[This article is originally published in bbntimes.com written by Issac Thomas - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rebecca Jenkins] 

A content strategy is a segment of your marketing plan that deals with the management of any media that you create and own – written or visual. Along with content curation, one needs to form a deliberate strategy and execute this plan in an efficient manner to attain the desired results.  

If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website, spread awareness, and build a profitable online business, you need to start paying attention to your content marketing strategy. When you have an effective strategy in place, content marketing challenges won’t be as overwhelming – in fact, it will actually help you gain confidence in your work and take a critical step towards success.

Having a content strategy in hand opens a business up to a plethora of benefits, including higher domain authority, search engine rankings, and increased conversion potential. This form of marketing is undoubtedly a long process, and you need to be persistent enough to get the best results. Here are the five things that should be kept in mind before you draft a content marketing strategy.

1. Why do you want to do content marketing?

Before you decide to adapt content marketing for your business, the first thing you need to determine is why you even want to do content marketing in the first place. Your goals should be defined, as knowing what you want to achieve gives you a better direction and focus. Your goals can be anything – from better traffic to your website to more email subscriptions for your blog, there is no barrier to setting up your business goals.

2. Who is your audience?

Your customer should be the focal point of your content marketing strategy. It is critical to developing a broad and substantial understanding of who your customers are to gain access to their buyer’s journey. By producing content that is of value to your readers, you are more likely to gain their trust and initiate conversions. Even if you are an experienced marketer, make sure to revisit your audience parameters by conducting market research from time to time.

3. What type of content do you want to promote?

After figuring out the objectives, the next thing up for debate is the kind of material you need to create. You need to figure out the type of relevant and personalized content that can be consumed by the audience. Now, in the digital era, there are several social media platforms with a wealth of content, designed specifically to entertain and inform the audience. You can present content in the form of articles, blogs, memes, infographics, case studies, and e-books. However, before you start creating content, you should know the buyer persona for which content is being created. Knowing your customer will help you understand the way they think and the type of content they will like to read. You will sync your marketing message better with the content you create.

Try mixing and experimenting with different forms of content to see which style is producing the best results. If you have been crafting only blog posts till now, it might be a good idea to switch. For example, you can create an e-book that lists out all your previous work into one ultimate guidebook. This is a great way to offer the same information in a creative format – something that your readers will find efficient as well.

4. How will you promote the content?

Creating content is not enough – you need to make sure that your content reaches the maximum number of people as well. Promotion is as important as creating content. There are three primary mediums through which you can promote your content on various digital channels. Depending on the kind of strategy you follow, you need to choose one of these channels and make sure that your content reaches the maximum number of people. After all, without sufficient outreach, great content cannot explore its real potential.

There are three ways in which you can promote your content:

  • Influencer Marketing: To put into simple words, influencer marketing is taking the endorsements of socially influential people and utilizing it in a modern-day content-driven marketing strategy. When one collaborates with influencers, it leads to a 3-10 times increase in the conversion rate since they have a large and diverse follower list. You can approach these influencers easily, but keep in mind to perform thorough research and then provide them with a tailor-made strategy, along with your budget details.

  • Social Media Snippets: Ideally, your content should include numerous snippets such as quotes, statistics, and images, among others. These snippets can be shared multiple times over a period across various social media platforms.

  • Guest posting: Sharing your content as a guest post that has a massive number of readers will help increase the authority of your brand. Once can use channels like RedditBiz Sugar, and Business 2 Community to fulfill this purpose.

5. How Can You Stand Out?

The digital space is overflowing with content that’s almost begging for views and engagement. So, when you enter this digital space with your content, how will you stand out? Simple – you need to be innovative and smart enough to outsmart this wealth of content on the internet. The best thing to do in this regard is, to be honest with your audience. Create content that is useful to them and they will definitely engage with it.

6. What Content Ideas Can You Utilize?

If you wish to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas, you can use HubSpot’s Website Grader to help you optimize and enhance each area. This tool effectively grades your marketing areas and provides its users with a detailed report on how they can improve and streamline their marketing efforts.

If you're having trouble sparking content ideas, ‘What To write’ is a tool that asks you questions to jumpstart your brain with diversified ideas. BuzzSumo is a similar tool that uses social media to determine if a particular form of content is popular and well-liked.

7. How Will You Build an Email List?

“Content marketing is useless if you’re not getting it in front of the right people.” There’s a lot of truth in this seemingly simple quote. The most important part of the content distribution is emailing since it lets you directly communicate with your subscribers and find a place in their inbox.

An email service provider (ESP) is a helpful tool since it lets you build and maintain your subscribers' list. It also allows you to check reports on how your campaigns are performing. An ESP also ensures that your emails aren’t automatically rerouted to the spam folder. MailChimp and ConvertKit are a few options you can start with, especially if you have lower startup costs.

8. How Will You Measure the ROI?

Knowing the progress of your content marketing efforts is very necessary to track the direction of your lead. In the online space, following the results of the investment you made is important to understand how useful it is. A content piece is considered successful when it has generated a good number of views, clicks, and engagement. Now, with modern online tools available at the disposal of every marketer, measuring the success of a content piece is not that difficult. You can easily track how your marketing efforts are faring and constantly make improvements in your content marketing strategy.

Keep these things in mind before you go through any content marketing strategy to adopt it for your business or brand. These points, if executed well, will lay the foundation for a robust content marketing strategy and help in the attainment of better marketing results.

Source: This article was published lawjournalnewsletters.com By JONATHAN BICK - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Internet professional responsibility and client privacy difficulties are intimately associated with the services offered by lawyers. Electronic attorney services result in data gathering, information exchange, document transfers, enhanced communications and novel opportunities for marketing and promotion. These services, in turn, provide an array of complicated ethical issues that can present pitfalls for the uninitiated and unwary.

Since the Internet interpenetrates every aspect of the law, Internet activity can result in a grievance filed against attorneys for professional and ethical misconduct when such use results in communication failure, conflicts of interest, misrepresentation, fraud, dishonesty, missed deadlines or court appearances, advertising violations, improper billing, and funds misuse. While specific Internet privacy violation rules and regulations are rarely applied to attorney transactions, attorneys are regularly implicated in unfair and deceptive trade practices and industry-specific violations which are often interspersed with privacy violation facts.

Attorneys have a professional-responsibility duty to use the Internet, and it is that professional responsibility which results in difficulties for doing so. More specifically, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 (competence) paragraph 8 (maintenance) has been interpreted to require the use of the Internet, and Rules 7.1 – 7.5 (communications, advertising and soliciting) specifically charge attorneys with malfeasance for using the Internet improperly.

Internet professional conduct standards and model rules/commentary cross the full range of Internet-related concerns, including expert self-identification and specialty description; the correct way to structure Internet personal profiles; social media privacy settings; the importance and use of disclaimers; what constitutes “communication”; and the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, ethics rules address “liking,” “friending” and “tagging” practices.

The application of codes of professional conduct is faced with a two-fold difficulty. First, what is the nature of the attorney Internet activity? Is the activity of publishing, broadcasting or telecommunications? Determining the nature of the attorney Internet activity is important because different privacy and ethic cannons apply. Additionally, the determination of the nature of the attorney activity allows practitioners to apply analogies. For example, guidance with respect to attorney Internet-advertising professional conduct is likely to be judged by the same standards as traditional attorney advertising.

The second difficulty is the location where activity occurs. Jurisdictions have enacted contrary laws and professional-responsibility duties.

Options for protecting client privacy and promoting professional responsibility include technical, business and legal options. Consider the following specific legal transactions.

A lawyer seeking to use the Internet to attract new clients across multiple jurisdictions frequently is confronted with inconsistent rules and regulations. A number of jurisdictions have taken the position that Internet communications are a form of advertising and thus subject to a particular state bar’s ethical restrictions. Such restrictions related to Internet content include banning testimonials; prohibitions on self-laudatory statements; disclaimers; and labeling the materials presented as advertising.

Other restrictions relate to content processing, such as requiring that advance copies of any advertising materials be submitted for review by designated bar entities prior to dissemination, and requiring that attorneys keep a copy of their website and any changes made to it for three years, along with a record of when and where the website was used. Still, other restrictions relate to distribution techniques, such as unsolicited commercial emailing (spam). Spam is considered by some states as overreaching, on the same grounds as ethical bans on in-person or telephone solicitation.

To overcome these difficulties and thus permit the responsible use of the Internet for attorney marketing, both technical and business solutions are available. The technical solution employs selectively serving advertisements to appropriate locations. For this solution, the software can be deployed to detect the origin of an Internet transaction. This software will serve up advertising based on the location of the recipient. Thus, attorneys can ameliorate or eliminate the difficulties associated with advertising and marketing restrictions without applying the most restrictive rule to every state.

Alternatively, a business solution may be used. Such a business solution would apply the most restrictive rules of each state to every Internet advertising and marketing communication.

Another legal difficulty associated with attorney Internet advertising and marketing is the unauthorized practice of law. All states have statutes or ethical rules that make it unlawful for persons to hold themselves out as attorneys or to provide legal services unless admitted and licensed to practice in that jurisdiction.

There are no reported decisions on this issue, but a handful of ethics opinions and court decisions take a restrictive view of unauthorized practice issues. For example, the court in Birbower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior, 949 P.2d 1(1998), relied on unauthorized practice concerns in refusing to honor a fee agreement between a New York law firm and a California client for legal services provided in California, because the New York firm did not retain local counsel and its attorneys were not admitted in California.

The software can detect the origin of an Internet transaction. Thus, attorneys can ameliorate or eliminate the unauthorized practice of law by identifying the location of a potential client and only interacting with potential clients located in the state where an attorney is authorized to practice. Alternatively, an attorney could use a net nanny to prevent communications with potential clients located in the state where the attorney is not authorized to practice.

Preserving clients’ confidences is of critical importance in all aspects of an attorney’s practice. An attorney using the Internet to communicate with a client must consider the confidentiality of such communications. Using the Internet to communicate with clients on confidential matters raises a number of issues, including whether such communications: might violate the obligation to maintain client confidentiality; result in a waiver of the attorney-client privilege if intercepted by an unauthorized party; and create possible malpractice liability.

Both legal and technological solutions are available. First, memorializing informed consent is a legal solution.

Some recent ethics opinions suggest a need for caution. Iowa Opinion 96-1 states that before sending client-sensitive information over the Internet, a lawyer should either encrypt the information or obtain the client’s written acknowledgment of the risks of using this method of communication.

Substantial compliance may be a technological solution because the changing nature of Internet difficulties makes complete compliance unfeasible. Some attorneys have adopted internal measures to protect electronic client communications, including asking clients to consider alternative technologies; encrypting messages to increase security; obtaining written client authorization to use the Internet and acknowledgment of the possible risks in so doing, and exercising independent judgment about communications too sensitive to share using the Internet. While the use of such technology is not foolproof, if said use is demonstrably more significant than what is customary, judges and juries have found such efforts to be sufficient.

Finally, both legal and business options are available to surmount Internet-related client conflicts. Because of the business development potential of chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other electronic opportunities for client contact, many attorneys see the Internet as a powerful client development tool. What some fail to recognize, however, is that the very opportunity to attract new clients may be a source of unintended conflicts of interest.

Take, for example, one of the most common uses of Internet chat rooms: a request seeking advice from attorneys experienced in dealing with a particular legal problem. Attorneys have been known to prepare elaborate and highly detailed responses to such inquiries. Depending on the level and nature of the information received and the advice provided, however, attorneys may be dismayed to discover that they have inadvertently created an attorney-client relationship with the requesting party. At a minimum, given the anonymous nature of many such inquiries, they may face the embarrassment and potential client relations problem of taking a public position or providing advice contrary to the interests of an existing firm client.

An acceptable legal solution is the application of disclaimers and consents. Some operators of electronic bulletin boards and online discussion groups have tried to minimize the client conflict potential by providing disclaimers or including as part of the subscription agreement the acknowledgment that any participation in online discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Alternatively, the use of limited answers would be a business solution. The Arizona State Bar recently cautioned that lawyers probably should not answer specific questions posed in chat rooms or newsgroups because of the inability to screen for potential conflicts with existing clients and the danger of disclosing confidential information.

Because the consequences of finding an attorney-client relationship are severe and may result in disqualification from representing other clients, the prudent lawyer should carefully scrutinize the nature and extent of any participation in online chat rooms and similar venues.

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Do you want it?

A steady stream of customers and sales from Google? A never-ending supply of leads, customers and sales for your local business? Who wouldn’t want that? It’s yours for the taking, if – you choose the right strategy.

Make the wrong decision and you can do a significant amount of harm to your business.

Okay, what decision are we talking about here?

We’re talking about your search strategy


When you’re looking for search engine traffic you have two options to work with.

  1. Universal search places an emphasis on optimizing for blended search results – SERPs that can include images, books, video, knowledge graph results, rich snippets, news updates, tweets, or reviews.
  2. Local search focuses on driving customers offline to a brick and mortar business. This strategy focuses on local sites, events, blended search results like local packs, knowledge panel, and reviews.

What would happen if a business chose the wrong strategy? Couldn’t be all that bad, could it?

Actually, yes.

If a local business decides to focus their attention, time and resources on universal search their “success” makes everything worse.

Why?

A local business needs to attract local customers (shocking, I know). The problem with universal search is the fact that it scoops visitors up indiscriminately.

Visitors, not customers.

Universal search casts a wide net, drawing anyone in if they use the right queries. If you’re attracting visitors outside of your service area, that’s a disaster in the making.

If a digital or non-local business relies on local search exclusively it’s death by starvation.

Their business starves slowly as they struggle to get the traffic, leads, sales they need to survive.

Start with goals to avoid the struggle


Local search is laser focused – it’s surgical and precise. Universal search, on the other hand, is a bomb of awesomeness. The results are dense and far reaching, which is perfect if you’re not focused on customers from a specific geographic location.

You’ll have to decide which strategy is best.

But how?

It’s simple. Start with your goals. Have a…

  • Local business focused on local customers? You’re strategy is pretty obvious. Focus your attention on a local search strategy, using tactics that extend your influence and reach in your service area.
  • Regional, national or non-local business? Use universal search to cast a wide net, attracting a large amount of customers from a variety of sources and channels.
  • Running a business with multiple locations or focus areas? Use a mix of local and universal search to drive engagement and response. If you’re running a bricks and mortar business side by side with a digital offering, you’ll need to optimize for both using both universal and local search strategies. Create a clear delineation between the two, maintaining separation in your approach.

Have a goal in mind? Fantastic.

There’s a bit of overlap with each strategy so let’s break the tactics down for each.

Strategy #1: Local Search


When it comes to local results, Google offers two main options.

The local three pack, which lists three businesses.

vietnamese restaurant new york

Here’s the problem. Google uses proximity to determine who makes it into the local pack. That makes ranking difficult if searchers aren’t in your area. To complicate things further, there’s a growing amount of ads in the local three pack and organic results. It’s harder to rank for these keywords but it’s not impossible as we’ll soon see. Then there’s…

The knowledge panel which focuses on one business specifically.

obao restaurant new york city

The three pack typically shows up for more generic searches (e.g. Vietnamese restaurants near me). The knowledge panel typically appears for very specific searches (e.g. Obao restaurant new york city).

Which local search tactics work best for locals?


    1. Find local and social profiles. You’ll want to find the tools that have the greatest impact in your industry or vertical. Restaurants depend on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Zomato. The key here is focusing on sites with a local emphasis.
    2. Register/claim profiles. Feed Google information about your business. Your name, address and phone number, hours of operation, website, social media profiles, etc. Track these profiles and keep them maintained.
    3. Build strong profiles and five star reviews. Reviews are powerful because they rank well for both branded and location-specific queries. This is huge because top ranked results get more clicks than listings without. Focus half of your local search efforts on getting reviews. Consistency is key here; work to consistently attract reviews. A positive review from a week ago is more valuable than one from 3 months ago.
    4. Participate in the community. If you’re a restaurant, register for local food fairs. If you’re an agency, focus on entrepreneur programs and events. Participate in workshops, meetups, seminars and events. This gives Google a sense of your standing in the community.
    5. Get locals to vouch for you via citations. Get links from .edus, Ask for reviews from powerful local influencers, Reach out to relevant or complementary non-profits, volunteer with local organizations. Share your activity via link building, PR, news reports and interviews. Focus your attention on serving so you don’t burn bridges.
    6. Create partnerships with local groups. Partner up with relevant local organizations. What if your local area doesn’t have a local organization to promote your interests? Create your own! Just make sure it serves the local community.
    7. List your business in local directories. Local directories with strong domain authority (e.g. Angie’s List, BBB, Facebook, Foursquare, CitySearch, etc.) help to boost local awareness of your brand.
    8. Use paid clicks to build local awareness. Piggyback on local searches, then present an irresistible offer to locals. A lead magnet, free offer, workshop or trial are great places to start.
    9. Rely on video and display to drive searches. Video and display ads drive search clicks after two weeks. A paid search campaign will entice customers to search for your business on Google, improving the odds of three pack and one box placement.
    10. Create high quality, hyper local content. Use trusted sources and authority domains to create and host local content. If you’re hosting your blog, focus your attention on building your domain’s trust and authority via link building from other trusted brands. Guest posting still has value if you’re able to point visitors/customers back to your site. Providing value for visitors = maximizing search value.

Did you catch it?

The factors that get you the coveted local three pack or one box? It isn’t simply about out-ranking your local competitors. It’s about outclassing them.

Becoming the de facto option in your local community. The smaller your city the easier for you to do.

Strategy #2: Universal Search


Sites with a strong universal ranking typically don’t have the local three packs we see with local businesses. What if they’re looking to target a local audience?

Which tactics would work best?

  1. Find the formats that matter most. Do customers in your niche or vertical prefer video? Are they looking for lots of images? Social media content via Facebook and Twitter? Figure out what your target audience wants, then create content that gives it to them.
  2. Create long form content. Focus your attention on creating quality content that’s deep and comprehensive. Create content that consistently addresses their desires, goals, fears and frustrations.
  3. Differentiate content with the right ingredients. There are four ways to create what Rand Fishkin calls “10x content.” (1.) Create content with depth (2.) differentiate with amazing, high quality design (3.) Create drama with stories and psychological triggers, or (4.) with data that’s proprietary, exclusive, surprising, thorough, or compelling.
  4. Split content up into a wide variety of formats. Use the four differentiation factors to double, triple or quadruple the performance of your 10x content. Create a long form blog post, then expand on your content with an embedded YouTube video from your channel. Post images and diagrams on Pinterest or Imgur. Create and share slides on SlideShare.
  5. Syndicate content across the web. Syndicate your posts via guest posting or contributor spots. Share to Medium and LinkedIn. Share content on niche forums like Reddit. Build quality backlinks from brands with strong domain authority focusing on a mix of follow/no-follow, authoritative, and fresh links.
  6. Tie all of your content together. Create lead magnets, incentives or offers to attract and convert customers. Tie all of your content together to bring customers into your sales funnel and marketing ecosystem.
  7. Filter and qualify customers. If you’re looking for local customers, use local channels to share your 10x content. If you’re casting a wide net, filter and qualify customers (e.g. via lead scoring or marketing automation) to maintain quality.
  8. Sort visitors into performance buckets. Use tools like BuzzSumo to identify visitors who are more likely to share and lead scoring or automation tools to identify potential customers. Provide Lurkers with incentives to engage, then let them sort themselves.
  9. Re-create top performers, improve poor ones. Universal search can’t survive without thorough, quality content. Learn from both top and poor performing content – identifying the who, what, why, where and how. Who read this? What did they think/do after reading this, where did they share it, how do I create more or refine what I have?

Even when it’s intended for a local audience, universal search depends on content.

Deep, comprehensive content.

The difference is the fact that this content is optimized around the channels that matter most to your target audience.

But what do these strategies look like in action?


Let’s search for some Greek food to find out.

When we enter the generic search query “greek restaurant chicago” we see the local pack.

Greek Islands is at the top of the list. So let’s narrow our search a bit with the query “Greek Islands Chicago.”

Aha! They have the coveted one box. But why?

Look again and the answer jumps out at us. They’ve completely outclassed their nearest competitor and not by a little bit.

They’re dominating.

They’ve gone all-in on their local search strategy. They have…

  • 879 photos and 1,396 reviews on Yelp with a four star rating.
  • 923 reviews on Trip Advisor with a four and a half star rating.
  • 1,486 votes on Facebook with an average rating of four point six stars.
  • 486 reviews via Google Reviews with an average four and a half stars.
  • They’re chock full of citations, being reviewed and listed on Menupages, Urbanspoon, DoorDash, OpenTable and Zagat.
  • They’ve received (and continue to receive) media mentions and critic reviews from Chicago Reader, Thrillist, the Michelin Guide, 10BEST, The Infatuation, and quite a few more outlets.
  • Their website has their NAP (name, address and phone), critical hallmarks for a local business, but aside from that it’s pretty bare bones.
  • Their restaurant has its own Wikipedia entry.

Greek Islands shows up for both generic and branded search queries. They’ve received a lot of attention from Google. They’ve done the work, invested the time, and it shows.

They’ve earned it.

What about universal search?


To get a sense of this in action, let’s look at… Google. A quick search of the branded term “Google” displays blended results.

Google has created an ecosystem around their product. Each product provides users with deep comprehensive content that’s focused around a particular topic or product.

  • Media outlets create deep, comprehensive content around the products in Google’s ecosystem.
  • Google’s Twitter profile provides references and anchor points to their content.
  • Google believes in Dogfooding; they create comprehensive content via their YouTube channels.
  • Their Facebook page is filled with helpful and educational resources used to teach users about their products, services and even their values.
  • Sitelinks lead users to deep content via Google Classroom as well as other apps and results like Think with Google.

You’re not Google but you can use universal search just as effectively.

Many businesses don’t.

But many businesses miss the secret behind these two strategies. Did you catch it?

Local search, universal search – they work best when they’re used together.

The Greek Islands used Local and universal search. 879 photos via Yelp. Deep, comprehensive content via amateur and professional reviewers. Content on Wikipedia, video features on the Food Network’s The Hungry Detective.

The Greek Islands blended local and universal search to maximize their results, and it worked like gangbusters.

What if these strategies backfire?


What can go wrong, will go wrong as they say. Review marketing, reputation management – these strategies go hand in hand with local search.

Build a quality business and you’ll reduce the backlash.

Focus your attention, time and resources on the details that matter most to customers, to you. Then, when things go wrong, be first, be kind, be helpful or you’ll be gone.

If these strategies backfire, these same strategies will be there to bail you out – if you’re a decent human being with a quality business.

You are, aren’t you?

That’s why you’ll get it…


A steady stream of customers and sales from Google and other search engines. A never-ending supply of quality customers and sales for your local business. It’s yours for the taking, if you make the right choice.

Make the wrong decision and you’ll do a significant amount of harm to your business.

Choose carefully, build a quality business.

Focus your attention, time and resources on that matter most. Local search is laser focused, surgical and precise; universal search, a far reaching bomb of awesomeness.

Choose the strategy that’s best for you and you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

You know you want it.

This article was published in business2community by Andrew McDermott

Categorized in Search Engine

Marketing is constantly evolving. So if you want to create a marketing plan for the coming year, you need all the most updated tools and strategies. Members of our small business community shared some of their top tips in posts this week. Check out ten of the best ways to update your marketing strategy in the list below.

 

Use These 20 Essential Marketing Tools

 

If you want to take your marketing to the next level, you need the right tools. That means you likely need a lot of different marketing services that focus on different purposes. There are 20 different marketing tools that can be essential to your business listed in this zaneguide post by Zane J. Heil.

 

Factor the Effects of Decision Fatigue into Your Marketing

 

Decision fatigue is a theory that can potentially keep your customers from making purchases. But if you factor that theory into your marketing, as this Two Feet Marketing post by David Lowbridge suggests, you can give your business a better chance. You can also see what BizSugar members had to say about the post here.

 

Write Winning Content for Short Attention Span Readers

 

Today’s consumers aren’t likely to spend a lot of time reading your content if it doesn’t grab their attention right away. That means you need to know how to write for readers with short attention spans, as this post by Lisa Froelings on The Sociable details.

 

Get More Local Website Traffic

 

For local businesses, online marketing is still essential. Local search tips like the ones in this Search Engine Journal post by Mandy Wodnick can help you get more local website traffic and reach more customers who are looking for businesses in your area.

 

Achieve Marketing ROI With These Tips

 

If you want your marketing efforts to be successful, you need a real plan and the ability to actually measure results, as detailed in this post by Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media. You can also see discussion about the post by BizSugar members here.

 

Use A/B Testing to Build Buyer Personas

 

If you want to effectively market your business, you need to create accurate buyer personas to give you an idea about who you’re marketing to. And you can use A/B testing to achieve that thanks to the information in this Kissmetrics post by Aaron Agius.

 

Make Your Blog Visually Appealing

 

Blogs can be great marketing tools for businesses. But you need your blog to visually appeal to readers and potential customers if you want it to have any impact. These tips from Neil Patel offer some ways for you to make your blog more visually appealing.

 

Get Influencers to Read Your Blog Posts

 

In addition, influencers can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your blog posts. This post by Tony Paull of Tony Paull Consulting features some ways you can get influencers to read your blog posts. And members of the BizSugar community also comment on the post here.

 

Consider These Small Business Conferences for 2017

 

Conferences can be a great way to network and improve your business’s reach. And there are many different small business conferences throughout the year for you to consider. Here are some for 2017 shared by Nicholas Milewski on the Plousio blog.

 

Dial in Your Visual Ads

 

When it comes to visual advertising, there are many different online tools and platforms you can use to create your strategy. This Marketing Land post by Brad O’Brien includes some tips for using platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat to dial in your visual ads.

 

 

Source:  smallbiztrends.com

Instead of presenting content with the typical approach like making use of written text, images or videos plainly, marketers these days should understand more about digital design. When visuals, text, and videos are ready for a campaign or landing page, there are storyboarding tools that provide layouts and guidance so your idea can be visualized before going live.

Fortunately, there’re sites that help to plan and organise strategies and content ideas. Options are many, but here’re the recommended ones to give your strategy an edge:

1. Images & Infographics: Canva

Canva offers pre-made templates, shapes, and images to users in order to create visual campaigns. Templates include social media sized layouts, presentations, posters, blog headers, blog graphics, cards, letters, certificates, eBooks, and more. Various color schemes, backgrounds, text styles, and layouts are available in the tool. It is easy and quick to use, and the final results are aesthetically impressive.

2. Videos: Mysimpleshow

Mysimpleshow is a video-creation site where users can make their own explainer videos based on any topic. The tool uses a simple 4-step guided process for users that facilitates writing a voiceover using storyline templates as provided writing support, or importing relevant text from a PowerPoint file. Mysimpleshow then automatically visualizes the story by suggesting visuals that are generated by the site or you can use your own images, making the process super easy. The final video is completed with a voiceover of your text, and your self-made video is done in minutes.

3. Content Management & Discovery: The BuiltVisible Content Discovery Tool

The BuiltVisible Content Discovery Tool can be used to research, discover, and filter any content to ensure reliability and top engagement. The tool is a Google Sheet in which users can search trending topics, data, and articles from social, news, and government websites, as well as see the best performing content. Users can also organize any information added to the Content Discovery Tool.

4. Digital Design: Sketch

Sketch is a design tool for Mac users that makes creating campaigns, landing pages, app icons, websites, and any other design a piece of cake. Using a vector-based workflow, graphic design is made simple for those without experience, and optimizes a professional’s experience. The final product is an eye-catching and high-quality visual creation.

5. Organizational Planning & Team Communication: Trello

Trello is a collaborative tool for teams. Lists, boards, and cards provided by the tool offer options for organizational planning and team communication. All users invited can participate in the group, meaning having the ability to add, edit, move, and delete notes. Apps can be integrated into groups and workflows, users can participate in multiple teams, and project collaboration can be managed from start to finish.

Using these tools will help content marketers enhance their creative marketing strategy. Aesthetics will be more appealing, management is made easier, messages are more focused, and explaining a message or campaign is simple. Content marketers – keep this in mind and you’ll impact your target groups even more!

Source : http://www.lifehack.org/

When creating and implementing a digital marketing campaign, you first need to design your keyword strategy. This strategy is more than just finding keywords that will bring you the highest number of visitors. It’s a top-to-bottom concept that will influence how you design your site, select keywords, optimize your pages and measure the success of your campaign.

Define Your Keyword Goals

Before you can start delving into keywords, search intent, search volume and click-through rate, you have to define what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your SEO. After all, how can you be successful if you don’t even know what you want? There are two basic goals when it comes to SEO campaigns:

  • Conversion: This is the most common campaign goal when it comes to digital marketing. Using a conversion goal means you want your keywords to attract users that wind up converting on your website, whether that be making a purchase, completing a contact form, signing up for an email newsletter or downloading an app. If you go this route, you should focus more on longtail commercial keywords.
  • Branding: This campaign is looking to generate lots of impressions and pageviews and focuses less on conversions that happen on the landing page, if they are even possible. For a branding campaign, ranking highly is its own reward as it establishes your brand as a thought leader and an important player in your niche.

You aren’t constrained to one or the other though. You can use a hybrid keyword strategy by dedicating the majority of your keywords (around 80-90%) to a longtail approach, while reserving the remaining for keywords that will get your brand and content in front of a lot of eyeballs.

How you define success will impact the keywords you choose and how you evaluate their performance.

Measuring Success

Before you begin any marketing campaigns you need to ask yourself, “what does success look like?” Or, what metric will you track to determine if you’re achieving your campaign goal? When talking about an SEO campaign, most people first think of measuring improvements to your site’s ranking, or increasing the number of new visitors. If you’re running a branding campaign, then these are your top metrics to track. However, you should also keep track of important SEO indicators like click through rate (CTR), time spent on site and bounce rate, as these metrics will help you evaluate your landing pages’ relevance to the target keywords and content quality.

If you are measuring your campaign against a conversion goal, determining success by SERP ranking and traffic is overly simple, and can even cause you to waste time and effort optimizing pages for keywords that aren’t achieving your goal. To measure your conversion campaign, use your analytics to evaluate visitor behavior by keyword. Some important metrics to track for conversions:

  • Pages/visit: How many pages are users viewing per visit? This will tell you whether or not your site is engaging users and piquing their interest in your products or services.
  • Bounce rate: A high bounce rate can be a sign of a few different issues with your keyword, your page or both, which we’ll cover in a little bit.
  • Average time on site: Do users leave your page right after arriving? This is often closely related to bounce rate — low time on site and high bounce rate is a sign that your page’s content doesn’t jive with your keywords.

And, finally, the most important metrics to track for conversion campaigns are conversions and conversion rate. The reason you want to track indicators other than just conversions is because that number alone doesn’t give you much context, and you could otherwise be missing opportunities to target keywords that have higher conversion rates.

Google Analytics conversion tracking

How to Choose Keywords

Now that you know what endgame you’re optimizing for, you can start to find keywords to target with your SEO. To get the best list possible, start with your product (or service). Ideally, you know this inside and out. Start by brainstorming keywords that come to mind when you think of your business, or how you would answer the question “What is my website about?” or “What does my business do?”

Since Google’s Hummingbird update, it’s more important than ever to base your keyword strategy around the way humans use and interact with search engine results. Target keywords that will help you answer questions that users would ask in order to learn more about your industry, company and products.

One nice in-house resource you have for this is your very own customer service team. Keep a record of the conversations you have with your customers, or if you’re big enough, have your customer success team keep track of their tickets. Take note of:

  • The most commonly asked questions your CS team handles.
  • Any particular features and/or services people ask about or mention, both positive and negative.
  • Any concerns or comments left by customers.

This exercise will result not only in a better experience for your customers, but a solid list of potential keywords for you as well. If people are contacting you to ask a question or leave a comment, you can bet they’ve already done so online.

If you have a search bar on your site, update the settings in your Google Analytics account to track what your users are searching for. Click on the Admin tab then under View, select View Settings and switch Site search Tracking on. You can then provide the query parameter used in your search URLs to begin tracking. This will help you to understand user intent, as well as highlighting content gaps where no relevant content exists on your site based on the search query used.

Search Intent

Along with understanding how your potential customers are searching for your company and/or product online, you also need to decide what part of the sales process you want to target. Are you looking to start a prospecting campaign that attracts users at the very beginning of the process, and then convert them later via email marketing or retargeting? Or do you want your website to be shown in front of in-market searchers who are looking to buy right away?

Digital marketing conversion funnel

To effectively find your right target audience, you need to understand the search intent behind the keywords. The stage of conversion you want to target will determine what sort of keyword you optimize for:

  • Informational: These keywords represent the very beginning of the conversion process, and are not very likely to convert on the first visit. If you’re running a branding campaign you’ll want to be sure to include informational keywords on your list. If you’ve got a conversion goal, you still can’t afford to ignore these keywords as they make up the majority of searches. Informational keywords often use words/phrases like “how to”, “do I need” and “where to find”. Consider these leads to be converted later via your website or a retargeting campaign.
  • Research: These searchers are further down the funnel than informational searchers. They’ve already decided that they want to buy a product, but they haven’t quite decided which one is best. They’re looking for more information, so product keywords usually include words such as “review”, “top 10”, “comparison”. And while it may look like spam to you, a word like “cheap” can actually help turn researchers into conversions.
  • In-market: These are the “shut up and take my money” searchers. They expect search results to take them directly to the product they’re trying to buy. These keywords typically include words like “deal”, “free shipping”, “discount” and “buy”. They don’t have high search volume, but should more than make up for it with high conversion rates.
  • Freemium: These are people looking to get free versions of products and digital goods (movies, TV shows, music, books, etc.). Unless your product uses a freemium model, avoid these keywords. A person looking for “free Game of Thrones episodes online” is probably never going to buy the box set.

Quantitative Analysis

Part of designing your keyword strategy is making sure you target keywords that will bring in enough traffic to be worth the effort. There’s no minimum number of searches for a keyword — that depends on your niche and your ability to convert visitors into sales. If you’ve got a Pro or Premium WooRank account, use SERP Checker’s new search volume feature to track estimated monthly searches for your keywords, as well as historical ranking data. If you’re already using SERP Checker, the search volume will appear for your keywords automatically. If you haven’t used it yet, just enter your keywords in the tool and you’ll see your data within 24 hours.

WooRank SERP Checker estimated monthly search volume

If you haven’t created an Advanced Review yet, you can use Google AdWords or Bing Ads’ Keyword Planner tools to find search volume for your keywords.

Keyword Planner Search Volume

Note that if you aren’t a big spender on AdWords, your data in Keyword Planner might get throttled. That means you won’t see the actual search volume for your keywords. Instead, the tool will display an estimated range of monthly searches, like this:

AdWords Keyword Planner throttled data

Don’t base your whole strategy on chasing volume though. Pay attention to the competition column in the keyword research tools. Even though these tools use pay-per-click (PPC) data to determine competitiveness and suggested bid, you can still extrapolate this data for organic search. High competition and suggested bid is a strong indication that there’s money to be made off of these keywords, as advertisers generally won’t bid high CPCs on poorly performing keywords.

Of course, don’t go overboard targeting competitive keywords with high suggested bids. They can potentially send you a lot of traffic, or highly qualified traffic, but they’re incredibly hard to rank for. Don’t avoid them entirely, but make sure you have a healthy blend of keywords that are both high and low competition.

Optimizing Landing Pages

Choosing landing pages for your keywords is an important element of your keyword strategy, and can be critical for both your SEO and your user experience. Look at it this way: When you click through to a site that really isn’t relevant to your search, what do you do? You most likely leave that page after a few seconds and likely won’t consider it in the future. So having poorly optimized landing pages can cost you sales. But they’ll also damage your SEO efforts, making it hard to rank.

Google uses bounce rate as a ranking signal, so if visitors are leaving your page without interacting with any other pages, the search engine will see that it’s either not relevant to the keyword, or the content is not very useful. Optimize these elements of your landing pages to show that the page is relevant to the keyword:

  • Title tag: This is one of the most important on page SEO factors. Search engines rely heavily on title tags to determine the topic of a page. Use your most important keyword at the beginning of the title, and keep your titles between 50 and 60 characters. A correct title tag in the <head> of a page looks like:

    <title>This is the title</title>

  • Headings: Search engines look at heading tags as well as title tags to figure out what a page’s content is about. Use keywords in your heading tags, and make sure to maintain your heading hierarchy.

  • Page Content: The days of minimum keyword density are gone. The number of times you use a keyword is really determined by the length of your content. If you are creating unique, quality content your will naturally use your keyword throughout your page. Sprinkle latent semantic keywords throughout your content to strengthen the page’s topical relevance.

  • Images: Even though search engines don’t really see images, you can still use them as part of your keyword strategy. First, make sure they are relevant to your page content, and add to the overall user experience. For search engines, use the alt attribute to help crawlers “see” what an image is about. The alt attribute is a part of the image HTML tag that is used by search engines, text-only browsers and screen readers to “see” an image. Use your keywords in the alt text, but be sure to do so naturally. Stuffing alt attributes full of keywords and synonyms will make your page look like spam and do more harm than good.

Use the search intent of a keyword to help determine what sort of page it should be used on. Informational keywords should be used on pages optimized for a branding campaign with content such as how to guides or product comparison articles. Avoid using these pages to target more specific in-market keywords. Those searchers have no use for a how-to guide or product comparisons. Use those to target your product pages that include specs, reviews, options and, most importantly, price and the “buy now” button. Of course, the “buy now” button could also be the email sign-up page or contact information form, depending on the type of goals you’re targeting.

Wrapping Up

Once you’ve devised your keyword strategy you can move on to more sophisticated on page optimizations like URL canonicalization, creating an XML sitemap and making your website mobile friendly. If you’re new to SEO, do some research to avoid making common mistakes that will hurt your ability to rank and get quality organic traffic.

What keywords are you targeting? Enter your URL to the right to generate a free WooRank SEO audit. Find out how consistently you’re using your keywords and how well your site is optimized for them.

Source : https://www.sitepoint.com/your-guide-to-creating-a-keyword-strategy/

Categorized in Search Engine

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