How to Stay Current with Content Marketing

content marketingWith so much content being churned out every day, content marketers have quite a task to keep things current. Even if you think up an idea without the help of Google or any other research, the chances are that it’s been covered before by someone, in some way. And so thinking outside of the box can be pretty difficult when the space is already crowded.

But there are ways to stay ahead of the pack and stand out from the competition. And fundamental to staying current is looking to the future. In this article we consider 5 actions you can take to keep up and stay relevant to the now with your content marketing.

1.      Optimise for Mobile

As mobile use is only on the increase, optimising online content for mobile viewing is crucial.  In fact, according to Compendium, more than 22% of blog visits are from a tablet or mobile and yet, mobile website visitors have an almost 10% higher bounce rate than those who visit on desktop. What these two stats suggest is that there is a gap between mobile viewing demand and mobile viewing satisfaction.

Therefore, if your content marketing strategy is only built for desktop then you could be ignoring a very large chunk of your audience and losing visitors as a result. Adopting content for mobile is the way forward to getting better results from content marketing and standing out from your competitors.

And as mobile viewers have a lot less patience and a much smaller screen size, optimising for mobile viewing isn’t necessarily just about changing its layout. Consider creating short forms of your content, such as shorter articles, shorter videos and smaller infographics, specifically for mobile viewing. Essentially, compress your content to take up less of your viewer’s time but provide the same level of satisfaction.

2.      Long-form for Thought Leadership

content marketingSomething that many content marketers fail to realise is that there isn’t a one shoe fits all model. And a prime example of where content marketing strategy should differ is between B2B and B2C brands. Whereas short and bite-sized content works well for B2C, B2B content marketing demands much bigger, longer or larger scale content that is driven by thought leadership.

As the amount of content out there has grown at such a speed, there is no longer an easy way to stand out amongst B2Bs with the average 500 words rehashed blog post. It’s now crucial that content marketers for B2B aim to create content that speaks louder than the rest.

Consider writing in-depth and well-researched articles backed up with genuine references that surpass 2000 words. Or, try something different from your competitors, by creating an original infographic, a video or a mini website.

3.      Go Big or Go Home

For content to succeed in today’s saturated environment, marketers need to think big and spend big. Rich media content still works better than any other to create engagement and bring in results. To really pull your brand out of the gaggle, think videos, interactive features and gamification and use your less-expensive content marketing to drive your audience to your central attraction.

4.      Curate and Repurpose content marketing

Curating and repurposing old content is a great technique that’s going underused. But don’t mistake repurposing for rehashing as what it actually involves is completely changing how that content is delivered to an audience.

A great idea is to take ideas from a long article or whitepaper and to break them down into smaller bite-sized chunks. These chunks could be in the form of videos, infographics, blog posts and social media updates and they could even be released in a series.

Repurposing is also a great way to showcase your old content – just because it’s been done in the past doesn’t mean it isn’t still valuable. Promote your ideas in a different way to catch fresh attention from your audience.

5.      Think Like a Journalist

content marketingKnowing who your audience are and what captures their attention are both crucial to content marketing but knowing how to create content that succeeds to do so is a more refined skill altogether. Content marketers need to think more like journalists to not only find stories but to tell them in compelling ways.

Aim to inject storytelling into your content to draw more engagement from your viewers and keep them wanting more.

Have any other ideas for keeping content current? Please share your comments below…

Provide Excellent Customer Service on Social Media

Are you replying to your customers on social media?

Do you personalise your interactions?

Do your customers feel appreciated?

The way you offer customer service on social media can have a major impact on your brand’s reputation. Every like, comment or tweet from your audience is the beginning of a conversation, and how you react is crucial. In this article you’ll learn how to shape-up your engagement to ensure you’re creating a great customer experience that will translate into trust and loyalty for your brand.

customer service on social media

1.      Provide Solutions

Monitor mentions of your brand on social media to look out for needs to fill and problems to solve. By handling customer issues on the public stage, in real time, you can benefit both the customer and your brand. And your approach will be even more effective if you go above and beyond the generic responses of: ‘please call us so we can help’ or ‘please see our website for the information you require’.

Make the effort to tailor your responses and to offer something satisfying. For example, CitiBike once tweeted a customer a gift card for a new pair of jeans after he tweeted that he had fallen off his bike in the rain. By doing so, the company made a customer’s day better and he naturally tweeted about the incident, getting more reach for the brand. The lesson here is not to underestimate the power of social proof and word of mouth. Approach your customers in an admirable and memorable way to do wonders for your brand’s reputation.

2.      Pay Attention

To create loyal and long-lasting relationships with customers online you need to be attentive and supportive in every situation. Aim to take action in real time and ensure your customer service is positive. If you can provide your customers with what they need quickly then there’s a good chance they’ll spread the word – whether that be on or off social media.

But if your customers are left waiting around, don’t receive the help they need or worse, don’t receive a response at all then this is damaging for your brand’s reputation. Remember, those unanswered requests will build up on your Twitter or Facebook feed for everybody to see. And that translates into bad news circulating your brand.

customer service on social media

3.      Be Reliable

When you have a large and loyal following on social media, you are expected to value their attention by making active contributions to your accounts. And when new customers approach your social profiles, they  also expect to see fresh content and evidence of a thriving, engaging community.

But if you don’t stay proactive on social media or worse, desert your channels altogether then your fans will get the idea that you don’t value your customers or your online communities. This could result in lost trust, lost loyalty and lost sales.

Keep your social profiles active and consistent, to keep cultivating relationships.

4.      Go the Extra Mile

Don’t feel like you have to hold back on social media. By putting the effort in to go above and beyond you can further improve your brand’s reputation and maintain great customer relationships. You can even help to elevate your business above the competition.

Show commitment to your customers by treating every interaction as an opportunity. Make it your duty to listen and respond, even if it’s just a ‘thank you’ or ‘enjoy’ in reply to a tweet from someone who purchased from your brand.The more you reach out then the wider your audience, allowing you to promote your quality customer service in front of more prospects.

To Wrap Up

To deliver excellent customer service on social media you need to identify and understand the wants and needs of your customers. And although you may not be able to solve their problems quickly or easily every time, customers usually just want to be listened to. When you respond, you are showing your appreciation and helping to maintain quality customer relationships.

What’s your drill for customer service on social media? Do you have a particular experience where customer service on social media was difficult? We would love to hear your comments below…

What Does Google’s Pigeon Update Mean for SEO?

Giovane_colomboOn the 24th July 2014, Google released yet another shake-up to their algorithms. And although the update hasn’t been given an official name, the folks at Search Engine Land coined it the Pigeon.

Pigeon is in the process of being rolled out for US English search engine results pages (SERPs) with there yet to be word from Google about if or when it will affect other countries. But with the prospect of Pigeon hanging over UK search, in this article we take a look at exactly what the update involves and what it could mean for your business.

The Decline of the 7-Pack

The Pigeon update is focused on improving the relevancy and accuracy of local search results by placing a greater importance on organic SEO signals. What this means is that a lot more data will be considered for local search results, including the back links, domain authority and other SEO value factors of websites.

And so far, this change is most evident in the decline of the 7 Google Places results that usually appear on the first page of all local desktop searches. Termed the 7-packs, these results have been dropped for many local US search queries with data from Moz showing a 60% decrease in their visibility since the update came into play.

pigeon update

The Rise of Directory Listings

Whereas the 7-pack has declined, reports have shown that more directory listings are showing up in their place. These websites have a much higher SEO authority than the local websites previously displayed in the Places listings, demonstrating Google’s greater focus on the SEO value of websites when determining local results.

And in particular, Google has ‘fixed’ the problem with Yelp listings. The directory giant put forward a complaint to Google in July 2014 claiming that Google prioritised their content in the SERPs even when users used the term ‘yelp’ in a search query. The change has seen Yelp, among many other high-authority directories benefit with more visibility in search results.

What Could Pigeon Mean for Your Business?

Since the Pigeon update dropped, many local US businesses have reported they are no longer listed in the 7 pack for their key local search queries. And for businesses that relied on their Google Places listing to be seen on the first page of results, this could be very damaging. Essentially, Pigeon has made it a lot more difficult for local businesses to secure a first page spot for their local search terms.

pigeon updateWe can only wait and see whether the Pigeon update will affect SERPs for UK searches but there is never harm in being prepared. Here are three things US businesses should be doing to up their local SEO game:

  • As website authority is now much more important for getting seen in local search results, businesses should look to improve their websites’ SEO value.
  • With the increasing visibility of directories for local search results, businesses should ensure they are listed on every relevant directory. Listings should be fully complete with images, links and a description and details should be consistent across every directory.
  • As getting a spot in the SERPs with a Google Places listing is now much more difficult, businesses should ensure their listing is fully updated and verified.

Is the Next Step Monetisation?

Following a tweet from Dr. Pete on August 10th 2014, Google’s reasons for the Pigeon update could be coming very clear. The tweet included a screen grab which suggested Google are testing paid local search results. And so it seems that the decreased visibility of the Places listings could be the first step in the plan to monetise. See the screen-grab and read more about the discovery here.

How to Grow Your Email Marketing List

Even if your email marketing list is full to bursting point, it’s destined to lose numbers and value. This is down to a combination of factors which may include your contacts opting out of your communications, their email addresses changing or your contacts abandoning the address they used to sign up.

Essentially, your email list is never stable, so it’s very important that you constantly add fresh contacts. Help keep your numbers up and compensate for those that you lose with these tips to grow your email marketing list.

grow your email marketing list

How to Grow Your Email Marketing List

1.       Offer Value

Just as you should with every call to action you use anywhere in your marketing, you should offer something of value in return for an email address. Depending on your business this could be anything from a discount to exclusive deals, tips, advice, advance access or an eBook. Make sure the benefit is made very clear and ensure that it’s immediate.

Some common examples of valuable offerings include:

  • ‘Sign up for our weekly emails to get all of our latest articles delivered directly into your inbox and qualify for a free trial of our marketing software.’
  • ‘Join our mailing list to receive 20% off your first order.’
  • ‘Subscribe now for early access to sales and exclusive discounts.’

2.       Provide a Preview

Another great way to build your list is to provide a taste of what you’re offering. A prime example of this tactic is showing a snippet of free content but asking for a subscribe to view the full article. More simply, you could provide previews of your past emails to show your audience ‘what they have been missing’. This sneak peak can also help to build trust in your audience by showing them exactly what they’re signing up for.

3.       Ensure Your Subscribe Form is Highly Visible

Your subscribe form should be super easy to use and visible in almost every place your audience can interact with your business online:

  • Website – make sure your subscribe form is clearly visible on as many pages of your website as possible. Good practice is to include a form or a button in your header so it can be seen on any page.
  • Blogwhen your audience visit your blog, they have chosen to read your content and are therefore more likely to want to sign-up for more. Capitalise on this opportunity by including within or at the end of your posts.
  • Facebook incorporate a tab on your Facebook profile with a subscribe CTA to encourage your fans to sign up directly from the channel.
  • Twitter/Google+/LinkedInpost links to your subscribe page across your social media channels, ensuring that you always include a call to action and a benefit. You could also use Twitter lead generation cards to help with the process – these are designed specifically to capture the email addresses of Twitter users.
  • Email Signatureincorporate a link to subscribe in your email signature. So whether you’re emailing family, friends, clients or new customers, the easy opportunity is always there.
  • Contentif you create an eBook, a guide, an infographic, a video or any other kind of quality content, make sure you include a CTA to sign up within the body or at the end. As your audience will already be engaged in the content you’ve provided, they are more likely to want to sign-up for more.

4.       Make Your Emails Easy to Forward

The ‘forward to a friend’ feature has been around since the beginning of email marketing and yet, is still widely under-used. And as we now live in a time where sharing messages and content with friends online is common practice, to leave this out is to miss an opportunity. The forwarded email can also include a sign-up link to further help you build your list. And you can tailor the call to action. Here are some examples:

  • ‘Have a friend that would enjoy this email? Forward it to them here.’
  • ‘Share this hilarious email with a friend.’
  • ‘Help a friend out by forwarding this email.’

5.       Make Your Emails Easy to Share

It’s also a great idea to make your emails easy to share on social media. This can easily be done by including social media sharing buttons and a simple call to action at the end of all your campaigns. This way, your subscribers can quickly and easily share your content with their friends on their networks.