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5 Unbelievably Simple Ways To Increase Your Twitter Exposure

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5 Unbelievably Simple Ways To Increase Your Twitter Exposure

Twitter is an amazing marketing, sales, and customer support tool. Its increasingly important role in helping campaigns go viral and political messages get spread is obvious proof of its power of influence.

In 2016, an insurance company called Esurance ran a Twitter-focused campaign during the Super Bowl. The campaign earned them over 160K tweets and literally millions of impressions!

Clearly, exposure is key to success on Twitter’s platform. Here are five unbelievably simple but highly effective ways to increase your exposure on Twitter.

1. Get the basics out of the way

When sharing content on Twitter, it’s vital to understand the fundamentals of how the platform works. A few small changes can dramatically boost your visibility.

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Don’t overload your tweets with hashtags. You may think this helps and taps into trends, but it looks spammy, unprofessional and decreases the ultimate shareability of your tweets.
  • Don’t begin tweets with @mentions. Doing this limits the visibility of tweets to you, the owner of the @mention handle, and any mutual followers you may have.
  • Don’t toot your own horn too hard. This can be particularly damaging if you’re a small business and you don’t already have a passionate fan following. Instead, behave as a neutral and trustworthy information source to build respect for your business.
  • Don’t over-write your tweets. The 140-character limit can be your friend by pushing you to craft neat, punchy and effective tweets. Don’t abuse it by trying to squeeze too much info into a single tweet, and avoid shortening words such as ‘you’ to ‘u’.
  • Don’t tweet just for the sake of it. Tweet frequency isn’t valued so much as tweet quality and tweet engagement, in the eyes of both Twitter’s algorithm and your own followers.

In addition to following these DON’Ts, you can incorporate the following DO’s:

2. Get creative with visuals to beat the 140-character limit

Twitter lets you upload videos as large as 512MB (or 140 seconds). How great is that? With this feature and Periscope combined, there’s huge potential for audience engagement.

Video can be great for a bit of low-budget PR. For instance, look at what UFC did to connect with Twitter followers. It wasn’t a professionally shot fight sequence – they literally had popular fighter Menace Bermudez start a cooking show in his kitchen.

Another great idea is to use screenshots to add context to tweets, make them stand out or reiterate a point.

For instance, Moz founder Rand Fishkin uses screenshots in tweets often. This one helps emphasize his opinion on the topic being discussed.

Screenshots can also help you beat the 140-character limit and get away with sharing a text-heavy post.

You can also even use graphs in your tweets. Breaking research and case studies hold a lot of bearing in the professional world. If your company has original case studies that are suitable for public distribution, you can portray them powerfully using graphs.

3. Embed tweets in your blog posts and guest posts

Have you ever tried to get customers to write testimonials for your brand? If you have, you know it’s like pulling teeth.

Customers do, however, tweet positive experiences from time to time without being prompted.

These tweets are gold when utilized properly. You can feature these Twitter testimonials on your blog or website’s testimonials page, or use them in places where you need social proof – like a sales email or your checkout page.

You can also embed tweets as examples or illustrate your point in a blog post, just like I have in this one.

If you have conversational-style SlideShare or video content to share with fans, you can always first tweet it and then embed that tweet into a blog post. That way, your readers can always click on the embedded post and reply to the tweet.

Embedding tweets is really simple. When you see a tweet you want to embed, simply click on the drop-down menu and use the URL generated when you click on ‘embed tweet’.

If you’re using WordPress, you can just copy the URL of the tweet and paste it in your visual editor whereever you want the tweet embedded.

4. Use Twitter lists to create lasting relationships 

If you want to receive consistent engagement on your tweets, then you need to build a small and active community of brand advocates. Generally, a big part of receiving love on Twitter is giving love in return.

You need to take interest in what your team, customers, and Twitter friends are up to for them to reciprocate in kind. It’s just like in real life.

So how can you keep in touch with everyone who matters on Twitter? Use Twitter lists!

Madalyn Sklar has her lists organized brilliantly:

Create separate lists for your office team, webinar attendees, people you are trying to get to notice you (prospect brand ambassadors or influencers), and people who share content that is useful to your audience.

Engage with them on a needs-must basis. For instance, you should regularly initiate meaningful conversations with people you want to be noticed by.

You could even create a list of your biggest fans and reward them from time to time with contests or giveaways.

Bloggers and industry experts are important because they can give you access to new, untapped markets. One tweet by an influencer could give your brand more exposure. For that to happen, they have to notice you and you have to build a good rapport with them.

You don’t have to manually create Twitter lists for bloggers and influencers, you can just subscribe to public lists created by reliable brands or people.

You can also keep your clients engaged by interacting with them via a separate, private Twitter list.

5. Use advanced search to find unique opportunities

It’s a smart move to use Twitter’s advanced search to monitor mentions and conduct research for content ideas. A valuable find in either of these categories is a potential opportunity for more exposure.

To access the search page, click here. Alternatively, you can use Twitter’s default search bar on the platform.

To view the most popular content created by a particular website, or in an industry, you can use Twitter’s search operators – “keyword + min_retweets:[number]” or “keyword min_faves:[number]”.

For example, if I want to find all Jeff Bullas’ blog posts that contain tweets that were retweeted over 30 times, I’ll type jeffbullas.com min_retweets:30.

To keep track of mentions, you could set up an automated system. Warble lets you monitor tweets with a daily updates email. You can also set up smart keyword combinations, like ‘your brand name’ + ‘wish’, or ‘your industry keyword’ + ‘need’.

These can help you find unique opportunities to increase brand exposure. For instance, dog food brand Purina wished a customer’s dog happy birthday. He was so pleased that he wrote a blog post that attracted a lot of attention.

Wrapping up

Twitter has incredible potential to create real-time and raw interactions that ultimately boost exposure for your business.

The key is to use original and attention-grabbing content and take an open-minded approach to finding opportunities for exposure.

Hopefully, this blog post can fuel your first few experiments for exposure, and make you realize it can be incredibly easy.

Guest Author: Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the prowl for social media trends and inspiration.

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How To Use Pinterest’s Group Boards To Get More Exposure For Your Business

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In case you hadn’t noticed, Pinterest has been in the news a lot recently.How to use Pinterests Boards to get more exposure for your business

In November last year, Pinterest started courting the business community with the creation of its business-specific accounts  and a dedicated business support page.

Then earlier this month, Pinterest quietly raised a cool $200 million at an astonishing $2.5 billion valuation – not bad for a company that has yet to make a profit!

Most intriguing of all though was a study published last week by research center Pew. It suggested that Pinterest has grown so quickly, it’s now on course to catch Twitter in the battle for second place behind Facebook in the US social networking market.

These events indicate that Pinterest is quickly evolving from being last year’s hot new upstart to a legitimate social network that should be part of your marketing mix.

How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?

But how can you maximize your Pinterest activities without spending a ton of time on it? Well, along with scheduling your pins, one of the most effective but underutilized strategies to get more exposure from Pinterest is by using group boards.

Now, if you’re new to Pinterest, you may only know of regular boards that only you can pin to. You may have never have heard of group boards. Or maybe you have but you don’t know how to use them or don’t think they apply to you.

I’ve been dabbling with group boards over the past few months and have seen a dramatic increase in followers since I strategically introduced them to my Pinterest marketing.

So in this post I am going to demystify group boards, explain the advantages of using them and outline a few ways you can get started straightaway with this strategy.

What Are Pinterest’s Group Boards?

A group board works like a regular Pinterest board. The only difference is that along with the board creator, other people are also allowed to pin.

Group boards go under many different names – shared boards, contributor boards, community boards and collaborative boards. Regardless the term, they are all exactly the same thing.

There is currently no directory of Pinterest group boards. In order to distinguish a group board from a regular one you need to look out for the group icon at the top of a board when you are browsing someone’s page.

This snapshot of Jeff’s Pinterest page clearly shows that the board on the left, “For The Home”, is one of Jeff’s own, whilst the two other boards have contributors.

Jeffs Pinterest page

Key Benefits of Using Group Boards

Group boards are not only a great way to organize ideas and bring people together, but they can also have real tangible benefits for your brand and business.

#1. Dramatically boost your followers

If users select to “follow all” of any contributor’s boards, then they will be added as followers to a group board you are part of. The increased exposure and visibility you get through group boards will increase your follower growth at a faster rate.

#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins

The more followers you have the more likely they (and their followers) are to see your content, repin your pins and click through to your website. This means more traffic to your site and potentially more subscribers, customers and clients.

#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot

Implement this strategy correctly and you could get other people creating content for.

Certainly at the start, Pinterest can be time-consuming but managed well, you could soon have a team of people perpetuating your content for you across their networks.

#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors

Your customers may already be liking, commenting and sharing your content with their followers on Pinterest. But inviting them to pin to your brand’s group board will get them more engaged and involved in your online conversation.

It will also elevate them to the role of brand ambassadors, who their followers are more likely to take note of.

Let’s take a look now at some ways you can harness the power of group boards in your business.

How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?

  • Collaboration – are you working with other people, employees or co-workers on a specific project? Use group boards to share industry-specific tips, training materials and resources. Make the board “secret” if you want to keep the information under wraps.
  • Planning – are you a wedding planner, interior designer or in charge of an event that requires input from others? Invite the stakeholders to join you on a group board where you can collect and share design ideas, compare menus, color schemes, flower arrangements, room layouts, fabric samples and so on.
  • Promotion– thinking of running a contest, raising funding for your big idea or promoting a worthy cause? Group boards are perfect for engaging your audience, getting customers to interact with your brand as well as sharing data, statistics, success stories etc to raise awareness about your brand or a particular issue.
  • Networking – why not invite other pinners to pin about a common topic and expand your network at the same time? Bloggers especially can benefit from group boards by using them to connect with other bloggers and actively repinning each other’s content as part of a blogging network.
  • Authority – are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area? Create a themed group board and contribute regularly to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader to the board’s followers.

How To Create A Contributor Board

Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the Add + tab at the top of the page.

How to create a contributor board

Then select the option to Create a Board.

Create a Pinterest board

Next choose a name for your new board, select a category and whether you want to make it a private (secret) board or a public one.

The final step is to decide who you want to add as a contributor.

How to add contributors

How To Add Contributors

There are two ways to make someone a contributor:

  • You can type their email address into the Who can pin? field. Pinterest will email them an invitation and prompt them to join Pinterest if they haven’t done so already.
  • The easier way is to simply add the username of a pinner you would like to invite. The only condition is that you must be following them first.

As you start typing their name, Pinterest will automatically bring up all the potential matches i.e. people with those initial letters in their username.

Who can Pin

Just select the names you want to add as contributors, click invite and then save your settings using the Create Board button.

Pinterest will send an invitation from you, the board creator, to the invitees to join your board. When they accept, they can pin on the same board with you and the group board will appear on every contributor’s page.

You can of course make any of your current boards into a group board. Just follow the steps above from How To Add Contributors.

A word of caution.

Pinterest will send you a notification each time a contributor pins to a group board. I recommend you turn off these notifications to avoid bombarding your inbox with unnecessary emails.

Just select the group board in question, click the Edit Board button and turn off the notifications tab.

Keep An Eye On Your Contributors And Group Boards

Remember that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) accept every invitation you get to join a group board. Be selective.

Check to make sure that the board is on-brand for your business and a good fit for your audience before agreeing to join. The number of followers on a group board is another metric to take note of; the more followers a group board has, the greater the exposure you can expect for your business.

When you follow a group board, you will be able to see all of the content that is currently on that board. Any new pins that get added to this group board will also appear on your Pinterest feed, regardless of the person who is pinning the images.

There is currently no way to filter which pins you can see.

This means that you might see pins from people you are not directly following which could include inappropriate content and spam.

Make a point of regularly monitoring your feed and respond quickly if you spot something undesirable by taking one of the following actions:

How To Remove Someone From A Group Board

If you would like to remove someone you have added to a particular group board just select the group board, and click on the Remove tab next to their name.

You can also delete the board entirely if you created it by hitting the Delete Board on the far right.

How to remove someone from a group board

How To Leave A Group Board

In the example below, you can see Jeff was added to someone else’s Marketing Infographics board and that he can leave any time. 

Leaving a pinterest board

Pinterest will prompt you by asking if you are sure you want to leave the group board, just click Leave again and you will be permanently removed from that board.

Final Words

It’s important not to go overboard with this strategy and send out blanket invitations to all your followers. Not everyone welcomes group board invitations especially persistent ones so be careful not to annoy people!

In fact, the Pinterest blog recommends that you should only send invitations to Pinterest users who have expressed an interest in your pins and to avoid sending out repeat requests.

One way of encouraging people to join your group boards is to add a line in the board description. You could state that you welcome contributors and that anyone interested in joining the board should add a comment against a pin.

So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of Pinterest’s group boards.

What do you think? Is this a strategy you’ll be trying out? Or have you already set up a few group boards? Please comment below and share how they are working out for you.

Guest Author: Tehmina is an entrepreneur, business strategist and Pinterest marketing expert. You can connect with her at EpreneurTV where she blogs about building an online business. You can also download her free ebook to learn how to master Pinterest in the shortest time possible.

 

 

Want to learn how to create great content for your social media marketing?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 139,000.

Download and read it now.

 

Image by ddatch54 

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5 Brands That Prove Live Video Is The Future of Content Marketing

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5 Brands that Prove Live Video is the Future of Content Marketing

By 2019, Cisco predicts that internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic worldwide.

Thanks to the mass adoption of high-speed internet and in particular, mobile internet, a video is now the most powerful content marketing tool we have at our disposal.

With compelling visuals and rich sounds, brands can use video to communicate their story and build relationships in a way that isn’t possible with text content.

As a testament to the power of video marketing, the mere mention of the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%.

The rise of live video

Live video represents an emerging trend within video marketing. On Facebook, users spend 3X more time watching live videos compared to traditional videos.

By broadcasting live, brands can create an intimate two-way channel of communication with their audiences. Live video can be used to host Q&A sessions, answer customer queries, host interviews with experts, give product demonstrations and more.

Part of the appeal of live videos is that they’re imperfect. Audiences are forgiving of mediocre video quality and don’t mind if a member of staff accidentally walks in front of the camera – this is to be expected when you’re getting exciting behind-the-scenes footage from your favorite brand.

Live video helps brands inject an authentic human element into their marketing, which is often missing in highly produced pre-recorded videos. After all, people want to buy from other people, not faceless corporations.

If you’re thinking about integrating live video in your marketing campaigns, it’s worth taking inspiration from these 5 brands who are already making waves in the world of live video.

1. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Live video and professional sports are always going to be a great pairing. Of the many sports brands out there, UFC is setting an example for how to provide extreme amounts of value to its audience via live video streaming.

In addition to streaming UFC events, the brand also streams press conferences, live Q&As with ring girls and fighters, weigh ins, and combat sports from other organizations.

UFC’s Fightpass, which is like a Netflix for fight fans, streams live mixed martial arts events from smaller organizations like Cage Warriors and Invicta FC. Fightpass also streams related sports such as kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu.

The UFC understands its audience well. If someone wants to watch a mainstream UFC event, there is a good chance they’ll also have an interest in a more niche Jiu Jitsu tournament.

The fighter weigh ins take place one day before UFC events and receive a huge viewership online. People love the intensity of the face offs and want to see which fighters look like they’re in shape (or not) before they fight.

When fighters miss weight, it’s usually a topic for conversation.

Knowing that UFC fans simply can’t get enough fight action, the UFC recently started a Tuesday Night Contender Series which features rising talent and is filmed in a smaller, intimate surrounding that makes Fightpass viewers feel as if they’re in the audience themselves.

With Snoop Dogg as the commentator, it makes for some highly entertaining viewing every Tuesday.

Finding out what people want and then giving it to them is the core premise behind successful businesses. The UFC is able to do this very effectively using live video.

2. BuzzFeed

It’s hard to write an article about live video marketing without mentioning BuzzFeed. Due to a disastrous failed attempt to host a Facebook Live video with President Obama, BuzzFeed and live video will always share an association.

Despite this one mistake, BuzzFeed usually delivers the goods with its live video marketing.

BuzzFeed’s live videos aren’t always the most intellectually sophisticated, but the brand knows what types of videos are compelling to watch. For instance, in April last year, 807,000 people watched live as BuzzFeed employees exploded a watermelon using rubber brands.

Since then, the video has gone on to accumulate an additional 11 million views worldwide.

This is one of the reasons that live video is so powerful. You can create an intimate connection with people watching in real-time, but the content will live on to give your brand exposure for months or even years after the event.

Another of BuzzFeed’s crazy live videos was a dance battle where viewers could vote on performances and provide suggestions for dance moves. It also proved to be popular, although I have no idea how you dance like a cabbage patch or pregnant dog.

3. Dunkin’ Donuts

Providing behind-the-scenes footage is a great way to showcase the human side of your brand and build rapport with your audience. If you’re a fan of the delicious snacks that Dunkin’ Donuts manufactures, it makes sense you’d be interested in the production process used to create them.

In February 2016, Dunkin’ Donuts hosted a live tour of its facilities, including a test kitchen which is used for staff training purposes. The video also includes interviews with staff experts who provide unique insights into the brand’s most popular products – such as the visually appealing Iced Macchiato.

The highlight of the video was undoubtedly the donut factory. A staff member explains the process for laying out the dough, cutting the right shapes out, frying it, decorating it and creating donut cakes.

While interviewing the donut expert, it’s revealed that he has been working at the company for 41 years. This subtly conveys that Dunkin’ Donuts is a company that values its employees, which makes it appear more trustworthy to consumers.

Even if your facilities don’t include an awesome donut factory, you can still use live video to authentically showcase your staff and workplace in order to build rapport with your audience.

4. Space X

Live video is a great tool for breaking industry news and showcasing new technologies. Space X manages to accomplish both using live webcasts of rockets being launched into space.

Because of the compelling visuals, these videos are inherently viral. However, Space X also creates a sense of camaraderie around the brand, as people across the world are able to join together and communicate as historic milestones are being reached.

Even when a live feed suddenly cuts out it doesn’t negatively impact the Space X brand since it’s understandably challenging to maintain a perfect video feed of a rocket being launched. Some have speculated that a recent feed was deliberately cut off to avoid showing UFOs, but that’s neither here nor there!

While your product might not be as exciting as one of Space X’s Falcon 9 rockets, live video can be used to provide in-depth product demonstrations where you can answer questions in real-time to alleviate purchasing fears and build trust.

When you consider that 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read sales copy about it, it’s easy to see why live videos are ideal for showing off products.

5. Chevrolet

In order to create a buying frenzy for the launch of the all-electric 2017 Bolt EV, Chevrolet used Facebook Live to stream a video from the consumer electronics tradeshow, CES 2016.

The Chevrolet spokesperson emphasizes how societal trends like sustainability and urbanization have led to an increased consumer demand for electric cars.

By providing context around this emerging technology, it demonstrates that electric cars are valid and necessary for the future. Not so long ago electric cars were viewed contemptuously, so there are still some fears to alleviate in terms of how well the vehicles can actually function.

Videos like these provide a platform for the worldwide tribe of Chevrolet owners to discuss their favorite vehicles.

In this regard, live video isn’t just an opportunity to promote your brand – it also enables you to bring your audience together and make them feel a part of something greater than themselves. This is a winning strategy for longevity in your business.

Can you think of any other brands that are crushing live video right now? Please let me know in the comments below.

Guest Author: Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands, including Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blogFacebookTwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

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6 Simple Tips to Rank High in Google’s Search Engine

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Search engines such as Google are seen as black boxes that hand out page one search rankings for websites and blogs based upon secret and mysterious calculations. In essence that is true.6 Tips to Rank High in Google

Hundreds of scientists and mathematicians are constantly working in quiet rooms to increase the artificial intelligence of its search engine.

Some search engine optimisation experts  have used devious means to try and trick Google to improve their SEO ranking. This has been done via tactics such as “Black Hat SEO” that are used to try and fool Google. Google doesn’t encourage these activities and is constantly fine tuning its search algorithms to eliminate these practices.

Google’s objectives is to ensure that it is always delivering search results that users find relevant, interesting and also  timely. If they don’t keep doing this then people will stop using Google and then its $30 billion of revenue it earns off search advertising is under threat. Also breathing down its neck are rapidly growing social sites such as Facebook that indirectly are providing alternatives to Google (rumours are constantly circulating that Facebook is building its own social search engine). If Google doesn’t continue to deliver then its whole existence is heading for a slippery downward slope of Web extinction.

In the last 2 years Google has increased the importance of usability such as measuring the speed of websites and sites that are producing unique content , hence the targeting of content farms and de-ranking them.

Jeff’s Bonus: Get a Google Ranking Checklist that summarizes the techniques in this post, plus has bonus tools and resources not found in this post. Easily save as a PDF and refer to it later. Click here to get the free bonus.

Google Loves Unique Content

What Google does like is great unique content. We have seen the rise in importance of content creation and curation as a marketing tool over the last few years. People use the web to find information, that is why Google is putting such a high value on unique content. Creating great contagious content that begs to be shared such as videos, blog posts and ebooks also has a big side benefit.  That benefit is that people will link to your website or blog and hence Google gives you big ticks in its search engine calculations the more often back-links are created to your blog and website from other websites.

This is is where the tactic of “offsite optimisation” starts to make its importance and presence felt and should be included in your SEO strategy. This is the final stage of getting Google to like you. (Read about the first stage here)

Off-page Optimization

SEO experts generally agree that off-page link building techniques can contribute around 80% of the effectiveness in any SEO campaign. Off-page optimization or building links, is by far the most important activity for assisting us in getting our website well ranked in search engines. And the key driving force in this, is backlinks.

The Importance of “Back Links

A link, or back-link, is the link that you use to be brought to another page. Backlinks are incredibly important because they are basically like “votes” for your page that tell search engines that other webpages like and utilise your page for information. The more websites that you have linked or “voting” for your webpage, the higher your ranking will be. Though, not all votes are weighted the same, as links from the homepage of major websites, like the Australian Government australia.gov.au, amazon.com or facebook.com, are going to be worth a lot more than a lesser known website.

So here are 6 tips for easy link building:

Tip 1:  Competitor analysis

Assuming you won’t be getting many links from those major sites, there still are easy link building tactics available to you. Begin your link building campaign with a competitor analysis. Basically, you want to repeat what your best competitors are doing, as one of the key link building principles is to match and exceed your competitors. Meaning, if you can go through and match all the links they have, or at least a majority of them, and find a couple of other ways to get additional links that they don’t have, you will be able to easily surpass them in searching ranking results.

Jeff’s Bonus: Curious how to do competitor link analysis? I suggest two tools to help you do it in the bonus of this post. Click here to get the free bonus.

Tip 2: Content, content and content

As always, the best way to encourage people to link to your website, is by consistently providing new, compelling and useful content. Content, content and content, to steal a well known phrase.

Creating compelling, relevant and useful content; such as writing about your products, industry, general current market information with keyword oriented useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factor discussed here. After the Google Penguin update, regularly posted quality content is the recommended method to getting more traffic to your website. Ideally you should post at least 2 new articles per week, more being better, as Google will favour websites with frequently updated material that contains unique and relevant content. And if your website offers good content, other websites will naturally want to link to you as well.

When you are posting articles, don’t forget to apply the same principles of Title tag and Meta Description to your articles, and don’t forget to include your desired keywords or phrases.

Tips for SEO for Websites and Blogs

Tip 3: Guest blogging

Other ideas for a successful link building campaign include guest blogging. The general idea behind guest blogs is to get a link to your website posted on an already established website/blog. These links tend to carry more weight in Google because they are harder to acquire. Some sites will have very stringent requirements for the types of articles they will accept, so links from these sites have more value. Another popular and highly successful method is to contact bloggers or webmasters in your niche and simply ask them for a link. Or, ask to be a guest blogger for the sole purpose of getting the chance to link your guest blog posting back to your site. Establishing relationships with reviewers, authors, professors, enthusiasts, topic experts or anyone else who is operating a website in your niche area, whether it be through social networking or message boards, is a great way to build a network of people who might be willing to reference your website in their content.

Tip 4: Join web 2.0 site

Joining a web 2.0 site is an excellent method of developing search engine friendly links. If you are not familiar with the name, web 2.0 is the term used to describe websites that have a social networking component to them. Sites like Squidoo, StumbleUpon, and Delicious generate most of their content from the site users themselves. These types of pages facilitate interactive information sharing as well as collaboration, where you yourself can add articles that include up to 9 free backlinks per article to your website. Don’t duplicate any of your existing articles on your website and use them for either Squidoo or HubPages though, as search engines are filtering out content that way.

The best way to build links and create strong SEO benefits through Squidoo.com is by creating unique content that focuses on your keywords. Always try to incorporate multimedia, such as videos or images to gain more trust and authority quickly. It only takes a few articles until you’ll be able to add on a number of backlinks in your articles to your main site. I also really like Squidoo’s RSS feed widget, as this gives nice backlinks plus context to the links, which is great for search engines.

Jeff’s Bonus: Want to get started on StumbleUpon? I’ve got a link to my favorite post on Stumble Upon in the bonus to this post. Click here to get the free bonus.

Tip 5: Vendors, Partner testimonials

Always give online testimonials to your suppliers, business partners or anyone else you can give a testimonial to, as it is a great way to get free backlinks from legitimate websites. Don’t forget to include your strategic keywords into your testimonials and hyperlink it back to the appropriate webpage from your website.

Tip 6: Link request to your connections

And finally, source your own networks for possible opportunities to build more links. Business contacts, suppliers, distributors, family members, friends, even your children’s school, all have the potential for providing you backlink opportunities. If you have been nice to them and they like you, ask for a free backlink on their website. Of course, the higher page rank or relevant websites you can link to, the better. If you can manage to obtain powerful and valuable links from websites like edu.com, that would be highly beneficial to you SEO efforts.

There are a lot more tactics involved in SEO to help you compete and surpass your competitors in search engine ranking results. The aforementioned tactics are basic initial strategies that help build a strong foundation and starting point for your SEO efforts, and will immediately help you move your website traffic and search engine ranking results to the next level.

Jeff’s Bonus: Get a Google Ranking Checklist that summarizes the techniques in this post, plus has bonus tools and resources not found in this post. Easily save as a PDF and refer to it later. Click here to get the free bonus.

 What About You?

Are you creating content that is valuable enough to be linked to? Is your content entertaining, educational, informative or inspiring?

Are you using multi-media such as videos and images in content creation or is it mainly articles? What content marketing tcatics work for your website or blog?

Look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.

Guest Author: Huyen is a SEO Consultant at Result Driven SEO with a passion to help small and medium-sized businesses get found online in digital world through search-engine friendly website design, organic search engine optimisation strategies and tactics.” 

Want to Learn How to be Found and Discovered Online?

My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available on Amazon. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 110,000.

You can read it now.

 

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Why No One Is Sharing Your Content (And How To Solve The Problem)

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Why No One Is Sharing Your Content (And How To Solve The Problem)

Content that goes unshared is like a commercial that no one sees. It’s had time, money and energy invested into it. It’s even got an agenda; a product to push. But no one sees it. Therefore it might as well not exist.

So how do you ensure your content doesn’t sink into the depths of obscurity? How do you find the magic formula to achieve social shares and referral traffic?

Well, there is no magic formula, but you can learn a thing or two from how Josepf Haslam, senior director of SEO at EducationDynamics, puts it:

“I tell my content creation team they have only one KPI. Was their content shared or not? Is it share-worthy?

If they think they wrote a fantastic piece and technically it looks good – it’s got the right metadata, great keyword structure, and so on – but nobody shares it, it isn’t good in my eyes.”

Even technically sound content doesn’t deliver ROI if no one shares it.

ROI for content is easy to measure. It starts with shares and ends in leads.

So, how do you build content people want to share? Read on.

First, determine what your audience wants

This is a big one. For any niche, there’s an audience. What does your audience look like? What do they value?

Develop customer personas, and think about what they value. Here’s a basic persona template from Buffer.

Think broadly. Are you marketing to other professionals and catering to their business needs, or are you marketing to a community? Knowing the key differentiators between B2B and B2C marketing and sales will help inform what type of content you’ll develop.

When developing B2B content, create 3 to 5 personas that reflect the range of decision-makers in the sales funnel.

An executive will be more likely to read a progressive piece that is informative, philosophical and thought-provoking.

A sales manager will be more likely to read an actionable piece that is directly related to generating more sales.

Although emotions are always going to play a role in B2B content, they’re more central to B2C content.

Whatever information you’re passing along to the consumer, be sure to emphasize the emotional buy-in for them.

In other words, why should this person care about what you’re saying? What problem are they trying to solve?

Here are Hubspot’s best practice recommendations for developing a good buyer persona.

And here’s an example of a good B2B persona. Note that the following persona covers quite a few roles: Hubspot’s client, Visual Creatives, is casting a wide net, which is recommended.

This persona values things that quite a few business owners value: creativity, speed, and loyalty. Truly useful content will share these values. It will also help solve problems.

This persona’s main problem is he doesn’t have enough time to take a top-down look at the business and implement innovations that will save him time and maximize creativity.

Visual Creatives will therefore want to create the type of content that people who influence their buyer persona type will share.

You can get buyer persona information from multiple places:

  • Website analytics: These reveal how visitors get to your site, which keywords bring them there, and how long they stay.
  • Team input: People on your team can have valuable insight on your target audience from their own experiences.
  • Social media: Social media listening is huge when it comes to figuring out buyer personas and what your audience likes to share.
  • Surveys and interviews of customers: Your existing customers are your most valuable asset for identifying your target audience as you’ll be creating content they want to share with their friends.

This is a good place to start. But the next question is… does creating useful content that helps solve problems necessarily get a ton of shares? To make content truly shareable, you need to do the following.

Harness the purple cow

Even saying ‘harness the purple cow’ is enough to grab attention. But not as much attention as an image gets.

Okay, you may say, “That’s not a real purple cow, though. I’m not buying it.” Nothing beats authenticity, after all. But at least you started to put some consideration into this whole purple cow business. Now we’re talking.

Seth Godin famously discusses the invention of sliced bread and the purple cow content theory in this TED Talk:

The inventor of sliced bread initially met failure. No one cared about his product. Then Wonder White figured out you have to market the stuff to sell it.

Today, it’s not enough to put marketing messages out there like marketers did with commercials in the past. You’ve got to make your content stand out to your audience. Otherwise, they’ll ignore it.

A purple cow amidst all those regular-colored cows will stand out for sure. Even if people think it’s weird, they’ll tell their friends about it. Godin argues that it’s best to produce purple cow content. Even if people hate it, they’ll talk about it. They’ll spread your idea because it’s ‘remarkable’.

Here’s an example. If I go to BuzzSumo and type in ‘marketing’ without ruling out any type of content and looking for everything in the last year, here’s what happens.

Surprise! This article from Adweek has the most shares (950.6K).

This is an unmistakeable piece of purple cow content. Here are the takeaways from it:

  • Don’t overtly promote a product: Seriously. The kid who stands up in class and says, “Look at me, I’m awesome” is the least popular kid in class. The kid who tells the best joke is the most popular. In general, Adweek gains a lot of credibility by publishing content that focuses on novel ideas or concepts. In the example above, Adweek didn’t get nearly a million shares by publishing a PR piece that talks about how awesome it is.
  • Hone in on an important, trending topic: The word ‘important’ carries a lot of weight here. If Adweek had said, “Check out this poster promoting My Little Pony!”, not as many people in Adweek’s niche would have cared. However, people care about sexual assault and want to combat it. It’s a hot-button issue in today’s world.
  • Find a genuinely interesting, unusual angle: This article points out something you don’t see every day: the #NOMORE poster. Marketers deliver messages. The #NOMORE poster is a message. Adweek wisely chose to highlight the message and how it was delivered. While this fits within Adweek’s marketing niche, it also appeals to a broader audience who can appreciate the message for it’s own sake.
  • Let an easily digestible image, video, or list speak for you:

This shot of the most-shared marketing content says it all (see what I did there?). 4 out of the 8 top articles have video. The average attention span is eight seconds, and around 65% of people will watch the majority of a video but won’t read a page of text.

Remember that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and use it to consume content. Images, such as the #NOMORE poster, are easy to digest on social media using your smartphone. So are videos.

People enjoy scrolling through lists and quickly consuming the main points in articles. Embrace these formats. Infographics can also neatly combine the power of memes with the usability of lists.

Use tools to create shares

How could tools ever help create shares? Isn’t this all about which type of content to create?

The truth is that often, it’s extremely hard to get a lot of attention, even if your content is excellent.

For instant amplification, there’s Shareaholic. This tool makes it easier for you to enable sharing on your blog. It also offers social analytics and content promotion.

Shareable images make it simple for people to share images from your blog on sites like Pinterest.

This can be incredibly useful if you’re prone to summing up your content in an infographic. Alternatively, look at the content most shared on Facebook.

This is humorous, light fare – a mashup of the weather with a Star Wars image. It reached 40,000 people.

Then there’s the inspirational quote approach.

This gained over 10,000 shares.

Create a shareable image to go with your posts, and use an app like Shareaholic to make them easy for people to share.

Another great tool to be aware of is Google Trends. You can use it to identify content that’s trending in Google’s search engine, as well as YouTube content. You can then adjust category and location based on your aim.

Identifying search trends helps you narrow down ideas for content people will want to share right now.

Elsewhere, there’s Social Rank. This tool helps you identify and rank your Twitter and Instagram followers in terms of importance. Then, you can filter through and reach out to the most important followers; the ones who you expect to share your content.

You can also craft content based on what your most important followers have shown they like to share.

With that, you could use the tool Tweriod.

If you figure out the best times to tweet to the best people, your posts are more likely to get shares.

Then there are the tools that help create traffic. Of these, Social Locker and Gleam Competitions make the most sense.

Social Locker asks people to share in order to gain access to content. So, if you have a white paper, e-book, or supplementary study that goes with a really compelling piece of content, you can use Social Locker to generate shares.

People love competitions, which is where Gleam Competitions comes in. Say you start a contest or giveaway on social media. Gleam Competitions is a plugin through which you can manage the competition, collect emails and give people rewards for sharing.

Conclusion

It won’t matter what tools you use if you aren’t creating content that’s valuable to your audience.

Spend all the time you can analyzing who your audience is and what they want. Reinforce their values and help them solve problems they’re trying to solve.

Look for interesting and unusual angles on your topic. Look at what’s trending. Include images and videos in your posts that readers can easily share.

Keep at it! Eventually, you’ll hit a nerve. And when you do, people will share your content.

What they do after that is entirely up to them.

Guest Author: Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer whose mission is to create the most shareable content in the universe. He would also like to find the best taco stand in any given location. Hit him up on Twitter: @danielmatthews.

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How To Retain Your Instagram Followers (Without Gaming the System)

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How To Retain Your Instagram Followers (Without Gaming the System)

As much as we may wish our Instagram follower growth showed an upward trend, it’s probably more like a rocky mountain landscape with peaks and valleys.

Fluctuations in your follower count are totally normal and often a result of the ‘follow/unfollow’ game that many accounts foolishly choose to play.

Here’s how it works: an individual follows you, waits until you follow back, then unfollows you. The unfollow can happen seconds, days, and sometimes weeks later.

While this strategy may work for some businesses to grow their audience, those followers probably won’t turn into customers.

Image Source: Buffer

But don’t waste time feeling offended – a lot of these accounts that unfollow are actually bots (up to 24 million, actually!). In other words, they’re fake accounts created in online black markets to interact with other users. They’re often used by businesses to increase their following, and Instagram is actively implementing methods to weed out these annoying accounts.

If you use Instagram to increase brand awareness, build a connection with your audience, get insights into their buying behavior, and ultimately generate leads, here’s how to deal with those annoying accounts that are more interested in playing the ‘follow/unfollow’ game.

1. Use an app to monitor your followers

Get a better understanding of your audience by using an app like Followers. The free version allows you to see your new followers, who has unfollowed you, which accounts you’re not following back, and which aren’t following you back.

Image Source: iTunes

By digging into the types of accounts that are following and unfollowing you, you’ll probably recognize some patterns.

Here are a few of the different types of accounts you might find:

  • Follow for follow (‘F4F’) accounts. These are usually pretty easy to spot. Accounts like this are distinguished by spammy type handles that include words like ‘free’, ‘F4F’ and ‘followers’.
  • Competitors. If the account has a similar product or service offering to you, they may be competitors. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they’re not unfollowing you!
  • Potential customers. You should be able to recognize when someone fits your ideal persona characteristics by browsing through their feed and profile.

2. Rethink your hashtag game

If you recognize that your followers are a mix of ‘F4F’ accounts, competitors, or people that you do not feel are a great fit for your business, it’s time to rethink your hashtag strategy. Your hashtags are what extend your reach beyond your followers and attract new eyes to your posts, so it’s important that they’re strategically researched and selected.

Avoid generic hashtags that are tagged on millions of photos. When people are using those hashtags every second, your post will instantly get lost in the weeds as new ones are published.

Here are some of the most overused hashtags to avoid using:

  • #photography: 100,000,000+
  • #business: 20,000,000+
  • #inspiration: 73,000,000+
  • #fitness: 19,000,000+
  • #nofilter: 188,000,000+

Instead, engage with research on hashtag variations that still align with your business and post, but aren’t overused or targeted by bots. Focalmark is an app that allows you to explore new hashtags and copy them straight into Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post, so use them wisely!

Image Source: iTunes

If you’re stuck on which types of hashtags to use, try combining your location and product. For example, #SeattleKids for a children’s museum in Seattle, or #SeattleCoffee for a coffee shop in the same area.

If you have a passionate customer base already, you can also consider creating a unique hashtag for your brand.

3. Reassess your content strategy

If you’re attracting (and losing) ideal customers on Instagram, or if you’re only attracting ‘F4F’ bots, it’s time to rethink the type of content you’re sharing and your overall Instagram strategy.

If people don’t see value in your content, they’ll unfollow you. Before you publish each post, ask yourself what value your followers will receive. Make sure that everything you post isn’t blatantly promotional.

If you’re stuck on what to share on Instagram, here are some ideas:

  • Share your customer’s posts (but be sure to credit the original publisher!)
  • Share a quirky or thought-provoking quote that will resonate with your target audience
  • Run a giveaway contest and post about the rules or prizes

If you’re sharing product-specific content, make sure it’s clear how investing in the product will make the customer’s life easier or save them money.

If you want to drive direct sales with Instagram, this post has a ton of tips on how to make Instagram shopping work for your brand – see if you can improve the methods you’re using to match the successful ones from those companies.

4. Replan your posting schedule

If your posts are all over the place and don’t follow a theme, your followers may feel they’ve been misled. They expected a certain type of content when they followed you in the first place. Post consistently to avoid confusing them.

Creating an Instagram schedule and social media strategy can really help you map out your posts and ensure there’s a common thread amongst each one.

After all, if you’ve ever subscribed to an email newsletter and then felt totally confused when their first email shows up a year later and you have no idea who the sender is, then you can understand the issue with posting randomly or inconsistently!

Instagram is very popular and new posts are published so frequently that if you don’t pop in your follower’s news feeds often, your followers might think you’ve disappeared. Frequency will vary from business to business so have a good hard think about how often your business should post and stick to it.

Wrapping up

Numbers are numbers, and ultimately they shouldn’t be an indication of how successful your business is. Try not to take it personally if you experience a lot of unfollows. Instagram accounts of all sizes have to deal with fluctuations in follower count.

Just focus on creating quality content that turns your followers into leads and customers by posting consistently, using the right hashtags, and monitoring your followers.

Guest Author: Andrea Moxham is a contributing writer at Content Harmony. She is a creatively driven marketing and communications specialist with a proven track record in developing lead generation content. Her entrepreneurial spirit and experience with inbound marketing, social media, communications and design all help her connect clients with new customers.

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The One Skill That You Need Need To Master in Content Marketing

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Ignorance is bliss.

The beginner strikes out and doesn’t see the dangers ahead. The novice driven by passionate curiosity doesn’t see the complexity of the task of mastery. It is just seen as an exciting adventure.

But as they dive into the the complex ecosystem of subjects, technologies and thought bubbles that sat in and around the core, doubts emerge and questions are raised. The content marketer has the same challenges.

Should I be creating live stream videos, become proficient at the new platforms or master marketing automation. Should I start a podcast? A webinar?

Overwhelm strikes.

This is the point that many people stop. They have so many choices that they freeze. Hesitate.

The trick?

Work out what to focus on.

The one skill

There is one skill that all content marketers need to learn. The art of writing.

Good writing skills underlines and supports video and even audio. The headline, script and description are just a few. Crafted words and considered communication are important in changing minds and moving hearts.

But If any sort of writing talents were bypassed at birth then you may need to hire them. That maybe an ex-journalist, trained writers or start asking guest authors to contribute.

The hidden benefit of writing

Now content marketing can often be seen as just a customer acquisition tool and also for positioning you as a thought leader and influencer in your industry. But that is only part of the reason you should be creating content and writing.

Content creation can sometimes feel like a waste of time that distracts you from billing clients and making money. But writing every day about your industry and your core topics will take you to a new level of insight, learning and clarity.

The discipline and craft of wrangling words will change and transform your life if you commit to it.

So what is important?

Writing well requires many elements. So what is important? Well I can state the obvious and mention grammar and spelling.

When I first started out the writing police turned up in the comments and on Facebook. My amateur proficiency at grammar and spelling were called out. But don’t let that stop you. You are doing something many people don’t do. Executing and doing. Many people stop at a good idea.

But beyond those two fundamentals there are some insights that stand out for me. And when I started out I hardly gave them a passing thought.

Here are some aspects of writing for the social web that need to included in your content marketing toolbox.

Introductions

The goal of the headline is to get you to read the first line. That is the start of your introduction.

Then the goal is to get them to read the rest. Draw them in. How do you do that?

Here are 3 quick and dirty tips to get you thinking about how to craft your introductions.

  1. Open with a question
  2. Use Storytelling is another way to start a blog post or an article. Stories have been with us since the dawn of time.s
  3. Provide a quote

Structure

Ever seen a wall of dense text with long paragraphs and close spacing? Does it make you want to click away?

In a time poor digital world where people dive into and out of online posts and text means that you need to work on structure. Writing a blog post that is designed for skimming and scanning is essential.

Use sub-headings, bullet points and short paragraphs in your writing.

Clarity

“I would have written you a shorter letter but didn’t have the time”.

This quote attributed to many highlights the importance of producing clarity from what is often a cloud of confusion. This is more important in a digital world where technology engulfs us. Making the effort to be clear in your writing is worth striving for.

More is not better and often an important insight is buried in a mountain of words. 

Distilling complex concepts into clarity is a skill to develop and hone. As you write you need to put on your starting goggles. You need to write with the mind of a beginner. Put yourself in their shoes.

You were an amatuer once.

Rhythm

Ever heard a speaker that spoke in a monotone and the same rhythm? Bored? But you couldn’t leave the room?

On the web you are only one click away from oblivion. Good writing needs rythmn. So be interesting and mix up the length of your sentences.

Short sentences, medium and long are part of your writing toolkit. Even one word sentences work well.

Abstraction

Spelling it out is good. So making the content so clear that you lead them by the hand is often needed.

But sometimes getting people to fill in the blanks themselves is a powerful way to get them motivated. Let them work it out themselves is an important tactic to use.  

Imagination is a powerful force that allows people to come up with their own solutions. So try some abstraction that suggests rather than tells.

Simplicity

Sounding smart and using big words may be tempting. But unless you are trying to impress your professor while writing your thesis then avoid words that can’t be read or understood by a nine year old.

A book that is worth reading and has helped me is one of Stephen King’s few non-fiction books titled “On Writing”. In it he uses an example of a clever and powerful 53 word sentence from Mark Twain. He points out that 38 of those words are single syllable.

Big words and industry speak (think acronyms) are to be avoided at all cost.

Keep it simple.

Storytelling

“People will forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel”.

In that quote (often attributed to Carl Buechner) is the truth about the art of storytelling. Touching people’s hearts is at the centre of engagement. When I  started my online publishing venture it was all about the facts. Information, data and stats.

When I commenced my speaking career my Powerpoint’s were all about bullet points. More information and more stuff. When I began writing emails the facts were the main hero.

But if you want to move people, educate and transform you need more than that in your writing toolbox.

As marketers you need stories to be memorable. To persuade.

In a digital age and a noisy world we need the art of storytelling more than ever.  This will make your writing compelling and engaging. Touching hearts and imagination is one of your main goals.

Over to you

Writing often is perceived as not as exciting as video or as compelling and viral as enhanced and augmented Snapchat images. But it is still the foundation and core to powerful communication as a content marketer.

Writing is the one skill that will be the support act to everything else that you do.

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