Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Plan

Your business has a free, powerful marketing tool – your industry expertise. By disseminating quality content related to your field, you expose your brand to potential customers and reinforce yourself as an authority to existing clientele, all while increasing sales.

Content marketing also improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social sharing and targeted traffic. The practice is growing, with 86 percent of B2C (business-to-consumer) companies planning to keep or increase their existing content marketing budget in 2013, the Content Marketing Institute reports. Before you jump into filming YouTube videos or writing white papers you think everyone will love, create a content marketing strategy that will ensure measurable results. Here are the basics:

Flickr image by buddawiggi

Content Hosting

Choose your website platform, such as one by WordPress, and decide whether it will be on-brand or its own entity. Decide which type of content hosting system you’ll use, from iPage hosting to an in-house server. Decide how the new site will relate to your business site — it could get its own vanity URL, it could be a blog section on your main site, or a combination. Set goals for visitors, page views and direct traffic percentage, and install an analytics system, such as Google Analytics, to monitor content performance.

Types of Content

Decide who your target audience is. It may be existing customers, who you hope will share content with potential customers. It might be people who have never heard of your brand, who you’ll target on niche social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon.com. Stephanie Chang, SEO consultant at Distilled, also recommends conducting a competitor analysis and keyword research related to your brand, along with existing user surveys. Determine which parts of your sales funnel need strengthening, and consider targeting content to those areas.

Choose which types of content and media are most appropriate, and create a content schedule that ensures delivery of original, innovative and shareable content. Avoid keyword stuffing (using a search term over and over again) your content as search engines could actually penalize you. Instead, aim for content that your target audience will find useful and informative and will want to share. Decide if the content will be created in-house, by freelancers, by guest bloggers, or a combination.

Be mindful of key dates that might influence content, like holidays, product launches and selling cycles. You may already have engaging content to convert for the web, such as interviews by your CEO or articles you can repurpose. Internet marketing firm Vertical Measures, which has a downloadable free content calendar, suggests including target audience, distribution channels and keywords to optimize distribution. Stan Smith, managing director of Pushing Social, recommends publishing new content at least once a week to ensure your site stays relevant to search engines and keeps readers engaged.

Promote Your Content

Now that you’re producing solid content on a regular basis, share it with followers and industry influencers. Use social media algorithm sites like Klout to find top influencers and pitch them to share your content with their audiences. Offer to return the favor, and build content sharing relationships with social media marketers. Use your own social networks to post your content and encourage discussion. Respond to comments on your content for increased engagement, and revise content strategies based on successful channels and content types.

Guest post by:

Ken Porter
A programmer and web designer, Ken has developed multiple programs to help site owners improve their SEO and page rank.

Savvy social media marketing

Intimidating is what marketing is, right? There is a balance that must be achieved using social media where you aren’t selling but are creating interest in an informational way that is remembered by your audience. There is no one right way, or is there?

 

Balance, that is one solution answer we all want the answer to

Most common social media platforms have a balance of selling and sharing of information. Each one is unique, there is no one size fits all approach. I’d like to share with you some common guidelines to help you find the solution of balance on social media.

First and foremost, keep your business and personal profiles distinct and separate. This way the photos and information shared of your day to day personal life are not intermixed with your business postings. Business postings should be professional, engaging and encouraging to engage customers in conversations around your business brand and products or services.

Most if not all business are selling something on social media and we need to first be honest, that’s why you are here. For every ten posts on social media, one can be a direct sell including a call to action to buy. Customers above all deserve and respect honesty, so take the one in ten opportunity to sell.

 

Marketing, do it with photos

The story they say is in the picture and that pictures tell one thousand words. Use visuals in your company social media posts, ensure likes and shares or plus ones by choosing photos that are awesome and can capture the attention of your current and future customers.  Be cognizant of the impression all images will have with your customer, make them memorable and stand out in their mind.

Know the best image sizes for each social network, they’re easy to find, just Google it and seek current parameters.

Studies show images are more memorable than text so use them more. You have my permission to be awesome.

 

 

Humor and the curious nature of us all

Yes I could quote someone funny, instead I’ll quote Seth Godin in his brilliance.

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
—Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

 

Faking it, no just don’t

As businesses we can buy just about anything.

  • You can buy fans and friends on Facebook
  • You can buy followers on Twitter
  • You can acquire testimonials for $5 on Fiverr
  • You can buy reviews for your products

Get the picture?

We are blinded by it all. Being a faker has costs and benefits. Gain your fans, followers, testimonials and reviews the real way, by earning them.

Four Tips To Increase Your Twitter Followers

I strongly advocate that individual and especially business social media users target followers and engagement organically, via sharing valuable content, links and great information. Sometimes businesses just want to have big numbers, especially on Twitter. This guest post by Nate Atkins shares reasons why numbers matter.

Twitter, the numbers matter

Small business owners cannot underestimate the power of Twitter and the revenue a properly written and timed tweet can bring them. Though very few small businesses will ever accumulate the 35 million followers Lady Gaga or the 17 million of Kim Kardashian, marketing companies are willing to pay these individuals $100,000 or more to publish a sponsored tweet just for the exposure, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Twitter can become a valuable asset to any company, blogger or socialite as the number of their followers increases. Branden Hampton, who founded @notebook on Twitter, told Smart Money he built a 4.4 million strong following in two years without spending any money on marketing. He said its possible to earn a six-figure income with a half-million followers. Here are some ways to increase your number of followers on Twitter.

photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Twiends.com

One of the best kept secrets on the Internet when it comes to increasing your number of followers on Twitter is Twiends. This free service is like a virtual business card printing mechanism that subsequently hands said cards to thousands of individuals. In a nutshell, the applications lets users accumulate “seeds” every time they watch a video on Youtube or “like” a Facebook page. You can then use those seeds to, for lack of better term, buy followers. All you have to do is sign up for an account (you get 25 free seeds just for signing up) and, depending on how often you use it, could have a few hundred new Twitter followers in a matter of days.

Use Hashtags

Some people prefer to get followers the old-fashioned, organic way. Including #hashtags in your tweets exposes them to millions of Twitter users who would otherwise never see your thoughts. Small business owners should check what is trending locally and in their fields of business. Tweeters can tailor their trends to these specific subject matters simply by clicking the “change” link where trending items appear on your Twitter page.

Guest Postings

Writing for other blogs and websites exposes your name and brand to a whole new audience. Every guest post you write should include a link to your Twitter bio so readers can learn more about, and hopefully, follow you as well. Most websites that accept guest postings will post their policies about the process somewhere on their home page.

Follow “Autofollowers”

You may notice that there are some Twitter users with tens of thousands of followers, who also follow tens of thousands of people. Autofollowers automatically follow everyone who follows them, with the idea of attracting like-minded followers from the new followers’ following (say that three times fast). Some of these autofollowers are obviously spammers, as they only have a few followers in return. When you find one of these spam accounts, follow everyone who follows the spammer. These people are all likely autofollowers, and you’ll get a follow-back instantly.

Keep in mind, people are more willing to do business with and interact with those with thousands of followers. Just like the crowded bar is more likely to attract more patrons than the empty one across the street, the same goes for social media.

Guest post by Nate Atkins
Nate is a programmer and technology blogger living the dream in Silicon Valley.

Power blogging Jon Morrow has its secret

Few writers active in the blog-O-sphere capture more of their audience than Jon Morrow. You probably already know Jon’s writing because the style is simple yet effective enough to stick in your head. He reads your mind with each post, consistently making it seem like you need the information he just delivered to you in each blog post. Yes he writes for Copyblogger and yes he has the secret to building a popular blog.

Wait – Jon’s a blogger?

Yes and he is a genius with a witty sense of humor and great business sense. It’s why the posts he writes will speak to you on a psychic level. He doesn’t offer tricks, or fancy advice. Jon gives real time, truth to what makes your writing matter – so that you too will read your readers mind.

I can’t get him out of my head!

You’d never know that Jon resides in Mexico enjoying an ocean view because his writing makes it seem like he just met you, is your best friend and summarized information you need to know now – the mind meld trick just happens. It’s kind of nice to know that he knows what we are all thinking.

Jon has an OUTSTANDING series of videos and posts that explain on this guest blogging stuff that you can get by signing up here.  Some of the topics Jon covers are how to get your first 1000 email subscribers, SEO for bloggers and how to build an email list from nothing.

 

How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World was a guest post Jon wrote for Problogger.com.

The following text is by Jon from a different article  on Copyblogger.com named Editor Admits to Sleeping with Readers and Recommends You Do the Same:

With 5,518 shares on Facebook and 2,365 tweets on Twitter, this is the most popular post I’ve ever written, and some folks are saying it’s their favorite post of 2011 … from any blog.

Why?

Because it’s about dreams.
Every blogger dreams of quitting their job and writing full-time. Every blogger dreams of moving to paradise and working from their laptop on the beach instead of a cubicle. Every blogger dreams of somehow, some way doing their own small part to change the world.
And I packed all three dreams into a single headline. It’s like taking pure Godiva chocolate, the world’s strongest espresso, and the finest scotch known to man, and combining them all into a single drink. The potency of it would damn near blow your head off.
Same thing happened here. People were so touched they burst into tears. One guy emailed to say he had been planning to commit suicide, and the post changed his mind.

It wasn’t my impeccable grammar that stopped him. It wasn’t my flawless spelling. It wasn’t even, I’m sorry to say, my devilish good looks.
And it wasn’t my dream.

It was his dreams.

His dreams, seen through a lens that made them seem achievable. All I did was build that lens.

 

Jon’s program is free, get it by signing up here. You have nothing to lose.

Want to learn more? Take up his offer to mentor with Guest blogging course it’s a BLATANT ENDORSEMENT. Go get the videos now if you’re serious about blogging for income. Nothing to lose no worries sign up here.

P.S.

Before you go, Jon has another web property, maybe you’ve heard of it, learn more about that here: http://boostblogtraffic.com/about/.

Business social media dashboard tools

Businesses are busy doing business. Your business tasks include important things that must be done daily. Marketing must be one of those tasks especially in today’s competitive market but with all the other things to do it’s often neglected, right? Social media dashboard tools are key to success online.

If you aren’t online with a social presence engaging potential customers, you are letting them pass you by. Being on a social network and connecting with your customer audience is important.

What are you doing to get more time for marketing?

The social media dashboard just may be the tool you need to save that time. See what’s being said, manage your reputation and social media performance.


You know what’s awesome? It’s free, yeah I said free.

See the guy looking through the binoculars? He’s looking at you or maybe just past you to see the customers standing at your door. Looking past you is what you need to be ready to catch because if that other guy gets the customer before you, that is a bad thing.  Turn that customer around, get a social presence going and achieve the online presence you deserve.

Reputations matter, time matters and new customers who smile matter even more.

Marketing your business online will help you attain reputation and customers.

Advantage is what you need to free up time so you can reveal your marketing efforts in one place.

7 Crazy Social Media Lies

The Northeastern USA air is transitioning to winter. It makes me think of holidays, friends and family. I’m wired that way and I love it.

Before the holidays, I spend time following the news and reading the paper because I want chit chat material to talk to friends and family about. Yeah I ask about Aunt Marge’s sore foot and Uncle Larry’s surgery and Grandma Betty’s dog but in between I need some filler material. I can talk to anyone for hours, even a total stranger. I’m wired that way too.

This year is different. My filler material is social media and the lies that are told about it.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
Albert Einstein

 

social media lies Chris via Compfight

Here are 7 crazy social media lies:

  1. Social networking is for the young. Older people are more active on social networks. In fact the fastest growing demographic is 45-54 year-old’s [http://www.socialnomics.net/2012/06/06/10-new-2012-social-media-stats-wow/]
  2. Nobody likes Google +. Google Plus attracts 100 million monthly active users and it’s growing much faster than any previous social network [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B]
  3. Automatic sharing of content on Facebook is fun. Not really. Are you sick of your friends locations check ins too? There are thousands of web based articles about how to limit your sharing on Facebook. Here’s a good one from the Dummies people [http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-limit-who-can-see-your-facebook-posts.html
  4. My kids aren’t on social media. Scary right! My kids are aged 11 and 14. My youngest is on four social networks and my oldest on six. My 11 year old has a YouTube Channel, an Instagram account, Twitter and Tumblr where she writes micro-blogs. Add on Facebook and switch out Tumbler and another and that’s the differentiation. Facebook is a huge negotiation I’m not willing to begin for my 11 year old. If your child has their own email account, I can almost guarantee they are on one or more social networks. Ask them. [http://blog.sysomos.com/2012/06/13/the-new-social-question-how-old-are-you/]
  5. Twitter and Pinterest are social networks too. These two networks are actually micro-blogging sites for sharing snippets of text or photos that can link to other websites.
  6. They can’t do that. Sorry, yes they can. All social networks have terms of service and privacy policies that you agree to when you signed up. You know that long wordy text you scrolled past when you signed up that changes once and a while (it did?). Social networks are businesses, they’re not all publicly traded companies like Facebook but you can bet the terms of service and privacy policies protect them, not you. Here are Facebook’s terms of service  and privacy policy: [https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms] and [https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy]
  7. People care about privacy. Sadly this is not true. You think the settings you chose last year are still the same don’t you? Click this chart by year, the bluer it is the better it is for Facebook. And they aren’t the only social network that have changed their privacy settings, Twitter is on it’s sixth iteration [http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/] and [https://twitter.com/privacy] Did people even notice, I doubt it. Did I freak you out?

Do me a favor? If you click this button and pay with a tweet you’ll get my free eBook about kids on social media. Be cooler than them this year and learn a trick or two!

Your Social Media Problem Solved

Ever started in social media then been overwhelmed?

Do you find it hard to know what to post and when?

Ever said a blog is just too hard because you don’t know what to do?

Social media chaos, confusion and frustration?

Is this you?

Let me solve your problem with real solutions. Simple, effective and ready now.

Social media and relationships built on a solid foundation take time.

If you seek real solutions, real customers and business relationship building, keep reading.

So social media, that’s what we’re going to do – great. What is that exactly?

Social media [in 61 words; quote credit to David Merman Scott http://www.webinknow.com/2009/12/social-media-marketing-explained-in-61-words.html]
You can buy attention (advertising)
You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales)     Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free: a YouTube video, a blog, a research report, photos, a Twitter stream, an ebook, a Facebook page.

So we’re clear we will use social media to earn attention, create something interesting and valuable and then we’re going to publish it online for free. Opportunity awaits, the customers are seeking you and if you are not on social media the customer may not find you.

itcantbedoneyesitcan

I read with interest an article by Tom Pick in July 2012 that I can’t help but reread. [ http://www.business2community.com/social-media/72-fascinating-social-media-marketing-facts-and-statistics-for-2012-0229237 ] The article had many interesting facts and statistics and discussed user statistics, lead nurturing and many social networks.

Studies show that customers using social media actively have a higher customer satisfaction rating.

Reports say that companies using social media are found faster.

Back to the social media issues you face. What do you do?

My best advice is consult with me, now before it’s too late. I’m your business expert in social media whose driven to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed, that you know what to post and when and you’ll realize a blog is easy. No more social media chaos, confusion and frustration. Maria is here, Maria knows what to do. Call me for a quote 315.706.4123

Busy Mom? Ninja Kid Social Media Tools and Tricks Work

You are a lot like me. We have jobs, kids, schedules and many other things to do, figure out and accomplish now that school started.

You need help with kids on social media. There are risks, scary posts and reputations at stake every day.

Here is what you need to do – get Safe Eyes.

  • Talk to your kids about social media a lot.
  • Restrict social media access during school study time.
  • Be firm about your social media rules.
  • Ask for help from friends, family and other trusted persons to help monitor your children online
  • Be available to ask questions of any where and any time if your child has any social media question
Safe Eyes is Mac, PC, and iOS compatible software that protects your family from harmful content and other dangers on the internet. This feature rich tool protects in the following ways…
1 Filters websites, videos and music
2 Reports searches, instant messages and social networks
3 Works on PC, MAC and iOS and mobile devices


20% off on Safe Eyes Parental Control Software

Here Is Why You Are Failing At Social Media

Succeeding at social media takes work and time.

Failing at social media is easy.

If you want to fail skip this list and move along.

Want to succeed? Read on, here’s what not to do.

  • No plan was set up to define what success is from the beginning so that you are measuring results from the start and judging what works and what dosen’t.
  • You haven’t listed your location, address or phone number in the social profile.…how will they know where you are and what number to call?
  • No description is provided of what the company does or what it sells….customers are not mind readers.
  • Your main website is not social media friendly….how do I share this or tweet about it?
  • No client testimonials….am I their first customer?
  • You haven’t included any calls to action such as click here or the occasional buy this post.
  • You haven’t posted in a month – or longer….are you closed?
  • Few likes, followers, circles or listings….maybe they’re bad?
  • You post bad or offensive jokes….maybe you’re not as funny as you think?
  • You post constantly. Many posts about selling too often….why are they desperate for customers?
  • You forgot to post when the sale starts and ends….I wish you had posted, I would have bought it on sale!
  • You have no photos or the photos are terrible.
  • The posts are always about you.…what about the customer, do they matter?
  • Lack of value sharing in the form of news articles or snippets of valuable information.
  • No reciprocation of likes, shares or congratulatory posts.
  • Misspelled words appear unprofessional. Bad grammar will too.
  • Misuse of proper capitalization in sentence structure. Each sentence starts with a capital letter and ends in a period….What grade did they finish school at?
  • POSTS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS means you’re yelling. Please stop.
  • Excessive use of itinialisms such as LOL, TTYL, TTFN, CYL, FYI are annoying.
  • Excessive smile faces or 8.) and :…) are reserved for texting.
  • Swearing, cursing or offensive language is awful. So are posts done with anger.
  • Negative opinions of competitors or complaining will be misinterpreted.
  • Lying, plagiarism and stealing photos and content is wrong, especially online you can be sued.
  • Gossiping is also pretty bad. Rumor spreading is also….I can’t believe they said that?

Are you guilty? I think all of us are guilty of at least one, or two….ok so move on, think positively about social media and stop failing!

7 ways to help your teen on social media

Teens on social media is like letting a ten year old child drive – well almost. The difference is most teens are unsupervised on social media and the ten year old driver wouldn’t do it without an adult in the vehicle.

Ask your teen how many social networks they are on.

My youngest is eleven, she is on four social networks. I know her passwords and check her privacy settings often.

My teen is fourteen and on six networks. They’re both aware that I monitor what they post.

Teens are at risk on social media and it is your job to protect, teach and help them.

 

kids-on-social-media

 

Here are 7 ways to help your teen on social media

  • Create a social media policy setting up rules of good and bad behavior.
  • Teach teens to separate facts from drama (there is a lot of drama on social media).
  • Talk to your teen every day about what’s up on social media, car rides are great for this. Don’t talk just listen!
  • Follow, friend, like and circle them as your social network contact.
  • Set a good example yourself on your own profile and posts, tweets or shared content.
  • Know your teens privacy settings and take time to check them bi-weekly.
  • Learn a neat trick and share it with them such as how to post in English (pirate) or English (upside down) on Facebook.

I’ve heard someone say at a social event that they didn’t want to friend their teen on Facebook because they were afraid the teen would see what they were posting. It was heartbreaking.

I’ve heard many ask well how do you do that? Or the scary “they’ll be mad at me if I friend them” – I think the teen runs that household.

My kids both know that if I see something inappropriate I’ll speak up immediately. My eleven year old thinks I know the owner of the social network and can have their account deleted – I let her believe it without saying a word.  I take away all access to all technology for breaking any rules, with no exceptions. Time periods for rule breaking at our house range from days to weeks to months. It scares them to think they won’t be able to use any technology including cell phones, laptops, television, ipods at all. They’ve each experienced it and it only happened once for them.

 

Tricks you can use to monitor your teen

  •  Let your Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandma, close friends and family members your teen is on a social network and ask them to also friend, follow or circle them. Let them know about your social media policy. Tell your teen about your monitoring team.
  • Subscribe to your teens updates via text on Facebook read how here: https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=116324615117911 the setting is under notifications.
  • Subscribe to their Twitter tweets via text (near the bottom of the page on the linked article) here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169920-how-to-get-sms-notifications-for-tweets-and-activity#activity-notifications
  • Set up a Google alert with your teens nick name and city to email you when Google detects activity.
  • Tell your teens friends that you are watching your teen on social media.
  • Tell your teens friends parents that you monitor your child on social media and offer to share information with them.
  • Set up a free profile with your teens information at https://brandyourself.com/ It’s a free and premium service offering reputation management and alerts for reputation management.

My kids teachers know I monitor my children on social networks and I share tips with them all the time.

What tips do you have? Leave them in the reply comments below.