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Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored

Fear is like sex, sweet onions, and a seven-day road trip: Once the stink gets on you, it’s hard to shake. And, when it comes to the marketing strategies used and the content created by most organizations, that stink is so overwhelming it drives their audience toward any alternative that seems even remotely bold.

How do you gauge the influence fear has in your approach to marketing, communications, and content?

It’s relatively simple.

Do you make decisions about marketing, communications, and content based on:

  • Unwritten industry norms?
  • A desire to appeal to every possible audience?
  • A reluctance to be the first?
  • An avoidance of anything remotely controversial or political?
  • A lack of faith in your marketing and communications team?
  • A lack of knowledge about (or worse, judgement of) modern, diverse cultures and generations?
  • The way you’ve always done it?
  • An unwillingness to avoid making anyone angry?
  • A worry that you’ll look, feel, or get called stupid?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, fear is playing a big role in your marketing and content creation.

Fear can be useful. For example, that guy who made the documentary where he canoodled with grizzly bears before being eaten by a grizzly bear could have used a little more natural fear encoded in his DNA.

But you aren’t canoodling with grizzly bears.

You are running a business.

In business, fear is the fastest road to irrelevancy.

And irrelevancy is failure.

To better understand how fear leads directly to irrelevancy in your marketing and communications, take a broader view of the word “content.” That word means more than just Instagram posts, videos, and blogs.

Content also includes movies, books, music, and art.

Using that definition, think of the content that forms big parts of our shared cultural history. Think Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, every Motown record Berry Gordy ever produced, “This Land is Your Land,” every painting Frida Kahlo ever painted, The Catcher in the Rye, every book Toni Morrison ever authored–all part of our shared history.

Combined, all the great works of content like the ones mentioned above represent an immeasurably small percentage of all the content produced, period. But the content we remember? The content that changes all of us collectively, and each of us individually? Behavioral change is the goal of any marketer, and content that succeeds in changing behavior–regardless of whether it is a great novel or a thirty-second commercial–is fearless.

Always.

Every time.

The same is true for your organization’s marketing and communications strategy. The only way to succeed as a marketer is to be heard, and the only way to be heard is to be fearless.

Finally, being bold and being fearless do not justify using Gandhi’s voice to sell Hyundais during the Super Bowl. That sort of “fearlessness” is just cynicism with good cinematography.

Plus, everyone knows Gandhi would never drive a Hyundai Accent.

The man was a revolutionary.

And revolutionaries only drive the all-new, redesigned Hemi-powered Dodge Ram.

Be bold.

Be fearless.

Be a better marketer.

 

By: Dustin McKissen

Source: Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear. That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored | Inc.com

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Can You Get a Degree in Content Marketing? Top Classes for Skill-Hungry Students of All Ages

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Before I co-founded my company, Masthead Media in 2012, the practice of content marketing was very much experimental. Very few people outside of the still-nascent industry had even heard the term before, and it was virtually impossible to find a single class–let alone a full certificate program–that focused on content marketing.

Today, content has become an essential way that brands connect with audiences and its a compelling career field with ever-growing income opportunities.  Because there’s so much interest among would-be students, several companies (and at least two universities) have begun offering courses designed to prep the next generation of content marketers.

If you’re looking to make a career transition, or simply want to expand your skills as a marketer, here are six programs you should definitely consider.

While I wasn’t able to find a university that offers a full-degree program in content marketing (I predict that time will come soon!), NYU’s School of Professional Studies does serve up this eight-session in-person course that focuses on the strategic planning side of content.

In addition to traditional lectures taught by an instructor, you’ll hear from real-world speakers who are actively working within the content industry and break out into smaller groups to work on projects.

During the course, you’ll learn how to align a brand’s goals with specific kinds of multimedia content, repurpose content to maximize its value, and use analytics to tell if your efforts are working. One hidden benefit to attending this course (where I’ve a been a speaker) is networking opps: many students already work for major brands and are in class to sharpen their skills.

Cost: $900

The T Brand Studio (the branded content unit The New York Times) is renowned for executing groundbreaking campaigns with major advertisers such as Delta, Netflix, Adobe, BMW, and GE. Together along with the School of the New York Times, T-Brand is sharing its extensive knowledge of content marketing with students through this five-course online certificate program.

This beautifully shot digital program details the specific tools the T-Brand Studio uses to create high-quality native advertising (a specific element of content marketing) on behalf of brands. Taught by current and former T-Brand Studio staffers, the courses include “Story Mining and Strategy,” “How to Tell Brand Stories with Video,” and “Thinking About the Other Side?” a video geared toward journalists looking to make the switch to from journalism to branded content.

Cost: $1,450

I’ve been turning to HubSpot for years for well-written, insightful articles teaching every aspect of inbound marketing and customer relationship management. Considering the emphasis that the inbound marketing company puts on education, I’m not surprised they developed an 11-course, 32-video series design to teach students the fundamentals of content marketing. What’s amazing is that you can watch the courses online in a single afternoon: It takes just 4 hours to view them all (the related quizzes will take you a little longer)

The Hubspot course will help you learn a basic framework for producing goal-oriented content on a consistent basis, and to create (and repurpose) content designed to please both people and search engines. It’s a great way to learn or brush up on the fundamentals of content marketing before creating and executing your own strategy.

Cost: Free

Even if you’re getting into content marketing because you’re passionate about words, it’s critical to understand how to use the numbers to help you tell a better story. No platform is more widely used to do exactly that than Google Analytics. Most major brands use GA to track how customers are interacting with their content–but content teams don’t always know how to interpret the numbers and use them to make strategic changes.

If you want to make use of all of that incredible data, take full advantage of Google Analytics Certificate program. The course is the gateway to learning how to set up analytics on a website, customizing the numbers and information that you’re viewing, and staying on top of changes Google is making to the program. The videos and quizzes are super short–and you can come back to where you left off during your last lunch break viewing.  For those looking to transition careers, having a GA certification on your content marketing-focused resume is a major win.

Cost: Free

Okay, I’m officially obsessed with LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), which I originally begin using to amp up my skills as an amateur photographer. Now I know it has a lot to teach me about content marketing, too.

The site (and related app) offer thousands of individual videos and full courses focused on every aspect of content marketing, from SEO Keyword Strategies to Marketing on Instagram to Becoming a Thought Leader.

Because I watch these videos and courses on my commute (and can’t stream content while underground on the subway) I love that I can download and watch them offline. It’s also really nice to see comments and rating from other LinkedIn users which gives me a good sense of whether any individual class or course will be worth my time.

Cost: Starting at $25/month or free with LinkedIn premium memberships

SEO is one of the trickiest aspects of content marketing to master–but doing so is crucial to ensure the content you spend hours and hours perfecting will actually be discoverable by a wide audience.

Udemy offers an easy beginners course (2.5 hours of video, 7 hours of audio), to help you learn how to add valuable keywords, tags, and search engine vocab into your brand’s or clients’ content. You’ll also get a stronger understanding of how to write content with search engines in mind, and check out SEO case studies from the AARP and Southwest Airlines.

Udemy offers plenty of other content marketing courses, which, like LinkedIn Learning, feature ratings and comments to help you hone in on the course that’s right for you.

Cost: SEO training is free; most courses starting at $11 

 

Are we missing any other great Content Marketing courses or degree programs? Please let us know on social @mastheadmedia.com

By: Amanda Pressner Kreuser Co-founder and managing partner, Masthead Media@mastheadmedia

 

Source: https://www.inc.com/amanda-pressner-kreuser/can-you-get-a-degree-in-content-marketing

 

Why Link Building Should Still Be An SEO Priority In 2019

The Moz update on March 5 this year was the proverbial straw that broke GoodFirms’ back.

GoodFirms’ Domain Rankings had gone down, not like spiraling down, but by a few notches – from 48 to 44, and we knew we had to pull the plug on low-quality content activities such as guest posting on lower DAs, half-baked blogs and so on.

For starters, Google, of the many factors involved, uses link quality to determine the authority and relevancy of your site. For example, if Jeffbullas.com is linking one of their articles to GoodFirms’ research papers, or blogs, it means the former is passing link juice to the latter, which is incredibly valuable in Google’s eyes. By the same token, if our blog posts are linking to other top sites articles that are also considered a good thing from Google’s point of view.

So, when things went wrong, we knew we had to re-align our link building activities in keeping with Google’s algorithm. For instance, we had shelved guest blogging on top sites for some time now because it had become a huge pain in our neck. But then, when our DA took a beating at the hands of grouchy Google, we knew, in our mind, that partly our DA crises could be related to going slow on generating high-quality content, whether it was in terms of guest blogs, research papers, in-house blogs and more.

As it turns out, all these strategies help generate quality inbound links.

So, here we go, a bunch of link building tactics we are already using to fire up your link building activities in 2019.

#1. Be game to guest blog

I am the CEO of a Guest Posting Corporation.

Wait! Scratch that!

I am the President of a Guest Posting Corporation.

Ah! Just kidding guys!

But then, on a serious note, I keep using these pseudo profiles to pep myself up and to be on my toes, simply because guest posting is so, so challenging.

Because you pitch. And you pitch. And you pitch over and over again until a few get an affirmative nod.

The point I am drawing home is, though darn difficult, Guest Posting is still a big deal.  So, if you are thinking to take your eyes off the guest posting ball this year (as we did this year) all I can say is: No. Don’t. C’mon no one digs their own grave.

GoodFirms has been milking this strategy for a couple of years now, and it has helped improve our Domain Authority like never before.

To cut to the chase: Guest Posting, which is one form of our link building strategy, is still very much relevant in 2019.

However, as I mentioned above, you need to target only good quality sites – no carpet bombing in terms of your email pitches.

According to an article How to Do Guest Blogging for Natural Looking Link Building on Search Engine Journal, you could take the guesswork out of guest posting by factoring in the following elements.

Guesswork out of guest posting for link building in 2019

Further, you could also find those sites that are into content syndication with other top sites. For instance, JeffBullas.com syndicates content with Business2Community. So, there are chances that your content gets shared on Business2Community as well if you write for Jeff.

In summary:

  • There are content syndication benefits.
  • It’s a scalable form of guest posting.
  • You can take advantage of high-quality content multiple times.
  • It gives you an edge over the competition.

#2. Conduct a thorough post-mortem of competitors’ backlinks

Competitor’s backlinks act as an excellent sounding board. Seriously! Because dissecting those backlinks will help map out your backlinking strategy.

So, no matter what, undertake this exercise first and foremost: Conduct a link audit of competitor sites by Googling top competitors that offer the same or similar products and services as you.

Once you have identified your top competitors, add them to Moz’s Open Site Explorer, or Ahrefs or the SEMrush tool, to get a complete picture of your competitor’s backlinking profile.

Moz open site explorer for link building in 2019

Then export the competitors’ backlink details to a spreadsheet to start an extensive audit in terms of their domain authority, external followed links, internal followed links, and specifically the links that fall in the below category:

  • Links from top URLs
  • Dead links

Links with anchor text opens various backlink opportunities such as:

  • Resource pages
  • Directories
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Citations
  • Guest posts

The new Moz feature called “Link Intersect” will help you investigate those sites that link to your competitors, but not to you. This will help you focus your efforts, particularly, on those sites that you are still to crack.

Moz Link Intersect for link building in 2019

What’s more, you can even analyze a client’s content based on their shares, which will give you an idea as to what content works best in terms of audience engagement.

The tool can also be used to find competitor’s Top Pages based on their backlink profile and social engagement. This will give you a fair idea as to what they are doing right in their content marketing strategy.

Moz Top Pages for link building in 2019

The other method you could use is to place top keywords in the Ahrefs ‘Batch Analysis’ to find the backlink sources of the top 200 URLs.

For instance, if you are selling a unique product such as a Spy Camera Lighter – designed for detectives and their like, you may also want to check out other sites that talk about similar spying instruments.

You could use keywords such as security sites or gadget review sites in ‘Batch Analysis’ to fetch links from different sites that refer to this product.

Further, you could produce a backlink profile of the highest authority, trusted sites by placing an Ahrefs filter ‘one link per domain’ to filter out any spammy links.

Once you have the spreadsheet containing the highest authority websites, you could reach out to them for guest posting based on their readership.

Additionally, you could use a simple search such as “author name” inurl: author” to find industry-leading authors on Google and the sites they have got their guest posts published.

#3. Turn brand love into links

If you still haven’t worked on this strategy, it’s time to pull up your socks.

That is to keep your eyes open for online brand mentions.

Why? Because it’s an effective strategy for building links and reputation.

Benefits of turning online brand mentions into links:

  • Easy link generation
  • Associating with communities interested in your brand

If you think about it a little, you will know that this is the best thing that could happen to your brand as you won’t have to put in any kind of hard work, literally, in generating these links.

It could be some sponsored event posting on Instagram or a sports event posted on Facebook, you could just ask the people involved to insert a link for your brand name.

For monitoring brand mentions, you could use tools such as Google Alerts to receive daily alerts on your brand mentions.

Turn simple brand mentions into authority increasing backlinks.

#4. Deliver evergreen content on blogs

It goes without saying: News content has a shorter shelf life. So, focus on creating evergreen content that will always remain useful and relevant to the audience and might generate inbound links for you.

It could be in the form of:

  • How-to posts
  • Ebooks
  • Lists

Don’t forget to come up with a compelling, but SEO optimized title, to attract lots of clicks.

#5. Conduct expert roundup posts

Our website has been trying to build content around expert roundups and it’s working. Recently, we spoke to 10 industry leading experts on how AI and Machine Learning are greasing the PPC campaign wheels, and the results were quite extraordinary. Shares on LinkedIn, for this post, increased significantly. This is because most of the marketers tend to share and even link back to your article.

Expert round up post for link building in 2019

Wrapping up

There you go! Five ways to generate quality links for your brand.

Link building is still important from an SEO perspective in 2019. In fact, high-quality backlinks are the master key to ace organic traffic.

But since every second marketer you meet is trying to do the same it’s gonna be one hell of a job for you to get quality backlinks through guest posts and more. So roll up your sleeves and be prepared to work for it.

Guest author: This is Jennifer Warren, a Content Consultant with GoodFirms, a review and research platform for eCommerce development companies, digital marketing companies among many others.  I enjoy humanizing technology through inspirational content, devouring best sellers, watching war movies, and running behind my sunshine sons.  

Source: Why Link Building Should Still Be An SEO Priority In 2019

Get Your Content Marketing Strategy Right With These Six Questions – Sandeep Rathore

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Content marketing is gaining huge acceptance among marketers to reach customers. In fact, 92% B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their target audience, and 86% B2C marketers consider content marketing a key strategy to target customers, according to the Content Marketing Institute. However, not all content marketers are able to achieve their objectives when it comes to getting content marketing ROI. Some are successful, while many struggle to make their content marketing efforts fruitful.

Making Sure Your Content Distribution Strategy Connects at the Right Time and Place – Kyle Harper

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In the same way that each person has a unique fingerprint, every brand seems to have their own complex publishing workflow. Your mix of ideation, editorial creation, and distribution sets you apart from any other—and your audience notices. For all the work involved in bringing even a simple blog post to a page, marketers want to know that their content will actually be seen……

Read more: https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/making-sure-your-content-distribution-strategy-connects-at-the-right-time-and-place/

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

Tappit – Use OTHER People’s Content and Videos To Bank MILLIONS In Profits Every Month

The idea is simple, more content you have, more traffic you get, more leads and more Commission you generate. By using this amazing app you will Build your own beautiful and super engaging Viral website with 3 simple clicks and Put most profitable links on your sites using artificial intelligence. Create and post viral videos and content in just one click and Post Videos and Content on 10+ social media networks in single click. Create SEO friendly pages automatically with Built in Free Remarketing system included…..

Read more: https://www.tappit.co/live/v2.php?aid=1

Visual Content Marketing: Why It Matters and How It Differs from Content Writing – Aby Nicole League

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Content is king in digital marketing, with written words still ruling today. But a content marketing trend has become so mainstream it’s hard to ignore its value: visual content.

No wonder Facebook and YouTube are the most popular social networks worldwide. Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are also catching up. Visual elements like images and videos dominate these social media channels, with some of them getting viral.

All-text-without-visuals is a thing of the past—visuals reign in content marketing nowadays. For your campaigns to stay relevant to the times and your audience’s ever-changing needs, beef them up with the right mix of text and visuals.

Why You Need a Visual Content Strategy

Let’s define first what it means to integrate visuals into a content marketing strategy.

In visual content marketing, you use images, videos, infographics, memes, or other types of visual content (may be accompanied by informative or inspirational text) for your marketing campaigns. Visuals come in an appealing, engaging format to entice people to visit your website, know your brand better, or buy your product or service.

Content marketing becomes successful with the use of well-designed visuals. According to PR Daily, visual content gets viewed 94% times more than content without any visuals.

Marketers see the valuable impact of visual content on growing their business. In the 2018 Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs study, B2C marketers chose pre-produced videos (45%) and illustrations or photos (29%) as among the most effective content marketing types for meeting their company’s specific goals.

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In the future, visual content will still be the bread and butter of both B2C and B2B content marketing campaigns. Marketers plan to use more pre-recorded videos (77%), images (68%), and live videos (63%), according to a 2018 Social Media Examiner report.

If your peers in the digital marketing industry can do it, so can you. Here are four specific ways a visual content strategy can help you achieve your business objectives.

  1. Raising brand awareness

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners— they can retain information better with images, videos, and other visuals than with written words.

Additionally, the Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2018 survey found that 83% of consumers who have watched a branded video would consider sharing it with their friends. More shares mean more visibility for your brand.

Want your audience to remember your brand? Use visual content to increase your brand recognition and recall. For one, you can put a watermark of your brand logo in all the visual assets you use online. When an image gets viral, people can easily associate that with your brand.

Check your company website or e-commerce site, as well as your landing pages. Are they just static? Make your brand easier to remember by updating them with compelling photos, videos, and other visuals. Just don’t overdo it.

  1. Increasing website traffic

By 2021, videos will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic worldwide, based on the latest forecast by the Cisco Visual Networking Index.

Video production costs a lot of money, but it’s a necessary investment to attract more people to your website. If you hesitate to make videos a part of your content marketing strategy due to budget concerns, consider how much your business will lose in terms of website traffic. Videos have been the rage these days—embrace it.

  1. Engaging customers through visual storytelling

Adding visuals to written content makes your content marketing campaigns more interesting and keeps your audience engaged. Rather than having long blocks of text, for instance, several images that break them up makes your content easier for people to skim and digest.

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According to BuzzSumo data, Facebook posts with images had 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Meanwhile, including images to Twitter updates resulted in 150% more retweets than plain text updates.

Visual content also helps you to keep your site visitors on your landing page. This raises the click-through rates to other parts of your website and the visitor’s engagement with your brand.

Why do people prefer to engage with visual content? With just an image that resonates with your audience, you can elicit joy, sadness, shock, fear or anger. That’s how powerful visual storytelling is.

  1. Improving conversion rates

Ultimately, higher brand awareness, site traffic, and customer engagement from a successful visual content marketing strategy can all lead to increased lead generation and sales.

Video content, for example, is a key driver in the buyer’s journey. The 2018 Wyzowl Video Marketing Statistics Report notes that video has become “a decisive factor” that convinces consumers to purchase or download a product or piece of software.

The report found that a brand’s video influences 81% of viewers to buy a product or service. Also, 95% of people learn more about a product or service by watching an explainer video.

How is Visual Content Marketing Different from Content Writing?

Visual content creation and content writing aren’t mutually exclusive. Together with content planning and promotion, these critical parts make up the content marketing process.

Nevertheless, it helps to know the differences between the two types of content, so you can better strategize your campaigns.

  1. Visual content gets your message across faster

The human brain processes visuals in its visual cortex, a less busy and faster part that’s separate from the busier section that processes words. This is why it’s faster and easier to understand, for instance, a cooking instruction through a video rather than text.

  1. Visuals are easier to remember

Images, videos, and other visuals are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. When people read text-based information, only 10% to 20% of it gets retained. Add a picture to a written information, and people will recall 65% of it.

  1. Creating visuals is harder than content writing, but not as hard as you think it is

It takes a specialized skill set to produce a stunning infographic or educational video. But even if you’re not a designer, you can still create great visuals. A lot of online visual content marketing tools can help you easily edit images, create memes, and animated GIFs, convert PowerPoint slides to video files, and more.

  1. They’re suitable for different business-customer relationships

Should you use more text or more visuals in your content marketing campaigns? It depends on whether you’re marketing to consumers or to other businesses.

B2C marketers prefer visual content over textual content. The 2018 B2C Content Marketing Report shows that most B2C marketers use pre-produced videos (76%), illustrations or photos (67%), and infographics (59%).

On the other hand, B2B marketers use text-based content more than their B2C counterparts do. According to the 2018 B2B report, B2B marketers use case studies (73%) and ebooks or white papers (71%). Additionally, most B2B marketers said ebooks or white papers (62%) and case studies (47%) were the most effective content marketing type.

Moreover, blogging is more important to B2B (36%) than B2C (22%) marketing, found a recent study by the Social Media Examiner. Meanwhile, more B2C marketers (36%) see the importance of visual content than B2B marketers (25%). 

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

10 Easy Ways to Generate Content for New Blog

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reating shareable and exciting content is essential for those who desire to draw as many readers to their blog as possible.

And, despite the amount of enthusiasm you might have, producing unique and engaging content every week is not an easy thing to do. We work in a world filled with distractions that keep us from maintaining clarity and purpose.

Clarity of purpose is essential for a new blog. To void wasting vast amounts of time on content that misses the mark with your audience, you need to have a strategy for sourcing your material.

Where should your ideas come from? Who will you listen to generate ideas that are focused on your business or blog goals?

Here are ten practical ways to come up with new content ideas and maintain the focus of your blog writing:

1. Be Active on Reddit

From understanding reading habits to discovering “trending” hot topics, on Reddit, you will come across a variety of informative resources.

Being one of the most visited platforms now on the internet, you can use the site as your idea sourcing tool. And as long as you appeal to Reddit users, you will bring more than enough traffic to your blog.

2. See what your Competition is Doing

It’s important to browse through blog sites perhaps a bit more successful than yours and see what other writers are doing, which you might not.

Checking the competition and finding inspiration in their work will often pay off. It may be that you can produce something on the same topic but in greater depth or you may provide a compelling rebuttal to your competitors content.

The important thing is to do more than simply ape their ideas or mimic their work. Their work should be a springboard for innovation, not an opportunity for plagiarism.

Also Read: 8 Simple Tips to Improve Your Business’ Blog

3. Make use of  Online Tools

Bloggers today have the advantage of accessing various online writing tools.

From UberSuggest, which you can use for keyword research to HubSpot’s blog topic generator, try out a few of these systems and see how they can help you move past your writer’s block.

4. Join Online Groups

From Facebook to LinkedIn, you will find plenty of groups to join on the web, which focuses on different niche topics, and the discussions held there can help you in creating new blog content.

Find groups in your niche – or a parallel niche – that are talking about the subjects you want to engage with on your blog. Avoid joining too many groups. Remember, the goal at this point is the development of a content calendar, not the making of 150 new friends (yet).

5. Read Comment Sections

Whether it’s on your website or someone else’s platform, never skip the comment section, because you can find there more ideas than you would expect.

You can create worthwhile content through what people are suggesting or talking about in the comments.

6. Go to Events

Being an active person who engages in all sorts of activities will enable you to find topics easier and to feed your creativity.

Conferences and trade shows are the types of events that you should focus on, and the speakers that are likely to inspire you.

Also Read: 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Business Blog

7. Be your Biggest Fan

If the topic you are writing about bores you, then the odds are it will bore your readers to.

For the best content creation process, you should simultaneously be your biggest fan and critic, so read your articles carefully, and make sure they are appealing to you.

Effective writing means writing in a way most natural to you. Don’t be a mimic. Go with your natural writing style, your natural talent for humour, stats, facts and stories.

And, if your temperament doesn’t sync with the blog’s brand or business aims, hire someone whose writing more closely reflects your brand or blog image.

8. Repurpose old Content

Work through your site and see which articles were the most popular among visitors. You can always reprise old content and give a topic you have already written about (as long as it has appealed to users) a new life.

Part of repurposing your content should include ways to make existing content even better. Look for ways you can improve your blog and strengthen existing content – as well as transform it into new shareable media.

9. Social Media

Whether it’s following popular hashtags on Instagram or asking your followers questions, Social Media channels are perfect for picking up on new ideas.

Social Media enables you to gather data quickly on what online readers are mostly interested, how they feel, react and engage with online content.

Social media is one of the most straightforward ways to observe your target audience in their natural habitat and learn what makes them tick.

10. Brainstorming

Sometimes, the best ideas are only one thought away; you simply need to make the most out of brainstorming. It may mean gathering with friends, family or co-workers and asking them to help you generate ideas.

For others, brainstorming might yield the best results when you pull yourself away from the buzz and hubbub of life and sit by yourself – watching the commotion pass. Find a quiet, peaceful location that inspires you, lay back, and leave your thoughts to run freely, and a fantastic blog concept might just naturally come to you.

Developing a content calendar with ideas that are going to resonate with users is not always easy to do. It is especially true when we are just starting out. The key is to narrow down your goals and thereby narrow down the number of possible content ideas.

Decide why you’re blogging and what you hope to achieve – and be willing to bin anything that doesn’t further those goals and bring you closer to your ultimate aim. Working through these simple ideas is one way to bring your focus in and streamline the content creation process.

All images created by David Trounce using Canva. CC0 license, 2018.

 

David Trounce

David is a business consultant and writer with a background in publishing and marketing. David writes about customer relations, digital marketing and management for small business.

What Is Content Planning? How It Differs from Content Strategy

If you use the words “planning” and “strategy” interchangeably, it’s probably time to stop. Especially if the word “content” comes before them.

We’re not exactly breaking news here: the world of content marketing is more complex and wide-reaching than ever before. It’s also more ingrained. Joe Pulizzi has argued that in 10 years, content marketing will just be marketing, and one could make a good case we’re close to that point already.

A well constructed content strategy is critical for attracting customers and growing your brand. But you’ll never execute one without a structured and organized content plan, fueled by a sustainable workflow and consistent process.

Let’s explore the key distinctions between content strategy and content planning and how to connect them for harmonious results.

What is Content Strategy?

There are many different ways to define the term, but I like this one via Distilled: “A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective.”

The most important words in this content strategy definition, in my opinion, are “vision” and “objective.” In many ways, strategy is ambiguous and intangible — a guiding framework that accounts for every element of your content operation. And it always needs to lead toward a concrete goal (usually, some variation of “make more money”).

Strategy is the umbrella under which all of your content marketing tools and tactics nest. But turning a strategic vision into reality won’t happen on its own. Content planning makes it so.

What is Content Planning?

The quote “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” has been thrown around for ages. Like most quotes, it’s frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin, although he probably never said it. Regardless of its source, this statement endures and gets repeated ad nauseum for one simple reason: it’s absolutely true.

Even the most well-crafted content strategy is doomed without a clear and transparent plan for setting it into action practically. This tends to be one of the foremost challenges for larger, more dispersed, or just plain busy content marketing teams.

In the 2018 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report compiled by CMI and MarketingProfs, only 8% of respondents rated the project management flow in their content creation process as “Excellent,” and only 28% dubbed theirs “Very Good.” Many organizations are fraught with inefficiencies and bottlenecks. These typically sprout up due to poor planning or a lack of planning, and they throw strategies into disarray.

Here are the integral components of effective content planning:

Building a Bridge from Strategy to Execution

Getting from Point A (a strategic vision) to a Point B (a fruitful and efficient content marketing engine) is a journey that many companies fail to complete. But when everyone works from the same detailed map, it’s far easier to avoid steering off-course.

Rigorous and regimented content planning helps alleviate many of the most prevalent and pressing strategic struggles inherent to content marketing today:

Keeping Content Powerful and Unique

Collaborative planning helps activate all the creative voices on your team, and enables you to easily tap into your own data to see what’s resonating most with your audience.

Insufficient Resources

The workflow efficiencies yielded by a repeatable and well-defined process tend to reduce the number of requisite resources needed. Better organization and prioritization are crucial benefits of content planning.

Maintaining Engagement

One of the biggest issues we see in content marketing is the “finish and forget” phenomenon. Teams will publish an asset they’ve worked tirelessly to develop, and then move onto the next project. Improved content planning ensures that every piece of content gets the follow-up and ongoing love it deserves, leading to superior reach and engagement.

Measuring Effectiveness

Measurement continues to be one of the top hurdles for marketing teams. Tracking results and consulting metrics, then implementing adjustments, are instrumental aspects of content planning.

Creating and Adhering to a Schedule

An interactive editorial calendar that everyone can access and use eliminates many of the issues that teams (especially larger ones) commonly experience in this regard.

Identifying Buyer Pain Points

This is more strategic, driven by research and development of personas, but applying the knowledge you compile requires the right plan.

Fending Off Competition

When you’re more organized and efficient than others, you inevitably start distancing yourself from them. Because content planning remains a sticking point for a high percentage of businesses, shoring up this area equips you with a big advantage.

To be sure, content planning entails its own set of challenges, but with the right focus and the right tools you can overcome them.

Planning (Content) for Success

“In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell.” — Jack Welch, Executive Chairman for The Jack Welch Management Institute

Well said, Mr. Welch. That really is what it’s all about, and there’s no use in trying to make it any more complicated than that. The “general direction” of marketing strategy will be dictated by your company and its vision. As for implementing like hell? That’s all about nailing down your content planning.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your own content planning and solidify your strategy, we suggest taking DivvyHQ for a test-spin to see what kind of difference it can make for you.

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