AudienceBloom

CALL US:  1-877-545-GROW

Category Archive: AudienceBloom

  1. 5 Types of Content that Make Your Followers Passionate About Your Brand

    Leave a Comment

    Raising brand awareness is a difficult task, and making users passionate about your brand is even more challenging. Promoting brand visibility is a simple matter of getting your name and brand in front of more people, but in order to win the loyalty or enduring respect of those people, you need to convince them that youare worth it.

    Content marketing in its modern form is all about providing value to your users and increasing your brand’s reputation. But not all types of content yield the same results. Try using these five types of content to encourage passion in your followers:

    1. Instructional guides and how-to articles.

    articleimage459Instructional guides and how-to articles

    When people look for information on how to do something, they’re usually in the middle of a problem. If you can provide them the information they’re looking for, quickly and efficiently, you’ll immediately save them from that problem. Do that a handful of times consistently, and they’ll instantly associate you as a problem solver, falling in love with your brand.

    That doesn’t mean your blog needs to mimic Wiki-how and offer an endless series of step-by-step instructional posts. You can use whatever format you’re most comfortable with. Walk your users through a problem from the beginning with specific micro-steps, or write in broad strokes. The goal is to solve a problem, so make sure you include all the necessary information.

    Incorporate a visual element, such as instructional images, an infographic, or even a helpful video to gain more followers and increase your chances of going viral. The more detailed you can be, and the more you can stand out from your competitors, the better. It’s also a good idea to phrase your article titles in a way that reflects what users will actually be searching, such as “how do I change a car tire?” or “what’s the best way to fry a turkey?”

    2.Case studies and stories.

    articleimage459Case studies and stories

    People love to read stories. There’s something psychologically addicting and compelling about stories that draw in a reader’s attention. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to illustrate a complex topic or demonstrate a multifaceted problem in a way that is straightforward and approachable. This type of content has a kind of immediate resonance with your readership, and if you can consistently execute that level of emotional connection, you can win the long-term loyalty and passion of your followers.

    Case studies, specifically, can be an effective type of story as long as you present it the right way. Like any story, case studies need to have a beginning, middle, and end, with a background, a problem, and an eventual solution. Don’t make your case studies seem salesy, or they’ll turn your followers off. Instead, focus on the logical, practical aspects of the story, and make it as personal and approachable as you can.

    Of course, it’s almost impossible to churn out a case study every week, but there are plenty of other types of stories you can tell. Post an interview with an industry leader, or recount the story of a major breakthrough in your company. The key is to strike an emotion with a narrative.

    3. Content that takes a strong stance.

    Another type of content that generates passion is an article that takes a strong stance. By “strong stance,” I mean that your article undeniably comes down on one side of a complex and divisive issue. Some content marketers are reluctant to make this kind of stance, since it could divide their user base and immediately alienate half of the crowd, but despite these risks, it’s an excellent strategy to earn yourself more company loyalty.

    Fence-sitters tend to play peacekeeping, neutral roles. It keeps them from angering anybody, but it also prevents them from making any new friends. Brands that never take strong stances might have a slightly larger audience than brands that do, but those followers aren’t passionate or loyal. Writing content that takes a firm stance in a familiar debate might alienate a few of your readers, but the rest of them will become enamored with your brand. And in the end, it’s better to have a few dozen customers who care deeply about your brand than a few hundred who couldn’t care less about it.

    Choose an issue that’s relevant to your company and industry, and make sure your article is grounded in verifiable facts and logical reasoning.

    4. Original research and new insights.

    articleimage459originalresearch

    Original research posts take more time and money to develop, but they also get better results. It’s a lot easier to look up information that someone else pulled and spin it into your own presentation than it is to plan, conduct, and analyze the research yourself. But brands that do complete original research are immediately seen as thought leaders, paving the way for their competitors and contemporaries, and introducing brand-new information into the world.

    The same advantages can be had with making new insights in a given industry. Like with taking a strong stance on a divisive issue, this strategy comes with a bit of risk, but it also poises you as a unique player in the field. Coming up with a new idea or a new application for an old idea in the industry is tough, so it might be better to start with a new research effort and build your content around that.

    Start by finding something that hasn’t yet been covered by your competitors. You can look to similar industry blogs for inspiration by acknowledging what topics have already been covered and brainstorming about how to expand that scope.

    5. Customer requested content.

    Nothing makes users passionate about a brand as much as giving them exactly what they want. Some content marketers fret over this idea, insisting that they can’t read their readers’ minds. This is true. But there’s nothing stopping you from asking your users what they’d like to read on your blog directly.

    Get on social media and pose the question regularly: what types of content would you like to see more of on our blog? If you want to be more subtle about it, create a survey or a quick poll that uncovers the interests and intentions of your followers. Observe the trends amongst your user base and customize your strategy to fit their desires and expectations.

    You might not be able to fulfill every request, but you should have enough information to start with. If one follower goes out of their way to let you know about a specific topic, chances are that hundreds of other followers would also like to see it (but didn’t take the time to let you know). Take user requests seriously, and fulfill them whenever you can.

    Simply creating these types of content isn’t enough, however. You need to support this content by posting it regularly, and syndicating it to new readers through your social media channels. Collect feedback at every turn, and think of what your followers would want when it’s time to make a new post or revise an old one. That system of feedback is what makes good content great, and with passion-inspiring content like the examples above, you’ll have a loyal, dedicated audience that grows stronger and larger every day.

  2. 8 Qualities of Content Optimized for Conversions

    Leave a Comment

    You already have a content marketing strategy, but what is the core intention of your content? Is it intended to engage and inform your readers? Is it intended to prominently display keywords that will help you rank? Or is it optimized for conversions, intended to drive people to buy or express interest in your products and services?

    If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you either haven’t thought much about it, or you’ve tried to make your content an all-around package. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but if you aren’t explicitly thinking about how your content can work to convert your readers, you’re missing out on some key opportunities.

    Incoming traffic doesn’t mean much unless you have a high conversion rate to back it up. If you can increase your conversion rate, you’ll instantly get more revenue from the traffic you’re already getting. The key is to optimize your content so that optimization is its primary goal.

    These are the eight most important qualities of content that is written with conversion optimization in mind:

    1. Personal.

    articleimage448Persona

    In order to convert potential readers, your content needs to be friendly and personal. If it reads like a high school science textbook (even if you’re selling high school science textbooks), you’ll come off as robotic, and nobody will want to buy from you. People want to buy from people, and if you present your brand with a personal, interactive voice, you’ll be far more likely to encourage those people to convert. Work on your tone by asking yourself “does this sound like a sentence I would say out loud?” and wondering what you would think of someone who spoke with the same voice as your writing. Keep your brand voice consistent, but it’s also important to give your writing a personal appeal.

    2. Helpful.

    articleimage448helpful

    Entertaining content can do a great job of entertaining, but helpful content is what really sells. When your readers come to your site and find your content, they likely have some kind of problem (whether they realize it at the time or not). If you can find a way to solve that problem with your writing, you’ll instantly win their favor, and they will be more likely to convert. In order to make your content helpful, ask your audience what types of topics they’d like to see, or at least what types of problems they are facing. Then, when you know what to write about, give as many details as possible to make sure your readers have all the information they need. Otherwise, they may seek other sources of information.

    3. Specific.

    It’s tempting to write about a broad topic, or to write to a massive audience, but if conversions are your main goal, it’s better to go specific. It’s like buying one nice car instead of three deteriorating cars. You’re only going to be driving one at a time, so you might as well make that one the best possible experience. Make your content as specific as possible by creating individual posts with a niche focus and a concentrated target demographic. General, fluff-ridden content tends to be seen as white noise, and will be far less likely to encourage readers to return or, more importantly, convert. It’s even better if your specific topics are rarely written about—it means less competition.

    4. Visually Engaging.

    Visual content attracts more visitors than stagnant written content, and in the body of your posts, visual content can keep readers longer. Part of the formula for conversions is keeping your users from “bouncing,” or leaving your posts, and visual content is a form of protection against that possibility. Use visually stunning unique photos to catch your readers’ immediate attentions, and use informative visual pieces like infographics or simple charts to keep their attention as they read the rest of your post. You can also play around with the font and formatting settings of your blog to make sure your written content appears as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Do whatever it takes to keep your readers’ eyes on the page.

    5. Authoritative.

    Nobody wants to buy from somebody who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. In order to win more conversions, you need to write with a higher level of authority. Being specific is a part of this authority building, as well as using facts and logic whenever possible. Take a firm stance on whatever subject you’re covering, but also be sure to explain and acknowledge all sides of the argument. Do extensive research before every post to make sure all your facts are in order and to stand apart as a new authority on the scene. The more authority you are perceived to have, the more likely it is that your readers will trust you and want to buy from you.

    6. Simple.

    Simple content is effective content. Simple doesn’t mean short, nor does it mean introductory. You can have a long, detailed post on a complex idea and still have it be “simple” at its core. Simple means it doesn’t have anything extraneous that it doesn’t need. The article is focused on a core concept, and covers it concisely yet fully. Simple means that someone completely unfamiliar with the subject matter should be able to read the article and get up to speed. In order to write content that converts, you need to make your material approachable and reduce it to its most effective form.

    7. Shareable.

    articleimage448shareable

    Shareable content also wins more conversions, although not necessarily from the person who first reads it. By writing shareable content, you’ll open yourself up to a higher number of conversions from the fans, followers, and friends of the people sharing your piece. Sharing content automatically gives that content more potential readers, but it also imbues it with a greater authority; because the friends of the sharer trust that sharer, they are more likely to read the content with inherent trust, and are therefore more likely to convert. Make your content shareable by making it surprising, unique, and entertaining in addition to its informative foundation.

    8. Actionable.

    Finally, if your content is to have any hope of converting readers, it needs to be actionable. Most readers will not read a piece and immediately think “I should buy from this person” or “I should give this person my information.” Instead, it is your responsibility to direct that person to another destination. You don’t necessarily want to make a sales pitch, since that defeats the purpose of inbound marketing, but you do want your readers to spend more time on your site. Use links within the body of your content to persuade your users to venture deeper within your site, and help your readers by directing them with phrases like “for more information…” or “if you want to learn more…”

    Writing content with these eight qualities is no guarantee of increasing your conversion rate, but over time, as you perfect your strategy, you should start to see more conversions. Experiment with different content subjects and posting frequencies to see which are the most effective for your client base, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your readers for regular feedback. It won’t take long for you to find a perfect rhythm for your business.

  3. 10 Daily Habits to Improve Your Content Marketing

    Leave a Comment

    Content marketing is becoming an increasingly competitive field, and marketers everywhere are scrambling to find ways to improve their strategy. In order to be successful, you need to be unique, consistent, and valuable—but you also need to keep raising the bar to increase reader loyalty and keep a positive traffic flow to your blog and social media profiles.

    It’s hard to drive a radical traffic increase without making a radical change to your strategy, but small changes can add up to form an equally substantial impact. Incorporate these 10 habits into your daily routine, and you’ll be amazed at how much the quality of your content will increase:

    1. Read national news.

    Reading the national news on a daily basis is a good idea even if you aren’t into content marketing. But in the content marketing world it will increase your vocabulary, give you broad insights into world developments, and plug you into the topics that people are interested in. Was there a major security breach? Write about how your company protects your users. Is there a new, exciting technology? Write about how your company will use it. Take advantage of the news to generate meaningful, relevant content ideas.

    2. Read your industry’s news.

    If you want to illustrate yourself as a thought leader in the industry, you have to know what’s going on in the industry. Subscribe to news feeds relevant to your industry and make it a point to read new articles on a daily basis. You’ll increase your expertise relevant to the industry and be able to incorporate that knowledge seamlessly into your future posts. Don’t just browse through the headlines; dig deep and read people’s reactions to the news to get the full scope of each announcement.

    3. See what your competitors are posting.

    Keep a running list of your closest competitors, and check up on them on a daily basis to see what they’re coming up with. Some of your competitors won’t post every day, but when they do post, you’ll know about it, and you’ll be able to respond accordingly. That might mean doing a better job of covering a topic they’ve chosen, or it might mean developing a strategy that disrupts theirs with a different angle. Be sure to see how their customers react to that content as well. It can provide clues to how your customers might react to similar content.

    4. Sketch ideas for posts.

    articleimage449sketchyourideas

    Come up with at least two new post ideas every day, even if you don’t ever use them. If you commit to generating new potential article subjects regularly, it will be easier for you to churn out tons of content, and it will give you a better chance at finding great titles. If you have 14 new potential titles every week, you can edit that number down and only work with the most successful candidates. It’s like having a huge chunk of marble to use when you’re creating a sculpture.

    5. Update your editorial calendar.

    Go back to your editorial calendar every day, even if it’s not a high priority. Find something to change in it, whether that means adding a few potential new titles, moving publication dates around, or changing the direction of your strategy. Even small updates will do. Accessing your editorial calendar on a daily basis will help to keep your broader content strategy top-of-mind, and give you a reason to expand that strategy. If you update it slightly every day, you’ll avoid the buildup of making a major update every few weeks.

    6. Shut down.

    articleimage449shutdown

    Set aside time every day to shut down your work station—that means disconnecting from the Internet, shutting down your email, closing your machine, and turning off your phone. Focus on one critical content marketing task that’s facing you, whether that’s outlining a new article or expanding your editorial calendar, and do it on paper, without any distractions. Your focus will skyrocket, and you’ll have a far easier time completing the task without anything else getting in your way. It will also help your mind relax and retain more information.

    7. Talk.

    articleimage449talking

    If you’re stuck in a corner writing content on your own, you’re going to get stuck in a rut. On a daily basis, go out of your way to talk to other people in your company and other people in your industry. It doesn’t take much; just have an open conversation and see what’s on their mind. It’s a great way to get new insights and discover what the people around you are currently dealing with. Thinking outside the box and stepping outside of your comfort zone will make it easier for you to come up with diverse ideas for topics and content types.

    8. Deepen your relationship with your customers.

    Take some time every day to get to know your customers just a little better. One way to do this is to imagine your target customer profile and visualize how you would talk to them about a trending topic. Of course, you could also have a real conversation with a real customer. Create segmented lists on your social media platforms and glance through what they’re talking about, or start a conversation thread and invite your followers to respond. When your target customer is always top of mind, you’ll be able to write more targeted content.

    9. Write.

    This may seem like an obvious choice to any content marketer, but in order to get better at writing, you have to write every day. Set aside at least 20 minutes and use that time to write something, even if you feel underprepared or overwhelmed with other tasks. By writing every day, you’ll not only get a little better at it every day, you’ll also trigger the “Seinfeld productivity trick.” Whatever it is you want to do, keep doing it every day, and don’t break the chain. For as long as that chain remains unbroken, you’ll increase your commitment to your ultimate vision.

    10. Delete.

    It may surprise you, but deleting is just as important as creating in the world of content marketing. For every 10 topic ideas you come up with, you’ll be deleting at least eight. For every 10 pages of content you write, you’ll be deleting at least five (even if it’s just to be rewritten). In order to stand out in the world of content marketing, you have to whittle your ideas down to the best of the best, so take time every day to weed out a few sentences or a few posts that you don’t really need. It will raise your standards and get you used to the idea of letting go of less-than-stellar ideas.

    Improving your content marketing strategy takes commitment and consistency, and these 10 habits will gradually guide you to a better destination. As you start practicing these habits, you may find that some of them work better than others; every content marketer is unique and every business has unique demands, so adjust your daily strategies accordingly. Eventually, you’ll refine your practices to a repeatable, beneficial routine that bolsters the quality and value of your content while fitting in nicely with the rest of your daily responsibilities.

  4. The 10 Top Mistakes of Facebook Marketers

    Leave a Comment

    When most people think of social media marketing, they immediately think of Facebook. There’s a good reason for it, since Facebook is the largest social network in the world with almost 1.3 billion users, but there’s an inherent problem with Facebook marketers, especially those new to the social media marketing scene: they think of Facebook as a magic customer pool instead of what it is, a content marketing platform.

    Social media marketing started circulating as a gimmick, drawing in thousands of new entrepreneurs because of its novelty and its popularity as a buzzword. But it has matured as a marketing platform, and the research-focused marketer can harness its power to increase web traffic and brand awareness successfully.

    As you begin or continue your Facebook marketing efforts, be sure to avoid these 10 all-too-common mistakes:

    1. Failing to start with a strategy.

    articleimage453Failing to start with a strategy

    You wouldn’t rush into a traditional marketing campaign without thinking through your strategy, would you? Many small business owners have tried—and failed—to use Facebook on a whim, after hearing the promise of increased web traffic and more customer engagements. But before you start posting on Facebook, it’s a good idea to outline your goals. Do some research about your key demographics, look up some case studies of successful Facebook marketers, and develop a game plan that includes both short-term and long-term goals. Follow up by adjusting that strategy gradually as you learn more details about your audience.

    2. Leaving out critical information.

    Facebook business pages have many available fields for you to input your information. Only a handful of them are required in order to take your page live, but you should fill out as many of them as possible. Have an appropriately branded profile image and cover photo, and be as detailed as possible in your summaries and information fields. Many people use Facebook pages to find hours and directions for local businesses, so don’t leave any of that valuable information out. On a related note, it’s a good idea to create your own custom URL so your Facebook URL isn’t just a series of random numbers.

    3. Breaking the rules.

    articleimage453breakingtherules

    Having a Facebook page doesn’t mean you can post whatever you want to your users. You have to play by their rules. Under Facebook’s terms of use, you are not allowed to use a cover photo that contains any pricing information, any calls to action (such as asking users to like your page), or any contact information. If you plan on running contests, there are several strict guidelines you should be aware of; you cannot notify winners through Facebook itself, you cannot ask users to participate using comments, and you must make it clear that your promotion is not affiliated with Facebook directly.

    4. Only measuring success in terms of “likes.”

    articleimage453Only measuring success in terms of likes

    The “like” function lends itself to being overblown. It’s easy to see a post with 200,000 likes and 10,000 shares and think about the possibilities for your own brand if you were to get that kind of attention. But likes are cheap. Your page could have a million likes, but only a handful of true fans, or your page could have only a dozen likes, but all of them coming from hardcore fans. What’s important isn’t the number of likes you get, it’s the number of truly engaged fans you earn.

    5. Using an inconsistent voice.

    Fans of your Facebook page expect some consistency. If you have multiple people running your Facebook campaign, you’re bound to have some tonal dissonance between them because everybody writes in a different voice. However, if you set strict standards for your brand’s voice and make sure all of your posts are consistent, you can avoid this. Posting in a consistent voice helps build your brand and earn your customers’ loyalty. Otherwise, you could alienate your user base with unpredictable—and unprofessional—posts.

    6. Failing to take advantage of Insights.

    Facebook Insights is a data platform that exists solely to provide extensive data to you, the Facebook marketer. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s quite useful, so if you aren’t already taking advantage of it, you’re making a mistake. Facebook Insights is like Google Analytics for your Facebook page. You’ll be able to track and measure the popularity of your page in terms of likes, new fans, comments, shares, and even impressions and interest in your page. With this information, you can experiment and learn more about your target audience. Eventually, you can refine your strategy and increase your ROI, but without that critical information, you’ll be running blind.

    7. Posting constantly.

    Amateur Facebook marketers hear that it’s important to post regularly, and take that advice to the extreme by posting on an almost constant basis. It’s true that posting new content on a regular basis is a good thing, but most Facebook users get annoyed when their news feeds are bombarded with companies’ messages. As a general rule, posting once or twice a day is a safe frequency. If you post any more than that, you better have a good reason for it or your followers will abandon you.

    8. Posting only one type of content.

    While your Facebook page should be consistent, it shouldn’t be entirely predictable. People want to see a variety of content in their news feeds, and you have the ability to give it to them. Post simple observations, links to articles on your website, links to promotions, images, and videos. Use every type of content you can to capture different segments of your target audience and keep your current followers as engaged as possible.

    9. Being too aggressive.

    One of the biggest reasons why marketers use Facebook is the promise of acquiring new customers. In a desperate attempt to get those new users’ attentions, some Facebook marketers go over the top. Reaching out to unfamiliar people, trying too hard to get someone’s attention, tagging people who didn’t ask to be, and following up with extensive comments are all practices that can irritate potential users and turn them off of your brand. Instead of reaching out to people on Facebook, focus on making your page as appealing as possible to bring them to you—it’s inbound marketing, after all.

    10. Ruling out the idea of Facebook ads.

    Some marketers think of Facebook as free advertising (which in some ways, it is), and instantly reject the idea of paying for ad space because of it. This isn’t necessarily a good idea. Facebook ads, when constructed effectively, can do wonders for increasing web traffic and improving your users’ relationships with your brand. They aren’t for everybody, however, and it pays to do your research up front to know exactly what you’re getting into and exactly what your goals are. Nevertheless, Facebook ads are at least worth considering for the majority of businesses with Facebook pages.

    The most important consideration for Facebook marketing is treating it the same way you would any serious marketing campaign. You have to understand the platform, understand your audience, and use facts and research to support your efforts. Only with a long-term commitment to objective results can you achieve a return on your investment and utilize the platform to its full potential.

  5. 10 Takeaways from Mozcon 2014 Thought Leaders

    Leave a Comment

    MozCon remains one of the biggest, most important conferences in the world for the topics of SEO, social media, content marketing, branding, and community building. Started by Moz founder Rand Fishkin, the annual conference attracts thousands of participants and dozens of innovators and geniuses who present their latest findings in the field. For three solid days of presentations and discussions, thought leaders help spread their dynamic ideas and learn from their fellow experts.

    MozCon 2014 did not disappoint. Check out some of the highlights from these ten innovative conference presenters:

    1. SEO Doesn’t Matter: User Experience Does.

    articleimage427SEO Doesn’t Matter

    It takes a special kind of bravery to denounce the importance of SEO at a conference hosted by a leading SEO authority. Entrepreneur and thought leader Wil Reynolds wasn’t afraid to put his opinion in straightforward terms: “You know what matters more than links? Customers.” Reynolds went on to discuss the importance of understanding what’s important to your business and why, rather than trying to hit some arbitrary metric like a certain number of blog posts or a certain number of links. When all is said and done, what keeps customers coming back is a great overall user experience.

    2. 6-3-5 Brainwriting Will Make Sure You Never Run Out of Ideas.

    articleimage4276-3-5 brainwriting

    Do you ever wish you had a fast, easy way to come up with 100 new ideas for your business or blog? Stacey MacNaught showed us how to accomplish this in half an hour with a technique she called “6-3-5 Brainwriting.” Six people sit down for six rounds of brainstorming, each lasting for five minutes (the 6 and 5 in the equation). At the start of each round, one person writes down three new ideas (the 3 in the equation). These ideas are passed around the table, with each person coming up with three new ideas inspired by the previous three, so by the end of the round you’ll have 18 new ideas. After six rounds of five minutes each, you’ll have spent 30 minutes coming up with 108 new ideas.

    3. Broken Brand Promises Are the Source of  Dissatisfaction.

    Author and educator Kerry Bodine, with her presentation entitled “Broken Brand Promises,” illustrated the importance of quality customer service with a number of statistics—81 percent of all consumers happily pay more for a better experience, and 64 percent of consumers have switched to a competitor after receiving a poor customer experience. Bodine suggests that “broken brand promises” are the root of dissatisfaction. In order to give your customers the best possible experience, you have to deliver exactly what you are expected to deliver.

    4. Save the Best for First.

    articleimage427Save the Best for First

    The phrase “save the best for last” is antiquated, or at least irrelevant to the world of content marketing, according to Dr. Pete Meyers. If you have a great idea, you might be tempted to wait to develop it, in the hopes that you’ll be able to give it the time and attention it truly deserves at some future date or over the course of several weeks and months. However, Meyers argued the longer you wait to write about your “great idea,” the less passionate you’re going to be about it, resulting in an inferior finished product. Instead, work on your greatest ideas first.

    5. Great Communities Need a Sense of Community.

    It sounds painfully obvious, but too many inbound marketers have tried to build a social following that has no interconnected elements that draw people together. As Richard Millington explained, communities can only thrive if people are actively contributing to that community, and people only want to contribute if they feel they can actually influence the group. In order to create a community where people feel that influence, you have to carefully analyze the environment and build a structure that empowers people to influence each other.

    6. Experiment Like a Scientist.

    For search marketers, trying to rank in search engines is like a constant experiment. You never have all the information (because Google keeps its algorithms under lock-and-key), but over time you can develop an idea of how things work. Moz founder Rand Fishkin gave the closing presentation at this year’s conference, describing the importance of “Mad Science Experiments in SEO and Social Media.” According to Fishkin, the best way to learn more about your search marketing environment is to conduct your experiments thoroughly, like a scientist, with all the rigor of the scientific method. That means establishing control groups, repeating your experiments multiple times, and looking at a variety of factors—not just ranks—to form a conclusion.

    7. Tell a Story Instead of Relying on Charts.

    As a search marketer, you’re probably used to thinking of your progress in terms of numbers, charts, and graphs. After all, Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools are incredible resources you can use to retrieve almost any kind of data you need to measure your success objectively. But speaker Marshall Simmonds argued that information can only get you so far; you need to take that information and turn it into a story in order to truly understand how much progress you’ve made, and why you are where you are. Through storytelling, you can have better, higher-level conversations and come up with more abstract ideas on how to improve your performance.

    8. Establish a Period to Loom Over Failure.

    Former Olympic Skier and current entrepreneur Jeremy Bloom spoke about the importance of recovering from failure as a part of any marketer’s career. Failure is a recurring certainty no matter how prepared you are, but Bloom suggested a strategy with how to cope with (and learn from) failure. After a failure, no matter how big or how small, Bloom argued that you should dedicate a specific amount of time to spend considering the outcome, dissecting the factors responsible for it, and planning to prevent such an outcome in the future. After that period of time has passed, whether it’s one hour or three weeks, you have to cut mental ties with the failure and move on.

    9. Find a Methodology for Idea Generation.

    One of the most difficult tasks for any content marketer or entrepreneur is coming up with new ideas. For many professionals, idea creation is an unpredictable, chaotic process, dependent on a random stroke of genius to propel an idea forward. Richard Baxter, CEO and content marketer, argued that the best tactics for idea generation are built around a solid, predictable process. Citing fundamental principles from the landmark work A Technique for Producing Ideas, Baxter explains that methodology is the key to coming up with consistently great new ideas.

    10. Experts Are Key for Stronger Content and Stronger Relationships.

    According to Lexi Mills, contracting independent journalists who are known as experts in their respective fields is one of the best ways to cultivate a dynamic long-term content strategy. These journalists already have the credibility and authority to write engaging, detailed material, and they can easily draw an audience when working on behalf of your company. Over time, you’ll develop a strong network of niche journalists, and you’ll have a veritable army of content creators you can call on when you need expertly written content.

    The scope of content marketing and SEO is always changing, so it pays to stay ahead of the curve. Take these insights to heart as you continue to refine and perfect your inbound marketing strategies.

  6. How Long is Too Long For a Blog Post?

    Leave a Comment

    articleimage422How Long is Too Long For a Blog Post

    Blog posts are typically the most frequent and most integral elements of a business’s content marketing strategy. Posted regularly and shared through social media, blog posts are responsible for adding more indexed content for a website, thereby increasing page rank in search engines, and increasing overall web traffic by encouraging links with interesting material.

    The rules that govern which blog posts are effective are neither straightforward nor clear. We know that Google has a preference for well-written, authoritative content, but those are general terms. Accordingly, the question of appropriate blog post length—and how long is too long for a blog post—is difficult to concisely answer.

    Why Length Isn’t the Most Important Factor

    articleimage422Why Length Isn’t the Most Important Factor

    First, it’s important to understand that the length of your blog post isn’t what matters most. It’s true that cutting or extending your posts to a given length can be advantageous, but there are several more important factors in your blog strategy, including:

    • Expertise.

    You need to come across as an authority in your field, no matter what that field is. Blog posts need facts and clear information, no matter what length they are.

    • Catchiness.

    Your headline, especially, needs to grab readers’ attentions immediately. It’s possible that your long post is catchy but your short post is not—so make catchiness a priority.

    • Shareability.

    Shareability is what gets blog posts circulating. In order to be shareable, your blog post needs to be concise, clear, surprising, informative, entertaining, and valuable.

    • Voice.

    Voice is another important yet underrated factor. Your blogs should all be written in a consistent voice that fits your brand and is tailored to your target audience.

    • Regularity.

    The frequency of your posts matters more than the length. It’s better to make several shorter posts on a regular basis than it is one long post over the same period.

    • Formatting.

    Blogs should be easy to read no matter how long they are, which usually means including subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, and images to guide readers’ eyes.

    Advantages of Short Blog Posts

    articleimage422shortblogpost

    Short blog posts, typically between 200 and 500 words, but sometimes as short as 25, do have a number of distinct advantages over their longer counterparts. If you find that short blog posts work better for your overall strategy, 5-600 is a general upper limit (of course, nothing can be strictly defined out of context).

    There are several key advantages of short posts:

    Readability

    Attention spans are lower today than they’ve ever been, and that means getting attention from your readers is harder. Shorter blog posts require less time to read, and therefore, they attract a wider audience of time-compressed, distracted individuals. If you find that your target audience prefers easily digestible, short bursts of content to longer, more detailed posts, consider adding shorter blog posts to your schedule.

    Shareability

    “Shareability” isn’t exactly a measurable quality. However, writing posts that are punchy and witty is easier when you have less overall material to work with. Cutting your content down to its absolute core is a good strategy to concentrate your messaging, which is appealing for individuals who are looking for something that accomplishes a lot in a short amount of space. This quality tends to increase the likelihood of people sharing your post on social media, since it’s quick and unobtrusive.

    Greater Post Frequency and Consistency

    Writing shorter blog posts usually means you have a greater ability to post frequently and consistently. When writing posts of several thousand words, it’s tough to find enough material to cover in a similar length—however, there are thousands of unique topics that can easily be condensed or split into pocket-sized versions. Posting frequently and regularly is more important than hitting a specific word count, so if you’re concerned about your post frequency, consider a shorter blog.

    Minimal Effort

    Finally, shorter blog posts require less effort to complete. Intuitively, it generally takes a writer less time to produce 400 words of content than it does to produce 1500 words. That means as a writer, you won’t need to dedicate as much time to writing posts, and as an employer, you won’t have to pay as much for your content. While this can be an advantage, it’s important to note that spending effort is a good thing, and generally, the more time you invest in your strategy, the better.

    Advantages of Long Blog Posts

    Long blog posts, which are usually more than 1,000 words, have plenty of advantages of their own. While short blog posts have a narrower range, long blog posts can be 1,000-2,000 words, on up to 8,000 words or more. There is no strict upper limit for “long” blog posts, but if you get too detailed or cover too many topics, you start getting into

    Greater Depth (and Therefore, Authority)

    Authority is a big deal. If your readers view you as an expert, they’ll keep reading. Otherwise, they won’t stick around. Longer posts generally give you more space and more opportunities to show off your knowledge; you have a chance to explore a given topic in far greater detail, exploring more facets of the subject and presenting more facts and data to support your claims. It’s possible to present yourself as an expert in a short post too, but longer posts give you greater potential to do so.

    Greater Variety

    Short posts tend to get repetitive, especially if you explore similar topics or use the same formatting. On one hand, consistency is important in a blog because it gives readers a familiar, brand-specific experience that keeps them coming back. On the other hand, diversity is important. Longer blog posts allow you to explore a wider range of topics and incorporate related ideas into the bodies of your posts.

    More Shares and Backlinks

    While shorter, more concise content is easily shareable in the form of a social media post, longer, more detailed posts tend to be cited more. They are shared as presentations of information rather than as passing talking points, and as a result, they generate more backlinks. As you’re likely well aware, backlinks pointing back to your site are extremely important for SEO and are becoming more difficult to build naturally because of Google’s Penguin update. Writing long content attracts more natural links as external sources cite you as an authority.

    More Indexing

    Google’s main web crawler, appropriately called Googlebot, scours the web and indexes every significant piece of information it can find, adding it to a massive store of information that Google uses to generate search results. Having longer stretches of content on your site means Googlebot spends more time scouring your information, and Google will view you as a higher authority. Sites with long written content tend to perform better than sites with short content—but only when posted regularly.

    Is There Such a Thing as Too Long?

    Technically speaking, a blog post cannot be “too long.” However, consider the main intention of the blog post: to present a digestible amount of concise material on a specific topic to a relevant audience. If your blog post becomes so long that it is:

    • No longer digestible,
    • No longer concise,
    • No longer focused on one specific topic, or
    • No longer relevant,

    then your post truly has become too long. You could hit these “too long” qualifiers with a 10,000 word blog post or with a 500 word one. Context is the key.

    Finding the Perfect Fit

    For most businesses, there is no “perfect length” for a blog post. While longer blog posts tend to perform better as a whole, different topics and different intentions will necessitate different lengths. Include a variety of different blog lengths, from short and punchy to long and detailed, to get the best results for your campaign, and try not to worry about your numbers as much as the more important factors for blog post success.

  7. 15 Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

    Leave a Comment

    Speed counts. Google uses a number of factors to determine your site’s ranking in its search engine results pages (SERPs), but among them is the time it takes to load your website. Google is all about improving user experience, so if your site takes too long to load, you could have a much harder time ranking for your target keywords. Lowering your site’s load time can put you in a much better position to rank for any given keyword.

    WordPress, one of the most popular platforms for website creation, offers a number of different themes, templates, plugins, and widgets to give you a completely controllable user experience. For most businesses getting started on the web, this is a bit overwhelming, but it’s important to make the right decisions when setting up and maintaining your WordPress site. In order to give your users the best experience and improve your chances of ranking, use these strategies to improve your site’s load times:

    1. Get an Efficient Host.

    articleimage416Get an Efficient Host

    Hosting may not seem like a big deal, especially if this is your first site, but the type of hosting you have makes a big difference in your load times. For example, if you opt for shared hosting in order to save a bit of money, you could be setting yourself up for drastically slower load times, especially under peak conditions.

    2. Reduce Your Images.

    As you might imagine, high-definition images can be a major drag on your site’s load times. Each individual user must download these images when accessing a page that contains them, so if you can replace those images with much smaller, faster images, you’ll instantly improve your load times. The WordPress plugin WP Smush.it is one tool that can help you automatically and efficiently compress the size and load times of all the images on your site.

    3. Choose an Efficient Theme.

    articleimage416Choose an Efficient Theme

    The themes and frameworks available on WordPress are part of what has made the platform so popular, but not all themes are efficient. In many cases, it’s better to choose a simple, unadorned theme with lightning-fast load times than a bulkier theme you prefer from an aesthetic perspective. Don’t worry; there are tons of themes with light frameworks to choose from (including some of the defaults).

    4. Clean Up Your Plugins.

    Some plugins can be valuable to your load times, like the WP Smush.it tool we mentioned above. However, many plugins simply take up space and make your site bulkier to process. Check out P3, the Plugin Performance Profiler—it can quickly tell you how each of your plugins affect your overall load times and give you direction for which ones to keep and which ones to disable.

    5. Zip Your Website Files.

    articleimage416zipyourfiles

    Compressing your website as a ZIP file allows for much easier transmission to your users’ browsers. Essentially, you’re reducing the amount of data that is transmitted without changing the final product displayed. There are several zipping applications available, but any of them will suffice so long as they don’t otherwise interfere with your loading times.

    6. Use a Caching Plugin—but Set It Up Properly.

    Caching plugins tend to be free to download and install, and they’re relatively easy to use. By directing browsers to download files stored in a visitor’s cache instead of trying to download them from the server, you can cut significant loading time. It only works for repeat visitors, but it’s still valuable. Just avoid playing around with the advanced settings too much or you could interfere with its proper functioning.

    7. Reorganize Your Homepage.

    Maximize your layout for speed. Show segments of posts rather than full content, make the length of your homepage shorter, and remove any widgets and plugins you don’t need on the homepage (including social sharing widgets, which belong on individual posts rather than on the homepage directly).

    8. Make Your Database More Efficient.

    If you know what you’re doing, you can clean up your database manually, but the better way is to use the WP-Optimize plugin. With this plugin, you can quickly and easily establish settings that prevent the buildup of unnecessary information on your database. Since you’re storing information more efficiently, your page will end up loading faster on your users’ machines.

    9. Control Image Loading.

    You can selectively control which images load immediately for the user in order to reduce the total amount of information necessary for a user to download from the server. With the right setup, only images above the fold will load immediately, and the remaining images will load only when the user scrolls down accordingly. It’s possible to do this manually, but it’s easier to do it with a plugin.

    10. Get Rid of Pingbacks and Trackbacks.

    Pingbacks and trackbacks are notifications from external blogs that inform your blog that it’s been mentioned. Pingbacks and trackbacks automatically update the data contained in your post, thereby increasing the amount of data needed to load and increasing load times. Getting rid of pingbacks and trackbacks will preserve your backlinks but prevent the extra data from being stored on your site.

    11. Eliminate Unused Post Drafts.

    Drafts of old blog posts can weigh down your site more than you think. For example, if you revise a draft four times, you’ll have five total versions of your blog post sitting in your site’s database. You’ll never need to reference those earlier drafts, so update your database settings (perhaps using the WP-Optimize plugin we mentioned in point 8) to delete them and prevent unnecessary storage in the future.

    12. Use Static HTML Instead of PHP When You Can.

    This isn’t something everyone should do, but for those of you looking to cut load times dramatically, it’s an additional option. PHP is a useful way to improve the efficiency of your site, but it also occupies server processes while it’s running. If you can replace it with a static HTML equivalent, it’s worth trying.

    13. Take Advantage of a Content Delivery Network.

    Content delivery networks (CDNs) provide the same data you would ordinarily need to transmit to your users—such as CSS files and images—but on closer servers to maximize user download speeds. There are many CDNs available, but most will require a subscription fee to use.

    14. Aggregate Your CSS and Javascript Files.

    If you use several plugins, your site probably links to multiple CSS and javascript files on every page, which can interfere with loading times. Instead, use a plugin like Minify to combine all that information to a much more condensed, faster-downloading form.

    15. Disable hotlinking.

    Hotlinking is the process of linking to another person’s images, thereby increasing server loads without necessarily increasing your traffic. Disable hotlinking with a handful of steps and prevent that extra burden.

    Obviously, load times aren’t the only factor Google uses in populating its search results. You still need to have a regular, high quality content marketing strategy, a social media presence, well-structured meta data, and a long-term backlinking strategy. However, if you put these tips to good use and decrease your WordPress site’s load time, you’ll be able to simultaneously improve your domain authority (and thus, your rankings) and give your users a better overall experience.

  8. Online Reputation Management – How Paying Close Attention Can Save the Day

    Leave a Comment

    The Internet has the potential to make or break your business. With the advent of social media, it has become even more easy to build (or destroy) your reputation. That’s the reason online reputation management has evolved to become a specialized service.

    Your reputation on the Internet can be subject to a lot of volatility. Do something awesome, and you’re liable to get liked, shared, and followed by a huge number of loyal fans overnight. But if you do something off-putting … BOOM! Down goes your carefully constructed professional image.

    If you think your online reputation is doing all right, you might be correct. But you might not. While you may be seeing positive reviews about yourself or your business, you need to really “listen” beyond “what you can hear” because the Internet is populated by all sorts of noises.

    Someone could have posted defaming statements against you somewhere. There might be negative posts on certain social media about your operation. While you only checked out the first page or two of Google search results for anything about your business, the pages further down might be sprinkled with content that could prove damaging to your reputation, both on and off-line.

    Paying close attention saves the day

    The key to keeping your Internet reputation sparkling clean is to pay close attention to what people say about you.

    Paying close attention should be something you do concurrently with your efforts to fill the search engines and social media venues with positive information about your activities. Your success online rests on how well you optimize your site for the key terms that you would like your business to dominate.

    However, it’s equally crucial to address any questionable issues that might be raised about your business — and you must address them quickly.

    How do you set out to listen in on what people are saying about your business?

    The tools

    Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a marvelous online tool that enables you to zero in on any topic or news area you want. It’s highly customizable, so you can set an alert for any topic that interests you, including yourself or your company.

    The alerts are sent to your email at whatever frequency you prefer. One of the great things about Google Alerts is that you receive alerts on the freshest news or commentaries that are published on whatever topic(s) you register to be alerted on.

    Social media tools. These days, it’s impossible to ignore the enormous opportunities that social media has to offer. It has served as a medium for businesses to promote their products and services, and customers are largely choosing it as their most preferred tool for airing their complaints.

    You can program Twitter and Facebook, two of today’s leading social tools, to track mentions about your business. You can also use these sites to track mentions about your competitors and study what the public is saying about them.

    By using social media to track mentions of your business, you can respond to consumer concerns immediately, show your appreciation for any positive comments, and defuse threatening discussions that could potentially destroy your reputation.

    When you’re proactive in this way, and you maintain a high profile across the web, this shows potential customers that you stay fully aware of any issues relating to your business, and that you are always ready to resolve them with people in a quick and timely manner.

    Conclusion

    Make the most of the tools available to you on the Internet for proper online reputation management. They are at your disposal so you can pay close attention to what people are saying about you and your business, and most of them are free to use.

    Employ them to your advantage before the damage gets too costly to handle … or recover from.

  9. Top Ways to Engage Your Customers

    Leave a Comment

    With a little help from powerful headlines, social media promotions, and SEO, you can get potential customers to visit your site.

    That’s just half of your job as an online marketer, however. What counts at least as much is how well you engage people once they’ve found their way in. If you can’t properly hold your visitors’ attention inside your site, all your efforts to pull them in will have been wasted.

    What’s even more frustrating is when you’ve paid for that traffic: then you’ll have blown precious budget as well.

    To help you engage your customers more fully once they’ve clicked into your site, we commend the following tips to your attention.

    Take advantage of the power of surveys
    Consider offering surveys to your visitors. You might be surprised to learn how many web visitors are more than happy to accommodate you by taking the time to answer questions in a survey. This is especially true if your site has something to please your users — like a little humor or eye-catching design — or offers extremely useful information.

    By providing a survey, you will not only discover how people feel about your site, but you’ll also gain valuable insights into which areas of your site could use improvement.

    You will also make your visitors feel valued for their comments and ideas. This sets the stage for potentially fruitful and lasting relationships with them.

    Make your site more social
    Social media engagement should be high on the list for all webmasters and online marketers. You may have recognized the importance of making your site more social to engage visitors and boost traffic, but you may not be implementing it properly.

    One way to do it is by making it easy to share your content on some of the biggest social networks. Place social media tools such as Facebook like, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, and Google+ buttons at a prominent position on every page of your site. This will encourage your audience to share your content, especially if they find it interesting, relevant, and useful.

    It’s also a smart move to place a Facebook badge on the sidebar of your site to show your visitors which of their friends have recommended or liked your site.

    Use video with YouTube
    Integrating video into your site’s content is a powerful method of engaging your audience more effectively. By now almost everyone knows that including video is good for SEO. However, you should be mindful of the fact that using it improperly could backfire on you.

    When incorporating video, make sure you use only clips that are highly related to your content. Even better, you can opt to create your own video content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take some of your previously published content and re-purpose it to furnish the meat of your videos.

    This will appeal to a wider audience, especially visitors who are more engaged by imagery. If you include video on your site, odds are your audience will like you even more for it.

    Appeal to the human emotions
    Finally, don’t forget to create content that appeals to human emotion. Try to create content that is not just interesting, but also funny or inspiring.

    Humorous content is a sure hit among today’s online browsers. You can also appeal to your audience’s need to feel important. In other words, when you compose new content, be sure to focus on what your potential customers want and not what you like. Talk about what’s going to make them genuinely happy.

    Conclusion
    If you apply the tips outlined here for your next set of content, you will see improvements in the way people interact with your site. You should also see dramatic results in traffic as well as in conversion.

    If you want to find out more about how to create effective and highly engaging content for your site, contact us to learn about your options.

  10. New page added: FAQ

    Leave a Comment

    Head on over to the new FAQ page for answers to the most common questions I hear. I’ll be updating this frequently. Additionally, if you have any questions that aren’t on the FAQ page, feel free to Contact Us.

Success! We've just sent an email containing a download link for your selected resource. Please check your spam folder if you don't receive it within 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Love,

-The AudienceBloom Team