Monday, September 22, 2014

Content Marketing - Just How Fast Can You Write an Article? (8 tips on how to speed up your article writing)

I don't know about you, but I can take a while to write an article, usually an hour and then some. Even if I have an idea, I still try to add extra value into the article by doing a bit of research and getting 'social proof' to back up what I'm saying.

For this article I decided to time it, so I can see just how long it takes me to create a top-notch, error-free (relatively) piece of content.

In an article over at CopyBlogger.com, the author says he can write an article in 20 minutes. This isn't the first time I've heard this. Some writer/marketers say 20-30 minutes is average for them.

I’m going to use a couple of his tips and some of my own and see how I do.

Tip #1 Keep a list of ideas (and information)

I already do this. And, with information permeating every nook and cranny of the internet, there’s never a lack of new ideas. That’s how I came up with this article idea, from the CopyBlogger (CB) piece.

I keep files with links to article on specific topics. When I need to write an article, I look at my file on the topic I want to write on and there they are – lots of ideas and lots of information.

Tip #2 Mull it over

The mentioned CB article advises to let your idea incubate for a while, actually for a few days. The author says doing this allows you to gather supporting information and other idea prior to sitting and writing.

This one I don’t do, maybe that’s why writing an article takes me longer.

But, on the flip side, I gather supporting information (social proof) as I’m writing. So, the time I would have spent prior on this element is done while I’m actually writing.

So, this kind of throws a little monkey wrench into the 20 minute limit. Should any ‘prior’ time writing new ideas for the piece or gathering information be included in the ‘writing time? Hmmm.

Tip #3 Use keywords

While you don’t have to go crazy with keywords, they are still very important. It’s the keywords that the search engines will initially find and index. And, it’s those keywords that ‘searchers’ will use to find the information they want/need.

If you have all the pieces together, Google may very well use your article link as the results in a search query.

Tip #4 Use bullet and numbered points

People love list articles. They’re easy to read and quick to scan. This article is a ‘numbered points’ format.

In regard to writing, using numbered points helps you organize your thoughts and content.

This is obviously optional, but they do make for a more reader friendly piece.

Tip #5 – Add graphics

If you look at blogs, you’ll notice that just about every one includes graphics, usually
images, in their posts.

Top converting tools are video and/or animation. If you can, use them here and there. These content marketing tools are engaging. People love them. And, it keeps those visitors ‘on your site longer.’ This is a great SEO element.

Even SlideShare presentations are a great marketing tool.

Okay, adding graphics may add some time to your article. I keep a folder of blog post images that makes it easy and quick me to find one that will work. And, if I can’t find something that’s just right, I create a new one with Logo Creator. It’s really cheap and amazingly easy to use.

Tip #6 Editing time

This is where you do need to take a couple of minutes to proof and edit your piece. Find something that doesn’t quite work? Take it out. If you think you can use it at another time, put it into a file for later use.

Check for spelling and such. While the ‘faster than fast’ element of online marketing may tempt you to forget this step. DON’T SKIP IT.

Your writing is a reflection of you and your skills – make them shine. And, make super sure the content will be helpful to your readers.

Note: This doesn’t mean you’ll miss a mistake here and there, but hopefully you’ll catch the majority of them.

Tip #7 The article length

The author of the CB article says to keep your posts short – under 500 words.

This is a conflicting theory. There are many writer/marketers who say to give the reader more value with longer pieces.

I’m in the middle. I say write the article as it comes out. This article is around 900 words. But, if you’re writing for article directories, like Ezine Articles, then keep it under 500 words.

Sometimes the venue you’ll be publishing on will determine the length of your article.

Tip #8 End it when it’s ended

Once you write and edit the piece, end it. Don’t keep going over it. This is one of my trouble spots. I’ll keep adding to it or tweaking it one way or another. This is just a waste of time. Don’t do it.

Time frame

This article took me an hour, maybe a bit more. But, there is additional time that went into uploading it to my website, adding graphics, optimizing the post, and adding a CTA. So . . .
 
Try these seven article writing tips and see how long it takes you to write an article.

P.S. Like this article? Please share it!

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – Keep the Details Focused
Email Marketing and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
Content Marketing Success – Attitude, Aptitude, Altitude

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Social Media Marketing - Oh that Facebook (your visibility is diminishing even more)

For a while now I’ve found it a bit pointless to focus on Facebook as part of my social media marketing efforts. It’s been a while since the reigning king of the social media world reduced the visibility results of your postings. Now, they have a new algorithm reducing your posts’ visibility to around 2% of your fanbase, more likely less.

I don’t get it.

Okay, well maybe I do. They want you to pay to get more visibility. And, we all know that visibility leads to website traffic, so to some this may be tempting.

But, there is another way around this, sort of. It’s a bit more work on your part and your fan’s part, but it will help out somewhat.

It has to do with using the Notifications option Facebook offers. When ‘Liking’ a page, click the Notifications button – it will turn the feature on. Or, if you’ve already Liked a page, do the same on that page.

Also, you can ‘sort of’ fine-tune your Interests, Groups, and so on. Just scroll down the Dashboard on the left sidebar and see how you can tweak your experience . . . and efforts.

Now, to get your Followers to see more of what you’re posting, they’ll need to do the same. So, you might want to do a blog post about it and let them know.

For even more information on fine-tuning your FB experience, check out this video from Author Marketing Experts:



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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Book Promotion – Great List of Websites that Will Promote Your eBook
Email Marketing and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
Content Marketing Success – Attitude, Aptitude, Altitude

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent Hacking - This Time 5 Million Gmail Addresses and Passwords Compromised

Last week hackers got into Gmail addresses and passwords. This is just another in frequent hacking occurrences.

It's getting pretty scary out there in cyberspace lately.

Luckily for those affected by this hack, Google took care of it - no fuss, no mess.

The hack was, if I understand correctly, a result of a hack of WordPress.com. The Gmail addresses and passwords from WordPress made Gmail accounts vulnerable.

But, as I mention, Google jumped right in. They analyzed the WordPress accounts compromised to their subscribers' email accounts and "reset over 100,000 accounts for which the password given in the list matched the WordPress.com password."

The users involved were notified by Google with instructions on how to get back into their accounts.

Whew!

Whether it's your email accounts, your social media accounts, your websites, or other, it's essential to use unique passwords for each of your accounts. And, you should change them periodically. Don't wait until your account is hacked.

To read the full article on this recent hack and what to do if you were involved, visit:
WordPress, Google, and Leaked Passwords

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Email Marketing – My Switch to GetResponse (for better opt-in boxes)
Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice Out of Your Efforts
Tips on Content Writing – Think Like a Newsman

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Online Marketing and Writing - 10 Safety Tips to Protect Your Email Account

Have you gotten emails from accounts that have been hacked? Has your email account been hacked? Has one of your social media accounts be hacked?

Hacking is everywhere and in everything.
Today, a lot of business is conducted via email, so it’s essential to do your best to prevent hackers from getting a hold of your account. Or, make it as difficult as possible for them to figure your password out. Below are 10 steps you can take to help avoid this.

10 Safety Tips for Your Email Account

1. Change your password/s regularly. Hackers are clever and use sophisticated programs to figure out your password. Given enough time, they’ll probably get yours.

2. Don’t reuse your passwords. Each time you change your password make the new password unique. This goes for all your accounts and passwords. And, no two accounts should have the same password. Creating unique passwords can become a chore, so if you need, there are free password generating tools available. You can try one that PC Tools offers: http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/ 

3. Make sure you have security questions in place and make sure the answers aren’t obvious. If your question is “Who’s faster than a speeding bullet?” Chances are at least one hacker will guess Superman. Or if your question is “Who is Bugs Bunny’s nemesis?” Someone is bound to guess Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam.

4. Make your password at least 10 characters and mix them up – use capital and lower case letters with numbers and symbols. It’s also a good idea to avoid sequences, such as 12345, abcde, 222555222. Make it difficult to hack.

5. Always sign out of your email account when you’re done. Yahoo and Gmail, and most likely all other email providers, allow you to stay logged into your account even after you’re done and left the site. While this is convenient in that you don’t have to log in the next time you want to check your email, it’s not a safe thing to do, so log out when you’re done.

6. See if your email service provider offers a login activity feature. Yahoo and Gmail do. This tool provides recent login activity which allows you to see who has logged into your account. If it’s not you or someone who has login privileges then you need to take immediate action. You need to create a new password.

7. Take care with your mobile device also. It’s a good idea to use a password on your device and it’s also a good idea to lock it.

8. Bulletproof your computer with antivirus software. Okay, this may not make it bullet proof, but it will sure help.

9. Don’t open suspicious emails, especially ones that request personal information or ask you to change a password.

10. Keep your passwords safe.

While these ten tips will help you keep your email account safe, you should use them (the ones applicable) on all your accounts, including your websites. The more difficult you make it for hackers the safer you’ll be.

P.S. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST.


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MORE ON MARKETING

Content Marketing – Lose the Heavy Hand
Email Marketing and Call-to-Actions (CTAs)
Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice Out of Your Efforts

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Content Marketing - How to Get Millions of Views with Slideshare

The title is not an exaggeration. You have the potential to get millions of views by using some clever and common sense marketing strategies . . . and Slideshare.

I came across this great Slideshare presentation by Board of Innovation. The author gives usable tips on how to market your content to get people to share it. Since having your content shared has lots of benefits, it’s something you should strive for.

So, what are the benefits of having your work shared – the power of social media sharing? Well, let me list the ways:

1. It generates visibility.
2. It brings traffic to your website.
3. It boosts your authority.
4. It generates conversions.
5. It pleases the search engines.
6. It increases your ranking.
7. It can help land you on Google’s first SERP.
8. It can help boost your bottom-line.

Pretty good, right?

In case you aren’t sure of what Slideshare is, it’s a knowledge-sharing platform. It was founded in 2006 and was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012.

Here’s what their landing page says:

It allows users to easily upload and share presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, and webinars. In Q4 of 2013, the site averaged 60 million unique visitors a month and 215 million page views. SlideShare is among the top 120 most-visited websites in the world.

In other words, it’s a place to reach others . . . to increase your visibility.

Okay, now on to how you have the potential to reach millions.





P.S. I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please share it.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing and Animation – A Successful Combination

Content Marketing – A 20-Point Website Checklist

Content Marketing Success – You Have to Walk the Walk


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Marketing - Tips and Tidbits on Bookstores

The New Yorker (online) has a fascinating article titled, "The Bookstore Brain." It's by Sam Sacks who writes the Fiction Chronicle for the Wall Street Journal and is an editor at Open Letters Monthly.

I came upon this article while doing research for another article on by-pass marketing for selling books and became engrossed. It's an inside look at book stores and how they determine which books will make the shelves.

The following quote took me by surprise:

"Even if a shopper doesn’t ask a clerk for suggestions, the very selection on the shelves conspires to tell him what he ought to be reading."

Think about this the next time you're in a bookstore.

Bookstores for the Author and Marketer

But, there's a more practical aspect to this information. As an author and marketer it's important to know what avenues you have available to sell books, or at least to get some visible. What avenues have lots of traffic.

Two bookstores in Manhattan fit this bill.The Strand bookstore and Housing Works bookstore.

According to the article, the Strand buys books: "it wants to buy them cheap and sell them slightly less cheap."

And, Housing Works accepts book donations.

While you won't get rich from these bookstores, you will get visibility. It's an easy way to get your book into a bookstore. Check out ones in your area to see if you can get your book in one or two.

It takes all different strategies to get visibility and build your authority. This is just one more strategy.

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P.S.Want to write your own book? You can do it with very little or no money. Check out CreateSpace today.

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MORE MARKETING

Website Ranking – Basic Metrics (Elements)
Outsourcing Articles as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy – Is It Right For You?
5 Innovative and Proven Marketing Strategies

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Email Marketing – My Switch to GetResponse (for better subscriber opt-in boxes)

Email marketing falls under the content marketing umbrella. It’s permission based content along with ‘some’ (minimal) promotion that you send through emails to your subscribers’ inboxes. But, in order to create and build a list, and market to it, you need an email marketing service provider.

There are lots and lots of these providers online, such as:

  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • Constant Contact
  • iContact
  • Benchmark Email
  • AWeber

And, they vary in price and features.

The Switch

I used iContact for quite a while and liked their service. The only drawback to iContact is they only offer generic and outdated opt-in boxes (web forms).

While you can change the color of these boxes with HTML color codes, unless you’re tech savvy (know coding), you can’t change anything else, such as size, design, and copy.

And, the HTML you get when you create an opt-in doesn’t format to WordPress blog posts. There is a plugin for this, but you need to go into the WP’s theme’s coding to use it.

I can get by with some tech stuff, but to reformat the iContact opt-in boxes is beyond my skills. This bothered me. I’d see great looking opt-ins on other websites and wondered how they did it. Then I got the answer.

Pro copywriter and marketer Colin Martin told me about GetResponse. He’s used it for years and loves it. And, it provides ‘grabbing’ and engaging opt-in templates that you can tweak to make your own.

This was just what I was looking for. So, I jumped onboard.

Then came the work. I had to export all my iContact contacts to GetResponse. Actually, it wasn’t really a lot of work. These services make exporting and importing pretty easy.

Email Campaigns

After my contacts were imported, I started creating my subscriber campaigns. A campaign is a particular group of subscribers that you send targeted emails to.

I create a campaign for each of my websites where I collect subscriber email address from those who want writing and marketing information and/or the free offer I give.

One of the purposes of this strategy is to know which sites are attracting subscribers and which aren’t. It’s always good to know how your marketing strategies are working.

I also have campaigns for specific businesses or websites. For example, I have a health website that has nothing to do with my primary sites on writing and marketing. I also have a website that offers writing services for natural healthcare professionals; again it has nothing to do with writing and marketing information. So, those sites get their own campaigns. Meaning, I send different targeted messages to them.

I have all my campaigns up and running.

The Autoresponder

The next step was to create autoresponders for new subscribers. This was a bit more time consuming because I have an eight email set-up (autoresponder series) for each campaign for the first month. Then the emails will go to once a week and for a couple of campaigns once every other week or once a month.

The Newsletter

The newsletter or information email is what sustains your email marketing. It’s the valuable content that you send regularly to your subscribers.

Now, the basics are all transferred and set-up.

Other Features

There are many other features email marketing services offer, like segmentation, and even features that have a subscriber sent to a particular list or website if they click on a particular CTA.

Summing it Up

Email marketing builds a relationship with each of your subscribers – this in turn builds trust. Email marketing also helps build your expert authority as the ‘go to person’ in your niche or industry. The IMPORTANT thing is to give your subscribers valuable (useable) information on a regular basis. 

Definitions:

Segmentation is the process of segmenting (dividing) the subscribers in your email database. According to HubSpot.com, segmentation is about “tailoring the content in your emails to individual groups of contacts.”

It’s kind of like campaigns, in that you break contacts into specific groups, but it takes it a step further. It’s a fine-tuning process that you can use within your campaigns.

To read more on segmentation, read:
Why List Segmentation Matters in Email Marketing

CTA is an acronym for call-to-action. The CTA is the desired action you’d like your website visitor to take. It might be to opt in to your email subscriber list, it might be to buy your product, or it could be some other action.

What service do you use? How do you like it?
If you don’t have an email marketing service provider yet, or if you’re thinking of switching to one that has more options and features, you have to check out GetResponse today.





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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing and Animation – A Successful Combination
Email Marketing – The Subscriber Email List Bare-Bottom Basics
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