Sometimes it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the world of marketing that it’s easy to forget some business simply need to know the basics about online marketing.
For a lot of people, this means taking the first step of having a website. If your business runs largely offline, like my local bagel shop, it’s still a good idea to have a website. That way people can find you and learn a bit about your business before deciding whether or not to visit.
There’s a joke amongst Millennials that if you’re dating someone and they don’t have a social media presence, then there must be something they’re hiding.
While it’s not exactly the same for businesses, it’s still important to put a professional foot forward and make sure people know you care about them being able to find and contact you.
So, in an effort to help you get your online marketing efforts off the ground, I wanted to put together a quick checklist of five ways you can start building your online presence today.
Get a website Decide what you want your website to be like, and set a budget to help you narrow down your choices. The good news is that even if your budget is $0, you can still start a website. Places like wordpress.com and weebly.com make it easy to create engaging sites that make your business look professional.
If you plan to have a basic webpage, that’s totally fine. But remember that you’ll have one chance to make an impression on your potential customers. So, choose a design that conveys what you’d like people to base their first impression on.
Get an Instagram Business account
I promise this sounds harder than it is. It’s as simple as:
Starting an Instagram account
Go to Settings and choose to make it a Business account
As much as we all wish that there was a secret formula to write the perfect, most engaging, informative blog post, that doesn’t exist. However, there are lots of tools to help people customize their strategy and learn exactly what their audience wants. Here are five tips and tools that I’ve found helpful, including some free tools you can use to get started.
Imagine this: you buy a pair of shoes, but you can only wear them with one specific outfit. The same is true of your other shoes and other outfits. Sure, some people hold their closets to this rule, but it’s expensive wasteful. So, why run your website the same way?
I’m a huge proponent of repurposing content because at the end of the day, you paid for the content (whether with dollars or time), so you might as well get the most bang for your buck. Most digital marketers know that completely duplicated content isn’t a great experience for readers, however, content about a similar topic can actually help drive SEO traffic to your page. And believe it or not, readers like repurposed content when it’s done the right way.
There’s no single method to making repurposed content work for you, because it largely depends on who your audience is, and that will change from site to site. You’ll want to figure out some insights about what delivery methods your visitors engage with most. Do they prefer articles or videos? Are infographics a hit? Does short or long content perform well? Additionally, you’ll want to think about your social media channels, and how they can help you leverage your content. All of these insights can not only get more eyes on what you’ve published, it can also help you decide which marketing partnerships will likely be the most beneficial, thanks to these audience insights.
Here are five clever ways to get the most mileage out of your content and how to make it more engaging.
1. Turn it into a multimedia experience
You may have seen Moz’s Whiteboard Friday, where Rand Fishkin & Co. take a different SEO-related concept each week and illustrate how it works. The videos are one of the most educational parts of my week, but Moz goes one step further. They also publish a hi-res photo of the finished whiteboard, and type out all of the text below the video. If that isn’t enough for you, they also embed an audio file from Soundcloud so if their users are podcast people, this option is available as well.
A single weekly post repurposes content in four very user-friendly, and engaging ways. While many people watch videos, others would rather quickly scan an article. And if the lesson that week was particularly illuminating, the photo allows the visitor to share it with only a few clicks.
2. Revisualize the content
Moz takes, quite literally, a straightforward approach to repurposing content, simply delivering the same product in different ways, but there are other methods to making the same thing feel fresh. If you have a piece of content that lends itself to becoming an infographic, then take a few moments and create one.
Even if you don’t have a graphic designing bone in your body, there are lots of free tools out there to help you design an image people will engage with. My favorite is Canva. I discovered it a few years ago, and since then I’ve created marketing materials for clients, social media posts for college intramural programs, lengthy infographics, a new cover for my novel, business cards, and some casual pics just for the heck of it. Do a quick content audit, focusing on which pieces get the most engagement, and start thinking about new ways to present it.
3. Socialize articles… Again
People are typically pretty good at Tweeting or posting their content to Facebook, but are you employing the most engaging tactics? Let me illustrate. When I used to write for a celebrity blog, we’d have headlines like, “You Won’t Believe What Shoes She Wore With This” and post a picture cropping out the shoes. Sometimes, if the headline was that ambiguous, we’d crop out the celeb’s head, too.
Of course, this is the most shameless form of clickbait, and no one likes that, so don’t go that far, but think in th same frame of mind.
If you have an article about how to de-stress and de-clutter your life, create a graphic with the article title, or a little factoid that will entice readers, and direct them to the article link. By using this method, you get double leverage out of your post without looking lazy and simply posting the same link again, or coming up with something like, “Throwback to one of my favorite posts.” If you’ve tried that method, it’s ok, we probably all have at some point.
You can also launch a week-long social media campaign. For example, if you have a website about yoga, feature a new pose each day to balance the seven chakras. The info is already on your site, you’re just making it accessible in a new way.
I’ve been fascinated by watching Gen Z grow up and learn to use the internet in a much different way than I did. As a millennial, in my teen years, I spent countless hours chatting on AIM, and watching Napster take days to download a Smash Mouth song over our dial-up internet. I remember my first Hotmail email address (which my dad set up for me) and Facebook when it required a .edu email to register.
What I’m getting at is that the internet changed a lot, and it changed quickly, forcing Gen Z’ers to understand at an early age what the rest of us barely thought about: personal branding via social media.
My teen AIM username died with the platform last year, but let’s be honest, no one is going to think “Natalie Saar” when they read “Missyk134.” But there wasn’t the same pressure back then to brand yourself, or even just to make sure you got your name as your username before anyone else did.
Not only does this cause personal and business users to think outside the box when it comes to their name, it also requires them to think about the content they’re putting out. Each social media platform has a different offering, which is why they can all (somewhat) coexist with each other.
Twitter offers quick takes and the ability to interact with people, many of whom are strangers, in real time. It’s demographics skew younger.
Facebook offers news and sharing largely between friends and family. Its demographics skew older.
Instagram offers the chance to express yourself through photos and captions, and in a way combines the best of Facebook and Twitter.
LinkedIn offers a professional environment to connect in. You typically won’t find people arguing about politics there, because it’s very clearly a networking tool, and you’ll find that users hold each other to that.
Snapchat and Tumblr each have their own styles of helping people engage with each other as well, though they’re harder for markters to hack for various reasons.
So, how do you decide the way you want to brand all of these free advertising tools you have at your fingertips? Here are some tips to get you started:
Keep Some Aspects the Same
While each social media channel can have its on “personality” there are a few things you should keep the same. Your profile photo, cover photo, and overall vibe. Especially if you’re planning on very different messaging on your channels, you’ll want to keep the logo or profile picture and the overall look and feel as well. This way you build subtle brand awareness and people know that your channels lead back to you.
Buffer does an amazing job with this. Their Instagram and Twitter couldn’t look more different in terms of imagery and messaging, but they feel the same, so you know they’re both Buffer.
You’ll also want to try your best to make sure the name is the same. This may go without saying, but that can be a tall order, and will only get harder as more and more people become social online. Get creative and try a few variations, but when possible, keep the names the same.
Everyone starts the new year off with the best of intentions. We write down resolutions, we get into a positive mindset, we really do try to start off on a good foot.
If refining your content marketing strategy is on your list of improvements to make to your blog or business, then creating an editorial calendar is a key tool to make that happen. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, from the Dominican University in California, conducted a study about writing down our goals. She found that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down. That’s how an editorial calendar can help you.
If you’re struggling to start one, here are some tips to make a helpful calendar for you, no matter what your KPIs are.
Pinpoint Your Goals
What’s the reason behind why you want to ramp up your content marketing strategy? Is it because everyone else is doing it so you feel like you should too? Or is it to gather leads? Maybe you want to provide your potential customers with information that will help lead them down your sales funnel?
Whatever the reason, write it down. This way, when you’re creating your content ideas, you can refer back to the goals and ask yourself if the content will help achieve them.
Create a Plan
Ask yourself question like how often do you want to publish articles? Do you only want text or do you want graphics too? What kind of a budget will that take, both in terms of time and money?
Once you’ve narrowed down any potential problems with publishing type and frequency, you can be more realistic with your overall strategy and expectation. For example, if you hope to gain five leads from each article, and 500 leads for the year overall, then you know you need to publish 100 articles, or roughly two per week. If your budget only accounted for half that many, then you need to reevaluate either the budget or your expectations.
There are plenty of articles out there providing editorial calendar spreadsheets, telling you what you need to have in each one, and the list goes on. I’ve found that these are helpful to give you ideas of what you might want in your own calendar, but at the end of the day, you have to fiddle around and see what works for you.
Logos. We see them all day, every day. In fact, we see them so often that despite seeing them constantly, we forget what they look like.
Think about your shampoo: what does the logo look like. Or how about something simple like your favorite fast food place. AdWeek brought this up recently by asking people to draw some familiar logos like Domino’s Pizza and Apple. Here were the results:
So, that begs the question, are logos really that important? Of course we notice them, because we’re visual people, but maybe it’s the overall “vibe” of the logo that’s more meaningful. Some ideas to back that up:Continue reading “Are Logos That Important?”