Posts Tagged ‘Content’

8 tips to improve your social media content as a business

Here at BlueGlass, we really love social media. It’s enabled us to grow our agency, expand our network and showcase what we do every day to the wider public. However, during this modern era of regular, fast change, there are plenty of ways to improve the content that’s published on social media and the ways it can be reached. That’s why we’ve spent time researching effective tips on how to improve our social media content, and we want to share these with you too.

1) Boost your credibility

By posting content that illustrates your successes, achievements and press-worthiness, it enables you to boost your brand’s credibility online and helps to establish the brand as thought, service or product leaders within a specific industry to the public on social media.

Accompanied with a related hashtag, this content gets recognised by other industry professionals, who may then also join in the engagement.

We do this regularly here at BlueGlass, and this receives engagement and comments of congratulations, which we always love to see!

This is an important method of improving your social media content, because by boosting credibility, you’re boosting your reputation online. The Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2016 found that 90% of marketers believed social media was important for their business. It’s therefore more important than ever to be trusted in a competitive environment.

2) Invite conversation

Another way to improve your social media content is by being interactive with your audience and inviting them to converse with your brand.

Bhavin Parikh of Magoosh Inc. explains that the strongest form of content is one that directly addresses the audience to engage with the brand: “Many entrepreneurs use social media as a one-way platform to spread a message to those who follow them; however, the best will engage in conversations with their followers, responding to comments and being truly accessible”. So, it may be a good option to ask your followers how their day is going every now and then.

3) Know and target your audience

With different audiences using different social platforms, it’s incredibly important to research where your target audience spends their time on the web before you put together a social media strategy.

For example, a new retail study by Eptica found that UK retailers answered 59% of customer queries on Facebook, 55% via email, and only 45% on Twitter. This suggests that if you’re a retailer, your customers will be aiming to reach you predominantly on Facebook and through a personalised email account, which should be the primary focus of your social media strategy.

Using BlueGlass as an example, as a B2B SEO agency, the most impressions and engagements occur for us on LinkedIn, which means we’ll use LinkedIn as the priority social platform when sharing content.

Spend some time observing what content gets the most engagement and what groups of people are engaging – you can then target all your future content at them.

4) Share curated content

By just promoting your own brand or business, your followers will eventually start to find your page dull, weakening your brand reputation. Therefore, it’s important to engage with other members and experts in your industry on social media by sharing their content with your followers.

Chances are, your followers follow you for the brand and industry you represent. By re-tweeting and quote-tweeting on Twitter, sharing on Facebook, and sharing on LinkedIn, it keeps your audience engaged with content they want to see, but it isn’t all just predictable advertising for your brand.

Guy Kawasaki, the author of a new book called The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, has spent many years using and analysing social media, particularly for entrepreneurs, and believes that sharing others’ content is one of the best ways to increase your own social presence.

In addition, doing this can boost your online reputation for both sharing another piece of content from another member within your industry (thus building a potential relationship) and for being helpful/enlightening to your audience, who’ll then perceive your account as positive and necessary to follow.

5) Have clear calls to action

Request people directly to:

  • Share your posts
  • Like your posts
  • Follow you

This engagement technique is relevant and can be applied across all social platforms. If you’re a B2B company primarily focused on LinkedIn, tell your network to engage in a particular conversation with you. If you’re a fashion brand on Twitter, you could post there asking people to send you pictures of them in their favourite seasonal outfits.

Researching 1.2 million posts from the top 10,000 most-liked Facebook pages, Dan Zarrella specifically examined those that included the words ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘share’. He found these posts tended to gather more of the specific action they referenced compared to posts without those words.

6) Use visuals

For arts, fashion and food, visuals are an important part of the marketing mix, which makes Instagram and Pinterest perfect for creative industries like these. Similar to targeting, it’s also about the best form of content for your brand. A long post on LinkedIn won’t be as well received for a fashion brand as a picture of an outfit related to a current trend, which would appeal to a mass audience and not just a professional network.

A recent report on New York Fashion Week by digital think tank L2 found that Instagram drove the most engagements (likes, comments and shares) on social media. Of the 13 million total interactions during NYFW Fall 2016, 97% took place on Instagram, with 2% on Facebook and 1% on Twitter.

So, if you’re in the creative industries, use visual-led social media platforms to your benefit.

7) Set a time for posting content

Create a schedule relevant to your goals. Scheduling is key to high engagement and keeping things on track. For example, retailers typically answer all customer queries between 9am and 5pm (as a normal working day), so people know exactly when to look out for their content.

Similarly, a B2B company is better of posting in the evening.

*LinkedIn hourly performance

This graph shows that posting content on LinkedIn receives more engagement between 7pm and 10pm. Thus, by setting a fixed schedule for your posts based on industry and social platform, you can reach a larger audience and aim to achieve more engagement.

8) Use infographics

Infographics are a great way to tell a story about a brand’s journey, tease upcoming content and reports, and present industry facts – pretty much anything quantifiable. You can post sections of infographics in Instagram posts, or even link people that follow you on Twitter to the infographic page. It’s a great way to cross-promote your social platforms.

Researchers found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people end up retaining 65% of the information three days later.

The team here at BlueGlass create infographics on a regular basis. We love them!

Stay up to date with BlueGlass’s social media activities on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The "can't miss" content marketing strategy

Can't Miss Marketing

Content marketing is hard.

Actually, let me clarify that a bit…GREAT content marketing is hard!

One of the biggest reasons why it’s so hard nowadays is that there are just SO many choices. Every single day, I see blog posts, columns, tweets and updates telling me the million different things that I HAVE TO BE DOING…

  • “156 Content Marketing Strategies for 2016”
  • “315 Content Marketing Goals You Should Be Measuring”
  • “17,001 Content Marketing Tools You Need to Try”

Enough already!

Want to know our secret to GREAT content marketing? The key ingredient to all of our success? Okay, I’ll tell you but just keep it between us…

We keep it simple.

We focus.

We don’t just want to build an “audience”…

….we want a CAPTIVE audience.

But here’s the thing…

A captive audience isn’t something you can stumble upon – you have to find the initial readers and keep them engaged long-term.

And it’s never been more difficult.

Quality content isn’t enough on its own and anyone who tells you different is lying.

Even the best journalists need an audience, in order for people to appreciate their true value. When content really works, you have to understand that it starts with your audience.

When you’re struggling to reach new readers, one of your best assets will be your current ones — and how you connect with them.

The “Attention” Problem…

We live in a CROWDED online world. Almost every area of marketing has become extremely saturated. According to analytics company DOMO, there are over 245,000 tweets and almost 10,000 Pinterest pins created every minute.

image00

Add to that the stress of declining Facebook reach – hovering around 2% according to SocialTimes – and more companies using the same strategies as you, and it’s harder than ever to find new readers.

Take Buffer, a social tool company that brilliantly leveraged content marketing to grow their company. They “get it”…but they’ve also been losing social traffic as they’ve struggled to stay standing under the weight of what they call “the content crush.”

Why Most Marketers Are Making it Harder…For Themselves!

If you take a look at the biggest media publishers, you’ll notice that they all share one key thing in common.

Their biggest secret weapon is their publish button.

Take the Daily Mail as an example – love them or loathe them, if you’re able to promote your content to 3.4 million Facebook fans, 1.5 million Twitter followers and 200 million monthly visitors – you can start to see why their content is generating so much engagement, given that they know their audience so well and can leverage this for huge promotion.

If they started from scratch for each article they promoted, of course this would never achieve the same level of coverage. But they don’t. They keep building and growing their audience, so that each time they can leverage more and more people.

CombinedImage

The ONLY Thing You Need to Get Your Customers Talking

The number one way to get a reaction, such as sharing, out of your readers is to make them feel something.

It’s estimated that 90% of decisions are based on emotions rather than facts. Based on numbers alone, that’s one reason to write emotional content. The odds of sharing are in your favor and it makes sense

And it’s even more important building relationships with your audience.

But how do you appeal to your readers’ emotions?

To get your audience to feel something, create content that’s 100% about them – not about yourself at all.

Want to Scale Word-of-Mouth? Do THIS.

Let your customers do the talking for you. What good content achieves is scaling word of mouth. Luckily, we all live in an age where if you get this right, the amplification of content can be extremely powerful.

If you think content is about YOU, you’re missing the point. When people share content, they share it about themselves not you…

When creating content, you have to look at it from the perspective of the user first. What are they going to think and feel about this. By thinking in advance about the likely reaction this will receive, you can turn good content into great campaigns to earn authority coverage, social engagement and links – SEO should always be the by-product, not the goal.

To get your audience talking about you, you need to create perfectly relevant content, provided in the right context. Stuff that your readers will love so much they need to share it with someone else to talk about it with.

6 Ways to Create Shareable “Hooks” With Your Content

You’ll want to tap into your audience’s full range of emotions – from happiness and pride to frustration and confusion. Here’s how you can do this…

  • Solve frustrations by empathizing and providing solutions to your readers’ main problems. For example, Lowe’s uses Vine to give incredibly useful household and DIY tips, like quicker ways to clean shower doors.

httpss://vine.co/v/iWDJeXK11XD

  • Appeal to a customer’s pride by sharing their story or validating and praising their ideas. Apple’s gallery of iPhone 6s photos highlights great photographers and shows other viewers what they can aspire to and motivates them to take their own photos.
  • Clear up confusion by explaining important topics clearly in ways readers can relate to and encourage them to share socially.
  • Tug on heartstrings by sharing real stories that include contagious happiness, like British Airways’ video about nostalgia and bringing families together.

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/WPcfJuk1t8s

  • Understand how you make people feel by tapping into your audience’s emotions this can be much more powerful and reach/connect with significantly more people. Dove proved that you don’t have to promote yourself:

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/XpaOjMXyJGk

  • Make readers feel like something was created just for them and it will be natural for them to react. If you write as if you are only talking to one person, you’re much more likely to stay focused on the key points and provide more real value. And if it resonates with them, chances are you’ll find other people with exactly the same interest too.

Just think of the viral quizzes all over your Facebook timeline. The results are hyper personalized and relevant to the reader, so accurate it feels weird to keep it to yourself.

Look at the level of engagement and audience the likes of Buzzfeed and PlayBuzz specifically for quizzes have built up:

image04

(Image from BuzzSumo – buzz is clearly a popular, eh, buzzword…)

Combining quizzes + animals + Facebook audience = genius. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what dog breed you are?!

You do this once. And then a few more times. Then consistently until you’re a go-to resource for your audience.

The Trouble With Playing It Safe…

When creating content, do these thoughts run through your mind?

  • I don’t want to look stupid…
  • Why would I share all of this information if people can then copy it…
  • What if everyone knows this already…
  • My competitors will know everything if I share this…

What people don’t get, is that the biggest risk is not doing it!

I strongly believe that fear of failure is often a big factor holding back marketing success, “Of course we always want to win, but sometimes having the attitude of we’ve never tried this before, but wonder what would happen if we did this… might land you your biggest success yet.

3 Questions You Need to Answer Before STARTING Any Campaign

At BlueGlass in January, we all read the Simon Sinek book Start With Why (watch his TED talk if you haven’t seen it or read the book yet). The reason for this, is because often you can get carried away with exciting ideas, because if it doesn’t have a clear goal or reason for being created, which ties in with your brand – it’s unlikely to ever hit the real business goals you want to achieve.

httpss://www.youtube.com/embed/IPYeCltXpxw

Try asking yourself:

  • Why will people want to visit your site & subscribe to your content?
  • How will you target customers & key personas with content they want to see, read and share?
  • What great content can you create to educate, inform, engage and keep the interest of our target personas to build a real audience?

Balancing Short-Term Wins vs. Long-Term Success

We can get lost in KPIs at times. I prefer to call them “I”’s – at best they’re indicators that you’re on the right track. Key performance metrics ultimately should come down to business goals and objectives.

Every brand will have different goals and indicators of success, but before you get excited about that first campaign – really try to understand what you’re trying to achieve over the medium and long-term, not just the short-term.

These are common examples of where this may fit into your plan:

By looking ahead, and visualising what success looks like in 1 year, 2 years or 5-10 years time, you can start to understand where everything fits into your wider plans.

In some cases short-burst campaigns may be ok, but if that’s all you’re doing perhaps you’re not on the track you need to be on – so this can help to force you to be more selective with where you place your time, effort and money for future content.

6 Keys to Turning New Visitors Into Loyal Fans

You don’t want to be fighting (or advertising!) for every last visit to each piece of content. Once you generate visitors to your content, you want to turn them from first-time readers into second-time readers, then third and forth – to the point that they just love coming back…

Think about the user journey of a content reader:

audience-building

  1. Identify – who is your target audience and where can you find them?
  2. Acquire – whether your marketing channels are through organic search, email marketing, referral traffic from digital PR coverage, social media or paid social/content distribution – acquiring traffic to your content.
  3. Nurture – provide content they love and have a clear destination, ideally as a blog or content hub on your own site, where you can control the environment in which they read your content.
  4. Engage – by providing consistently great content, your goal should be to continually create outstanding content which readers love to engage with.
  5. Capture – provide useful content upgrades such as tools, insight reports, ebooks, free downloads, competitions etc to capture their details and build your audience, so that they want to come back to read more and more.
  6. Grow – this is where you can start to create real business value. At this stage you start to build real loyalty and advocacy with your readers, which can have a huge benefit in to the increase in word of mouth referrals. It’s also a stage in which you can start to provide in-context offers to your audience.

Content’s Role In Converting Readers Into Customers

You want a relationship where, when a connection needs help, they remember a blog post of yours that will be useful. Where they think sharing it on social media makes them look good.

And especially so you’re the first company they think of when they’re shopping around for your product – you’ve already gained their trust at the inspiration phase of the journey, so now you can transition from a reader to a prospect once they move into consideration.

The goal of your content marketing is never to make the sale, it’s role is to buy you a seat at the table. It may not always be enough to get the sale over the line, after all your product has to convince the buyer of that – but if you can get in front of the right audience, then you’ve always got a chance of turning that potential into a customer. If they don’t know who you are, you’ve got no chance!

The “Secret” to Getting Compound Returns From Your Content Marketing Efforts

Like any marketing activity, it’s important to understand the value of your effort and to set clear/realistic expectations over the level and timeframe of results that can be achieved.

If you’re focused on a the next one-off content campaign, you might find the results are hit and miss. But if you can treat content marketing as a longer-term investment in your audience, that way you’re much more likely to realise compounding returns:

image06

The difference with investing in your audience, is that you’re thinking of the longer-term and the collective results you’re building up to take you to the next level. It’s not just about the one-off hit.

What steps do you take to get the best from your content marketing strategy?

10 things I've learnt from ‘The Art of War’ that made me a better content marketer

The Art of War is believed to have been written around 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu, a high-ranking Chinese military general. A concise bible for military strategy, its thirteen chapters designate key concepts and challenges that must be understood to achieve ultimate military victory, quickly and efficiently.

????????

Image: Sun Tzu (via Wikimedia Commons)

The guidance in The Art of War may hail from a time before smart technology, content marketing or even basic sanitation, but Sun Tzu had a sound understanding of strategy – and the wisdom that has sustained his work across millennia simply buzzes with relevance for anyone working in marketing and management. It has been heralded by CEOs and top publications alike – from Forbes to Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel – as an indispensible resource for business leaders in search of inspiration and guidance.

Let’s take a look at ten key takeaways to support your digital marketing progress. But first things first, a disclaimer.

One of the key ideas presented by Tzu, arguably the prevailing theme of much of his advice, focuses on the idea that “all warfare is based on deception”. Whilst marketing is never about deceiving or cheating the competition, it does depend on being wily, well-informed and proactive – enabling you to outmaneuver and outpace rivals in key areas. Doing this successfully, according to Sun Tzu, comes down to calculation and planning – and it’s his guidance in these areas that is so acutely applicable to digital marketing and teamwork in general.

1. “He wins battles by making no mistakes.”

It’s a truth even older than The Art of War that accuracy and efficiency are the core values of reliable results. A perfectly executed digital marketing campaign depends on many contributing factors, but every stage relies on each contributor being accurate in their analysis and efficient in their execution.

He-wins-battles-by

It may seem obvious, but instilling these values in your team from day one will pay off at the end of the campaign.

2. “Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”

It can be tempting to repeat strategies that have worked in the past – learnt knowledge, after all, is incredibly valuable. However, to assume that what has worked once will work again is a risk.

It is far better to look at what was effective about a particular project, and look to replicate these patterns of success, whilst building the new project to fit the brief, the audience and achieve the targeted goals.

3. “Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.”

Half the battle of SEO is knowing what your competitor has done, is doing and will do. Moving through the market, and progressing up rankings, demands the utilisation of data to map routes and set targets. This also applies to your audience.

Harnessing data to understand the user journey and patterns of behaviour is key. From session length to shares, big publishers like The Telegraph foreground data to inform their online and offline content strategies.

4. “Cleverness has never been associated with long delays…Let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.”

Whilst it’s important never to rush plans through in the name of rapidity, time management is crucial. Rather than focusing on speed, consider a defined structure of deadlines and targets for each project or campaign, to keep the project moving at an agreed pace that prevents over-analysis and keeps all eyes on achieving the targets set.

5. “There are not more than five primary colours, but in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen.”

Content ideation can be a tricky business – generating fresh and engaging ideas, particularly in topic areas that can be well saturated with content already, is a big challenge.

There-are-not-more-than

For an on-site blog, or for off-site industry publications, your ideas need to provide the audience with something new. Identifying relevant niches within the sector and combining them can produce fresh angles on topics that your client’s audience may not otherwise have considered.

6. “If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in”

Identifying weaknesses in the competition is a fundamental part of carving your client a good slice of market share. When taking on a new client, take time to analyse the SEO effectiveness and subject areas that the competitors content covers. These audits will use data to identify everything from traffic and backlinks to efficiencies of URL structure. This information can identify where competitors are lacking in what they offer customers, and provide strategies to target these weak points through search and content.

7. “If (the enemy) is taking his ease, give him no rest.”

From a content perspective, the best way to break ‘the enemy’s’ resistance is to deliver a relentless and energetic content strategy that posts regularly, targets intelligently and offers better quality than your competitors.

Publishing excellent content to good sites enables brands to build authority and overtake competitors longer-term. But it’s not about a one-off success, rather consistently creating great content – which sooner or later will get noticed if you’re always doing the right thing.

Our work with Healthspan demonstrates the value of strong digital PR profiles and consistently published great content. With a cohesive strategy, we provided a significant uplift in organic search traffic – proving that a collective and consistent approach, with a focus on quality, is the way to achieve great results.

8. “No point in expensively laying siege to walled cities”

When competing against a dominant competitor, it can be tempting to try and beat them in their own backyard, producing content that does the same – but better. Whilst this is a legitimate tactic against a similarly resourced and ranked rival, it can all too easily fail in the face of well-resourced, dominant alternatives. Instead, interrupt market dominance where possible – don’t over-invest if the target is unachievable. Understanding and communicating what is practical will prevent waste and keep clients’ expectations balanced.

9. “Estimating the adversary, controlling the forces of victory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test of a great general”

Defining a company’s philosophy and approach should not come from the top, but the centre. Being an effective director, team leader or project manager means making calculated decisions, understanding the wider market landscape and marshaling your team for the best success – and ensuring that every team member follows that lead.

10. “The consummate leader…strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success”

Developing a structure for how you approach, execute and evaluate projects – an order of processes – is key to both success and quality control.

Problems that arise late on in projects often take root in the initial planning stages. As such, taking a diligently structured approach can add value and save time.

Tzu’s five point approach to military success is ideal for this purpose.

Why not try applying these processes in the running of your projects?

1. Measurement

Bringing together information on competitors, what has been done before, where the gaps in the market are. Discussing how content and SEO strategies could be used to target these areas.

2. Quantity

Budgets are the bane of many a project manager’s life, but they are the headline when it comes to setting targets and ambitions. Paid search is a valuable tool for boosting the reach of content campaigns to specific, highly-targeted demographics. You can target your budget for key audiences, and crucially, you only pay for the clicks you receive – setting it well above conventional marketing in terms of ROI.

3. Calculation

Data, and lots of it! Every decision made during the planning stage should be quantifiable – underscoring your strategy with data is the best way to guarantee success and give your client confidence in the campaign.

4. Balancing Chances

Every project comes with risk – that’s how the rewards are won. However, marketing is all about delivering your goals. If a risk is being considered that could result in severe under-delivery, it’s not a risk worth taking. This is where comprehensive SEO and content auditing of the competition and market landscape can provide real clarity.

5. Victory

Once the campaign has been executed and the results measured, this fresh data should not be used once, then stored and ignored. Every project is an opportunity to add to a portfolio of market research data – a resource that can transform and enhance future planning. When a new project begins, consider the relevant data throughout the planning phase, to both support and challenge decisions about what to produce and who to target.

In the eternal wisdom of disco, the old ones are the best. Sun Tzu may have lived many centuries ago, but it’s a testament to the value of his words that the ideas and solutions he proposes retain so much relevance. From devising the proactive SEO strategies and content marketing campaigns, to understanding how best to organise and lead a creative team, The Art of War is a must-read for anyone in search of malleable marketing mantras that are proven to stand the test of time.

What are your chief marketing mantras? What workplace wisdom do you swear by? Share your thoughts below!


45 Leather Lane
London
EC1N 7TJ
UK