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Sharon Conwell

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February 22, 2017

10 Content Secrets Every Marketer Needs to Know

February 22, 2017 | By | No Comments">No Comments

 

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While following all the tips and tricks in the world can vastly improve your chances of reaching a wide audience, the truth is that nothing can beat regular and original content. While analytics and SEO are all important, the content is what your potential customers and clients actually see. It’s the content that needs to keep your reader engaged, and the content that needs to be so great people like it, share it, and respond to any calls to action. This list includes 10 tips for killer content that will keep your readers interested, and help you effectively market yourself on your business channels.

1.      Hire Editors Online

As the online presence of most businesses is becoming increasingly time consuming, many successful businesses hire external experts in content writing or proofreading in order to keep on top of the work. If you’re in charge of the day-to-day running of a business, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to devote enough time to produce scintillating content, share it across multiple platforms, and engage with your audience. A lot of businesses prefer old-fashioned means and post a detailed job advertisement on a site like Upwork or Freelancer, where they can interview candidates and, and enjoy an open channel of communication with who they’re working with. Many other businesses, however, prefer the efficacy offered by simply selecting the services they want, as is the case with UK Writings. While these sites are home to writing experts, which is ideal for content or editing, similar services are also offered by Scripted, which are focused on business marketing.

12.      Brush Up On Your Writing Skills

Sloppy content is bad content. When marketing yourself online, it’s important to project yourself in the best possible light, and appear professional and reliable at all times. You should be making your audience believe that you’re the person offering the best products or services, and that they can trust you to deliver. It is impossible to make this kind of impression with poorly written content, littered with spelling and grammar errors. Some guides are available to improve your writing though, such as those offered by Australian Help. Full courses in writing are available with Academized. As your content should be at least 2000 words in order to fuel your SEO, you can monitor this with Easy Word Count, and avoid any accusations of plagiarism or unoriginal content by using Cite It In to reference your sources.

3.      Vary Your Content

While blog posts are an amazing way to promote your business, they’re not the only way. Many people will not have time to read articles multiple times a day, and so shorter snappier posts can also be effective. Images are always shareable across social media, as are gifs and infographics. Interactive content such as polls can also be a great way to mix up your posts.

4.      Post Frequently

While there may have been a time when posting once or twice a week was sufficient, it is now essential to post updates throughout the day, every day. Studies currently show that posting between 5 and 10 times a day is optimum for Twitter, and up to four times a day is best for Facebook. To see results, you will need to post as often as you can, or you will see your audience drop.

5.      Use A Conversational Tone

When you’re selling or marketing in person, the last thing you want to do is be standoffish, or boring. The same goes for online marketing – you shouldn’t be writing lengthy essays, instead you should be writing as if you’re talking to a friend. This establishes rapport, and keeps your reader engaged. A great way to implement this in your writing is to use questions throughout the text, as it feels like a two-way conversation.

6.      Spend Time On Headlines

A good headline is how you stand out from thousands of other blogs and websites – it’s important to make sure yours will hook your reader in. Try to optimize for search and socials.

7.      Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly

If your content isn’t available over mobile devices, then it will be completely lost, overlooked, and forgotten about. Your content needs to be as accessible as possible. You can use special tools like Google’s Mobile-friendly Test.

8.      Keep Promoting Yourself

You should spend as much time promoting your content around the web as you do writing it. While sharing your posts to social media is a start, there are plenty of other avenues to explore too. This includes sending your content to other bloggers and websites, emailing businesses, and sending direct questions out over twitter.

9.      Promote Your Content

Screenshot 2017-02-21 09.56.07Promotional content is a great way to extend your audience, drive more traffic to your site, and engage with your existing clients. Your value is increased as you are offering them something, maybe for free, and they will like you more for it. Votigo is a really easy-to-use platform that will allow you to create custom contests & sweepstakes to add to your content strategy.

10. Be Patient!

It can take some time to see the results from blogging and online marketing. This means that you’ll be blogging and posting updates daily, even when you don’t feel like you’re getting anything in return. You will, just not immediately. Giving up in the first weeks or months definitely won’t get you the results you want – so stick to your strategy in order to succeed.

Overall, generating original content takes time, effort, and energy. However, when consistently uploaded and promoted, the returns can be amazing for your business.

Andrew Gazdecki

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February 14, 2017

7 Content Types That Will Optimize Your Conversion Rate

February 14, 2017 | By | One Comment">One Comment

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If there was a personified version of click bait, it would be a sleazy car salesman who swears that the 170,000 mile, dented up Toyota was only driven once a week on Sundays. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t stand liars and that is exactly what happens when businesses use compelling headlines to promote awful content. No, I don’t want to click through 38 slides to read four sentences. You just lost a sale and earned yourself a blood feud. Thanks, click bait.

 We’ve all seen terrible content, and from a business perspective, it is detrimental – not simply useless. Poor content can have a measurable, negative effect on search engine rankings, followers (I’ve unsubscribed to several websites for posting garbage), and a business’s reputation. Just like a used car salesman, poor content screams ‘scam’ (and probably smells like cigarettes too).

 Quality content provides value to an audience. It doesn’t feel like advertising, and though it might have a marketing purpose, it comes across as genuine. One of the best metrics to determine the opinion of your content is to look into your conversion and click through rates (CTR). It will let you know the percentage of people who land on your site and make it all the way to the end of your online process. The end result is traditionally measured by the number of those who make a purchase, but it can also be measured by those who are moved into the next stage of your marketing funnel, like signing up for your email.

 Below are 7 types of content that will optimize your conversion rates. By effectively integrating these into your website and blog, you will have the framework to provide value, entertain your audience, and in the process, convert some of those leads into customers.

CONTENT FOR READERS

Interactive Quizzes

CTR:                            12%-28% (Boombox)

Conversion Rate:        9.94% (WordStream)

Quizzes are a great way to engage an audience because they require active participation. If you really want to see this type of content excel, it should be linked to some extremely popular fandom within society. An example or this could be, “The Hardest Harry Potter Quiz in Existence,” and would work well with a business that focuses in the entertainment industry. Try to tailor the content to your niche so you receive quality leads.

Quizzes do well at generating likes and followers, but this doesn’t pay the bills. In order to really capitalize on their value, you should incorporate a way for the user to opt-in to one of your email marketing lists. The conversion for this method is not about selling a product, but getting you one step closer in the process.

Surveys

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CTR:                            24.8% (The study was specifically for email surveys)

Primary Benefit:           Provides Information in Regards to your Website’s Weaknesses

While quizzes test an audience’s intelligence, they have a narrow target demographic. I’m not saying that there are only a few smart consumers, only that quizzes are most attractive to people who already have an expert-level interest in the proposed subject. Surveys can tap into these same people, but keep the doors open to wider audience. Since a survey is about opinions, there is no right answer and no barrier to engagement.

Simply running a survey like, “What are the best DIY app makers?,” and publicly tracking the results can help a technology company engage with their potential customers that are interested in learning how to create an app without any programming knowledge. It requires little effort on the part of the consumer, and in our fast-paced society, a small amount of commitment can be the deciding factor of an engagement.

Ultimately, this is more of a way to engage with your audience. If you really want to use surveys to increase your conversion rate, try to get people to answer questions about your process. If it turns out that a large portion of your potential customers are turned off by the design of your website then fixing the problem can greatly increase your conversion rate.

Personality Assessments

CTR:                            82% (Boombox)

Conversion Rate:        20% (DemandGen)

Personality assessments are one of my favorite forms of content because they can give insight about yourself and are incredibly popular among large audiences. One of the more intriguing aspects of assessments is their ability to connect others based off of shared social groups. An example is an assessment that sorts the users into the noble Houses from Game of Thrones. Once you get your results, you want to share it with your friends and this helps promote your product all over again.

Assessments provide an additional benefit to businesses because they will sort your potential customers into groups based off of their personality and interests. If used effectively, this data can be an invaluable tool to target your marketing to the subsets of your target demographic.

Blog Posts

CTR:                            1.5%-2.5% (HubSpot)

Conversion Rate:        2.35%-5.31% (Median to Top 25%)

11.45% (Top 10% of Websites)

Blog posts are the original form of content marketing and serve as the backbone for most websites. One major benefit is that they boost a website’s search engine ranking due to targeted keywords and a basis of dynamic content. The general public consumes blogs almost without realizing that they are doing it. By drawing in an audience, a well-written blog can create trust and turn an advertisement into advice. The key to a successful blog is to engage your audience on a personal level. This requires a strong, consistent voice over an extended period of time. If done well, blog posts can reliably convert impressions into sales since your audience already trusts your opinions.

 

CONTENT FOR VIEWERS

Infographics

CTR:                            26% (Brafton)

Conversion Rate:        11% (Brafton)

Infographics had lived in print media for years but have only recently begun making an impact in the digital world. The key to infographics is their visual element. A business needs to catch their audience’s attention quickly and this can be accomplished through elegant design.

The design of the infographic is important to its success, but the text should not be ignored. Both need to work together in order synergize the information and to provide the most powerful experience for the intended viewer. A good graphic artist is essential to creating infographics, which mean you will either need to personally have the relevant skill set or hire someone who does.

Videos

videoCTR:                            4% (Quora)

Conversion:                 1%-8% (This seems to vary based off of the company)

Digital video is close to its traditional counterpart, but with a few nuanced differences. First, no one likes to see an advertisement when they are trying to watch something on YouTube. The on-demand nature makes the consumer irritated with interruptions. When a commercial pops up while a video is trying to load, nobody’s happy.

Video as content is much more effective at converting potential customers than a blatant advertisement. The videos should be focused on entertaining or educating your audience. Use demonstration videos to give your audience a taste of your products, and the visual element can quickly result in a sale. Again, the video shouldn’t be focused on making a sale but rather convincing your audience that the video’s content is valuable.

Contests and Giveaways

CTR:                            5% (ConversionXL)

Conversion Rate:        31% (ConversionXL)

This whole content category straddles the line between text, visual and pure idea. In order to catch an audience’s attention, a strong promotional image is needed and it should almost always show the prize. This allows the audience to instantly see what they could win and in turn elicits an emotional response of desire. Because they want the prize, they are willing to provide the information that you ask for. Contests (and sweepstakes) are also a great way to grow your email marketing lists, which can be used as the basis for future marketing efforts.

ONE LAST THOUGHT

Just because you implement some of the above methods does not mean you are automatically going to generate awesome content. Also, these various forms require specific skills that many people don’t have. Don’t worry if you are not using every single one in your business. In some instances, it is more powerful to be an authority in one sphere (let’s say it is YouTube) and use the other forms to push people to your premium content.

 I hope you enjoyed the read, because I had a blast writing it. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. You do not have to do this alone. Finally, if anyone in charge of a click bait site reads this, please end the slideshows. Like I said, they probably smell like cigarettes.

Kristen Vanstrom

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February 6, 2017

5 Ways to Make the Most of Facebook Lead Ads

February 6, 2017 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Untitled design (30)If you keep up with Facebook’s ever changing and growing ad platform, you may have noticed the Lead Ads option. Instead of sending potential sign-ups to a landing page and then hoping they follow through to fill out your opt-in form, you can collect their information right within Facebook. As a marketer, I’m thrilled about this new convenience.

Here’s how you get started.

  • Hit Create Ad.
  • Then click Collect Leads for Your Business.
  • Create your audience. The most important thing? Choosing specific targeting based on interests.
  • Set a small daily budget. I recommend $10 to start.  Then, once the ad starts performing, you can scale accordingly. If you invest less than this, you might not see get an accurate representation of the ad performance.

Step 1: Create your lead ads form.

Keep it as simple as possible. For example, if you don’t need location information, then don’t ask for it. Only collect the bare minimum. If someone clicks on your form, and is hit with a bunch of fill-in-the-blanks, they’ll exit without submitting their information.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to grow your text marketing list. You definitely want to collect first name and phone number; at the bare minimum.

When setting up your lead ads form, Facebook also requires the inclusion of a privacy policy. This helps new sign-ups feel secure in submitting their information.

Step 2: Assign a relevant post-submission landing page.

Where do you want your sign-ups to go after submitting their information? Maybe you want to send them right to a sales funnel; in hopes of making a small sale. Or, maybe you just to direct them to a blog post packed with tons of helpful content. While you have their attention, make the most of this interaction.

Step 3: Choose an applicable graphic.

In my personal experience, editorial images yield the highest performance, as they give the user something to relate to. If people aren’t familiar with your company, using a branded image will do no good. People just won’t recognize the image, and will therefore keep scrolling. Because the Lead Ads charge based on impressions, this will skyrocket your cost per lead. The more your lead costs; the less money you make on the interaction. However; if chosen correctly, the lifestyle aspect of an editorial will capture more attention and lead to more sign-ups.

Step 4: Get right to the point with an irresistible headline.

Offering a bonus in exchange for information? Make that very clear. Don’t beat around the bush, as this could reduce the amount of interest in your ad. For example, let’s say you’re offering one free 30-minute consultation for all new opt-ins. For your ad headline, use something like “First 50 Sign-Ups Get a Free Consultation!” The first 50 portion creates a sense of urgency, while the word “free” always catches the attention of a potential opt-in.

Step 5: Set up an autoresponder series for all new sign-ups.

When it comes to marketing and customer relationship management, you always want to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t just collect an email address or telephone number and then call it a day. You want to build a relationship with this lead. Nurture each sign-up by taking them through a welcome series.

In this series, be sure to include the following.

  • If there was an offer promised, deliver it immediately.
  • Let them know what to expect, communication wise. Will you be emailing once a week? Every day? If they know what to expect, they’re more likely to stay on your list.
  • Offer valuable information. A welcome series can also be treated like an educational funnel. Get sign ups comfortable with the language of your industry. For example, if I am promoting an info product called “How to Self Publish Your First Book in 60 Days,” I might want to use the terms ISBN, cover, paperback and manuscript in my welcome series. When you start familiarizing subscribers with the language of your industry, they will recognize an offer when it comes through.

Facebook Lead Ads provide a huge opportunity; as they simplify growing your list of contacts. Whether you’re collecting email addresses or phone numbers, this is definitely the way to go when looking to build a customer database. Once you collect this information, focus on nurturing your leads and segmenting according to predetermined factors.

When it comes to paid advertising in general, be sure to note the following rules.

  • Keep your eyes on the ROI from day one. Even if your budget is small, you need to know how your marketing dollars are performing and what kind of return you’re getting.
  • Split test different visuals, headlines, descriptions, and more. However, when testing one version against another, only test one element at a time. This prevents data from being skewed.
  • Remember, Facebook Lead Ads charge based on the number of impressions. With that said, eliminate any opportunity for unqualified views. For example, if you find that women 24-32 are responding best to your ad, tighten up your target audience.

Give Facebook Lead Ads a try for your business. It makes growing your list simple and convenient for the end user.

Trey Donaldson

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January 11, 2017

11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2017 and Beyond

January 11, 2017 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is bigger now than it has ever been. It’s also a completely different beast than it was ten years ago. It evolves and changes with every shift in Google’s algorithm, and working in the industry requires a keen eye and the ability to keep track of everything happening in the world of search.

Today, we’re going to look at 11 ways SEO is changing as we kick off 2017. As always, these are just predictions, but they are based heavily in fact. Let’s take a look!

Search engines are constantly growing and changing, but at the heart of these changes are some basic trends that we can use to inform the future of our craft as SEO experts. Below, you’ll find 11 changes that are most certainly coming in 2017. These changes will affect SEO long into the future as well..


1. Focus on Mobile & Speed

Mobile devices are now used to access the Internet more than desktops or laptops. They are the preferred method for using search engines and finding answers to questions. As a result, Google has taken notice.

Today, mobile responsive web design is a must if you want to rank well, but it also comes with another requirement: speed. Website performance is also extremely important, as Google notes a 7% reduction in conversions for every second delay.

So, what does this mean for you? It means your websites need to be fast and look great on mobile devices. Thankfully, today’s options are plentiful for both. This trend won’t be going anywhere, however, so it’s important to keep both of these things in check.


2. RankBrain and Machine Learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that is able to learn and grow on its own as an algorithm. Google’s RankBrain is a type of machine learning that, according to Google, is able to “see a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with and make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the results accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”

For SEO, this means that Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more human. Case in point: keywords won’t be enough going forward. That doesn’t mean keywords are dead, but it does mean that we should look beyond them.

Our keywords should inform the topics we choose and the approach we take. We need to identify search intent and understand why a person is searching for those particular keywords instead of just placing them in the text and calling it a day.


3. Personal Branding

When it comes to trust, people would much rather deal with another human being that buy from a faceless corporation. A study done by DKNewMedia found that 32% of online consumers trust a stranger’s opinion on forums or blogs more than branded advertisements and marketing campaigns.

Trust is everything in business. Without it, not even the greatest SEO can convince someone to buy. Instead of focusing on your business as a whole, consider creating a network of personal brands. For example, when I’m marketing my new blog, I don’t start by shouting out the name from the rooftops. Instead, I market myself. I tell people who I am, a little about me, and why I’m in the business of blogging.

From an SEO standpoint, this type of personal branding is great for when you’re building links and raising your TrustRank.


4. User Experience is Everything

Google’s in love with the user experience. As a service, they want to showcase websites that provide quality content and a pleasant experience overall. Like anything else involving SEO, if Google loves it, we love it.

Using metrics like bounce rates, CTR, and the average time on a page, we can see how satisfied users are with their time on a site. Tiny tweaks like improving your website’s speed and design functionality will go a long way towards SEO moving forward.

Techniques like this fall into UEO or user experience optimization. It’s important that you’re constantly monitoring the functionality and performance of your site, as these key metrics will have a huge effect on your user satisfaction.


5. Quality, Not Quantity

To stand out from the crowd, many experienced SEO specialists recommend long form content with tons of words, and therefore, tons of information. While this is nice, things are changing to the point where quality now matters more than how many words you have.

The rise of long-form content has left us with guides that take forever to read and even longer to write. Today’s users want their answers fast. To accommodate this need, your content strategy should seek to focus on “dense content.” This is writing that has a lot of value per word.

Cut out all the filler and focus on the hard facts. If you can say it in 500 words instead of 5,000, then do that.


6. Rich Snippets in Search Engine Results Pages

You may not use it now because you don’t think you need it, but rich snippets and schema.org markup are going to be extremely important going forward. Not only do these tags help Google better understand information on your site, but they also put you in the running for Google’s Quick Answers or Rich Card results.

Currently, rich snippets are used a lot for recipes, videos, local businesses, and reviews, but they’re going to expand to everything in 2017. Doing this now will also help Google’s RankBrain better interpret your site as well.


7. Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are versions of mobile websites that have been stripped down to their pure HTML. Since launching, these types of pages have seen speed improvements of up to 85%.

While these types of pages started out with a small focus, they are much more widespread. Even if you’re not using them, users will start to focus on speed even more after experiencing what this technology can do.

Since speed is indeed a ranking factor, using options like this can drastically improve otherwise slow-loading pages.


8. Voice Search Algorithms

As of right now, voice search isn’t taking over the world, but it has the potential to do so in 2017. With the rise of virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, more people are becoming accustomed to using their voice for search.

To prepare for this, you should start thinking about your keywords and your targeting methods in terms of “natural language.” These are defined as normal terms you would use while speaking. They are also something Google’s RankBrain is learning to interpret and falls into the aforementioned “vague queries” we discussed.

String your otherwise separate keywords together to create a phrase you would use while normally speaking. Say you’re targeting things like action movies. Instead of focusing on a keyword like “action movies” you could use phrases like “What are the best action movies of 2016?”

A great way to test your natural language choices are to say something out loud and see if it sounds right. If it comes across as forced, then you know you need to tweak it.


9. Local SEO

Most SEO specialists focus on ranking in organic search results, but many are neglecting the power that local SEO wields. If we recall the rise of mobile searches, then it makes sense that people are doing their searching on-the-go.

Google’s own research into the subject found that 50% of consumers who made local searches visited a store that same day. Another 34% did the same thing on a computer or tablet. As mobile searches grow, so too will the need for local SEO.

So long as your business has a physical location of any kind, you can start ranking in these results. Simply follow these quick steps to get started:

  • Complete your Google My Business page
  • Include your name, address, and phone number on every page of your site
  • Use local schema markups in your HTML
  • Focus on local keywords and search phrases

10. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are the evolution of standard keywords and offer a lot more for your content than single terms. Any keyword phrase that’s at least three words can be considered a long-tail variation.

These types of keywords are usually detailed and defined. This means that you’ll be targeting a much more focused audience with them, and you’ll have less competition. These keywords also help you understand search intent much better than a single word.

For example, if someone is searching for “star wars”, you don’t know what aspect of the series they are searching for. It could be the video games, the movies, or collectibles. By expanding your target, you can better understand the search intent.


11. The Rise of Video

Video is predicted to account for 80 percent of all traffic on the Internet by 2019. If you look at the popularity of YouTube and things like Facebook Live, you can see it happening already. For SEO, it’s also a great way to spice up your site with some unique content.

When doing this, integrate videos into your written content and be sure to include a transcript as well for people who want to read. You can also tag your videos with keywords and create a video sitemap to help search engines find these easier.

This is really easy to do. Just host the video on YouTube and embed it in your site to avoid having to store your hefty video files on your own server. As video continues to grow and become more popular, starting now will ensure you can reap the SEO benefits later.


Final Thoughts

SEO is moving in a brave new direction, and we must go with it to ensure success in the future. Consider these trends and prepare for them now, so you’re ready when the future arrives. How do you prepare for the changes that are coming to SEO? Let us know in the comments!

Nick Rojas

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January 4, 2017

6 Strategies for Syncing Your PR, Social, Blog & Paid Editorial Calendars

January 4, 2017 | By | No Comments">No Comments

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Creating a content strategy for various channels can be extremely complicated, with dozens of moving pieces. From finding content to curate on social media, to managing guest bloggers, to coordinating freelance or in-house writers to working with designers and video editors to create visual assets – it’s a lot to coordinate and manage!

Creating cohesive strategies that allow you to maximize your content creation efforts is essential. And of course, your editorial calendar is the cornerstone of these efforts. It serves as the centerpiece for content ideas, theme explorations, buyer personas, buyer funnels, and a way to keep writers and editors on the same page.

Your editorial calendar will sync your PR, social media campaigns, blogs, and paid outreach, among many other aspects of your weekly, monthly, and yearly content schedule.

“One of the best tools that traditional journalism lends content marketing and brand journalism is the editorial calendar,” says Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom and Forbes contributor.

Syncing your editorial calendar for multiple marketing initiatives is essential. Here are five stellar strategies to sync your editorial calendar for the upcoming year.


  1. STREAMLINE YOUR MARKETING AND DEVELOP A YEARLY EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Exploring themes for the upcoming year will streamline your marketing efforts. And developing a yearly editorial calendar will put these efforts into motion.

The idea of a yearly editorial calendar may seem daunting, but approaching it from a yearly, monthly, and even weekly perspective has value for you and your team. The idea of a yearly editorial calendar is like climbing a mountain, since the way down is much easier.

“Reporting on the spot news via social media is one way to get the word out,” suggests Search Engine Watch. “But having an organized 12-month editorial calendar that slices up the year into monthly, weekly, and daily snapshots can take your content to new levels of success.”

National and domestic holidays, important industry events, advertising campaigns, product launches, blogs, email campaigns, videos, offers, promotions, and months dedicated to entire themes can all quickly fill up your yearly editorial calendar.

In fact, yearly editorial calendars are so important to organization and productivity, Forbes posts theirs online for all to see.

Look at overreaching content when developing your yearly editorial calendar, and themes that will serve as pieces to the puzzle at specific times.


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  1. EDITORIAL CALENDARS WITH BUYER PERSONAS INCREASE YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS.

Once you begin developing your editorial calendar, considering buyer personas is an excellent next step. Because buyer personas simply result in strong, cost effective marketing.

A Forbes post by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) compares the power of developing buyer personas with fishing. This may seem odd, but it truly emphasizes the need for buyer personas in your editorial calendar.

YEC points out that if you want to catch a fish, you wouldn’t just throw your line into any random waterhole and hope for the best.

You want to keep luck out of the equation. You want to determine what type of fish you want to catch and match that with a strategy that maximizes results. The same goes for buyer personas when it comes to your marketing strategy.

Buyer personas in your editorial calendar will allow you to know exactly who your target customer is. This keeps wasteful marketing efforts to a minimum, and also brings about helpful objections.

Gathering demographic details such as interests, gender, education, location, income, occupation, buying concerns, and buying motivation is a perfect place to start, according to Shopify. Finding out what your client wants and what they want to avoid is also buyer persona best practice.


  1. MATCH BUYER PERSONAS TO BUYING FUNNELS 

After you have developed buyer personas for your editorial calendar, you can utilize buying funnels to mold potential customers into customers. You will map your content to each buyer persona, and at each stage of the buying cycle.

Matching buyer personas to buying funnels is one of the most compelling reasons to develop an editorial calendar.

Diversifying your marketing efforts to fit each client’s buyer persona is indeed important. However, the order in which you deliver your content is a key aspect, according to web design platform Lean Labs.

Buying funnels normally have at least three stages with a top to bottom approach. Awareness is at the top. Evaluation is your middle of the funnel (MOFU). And conversion is at the bottom, where you want to get potential customers to convert.

“The trick to designing a site that’s built to capture and convert visitors at all stages is a strategy that combines keyword-driven content with a technically-sound website,” according to Kissmetrics.

Match your buyer personas with premium content at the top of your buying funnel. This will peak interest at the awareness stage, thus leading them to evaluation, and then conversion.

A great example of this is Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime customers convert at 74 percent, compared to a 13 percent conversion rate for non-prime members, according to Internet Retailer, an e-commerce intelligence platform.


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  1. EXPLORE THEMES AND ASSIGN CONTENT TYPES 

Exploring themes and assigning content types within your editorial calendar will get you closer to specifics. Develop in-depth content that will serve as your content strategy foundation.

This allows you to begin assigning content types, building supporting data for the future content in your marketing strategy.

These foundational pieces will be used for email campaigns, ebooks, blog posts, infographics, videos, and spread throughout all social media channels, according to Social Media Examiner.

Building these in-depth pieces involves a bit of research. However, you already have your buyer personas developed, and these will be invaluable for this stage in your editorial calendar.

Use your target audience information and begin keyword searches that would reflect your buyer personas. These will begin to add up fast, so have keyword buckets in place for your buyer personas and buying funnel stages.

Exploring themes and mapping them out in your editorial calendar will keep everything organized for maximum marketing efficiency. It will also serve as a source for your foundational content, a place to develop sub-themes and assigning content types, among other benefits.


  1. UTILIZE YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR TO REPURPOSE CONTENT ASSETS 

Your editorial calendar will come in handy when it comes time to repurpose your content assets. Since a single piece can blanket multiple initiatives, you want to have an effective way of keeping your marketing vision on track.

Those foundational pieces you developed and targeted to buyer personas can be expanded to a variety of content assets.

An ebook is a prime example. An ebook is a theme, and each chapter is simply a sub-theme. These subt-hemes can be repurposed content assets like blogs, videos, and social media campaigns.

John Rampton, online marketing guru and Forbes contributor suggests that, “Content can play a major role here, as publishers have amassed significant amounts of data to help understand what is more effective in terms of driving engagement, what is less successful in terms of messaging and ads.”

An infographic is another stellar example. Infographics contain a lot of data and information from several supporting sources. You can repurpose infographics into a breadth of content assets across multiple client campaigns in the same industry.

Once you have repurposed content assets effectively in your editorial calendar, you can then switch gears to an amplification strategy. The goal is to simply get potential customers to visit and engage in your buying funnel.

An amplification strategy can help you achieve this. Influencer outreach, email marketing, retargeting, and using partner channels are all essential to your amplification efforts.


  1. SYNCING YOUR EFFORTS 

Once you’ve gotten to this stage, now you are ready to put it all together. Use your research into themes, seasonal events, newsjacking, etc to match your content and amplification initiatives. For example, can your Public Relations team pitch an infographic created for a specific campaign?   Can you use an article targeted at solving a pain point as a landing page for a Facebook ads sales funnel? What social media posts can be created to amplify a theme that you are exploring in your blog?

By adding all of these elements into your editorial calendar, you can guarantee that all of the different initiatives are best served from your content creation strategy. Accountability, commitment, accomplishment, planning, creativity, trends, and measurement, are all editorial calendar benefits. Once you adapt the content to each channel, you’ll have a wealth of content that can be used to guide visitors into every stage of your buying funnel

Buyer personas, buying funnels, and repurposing content assets are only a few ways to sync your PR, social media campaigns, blogs, and paid outreach. To increase your marketing efforts and ROI, employ an editorial calendar for powerful results in this upcoming year.

 

Kristen Vanstrom

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December 19, 2016

8 Digital Marketing Tools That Will Help You Turn 2017 Into Your Most Productive Year

December 19, 2016 | By | One Comment">One Comment

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In December, if you snooze you lose. While some might be filling up on cookies and chugging down the eggnog, others are preparing for the year ahead. Smart marketers and entrepreneurs use this time for business planning. They lay out their entire year; or at the very least, the first quarter. They settle on initiatives and brainstorm content. If this is sounding familiar, you’re probably looking for ways to make the most out of the rest of the year.

Let me help you maximize your 2017 with these 8 easy to use tools.


Quickly create thumbnails, cover photos, blog featured images and more with Snappa.io.

In my opinion, Canva doesn’t even hold a candle to this tool. First of all, Snappa is much more user friendly. It’s easy to navigate and understand. Second, Snappa can help you create everything from ebook covers to YouTube thumbnails.

Beginner’s Tip:  Keep your social media covers cohesive. Open up several different tabs in your browser, and make your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn covers all at once.

Works best for social media marketers and bloggers.


Get 700+ title and topic ideas with Title-Generator.com.

Honestly, I’m usually not looking for a genius headline generator. More often than not, I just need to bounce around some ideas. I love this website. It’s a bare bones title generator. You plug in a word, and get 700+ titles and topics to work with. Keep in mind, these are not all relevant or grammatically correct. Use your best judgement, and at the very least, this tool will assist in the content brainstorming process. Out of every tool, this is probably my favorite.

Beginner’s Tip: Pages two and three usually have the more obscure titles. Page one will showcase a lot of headlines you could’ve come up with on your own.

Works best for copywriters and bloggers.


Decrease page load time with CompressJpeg.com.

To go back and compress all your blog images might take a bit of time; maybe more than you want to spend. That’s totally acceptable. Instead, use this tool for images in the future. It will help you greatly decrease page load time, as your images are now compressed down to the lowest possible size. This is an easy to use tool that will greatly reward your site performance in the long run.

Beginner’s Tip: To save time, upload a handful of images at once, then download all after compression.

Works best for bloggers.


Use Biteable.com to create viral video campaigns for social media.

Before finding this tool, I didn’t even touch video. Seriously, the idea of pairing homegrown footage, audio, music, and text together was completely overwhelming. I figured I’d leave it to the professionals, which more often than not, turned into me avoiding video all together. This tool has changed the way I view video marketing.

Beginner’s Tip: Develop a storyline before jumping right in to video creation. If you have a storyboard, your video will smoothly come together. 

Works best for social media marketers and content managers.


WebinarNinja.com is a video conferencing service that doesn’t overwhelm.

Current webinar software has its limits. In fact, even the most experienced webinar hosts struggle with current webinar platforms. I stumbled across Webinar Ninja a month ago. It took me less than five minutes to figure out how to navigate my account. I had my first webinar set up and running in less than 30. Save time with the new webinar platform to beat.

Beginner’s Tip: Run a test webinar before going live. Remember, make sure each webinar has a clear purpose. This isn’t like Facebook Live, where it’s ok to rant and talk without an outlined topic.

Works best for online personalities, content managers, and industry influencers.


SlickText.com helps you embrace the new mailing list.

You can probably agree; email is becoming a bit archaic. Will we ever terminate email lists all together? Probably not. But, the time has come to embrace a new communication tool: text marketing. Slick Text has dozens of easy to use features, such as text to win contests, drip campaigns, and picture messaging. On top of that, they offer message scheduling and drip marketing campaigns

Works best for marketers currently relying heavily on email and small business owners.


2017 is all about ClickFunnels.com.

If you would’ve asked me six months ago, the word “funnel” made me gag. It just seemed so cheesy and unprofessional. The only company doing a decent job was Infusionsoft, and their software was out of my price range and equally difficult to navigate. Enter Click Funnels. The back end takes some time to get used to, but once you understand the navigation, it’s a piece of cake.

Beginner’s Tip: Don’t create a funnel on the fly. Write down each step before even setting “foot” inside Infusionsoft.

Works best for anyone selling anything online.


Get the help you need with Upwork.com.

I resisted hiring for a long time. I tried to design my own websites, set up my own Facebook ads, manage my own schedule, etc. Let me tell you what; that gets old real quick. You get burnt out, and the quality of your work suffers. It’s not worth it. Especially when there are affordable experts out there, ready and willing to help. Get all the things that overwhelm you and hinder your business growth off your plate.

Beginner’s Tip: Look for the rising star freelancers. They are usually the most affordable, but still offer premium quality. Also, when looking to hire, get as granular as possible about what it is you actually need. For example, if you want to build a new website, map out some ideas and share examples of what you like. The clearer you are, the better. 

Works best for product managers, team leaders, and department heads.


Don’t just cruise through the rest of the year with these work enhancing tools. Instead, kickstart 2017 with a better sense of how to rule the digital world. I will be taking every single one of these tools with me into the new year. They’ve helped me exponentially grow my online presence.

Adam Ferraresi

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December 7, 2016

101 on Advertising Your Business on Social Media

December 7, 2016 | By | No Comments">No Comments

Whether you’re starting a new business or you want to expand the one you’re already running, there’s no better way to do that than having a good representation on social media channels.

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Image by Esther Vargas via Flickr

 

However, having a good and noticeable presence isn’t as easy as it was some years ago, and there’s a lot to know if you want to be good at social media advertising. Today we’ll talk about basics and what you need to know to launch a perspective marketing campaign on social media.

 

Choose Your Channels Based on What Makes the Most Sense for Your Brand and Your Audience

 

The policy “the more, the merrier” doesn’t always work on social media. Instead, it’s wise to begin with one account on a network that is one-size-fits-all, like Facebook. It is the largest social network on the planet with 1.5 billion users, so you’re sure to find your audience there.

Twitter and Instagram are more demanding because you have to post more regularly. Twitter is an excellent channel for keeping in touch with your customers and connecting quickly with them via hashtags and tagging. Instagram is used for posting pictures and telling a story through them, but you have to be very active to be noticed. The same goes for Pinterest, another highly visual media that won’t really help you unless you’ve got some amazing photos or pins to share. And, if you want to share your business successes and opportunities with other big company names, then LinkedIn is a good network to focus on.

Each of these networks should be handled differently, so you’ll have to do some research in order to decide which social media channels make the most sense for your brand.

 

Paying for Ads is Becoming a Necessity

 

StartBloggingOnline.com

StartBloggingOnline.com

 

Advertising on social media is becoming more complex with each year, and not paying for ads won’t get you far. The biggest social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have made sure that in order for your updates and posts to appear in the newsfeed of your followers, you need to pay to boost them. In fact, when posting on Facebook without paying, about 10% of your followers will actually see it, and when it comes to Twitter, you have some fifteen minutes before you’re forever lost in the newsfeed.

When it comes to paying for ads, even though it’s not very expensive, you should know where every penny goes. Think about who you want to target with your ads – you can narrow down your targeted audience and then work your way toward the wider public. Also, it is quintessential for your ads to be eye-catching and compelling, so choose both your pictures and your words wisely.

 

Track Your Links to Know Your Course of Action

 

You need to know what posts and links generate the most traffic. Link tracking is the best way to accomplish this. Once you understand what your audience likes and clicks on the most, you’ll be able to adapt your content accordingly. There are some useful tools that you can use to track links like Google Analytics, Octopost and Clickmeter that provide each of the links you share with a tracking code, so that you’ll know exactly how well a certain link performs with your audience.

 

Don’t Shy Away From Influencers

 

Influencers are people across different social media channels that have a strong follower base thanks to their strategic use of social media and quality content. Once you make an agreement with influencers, they will promote your product/service to their followers, often for a fee. Determine the standards that partner influencers have to fulfill (don’t just pick them based on the number of followers they have) and make sure you have clear goals of what you want of them before you contact them. Their view of your product will make it more appealing to their followers that can quickly become your followers as well.

As you can see, everything starts with your goals when it comes to social media advertising and how imaginative you are in obtaining them. There are different strategies you can employ, but in the end, it all comes down to the quality of your content and knowledge of how to use it wisely.

 

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