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Tag: Marketing

5 tips for brands that want to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing

June 18, 2021 No Comments

If I told you a decade ago that a spin bike would be a social community, you’d have had a good laugh. But that’s precisely what Peloton is: A spin bike with a social community where the instructors are the influencers.

Peloton is just one example of how social is being integrated into every aspect of the customer experience in an increasingly digital world. Whether it’s considering a new restaurant to check out, a movie to see or a product to buy, most people look at reviews before making a final decision. They want social proof as an indicator of quality and relevance.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust. Indeed, social validation is what social platforms are built on, so it’s a significant component of how we derive relevance online — and the deeper integration of social is changing the dynamic between brands and digital creators.

The shifting economy of creator monetization

Brand sponsorships are the holy grail for creators hoping to monetize their online influence. According to an eMarketer report, brand partnerships are still the No. 1 source of revenue for most digital creators.

However, digital creators have a lot more monetization options to choose from, thanks to Patreon, affiliate platforms, paid content platforms and platform revenue sharing, making it easier to earn a living without relying so heavily on brand sponsorships.


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As a result, creators are diversifying their revenue streams, which, for some creators, allows them to be more selective about the brands they work with. What’s more, creators aren’t reliant on just one channel or one form of revenue.

YouTube creators probably have the most diversified revenue, often combining brand sponsorships, subscription models, affiliate deals, tipping/donations, their line of branded products and revenue share. However, it’s important to note that not all monetization options apply to every creator. But with so many options to choose from, making a living as a digital creator is more accessible than ever.

Here are a few of the ways online creators can monetize their content:

Ad revenue sharing: Advertising is the most traditional form of revenue for online creators. With this model, ads are injected into and around the creator’s content, and they make a certain percentage of revenue based on impressions. However, the revenue split can vary based on the platform, and some platforms have a specific threshold creators must hit before they can participate in ad revenue sharing.

Affiliate marketing: Similar to advertising or a brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing is an agreement for a share of revenue based on products sold. This kind of arrangement generally works best when the creator has a blog, website or YouTube account. Affiliate links allow the influencer to proactively choose the products they want to talk about and earn from, rather than having to wait for a brand deal to come their way.


Social – TechCrunch


Quora and Reddit: Powerhouses for SEO and marketing in 2021

June 12, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Reddit is the seventh most popular website in the US while Quora has a DR of 91
  • These factors make for great opportunities to build your brand’s online presence and enhance your E-A-T standing
  • This comprehensive guide helps you take advantage of Quora and Reddit marketing

Get ready to take advantage of the resources that two-third of marketers and SEO specialists miss out on. We’re talking about Quora and Reddit Marketing and you’re about to know how they can bring tons of value to your business.

Raising brand awareness, driving traffic, and diversifying your link profile with useful backlinks – all that is more than feasible with the right, out-of-the-box approach.

Let’s dive right in and take a look at the pros, cons, and everything in-between concerning the promotion of your website on Reddit and Quora.

Content created in partnership with Crowdo.

What makes these two solid platforms for SEO and marketing?

According to Alexa, Reddit is the seventh most popular website in the US, surpassing even Wikipedia. It’s a community-based platform with 130K+ niche-based subreddits brimming with highly active users.

Reddit and Quora DR

Although different from Reddit in terms of structure, Quora is equally worthy of marketers’ attention. It’s a Q&A platform with a DR of 91, making it a highly trustworthy resource, frequently shown in SERP.

Both platforms have strict moderation and high content standards, which means no spamming or self-promotion is allowed. Google is known to favor links from clean unspammed resources, which is why backlinks from either of these platforms will be useful for your backlink portfolio.

Apart from that, expanding your brand’s online presence is crucial for the EAT Google algorithm. This is aimed to provide users with relevant, and useful information.

This is where Quora answers and Reddit comments and posts come into play. Submitting helpful and informative answers can get you far in your promotion strategy, but let’s first start with some theory.

Are backlinks from Reddit and Quora useful for SEO?

Many SEO specialists don’t consider Quora and Reddit viable sources for link-building because the backlinks coming from these platforms are nofollow.

Taking into account the myth about the uselessness of nofollow links – nofollow translates into no-good for them.

This misconception is easy to clear up:

  1. Your backlink profile looks suspicious to Google and other search engines if it contains dofollow links exclusively. Diluting it with good nofollow links allows creating an organic-looking and diversified link profile.
  2. Google perceives nofollow links as “hints,” which means they still have a positive effect on your promotion. Even Google’s John Mueller confirmed it, just take a look at the tweet below.

John Mu on backlink building on Quora

How to get the most out of Quora: A step-by-step guide

1. Create a well-thought-out user profile

A thorough and properly formatted user profile is essential for Quora. Your profile should look trustworthy for your answers to be considered valuable and included in the feed. Here are some points you need to include:

  • Fill out the “About me” section with information about you and your occupation. Don’t shy away from going into details if it can truly benefit your credibility as an expert. But keep in mind that only 50-character-worth of text, including your name, will be shown above your answers. So make sure you make them count.
  • List your fields of expertise by choosing them from the “Knows About” section. Expert replies are deemed more valuable by the Quora algorithm, which in turn increases the chance that your answers will get into the feed and won’t be collapsed.
  • Link your social media accounts in the Settings section. Verified social media accounts add trustworthiness and make it easier to connect with you.
  • Add credentials

You can either copy them from your LinkedIn profile or fill them out and add some more info. “Credentials” is the part of your profile where you can add links to your portfolio, info about previous companies you worked for, your educational background – anything that can make people believe that you are indeed an expert in your field.

  • Upload a clear and friendly photo of yourself

Profiles with a photo instill more trust and are more relatable for other users. Try to avoid funky pictures or graphics.

Building a profile on Quora

2. Find suitable, niche-related questions

Now that your profile is all set up and looks good, it’s time to get down to business and find relevant questions to showcase the expertise and skills you’ve mentioned.

Start with outlining some keywords, relevant to your niche. You can either do it yourself or you can use a keywords generator tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs.

You can either choose questions with the most views because they’re shown in the feed and get a lot of attention or go for unanswered questions and score a higher chance to get in the top spot.

Finding Q&As in Quora

3. Write informative, source-rich, helpful answers

Your answers on Quora should be informative and answer the question directly – include statistics, references, graphics, and other media that can help illustrate your points and give a better insight into the topic you’re covering.

The Quora algorithm filters out irrelevant answers and collapses them. The more expert and in-depth your answer is, the higher the chance that it gets shown in the feed and won’t get collapsed.

As for the length of the answer – short answers usually don’t look authoritative and insightful. The optimal length of your answer should be between 1500 – 2000 characters, at least that’s what we think at Crowdo.

4. Format your answers in an appealing way

Formatting your answer is essential for making it look professional and easy to understand. No matter how much effort you’ve poured into your answer and prior research – if you submit a wall of text, it won’t do.

Answers like these don’t get enough upvotes and are mostly ignored by the viewers. Use all formatting means necessary to make your answer as appealing as possible: bullet points, appropriate headings, quotes – all of it will help your text look clear, engaging, and comprehensible.

5. If you use someone else’s content – indicate the source

Plagiarism is a big no-no on Quora, and it might get you banned. If you use someone else’s content to emphasize/illustrate/prove your point – always indicate the source.

6. Link to your website naturally

Although Quora allows self-promotion, it doesn’t mean that you can blatantly abuse it. Clickbait titles are frowned upon on Quora, and the same goes for obvious begging for clicks, like “Check out my awesome website!”.

The link to your website must be organically inserted in the text and correspond to the context.

For instance, you can present it as something that provides additional in-depth information: “This detailed overview of best digital marketing practices might come in handy to you.”

7. Use authoritative sources to enrich and add authority to your answer

Answers with a single link to your website look suspiciously promotional and don’t instill trust. Try including other topic-related, helpful links from reputable and authoritative sources like Wikipedia, Reddit, YouTube, or others.

It will add a professional touch to your answer and increase its value for the reader.

Using authoritative sources

How to avoid collapsed answers?

Sometimes, even if you followed the Quora guidelines to the letter, your answer might get collapsed.

collapsed answers

The reasons may vary, from an error in the algorithm that can be corrected by writing a support ticket to a mistake on your part. Let’s take a peek at the most common reasons why answers get collapsed:

Your user profile is lacking trustworthiness

If you haven’t indicated your field of expertise, skipped the credentials and bio description, the Quora algorithm may deem you unfit to answer certain questions due to the lack of trustworthiness of your profile.

Your answers aren’t helpful to the author of the question

Make sure you clearly state the answer to the question.

Posting long text walls containing no definitive answer and brimming with irrelevant links helps no one.

You’re overlinking

A common mistake among those who only start working with Quora is to write as many replies as possible and cram all the links they can think of in their answers.

You have to establish yourself as a trustworthy contributor first, show your expertise and only then strategically insert links into your replies. Start with writing 20+ helpful and informative answers without any links.

Your answers are lacking interaction from other users

If the Quora algorithm detects that your answers have no comments or upvotes, it may deem them unworthy of showing and collapse them.

The ideal way would be to try to benefit the readers as much as possible and get this social traction organically.

The rather “grey” way would be to use other Quora profiles to upvote your answer and increase the view count.

The approach you choose is completely up to you.

Product/service promotion on Reddit: All about Reddiquette and Karma

Being a community-based platform, Reddit pushes you to come to the audience and pour actual value into the content you generate and share. On Reddit, you must be a part of the community if you want to succeed.

Before submitting anything, you need to “get the feel” of what every community is about and tailor the content you contribute to be in line with the customs of each and every subreddit.

Reddiquette

An excellent way to start your marketing campaign on Reddit is to learn its basic rules, aka Reddiquette. Let’s take a quick look at the main ones:

  • Don’t rush to submit – Easy does it

Reddit algorithm and moderators take into account your profile’s age and authority, aka Karma (more on this later). If you rush to post right after you registered and haven’t even researched the subreddit you’d like to post on – it’s a sure bet that your post will be removed.

  • Never beg for upvotes

Upvotes and downvotes are used on Reddit to show appreciation or displeasure with posts or comments. Submissions with the highest upvote score rise to the top and may even reach the front page – the holy grail of Reddit. Begging for upvotes is rightfully considered to be a “big no”.

  • Don’t rely on reposting

Reposting is a common bane on Reddit and involves sharing the content of any type, pictures, gifs, videos previously shared by the original poster on another subreddit. In other words, it’s stealing to get upvotes.

In a few cases, the content is reposted to multiple subreddits if it’s extremely important for all, and the more people see it, the better. But in the vast majority of cases, it’s a dishonest way of obtaining Karma points.

  • Don’t spam with useless comments

Comments in threads are a perfect place to help the OP (original poster), give advice, joke around, provide some tips. Users share links and provide valuable insights here.

You can use the comment section to your advantage and write helpful answers with a link to your website.

However…sometimes people just share the link. Comments like these are immensely annoying and bring no value to the discussion. They are typically removed by moderators and will likely lead to a shadowban (more on that in a bit).

Karma

Karma is a Redditor’s score determined by the number of upvotes against downvotes their posts and comments received. In other words, Karma is essentially the reflection of the user’s reputation and a trustworthiness indicator.

Some subreddits don’t allow submitting content if one’s Karma score is low. That’s why it’s crucial to spend some time surfing the subreddits, understanding the rules, types of content welcomed in each of your target communities, and contributing helpful and interesting content.

It’s a common mistake among new users to rush into posting with no Karma and include links on top of that. If you do that, there’s a very high chance that your post won’t pass the moderation and will be deleted.

And here comes the shadowbanning that we mentioned earlier.  It implies that the posts you submit are visible only to you. Shadowban is used to filter out promotional posts and comments that are made solely for self-advertising purposes.

Marketing on Reddit: Some ground rules

Keep in mind that each subreddit is a close-knit community protective of its habits, rules, and culture. The one thing communities have in common is the absolute hatred towards those whose sole purpose is self-promotion.

Imagine it as a gathering of friends discussing things they like, and that one guy suddenly starts to preach about some irrelevant business and its benefits. It’ll obviously annoy everyone and get your profile banned.

Let’s take a look at how to approach marketing on Reddit the right way:

  • Grow your Karma by submitting useful content

Learn the ins and outs of every subreddit and contribute content people of the subreddit like to see. The more engaging, useful content you post, the more Karma you’ll generate.

The sure-bet subreddits to grow your Karma are r/aww – for cute pics of animals (no one downvotes these), r/AskReddit – where you can ask literally about anything and everything, or r/explainlikeimfive/ – a helpful and friendly community that rarely downvotes even the most absurd questions.

Remember that your submission history is visible to everyone, and some Redditors make it their point to go through the entire submission history of the person to see if there’s a hint of them being an advertiser.

  • Once again, don’t go crazy with placing links

It’s not a commonly known fact, but only one in ten of your submissions can contain a link to look natural and be accepted – the rest should be contributed without any links, be it posts or comments.

This ratio is directed at making you contribute more than you take, keeping the benefit of the community above all else. If you exceed this ratio, you’ll be immediately suspected of self-promotion and get a shadowban.

Long story short, be a friendly neighbor and not a salesperson.

Avoid excessive linking

Conclusion

Marketing on Quora and Reddit takes a lot of time and effort, but the benefits for SEO (in terms of increased traffic to your website and backlink portfolio diversification), brand awareness, and ultimately sales boost are equally impressive.

Given the extent of work, competence, and resources needed for successful marketing on these platforms, even experienced marketers leave this task to experienced professionals like Crowdo, who offer a standalone Quora and Reddit Promotion Service.

That being said, hopefully, you’ve just discovered two unexplored marketing channels and got a hint of how to approach them wisely!

The post Quora and Reddit: Powerhouses for SEO and marketing in 2021 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Video as a Non-Negotiable for Digital Marketing

May 31, 2021 No Comments

Videos are everywhere. And as digital marketers, the need to know what kind of video to make for which platform is never-ending.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Breinify announces $11M seed to bring data science to the marketing team

May 29, 2021 No Comments

Breinify is a startup working to apply data science to personalization, and do it in a way that makes it accessible to nontechnical marketing employees to build more meaningful customer experiences. Today the company announced a funding round totaling $ 11 million.

The investment was led by Gutbrain Ventures and PBJ Capital with participation from Streamlined Ventures, CXO Fund, Amino Capital, Startup Capital Ventures and Sterling Road.

Breinify co-founder and CEO Diane Keng says that she and co-founder and CTO Philipp Meisen started the company to bring predictive personalization based on data science to marketers with the goal of helping them improve a customer’s experience by personalizing messages tailored to individual tastes.

“We’re big believers that the world, especially consumer brands, really need strong predictive personalization. But when you think about consumer big brands or the retailers that you buy from, most of them aren’t data scientists, nor do they really know how to activate [machine learning] at scale,” Keng told TechCrunch.

She says that she wanted to make this type of technology more accessible by hiding the complexity behind the algorithms powering the platform. “Instead of telling you how powerful the algorithms are, we show you [what that means for the] consumer experience, and in the end what that means for both the consumer and you as a marketer individually,” she said.

That involves the kind of customizations you might expect around website messaging, emails, texts or whatever channel a marketer might be using to communicate with the buyer. “So the AI decides you should be shown these products, this offer, this specific promotion at this time, [whether it’s] the web, email or SMS. So you’re not getting the same content across different channels, and we do all that automatically for you, and that’s [driven by the algorithms],” she said.

Breinify launched in 2016 and participated in the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield competition in San Francisco that year. She said it was early days for the company, but it helped them focus their approach. “I think it gave us a huge stage presence. It gave us a chance to test out the idea just to see where the market was in regards to needing a solution like this. We definitely learned a lot. I think it showed us that people were interested in personalization,” she said. And although the company didn’t win the competition, it ended up walking away with a funding deal.

Today the startup is growing fast and has 24 employees, up from 10 last year. Keng, who is an Asian woman, places a high premium on diversity.

“We partner with about four different kinds of diversity groups right now to source candidates, but at the end of the day, I think if you are someone that’s eager to learn, and you might not have all the skills yet, and you’re [part of an under-represented] group we encourage everyone to apply as much as possible. We put a lot of work into trying to create a really well-rounded group,” she said.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Qualified raises $51M to help Salesforce users improve their sales and marketing conversations

May 26, 2021 No Comments

Salesforce dominates the world of CRM today, but while it’s a popular and well-used tool for organizing contacts and information, it doesn’t have all the answers when it comes to helping salespeople and marketers sell better, especially when meetings are not in person. Today, one of the startups that has emerged to help fill the gap is announcing a round of growth funding on the back of a huge year for its business.

Qualified — which builds better interactions for B2B sales and marketing teams that already use Salesforce by tapping into extra data sources to develop a better profile of those visiting your website, in aid of improving and personalizing the outreach (hence the name: you’re building “qualified” leads) — has picked up $ 51 million in funding. The startup will be using the Series B to continue building out its business with more functionality in the platform, and hiring across the board to expand business development and more.

Led by Salesforce Ventures, the funding round also included Norwest Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures, both previous backers, among others. As with so many rounds at the moment — the venture world is flush with funding at the moment — this one is coming less than a year after Qualified’s last raise. It closed a $ 12 million Series A in August of last year.

Qualified was co-founded by two Salesforce veterans — ex-Salesforce CMO Kraig Swensrud and ex-SVP of Salesforce.com Sean Whiteley — serial entrepreneurs who you could say have long been hammering away at the challenges of building digital tools for sales and marketing people to do their jobs better online. The pair have founded and sold two other startups filling holes to that end: GetFeedback, acquired by SurveyMonkey, and Kieden, acquired by Salesforce.

The gap that they’re aiming to fill with this latest venture is the fact that when sales and marketing teams want to connect with prospects directly through, say, a phone call, they might have all of that contact’s information at their disposal. But if those teams want to make a more engaged contact when someone is visiting their site — a sign that a person is actually interested and thinking already about engaging with a company — usually the sales and marketing teams are in the dark about who those visitors are.

“We founded Qualified on the premise that a website should be more than a marketing brochure, but not just a sales site,” Swensrud, who is the CEO, said in an interview.

Qualified has built a tool that essentially takes several signals from Salesforce as well as other places to build up some information about the site visitor. It then uses it to give the sales and marketing teams more of a steer so that when they reach out via a screen chat to say “how can I help?” they actually have more information and can target their questions in a better way. A sales or marketing rep might know which pages a person is also visiting, and can then use the conversation that starts with an online chat to progress to a voice or video call, or a meeting.

If a person is already in your Salesforce Rolodex, you get more information; but even without that there is some detail provided to be slightly less impersonal. (Example: When I logged into Qualified to look around the site, a chat popped up with a person greeting me “across the pond”… I’m in London.)

Qualified also integrates with a number of other tools that are used to help source data and build its customer profiles, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, 6sense, Demandbase, Marketo, HubSpot, Oracle Eloqua, Clearbit, ZoomInfo and Outreach.

Additional data is part and parcel of the kinds of information that sales and marketing people always need when reaching out to prospective customers, whether it’s via a “virtual” digital channel or in person. However, in the last year — where in-person meetings, team meetings and working side-by-side with those who can give advice have all disappeared — having extra tools like these arguably have proven indispensable.

“Sales reps would heavily rely on their ‘road warrior’ image,” Swensrud said. “But all that stuff is gone, so as a result every seller is sitting at an office, at home, expecting digital interactions to happen that never existed before.”

And it seems some believe that even outside of COVID-19 enforcing a different way of doing things, the trend for “virtual selling”, as it’s often called, is here to stay: Gartner forecasts that by 2025, some 80% of B2B sales interactions will take place in digital channels. (So long to the expense account lunch, I guess.)

It’s because of the events of 2020, plus those bigger trends, that Qualified has seen revenues in the last year grow some 800% and its net customer revenue retention rate hover at 175%, with funding rounds come in relatively close succession in the wake of that.

There is something interesting to Qualified that reminds me a bit of more targeted ad retargeting, as it were, and in that, you can imagine a lot of other opportunities for how Qualified might expand in scenarios where it would be more useful to know why someone is visiting your site, without outright asking them and bothering them with the question. That could include customer service, or even a version that might sell better to consumers coming to, say, a clothes site after reading something about orange being the new black.

For now, though, it’s focused on the B2B opportunity.

There are a number of tools on the market that are competing with Salesforce as the go-to platform for people to organise and run CRM operations, but Swensrud is bullish for now on the idea of building specifically for the Salesforce ecosystem.

“Our product is being driven by and runs on Salesforce,” he noted, pointing out that it’s through Salesforce that you’re able to go from chatting to a phone call by routing the information to the data you have on file there. “Our roots go very deep.”

The funding round today is a sign that Salesforce is also happy with that close arrangement, which gives it a customization that its competitors lack.

“Qualified represents an entirely new way for B2B companies to engage buyers,” said Bill Patterson, EVP of CRM Applications at Salesforce, in a statement. “When marketing and inbound sales teams use this solution with Sales Cloud… they see a notable impact on pipeline. We are thrilled about our growing partnership with Qualified and their success within the Salesforce ecosystem.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization in Your Next Marketing Campaign

May 9, 2021 No Comments

Did you know that your SEO and PPC campaigns may compete with each other? Learn how to spot and eliminate keyword cannibalization in this article.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Why killing your content marketing makes the most sense

May 7, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers diversify their content programs too quickly, endangering the program from the start
  • Successful content marketers and media companies focus on fewer platform channels
  • Instead of adding more channels, killing off underperforming channels works better
  • Perform a content audit to find out channels in which you should stop creating content

The problem is, simply put, out of control. Just because a company or individual can create and distribute content on a platform, doesn’t mean they should. But it’s happening… and it’s killing content marketing strategies around the globe.

I’ve had the opportunity to analyze content marketing strategies from huge brands, desperately trying to build audiences online leveraging content marketing. In almost every case, each one made the same mistake.

They diversify too quickly.

Let me explain.

When an organization decides to fund a content marketing strategy, the initial stages are always exciting. Just coming to the decision of which audience and content niche to target is an exhausting process, but once complete, the company is ready to create content…everywhere.

Should we do a blog? Check. How about a YouTube video series? Yes to that. Podcast? Sure. TikTok series? Why not. Email newsletter? I guess so.

Then add about five other social media channels and you have yourself a content marketing strategy.

Just not a good one.

According to Content Marketing Institute research, the average enterprise creates content on between 14 and 16 different platforms.

Succeeding at this kind of strategy is like winning the lottery. It just won’t happen.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

One channel. One content type.

The greatest audience-building entities of all time selected one primary channel in which to build their platform:

  • Financial Times—printed newspaper
  • Fortune—printed magazine
  • TED Talks—in-person events
  • ESPN—cable television programming
  • Huffington Post—online magazine format
  • The Joe Rogan Experience—podcast show
  • PewDiePie—YouTube series

Even in today’s age of social media, content empires start with one platform as the core base of operation and primarily deliver content at that one place over time to build an audience.

For my new book ‘Content Inc.‘, we interviewed and analyzed more than 100 individuals and small businesses who went from zero subscribers to a massive audience. After two or three years, these content empires became multi-million-dollar platforms.

The interesting part is that they didn’t diversify immediately, but focused on delivering consistently valuable content, primarily on one channel and one content type, choosing audio, video, or text plus images.

  • Ann Reardon from ‘How to Cook That‘ decided to create consistent videos and distribute them on YouTube
  • Philip Werner from ‘com‘ creates and delivers a text-plus-images blog post every day on his WordPress-developed website
  • Wally Koval from ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson‘ distributes one image per day on Instagram, including amazing textual detail describing the location

But these are the exceptions. Most content marketing strategies run short-term blitzes (sometimes called campaigns), diversifying before the proper time.

Content marketing strategy is about saying “no”

When you decide to employ a content marketing strategy with the goal of building a loyal and trusting audience over time, you actually need to decide to not create and distribute content in certain places.

But what if you are already on multiple platforms? If you already have a content marketing strategy, now is probably the time to start killing some of your channels.

We always want more. We believe more is better. When launching a new content effort, “master of none, jack of all trades” never, ever works. How did Amazon become the most valuable company in the world? For three years the company sold only books. Once they perfected that model, only then did they begin selling other things. A proper content marketing strategy behaves the same way.

Successful content initiatives work because they start their journey with one amazing newsletter, one amazing video series, one amazing in-person event, or one amazing blog rather than 100 randomized content pieces that don’t inspire any kind of behavior change.

There is something about focus. There is something about being truly remarkable at one thing. The problem is that it requires you to choose. It requires you to stop creating content everywhere and focus on what’s really important, what will really move the needle.

The four components

Whether you are a media company, a large enterprise, or a content entrepreneur, building a loyal audience includes four key components.

First, identify one target audience

Choose an audience that is too broad and you’ve already failed.

Second, you need a differentiation area

We call this a content tilt. Basically, why would anyone want to engage in your content on a regular basis? Mark Schaefer, the author of Cumulative Advantage, calls this “finding the seam,” which is a content gap that you can exploit to rise above all the clutter.

Third, you identify the primary content platform

The one that makes the most sense for your storytelling. Both your expertise/skill area and the audience will dictate that.

And finally, you select your primary content type

These could look like videos on YouTube, text/images in an email, audio on a podcast, and imagery on Instagram.

killing your content marketing to focus on formats that will add value

 

When do I diversify into other platforms?

Did you know that Red Bull Media House started with a mini-magazine that they gave away at Formula 1 races? In order to include the results post-race, they actually lugged a Heidelberg press to the track and printed it next to the track.

That mini-magazine turned into ‘Red Bulletin magazine. Once they built what Brian Clark from Copyblogger calls a minimum viable audience, then (and only then) did they diversify into the billion-dollar media conglomerate they are today.

The focus and energy they put into making the Red Bulletin great paid off. But this is not a rare occurrence for successful content empires. All great media companies do this and have for years. Look at ‘The Morning Brew’. They almost exclusively focused on building an amazing email newsletter for years. Once they built an audience of over 100,000 subscribers, then they diversified into the podcasts and the multiple other targeted digital newsletters they successfully developed.

So, set an audience/subscriber target and focus all your energy on reaching that number. Then, once you have a loyal audience that loves you and probably will buy anything from you, you can diversify to another platform.

But what about social media?

Of course, you can keep your precious social media channels. That said, you need to think about them differently. What’s the goal? Is it for research and development? Amplification of content? To build subscribers? Whatever the goal, make sure it aligns with your core platform.

Let’s look at ‘The Hustle’, newly acquired by Hubspot. The Hustle’s goal on Twitter is to be interesting every day to their target audience and ultimately drive new subscribers to their email newsletter. Everything they do on Twitter supports their platform strategy.

So yes, you don’t have to close up all your social media, but you sure as heck have to align your goals with your platform.

Try killing one

Building a platform that works is challenging for any sized company. We all have limited resources in some way.

The best advice is to perform an honest analysis of what you are doing. Maybe that podcast just doesn’t make sense. Maybe that YouTube series is a waste of time? Or maybe not.

Perform a simple content audit and, then, kill something. Kill something so that you can be better at something else. Who knows, maybe your podcast or your email newsletter could be amazing but you just haven’t focused enough because you are tinkering with Facebook groups or TikTok.

Make the tough decisions now so that, later, you can build the audience of your dreams.

Joe Pulizzi is the author of the best-selling content marketing book, Content Inc., and founder of content creation news site, The Tilt.

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Why Startups Need Diversification In Digital Marketing

April 29, 2021 No Comments

If there was (1) one piece of advice I would give Startups (especially Early Stage), it would be diversification…  and a lot of it. startups typically have very limited advertising budgets so they have to account for every penny they spend. In this article, I will explain the reasons for this diversification as well as how best to execute them on a limited budget.

Set Realistic Expectations:

As one of the most “bastardized” words in agency world, it’s imperative to keep everyone’s hopes and dreams in check with regard to the online marketplace. Attending conferences, reading case studies and talking with other business owners is not only a great idea, it’s encouraged. however, it can also “set off” false expectations that could be devastating to the overall goals and objectives. I have advised clients (both past and present) to NEVER trust Google with their campaigns, keywords and budgets because they don’t care about growing your business, they just want your money. Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, your instincts are correct!

Separate of Brand vs. Non-Brand:

It’s simple math. It costs more money to reach consumers who DO NOT already know your brand. Over time, the brand takes “all of the credit” because that is how everyone searches for you. But, here’s the catch. Getting to that phase in consumer behavior can be difficult to achieve, especially on the wallet. Here are a couple strategies that can not only help the wallet, but also the align the expectations.

  • Leverage Google Display, Mobile and YouTube Video networks
    • Low cost ($ 0.10 – $ 1.00 CPC/CPV).
    • More continuous visibility.
    • Expectations are set to branding only.
  • Utilize micro-targeting of Social media for specific audience testing
    • Target specific audience segments within a short period of time.
    • High volume allows for multi-variate ad testing.
    • Conversion tracking pixels allow for full analytics reporting.

Monetize Everything

This may sound like a “no-brainer” to some of you, but startups tend to forget that measuring success is more than just placing an order or a form submission. Often, little things like email signups, chat sessions and phone calls eventually lead to “real” conversions later on in the buying cycle. It’s important for everyone involved to consider these little conversions in the overall big picture. In some instances, these interactions act as a barometer when something is wrong or unclear and can help improve usability within the website experience.

In Conclusion:

Startups are faced with tough decisions when it comes to advertising due to their limited Ad budgets. They also cannot afford to, “bet the farm” on something that they heard at a conference or read in a case study. In 2016, consumers are everywhere (Google Search, Facebook Ads. YouTube. Twitter Ads, etc…) and startups need to leverage all of the platforms to maximize their exposure. They also need to understand that certain ad platforms serve different purposes as well as perform better than others.

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Why Honesty is the Best Policy in PPC Marketing

April 26, 2021 No Comments

Over the years, I have seen so many horror stories when it comes to PPC Management. Whether it’s advertisers flying blind with their ad budgets or the common event of not knowing that their ads are being shown with irrelevant terms, there should always 100% transparency between the agency and the client. Furthermore, there needs to be more HONESTY on behalf of the PPC Agency. In this post, I will talk about a few areas of the Agency/Client Relationship that should be based on being honest with the client.

Educate the Advertiser:

Let’s face it, the PPC agency knows more about PPC Marketing than the client. However, that does not mean the client needs to be taken advantage of because they do not know how everything works. The person handling the client’s account needs to “in many ways” educate the client as to what is working, not working and where there are opportunities.

Admit Mistakes:

Everyone makes mistakes, right? Well, PPC Agencies should not try and hide them just because they can get away with it. Agencies should be forthcoming with admitting mistakes that were made and how efficiently and effectively they were fixed. It’s better to be honest with the client, than having them find out later that you lied to them. Ever heard of a Referral or a Testimonial?

Honest and Factual Reporting:

Over the years, I have seen so many poor examples of PPC Reporting where clients receive an excel spreadsheet of just Clicks, Impressions, CTR%, CPCs, etc… and not a single keyword or text ad or even a sentence on the performance of the account. In today’s world that is unacceptable.  Moreover, I have also seen examples of trend charts being manipulated to disguise the true performance of a specific metric. Agencies have a responsibility to provide not only excellent service, but also honest and factual reporting.

Managing Expectations:


PPC Marketing is not for everyone and for those who are spending money have this perception that the more they spend the better the results. That is completely FALSE. If an client/advertiser was given any sort of Guarantee from an agency, they should “run for the hills”. Guarantees in PPC Marketing are very dangerous for both parties because they create false expectations. An agency must be honest and upfront with the client when it comes to setting expectations both on performance and future success. The agency must have a clear understanding of the client’s:

  • Cost per Conversions/Acquisition
  • Targeted Audience
  • Messaging Tactics
  • Daily and Monthly Budgets

In Conclusion:

Honesty is always the best policy in PPC. Agencies have a responsibility to not only provide excellent service, but also be honest and forthcoming with the client. I have heard countless stories of poor PPC Management, including the topics I mentioned in this post. Some may say that is good for the industry because it creates more “turnover” and more opportunities for other agencies. However, for this PPC Geek, I believe in Happy Clients.

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Why Storytelling is Essential in Digital Marketing

April 24, 2021 No Comments

As Marketers our job is to not only interpret analytics data, but to also provide a summary of the performance and apply recommendations for future strategies, forecasting and on-going testing. However, this standard metric of decoding is not enough and we need to find a better way to communicate successes and failures that the client can understand. That is why storytelling is just as important now than it was when we are in Kindergarten when the teacher read us a story in a circle.

In this post, I will highlight the importance of storytelling with the client which not only helps the client understand, but also reinforces the client-agency relationship.

Storytelling is also a Science

As marketers, early on we are classically trained to become proficient in Excel, Powerpoint and (my personal favorite) writing on whiteboards so that we can be perceived as smartest one in the room. These elements of communication comprise of bullet points, summarizations, goals and objectives, sales vs. cost projections, etc… On the contrary, we are most likely doing it all wrong. There have been many studies and published articles that debunk this MBA/classroom method and reinforce the one of oldest and most fundamental communication methods.

In an very “eye-opening” article by Lifehacker.com published back in 2012 entitled “The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains“, author Leo Widrich states “It’s in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens. When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.“ So in essence, telling stories not only puts our entire brain to work it also allows the storyteller to put ideas and thoughts into the listeners brain as well.

Complexities of Storytelling

For most clients, they do not care too much about CTR%, AVG positions, bounce rates, etc… they want to know what is causing their cash register to ring below are some of the common questions they are mostly concerned about:

  • What’s working and why?
  • Whats not working and why?
  • Why are sales down this month as compared to last month?
  • How can we generate more sales without increasing the budget, etc…

Because of this difference in understanding  success metrics, marketers need to take all of the Analytics data (which are considered very complex by clients) and transform them into a story/language that they can understand. For example, lets suppose that the client saw a 50% increase in sales coming from their “Brand Terms” in Adwords as compared to the previous month. Instead of just providing them with increased performance metrics such as CTR%, Conversion rates, etc.., marketers need to do a little digging around and form a story that they can understand.

A story would be something like:

“Well, since we added more generalized “non-branded” terms as well as your interview on the local TV station, a larger audience of people who were not familiar with your brand before, typed your brand into Google and clicked on the PPC Text Ads. ” It is this type of success story that can create that “light bulb” in the heads of the client to ensure them that they are prospering their investment in you or your agency.”

Leveraging Web Analytics Data to Feed the Story

Just looking at common performance data is simply not enough to tell a story. Marketers need to look at various layers of data to comprise a story that can makes sense to the client. Identifying these interesting and important metrics such as hour of day, day of the week. GEO by state, metro area, city, direct/bookmark, conversion funnels, etc… These are examples of the metrics, combined with overall performance data is what makes up the holistic story that the client needs to hear. Moreover, these stories often lead to future optimization strategies and testing which is great for the client-agency relationship.

In Conclusion:

Trying to explain all of the intricate metrics and what they mean to a client is hard enough. But simplifying the data and creating a story around it, even as an “ice-breaker” at the beginning of the conversation, helps the client feel like they made the right choice in hiring you. The one thing we need to remember is that a story, if broken down into the simplest form, is a connection of cause and effect and that is what clients need to understand.

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