CALL US:  1-877-545-GROW

Category Archive: Content Marketing

  1. 7 Ideas for Fresh Video Content on Your Site

    Leave a Comment

    Content is still king when it comes to SEO and inbound traffic generation, but written content alone is no longer enough to cut it. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need visual content—images and videos—and that’s only going to grow in importance as the years go on. Written content is going to become even more oversaturated, new video technologies are going to make it easier to share and stream videos, and users are going to demand more and more video content accordingly.

    The problem, of course, is that high-quality videos are harder and more expensive to create than basic written articles. Coming up with ideas for videos, if you aren’t accustomed to the medium, is challenging. That’s why I’ve created this list of seven ideas almost anyone can use to produce original videos for a content marketing campaign:


    articleimage1447 interviews

    Interviews are one of the most practical videos you can make, for several reasons. First, interviews can easily be translated into multiple mediums; in addition to making a video, you can publish the audio track as a podcast or downloadable mp3, and publish a transcript for the written SEO benefits. Second, interviews naturally involve a second person, usually a major authority in your industry. That person will inevitably share the video with his/her own audience, greatly multiplying the initial reach of your content. You can also turn an interview video as part of a series, giving you an easy thread for future development.

    2. Demos.

    articleimage1447 demo

    If you have any products or services (and chances are, you do), you can produce a video showing your customers how the product or service works. For example, if you have a tech product that requires specific inputs or specific real-world applications, you can guide your users in best practices. If you have an app or a piece of software, you can help guide your users through the basics of its use. This is especially important if your product or service is complex or confusing to new users.

    3. Tutorials.

    articleimage1447 tutorials

    Instead of a demo, you can make a tutorial or instructional video, possibly one unrelated to any of your products or services. For example, if you’re a personal financial advisor, you can run people through the basics of creating a budget. If you’re an auto mechanic, you can teach people how to conduct a simple oil change. The more detailed you are, the better, but you don’t need anything fancy to complete the work. Walking users through the steps, one by one, with a suitable voiceover is more than enough for most applications.

    4. Webinars.

    articleimage1447 webinar

    Webinars, rather than focusing on any products or actions, tend to focus more on general topics. They’re a perfect opportunity to show off your abilities as a thought leader and gather people together. When you first release a webinar, it’s best to offer it to a live audience. Publicize it across social media channels, and consider offering a reward in exchange for attending. As you do multiple webinars, you’ll gradually build a dedicated audience subscribing to them. Beyond that, you can offer all your old webinars as downloadable or streaming videos in your archives.

    5. Q and As.

    articleimage1447  Q and As

    Q and As are like a hybrid of webinars and interviews; like a webinar, you’ll be showing off your expertise and talking about a handful of specific topics relevant to your industry. Like an interview, you’ll be in charge of finding and responding to certain questions on that topic—except the questions are going to come from your audience. Use social media channels or surveys to bring together common questions your followers have on a certain topic, and prepare them in advance so you can answer them all on video. Q and As are another repeatable idea, so you can easily turn them into an ongoing weekly series.

    6. Video Infographics.

    Video infographics are much like image infographics—they use visual imagery (and sometimes sound) to illustrate pieces of information, such as statistics or trends. Generally, infographics are more labor and skill intensive than other forms of content, especially if you want to make an impressive one. But basic video infographics don’t demand years of video editing experience or niche expertise. For example, you can use a simple whiteboard or basic on-paper sketches to illustrate your concepts. If you aren’t artistically talented, you can use stick figures and graphs. The key is to reduce complex topics to simple visuals with accompanying data or narration.

    7. Testimonials.

    Video testimonials from your clients and customers are some of the best forms of video content you can offer, because they don’t feature your brand at the center. Instead, a human face and independent third party will be presenting your brand (hopefully) in a positive light. Its biggest advantage is also a core hurdle to overcome; you’ll rely on your customers to produce and send you these videos. It takes some of the pressure off you, but in exchange, you’ll have to offer prizes or similar incentives to get the ball rolling for customer-submitted reviews.

    If you haven’t already started incorporating videos into your content marketing campaign, now’s the time to start. Auto-played videos are becoming integral to major platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and soon, Google), and new video apps are being voraciously downloaded and used by consumers everywhere. The sooner you start making good use of videos, the more you’ll stand to benefit.

  2. Should You Be Using Videos in Your Content Marketing Campaign?

    Leave a Comment

    With wireless Internet available just about everywhere and faster-than-ever speeds for public consumption, videos are more popular than ever. YouTube currently sees over 300 hours of video uploaded every single minute, with over a billion users signing in to view that content. Obviously, uploading a video doesn’t mean it’s going to be seen by a billion people, but the visibility potential of online videos is massive.

    Still, many content marketers are forgoing a video campaign for one reason or another. They’re seen as expensive, or difficult to manage, or out of the marketer’s core expertise, so they’re forgone as a content marketing element. Certainly, there’s an advantage in knowing your strengths and playing to them, but is the elimination of videos from your content marketing campaign a wise move?

    The Benefits

    articleimage1424 The Benefits

    First, let’s take a look at the ways videos can assist your campaign

    Cross-channel visibility

    Remember that the more visibility you have online, the better. Getting involved on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is going to be a bigger boon for your business than just Facebook. Similarly, any video-sharing platforms you can get involved on, such as YouTube, are going to help. Even if you only get a few hundred views per video, several of those few hundred viewers will wind up as referral traffic to your site. In this way, each video could generate between dozens and thousands of new visitors, and that will only grow and compound with time.

    Alternate mediums for audience segments

    Not everybody has the time, patience, or inclination to read a lengthy article. Some people would rather get a digestible version in 30 seconds, or have a medium they can listen to while multitasking. Failing to offer videos completely alienates that segment of your audience. Including videos, in contrast, greatly increases the number of people you can reach through content.

    SEO Boosts

    Video content can also give a boost to your SEO campaign. First, remember that videos count as an additional form of content, and the more content Google finds on your site, the better. Embedding your videos in blog posts and throughout the site can actively increase your core site’s domain authority. Plus, YouTube videos often come up in Google search results—if a user inputs a query that matches your video’s description, chances are your video will be one of a few to pop up. It’s a way of expanding the territory you own in SERPs.

    The Drawbacks

    articleimage1424  The Drawbacks

    Of course, no medium is without its drawbacks, and you must consider them before pursuing videos as a medium.

    Time and Money

    The big consideration for most content marketers is the amount of time and money it takes to produce a video. However, I’ve found that marketers generally overestimate the level of effort it takes to make a decent short. You don’t need to hire a team member, nor do you need to consult a freelance expert (unless you’re serious about stepping up your game). All you really need is a smartphone camera and an Internet connection. Even simple videos, with one person speaking to the camera, are often enough to get the video component of a content marketing campaign rolling. You just have to have something unique to say.

    Medium Complications

    Some marketers are also intimidated by videos as a new and unfamiliar medium. Don’t be! Today’s technology makes it unbelievably easy to record and publish videos on the go. A YouTube account and a simple video file are all you need to make your video online and public—and uploading is a matter of clicking a handful of buttons. Once published, you can embed and share your video across other mediums easily as well.

    The Future

    articleimage1424 The Future

    It’s also worth mentioning that video content is not a fad. It’s not going to go away anytime soon. In fact, the trend is only going to rise over the course of the next decade.

    Consider the fact that the Internet continues to grow faster and more accessible with each passing day. The more people have Internet and the faster that connection is, the more people will be willing and able to watch videos online. Consider also the fact that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other major online platforms have slowly begun to favor videos over other forms of content in the past few years. For example, Facebook and Twitter feeds now auto-play videos in an effort to get more people posting and viewing. And Google is introducing video ads in search results for the first time ever. They realize that videos are only going to become more popular, and you should too.

    The Simple Answer

    Experience and Answers to Your Questions

    Whether you got here by reading the above sections or whether you skipped here because you wanted the bottom line: the answer is yes, you should be using videos in your content marketing campaign. You don’t have to go crazy and produce a new professional video every day, nor do you need to hire an expert. But if you don’t take at least some effort to capture the video viewing audience, you’ll quickly start to fall behind the competition—and that’s only going to accelerate as technology advances.

    The more diverse you are in the form and function of your content, the stronger and more loyal an audience you’ll be able to build. Do your best to produce great videos, but don’t be intimidated if you don’t have a perfect production quality.

  3. 7 Personal Branding Mistakes to Avoid in Any Marketing Campaign

    Leave a Comment

    Personal branding is a strategy with tons of potential applications; you can use it as a kind of modern resume building to help you find a new job, use it as a platform for an independent business or consulting career, or even use it as an extension of a corporate brand. But no matter how you use it, there are certain strategies you’ll need to adopt, and best practices you’ll need to follow. Making a critical mistake can compromise the effectiveness of your entire campaign, so just one oversight can set you back weeks or months of work.

    As you work to develop your personal brand, be sure to avoid these disruptive mistakes:

    1. Not Having Targets.

    articleimage1409 Not Having Targets

    Too many new personal branders go in thinking they need to target everybody and everything. They don’t have a goal, per say, but know that the more connections they have, the better. This mentality is counterproductive because it spreads your efforts too thin over too wide a range. It’s far better to have a specific goal in mind—such as finding X number of new clients—and a specific audience to target—such as marketing professionals between the ages of 20 and 30. Only then will you be able to tailor your posts, networking targets, and time in a way that leads you to favorable results.

    2. Only Focusing on Social Media.

    articleimage1409 Only Focusing on Social Media

    Personal branding has enjoyed a great revolution thanks to the ubiquity and utility of social media. Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter have made it easy for almost anyone to get involved with a personal brand. However, relying only on social media can severely limit your potential audience. As a quick example, some people have sworn off social media entirely and only network at professional events. Others only use social media as a tool to engage with people who they’ve already met in real life. Going to live events and meeting people in real life is a good—and I would argue essential—compliment to your social strategy.

    3. Shelving Your Personality.

    articleimage1409 Shelving Your Personality

    Personal branding is a professional strategy meant to get you new clients or a new job. Accordingly, many networkers put on their “professional face” to engage with this audience. There’s nothing wrong with adding a layer of formality to your written posts and requests for engagement, but don’t take this to the extreme. If you start loading your social media networks with buzzwords and bureaucratic nonsense, you’ll come off looking like a robot. People want to see you for who you are, and see what makes you unique. Give it to them by showing off your true personality, whenever you can.

    4. Blacking Out.

    articleimage1409 Blacking Out

    By “blacking out,” I don’t mean literally blacking out. I’m referring to succumbing to a period of limited content and interaction. If you’re committed to your personal brand, you should be posting, engaging, and participating in your chosen community on a near-constant basis—at least once a day. Blacking out in this context refers to going several days without posting anything or checking your notifications. Doing so can cause a hiccup in your content stream, and might alienate the people who have grown used to seeing you regularly.

    5. Switching Sides.

    articleimage1409 Switching Sides

    It’s good to pick sides as a thought leader in a given industry, so don’t be afraid to make bold predictions, make strong claims, and align yourself with one side of an especially heated debate. Even though it might irritate or push away a handful of your followers, the vast majority will respect you for choosing a side. However, one of the worst things you can do in personal branding is switch sides once you’ve already chosen one or the other. If you pick a side, remain consistent with it unless significant information changes the game.

    6. Exclusively Focusing on Yourself.

    The “personal” part of personal branding implies that you are at the center of all your efforts. You’re the one making the posts, you’re the one doing the interacting, and you’re the one building the reputation. However, if you want to be successful, you need to remember that other people are involved. If you want a dedicated follower, you have to make them interested in you. If you want a strong new connection, you have to give them something valuable (even if it’s only advice). In this way, personal branding is as much about others as it is about you.

    7. Taking No Metrics.

    Building a personal brand is about more than just updating your Facebook page every once in a while. It’s a full-fledged marketing strategy, and if you want to find lasting success, you’ll have to treat it that way. That means you’ll have to take careful measurements throughout the entirety of your strategy, including inbound traffic, new connections, and engagements, and see how these measurements change as you implement new strategies and tactics. Only then will you be able to see if all your efforts are worth it.

    Fortunately, when it comes to personal branding, no mistake is truly fatal. You’ll always have a chance to readjust your strategy, overcome a temporary weakness, and forge a path to a better future. But making up for those mistakes takes time, and the less time you spend covering old ground, the better. Learn from these mistakes before you make them, and you’ll keep yourself more consistent, more productive, and more successful in the long run.

  4. 7 Free Ways to Get New Content for Your Site

    1 Comment

    The demand for online content is staggering. To stay competitive with your biggest rivals, keep the attention of your most important followers, and maintain your top search ranks, you have to keep an open flow of fresh, original, detailed content going at a near-constant rate. Some marketers publish a new piece every day, whether it’s an article, infographic, or video, and some even make efforts to post multiple times a day.

    The cumulative effects of this content pace are limiting for marketers and entrepreneurs. You’re forced to either spend all your time creating new, original pieces, or spend exorbitant amounts of money for another employee or independent contractor to handle the workload. At least that’s the way it seems.

    There’s actually a strong alternative—using free techniques and strategies to generate original content for your site. Does that sound too good to be true? Try one of these:

    1. Ask for guest posts.

    articleimage1388 Ask for guest posts

    Possibly the easiest and most straightforward strategy here, you can ask your followers or other industry experts to submit content for publication on your blog. Generally, it’s a win-win situation; you get the content for your site (and a fresh voice for your feed), and the writer gets a free backlink with some additional brand visibility on your platform. Generally speaking, guest posters won’t request compensation, and if you look hard enough, you should be able to find ample willing participants online. Seek out strong personal brands on social media to get things rolling—active social media users often jump at the chance to publish on an outside platform.

    2. Look for interviews.

    articleimage1388 for interviews

    Interviews are extremely cost-effective because they don’t take much of your time. All you need to do is find an influencer willing to have a published conversation with you, and sit down to discuss a few highlights. You can record this as an audio or video file, and publish it alongside a written transcript—the whole process might take a half hour of your time, yet will result in high-quality content you didn’t have to think too heavily about. As an added bonus, your interviewee will be motivated to share the interview on his/her own channels, strengthening the reach of the final piece.

    3. Request user-submitted videos.

    articleimage1388 Request user-submitted videos

    Some people love to see and hear themselves on video. If you introduce some kind of fad, trend, or other motivation for your customers taking videos of themselves, chances are you’ll have a host of participants within a few days or weeks. For example, with every product you ship, you could include an instruction and a hashtag for users to upload a video of themselves trying the product out. Or, you could ask your users to take videos of themselves discussing a certain industry problem—almost like one-sided interviews. Either way, you’ll end up with fresh content and you won’t have to pay a dime.

    4. Send free samples in exchange for reviews or testimonials.

    articleimage1388 Send free samples in exchange for reviews or testimonials

    Your first step here is to find individual influencers in your target market (or in your industry). Individual blogs and social media accounts are best for this. Then, send that person a free product (or extend an offer for a free trial service) in exchange for him/her reviewing that product on his/her medium of choice. They’ll get a free product, and you’ll get free exposure—you can even host the best testimonials on your site directly (assuming you secured permission with the writers).

    5. Sponsor a content-based contest.

    articleimage1388 Sponsor a content-based contest

    This is a more specific way to request user-submitted videos, and it does tend to generate more results (though the results may be of a lower quality due to the new motivation for submitting). With a social media campaign, you can offer a prize or giveaway for the “best” user submitted video within a certain time period. How you define “best” is up to you—it could be the funniest, the most creative, or the most entertaining, for example. The point is to get all your followers actively submitting their best work.

    6. Get other members of your team involved.

    Technically, you’ll have to pay for this one, but not in the typical format. Rather than paying someone new or investing your own time, you’ll borrow from the time of your other coworkers. Rotate blog duties to different people in different departments (checking their work if necessary) to generate more posts for less time and money. Your blog could also use the fresh perspectives as a change of pace.

    7. Use a forum to generate conversation.

    Finally, consider putting together a forum for your site, beyond just a blog comments section. You could get the ball rolling with some example topics and conversations, and invite all your customers to get involved. If it gains momentum, eventually you’ll have a self-monitoring, thriving community of participants all generating content for your site on a regular basis. It’s also a reason to keep your customers coming back for more—just be aware that it will take some time and effort to get to a consistent level of popularity.

    Put these strategies to the test for your own content campaign. You may find that your self-published content is more satisfying, or of a higher quality, but you can’t beat effort- and cost-free content to add to your repertoire. Keep these strategies in balance with your traditional content efforts, and keep experimenting to find the approach that works best for your brand.

  5. 7 Common Content Mistakes People Don’t Know They’re Making

    Leave a Comment

    What you don’t know really can hurt you. I can’t think of any content marketers out there who are knowingly sabotaging their own work by intentionally disobeying best practices, yet bad content and seemingly obvious mistakes abound in both onsite and offsite material. The only conclusion I can form is that these writers and creators don’t know what they’re doing wrong—and this effect is made greater by the likelihood that they’re seeing a handful of positive effects from their work.

    The more you learn about content marketing, and the more aware you are of your own mistakes, the better your content can become. Even if it’s just a tweak here or a tweak there, these adjustments can eventually mean a much higher traffic volume and a much greater reputation in your community.

    As you continue to advance your content marketing campaign, stay wary of these seven common content mistakes:

    1. Writing to a general audience.

    articleimage1387 Writing to a general audience

    If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to slip into a “general audience” mentality. When you delve into a certain topic and you’re writing by yourself, you naturally tend to think about the topic in broad terms. For example, if you’re writing about applying to college, you might be tempted to describe the process as objectively as possible. This leads to thorough, but not necessarily appealing content. If your target audience is teenagers close to graduating high school, you might take a moment to talk about the fears and anxieties surrounding the application process. Doing so makes your content more relatable and more appealing to a central target audience—otherwise, its excessive generality might turn people away.

    2. Staying in the middle.

    articleimage1387 Staying in the middle

    You’ll face a similar dilemma if you try to stick with a “middle ground” approach to a complex and controversial issue in your industry. As a professional, you’re naturally inclined to take sides as rarely as possible, sticking to the safe neutral ground that won’t rile anybody up. However, it’s better to pick a side and stick to it—even though you might turn off a small portion of your audience, the rest of your audience will like you better for it, and you won’t fade into the white noise of fence-sitters that inevitably arises.

    3. Failing to provide adequate background.

    articleimage1387 Failing to provide adequate background

    Generally, content marketers are specialists in their respective subject matter. Because of this, you’re already well-versed in topics that your target audience may know nothing about. For example, if you’re writing about SEO, you might assume that your audience already knows how link building works and start writing about advanced techniques. This is bad because it can make people feel like they aren’t advanced or knowledgeable enough to appreciate your content. Instead, make it a point to cover sufficient background information—even if it’s just a note and a link to another, more basic post you’ve written in the past.

    4. Focusing on your own perspective.

    articleimage1387 Focusing on your own perspective

    When you’re writing a post, you have to think about your own perspective. It’s unavoidable. But if you write the entire article about what you think is important, you’ll end up doing more harm than good. You need to think about what your customers’ needs are. For example, you could write a detailed post about a new technology that’s going to change the way you do business. This could be a great topic, but only if you write about how that technology is going to affect your customers directly.

    5. Excessively pitching.

    articleimage1387 Excessively pitching

    Content marketing is a perfect opportunity to express the value of your products and services, but only when done so subtly. Any overt pitch of your own business (or your own products) will instantly register as advertising to anyone reading it, and most readers at that point will abandon the effort in favor of something more objective. Remember, your primary goal is to bring value to your users. Making pitches and encouraging conversions can only come after you’ve established that groundwork, and must be done sparingly and subtly.

    6. Ignoring feedback.

    Feedback comes in many forms, and ignoring any of them is bad for your campaign’s potential. Review user comments and social sharing metrics regularly to see how your content is being welcomed in the community. If certain topics, certain formats, or certain approaches are met with criticism or worse, indifference, you’ll need to act quickly to get your content program back on pace. Even if your users aren’t giving you direct feedback, you can use their behavior (such as tracking site visits) to measure their interest levels.

    7. Relying on too few formats.

    There are dozens of different types of content available, and it’s in your best interest to take advantage of them. There is no target audience in the world who prefers only one type of content, yet so many content marketers settle into a rhythm with one particular format (such as written or video content). Incorporate as many formats as you can reasonably handle to keep things fresh, and while you’re at it, get involved on multiple different social platforms too.

    Making one or more of these mistakes doesn’t make you a bad content marketer; in fact, most of us have made at least one of these mistakes in the past. Nobody’s content is perfect, but if you can learn to avoid some of the most common pitfalls, you can ratchet your content up to the next level.

  6. The 3-Tiered Hierarchy of Content Syndication

    Leave a Comment

    Syndication is one of the most important pieces of the “content marketing” process. Writing and publishing the original article (or infographic, or video, or any piece of material, really) is only the first step. Even if you create something informative, entertaining, valuable, and shareable, it won’t mean much unless there are actual people around to read and consume it.

    Syndication attempts to solve that problem by making the piece available to a wider audience. For brands just getting started with a content marketing program or those without a loyal readership, this is absolutely essential part of the puzzle.

    Still, the term “syndication” is vague, and can refer to a host of techniques, processes, and strategies designed to make your work available to a greater number of people. With so many options available, it can be hard to decide the best route forward for your brand. Each brand has a unique target audience, a specific budget, and a specific set of resources to work with, so it’s virtually impossible to identify any one “best fit” for all brands.

    What we can do, however, is establish a broader framework—one that doesn’t dig too deep into specific channels, but does help the majority of businesses understand the most important elements of a content syndication plan. Under this framework, I’ve identified three “tiers,” which dictate both an order and a degree of importance for the overall campaign. Within each tier are a number of different options for individual brands to choose, but as a general rule, all brands should focus on “tier 1” syndication, followed by “tier 2” syndication, and of course then “tier 3.”

    For the remainder of this article, I’ll be diving deep into those tiers specifically, explaining what they are, why they’re important, and various options that marketers have when using them.

    Tier 1: External Publishers and Blogs

    articleimage1362 External Publishers and Blogs

    The first tier is all about getting published on platforms that people are already using to find and read material. For example, you could write a post and submit it to a leading industry online magazine, which could get it seen by several thousand active readers instead of the few that your blog currently naturally generates. As you might imagine, there are many options for this; emerging brands in the content scene will likely be limited to local publishers, small publishers, and niche blogs and forums for their work, while more experienced content marketers can move up to national outlets.

    This external form of syndication isn’t limited to a singular external post, either. You don’t have to write a post and publish it offsite to gain offsite benefits. For instance, you can publish your article on your own blog and earn a link from an external publisher citing it; the more original research and unique claims you write about, the more likely you’ll be to naturally attract these kinds of links. There’s also the option of taking advantage of social bookmarking sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon, which accept user-submitted pieces of content to distribute to its readers.

    Tier 2: Straight Social Media Syndication

    articleimage1362 Straight Social Media Syndication

    Once your relationship with one or more offsite publishers has been established, the next tier of syndication is social media syndication. This tier is much simpler than getting published offsite; instead of trying to build relationships with external publishers or attract links naturally, you’ll have full control over your distribution. Most brands choose to do a big push of their content when it’s first published, posting an excerpt or the title and drawing people in with a link, then following up over the course of weeks and months with occasional varied redistributions of the same article (to attract more traffic for those who didn’t see it the first time around).

    Most of this can be done organically, but most social platforms also offer paid boosts to extend the reach of posts. I should also mention that not all social media platforms are equal, and should not be used the same way; Facebook has the largest user base, but what attracts a user to share an article on Facebook isn’t the same as what attracts them to share one on LinkedIn. Know your platforms, and know your audience.

    Tier 3: Influencers

    articleimage1362  Influencers

    Finally, social influencers should only be broached once you’ve established an offsite and traditional social syndication pattern. Since you’ll be dealing with individuals rather than platforms or networks, you’ll have to make individual pitches (albeit short ones), and work on maintaining ongoing relationships to solidify your chances of getting shared by them in the future. Influencers are social media users with large followings and a great deal of cumulative respect; getting one of your articles shared by them can open up your audience to thousands of new potential readers. If you’ve already got a dedicated social following and some extra visibility from offsite publishers, this will go even further to boost your authority.

    This three-tiered system doesn’t cover every option available for content syndication; it leaves out a handful of noteworthy channels, such as paid traffic, email blasts, and subscriber feeds. But it does represent a critical opportunity to get ample traffic, visibility, links, and authority with a minimal amount of direction and effort. Adhere to this 3-tiered system as closely as possible when you establish a plan for your content syndication; after experimenting with different individual channels, you’ll soon find a rhythm that suits your brand and your audience perfectly.

  7. How to Use Interviews to Boost Your Content Marketing Campaign

    Leave a Comment

    There are dozens, if not hundreds of types of content out there; written articles get the most attention due to their cost-effective production value and ubiquitous presence, and visual formats like infographics and videos are getting tons of attention because of their lower competition and higher intrinsic value. But I want to focus on a rarely-used content format that’s non-competitive, easy to create, and sustainable for an extended series: the interview.

    Interviews are one of the most valuable forms of content you can create because of the advantages inherent to the medium:

    • Effort Efficiency. You won’t be creating the entire piece yourself; instead, you’ll only be writing the questions. The burden of creation is on your interviewee, so it should only take you half the time to produce the final product.
    • Repeatability. Interviews can be done as one-offs or as part of a series; if you opt for a series, you can repeat a number of your initial questions in subsequent rounds.
    • Built-In Promotion. Your interviewee is just as excited as you are to publish this, so you’ll instantly double your initial audience.
    • Cross-Medium Capability. Your interviews can be videos, audio clips, podcasts, transcripts, or all of the above. The choice is yours and your audience’s.

    Unfortunately, hosting a landmark interview isn’t just a matter of flipping a switch. You’ll have to make a serious commitment and spend significant effort if you want to see the best results (like with any other piece of content you create).

    Step One: Pick the Right Interviewee

    articleimage1361 step one

    This is the first and arguably the most important step in the process. Finding the right interviewee isn’t just a matter of finding someone willing to go along with your questions. You need someone engaging, whose words will be listened to by your target audience. You need someone appropriate, so they fit closely with your industry. You need someone with influence, so you have a wider circle of promotion and earn a greater reputation by interviewing them. Finding a candidate that fulfills all these requirements and is both willing and available to be interviewed is quite the challenge. The good news is, the more you do it and the more renowned you become, the easier time you’ll have finding new candidates.

    Step Two: Prepare an Even Mix of Conventional and Unconventional Questions

    articleimage1361 step two

    Once you’ve selected a candidate, you’ll have to come up with the questions you want to ask. About fifty percent of those questions should be what I call conventional—they could be common questions you ask all your interviewees, or questions that are obvious to ask (such as asking a writer about his latest book). The other fifty percent should be less obvious. They should be unexpected, surprising, and possibly probing. People don’t want to hear the same old lineup of questions—spice things up!

    Step Three: Exercise Personality and Energy

    articleimage1361 step three

    Once your questions are written, your next job is performing well during the interview itself. You’ll want to choose a host with a lot of charisma, energy, and a commanding, clear way of speaking (or adopt these qualities yourself). Audiences simply won’t tolerate an interviewer who reads off cue cards. Gesticulate with your hands (if it’s a video interview), use emotions and strong inflections in your voice, and do what you can to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the event. That energy will carry over to your guest, and your audience will eat it up.

    Step Four: Lead the Conversation to Valuable Conclusions

    articleimage1361 step four

    While some audience members will be interested to hear about the personal developments of your interviewee, most people are watching the interview to get some kind of actionable or valuable takeaway, such as advice, instructions, or tricks to use in a practical environment. If you can, include these kinds of conclusions as goals with some of your questions. Otherwise, the pressure will be on you in the interview to drive the conversation toward these kinds of meaningful conclusions. It can also be helpful to have a mini “recap” at the end of the interview, highlighting some of the takeaways you mutually discovered.

    Step Five: Translate It to Multiple Mediums

    articleimage1361 step five

    In the opening paragraph, I mentioned that one of the best advantages of interviews is their ability to be translated to multiple mediums. Take advantage of that quality by presenting it in as many mediums as possible. Get it published as a podcast, then embed it as a video on your blog (and upload it to YouTube at the same time), offer a downloadable mp3 version and of course, offer a written transcript for people (and search engines) to read. The more coverage you get, the better—everyone has different preferences.

    Step Six: Cross Promote!

    Finally, take advantage of the fact that both your interviewer and interviewee have personal brands. Try to start follow-up discussions on social media, and encourage everyone involved in the production to share the interview out on a regular basis for a few weeks. Play to the advantages of the medium by capitalizing on this cross-promotion potential.

    If you follow these six steps appropriately, you should have no issue developing a great interview series that will put your brand on the map. The bigger and better your interviewees, the easier it will become and the more organically your series will begin to grow. The only hard part is getting started.

  8. How to Segment Your Content Marketing Growth to Maximize Your ROI

    Leave a Comment

    When you first start out in content marketing, it’s best to carve a specific niche for yourself. There are too many content marketers out there to be competitive with expertise in a general topic or a broad industry—for example, if you launch a site that specializes in “weight loss,” don’t expect to make a big impact. But if you launch a site that specializes in “weight loss for middle-aged men with busy schedules,” you’ll have far less competition and a far better chance at getting attention.

    This kind of niche marketing is a way of isolating a portion of your target audience and isolating yourself from the competition, but as a brand driven toward growth, it’s unlikely you’ll want to stay limited to this niche forever. Instead, you want to expand to different topics, broader audiences, and new kinds of expertise. You can’t just evolve from a niche expertise to a general expertise, or you’ll run into that competition hurdle I alluded to in the first paragraph, so how can you manage content marketing growth once you’ve found success with a particular niche? In short, how can you invest in your content marketing program in a way that keeps it cost-efficient without overextending it to the point that you begin to lose money?

    The secret is in segmentation. Rather than moving from an isolated audience to a different isolated audience or to the entire “general” audience all at once, you’ll be adopting new audiences to add to your old ones—new topics and new niches to layer in beside your original focus in a “segmented” strategy.

    This strategy has been around for many years in the application of email blasts—email marketers often “segment” their lists based on demographics or previous customer behaviors—but for an inexplicable reason, it’s rarely used in the content marketing world.

    If your goal is to evolve from fostering short-term growth to fostering long-term growth and keep your ROI positive in the process, segmentation is the way to do it. Here’s how.

    Identify your most valuable audiences

    articleimage1360 Identify your most valuable audiences

    Hopefully, you already have a target niche with a target demographic that is most valuable to you. For example, let’s say you’re a podiatrist and you’ve chosen an initial target audience of women between the ages of 35 and 50 who have recently sustained an injury or experience physical pain. This is a valuable audience because they have a vested interest in your topics (about foot injuries and sources of chronic pain), they’re potential customers, and they’re willing and able to read your blog. Now, you have a few choices for a second segment of your audience—do you choose males of the same age range, who might have the same interest and ability to read your blog but a lower likelihood of becoming customers? Or do you choose younger females, who might have a slightly lower interest but a much higher ability to find and read your blog? This is one of the most important choices you’ll make in the segmentation process.

    Scale up iteratively

    articleimage1360 Scale up iteratively

    It’s a bad idea to suddenly introduce a new stream of topics all at once, and it’s similarly a bad idea to disrupt your current process to favor or shoe in the new one (because you run the risk of alienating your original niche). Instead, you need to scale up your segmentation iteratively. Start with only one new demographic (and one new angle of topics), and keep your original stream untouched. Add in the new topics slowly at first, and only increase the pace when you feel you’ve sufficiently captured (or maintained) the interest of both segments. If launched successfully, then you can start thinking about layering in a third or a fourth segment.

    Leverage the power of different personal brands

    articleimage1360 Leverage the power of different personal brand

    Personal brands are your best friends for this process. If you currently have one or two authors writing the majority of your original segment, introduce a new author to cover the new segment exclusively. This will help your readers easily identify the thin, but solid line that divides the two realms of content, and will help preserve and build relationships with each segment on your blog. You should at least define the segments in terms of blog categories, but either way, being able to easily identify which authors contribute to which streams can go a long way in maximizing the efficiency of your segments.

    Slowly adjust the focus of your site to accommodate all your topics and audiences

    articleimage1360 Slowly adjust the focus of your site to accommodate

    Finally, make sure you adjust the tone, title tags, meta descriptions, pages, and layout of your entire site to match your integration of new segments in your target audience. Again, you’ll need to do this gradually to avoid disrupting anybody who’s already used to your site appealing to one specialized segment. Your other option is to set up a new site (or new landing page) and cater to each segment under the guise of a separate co-brand—but for most brands, that’s far more hassle than it’s worth.

    With these strategies and approaches, you can forge a clear direction for the segmentation of your content marketing campaign. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be without its obstacles and challenges, but if you can scale your growth appropriately without alienating any of your demographics, this is by far the most efficient way to secure a long-term growth in readership.

  9. 5 Types of People Who Will Help You Write Better Content

    Leave a Comment

    Everyone wants to write better content. We want to select better topics, write in more detail, research more thoroughly, and string our sentences together in more tactful, eloquent, aesthetically pleasing ways. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come naturally and it certainly doesn’t come quickly. With some skills, you can get better through practice and sheer force of will alone—for example, if you spend enough time playing guitar (or any musical instrument), eventually your muscle memory and familiarity will allow you to play more complicated songs more accurately and beautifully. All it takes is hours of work.

    If you attempt this blunt approach to writing, you might never end up with better content. That’s because even if you spend hundreds of hours practicing your writing, you’ll still be trapped in a bubble of your own perceptions and your own “comfort zone.” You need exposure to other people, other writing styles, and other pieces if you ever truly want to grow as a writer.

    These five types of people will almost always help you progress your abilities:


    articleimage1358 coworkers

    Coworkers are great because they can give you new perspectives on your own industry. For example, imagine you work for a solar panel production company. You work in the marketing department and you understand what features of your panels are most important to the majority of your clients. But someone in engineering is going to have a much more detailed, precise understanding about the mechanics that allow those features to exist. The engineer might be able to provide you with a few ideas about future blog topics, or at least be able to explain some things you didn’t know you didn’t know about your industry.

    Of course, the engineer is only one example. Chances are, people in most departments (other than yours) will be able to shed at least some new light on your industry. Step out of your comfort zone and talk to some people in your company you’ve never spoken to before. Go out for coffee, or hold a group brainstorming session to get some new perspectives on the table. The more perspective you have, the more diverse and thorough your writing is going to be.

    2. Social Influencers.

    articleimage1358 social influencers

    Social influencers got to where they are for a reason. People love the content they write (or otherwise produce), and as a result, they’re seen as leading authorities with tens of thousands (or more) of followers. You should be taking the time to read these influencers’ posts, even if they aren’t directly related to your industry. In fact, sometimes influencers outside your industry can teach you more about writing than those on the inside.

    The key here is to expose yourself to different writers who have different approaches to writing. What kind of formatting do they use? What kind of tone? What kind of word choices? Looking at these factors will help you diversify and liven up your own writing, which is invaluable especially if you’re writing for multiple different audiences.

    3. Journalist.

    articleimage1358 journalist

    You should also be reading the news every day, keeping tabs on at least a few of your favorite journalists. Journalists and content marketers are sometimes at opposite ends of the spectrum, with content marketers producing material that people want to read and journalists producing material that people need to read (at least in the journalist’s opinion). As a result, you’ll see a very different approach to writing—one centered on research, solid claims, and the “full scope” of the story.

    You’ll have to be choosy here, since not all journalists adhere to the same degree of professionalism. But if you can find a great journalist to follow, he/she will be able to help you think more critically and more thoroughly about your subject matter.

    4. Competitors.

    articleimage1358 competitors

    Competitors are great for content marketers. Keep an active list of your closest and most active competitors, and look at the writing they publish and promote. What kinds of topics seem to be the most popular with their readers? What directions do their writers go in? What claims do they make? And perhaps most importantly, what kinds of weaknesses do they have? Learning these factors will help you understand the context of your own writing more, and can help you come up with better, more targeted topics to use in your own campaign.

    5. Readers.

    articleimage1358 readers

    Last, and most important, your readers will help you become a better writer—all you have to do is listen to them! As long as you’re keeping your readers involved with comments, discussions, and active monitoring of their click behaviors, you should have a clear read on how they respond to your various topics and approaches. Use this data to objectively figure out which types of content are working and which ones aren’t, and compare that to articles you see elsewhere on the web. Even amateur writers should be able to identify at least a handful of key elements that should be added, removed, or revised to improve the content overall.

    In my introduction, I dismissed the idea that raw practice alone can help you become a better writer—but that doesn’t mean the practice element isn’t important. In addition to getting to know these five types of people (and using them to better understand your content), you’ll need to put your nose to the grindstone to iteratively increase your skills. Still, with enough dedication and enough diverse exposure, you should see measurable growth in the quality of your articles in relatively short order.

  10. 7 Strategic Choices You Must Make for Your Content Campaign

    Leave a Comment

    In theory, content marketing campaigns are pretty simple. You write lots of content to the best of your ability, appealing to your customers and others in the industry, and eventually your reputation will attract more people to your site. But the reality of content marketing is that it’s extraordinarily complex; you can spend weeks probing into your competitors, the needs of your customers, and best practices for content in general and still never learn everything. Plus, the mediums and technologies available for content marketing campaigns are always evolving, so things rarely stay in one place.

    Still, with a decent amount of forethought, you can make sure your content campaign gets started on the right foot. Before moving forward with your campaign, be sure to carefully consider these strategic choices:

    1. Priority Goal: Traffic, Conversions, or Reputation?

    articleimage1331 Priority Goal

    One of the first things you’ll have to decide is your primary goal. Most content marketing campaigns have blanket goals; for example, you’ll want to make sure your content increases your brand visibility, increases your perceived authority, attracts new traffic, earns loyalty from recurring traffic, and gains conversions for your brand. But which one of these goals is your main objective? Which one takes priority over the others? The answer to this question can dictate your initial approach; for example, if your main goal is traffic, you’ll need to include more external posts with links pointing back to your site, and step up your syndication efforts as well.

    2. Target Audience.

    articleimage1331 Target Audience

    Next, you’ll need to decide who your target audience is. Some marketers think they can get away with targeting “everybody”—after all, the more people you target, the more chances you have to win over new fans, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t true. The more narrowly you target an audience, the fewer total readers you’ll have access to, but the more passionate those readers will be. In short, it’s better to have 100 interested readers than 1,000 uninterested ones. Think carefully about the demographics you want to target well in advance of your campaign, and cater your entire strategy to them specifically.

    3. Brand Voice.

    articleimage1331 Brand Voice

    Your brand voice should be at least partially shaped by your choice in target audience, but it exists as its own strategic consideration. All your content should fall within the confines of the same unified brand voice, so you’ll need to be consistent with it once you settle on something. The tone and direction of your brand voice will shape countless first impressions, so make sure it’s exactly what you want it to be. Consider characteristics like how formal or informal you want it to be, or how playful or serious you want it to be. Give it as much personality as you can, and try to distinguish your voice from the voices of your competitors.

    4. Niche of Expertise.

    articleimage1331 Niche of Expertise

    Again, this will probably fall in line with your choice in demographics, but it’s important as an independent consideration. What niche do you want your brand associated with? These days, the content market is so saturated that it isn’t enough to have a “general” area of expertise. You need to get as specific as possible if you want to stand out, and once you’ve generated a decent following, you can expand from there. For example, it’s not enough to be an “advertising firm;” you have to bill yourself as a “Google AdWords advertising firm” or an “advertising firm for manufacturers,” narrowing your focus either in terms of what you do or who you do it for.

    5. Publication Outlets.

    Now that you’ve decided on your niche, your target audience, and your brand voice, you can decide which publication outlets you want to take advantage of. If you’re first starting out, you’ll want to choose platforms closely aligned with your niche, such as industry blogs or forums. You could also choose local publication outlets, which cater to local businesses. After that, you’ll want to gradually scale up to bigger, badder guest blogging opportunities, eventually getting to national-level publishers.

    6. Social Platforms.

    articleimage304 Choose Your Social Media Platforms

    Of course, posting on external publication outlets will get you a fair share of visibility and traffic, but you’ll need an extra push if you want your content to make a significant impact. The best way to do this is to choose a handful of social media platforms as your “starting lineup” of syndication. Not all platforms are the same; for example, a B2B company might find LinkedIn to be its most valuable resource, while a consumer brand might favor Twitter. Get to know your social platforms intimately, and come up with a game plan for how to use them effectively.

    7. Timing and Effort.

    Finally, you’ll want to consider how to time your content and how much effort to put behind it. For example, do you want to start out with writing one post a week, or something more intensive, like three onsite posts and two offsite posts a week? Will you be doing this yourself, hiring a freelancer, or hiring someone full-time? This will form the cost basis for your campaign, both in time and money, so think carefully and play conservatively if you aren’t sure.

    These aren’t the only things you’ll need to consider for your content marketing campaign, but they will give you a nice foundation. If you can find suitable, confident answers for these seven questions, you should have no problem building an initial audience for your brand. The rest is a matter of patience, diligence, and adaptation.

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!


-The AudienceBloom Team