Archive | October, 2011

Content Creation Is Easier Than You Think

18 Oct

Inbound Marketing Content Ideas

HubSpot has a great eBook they’re offering called “100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas.” I took a glimpse at this eBook because it promised to help with:

* Positioning your company as a thought leader

* Analyzing the effect of your content

* Creating content that resonates with your audience

* Repackaging existing content

This fun read is definitely worth the download. A lot of the content in here you know about but have a tendency to forgot. Others are great nuggets to share with your clients or executive team to help them understand the importance of the content they contribute. Here were my “Top 10 Content Creation” takeaways:

Content creation how-to’s and tips

1. Point out common mistakes in your industry and offer solutions on how to fix or avoid them.

2. Offer a list of benefits for doing something.

Use existing content

3. Take the contrarian position. Find someone else’s article that you agree or disagree with. Introduce your blog post with what you specifically agree or disagree with it, and support your argument with a few concise points.

4. Do a weekly or daily links-roundup of relevant news for your community.

5. Share an excerpt from an eBook or white paper with a call to action to download it for the rest of the information.

6. Do a round-up of last year’s/last month’s/last week’s most popular posts.

Incorporate other platforms

7. Create a Slideshare presentation of new statistics related to your space and share that in a blog post. Tag the Slideshare presentation with relevant keywords for your company to leverage SEO benefits of the platform.

Thought Leadership

8. Get experts to offer a tip and do a round-up of their recommendations.

9. Feature guest posts from industry experts.

10. Do a review of other non-competitive products or services that your community cares about.

There are many more great tips and tricks in this eBook. Download “100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas” to find your top 10!

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Customer Service: Excellence When You Least Expect It

17 Oct
Customer Service | Thank You

Card | Customer Service

Customer Service

It’s a phrase that initially makes me think, I need to call the credit card company and ask about my new card or something has gone wrong with my order and I’m about to sit on hold for the next 10 minutes.

Today, customer service reminded me exactly what it is…a service. I recently made my first purchase form Land’s End Canvas. My order is scheduled to arrive tomorrow but ahead of it I received a nice, handwritten notecard from my personal “Customer Care Specialist.” The handwritten envelope threw me but I figured it was probably a font simply made to look handwritten.

Note from Customer Service

Note from Customer Service

I opened the envelope only to find a lovely note letting me know that everything is guaranteed and giving me an email address in case I had any question.

This company GETS customer service. Here are some other ideas on how to make your customers and clients always smile when they think of you:

  • Handwritten note cards- “Thank you for giving us a try, let us know if you need anything else.”
  • Gift cards- “Take a break on me and go grab a coffee, I know you’re working hard.”
  • Phone call- “I just wanted to make sure your implementation went smoothly and see if there anything else we can do.”
  • Thought leadership- “I heard you just purchased our Social CRM solution, here’s a list of 100 things you can do with Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.”
None of this is rocket science, but it does take a bit of time. But guess what, if your customers or clients are anything like me, they’ll always remember that extra time you put into them and keep you front of mind the next time they make a purchase.

My Week in Marketing

14 Oct
SEO Page Optimization

SEO Page Optimization- SEOmoz

Here’s what I checked out this week:

  • I always find myself referencing SEOmoz’s “The Beginners Guide to SEO“: I shared an image from Chapter 4 with a client to show them SEO best practices when creating a new web page.
  • HubSpot’s “100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas“: I learned that my clients have more content lying around than they think and that new content doesn’t require a large investment.
  • I attended MarketingExperiments free clinic on SEO landing pages: My take away is that your organic search results, email campaigns, and PPC don’t have to point to the same page. Each of these can have unique pages and should address different items.

SEO Page Optimization

10 Oct
SEO Page Optimization

SEO Page Optimization from SEOmoz

The mystery behind SEO page optimization has lessened year over year. While you still can benefit from hiring an SEO expert, there’s no reason SEO page optimization best practices shouldn’t be implemented every time you add a new page to your site. SEOmoz is a great resource for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with SEO page optimization.

I suggest taking some time to review their SEO Beginnier’s Guide. This guide takes you step by step through what SEO is, tools and technologies used for SEO, myths about SEO and even makes you laugh a little.

The most useful tool from this guide was the sample of what an optimized page should look like. I’ve already shared this image with my clients, asked that they print it out and keep it on their desk. Anytime they create a new web page, this print out will remind them of how they can take the first step in SEO page optimization.

When working with one of your own sites, this is the SEO page optimization process SEOmoz recommends:

  • Use the keyword in the title tag at least once, and possibly twice (or as a variation) if it makes sense and sounds good (this is subjective, but necessary). Try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
  • Once in the H1 header tag of the page.
  • At least 3X in the body copy on the page (sometimes a few more times if there’s a lot of text content). You may find additional value in adding the keyword more than 3X, but in our experience, adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little to no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in bold. You can use either the <strong> or <b> tag, as search engines consider them equivalent.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once (sometimes 2X when it makes sense) in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does NOT get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract clicks by searchers from the results page (as it is the “snippet” of text used by the search engines).
  • Generally not in link anchor text on the page itself that points to other pages on your site or different domains (this is a bit complex – see this blog post for details).
Implementing these simple SEO page optimization suggestions is easy and will definitely help your SEO rank.

Spreading the Word: Content Distribution Ideas

7 Oct

I just read a great post by Barbra Gago. She recently attended Content Marketing World and gave a presentation titled 21 Ways to Distribute Content. She makes the point that a content strategy shouldn’t be something you think about after you have aggregated a lot of content but something you plan. I agree but don’t fret if you already existing content that you want to share with the world.

A lot of my clients are start-ups and have great content they’ve been creating for years. If this sounds like you- read her post on content distribution. Even though you didn’t follow the first rule (plan before your write), there’s a lot you can do with all the content you have lying around collecting dust.

Here’s what she recommends when it comes to content delivery:

21 Content Distribution Ideas:

  1. Your website
  2. Your blog
  3. Social media
  4. Email (database)
  5. Email signature – Your email signature can be a really easy way to share new content. Every time you have a new piece, add the link to your signature and that will be an easy way to share will colleagues, customers and partners.
  6. Comment threads
  7. Discussion forums
  8. Events
  9. Document sharing sites – Slideshare.net and Scribd are both great ways to share company collateral or presentations. They also offer vary active sub-communities of their own.
  10. Multimedia sites – YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr
  11. Mobile applications – Tablets are becoming increasingly popular, how are you addressing that as a content delivery mechanism?
  12. Company newsflash – I have had great results sending out an email, company-wide with a list of new content, brief descriptions of it, and varied tweet-like, status update long, comments that can be shared by your entire staff. Your sales guys will be all over this, and you can help to quality-control the message a little.
  13. Influencers/bloggers – This works really well if you stay engaged with the bloggers overtime. Share there content, comment on their blogs, and when you have stuff that’s relevant to their audience, they’ll likely be inclined to share it.
  14. Social PR
  15. Social bookmarking – Social bookmarking is a really easy way to let other people share your content with their network and that bookmarking community. Many of these communities will also send out an email with links that have been bookmarked that may interest users, so there are various ways that these sites can be leveraged.
  16. Social news sites
  17. Partners – Not every partnership has to be so formal or restricted to “strategic alliances” Try working with more people on content development, and then share the promotion across both databases.
  18. eNewsletters
  19. Lead nurturing – This is our favorite way to distribute content of course, because it really allows you to map certain kinds of content to different buyers, as well as buyer behavior, so we always know we are sending the right content, to the right person, at the appropriate stage in their purchase process.
  20. Syndication/RSS
  21. Content discovery platforms – this is an interesting was to share content. These platforms are usually a PPC model for content distribution. You pay X, and they syndicate your content with relevant sites, and as people click through to your content and site, you pay for that visit. Check out OutBrain (I caught up with them at Content Marketing World and checked out the platform…pretty cool).
She also provides a great chart on The Buyer’s Journey that shows you why it’s imperative to get your content out there.
Content Delivery: The Buyer's Journey- Left Brain DGA

Content Delivery: The Buyer's Journey- Left Brain DGA