Tag Archives: content marketing

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Content Marketing Done Cleverly and Well

Bored with content marketing? Me too. Then something comes along and gives you fresh inspiration, not only because it’s done so well, but also because it’s so clever.

Mind you, it probably helps that I’m such a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. :-)

In her article, What’s the Formula for E-book Success? Ann Handley says:

One of the tenets of my new book is this: Good writing is like good teaching.

That’s so true. If you want to make anything you’re writing better, ask yourself whether readers are learning anything. And yes, it applies to fiction too. The best fiction takes you on an emotional experience, and you learn from it. In the 1980s, Arthur Hailey wrote blockbuster novels which took readers behind the scenes of an airport, a hotel, and other places they knew, but didn’t understand – and didn’t want to understand. Hailey made them fascinating, and writers have continued that “learning” tradition.

Consider Dan Brown’s books. Or check out the bestseller lists today. THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, by Lev Grossman tops the hardcover fiction list. I’ve no idea what it’s all about, but reading the description, it sounds like Harry Potter-like.

Consider too, the 50 Shades trilogy: erotica for people who don’t read erotica. It’s introduced erotica to a completely new audience, by teaching. At least I think it informs readers on mild BDSM. I haven’t read it, although I do read erotica occasionally.

Content marketing: all teaching, all the time is boring

If you’re bored with your content marketing, your readers will be too. Don’t stop teaching in your content, but do consider teaching in new ways. I’m sharing my writing journals for example.

Ann interviews Lee Odden in the article I’ve linked to above, and here’s Lee’s amazingly clever slide deck on building an audience strategy for content marketing.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Are you in a content marketing rut? You create and post a set number of items to your website, your mailing list and social media accounts regularly. You’re proud of yourself, as you should be: consistency counts, and your content assets will grow.

You get traffic reliably, but you’re not seeing the jumps in traffic you’d like, not even when you post stellar content. You’re falling into a content marketing rut, and don’t know how to get out of it.

Try one or two of these three ways.

1. Try a new format.

Content comes in many formats. If you’re producing text content, with the occasional slide deck, why not turn some of that text content into audio, or video? Jing is free, and easy to use. You can post your videos to YouTube, and find a completely new audience.

Other formats to consider:

  • Q and A: you get a stream of customer service and other questions each week. Why not develop some question and answer content from great questions people ask? If one or two people have asked a question, hundreds of others may want answers too.
  • Tutorials: I love foodie blogs. I’m in awe of some of the wonderful content they produce. Food p0rn, indeed. Grab some ideas for tutorials from food or other blogs which use the tutorial format.
  • Micro content: you don’t always have to produce content which takes hours to create. Post a link, or a quote, or a fun piece of information.
  • Quizzes. Why not create a quiz each month? I love quizzes, and search for them in magazines. Your quiz doesn’t need to be confined to topics about your industry. Consider a seasonal quiz, or a trivia quiz.

2. Take it on the road: offer your content to new venues.

Please don’t wince. I know that Matt Cutts has taken a big stick to guest posting. But he’s not talking about genuine ghost blogging. He’s talking about link-hunting.

Find a couple of websites on which you’d like to see your content. Don’t worry about the links. Think about branding, and relationship building.

If any of your clients have a blog, offer them some great content which would appeal to their audience.

3. Experiment. Then create a case study.

Create an experiment – any kind of experiment you like. Set the parameters of your experiment. Then conduct it. Keep regular notes. Everyone loves case studies. You think you know what the results will be, but you may be surprised.

Announce your experiment, and its parameters. Tell readers how the experiment’s going, as it progresses. Ask readers to help, if possible. When the experiment’s over, announce your results.

It’s easy to fall into a content marketing rut. Challenge yourself to get out of it by with new content formats, and new venues.

Want more content marketing ideas? Create better content faster

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content Curation and Blogging: 4 Easy Strategies To Use Now

Content curation is a simple way to develop fresh content for your blog and increase your though leadership in your industry. Useful as content curation is however, if you overdo it, it can overwhelm your blog, so that your blog loses its focus. Don’t let that stop you from curating – read our first strategy below for a way to get around this.

Let’s look at four easy strategies you can use to make curation a part of your blogging activities.

Strategy 1. Use content creation tools: share freely and often.

Curation’s hugely popular, and many marketers make it a primary online marketing strategy. There are many tools you can use. I like Scoop.it, and use it for several of my clients.

When you create a topic on Scoop.it, you can curate freely, because your link collections don’t live on your blog. Of course, comment on each link you add, and add some of your links to your topic, to give your blog a little more visibility.

Strategy 2. Quote from others’ content when you write your own.

This strategy takes a little more time, because you’re pulling quotes from others’ content when you create your own. The quotes may support an argument you’re making, offer an additional insight, or give the latest news on the topic you’re covering. I used this strategy in an article on guest blogging.

The Digital Reader does this well, posting a “Morning Coffee” blog post every day which is a collection of links.

You can create a Best Of link collection each day, or once a week, or even once a month. Consistency’s the key to using this form of curation, so that your readers know what to expect. They’ll visit your blog to see what’s new in your industry.

Strategy 4. Outline or excerpt important content: add your own point of view.

Many blogs use this form of curation. They outline a news story, or an article, and then add their own short commentary. Blogs like The Passive Voice excerpt extensively.

If you’ve created a blog to cover important news in an industry, this strategy will work for you.

When you’re excerpting, be aware of fair use. Popular blogs can excerpt extensively, because they’re driving traffic back to the source. If your blog is new and isn’t getting a huge amount of traffic, be courteous, and request permission before you excerpt more than a paragraph or so from someone else’s content.

Should you use social media for curation?

The challenge with curating content on social media is gaining sufficient benefits from it. Generally speaking, you’ll get better results when you curate on your own blog, and then promote the post on social media.

However, if you’re building your Google+ circles, and want to create a mix of content in your stream, definitely curate. Beware of posting naked links. Add your own commentary, or outline the content, so that readers get the gist.

In summary, content curation adds value to your blog. You can use these four easy strategies with confidence.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

Content Creation Ideas: 3 Fast and Easy Resources

Content Creation Ideas: 3 Fast and Easy Resources

Looking for content creation ideas? Coming up with fresh ideas for new content can leave you feeling like a hamster on a wheel. You’re running and running, but staying in the same place.

I know the feeling. Not only do I create content for clients, I also create content for my blogs.

Let’s look at my current favorite content resources. They inspire me, and they may inspire you.

Upworthy: clever headlines count.

You’re busy creating content. Who has time for headlines? You, that’s who, otherwise your content won’t be read. I visit Upworthy solely for the headlines.

How about this one:

Here Are Just 3 Of The Smaller Lies SeaWorld Makes Its Employees Tell Its Guests

Or this one:

2 People Described The Same Person To A Forensic Artist And This Is What Happened

Great stuff. When I read headlines like that, they inspire me to lift my game. No matter how dull the topic, a great headline gets attention.

Keep in mind that your headline can be separate from your page title, which is developed for search engine optimization (SEO.)

Heidi Cohen always does a great job developing SEO-worthy page titles, and headlines.

Totally Delicious: discover great content ideas you can use today.

I used to be a Delicious fan and used it for years as a bookmarking website. Then Yahoo bought it, and it died.

Delicious is back. Explore the Discover option. Delicious finds links based on your interests. In Discover, click the Manage Your Subscription link, and add a keyword. You can add as many as you like. Then click the Subscribe button. You’ll now get links for that keyword in your feed.

You’re sure to find some content ideas within a minute or two.

Google News: news from everywhere, about everything.

I’m a news junkie, so I check Google News at least once a day, sometimes more often.

Just enter a keyword into the search query box, and you’ll get the latest news which mentions that keyword. You’ll notice that when you enter a keyword, Suggest gives you the option of searching News, or the Web.

At the bottom of the page, you’ll see:

Stay up to date on these results:

Create an email alert for content creation

If you wish, you can create an Alert for the keyword you entered. If you create an Alert, you’ll get fresh content ideas delivered to your email Inbox each day.

So there you have it. Three resources for content creation ideas. I’m sure you’ll find these resources as inspiring as I do. Happy hunting… :-)

Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee

Social Media Marketing: Pinterest Sharing Is Growing, So Use It

social media marketing

You can’t be on every social media marketing channel, but if you’re not using it, consider adding Pinterest to your marketing. It’s popular among women, and is beating email as a sharing tool.

Marketing Land offers an infographic, and reports:

While sharing via email declined 11 percent year-over-year, Pinterest shares increased 58 percent, making it the fastest growing sharing channel in 2013.

Here’s why Pinterest is so popular: it’s addictive. You get onto the site, and before you know it, half an hour has passed.

How to use Pinterest for your business: three tips

Start by creating a Pinterest For Business account.

1. Make your images pin-able

If you’ve got a blog, add a social media plugin which includes Pinterest. This means that your visitors can pin your images at a click. Consider creating larger images than you usually do: 600 x 900 pixel images work well. Use Canva; it’s a free tool, and will help you to enhance your images even if you’re not a designer.

What if you’re in an industry which is short on images? Perhaps you offer a service, which doesn’t lend itself to glitzy images. That’s fine. Create some images using text. Pinterest has created rich pins, which make it easier to use Pinterest as a bookmarketing option.

2. Have fun with your boards

Create Pinterest boards with specific questions your website’s visitors have, or around a specific theme. For example, if you have an online business selling accessories, create boards for each kind of accessory, and for your designers too. Check out what major brands are doing. Keep your boards light-hearted.

Tip: pins are made for sharing, so subtly watermark your images with your logo.

3. Remember your pin descriptions: add information

Although the focus is on images, your text content is important too. Your Pinterest audience is shopping-minded, so add information to help them, such as prices. Remember – fun. If you can make your text interesting as well as useful, you’ll get more attention.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Social Media Marketing With Images: Easy, Fun and FREE

Social Media Marketing With Images

Canva

Here we are: it’s a brand new year. You’ve decided to get up to speed on social media marketing, and you’ve wondered: WHERE do marketers get their images? Gorgeous photos, clever infographics, smart quote images… How do they do it?

Easy. They make images part of their social media strategies, because as the truism says, an image is worth a thousand words – and sometimes more. Images are evocative. They hint, and suggest.

You don’t need to be an ace photographer, or a designer, to use images in your social media marketing. You can create many images yourself. Train yourself to use your cell phone camera – every image you take yourself is free.

Then make the most of your images with some savvy image editing. No, you don’t need Photoshop. I listed some wonderful free image editing tools in this article.

Canva’s one of my favorite free image tools:

Canva is a new app, and it goes beyond simple image editing. Its claim is that it can “make design simple for anyone.” To that end, the app is stuffed with thousands of wonderful design elements, including stock photographs, layouts, and fonts.

Many of these elements are free. You’ll pay a minimal fee for others, but far less than you’d pay for an image from a stock photo website. Of course, you can use your own images, also. With the ease of Canva, you can create a birthday card, business card, or blog image in seconds.

It took me around two minutes to create the image at the top of this post. I created it at 600 x 900 pixels, which is an excellent size for Pinterest and Google+. Canva’s got a lot of presets for images, including images for Facebook and other social media sites. It’s just as easy to create your own custom sizes, just type them in.

I’ve been using Canva for several months, but haven’t even scratched the surface of this amazing program. Shush… don’t tell anyone, but I’ve even used Canva to create Kindle ebook covers in minutes. Over the holiday period, I used Canva to create fast and easy cards.

Grab attention with your images: some tips

In your marketing, you use images to grab attention.

Here are some tips…

  • Create your images in batches. If you’re in image editing and creation mode, don’t stop at one image. Create several. I like to create at least five.
  • Use call out images for your Calls to Action (CTAs). They’re an easy way to grab attention, directing your website’s visitors to the action you want them to take.
  • Use Skitch, or a similar app to build a swipe file of image ideas for your social media marketing. Watch how brands do it.
  • Use several image editors to get the effects you want – I often use two or three of the free Photoshop alternatives to create a set of images.

Social media marketing is essential for your business. If you’re just getting started, you’ll love the results you get from using lots of images in your campaigns.

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, and on Twitter: @angee