative learning to better reinforce the material.
3) This is not only a workshop, it’s an entire learning experience. We provide pre-course preparation, in-workshop learning, and post-workshop reinforcement to keep the content fresh and help learners incorporate it into their daily work routines.

Ann Handley
4) They get to talk to Ann Handley at the end of them (no joke – this was the highlight of lots of peoples’ days).

Are you ready to get content marketing smart?

Members of the TopRank Marketing team will be in attendance at each of the MarketingProfs University workshops in Minneapolis and we’d love to see you there as well! If you don’t want to chance it, be sure to check out each of the links above for more information.

How can you win a FREE PASS worth $ 795?  Just leave a creative comment below on why you would like to attend one of the workshops. We will pick and announce a winner on this blog post and on Twitter using the @TopRank handle on Monday September 28.

Remember, creativity wins!

If you’re already registered for a workshop, we’d love to connect with you at the event in person.

Image via Shutterstock


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