You know that content marketing is the king, the queen and all the other members of the royal marketing family all wrapped into one. So let’s take a bow, and move on to something you might not have (seriously) considered until now.
Whether your content strategy will be successful or not highly depends on the nature of your content and on the content tools you use.
In other words, on how well you manage the content creation process for your blog’s posts.
Delivering high-quality, targeted (preferably EPIC) content is super hard. Doing it consistently is even harder.
In many ways, creating content is a lot like running an obstacle course. Let me elaborate on that:
- Just like in a race, there are many obstacles you’ll have to overcome when creating content. Lack of time, lack of ideas, costs, too much competition, inability to get traction, finding the best content tools. These are just some of the barriers that can make you lose the race.
- In all cases, success means constantly pushing yourself, and always training to be better.
- Professional athletes spend more time preparing for the race than actually taking part in it. In the context of content creation, that’s called research.
In many ways, creating content is a lot like running an obstacle course.
It’s a competition, and we want to help you “steal” the start.
So we’ve asked ten PR experts and marketing specialists about the steps they never skip when creating content.
We’ve pitched in, and included some of the best content tools out there that can make the process easier.
So here they are, the best tips straight from the fingertips of content marketing specialists, combined with our selection of “walkway” tools – all wrapped up into a single post to help you be a better marketer, and create excellent content for your readers.
Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll get to learn by reading this article.
- Don’t Go in without a Strategy
- Know Your Audience Better than You Know Your Pockets
- Keyword Research Is a Must
- Topic Research
- Writing EPIC Content
- Proofreading And Editing: It Might Not Be Sexy, But It’s Necessary
- Make it Picture Perfect
- Content Promotion
Don’t Go in without a Strategy
Starting to create content without a coherent strategy and clear goals you want to achieve is like running in circles. It won’t get you anywhere.
Andrew Boer, Founder and President of Movable Media, an agency that recruits influencers to create original content for brands, says there are three crucial questions you should answer before you can start putting together the bones of your buyer persona.
Creating content without a coherent strategy and clear goals won’t get you anywhere.
1) Who (besides the reader) does the content really serve?
Content doesn’t thrive with many masters. When it is supposed to serve the Branding team, the Sales team, and the PR team, it becomes very difficult to build a coherent strategy because the function is ultimately unclear.
There are huge differences between the constituencies of a 30-second Super Bowl and a 30-minute infomercial, and the form follows the function. Content Marketing, on the other hand, becomes a catch-all with many masters, and ultimately winds up serving no one. ”
2) Identify a single metric (choose one) that defines success.
If you can identify a single metric that constitutes success (email sign-ups, awareness, leads, engagement), then it is far easier to have a coherent strategy. Many metrics trade off with another one; content that is frequent and attracts an audience (click bait) for example, is likely to be thinner and won’t improve your brand’s reputation for deep, thought leadership.
3) Identify the metrics that define failure.
Everyone has goals for success — but what about failure? Content strategies don’t tend to die; they just wither away. And one of the key problems with content creation is that companies tend to be short-sighted; they treat content marketing like a campaign.
If you can have a discussion around what constitutes failure upfront, then what you are really doing is setting a timeline for the experiment: if we don’t see this kind of engagement after 12 months, we should consider a different approach.
How to Do It Faster:
Here are some tools you can use at this stage of the process:
Know Your Audience Better than You Know Your Pockets
Repeat after me: “I must resist the urge to cast a wide net!” In other words, take the targeted approach when creating content.
Target research is a crucial step in the content creation process. It will weigh heavily on how much impact your strategy will have.
Daniela Arango PR at Doitwiser.com said that:
To create great content you need to know who you’re writing for. It’s important to understand what content would catch your readers’ attention. A content creator must know the main likes, dislikes, and interests of their readers. It would be useless, for example, to create a blog post about child safety on a business focused site
How to Do It Faster:
Keyword Research Is a Must
Keyword research is fundamental to your SEO efforts.
Daren Low, the founder of Bitcatcha.com, says approaching content creation from an SEO perspective is paramount.
What keyword am I targeting and what content is achieving a high ranking for that keyword? This ensures that my piece is congruent with what Google thinks is meaningful for users.
Of course, you should NOT focus only on the keywords. However, “it is still important to use them in written content, at key “locations” in your piece: the headline, the first paragraph, the sub-headlines, and so on, “ says Alexander Grosu, a Digital Marketer at inSegment, a Boston-based digital marketing agency.
Approaching content creation from an SEO perspective is paramount.
How to Do It Faster:
Develop Strong Research Proficiency
Don’t wait until the very last minute to come up with content ideas.
A step of the creation process that can never be skipped is the research phase. Great, relevant content doesn’t just come from brainstorming – you have to be informed.
You want your content to be informative and cutting-edge, and the only way to achieve that is by staying consistently aware of what’s happening with both your customers and your competition.
There is no substitute for thorough research on industry news and trends as part of the creation process.
– Simon Slade, the CEO and Co-founder of SaleHoo
Procrastinating until the last minute can prove to be a disaster. Do your research.
Angela Stairs, Content Marketing Specialist at seoplus.ca, recommends looking at industry news sites and reading the blogs of competitors in the industry.
That will help you “get a feel for the current ‘hot topics,’ and [you] may even find opportunities for great content where there seem to be gaps in readily available knowledge and tips online.”
How to Do It Faster:
Creating EPIC Content
You’re already better equipped to devise excellent content and be more efficient by going through the steps above.
Now it’s time to pump up your creativity muscle.
Once you actually sit down in front of your computer, ready to face that dreaded white page, it would help if you remember these words of wisdom.
Here’s what works for the best in the biz:
- “Include outside resources; supplemental content users can benefit from. These resources add a fantastic benefit to the reader that not only provides a source but allow another viewpoint on the topic to be considered.” – Elizabeth Jenkins, the Marketing Manager for Source Capital Funding, Inc. and Texas Hard Money
- “Promotional content is lame. Do not make your content too promotional or else the user will skip over it.” – Elizabeth Jenkins, the Marketing Manager for Source Capital Funding, Inc.
- “Think about an example to support your ideas. Whether it is an example from [your] own experience, or an abstract use case, it will help to illustrate [your] statements and to make [your] text more actionable.” – Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush.
- “Segmenting your text. After I’ve created the initial draft, I reorganize it to make it more skimmable and easier-to-read. I try to keep paragraphs and sentences shorter and follow the rule “one sentence – one idea.” – Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush.
- “Format use: Tapping content format additives. Today’s content creation process must take readers’ short attention spans and social sharing habits into account. Choosing an engaging format to add to editorial content or even sponsored content campaigns can do just that.” – Nogah Senecky, Content Marketer at Playbuzz.
- “Try not to make the headline too complicated or too lengthy, Keep it about 50 characters long. It can also be practical to make up few headlines and then choose one that seems most effective. ” – Anastasia Sidko, the Senior Public Relations Manager at SEMrush.
How to Do It Faster:
Proofreading and Editing
It might not be sexy, but it’s necessary. You content should be flawless. Noticed that typo? I’m sure you did. There’s nothing that can distract readers from the content you post faster than a misspelled word.
Make your work look sloppy and unprofessional.
Undermine your credibility and authority.
Lower the value of your ideas.
Double, triple check your content before you put it out there.
At Playbuzz, every piece of content is being edited by at least one content professional, who very literally makes sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It would be a shame if our message were lost due to poor grammar and silly typos. – said Nogah Senecky, Content Marketer at Playbuzz
Double, triple-check your content before you put it out there. It’s necessary.
How to Do It Faster:
Make It Picture-Perfect
Here are some stats for thought:
- Researchers found that colorful visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
- Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without corresponding images.
No wonder professional make visuals a priority when it comes to content creation.
Once a post is written, our graphic designers create custom images for it. These images give our content a recognizable, original style that’s totally unique to our site.
– said Vladimir Gendelman CEO of Company Folders.
How to Do It Faster:
The final step of this entire process should be promoting the content, as “there would be no point to creating content if no one were to consume it“, says Elizabeth Jenkins at Source Capital Funding, Inc.
It’s a smart idea is to promote your content to influencers and bloggers in your industry, not just your followers on social media. “Email Outreach is best in this scenario,” says Muhammad Asfand Yar, a tech blogger at listenthusiast.com.
There would be no point to creating content if no one were to consume it’.
How to Do It Faster:
Ready, Steady, Content Creation!
Treat content creation like an Olympic event – and not a last-minute project – and you’ll get that gold medal. And make your business’s anthem be heard.
These tips and content tools will help you cross that finish line— and feel unstoppable doing it. It will be worth it every single time, even if all the muscles in your body will ache the next day.
Because, when done right, creating content is highly addictive. And highly effective.
Acting on this information will turn you into a professional content creation athlete. So are you ready to put your race face on?
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our blog. You’ll discover plenty of information-rich articles to get you ready for other “events” within the marketing competition.
We like to keep our subscribers constantly informed on the latest marketing tips and tools to help them work smarter, not harder.
If you like working inefficiently and coming in last, DON’T click here. I’m serious, don’t do it.
On another note, I’d like to know: what content tools do you use?
Let me know down in the comments.
Content marketing is a business strategy that’s rapidly becoming one of the most often used methods of promoting a brand.
Naturally, it has also spread to eCommerce businesses, and since it’s a relatively new way of handling marketing, it’s understandable why many business owners don’t know how to pick the right agency for the job.
In this article, we will clear the air a bit, and create a helpful guide for those interested in working with an agency, but unsure about how to choose one.
The Deal Breakers Associated with Choosing the Best Content Marketing Agency
First of all, let’s cover the things that a content marketing agency must have. If any of these things are missing, then it’s not even worth to consider hiring them. Not everyone takes their job seriously, and if they don’t, why should you do it for them?
1. A blog and some social media accounts are the most basic requirements
Being a content marketing agency without those is like being a taxi driver without a driver’s license.
Talent doesn’t even come into discussion at this point. No amount of talent or experience will make a blog out of thin air.
Even if the agency is at its start, they should have created the blog before talking to you.
If they don’t even have that, you should just walk away.
2. An understanding that content marketing isn’t just text
This is another important matter even though it’s not as obvious as the first. Otherwise, it would’ve been called just “content”.
Although most content is written, it can also be images or videos or audio files. I’m not saying that you’ll necessarily need those in your campaign, but it’s important to keep an open mind.
There are different strokes for different folks, and that also applies to businesses.
An agency that doesn’t know that is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know the city he’s working in.
3. Writing skills are a must
I know I just said that writing isn’t everything, but it’s still going to, most likely, be the bulk of the campaign.
There are a lot of aspiring writers out there, but you can’t bet the success of your business on an agency that has high school level writers.
An agency without good writers is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know how to drive.
4. Applied search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge is the last thing to be on the lookout for
An agency that doesn’t take care of SEO is pretty shady by today’s standards. Maybe they are in a partnership with some SEO software, but if they don’t take care of this at all, it generally means they’re unprepared.
An agency that doesn’t use SEO software is like a taxi driver without a car. He can still work, but you can’t really count on them.
This is the kind of taxi you want.
[ Image Credits: inautonews ]
4 Questions you should ask Content Marketing Agencies before you start working with them
Now that we’re past time wasters and, hopefully, taxi drivers, we can focus on ways to help you better decide which agency is best for you. When talking with them, these are a few good questions you can ask to really understand what they’re all about:
1. How much experience do they have?
This is a question that anybody should ask when thinking about hiring someone. The problem is that they might not give you a 100% sincere answer, but the question, as basic as it is, can give you a lot of insight.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hire an agency that’s just starting out. What I’m trying to say is that the agency should have a satisfying answer to such an easy and predictable answer.
2. How have they helped other clients?
This question is similar to the first one, so I won’t get into too much detail. The idea is that experience doesn’t necessarily mean success.
If they’re serious, they should be able to prove their competence and show the results they’ve had in the past.
You should ask to see some case studies.
3. How will they nurture leads?
The goal of marketing is to bring in more clients. Find out how they’ll do that. This question is great because you find out two important things.
The first is if they understand your business well enough to produce content for it.
The second is if they have a clear and structured strategy for bringing in leads.
In my opinion, if the answer to any of these two points is “No”, then you should move on. Don’t expect every agency to be on point with what your business needs.
4. How will they promote the content?
Producing content is only half the battle. Promoting it is the other half.
Make sure that they can get people to see the content they make. Then, they also must have strong calls to action to bring people to you.
If the agency can’t do that, then it can’t help you either. Make sure that they are competent when it comes to promoting content, and that they work out a plan that would be effective for your business.
Getting a feel of what’s important
You want to work with an agency because they should know how to handle the job. That means that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when the ideas you propose aren’t good.
If the agency you’re working with just goes with everything you say and does exactly what you tell them to do, they’re probably just trying to please you rather than getting the results you need. They are the experts, so let them tell you what their vision is for your marketing strategy.
A glaring issue with very many eCommerce businesses is that they don’t think about anything other than offering products.
If you know that you’re not the only one who can provide that kind of product or service, you have to find a way to stand out.
Otherwise, your website is just another seller instead of the witty, unique and insightful vendor you can be.
Original content doesn’t go just on blogs and in social media posts.
If you’re selling the same thing as the competition, the difference will be decided by which one presents it better. Dry and boring nine-word descriptions just won’t cut it.
Content marketing agencies can help you spice it up.
I’ll be more specific.
If you’re selling jewelry, for example, have someone write an original description for it, not what everyone else is saying. If you provide clowns for parties, maybe have a bio for each. Pokey the Balloonmancer sounds much better than Clown #5.
At the end of the day, remember that the agency has to feel right for you. If you think that they’re the right fit, I say go for it. Also, remember that the content you want to provide is meant to be interesting and enjoyable. Don’t turn away a good pun just to seem more professional.
I hope that you now feel more prepared to choose an agency and that the taxi driver comparisons weren’t too unbearable. To find out what Squirrly, bring to the table, take a look here.
When coming up with ideas for the business marketing strategy, social media ads are always brought into the discussion. From a far distance, it seems natural.
They are a simple straightforward way of letting the target audience know about you.
There has to be a bump in the number of clients when you advertise discounts on social media. But are the orders constantly growing after a few campaigns? Or maybe it’s just a short-lasting success.
[ Image Credits ]
Let’s explore the 6 main reasons why Social Media ads can turn the sweet success of your business into a bitter waste of time:
1. Understand How Social Media Ads Work for Businesses
When the subject comes up, you talk about it unknowingly. Unfortunately, in many business meetings you come to decide whether to use one platform or another based on the information you already have.
“I’ve never heard of LinkedIn. Let’s not waste time on that platform.” Sounds Familiar?
But the sad truth is that a big part of the general population has not heard of many of those platforms and that shouldn’t be a concern for you.
Research and find out on which platforms you’ll find your target audience. They might not be part of those 7% of Americans that haven’t heard of Facebook or those 41% that had no clue LinkedIn existed.
The people that will buy your products might already know the platforms better than you think.
If your Social Media ads don’t respect the needs of the users of this platforms, your business might not understand how to use these channels to achieve success.
Keep in mind that people won’t buy your product if they have their life invaded by messages from your company that constantly tell them they need to make a purchase. Don’t forget that when you plan your campaigns.
2. Ads Are Seen by Fake Audiences
As proven by a recent study from the Association of National Advertisers, most online ads are mostly seen by malware software.
As the article states: “Eleven percent of display ads and almost a quarter of video ads were ‘viewed’ by software, not people.”
How does this all work? Quite simple. Your company pays for ads on different sites. The main idea is for those ads to reach the target audience when they need your product.
Then the companies that own the sites your ads appear on pay other companies to boost their traffic.
Some pay people who are not particularly interested in that subject to watch videos or visit websites, but others just use bot software to prove that they have more traffic.
This pretty much proves, for a good part, that the “audience” that sees your ads is not targeted or human.
3. Fading into the Overflow of Content and How to Overcome It
The attention span people have on the Internet is getting more scattered each minute. You check out a website and after 5 minutes you forget why you are there.
Sponsored ads want to get you to buy some products. Pops change your screen to let you find out about the latest updates on the platform and then the native content of the platform catches your attention.
In the end, the Social Media ads you created are lost on the page. Or they are simply disruptive information that people can’t wait to skip over.
[ Image Credits ]
But you have other options. Create inbound content that will make the audience be interested in what you have to share, thus making them come on their own to visit your website.
Some types of eye-catching content you can create today are:
- Articles that solve the audience’s problems with the products you offer.
- Videos that show people how to use the product to get the best out of it.
- Infographics that present the steps your clients have taken in their own success story with your service.
- Interviews about the main subject in the fields you work in.
Your audience wants to be informed and they need to know they are making the best decision when buying.
4. Creating Consistency so Your Social Media Ads Will Achieve Marketing Success
When you decided to start the Social Media ads campaign, make sure that what your profiles and website represent a clear connection with what the ads say.
Let the design of the home page help them find the campaign as well. Also, make sure that the landing page the ads takes them to refers to the same campaign mentioned in the ads.
5. The Wrong Infrastructure for Interdepartmental Communication
One big internal issue regarding how long-lasting success connects with social media ads is that not all departments know how to relate to it.
Most of the times, marketing takes care of it and, for them, it’s clearly connected to some ongoing campaign. However, that isn’t enough.
That way, each department knows the purpose of the campaign and knows how to relate to it. Social media is a communication channel like any other. Paid ads can generate tasks for sales, PR and other departments that need to have a fast way to respond.
6. Small Technical Issues That Can Cause Big Problems
Beyond the ads, you need to make it easy for your audience to find you. Small tasks like a Content Marketing Strategy for your profile can cause a major problem in converting leads.
You might lose lots of possible clients who click your ads just because they don’t manage to use your website, since various errors keep them from doing it.
How do you make sure that you are still winning after 6 months?
Social Media ads might be the best channel you have right now to get clients. But make sure that this is the solution that will help your business constantly grow.
To ensure that your company is not investing money on non-human content, make sure that the approach you are taking creates incentives for the audience.
Here are a few tips you can use:
- Consider Platforms based on your Target Audience, not your Team’s Experience.
- Always take into account why people are using Social Media.
- Make sure that your Profiles and Website send the same messages as the campaign.
- Remember that all departments need to understand the purpose of Social Media Ads.
- Check that all the relevant pages work properly.
This presentation can make you see how ads can be a great idea, but how they also need to be backed up by content in order to bring long-lasting success.
Blogging has become highly competitive in today’s market. It’s not enough to just have one. Modern companies need a blog with high quality content to attract readers and improve sales.
How Blogging Will Improve Your Sales
Content marketing enables you to attract readers, inform prospective buyers, demonstrate the value of your products/services and gain trust so that you’ll stand out amidst competitors.
According to statistics, 9 out of 10 organizations market with content. Blogging is the vessel you can use to improve your sales. Here’s how you can do it.
Photo Credits: Yann Ropars’ Flickr
Establish Your Business As An Authority
The main reason you want authority is because authority automatically brings trust.
When potential customers have an issue or a problem, if you’ve provided them with valuable information in a previous post, they will automatically think of you first before any of your competitors.
Statistics estimate that 50% of the time consumers spend online is spent reading content.
This also involves being active in communities which prospective customers frequent and helping them when they need it.
Comment, encourage and humbly share your experiences. This shows your interest and knowledge and leads them to trust you.
Also, combining your experiences with real life situations that potential clients truly relate to builds credibility.
If you provide content that leaves the reader wanting more from you, you’re prompting their willingness to enter into your sales funnel. It’s lead generation in disguise and it’s half the battle of converting a reader into a customer.
There’s two parts to this aspect.
i). The first part involves producing quality content on topics that are up-to-date and relevant.
When you create a copy, make sure you incorporate keywords that are commonly looked up on the web and include them in your headlines, subheads and weave them into your paragraphs.
ii). The second part involves sharing the content on social media outlets.
If you’ve created high quality content, your articles will be memorable. The advantage of memorable content is twofold.
Readers will be more likely to share and comment on your posts and your products/services will be the first they think of when they need help or advice.
Lead Readers To Your Sales Funnel
Because the evolution of the Internet emulates a ‘do it yourself’ type of learning/shopping experience, prospective customers respond well when they can read about your products/services and reach their own conclusions.
High quality content leaves its readers feeling like your business is the answer and makes them want more. This is the perfect time to convert them from readers to customers and lead them right into your sales funnel.
A carefully crafted call to action that’s placed into a highly informative, engaging post is highly effective.
However, its power lies in direct correlation to the content. The content must fit the aforementioned aspect before a call to action is introduced.
If you’ve related to your reader, provided a solution to a problem and been authentic about what your products/services provide, you will easily improve your sales using this method.
How many times have you set out to implement specific business goals and objectives and solemnly sworn you’d accomplish them? You start out really strong and then end up losing all your motivation quickly.
Pretty soon your aspirations fade away before any results are experienced. Have you ever asked yourself why this happens?
Most likely, it’s because you set your business goals and objectives based on how others view you instead of your own beliefs. In the online marketing world, if you’re not authentic, your objectives won’t be attainable. Especially if you’re basing your goals upon pleasing society instead of on who you really are.
You set a goal and immediately take action toward that goal, never giving a second thought to what your subconscious believes.
You’ll go through the motions of the steps that are needed to accomplish that goal for quite a while. Pretty soon, because of these forced actions, people start seeing you differently.
From there, you base your identity on what people believe. This isn’t the real you and eventually, because your true beliefs don’t match the actions you’re forcing yourself to take, you’re going to slack off.
So when you set your goals and objectives, set them based on your identity…the identity that YOU feel best represents yourself. This is how goals actually come to fruition. They have to be born from identity-based habits.
Photo Credits: herlitz_pbs‘s Flickr
How to Reach Business Goals and Objectives
Successful entrepreneurs set business goals and objectives centered around identity-based habits. Identity-based habits and goals are set based on the type of person you believe you truly are on the inside and outside.
As a result, people view you based on your beliefs and your actions. When you set up habits based on your inner beliefs, you’re able to reach your business goals and objectives successfully.
1) Set Your Goal: To spend time marketing on social media outlets every single day.
2) Establish Your Belief: I’m the type of marketer who spends at least 45 minutes a day on social media marketing.
3) Make a step by step process for social media marketing.
4) Designate a specific time to do it every single day.
But What If I Don’t Believe I Can Do It?
If you spend your energy not believing you can meet your business goals and objectives, you won’t. This is why you establish the beliefs that help you attain them.
Telling yourself repeatedly that ‘you’re the type of person who…’ stimulates the subconscious into action.
You begin developing habits that support this ‘established’ belief. Each day, when your actions back up this ‘established’ belief, your subconscious gradually begins to believe that you really are this type of person.
One of the most difficult business objectives to reach is producing powerful and consistent content.
Working from home opportunities have flourished in the past few decades. Many small businesses are run from private homes. How do they do it?
There are a few secrets that lead to having a successful home based business. If you know them, your business will experience greater success in a smaller amount of time.
Photo Credits: Lea Latumahina‘s Flickr
Home Based Mental Preparations
Professional Workspace – It’s important to be able to create a professional work environment for yourself. Set aside a completely separate space in the home where you’ll work.
This way, when you sit down to work, your subconscious is automatically programmed to transition into work mode.
Mental Skills – Have a healthy grasp of the skills you need to work as productively as possible. The very foundation of every successful startup is hinged upon positive core beliefs.
You must truly believe in yourself, your products and your mission in order to be successful. A home based business is no different.
From your core beliefs you’ll be able to set and achieve clearly defined goals. Knowing what these are and what steps to take in order to attain them is paramount.
In addition, make sure you establish step by step procedures and routines that are focused on your goals.
Isolation – Running a home based business generally means that you’re isolated from groups of people for copious amounts of time. Even if you’re an introvert and thoroughly enjoy being alone, sometimes being isolated can have negative effects.
When this happens, it can cause you to become far less productive or focused and eventually lead to depression.As in everything, you need moderation. Make sure you spend enough time being social in some way.
Depending upon your personality this could mean simply spending time responding to family and friends on Facebook or some other social media outlet.
Keep this balanced so that you don’t suddenly find yourself lonely or depressed.
Home Based Success Preparations
Photo Credits: Maegan Tintari‘s Flickr
Juggling Responsibilities – As CEO of your home based business, you’re responsible for research and development, product sales/delivery, profit and loss, accounts receivable/payable, marketing, strategy, quality assurance, growth and expansion. This means you’ll be spread very thin.
The secret is to keep track of everything, especially in the beginning. If you follow the guidelines set forth in ‘mental preparations,’ you’ll have specific goals and step by step procedures already in place that will save you time and maintain your sanity.
Delegation – Face it, at some point, you’re going to have to outsource or build a team in-house. In order to delegate effectively you need to have a clear understanding of your weaknesses. As you grow, you should be aware of your financials, so you’ll know what you can afford.
Find experts who can bring more to the table than you do so that you can realign your focus on the aspects that you’re especially skilled at.
Team Building – Your team can consist of in-house members or those whom you subcontract work out to. Either way, you want to structure your team so that every single aspect of your business is adequately covered.
For example, if you outsource social media marketing, make sure you find someone who does it better than you.
Home Based Branding
Content creation and distribution is of vital importance to companies because they’re not as exposed as a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business.
Social media has been and continues to be a vortex of constant changes. Because of that, it can be quite hard to come up with an effective marketing strategy that targets the right networks. Thus, eCommerce strategies often end up getting changed.
Still, the amount of leads that come from Social Networking platforms is too good to pass up. That’s why eCommerce websites have to stay in the loop and react to new trends accordingly.
One of the main ways to promote a company on social media is through ads. However, this is actually a pretty bad marketing strategy in the long run. If you want to know why, read our article on the subject.
Without further ado, let’s see why eCommerce Strategies need to put a lot of emphasis on social media networks.
Social media is a great place to get leads
I think it’s important to understand what a positive influence social media can have on your business. It’s the best place to connect with possible clients and raise brand awareness. You’re achieving success, one post at a time.
Besides the huge number of people who use it, it’s also important to mention that people tend to share links very often on social media. That means that if you promote yourself in a unique and approachable way, you can expect it to snowball by itself because of people sharing your content.
Another interesting and fairly new thing is the shift that consumers are currently going through. They know all too well that companies make great efforts to provide useful information on social media networks.
We can see in this infographic that more and more people started searching for products directly on social media instead of using search engines.
Social networking websites are constantly making changes and adding new features in order to help companies with their promotion strategy.
For example, Facebook has introduced a feature called “Instant Articles” that helps establish a connection between the companies that publish articles and their readers.
Basically, social media is becoming more and more welcoming for companies that want to do their marketing there. Both the users and the networks themselves are changing in order to create better brand promotion strategies.
The competition is fierce, but the possibilities are worth the hassle
Since social media networks are constantly changing and new features that help sales keep popping up, there are a lot of opportunities for companies that want to make it big.
That also means that your competition will be bringing their A-game.
After all, with such a high chance of a new “big thing” appearing out of nowhere, you can bet that a lot of people, both companies and consumers, will be ready to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re not there in time, you stand to lose a lot of possible buyers, and I really doubt you’d like that.
I’ll give you an example.
A lot of companies are investing in new virtual reality technologies. When that tech becomes available to the general public, we’ll most likely see a whole new way of doing marketing. Maybe you could make your eCommerce website 3D to give people a real-life shopping experience. That sounds really awesome.
I expect big corporations to already be working on promoting themselves in this new medium, but you can be sure that a lot of smaller companies will also get a great deal of success by riding this wave.
It can turn into such an important thing that companies that don’t adopt new ways of promoting themselves will be left in the dust.
Well-researched eCommerce strategies help you understand what to sell and who to sell to
Social media is also the best place to keep your ear to the ground.
A strong presence on social media can be the key to attracting leads. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can actively search for them yourself.
News about what’s popular right now usually first spreads on social media, so it’s also a great place to help you choose new products or services that you could provide.
If, for example, a lot of people are talking about some new line of clothing, eCommerce websites that sell clothes will make a lot more money by including those trends in their eCommerce strategies, especially if they place a huge emphasis on the content creation process.
Being active on social media and interacting with your audience is a sure-fire way of knowing what you’re doing right and what you can improve. If you listen to people when they give you feedback, you can be sure that they’ll also listen to you when you give them news and information about your business.
Don’t think it will be a walk in the park though. I’m talking about real interactions, as in your customers say something on your page or about you, and you respond. Don’t think that your clientele will feel particularly connected to you if you take more than a week to answer someone.
As a closing statement, I’d like to say that you should try to stay up-to-date when it comes to any kind of marketing trends, not just the ones related to social media.
If some relatively unknown or completely new tactic becomes popular overnight, you can be sure that it happened because it works well.
I’m not saying that you should chase every trend out there, but I’m sure that from time to time, something will come that you’ll really like and want to try. It would be a shame to overlook it or find out about it too late. Knowledge is power, right?
We’ve previously discussed the subject of ads while talking about content marketing strategies for your eCommerce business. Today, I’m going to get into why ads are just a short-term solution for eCommerce websites. What’s more, that isn’t even the only downside.
Ads have been around for a long time, but they have lost some of their popularity in recent years. I personally think that things are going as they should. I doubt that ads are going to disappear anytime soon, but now we have better ways to handle marketing.
Here are some solid arguments why ads aren’t a long-term strategy:
They don’t encourage customers to be loyal
I admit that there are a lot of things to think about when making a social media ad campaign, but, in the end, the target audience experiences the same thing: They’re told square in the face that they should buy something. And that’s it.
Most people will just shrug and ignore the message. For those who were thinking about making a purchase, it might be the push that actually makes them buy, but that’s about it.
Even though some will buy, don’t expect them to care about the company after they make the purchase.
The only way they will ever think about that website again is if the product was extremely good, which doesn’t have anything to do with the ads.
Afterward, they’ll still be invested and there’s a good chance they will want to buy again in the future, or, at the very least, tell others about your brand. Ads don’t work that way. They just ask people to buy.
In case you’re wondering how content can make your brand more memorable. They’ll give you all the answers you need.
That means that when your eCommerce website stops paying for the ads, the people they were bringing in will stop coming. That leads to our next point.
Ads are fairly expensive
If you ever checked Google to see how much social media ads cost, you probably thought “Wow, that’s pretty cheap”. Yeah, it would be if the competition for certain demographics wasn’t so high.
In reality, you end up spending quite a lot. Plus, the results might not even be that spectacular.
If that’s the case, you’re just wasting your time because you’re not making much money, and your brand isn’t growing in any meaningful way either.
The positive aspect is that it takes very little time, especially when compared to content marketing. Even so, I think that it’s not worth it.
If you really want to use social media ads, don’t completely rely on them. They should be part of a strategy, not the strategy itself.
Content marketing, on the other hand, has a better return on investment as it requires less money and the effect of a successful campaign, besides lasting much longer, can bring even more sales.
Always calculate how much money you put into ads and how much the customers coming from those ads actually spend on your online store.
It goes against the idea of social media
No one is saying that companies should stay away from social media. Quite the opposite.
The thing is that people come on social media to unwind, start discussions and connect with others, not to buy something.
Ads just take people by surprise and urge them to spend money when all they want to do is talk to friends or tell others about their day.
The public generally dislikes ads because they are disruptive. Maybe they’re helpful for some, but, in most cases, they’re just a distraction. If someone will remember the name of the company that posted the ads, they will most likely not have a good opinion about them.
Content, on the other hand, is a welcome sight for users, since it gives them the option to choose when to look over the information. It’s supposed to be interesting and provide useful knowledge to the people who read it.
But that doesn’t mean that content doesn’t encourage them to buy. It generally has calls to action. The difference is that ads are just calls to action.
Ads only promote the products, not the eCommerce website
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but I want to make sure that you fully understand the implications of this fact. Just promoting your products does lead to sales, but that’s about it. Ideally, you want people to remember your website as well.
You may attract one-time clients this way, but next time they want to buy something, there is no guarantee they’ll come back to your website. They might see an ad for a different website and go there instead.
It’s important to promote your brand and make it as recognizable and as memorable as possible.
Think of any huge company. Their brand is immediately recognizable. People know about their business even if they have no interest in the company itself.
Ads don’t help with this at all. Your website and brand don’t evolve in any real way with ads. They just keep being average.
The bottom line is this: Ads aren’t a long-term solution because all they do is boost sales only on the short-term while the lifetime value of a customer will remain very low. That’s simply not enough. A business should always try to grow.
For that, you’ll need a way to keep your clients invested and make your brand well-known. Ads only boost profits, but those profits should be invested in a marketing strategy that also focuses on long-term results.
The company that is paying for ads can use other strategies to get better results, and that goes double for eCommerce websites because of the huge competition on the market.
Social media networks are turning people away with ads. People don’t want to read ads, since they have better things to do, and they also don’t like being treated like walking wallets.
If you agree with me, and are interested in coming up with a content marketing strategy for your own eCommerce business, I suggest you take a look at this article.
I know it can be tough, especially in the beginning, but the end results will be worth it. Having just a little bit of information can go a long way, so imagine what 7 well-explained steps can do for you.
If you work in eCommerce, this article is right up your alley. There’s no denying that content marketing has become the norm when it comes to how businesses promote their brands.
Businesses like yours have the most to gain from using this digital marketing strategy, as generating interest and attracting more visitors to websites are two of its major strong points.
Ecommerce strategies need careful planning, since owning a site is very different than owning a real life store. Therefore, using the same marketing tactics is not a good option. No one will see your website walking on their way home.
The chances of someone stumbling upon your site are very small. If you’d try to see the internet as a road, you’d come to the conclusion that it’s a pretty long one.
That means that if you want a constant influx of clients, you’ll have to invest in advertising. Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t as effective now, not when there are so many cat videos that distract everybody. That’s a serious problem, because lack of promotion is the number one reason why these types of sites usually fail. Take a look at a few reasons why you might want to give this type of marketing a try.
The Content is Long-Lasting and Can Be Reused
Content marketing is about creating interest through, you’ve guessed it, content. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t expire like, let’s say, ads.
Now imagine providing great content several times a week. Not only will you attract a constant stream of new people, but they will also want to spend more time on your site.
Having a blog combined with social media posts can help you further explain to people why they should buy your products.
Also, articles about topics related to your products are a great way to keep people invested. After all, visitors won’t be in a buying mood all the time, but they could still be interested in the subject.
The truth is that you can’t expect everyone who shows interest to buy something from you. However, you shouldn’t think of those people as being less important. They have friends, and if they like you enough, they might tell those friends about you, and maybe they will make a purchase. It’s called free publicity.
The best part is that once the content is created and published, it’s not necessarily the end of its journey. If, for example, the topic of an older article becomes relevant or important again, the article can be republished after making a few changes or additions. If you’re lucky, the changes won’t even be necessary.
The Search Engine Optimization Software
SEO, for short, is an invaluable aspect that helps content marketing agencies get as many people as possible to see their content. The Squirrly SEO plugin offers guidelines and ideas on how to create content that will be relevant and easy to find for people who are searching for something related to the topic.
Let’s say that your job is to sell clothes on the internet.
An agency could create content about clothes or fashion to match your eCommerce strategies. When people will search for those keywords, they’ll find the content which will have a link to your site. If people like it, then they will probably click on the link and go to your site, thus greatly increasing your website traffic.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, and together they deliver the best results for business growth. High search results rankings will help you stay one move ahead of your major competitors, so being successful when it comes to organic search is essential.
Becoming a Trusted Source of Information
As you might imagine, people generally do a bit of research on a product before buying. Moreover, many decide to buy products based on what they see on the internet.
If a business would have the means to guide and inform people about what they should own, selling products would be a breeze.
For example, fashionistas who want to be up-to-date with the latest trends and look their best are always interested in reading magazines and blogs about fashion and clothing.
This can easily be applied to eCommerce strategies. It goes without saying that sites in the fashion industry would greatly benefit from using blogs and magazines created by marketing agencies to engage with their audiences. If they are consistent with their content marketing efforts, these sites wouldn’t just be riding the wave, they’d be the ones making the waves in the first place.
Ecommerce Strategies using Content Marketing: An Example of Success
To get a better idea on how much success an eCommerce company can achieve using content marketing, look no further than the retail clothing company Betabrand.
Their key to success is quite simple: They’re just being themselves. Betabrand didn’t try to act like something they’re not.
The company bills itself as 99% fiction, 1% fashion.
The fun and quirky content posted on their site and their unique way of promoting themselves have attracted the attention of many. You’re not generally looking for a laugh when browsing for new pants, but they provide it nevertheless, and it turned out to be a great idea.
Betabrand can’t produce large quantities of clothes, so they chose a different route: sell just a few items, but make them wildly different from just about anything else. When buying something from them, you’re not just getting something to wear, you’re also getting a boost of personality. Personality is something they seem to have in spades, considering they release a new product every week in limited quantity.
The company is very active and always interacts with the community they built online. They even crowd-source ideas for new clothes. This way, they managed to build a great image for themselves. Consumer and prospects see the company as a fun and creative friend rather than some boring vendor.
The image turned out to be very beneficial for the company, as people are rushing to buy their products despite the prices.
Betabrand is just one of the many companies that made it big by harnessing the power of content marketing. If you now understand the huge influence content can have on your business, I suggest you start looking for the right agency to represent you.
If need more convincing on why eCommerce and content marketing are a match made in heaven, no problem, you can read more about it on our blog. You’ll be happy you did.
Magento has become the biggest platform for open commerce innovation. They achieved this by involving not only other businesses in their content marketing campaign, but clients as well.
If you want to find out how your eCommerce website can also attain success like them, read on.
Magento didn’t just give content marketing a try, they really committed to it.
Their blog has new content at least once a week, but usually much more often, and the email-based lead nurturing strategy they use is extremely effective.
I’m going to give you a rundown of their way of doing business and give my opinion on the matter. I think it would be useful for you to compare your own eCommerce website with theirs, and see how it can be improved.
The Open Source Platform You Can Use for Your eCommerce Website
Magento didn’t just create a platform, keep the code for themselves and ask for money from those who want to use it like many other companies do.
Instead, they choose to make it open source and free. This is the type of philosophy you should also follow when you create content, give business-related insight, and offer useful information to your audience.
This means that any aspiring programmer can try to outfit the platform with new features and improvements, and that’s exactly what happened.
Furthermore, this has contributed a great deal to their success because they stood out from the crowd as a thought leader, a company that wanted to work together with others to make sure everyone wins.
They actively involve their clients, and their openness and willingness to share information has made them very respected among eCommerce businesses.
The Magento Enterprise edition is an improved version of the core platform. This version isn’t free, but it also has more features and offers better flexibility. With a free version and a paid version, Magento has its cake and eats it too.
A lesson you should learn from Magento’s example is that keeping the secrets of your trade to yourself is not always the best option.
They went the other way, and look how big they are now. Providing valuable information through content to companies and people alike is always a great way to build recognition and showcase your expertise.
Magento became the giant it is today by sharing with others, so make sure your content marketing strategy is built on the same principle.
Confidence in Content Marketing
As I said in the beginning of the article, Magento has a very active blog. I want to make it clear that just posting often doesn’t mean anything. It can even be detrimental.
Sure, you should have new content at least once a week so you keep your audience interested, but if you don’t think you can uphold the quality standards, you should work with an agency.
Quality over Quantity
Magento doesn’t only post often, but they also post high-quality content. From relevant news to useful tips, they make sure that people have a reliable source of material they want to read.
Don’t just think that it’s easy to do it. Sure, the people there might like to write, but you can bet that they invest a lot of time and money in order to keep it up. There are many ways of doing content marketing right, and all of them require dedication.
Content Is King when Distribution Is Queen
Magento is also very active on social media.
That’s not exactly a groundbreaking tactic, but they don’t stop there: Besides providing a lot of content, they also interact with their audience and clients, helping them in every way they can.
Moreover, don’t assume they use social media for tech support, as they have their own forums. It’s just that they don’t turn away clients.
Not enough companies do that. It proves that you care. Since you provide personal content for your audience, what better way to provide it than actually interacting with them?
Try to be just as dedicated to your audience as they are to you, and you’ll see how much your clients will appreciate it.
Make sure that you also spend time with the audience on social media. The company account shouldn’t be just an outlet for content. It should be your best platform on which you communicate with leads and clients.
Nurture Your Community
Further proof that Magento goes the extra mile is the annual conference they organize. At this conference, they share eCommerce ideas and provide networking opportunity sessions.
I realize that most companies can’t just organize an event this big, but I still think you should keep in mind how beneficial it is both for your image and for the attendants because of the insight they gain regarding the industry.
Sending Useful Information via Email
Lastly, I’d like to also talk a bit about their efforts to send personal and useful emails. We’re not talking about your generic “Come see our stuff” emails. They only send messages that they know will be relevant for the people who get them.
Never send soulless spam emails to the people who subscribed to your newsletter. They subscribed so they can get new content and news from you as fast as possible, so don’t bombard them with ads.
What You Should Learn from All This
I know that not everyone has access to all the resources Magento has, but they serve as a great example of how to grow your business and your audience with content marketing. You don’t have to perfectly emulate them, but keep their strategies in mind, since there’s no denying that they work.
Clients like to feel like they matter to you individually and that you think of them as more than just walking wallets.
Show that you value them with your content, and interact with them as much as possible. They’re not faceless leads, and you shouldn’t be a faceless company.
Also, don’t try to copy someone’s style or image. Your eCommerce website is your own and that has to be seen. Use your own unique ideas and messages. Be different from everybody else.
Do some research to find your niche audience, and cater to their specific needs and interests. Then, create content that you would like to see, not what you think will sell best.
I know that this can be a lot to take in all at once and that not everybody has content marketing in their blood. That shouldn’t discourage you though.
After all, you don’t have to do everything on you own. If you want other people to handle content marketing for you, there are two options: Getting your own in-house team of marketers or outsourcing the job to an agency.
This can be a hard decision as each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages. First of all, you need to know the particular needs of your company. Then, you can consider your options and pick the best one. I’ve written an article that will surely help you with this decision, so be sure to check it out.