That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

Content Marketing does not work this way. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.There is a common myth that surrounds content marketing and how it works. This myth hurts businesses, content marketers, and anyone who plans and strategizes the content a brand creates to promote itself and its products. It is a misconception of what content marketing can and cannot achieve.

The myth goes something like this: You can create a blog post, and after someone reads that blog post, they will buy something from you. (Feel free to replace “blog post” with “podcast”, “video”, or whatever content you happen to produce.)

That’s Not How Content Marketing Works

Many people think that the reason you produce a piece of content is so that someone will read/listen/view that content and will be inspired to make a purchase.

Even if you promote this piece of content on social media, and it gets shared a healthy number of times on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, this still doesn’t mean that the people who shared and consumed it are going to sign up for whatever it is you are selling.

This is simply not how content marketing works.

How Content Marketing Works

First you must create new content and share it on social media, and repeat this process over and over again until you get good at it. You need to keep at it and continue to improve until you find the type of content that will resonate with your audience. This is as much about improving as a content producer as it is a trial-and-error process!

And once you have done this, it is almost never the case that someone will stumble upon our content, without having any kind of history with your brand, and then decide to purchase from you.

What does happen, then? People will consume your content many times (because you are creating a lot of it and sharing it!), and they will start to form a positive image of your brand. Because you are creating valuable, interesting content, they will look at you as a trusted resource. Then when they are in need of the service or product you offer, they will remember your brand and the many positive interactions they’ve had with your content.

Even if they don’t remember your brand, they will most likely perform a web search for the type of product or service you offer. And because they have been to your site many times, it will show up higher in their personal Google search results, and now that they have the need and they have a positive image of your brand in mind, they will purchase from you.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Keep this model in mind so that you don’t get discouraged when your first few blog posts/YouTube videos/podcasts don’t immediately drum up sales. It is the companies that keep producing valuable content that earn their customer’s mindshare and eventually their patronage.

This post is based on a YouTube video by Rand Fishkin — Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing

Smart Web Marketing: Find Out What Your Customers Think

Smart web marketing by finding out what your customers think. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.If you’ve been trying to improve your company’s web marketing, you might have run into this familiar problem: You end a blog post with a call to action like “What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!” And more often then not, when you check the comments… crickets. Or even worse, there are one or two comments that are clearly spam!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is reading the blog, it just means that for many people leaving a comment is a chore. They have to think of something worthwhile to say, and then  communicate it clearly and succinctly. They may even have to share their email address or sign up as a user for the site. These are all annoying roadblocks that many people will not bother overcoming just to leave a comment, especially if you don’t already have an active community of commenters.

Getting readers to engage with your content is one of the pillars of successful web marketing, but if you can’t get people to comment, how else can you find out their opinions?

Enter the Poll

One easy way to find out what your customers think is embedding a poll at the end of your post, like this one:

Polls are a no-friction way for your readers to share their opinion. They don’t have to worry about phrasing, having their email address sold to spammers, or being lost in some user registration process.

Granted, you may not be interested in what your readers think about french fries, but polls can also be used to find out useful information like:

  • which new product features your users are interested in
  • which city you should target for your next event
  • what new t-shirt design or other apparel design your readers like best

If you are looking to gather opinions from your readers quickly, polls are an incredibly easy method of going about it.

Polling Options

For the poll above, I used Polar. The ability to easily upload an image for each response option is possibly the best unique feature of Polar, but it also offers easy color customization and automatic resizing for desktop, mobile, and tablets.

To start using Polar, simply sign up for a free account on their website. You can start creating polls right away. Once your poll is created, follow their simple instructions for embedding the poll on your site.

Another polling option is PollDaddy. While Polar is geared towards quickly assessing the thoughts of your users, PollDaddy seems designed to collect lots of data. Their plans range from free to $899/year. They also enable you to collect multiple answers in the form of surveys.

For the purpose of quickly embedding a poll at the end of your blog post (or even for posting on your company’s Facebook or Twitter account), Polar earns our recommendation.

What’s Next?

If you found this useful and are interested in learning more about how web design, online marketing, or social media marketing can help your business, contact Power Marketing International for a FREE consultation. We’re always happy to discuss how we can help your business achieve superior results.

 

Facebook Marketing: 5 Ways to use Facebook’s Embedding Tool

How to use Facebook's embed tool to improve your social media marketing resultsFacebook has a great new feature that allows you to embed posts from most Facebook pages or profiles onto your website or blog.  It can be a great tool for your social media marketing strategy, and it’s very simple to use. 

Here are five ways you can use this new feature to boost your social media marketing strategy:

1.      Demonstrate Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that has been used by marketers for many years. Facebook’s new feature allows you to demonstrate social proof on your website/blog by embedding positive posts made on your Facebook page onto your website/ blog.

2.      Quote Reference Sources

Create interactive material on your website/blog by sharing posts with interesting statistics or quotes onto your website/blog.  You can also use this opportunity to share your post with the person quoted.  Once your post goes live, share the link with the person you quoted, letting him or her know that you shared the post.

3.      Extend the Reach of your Social Media

If you have a video you would like to post, consider posting it on your Facebook page first; then sharing the embedded post with the video on your website.  This way, people can either like it from the embedded post or through your Facebook post.

4.      Boost Social Media Engagement

Consider embedding your discussion post within your blog content for more exposure.  This added exposure will most likely get more discussion on your Facebook post, which can be a great way to boost your EdgeRank on Facebook AND turn your website visitors and blog readers into engaged members of your page.

5.      Show off your Best Facebook Content

Many bloggers like to show off their best content by adding posts such as “Best Posts of 2013.”  Why not highlight your most popular Facebook posts as well?  Create a post with your best Facebook content to show your website visitors and blog readers how engaging your Facebook page is, which could lead to more likes and more engaged Facebook fans. 

The mechanics of Facebook Embedded Posts

To embed a Facebook post onto your website or blog, simply click on the drop-down arrow at the top right corner of the post.  Click on “Embed Post.”  A box will popup showing how the post will appear, along with the code to use.  Copy this code and paste it where you want it on your website or blog.

A few things to keep in mind when embedding Facebook posts:

  • The privacy settings used by the person who created the post will determine whether or not you can embed that post.
  •  You cannot embed public posts from within groups or comments on a Facebook post.
  •  Any embedded post from a Facebook page includes a Like button, so embedding posts onto your website or blog could help boost your number of fans.
  • If you use embedded posts from someone else’s profile or page, your website visitors and blog readers could click through to them.

This article is based on a post by Kristi Hines entitled 6 Creative Ways to Use Embedded Facebook Posts.  http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/embedded-facebook-posts/#more-46266


Search Engine Optimization: Think Beyond Rankings Alone

SEO is about more than just rankingsMany businesses have become romanticized by the idea of using rankings as the key performance indicator (KPI) for search engine optimization (SEO).  While rankings matter, here are seven things you should know about the limitations of rankings.

Google’s SEO Ranking Formula is Constantly Changing

Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving (550 times per year, in recent years), so rankings are just a snapshot in time, not a permanent state.  As the algorithm changes, so will your site’s rankings.  The fact is – No one can control a website’s Google rankings; you can only affect them.

Diversification

By diversifying your online marketing tactics – with long-tail search terms, content, public relations, social media, and even paid search – rather than focusing on a few “head terms,” you can build an online presence that protects you against future ranking fluctuations.

Personalization

Google now takes into account a user’s history, preferences, and location to tailor their search experience.  So, even if you’re doing everything correctly, your website still might get bumped out because of a user’s preference or location.

Risk of Penalties

Many companies create tunnel vision by placing too much importance on rankings, to the point where marketers do “whatever is necessary” to satisfy the demands of their clients or superiors, increasing the risk of being hit by a Google penalty.

Distraction

If all the focus is on rankings, companies will often overlook the value of other tactics, such as website optimization.

Shortsightedness

Using rankings as the only measurement of success often creates a focus on short-term efforts (link building) rather than long-term efforts (content creation).   Although it takes time, valuable content will increase traffic to your website over a longer period of time than link building.

SEO Ranking Scams

As with any industry, SEO has its share of unethical individuals.  One scam is using terms that have no value to the company in order to simply increase the website’s ranking.

The next time you’re considering the performance of your SEO, it would be prudent to consider more than just rankings. If you need help with your SEO efforts, please Contact Us.

This post is a summarized version of an article by Jeff Quipp – Why You Should Stop Using Google Rankings as Your Primary SEO KPI http://blog.hubspot.com/stop-google-rankings-as-primary-seo-kpi-var


8 Copywriting Tips for Web Design & Online Marketing Success

Copywriting tips for effective website design and content marketing. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, York, Pennsylvania and beyond.Writing persuasive copy for online viewing differs greatly from writing for magazine articles and for most other printed copy. Great web design and content marketing involves much more than creating attractive graphics. Your website copy is the key to attracting viewers, to engaging them, and to converting viewers into prospects and customers. Here are some tips for writing great online copy to satisfy all three goals.

Keep It Pithy

When writing website and other online content it’s extremely important to keep the information flowing quickly. Don’t terrorize your readers with long paragraphs and confusing text. Online viewers tend to be impatient because other options are just a quick Google search away. Therefore, find ways to communicate your message in as few words as possible.  Keep your paragraphs short and use subtitles generously in your copy to aid readers who want to skim your information before reading certain paragraphs more closely.

Copywriting to Sell

Write sales copy with a WIFM (what’s in it for me – the customer, that is) mentality. Decide how and why a customer may benefit from your product or service, and then work those reasons into your copy. Sure, there are times when being subtle is the right strategy, but often it is better to be quick and direct with your message, keeping in mind the impatience factor noted above. After quickly getting to the WIFM message, provide the details lower down in the copy or in a linked sub-page for those who want to learn more. That approach satisfies the need for speed whlie also providing helpful details that may be required to complete the sale or to encourage the viewer to take the next step.

Create a Clear Call to Action

Sample call to action for PMI's web design needs assessment for customers in Reading, PA and beyondAs a marketer I find it surprising that so many web pages lack a clear call to action. A call to action may be as simple as a text link that connects to an order form, or as elaborate as a detailed graphic (such as the one to the right) that links to a sub-page or infographic presenting your offer in greater detail.

Studies have shown that clearly stating the obvious is often the best approach when it comes to creating an effective call to action. For example, buttons and other clickable images frequently gain more clicks when accompanied by the words “click here” or by an arrow or image of a mouse pointer hovering over the button as if it were about to click the image. Remember, people are frequently in a hurry, so connect the dots for them.

Make it Easy to Find and Easy to Follow Through

Think about what you want your viewers to do, the benefits they will receive by doing it, and then make it incredibly easy for them to find your call to action, combining a clear message with attractive graphics. Where possible place your call to action “above the fold”, meaning on the upper portion of your web page where it can be seen without scrolling on a laptop device.

Match Your Message to Your Audience

How well do you know your target audience or your best type of customer? How well does your copywriting appeal to their emotions and needs? For example, if you sell beauty products or apparel, would customers want to use your products primarily to appear more youthful or to look more professional? Is your message and imagery in line with their needs and the benefits of your products?

A strong and well-placed testimonial can be used to add a persuasive boost to your copy. Demonstrate how the product or service has helped others, perhaps starting with an eye-catching opening statement in bold text, followed by a short paragraph and perhaps a link to additional testimonials.

Headlines and Bulleted Lists

Breaking up copy with bold headlines and subtitles as described above keeps things moving and helps keep the reader engagad. In a similar way, bulleted lists can be used to help readers quickly understand your key points.

Copywriting Checklist

In summary, here is a quick list of 8 things to keep in mind when writing your online copy:

  • Keep it pithy – connect the dots for the reader
  • Create clear calls to action
  • Place key calls to action above the fold
  • Write with a WIFM mindset
  • Use short paragraphs and frequent titles/subtitles
  • Use bulleted lists where applicable
  • Match your message to your audience
  • Use powerful testimonials

We’re Here for You

Please contact us if you need assistance in writing persuasive, search engine optimized copy for your website, online ads, or other marketing materials.