During my trip to Social Media Marketing World in San Diego last week, Mark Schaefer, one of the worlds top Marketing Gurus has done some extensive research on content generation. He has predicted that the Internet is set to grow by over 500% by 2020. Oh boy!
So, for example; if we are posting 1 blog per month (12 blogs per year) x 500% = 72 blogs per year MORE. If our competitors x 4 (for example) post 72 per year each, that’s 288 content posts per year just from competitors. Now think about all the noise on LinkedIn with 5 companies talking about the same thing as well as all the other noise! Ouch!
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO STAND OUT IN THE CROWD? What are you going to do about it, so people can find you?
Being found and heard!
How are you going to be heard, the more content out there, the more noise and the less chance your content is going to get seen. It’s also worth pointing out that due to the amount of content, you are not only competing with other similar companies and competitors but friends and family too. That’s a lot of noise and information to get through!
Before I begin, Starting April 21, Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. So what does this mean? Well it means if your website is not ‘mobile’ friendly, it will have an impact on the ‘search results’ reducing the chance of your website being found.
10 Top Tips
Firstly, you need to ask yourself
What am I trying to achieve with my content? Eg. Educate the market on the latest survey equipment, which in turn shows the world (or your geographical market space) we are the thought leaders? Communicate our offering to tell people we are open for business?
What does my content have to do to reach my outcome? For example; My outcome is to educate the market, be that thought leader so people will sign up and buy my products? My content has to take them through a journey, educating them on the way through, so they understand why they need our survey equipment.
- Ask yourself if your content is valuable to the reader?
Secondly, read this blog post by Sales Guru Marcus Sheridan before reading the rest of this post (there is a method in my madness;)
Content ‘rich’ text. Tell people the story from start to finish. Your products are one part of the overall process (when we look at the bigger picture). When focused on one part, we don’t understand why we need it. Explaining in stories the process will educate the audience, making it easier for them to understand and buy. As yourself “Is our sales process too complicated? Can we make it more simple?”
- Put yourself in your clients shoes and write down all the questions he asks you when you visit him at his office?
- Turn these questions into blog posts! Yep! And answer them!
- Educate the customer! Make it easy for him to understand and therefore make a choice on your product offering.
When writing a post, blog, news article, make it human, make your personality stand out! Remember, you are trying to take the potential client through a journey. Those who understand the journey can move on to more relevant posts. Finally measure the posts!
With great content, ask yourself “does it give my audience actions?” So for example, this content is giving you plenty of actions to deal with! Things that are important for their success!
Customer feedback, this is one area many companies need to address and become stronger in. Ask your clients for feedback! What is important to your customer base? If you were to buy our survey equipment, what information do you need to make that decision? 74% of buyers have done their research before they contact you.
Buzzsumo.com have analysed over 100 million articles in the past 8 months. Buzzsumo had some questions:
What types of emotions did the most popular articles raise?
- What type of posts typically receive a lot of shares? For example, pictures, video?
- Did readers love to share short form or long form content? What’s the ideal length?
- Does trust play a major role on whether someone will share an article?
- What’s the effect of having just one image in a post versus no images?
- What’s the effect of having just one influencer sharing your article versus 0?
- How do we make people share our post days and even weeks after it’s been published?
- What’s the best day of the week to publish an article?
The stats show the following:
- Long form content gets more social shares than short content. So why isn’t more people doing it? Time! So a perfect opportunity for you to do so! Try it over several months, if it doesn’t work, bin the idea. (Content length)
- The article by Buzzsumo also suggest having at least one image in your blog post is more likely to be shared on Twitter and Facebook. Esp since they are both visual platforms.
- If content has an emotional appeal and raises admiration, laughter or amusement, it appeals to peoples egotistic side.
- Have at least one image in your post! This leads to more Facebook & Twitter shares.
- Getting one extra influencer to share your article has a multiplier effect, so get experts in the industry who love you to comment and share the blog posts!
- They are the brand champions! They love to talk about you, so ask them to help out!
Share who the competitors are
This will make you cringe, however its something to consider. If you are in a niche market ie. UAV, Mobile Mapping etc, anyone who is actually doing their ‘homework’ will know about their competitors. The content is visible in news articels and searches online. Marcus Sheridan owns The Sales Lion. He is also the owner of a very successful swimming pool company in the US. He makes is very clear: If someone is seriously looking at your products, type of equipment to solve a problem, the potential client has already done their homework! So if 74% of your audience have done its homework already, then why not explain in your own terms what makes you stand out from your competitors, what are good at? What are the differences in your own words! Make it easy for the client to see you as the thought leader, the expert in the field. Don’t leave it up to ‘perceptions’.
Content that moves. People share content if it has an effect on them! The more they share, the more Google likes you and the more visible you become. So, ask yourself the following questions (when you share something):
- Does the content make you look smarter, cooler or more relevant?
- Does the content hit you in the heart? Something that made you want to share with others? (The emotional stuff!
- You found a new idea and wanted to share with others so they could benefit?
- Do you feel deeply connected to the author and want to support them?
Understanding why someone ‘shares’ your content will open up how you can tweak your current content to be more appealing to your audience! When you get this right, then you can use it to your advantage! Ie. ‘sign up today and receive ‘exclusive’ content or something similar.
‘Comments’ section on the blog
If you haven’t got a blog, get one. If you haven’t got a comments sections, add one! Then invite people to comment. Even more so, ask the industry experts to comment. If one person comments it will lead to other people commenting!
Pop ups. Yes, pop ups. Statistical Research Inc has shown that pop up (even though I hate them with a passion) are 49% more noticeable and over 70% successful. Its just a split second, but you see the brand. My suggestion to you is test them out and see what happens. For further insights and clarity, see Jay Bear’s article “Pop-up ads necessary evil or just evil”
I suggest using pop ups for gathering email addresses and if you do wish to use them, here are some tips:
- Make them attractive
- Make sure you have great ‘further’ content to share (adding value)
- Don’t spam them every 5minutes, use with care
Another cool option is to have a pop up on the 404 Error pages! Yes, why not! You could add something like “whoops, found a problem, drop us your email and we can keep you posted on news updates released one per month”
The buying process
According to Forrester Research Inc, 74% of the buying process has been done before they enquire about your product or service!
The key is to be focused with your content on specific segments, this is where blogging comes in. So, for example; Survey tools for land surveyors in Africa. Focus it purely on the Land Surveyors with terminology related to that industry. Its focused and more relevant thus helping ‘searches’ and google find you! Simple!
Re-purpose & Revive content. Review the most popular blog posts and have a think about reviving them into a new blog post, or focusing in on one particular part of an old blog post. If a particular blog has been shared, tweeted, commented on etc (has been popular), re-use it! Get it back out there in the market! With popular posts, I suggest you turn them into podcasts and or videos!
Best time to post. Reviewing Google Analytics, what is the best content and what day is it mostly read. I suggest you do some tests on days and times esp with certain pieces of information. When you have this information, start posting on these certain times. However, the key here is to ‘test’!
Using Google Analytics/ click on ‘behaviors’ (left hand column) and click on ‘Landing Pages’. Here you can view which of your pages is getting the best sessions, time on page. When you start to analyze this data, you can start to produce more of the same type of content! The more of the same type of content will give you more visitors.
For pages that are not working ie. not getting anyone on, get rid of them! Yes, remove from the site! Why fill the website with the wrong content, it doesn’t make sense. It just clutters the site.
Now, some of you are wine lovers! Mark Schaefer helped his dear friend out in France. An English guy decided to ship his English family off to the lovely wine country to be wine makers. As you can imagine, wine making is an extremely competitive business! He blogged about failure, his failure. He blogged about the grape machine and what it did!
His story is amazing!
Taking the rules out of this blog post, the company flourished and is one of the most successful wine making businesses in France today. It took him two years of very hard work, but it worked!
Check out his website – You will notice some of the things I’ve discussed in this blog. While I know its wine, the concepts are the same. He has made this wine business into something extremely unique. “What about the competition? The big players in the market?” They were asleep!