Marketing Strategies For 2014: Tearless and Fearless (4 Tips)

marketingstrategy2014

Wondering about your marketing strategies for 2014? Many small businesses earnestly create marketing plans, but our strategies last as long as New Year’s resolutions.

Invariably, Murphy’s Law applies. We want to try the latest big new thing (content marketing, perhaps) but whatever we try turns out to be more complicated than we expect. Or it needs more resources that we have. So we pull back and focus whatever’s familiar, even if it’s expensive, and no longer works as well as it once did.

Let’s look at four tearless and fearless marketing strategies. Tearless because they’re free. They just take time. Fearless because they’re easy.

1. Do more of whatever worked for you in 2013.

What worked for you in 2013? If you’ve got an ad that’s been running in your local paper for three years, keep it up. Your customers are used to your ad. They expect to see you there. However, consider experimenting a little. Could you run special offerings for new customers?

If you’re using Twitter to manage customer service, keep doing that. Consider creating a Twitter-specific page on your website to welcome new customers, and tell them who you are.

2. Get found online: blog.

Does your business need a blog? Probably, if only because it will:

Improve search engine rankings – The more content you produce, the more likely you will be found by your prospects when they are researching your industry online. As long as you have a content marketing strategy in place, optimizing for specific long-tail keywords, you should see a significant increase in search engines rankings.

Here’s the easiest and laziest way to answer the “blog or not?” question. Check your competitors’ websites. If they’re blogging, your customers will expect you to do the same.

If you hate writing, post images of your products, your customers, or your town. Blog whatever YOU like. Treat your blog and your Twitter account as your customer service department: help your customers, and your prospective customers, and you can’t go wrong.

3. Forget about the “shares.” Think: “conversions”.

If you’re using social media marketing, Search Engine Journal offered this advice in content marketing trends for 2014:

The main thing that we expect to see in the New Year is for marketers to shy away from the cheap, clickbait content that inflates “vanity metrics,” and move more towards creating niche-specific, high quality content that provides value to their followers.

When you provide valuable content, your visitors will stay on your website longer. This gives you more opportunities for conversions (sales.)

4. The Web means Google and that means Google+.

If you’ve ignored Google+, revisit the network.

As Brett Nuckles suggests:

Getting on Google+ will help Google’s Web crawlers index your site, leading to higher placement during a Web search. It will also ensure that customers get the right information when they search for your business on Google.

2013 has been a big year on Google+; the network is becoming more useful by the month. Google’s sinking money into it. Studies suggest that Google+ has over 500 million users, and that almost 70 per cent of marketers want to learn more about the network.

What marketing strategies are you thinking about for 2014? For me, the mix is much as before. I’ll be blogging, and will remain active on social media. Wherever you are in the world, I wish you much success in 2014. :-)

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, and on Twitter: @angee

Publicity Power: 5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

Love press releases? I do too. To my mind, they’re an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

I’ve often told the story of how I got into copywriting – via press releases. At the time (1980s!) I was running a business which was spending HUGE amounts on display advertising in Sunday newspapers. Since press releases cost us nothing except a few postage stamps, I sent out ten press releases to various media outlets.

Hey presto – we got fantastic coverage: radio, TV, magazines…

Yes, those days were different. However, the underlying marketing is the same now as it was then.

To get publicity, you need:

  • A hook – a good story – for media attention;
  • A belief in yourself, and the worth of your business;
  • A little creativity.

All these years later, the media isn’t what it once was. However, publicity is just as powerful now as it was then. And it’s basically free. All you need is a story that’s attention-getting.

You may be wondering about a press release’s value in these days of Hummingbird.

The death of SEO press releases?

Yes, and not before time. Google’s Matt Cutts rained on the SEO parade:

With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links.

Here’s the thing. If you get media attention, you WILL get SEO value, because you’ll gain lots of links. However, you shouldn’t use press releases just to get links.

Let’s look at five simple press release tricks.

1. Make your press release newsworthy.

What’s “news”?

Anything you say it is.

Truly. Your press release might have a hook related to: timeliness, public interest, conflict, tragedy, humor, sex, money, human interest, the future, or animals.

Any one of those themes will do. Combine two of them, and you’ll hit the publicity jackpot.

Take a look at a newspaper, and you’ll see those themes every day. They’re news.

I tend to use the terms “press release” and “news release” interchangeably. All press releases must contain news.

2. Tell your story: attract media attention.

You’ve got a newsworthy theme. Your next step is to find the story within that theme. TV Tropes could be a happy hunting ground for your story; check out the Rags to Riches trope, for example.

Whatever your theme, there’s a story buried within it. Think about it.

Tell yourself the story. Start with “once upon a time, there was…”

Stories in news release are publicity gold. Find yours.

3. Have a strategy: help your audience to discover you.

You can post your press releases online of course, however, consider making press releases part of your overall content strategy.

Press releases are content. Post your releases into a Media, or Newsroom section of your website. Over time, those releases tell the story of your business.

Many of your site visitors have never heard of you, so several years’ worth of releases on your website increase their trust in your business.

4. Turn on the glamor: add images and video.

Glitz up your press release. Add images from your media kit, as well as images you’ve created for your current content campaign. You can also add a video, and a downloads like a white paper, or a report.

These items increase the likelihood that people finding the release will click through to your website.

5. Yes, use links in your releases (for traffic, rather than SEO)

Finally, of course you can use links in your press releases. You want traffic. If you’ve been hammering several keyword heavily in your online activities, avoid using them. Use other words as anchor text.

Your aim is to get traffic from your press releases, and if you include a newsworthy theme and story, you will.

So there you have it – five press release tricks to help your small business. Now, go and get some publicity – you deserve it!

Need some help? I create press releases for clients. My aim is to find a theme, and tell your story.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee