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Social media management tools are dead useful. That much is clear. Plenty of different software on the market offer social media content scheduling, publishing, and response management, and most have something great to offer brands and marketers looking to streamline their social media marketing.

It’s one thing, however, to excitedly sign up for a social media marketing tool, use the baseline features, and schedule your content. It’s another to really use these tools to their full capacity, so that you not only make your social media marketing more streamlined, but also more impactful and effective.

Want to get the most out of your social media management tools? Follow these six steps.

This is is a guest post from Mike Alton.

Mike Allton is a Content Marketing Practitioner – a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse.

Choose the Right Tool to Start

There are so many different tools available that this can be a tough choice to make, having brands choose tools based on features offered, price points, platforms supported, and more.

Whatever tool you choose must offer every feature and platform you need in a plan and for a price you can afford. There will be some features that you may need that some tools won’t offer like social listening, engagement management, or collaboration functionality.  For example, you may use YouTube regularly, but a tool you’re interested in doesn’t support it.

Image source: Seriously Social

When you start evaluating social media management tools, you’ll see that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The whole idea is to find the one that best suits your needs and fits into your planned budget.

So, make sure to look at the top contenders for social media management software and perform a detailed comparison.

If you aren’t sure where to start, Ian Anderson’s Seriously Social has a great Social Media Buyer’s Guide here that can walk you through the process.

Dive Deep Right From the Very Beginning

After you sign up for a tool, don’t settle for “just good enough” while you try to keep your head above water. Go ahead and dive into the tool, discovering everything it offers.

Many tools offer guided tutorials, which will walk you through the tools with automated prompts. Look for features that you may not have noticed yet, like the option to assign a task to a team member or use a saved reply to speed up inbox response times.

Sometimes, the best way to discover how to get the most out of your social tool will be to book a demo. The best tools typically offer free demos. An expert team member will take you through the tool, answer any questions you have, and show you how to take full advantage of all its features.

Additionally, providers often share case studies on how businesses like yours use their tool. These can be a great source of ideas and help you acquire new tactics for getting the most out of your social media management tool.

Add Your Whole Team to the Tool  

If you have more than one person on your team—internal or external—that is even glancing over the social media content you’re publishing, get them started with the tool right away.

Most social management software allows you to add multiple team members to specific accounts, ensuring that everyone has access to what they need.

Train your team early on how to use the tool of your choice, and establish processes for how you want your team to use it.

Do you want team members to assign specific inbox messages to themselves as they respond, allowing everyone to keep track of every message being sent? Or do you require that any of your team members submit posts for your review (or the client’s review) before it’s eligible for publication?

Decide what will work best for you then implement these systems early on. Doing so keeps everyone on the same page and helps your entire team get the most out of the social management tool without chaos.

Stay Connected Wherever You Go

The best social media management tools have mobile apps that allow you to stay connected on the go.

I believe firmly in a healthy work/life balance, but sometimes, a big campaign goes live or a product launches and you need to spend a little extra time managing an influx of messages and responses from users.

Almost inevitably, a post that somehow slips past your internal review process will have a typo, broken link, or some error to be resolved. You don’t want to be stranded, waiting at a doctor’s appointment or on a plane, without a computer and unable to resolve a problem when it pops up.

The mobile app will give the flexibility you need to tackle anything and everything no matter where you are.

Take Advantage of the In-Depth Analytics

The best social management tools will have analytics, alongside fantastic engagement, publishing, and scheduling features, available to users. These analytics will be convenient because they’ll be all in one place for you to access without jumping into each platform’s native insights.

In many cases, the analytics here will also offer more than what most native insights can tell you. Agorapulse, for example, offers reporting on things like community management (or how many replies you’ve made to users’ tweets), your brand awareness on a given platform, and which hashtags are tied to more engagement on social media platforms like Twitter.

Use these in-depth, very detailed analytics to your advantage. They’ll tell you more than what you can find with free or native tools in most cases. Use this information to carefully track the effectiveness of your social campaigns, evaluate what content and strategies are working best for you, and adapt and improve.

Upgrade to Get More Functionality

If initially you signed up for a lower plan of a social media management tool, you may at some point consider unlocking more advanced features by upgrading to a higher-tier plan.

Some tools, like AgoraPulse, will give you all the features you need as part of all their plans, while an upgrade will enable you to add more users and social accounts.

However, most social media management tools reserve their more powerful features for Premium users, and these features will differ from tool to tool. Typically, things like advanced analytics, custom reports, user role management, etc. fall under the ‘premium’ feature category.

If there’s a premium functionality that could make a real difference in how you manage your social accounts, then it makes sense to upgrade. Also, some lower-tier plans are quite limited in terms of scheduling and posting, and if your post volume grows across accounts, you’ll need to upgrade.

Evaluate How You’re Using the Tool

It is important to periodically assess how you’re using the tool and adapt your team’s activities to ensure you’re making the most of it.

Often times, we end up using social media management tools the same way we started so it’s good to take time and figure out if there’s something you could do better. You can do these evaluations every 3-6 months.

Ask questions like:

  • Are there new features that you aren’t taking full advantage of?
  • Can you connect insights from the tool’s analytics directly to the actions you’re taking?
  • Do you need to streamline your team’s workflow process?
Conclusion

Social media management tools are most often used to simply schedule content in advance to have it published automatically. However, if that’s all you use them for, you’re almost certainly missing out.

Invest a little extra time up front into choosing the right tool and learning how to maximize its potential. Great social management tools, after all, can do more than simply publish posts on schedule, so take advantage of everything they offer.

The post How to Maximize the Benefits of Using Social Media Management Tools appeared first on RazorSocial.

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If you are building out an influencer program, or already have one in place, and you are working (or intend to) work with social media influencers, you need to read this guide.

There’s a very good reason why Google trends shows massive growth in search traffic for influencer marketing.

And later on we’ll show you why.

A couple of years ago I was training a group of marketing professionals about influencer marketing.

Their main question was how to evaluate influencers.

But… the problem was that they were working with influencers for many years.

Look:

How can you work with influencers if you can’t evaluate how much they are worth and what value they will bring to your organization?

The other problem was that they didn’t really find influencers.

The influencers found them!

You can be very successful working with social media influencers but it requires a good bit of work upfront.

Contents of this Guide

C H A P T E R – 1

Introduction to working with social media influencers

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who has access to a relevant audience that you want to get access to and can persuade that audience to take action based on their authenticity and influence.

When they talk their audience listens.

There is trust involved.

An influencer that you want to work with should:

  • Have an audience that is relevant to the audience you want to target
  • Be able to demonstrate a high level of engagement
  • Show their work with previous brands together with results
  • Show their influence amongst other influencers
  • Demonstrate that they deliver valuable content
  • Show they can be trusted

We categorize influencers into 5 categories.

You’re probably wondering what they are so let’s get straight to it:

Celebrity influencers –  These people are difficult to approach directly. They are so well known that they typically have gatekeepers that protect them.They charge mega bucks for product endorsements or other type of influencer campaigns because one tweet from a celebrity can make a big difference for a product or a brand.

Power influencers –  These are influential people that probably speak at events, write books, have blogs, podcast, etc. They have a lot of influence over a large audience but they don’t have the celebrity status which makes them more approachable. Building relationships with power influencers could also be a great way to get access to celebrity influencers as they’re likely connected with some of the bigger names in their industry.

Micro influencers –  These are the influencers that have the expertise and influence in a particular niche. Micro influencers may not be as influential as power influencers but they could provide more value because they attract a very specific and often very active audience.

Media influencers – Some people are influential because of the media they write for. You’ll find that power influencers sometimes publish articles on media sites, but media influencers are more likely to be journalists who write for one or multiple magazines. They are influential because they have access to the audience of the magazine they write for.

Connectors – You know the people who seem to know everyone. They don’t necessarily have a big audience but they are very well connected. They are natural born influencers and they can reach out to other influencers and the influencers will do stuff for them.


What type of programs can you sign influencers up for? Brand Ambassador

This is a long-term relationship where the influencer works with you on an ongoing basis to promote your brand and your product or service.

In this type of influencer marketing program, the brand ambassador shares images, posts, videos and articles about your product (typically in the context of use), mentions your brand at events, provides testimonials for your website, and more.

Event activation

There’s two ways to approach this. The first one is very common with consumer brands – they organize/host an event and invite influencers to attend and network with other influencers and sometimes members of the media. Brands typically tie influencer events to a product launch or some important company milestone.

By organizing an event exclusively for industry influencers with large, relevant followings you’ll give them the opportunity to create and post content that can reach a pretty big audience. And there’s always a chance that you interest one or more of the influencers in a long term partnership with your brand.

Here’s another way to do event activation:

You can leverage influencers to promote a conference or an event. You’d work with influencers to invite their audience to the event. When big names in your industry talk about an event this usually creates a lot of hype online and can really boost ticket sales.

Campaign

Imagine if you were launching a product and you wanted a group of influencers involved in the launch campaign. They can help build awareness, generate interest and drive sales.

Your campaign could be as simple as sending them free stuff and hoping they’ll like it enough to share something about it with their audience (this approach can certainly backfire!).

Or you can involve influencers directly in the campaign in which case they would build hype around your product launch, create and share unique content about your product, and drive their audience to action.

One off campaigns

You can hire an influencer for one specific task, like creating one blog post or one video related to your product. Although most brands prefer long-term partnerships with influencers, one offs have their advantages as well.

For example, they allow you to test several influencer partnerships which helps you to quickly figure out which collaborations work.

Setting goals

Your goals for an influencer marketing program will vary depending on a) type of campaign you’re running, and b) your broader marketing goals. Here are some of the things you’ll want to achieve with influencer programs:

Campaign Type Goals
Brand Ambassador Drive traffic and generate sales
Brand mentions an exposure to a wider audience
Valuable links from high authority sites
Mentions on podcasts, conferences, etc.
Increase brand awareness
Event activation Event awareness – exposure to an audience
Influencers attending as a result of promotion (influencers bring other influencers)
Long term influencer partnerships. Brand awareness
Campaign Generate sales as a result build up, generate brand awareness.
One off Depends on the specific campaign – the goal could be traffic, sales, links, or other.

A recent research found that a majority of marketers leverage influencer marketing to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences:

Source: Statista

Once you have clearly defined your goals you’ll also have to find a way to measure success.

In a later section of this guide, we’ll talk about measurement to help ensure you achieve your influencer marketing goals.

What can social media influencers deliver?

An often referenced report is the one that states that every $1 spent on influencer marketing yields $7.65 in return.

Thats sounds amazing.

But is it true?

At the end of the day, you are trying to affect the behavior of your current and/or new audiences through influencers.

So, we can look at what influencers can deliver based on a funnel adapted for influencers.

Funnel StageMeasurement
Awareness Impressions – positive mentions of your product/service
Engagement – likes, shares, comments
Increase in website traffic
Increase in the number of online conversations about the brand
Increase in the number of fans/followers
ConsiderationImproved brand reputation (e.g. improved sentiment)
More product enquiries, trials
Visits to specific landing pages
DecisionHigher proposal rates from interested prospects
ActionHigher conversion rates than cold channels
AdvocacyReferrals from existing customers

Now let’s take a closer look at the influencer program results you should measure for each of the funnel stages.

Awareness

At the awareness stage, you want to measure every metric that can tell you how many people potentially saw your brand’s message and how many of those people took an interest in your brand by following you, engaging with content (comment, like, share, click) or mentioning your brand.

This may sound complicated to track and measure, but trust me, It’s easier than you think!

All of these metrics are pretty easy to measure either through native social media analytics on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., or via third party tools that track social metrics.

To assess your campaign reach and engagement and its impact on brand awareness, you’ll want to look at the following:

  • The amount of traffic an influencer is driving to your site
  • How many times your target audience sees your brand’s message (post impressions on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter)
  • The number of clicks i.e. how interested your target audience is in the campaign and your brand
  • The number of likes, which may be a vanity metric but also impacts the ranking of your content on social media sites
  • The number of shares which will tell you if your audience considers your influencer campaign content valuable enough to share with their network
  • Social media audience growth
  • Brand mentions as a result of influencer campaign may even be the most valuable metric for the awareness stage of the funnel because it shows if people are discussing your content and amplifying your brand message.

Warning: When Twitter reports ‘impressions,’ those are not actual impressions. They report the potential impressions. If I share a tweet to my 75k followers the potential impressions it will have is 75k, but the actual impressions could be 2k.

This makes Twitter look good, as well as anyone running campaigns for clients. So, keep this in mind next time you hear about millions of impressions on Twitter.

Consideration

At this stage of the funnel, you should see if the influencer campaign is moving people one step closer to buying your product.

But…how can you tell if they’re considering your product at all?

Well, first check if your brand reputation has improved. One way to figure this out is by looking at your social media audience sentiment towards your brand by performing sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis helps you understand the opinions of your audience by identifying mentions of your brand on social media and then categorizing them as positive, negative, or neutral.

This may seem complex at first, and it would be if there weren’t any sentiment analysis tools available to do this job for you.

For example, a social media monitoring tool like Brand24 will measure and report on the sentiment of your brand’s or your product’s social mentions.

If you see a trend of increase in positive mentions during your influencer campaign, this is a good indicator that it’s helping improve your brand reputation.

Next, have a look at product enquiries – are you getting more of those as a direct result of your influencer campaign? This info is easy to get of your site if you have an enquiry form or by talking to your sales team.

And finally, are you seeing more visits to product landing pages?

You can find this out easily if you previously created unique URLs for influencer campaigns that lead to product pages. We’ll talk more about link tagging in the section about the Action part of the funnel.

Decision

This is the point where things get serious…

You’ll want to know if your influencer marketing campaign is generating leads that you can nurture and eventually turn into paying customers.

If your influencer campaign is running on multiple social media sites, the first thing you’ll want to do is check which site is bringing in more leads. Is it Twitter or Instagram? This way you can focus more campaign effort on the social networks that drive more leads.

You can check this in Google Analytics → Acquisition → Overview → Social.

There you’ll be able to see a list of social channels that are generating the most potential leads from your influencer marketing campaign.

Action

Successful influencer marketing campaigns generate sales and you should be able to track and measure the sales that result from your collaboration with influencers.

You’ll need to track each campaign with the help of promo codes or UTM links depending on the type of influencer campaign you’re running.

Here’s how ridiculously easy it is…

You’ll create a campaign tracking link by adding UTM parameters to the link with Google Campaign URL Builder. This literally takes two minutes and will enable you to track the results (sales in this case) of your influencer campaign in Google Analytics.  

Check out my detailed post on Tracking Social Media Campaigns with Google URL Builder.

Promo codes are also an easy way to track the impact of influencers on sales because you can create specific codes that you can later track even beyond first purchase that a customer makes with the code.

Advocacy

Brand advocates are your most valuable customers who are so satisfied with your product that they are advocating its use to their network whenever they get the chance.

Many successful product companies run advocacy programs to inspire their best customers to share their experience on their social accounts as well as in testimonials, blog posts, case studies, etc.

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from brand advocates.

So, how do you check if the influencer campaign is impacting brand advocacy?

One way to go about this is looking at the number of new testimonials from customers i.e. the testimonials you received during or right after the influencer campaign. The same stands for positive product reviews on social media or product review sites.

The more testimonials and good reviews you get, the more advocates your brand has!

And lastly, you can run a customer referral campaign in parallel with your influencer campaign. The way this works is that you create referral links and incentivize customers to share them.

An incentive, for example, could be a discount for your product subscription or a free upgrade, whatever makes sense to your specific case. You will then track the referral links to learn who shared the links and what were the results.

C H A P T E R – 2

How to Find Social Media Influencers

Now that you understand more about the different types of influencer marketing programs and the results you should see across the sales funnel, it is time to find the right influencers for your brand.

I know that you may not know where to start looking…but don’t worry!

I’ll walk you through the whole process.

There are many methods you can use to find influencers and some of them are free and some are paid.

The paid methods speed up the process (and usually involve using an influencer identification tool) but there are still some effective free methods you can try out.

So let’s dive in…

1. Follow the trail

If you already know some industry influencers, spend some time understanding why they are relevant to your brand.

Once you know your ‘whys’ you can start identifying other similar influencers.

A very useful tool for this on Twitter is Twitonomy.

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In this article, I’m going to review Wave.video which enables you to quickly create great looking videos.

Did you know that 80% of all web traffic will be video by 2020?

Yes, I know…video takes up a lot of bandwidth so its no surprise it will account for the vast majority of web traffic...

…but it’s still an impressive number!

So it’s no wonder video is playing such an important part in marketing strategies businesses use today.

And if you’re wondering about the tangible business results that video brings…just look at the following stat:

76% of businesses that use video for marketing purposes said it helped them increase sales!

Now, let’s take a look at a very useful tool that will help you create amazing looking videos, fast.

What is Wave.video?

Wave.video an online tool for creating videos.

It offers all the features you need to create engaging videos that people will love to watch and share.

The best thing about Wave.video is that you don’t have to be technical at all to use it.

It’s a drag-and-drop style editor, with huge libraries of video templates and background music, and options to add text and images with just a few clicks…

It’s as simple as it gets and it will save you hours of time you’d otherwise spend on audio and video editing with more traditional software.

There are three ways to use it:

Option A – Create the video from scratch using the stock library of assets.

Option B – Upload your own video and cut/edit/add music, etc.

Option C – A combination of A & B.

So let’s take a closer look….

How to use Wave.video to improve your social strategy

We know that video content drives more engagement than any other content out there.

We also know that video can be a pain to produce and that’s why we don’t bother!!!!

But wait…

Wave.video is like Canva for video.

Canva is an image creation tool that grew like crazy because it enabled us to create images very quickly.

Wave.video does the same for video.

So imagine if you had a blog post and you wanted to promote it across social channels.

The best way to do this is with a short snappy video content.

You can go to Wave.video, select a template and create one or more videos to share on social.

Video templates are neatly organized in categories, such as Business, Technology, Education, Travel, etc. so you can easily find just the right clips for your video.

You can then preview the clips and choose the one you want to edit to create your video.

Here’s what you can do from the editor:

  • Add text overlay to each section of the video and choose from a variety of available fonts, colors, and effects.
  • Add images from the library or upload your own
  • Choose background music from a large library of audio files
  • Cut the video to your desired length
  • Include your logo and add a ‘call to action’ at the end of the video

Another great thing about Wave.video is that it also lets you automatically optimize the format of your video for sharing on different social media platforms.

This is really helpful for promoting videos on social!

Editing your own video using Wave.video

If you already created your video and you need to do some editing, you can use Wave.video for this as well.

I used to use Screenflow or Camtasia for editing videos (both great tools for video editing!) but Wave.video has some advantages. It costs less and makes editing so much easier:

  • You can add on royalty free music to your videos and choose from thousands of tracks
  • You can add on emojis/funny images to liven up your videos
  • It’s easier to add animated captions – no skills required!

Recently I wanted to promote a newly launched book by my friend Mark Schaefer. The book is called Marketing Rebellion.

I didn’t have much time to create the video so, in about 45 minutes, I shot various scenes and in 20 minutes I edited the video using Wave.video.

The video material I created required the following edits:

  • Adding music
  • Cutting clips
  • Adding text
  • Adding in a couple of slides
  • Adding animation between different sections of the video

And yes, I did all this in 20 minutes!

Here’s the resulting video:


Mark Schaefer - Marketing Rebellion Book Review - YouTube
Combine Your Own Content with Content from Wave.video

We all have content assets just lying there that can easily be used for videos. These can be photos, short video clips, audio recordings…

On its own, this content may not be interesting enough to share with our audience but it can be a great foundation for an engaging video.

This is one more thing that’s made easy with the tool

You can upload your own content (video, photos, audio files), combine it with assets that Wave.video offers, and then do some quick cuts and edits to create unique videos.

What’s also cool about Wave.video is that it offers some advanced audio editing options:

So if you upload your own audio file you can cut it, combine it with tracks from the library, or record your voice directly from the editor and add it to the video.

Wave.video pricing

There’s a free plan which they say is free forever!!

After this there is tiered pricing based on functionality. Here is just some of the functionality available for each pricing point:

  • $8.25 per month for the Creator plan – You get a 1 minute video, lots more export options, video resizing options and more.
  • $16.50 per month for the Pro plan – If you want to really step it up a notch you get 5 minute videos with full HD videos (1080p instead of 720p with Creator and Free plan). You get access to 2 million free videos and images that you can use in your videos and you can add your own watermark and logo.
  • $33.25 per month for the Agency plan – You get everything with the Pro plan with the ability to have 25 brands (i..e your clients) managed through the platform and there’s an option to allow you to show your clients video footage you plan on buying before you buy. You can also upload your own fonts and have 3rd party reseller rights where you can resell content created.
Summary

Video is definitely the content format of today (and tomorrow!), but we still tend to look at it as something that’s really difficult to produce.

That is, if we want our videos to have that professional, polished look.

That’s why tools like Wave.video can really change the game for marketers, making it incredibly easy to create stunning videos to share with their audience.

And…there’s a free plan available so you can play around with the tool and see for yourself what it has to offer.

What tool(s) are you using for creating and editing videos? Let me know in the comments!

The post How to Use Wave.video to Rapidly Create Awesome Video Content appeared first on RazorSocial.

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In this guide, I’ll go into detail about how artificial intelligence is impacting marketing right now and how it will continue to impact it in the future.

At the end of this post, you’ll be excited about the possibilities of AI and probably a little nervous about the implications!

And it’s alright to be nervous because the role of marketers in organizations will change but….

…you’ll still have an important role to play.

Table of Contents
Download a PDF of this Guide


Would you prefer to read this later? If so, download a PDF version of the AI Guide.

C H A P T E R – 1

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence in Marketing is real and now is the time to sit up and take notice.

Artificial intelligence is accelerating marketing toward a more intelligently automated future in which smarter (i.e. AI-powered) solutions enable marketers to solve problems and achieve goals more efficiently. You have a choice. You can sit back and wait for the marketing world to get smarter and change around you, or you can embrace AI now and be proactive in creating a competitive advantage for yourself and your company.

Paul Roetzer, Founder of Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute

However, not all software companies really have AI that say they do.

There’s just so much hype surrounding AI Tech companies want to capitalize on it by saying their software is powered by AI and investors will give higher valuations to them because of the AI in their software.

But there are many great software companies building true AI applications and this is set to grow massively over the next few years.

MRFR research predicted the AI market to be worth 25 billion by 2025.

If you’re a marketer, it’s time to get up to speed and understand the potential impact that AI will have on marketing. I’m pretty sure that this guide will help.

So, what is artificial intelligence?

We all know what human intelligence is…I hope so anyway!

Artificial intelligence is when a machine demonstrates some human-like intelligence.

For example:

A machine processes data and learns from it so it can make smarter decisions about the data it will process in the future.

Instead of just repeating the same instructions, the machine automatically learns new instructions based on experience.

Alpha Zero, the game playing AI developed by Deepmind, learned Chess in 4 hours and then was able to beat the best computer program available for playing chess.

Learning a new game is mimicking human intelligence, but the AI can learn in 4 hours what a human may take months doing.

Computer science describes the study of AI as the development of intelligent agents.

Look:

This is really about smart programming.

Our intelligence helps create artificial intelligence.

As some tasks become very routine they may not be considered artificial intelligence anymore.

Here’s an example:

Optical character recognition is often excluded because it’s a routine task expected from computers.

What is the difference between narrow and strong AI?

Narrow AI (also called weak AI) is artificial intelligence focused on one task.

Strong AI is everything else!

Strong AI has the ability to apply intelligence to any problem rather than a specific task.

For example:

A spam filtering tool performs one task well. A self-driving car is also described as narrow AI but I think this is a bit of a stretch!

Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Marketers?

Yes…. some!!!

Marketing is a time-intensive process with a lot of repetitive tasks which machines can help with…

…but there are certain tasks that machines will never be able to perform at the same level as human marketers.

I can imagine, in the future, sitting across from a robot discussing a business proposition but I can’t imagine I’d build the same relationship with a robot as with a real human.  It’s relatively easy to build software to beat someone at Chess and…

…the software gets better at beating people.

But…

Building relationships is the most important part of marketing and computers suck at it.

Also, who is going to build a strategy for a company?

An AI enabled machine can provide inputs into this strategy but strategists will still survive.

I watched a movie called ‘Her’ recently where the actor builds a relationship with an operating system.

Such a ridiculous movie!

Currently, though, there is a serious problem with implementing AI within organizations because of the lack of knowledge amongst marketers.

In a report done with CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) by Deloitte in 2018, the major factor that could slow down the organic growth in marketing is lack of talent.

And because AI is more technical than most other areas of marketing, this is going to be a major issue.

I wrote this guide because there is so much technical information on AI online that it’s quite difficult to understand.  I’m hoping this guide will help marketers understand what AI is really about.

Once you understand AI, then you can work out how to replace the systems you use internally with AI software. And if you decide it’s smart to replace the existing software solutions, you need to figure out what functionality will be gone and what new functionality will be added.

You’ll then need to educate your team about AI and train them on the new software.

Plus, the marketplace for AI solutions is growing so fast that, without understanding AI, you’ll have a hard time finding the right vendor.

C H A P T E R – 2

The elements of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a complex field that includes various elements.

It is focused on the following:

  • Learning – Acquiring information and rules for using that information.
  • Reasoning –  Thinking about something in a logical and sensible way.
  • Doing –  What’s the point in learning and thinking if you don’t do?
  • Self-correction – Understanding mistakes and correcting them.

Here’s a breakdown of the main areas that AI has been implemented in.

Note:  There are some overlaps in each of the areas. For example, a self-driving car uses a combination of machine learning, image recognition, and deep learning.

Neural Networks

A brain takes an input (external or internal), processes it and then produces a result.

A neuron is the basic unit of computation in the brain and it’s responsible for processing those inputs to produce the outputs.

Chemical signals are passed from neurons to neurons.

There are over 100 billion neurons, on average, in a human body and it’s an extremely complex web of interconnections between neurons. Some neurons can be connected to up 10,000 other neurons.

Imagine if someone was putting their hand near a hot stove. This is an input. The neurons would process this causing the hand to move from the stove.

Here’s how this would look internally:

The sensory neuron feels the heat, passing the information onto other internal neurons and eventually to a motor neuron which causes the reaction of moving away from the heat.

A single neuron doesn’t do much on its own, but using a complex web of neurons gives you amazing capabilities.

The neuron consists of input, output, and weight. Weight is really an indicator of importance in the overall scheme of things for this particular piece of information.

For example,  you want a machine to work out how valuable a car is.

You take in a range of inputs e.g. year, make, model, condition, mileage, etc. and these are passed through neurons. Each input is weighted.

The make and the model are weighted higher than the mileage or the year.

And then:

Through a series of complex calculations, the machine comes up with a result.

Here’s a simple example of a neural network.

The initial inputs are weighted (e.g. characteristics based on importance), they are then sent to the hidden layer for processing, and the result is the output.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a branch of AI which enables computers to become progressively better at performing existing tasks or become able to do new tasks without any need for human intervention.

The computers are continuously analyzing data so they can produce better results in the future. Simply put, they’re becoming smarter.

Machine learning is typically broken down into 3 parts:

Deep learning

Earlier we talked about neural networks. Deep learning uses more advanced neural networks.

So instead of an input, hidden, and output layer, you may have many hidden layers.

Meaning there is a lot more processing done than with a basic neural network. The same system of weights is passed between the neurons.

Deep learning is typically categorized in the following way:

Supervised

Supervised learning is where you provide the computer with input data and then the output data (i.e. the results you’d expect). You then build an algorithm around this so you can start providing new input data and the computer will automatically create the output data.

For example, imagine if you had a spam filter. Instead of giving the computer a set of rules to determine whether an email is spam or not, you provide it with a set of emails and then tell it which of those emails is spam and why. The algorithm would then be used to work out a new set of emails.

Unsupervised

With unsupervised machine learning, you provide the input data but you don’t provide the output data. The input could be a batch of test data at first.

So, the computer doesn’t have any example data to help it generate the answers. It needs to do a bit more work.

Semi-supervised

This is a happy medium.  It’s not completely unsupervised but the output data is not enough to accurately predict all results.

So, the computer processes the data and uses the output data as a guideline that it improves over time as it processes more data.

You may want to use semi-supervised ML in cases when you have to manually classify the data but there’s so much to classify that you just classify a piece of it and leave the rest to the computer to deal with.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

This is what natural language processing is about…

Alexa is an Amazon device.

You ask questions in a conversational way and Alexa is able to process them and give a response.

Well, it usually is…..

Natural language processing (NLP) systems have become more advanced over the last few years but there are still many challenges.

For example, it wouldn’t be unusual to say the following:

Alexa – Who are Man U playing?

Manchester United supporters often abbreviate Manchester United to Man U or the Red Devils or just saying United. There’s a slim chance that Alexa would understand these abbreviations.

Here’s another challenging example for NLP:

“I was at a pub the other night with my mates and it was deadly.”

When we use the word ‘deadly’ in this context in Ireland we mean that it was great fun. NLP systems are still not good at detecting the sentiment of text or spoken word.

So NLP will continue to evolve but it will never be perfect because of:

  • Accents
  • So many languages, variations of languages and slang used
  • The tone of voice and body language
Evolutionary Computation

This is the definition of evolutionary computation from Wikipedia:

“In computer science, evolutionary computation is a family of algorithms for global optimization inspired by biological evolution, and the sub-field of artificial intelligence and soft computing studying these algorithms.”

But what does this actually mean…

It was called evolutionary because it’s a continuous process of optimization of results which ‘evolves’ better solutions over time.

It was also called evolutionary from Darwin’s theory of evolution.

For example, one of Darwin’s theories was about survival of the fittest. The weakest members of a species will die over time.

With evolutionary computing, you come up with many potential solutions to a problem. Some may be good and some may be completely random.

With testing, over time, the best solutions evolve.

With deep learning, we are focusing on models we know already. Evolutionary computing is coming up with solutions to problems where we don’t have any sample results we could use to help.

Vision

We’re talking about the ability of computers/machines or robots to see, process, and act automatically based on images.

AI for vision it’s generally split into:

Computer vision –  A computer extracting information from an image to make sense of it.

Machine vision – Machines using visual methods to improve things in areas such as a production environment. They could be visually identifying faults, reviewing food labels, and/or detecting flaws in a product.

Robot vision –  This is where vision is used to identify something to be worked on and the robotic capabilities perform the necessary action.

Robotics

Robots are physical machines.

Robotics is the field of study of robots.

Sometimes you’ll hear people talking about robots automatically creating content for marketers but these are not actually robots. There’s no physical robot involved.

Most robots do not have AI but this is changing.

For example, I used to own a robotic lawnmower called ‘Robomow’. The tagline was ‘It mows you don’t’. I actually used to sell them but that’s a whole different story.

Robomow sits on a charging unit and every few days it would come out and cut the grass. There was an electrical cable around the edge of the garden and the mower would go back and forth at different angles to the edges.  It recorded where it had been so it knew when everywhere was cut.

It even had rain sensors so if it was raining it wouldn’t come out to cut the grass.

But it didn’t have artificial intelligence.

For example, it could have learned about obstacles in the garden and built different routes based on those obstacles.

Unfortunately, mine just kept getting stuck underneath the trampoline…

…every time…

Look:

I’m not saying these devices are not useful.

But…they could be a lot smarter.

Expert Systems

An expert system is a computer program that emulates the human ability to make decisions.

i.e. it replaces the need for or supports an existing expert.

It typically contains a knowledge base with a set of rules for applying the knowledge to each particular situation.

With machine learning capabilities, it’s building its knowledge base over time and adapting or creating new decisions based on its working knowledge.

Speech..
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In this article, I’ll review Frase and show how it can be a very useful tool to automatically parse through interesting content online and produce relevant summaries for newsletters, learning, and more.

We are in a state of content overload.

When we search Google it typically returns hundreds of thousands or millions of matches for any query.

That’s great. But how do you sort through all those results to find the most relevant content?

And how do you summarize all this content?

As a marketer, I’m sure you know that this process could be a whole lot faster.

That’s where Frase can help.

So what is Frase.io?

Frase is a very useful tool to help content marketers streamline the process of researching and creating content.

What caught my eye is the fact that this tool leverages AI, machine learning and NLP to do so.

It works on three fronts:

  1. Helps you identify the best topics for your content by looking at the top search results for your targeted keywords
  2. Scans your existing content and benchmarks it against competitors for your targeted keyword to identify any topic gaps
  3. Automatically generates summaries of the content you’re researching.

What Frase is trying to do is help you create better content, faster by allowing you to focus on the topics that matter to your audience.

And this wouldn’t be possible without AI…

If you think it’s too early to start implementing AI-powered marketing tools, think again:

According to BrightEdge research, when asked about expectations for marketing technology providers to have native AI capabilities, more than 50% of surveyed marketers said it was important or a must-have.

How does it work?

Frase uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning techniques to understand and learn from the content in order to produce the most relevant content summaries.

81% of leading marketers agree that machine learning will be critical for personalized experiences along the customer journey.
Source: Google/Econsultancy

I know that this probably sounds like really complex stuff.

But…

The good news is you only need to focus on the output this tool produces for you!

Here’s how it works:

Basically, it sorts through search results based on the query you specified to identify the content that is most relevant to your research.

And then it produces summaries which include:

  • Relevant points of summary for the articles
  • Key statistics mentioned in the articles
  • Contextual topics found in the articles

This type of insight is incredibly helpful when doing content research, whether your goal is to create new content, optimize existing content, or curate content from the Web to share with your audience.

Key Functionality of Frase.io

When it comes to what Frase can actually do, they’ve done a great job making the functionality focused on your research goals.

Right off the bat, you can choose whether you want to use the tool to create, curate, or optimize content or to create a content brief.

Frase functionality

Now, let’s take a quick look at the 4 key areas of the tool.

Create Content with Frase

At the core of the Frase platform is a text editor with contextual topic research running in the background.

So what does this mean exactly?

You can write your content in Frase like you would with any word processor while having a lot of smart insights into your topic available right next to your document.

Let’s say you wanted to write a piece of content about AI and marketing.

You’d name your document and add a query ‘AI marketing’ and you’d be taken to a content editor that looks like this:

Content editor in Frase

As you can see, you can write your article and explore the most relevant search results for ‘AI in marketing’ on the right hand side of your document.

No more switching between dozens of tabs for research!

Here’s the type of information you get about your topic:

  • Content – Links to the best performing articles on your chosen topic.
  • Topics – The topics mentioned in those articles with the number of times they’re mentioned. Under the Topics tab you’ll also see your content score and the target score achieved by the top articles for your keyword.
  • Headlines – Here you’ll see the top headlines for your topic. Great for inspiration and understanding what kind of titles work in search.

And there’s more…

You want to write content that matches what people actually search for, right?

And you can do this by looking at the questions they ask around your topic…

Frase has a ‘Questions’ feature available so you can see what people are asking on popular Q&A sites, like Quora and Reddit. You can then try and answer some of those questions in your article!

When you’re done writing your article, you can share the link with your coworkers, export into Word, PDF, or text document, or publish to your RSS feed.

You think there’s more you could be doing with AI in your organization but don’t know where to start? Our team of marketing technologists can help.

Optimize Existing Content

Now, this is probably the most interesting Frase functionality for content marketers.

Why?

Because it’s no longer about who creates more content, but who creates the highest quality content and wins at organic search.

Want to know your content score for specific keyword and how to improve it to rank higher?

You can do that easily with Frase.  

Just select the Content Optimization document type and add the keyword you want to rank for and the URL of the article you want to optimize.

If the content you want to optimize is not published yet, you can copy-paste it directly in the editor.  

Here’s what happens next:

Frase will process your content and analyze the top 20 search results for your target keyword to benchmark the topics mentioned in those articles against yours.

You’ll get a content score that you can improve by adding in the topics mentioned in the top ranked articles for your keyword.

The topics that your competitors mentioned in their content and you didn’t will be marked grey and these are the topics that you may want to explore further in your content.

The cool thing is that when you click on a topic, Frase will first show you related topics and then also show where specifically that topic is mentioned in the search results.

Once you’re done optimizing your content, you can go back to the ‘Topics’ tab to see if your content score has improved.

Create a Content Brief

Creating SEO briefs is really easy with Frase. The tool will look at the top search results for your target keywords and surface the topics you should cover in your content.

To get started, choose Content Brief and enter the document name as well as the keyword you want to rank for.

The later is important because the tool will use this keyword to surface the top 10 Google results for that keyword and provide you with the automated brief.

Here’s what you’ll get in your brief:

  • Processed sources
  • Average source length
  • Average links per source
  • The 10 sources that Frase has analyzed

And that’s not all…

The tool will also provide the list of relevant topics mentioned in the ten articles, the highlights for the topics, and the important statistics mentioned in the articles. And finally, you’ll get the summaries for the top ten search results.

These automated content briefs are really helpful for speeding up your SEO research process!

Plus, in addition to the content that’s created automatically, you can also add your own sections and comments to these briefs.

Curate Content to Share with Your Audience

If you share curated content, Frase can help you find and summarize quality content from the Web to share with your audience.

You’ll start with creating a new document and selecting ‘Content Curation.’ When you type in your keyword, you’ll start seeing recent news about your topic in the editor.

From there you can click on each article link to view the bulleted summary or click ‘Add to Document’ to automatically add an overview to your document in the editor.

This is a great way to quickly create a weekly newsletter from curated content. You can easily add an introduction to the automated content summaries to personalize your newsletter for your audience.  

Finally, you can export your newsletter in different formats or push it to Mailchimp directly to send to your subscriber base.

Improved content curation through AI should help marketers create better newsletters, incorporate more research on their original content, scale their social media posting, and create richer internal microsites. Tomas Ratia, Co-Founder and CEO at Frase.

Media Monitoring with Frase

Frase makes it very easy to follow any topic on the Web and get a summarized feed of the latest content.

Like most monitoring tools, it works by setting up the topics you want to follow. You can also apply conditions to topics such as ‘and’ or ‘or’ to get more specific results.

Want to know the best part?

You can apply filters to get much more targeted articles and also set up your preferred sources to avoid getting too much noise from irrelevant publishers.

Finally, you opt in to receive daily email with summarized sources and you can also share those digests with the people on your team.

You can preview the content for the topics you monitor from your Frase dashboard:

Frase.io Pricing

There is a free version, $25 per month version, $100 per month version and custom pricing for larger brands.

Summary

Content marketers are always looking for ways to streamline the process of researching, writing, and optimizing content for search engines. It’s all about working smarter to produce the best possible results while minimizing time spent.

Need help implementing the right AI tools at your organization? We’re here to help!

With the constant advances in AI technologies, tools like Frase are surfacing to make us more efficient in things that, up until recently, relied completely on human intelligence.

If you could cut hours in researching topics on Google and summarizing the top results to get insights for your own content, wouldn’t that be a smart move?

So why not give Frase a try (there’s a free trial available!) and let me know what you think!

The post How to use Frase.io to research and automatically summarize content (AI Tool) appeared first on RazorSocial.

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In this article, you’ll find out how you can save time and money and get better results by reducing the number of tools you use for social media management by using Agorapulse only.

When I first launched RazorSocial, I focused on reviewing social media tools.

You know what was really annoying?

I had to use so many different tools to achieve the results I wanted. Each tool had some feature I needed that the other tool didn’t!!!

Here are the tools I was using:

  • Meet Edgar –  This tool only supports scheduling content for social media. It did, however, introduce a good concept where you could add content to categories and then share based on a category (e.g. share content from the influencer quote category, then share content from your blog, etc.)
  • Hootsuite – I used Hootsuite for day-to-day management of my social media accounts.  I never liked the interface but it worked!
  • Buffer –  If I wanted to share a piece of content while browsing the Web, I could do this with Buffer’s browser plugin. It allowed me to click on a button to share the content.
  • YouTube –  I couldn’t respond to comments on my videos through third party apps, so I used YouTube directly.

At the time (a couple of years ago), Agorapulse wasn’t perfect either.

But….

….it has added on a lot of great functionality so I no longer use Meet Edgar, Hootsuite, Buffer, or go directly to YouTube to respond to comments.

Agorapulse replaced all of that.

So let’s take a deeper look at Agorapulse and you’ll see why it’s my tool of choice for social media management.

What is Agorapulse?

AgoraPulse is a social media management tool that supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook groups.

It offers a comprehensive set of features and it’s suitable for companies that have a team of people working on social media.

What is my workflow?

To help you understand how to get the best out of Agorapulse, I am going to give you a walkthrough of how I use this tool.

Finding content to share

I want to share valuable content with my audience so I am always on the lookout for high-quality content I could share on my social accounts.

Agorapulse has a Chrome plugin which adds a little button to my browser.

When I find great content to share, I can easily add it to my queue.

Here’s an example of a great post from Donna over at Socially Sorted:

When I click on my Agorapulse button, this is what I get:

What I really like about this is that:

  • It automatically pulls the title from the post
  • It automatically pulls the image from the post
  • It shows me exactly how it will look when I share
  • It makes it very easy to share great content
Sharing my own blog content

When I produce blog content I add it to Agorapulse.  Typically, I’ll share it a few times spread out over a few weeks.

Agorapulse gives me all the scheduling options I need:

  • I can schedule once
  • Publish regularly (e.g. 5 times every 5 days)
  • Schedule multiple times at specific dates

You can also set up content categories, add your blog posts to these categories, and publish based on these categories.

So, for example, imagine you were sharing the following categories of content:

  • My blog posts
  • Influencer content
  • Inspirational quotes
  • My latest launch

You can add a bunch of content to each category and, instead of telling Agorapulse to share an update, you can tell Agorapulse to pick a piece of content from one of the categories.

This way you’ll make sure you share a variety of content and always have something to share!

Managing responses

When responses start to come in, I use the Agorapulse inbox to manage them.

I can reply to the update or assign to my team.

I can also use a template for a reply and add images or emojis to the replies.

I can use the ‘name’ variable for the templates so it will automatically copy in the name.

This is pretty cool!

Tracking the results

Agorapulse provides great reporting options across a variety of channels.

The reports are visually appealing and provide great data and export options.

For example:

You can export the reports to Powerpoint.

Listening and tracking people

You can set up monitoring to track keywords, hashtags, users, and more.  For example, I am monitoring #smmw19 because of the Social Media Marketing World 2019.

Another useful feature in Agorapulse is the automatic categorization of people who are tweeting.

See below:

  • Ambassador – This is someone who has shared my content before
  • Engaged – This is someone who has mentioned me in tweets
  • Influencer – This account often gets more than 20 retweets

NOTE:  not all functionality is available for all social networks because there are some restrictions depending on the social network.

Other functionality

There’s a lot of other functionality within Agorapulse that I could mention, for example:

  • When you are viewing an item in your inbox, you can see profile details of the person to the right.  This is very useful because you can see who you are interacting with.
  • You can apply filters to the inbox to track things like which team member has inbox items assigned.  The whole team functionality is very useful!
  • You can apply rules to the inbox e.g. assign every item that mentions a particular product to a particular person.
  • A really nicely designed mobile app.
  • A content calendar view where you can clearly see what has been published and what’s scheduled for publishing.  You can drag and drop items as you like.
  • Add custom tags to your updates so you can see which type of tweets work best.
  • Assign various roles to users. For example, you can have a read-only mode.
  • Create a content approval process.
  • Track response times for customer service people on your team.
Agorapulse Price

Agorpulse starts at $49 per month or $39 per month if you pay annually in advance.

For that you get a lot of functionality for 1 user.  You can add on users to each plan or move to the next plans.

How could Agorapulse be improved?

When I create ‘reply to templates,’ I’d love the ability to have a quicker way of adding these replies. For example, type ‘a’ and this automatically displays the reply for the template assigned.

Summary

I’m so glad I was able to reduce costs, save time, and get better results from social media by using Agorapulse.

It’s an extremely useful tool that just keeps getting better!

<img height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”” style=”display:none” src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=723312331036218&ev=NoScript” />

The post AgoraPulse Review: Why I went from 4 Social Media Tools to one!!! appeared first on RazorSocial.

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Marketing has become an increasingly technology-powered discipline and with the ever-increasing demands for technical knowledge, there’s often a knowledge gap between marketing and technology.

We want to help bridge that gap.

We have just relaunched our website, services and branding to reflect our new focus!

Same direction -> New Route!

There is big demand on Marketers on having such a broad range of skills for digital marketing and this is challenging.

Especially as marketers don’t come from a technical background!

Look:

The amount of money spent on marketing tech in the US is going up every year.

As you can see from the following table it shows that the spend on technologies such as marketing automation, advertising tech, and data & analytics is going up year on year, and that trend is set to continue.

According to Scott Brinkers annual marketing tools report there are nearly 7,000 marketing tools alone!

So, it’s reasonable to think that the level of technical skills required to implement and use the technology is growing too.

However, this is a challenge for many marketers because it’s very hard to be really skilled at both ends of the spectrum, for example:

  • Building a creative campaign
  • Going deep with analytics

“The marketing skills gap is widening. Not because there aren’t amazingly talented marketers out there but rather because the landscape of marketing technology is shifting that fast”

Michael Brenner – Marketing Insider Group
RazorSocial helps bridge that gap

We initially launched RazorSocial as a blog focused on social media tools.  
Due to the quality of our content and our technical knowledge around content optimization, SEO and effective content distribution, our site grew quite quickly.

But after a while I got a bit bored only talking about social media tools, and since content marketing was always an area I was passionate about we started shifting our focus and our articles in this direction.

Now we’ve decided to broaden out the content we cover on RazorSocial and focus on all areas of digital marketing where there is a technical gap for marketers.

Here’s the type of topics you’ll see from us going forward:

  • Tool reviews – We can’t forget out roots and since tools are such an effective and essential part to any marketers arsenal we will continue to review tools that we believe will save you time, streamline your processes and generate you more revenue!
  • Managing technical projects – we are all faced with managing challenging technical projects at one time or another. Whether it’s rolling out a new website, building a chatbot or integrating your tools to make your business run more effectively, we’ll identify all the areas you need to be concerned with.
  • Future technologies – we all want to stay ahead of the curve so we have to keep our eyes on technologies that may not be having an impact on us yet, but that may do in the near future. For example, the use of artificial intelligence in marketing is a big area with huge potential.
  • Optimizing digital marketing –  Content marketing has a strong creative element but it also has a very strong technical side to it.  You need to understand SEO, email nurture sequences, link building, outbound marketing, and more. This is just one area of digital marketing where technology plays a vital role but we will also talk about any other areas of digital marketing where we can use technical skills or technology to improve our results.
Our new website and services

We’ve decided to launch a new website, an updated content strategy and a new set of services!

Here’s our services:

Marketing Tech Support

Need help managing the implementation of new marketing applications, evaluating new tools or supporting your team with tech skills? Boost the efficiency of your marketing team with marketing technology!  

Content & Conversion

The technical side to content marketing is just as important as the creative side. Drive more traffic and conversion from your existing and new content. Get a content audit, full content strategy, or outsource your content marketing to us and achieve better results.

Management & Analytics

Too much data, too little insight? We’ll set up, manage, and report on key data for your business – social media monitoring, web analytics, and lead generation funnels. Improve the results of all your digital marketing activities with the right data and insights.

Thank you for your continued support and I hope that you will join us on our journey.

The post Looking to Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Technology? appeared first on RazorSocial.

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In this post, you’re going to learn about how to use UberSuggest to research keywords that will drive more traffic to your website.

And the good part about UberSuggest is that it’s FREE!!

Keyword research is an essential part of content marketing.

Keyword research gives you an idea of what people are interested in…

…and what you should be targeting.

Before we jump into UberSuggest lets discuss keyword research.

What are the key considerations for selecting keywords What is the intent of the person searching

Search is typically broken down in the following 4 categories:

  • Informational –  When a user is looking for information on a topic. For example, they perform a search on how to do something. The search results are usually informational ‘how to’ articles, videos, etc.
  • Commercial –  When a user indicates with the keywords they are typing in the search box that they want to make a purchase. For example ‘book Hotel’, ‘buy iPhone.’
  • Transactional –  A user is looking for information but you can see there’s a potential commercial intent. For example, if someone looks for a review of a product it means it’s likely they will buy but they may not be ready to buy immediately.
  • Navigational –  A searcher knows exactly what they want and are just navigating to the relevant page. For example, they type in the name of the company and their product.
Categories of of searches performed How much traffic is generated with this keyword

I know you want traffic!

It may be a great keyword but very few people are searching for it….

…and it’s unlikely to be highly searched in the future.

There are various tools, including UberSuggest, that will estimate the search volume.

You typically estimate the search volume for one particular country and then look at global search volume.

Whatever this figure is you should double it because if you rank for this keyword you’ll probably rank for related keywords.

How difficult is it to rank for this keyword

You may have a great keyword that’s relevant to your business but it’s a very competitive keyword so difficult to rank.

If you know your site doesn’t have a high authority compared to the other websites ranking you may not want to target these keywords.

What is the keyword length

The length of the keyword i.e. number of words in a phrase is an important factor when selecting your keywords.

Most SEO folks categorize keywords into head, body and the (long) tail.

Head keywords are short, single-word phrases that are highly competitive and have really high search volume which usually means lower conversion.

Body keywords are 2-3 word phrases that also get high search volume but are a bit more specific than head keywords and convert better, while long tail keywords capture users with a very specific intent.

This means low search volume but potentially much higher conversion.

How relevant are the keywords to your business

Every piece of content on your website should drive value to your business.

It could:

  • Generate a sale or contribute to one
  • Attract a relevant audience that will share your content
  • Help build your authority on a relevant topic

So…

You need to make sure your content is targeting keywords that are relevant to both your audience and your business.

And more importantly, you need to do everything you can to rank for those keywords!

Is it proven to deliver value?

With so much competition in search, it can be extremely difficult to rank well for every term you want to rank for but…

…what about the terms with a lot of potential traffic that are also very competitive?

You know they’ll require a lot of work to rank but you don’t want to leave them out and miss out on all the traffic they could potentially bring.

So instead of writing the content you can create an ad targeting this keyword and then see how beneficial the traffic is.

What does UberSuggest provide?

Ubersuggest will give you some very useful keyword ideas based on the seed keyword you entered as well as the overview of the most important SEO metrics related to that keyword

…Including search volume, SEO difficulty, CPC and Paid Difficulty.

You can also see the top ranking articles for each of the suggested keywords along with your chances for ranking in the top 20 search results.

This is extremely valuable for making informed content marketing decisions.

Now let’s take a closer look at the available features.

What features are provided

1.Keyword Overview. When you enter in your seed keyword, the first screen you’ll land on after UberSuggest finishes running the analysis of the keyword is the Overview screen. Here you’ll have an ‘at a glance view’ of all the information the tool delivered based on your main keyword, including the SEO metrics, keyword ideas, and SERP analysis.

2. Keyword ideas. This is the main feature of the tool and it gives you great keyword suggestions as well as the related keywords which may or may not be useful depending on your SEO goals. Here you’ll see the key SEO metrics for each of the keywords listed, and when you click on a particular keyword, you’ll get the list of the top 100 websites that rank for it.

3. SERP Analysis. Ubersuggest shows top 100 SERP results for the seed keyword you entered with some valuable metrics for each of the URL’s, including it’s ranking position, estimated traffic they get for that specific keyword, the number of social shares on the article, as well as the Domain Score.

Stepping through a practical example

I had an idea to create a piece of content on ‘marketing tactics’ that businesses could easily implement, so I entered this phrase into Ubersuggest.

Although I would like to rank for this term globally, my focus market is the US so I selected the US.

Here are the results I got:

Results for the keyword “marketing tactics”

Want an explanation of each term:

Search volume – The estimated number of searches per month for this keyword in the US.

SEO Difficulty – This is the rating system created by Neil Patel’s team that works out how difficult/easy it is to rank for a particular keyword. One of the major factors will be the authority of the websites already ranking for these search terms and the number of links to each listing. A word of warning!!! This does not take into account the authority of your website!

Paid difficulty and Cost per click  – Not relevant for organic search ranking. However, if you’re researching keywords for ad campaigns on Google, then you’ll look at these metrics.

Next, Ubersuggest shows me a list of keyword ideas, all with the SEO metrics we just mentioned above. Adding some of these keywords to my article can be useful as long as the search volume is good and the competition is not too high. This way I increase my chances of ranking for those related keywords in addition to ‘marketing tactics.’

Keyword ideas with metrics

I was surprised to see that ‘marketing tactics’ is relatively easy to rank for and that the search volume is decent. This means that if I create long-form, valuable content around this keyword, optimize and promote it, I have a good chance of ranking!

But…I’ll first need to look at who I’m competing with in search so I can create better content than anything I see in the top 20 results. And this is where Ubersuggest really helps with its SERP Analysis.

SERPS Analysis – Discover who you are competing with in search

The top result is an article from CoSchedule, a marketing calendar tool, which is a high-authority website in the marketing space.

If I want to beat them in search or come close, I have to write something better, something with more substance and offer more value to the readers.

But, what Ubersuggest tells me is that ‘marketing tactics’ is not all that competitive and that there’s more than a good chance for me to rank for that phrase. This is all the info I need to start working on that new content piece!

Conclusion

There are so many keyword research tools out there, but Ubersuggest is worth a try simply because it offers free of charge most of the features you’ll find in paid alternatives such as KWFinder.

The post The Essential Guide to UberSuggest for Free Keyword Research appeared first on Content Marketing and Digital Agency based in Dublin, Ireland.

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Inbound or outbound marketing…

What is your poison?

The reality is that you need both.

You need to do outbound promotion to drive inbound traffic. And when you attract lots of people to your website using inbound, you build up your brand so it gets easier to do outbound!

In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can drive more valuable traffic to your website using outbound marketing.

So let’s get started.

1. Influencer outreach

Reaching out to influencers and building relationships with them is one of the most effective outbound marketing tactics.

When you work with influencers relevant to your niche you are increasing your brand visibility and exposure among your target audiences and consequently driving more quality traffic to your website.

But how does this actually happen?

Well, it all starts with finding the right influencers, making a list, and then reaching out to them.

And this is where an influencer marketing tool, such as GroupHigh, can be of huge help.

Grouphigh has a database of over 10 million media outlets/blogs and influencers extracted from the web, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

And what’s great about Grouphigh is that you can get access this information for a low cost monthly subscription.  A lot of tools are $1000 + per month but with Grouphigh it starts at $99. Check out their product video

Let’s say you want to find influencers who write about content marketing. You’d use the keyword ‘content marketing’ to perform a search and the tool would return results that looked something like this:

Immediately I see some key influencers I know in the content marketing space.

But look at all the details that are provided for every influencer/influential site:

  • Location
  • Email address
  • Recent posts
  • Audience size
  • Demographics
  • Social following

And look at the filters on the left

  • Channel
  • Location
  • Type of website
  • Audience Demographics

…And much more.

Reaching out to influencers is not about finding thousands and sending a generic outreach email.

Once you have your final list of influencers, you’ll do your research to learn more about them and then start reaching out with personalized messages. Here’s a detailed article about how you can engage with influencers using GroupHigh.

There are so many different ways you can work with influencers – you can ask them to contribute to your content, get them to participate in an influencer roundup post or an expert post, mention them in your content and see if they’d be interested in sharing, etc.

Roundup posts worked extremely well for me, and I’m sure you’ve seen numerous examples of successful expert posts all over the Web. Here’s one from Search Engine Journal:

This article was shared 8.5K times and has 35K reads! I’d bet that most if not all of the 47 experts shared this piece with their network which caused a ripple effect and contributed to this article’s success.

2. Guest Posting

Guest posting on authoritative sites in your industry is a great way of establishing yourself as an expert in the topic you’re writing about.

But another equally important benefit of this outbound marketing approach is that it drives traffic back to your website.

To start the process, you’ll first need to find the best websites for guest blogging. Naturally, you’ll want to target only authoritative websites that are highly relevant to your industry and the topics that you cover on your website/blog.

To find authority sites you can use Grouphigh or similar tools that allow you to filter based on authority.

In Grouphigh’s filter, you can look for sites with a certain amount of visitors, links, and authority etc.

The ‘DA’ stands for domain authority.  This is a number out of 100 which is calculated by a company called Moz and the higher the number the more authority the website has.

Watch my video on domain authority:

Why Domain Authority is extremely important for your website - YouTube

Now, If you don’t have the budget for tools you can use Google but it take you a long time to find the best results!!

For example, go to Google and type…

‘Submit guest post + ‘your keyword’’

Let’s look at one example:

That gives you a list of websites that probably accept guest posts but they may not be the exact websites I need, may not have a good authority etc.

3. Broken link building

No one likes having broken links on their website. It’s bad for SEO but it also creates a poor user experience for the people who click on those links.

However, broken links can creep into the best of websites simply because services/products shut down, people take down resources and entire sites, and this rarely comes announced.

So how can you benefit from broken links on relevant, authority sites from your industry?

Well, you can scan them for broken links using a tool like Ahrefs Broken Link Checker, reach out, and offer a similar resource on your site as a replacement. This tactic works well because most people will be interested in fixing broken links on their website and linking to a new, credible resource.

Also, if there’s a broken link that you have a perfect replacement for, run it with Ahrefs site explorer to see who else is pointing to this broken page. This is an easy way to find more link prospects!

4. Building links to relevant resources

I’m sure that you’ve come across many sites that have pages dedicated solely for linking out to relevant resources.

A resource can be anything from a case study to a free tool, checklist, or guide. You probably have at least one of these valuable resources created for marketing purposes and now you can use it for building links and driving new traffic.

Now, decide on a popular keyword relevant to your domain and the resources you have (or plan to create) and do a search on Google to find resource link opportunities.

Here are some formulas you can use:

  • keyword inurl:resources
  • keyword inurl:links
  • keyword intitle:resources

When I Google “content marketing intitle:resources” you see that I get a lot of results from relevant sources. The next step is creating the prospect list and reaching out to them.

But before you do, make sure that you have a valuable, useful piece of content that will blend in well with the rest of the resources on that page.

5. Building a community

Creating your own community within social media platforms is a great way to expand your audience, build engagement and trust, and ultimately drive traffic to your website.

You’re probably very passionate about your business. And you are most likely an expert in your niche. There are thousands of people who share your interests, so why not create a community specifically for them?

For example, you can create a Facebook group focused on an industry topic or your area of expertise. By interacting with a community of people who share the same interests, engaging actively, and sharing useful content and advice, you can form strong relationships and encourage them to learn more about your business and maybe even become a customer down the road.

6. Reach out to relevant media

Mentions on relevant, high authority media sites can truly move the needle for your business.

Why? Because you’ll get the exposure and visibility that will bring more traffic and more potential leads to your business.

But to get media mentions you need to give them something to write about.

For example:

A research report provides unique data.

Journalists love unique data.

Find Journalists that write about similar topics and reach out to them.

Give them a good story about your data. The more research you do with the Journalists the better.  Most Journalists get irrelevant content so you don’t want to fall into this bracket!

Bonus Tip: Get links to better content

There’s a lot of poor content out there.

If you are creating a piece of content on your blog create something that is better than any other content out there.

Then….

Find who links to existing content and reach out to them to tell them about the new content.

You will get some good links…..if your content is good enough.

You can use a tool such as Grouphigh, SEMRush or Ahrefs to find who is linking to existing content.

Use an outreach tool to help you automate the outreach process.

Summary

Focusing on inbound marketing as the main strategy to drive traffic to a website is commonplace for today’s marketers. Outbound is often considered as an old school, interruption marketing strategy that doesn’t work.

However, a modern approach to outbound is everything but ineffective – if planned and executed the right way, outbound marketing tactics like the 6 we discussed above can drive quality traffic to your website and bring new leads to your business.

Are you leveraging outbound marketing to drive traffic to your website? Are there any tactics that you’ve found success with and that we didn’t mention in this article?

The post 6 Outbound Marketing Tactics to Drive More Valuable Traffic to Your Website appeared first on Content Marketing and Digital Agency based in Dublin, Ireland.

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Creating really good quality content on a consistent basis is hard work.

And…creating content that is going to perform well for you in the search engines is even harder.

Just think about it.

The amount of content produced is growing all the time.

So…

Your competition is growing.

You need to work harder than ever at optimizing your content to get maximum benefit out of the content you produce.

Want to make this process less painful?

I’ve put together a checklist of items for content optimization which includes both technical and non-technical recommendations.

Let’s dig right into it!

1. Choose the right keywords to target

Let’s take this post as an example.

Why am I writing about content optimization?

It’s very relevant to my target audience, it has the potential to get customers, and it’s a keyword term that I can rank for.

Keyword research is such an important part of deciding what to write about!

I used Ahrefs keyword explorer for the purpose of research and it showed me that the search volume for ‘content optimization’ is 300 searches per month in the US.  The reality is that the potential traffic is a lot bigger because there are many related keywords this article could rank for and there are countries other than the US!

It also shows me the keyword difficulty is 7.  This is based on the average number of links to articles ranking in the top 10 search results.

Note:  This is a score out of 100, so 7 means around 8 websites linking.  If the score was 70 out of 100 that would mean there’s hundreds of links.

So if I write a very good article and get at least 8 reasonably good links to it, I’ve got a good chance of ranking.

And if the authority of my website is similar to the authority of other websites ranking for this keyword, then it’s going to be easier for me to rank.  If I’m competing against domains that are super high authority, then it becomes more of a challenge.

Read my guest post on SEMRush about the importance of domain authority and how to build it in 90 days.

2. Optimize for SEO

Google is getting smarter with its analysis of content so it’s not 100% essential to have direct matching keywords in places like the meta title, meta description or the URL name anymore.

However… if you have a new, lower ranking website, it’s safer to still have matching keywords in all relevant places.

Not sure if all the content you published is properly optimized for SEO?

You can find that out easily with Screaming Frog SEO Spider. This on-page SEO analysis tool analyzes your website and checks for issues such as duplicate titles, missing or long meta descriptions, missing alt headings, and more.

Plus, if there are any broken links on your pages, Screaming Frog will help you identify them.

By fixing the SEO issues on your pages, you’ll help improve their chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.

3. Optimize content for sharing

 You put a lot of work into creating amazing content and you want it to stand out when someone shares it on social media, right?

For this to happen, you need to ‘tell’ the Social Platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) what information to display whenever a link from your site is shared.

For Facebook, you can do this with the help of Open Graph protocol. Basically, you’ll provide Facebook with snippets of code that it can interpret, including:

  • The og:title tag(the title) tells Facebook what your page is about and how it should be displayed within the social graph.
  • The og:description tag gives information about your page and entices people to click through.
  • The og:image tag lets you specify the URL of an image that will represent your page in the social graph.

This will help optimize your content for sharing on Facebook, but you’ll have to do a bit of extra work to do the same for Twitter.

And that’s where Twitter Cards come in. Twitter cards are basically summary cards which include title, description, and thumbnail that will display whenever someone shares your content on Twitter.

You can learn all there is to know about setting up Twitter cards in this article.

I know this seems like a lot of work, so here’s some good news:

If you’re on WordPress, there’s a way to avoid manual work by using Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast has built-in options to define Open Graph and Twitter Card tags. Simply navigate to the SEO > Social menu from your WP dashboard and then choose the social tabs e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

For Facebook, once you enable the Open Graph meta data, the plugin will fill out most of the required tags. You can customize this by adding a default image for pages without images.

For Twitter, first make sure that the Twitter card meta data is enabled and then choose a default card layout. It’s really that simple.

Once you have everything set up, it doesn’t hurt to double-check if your content is properly optimized with a tool like Knowem.com.


4. Optimize for reading

 We worry so much about optimizing our content for search that we sometimes forget to structure it so it’s easy to read for humans!

The structure of your content is very important because you want to make sure people find it easy and enjoyable to read. You can improve readability of your content by:

  • Writing short sentences and paragraphs. Most people scan the content looking for quick takeaways. So keep your writing to the point, make sure to stick to one idea per paragraph, and lay it out in four sentences max.
  • Using sub headlines to break down the text. If people like what they’re able to consume in a few seconds by scanning the subheadings, they’re more likely to read through the whole article.
  • Using copywriting techniques. Using proven copywriting techniques will help you grab the attention of your readers and keep it.

Here’s an incredibly useful list of copywriting techniques.

5. Optimize the imagery

 Using relevant, high-quality images keeps readers engaged with your content, but you also need to make sure they are optimized for search engines.

Google can’t ‘read’ your images, so if you want it to understand what your images are about, you need to add ‘alt text’ for every image you use in your post.

You can also give your image a title e.g. what you see when you hover over the image.

You also need to ensure that your visuals are the right size so they’re loading properly. Heavy image files take time to load which can ruin the user experience on the page. Compress your images so they’ll load faster!

Check out Tinypng which significantly reduces your png images.  You’ll see you can get over 30% reduction in image size yet you won’t notice the difference in image quality.

6. Add relevant links

 Linking is really important from the SEO perspective, but it also contributes to a good user experience giving readers options to discover additional related content on your site (or 3rd party sites).

For example, I will link from this post to related content on RazorSocial. These internal links have a significant impact on SEO because they help spread link juice around my website.

I am also going to link to relevant content on other high authority websites in my industry.

7. Do Outreach to generate more traffic

I will also reach out to related websites to try and get backlinks for my article.

Remember – the more trusted domains link to your content, the better chances you’ve got for ranking! Links from high profile sites will pass more authority and bring more relevant traffic to your site.

So here’s my process for reaching out for links:

  • Set up a tool like Brand24 to monitor mentions of the keywords you’re targeting with your content
  • Get alerts for new posts that mention those keywords
  • Make a list of the websites and find email addresses with io
  • Verify emails with Zerobounce
  • Start your link building outreach with the help of an email outreach tool like OutreachPlus.

Note – when you reach out to get links, make sure to personalize your pitch to each website/contact to get higher response rates.

8. Optimize for speed

While optimizing your website for speed may not be directly related to content optimization, it still impacts the user experience (most users expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less) and it’s also one of the factors that Google looks at when ranking websites.

This is why it’s important to check your website load time with a tool like GTMetrix and see if there are any issues you can fix.

There are many reasons why your website’s speed can be slow, and with GTMetrix you can see how long each element on your website takes to load so you can optimize those that are taking too long.

More often than not, one of the major issues will be the image file size. You may need to review your images and reduce the image size. There are some pretty useful WordPress plugins, such as EWWW Image Optimizer, that you can use to scan the images regularly and reduce the image file size to help improve the speed of your website.

9. Optimize for email conversion

 For content marketers, one of the most important conversions is getting an email address from a reader.

Why? Well, because it gives them the opportunity to nurture them and guide them further down the sales funnel.

But to do this effectively, you need to be clever about asking for the email address. The tactic I found to be extremely effective are content upgrades.

Content upgrades are basically content offers created for a specific blog post with an opt-in placed at the top and the bottom of the post itself.

You can offer different type of upgrades in exchange for the readers email address as long as they are closely related to the topic of the post they’re created for. These could be checklists, guides, reports, etc.

Here’s an example from AWeber offering a content upgrade at the bottom of their email marketing tips article:

Tip – Check out OptinMonster to help you grow your email list.

 10. Add structured data/schema markup where required

 Adding Schema markup to your website is extremely valuable – it not only helps with your search engine rankings but also makes your website more user-friendly.

So what is Schema markup in the first place?

Simply put, it’s a way of helping Google understand the context of your web page by adding specific attributes so when it’s listed on SERPs it will be more relevant to the searcher’s query.

You can check your website’s markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Just enter your site’s URL or paste in a code snippet and the tool will analyze your content.

If you are on WordPress you can use the Schema plugin to add structured data markup to your site automatically.

Summary

The list of items for content optimization that we covered in this article may seem overwhelming, but once you start optimizing every piece of content before you publish, it will become second nature to you.

Optimizing your content should be a part of your content process and not an afterthought or a chore you have to do occasionally.

I would love to hear your thoughts and any additional content optimization tips or tricks you may have!

The post Content Optimization: How to Optimize your Content for Maximum Results appeared first on Content Marketing and Digital Agency based in Dublin, Ireland.

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