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Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Content

As digital marketing begins to mature, businesses are shifting their focus from implementation to optimization.

With more messages sent across more platforms content needs to stand out and earn attention – even in paid media.

Facebook calls this “thumb-stopping power” – does your content cause someone to stop scrolling and engage?

If you are ready to take your content to the next level, here are 17 tips, tricks, and tools that can improve your content even more.

1. Mix Up Your Content

While video generally gets more engagements and certain types of email headlines may generate higher open rates the reality is that different people respond best to different things.

In order to reach as many people as possible with a message that is relevant to them, mix up your content.

Some people will respond to discounts, others to emotional messaging, others to action-oriented videos. This is true for all of your marketing communications.

Mix up your approach as much as possible to reach as many people as possible and maximize your impact.

2. Start with the Benefit

We’ve seen a big change in how content is crafted for digital vs. traditional mediums.

In a traditional TV commercial, the storytelling starts slow, builds to a reveal/climax, and ends with the brand. In digital people won’t stick around.

Digital content starts with the benefit or headline.

Think about recipe videos – they start with the end result – a mouthwatering dish vs. starting with the instructions.

While some brands have good enough storytelling that they can draw you in, this isn’t the case for most content. Start with what they get to draw them in and maintain attention with quick moving content.

3. Test, Test, Test, Test, Test

Many marketers still don’t build testing into their strategy, or they do it haphazardly.

As you evaluate your content plan for the year (on any channel) consider some things that you want to test.

A good testing plan goes beyond things like button colors or headline wording – these are more optimizations on a concept.

Businesses of any size with any budget can test content easily. Maybe you want to test the benefit that people respond best to, product positioning, imagery, or pricing.

All of these can be tested easily online and can step change your marketing results across channels.

4. Get Inspired by Influencers

When looking for content strategy and inspiration we often look at other businesses, but most businesses struggle to create content that breaks through the noise.

Instead, look to influencers for inspiration. They live and die by their content and know what their audience responds to. Food videos on Facebook were revolutionized by food bloggers, not food brands.

This can give you new ideas for how to approach content. Look at channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to see the concepts and executions that influencers are using.

5. Do Less Stuff Better

While we are used to content calendars and schedules, what we know in an AI algorithm-powered world is that content that performs best (both organically or in an ad) will earn more views.

Reconsider your approach to content and aim at doing fewer things better.

Many businesses have reduced their blog post frequency and instead focus on fewer higher quality articles and guides.

6. Have Some Fun

When we look at content that performs well we see that emojis can increase email open rates, Stories are full of fun formats like Boomerangs and slow-motion and stickers are making their way into LinkedIn videos.

All of this shows that people want fun and engaging content. Whether your brand is serious or targeting millennials look for ways to add some fun into your content to earn attention.

7. Find a Real Consumer Insight

The best marketing content is driven by a real consumer or customer insight.

For example, the Snickers Hangry campaign hit a nerve because it went deeper than “people eat Snickers as a snack.” They asked why snacking is important and discovered people are crazy angry jerks or hangry when they don’t eat.

A lot of content focuses on the “what” – the product features.

Digging deeper to understand why those features are important and how they impact people will take your results to the next level and draw people into your content.

8. Strategic Analytics -> What -> So What -> Now What

Most businesses look at analytics or reports, but often the information isn’t deep enough to be actionable.

As you review analytics for your content ask yourself:

  • What: What is this telling me?
  • So What: What does that mean?
  • Now What: What should I do about it?

This digital marketing analytics approach focuses on making your analytics actionable. Every time you look at analytics your goal should be to have actionable items that you can implement.

9. Build Content on Relevant Connections

One of the things that makes a lot of content fall flat is that it isn’t based on a relevant connection.

For example “Happy Holidays from Business X” or “It’s Football Season – Come Buy a New Car”. The problem with these posts is that there is no real connection to the brand.

If you want your content to breakthrough it needs to be contextually relevant.

Ask yourself how is baseball season is related to buying a new car. Make the post relevant and interesting.

10. Give Your Content More Reach on New Channels

As you look at the content you are creating (beyond marketing content even) look for opportunities to repurpose your content on different channels.

For example, my company posts a lot of our digital marketing training presentations on SlideShare.

It only takes about 5-10 minutes to add a presentation. A SlideShare can gain hundreds or thousands of views over time and rank in search engines.

We aim to cross post our videos for Facebook on LinkedIn and YouTube to gain even more ROI for our content investment.

11. Get Reinspired

Sometimes it can be tricky to come up with concepts or ideas, and most businesses and content creators get into a rut or a habit of posting similar content.

Look to different sources of inspiration like Pinterest, Google Trends, Search Data, or tools like Answer The Public and BuzzSumo.

These tools will show you what content people are searching for and sharing, which can help breathe new life into your content strategy.

12. Repurpose Your Best Content

When you find something that works – capitalize on it!

Take your best-performing blog post and turn it into a video or infographic.

Take your best-performing topic and find new ways to make it relevant to your audience.

Sometimes we feel the need to reinvent the wheel, which often leaves content creators out of ideas or fatigued.

Finding ways to breath new life into great content will give you a better chance of success and also means you don’t always need totally new ideas.

13. Immediate Attention-Grabbing Creative

Your creative needs to break through the noise and grab attention right away. With more traffic moving to mobile you have even less time to earn attention.

People scroll newsfeeds faster on mobile compared to desktop (1.7 seconds vs. 2.5 seconds) which means you have even less time to draw them in.

  • A video needs to start with a quick motion and action to draw people in.
  • An image needs to be engaging.
  • A headline has to quickly capture interest.
  • A website has to load quickly and show value.

Ask yourself if your content captures attention in only a few seconds.

14. Experiment More with Formats

Think outside of your regular box when it comes to your content and try new things. Find simple, low-cost ways to test out new platforms or formats.

For example Stories or Live format content or try video on LinkedIn if you haven’t yet. What you will find is that different people respond to different things.

As we were preparing for our Stories Training Course, we started posting more stories on Instagram and Facebook, and actually generated a lead from an Instagram story that had relatively low reach.

We hadn’t really thought that Instagram stories would be a strong channel for our audience. You may be surprised at the results, so it is good to experiment vs. assume.

15. Video

Video is getting bigger in every single platform. Even LinkedIn is prioritizing video in the newsfeed and videos can earn views and shares from second and third-degree connections.

Prioritize video in your strategy.

Into “DIY” content? There are tons of great tools like Animoto, Ripl, or even Canva that make it easy to create outstanding videos.

If you use an agency talk about how you can create and test short videos.

16. Reuse Your Best Content

Many businesses create great content – maybe a video or an infographic and promote it when it launches and then they move on and continue to the next post, ad, or lead gen tactic in their content calendar.

With digital marketing, few people in your audience see everything that you post (or remember it). Make sure that your workflow includes analyzing and reusing evergreen content.

This will also help you to justify investing more time or money in better content. If you get more leverage by reusing and repromoting a great piece of content you gain a better return on your creative investment.

17. Use Content Learnings Across Channels

For example:

  • Your best blog headline could also be a great headline for PPC.
  • A video that does well on Facebook could also be a good blog post.
  • A high-traffic webpage could create good content for Facebook.

When we approach analytics we are often focused on a single channel. Look at how your content insights can apply to other channels and test them.

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These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in Google

Why don’t planes crash more often from mechanical failure? With all the moving parts inside a plane, it seems that something would break fairly easily. So, why doesn’t that happen? One primary reason: checklists.

Before pilots push the button for taxiing and take-off, they perform an extensive pre-flight checklist to make sure everything is functioning exactly as it should be.

Entrepreneurs hoping for strong SEO (search engine optimization) rankings might take a lesson here. They can create a checklist of their own to make sure everything is perfect for their next website article. No, an SEO checklist won’t protect you from crashing and burning. But it will help ensure that your post has the best chance it needs to rank high in Google.

So, before you publish your next piece of web content, run it through the following 9-point checklist for the best SEO tips.

1. Pick a good keyword to focus on.

The first step is to simply pick the search term or phrase you want the post to show up for. If I am writing about the best dog toys for small dogs, I’ll want to find out what people are actually searching for.

The easiest way to do this is use Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that will show you an estimate for any search phrase. (Although Keyword Planner is free, you may need to set up an AdWords account to gain access.)

For example, I noticed that “small dog toys” receives 590 monthly searches — higher than any other related combination of words. However, I’m still not totally ready to start writing about this topic. First, I need to do some research.

2. Research the competition.

Now that I have a term I want to try to rank for, I’m going to go undercover and do some recon!

Jump over to your “private browsing” mode on your web browser (“Incognito” in Chrome, “Private” in Safari and Firefox, “InPrivate” on Internet Explorer) and head to Google.com. (At my company, we do “private mode” because we don’t want Google to use our past search history to influence what we see on the search results page.)

Take a look at all the content on page one of Google, ignoring any ad results at the top. The 10 (or so) results are your competition! What are they missing? Can you do better?

3. Write the best content.

Now that you know what your competition looks like, it’s time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it’s the most important. It needs to be amazing.

I don’t care if you are creating a blog post, ecommerce store page or sales-landing page. It needs to be better than the rest, or else neither Google nor your audience will ever take note.

4. Put the keyword in your page title.

This should be a no-brainer, but I’ll say it anyway: Your page title should contain your keyword, but that doesn’t mean it has to be exact (though it can be).

Additionally, the title must also be interesting enough that people will actually want to click on it! A good example of this would be PT from PTMoney.com, who wrote a great post about “making extra money.” However, rather than a boring title, like “Make Extra Money,” he titled it “52 Ways to Make Extra Money.” Now that is something I would want to read.

5. Put the keyword in your header.

You can organize most webpages by having a large title at the top, followed by several sub-headers throughout the page (like the sub-headers in this post).

This organization is helpful not only for people in skimming blog-post articles, it’s helpful in showing Google exactly what your blog post is about. Therefore, be sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.

6. Put the keyword in the name and alt-tag of your image.

Next, if your blog post contains images, you can use those images to cement the idea to Google about your post’s topic. There are two ways to do this:

  1. The image name
  2. The image alt tag

To change the image name, simply change the name of the image on your computer before uploading. Instead of a file called “2831274.jpg,” you can re-name it something like “small dog toys 1.jpg.”

The “alt tag” is something you designate after you upload the photo to your website. Without getting too technical, the alt tag is simply the text that the web browser will show if the photo can’t load for some reason.

7. Use the keyword in the URL and in the post.

Another way Google is able to determine what your blog post is about is the URL. In other words, we’re talking about what comes after the “.com” in your url (or .net, .org, or whatever you use). For example, which of the following URLs do you think Google will like better when deciding whether or not to show a certain page?

  • www.ExampleDogToyWebsite.com/9124824834-1
  • www.ExampleDogToyWebsite.com/small-dog-toys

You’re right if you guessed the second one. While the former might not completely kill your SEO efforts, the latter definitely helps show Google exactly what the post is about.

8. Insert internal links.

If you aren’t talking about your best content, why should anyone else care? For this reason, it’s important that your best SEO content be linked to internally by other pages on your website.

Yes, this means you may need to go back and edit some older posts to include links to the new, incredible content.

9. The most-important SEO tip: Get external links.

Okay, finally we’re finally at the big one: external links.

External links are links from websites other than your own. Google relies heavily on external links to determine how good a post is. And this makes sense, doesn’t it? You can talk about yourself and your own skills all day long, but no one will believe you. But as soon as other people begin bragging about you, others take notice.

While producing incredible content may get you some links, the truth is, you are going to have to do some “link building.” This means reaching out to other website owners in the space to ask for links.

The above nine-point checklist may not include everything a person could know about SEO, but by simply following this checklist, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition and will likely see your posts get significant SEO traffic.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies With Umbraco

Cheap Zikula 1.4.2 Hosting RecommendationSearch Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic (“natural” or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords which the on-page optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms. Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).

Sending Google snapshots of html that has been processed by your JavaScript

Once a sitemap.xml or robots.txt file is created, you can use grunt-html-snapshots to snapshot the files.

How to make sure your dynamic content is indexed

This snapshotting technique also can apply towards content that is dynamic in nature, such as content that is rendered by a database. For best results, it is important to design the infrastructure in a way that enables the content that is displayed to depend upon the URL provided. This strategy operates best with RESTful content and is very compatible with web design patterns, such as Model-View View-Model (MV-VM) or Model-View-Controller (MVC).

Process of developing FAQ pages

Several years ago, a consultant from Webtrends suggested that I follow this pattern:

  1. Start with a set of keyword phrases that you want to target.
  2. Choose one or two keywords that you want to form the base of your targeting.
  3. Choose 30-50 keyword phrases that contain your base keyword.
  4. Construct questions from these keyword phrases. Ensure that the keywords are contained in the questions.
  5. Create a web page for each phrase. Place the keywords in these html tags:
  • Meta keywords tag
  • Meta description
  • Title
  • H1 tag
  • body text (paragraph tag)

How to prevent the site from appearing like spam to search engines

Ensure that you apply some variation in how you use your keywords. Otherwise, your site content may appear like spam to Google. For example, in your H1 tag, use the keywords in a sentence. Be sure to answer the question to the best of your ability.

Glossary pages

Glossary pages attract a very specific type of user, so it is very important to consider how the person will be using your site. Glossary pages are best when you are trying to provide a resource for people that will frequently refer back to your site. These pages tend to obtain high bounce rates, but if done correctly, they also tend to cause individuals to repeatedly come back to your site. The goal here is not necessarily to obtain an instant conversion. Instead, your goal is to provide a valuable informational resource to people on a particular subject. As people land on your site, they quickly obtain the desired information and usually leave. However, with some strategy, you can still convert these visitors into people that explore your site in greater depth.

Strategy for converting visitors from glossary pages

However, to effectively design glossary pages, it is critical to also offer provide internal links to additional articles for interested readers. This allows casual readers to get desired information and leave while also providing additional resources for more interested readers.  This technique also allows us you to track conversions as people that click on that particular link. The best way to create glossary pages is to create one glossary page for each keyword or keyword phrase that you are targeting.

SEO Tips for WordPress - Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

SEO Tips for WordPress – Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

SEO Tips for WordPress

SEO Tips for WordPress - Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

As a beginner to search engine optimization (SEO) you need to understand that there is no magic way to rank your web site in the first page of Google, Bing or Yahoo. Search engines are governed by complex algorithms and it takes a lot of effort to ‘convince’ them that your web site or page deserves one of the top spots.

Nevertheless, there are certain rules you can follow to optimize your web site and provide the bots with the necessary signals.  While the web is floated with SEO tips and advice these are explained in a theoretical level and not how they can be applied in practice. In my opinion, this is why most web site owners are confused and they either give up with SEO or simply do not get the expected results.

Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

What sense does it make to have a beautiful theme and a killer portfolio that isn’t search engine optimized?  Google, Bing, and Yahoo could care less about your pretty photos and web design.  They care about things like alt tags, file names, keywords, and hundreds of other really, really boring tech things.  Understanding those “boring tech things” might bring you new success.  Misunderstanding them could help to put you out of business.

Make the website about one thing.

It can be about other stuff, too, but choose one primary topic that is most essential to your message.

This step is important, so you may want to do a little keyword research before choosing a topic.

Mention keywords where they matter most.

Include your “one thing” in the site title, domain name, description, tagline, keywords, blog categories, page titles, and page content.

If you’re on WordPress, you can change a lot of this in the General Settings or through a plugin like All in One SEO Pack (which I use).

Link to internal pages on your site.

A lot of content management systems automatically do this, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to be intentional about linking to your most important pages directly from your homepage and cross-linking them with each other.

Use a permalink structure that includes keywords.

Some sites have “ugly” permalink structures that use numbers to identify pages.

Don’t do this. It’s bad for SEO and just doesn’t look good.

Use a URL structure that includes text, and make sure you include keywords in your URLs.

So instead of having a page’s URL be this:

http://yoursite.com/?p=12

It should look more like this:

http://yoursite.com/coolpage/

Remove anything that slows down your website.

Page load times are important, so get rid of any non-essentials that bog down your website.

These may including music players, large images, flash graphics, and unnecessary plugins.

Use keywords in your images.

Include words that reflect your site topic in the image title, description, and alt attributes.

Also, re-title the file name if it doesn’t reflect your main keywords (e.g. writing-tips.jpg instead of d1234.jpg).

Link to other websites with relevant content.

You can do this by including a blogroll, link list, or resources page on your website.

Of course, do it sparingly, as each outbound link is a “vote” for another site. However, if you do it well and people click your links, this tells search engines you are a trusted authority on your particular topic.

Update your website frequently.

Sites with dynamic content often rank higher than those with static content. That’s why blogs and directories (like Wikipedia) do so well on search engines. They are constantly being updated with new content.

Make sure your website is indexed in search engines.

A lot of search engines will automatically find and index your content, but don’t count on it.

You want to be sure engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are crawling your site, so that people are finding you online. (You can add them directly, if they’re not.)

Have other websites link to you.

This is really, really important, when it comes to SEO. The bummer is that it’s not something you can necessarily control. Other than creating excellent content, the only thing you can do is ask (which occasionally works).

My counsel is to spend the time you would trying to convince somebody to link to you on just writing great content. And, start guest posting on other blogs.

Regardless of what you do, know that inbound links are essential to SEO.

Stop changing your domain name.

The age of your URL is a factor in your site’s search ranking, so be patient.

If you’re launching a new blog every six months, you’ll never see your site get the value it deserves.

Write like a human.

None of the above matters if you create content that sounds like a robot wrote it.

Write great stuff, follow the steps above, have patience, and you’ll see results.

I realize that many of you have already started blogging, but many of these tips can be applied retroactively. And once if you done this, you can start writing regular content.

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