5 Steps for Content Marketing Success

Content marketing is not something that businesses or advertisers should attempt to do without a plan. To be successful, a content marketing strategy needs to have all the right pieces in place, and it needs enough time to work. If you are considering launching yourself into the world of content marketing, here is a 5-step plan for success. [Read more…]

Is it Time for a Website Redesign?

No matter how great the words on your web pages are, if your web design is outdated or not optimized following current best practices, your visitors are not getting the experience they are looking for. That means that your bounce rate will start climbing and your conversions will stay low. If you are not sure if it is time for a complete redesign, see if any of these apply to you. [Read more…]

5 Tools to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts

The early stages of a content marketing campaign can be exciting and move along quickly. Then, after a few months go by, you start to run out of blog topic ideas and your social media marketing efforts get a bit stale. The bad news is that new and fresh ideas and perspectives are the keys to content marketing success. The good news is that these slumps happen to everyone! Here are 5 tools to help you beat your slump and boost your content marketing efforts. [Read more…]

Original Content vs. Curated Content

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Content marketing is all about getting the right materials to current and future customers so they not only have the information they need to feel confident about buying a product or service, but also want to purchase it from you. Of course, creating original content on a continual basis is exhausting. Finding the right mix of original and curated content will help you reach your goals without burning out. [Read more…]

Content Marketing for Startups

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Small businesses and startups can feel as if they are at a disadvantage in the content marketing world. Small budgets, no history, and usually no writers on staff can lead to one of two things: either there’s no content marketing at all or, worse, there’s a bunch of poorly planned, hastily created content that’s not getting the job done.

What to Do?

As a startup, you will need a few customers in order to get the ball rolling. However, with so many people turning to the internet to look for products and services, without a great web presence, you might have a hard time getting found. Establishing a content strategy—even a small one—will help you establish that presence that you can snowball into a long-term plan. [Read more…]

SEO Best Practices for Small Business

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As Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to evolve and become more complex, small businesses can feel unfairly burdened with trying to keep up. Big businesses have big budgets that can accommodate on-staff specialists or a fancy marketing agency. Small businesses, on the other hand, usually need to stretch every marketing dollar to stay profitable.

If you need a few SEO shortcuts for your small business, try these best practices to make sure your content hits all the right notes without the expensive specialist fine tuning it.

[Read more…]

Forbes: Content Marketing Trends of 2014

My favorite part of January blogging is going back and looking at all of the predictions for the previous year to see how they did. The one I’m looking at today was one I held on to from last January because I thought it had some great predictions in it. It was written by Jayson DeMers, a content marketing and SEO contributor for Forbes. Let’s take a look at his “Top 7 Content Marketing Trends Dominating 2014.” [Read more…]

New Year, New Strategies

"Strategy" by Stefan Ershwendner via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

“Strategy” by Stefan Ershwendner via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

One of the best ways to get the most out of your content marketing is to have a solid plan. You don’t want to post blogs whenever you feel like it or on whatever topic you thought of over breakfast. Your Facebook page should be more than just personality quizzes and “You Know You’re From Chicago When….” posts. You’ve got have a game plan, an idea of the path that people should take as they read your content, browse your website, and read your Tweets.

So, if you’ve been working on a whim up until now, it’s time to put together a game plan. Beyond the usual questions of “Who is your audience” and “What are your goals,” here’s 4 questions to ask yourself as you work out your content marketing plan to make sure your bases are covered.

1. If I disappeared today, would anyone miss me?

Aww, don’t worry; I would miss you. But would the rest of your readers miss your content? Are you providing hot, fresh, up-to-the minute information and great entertainment? If you’re only doing what you think you’re obligated to do (some marketing person said I should have a blog *yawn* so I write stuff on Fridays.) then no, not many people will miss you.

As you work on your strategies and your content plan, think about what you have to say that nobody else can.

2. Am I just recreating the product catalog?

Oh, no. Don’t fall into the trap of just writing about your products and services. The occasional plug on Facebook about your new shampoo or a well-placed call to action at the bottom of your blog is fine, however, if most of your content focuses on things you want people to buy, you’re just creating a really big product catalog — and those are really boring.

When you’re planning your content, schedule no more than 20% of your content to be about you. And when you do indulge in a little Me Time, try to keep it entertaining. A how-to video, a recipe using one of your products, a photo-tour of something interesting that you do – all of these have the potential to be entertaining without looking too pitchy.

3. Am I too focused on one channel?

This is one question I have to revisit too often when it comes to my own materials. I tend to focus a lot of my energies on this blog and don’t always remember to invest and explore all the avenues that are available. Luckily, the answer is always simple: each content idea you generate should have a component for all of your channels.

For example, if you’re going to do a blog series about how to grow a home garden, next to those you should be planning what to put on your social media channels. Think of a bunch of supporting Facebook posts (maybe highlight a local gardener, post some pretty pictures of tomatoes) and find some interesting “Did You Know” stats to tweet.

4. Am I creating enough evergreen content?

Not everything needs to be breaking news or otherwise disposable information. When you’re creating content, plenty of it should be good-sense, evergreen stuff that will stand the test of time. Many of these will become some of your most-visited pages and can eventually build a sort of reference library for anyone that is new to your company.

Evergreen content is also great for repurposing and linking. You can put a bunch of relevant blog posts together to create an ebook or whitepaper, you can link to it over and over again as a reference, and people can find it months, or even years, after you’ve written it and still gain value.

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Consistency is Key; Reality is Real

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2015” by Emma Jordan via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

While consistency is usually touted as the No. 1 tool for successful content marketing, reality is real and really gets in the way of your best-laid plans. I’m particularly amused that my last post is related to content marketing fails and was posted nearly a month ago.

It happens to the best of us. :)  For me, it was the interruption of the holidays, the kids being home from school, my husband having a week of vacation, out-of-town guests staying with us for a few days, and general holiday merriment that got in the way of my consistency. Obviously this could have been avoided by having a few posts ready to go and scheduled to post, but most of my writing time was spent keeping my clients’ blogs consistent through the end of the year.

So, while it’s too late to stay consistent through the holidays, it’s never too late to get back on track. So, please pardon the pause while I get things rolling again, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming in no time.

Happy New Year!

Is it Time for a Content Marketing Rescue?

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parachute” by Oleg Klementiev via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Whether you’ve been actively working on a content marketing strategy or just passively trying to get in the game, sometimes your efforts can be doing more bad than good. If you’re not getting the results you expected, here are some signs that you might be bombing your own campaign. [Read more…]