Tag Archive | "Trenches"

4 Integrated Content Marketing Insights From the Trenches of Online Dating

Left. Left. Left. Right. Left. No, this is not an army drill. These are the swiping habits I’ve picked up from my time online dating. Done in a split second, I can swipe faster than most people can snap their fingers. If you’ve ever dabbled with dating apps or online dating, you know that these snap judgements start to become second nature.

With the average human attention span lasting just 8.25 seconds, there’s something to be said about those snap judgements. As a marketing copywriter who’s working day in and day out to woo my audience with clever prose and charming insights, it’s my job to make a great first impression on my audience. If I fail, they’re going to move on to something (or someone) else. And I don’t want my audience dating around — I’m after that exclusive kind of relationship.

However, simply writing great content won’t get the job done. You need to have multiple tactics in play from SEO to social and beyond to really woo your audience whenever and wherever they are. It’s why our own client programs at TopRank Marketing have an integrated content marketing strategy driving them. Content, while a key component, is only a piece of our formula for fueling results.

To help you elevate your content marketing efforts to “swipe-right” status and spark instant chemistry with your audience, here are a few of my tips inspired by my time on the front lines.

#1 – Looks are everything, which means visual and visually appealing content is an imperative.

In the app and online dating world, looks are everything when it comes to making a first impression. Profile pictures are your first glimpse into who your dating prospects are, and the more interesting and compelling, the more likely it is that I’ll stop and give the full profile my time. And, as you may have already guessed, the same can be said for your content when it comes to visual appeal.

If visual content isn’t a key component of your content marketing mix — from native or produced video on social to the actual structure of your content — it probably won’t do much to stop scrolling thumbs from passing over you. What kind of visual content am I talking about? A header image should always be included, but in today’s digital marketing landscape video, infographics, charts, tables, and even special formatting should be considered. Bulleted lists, article structure, broken up paragraphs, and other formatting elements give readers the impression that your content is easy to digest. A wall of text is a huge turnoff.

For images that really stand out, avoid using common stock photography — odds are, someone else has already used it for a similar topic, which rings a little too close to catfishing for my taste. Instead, go for sources that other brands avoid like Flickr’s creative commons, make your own custom image in Canva, or get out your smartphone and snap your own pic. Even better, if you have an in-house designer, take advantage of their talents to create something custom.


#2 – Your average pick-up line isn’t going to cut it on social media.

Nothing is more annoying than thinking you’ve found a good candidate only to find out their bio has a solitary emoji in it (this really happened to me, by the way). That does nothing to pull me in. Instead, it makes me immediately want to swipe left. (Is the thumbs up saying they’re a good person? Saying I’ll have a good time with them? Letting me know that they will only communicate in emojis? What does it mean?!)

Whether your audience enjoys longer form content or want you to keep it short and sweet, organic visibility is next to zero on Facebook these days, and Twitter and LinkedIn feeds move fast and have their own ways of prioritizing content.

At the most basic level, this means that perceived value, engaging messaging and visuals, proper hashtag usage, and authenticity are non-negotiables. Next, this means that paid social promotion is a new norm for achieving reach. And finally, influencers can provide a killer hook to capture attention and inspire action.

#3 – Cease and desist all SEO catfishing.

When it comes to online or app dating, catfishing is always a risk — which adds a level of skepticism in the minds of any single looking for love. If someone has a profile picture I’ve seen associated with a different name, comes across as fake, or is just crazy out of my league, I’m definitely not swiping right in an effort to avoid a catfish.

When it comes to infusing SEO into your content, the days of prioritizing the search engine above your audience are long gone. Not only are old-school tactics like keyword stuffing ineffective for enticing or accurate read, you’re also just asking for search engines to put a permanent swipe-left on all your content.

In addition, clickbait title tags and meta descriptions need to go (This goes for any social promotion, too). Simply put, you need to be walk the line of honesty and intrigue with your audience, or else you’re no better than a catfish and you’re audience will bounce.

A great example of transparency and piquing interest comes from fellow TopRank Marketing employee Joshua Nite. He’s the king of injecting humor into his writing, which translates into his title meta content to pull people in from search (see picture below). Not only are his descriptions funny, but they’re also accurate to what’s on the page. And it works, too, because his posts have some of our highest organic traffic. In fact, his post, 20 Jokes Only a Marketer Could Love, had an average CTR of 11.42% in SERPs over the last 90 days.

#4 – Know your type to find perfect matches with digital advertising.

If someone’s a gym junkie, I’m swiping left. If someone’s a big football fan, I’m swiping right. Why is this? One’s my type and one isn’t. And knowing my type, I can widdle down my options and find a better match than if I was just playing a guessing game. If I give my own profile the same treatment, I can expect I am attracting a like-minded person.

Understanding who I want to attract and who I don’t, ensures that I am only receiving quality matches and gives me ammo to reach out to them with. This same practice should be applied to your paid promotion where you can target specific audience segments with customized messages.

Before launching a digital advertising, you should know the audience segments you want to target using their job title, company size, age, location, values, and interests using your website analytics service. And if you have a Facebook Pixel on your site, you can discover even more helpful information about your audience and how to target them. Once those segments are defined, you can use solutions like LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Facebook Ads to target those individuals with personalized posts that are more relevant to them. Through targeted posts, you can feel confident that you’re attracting the right audience.


Entice the “Swipe”

When it comes to reaching, resonating, and captivating your audience, you know simply publishing a good piece of content isn’t enough. Like creating swipe-right-worthy profile, you need to go beyond a simple photo and one-sentence bio if you want to attract well-matched prospect.

Integrating a mix of interconnected tactics such as compelling visual content and content infrastructure, honest and intriguing SEO, smooth social promotion, and digital advertising that hones in on your perfect match, are key for enticing your audience.

Once you’ve gotten the “swipe,” what comes next? Captivate them with good conversation (aka: get them to stick around for all 800+ words.). For your best chance at retaining your audience, check out these pointers for consistently creating quality, engaging content.

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Persuasion Lessons from the Political Trenches

the dance between listening and speaking

Whew. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been an intense election season in the U.S.

And if you haven’t noticed … I hope your visit to rural Mongolia has been enjoyable and productive.

Wherever you may happen to live, watching political campaigns is a fascinating — and sometimes nerve-wracking — way to see the art of persuasion in action.

Now that we’re (thankfully) just about wrapped up with the U.S. election, I thought it would be interesting to look at how political persuasion works, how it’s being used, and how it entwines itself through our daily lives.

We’ll start with the most powerful force in political persuasion … and in lots of other persuasive arguments.

Unity is the granddaddy

The phenomenon that Robert Cialdini calls Unity (you could also call it group identity) has always been one of the most important forces in politics. It’s why we have political parties.

“The kind of candidate I vote for” quickly becomes, for many, “who I am.”

Unity comes from beliefs, and beliefs shape nearly everything we perceive. What we pay attention to, the weight we give different arguments, and the lens we use to interpret what we see all come from beliefs.

By the way, that isn’t just true for political campaigns. It’s how the human mind works — and if you imagine that you’re one of the special few who’s immune to bias, you’ll be that much more vulnerable to it.

When I first got online, we thought that connecting human minds across the globe would make it virtually impossible to lie, manipulate, or distort, because the collective would automatically swoop in and correct the distorted information.

I’ll just wait here for a moment while you finish laughing.

Instead, the web created massive, loose tribes of belief (at times you might call them gangs), armed with their own beliefs and — sadly often — their own facts.

Your content may have nothing to do with politics — maybe you write about healthcare, or finance, or parenting.

But all content is informed by beliefs. The more clearly we can see our own worldview, the better able we’ll be to attract like-minded audiences and serve them well.

Stories are more powerful than anything (except Unity)

The most interesting political ads for me are the stories about “people like us” who have particular challenges and difficulties — and who illustrate the candidates’ positions on different issues.

Even when they’re told very simply (remember Joe the Plumber?), they’re powerful.

Stories cut through the clutter of platform, politics, and pontification, and get to the root of why we bother voting at all.

A well-crafted story can move us to laughter, astonishment, tears, or anger (all the Facebook reaction icons!) — sometimes within the span of a minute or two.

Where do we find great stories?

The best way to find great stories is to listen to your “constituents” — the people who read your blog, listen to your podcast, watch your videos, and buy your products or services.

Find out about the struggles they’ve faced, and how they’ve managed them. Those stories hold power, and they create lasting impressions.

The dance between listening and speaking (Get out and vote!)

Good politicians (oxymoron?) listen to uncover what’s not right, so they can speak to it and maybe even improve things.

Good content creators are listeners as well. We make a point of going where our customers are, listening for problems, capturing snippets of language, and trying to understand the deep ideas and values that move our audiences.

But there’s also a time to participate, and not just listen.

So: If you’re a U.S. voter and you haven’t already done it, please vote today!

There aren’t any perfect candidates (in any election, anywhere), but most people reading this have the tremendous good fortune to be able to weigh in on the laws that govern us.

Did you vote? Let us know in the comments! In the interest of keeping some shred of civility, please refrain from mentioning your candidate … or that other one you can’t stand. :)

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