Archive for call to action
Need some actionable tips you can put to use today?
We asked 10 content marketing experts for their best content marketing tips.
Here they are:
#1: Leverage the Power of Interviews
Without a doubt, one of my hottest content marketing tips is to do interviews… especially video interviews. In fact, it isn’t just hot… it’s downright freakin’ sexy.
Here is why you should add interviews to your content repertoire (big word!) in a fun numerical order:
- If you can ask questions and like talking to people, you can interview someone. No need to come up with blog topics, just ask away.
- Interviews are an incredible relationship-builder. Want to meet your favorite author? Connect with the influencers in your space? Nothing builds a relationship like a good ole interview (especially on video, as you will REALLY get to know someone).
- Replicable, replicable, replicable. There are plenty of interesting people out there in your niche to interview. I doubt you will run out of content. Not running out of content? That’s a good thing!
- Credibility by association. Ahhh, this is a good one. When people see you interviewing awesome people, they assume you are awesome. This is good. For example, people assume I’m probably pretty neat as I can be seen on-screen with Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and more. You can be pretty neat too.
- You get free consulting/coaching (*wink wink*). Call up someone you want to learn from and ask for 30 minutes of their time to pick their brain for free. Interviewing is the PERFECT excuse and handshake to meet key people in your industry and pick their brains. No bank account required.
Good luck and go get ‘em!
David Siteman Garland, author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper and creator of the web show and resource The Rise To The Top.
#2: Embrace Content Curation
I’m seeing some real excitement starting to build around content curation platforms right now, and by far my favorite content curation tool is Scoop.it.
I love using Scoop.it because not only does it allow you to curate content and connect with other content marketers, you can also share what you find to an endless number of social media sites and accounts because of the integration with Buffer and HootSuite.
The presentation below is from Scoop.it co-founder and CEO, Guillaume Decugis, which sums up the benefits of human content curation over machine algorithms.
You can leverage a site like Scoop.it to spread your message to a brand-new audience. At the same time, you’re building authority and demonstrating your expertise on important topics related to your niche.
Track the popularity and activity of your Scoop.it topic pages with the summary emails they send out. In the image below, notice the growing number of followers and visits to my topic pages for Podcasts and YouTube Tips and Tutorials—not to mention Basic Blog Tips!
Of course you can’t completely leave search engines out of the content marketing equation.
Below, the screenshot from Google Analytics shows that during the second quarter of this year, Scoop.it was in the top 10 referrers of traffic to my blog, actually beating sites like LinkedIn and Famous Bloggers. It’s important to add that the average number of pages visited was 3.4 and the bounce rate was only 12%, so we’re talking high-quality, targeted traffic here.
The added benefit of using a site like Scoop.it is the community aspect. Users get to know each others’ interests and content is “rescooped” and reshared across every social networking platform.
You might be using a different curation service like Storify or newcomer Spundge, and that’s great. Just be sure that you network and make connections with influencers just as you would on any other social site.
Ileane Smith, founder of Basic Blog Tips.
#3: Use Calls to Action
Use a contextually relevant call to action to nudge your target audience to take the next step.
By its nature, content marketing—whether it’s integrated into your social media or not—is non-promotional, enabling it to get through the clutter. As a result, to get participants to do something without screaming “Buy, Buy, Buy!”, you must make it obvious and easy so they do it without thinking.
Actionable Marketing Tip: Don’t limit your calls to action only to sales. Include calls to action to get prospects to take steps all along the purchase process.
Heidi Cohen, president of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
#4: Create Verbal Tweets
I recently had a crazy idea I call verbal tweets. It’s a way to make it effortless for people to tweet. It’s especially valuable to podcasters or anybody who is recording a video or audio.
If you want someone to tweet something about your show—for example, at the end of your podcast—give a shout out to say something like, “Hey, if you love this podcast, do me a favor and visit socialmediaexaminer.com/love”. This link repopulates a tweet directly into the Twitter feed.
Here is an example below. When you go to socialmediaexaminer.com/love, this will show up on your screen:
To create a verbal tweet, go to clicktotweet, type in your tweet exactly as you want it to be, with the URL already shortened the way you want and then hit Generate Link. This link will get generated for you and then you can embed it into a blog post, for example.
But if you want to take it one step further and not make someone have to find it, you can use a cool WordPress plug-in called Pretty Link, which allows you to create a custom URL. Then paste in your pretty link.
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, host of the Social Media Marketing podcast and author of Launch and Writing White Papers.
#5: Make Content Desirable to Your Customers
It’s not what you know, it’s how you say it. We’ve all heard that on Web 2.0, content is king. But face it: we’re drowning in content. Every minute, more than 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 270,000 words are written on Blogger.com. A Google search on even the most obscure topic pulls up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of results.
You can use SEO, keywords and other strategies to improve your rankings and get people to find your stuff online—but how effective are you once you get their eyes and ears? How good is your content?
The amount of information available to us as human beings is almost incomprehensible. As a species, we make, store and increase our capacity for information by the second. With the creation and rapid growth of the Internet, almost any information we need or want is available at the click of a single button.
It’s not information by itself that people are coming to you for—or ultimately, that they’re paying you for. There are three things that will make your content and products desired by your customers:
- Your perspective: How you use your unique background to shed new light on your customers’ problems, as well as how they can learn from it to get the same or better results faster, with fewer missteps.
- Your ability to structure and package your content so they can use it: How well you’re able to explain, demonstrate and break down concepts for them and present the information to them so they can apply what they’re learning.
- Your ability to humanize it: The level of empathy, compassion and connection you’re able to convey and bring out in them in the process.
Pam Hendrickson, producing, launching and marketing highly profitable products for many of the top names in the personal and professional development industry for over 20 years.
#6: Align Your Content Marketing Strategy With Your Email Strategy
Although our business is primarily known for blogging and keyword capture, email may be the best part of our marketing.
Now most people blast away at a list once a week or month (or an astounding 14 times during Black Friday/CyberMonday), but they are missing the point.
If you are emailing to a general list, you will have seen diminishing returns over the last few years. It has nothing to do with the message of your email.
Email is about relevance. If you are relevant, people will open your email. Now slicing and dicing a list is good.
There is, however, a better way, which should be incorporated into your blogs and all of your social media. Create buying guides/white papers along different lines of your business. They only have to be four or five pages, but these buying guides will aid your lead generation and sales.
Lets take our induction example below.
About a year ago, I created the induction guide and placed it on all of our induction blog articles. If someone downloads an induction guide, common sense dictates they are interested in induction.
Now guess what I email to the people who downloaded the induction guide? Induction articles, induction promotions, induction cooking demos, etc. This increased click-through rates to over 45% on the best campaigns.
Blog, guides and email: Think about aligning the three.
Steve Sheinkopf, third-generation owner of Yale Appliance and Lighting, one of the most unique appliance stores in the country.
#7: Invest in Business Blogging
My hottest content marketing tip for business is, without a doubt, blogging. That said, it’s also the most difficult and most time-consuming.
Here’s how I want you to think about it: How much time do you spend making cold calls that amount to nothing? What about meeting people for breakfast, coffee, lunch, drinks or dinner to no avail?
What if I told you blogging can be one of your top three drivers of new leads, and help nurture and convert them as well, but it will take 10-15 hours of your time each week?
Would you be willing to replace cold calls and meeting time with blogging for a better return?
In the past two weeks, we’ve generated three new clients from Spin Sucks. How do I know that? Easy! Each of them said when they called for the first time that they read the blog.
But sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes you have to dig into Google Analytics and other data to figure out where people are coming from and whether they’re converting to a customer.
Of course, it’s easier when you sell something online. We’re a professional services firm, so in the beginning, to monetize the time we spent on the blog, we created products out of content. Things such as ebooks, webinars and white papers. These things allowed us to track who was clicking on the links we provided in blog posts and on the sidebar of the blog and who bought the products.
We used in-page analytics and our ecommerce platform to give us those numbers. For instance, in a blog post last summer, we linked to a webinar we sell for $50. You can see by our in-page analytics 2% of the visitors—or 47 people—clicked on the link. When we compared that to our ecommerce, we saw 43 people bought the webinar.
A pretty good ROI for one blog post, which took less than an hour to write, optimize and distribute.
If you don’t sell online, you have to track a little bit differently. The easiest way, of course, is to ask how people found you. Do surveys, hire someone who understands analytics and data, and pay attention to the content on your blog that is most popular. That’s how you’ll determine how well it works for your business.
Gini Dietrich, co-author of Marketing In the Round and the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich.
#8: Make Content Marketing Part of Your Business Culture
Imagine the impact if you started to utilize every person in your company to create content. Why not have an army of people helping build your digital brand? Want a hot content marketing tip? Make content marketing part of your business culture.
Here’s the deal: Your employees are already content machines… They answer customer questions all day long.
They talk about price/cost. They compare products. They solve problems. They have an opinion about current industry topics. Imagine all of the content trapped in hundreds of thousands of emails, phone calls and conversations over the years that get a one-time shot at return on time invested.
Now imagine putting all of that collective knowledge and information to work for you online, helping you get found by more people and building buyer trust 24/7 for years to come!
While every other company is dipping their toes into “going social,” now is the time for you to go all in and utilize the strengths of your entire team. Get ahead of the competition. Give your team a better platform that brings about better long-term results.
Make content marketing part of your culture and you’ll benefit by having an army of great listeners developing strategic content with a more effective platform bringing about significant results for years to come. Unleash the brilliance of an inspired team accomplishing something that matters.
Krista Kotrla, vice president of marketing for Block Imaging International.
#9: Master Integrated Content Marketing
Content marketing is a giant killer.
In 2013, your challenge will be to combine content publishing with smart planning and marketing automation.
Here are three steps on how to create a powerful integrated content marketing program for your business.
1. Create a Content Editorial Calendar
Usually editorial calendars are simple blog planning tools. The problem is that your business story needs to be told on multiple platforms through a variety of content types.
Instead I suggest creating a Content Editorial Calendar. This calendar’s objective is to surround your visitors with an immersive multi-content experience. This calendar lets you align content to customer needs and schedule a steady drumbeat of diverse content that will give your customers something to see, hear, watch and experience.
2. Use Content to Segment Your Prospects
Integrated content marketing forces you to design content based on what your customers need versus talking points. Customer-focused content allows you to segment your readers and uncover insights about how to engage and accelerate them through the sales process.
For example, a productivity app developer can create a video series around daily goal-setting and offer a special report on the same topic. Opt-in subscribers for the report can be put on a “goal-setting” contact sublist that gets content focused on their interest.
3. Ramp Up Content-Focused Relationship-Building
Email is still a powerful relationship-building tool. Smart companies use email marketing to engage customers and accelerate their decision-making process.
In 2013, actively tie each piece of content to a robust email campaign. Make Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest work harder by offering high-quality opt-in content that puts subscribers into custom email campaigns. Track these email campaigns to gain customer behavior insights based on platform and content.
These steps create an effective 1-2-3 punch that will leverage your business story, target customer needs and convert reader interest into revenue—a powerful way to market in 2013 and beyond.
Stan Smith, founder of Pushing Social and co-author of the forthcoming book Born to Blog.
#10: Develop Your Content Marketing Mission Statement
According to the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs research, over 90% of all marketers use content marketing in some way. Yes, almost none of those marketers have a documented content marketing plan or strategy.
This is a major problem. Without a clear content marketing plan, we are planning to fail.
A good start is to develop a content marketing mission statement.
“Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.”
Let’s dissect this a bit. Inc.’s mission statement includes:
- The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
- What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration
- The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses
Remember, content marketing is not about “what you sell,” it’s about “what you stand for.” The informational needs of your customers and prospects come first. Although there must be clear marketing objectives behind the mission statement, those should not be outlined here.
The Inc. mission statement doesn’t say anything about selling more advertising or paid events. To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and co-author of Managing Content Marketing and Get Content, Get Customers.
Who are these content marketing pros?
The content marketing pros who contributed to this article are all speaking at Content Success Summit 2013.
It’s a live, virtual conference that starts February 5, 2013 (spread over four weeks to improve learning and accommodate your schedule). Plus you’ll get recordings and transcripts of all live sessions.
Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of content marketing for this conference. Only the best for you!
All of the experts you’ve come to respect and admire will be in one place. Be sure to check it out.
Why should you attend Content Success Summit?
This conference will reveal everything from strategy to content creation techniques you can put to use immediately.
You’ll discover all of the newest strategies, practical tips and real-world examples for using blogs, podcasts, video, webinars, email and online courses to establish marketplace credibility, build a loyal following and explode your growth.
Twenty-two experts will reveal all of the latest business-building tactics you need to know to benefit from content marketing.
Consider this: more than 16,000 people have attended our online summits and on average, 95% of attendees say they’d recommend our events to friends and attend again. This year we have an all-new professional development summit fully focused on content marketing.
Want to save some money? Reserve your spot now, before prices go up! Click here for details.
What do you think? What’s your favorite content marketing tip? Please share it in the comment section below.
Ask any business owner or marketer which they’d prefer and the obvious answer would be the latter.
The fact is, all the business blogging in the world doesn’t help a bit if it’s not increasing sales. Make no mistake—a business is a business and it needs to make money.
In this article I’ll discuss 4 ways companies can create blog content to bring in more sales. Adapt the principles here to your industry or niche to get more business with your company’s blog.
#1: Teach With Story and Sell With Subtleness
Of all the things I’m going to discuss in this article, teaching with story and selling with subtleness is really the most important. It’s incredibly underutilized by businesses around the world.
Here’s how this works. When businesses share their success stories, they usually don’t adopt a “teach first” mentality. They explain what they did for the client, but they don’t give the lesson behind the experience.
But first, customers want an answer to “What’s in it for me?” If our content only talks about how great a job we did on a project but doesn’t teach, we’re not likely to get the best results.
Here’s an example of how to first teach with story and then sell with subtleness. I recently wrote an article, “What Does the Face of the Blogger of Tomorrow Truly Look Like?”
The teaching message was: Companies need to embrace the idea that the majority of their employees, especially those in sales, can be content producers and blog writers.
And I shared the story of a company doing just this. US Waterproofing, a Chicago basement waterproofing company, turned their sales guys into content producers, which led to a significant increase in traffic, leads and sales from their company website.
That was the “teaching” segment of the article.
The “subtle selling” portion came into play when I mentioned, in a very subtle manner, that I had gone to this company and spoken to their staff. I gave them the initial vision, and after they bought in, they got the desired results.
In other words, there were two messages in that article, in their proper order:
- Enable your employees to be content producers. (This answers the reader’s “What’s in it for me?” question.)
- How businesses that want to enable their employees to be content producers could hire help.
See how this works? Although I spent very little time in that article talking about myself or the fact that US Waterproofing was a client of mine, I’ve received many inquiries since then from other companies looking to achieve the same success with their employees.
But remember, it all starts when you teach a principle first, and sell later.
#2: Teach With Video (and a personal touch)
Let’s look at a completely different example in another field I’m in—swimming pools. As some of you know, I own a swimming pool company that installs in-ground swimming pools throughout Virginia and Maryland.
One of the biggest issues my swimming pool sales department deals with from consumers is their concern that pools are too much work, too hard to clean and aren’t worth the hassle. With respect to the cleaning issue, for years customers kept telling me they heard it was very hard to vacuum an in-ground pool, and that it could only be done with two people.
Knowing this train of thought was completely wrong, I decided to do a video dispelling the myth, showing customers and viewers just how easy it was to vacuum a pool. This alone would not have been a very unique nor personal video, but I did it with a catch—my 6-year-old son was the star of the video.
If you watch the video above, you’ll clearly see just how easy it is to vacuum an in-ground swimming pool. But beyond that, one other thing will happen—you’ll get to know my son, which means you’ll get to know me a little better as well.
When people know you and start to trust you, your chance of doing business with them is much, much greater.
And because we send this video out to all of the leads who come into our system, they immediately get a different perspective—not only on swimming pool ownership, but also on the owner of the company they might be buying from.
In many ways, this is what creating personal content that sells is all about.
#3: Teach With Urgency (and a call to action)
Are you starting to pick up on a theme yet? Yep, everything always involves teaching first, then comes the selling.
In some cases, the services or products in your field may be time-sensitive, at which point you can take advantage of urgency and allow time, or the lack thereof, to be on your side.
Take for example the recent Facebook Timeline change for business. Because thousands and thousands of businesses were affected by this change, and because the timing of it made action urgent, it was the perfect opportunity for Facebook/social media consultants to create sales through content.
One perfect example of this was Social Media Examiner guest writer and Facebook guru extraordinaire Amy Porterfield, who wrote the following blog post:
As you can see from the screenshot, Amy informed her audience of Facebook’s impending changes, she discussed when and what those changes would be, and then finished off the article with a perfect call to action for a webinar.
When it comes to producing content that sells, this was a great example of how to do it the right way with the right progressions.
#4: Teach Through Comparison
In previous articles here on Social Media Examiner, I’ve discussed the “power of comparison” as a sales tool with content marketing.
As consumers, we love to compare. We love to line products and services up against each other and choose the one we feel is the best.
For example, let’s imagine you want to buy a sports car and your top two choices are the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. Once you narrow your choice down to these two vehicles, what are you likely going to do next? If you guessed “go to the Internet and compare the two models,” you’re right. In fact, you’d likely go to a search engine like Google and type something like:
- Ford Mustang vs. Chevy Camaro
- Ford Mustang compared to Chevy Camaro
- Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro: Which is better?
- 2012 Ford Mustang vs. 2012 Chevy Camaro
A good content marketer selling one of these vehicles would certainly create an article addressing these very questions.
For another real-life example of how comparative content works so well, I’ll refer you to Block Imaging‘s incredibly successful blog.
To give you a quick background on Block, they sell refurbished medical imaging equipment all over the world, with a focus on MRI machines. Because they offer so many different types and models, and because their clients are constantly comparing products, Block Imaging consistently writes these comparative articles like the one below to help clients choose the product that best suits their needs.
Not only do their readers love this, but the search engines are rewarding Block for addressing subjects that so few in their industry have ever discussed online.
Now it’s Your Turn
So there you have it, friends—4 ways your company can produce content that sells. But the truth is, there are many other ways by which you can sell more with your content.
What do you think? Please share the effective strategies you’ve used with your business. What else would you add to the list? Jump in, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your questions and comments in the box below.