What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and sharing of original media and publishing content aimed at acquiring and enlarging customer base by providing valuable and entertaining content. It’s widely gaining acceptance and usage as a crucial marketing method. As per Content Marketing Institute, over 85% of marketers are now using it due to its effectiveness.

Content marketing is informative published content in an online environment that can be images, infographics, blogs, YouTube videos etc. It also involves utilization of keywords to develop content, ensuring website’s visibility. The wealth of content creation methods available means a business is only limited by its imagination. Fortunately, businesses can outsource content creation to creative personalities who, if the internet is anything to go by, are an endless commodity.

What are its benefits?

First, this method is informative. Consumers tend to listen more closely when you aren’t asking them for money or hyping product.  By providing relevant and valuable information you develop a unique relationship with your clientele. This builds customer equity, trust and loyalty.

Secondly, it is neither intrusive nor distracting as conventional advertising is; a survey showed that conventional online advertising is disliked for being distracting, non-engaging and for fear of spam and viruses. Good content is engaging and entertaining; people will trust and like businesses they identify with.

Thirdly, a simple cost benefit analysis shows that content is cheap and easy to create and share as opposed to conventional ad-spaces; simply put, you get more bang for your buck. This effectiveness has huge corporations out of their corporate castles engaging the consumer at his level – and he is responding.

Fourth, most people when making business decisions prefer to rely on informative articles rather than advertising puffery. By engaging in content marketing they are better informed and educated about the product/business. They then are likely to become clients, forming fierce brand loyalty.

Lastly, proper content marketing utilizes keywords and tags to ensure wide and effective reach. This boosts visibility to potential customers and uses existing customers’ equity to reel in new business.

How to do it most effectively?

Study your target audience in order to develop a strategy for effective communication.  Guarantee the highest standards, creativity and variety by hiring a professional. Insure content is informative and entertaining and mirrors the business’s attitude and goals. Last step is ensuring that the content reaches the targets through social media channels.

Main Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

 Without a doubt, Internet Marketing is at the centre of any successful business. There are few marketing options that can be said to have the same success and efficiency as that provided by Internet Marketing. However, not all Internet Marketers are successful. The secret to successful marketing lies within the methods used. To achieve this success, every serious marketer has to understand the dos and don’ts of the trade.

 3 Dos

 1.       Provide quality content

 Although this may sound like a no-brainer, it is just what you need. Consistent uploading of quality content onto your website will always win you new readers and you stand no risk of losing your old traffic either. Do thorough research and only upload content that adds value to your readers. While you are at it, make sure you only have content that is relevant to your niche. Trust you me, you do not want to attract the wrong type of traffic. At the end of the day, you need meaningful traffic that easily transforms to potential customers.

 2.       Website Design

Design sells! Your website design matters. Check out some successful websites like those of Apple, Nike, and Pintrest. One thing they have in common is that their designs are stunning! This is no coincidence. A company like Nike though primarily dealing in shoes, has obviously invested significantly in website design. You do not need to procure a very expensive website. Just find a good web designer who will create a good looking and easy to navigate website.

3.       Go Mobile

With over 1 billion Smartphone users, there is no reason why you should not maximize on the business opportunity created by mobile users. It is clear that many people nowadays prefer conducting their business on the go. There are hundreds of Apps being developed every day and investing in them will see your business grow.

3 Don’ts

 1.       Avoid Duplicating Content

 To avoid being punished by Google, just keep your content fresh, entertaining, and informative. Last year (2012), many websites fell victim to the algorithm update that saw sites with duplicated content fall in rank. To keep your visitors, provide them with regular fresh content.

 2.       Don’t ignore Social Media

One bad word about your product can completely ruin your reputation. Online, word spreads like wildfire. Intel once made this mistake, ignoring a review from one of their customers about a flawed Pentium chip. This dissatisfaction quickly became the topic in social media circles and technically boiled over to any other forum on the Internet. This in the end forced Intel to make a recall. The lesson here is, always listen to your customers and quickly respond to any concerns/issues they might have regarding your product(s).

3.       Don’t be Rigid

When it comes to Internet Marketing, nothing is cast in stone. What works today might not work tomorrow. For instance, a decade ago, knowing how to manipulate the metatags would have easily won you a top page ranking. That quickly changed when keywords started being used. Today, the type of backlinks a site gets, highly contributes to its ranking. So, the bottom line is, be open minded and flexible. Flow with the river and expect changes. Do not rely on “what always worked”.

 These days everybody is generating online Internet marketing content. It would be a good thing, if only the content actually had any relevance or importance to our lives. Sadly, most of it is so useless that people have learnt to tune out everything, even the good stuff. The Internet marketplace has become of helluva noisy environment. As a result, people have become highly selective of the stuff they consume and bombarding them with information no longer works. Breaking through to the niche audience for marketers has become tougher- tougher than most marketers fully realize. Content marketing is one way of breaking through.

What is content marketing? Content marketing is nothing as complicated as rocket science, but it does have its complexities. There is lots of dynamism but if you start doing the same thing on this platform every day, there is the danger of the monotony sending you into autopilot. You start to forget about some of the small components that keep the content marketing engine running. The result- your strategy becomes a flop.

This is a mistake even the expert marketers find themselves doing. Some blunders can be so huge that there is total outrage amongst your audience, and some are so subtle that you don’t even notice you missed great business opportunities. Avoid making any of the following three strategies, otherwise you’ll be staring in the jeering face of failure.

1.      Making your Content Strategy just Another Ad

There’s no debating that content marketing is an advertisement method. However, it is very different in format, engagement and results from traditional advertising. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to create it as if it is your regular ad by forgetting your medium. Your content is not like a newspaper ad, television commercial or mailbox circular that advertisers air or send out and then cross their fingers hoping for a boosted end-year sales figure to justify all their expenses and time.

With content marketing, the results have immediacy. Your analytics will show you the page views, social metrics will show you the tweets, shares or likes garnered, social media monitoring tools will show you the total retweets, and comments will give you the customers’ feedback. All these formulae and metrics will only give you returns that are worth your investment when you give your audience something they want, need, and are willing to share.

2. Throwing in “Social Media” to Make Content Shareable

The social media is an undeniable powerhouse in the Internet marketing arena, what with its ability to draw up to a billion users. Marketers are trying to capitalize on the popularity of such networks as Twitter, Facebook and Diggy by creating content that their audience will like and want to share. When writing your posts, you don’t mention social media in the title and a couple of times in the body then assume that because people are sharing it it’s a hit. They could be sharing it because of the sheer obtuseness you’ve displayed you are capable of!

You should aim at creating a sense of good will. Write something that evokes feelings in your readers, such as something surprising, fun, interesting, educational or even infuriating, and they’ll be the ones looking for those sharing widgets on your web page.

3.  Targeting the Wrong Niche

It’s all too easy and common to target the wrong audience, especially as many people first create the product and then start trying to identify a way to sell it. You may get those Facebook shares and Twitter retweets you were hoping for, but this is insignificant if your audience does not do what your website wants them to do. Therefore, save the metrics for conference presentation and corporate blogs, and focus on influencing the decisions of your audience to buy, subscribe, or do whatever else they should do.

The thing is, keep your wits about you when considering a how to content marketing strategy to avoid any blunders. Wise up and learn to target your content by giving it both relevance and quality, and no matter how tempting it gets keep off the rampant fixation on quantity and coverage. Make your content effective not ineffectual, else all your money and time invested will be a waste.

How to Effectively Use Content Marketing Solely For Seo

Just some few days past, news of a Penguin Update that will simply wreck havoc in SEO hit the airwaves. Matt Cutts announced that as the month progresses, a Google Penguin update will be coming, set to be the most felt update of the year. The algorithm is all about penalizing websites that abuse link networks by using high volumes of low quality links. This comes in the wake of a Russian link network that Google recently targeted for being abused for SEO purposes.

SEOs are now living in fear. Many have been optimizing websites with anchor texts laden with keywords, so now they face the likelihood of these websites being penalized or dropping in rankings once Google releases the algorithm update.

What Steps to Take to Prepare for 2014 SEO Updates?

  1. Stop using automated link building software. If this is how you have been controlling your domain, stop doing so immediately. According to GMG SEO’s Mr. Isaac, you must conduct SEO by personally taking charge of every element of your domain. You really have a poor business practice if you can allow some software to heighten the chances of your website being penalized.
  2.  Stop using keyword-rich and focused anchor text. Whenever website owners conduct their own link building, most tend to be inclined towards the anchor texts. Penguin algorithm is designed to weed out such websites. A quality website has the anchor text for most of its backlinks featuring the brand name or URL.

Your backlinks are actually what the big G uses to determine how much of an authority you are in your niche. If you take a look at YouTube and Facebook, you will clearly notice the format discussed is the one they follow in a majority of their links. The content that surrounds your link is the key determinant of ranking for your site. Therefore, take note and implement the necessary changes to what you consider your best SEO practices ASAP.

Warning:

Any signs of altering link ratios can appear unnatural to Penguin and thus trigger a penalty. Maybe it’s a tad too late for your webmaster to do anything right now, but the year is long. And just so you know, there is a Panda Update that could hit any time.

Once done with the setting up of a website, you should now think about how the major search engines view your site. Forget about testing for Firefox, Explorer, Safari, and Chrome. Search engines are actually the ordinary browsers everybody uses. Fortunately, search engine optimization or SEO does not refer to any terrible design or some mysterious black magic. Rather, they are good and sensible things you should do to please both human visitors and search engines. Here are all time tips about SEO to help you rank better on major search engine giants – Google and Bing.

Words – Each word posted on your site counts. You should create content for humans rather than search engines. The site content must be relevant to the niche of your site. Do not even attempt keyword stuffing. Low quality content and keyword stuffing are the best way to attract a huge penalty from Google, which includes being blacklisted. To avoid such a mishap, find the right keywords for your site; you can use either the Bing keyword tool or the Google Adwords keyword tool.

Links – This is another element that distinguishes boys from men in the SEO industry. The best way to make search engines ‘smile’ at your site is to integrate in some links from other sites. Google and Bing will approve your web pages, as they will see the links as a recommendation for important information. Of course, include reputable links. Moreover, pay attention to the words used in links. To win the approval of search engines, you need to have well-spread, relevant keywords in your content.

Tags – This refers to those special tags that you may add to the webpage’s head section that search engines read. Meta tags are the best way for webmasters to offer search engines with information relevant to their sites. With the meta tags, you can provide relevant information to all kinds of clients. Do not skimp on the meta tags. If you want to see long-term fruits on your site, spend more time working on these tags.

Reputation – To earn a good reputation, post fresh, unique and relevant content to your site regularly. Additionally, include quality, incoming links from several reputable sites. The regular flow of content will signal the search engines’ bots and spiders to come running and look at your site. With great content, your site will definitely be on its way to better ranking.

Implement these SEO tips, and start experiencing a huge difference in your online business. Find more tips about SEO here.

 

3 Reasons Why you need Webinars for your Content Marketing

Why Content Marketing?” was among the very first posts we wrote and published and amazingly it got a whole lot of comments and support. It is for that sole reason that we have decided to have a series of content marketing articles that will focus on the different aspects of content marketing, and it is our sincerest wish that at the end of the day, you will all have learned something that will help you get more traffic and sales.

 

Without further ado, let’s get down to business. Today’s topic: 3 Reasons Why you need Webinars for your Content Marketing. So, what are webinars? Simply put, these are online workshops, also known as web-based seminars. Many companies have realized the power of webinars and are thus using it as an alternative means of seminars and conferencing.

 

Webinars have many advantages ranging from cost-effectiveness to flexibility, and anything in between. A solid example of how webinars are cost-effective lies in the reduction of transport costs together with accommodation. Traditionally, during a company’s annual general meeting, its employees would have to travel and even be availed with accommodation. However, with webinars, a conference can take place thousands of miles away and respective attendants won’t have to leave the comfort of their offices. Thus, many companies have had the pleasure of transmitting the message, without incurring extra costs.

According to a study released by the Content Marketing Institute, 59% of B2B marketers are using webinars. A further 61% believe that webinars are an essential tool in Internet marketing. That said; let’s get down to the nitty gritties. Here are 3 reasons why webinars should be a part of your content marketing strategy:

1.  Relationship Building

When it comes down to building a relationship with your audience, nothing beats webinars. Unlike how-to-articles and blog posts, webinars allows you to get right in front of your audience and interact with them in real-time. In your webinar, you can have Q&A time where you directly address concerns that your audience may have. In essence, this gives you a better chance of explaining what your business is all about and why they should purchase your products other than your competitors’.

2.  Long Term Value

Webinars shouldn’t be a one-time deal. You should record them for future use. As a fact, you can definitely host your webinars in your resource pages. This will not only add authenticity to your content, but many potential customers will easily relate to what you have to say. Always remember the very famous saying, “seeing is believing”. Continuous linking and promotion of past webinars will get you a steady return on investment long after the webinar is over.

 3.   Affordability

Some marketers, without even second thoughts, dismiss webinars as a marketing tool. They do this by comparing its effectiveness to live events. In our opinion, comparing the effectiveness of webinars to live events is simply – fallacy. You need to compare them as each has its effectiveness. Please note, we have nothing against holding live events, In fact, we love the glamour and effectiveness that they offer. Nonetheless, webinars are an easy and cost-effective way of getting the word out. For big companies, they can always use the two marketing strategies hand-in-hand. However, for smaller businesses that are looking for ways to increase traffic without spending so much, then webinars are a sure deal!

 

Science is the Future of Internet Marketing

The next time you pick up your phone to call a web developer or Internet marketer for your business, make sure this is a marketing scientist.

In the world of marketing, science and art are elemental in the delivery of an electrifying customer experience. The two converge on the online platform, where web and mobile marketing have taken a predominant role in the global arena. They are continually and rapidly evolving, consequently leading to an evolution of the opportunities you have to reach a greater section of your target market and build your business.

You ultimately get a data explosion and according to “From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study” by IBM Institute for Business Value, over 70% of surveyed CMOs confess to being unprepared for this explosion.

Another study, “Marketing Science: From Descriptive to Predictive,” conducted by IBM Center for Applied Insights, shows in a survey of 358 marketers only 32% report achieving great effectiveness in one-on-one engagement with customers, and only 23% lay claims to being highly effective in the discovery of insights that are capable of generating business value.

If you heed IBM’s advice, it’s high time you called in professionals. These are marketing scientists whose analytical skills, as IBM says, are more, and scope of impact greatly exceeds that of the constrained analyst and traditional marketer. The constrained analysts take on a mostly internal scope and are defined by struggling, limited analytics.

IBM further illustrates this. Only 18% of traditional marketers stress the importance of data-based decision making while an incredible 49% of marketing scientists emphasize the same. Likewise, only 24% of constrained analysts determine how to engage customers by use of insight while 50% of marketing scientists do this.

Clearly, the data focus of traditional marketers and constrained analysts is narrow, while marketing scientists will usually consider the big picture of your company. For instance, the percentage of marketing scientists who use social media, blogs, government publications, and other Internet-based data sources are 48%, while constrained analysts add up to 33%, and traditional marketers constitute 25%.

Therefore, if you are going to insist on using traditional marketers or constrained analysts, you would be wise to ensure they are experts open to integrating their marketing mix with science. All stats are in favor of marketing scientists, of whom 45% approach research from a scientific perspective in comparison to the 16% of traditional marketers. Likewise, 52% of marketing scientists are armed with the skill sets and tools necessary for conducting scientific analysis in comparison to the 32% of constrained analysts.

What does all this mean for Internet Marketers in 2013?

Business owners must rethink their online marketing mix. They must re-invest in the platforms where their customers spend most time in order to deepen relationships. Internet marketing has become critical to the modern business, and few other marketing options can rival it in speed, reach, and efficiency. This is the newest, most known secret for maximizing revenue and growth.

The year 2013 should expect the usual array of Internet marketing tools, vehicles, and techniques, and the hottest trends are as follows:

1.      Mobile Websites

These are the future face of Internet marketing. Mobile phone users are over 5 billion in the world, and 1.1 billion make up the smartphone subscribers. At the rate the smartphone technology is growing, the number of subscribers could grow overwhelmingly come 2014. This projection should be enough to send any serious businessman setting up mobile channels to connect with their audience. According to Mary Meeker, a Morgan Stanley analyst, most of the traffic to your website by 2014 will be generated via a mobile device.

Other studies indicate that there is a higher likelihood of mobile users buying from a mobile optimized site, while the likelihood of leaving increases if the site is not. In short, if you don’t set up a mobile website before the end of 2013, you will be literary giving away your customers to your competition. You will surely lose business if you do not make your website mobile compatible, regardless of the money you invest in SEO, the resources you dedicate to online video and blogging, and the time you spend doing social media marketing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the like.

2.      Online Videos

You cannot afford to dismiss videos as an avenue for expanding your reach to the Internet community. The daily average videos watched online is more than 4 billion. A whopping 68% of those who watch these videos also share the links. A video is actually far more likely to be remembered than other forms of communication. Within a 72-hour window, only 10% of a text read is retained by a typical person, while the image viewed is 65%, and the video watched is 95%.

3.      Multi-screen Marketing

Have your Internet marketing campaign target all screens, not just the desktops, as this is a multi-screen world. For instance, about 86% of mobile Internet users watch TV and use their devices simultaneously. Also, during the 2012 Grammy Awards as TV viewers witnessed Adele being presented with the Record of the Year prize, there were over 10,901 Tweets issued per second. This figure is quite astounding, and you might want to reroute your company’s resources to maximize on the potential of the multi-screen arena.

4.      Cloud-Based Tools

There is a myriad of cloud-based tool options you can use to heighten the efficacy of your Internet marketing efforts. For instance, you need to be able to assess the value of each form of marketing in your mix, whether SEO, email marketing, paid search, retargeting, or display advertising. You can’t give more credit to some marketing vehicles over others when in a given week a target customer comes across your brand in all vehicles, unless you are using a proper attribution measurement. In this case, Google, VisualIQ, or ClearSaleing will suffice.

Some of the other tools include SEOmoz for SEO, MailChimp for email marketing, Unbounce for landing page testing, CrazyEgg for heat map analysis, and BoostSuite for website analysis.

 

The New, and Not so New Kid in the Block – 3 Reasons why You need to Incorporate Google Plus in your Social Media Marketing Plan

The year is 2013. Some of the popular social media sites are Facebook and Twitter, boasting over a billion users each. With such a huge traffic, it is no wonder social media marketing has become the ‘Holy Grail’ of Internet marketing. There is now a looming threat for these giants from the newest kid on the block – Google Plus.

Incepted in June 2011, Google+ has grown in leaps and bounds to become the second largest social media platform with a little over 340 million users. This is according to a report published by the GlobalWebIndex. With this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you need Google+ in your marketing plan

1.      Higher Search Engine Visibility

Google, being the best and most widely used search engine, is decisively a winner when it comes to Internet marketing. Every serious webmaster and Internet marketer wants to appear on the top page of the Google search results. Amazingly, content posted and published on Google+ is ranked and indexed by its own “Mother” – Google. The sharing option offered by Google+ has broader search engine optimization influence than any other offered by its competitors. If you want to easily create social influence and brand awareness, try out the +1 influence availed by the network.

2.      Hangouts

If you thought that search engine visibility was everything, wait until you read this! Google+ offers a hangout feature! This represents the latest trends in social media networking sites, of integrating interesting and unique video features for enhanced user experience. Using the hangout feature, Google+ users can easily connect with their friends, relatives, and even colleagues.

The hangout is more like a social gathering, only that everything is done and run virtually. You can engage in free video calls with up to nine of your friends at no cost. You can also use the hangout to talk to potential customers or share ideas with some of the top influencers in your niche. You can even use it to explain to your potential customers how to use your latest software, among other developments. Some brands are simply using the feature as a virtual co-working space. In short, you are only limited by your imagination.

3.      Unmatched, Real-time Topical Streams

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and all those other social networks, Google+, supported by Google search engine, has the ability to provide its users with relevant, meaningful, and accurate content on specific industry-related questions. With such power, Google+ users can easily find and engage in meaningful connections with other users who are engaged in the same industry.

Google+ also offers pages for all business listed in Google Places. Moreover, you can use the Google Local feature to help your business appear on the local search results.

Overall, to be able to build a solid reputation on Google+, you must position yourself as a thought leader. In this case, avoid recycling posts and thoughts that you have on Twitter and Facebook. Notably, a significant number of your Google+ followers are probably already your followers in other social networks. The first step to success is creating and providing differentiated content, preferably one that has a slant. To be a thought leader, you must position yourself as a person who always has fresh and unique ideas/content to offer. Otherwise, why would anyone bother commenting on industry clichés?

3 Do’s and Don’ts of Internet Marketing

 Without a doubt, Internet Marketing is at the centre of any successful business. There are few marketing options that can be said to have the same success and efficiency as that provided by Internet Marketing. However, not all Internet Marketers are successful. The secret to successful marketing lies within the methods used. To achieve this success, every serious marketer has to understand the dos and don’ts of the trade.

 3 Dos

 1.       Provide quality content

 

Although this may sound like a no-brainer, it is just what you need. Consistent uploading of quality content onto your website will always win you new readers and you stand no risk of losing your old traffic either. Do thorough research and only upload content that adds value to your readers. While you are at it, make sure you only have content that is relevant to your niche. Trust you me, you do not want to attract the wrong type of traffic. At the end of the day, you need meaningful traffic that easily transforms to potential customers.

 2.       Website Design

Design sells! Your website design matters. Check out some successful websites like those of Apple, Nike, and Pintrest. One thing they have in common is that their designs are stunning! This is no coincidence. A company like Nike though primarily dealing in shoes, has obviously invested significantly in website design. You do not need to procure a very expensive website. Just find a good web designer who will create a good looking and easy to navigate website.

3.       Go Mobile

With over 1 billion Smartphone users, there is no reason why you should not maximize on the business opportunity created by mobile users. It is clear that many people nowadays prefer conducting their business on the go. There are hundreds of Apps being developed every day and investing in them will see your business grow.

3 Don’ts

 1.       Avoid Duplicating Content

 

To avoid being punished by Google, just keep your content fresh, entertaining, and informative. Last year (2012), many websites fell victim to the algorithm update that saw sites with duplicated content fall in rank. To keep your visitors, provide them with regular fresh content.

 2.       Don’t ignore Social Media

One bad word about your product can completely ruin your reputation. Online, word spreads like wildfire. Intel once made this mistake, ignoring a review from one of their customers about a flawed Pentium chip. This dissatisfaction quickly became the topic in social media circles and technically boiled over to any other forum on the Internet. This in the end forced Intel to make a recall. The lesson here is, always listen to your customers and quickly respond to any concerns/issues they might have regarding your product(s).

3.       Don’t be Rigid

When it comes to Internet Marketing, nothing is cast in stone. What works today might not work tomorrow. For instance, a decade ago, knowing how to manipulate the metatags would have easily won you a top page ranking. That quickly changed when keywords started being used. Today, the type of backlinks a site gets, highly contributes to its ranking. So, the bottom line is, be open minded and flexible. Flow with the river and expect changes. Do not rely on “what always worked”.