Tag Archive | "content marketing"

Content Creation Checklist – How to Craft Useful and Captivating Content

Are you aware that even though 72% of marketers have a content strategy in place (30% documented and 42% non-documented), 70% of them lack the consistency and know-how to actually know what they are doing? That means more than half of the marketers that are using content marketing as a valid strategy are basically just poking and hoping when it comes to content creation.

Content development is truly an art form. It is a lot more than starting with a topic, pounding out a few hundred words and hitting publish. The key to successful content marketing is a solid documented strategy.

To help you down the right path, we’ve created a checklist to make certain that all the pieces are in place.  Here are five simple steps to get you on your way to creating both useful and captivating content.

  1. Know your audience

Before you even start brainstorming ideas for topics, the very first item on your to do list should be identifying your target audience.  It wouldn’t make much sense to create an article about beer when you are in the business of dog grooming (a little far fetched but you get the point). Be sure to make your content relevant as possible to your target audience.

An easy way to find out what your potential customers might be interested in is to check out what your competitors are discussing. This can be done by either visiting their social media pages and perusing through the comments, or an easier way would be to use a simple online tool such as Social Crawlytics to identify your competitors most shared content.

  1. Brainstorm those ideas

Each and every piece of content begins with an idea (sometimes lots of ideas). It could even be an abstract (an out of left field thought) that would need to be churned into something more solid, a keyword, a pre-written headline, or a simple topic that you have been kicking around for awhile. At any rate, we need some sort of idea to build off of.

  1.  Determine the path of your content

Is this going to be a informative blog post? What voice are you going to tack on to it? Straightforward information, or more of a humorous approach? Will it be long-form, or something shorter and quicker to consume?

It’s important to have the voice and tone of the article that you will be writing before you even press key one (assuming you are typing). Otherwise, it is super easy to end up scatter brained and have your article going in all sorts of directions, instead of being one smooth and easy to read piece.  

  1. Create your headline

It’s said that the headline may very well be the most important part of your article. On average, 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will go on to read the rest of your article. This is the secret to the power of your headline, and why it can and will determine the effectiveness of your entire article.

This means, of course, that you will need to craft an exceptional headline that will get people to be compelled to want to read the rest of your post.  

  1. Write

Using the following basic outline to hook your readers in, make them want to continue reading, and then pass it on.

  • Introduction – Story and the question or problem that you are going to solve for the reader
  • Body – The answer to the reader’s question or problem.
  • Call to action – Wrap up your article and offer a call to action so that the readers know what to do next.
  1. Take a breather

Walk away from for a moment to clear your mind, so that you will have a fresh set of eyes before you proofread.

  1.  Proof and publish

If you feel that your opinion on editing is skewed, or you are just horrible at finding your own spelling / grammatical errors, by all means have a friend, colleague or even a hired editor take a go at it.

There is tons more checklist items that could be added, however in the hopes of keeping it simple we boiled it down to only seven.  Does your content creation checklist have any other items not talked about here? We would love to find out what they are and how they are working for you. Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Stupid Simple Ways To Grow Your Email Marketing List

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.  Marketing Sherpas research has shown that your email subscriber list is most likely going to degrade by about 22.5% every year.  For various reasons:

  • Subscribers’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another
  • Unqualified leads opt out of your email communications
  • People abandon their old Yahoo address they really never use except for “spam” sites
  • Your email content no longer applies to their needs/desires

Now for the good news…There are tons of easy ways to continue to grow or build your email marketing list back up.  As a marketer it is your job to infuse fresh contacts into your email campaigns that you can keep your numbers growing.  This is done with a little bit of ingenuity and time, not by purchasing or renting a list, as we discussed a few weeks back.

Below is a list of 10 ways to ramp up your email database for free:

Grow it with new content

1) Create a new lead-gen offer such as a free ebook or whitepaper which would be available for download after they provide you with their email.  This is a pretty standard lead-gen move.  Create a landing page with an opt-in form and a teaser about the free item. The page then normally leads the subscriber down an offer flow or deeper into your blog.  

2)Create a free online tool or app.  Again just like the ebook or whitepaper the visitor would supply you with their email address in order to obtain access to the download.  Make sure to make the tool and/or app worthy of their email address offering. 

Grow it with Networking, Traditional Marketing and Advertising

3)  Collect email addresses at tradeshows or other offline events.  There are a ton of industry events everywhere, of course some are much larger than other but even the smallest of crowds could help you grow your database.  Find networking events in your area on sites suchs as MeetUp.com and make sure you are armed with business cards with a link leading them to your lead-gen page.  Of course always remember to send these contacts a welcome email confirming their opt-in to your list.  

4) Host your own offline events.  Not finding any networking events in your area? Host your own using sites like MeetUp.com or other social media platforms.  Send a blast out on Twitter or create a boosted Facebook post.  

5) Host an online webinar or podcast. Collect email addresses at registration.  Remember to make the webinar or podcast valuable not a timewaster.  

6) Add a QR code to your traditional printed marketing campaigns.  People can easily scan them to opt-in to your list.  Plus they just look “new agey.”

Grow it with the help of a partner

7) Host a co-marketing campaign or offer with a partner.  Ask for the help of a partner (should be a known entity – again not a purchased or rented list) to co-promote the lead capture to both his and your own list.  After the launch the list becomes a shared resource.  

8)  Have affiliates run your offer on their website.  You will either have to reciprocate with an equal amount of traffic to your site or set up a pay per subscriber scenario.  

Grow it with Social Media

8)  Add a simple sign up page to your Facebook page.  Yeah, that sounds silly but many people simply overlook this.  There are many different app options to add and set up an email sign-up form to your Facebook page alone. Most email list servers have a custom Facebook app that syncs with your list from Facebook.

Some suggested email sign-up apps are:

9)  Preview or give teasers of premium content via your social channels.  Just as with your lead-gen page, you can give a glimpse of your free ebook or whitepaper and ask for their email information in exchange for the entire download.   Tweet, post, or share excerpts from the ebook/whitepaper to drive interest and traffic to your lead-gen page.  Make sure you include a visual component in each post.

10) Leverage your YouTube channel.  Add call to action and URLs in to all your posted videos that will encourage visitors to subscribe to your list.  

All of the above examples are ways that you can ramp up your email list today.  Many of them are not even too difficult to put into action.  The objective being to stay on top of your list building so that it never truly dies out.  Keep cycling out the dead weight (look for an upcoming article on list segregation), nurturing the veterans, while still growing the fresh subscribers.  

What other ways do you use to grow your list? We would love to hear your ideas!

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Email MarketingComments (1)

21 New Rules of Content Marketing [Infographic]

When I sit down to draft a new post or article, my initial focus is always crafting something that is both original and engaging that readers will want to both read and share with their friends and colleagues because they either find it interesting, informative, or funny.

We have visited the topic of content marketing many times before, however it seems there are still plenty of things left to discuss in order for all of us to reach the people that we hope in our mind’s eye to reach. The questions are many and will most likely never all be answered, but is that such a bad thing?  This just means there is always room for growth, improvement and refinement.

Kayak Online Marketing has put together a handy infographic spelling out the 21 new rules of content marketing.  This should get us headed in the right direction and on a clear path towards even more answers.

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How much marketing automation technology is too much?

In this high tech push-of-a-button day and age, it’s easy to get pulled into the hype of all the latest and greatest of automation technologies. However, even with all of that automation technology right at your fingertips it won’t make us better marketers if we aren’t actually using it.

So how much technology do we really need to be a successful marketer?

Scott Brinker recently took a peek into the world of automation systems, specific to the marketing genre, and his findings are astounding to say the least.

Source: Chiefmartec.com – From 2016 to 2017, 5X more marketing automation vendors were added than removed

 

Brinker provided us with a preview of this ever growing landscape by showing the marketing automation category going back to one of his first studies in 2011 all the way to the current year, 2017.  At a quick glance at the images above it’s easy to see that not only has the technology sprouted but it’s almost exploded with growth over the last six years.

The snapshot for 2017 shows 212 vendors, 66 of them are brand new this year.  With that many vendors available to a marketer, how in the world does one even begin to narrow down which one or ones is the right fit for them?

The simple answer is of course research.

When looking for an automation solution, a good place to start is always with a good old Google search.  Once you have skimmed the surface, then it’s time to dive deeper.  Check on blogs you trust, such as this one, or other non-affiliated lists that spell out each vendor’s pros and cons.  Talk to colleagues that might already be using a solution that fits your needs.

Don’t get overwhelmed. That is sometimes easier said than done, since looking at any marketing automation platform’s pricing page you will most likely quickly be swamped with features galore, plans, and pricing.

Take a deep breath and dig in with a specific set of tools that you need set in stone in the back of  your mind’s eye.

The bigger question  – how much is too much?

In a recent study conducted by GetResponse, they polled over 255 email marketers in B2B and B2C regarding the effectiveness of their current marketing automation tools.  Only 13.1% said they were highly effective. Meaning that the majority fell in the Good or Intermediate ranges (14.4 and 18.5 respectively).

Source: GetResponse.com Email and Marketing Automation Excellence 2017

That’s a whole lot of automation technology that just isn’t cutting it for the marketing crowd as a whole.

Interesting takeaway from this report could be that marketers are spending a huge chunk of their overall advertising budget on automation technology tools, but they just aren’t getting the return they were hoping for. 

Are we being replaced by robots?

Back in August of 2016, AJ Agrawal, writing for Entrepreneur.com, was particularly cautious of this very same subject. He warned against using marketing automation tools to support a lazy side chair approach to marketing. Automation tools are designed to increase productivity and the effort that it would take to do the same tasks manually, not replace it.

Which brings us to the posed question: How much is too much?

First, make a list of tasks that you would like to replace with an automation tool.  Keeping in mind that these tools that you are seeking should enhance your efforts, not take away the human aspect of your marketing plan. 

It seems simplistic, but getting a handle on a clear path of what you need now – not 10 years from now – is the key to making the right marketing automation choice.  Just because the vendor offers a “Lambo” version, doesn’t meant that you need to blow your budget on it.  If everything that your company needs falls in the low or even mid-tier plans, then by all means stick with either one of those.

What do you think?

How much automation is too much for you? Do you have any specific set of tools that you feel that your company couldn’t live without?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Content Creation, Conversion Optimization, CPA Marketing, ecommerce, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Productivity, Social Media MarketingComments (0)

Make money sending web push notifications with ReachMobi

In an ever-evolving online landscape, niche publishers and content marketers always keep a keen eye towards new revenue-generating opportunities. Monetized web push notifications are a new way to monetize your audience that is well worth looking into.

Leading the way is ReachMobi, a web push notifications provider who’ve built the first web push notifications platform focused on monetization. They offer an innovative solution that publishers and online marketers, desiring to increase their revenue channels, should take a very serious look at.

Check out ReachMobi web push notifications.

Why Web Push Notifications?

Monetized web push notifications bring two significant new advantages to Internet and content marketing:

  1. A new marketing channel via the web browser that allows the marketer to communicate with their users no matter where they are on the web.
  2. A new monetization channel. ReachMobi is the only web push notification provider in the industry that is currently offering a monetization component.

What Are Web Push Notifications?

You’re undoubtedly familiar with push notifications received through mobile devices. Web push notifications function similarly, but are delivered through a web browser rather than an app. You’re probably already noticing many websites asking for your permission to send you web push notifications. Like their mobile counterparts, they offer a headline, description, image and a clickable link. It is this clickable link that provides a pathway to monetization.

One reason publishers and marketers should consider web push notifications as a new marketing channel is due to the decline in the effectiveness of email. Deliverability is one of most significant hurdles. Web push notifications relieve some of these issues. As a result, web push notifications give you the opportunity to acquire subscribers you’re not able to capture with email.

Now that you have an overview of what web push notifications are, let’s look at ReachMobi’s solution and what it offers…

How Monetized Web Push Notifications work with ReachMobi

  1. Messages are sent and delivered in real-time. For sending time-sensitive messages, web push notifications can’t be beat. Since you’re delivering the message directly to your subscriber, deliverability is not an issue. With ReachMobi, you can submit and send your message within five minutes.
  2. Web push notifications are delivered through the web browser. ReachMobi can message your subscribers whether they are on your site or off. You can reach your audience anywhere they are on the web. It’s truly game-changing.
  3. Web push notifications are highly visible. They appear at the corner of the web browser where they don’t go unnoticed. If the user has their browser closed, they will receive the message the next time they engage with their browser. Compare that to email, where you have to wait until users check their email – and even then – they can simply ignore the email and not open it.
  4. Retarget and remarket to your audience. Web push notifications are highly effective at re-engaging visitors due to the ability to reach your audience in real-time, as well as, reaching them no matter where they are on the web.
  5. Growing your audience. A significant portion of visitors today are unlikely to subscribe to an email list. However, an increasing segment of visitors prefer the simplicity of push notifications, especially younger visitors. This is because push notifications are inherently brief, requiring only a moment of time to interact and receive your update. This allows you to grow your audience and gain subscribers you otherwise would not, especially those suffering from email fatigue. The opt-in is one-click easy, and requires no personal information submission on the visitor’s part.
  6. Monetizing your audience. ReachMobi’s web push notification solution adds the ability to earn revenue with the messages you send to your audience. No one else in the industry currently offers this. Not only that, but ReachMobi provides premium advertisers that are targeted to your specific content vertical – meaning, advertising offers that are relevant to your audience. Their programmatic advertising uses specialized analytics and big data to deliver the right offer at the right time to the right audience.

The way to earn revenue with ReachMobi is straightforward. In addition to the web push notifications you send out to your audience, ReachMobi will include one relevant advertising offer per day. You’ll share in the revenue generated by advertising offers on a dynamic basis.

  1. Quality advertisers. ReachMobi’s advertising offers sends to your audience are of the highest caliber. They come from the elite Google and Yahoo top-tier, premium advertisers. These are the top products and brands. Offers are matched with a high degree of relevancy to help ensure they are the type of offers your audience is most likely to respond to. All offers are highly targeted to your specific audience verticals.
  2. Support. ReachMobi has a dedicated team to help ensure your monetization success. Their team will work with you to ensure your messages are optimized to achieve the best possible results. It only makes sense, given that they share the revenue with you. Therefore, your success is their success as well.

ReachMobi’s web push notifications work with Chrome, Firefox, Safari (desktop only), and Android.

In addition, ReachMobi offers a vast library of e-books and articles to help you understand web push notifications, as well as, more advanced information to help you with a complete web push notification marketing and monetization strategy.

Summary: ReachMobi’s Monetized Web Push Notifications

Web push notifications are still a fairly new marketing channel, but is one that is growing rapidly. While ReachMobi is not the only web push notifications provider – they are the only provider in the industry currently focused on monetization. This is a unique revenue-generating opportunity for marketers and publishers alike.  

ReachMobi is not just talking the talk when it comes to monetizing web push notifications. They have literally walked the walk, by using their own solution to help them monetize and grow their own audience of 20 million plus uniques. Bottom line, when it comes to web push, nobody even comes close to ReachMobi.

If you’re looking to explore new opportunities for earning online, check out ReachMobi and their monetized web push notifications.

How to Get Started with Monetized Web Push Notifications

ReachMobi’s web push notification service is free to use and you can send unlimited messages. It’s open to all online publishers. A simple line of JavaScript and you are up and running. ReachMobi’s team will help you integrate if needed.

ReachMobi has a dedicated team who will work with you to ensure that your web push notifications are optimized for successful monetization.

Visit ReachMobi and get started with monetized web push notifications.

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Growth Hack Your Content To a New Level

 

Growth Hacking is a not so new term that is being thrown around the marketing realm, specifically in conjunction with startups. Forget “pivoting” and “iterating.” This newish term is all about, you guessed it, growth and just how fast one can hack their way towards a huge dollar payout.

What does growth hacking mean though?

According to Wikipedia Growth Hacking is:

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. Growth hacking refers to a set of both conventional and unconventional marketing experiments that lead to growth of a business.

Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.

Growth hackers often focus on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. using social media, viral marketing or targeted advertising instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

In layman’s terms, growth hacking is exactly what it sounds like. It is a marketing strategy that focuses specifically on growth, whereas traditional marketing focuses on various forms of growth via attention grabbing and brand building. Growth hacking revolves solely around the numbers and growing your business towards a huge bottom line.

The term was coined by Sean Ellis, who said “a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”  

Basically a growth hackers primary focus is to make their primary metrics go up and in a big way. What makes this type of growth different, (from it’s more corporate counterpart) is the scale in which it must occur. For a startup to be deemed successful it must grow from zero to millions (or more) of users / buyers in just a few years. 

One of the earliest examples of growth hacking can be seen all the way back in 1996. When Hotmail launched, they added a small sentence to every outgoing email with a link back to their homepage.

PS: I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.

Hotmail.com circa 1998 – One of the first Growth Hack examples.

This came at a time when most people had just the one personal email that was connected to their internet provider and was only accessible from their home computer. Hotmail made it possible for anyone and everyone to gain access to a personal email that could be brought up in any web browser from any computer.  

The tagline rocketed their user database from next to nothing to an additional 3,000 users each day. Within six months they had their first million users. By the time they sold to Microsoft, just a year and a half after their initial launch, Hotmail had 12 million users.

How can growth hacking help your content marketing game?

Content marketing is all about using content that is relative to both your audience and your product to drive significant traffic that converts, brings sales, and strengthens your relationships with your customers.

Since both growth hacking and content marketing both have the same end goal – growth – consider using a few of the the same growth hacking methods below to increase your content marketing initiatives.

# Let the data dictate your actions

If you are an avid follower of this blog, or any other digital marketing forum, you have probably had the three T’s pounded in your head more than once. Test, test, test!  You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

In order to hack your content to the next level, you want to use the data and analytics on every single test that you run to make a data-based decision.

Using such tools as:

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media platforms
  • Email statistics

It’s best to gather and use the numbers from every test performed to dictate your future steps towards growth. Let the data decide for you.

#2 Speak to the heart .. and gut of your audience

Appeal to your readers emotions.

Emotional engagement can make a huge difference in the overall success of your content marketing efforts. It’s simple really, by triggering an emotional connection or response in your audience, you can compel them to want to share your content.

According to Cox Blue:

Eliciting an emotional response is an essential element of all successful viral content marketing campaigns. It’s human nature that people want to share the experiences that stir their emotions by communicating them to others. When people develop strong, deep feelings like surprise, anger, fear, disgust, sadness and joy around an experience or message, social sharing becomes impulsive.”

Try these simple tools:

  • Visual content – both static and in motion.
  • Create a mixture of both words and images.
  • Use visual social media platforms to distribute your content – Pinterest & Instagram

#3 Write killer headlines

Yeah, I know this sounds like old news, but there is value in it. It’s crazy how much is riding on your headline, that’s it’s worth reiterating here.

If you screw up, and flub on that one bit of text, you might very well have lost your chance at ever achieving a real content hack.

Take Hotmail’s “PS: I love you,” footer for example, granted it wasn’t a headline but it had the same power as one.  With the addition of just six words at the bottom of every Hotmail email sent, the product itself became Hotmail’s promotion and distribution channel.  

Upworthy.com: The Sweet Science Of Virality

Upwothy.com is also a great go-to source for learning the important task of crafting a killer headline.  In their slide deck The Sweet Science Of Virality, they stress the importance of the headline over and over. For each post, Upworthy crafts a minimum of 25 different headlines. They then pick two and run a simple A/B split test.

The full Upworthy presentation is an excellent source of knowledge and worth the read.

 

Conclusion

Content marketing has changed and molded the way businesses today operate online. And while it’s possibilities can be somewhat amazing, it’s also not a cake walk.  It takes hard work, dedication, and an open-minded approach to earn results.

By using the best tools, ingredients, and effort, one can create a better path to successful content. The growth hacks above will ease your journey to that success, which means more subscribers, traffic and of course growth.

What are you doing to hack your content marketing growth? We would love to hear about it in the contents below. And of course don’t’ forget to share this article with all your fellow content marketing friends.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Content CreationComments (1)

5 Tips That Will Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

It’s a new year, with a whole heck of a lot of changes happening on our little spec of dust that we call Earth. This makes it the perfect time to do a security check on your WordPress site.

Think of it as an annual check-up but for your website. A time to make certain all is running smoothly and nailed down securely enough to keep those pesky hackers out of your business. Taking the time to go through the checks and balances now could save you not only added expenses but a huge headache in the future.

Let’s face it, any downtime that your site suffers equates to potential income lost by you!

Start with the following 5 tips that will keep your site secure and safe:

1. Strong Admin Credentials

If you happened to use an installer when you set up your WordPress site such as Softaculous, you might have noticed that their one click installation defaults to admin as the username and pass as the password. I certainly hope that you changed that. If not, that’s the first thing you can check off your list for fool-proof ways of getting hacked.

You are probably saying to yourself, “Why would anyone want to hack my site?” Understand, that there are thousands upon thousands of bots being run around the clock attempting to guess your wp-admin page. Yes, yours too. Keep in mind, that once they gain access it now becomes their site to do with however they wish. Think of the possibilities.  All your hard work, themes, content, plugins… gone!

This can easily be solved by using a simple password generator such as the following:

2.  Update often

We have all seen those pesky messages that greet us at the top of our dashboard. True, I’ve often been tempted to ignore them a little longer than is prudent.  However, I’m here to tell you that keeping your core code up to date is not only an necessary evil, but could save you hours of frustration in the future.

WordPress does indeed have an auto update option, which in my opinion should likely be mandatory.  True enough, it can be a bit frustrating and often time consuming when the update breaks some of the code that you have tweaked and/or customized. In fact, if you leave the auto updater off and manually update yourself you will see this message.

That text alone is enough to give most of us the cold nervous sweats.

The flip side though, could and most likely will be a lot worse. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when your site will be hacked if you are using an old version of WordPress.

3.  Don’t cut corners with themes/plugins

With over 48,000 plugins available and lord knows how many other themes and widgets, it’s easy to just point and click to quickly install something – anything.  Since WordPress is open source it is easy for amateur coders to develop a plugin that they can charge for. Unfortunately, many of these have been developed without proper vetting for quality assurance.

What does this mean for you? You guessed it, further ways that your site could become vulnerable.

Before installing a new plugin, theme, or widget do your research. Fortunately we live in a society that loves to spew both praise and criticism without much of a second thought. Reviews will often let you know a lot about the developer and their practices.

4.  Use secure connections

Each and everyday, we share our personal information with different websites either to make a purchase or simply log-in.  In order to protect the data transfer, a secure connection needs to be made. That’s where SSL and HTTPS come in.

HTTPS or Secure HTTP is an encryption method that secures the connection between users’ browser and your server.

Why do you need to move from HTTP to HTTPS?

Are you running an ecommerce site that collects payment information? Most payment providers such as Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net will require you to have a SSL certificate.

Also, Google recently announced that they would be using HTTPS and SSL as a ranking signal in their search results. Hello SEO nightmare if you haven’t moved over.

There are several tutorials online that will help you with the transition.

5.  Backup regularly

Go head, do a quick search for WordPress backup in the plugins section of your dashboard. Almost 1000!  And that is just inside the WordPress portal. This doesn’t even begin to account for all the other offsite options available.

Many of them have schedulers built in, so you can set it to backup automatically say at midnight local time every night. That way god forbid something does happen, you will have a current copy of your site to rollback to.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will be miles ahead of the competition that isn’t in terms of staying safe from hackers.

Has your site ever been hacked? If so, how did you address it?  We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Posted in Blogging, ecommerce, Home Business, WordpressComments (0)

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