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By Joseph Chukwube

As the digital landscape evolves, so do the tools and strategies needed to make businesses succeed online. Search Engine Optimization itself, as a business marketing strategy, has had its ‘death’ declared so many times because it felt like it was no longer relevant. Yet, it’s still here, more strongly than before.

More so, consider the AI revolution that’s currently taking place. Does that mean you should throw away all your old tools and start using AI for everything? It would have been cool if it were that easy.

However, managing a business is not. And search engine optimization is not easy either. That’s why we have reviewed five different categories of tools that your business must invest in to hit your SEO goals and enhance your presence online. Beginner or expert, these tools will make your life easier and your results better.

Keyword Research

Paying for Google Search ads is the fastest way to appear on top of the search engine’s results for relevant queries (if you have enough money). However, the most valuable way to get to the top and remain there is by organically matching the content on your website to the most common terms searched by users.

Data from keyword research tools are organized into lists of the most common keywords relevant to your website. Hence, they are great resources for finding new content ideas, connecting with your audience, and improving traffic.

When choosing a tool for keyword research, you should be okay with free tools such as Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner. However, they each have their limitations. Google Trends is geared toward general knowledge and shows you nothing besides trendiness. Google Keyword Planner, on the other hand, lies within the Google Ads system and is geared towards paid ads, rather than organic search.

As far as free tools go, you can’t do much more than data coming from Google itself. But paid tools take you steps further with improved results, clear insights, and seamless automation. Popular paid tools such as Ahrefs and Moz sit on the high end, costing upwards of $100 for subscriptions. More affordable ones include the Eye10 Keyword Planner, which starts at $39 and includes everything you should expect from a keyword tool: ideas and suggestions, monthly search volume, difficulty level, and the ability to export results.

Analytics

Search engines have an incentive to ensure that their top search results are relevant to the user. But this is not a static process and several (hundreds of) factors come into play.

When your business relies heavily on traffic coming from search engines, you can’t help the occasional jolting feeling when the search engine updates its algorithm such that your efforts seem obsolete. At other times, your efforts are indeed obsolete and you must have been doing something wrong once you notice that your ranking and traffic have taken a hit.

The point here is that, as far as SEO goes, there is always something to improve upon. Always. And how would you know that if you don’t have the right tool to analyze what’s happening? Sometimes, the website itself is the problem; at other times, user behavior may be shifting towards what your website is not yet optimized for. Still, search algorithms may just be doing their thing and it’s affecting you negatively.

Google is, by far, the most popular search engine. So, its Search Console tool is, without a doubt, the best free tool for monitoring your site’s presence in search results. It helps you troubleshoot any issues you might have and ultimately make informed decisions to enhance your website presence.

Content Creation

Everywhere you turn, there is a proliferation of blogs, podcasts, newsletters, videos, webinars, etc. Basically, it’s the content creation revolution and there is an emerging work field of ‘creators’, professionals who apply their creativity in crafting digital content that resonates with their audience.

The most popular creators are individuals, such as MrBeast and Khaby Lame but many businesses have found themselves increasingly locked into content creation because it is a great way to market their brands. Whether it’s a blog or a newsletter, ebooks, or whitepapers, creating content is the order of the day. What you should be thinking about is how to make it better. And there is a solid toolkit for that.

For creating written content, Grammarly is the defacto spelling and grammar checker although others such as the Hemingway Editor and ProWritingAid are excellent alternatives. Canva leads in the graphic design aspect as a highly user-friendly tool for creating social media posts, videos, infographics, presentations, and much more.

Capcut, Descript, Audacity, Buzzsprout, YouTube Studio, etc. are useful for editing, preparing, and distributing your video and audio content for your audience. And any collaborative task manager or workspace tool will help you easily manage your content calendar.

Link Building

Link building is a top-three tactic for getting ahead in SEO. Over the years, Google has developed an immense capacity at detecting and penalizing websites determined to manipulate its algorithm via unethical practices such as link farming and link spamming. The best way to build links today is to earn the backlinks as well as the authority that comes with them.

Ethical link-building opportunities abound but going at it manually can be daunting and frustrating, given the tough competition in the industry. Even something as ‘simple’ as requesting a guest blogging opportunity requires that several moving parts are working without friction. First, you have to publish linkable content, then conduct outreaches, optimize your links and anchors, find broken links and unlinked brand mentions, and monitor competitors. The whole time, you still have to track the effectiveness of your link-building efforts.

As far as link building is concerned, there is no all-in-one tool. It is more likely that you’d be using a combination of various tools to achieve different purposes. For finding link opportunities, SEMrush and Ahrefs offer very useful features. Pitchbox, Buzzstream, and JustReachOut help you to reach out to and collaborate with influencers. Eye10 Backlink Monitor is great for analyzing your backlinks to determine their impact and find issues.

Social Media Management

For many customers today, especially those of the younger generation, a business that lacks a social media presence is as good as not existing. Businesses have responded likewise, by not just establishing their presence on social media but assigning whole teams to control the narrative about their business online.

But social media is not just a PR or a communications tool; it boosts your SEO too when managed strategically. For instance, sharing links to your website increases brand exposure and provides extensive content distribution. Social media might not be an element of SEO ranking, but its benefit such as enhancing your brand recognition and reputation online can contribute immensely to your website traffic.

The entire cycle of creating, publishing, and monitoring content on social media requires strategic workflows, and there are tools that would help you save time and make it less overwhelming, particularly through automation. Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social help you manage several social media accounts in one platform, including scheduling your posts and accessing comprehensive analytics data. And for building simple landing pages, Linktree is hands-down the most popular tool.

Conclusion

Staying ahead of the competition in a field like SEO takes a lot of hard work. Plus, sustainability is hardly guaranteed; one wrong turn and your website and business are sinking. But these tools can help you to stay afloat when used properly. These are the aspects of SEO you should focus the most of your attention upon.

By Joseph Chukwube

Entrepreneur, Online Marketing Consultant

I’m a Professional Content Writer and Marketer, SEO and PR Expert. I’m the Founder of Digitage and Startup Growth Guide, results-driven marketing agencies. To create content and and improve your brand awareness, get in touch at [email protected]

Sourced from readwrite

By John Hall

A robust content creation strategy is no longer just a nice-to-have for your business. Without great content and a high-ranking internet presence, your business practically doesn’t exist.

Content is both an important facet of your company’s reputation and a critical factor in achieving its business goals. Your content educates your readers, engages your audience and establishes you as an authoritative subject matter source. If you’re not already set up for content success, here are some ways to give your brand the content makeover it needs.

1. Be Everywhere and Be Useful

You can’t just rely on weekly subscription-based emails anymore. Your company needs a comprehensive strategy that bridges multiple channels and covers all angles. Your website should have a blog that’s updated regularly—at least once weekly. You also need well-researched white papers and studies to demonstrate your industry expertise. Use data and infographics to illustrate your points. Round out your written content and visuals with videos, podcasts and webinars.

And don’t just use your content to talk up your company. Think about what will make readers want to come to your site. Feature actionable advice that your readers will turn to, time and again, for help. Where possible—and appropriate—consider timely newsjacking pieces that link your company’s offerings to current events. These pieces should showcase why your product or service is more relevant than ever.

2. Find Your Audience

Before you get too far into content creation, think about whom you want to appeal to. Who are your readers, and what can they stand to gain by immersing themselves in your content? If you offer a B2B technology solution, maybe your blog can provide actionable tips for small business owners. If you sell beauty products, consider common skincare complaints and position yourself as a solution. Whatever the product, think of your content as helpful advice, not advertising.

Finding your audience doesn’t just mean knowing your target demographics. It also means meeting your potential customers where they are. Do you need to be on Instagram? TikTok? The hottest new beauty blog? Figure out where you should post your content, especially on social media, so your most likely readers will stumble upon it.

3. Explore New Content Solutions

If you’re feeling out of your depth in deciding how to meet the content needs of your organization, you may want to think about partnering with an experienced content solutions provider. They can assist with services like preparing technical and software documentation and developing employee and customer training. They can also help pair you with scalable technology solutions or transition to a new type of content management system.

Some content creation solutions providers, like Contiem, can do an audit of all your content needs and walk you through each stage of revamping your entire content ecosystem — whether that’s creating, managing, or delivering the quality content your business needs to succeed. When you’re struggling to gain traction, the right provider can take a close look at your content and figure out what is and isn’t working. And then they can set you on the right path.

4. Boost Your Search Results

To be truly successful in the content world, you have to stay on top of search engine optimization. Plugins like Yoast SEO can boost your Google GOOG +0.2% rankings by helping you optimize your keyword distribution, assess your content’s readability and more. Use alt tags and metadata wisely, and make sure your links are current and flow naturally within the sentence structure. Pin your links to relevant keywords, avoid overlinking and don’t force links or keywords in where they don’t make sense.

In short: don’t go crazy. It’s no longer so easy to trick the search engines into doing your bidding. The most important thing is that your content be relevant, interesting and updated regularly. For optimal traffic and rankings, you should post on your site or blog about two to four times a week. But don’t just post garbage (see point 1). Make your content pertinent and educational so your readers will keep coming back for more.

5. Analyse and Iterate

Once you’ve got your content up and running, you’ll require a system for tracking what’s effective and what’s not. Which channels and types of posts are performing well, and which can you spend less time on? A host of tools and tips are available for measuring content engagement and effectiveness. Use Google Analytics and other services to keep an eye on your metrics.

You should be monitoring not just how many people visit your site, but who they are and how long they stay. You’ll also want to note how many visits actually turn into conversions. Track the number of people who like your content enough to share it with their circle. In addition, consider who’s choosing not just to read your content, but to subscribe to updates. Lastly, look at your costs and figure out what to cut or invest more in.

Great Content Serves a Need

It bears repeating that the most important component of a good content strategy is usefulness. Your customers don’t read your content because they want to be advertised at. They come to you because they believe your content has something to offer them. Think about what causes you to remember a great piece of content or makes you want to share it with friends or co-workers. The best content centres the reader and builds trust in you as someone who can make their life easier.

Feature Image Credit: getty

By John Hall

John Hall is a top motivational speaker and the co-founder of Calendar, a scheduling and time management app. He’s also an adviser for the growth marketing agency Relevance, a company that helps brands differentiate themselves and lead their industry online. You can book him as a keynote speaker here.

Sourced from Forbes

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You’ve defined your content strategy, assembled a team or found a great outsourcing partner. Before you can start creating content your audience wants to read and share, you need to set up systems that guarantee quality over quantity.

How do you identify and ensure high-quality content?

Quality should always be your priority in content creation. Search engines value quality content when ranking websites; even more importantly, quality content significantly affects your readers and customers. But, you must apply reviewing and editing criteria to an article before publishing it.

Here’s how to make sure you’re producing quality content.

What’s at the core of quality online content?

You should always aim for a few core factors in your content production. Use this checklist to guide your writers and editors:

  • Originality: What does your content (in other words, your brand) offer that no other content does? How does it stand out from the crowd? What makes the perspective unique?
  • Readability: Does the article summarize and explain complex matters in an approachable way? Is it written engagingly?
  • Voice: Does the tone speak to the reader? Does it match your brand’s culture and message?
  • Relevance: Is the article meaningful to its intended reader? Does it help the reader’s purpose or answer their questions? Is it both timely and up-to-date?
  • Timelessness: Will the content still be relevant and exciting in a few years? Could it easily be updated if needed?
  • Grammar and spelling: Is the writing free of typos and grammatical mistakes?

As is the nature of our digital world, these criteria constantly evolve. This means staying on top of the latest content marketing research and analysis and adjusting your strategy as needed is essential.

Search engine optimization basics for content writing

Ensuring your content performs well online and achieves first-page ranking means adhering to specific rules set by Google (or other search engines) algorithms.

Critical factors for crafting optimized content include:

  • Length: 1,000 to 3,000 words is perfect for blog posts and articles. Landing pages or description pages perform better at 300 to 500 words.
  • Structure: Format your content using title (H1) and subheaders (H2 and greater) tags. Use keywords and phrases in your headers.
  • Links: Linking to internal and authoritative external web pages increases traffic and performance.
  • Keywords: Use relevant keywords, including long-tail keywords, phrases and LSI keywords.
  • Keyword density: While using relevant keywords is non-negotiable, a keyword density that is too high can result in keyword stuffing. This will lower your SEO ranking.
  • Meta title and description: A catchy meta title and description that includes your primary keyword or phrase attracts your readers and the Google algorithm.

Related: Here’s How to Create Quality Content in the Age of Social Media

Optimize quality control using online tools

A recent report found that, as of 2021, around 61% of businesses still review each piece of submitted content. This inefficient, “one at a time” strategy contributes to a significant loss of productivity.

There are various online tools designed to help you to optimize your workflow. One person can now achieve what once required an entire team and considerable time — and to the same standard.

Organizing your workflow

When it comes to setting up an efficient process, take advantage of tools that allow you to use filters to sort articles by your chosen review and quality control criteria. Applying the filters to incoming content will help you quickly decide which articles are ready for publishing and which may benefit from QCing, editing or rewriting.

Best of all if you can make this system available to any team member, allowing you to delegate tasks as needed.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism isn’t just an ethical or quality concern. Repeated content is down-ranked down by search engine algorithms.

There are a lot of plagiarism checkers out there on the Internet and some of them even use AI to detect plagiarized or paraphrased content within seconds. Use them to make sure your content is unique and offers real value to the readers.

Grammar, spelling and style

Ideally, you should hire an editor to proofread your content and catch typos, syntax, diction and grammar errors.

If for whatever reason you don’t have access to an editor, take advantage of online tools to help yourself. You can find a few AI-based online software that checks your grammar, highlights repetitive words and phrases and recommends style improvements.

Translation tools can also help you (broadly) determine if an article in a foreign language is insightful and informative. Using tools for that is now accurate enough to spot repetitive, irrelevant or inappropriate content.

Keyword density

The number of times a keyword is used in a text directly impacts how search engines like Google rank it.

Experts generally recommend a keyword density of around 1% to 2%. This means that a paragraph of 100 words should only contain a keyword once — or twice at most. Some content marketers recommend one keyword for every 200 words.

For efficiency, you don’t need to count the keywords in every paragraph manually. Remember that nowadays there are online tools that do that for you. All you need to do is insert the article URL or the text and a tool spits out a keyword density percentage.

Apply these guidelines to your writing today

Are you keen to start writing a few great pieces for your small business website each month?

The focus of any content creation strategy — big or small — should be on quality over quantity. Thankfully, it’s easy to craft quality content if you stick to a few simple guidelines, incorporate the latest SEO practices and use online tools.

So, what are you waiting for? Use these tips and best practices to guide your content team or put (digital) pen to paper today.

By

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Samuel Thimothy

Let’s dive into why you shouldn’t outsource your content and how to manage content creation internally.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images

By Samuel Thimothy

VP at OneIMS.com, an inbound marketing agency, and co-founder of Clickx.io, the digital marketing intelligence platform.

Sourced from Inc.

By

Your corporate blog could one day lose its momentum.

Corporate blog content creation is a top priority of more than 50% of marketers. And with so many benefits — including the ability to reach, engage and convert prospects — you can expect this number to increase in the years to come.

The good news is that any company — regardless of size or industry — can benefit from a corporate blog. However, there’s no guarantee of success. Your blog could one day hit a wall.

Here are five reasons why your corporate blog has hit a wall and what you can do to get back on track.

1. No content calendar

A content calendar shouldn’t be optional. It’s best to make it a mandatory requirement within your organization. Without this, you’re inviting trouble such as an on-again-off-again posting schedule or publishing duplicate content.

A content calendar doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as a Google Sheet with columns for title, keyword, author and proposed publication date.

2. Out of ideas

Through my years of consulting companies on how to drive revenue and traffic through corporate blogging, I’ve found this to be the biggest reason for failure. When you run out of ideas, one of two things happens: You stop blogging altogether or you stop sharing quality content.

Before this happens, make a list of places you can turn to generate ideas:

  • Brainstorm with other members of your team
  • Review competing blogs for inspiration
  • Use a keyword research tool

One of these ideas may be all it takes to clear your mind, break out of your funk and create a topic list you can rely on for months to come.

3. Not enough contributors

If you’re the only person contributing content to your company’s blog, it won’t be long before you hit a wall. This happens for many reasons, such as running out of ideas (see above) or simply burning out.

Here are some places you can turn to find contributors:

  • Colleagues (even if they aren’t in the marketing department)
  • Clients, partners, affiliates or suppliers
  • Outside writers who are willing to submit guest posts

As your list of contributors grows, the amount of content you personally create will (or can) decrease.

4. Too heavy of a focus on one type of content

Creating the same type of content — day after day — can result in burnout and/or writers’ block. Not to mention the fact that it can become tiresome for your audience to read.

Creating various types of content will maintain your interest in writing while keeping your audience coming back for more. These 10 ideas are a good place to start:

  • Listicles
  • How-to guides
  • Interviews
  • Infographics
  • Personal or brand stories
  • Industry news or current events
  • Checklists
  • Resources
  • Quizzes, surveys, or polls
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

There are sure to be specific types of content that you prefer to create. And that’s okay. Just remember to mix things up now and again. It’s beneficial to you and your audience.

5. Lack of time

Even if it’s your full-time job to create content for your company’s blog, it doesn’t mean that time is always on your side. According to Orbit Media, it takes slightly more than four hours to write a typical blog post of roughly 1,400 words. And that doesn’t take into consideration other tasks, such as research and editing.

When time is tight, writers tend to cut corners. Maybe you lower your word count. Maybe you skip over proofreading. Perhaps you turn a blind eye to optimizing your content for search engines.

Fortunately, there are many ways to fight back against a lack of time, such as creating an ironclad content calendar and accepting guest posts.

Let these pointers direct you down the path toward corporate blogging success. If your blog has hit a wall, stop what you’re doing and recalibrate your strategy.

By

Chris Bibey is a writer, content marketer and business owner. He’s been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and hundreds of industry-specific blogs. He currently manages Chris Bibey Digital, a content-creation agency based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Sourced from Entrepreneur Europe

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Buzzwords like ‘content marketing’, ‘content creation strategy’, and ‘content is king’ mean a lot more to businesses today than they did a few years ago.

In the modern, fast-paced, and highly competitive corporate stratosphere, content marketing has become more than just a technique to gain a competitive edge – it’s become a necessity.

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Today, if you want to gain leads and see those leads converting into

Today, if you want to gain leads and see those leads converting into customers, build a relationship with your audience, and present a consistently good image of your business, you need to put in place the bricks of a strong content marketing strategy.   

With all ventures aiming for the coveted prize, the competition in content marketing is harder now than ever. The only way to stay ahead of the competition is by giving content marketing the attention it deserves and by ensuring that your content remains unparalleled in all aspects.

So how can you leverage your content to tap into authentic growth?    

Let’s dive in to explore a few sure-fire content creation tips and tricks you need to follow.

Stimulate curiosity in the audience

Perhaps the best tip for lead conversions is to combine top-quality content with a premium offer or a bonus that aligns with the topic.

Successful businesses with top-notch content marketing strategy use downloadable checklists and guides, exclusive videos, and detailed analysis reports to push their audience to subscribe to their emails or newsletter. You can use one of two ways to achieve this objective – hire in-house writers or consider a content writing service.

But wait, there’s more!

Ah, caught you!

You can clearly see how powerful this curiosity-piquing trick can be for your content creation strategy.

Well, there’s actually one more crucial point. Make sure that you offer some serious value to your audience before asking them for a favor. Otherwise, you’ll lose their trust!

The safest way to go about this is by splitting your piece of information into half and sharing the first half only, asking the audience to subscribe or click on a link to get access to the remaining half.       

Serialize your content

Lengthy, expansive, and never-ending content isn’t just challenging for you to create but is also hard for your audience to digest.

While it’s true that lengthier pieces of content tend to garner more interest of the audience, there are ways to make them more comprehensible and easily digestible for the readers without compromising on their value.

One such trick is to distribute your content into serials. This will additionally allow you to integrate call-to-actions and other conversion points within the content.

To begin with, consider choosing an engaging topic that meets the interest criteria of your target audience, and break it up into a series of content. You may make the most of this technique by offering the serialized content to your email subscribers only.

Do you know what’s the best part of content serialization is? You don’t need to come up with heaps of content in one go – you’ll have at least a week before the next piece of content has to go!

Repackage your content

Immaculate content creation is that which involves thinking outside the box.

One of the biggest reasons why many businesses fall short on the content marketing front is that they see a piece of content as just that. Your content can offer a myriad of opportunities only if you’re smart enough to realize it.

You can repurpose and recycle your ideas to create fresh, valuable, and interesting content each time in so many ways. To put this point across effectively, I’ll present you with some examples:

  • To promote an eBook, you may recreate one of its chapters into a blog post and utilize the but-wait-there’s-more technique
  • You may use your package quotes as tweets
  • You may create a series of blog posts using the content of a webinar

No matter how you decide to recycle your content, just make sure that it doesn’t lose its value and isn’t straightaway plagiarized.  

Go over the top

Hundreds and thousands of people create and publish content but not every piece is of a great standard. In fact, most of it is of bad quality. And you can use this to your advantage. Should you ask how, you must have seen how something that’s of superior quality stands out from the crowd instantly.

Your content should be able to do the same!

Sounds like a great idea, right?

But how does one produce content that surpasses every other piece on the internet?

Here’s a rule of thumb to follow: find content that is worthy to be linked, come up with something better and unique, and present it to the right audience.

Although this type of content involves hard-core research and requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication, it’ll help you yield amazing results for much longer.

Make summary posts of big content pieces

Want to set your existing content up for some brownie points?

Consider making a list of the things that your audience will learn from a longer piece of content and use it to create a summary post for a multi-distribution platform, such as LinkedIn. Content, video, and amount of users are a few reasons why LinkedIn is on the rise. Get in early to take full advantage of this platform.

The digestible shorter piece should offer valuable insights into your main longer post. You’ll be surprised how this simple trick will boost traffic rate for you!

Use your predictive eye

Another way to create quality content is by predicting which topics will be popular amongst and well-received by the audience.

This doesn’t mean you’ll have to sit in front of a crystal ball and try to look into the future but by simply being aware of what your competitors are doing that seems to work wonders for them.

Again, you shouldn’t be aiming to copy exactly what they’re doing rather just to use it to your own advantage.

Look for topics and types of content that have done well in the past for similar businesses in the industry, keep track of the keywords that are working best for your competitors, and use learned knowledge to create kick-ass content for your own business.

If you’re ready to step in the corporate stratosphere, make sure that you create your content with the audience and your company’s growth in mind. The key is to deliver content that provides value to your audience while generating value and saving investment for your business at the same time.

With these content creation tips in mind, there’s no reason why your work won’t stand out from the crowd.

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Sourced from TNW

By Michael McNichols

Not everyone likes a hard sell, but sometimes it works. It’s blatant and upfront in what it wants you to do. If it catches you in the right moment and offers you the solution you need and the offer is intriguing and reasonable, you might just go for it.

Outbound marketing can depend much on hard selling, as TV and radio ads, fliers, and physical mailings are hitting you right away with what they want you to buy. They’re targeting a mass audience and not you as an individual, so they cut right to the chase.

Some people prefer being courted, though. They like marketers to know their preferences and quirks to design marketing materials based upon them. They also prefer not to always have to deal with a full-on sales approach.

This is where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound marketers design content to build up their brand as a thought leader, knowledge resource, and problem solver in their industry. They post this content where it can be found by their audience, rather than sending it out. Once someone has shown an interest and given you their contact information, then you the marketer can follow up with emails, texts, white papers, and more that offer more specific solutions and answers for their problems and concerns.

Content marketing and inbound marketing come together in producing materials with a soft sell. The more personalized you can make these marketing materials, the better a chance you have of intriguing and interesting your prospects, as you are speaking to them more closely as individuals and at their level.

You do not need to hit them over the head with sales offers and put any undue pressure on them. They already know that you can present solutions for their problems, due to your thought leadership, reputation, and online presence. Your marketing materials engage them by offering further information, educating them, intriguing and interesting them to want to learn more about you and your solutions.

Any selling you do is subtle. It’s more about showing them that you understand their situation, you know how to help, and you can do so in a way that nobody else can. In so doing, you are priming and readying them to make a decision about whether or not they want to go with you. You are nurturing a lead with the right information and taking them to the point when they might want to become a customer. Much of the time, when a prospect is finally turned over to a sales representative to bring it home, they have already decided whether or not to sign on due to the marketing.

If you reach out and connect with a customer, show that you understand their frustrations but can help, as you’ve helped many others with the same problems. You’re letting your brand, your solutions, and your reputation seal the deal, but it is up to marketers to communicate all this information to the right customers at the right time. Knowledge is power. Not only do you need as much data as you can have on a customer to personalize your marketing and better target them, the more information a customer can have how on what you can do and what solutions you can provide will help all the better to make a sale.

With inbound marketing and a soft sell, you are swaying and influencing a prospect and nurturing them as a lead, but really you are mostly helping them make up their own mind.

Find out more about proper lead nurturing with “Lead Nurturing for Modern Marketers.”

Read the guide

By Michael McNichols

Sourced from Oracle

By Rachael Balsillie

Before you can start selling to your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.

(Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Shopify Partners blog. Read the original post here.)

Whether you’re an affiliate marketer, web developer, or agency, content creation is a topic that touches all entrepreneurs and businesses. Whether it’s via an email newsletter, social media campaign, or blog post, most modern-day businesses have turned to content-driven marketing as a means of advertising and growing their businesses.

Content creation is a topic that touches all entrepreneurs and businesses.

But is the content you’re sharing actually having a direct impact on the success of your business? Is it actually helping you to meet the business goals you’ve set for this quarter?

While PR and business awareness campaigns are important, most small businesses and entrepreneurs are predominantly focused on sales and scaling their business — therefore content built around generating leads is the most impactful form of marketing they can invest in.

By creating lead-generating content, you can easily measure the success and direct impact of your marketing efforts, while also building up a steady flow of business, which is something all business owners can agree is a great thing.

With all this in mind, read on for three tips on how to create content that will generate leads to keep your business growing.

1. Develop and Share Valuable, Targeted Content

how to generate leads: target

Sharing information and insights is a great way to generate leads. Investing in building and distributing high-quality, informative content will help demonstrate your knowledge and skill set as a business. This will, in turn, help you establish your business as an expert in your field.

People naturally turn to a subject-matter expert when they’re looking to learn about a specific topic, and when it comes to product or service recommendations, that expert will appear to be more reliable than the average Joe. People want to do business with experts.

How do you go about developing high-quality, informative, lead-driving content?

Firstly, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Audience
  • SEO
  • Content format

In order to develop valuable, targeted content, you need to have a very specific audience in mind. Defining your audience sets the tone for what content you will create, the keywords you will optimize for, and the format or medium in which your content is delivered.

To define your audience, you’ll need to create a buyer persona (aka a customer avatar). Reviewing past clients and contacts in your database will help give some insight into who you’re writing for and selling services to. Answering questions about their background, demographics, and personality identifiers will help round out the picture of who your target audience is.

Keep both your target audience and your overall business goals top of mind as you’re generating your keyword list.

Once you’ve defined your audience, figuring out which keywords to optimize for is a much simpler task.

Keep both your target audience and your overall business goals top of mind as you’re generating your keyword list. This will help you generate a list broad enough to appeal to a sizeable audience while ensuring that the audience you attract fits with your business goals.

Finally, informative, lead-driving content goes well beyond a typical blog post — think more along the lines of a…

  • White paper
  • Infographic
  • eBook
  • Video course

This type of content is typically gated or requires a download, so people have to provide their email in exchange for access. Sharing content in this format provides you with the contact information of all the potential customers who followed through on your call-to-action (CTA), therefore making them highly qualified leads.

2. Maintain a Strong Content Strategy Across All Channels

how to generate leads: channels

Content plays a very important role in generating leads for an online business. Consumers are largely turned off by traditional forms of advertising, and businesses find traditional marketing increasingly less effective with each passing year.

Content is king when it comes to digital marketing; it’s all about attracting and engaging your target audience by developing and distributing messaging that is both relevant and valuable to them.

In order to achieve this goal, you first need to develop a content strategy to ensure the messaging you’re sharing with your audience ties back to your business goals and bolsters your business’ overall mission.

Why?

Well, without a strategy to back up the content you’re sharing, you will likely fall into the trap of focusing on short-term, sporadic tactics, rather than aligning to your overall business goal. The messaging across your marketing channels becomes disjointed and your audience becomes less-targeted and therefore confused.

With a loosely defined audience and incoherent messaging, your CTAs will fall on deaf ears and fewer readers will turn into leads and customers.

The solution — a strong content strategy.

As Shopify Affiliate Coordinator Yasmin Alameddine explains, a content strategy is a tangible but iterative plan that enables you to “provide the right content, to the right audience, at the right time, with the right goals.”

The “right” goal, is to not only align with but also bolster your business’ overall mission.

“The ‘right’ goal, is to not only align with but also bolster your business’ overall mission,” Yasmin adds. It provides a framework for planning, developing, and distributing quality content that will attract and engage potential customers.

In order to develop a content strategy, you’ll need to define your business goals to set the stage for the rest of the strategy development. Basing your content strategy on your business goals will ensure that your content is always first serving the most important needs of your business, and focused on helping you achieve success.

Following that you’ll need to…

  • Define your audience
  • Target keyword list
  • And test what content format works best for your audience

3. Implement Clear CTAs in All Content

how to generate leads: call to action

If your goal is to generate leads, then you need to ensure the content you’re sharing is action-oriented. Whatever format you choose, whether it’s a blog post, email newsletter, or video, you need to tell your readers what you want them to do next.

The valuable content you’ve created and shared is the persuasive setup to your CTA. Your audience will already be primed to your message and goals, so you can show them an offer that they can’t refuse.

Here are several key factors to keep in mind when creating a CTA:

  • Make your CTAs obvious and easy to find — You don’t want your audience digging for the next step. Make responding to your request as simple as possible for them by placing them in clear, conspicuous spots.
  • Create a sense of urgency — Remind your readers to follow up immediately, rather than delaying and letting them eventually forget to respond to your CTA.
  • Ensure your CTA is action and benefit-oriented — Too often, basic CTAs like ”click here” or “download now” just sound like work and often create a mental block to following through. Ensure your CTA reflects the benefit your audience will receive by answering your CTA, therefore making it much more inviting to your prospective leads. Something more along the lines of “Give Me More Insights” or “Get The eBook Now” is much more appealing.
  • Limit to one CTA — The more choices or options that an audience has to deliberate, the more confused and indecisive they will become, and the less likely they are to respond to your request. Keep to fewer choices, and your audience will be less confused and therefore more likely to follow your CTA.

Strong CTAs are essential to the lead generation process. Without them, your audience will engage with your content and then leave.

Create Content that Helps You Grow Your Business

Time is money for small business owners, freelancers, and agencies. When entrepreneurs are deciding between tasks, it’s usually based on what can have the most impact with the least amount of effort.

Ensuring that your marketing goes beyond PR and business awareness campaigns, and is focused on attracting leads to become new customers does exactly that.

Lead generating content can help to ensure a steady flow of new business and is crucial to your business’ success.

(NOTE: Before you can start selling to your audience, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Download our proven Customer Avatar Worksheet to get clear on who you’re selling to

By Rachael Balsillie

Sourced from DIGITAL MARKETER

The partnership aims to help marketers mitigate risk.

By MediaStreet Staff Writers

Storyful discovers, validates, and acquires social video for global media organisations. Weber Shandwick is a global communications and engagement agency. They have partnered to develop Cognitive Context, a digital content intelligence service.

As part of the joint effort, Weber Shandwick clients will have the opportunity to gain access to pre-viral social media content that is surfaced by Storyful with the same speed and accuracy that it has been delivering to leading newsrooms, including Buzzfeed, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Vice and others.

Storyful’s content-mining technology and insights from its global team of former journalists combined with Weber Shandwick’s expertise in content strategy and communications will provide marketers and communicators with a new solution for fine-tuning social strategy, managing risk and informing content programs. The companies are also co-developing a custom reporting module that will make it easier for marketers to take action after receiving Storyful data and insights, exclusive to Weber Shandwick clients.

“Social media has fundamentally redefined how news, marketing and communications professional do their job and how audiences consume content. For the last seven years, Storyful has built the technology and expertise that modern storytellers have come to rely on to report the news, create innovative advertising solutions and mitigate risk in real-time. Our global team of journalists process billions of data points a day to find the insights and content that drive strategy and content creation for our partners. Weber Shandwick’s global scale and innovative approach to communications makes them an ideal partner to harness our capabilities and expand our best-in-class solutions to organizations and brands around the world,” said Rahul Chopra, CEO of Storyful.

“The rules of marketing and PR today favour those willing to continually understand how trending content surfaces, who is behind it and how that impacts news and social media conversations – it’s all interconnected,” said Chris Perry, Chief Digital Officer, Weber Shandwick. “This unique partnership with Storyful will arm us with the insights that make our planning, content creation and integrated media programs even stronger.”

Storyful’s access to and insights behind billions of social posts complement Weber Shandwick’s planning and data/analytics capabilities, expanding the data pool to derive intelligence for clients. In addition to informing campaigns and communications programs, this partnership will help organisations more rapidly adapt to the evolution of consumer interaction with news and branded content.