All posts in Content management

Download Onscreen ButtonSEO, and search engine visibility, is just the first step. Conversion rate optimisation is focused on keeping visitors on your site and ensuring they complete the desired call to action, whether that is purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or answering questions on a survey. Are your CTAs effective?

Calls to action tend to be relegated to afterthoughts on most websites. A small scale study of businesses presented by Small Business Trends found that 70 percent do not optimise CTAs on their home pages. More – 72 percent – do not have CTAs on their interior pages, and still more – 82 percent – do not mention their social media profiles. Most do not include vital information, such as phone numbers or email addresses; and if they do, they are not featured prominently.

A compelling call to action is essential but how do you go beyond “Contact us”?

  • Learn from the mistakes of these small businesses. Place CTAs in prominent locations and in interior pages. Make them noticeable: contrasting colors for your banners and buttons work. There is some conjecture that different colors – such as yellow and orange– are more eye-catching and apt to convert. You can get into A/B testing to determine that, but in the meantime, make sure they are highly visible.
  • Pair your CTA with your content. “Buy now” is often your ultimate goal, but does that make sense on an information or educational page? A more effective call to action would center around learning more, contacting you for further information, or downloading an ebook or whitepaper.
  • “Learn more” can be ambiguous. Make sure that your CTA tells the visitor exactly what action you would encourage them to take (which will be to their benefit, of course!). Make that value proposition clear. JetSetter does this: they may have a tidbit about an Italian vacation with a CTA button that reads, “Plan a trip like this.” The visitor knows what will happen when he clicks through, making it more likely that he will do so.
  • Inject some urgency. You need to do this now! Is the message, but how to word it? Spotify does a great job with this one: “Music is for every moment.” Then, under,  “Get Spotify for free.” It is inspirational – we have moments! We want music for them! Our very own soundtracks! – and it’s free. That never hurts.
  • Be very clear in your wording. “Buy now” is not earth shattering, but if visitors are on a product page, it only makes sense. When the tried and true works, use it.

Businesses tack on CTAs after carefully working through content strategies. This is a mistake. Spend time crafting your CTAs wording, design, and placement – and then track your analytics to see the difference it makes.

Film Reel Series

YouTube is a juggernaut of video and brand power; over 6 billion hours of video are viewed each month; 100 hours are uploaded every minute, and YouTube reaches more people than any cable network. It has global reach, immense power, and unlimited content. And in the billions of hours of video, where are you? How can you ensure that the right audience can find you? You don’t need to go viral in order to be successful with YouTube. Here are a few useful tips that can help you become more visible?

You know you should write descriptive titles and descriptions. Here are some other “musts.”

  • Improv is fun and spontaneous! But it can also be difficult to pull off in a video for your brand. In most cases, having a script is the best way to go because you can be sure to get your message articulated fully and effectively. And, another benefit, you can add the script to the description. Google will index this, and you’ll improve your visibility.
  • Don’t use a generic video file name. Use a targeted keyword in your file name. YouTube – and, hence, Google, notices. Be sure that the keyword directly relates to the content of the video.
  • Add closed captioning. You will be able to reach viewers who are hard of hearing or deaf, and you will be providing Google and YouTube with indexable, crawlable content. If you follow your script, you can simply upload that as your transcript. If not, you can use Google Voice to create your captions.
  • Use what you have. Your website, blogs, and social media presence should be interconnected, so cross-promote your videos. Simply posting a video on YouTube is unlikely to bring you the success you want, but tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging about it, posting it on your website, and creating a link from YouTube to your site are effective techniques for seeding your video content.
  • Create a YouTube channel. Again, this will interconnect with your other platforms, and it will provide viewers with easy access to other interesting content. Your channel also gives you the chance to write descriptive titles and descriptions for greater visibility.
  • Try Annotations. This feature allows you to create an interactive video experience.  You can add background information or link to relevant content. This could be a big opportunity because a lot of videos either do not use these or don’t use them well. Get creative.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. When you optimise your videos, you have a much better chance at standing out from the crowd.

Paper Chain In The DarkProducing quality, relevant content is an ongoing task for website owners, bloggers, and businesses. In addition to producing our own written, video, and image content, we can employ additional methods to ensure we give our audiences the material they want and need. Curating is one way to do this, as is using the words, images, and thoughts of our audiences themselves. Leveraging user generated content (UGC) can be an effective technique to enhance our websites.

The UK’s Guardian has recently launched a digital platform which enables users to upload video, photos, and text content to its journalists via apps or the website. They call this “GuardianWitness,” and they’ve leveraged it to allow up-to-the-minute, man-on-the-street coverage of major news events. This is just one example of brands leveraging UGC. Retail-based and service-based brands can also benefit: Brisk Ice Tea, for instance, crowdsourced a special edition label to fans of the beverage, using Instagram for help. The potential is enormous; how can you encourage and use UGC effectively?

  • Let users know you want their words, pictures, etc. Solicit user feedback, reviews, and ratings. Make it easy for your customers to leave feedback and share their experience via social media. Sharing buttons, review buttons, and/or a “Most Recent Reviews” sections on your website can be invaluable.
  • Give them something back. UGC is a favor from your audience to you – now give them something in return.  A gift card, free product, free sample, free shipping, and other perks are fairly inexpensive for you, and your users’ content may help draw in additional visitors (and customers!). This makes it a smart investment.  If a free sample doesn’t work for your business or site, why not feature a user each week or month? Post the content prominently on your site.
  • Create hashtags and ask your audience to tweet or post to Instragram. Lulumon did this with #sweatlife, and yoga-enthusiasts posted 40,000 pics of themselves in various yoga poses – and in Lulumon clothing. People like to feel a part of the community, and at the same time, they’re creating great content for you.
  • Ask loyal customers to be your testers. Give them a free product in exchange for a thorough review of said product. Amazon does this with its wildly popular Vine program, and the mega-retailer’s UGC is an indispensable part of its online brand.
  • Get current on the laws and restrictions surrounding UGC. If, for instance, a user modifies a copyrighted video or image, it can violate copyright laws and you might be complicit in displaying that content. Also, you’ll want to make sure your contests conform to the rules of the social platforms they appear on and winners should sign an agreement that their content can be used by your brand.

UGC can be an integral, vibrant part of your content creation strategy. Have you used UGC? If so, how?

 

Ye Old Typewriter 2

Writing great content can be a challenge. Writing great content day after day after day is most certainly a feat. Content tools are not designed to write content for us; we want to leave that for the humans. What they do, however, is help us map out what we need to cover, when, and how. They can help give us a spark of inspiration when the muse has cut out early or when a meeting has left us dull. What are the best ones to use?

Ubersuggest. Sometimes all you need is an idea, especially on a slow news day. Ubersuggest allows you to enter in a word or phrase and troll through Google Suggestions for trending and related topics. You can find ideas, resources, and other content-starters on topics that are of interest to your audience.

Scrapebox. Ok, we know. This one does not have a sterling reputation. It is often connected with those spammy comments you see on blogs, and it can be used for that purpose, to be sure. It can also be used completely legitimately, white hat-approved, as a content tool. Much like Ubersuggest, it scrapes content and can help you find related topics on which to create content. Some even say it is more powerful. Just don’t use the spam-comment feature. If you’re concerned, there are a number of great articles from reputable sources on using it this way. Again, do not use the spam or link features.

Audacity. This is a free recording/editing tool that will help you create audio content. It is important to have a mix of content (text, images, video, audio) to appeal to your audience’s diverse learning styles. Record your thoughts on a topic, or interview an industry authority. Get “man on the street” feedback or do an audio Q&A. There is a lot of possibility here.

Evernote. With this program, you can keep track of notes, recordings, images, webpages, etc., and access it via the cloud from any device. This is great when the inspiration strikes on the train and you only have your phone. It can be a repository for content ideas, and best of all, it is collaborative. Share it with colleagues so they can add to it or use it themselves.

Feedly. This is a Google Reader successor. The magazine-style reader allows you to access, organize, and read content from across the web easily and efficiently.

Slideshare. Surprised? Don’t be. Slideshare can be a powerful tool for building your authority and visibility. Slide decks are informative, sharable, and great for appealing to a variety of users.

As always, you can use resources like Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other news aggregators to find topics on which to create. The key is to keep it organized with a program like Evernote and then create a content calendar so you can keep on top of your game and deliver fresh, relevant, strategic content.

Hand Over KeyboardContent curation has become a hot technique to use in content production because it provides (or should!) value to our readers and helps us put out fresh content. But like any content marketing, SEO, SMO, CRO, acronym-of-your-choice technique, there are big caveats to its use. Content curation can be a helpful tool, or it can impact your rank. How do you know if it is going to help or hurt you?

Eric Enge of Search Engine Watch writes in a recent post, “Content curation could be a very risky practice for you.” Why? It depends on your site’s authority. As Enge explains, if you happen to be the New York Times, you will be fine. You have a recognizable, authoritative brand. The editorial practices make it difficult to get content published in the NYT – it has to offer real value. As well, it has a profile of high-quality links and both publisher and individual author authority. Curated content will not hurt the NYT because it has these factors in spades.

You don’t have to an internationally-known brand to use curation – it helps though! If you have a good link profile, authorship (use your authorship tag!), and a solid, reputable site, curation is, indeed, a useful too. And let’s not forget the real value: giving something of relevance to your audience. If a curated list will help them, publish one. But again, there is a caveat.

Google doesn’t have to index your site. It may regard your curated lists as search results, and they don’t want your results to compete with theirs. What you can do to avoid the problem but still curate is to put noindex tags on curated content. So, make sure you have some sort of brand, site, authorship authority, do a link audit, use noindex. Are there any other content curation best practices to help you use this technique effectively?

  • Use curation judiciously. Offer a mix of content to your audience: create, curate, and use user-generated content. This can be a winning formula.
  • Publish across platforms. You have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites available to you. Find out which are most appropriate to you, and get active.
  • Point your readers to reputable, high-quality sources, and give credit where credit is due.

When you make content curation part of your content plan, you can see great results. Don’t use it simply because you don’t know what to write about on a given day! Provide value to your readers.

Google rolled out a hashtags feature in June as a way to help Google+ users’ content is tagged and categorised. The hashtag is already a common site on Twitter and, more recently, Facebook, and Google is not only leveraging their ubiquity and usefulness, they’re adding their own twist. What are the benefits of Google+ hashtags, and how you can use them effectively?

As mentioned, hashtags are a useful way to organise your content. In addition:

  • They can help your results become more visible in Google+.
  • It is easy to assign appropriate hashtags to content.
  • You can explore related hashtags and posts.
  • You can expand your reach in your niche and attract new leads.
  • They can include targeted keywords.

Using hashtags properly is essential. Some tips:

  • Use a clear, concise phrase.  #contentmarketing or #contentstrategies. They phrase must be completely relevant so people find the information they need.
  • Use the expandable list of hashtag suggestions to find the right fit for your post and to ensure content is properly categorised.
  • The first 3 hashtags are critical because they appear at the top and affect which searches bring visitors to your posts.  They will also appear at the top of your posts. Choose these carefully.
  • Create and use your own hashtag as well so visitors will associate you with your content and with excellence and credibility! #johnsmith or #seoguy
  • Optimise your content for the “Best of” Stream with catchy titles, images, and relevant hashtags.
  • Check out the competition in the “Best of” Stream to see if, perhaps, you’re choosing the right hashtags or if you need to up your game and make your content stand out more for busy visitors.
  • Check for trending topics that are relevant to your business or brand and wade into a conversation.
  • Google will add hashtags it thinks are relevant. You can keep these or go to your Google+ account to opt out.

Hashtags are everywhere. You can use them strategically to highlight your content and extend your reach. Behind the hashtag, though, there has to be solid, relevant content. Without this, nothing else matters. #contentcreation

You spend time carefully crafting blog posts, researching and writing whitepapers, creating awe-inspiring infographics, and then you send them out into the big internet world to fend for themselves. We’re missing something here: nurturing that content and helping it work for you. Some experts recommend that, for every hour you spend creating content, you spend an hour promoting it. What is the best way to do that?

  • Hit the usual suspects. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, Delicious, Digg, and LinkedIn are great first stops. Presenting your content to a targeted audience – such as your LinkedIn group for professionals in your industry – helps your content hit the mark and demonstrate its relevance.
  • Use hashtags when you do share socially. This categorises your content, making it easier for people to find.
  • Make it easy for people. Instead of them coming to you, go to them. Create an automated email newsletter featuring your best/most recent articles or posts. Services like Nourish and Paper.li allow you to turn your RSS feed into a powerful tool.
  • Create a subscriber Circle. You can then invite people to become part of your Circle and be notified automatically when you have new content to share.
  • Take the time to thank people who share, like, or otherwise engage with your content. This can turn a one-time commenter into a repeat visitor. Content is all about connecting; you are reaching out, so when someone returns the favor, capitalise on it.
  • Promote your content offline. If you’re in a client meeting, for instance, and the individual has a lot of questions about a specific technical aspect of what you do, you can say, “I’ll email you a link to an article I’ve written about that.” You can also do the same when following up with clients or associates.

Don’t abandon content that you’ve worked so hard to create. Work to seed it and nurture an audience for it. It does take time, but that is time that will help you build stronger visibility and better relationships within your specific area of expertise.

 

Retro MoviesVideo content is tremendously powerful. Billions of hours of video is watched each day, and studies show that watching video makes consumers more confident in a product, service, or business. Yet, despite that, only 25 percent of national brands use video as a marketing tool – and this presents are huge opportunity for those who do to establish themselves as authorities and as on-trend. Producing a high-quality video is crucial, but deciding where to host video content can be just as important.

“YouTube” seems the obvious answer, and it can be a good one. This is where you have a shot at reaching a multimillion member, worldwide audience. But therein also lies the difficulty: it is hard to target your audience. Your video is 5 minutes among billions of hours of content. How is the right audience going to find its way to you? And if they do, what are the next steps are they going to take? Are they going to click through to your website and investigate you further – or are they going to stay on YouTube and continue to browse?

Another issue with YouTube is that you have less control of your content. You may not, for instance, choose the ads that appear next to or preceding your video. In some cases, those ads are delivered from your competition! You end up being your own competition as well: YouTube results will rank higher than results from your own website.

YouTube does have a number of benefits: it is owned by Google, it is easy to use, it’s free, and you can create your own channel and optimise your video content to start to target your audience. Self-hosting may be a better option for many site owners, though. You can implement rich snippets that will improve visibility and click-through rates to your site. Video on your homepage engages viewers and may help keep your bounce rate down. Another benefit is that you’re promoting your website, not your YouTube channel. If, for instance, your video is passed and shared, it creates backlinks to your site. This is a huge difference.

To make sure that self-hosting provides the benefits you need:

  • Mark it up with rich snippets.
  • Create and submit a video sitemap.

A good compromise is to use a hybrid approach. You can both post to Google and self-host. If you do this, make sure you do not post the same video content on both. You might, for instance, post enticing teasers on YouTube and full-length videos on your site. If you do this, make sure you have a robust solution in place to handle the demands of a longer video.

 

 

 

 

thumbs up!Facebook’s Open Graph promises to “personalise” the web. Soon, you won’t even have to think: Facebook, Google, and your IP provider will just do it for you! Open Graph stores “stories” about our interests, hobbies, relationships, and likes. As Facebook creates a comprehensive accounting of our lives, Open Graph organises it into a usable database for businesses. Facebook recently added Open Graph tags that will help draw attention to publishers and writers.

Facebook recently added two tags to “help people follow their favorite media publishers and journalists.” The tag enables a link back to your Facebook page whenever someone shares content from your website. The first tag is article:publisher:

<meta property=”article:publisher” content=”https://www.facebook.com/publishersite” />

 

When a piece of content is shared, people are prompted to like the publisher’s page. The second is article:author:

<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/yourname />

 

This will link back to the author’s Facebook profile or page. Make sure that if you are implementing the author tag you have allowed people to follow you.

The new tags are beneficial in building a following and interlinking content. You can create more organic follows and engage with your audience without requiring them to leave their homepages. In many ways, it is a similar offering to Google’s authorship tag (though Facebook declined to say whether or not the tag would affect an article’s rank). Take advantage of another quick, easy tool to build online credibility and visibility.

WritingGoogle rolled out its authorship tag a few years back, but 2013 has really been the year of the rel-author. It can have a substantial effect on your visibility, authority, and credibility. Those who implement Google authorship see higher click-through rates and begin to build a name for themselves, which in the blogging world, is crucial. One study found that when authors added this snippet, they increased clicks by 150 percent. That’s worth taking the nominal time and effort to put it into action.

Here’s the lowdown on setting up your authorship snippet:

  1. Log into your Google+ account. If you don’t have one – why not! Sign up and verify your email address. Make sure you use an email address with the same domain as your blog.
  2. To verify your authorship, you have to have a rel=”author” tag on your content page, which points back to your Google profile. Make sure this is not visible by site visitors.
  3. In the Profile section, select Edit Profile > Contributor to. Here, you will be able to list the sites to which you contribute. Simply label the site or blog and paste the URL in the box.
  4. Select who will see the Author Rank. Public is best, but you can restrict it to those within your circles or extended circles.
  5. Save, and repeat if you have multiple sites to list.
  6. Scroll up to Other Profiles. If you have pages that are about you, such as a YouTube channel or social media profiles. Add and save.
  7. Now you can select Finish Editing and View As to get a preview of how your snippet will appear.
  8. Use Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool to see if you’ve done everything correctly.

Using the authorship tag will highlight you in search results and increase your authority. It’s a relatively quick process, and a free one, at that, which delivers a great ROI.

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