In this content heavy market, blogs and reviews likely drive a large chunk of traffic to your site and sales from it. Unfortunately, this also means writing (or outsourcing) a steady stream of blogs for your website, which means you are working with limited resources. If you’re paying for your blogs, then unless they are making you more profit than they cost you to outsource, you’ll eventually run out of capital. If you’re writing your blogs, you’ll likely hit some dry spells where you don’t have any more good ideas for blogs (if you haven’t hit some already).
Three Techniques You Can Use to Create Fresh Blogs When Yours are Stale
For those that have run out of topics to blog about, take comfort in the fact that this happens to just about every internet marketer that doesn’t have a team of writers tirelessly wracking their brains for killer blog topics. So if you find yourself teetering on the brink of an empty tank, try these three techniques for refilling your think tank:
1. Play I Spy. Unless you are the only person or website in the world in your niche, in which case just say that in blog after blog since there’s no competition, you likely have saturated marketplace to deal with. While that’s difficult for any number of other reasons, for blogging purposes, it could be a goldmine.
Simply go on a little “spying” mission to your competition’s blogs and see what they are blogging about. This could give you inspiration in any number of ways, maybe you see things from a different perspective and find ways to differentiate yourself; maybe you think your competition is completely wrong and you can blog why.
Most importantly, see which topics have gotten the most social shares or comments, those are the topics that your demographic wants to read or talk about, meaning you need to be covering them. The point is, use your competition’s blog to not only stay relevant with everything that is going on in your niche, but also as some motivation to set your site up as more knowledgeable and authoritative than your competition’s. Do this through blogging.
2. Look Inside. After you look around you, you should start to have some inspiration or ideas for blogs. Now, take a look at your own personal journey as an internet marketer. Think about your successes and your failures, these are what interest people.
Without a personal spin or attachment to a blog, it simply reads as some research that some copywriter did and then threw together in a few minutes. You should have some sort of personal story to relay that shows why what you’re saying matters.
People want to learn from other people’s mistakes as well as follow in the footsteps of their success. Outline what went right or wrong for you, how and why it happened, and share what your readers should take away from that. (It helps if what they take away is whatever you’re selling, but not every blog has to be sales-driven.)
3. Use Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is an amazing search engine that is geared towards filtering through the metrics and results of content marketing. You simply enter a search topic or keyword phrase and then find all of the content that’s been published on that topic or keyword.
You can filter by date, type of content (e.g. articles, interviews, giveaways, videos, infographics, etc.) and then see how many shares each link has gotten across the various social media platforms. This will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry as well as come up with fresh blog topics.
Content marketing, it’s everywhere. The term has become ubiquitous in today’s marketing world which is a little bit ironic given how few people seem to understand it, or at least put that understanding into tangible action. One of the fundamental reasons that people don’t go all in on their content marketing is that they don’t fully understand its value or why it comes across so effectively. Today, that misunderstanding gets corrected, as we explore just what makes content marketing so appealing to consumers in the modern world.
It’s higher value.
Let’s face it, for years we as advertisers and marketers have been in the business of getting people to pay attention to things they don’t really want to pay attention too. Advertisements have been breaks in continuity that take people out of the experience that they’re currently in. Do you know what people do now when a commercial comes on TV or when they can’t skip a Youtube ad? They pull out their phones and pay zero attention to the ads because they only bring value to the advertiser, they don’t actually tell the consumer anything useful.
Content marketing done correctly is actual interesting, engaging, and something that people want to read or watch, which instantly sets it apart from your traditional banner and newsfeed ads.
It gives your target market a chance to engage.
People aren’t satisfied with one way communication anymore. If you think that you can get away with creating content that offers no room for response, critique, or even simple agreeable engagement, you’re in for a rude awakening.
This could be in the form of a comments section, or on a social media platform that allows you to create other types of content in response to the original. Those who do content marketing correctly also will likely respond to every response – response-ception! – that they get in order o make sure their customers or viewers know their interaction is appreciated.
It builds a brand, not just a product.
The absolute best brands in the content marketing game have done something drastically different than those that are trying to replicate their success and fail miserably. That one thing is that they are creating a brand that’s less about selling its own product, on the surface anyways, and more about becoming a hub for content that their target market would find interesting. For example, if you sell shoes, your social media posts and video content should be less about the shoe you just released, and more about stories that sneakerheads and other relevant audiences would find interesting.
Think about how you yourself choose which pages to follow on Facebook: You don’t like a brand page because they bombard you with sales pitches, you like pages that constantly share content you laugh at, can agree with, can debate, can share with friends, etc.
This is the real advantage of content marketing: You can build a behemoth of a brand whose reputation and clever content moves volume for you, in spite of it not being your primary focus, and that’s pretty neat.
So you’ve written a new blog post or created a piece of content that you think could really make a splash, or at least generate some traffic and business around your website. You hit publish, run through your usual share sites, but the needle doesn’t seem to move. In fact, a week later, your post is far from going viral. You think, alright, but I’ve quoted some experts in here, and this other company has a similar market that might enjoy what I’ve created, maybe I’ll ask if they can share it too!
But they probably get bombarded daily with tens or even hundreds of requests – so how can you stand out?! Well, here are a few ideas:
Have multiple targets. The fact of the matter is, even the best of pitches can fall on deaf ears, so it’s in your best interests to play a numbers game. If your goal is to have 3 influencers share your content, then you’re much more likely to meet your goal if you approach 15 influencers than just 3. Everybody wants to bad 1.000, but that’s just not how this play works.
Engage them first in a more helpful way. Do you know how much more likely most people would be to give their change to a homeless person on the street if they stopped and talked with them for a bit, found some common ground, and began to empathize? We naturally have better opinions and perceptions of trustworthiness of those we know better, so use this bit of psychology to your advantage! Never ask an influencer for a share straight up. Instead, share their content first, let them know in a tweet how much you like it, ask if you can help them with something they’re working on. In this way, you’ll warm them up before going for an ask, and be much more likely to get the answer you’re looking for.
Follow-up without the nag. This is a tough balance to strike. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have time when they receive it to open your mail and it gets lost in the bottom of their inbox. Or perhaps they don’t really use email and another form of communication is way more likely to get their attention. Make sure that you have a follow-up plan for those who don’t respond to your messages the first time around, a sequence of 2 or 3 messages that you can try on different platforms, just to see if you can get a response. Funny enough, the “breakup email” (alright, I won’t message you anymore you clearly aren’t interested!) is the one that generally gets the highest response rate!
Be thankful. If someone is so kind as to share what you have to offer, make you thank them and ask what you can do for them in return. For every relationship you build here, you’ll have one less ‘random’ person you have to ask next time around.
Remember, even the most popular of people are just people, so being nice and treating them as such will go a long way in influencer marketing.
Content marketing is nothing new, and while it's going to evolve into new formats and platforms throughout 2016, as it always does, but it's definitely not going anywhere. If anything, more and more people will jump on board, especially as more traditional ad formats continue to fall short or become exorbitantly expensive.
People don't like to be sold to, and the techniques, which used to be secrets within advertising circles are now common knowledge, meaning that most people are savvy to ad techniques and ignore them all but completely. That said, just 'doing' content marketing is not going to get you very far. In fact, the number of blogs out there with tens or even hundreds of posts but which still have zero engagement is astonishing. The reason for this is that people love to jump on the bandwagon of content marketing, but very few take the time to learn how to do it well. If you want to know how people get hundreds of shares on their blog posts and drive real traffic, well, look no further:
1) Do it better than anyone else has
There's a technique in content marketing coined by Brian Dean called the Skyscraper Technique. The idea is to find a topic someone else has written a good article on and which has been shared around a lot, and then write something even better. Like, really dig into it. If they wrote 7 tips on how to market on Instagram, you article has 52. The main reason people don't take this approach is that they are lazy, or they don't feel they have the time, but here's a secret: Creating 14 daily blog posts will lose out to one blog post that took 14 days to create, every time. It's simply a matter of being honest about what is good enough to be shared. If it doesn't blow you away, it's not going to do it to anyone else, either.
2) Promote even more than you write
Once you got an epic piece of content, your job is far from over. In fact, many people recommend spending as much as two times as much time on the sharing and promoting of your blog post than you do on actually writing it. All of a sudden, you're only writing one blog post per month, but it's performing better and getting you more traffic than if you'd written several fire-and-forget pieces. People don't just find great content, especially when you're starting out, so you have to do everything you can to put it in front of their face.
3) Reach out to those who care (and who matter)
Once you've got your blog post out in the world, get a hold of experts and those who have a following and who might be interested, and ask if they might be willing to share with their social channels. Now, here's the kicker: Make sure there's something in it for them. Working with influencers in your market is about leverage, so if that means you have to offer some free services or skillsets in exchange for a tweet, so be it.
All of this is to say that if you want to have content that performs better than average, you've got to be willing to put in better than average time and effort and that's just true of anything, isn't it?
Content marketing: The creation of written, video, audio, or other content by a brand with the goal of garnering an audience or attention and establishing authority within a market.
Content marketing has proven, over the last couple of years, to be outpacing its more traditional media buy and advertising counterparts in terms of engagement with audiences and, ultimately, conversions. That said, not everyone gets it right, and some people have yet to start actually creating a content marketing plan for their brand.
Today, we’re going to go over a few ways you can audit any content marketing piece before you put it out in order to give it the best chance of success.
Make sure your target audience really, truly cares.
One of the biggest mistakes that brands make with content marketing is that they use their content as an extended ad for their product or service. The content itself delivers little value to the reader and doesn’t actually set them up to be any more knowledgeable on a topic or in a better position to solve their problems than before they read it.
Content marketing is about giving, and as such you should always place yourself in your target market’s shoes while writing. Ask yourself questions like:
– If I was in this market, would this content be useful to me, or does it just sound like someone trying to convince me to buy something?
– Is this genuinely interesting?
– Is this written like it’s honest and coming from someone who is knowledgeable on the topic?
Can it make it big?
Take into considerations the elements that make a piece of content go viral or stand out from the rest in terms of how much it gets shared around with others. In content marketing, learning to leverage your existing audience to spread your work exponentially to their own contacts and followers is key. In general, a few key items will help you achieve this with a piece of content:
– A title that is intriguing and clicky, but stays true to the content that’s on the other side.
– A piece that shows so much work, care, and time that it stands out as a resource above all others. For example, this is why list articles super high counts (i.e. “120 ways to share your content!”) often get shared 1,000’s of times â€“ hard work shows.
– Have you designed imagery for promotion? Posts with images catch attention and perform substantially better, so you’ll want to design thumbnail images for social sharing even if your content itself is not visual (a written piece, etc.).
Can you hustle?
Content marketing is a numbers game, and those numbers are, largely, hours. Not only will you put in hours to create content that resonates and delivers, you’ll need to think about your distribution strategy.
This means manually posting to Facebook groups, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc. Develop a distribution plan by starting broad and then narrowing in on the channels that are delivering results after a few releases. Most likely, this is a multiple month long process, but content marketing in general is playing the long game. Good luck!