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Author Archive

Jan

Content Marketing Talent: How to Fill Key Positions and Scale

Content Marketing Talent

 

Content marketing is about people.

Almost every company is doing content marketing. Why? It works. Done well, content marketing promises to increase traffic, leads and sales while reducing marketing costs.

But does it work for every company who does it? Definitely not. And so content marketing really isn’t for every company. Content marketing is for companies committed to employing the best talent and deploying effective tools.

This in-depth article focuses on cultivating content marketing talent, the asset you need most to achieve success in content marketing.

It takes a team

If you’re new to content marketing, you’ll quickly learn the practice demands serious resources. Try to do it as a one-man band and you’ll soon discover it calls for time and talents you don’t have. You need to assemble a team.

In late 2014, content development director Michele Lynn of Content Marketing Institute wrote:

Each year we track the challenges marketers are having with content marketing in our research. This year, one challenge was far more pronounced than it has been: finding trained content marketing professionals. This challenge has seen a 320% increase for B2C marketers over the past year.

According to research conducted by Kapost, fewer than 20% of content marketing teams comprise six or more people. Almost half of the respondents in their survey had teams of 2-5. The same research reports 83.7% of companies find hiring for content marketing talent difficult.

Content marketing is full of trials. First and foremost, you need the right people onboard. Let’s look at who they are, the talents they possess, and how to get the best in the business to join your team.

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Dec

32 Ways a Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

A lot of clients—marketing professionals and business owners—get in touch and ask me to help plan, write, and create websites, eBooks, and blog posts. That’s far from a complete list, but three common requests.

On the other hand, a lot of clients reach out to me without a specific task list in mind. They know they want to grow their business. They know they want to produce traffic, leads and sales. And they think they need the help of digital marketing consultant.

They’re right, but their question is often oh-so-broad: “How can you help me?”

Shwew. My answer could be any number of things and at that point, not having the benefit of knowing where their digital marketing currently stands, I’m seldom able to quickly deliver a perfect answer.

I certainly don’t want to blurt out a specific digital marketing tactic… “YouTube is the answer” or “An email campaign will make rain for you.” That’d be reckless.

A digital marketing consultant should recommend tactics based on needs identified from a carefully considered audit. I’m a strategist. I’m a copywriter. But I’ve been doing digital marketing since it existed, so there are a substantial number of ways I can help you grow your business through digital marketing.

Here they are.

The list won’t magically nail an effective strategy, but my hope is it’ll provide some answers to the “How can you help me?” question and give us lots to talk about.

 

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Dec

How to Make Your Website More Effective

make-your-website-more-effective

Search “how to make your website more effective” and the winner of the search engine sweepstakes is…
5 Free Ways to Make Your Website More Effective NOW.

Good stuff. It’s a guest post on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income site by Sarah Peterson of SumoMe. She says to make your website more effective you should:

  • Reduce decision fatigue
  • Capture the audience’s attention with strong taglines, images, and specific language
  • Present social proof
  • Audit and optimize the technical stuff
  • Move your opt-in offers higher up on the page

These are good suggestions. Thanks Sarah and Pat.

Want to make your website more effective with design? A strong post from Peep Laja at ConversionXL recommends:

  • Create a visual hierarchy based on objectives
  • Make the things you want visitor’s to click bigger and easier to get to
  • Use great visuals that comply to the rule of thirds
  • Use white space
  • Simplify

More good stuff and lots of cool examples and explanations of design principles.

Now I want to share my suggestion—just one, one big one.

The way to make your website more effective is…

Make your website more generous.

Simple, right? Be like Santa. Make a list and check it twice.

What goes on that list? Like Santa’s list, it should contain the things your people want you to produce. They’re probably not going to write you letters or sit on your lap and tell you, but you need to find out what they want somehow.

You need to know precisely what challenges your audience face and give them solutions.

Give, give, and give some more and what you get is a more effective website. (more…)

Dec

A Lead Magnet Promotion Checklist to Build Your Email List Faster [Free Checklist]

lead magnet promotion checklist

Much has been written about creating lead magnets. This is not the case for promoting lead magnets.

In my post, What is a Lead Magnet?, I offer a definition of the phrase, explain the purpose, offer advice for creating them and detail ten types that have proven effective for helping digital marketers build their email list. Check out the lead magnet article here if you haven’t already.

And now, stick around for the much needed sequel about lead magnet promotion. I’m going to give you 30 ways to build your email list faster.

When is a lead magnet not magnetic?

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years consulting clients on how to use lead magnets.

Sometimes clients engage me to promote them, but usually not. Usually, we move on to the next one. That’s a problem.

Your lead magnet, much like any content you create and offer, isn’t effective until the audience of prospective buyers you covet discovers it. Limited exposure equals limited magnetism.

I take great pleasure in delivering juicy lead magnets, eBooks especially, to clients. But sometimes a painful revelation follows. I’m told the results have been disappointing. The lead magnet isn’t converting as hoped.

Is the lead magnet, itself, to blame? I think not. Is the issue the landing page, pop-up or form where it’s offered? It’s possible, but unlikely. The problem is the promotion—or lack of it.

A vital part of your lead magnet strategy must be to increase its exposure. You need to put it in the path of potential buyers and make it clear you’re offering a solution to a problem they face.

In my lead magnet trainings, I offer a long list of ways to promote lead magnets. So here you go: a promotion checklist to ensure your lead magnet does indeed help you build your email list fast.

 

Promote lead magnets on your website

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Dec

Do Backlinks Still Matter?

do-backlinks-still-matter

True or false? Backlinks are the holy grail of search results.

The confusion remains. The speculation continues. And the research keeps pouring forth. The more you read this stuff, the less clear you are on the answers.

See, anyone can publish their take on SEO ranking factors. The search results themselves may be our best measure of credibility, unfortunately. Search engines are pretty amazing, but they’re definitely not lie detectors.

Even so, I asked Google for the answer. Or I should say, I asked Google to show me the top ten results for my question. I’m going to show you what I found, reflect on how much of what I read matters, and close with my opinions.

FYI: the data I present in the “numbers” for each search result come from:

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-1-52-31-pm

  • MozBar—for links and domain authority (DA)
  • Buzzsumo—for social shares (which excludes Buffer and many popular networks and isn’t always up to date)

Here are the first five results on my SERP (search engine results page). (more…)

Dec

6 Blog Post Formats that Work Best in B2B Online Marketing [Research]

blog post formats b2b

Should we obsess about earning shares and links with content in B2B online marketing?

Buzzsumo does. They’ve been at it for a few years now, madly crunching data gathered from their own platform, to objectively report on blog post formats and content types that are well shared and earn links.

Shares and links come with benefits. They amplify your content and help increase traffic. You could argue, however, as many do, more eyeballs don’t necessarily translate to conversions.

I don’t take social shares and links from other websites lightly. They say to me the content struck a chord with readers. It may be a fuzzy measure of success, but a measure no less. In fact, thanks to Buzzsumo, it’s a measure you can access instantly and use to gauge interest levels of your content. I’m into it.

“Shares can particularly help visibility and content distribution while links tend to help authority, search engine rankings and longevity,” wrote Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson. The quote comes from Steve’s post, The Top B2B Content of 2016: Six Lessons for Marketers.

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Nov

Copywriter vs. Content Writer: Skills, Writing Fees and Expectations

copywriter-vs-content-writer-1

Need content? You could enlist the services of a content writer. It probably won’t hurt a bit. But it probably won’t help either.

Given the immense demand for content, millions of freelancers, small agencies and writer brokerages have crawled out of the woodwork to offer cheap, quick-turn content writing services.

The writing they deliver seldom accomplishes much as measured by marketing objectives, but no one’s guilty of anything. The client placed an order for content. The vendor delivered it. End of story?

Yes, usually that’s the story in its entirety. However, it’s just the beginning of this one. You see, I wrote this article to answer questions I often get when asked to quote writing fees by prospects and new clients for creating content.

To simplify, it usually amounts to: copywriter vs. content writer—what’s the difference? However, it may not be quite that simple. A number of posts have been written as attempts to tackle the question. Usually, they say something like:

  • A copywriter writes ads or marketing material to sell products and services or raise brand awareness.
  • A content writer writes educational content without promotional messages.

I’m not close to satisfied with this overly polarized answer. You might have some noble goals in mind for your content marketing, but it’s not a public service. You do it for the reasons listed above in the copywriter definition. Those reasons are marketing objectives and to accomplish them you need a copywriter—and more—someone with marketing skills.

What an average web content writer does

An average content writer for the web writes content, usually blog posts. As you might expect, the writing’s usually average.

Average content writing fees: < $100.

Average research: 10 – 20 minutes.

Average marketing experience: Minimal.

Average results: Words on a page. Zero links. Zero traffic generation. Zero conversion. Zero sales. (Read more about how most content badly underperforms in research published by Buzzsumo and Moz.)

You can probably guess the number of reasons I can think of to hire an average content writer.

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Nov

Infographics: Tips for Creating Content People Crave [Content Matters Episode 20]

content matters infographics episode

Put information and visuals together, two things people crave, and you get infographics.

Listen to this edition of Content Matters to learn about why Andy and Barry are such strong believers in adding infographics to your content marketing mix and pickup all kinds of tips for creating them.

Listen to “Infographics: Tips for Creating Content People Crave [20]” on Spreaker.

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Oct

You Can Use Content Marketing to Grow (Even in a Boring Business)

Content marketing boring industries

By now you’ve heard all the reasons why you should be utilizing content marketing to grow your business: it’s scalable, provides a high ROI and allows you to provide helpful information to your target audience (which gains their trust).

However, most people think they have to be in a “sexy” industry such as entertainment or travel to create content worth marketing to your demographic. That’s not true. Content marketing can be leveraged by businesses, big or small, in any industry.

This is a guest post by Dan Scalco of Digitalux.

Here are some tips to help you start using content marketing even if you’re in a “boring” industry. (more…)

Oct

Smart Strategies for Effective Blog Design [Content Matters Episode 19]

Content Matters episode 19

At the top of the episode, I say, “Make reading your blog a chore or a bore and it’s bye-bye baby.”

Listen to this edition of Content Matters to pick up a long list of tips you can easily apply to design a more attractive and reader-friendly blog and get more from your content marketing efforts. 

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