Recently, content marketing has been all the rage. It isn’t that it’s only now that content marketing is starting to be effective, but more so that larger, more traditional media and advertising powerhouses are finally starting to take the trend seriously.
Content marketing, for several years now, has been the true language of the blogging community, and the businesses who were smart enough to narrow in on and take advantage of these networks.
Content marketing itself rests on one of the founding principles that most of you reading this will understand: providing value before asking for it.
Content marketing also has major crossover with “relationship marketing,” which is what we’re going to get into today. Specifically, those who have worked with content marketing have also found value in maintaining a blog or similar platform to regularly share content with and grow their audiences through.
Guest blogging is the act of posting on someone else’s blog, largely in the hopes of getting some attention and exposure for your own web property. The problem, however, lies in how to reframe that goal in a way that it becomes mutually beneficial.
If it’s your first time trying to land a guest blogging gig, you need to understand that these relationships are all about leverage: What can you offer someone else? What are you getting in return? In order for your offer to write a piece for another blog (even if it’s really good) to be tempting, you need to make sure you frame it in the right way. Here are a few steps you can take to massively boost your chances of successfully integrating guest blogging into your content marketing strategy.
Identify blogs in your weight class or just above it. Look for blogs in your market than have similar audiences and are getting some social engagement and shares on their posts, but who are not yet massive.
Make contact in a helpful way. Do not just blurt out that you want a guest post and try and pitch cold via email. Instead, leave insight comments over a few days and interact with the blog owner on twitter or another social platform. Share their content to show you like it.
Make a careful pitch by asking permission via one of these platforms to reach out via email. Once you have the greenlight, send an email with your idea, and highlight why it would be well-received by their audience and what you will do to help share the piece and grow their blog.
Write something truly amazing. If you get the honor of having a guest post pitch accepted, do it justice and get invited back by really creating something special. Whatever time you put into researching and creating your own posts, double it. Go above and beyond and make an infographic or embedded slideshare to help out – that kind of thing.
Promote like your life depends on it in order to get the blog you’re working with the biggest return possible and show that partnering up with you was worthwhile.
Simple, yep. Easy? Well, you’ll be putting in some work, but it’s nearly always worth your time.
So, right about now your newsfeed is probably littered with predictions for internet marketing in 2015, ringing in the New Year with “insider knowledge” in your pocket, blah, blah, baitclick. What a drastic change from each one of the past ten New Years blog trends, no? Do you want to know what is going to happen with internet marketing next year in no uncertain terms: the same thing that is happening right now.
The Most Exciting Prediction in the World
Here it is: trends are going to continue; they are not going to reverse. Things that are working right now are going to continue to work and slightly change as the weeks turn into months. Things that are not working any more will stop being used. If something new comes out that works, people will start to move towards that tool/technique.
Brilliant, no? Actually, what I’m really trying to get at here is that the current trends are only going to get more in-depth. And as for new trends, you’re going to have to keep your ear to the ground and your eyes to blogs to follow them. Don’t rely on a once a year prediction blog to set your internet marketing strategy for 2015, this is the age of real time pivoting and actionable metrics. If you aren’t plugged in 24/7, you’re run the risk of missing out on something big and falling behind.
If Marketing Trends Were Ponies Which Would I Bet On?
But if you are really dying to know what I think about the marketing trends that will be the hottest in this upcoming year, I guess I can put in some picks for you, but as I said, your best gauge for next year’s success is your own intuition and your own research. After all, isn’t it your money and livelihood on the line?
– Mobile marketing will continue to be on the top of everyone’s “must” list but honestly, unless you’re running a huge website, I’m going to go ahead and tell the truth: every one has been predicting this trend for the past four or five years. When are we “there” and not “striving for there” already? If your site isn’t mobile-friendly by now, chances are you’re not in business.
– SEO will continue to be blurred along with content creation and social media. What we have now is a digital marketing operation that is focused on driving traffic and sales. Or conversions. Or whatever you want to call them. The point is, the once finely delineated departments of internet marketing are all lumped together. Watch for this mixed cauldron to continue to be stirred until unrecognizable as separate entities.
– Content will still be king. SEO will still be dead. Everybody will continue to say it and argue about it, but the fact remains that the more quality content you have that is written for your customers and not for search engines the better ranking and sales you will have.
– Metrics and analytics will continue to be super-important as well real-time pivoting, so if you aren’t paying attention to what customer behavior yet, your time is rapidly drawing near to being “too late.”
Now, before you say there was nothing of value there, remember what I said earlier. You are the only one who can bring value to your internet marketing and it’s not going to come from the predictions of a quick email on 2015 internet marketing trends. I don’t care who writes it, the fact of the matter is, you have to pay attention year round if you want to get to the heart of the matter.
Did you know that only about 20% of all first-time visitors to a website will become a conversion on that visit? That means 80% of your site’s visitors are leaving without converting, even if they want to. With shopping cart abandonment making major waves in the eCommerce industry because of how recoverable these consumers are (studies show that about 68% of all abandoned shopping carts can be recovered), it only makes sense that the people who bounce off your site are recoverable as well, even if you don’t run an eCommerce site.
What is Retargeting?
Then, as your visitor browses other sites on the internet, as they come to sites that have ads on them, the cookie you left in their browser activates your site’s ad. This helps do a number of things, including keeping you fresh in their minds, reminding them that they might have wanted to make a purchase with you or simply creates another avenue to your website.
The point here is that you are getting advertised across the web to an extremely targeted audience: people that have already expressed interest in your website. Whether they left to look for better offers, they left the stove on or had to run into a business meeting, you get another crack at them by simply adding some code to your website and running a few ads.
But Won’t People Find this Intrusive?
Of course, some places people absolutely hate targeted ads, such as ads that hit on keywords from people’s emails. This is intrusive and likely to backfire unless you’re a fairly large brand. Nobody wants to think that a penis enlargement cream site is filtering through their emails and placing ads on their Gmail account!
But with retargeting, your ads will actually provide people with a better, more individualized browsing experience since the ads will be tailored to their interests. It’s always important to think about how your ads will be perceived by your audience. There’s a fine line between being intrusive and being customized and the best websites walk this line perfectly.
Of course, not every internet marketer’s site lends itself to retargeting code and ads. Some marketers will do better to retarget their visitors through email campaigns. It’s important that you re-contact people who fell out of your sales funnel so you can bring them back in.
As with the shopping cart abandonment, there’s no telling why the person fell out. They could have simply been distracted by a football score and forgot to go back. The power could have went out, any number of things could have happened so assuming that everyone who bounced from your site did so because they didn’t like what they saw is faulty thinking that leads to zero sales.
What do you have to lose by sending out some emails saying, “Hey, we’ve been thinking about you and we want you to come back! Here’s 10% off your next order” or “Did you forget about us because we didn’t forget about you! We figured you might have some questions so let’s set up a time to chat so I can answer them for you!”
The point is, you miss all of the sales that you don’t reach out and grasp, so retargeting visitors can only result in sales, what’s the worse that can happen, they ignore you? Well, right now if you aren’t retargeting, you’re the one ignoring them!
Over the last few years you have probably heard about, or seen Google+. It was touted as the next big thing and backed by Google’s billions of users, you would think they had a decent chance of success.
They even forced their own users to sign up to Google+ before they could interact with some of Googles other more stable platforms ie it gave access to Gmail, Google Drive, and all of Google’s other apps.
The biggest problem was that although millions of people were logging in everyday, hardly any of them were using it as a social platform to interact on.
This year it has been confirmed time and again that Google has decided to scale back their Google+ operations and have started to remove it from their more successful apps.
This shows that even the largest companies in the world sometimes just get it wrong.
“We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google … other than using Google+ itself,” said Google VP Bradley Horowitz on Google+.
Over the last 4 years, Google+ really has struggled. Google+ was Googles’ attempt to knock over the competition (Facebook and Twitter) that have been continually taking over their search market share.
Perhaps Google+ was made more to help themselves rather than to help the users.
So you’ve churn out a stellar blog post. I mean a real whopper, something that will make people say, “wow, I’ve never thought of it like that!” Packed with data, case studies, and references, written with the eloquence of a modern day Shakespeare, your article is going to take the internet by storm, if only it finds a few interested eyeballs.
Hold on there, cowboy or cowgirl, it’s a long road ahead. Not that that’s anything to be afraid of. Once your blog post goes live, here are a few ways you can kickstart its ability to gain some attention.
Email sources. The advantages of citing actual sources and other authorities in a niche are twofold. First, they give your own writing extra authority because anyone can just say something, but once it’s backed up with facts and figures you can show that you’ve done your homework.
The second advantage is that you can actually try and leverage the people and sites you’ve used as sources to help share your article.
If you wrote in an article on top resources for bloggers (please, don’t actually write this article unless you can do something better than the 40,327,811 out there that already exist), you might have mentioned someone’s software that you use on a daily basis.
Once your article goes live, send the company an email and/or tweet at them, letting them know you’re a fan and saying you mentioned them in your latest post. At the end, politely ask that they consider sharing the article with their own audience if they enjoyed it.
Make friends with the big dogs, even when they seem out of reach. Every big content marketer whose blog posts now get 1,000+ shares each week started out where you are. They were grinding when no one paid attention and they recognize the struggle.
If you can offer them some sort of help in their business, if you can consistently network and show them that you ask smart questions in their comment sections, or that the posts of yours that you’re tweeting show that you’re putting in the time and effort and aren’t going anywhere, they’ll notice.
When the time comes, it might just not be too much of a stretch for you to reach out and ask if they might give some super cool thing you’ve written a nudge. That’s pretty cool (so make it happen!).
Of course, you should also be making sure that you give your own channels a mega nudge on your own.
Post to Facebook, schedule several tweets to go out over a few days using tweetdeck, post images to tumblr that link back to your content, take advantage of Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn groups, as these can be deceptively good places to get your content seen by those who would find them relevant.
More sensitive communities, like Reddit and Inbound, can also be great places to share, but will require some more finesse.
Whatever your promotional tactics, keep them constantly evolving, and don’t be afraid of trying something that might not work, because it just might be a gold mine for you.