50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing


More Content for SEO is Better but Don’t Sacrifice Quality

SEO Quality ContentThe online component of today’s integrated marketing communications includes both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategies. And underlying that is the need for more content to keep attracting search engine traffic. But, as we generate information, it’s important not to sacrifice quality by remembering to write for people… our customers and clients. As I mentioned in the last post, don’t just add more content… add more quality content. Our content needs to be targeted, unique, and useful to our customers, and should deliver valuable information that OUR customers are looking for. And to keep things really exciting, our content should be available in different forms: text, video, audio and graphics. (Here’s another post on that topic.)

As part of your Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy, valuable content is arguably one of most important form that our SEO and SEM strategies can take. In the not too distant past, content that was attractive to search engines often read like a contest to see how many keywords could be stuffed into one page of copy… even to including common misspellings of the keywords. Fortunately for both the people looking for information and we as marketers, search engines have gotten a lot smarter – which means they are more likely to deliver readers to us who are more likely to be interested in OUR copy, and they will stay on our page and our site.

Search Engine Technology Updates Have Changed How We Look at Content

So today, search engines know that users want relevant content results from their searches. And algorithms they use to sift through the millions of web sites now look at many, many more factors before sending searchers to our pages. Users are looking for accurate and authoritative content because they are actually looking for information, not just some keyword soaked gobbledygook designed to make the old style search engines happy. And users won’t stay on pages that don’t give them quality content or, worse, are full of fluff and advertising (ads are OK if they are relevant to the topic – but you wouldn’t want to see an ad for dishwashing detergent on a pet training site). They want substantial, useful content that can teach them, engage them, and add value to their lives… remember, people who visit our web sites always have one question top of mind: “What’s in it for me!” So when you provide quality content on your site, visitors know that the information is, “in it for them.”.

Write In Depth, Quality Content and Cut the Filler

It used to be that search engines looked inside the header for a special “meta tag” with the appropriate keywords for that page… but since people learned that they could stuff the keyword tag with all sorts of irrelevant keywords and get traffic that way, the search engines rarely look at the keyword meta tag any more… now they look at the actual content of the page. Either the content fits the search term, or the search engine won’t send visitors there. That is how search engines build their credibility, by delivering users to the information they are looking for. relevant, useful content. Keywords still belong in the titles, sub heads, anchor text, and image alt tags, but stuff them into the content in an unnatural way… you may even get penalized for that. Content should always be of value to your readers. If it is, search engines will send them to you. So as a business owner or a person charged with marketing communications for your company, always write or hire writers who provide quality content. Whether it’s a blog post or a page full of information, all the information that passes from your business to your customers and clients should have a reason for being. Even though search engines can’t read images or audio files to see if they are relevant, each post, article, video, podcast, infographic should have a definite purpose for your business and value to your customers.

Your Content’s “Voice” Should be Appropriate to Your Market

In addition to all of your printed materials, everything you publish on your website or offer as a download to your readers and users to sound like it was written just for them. Use the language that is in common use with your audience. This can be true even if “technically” the grammar not be quite right. If it’s right for your audience then it’s right for your website and your materials. Remember, readers looking for your information will probably be using that same language… and the search engines will spot that.

Finally, relax a bit about keywords and focus on the content your readers are looking for. What you say is very important. It should teach them, inform them, engage them and even excite them. And all of your content should lead naturally to your, “Call to Action.” You want your reader to do something when they finish your copy: purchase, sign up, call – you want them to do something… if you don’t offer them something after they have spent time reading your valuable information, you have wasted their time. Creating that type of quality content will get you higher rankings and mean more to your SEO and marketing efforts than all the keyword soaked content you could possibly imagine.


SEO – Quality Content More Important Today

SEO Quality ContentSearch engines are important, but today, it’s more important to our integrated marketing communications efforts to create quality content online… for humans… our customers and potential customers… who will actually be reading and responding to that content. This was not always the case. As Small Office Communicators, many of us learned that writing for search engines to gain traffic was critical. Today, search engines are much more sophisticated… which means that our communications to our customers must also get more sophisticated. That doesn’t mean trying harder to fool the search engines – which is what people used to do; no, it means providing valuable content that our customers are actually looking for. AND, providing more of it as search engines are always looking for web sites with new and fresh quality content. Since you and I know that we are using all the tricks and tools we learn about marketing and search engine optimization to help our customers, the search engines new found “talent” for sniffing out quality content can only serve us for the better.

So with these changes in the way search engines work, if we want to compete, we need to focus on high quality content rather than just throwing any old, keyword soaked content at the web and hoping for the best. The higher the quality of the content we offer, and more of it, the more relevant to our customers we become, and the closer we’re going to appear to the top results on SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) when people look for the information that we have.

So what is Quality Content?

Today, the content we offer our customers must be well developed and researched – it’s not hard to research what we want to say before we say it. And it’s important our content be accurate and reflect our in depth knowledge of the topic that can only come from experience and research. And if it’s not well written, it’s going to look and sound unprofessional and won’t get the results we want for our businesses.

Though well written content is imperative, you don’t have to have perfect grammar, or write college level material (unless appropriate for your audience). But you must use language and style – the “voice” of your writing – common to your target audience… your market. You don’t want to talk down to people or over people, as I’ve said before, your written voice should be similar to the voice you would use talking to a friend or someone to whom you would like to introduce your product. So your online content writing needs a deep understanding of both your market and your audience.

Then, a mix of both current content and evergreen content will promote your, “authority” in your market space. Current topics keep your customers/readers up to date with what is going on in your market – which they need to know. And evergreen content expands your image as the, “go to” source for information… and search engines like offering sites with broad appeal… when they send people to sites to which they “stick,” the search engine knows that users will be back for more searches – and they will make money from some of those visitors – that’s how they stay in business… god for them and good for us!

Then expand your content offerings to expand your audience and attract more readers… and customers. You can also include:

  • Blog posts
  • White Papers
  • Articles
  • Tutorials
  • eBooks
  • And more…

It’s also an excellent idea to create and offer content in many forms:

  • Text
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Infographics

As search engines today get more and more sophisticated, and we as marketers, offer more and more quality content for our readers, the engines will move us toward the top of search results and send more and more knowledge seekers our way. That can be nothing but good for our businesses.

DanSig-02

The Kim Kiyosaki path to bliss…

Happy First Day of Summer! All of us here at Small Office Communicator hope you have some great family activities planned for the coming months.

One of everyone’s favorite moments from entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown’s “Business Bliss Live” web show this week came from her special guest, bestselling author and wealth-building expert Kim Kiyosaki:

“A lot of women think if they do what they love the money will follow. No! You’ve got to do what you love and work your butt off to be successful”. ~ Kim Kiyosaki

Kim really tells it like it is, and her segment was loaded with practical advice on how to make money doing what you love. If you missed the show, you can access the free on-demand replay instantly here.

Here’s what else Kim talked about during her “Business Bliss Live” appearance:

* How fear and resistance are holding you back, and how to flip that switch fast

* You can’t do it alone! Why investing in yourself is a game changer

* What her coaches and mentors have taught her (especially her first coach, husband Robert Kiyosaki)

Go listen to the free on-demand replay now to hear all of Kim’s wisdom and more.

During the show, Ali also made an irresistible offer to join her “Business Bliss powered by Elevate” online business training program. If you register in the next 6 DAYS, you get TWO BONUSES worth nearly $800 alone. Go here now to see everything you get in this powerful program.

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P.S. Remember, this is a *time-sensitive* offer… you only have until June 26 to take advantage of it. Go see how “Business Bliss powered by Elevate” can take your business to the next level here.

How to Create Predictable Emotional Response (PER) In Copy

ElephantAs a wordsmith for over a decade, I have to say that for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why people didn’t respect copy.

It seems they would look to improve every other aspect of a marketing campaign before they’d look at the copy.

Then I figured it out…

Copy isn’t just a bunch of words on a page or in an email…

At its most basic definition, it’s “salesmanship in print”…but it goes so much deeper than that…

Have you ever heard of the Elephant & Rider metaphor?

It’s based on NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s theory in his bestselling book, The Happiness Hypothesis.

It goes like this…

Imagine a 200 pound rider on top of a 15,000 pound elephant. It appears that the smaller rider is in control…but the truth is the enormous elephant is really going to go where it wants.

This is a metaphor for emotional response

See, the rider represents the conscious, logical brain…while the elephant represents the emotional, visceral brain

The truth is…the elephant is in charge…and so are your emotions

People feel emotion first, then rationalize it.

Say you want a piping hot pizza…

You can practically taste the hot cheese and the crispy crust…

Then you start talking yourself down rationally…

You know pizza has little nutritional value…

You’ve been hitting the gym lately and pizza is just more unwanted calories to work off…

You also feel like crap afterwards…

So now it’s a push me/pull you game…

Which side wins? The rider or the elephant? The rational side or the emotional side?

If you’ve even done things that you know you probably shouldn’t do like sleep in or procrastinate or make an impulse buy, then the emotional/elephant side is winning.

Emotions are much more powerful than rational thought.

In order to write copy that really connects, you have to break into your prospect’s subconscious, and create a Predictable Emotional Response (PER)

See, understanding your target market is just the first layer…we need to feel those people viscerally… like the flesh and blood people that they are. When you can get to THAT level, your bond is instantaneous.

So how do you get there? Well, for your consideration, I’d like to reveal my favorite, yet quirky secret to getting a Predictable Emotional Response (PER).

This trick harkens back to my acting days when I first arrived in Los Angeles. (Fun fact: Did you know I was an actress on Baywatch for a summer? Yup. That’s how I got into the Screen Actors Guild.)

When you’re studying a character for acting, you need to understand the “backstory” of your character.

In fact when I’m teaching copy-writing classes, I teach my students to write their own “backstory” biography of the ideal prospect they’re looking to attract.

It’s really fun and engaging. Best of all it brings your “target” (or avatar or persona or whatever you want to call it) to life.

The best way to elicit a true Predictable Emotional Response (PER) is this…

You need to FEEL an emotion when you write if you want your prospect to experience an emotional response while writing…

You must HAVE an emotional experience while you’re writing if you want your prospect to have one while they’re reading. The way to get there as a marketer is to know exactly who you’re selling to, which is the same person you’re relating to across the page.

This emotional connection comes from your true empathy of where they are and where they want to go…

The more you can actually visualize a single person in detail and know her emotional road map, the faster you will build lasting connection.

It works every time.

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Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly eZine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at: Red Hot Copy

Marketing With Stories – Wrapping It Up

This series of blog posts about marketing with stories gave you a lot to think about. You’ve learned that marketing stories aren’t that different from any type of story that you read in childhood or that your parents told you.

All marketing stories have some components that make them exciting.

The story is about someone — in this case your audience.

The story is about achieving a specific goal, solving a problem or overcoming an obstacle.

The story is about how your product or service solves the problem.

The story has a value point or moral to it.

You’ve learned the importance of words and imagery that allow you to weave the story in many different forms for consumption on different mediums such as your website and social media. You’ve learned that words have meaning, and images have power. You’ve also learned how important it is to be yourself as you tell your marketing stories and to ask for help and feedback from your audience and colleagues.

In addition, you’ve learned that you can take old ideas and make them new again. You’ve learned that marketing with stories is a way to build strong relationships with your audience and a great way to let them know that they matter, they belong, and you want them to be happy. There is hardly anything more personal and important than that, and it doesn’t matter what your product or service is, marketing with stories works because it shows that you have taken the time to ensure that you tell stories your audience wants to hear.

Finally, I want to leave you with the words of Chris Brogan who said it best,

“Stories are how we learn best. We absorb numbers and facts and details, but we keep them all glued into our heads with stories.”

I agree with Chris. Now, it’s time for you to work on your marketing story. Tell your story, tell your customers’ stories, and experience how easy it is to market with stories.

The Most Important Factors in Marketing with Stories

Last blog post I told you about the ways in which you can repurpose your marketing stories for maximum exposure and impact. It’s clear that you can start with any format for your story and repurpose it to another. But there are a few things that I believe are the most important factors in creating marketing stories that work.

This is true whether you are creating your brand’s story, your customer’s story, or your products or services story. No matter what angle you approach it from these factors are most important to adhere to. If you do these things, you can and will create marketing stories that get results

It’s Always About Your Audience — No matter which angle you are approaching your marketing story from, it’s really always about your audience, it’s never about you. Even when you are telling the story about how you started your business it’s about what you can do for your audience. Always.

Focus on Clarity — Instead of worrying too much about grammar, punctuation and proper sentence structure, instead focus on being clear with the words you use and their meaning. Words do mean something, ensure that you and your audience agree on their meaning and whatever you tell them will resonate.

Speak With Honesty — Whether writing, or conducting a speech you are speaking to your audience and it’s imperative that you are always straight with them. It takes a long time to build trust, but only a few seconds of doubt to ruin it. If you’re honest, your audience will know because telling your story honestly is so much easier than lying.

Be Yourself — No one can do you, the way you do you. It doesn’t matter what competition is out there you are still unique and have something to offer that no one else does. Yourself. If you pretend to be someone you’re not, it will be impossible to build a true relationship with your audience. They’ll know. Almost immediately.

Talk With Your Audience Not at Them — It’s important when you write copy for marketing with stories that you use a conversational tone, with real words, not buzzwords, or inaccurate and confusing terms. While writing, picture your audience of one, in your mind’s eye and simply tell them your story. For real.

Forget About Marketing — It’s tempting when marketing with stories to revert back to sales page tactics but remember, when you are marketing with stories you’re not writing a sales page, although you might use stories on a sales page, the story itself is different. The more you can share with your audience and be a resource to them the better.

As you share your own story, focused on your customers, and ask them for feedback and to share their stories, something really special will happen. You’ll build a strong relationship, one that will carry you forth as you create new products and services for a loyal customer base who will become storytellers for you on your behalf. Marketing with stories is that powerful.

Next week is my last blog post, I’ll go over what we’ve learned and give you some food for thought as you move forward on your journey to market with stories.

Ways to Repurpose Content & Get More Out of Each Story

Last blog post I told you about using imagery to best represent what you want your audience to envision in their mind’s eye. This post is going to be about how you can create many different versions of the same marketing story to get more out of each story and so that you can use it on different mediums such as your website and social media.

There are many different ways to tell a story. The great thing about that is you can also tell the same story in many different formats. You can start with text, create a podcast out of it, add some images and create a slideshow, add some movement and music and turn it into a video. You don’t want each format to be identical but you do want the different formats to be connected by one story.

Case Studies — This is a great way to add to any marketing story because your audience loves to hear stories about themselves. They love to read about, or listen to a story about someone just like them having succeeded with your product or service. There are many different forms f case studies too. You might include one or more case studies in your marketing story, depending on your goal. If you include more than one, each can then be taken as a whole and marketed alone.

Testimonials — Using testimonials inside a marketing story or as a marketing story is a great way to speak directly to your audience by letting the audience tell the story themselves. You can design the method, written, video, interview, and the concept and your customers will fit their story into that concept. Make it fun, have a contest and you’ll gather a lot of information and testimonials that you can use to develop your marketing story.

Podcasts — You can actually weave your story over several podcast episodes. After all, telling your story doesn’t have to be done in one fell swoop. Marketing with stories isn’t a one-off event, it’s an ongoing relationship building tool that can inform your entire online presence.

eBooks — Using an eBook format to disseminate your story is a great way to put it all together for your audience who likes to read. You can weave stories into any eBook that you write about any topic. Consumers love a good story, and an eBook is an excellent way to provide it.

Videos — With the advent of simple technology that almost anyone can use to record digital videos you can now use it to create compelling stories with short and even longer videos. This is a really good way to use marketing with stories and testimonials from clients. Letting clients tell their story and how your product and / or service saved the day and is very powerful. Plus, what could be more real?

Images — Graphics and photographs are wonderful additions to any type of story. It’s important to choose the images correctly that add to and not take away from the words that you use. The right image, which might just be a graphically enhanced quote taken right out of the text of your marketing story, can be shared thousands of times.

Memes — You see them on social media like Facebook, Pinterest and other image centric social media sites. A meme can tell a story in a very quick way, and link to the longer, broader story on your website or blog.

Infographics — When you have a lot of data to share with your audience one of the best ways to do it is with infographics. An infographic is longer than a meme, and more than one image, it usually encompasses a lot of data illustrated in image form so that it makes sense to the reader. It’s a powerful way to tell a story quickly.

Learning to repurpose all of your content including when you are marketing with stories is a great way to never run out of ideas. Next week I will tell you some of the most important aspects of marketing with stories that you need to know.

Guest Post – The Biggest Myth About Content Marketing

From: Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter: June 5, 2014

Don’t get me wrong….

I am a big fan of content marketing – marketing based on dissemination of free information that is useful and interesting to prospects.

I use content marketing all the time for myself and my clients … and have been doing so for over 3 decades.

But, in an article from Target Marketing, Craig Fitzgerald writes: “Relevant, meaningful, authentic content is the key to inbound marketing. It’s paramount to attracting customers to your brand and keeping them engaged.”

Really? Content is “the” key? Not persuasion? Not copy? Not salesmanship? Not offers? Not benefits?

Well, in some cases, maybe. But always? No way.

Content marketing is particularly effective in several situations:

  1. Your sale depends on convincing prospects that you and your company are the top experts or authorities in your niche or technology.
  2. The prospect desires to become a more educated consumer of what you are selling. Example: I have copywriting clients who want to know more about copywriting so they can better judge the copy I and others write for them.
  3. The prospect will be more successful if he has a deeper understanding of your product or service. Example: you offer search engine optimization (SEO) services and need to educate prospects so they appreciate what you are doing for them and why you are doing it.

But what Craig omits is that there are many marketing situations in which the prospect has no desire to learn more about what you do or how it works – and in which their trust in you is generated through vehicles other than content.

For instance, a guy named JM at a firm called Z&Z is my CPA.

They do no content marketing. Or if they do, they have made no effort to target it at me or even show it to me. I have never been on their web site.

And if they do produce content, I have no interest in it, wrong-headed as that stance may be.

The reason? Accounting bores me to tears. I prefer to turn everything about my books and taxes over to a CPA whom I can trust – JM – and let him do his work with as little involvement on my part as possible.

My trust in JM comes not from content he may have published … which I have never seen … but from the fact that I have known the owners of Z&Z for decades.

And that they are visible in the local community. That visibility includes a charitable organization in which JM’s partners and my late father were both active.

So I have no interest in content about income tax preparation. And therefore, content marketing won’t sell me your accounting services.

Similarly, think of local businesses like your town pizza joint and neighborhood dry cleaner.

No pizza parlor or dry cleaner I have ever dealt with publishes content on how to make a pizza or how to clean clothes. That’s not what their customers would want. It’s not how those products and services are sold. Content marketing is irrelevant.

My problem with marketing experts like Craig who are evangelists for the flavor of the month (in this case content marketing) is that they think their favorite methodology can be applied with a broad brush to every business – which is not at all the case.

This problem extends throughout the marketing community to every channel that is new, hip, and trendy – including content marketing, SEO, blogging, infographics, mobile, apps, and social media.

The evangelists insist what they have is the next big thing … that it renders every other marketing method obsolete … and that everyone should be using it.

Utter nonsense.

They also act like they invented it – also utter nonsense, as I ran my first content marketing campaign in 1980 … and others were doing it decades before that.

We just didn’t call it content marketing. We called it “selling by giving away free information.”

Sincerely,

Bob Bly

P.S. I am busy at work on my new book which is – you guessed it – “The Content Marketing Handbook” for Racom Publishing.

If you could send me samples of your content marketing campaigns with some results, I would be most grateful. E-mail me at rwbly@bly.com. If I use your material, you will get full credit, of course.

Bob Bly
Copywriter / Consultant
www.bly.com

I welcome your feedback! Did you like today’s message? What other topics would you like to see covered in my e-mails?

Please let me know at: rwbly@bly.com

If you liked this essay, and want to read 75 more just like it, get my new book “Don’t Wear a Cowboy Hat Unless You are a Cowboy – and Other Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon,” which you can order here: www.bly.com/KindleCowboy

* * * * *

Dan back again…

Hope you enjoyed that. Note how Bob beautifully wove a story into his message. Fits right in with our series on Marketing Through Storytelling by Sebastian Morales.

Who is Bob Bly? I thought about putting a full bio in here, but this post is long enough, so I thought it would be easier for you to actually read the whole thing yourself, so here’s a link to his bio on his web site. Beyond that, I’ve known Bob for years, have bought quite a few of his books – and have learned quite a bit from him, and have always enjoyed his “Direct Response Letter” musings – of which this post was one. I highly recommend you also sign up to get it. And if you sign up here, Bob is offering four reports worth $116 – at NO CHARGE!

For a limited time only, Bob has agreed to send you, at no cost:

** Free Special Report #1: How to Double Your Response Rates at Half the Cost.

** Free Special Report #2: Secrets of Successful Business-to-Business Direct Marketing.

** Free Special Report #3: How to Market Information Products.

** Free Special Report #4: Online Marketing That Works.

Each report has a list price of $29 and is about 50 pages of content; total value of this package of reports is $116… but, for you, my loyal readers, NO CHARGE! I think the four reports that Bob has selected are very appropriate for Small Office Communicators, so by all means, take advantage of Bob Bly’s special offer right away… note the subtitle of his book, “…Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon” You never know when Bob might take this offer away.

Enjoy Bob’s writing… I certainly do, and I have learned a lot from him.

DanSig-02

Informative “Profitable Email Webinar” – Listen to the Replay

nicole-dean-postMelissa_Ingold_postI just watched a very informative profitable email webinar, “Why You’re Sitting on a Goldmine of Leads and How to Start Profitably Mining Your Business for them Today!” It was so good, I want to share it with all of you. The program was by Melissa Ingold and Nicole Dean of CoachGlue.com… some of you may already know them. I’ve known and learned from these two ladies for a couple of years now; they’ve built up successful businesses, and have a lot of really good information for small business and small office communicators to ramp up the productivity of your email list. They’ve agreed to keep the replay of the webinar up for a while, and you can listen to it here. I highly recommend it. I know I got a lot out of it.

Though this part of their business is aimed at Coaching Business Owners, the webinar was not really focused not so much on Coaching, but on getting the most from your email list… you ARE building your email list… aren’t you? Melissa and Nicole’s program takes you through some of the best practices that we all should be doing with our email lists, including better ways to grow the lists (I’ve already implemented one change that their testing shows improves results… see the added visual to the newsletter sign up box over at the top of the right column?) – plus recommending that you carefully segment your lists so that you can send the most targeted, therefore the most responsive emails to just the right people. You’ll also learn about:

  • The crazy (and wrong) statement about email marketing that we’ve been hearing for years
  • The funny question that proves it’s wrong
  • The top 3 email strategies that companies were using just this past year (talk about up-to-date!)
  • Plus many more excellent ideas

So I’d like to introduce you to Melissa and Nicole by recommending the replay of their webinar: “Why You’re Sitting on a Goldmine of Leads and How to Start Profitably Mining Your Business for them Today!” There’s no “Opt In” required, and once you’ve heard them, I’m sure you’ll want more from them…

By all means, enjoy the webinar…

Dan

P.S… yes, that’s them in the photos, Nicole on the left, Melissa on the right. Check out their webinar here!


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