All posts in Content management

Retro Tv

Long-form content, whether text or video, holds a valuable place in any content management strategy. Many site visitors want to dig into topics of interest to them. But that doesn’t’ mean they don’t want to graze or have a light snack too. Bite-sized content is also a great addition to your website and/or social media platform. Micro videos are growing in popularity. What do you need to know about these pint-sized films?

What’s a Micro Video?

You’ve probably seen them in memes and posts all around the internet – those short videos that either capture just a few seconds of life or that loop them continually. Vine, from Twitter, allows users to create 6 second videos, and Instagram lets them create “epics” of up to 15 seconds.

They are incredibly sharable via smartphone, and they can help brands reach on-the-go audiences with snappy, smart, targeted marketing messages. According to some sources, branded Vine videos are 4 times more likely to be shared than traditional (longer) videos.

Make Them Work for Your Business/Website

There is a real opportunity here because micro videos are relatively new, especially for brand use. If you can develop a few winners, you’ll be ahead of the game – and an innovator in the space. Some tips to get you started:

  • Keep it simple. Straightforward and to-the-point. You don’t want to create a micro video when a standard video would be better. For instance, if you have a complicated topic, devote some time to it. Micro is great for short, memorable images – not complicated issues.
  • Do how-to. A quick how-to guide on some simple action can be a fun way to use this medium. In a terrific series of 6-second videos, Bicardi UK shows viewers how to mix quick and easy drinks, such as the Cuba Libre.
  • Give a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Give a little taste of your process, your facilities, or your inner workings.
  • Be creative, and fun. Oreo nails it with quick videos of innovative ways to enjoy their famous cookies. What do you have to offer your audience – and how can you encapsulate it in a 5-15 second snippet?

Micro video may not be the answer for every brand. But if you have a message that is best suited for a quick, snappy medium, consider bite-sized content.

Panda 4

Introducing another Google update! Panda 4.0 is being met with great buzz and, of course, the big question: what does this mean for my website? Good question, and equally good news. If you have great, high-quality content, it is a positive change that can help your content filter up through the ether and onto the top of the results pages. So, what exactly is Panda 4.0, and what can we expect next?

Google has been going tough on low-quality sites, and it appears as though its newest update is designed to ensure that scraped, copied, or spam content isn’t rewarded with good standing in the SERPs. It does, however, reward sites that publish high-quality content with regularity, or even better, with frequency.

It’s no surprise that sites need to have fresh news, articles, videos, and other gems for visitors (and for search engines, given the emphasis on content marketing of late. The latest iteration of Panda underscores the need for a serious strategy that involves posting new material at least every week.

A note on content syndication: with the right technical SEO approach, offering a bit of syndicated content on your website is fine. It is even a great strategy if you are sharing valuable, relevant content with your visitors. What’s not so great is if you rely on  it heavily – or worse, totally – for your content needs. Such sites saw some distressing falls after Panda 4.0 unrolled. If yours is one of them, fresh original content, and keep it comin’, is essential.

There’s also some talk that Panda is looking after your total user experience, not just content. Are you mobile ready? Is navigation easy and intuitive? Do you have coherent metadata? If not, it’s time to update your site’s structure and get ready. It’s not wasted time: if Panda 4.0 is rewarding great UX, you can be sure subsequent updates, changes, and search habits also demand this aspect of your website function flawlessly.

What’s next from Google? You can bet future updates will continue to hone in on their message that quality counts. Get ready with an excellent content strategy.

Film ProjectorWhen it comes to social media, the ‘usual suspects’ jump to mind: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Pinterest. One that may deserve a more prominent place in your social strategy is Slideshare. Acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, it’s the largest community for sharing professional presentations in the world. What can a Slideshare presence do for you?

Slideshare: Professional Presentations

Why Slideshare? Here are a few compelling reasons you may need to get familiar with PowerPoint soon:

  • The site receives 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 500%!
  • Mobile views increased 223% over last year.
  • The site sees over 60 million visitors a month.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests a high ROI and increased generation of qualified leads as a result of a strong Slideshare presence.

What Do Audiences Like?

Slideshare’s content consumers tend to have a voracious appetite for:

  • Business. The most popular topics are: business, research, trends, market, social media, and statistics. These folks are here to work!
  • Short, visual content. Fewer slides in favor of more images. Keep text to a minimum – and make sure it’s relevant.
  • Inforgraphics. These get “liked” 5 times more often than presentation and a whopping 21 times more than documents.

Over 400,000 presentations are uploaded to Slideshare each month. The top slideshows are posted on the homepage, as are featured users, recommended presentations, and more. If your presentation can land on the first page, it’s all the better. A bulk of your traffic will come directly from Google, though, so if you can attract the attention of your target audience, you can boost your ROI and see significant results. Some tips to that end:

  • Optimise. SEO rules apply just as readily to your slideshow as they do to your website. Choose strategic keywords that reflect what your audience is looking for.
  • Images. Choose compelling images that are relevant to your subject. Forget the adorable puppies – unless you’re speaking of puppies! Feel free to include animations, photos, graphics, and other images.
  • Inforgraphics. They sell like hotcakes. There are various sites online to help you generate these interactive graphics.
  • Titles. “Top Tips for Using Slideshare,” “How to…”, “5 Mistakes You’re Making…” Just as you would with a blog or article with a compelling, enticing title, make sure you draw your visitors in with compelling title.
  • Tags and description. Slideshare allows a description and up to 20 tags. Take advantage. Craft these with your carefully-selected keywords and information relevant to visitors and to search engines. Google, by the way, will rank Slideshare material over blogs.
  • Links. Google pays attention, so add high-quality links in your presentation. As with anything you do, “relevance” is the keyword.

If you’re not sharing on Slideshare, maybe it’s time! What message do you have to convey to your audience –and is this a viable medium? Likely, the answer is yes.

Camera

The human eye is drawn to imagery.  This is one of the first things taught in Marketing 101.  This is becoming even more abundantly clear as the world of social media continues to boom.  It was reported that tweets using imagery were clicked up to 150% more often than those containing text alone.  For this reason, the leaders in the online business world have quickly taken to infographics, which are defined as “images used to represent important information or data.”

Get Friendly with PhotoShop If you have access to this software, you should definitely be using it.  PhotoShop provides the user complete control over what an image becomes.  Whether you want to add text over the top of a photo, you want to make yourself thinner in your profile picture, or you want to create amazingly attractive graphs and charts, PhotoShop tools make it possible.  Plus, there are a multitude of free guides and tutorials available online that will teach you everything you need to know to maximize the worth of this program.

Make the Most of Freebies There are a lot of sites available online, which offer a multitude of image editing services.  This includes PicMonkey for image manipulation, Social Media Image Maker for resizing photos, and PhotoVisi for collage creation.  These tools are completely free and can make infographics a much simpler undertaking.  There are a lot of them available on the web, but also consider mobile apps for infographic creation on the go.  

Appeal to Stats Lovers Statistics are loved online.  People from all walks of life and from a multitude of different industries are more than willing to share a bit of information, in the form of a statistic, with their friends, followers, and circles.  However, text gets lost in the mass confusion of social media feeds.  Get the most of your amazing statistic by putting it in picture form.

Compare and Contrast What images are making the biggest splash on social media networks?  Those that are evocative or highly contrasting.  That is to say that something that makes a person smile or tear up is likely to be shared.  Additionally, images that have a strong color contrast will grab the eye before those that are dull or faded. People want to be pulled away from the mundane and the right images can make that happen. Make the most of these facts and use them to your advantage when creating infographics.

 

Old Typewriter Wanderer Continental 2

It has been said a million times by thousands of SEO experts – content is the king online.  If you are not creating great, meaningful content, then your website is very unlikely to see the desired traffic.

Put the Audience First Unless you have already earned fame and acclaim, then it is unlikely that an audience is arriving at your website just to see you bask in your glory.  They are arriving at your page because there was a promise of worthwhile content.  It takes a person only seconds to determine if that is truly the case, so if you aren’t providing something worth seeing, then your bounce rate is going to be ridiculously high.

Stay Relevant If you haven’t hear the term ‘evergreen’, as it is related to your website content, then this is the time to learn more.  This is a very important concept in the virtual world. As the trees that this content is named for, evergreen content is lush, full, and eye appealing.  It maintains its relevance throughout the year and for years to come, rather than being a simple flash in the pan.  Be sure that your content can be called evergreen.

Say Something Meaningful Are you suffering from writer’s block?  Stop what you are doing and turn to the internet – not to copy content already written, but to read the comments made beneath those pieces.  Often, people will ask follow up questions to blog posts, articles, and other material written about your area of interest and those queries will never be answered.  Aha!  The perfect inspiration for your next piece of evergreen content.

Divide and Conquer Spread your wealth of knowledge and keep track of where it is posted and how it does, statistically speaking.  Be relatively narrow with the topics that you write on – become an expert instead of a jack-of-all trades – but be broad with your placement, so your brand will become more recognizable in more circles.

Is That a Headline or a Teaser? It should be a little bit of both. A title is meant to pull the audience into the text.  If it isn’t doing so, then it isn’t worth anything.  A great headline suggests the topic of the writing without giving away too much.  It should be suggestive, enticing and used to promote that which follows it.

Find Your Audience Once the content has been created, titled, and posted… it’s time for it to be read, which means that you need to reach out to your target audience.  But, where do you find them?  If you know your niche, then you will have a good idea what interests them and that can often lead you in the direction you need to go to get your content seen.  Be sure that you are aiming at those arenas and not spreading your efforts thin, in areas where your niche wouldn’t be.

The right efforts today can mean meaningful, organic-growth-worthy content that will continue bringing your audiences for many tomorrows to come.

 

 

Film Clapper 4Move over, blogs. Well, they’ve moved over a while ago as internet users’ tastes and preferences changed. Vlogs, though, remain a relevant and effective method to reach a wide audience. How wide? Consider a few YouTube states: there are more than 1 billion unique users to the site each month, and over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month. Over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. With the glut of content, how can you be sure you stand out?

Some tips for spreading the word about your vlog:

Hashtags: They’re not just for Twitter anymore. The ubiquitous # is a useful tool for helping audiences share and discuss your videos. Reach out to those who do not currently follow you on social media and provide them with this easy route to your vlog.

Social Media: Speaking of social media, branch out from the usual suspects – Facebook and Twitter – and try Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other platforms. Use them to announce new videos, highlight favorites from the past, and seed upcoming content. Remember, with social media, you don’t have to be everywhere: you have to be where your audience is. Do some consumer research to find out their social preferences, and get active in those communities.

Fan Finder: Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a free, easy way to reach new fans? Wish granted. YouTube’s Fan Finder allows you to create a short video ad for your channel. They show this to potential fans (based on user preferences), and, hopefully, your channel is flooded with interested and eager viewers. Create a 30-60 second video – a 30-60 second eye-catching, enticing video!

Commenting: Be a good internet citizen! Find videos, vlogs, blogs, and websites that relate to your niche and become an active participant. Say that you are a personal trainer who wants to drum up some more business. You may visit a health and wellness lifestyle blog, a YouTube video channel dedicated to nutrition and cooking, and a site that promotes exercise. Read, watch, and comment. You can mention you own channel or site – but don’t be spammy. Even if you aren’t blocked by moderators, you’ll alienate other sites and their audiences.

This works well because when people are interested in and passionate about a topic – whether health, fitness, business, or hobby car mechanics – they want more information from a variety of sites.

IRL: Why keep your expertise and quality content online? Promote it in person. If you’re at an industry event, for instance, why not pass out business cards with your website or channel name and URL? If business cards don’t do it for you, try fun decals or stickers. Put your web information on your newsletters, on correspondence, and on other communications that happen “in real life” or on old-fashioned paper.

A vlog can be a great way to issue high-quality, relevant content to your audience. As YouTube stats tell us, billions of people love a good video! The interest is there; the tools and platforms are there. Are you?

Flying Books 1

Content developers face a challenge every time they develop ideas and start to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard or touchscreen. How long? We have a message – but what’s the best format in which to present it to our audience? In a social-media dominated landscape, 140-character messages, snappy, pithy sentences seem to rule. But does longer content have a place? What is the ideal length for copy?

There’s a strong case to be made for longer pieces:

  • Google sure does like them! serpIQ analyzed search engine results for 20,000 keywords, focusing on length. The top-ranked pages were those with more content, or more specifically, more words. The top of the top 10 had more than 2450 words.
  • They generate more inbound links.
  • They receive more social shares.
  • They have higher conversion rates than short-form content.
  • Google now includes PDFs and other long-form content in the search results.
  • LinkedIn just started allowing some members to post long-form content.
  • Sites like Longreads and Longform are devoted to curating the best long-form content, and sites like Buzzfeed are stepping up production of longer pieces.
  • Audiences like them. Sure, we all skim but when we really want to dig into a topic for research and information, we want an authoritative – and yes, longer – piece.

So, does this mean you should write 2000 word articles and eschew 400 word posts? No. It’s best to have a good mix of short and long. Blog guidelines have long informed us that 300-600 words is optimal, and we do need those quick snippets. Longer pieces, though, appeal to a different audience – or, rather, the same audience who has different motivations for reading and researching. Whitepapers, articles, PDFs, and other long-form content help attract these visitors and keep them engaged with the site.

Some tips:

  • Answer questions and serve a purpose with your long-form content. This is a forum in which you can tackle your audience’s concerns in an in-depth way. Provide examples, anecdotes, and thorough explanations.
  • Claim your articles with the Authorship Markup. You should be doing this anyway! Get on it! It helps build your reputation as an authority and expert.
  • If you split your article into multiple pages, make sure you paginate them correctly.
  • Markup your article to ensure Google is able to accurately index it and serve it to searchers.
  • Take your long-form content to YouTube. Viewers still like the quick videos – especially of cats doing adorable things or scary zombie babies terrifying passersby – but 1/3 of YouTube view time is attributed to videos 20 minutes or longer. That’s a significant chunk of time!

There you have it: a short post on the power and importance of long-form content. While social media is short and snappy, Google, curation sites, and audiences are starting to lean towards longer content. Get on board and start producing some lengthy, meaty, substantial pieces. Not everything you publish needs to be epic, but a few integrated into the mix can only help with rankings and audience engagement.

Blank Notepad 5

A recent Hubspots/SmartInsights survey found that one of the top challenges faced by European marketers is producing enough quality content. Why? How hard can it be to write a couple of articles, maybe a whitepaper, craft some infographics, and do up some tweets? Easy peasy, as they say on Pinterest. It is! But producing all of this content all of the time – there’s the rub. Here are some tips to help out.

  • Take stock of your current content. What do you have? Look at your analytics as well: which pieces are most popular? Why? What types of information do you cover, and in what format? Which pieces have high bounce rates or low engagement with your visitors? Again, look at the topics and the formats to determine why your audience gives these the cold shoulder.
  • Brain storm relevant ideas. Fortunately, you have a host of tools at your disposal to help. Use Google’s Keyword Planner, for instance, allows you to search for keyword ideas. Look through LinkedIn groups for professional discussions, Quora for trending stories and hot questions, and Ubbersuggest for keywords. Even sites like Pinterest can help you gather, and organize, great ideas.
  • Organize everything. All these ideas, snippets, and stories can create chaos. Organize it all with a program or app. EverNote is a good example, but far from the only available – and free – option! You can jot down thoughts, store all sorts of content, and use the search function to find it all again. With cloud access, you can do this anywhere, anytime so you never lose an idea for great content.
  •  Schedule your content. Create a content calendar so you have a schedule. You can build a bank of articles, infographics, images, and other content to release at specified dates so you always have a steady stream of relevant goodies for your audiences. It also allows you the flex to respond to news stories and current events. You can use Excel or find a free template online.

Taking a methodical approach to content development ensures that you have relevant articles, whitepapers, editorials, infographics, and video when you need it. You don’t need to depend on the muse; you need to depend on your schedule! And you need to make scouring the world for new, fresh ideas a daily activity.

Measurement

Content marketing moves away from a hard sell and focuses on the story. Instead of badgering customers to buy, the goal is to provide them information, to address their concerns, to answer their questions, to position yourself as the trusted, credible authority. (And then, sell them some stuff. Well, business is business!.) Establishing a relationship is critical: Are you connecting with the audience? Are they connecting with you? Paying attention to engagement metrics is one of the most important steps in effective content marketing.

Some key metrics to look at:

  • Start with the usual suspects. How many retweets, likes,+1s, pins, etc.? What type of comments are people leaving? Reviews, ratings? Start here, but don’t end here!
  • Unique visitors. How many distinct visitors came to your site? Give it parameters so you can track and compare more easily. For instance, how many unique visitors did you get this week vs. last week? This month vs. last month? This quarter and year vs. last quarter and year? Now, remember, someone could visit your site 1000 times in a day, but he or she is just one unique visitor. So this metric tells you a part of the story.
  • Page views. This tells you another part. If a visitor clicks through to different pages, each page loaded is a page view. This is an important number to look at, particularly if you do paid ads. Again, put parameters around it to track and compare, and use this to determine which pages are getting the click-throughs.
  • Average stay. How long are people camping out on your site? Are they bouncing from the landing page, or are they taking the time to get to know you? This is where good content marketing shines: the goal is to get people interested and to encourage them to dig deeper into your content and website. This also makes the common problem of developing enough solid content more pressing! You’ve got to give them something to dig into! (But that’s a story for another day!)
  • Bounce rate. High=bad. Low=good.
  • Return visits. High=good!
  • Conversions. Use a CRM to track visitors and their progress through the sales funnel. Some good options include SugarCRM, Salesforce, or InfusionSoft.

Connect with your audience with great content, and then make looking at these reports a regular part of your strategy.

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