Monday, July 6, 2015

Headlines in an Ever Changing Marketing Landscape

If you use social media networks to publish your content, you should realize that one title or headline won’t have the same click-power as others. And, even if it’s effective now, it doesn’t mean it’ll be click worthy a month or so down the road.

If you’ve read about writing effective titles, you know they need to almost instantly grab the reader. Along with that, it must have enough motivating-power to get the reader to click on the link, leading him to your website.

After that, it’s up to the subheading or first paragraph to gain the reader’s attention and entice him to read on.

But, will a title you wrote last year have the same power today?

It’s common knowledge that marketing strategies are ever-changing. While there are a few fundamental principles that are steadfast, the majority of online strategies are not.

Take duplicate content. A while ago, it was perfectly okay to use the content of others on your site, as long as you provided attribution and linked to the original source.

Today, this isn’t an acceptable practice. Google wants original content on your site. You can use someone else’s content (permission-based, of course), but you must include your own valuable take on it or add some other relevant content of your own. Otherwise, your rankings could suffer.

The same holds true of keywords. Yesterday they were golden, today they take a backseat to the content itself. In fact, Google may penalize your site if it thinks you’re keyword stuffing your content.

This brings me to titles. While there are fundamental principles that should be adhered to, like they should be complete sentences and be relevant to the content, titles are not evergreen.

Titles have trends, just like most marketing strategies.

In an article at The Social Ms, it noted that a while ago titles ending with “and you’ll never guess what happens next,” were popular. (1) They did their job.

Now though, not so much. So, those titles need to be revised to fit the latest trends and motivating factors.

Along with this, a title is not necessarily ‘one size fits all.’

In posting to my social networks, especially Twitter, I change my headlines all the time. While doing this, it’s important to make sure the title reflects the content in the post.

I’ve noticed that simply revising the title can generate more engagement. In the 10 title examples below, the second of each generated more engagement:

Is the Twitter Background Real Estate Important?
Customized Twitter Backgrounds – Should You, Shouldn’t You?

Your Landing Page – One Major Mistake to Avoid
Don’t Make This Huge Landing Page Mistake

Content Distribution Tips for Maximum Reading Potential
Blogging – Does Anyone Read What You Write?

Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed
Business Opportunities and Burnout – What to Watch For

Self-Talking Yourself Into Being a Better Writer, Better Marketer
Tips on Becoming a Better Writer, a Better Marketer

Ideas may be the initiating force behind success, but they’re powerless without action.
Goal Setting – It’s Not About Ideas, It’s About Making Ideas Happen

Create and Publish an Optimized Blog Post in WordPress
Optimize Your WordPress Blog Posts

Why You Absolutely Need a Website as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy
Websites are an Absolute Must – Right?

Website Optimization – What Colors Will Evoke the Visitor Action You Want?
Choose Colors That Will Evoke the Right Visitor Action

Two Power Tips to Optimizing Your Email List Opt-in for Better Conversion
Email Marketing -2 Power Tips for Better Conversion

As for the title of this post, here are four variations:

  • Headlines in an Ever Changing Marketing Landscape
  • Changing a Title can Boost Clicks
  • For Optimum Results Headlines Must be Adaptable
  • A Rose is a Rose by any other Name, But a Title . . .

And, there are lots of other revisions that can be made to each of the titles above.

It’s a good idea to create at least 10 variations of your title – choose the one that works best for the blog post then switch them up for posting to your social networks. This offers two major benefits:

1. It keeps the content looking fresh.
2. Different people respond to different things, including different titles for the same content. If one title doesn’t grab Joe, one of the other ones will.

TIP: I mentioned it twice already, but it’s worth stating again: Make sure your title reflects the content. If it doesn’t, Google won’t like it, your readers won’t like it, and it’ll decrease your page length views while increasing your bounce rate.

Reference:
(1) http://blog.thesocialms.com/96701971371/

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Working Social Media - Keep it Going Strong with Consistency

There’s a commercial on TV that shows someone doing one sit up; someone eating one blueberry; and someone eating one piece of broccoli

The gist of the ad is that you can’t simply do just one of something to expect good health. Interestingly, I don’t remember what brand it was or what the marketer was trying to sell. But, that’s beside the point.

What I took away is it takes ‘more than one.’ It takes consistency to achieve your goals, whether they be health or business.

The same holds true of social media.

Consistency is an important factor in social media for three reason:

1. Consistency shows effort. It shows that this user is committed to his business and that particular social network.

As an example, I get requests to ‘Follow’ people and businesses every day. Since I’m kind of picky as to what kind of content I have in my feed, I actually go to the user’s profile to check him out before following back.

Using Twitter as an example, I check to see:

  • Who he is
  • What he’s promoting / what he’s doing on Social Media
  • How many Tweets he published
  • The frequency of those Tweets

This information is important to me. The last two elements show me how consistent this user is.

If he publishes a Tweet once a month, I pass.
If he has 10 Tweets and his account was opened 3 years ago, I pass.

Why do I do this?

Because I use social media for business. I have a focused platform and I want to ensure that the tweets in my feed will add to the conversation – will be valuable to me and my followers.

2. Consistency helps generate visibility. Your posts only reach a minute fraction of your followers. The more often you publish on social networks, the more likely your content will be visible.

Using Twitter again as an example, I post around the clock.

Not everyone is on social media at the same time. Not everyone is even in the same time zone. You need to consistently publish content so someone in Australia will get a chance to see it, so someone in Africa will get a chance to see it, so someone in China will get a chance to see it, so someone in New York will get to see it. You get the idea.

A user who missed my 8AM post, may see the one I post at 11PM.

3. Consistency helps build authority. But, it only does so if your posts are focused on your topic. Your focus must be consistent.

Going back to following others on Twitter, if I see a profile that says it’s about 5 – 10 very different things, I don’t follow back.

I’ve seen profiles that say they’re a marketer, a car buff, loves baking, loves traveling, loves fishing, and so on.

Okay, that’s great, but what’s the focus of the account.

I don’t want Tweets in my feed about the best car on earth or tips on fishing. And, those who follow me certainly aren’t expecting those topics in my feed.

So, there you have it, three essential reasons you need to be consistent in your social media marketing.

For more on being consistency and social media, check out:
How to Be More Consistent on Social Media

*Image Copyright 2015, Karen Cioffi

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do You Really Need That Word? (5 Tips to Effective Writing)

Today’s writers are well aware of this concept of writing tight. This is applicable whether your write nonfiction or fiction. It’s all about writing lean and mean – make every word count. But, in copywriting this concept is even more important.

Copywriting is about using words strategically to motivate the reader to take the action you want.

In an article at AWAI (American Writers and Artists, Inc.), it gives some good points on how to get your content ready for the ‘ax’ phase.

5 Tips to lean, mean content

1. Don’t worry about tightening your copy until you’re sure the copy is clear and conveys your intent. This may take one or two initial edits.

The first couple of editing rounds should be focused on the message itself. It needs to convey exactly what you want and it needs to be easy to read.

2. Watch for ‘unbelievable’ claims. Suppose you write, “Following the steps in this program guarantees a minimum of $20,000 in income every month, year after year.” Chances are the reader will become suspicious. There goes your sale or YES to some other desired action you’re striving for.

If the content doesn’t sound believable, you’ll lose the prospect.

3. Check for engagement. The AWAI article mentioned not to make the copy sound too academic. This might include industry terminology, too many statistics, and so on. You don’t want the reader to get stuck on a word or boggled down with too many statistics. Again, the point is for easy reading that’s motivating.

4. Check for awkward content. You want your copy to read smooth, be easy to understand, and be engaging. It must lead the reader down the YES path. If you have an obstacle in the road, guess what, it’ll make the reader pause. This is never a good thing.

5. Once you cover the four elements above, then it’s on to cutting unnecessary words, sentences, and even paragraphs, if need be. Just keep in mind that when ‘cutting’ away, the copy needs to remain smooth, easy to read, and motivating.

To read the AWAI article, go to:
Making Every Word Count for More Convincing Copy

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Links in Blog Posts are Good, Right? Well . . .

I read an interesting article at Larry Maguire’s blog. It’s about using links in your blog posts.

We all know that external links and deep links are important for SEO, but should there be a limit?

I’ve seen posts that have links (external and deep) in almost every other sentence.

But, is this type of 'link stuffing' helpful? And, what on earth is the purpose?

There are at least three reasons you shouldn’t overdo the ‘in content’ links:

1. Google keeps track of everything.

And, all things must be equal.

Google is aware of how many inbound and outbound links are on your website. The search engine giant doesn’t’ want the scale to tip in one direction too much.

Unless you’re inbound links are somewhat equal to your outbound links, watch the number of external links you use.

Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t reference your sources – that’s a must. It means don’t link to too much content on other sites within your article.

Yes, it’s a good thing to want to give the reader a broader reading experience, but that can be done with reference links at the bottom of your article.

2. It causes reader distraction.

If you’ve tried to read a post with lots and lots of links, it’s distracting. And, what’s one of the number one marketing musts? Reduce visitor anxiety.

You’ve brought the reader to your site to do what? To read your article and to motivate that reader to take action.

If the reader has too many options right within your content to click on a link to leave, do you really think she’ll be back?

I don’t think so.

And, along with this, I find it annoying. Give me your content or take on a topic without the distraction. Again, it’s annoying.

3. You diminish that readers Page View Length on your site.

One website metrics is Page View Length. This is the number of seconds, minutes, hours a visitor stays on your website within one visit.

The goal here: You want the visitor to stay on your website as long as possible. You want the visitor to read your entire article. You want the visitor to click on other blog posts or pages on your site.

You want them to put their feet up, have a cup of coffee, and stay a while.

Having too many external links your blog post will make the reader do one of two things:

A. She’ll get annoyed and leave your site.
B. He’ll click on one of the links early on in the read and leave your site.

Either way, you’ve lost an opportunity and you’ve lost Page View Length.

So, really, what’s the purpose ‘link stuffing’ your blog post?

Unless you’re selling links (and, that’s an absolute NO-NO), what can the purpose be?
It’s not really good for your PageRank. It’s not really good for the reader. And, you’re reducing your Page View Length.

Again, what’s the purpose?

Two fixes.

If you think you’re doing your reader a service by offering so many external links to information, try another strategy.

1. Why not create a resource page filled with links to great content.

2. Or, simply list your sources at the bottom of your post.

Either of these strategies will help you create an easy-to-read and easier to understand article that still provides the reader with a broader reading experience.

TIP: While I talked about ‘link stuffing’ with external links, it’s the same for deep linking to other articles on your own site. Instead of having related links in your content, have a “More Reading” section at the bottom of your post. Again, this helps keep your article neat and clean.

To check out Larry Maguire’s post, visit:
Is Adding Links to Blog Posts Turning Readers Away?

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Is the Twitter Background Real Estate Important?

I’ll admit I hadn’t thought about Twitter backgrounds. I did have a Twitter header created, but again hadn’t given the background a second thought. Then I read an article at Devumi Blog.

Devumi explains that having a customized background does a number of things, including giving you another place to put your logo.

Other benefits include:

1. Brand uniformity, including your color scheme
2. Your contact information and/ or website address
3. A featured event

This social media real estate can be used for just about anything you think will make your company more engaging, make your account more appealing, increase its  conversions.

In marketing, the rule-of-thumb is that you need to have a bare-bottom-minimum of 7 touch points before a customer will take action in your favor. Touch points are some kind of contact.

While it may be stretching it a bit, having a customized background with pertinent information could be considered a touch point.

The Devumi article gives step-by-step instructions on how to change your Twitter background image. To check it out, go to: Create Stunning Twitter Backgrounds

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tip of the Day - Knowledge is Power

No matter what you're into, what niche or industry you're in, knowledge is power.

As content writing and marketing is in the turbulent marketing waters,  I'm always reading, taking courses, and joining pros in their membership groups.

It's work, time consuming, and can be expensive.

But, what's the alternative?

As a business owner you MUST keep up with what's going on in your industry.

Granted some industries stay steadfast, but even those businesses must market themselves. This means keeping up with changed or new marketing strategies.

The 'knowledge is power' quote is attributed to Francis Bacon, in his Meditationes Sacrae (1597).

But, Thomas Jefferson is known to have used it at least twice:

Thomas Jefferson to George Ticknor, 25 November 1817
Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Cabell, 22 January 1820

Other interesting quotes on knowledge:

"Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement."
-Peter Drucker

"There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge . . . observation of  nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination."
-Denis Diderot

Sources:
(1) http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/knowledge-power-quotation
(2) http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_knowledge.html

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Monday, June 22, 2015

6 Power-Tips to Easier Content Curation

I’ve written about content curation before, telling how useful a marketing tool it is.

Well, it still is.

Generating content on a regular basis is a must. In fact, in a study on blogging frequency, it noted that businesses that posted 16+ articles per month had 4 ½ times more leads than businesses that posted under 4 times per month.

For smaller companies with 1-10 workers, posting 11+ times per month had a substantial boost in leads also.

So, it’s a no-brainer. You must produce content and produce it as often as you can. This is how organic inbound marketing works.

While it has its benefits, content curation does take some work. Below are 6 tips on how to work it effectively.

1. The content you curate must be on topic with your site’s focus.

If you’re blogging about alternative health, then that’s the content you want to find and curate.

If you’re blogging about baseball, the same thing holds true.

It’s pretty simple; keep it on topic.

2. Have a system in place.

You want to be able to find and utilize content easily. This means you need to know where to find it and how to use it.

Create a system that includes easy-to-follow steps. This might include:

  • The days you’ll be curating.
  • A list of sites or sources to find content.
  • A template to ensure you have your own valuable input to add to the curated content. (This is a must. Google frowns upon duplicate content, unless you include relevant and valuable additional content. You might put your own spin on the topic or give the gist of what the curated piece is about.)

3. Finding content.

Places to find content include your social networks. Use #hashtags to get content in your industry/niche.

Another great option is your email inbox. If you’re like me, you have lots and lots of relevant businesses sending you articles you can curate every day. Take advantage of them.

You can also use sites BuzzSumo.com. This site allows you to use keywords to pull up top information in your niche. It’s a bit costly, currently at $79 per month. But, if you can afford it, it’s well worth it.

4. Automate your sharing.

If you don’t build it (write and publish your content), they won’t come.

But, even if you build it, if they don’t know it’s there, they won’t come.

You MUST share your content, whether curated or original. This means posting to your social networks when your piece is first published.

It also means sharing that content and all your other content on a regularly set schedule. This calls for social media automation through services like SocialOomph and Hootsuite

This ensures you are visible and providing helpful information to your social networks on a regular basis. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.

5. Monitor your results.

As with any marketing strategy, you must monitor what’s working and what’s not.

Check if you’re getting engagement: Retweets, Favorites, Likes, Connects, and so on.

Tweak your strategy or what you’re posting about based on your analysis. This will help you provide information your readers want . . . and want to share.

6. Keep it fresh.

You should keep your content fresh. Provide the most recent information, studies, statistics, and so on. Be the person or business people in your niche go to for updated information.
   
I do this with my email inbox. I subscribe to a number of heavy-hitters in my niche. If they’re writing about it, it’s ‘blogging’ worthy.

Summing it up:

Content curation is a great content marketing strategy that can help you provide your audience with fresh content. And, it gives your reader a broader reading experience with two viewpoints. Give it a try today.

Sources:
Blogging Frequency and Lead Generation through Inbound Traffic
9 Ways the Pros Use Content Curation

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