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Have you ever dreamed of becoming a better writer? If so, you’re just like me!

I’ve been writing different pieces of papers for many years. However, I always know that improving blog writing skills is a must, no matter how many years you write. Thus, one day I woke up with a brilliant idea to make a one-week experiment of honing these blog writing skills.

Look:

One thing I’ve learned during this experiment is that you need to do your best to succeed.

If you want to master your blog writing skills in a week, read the following information and try to get the most out of it.

Monday

Start your week with one important thing – learning the art of a perfect blog writing.

Obviously, to write a high-quality blog post, you should understand its core elements. You can surf the Internet to find this information or take a look at this handy manual about blog writing by OmniPapers.

In a nutshell, there are five basic elements every blog post should have:

  1. An interesting idea: analyze your audience, find out their interests, and brainstorm a brilliant idea that might be useful for your readers. A good writer puts quality over quantity, so his or her texts get shares, likes, and more readers.
  2. A catchy headline: if you want to get more readers, provide a catchy and descriptive headline. People claim that a well-written headline is one of the most important elements of every blog post. The better your headline, the more readers will keep on reading the whole text.
  3. An introduction with a hook: to capture your readers’ attention, you need to write a great introduction, revealing key moments of your topic. Write some statistical data, add a quote, and hook your audience with a controversial thesis statement.
  4. Media content: if you want to help your readers understand your insights better, you need to use textual and media content. There are many types of visual content: images, charts, infographics, videos, photos, etc. Use photo stocks to find relevant images, or create them yourself.
  5. Enhance readability: there’s one simple rule every writer should know: put your readers first. While you’re writing an article, think about enhancing readability. Try to use plain words, write short sentences and paragraphs, add subheadings, create bullet lists.

Obviously, there are many other elements that every blog post should have (relevant quotes and links, tips and pieces of advice, a well-written conclusion, a call to action, and social media buttons).

Next time you write your text, check whether it has all above-mentioned elements.

Tuesday

If you know how to write a logical and informative blog post, that’s great. If you know how to make your content interesting, that’s even better! Dedicate your Tuesday to this question: learn how to make your texts more interesting.

Let’s call a spade a spade:

Writers try to look savvy on the web, so they use complex sentences, theoretical definitions and, therefore, their texts are too boring to read.

Unfortunately, if your readers are not scientists, they probably won’t understand your texts well.

There are 5 typical mistakes writers make:

  1. No audience analysis: As I said previously, you need to know your audience’s needs. If you want to know what to write to grab their attention, do this analysis. For example, if you write for businessmen, there is no point to give them life hacks for recent grads.
  2. Complex sentences: Reading the same article 4-5 times to understand it is a hard thing to do. Most people would skip reading such text, so you’d better divide your text into chunks (short paragraphs and sentences, simple words).
  3. Product advertisement: Although you want to promote your product or service, try not to do it in your text. Obviously, people are fed up with ads on the web: banners, Google ads, and videos are everywhere. Try to provide your audience with interesting texts but not sales pitch.
  4. Lack of examples: When you’re writing your blog post, think about the best examples to prove your point of view. No matter what type of examples you choose, whether personal experience, best practices, or fictional situations, you need to illustrate your thoughts to make a text more interesting.
  5. No proofreading: All people make mistakes, and it’s normal. However, if you’re a professional writer, you need to avoid making typos, grammatical and spelling errors. So, once your text is done, give it time and proofread your text.
Wednesday

Living in the digital era, you need to learn how to get the most out of it. Modern writers don’t know what a handwriting is (in the same way our colleagues did) as they use gadgets daily: laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. However, if you want to hone your blog writing skills, you need to start using helpful tools, too.

Here’s the list of the best tools for writers:

  • Headline Analyzer: Do you remember that your headline should be catchy? Once you start using Headline Analyzer, you’ll start improving your blog writing skills in writing unique and interesting headlines. This tool analyzes headline type, length, word balance, and gives you the final score.
  • Evernote: One of the best tools for writers to organize the writing process. Evernote helps to keep all drafts, notes, and materials in one place. Plus, you can use it to write texts, discuss them with clients and colleagues, and present final drafts.
  • Grammarly: Check grammar and spelling errors, proofread texts, and identify explanations of each mistake. This tool is helpful for not only writers but all people as well. The most common way to improve your writing skills is to start using Grammarly once and for all.
  • Hemingway: This tool helps people improve their writing skills, giving useful tips on how to enhance readability. The system is simple: insert text in a box, push a button, and get your text analyzed. Plus, this tool has word counter.
  • Copyscape: If you want to become a blogging guru, you need to provide your readers with unique and original content. Thus, avoiding plagiarism is a must. Of course, all high-quality posts are based on research, but you need to learn how to rewrite or cite quotes. So, start using this app right now!
Thursday

 Once Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

If you’re good at blog writing, that’s great. However, you can always draw inspiration from other writing gurus who succeed. Thus, don’t hesitate to spend a day surfing the Internet to find the best blogs.

In fact, building relations with other blogging gurus can be beneficial to them and you. You can not only read their articles to get insights but write guest posts and ask for feedback.
Today I’m going to share my inspirational gurus with you. If you have yours, share with us!

This blogger runs his website where he shares useful tips and SEO techniques with his readers. Reading this blog, you might understand how to increase traffic to your website, find interesting content strategies, and learn the art of copywriting.

Being a professional marketer, Neil Patel helps people grow their revenue. His blog writing skills are high evaluated by such huge brands as Amazon, NBC, HP, and others. However, Neil shares his knowledge with readers, providing them with interesting and useful articles on content marketing from time to time.

If you read different blogs, you might notice this author. Kristi Hines loves writing so much that she helps different blogs create an outstanding content that grabs audience’s attention. Her writing style is so great that you can spend hours reading her blog posts. So, if you are ready to get inspired, you need to follow Kristi and track her works.

When it comes to boosting well-being, people crave actionable examples. Leo Babauta knows it and gives his readers catchy content only. If you want to learn something new and improve your writing style, start reading Leo’s blog.

Do you know what effective copywriting is? If no, ask James as she has been writing interesting articles for many years. As soon as you click on her blog, you can’t stop reading it. Insightful ideas, brilliant solutions, and actionable examples – that’s what you can get with James!

In short, by collaborating with great bloggers, you can learn their tricks and implement their writing style where it is possible and needed.

Friday

How many times per day do you check your social media accounts? 10, 20, or 100?

Most people use social media networks daily as it is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with friends and relatives, share thoughts, and entertain. Nowadays social media marketing is an important marketing tool, so you’d better start using social networks for your business, too.

Here’s the kicker:

If you want to improve your blog writing skills, you need to get feedback. If you want to get feedback, you need to attract readers.

So, once you create social media accounts to keep in touch with your readers, you can promote your texts easily.

Top 5 ways to get the most out of using SMM (social media marketing):

  • Create interesting posts daily: if you know your audience’s needs, you can create outstanding content. Post daily to keep your readers involved.
  • Announce your articles: if your text is done, but you’re not ready to post it, announce it on social media. Intrigue your audience to make them want to read it later.
  • Give special offers: your readers are unique, and you should give them the best. Don’t hesitate to post special offers if you can. For example, discounts, promo codes, etc.
  • Ask questions: build relations with your readers. Being a good writer is not only writing texts but also keeping in touch with people. Ask about their thoughts, ideas, and insights.
  • Involve readers in communication: to become a better writer, you need to analyze your texts. Thus, you need to get feedback. Ask your readers to comment on your ideas and get the most out of it.
Saturday

When it comes to the writing process, forming writing habits is a must. Obviously, you should do your best to achieve success. If you’re ready to become a better writer, take a look at the habits listed below to understand their importance once and for all. Plus, don’t hesitate to form them.

  • Read 100 pages a day
  • Write 1000 characters a day
  • Keep your desk clean
  • Boost inspiration
  • Keep in touch with writing gurus
  • Attend conferences

If you think that forming writing habits is a wrong thing to do, learn from well-known writers who succeed:

  • Ray Bradbury: “My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules.”
  • Ernest Hemingway: “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. “
  • Stephen King: “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”

As you can see, forming habits is a good thing to do. It helps you organize the writing process and, therefore, write better papers.

Sunday

Well, you’re welcome to the last day of our experiment. It’s Sunday, and it’s high time to start writing your masterpiece. First of all, you’d better look through all above-mentioned tips and get ready for the writing process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide how to start writing:

  • organize your workplace (hide all extra stuff)
  • take a cup of green tea to boost spirits
  • surf the Internet to find out an idea
  • make a plan (short draft of your text)
  • shift writing text chunks and boosting inspiration
  • take a pause
  • reread your text, edit and proofread it
  • find visual content to add
  • send or post your text
  • promote it on the web

Remember: if you want to hone your blog writing skills, you should keep all your drafts and notes. Read them from time to time, write down useful insights, and try to use them later.

Final thoughts

When I made this experiment, my writing changed forever. I have been writing many articles since then, and now I keep on doing it with a big pleasure. Obviously, all writers need an individual approach, but some of these tips might be useful for all people who are keen on writing.

If you have your own tricks and tips for improving blog writing skills, don’t be greedy to share your ideas with us. Let’s rock the blogging world!

The post How to Improve Your Blog Writing Skills in a Week appeared first on Ron Sela.

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Social media automation has got to be one of the most fickle concepts marketers are forced to use. I say forced, because there is no doubt that it is a necessary evil in today’s day and age.

You may think I am exaggerating, or maybe that I am the worst marketer in the world for admitting that social networking drives me insane. But if you think about it objectively, you probably hate it, too.

Oh, sure, you love the results it can bring, the lead generation, the chance for interactions that would have been impossible just ten years ago, the access to fresh content aggregated and curated in a simple to exploit way. And I agree, all of that is gravy.

The reason social media marketing drives me crazy is that it is overwhelming. Brands much bigger than any I have worked with have struggled to maintain relevance on an ever adapting platform, and to engage with audiences that ebb and flow with memes, current trends, pop culture, and even personal growth and change. How do you stay on top of that?

Many don’t; they throw money at the problem, and through sheer force of their extreme budgets they manage to come out above the little guys who are trying harder. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I call social media marketing a necessary evil.

At the same time, I love it. I love the ability to communicate one on one with influencers. I love the often hilarious comments by customers, and the unending snark. I even love that six months after a meme becomes irrelevant, people are still posting it six hundred times a day (looking at you, Tumblr users). My feelings about it are complex, to say the least.

So, getting away from my personal bias, let’s take a look at some actual statistics.

There are 2.3 billion active users on social media networks across the web.

Out of Fortune 500 companies, 83% are active on Twitter, making it the most prolific business based social network.

Blogging, social media and case studies are the three biggest content strategies, with 65% going to blogging.

Email automation marketing is a bigger fish, with 95% using some kind of system to handle their email marketing campaigns.

A full 46% of B2B companies admit they have no idea if their social media strategy has led to anything.

What does this have to do with social media automation? More than you think. Social media is a difficult animal to pin down. It doesn’t have any clear rules, it is constantly changing, and unlike email and content marketing, it doesn’t seem to offer solid enough stats for almost half of the businesses using it to see measurable results in conversions.

That being said, the one area we can all agree social media is king is engagement. Which makes social media automation a secondary tool, and one that has to be used carefully.

What Is Social Media Automation?

Getting down to the absolute basics, what is social media automation? It is exactly what it sounds like: automating processes that are a part of social marketing, using specialized tools. These have been created to make social media marketing easier, faster, and more efficient. It seems by their demand that I am not the only one frustrated with the time and energy spent on those tasks.

By automating social media use, you can make sure you account stays active without constantly monitoring, and manually posting. It is also an easy way to get the word out on new products and content the moment they launch, as any social media automation tool worth its salt offers scheduled or auto posting for blogs and websites.

Why Are Marketers Going Gaga Over It?

For the obvious reasons. Automating any marketing task is going to free that marketer up to do other things that require more careful handling. Plus, it gives us more free time. Everyone wants more of that, especially when that time was taken up posting unending links every hour to people who probably won’t click them.

Not to sound cynical.

How To Use Social Media Automation Correctly

With all of that out of the way, let’s look at social media automation and how awesome these tools can really be. Because when you use them the right way, they will vastly improve your overall social media strategy, and actually make it easier to see the positive impact that strategy is having.

For example, when you are manually posting links there is no real organization, no method to the madness. With social media automation, you are creating a patterned social structure that is easier to monitor and understand in the long run. That means the data you gather from analytics tools (which I assume you are also using) will be easier to sync up, understand, and utilize. You can actually narrow down your posting habits, and make them better.

The best way to use social media automation tools is to automate those processes that require no engagement. That is mostly posting links, reminders, and funny / clever / snarky / inspirational/etc. statuses that are meant to be shared out to bring more visibility to yourself and your brand on each platform.

Think of these are solid walls of content spaced out through the day. They are stationary set points that are automated sometimes days, or even weeks, in advance. They get attention, but not interaction.

To make these effective, you need to fill in the gaps between them. This is where social media automation isn’t used. Instead, you are going to be interacting on a personal, one on one level that gives your account more direct engagement than automated posts. When you put these two things together, it equals up to an active, well maintained social media profile that users are going to actually want to monitor.

One of my favorite examples of a brand finding the right balance is @TacoBell on Twitter. Going through their tweets, you can clearly tell which ones were automated, and which were off the cuff or manually posted. Some are links to content that they created, or others created (probably under their guidance), some are funny posts, and some are promotions.

The manually entered tweets are interacting directly with customers. These are what draw in the literally more than 1.7 million followers. They aren’t just there to get benefits from a brand, like coupons. They regularly communicate with Taco Bell, and those interactions go viral all the time. Media outlets were pointing out the brilliant strategy as early as 2014.

So, if you want to see how to correctly combine social media automation with hilarious and effective engagement tactics, follow them.

Marketing is one of the most tedious processes in all of the business profession. Sure, creativity is a part of it. But the biggest chunk of your time is not spent coming up with new ideas. It is consistently doing the same tasks, over and over again. Because that consistency is absolutely the key to branding and promotion, no matter how many experts claim marketing is “fun”.

The trick to getting through it without losing your mind is automating as much of those repetitive tasks as you can. Not only will that clear a lot of the time bogged up in the day to day tedium, but it will give you more brain juice to use on the cool part of marketing: creating.

Here are seven tools that will help you automate your marketing.

1. Get Response

Get Response is well-known for its growing influence in the email marketing sphere. They have hundreds of thousands of happy customers, however, who have discovered that they are much more than that. Their feature list is pretty long, including landing pages, a form creator with multiple templates and styles, webinars, A/B testing, and more.

My favorite feature is their marketing automation. It is a really cool drag and drop flowchart that connects different marketing tasks, and allows you to reach your subscriber at the most suitable moment using customized emails. They take data like customer behavior into account, so you set the conditions, actions, and filters and let it do the rest.

2. MavSocial

MavSocial is an all around social media platform that is aimed at small businesses, offering features catering to the unique challenges they face.

Their MavRepeater tool is an awesome way to make publishing content a little easier. Basically, you create a “campaign”, which is a collection of posts. You set the timing rules in your MavSocial dashboard, and it will continuously publish those posts. You can set multiple campaigns, so you are always releasing fresh content at the very best times to reach your audience.

3. Viral Content Buzz

Viral Content Buzz works as the social sharing platform. Basically, you hook up with other influencers who have clout on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You ask them to share out your content to their followers, and in return you post something on their behalf to yours. It is a free way of expanding your visibility, and tapping into new audiences.

The RSS Feature is part of VCB premium package that will import your blog RSS feed and auto-upload all new content into Viral Content Buzz. So you can automatically find people to share your posts, without manually entering in each new piece.

4. Social Oomph

Social Oomph has been around for awhile, and it is a popular marketing tool for those who want a more extended campaign. My personal favorite feature is definitely their queue reservoir.

What is the most annoying part about social promotion? Re-promoting the same post over and over again, weaving it in with other posts so it doesn’t overdo it and annoy followers. Social Oomph allows you to set a task to automatically reshare the posts with good spaces of time in between. It automates what is an irritating necessity.

5. Dlvr.it

Dlvr.it is a content sharing platform, fully automated, and nothing more. It doesn’t try and stretch into other avenues, and while that is a con for those who want a more integrated marketing platform, its features still make it a good choice for content producers/promoters. It monitors your RSS feed to auto update any new posts from your site.

It allows you to quickly schedule anything you want to share from around the web with a couple button clicks. It even promotes your content to both online and local media to extend your reach and boost traffic. There are a few alternatives listed here.

6. IFTTT

For those who haven’t heard of it, IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It is a “recipe builder” for life hacks, connecting services, devices and tasks to make a more efficient system.

They have recipes already for everything from Slack to Google Drive, and even those for your personal life, like Health and Fitness hacks. If you want to run your whole life more efficiently, this is definitely the way to do it.

7. Zapier

Zapier is somewhat similar to IFTTT. It is more of a marketer’s automator, where the other tool is more personal based. You just select what apps you want to integrate, and to do what tasks. It let’s you build these little processes without knowing any coding at all. It is super easy to use, no matter how little experience you have.

Have a tool that you think makes social media automation easy? Let us know in the comments!

Other Tools That May Help

Automation tools can really be taken advantage of when you have other tools that enhance it. These are the ones I would personally suggest to anyone who wants to get more out of automating their brand’s social profiles.

Cyfe

Cyfe is great to make sense of automation activities because it brings so much stats together. You can monitor your channel growth, traffic, leads, and so much more, all from a single dashboard. You can monitor stats from multiple Facebook pages, all Twitter profiles you are managing, Pinterest accounts, Instagram, Youtube and much more!

I am not going to lie, Cyfe is probably my favorite tool to come around in a long time. It is a full business dashboard, offering an all-in-one approach. It basically provides the platform, and fully customizable widgets. You make your own features that cover social media, customer support, infrastructure, analytics, marketing, and sales.

Having everything in one place that was is obviously a huge benefit. It is also a lot easier to use than most tools. They offer a free version, but there is no reason not to pay for Premium. It only costs $19 per month, or $168 annually. So if you want something extensive, customizable and cheap, this is the tool for you.

Tweriod

When are your followers most likely to be on and active? Because Twitter is a live updating platform, you need to catch them right there in their feed, when they are more likely to see it.

Tweriod is a great tool for that. It will analyze your followers based on past activity, demographics like location, and come up with a list of the best days and times to be most active.

Best of all, you can use this to find the best times to automate versus live interaction.

Twitter Analytics

As was stated earlier in this post, it is hard for a lot of businesses to know the real impact that their social campaign is having on conversions. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be gathering data.

Twitter’s personal analytics tool will give you a peek behind who is posting, how often, and what content is gaining the most traction. Knowing this will give you the chance to better strategize and plan. You may find that more or less automated content is needed to begin really building up your Twitter presence.

Narrow

Narrow.io helps you build Twitter following by using relevant keywords, locations and hashtags. It also helps you manage multiple Twitter accounts and offers advanced analytics.

Google Insights

Knowing trends is pretty much the only way to really make it on social media. Some platforms are more ahead of trends than others, so going off networks to discover what is hot works a lot better than going by hashtags or phrases.

Google is the leader of pretty much everything on the web. Their Insights feature will give you a glimpse of what is popular all over the world.

Geofeedia

Where are your followers? Find trends, follower data, demographics and more, based on geographical location. Monitor local feeds (a must for any brand).

Automate Better

There is no doubt that social media has its place in marketing. But with so many other avenues available, and often with much more direct effects, it should be only one tool among many that you utilize in your strategy.

Automation is your best bet, freeing you up for more beneficial engagement with your audience, and connecting with important influencers. Having the right tools, and knowing how to use them the best, is crucial. Don’t just automate… automate better.

The post Your Ultimate (Honest) Guide To Social Media Automation appeared first on Ron Sela.

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To be on the cutting edge of marketing innovation, you need to invest in performance marketing. It allows for real-time ROI measurement and pushes marketing companies to constantly innovate and grow with their partnered organizations.

Successful performance marketing will create loyal companies, grow your business, and provide you with the best possible tools to achieve your goal.

How Performance Marketing Revolutionizes Advertising

Performance marketing campaigns revolutionize the relationship between clients and their hired performance marketers. It allows you to only pay when a specific action is completed or goal is reached in your performance marketing. Social media allows these meetings to be held online, streamlining the entire process.

The Process of Effective Marketing

The first step of the performance marketing process is to hire an online marketing manager. A good manager will outline well-structured content before diving deeper into the desired audience. They will also use excellent performance marketing tools in the process of sending out your content to social media. These tools include market research surveys and focus groups. Once the marketing strategy has been researched, planned, and implemented, it is critical to return to the content and optimize it.

Making the Most of Your Marketing Strategy

Optimization of your marketing strategy can only occur after the data surrounding it is measured. Measure the digital marketing strategy using social media and website analytics, along with other data, to determine the overall ROI. Then, optimize that strategy. There are four major ways to determine optimization of a marketing strategy.

Cost Per Order (CPO)

There are four major ways to determine optimization of a marketing strategy. The first is cost per order (CPO) performance marketing. This is the cost of a marketing strategy divided by the number of orders received for it. It allows the company to determine how much money was spent to gain one customer.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

The next method is cost per mille (CPM) performance marketing. CPM is also known as cost per thousand. It specifically measures $1,000 marketing campaigns on websites. For example, if a website charges $3.00 CPM, that means it must pay $3.00 for every 1,000 views of its advertisement.

Cost Per Lead (CPL)

The third method is cost per lead (CPL) performance marketing. CPL is one type of a performance marketing pricing model. It creates a balance of responsibility between the advertiser and the publisher. In CPL, the advertiser only pays when a consumer directly signs up for their advertised product.

Cost Per Action (CPA)

The final method of performance marketing optimization is cost per action (CPA) performance marketing. In this strategy, an advertiser only pays when a potential customer performs a certain action. This means this strategy is low-risk for the advertiser.

Regardless of which optimization method you choose, it is crucial to reflect on your content and learn how to make it better.

How to Measure Market Performance Set Clear Goals

Measuring the market performance of a digital strategy is key. Without it, companies will not know how effective their marketing strategy was, or how to improve it for future campaigns. The first step of any marketing strategy is to set clear goals. Without a defined framework in mind, your company will never be able to accurately measure the successes and failures of your marketing strategy, and the individual campaigns you use to achieve your end goal.

Identify Your KPIs

Digital marketing metrics are values used to measure the performance of a marketing strategy. Since many different tools are used in the creation of a marketing strategy, it is extremely helpful and efficient to use specific metrics when measuring your marketing campaign’s performance. Some of the most common metrics include brand awareness, returning visitors, click thru rate, web traffic sources, and cost per lead.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a sub-group of digital marketing metrics. KPIs are similar to metrics in that they are also used to measure your marketing campaign’s success. However, KPIs can be divided into four key groups: financial, sales, marketing, and project management. What KPIs you will use will depend on the goals you set for your strategy at the research and planning level. They may include sales indicators such as your monthly growth of sales, or financial indicators such as your current ratio and net profit margin.

Create Well-Written Reports

Another method of measurement is a digital marketing report. A well-written report can be used to prove, with the right data, that your marketing strategy has grown your targeted business outcome–such as an increase of sales for a certain product or an improved rate of returning customers. Be sure to answer these four critical questions when writing a digital marketing report: how much money are you spending, how many people are you reaching, how effective is your marketing, and how much money are you making back from the marketing expenses. Regular reporting will help keep your marketing goals on track.

Conduct a Digital Marketing Audit

You can also hold a digital marketing audit to check on all the practices and strategies you have used so far in your marketing, and what their outcomes have been. An audit is the perfect way to find your most successful strategies and web content to determine what is working and what is not. Everything from social media traffic, to web pages, to SEO can be examined in an audit. An audit helps you take stock of where you are now, and where you are headed.

Utilize a Performance Marketing Dashboard

 A performance marketing dashboard can combine the key metrics you are using with your digital marketing reports to present an informative display of how your strategies are functioning. Dashboards allow your data to shine through an eye-catching display.

The Four Pillars of Successful Performance Marketing

Successful performance marketing needs a strong background of framework and research. There are four main pillars that make up a solid performance marketing framework. They are website traffic, website conversion, customer value, and tracking. A proper framework will help set your goals in place. Who do you want to reach, and what do you want them to do?

Creating a Detailed Performance Marketing Funnel

Once you have the framework, you need to use a performance marketing funnel. This funnel will take your marketing strategies and grow them. Initially, when the funnel is at its widest, you will simply want to make customers aware of you. Then, you will work to make them first-time customers, then recurring customers, and finally loyal patrons who will vouch for your company. Once you reach the tip of the funnel, you will have connected with your customers and hold a personal relationship with them. A good way to remember how the marketing funnel works is with the acronym AIDDA: awareness, interest, desire, action, advocacy.

Working Towards Your Goal

A digital marketing strategy will include many different steps and campaigns. Ultimately, though, it is created to work toward one main goal. The campaigns around it, whether they are through social media, email, or your own website, are simply steps taken to reach your final goal. When creating your strategy, do so with this mindset in place. It will keep you focused, and ensure the steps you take are deliberate.

Employing Key Tactics

Once your marketing strategy is in place, it is time for you to employ key tactics. These tactics will make your work stand out in a sea of similar strategies, and allow your target audience to easily locate your content. These key tactics include social media and email marketing, search engine marketing, and SEO writing. SEO is short for search engine optimization and uses a style of writing that utilizes the sorting techniques of search engines like Google to make your content more prominent in the searches of your target customers.

How to Utilize Performance Marketing Training

Performance marketing is an ever-growing market. This means new avenues for improvement are constantly opening up, and you should take advantage of them. They will keep you and your company at the forefront of marketing, and give you new strategies that will set you apart from your competitors. Several online courses are even free, such as Google’s marketing challenge and HubSpot Academy’s digital marketing course.

There are also books written on digital marketing, focusing on everything from AdWords, to blogging, to the basics of digital marketing itself. Although it can be helpful to own a physical copy of such advice, rather than just taking an online course, books like these can become outdated quickly. It is important to check the publication year of any digital marketing book to see if it is still relevant today.

Choosing the Perfect Advertising Agency

The digital marketing agency you choose to run your performance marketing can make or break your company. The wrong one will waste your money, distort your company’s voice, and damage the current and potential relationships your company has with its customers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help choose your perfect performance marketing agency.

Know What You Need

First, know what your needs and budget are for your marketing campaign. The more specific and clear-cut your can be about your goals and needs, the less chance there is that the marketing agency will take unwanted liberties with your content or your money.

Look for Transparency and Credibility

Second, require complete transparency between you and your marketing agency. Keep a steady record of all communications, and speak with them frequently about their progress, questions, and roadblocks.

Next, make sure you examine their credibility level. Check their proclaimed experience and credibility, and cross-reference it with client reports of their work. Ask the company for reports of a deal that did not go well, to see what went wrong and how they handled it. Above all, make sure that all parties involved are authentic and telling the truth. Be sure to check their credited industry experience, if they have any. A good performance marketing agency will adapt their strategies and content to each unique client. A poor one will repeat the same techniques over and over. Also, be sure to consider not only the client and agency sides to this agreement. Look at the technical side, and see how the agency you’re considering utilizes it.

Build a Strong Relationship Foundation

Finally, ask yourself what you think of the people behind the marketing agency. Do you get along with them? Would you willingly choose to spend time with them? If the answer is no, you may want to consider a different agency. A good working relationship is ultimately dependent upon the people on both sides getting along.

Finding Your Most Effective Marketing Channel

When it comes to what channels to use for your performance marketing, social media has opened the doors for a plethora of new channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are all platforms to utilize.

Leverage the Use of Email Campaigns

Along with social media channels, email campaigns are another possible marketing strategy. A good email campaign will encourage action from your customers and increase sales. There are three main things you need to know for a great email campaign: your goals, your audience, and the types of emails. Create a plan that hones in on these three elements, and use the technology you have wisely.

Install an Affiliate Software

Before you choose a marketing channel, implement affiliate software. This type of software provides you with tracking. It also reports when desired actions are triggered, such as a click, sale, or registration. Affiliate software will work with whatever marketing channel you use, and give you the data you need to measure and report the success rate of your efforts.

Consider Native Advertising

Across all these possible channels, native advertising is another important baseline. Native advertising is a type of online advertising that mimics educational content already on your website. It draws the potential customer in through its use of what the customer already knows and likes.

Utilizing Performance Marketing at Its Best

In order to choose the right marketing channel for you, focus on the end goal. Work backwards from where you want your customer to end up, and see what channels best fit that journey. Additionally, try and see yourself from the buyer’s perspective. What do they want from you?

The post What Is Performance Marketing & How to Make It Work for You appeared first on Ron Sela.

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Thought Leadership Marketing has recently become a topic of great conversation in the online arena. Several companies currently in operation strive to be thought leaders; however, only a select few will ever truly live up to their aspirations. This is due to the fact that thought leadership entails having a unique perspective and point of view that ventures away from the norm. Similar to online influence, it also requires the ability to provide current, relevant, and valuable information while utilizing a layered approach in disseminating the information.

This post examines what it takes to be an effective thought leader and what the best practices and methods used in thought leadership encompass. This article also examines why a content strategy is necessary in helping companies, social commerce sites, and online influencers to sustain and grow their thought leadership. It also covers everything from prioritizing resources to navigating internal politics within a particular company.

What is Thought Leadership Marketing

Many people are unfamiliar with the meaning of thought leadership marketing, and to define it in simple terms to someone who has never even heard of it can be challenging. The definition of thought leadership came about in the early 1990’s when Joel Kutzman, an author for Strategy and Business Magazine, coined the term.

The definition was first used to describe a futurist; a person who was widely known for his unique thoughts and ideas that were considered unusual at the time. Such ideas also had to have an impact on society and could arrive in different forms such as a new product or a new method of teaching.

Although the definition of thought leadership is still fairly new, there are several individuals who have already been declared thought leaders, and they work in a variety of fields. Another reason that a simple definition cannot be easily offered is due to the fact that there are minor variations to the way that it’s been defined by separate entities.

Another similar definition is described as follows. Thought leadership is the process of establishing a relationship with your customers and stakeholders and delivering something of value to them. During this process, you go beyond simply selling a service or product and establish your brand as the expert in the field, differentiating yourself from the competitors.

The Content Strategy of Thought Leadership Marketing

To implement effective thought leadership marketing campaign, it’s necessary that you demonstrate proper analysis, insight, and expertise. You need to be a respected authority regarding issues affecting the industry. The information you share with others must be written, displayed, and packaged for easy consumption without boring the reader. The information must also be relevant, applicable, useful, and be able to reach and speak to your audience in a realistic manner.

Thoughts are a Prerequisite for Thought Leadership, Neal Bruce, Head of Product Management at Lumesse

Your thought leadership marketing campaign can be effectively supported with content marketing only when the content that you publish is unbiased, original, audience led, research driven, and layered.

Thought Leadership and Executive Influence

Visibility and executive influence have become increasingly important recently. Influencers that are considered to be leaders demonstrate contextually pertinent opinions that are not only expressed in an assortment of offline and online media outlets, as well as content sharing social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

We consider thought leadership to be one of three pillars of Executive Influence, Appinions

Thought Leadership is Considered One of the Three Pillars of Executive Influence: Thought leadership is quickly becoming an authority on relevant subjects; it allows individuals to put faces on their business and can provide their customers. On its own, thought leadership is not executive influence; what makes thought leaders more influential than other individuals includes a combination of factors. This includes how often their opinions are displayed in the media, as well as the distinction of the publishers and people that view and share those opinions – most of which are focused on topics considered to be thought leaders.

Content Marketing Though Thought Leadership

Generally speaking, the thought leadership marketing concept is often used by technology and consulting firms as a means of re-framing topics and issues for educating customers and stakeholders about the various new techniques used at examining a problem. When used in this way, the overall objective is not is not to establish a person as a thought leader, but instead, it is meant to lay claim to innovative thinking as an effective marketing tool. Thought leadership as defined is a way to increase demand for a service or product, which is often referred to as demand creation.

Problem:Most agencies aren’t doing this.For their clients For themselves, Ryan O’Connell

Content marketing is a tool used to showcase your expertise, engage targeted audiences, gain credibility, draw additional visibility, and attract potential clients and customers.

Thought Leadership and the Influence of Social Media

There are a number of ways that social media can be utilized for thought leadership. The marketing essentials most widely used in thought leadership are insight, focus, uniqueness, value, commitment, and authenticity. The various social media platforms provide the unique opportunity creating a solid relationship with the audience, demonstrating your innovation, and delivering the message.

In the presentation listed below, Charlie Pownall lists ten principals regarding thought leadership marketing through the use of social media platforms. The presentation includes compelling messages that are timely, resonant, visible, bite sized, accessible, and attributable. Visit the link below for more information regarding thought leadership through the use of social media tools.

Building Thought Leadership Beyond SEO

During the presentation listed below, Kunle Campbell offers advice, tips, and suggestions regarding thought leadership marketing and the ways in which you can establish yourself as an authority. This includes how to become an authority in your chosen industry and drive discussion about your service, product, or brand. The presentation also covers areas of content marketing and how it is applied as a tactical process. Included are tools and examples that you can apply in your content marketing strategy.

Google+ Authorship Reports have Authorship Adoption to be as low as 9% and as high as 17%.  Reinforce your personal authority on the SERPs

Who Else is Talking About It How to Be a B2B Thought Leader in 11 Easy Steps

January 23, 2014 · Business 2 Community · B2B Marketing By John McTigue, Published January 20, 2014 Anyone can be a thought leader. All you need is a) thought and b) leadership. However, neither one of these is all that easy to acquire when you think about what thought leadership is all about. People follow and build relationships with thought leaders because they consistently provide interesting, helpful ideas. So, you have to come up with original, relevant thoughts fairly frequently and put them out there where people will…
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How to Become a Thought Leader

July 9, 2013 · Mashable · Can Promoted Posts Help Your Business? 6 Ways to Be Happier at Work This Summer When to Provide the One Perk All Employees Crave How to Name Your Startup 5 Common Brand Messaging Mistakes by Marketers 5 Mobile Marketing Tools to Reach Customers on the Go 3 Ways Paid Social Ads Can Explode Your Content Can Your Business Survive Without a Traditional Website? 5 Ways Startups Are Using Vine 5 Social Apps To Encourage Employee Health and Wellness 5 Startup…
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Conclusion

Thought leadership marketing is taking place in all shapes. Oftentimes it is pushed through social media platforms using SEO. Previously, brands have published white papers loaded with analysis used to educate their customers. Many consulting firms own their own publications where they display the results of their research and upcoming management models.

Over the course of the last year, thought leadership marketing has quickly been a hot topic of conversation. Currently, several companies are striving to become thought leaders; however, only a few will actually earn the title. Thought leadership takes a unique perspective, a layered approach to disseminating the information, and the ability to provide accurate, relevant, and valuable information.

How do you build your thought leadership campaign and on which topic? Please tell me in the comments below.

The post Thought Leadership Marketing at the Age of Online Influence appeared first on Ron Sela.

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Acquiring customers is nice. Retaining customers is good. But turning your customers into brand advocates is best.

Word-of-mouth has ‘always’ been one of the cheapest and most efficient forms of advertising. Knowing this fact, even in today’s Internet and technology age, brands, irrespective of their size and industry are including this approach in their marketing strategies to grow their business.

Moreover, consumers today are smart. They no longer believe false advertising or promotions by brand. Today before buying a product, a consumer will seek recommendations from friends/family, check reviews about the product & company on company’s business website & review platforms and even check brand’s social channels. Thanks to technology, information-hungry consumers are getting all the details about the product, service or company right at their fingertips; based on which they make their purchase. This makes it vital for brands to be in good books for their potential customers.

“A brand is no longer what we tell customers it is – it is what customers tell each other it is” – Scott Cook

So, are you taking advantage of your hidden wealth – your customers – to market your business? If not, it’s time you realize the untapped value of your this most important asset.

Here I have pinned down some killer tactics you ‘must’ use to persuade your customers to do all the talking about your brand:

  1. Asking Brand Advocates for Valuable Feedback and Publishing Actionable Customer Testimonials on Website

This is the most common and effective tactic used by marketers for word of mouth marketing strategy!

Studies show that a website visitor forms an opinion about your company in 8 seconds. This means you get only 8 seconds to win a potential customer.  One of the best ways to utilize these 8 seconds is to highlight customer testimonials on your homepage. Human psychology studies show people trust others opinions. So, the best way to ensure they gain confidence in your firm is to show them what your customers are saying about your business. Reading persuasive testimonials from your customers will persuade visitors to take an action.

Digital marketers must leverage different channels like email and social platforms to collect customer feedback. Ensure you take your customer’s permission before publishing their feedback on your website.

Add customer’s identity to increase trust level and make testimonials look legitimate.  NEVER fabricate customer testimonials.

Companies must take a cue from WebpageFX, a digital marketing agency based in US which uses a dedicated page for client testimonials to convince web visitors to convert.

  1. Integrate Social Proof with Other Marketing Channels

The second best effective tactic is to integrate customer testimonials with other channels like marketing emails, PPC ads, Facebook and Twitter sponsored ads, etc.

Testimonials are considered to be the most powerful conversion arsenal for marketers.  To make the maximum of testimonials, brands must reinforce to prospects how valuable their business or product is by adding customer feedback in marketing emails and paid ads.

The current trend is to include video testimonials in Email. Ensure you add a catchy statement from a customer’s feedback as your subject line. This will improve your CTRs.  Don’t forget to add relevant links in your email to take prospective clients directly to the appropriate landing page.

For paid ads, ensure you include only current and accurate reviews in your ads. To get your paid ad approved, adhere to all the guidelines set by Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Take a look at the sample marketing email from TOMS that smartly incorporates testimonials to help encourage prospects to convert:

  1. Let Clients Speak in Case Studies

Businesses publish case studies to provide interesting insights to prospective customers.

Basically, there are two ways to pin down a case study. One is completely writing it in your own words. The other is having your clients say in certain sections like initial challenges faced by them or the result section of the changes that came in their business after subscribing to your services or buying a product from you.

Opt for the second method for maximum benefits. Since the source of the words in your case study come from outside of your business, your prospects are more likely to trust them as a reputable reference.

Also, include 1 to 3 testimonials in case studies. Adding testimonials in your case studies will boost the confidence of your prospects. When including your testimonials in case studies – keep them short and sweet. They can be as simple as 1 or 2 sentences, so long as they illustrate your previous client’s satisfaction with your work.

Get inspired by IBM case studies which incorporate client’s challenges and end-result in client words to strengthen their value proposition.

  1. Turn Your Customers into Content Creators on Social Channels

Digital marketing managers are highly aware of the benefits this influencer marketing tactic brings to the table. This is, therefore, one of the most used tactics by companies.

One of the ways to create brand advocacy opportunities is to hold contests on social channels. The key is to gently nudge your social followers to contribute content to your social page as part of your advocacy program. Ask your customers to take a selfie with your product and post it on social platforms with a custom hashtag. Ensure you align the prize of this contest with your brand’s image and audience’s interest.

User-generated content submitted under such campaigns on social channels is live, transparent and authentic. Studies show that content submitted by customers on social channels offer more authentic customer experience and speaks much louder than content created by a business itself. Crafting such social campaigns will help boost engagement, increase social followers and help you grab potential buyers’ attention.

The digital team of Game of Thrones, a most popular TV-show of all time, started a social campaign asking the audience to describe the show using a custom hashtag. The best answers to this campaign were then featured on HBO Connect.

  1. Promote User-Generated Content on Social Channels

There are times when people are talking about your brand on social channels even if you have not crafted any campaign. For instance, consider the below example where a person is talking about a restaurant on Facebook by tagging one of his friends and commenting:

Grab this opportunity. Engage in their conversation. Let them know about a special item on your menu or the discount you are offering on weekend. This will not only help you build a better relationship with your social followers but will also promote your brand and amplify your brand awareness.

Monitor your social channels regularly. Endorse tweets or posts related to your brand or product/service by the social audience on your social channels. Appreciate their efforts which in turn will encourage other social followers to do the same. In this tactic, you are not explicitly organizing a user-generated campaign on social media, but your customers are sharing their experience willingly.

Take a look at how Amazon answered one of its customer’s unboxing video comments on Facebook:

  1. Leverage Reputation Management Platforms Related to Your Niche

People today check Yelp for restaurants, IMDb for movie reviews and TripAdvisor for hotels. People check reviews on these review platforms to gauge the quality of a business as reviews and ratings on third-party platforms looks more authentic to prospective customers.

It is therefore vital for any business today to have a presence on review platforms related to their niche.

You need to find all the popular review avenues your customers are rating your products or services on. You must also keep track of review platforms your competitors are having profiles on. Ask your satisfied customers to leave a review about their experience with your firm on these reputed review platforms.

Take a look at how this hotel in New York does a brilliant job of maintaining its brand reputation on TripAdvisor:

Depending on their niche, even B2B companies are today required to be part of review platforms. There are several ‘higher-end’ review platforms like Glassdoor, GoodFirms, Salesforce AppExchange and Better Business Bureau (BBB) that B2B companies ‘must’ consider.

  1. Spread the Word with Customer Referral Programs

Referral marketing is a great tactic to organically grow your customer base. It is the most powerful trust signal you can use to drive brand awareness and have profitable customer acquisition. Apart from customer acquisition, referral marketing also helps in customer retention. According to a study, a referred customer is 18% more likely to stay with a brand over-time as compared to a non-referred customer.

So, how can you encourage your customers to refer your brand to their networks?

Simple – Let your customers know that they can benefit by telling about your brand to their friends and family.

Mod Cloth has designed an effective referral program called – ‘Share the Love’. It promotes this program through a dedicated section on their website. When a customer refers someone else, both of them get a discount on products.

Ensure you smartly promote your referral program by placing the ad on the website, posting it on social channels and referring to it in your marketing emails.

  1. Exceed People’s Expectations

A local coffee shop or a Fortune 500 company, each business is required to invest in advertising. The best way to promote your business is via your customers. Happy and satisfied customers are the key to word-of-mouth marketing.

Now the question is how to make your customers/social followers happy?

Exceed their expectations!

But how?

By offering them personalized experience, under promising and over-delivering, asking for their opinion about your new product/service or by simply surprising them.

For instance, if they have ordered an X product, send them a complimentary gift, say Y that is a ‘must’ for using X. Ensure it doesn’t burn your pocket. The best example of exceeding customer expectation is of WestJet, a Canadian airline that surprised its flyers by fulfilling their Christmas gift wishes.

Savvy marketers who don’t want to spend bucks to surprise their customers can send a personalized message on social channels. This will work two ways:  One, since social channels are transparent, all people in that person’s network will come to know that he has made a purchase from your brand and secondly will give a personalized experience to your customer.

  1. Delight Your Unhappy Customers

The best way to make customers happy is to deliver high-quality products or services they are expecting from your company. But however hard you try, there might be times when something might go wrong.  This may lead a disgruntled customer to leave a negative comment about your brand on social channels. If not handled effectively and on-time, even one negative comment on social channels can badly affect your brand reputation and sales.

Here, rather than let a dissatisfied customer bad-mouth about your brand, you must take this as an opportunity to turn him into a brand advocate. Turn this negative customer experience in your favor by delighting your unhappy customer. Helping your customer by resolving their issues with your brand will motivate and excite them to share their story with their friends and family.

Furthermore, research proves an unhappy customer that’s transformed into a delighted one becomes even more loyal than a satisfied customer.

Bell, a telecommunication company from Canada has a special dedicated Twitter handler Bell_Support for providing immediate customer support. It turns frustrated customers into brand advocates by helping them solve their issue quickly.

  1. Capitalize on Live Events

Social sharing from popular global or local events is a perfect social campaign. Brands must leverage concerts, festivals and live events like awards or sports tournament to encourage fans to do the entire brand talking.

Design a dedicated hashtag for the event. Ask social followers to share real-time content from live events using this hashtag.

For instance, GoPro, an American technology company asked fans to share images from their cameras during Bonnaroo Music Festival using hashtag #GoPro.

Capitalizing on live trending topics with user-generated content will help you gain eyeballs, boost social followers and earn brand recognition.

Bonus: Let Brand Followers be Your Voice When Dealing with Trolls

This is the best tactic to emerge as a winner in a social media crisis situation!

Handling trolls on social platforms is not an easy job. A single wrong tweet or comment can badly damage brand reputation. One of the best and effective ways to handle such a situation is to let your social followers defend your brand. This will work two ways: One you don’t have to worry about trolls and secondly your brand gets marketed by your fans.

Let’s understand this with an example.

This year OldNavy, an American retailer got socially trolled. It all started when the social media team of the company tweeted about an upcoming sale with an image of an interracial couple. Few racist people objected the picture and started posting negative tweets about the brand with hashtags #whitegenocide and #miscegenation. However, before the social team of @OldNavy could respond to trolls, many brand lovers started supporting the brand by posting their personal interracial family pictures on Twitter using hashtag #lovewins and #interraciallove. This example clearly shows that it is best to let your fans be your brand advocate during any crisis situation.

However, ensure you DON’T keep on waiting for your social followers to respond to trolls. Take an action before the crisis spirals out of control. If your fans find you right, they will definitely support you against trolls.

Over to You

Tap into the immense power of your fan/social follower base and use their authentic content to power your marketing campaigns. The reward will grow your customer base in ways previously unachievable.

Have you had an amazing customer marketing experience via social media? Which tactics are you using to let your customers market your business? Share your ideas with us in the comments.

The post 10 Fantastic Ways Brand Advocates Can Market Your Business appeared first on Ron Sela.

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There is so much content out there, now that Google has made the creation of quality content mandatory for high rankings. It means that creating great content solves only half the problem; the real job is getting that content noticed by the right audience at the appropriate time, which is extremely important if a business will achieve its goals.

Content amplification is that arm of content marketing that is concerned with pushing blogs, articles, infographics, web pages and other content/messaging onto discovery platforms.

These platforms include social media sites and other high –traffic networks, where your target audience will be attracted by your headlines, come to consume your content and hopefully convert to help you achieve business goals.

Benefits of content amplification tools

Content amplification spells huge benefits for everyone involved. The following are just a few examples:

  • For marketers: providing something valuable to your target audience enables a marketer to unobtrusively develop meaningful relationships/engagement with the audience, which results in higher ROI than conventional advertising.
  • For consumers: Effective content amplification places the consumer at the center of control regarding what he/she chooses to consume while simultaneously adding value and addressing their daily issues.
  • For businesses: Engaging unobtrusively with consumers by solving real-life issues through high-quality content is a great way to build brand awareness, attract links and hence increase traffic and conversions rates that will ultimately improve revenue generation.
Why should you care about content amplification?

The first step of learning effective content amplification is accepting these hard realities:

Your content is not special

Yes, you’re creating excellent, in-depth, well-articulated content, but so are a billion other sites on the Internet. No matter how good it is, you’ll need active promotion to get your work before the audience that matters. Consider this: in just 24 hours, there are over 4B new Facebook posts, almost 500K new WordPress posts, over 100K hours of new YouTube feeds and over 144.8 B new posts.

Great content does NOT promote itself on merit; this is the greatest fallacy in content marketing.

You are not special

Unless you are Justin Bieber, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal or The Oatmeal, you don’t have a drone of audience hanging onto your every word – unless you worked to do that. Unless you have the kind of following, reputation and resources that they have, you won’t get too far with just push-publishing.

The ugly truth is that people care about who wrote a piece, even more than the piece itself. That’s why even terrible content from the right influencer can spread like a bushfire.  But for the rest of us, you have to work extra hard to build trust and credibility before your content has a chance of pushing itself.

Sharing is the least of your goals

Unless you are in the content business, share numbers are not your goal. Your goals begin with what happens after the content is shared – leads, links, subscriptions, brand awareness, sales, etc. Ultimately, you want to ensure you content is not just reaching a mass of people, but rather a mass of the right people. For that, you need active, strategic promotion.

Introduction to Content Creation

The foundation of content amplification is content creation. The first step is to work in creating great, targeted, relevant and value-adding content that will be the basis of your content amplification strategies.

Types of content

There are many types of content you can write, and you need to delve into as many different types as you can to cater to a wider demographic, even within your target audience segment. You don’t have to do all at once, but you should be afraid to venture into a new field just because they’re new to you. Create a schedule to plan how often you will churn out different types, and stick to it to add spice and variety to your blog.

Below are just a few examples of these:

  • Infographics – this is a visual representation of data/information, and it is very popular across the board since it condenses a lot of information into simple, interpretable figures and stats. Infographics are shared up to three times as often other content types.
  • Memes – these are easy to make, hilarious and have huge potential for virality. However, they’re more geared towards a social audience rather than for your blog.
  • Videos and podcasts– there’s a host of choice on video content, but the key is to ensure the video is of good quality and delivered succinctly and memorably. Videos can be exceptionally persuasive if done well.
  • Guides and how-to’s – in-depth, detailed, practical piece with text and relevant images. Visual elements are important to enhance the comprehensibility of this type of content.
  • Book and product reviews – opinion pieces on various books and products that people in your niche would be interested in. Share both good and bad aspects, and why they made it to your list, which gives a better understanding of you and humanizes you before the audience.
  • Opinion posts (rants) – these are extremely effective in building discussions and engagement, but they must be used very carefully. Ensure comprehensive research to avoid putting your foot in your mouth and losing credibility with the audience.
Useful tools and resources for content creation

Creating content doesn’t have to be as taxing anymore; there are many ways, tools and resources to get high-quality content without breaking your back. These content amplification tools can also help when working on visual-based content, which is where most people have a major problem.

For research
  • Google Drive Research Tool – helps you conduct Google search while on your Google Drive window.
  • Site:search – this is a Google search option that limits only to specific websites. The site search formula is “ site:domainexample.com [search query] ”
  • Google Search Console – formerly Google Webmaster Tools, GSC is helpful for data augmentation related to SEO and keyword research.
For writing and editing
  • Evernote – the free version is extremely helpful for everything from the creation of to-do lists to writing entire article content and editing. It’s also available as an app for mobile allowing you to sync work across devices.
  • Word2CleanHTML – useful for those who create drafts on Word and other word-processing software rather than the CMS. This tool helps filter and fix those little quacks that happen on HTML when content is copied from external sources into the CMS window.
  • Grammarly and Correctica – apart from human editors, you need a grammar tool to triple-check your content prior to publishing. Both tools are free, and Grammarly can even check for plagiarism.
  • Write My Essay – dedicated to providing all services related to content creation, in case you want to outsource content creation rather than do it yourself.
25 Tools and Resources to Make Content Amplification much easier

Once you have your high-quality content, you are now ready to embark on content amplification. Below are 25 tools and resources you can use to get your content noticed by the right eyes:

  1. Contently

Contently is a content creation, optimization and distribution company in New York City. You can use the expertise of more than 30,000 content specialists to move your content through paid distribution, email, and social media channels. Contently is trusted by a few major brands, including American Express and General Electric.

  1. Buzzstream

Buzzstream is a software suite specially designed for B2B content marketing specialists, and it enables content amplification via social media, PR, and link acquisition. It is popularly used by both large and small businesses to jumpstart outreach, build credibility and track communications throughout online platforms.

  1. Cision

The content marketing suite by Cision is intended for top tier websites with engaged audiences to drive traffic to content and increase brand exposure. It’s an easy-to-use tool for PR campaign strategy enhancement. B2B marketing teams can use this tool to reach the largest audience possible by targeting channels frequented by potential customers.

  1. Edgar

The Edgar app is intended to offer optimized visibility for businesses’ posts on social media. Given that most updates will only be seen by a fraction of your followers, Edgar app is set to automatically repost archived content, and it uses algorithmic analysis to schedule update posting at the most optimal high-traffic times.

  1. Buffer

Buffer is a tool for social media management and is popular as an easy tool to maintain the freshness of your LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter profiles and share content on these platforms. Using Buffer, you can set times for your social media posts, which enables you to post at the optimal times for your followers located across different time zones.

  1. OnePress Social Locker

This is a WordPress plugin that is set up such that viewers can access full content only after they have shared it on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. For otherwise engaged audiences, you can use OnePress on select posts. It is an easy-to-install plugin that is very affordable – just $24 – even for startups.

  1. Outbrain

Outbrain is a convenient traffic-driving tool that enables content promotion by embedding links with high-authority publishing sites. Each time you browse the web, you’re likely to encounter something from Outbrain. It’s simple to sign up, all you need is to commit a specific budgetary allocation and leave the work to Outbrain.

  1. Storify

This tool helps you to collect content from social media, pages and blogs throughout the web into a single location. It also makes content viewer-friendly and connects you to related, story-worthy sources while you’re creating content. There’s a free and Business Pro version, the latter with enhanced privacy, customization and support options.

  1. Listly

Listly is very useful to advertising your content by sharing, publishing and planting lists to help viewers gain quick access to relevant and related information and links (your own included). It is a widely held resource for content marketers, mostly for its ability to link audiences with relevant, interesting information.

  1. PR Newswire

PR Newswire is particularly intended for the newsworthy content, being a high-authority news source. It offers subscribers up-to-minute videos, press releases, audio and images to help them stay current. Also, it is useful for content distribution and to boost the social visibility of updates and scheduled content.

  1. Taboola

This is a content discovery tool intended to recommend your content to high-authority/quality, related third-party websites. When the visitor clicks on your content, it will be viewed through YouTube, social media, your site or another third party site. It also includes analytics and free resources for campaign optimization, performance stats as well as one-on-one support to enable business goal achievement.

  1. Gravity

Another content distribution tool intended to create a personalized web experience for visitors. This is done using their Interest Graph technology, which organizes content according to relatable interests. It analyses your content and only shows it to interest readers in the form of personalized endorsements. They also have free browser extensions for readers who recommend your content as they interact with other parts of the web.

  1. Zemanta

A tool that enables automated aggregation and indexing of your content, which is then distributed in the form of in-stream ads, promoted recommendations, sponsored content and in-text links in select, quality third-party sites. It includes a dashboard with analytics on performance and efficacy of your content and match content display with viewer interests.

  1. SimpleReach

This tool enables content distribution and measurement. Their analytics tools offer insights into real-time content performance, with predictive tools to determine which are likely to perform best. Real-time reporting and prediction enables you to know in advance which content is likely to drive highest engagement and traffic, so you can focus on those.

  1. Triberr

It’s a social network of influencers and blogger, grouped according to interests. Members join and can share content with the group to drive social shares and comments. There are both free and premium options, the latter allowing access to more features and larger tribes. It includes features for Influencer Marketing campaigns.

  1. GaggleAmp

A social media marketing tools which helps content distribution with your key players i.e. customers, employees and partners. A group is gathered and they agree to share company-originated content within their social accounts. It also offers powerful social activity analytics, including ROI information on traffic, engagement and revenue generation.

  1. Zapier

Zapier provides a single platform that connects all your web apps, where you can automate and coordinate tasks. Over 300 aps are supported, and then you can set up automated events and triggers (called Zaps). The dashboard allows you to monitor activity and manage all your apps. It can also be applied for content distribution, given that it includes most popular social networks and CMSes.

  1. AddThis

AddThis gives website administrators a chance to build traffic by making it simpler for user to share content. It provides for increased audience engagement with users not on the site, and allows content distribution on most social networks and third party platforms.

  1. ShareThis

It’s a comprehensive solution that allows site users to share content with their networks through a number of channels, including email, IM, SMS and social media. It also provides insights and real-time analytics for social intelligence needed by content publishers, developers and brands.

  1. LinkedIn

Through its publishing platform, LinkedIn allows marketing teams to post content to the site, which posts are useful in increasing traffic to the brands social media profiles and official sites. Companies on LinkedIn can maintain blogs on the site to create a strong signal as industry leaders.

  1. Facebook Ads

Facebook ads on average reach 91.3% of your target audience, unlike other online ad campaigns, which means you’re getting a good deal for your investment. Ads may be targeted according to demographical characteristics, location and interests among other options.

  1. Promoted Tweets

These tweets are deployed to potential followers and current fans of the brand. You need to have compelling content, which will be shot at the right audience using a variety of filtering options on Twitter. Targeted users receive the tweets on their timelines.

  1. MailChimp

A free/premium email marketing/web-based platform that enables content sharing through email newsletters. There are pre-designed templates for newsletter creation making it easier to use. It can be integrated with WordPress and Twitter to enable you build email lists throughout the web. Also includes tracking and metric analytics capabilities.

  1. Hootsuite

This free/premium social network dashboard enables management of multiple social platforms and profiles and measures performance of content shared to the various platforms. All major networks are supported with provisions for additional integration with other networks through their HootSuite App Directory.

Conclusion

You are now armed with all the tricks and tips to create and sell high-quality content. Go forth and be great!

The post 25 Content Amplification Tools for Marketing Professionals appeared first on Ron Sela.

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The relationship between a brand and consumer has changed dramatically thanks to the impact of social media.

It has given immense control and power to consumers and large corporations and well-known brands no longer have the so-called upper hand.

Top notch executives and business owners have understood that social media can make or break their business, so they have taken the opportunity to build a presence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to do business.

By using social media, companies now can create strategies after they analyze the analytics to understand the target consumer’s demands and likes/dislikes.

Companies have started to give preference to the buyer’s participation in their online marketing.

They are creating polls and user-generated hashtag campaigns, producing appealing podcasts and making videos to promote their brands.

Some hold competitions where the participants are asked to submit or share ideas or content created solely by them; this motivates the buyer to purchase the relevant product or service because now they know that their wishes are being valued.

The Impact os Social Media on Your Business Results

There are major benefits of using social media to promote your brand. Some of them are:

  1. The growth of social signals: Your search engine optimization endeavor can be boosted to a large extent by social signals. Remember that the more people talk about your brand on social media, like, follow and recommend your brand page to others, the more chances of your web page to rising up in search ranking.
  2. Promoting company branding and consciousness: Social media users can always keep the memory of your brand alive in the minds of a vast number of people by sharing your page on their walls. This in the turn will create awareness about your product, which eventually will convert into more followers/customers.
  3. Do not underestimate word of mouth advertising: People tend to believe familiar people more than descriptions or reviews of your goods on your webpage. If you keep your current customers satisfied and happy, ultimately they will be the one who will promote your brand to their friends and acquaintances.

Social media has become a requirement for digital marketing because research shows that most consumers have a habit of spending a minimum of half an hour per day in various social media sites.

This goes especially for small/medium businesses that are looking to create a niche in the market.

Proper use of social media sites will give businesses the opportunity to offer tough competition to popular brands.

If you want social media to prove beneficial for you, then consider implementing the following:

  1. Clearly define your business goals.
  2. Use analytics and insights to discover your audience demographics, preferences and activities.
  3. Taylor your message to your audience so that when you tell your story, it is relevant to the people you want to reach. Your message can include text, images and video.
  4. Optimize your posts to boost SEO and link to relevant, optimized landing pages on your website to drive traffic.
  5. Use social media as a listening tool. Listen. Respond. Repeat.

It is true that well-written content will take you a long way but chances are that most of your customers are working professionals or just plain busy with tons of deadlines.

In that case most of them will surf social media sites when they get a break; for example while standing in line after grocery shopping, while watching TV, etc.

As a result most wouldn’t want to read stuff, instead they would want to view an image, which will take a minimum amount of time.

If you include images to market your brand, it is a guarantee that you will be able to attract more people towards your brand since images tend to engage people more than text.

Findings and Managerial Implications: After conducting extensive research, it was found that consumer’s inline ratings about goods (books; Amazon) or services (hotels) are not solely based on their experience with the particular brand but it is also dependent on other online ratings.

Some companies reveal the demographic features of their goods/services while others hide the same. Whatever may be the case, know that this has a huge influence on a customer’s desire to purchase and see the value of the brand.

One can choose to hide or disclose depending on two factors, a) if the brand’s evaluation is built solely on itself or other competing brands are taken into account b) they are built of existing customers and their relation with potential buyers.

If we take products such as DVD players, it can be seen that their online ratings determine the increase/decrease in sales.

Another interesting fact which came to light was that no product exists separately.

Products which are related to each other create an online virtual network due to their influence on each other’s sales.

There has been a report on display about third party product reviews (TPRs) playing a crucial role for investors who increase their expectations regarding a new product’s potential sale.

Thus firms should focus on TPRs and pursue them aggressively so that those reviews can help in developing their products further and creating firm value.

In case there are negative TPRs, make sure to increase your advertising in the social media sites, as the latter will help in reducing the damage.

The Multifaceted, Contingent Impact of Social Media: Online reviews and ratings influence various things, both offline and online like the conversion rates of consumer purchases, evaluations of brands, valuation and performance of the firm, consumer ratings, etc.

The outcome based on reviews given by customers online and performance ratings are supposed to be contingent on characteristics of the firm, their own brand and the consumer.

Are you still skeptical about the usage of social media for your business?

  1. Social media makes it easier to get to know your audience. Tools like Facebook Insights help you to know the dominant languages spoken among your target audience besides other specifics like age and gender. You can use this knowledge to your best advantage and create/modify product messaging to gain a healthy return on investment.
  2. Geo targeting helps you to reach a specific audience depending on their location. If you would like to send a post to people speaking French in Canada, then this is an effective tool for you.
  3. On social media sites, you receive instant feedback. Create a platform here where customers can file complaints and talk about their grievances if they have any while using your product. The reviews provided by customers are of immense help too as they motivate you to perform better and make quality products. This is much more practical and convenient than getting calls from dissatisfied customers.
  4. Hootsuite helps you to create search streams, which will give you insight about your competitors. This kind of knowledge gives you an edge over your competitors because now you can make effective business strategies based on what the competition is doing. (Do this sparingly as you want to focus on what separates you from the rest)
  5. Content can be shared much faster in social media. With just a click, your brand reaches out to millions of people out there. But keep in mind that you need to entice and allure your audience with good content so that they are interested to share your content with their connections.
  6. Creating brand awareness and reaching out to a wider audience is possible only with social media because here you will get all sorts of people from a stay at home mom to a working professional to entrepreneurs. Traditional advertising methods can be very expensive and there is no guarantee that the return will be fruitful. Many businesses hire community managers whose main job is to act as a mediator between the brand and the customer in social media platforms. This helps one to understand and analyze everything related to their audience and product, and make changes accordingly.

Measuring the impact of social media on business is crucial if you want to establish the true return you achieve on the money you’ve invested.

Like any other aspect of your business, you want to keep track of how your campaigns perform to really appreciate the impact they can have on your business.

Here are a few ways you can track your social media marketing strategy:

Specific goals

Like with all strategies, start by coming up with a set of goals that you want to achieve. At the end of the week or month have a look to see how you’ve performed and review the actions that got you there.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to focus on the metrics that really matter to your business (KPI’s).

If you sell something online, an increase in sales may matter more than how many people convert as a blog subscriber.

See if the metrics are valid

Sooner or later your social media campaign will focus on how the visitors are interacting with what you post and share. If you post something, do a lot of people comment on it or like it?

If so, what are they saying?

Keeping a track of these things will allow you to judge ‘engagement’ and this is a valid metric for social media.

Customer interviews and positive reactions to product launches can all be picked out as valid metrics.

Leading indicators

A leading indicator is one that shows you where things are likely to go in the future.

You have to keep an eye on them to see the results of your strategy materialize.

Pick a few metrics like the engagement, likes, click-through rate and page views to see how sales are likely to tick up in the near future.

Create a dashboard

We’ve pointed out a lot of metrics in all these points above, but you may need to collate all the data in one place if you really want to use it.

Try to create a dashboard to keep track of all the elements of your strategy.

Having all things in one place will not only help you make quick decisions, but better decisions.

Benchmark your work

The only way to see if you are moving forward is to set a starting point. Pick a meaningful benchmark to assess how well the social media campaign is doing.

The benchmark could vary depending on the goal: sales, lead conversions, organic traffic, brand awareness, etc.

Experiment

The A/B test is one of the most popular tests on the Internet and there are subtle ways you can pull it off on social media too.

Try to test different ways to post the same thing and see which one gets a better response.

Maybe the one with the shorter title is clicked on more often or the photo of your product is an eye catcher.

Use more of what works and less of what doesn’t, but always keep experimenting to find out both.

Put some money into it

Measuring the impact of your investment in social media is almost as important as marketing on social in the first place.

The budget doesn’t need to be large, but put some time and effort into finding out the tools that can help you see the data in a new light and make changes to your strategy quickly.

This could include hiring out an agency to partner with, hiring dedicated staff to take care of it for you or getting an expert to create a model from scratch.

Some engineering or social media experts may be able to build you models that are predictive.

They analyze what has happened and tell you what is likely to occur. These models are incredibly useful when it comes to preparing for the future and running a successful, sustainable campaign.

This article is by no means exhaustive.

It doesn’t cover everything you need to know about social media, but it does tell you all the essentials of social media marketing and getting more inbound business.

The post What is the Impact of Social Media on Your Marketing appeared first on Ron Sela.

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As you work on perfecting your digital marketing tactics, you have many options available to you.

Your goal is to select the tactics that are going to be the most effective for your business and then employ those digital marketing tactics in ways that eventually result in conversions. In order to help you accomplish this, we have created a list of the nine most popular digital marketing strategies, and come up with some best practices that you can use as you implement your content marketing efforts.

Blog Posts

If you only plan to use a couple of digital marketing tactics, blogging should be one of them. It is inexpensive to set up and run a blog, and it takes very little technical know how to get started. However, this does not mean that you can simply jump in with both feet and get the results that you want. If you want a blog that results in subscribers, shares, and engagement, you have to do a lot of planning, and follow a few guidelines.

  1. Never Write a Blog Post Without a Plan

Before you begin generating blog post ideas, know what you want to tell people and what you want them to do with that information. For example, are you writing a blog post in support of a current marketing campaign? If so, you want the tone and message that you use to match the other content that is being created for that marketing campaign. You’ll probably also want to add a CTA button that leads to the appropriate landing page. On the other hand, if you are simply looking for shares and engagement, you might want to write about a trending topic in your niche, and then encourage social shares.

  1. Know Who You Are Targeting on a Macro and Micro Level

If you do not have clearly defined customer personas already, you will need them before you begin blogging. Then, figure out which of them will be interested in reading your blog (not all will – you will have to reach them in other ways). In addition to this, you should also know which of your persona(s) you are targeting with each individual blog post.

  1. Brand Consistency is Huge

When it comes to both content and aesthetics, never use sight of your brand. This means using the same fonts and color schemes when you set up your blog as you did on the remainder of your website. It also means that the same values you adhere to on your website, on social media, in your advertising, etc., should be carried over into the content of your blog posts. The last thing you want to do is publish blog posts that contradict your overall messaging.

  1. Put Thought Into Your Publishing Strategy

It may help to think of your blog as an industry trade magazine. If you read a trade magazine, you will see a variety of articles. Some of these will be geared towards experts and decision makers, others will be geared towards entry level consumers. In addition to this, there will be opinion pieces, sponsored content that plugs specific products and services, instructional posts, and even a bit of fluff. A trade magazine publisher would never put out a copy of a monthly publication that contained only one or two types of content. Treat your blog the same way by ensuring that you release a variety of posts each month.

  1. Vary Your Content Type

In order to ensure that you are always producing engaging content, make an effort to publish various types of content. This is not to be confused with publishing content targeting different personas, or content addressing different topics. This means that you should produce a combination of video content, infographics, text based content, and image heavy content on a regular basis.

  1. Be Authoritative and Opinionated

Thought leadership is extremely important in B2B. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and give your opinion. Make predictions. Tell your readers what you think is up and coming in your industry, and what you think is a dud. If you are afraid to risk giving your opinion, how are your potential customers supposed to view you as an authority figure?

Social Media

Many marketing strategists have realized the potential for using a social media presence to drive leads. This is why more businesses than ever are becoming active on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms. An active social media presence leads to brand familiarity, and that makes it easier to close deals when the time comes. In addition to this, social media can be used as a platform to establish industry expertise, developing relationships, and then ultimately as opening of a sales funnel. Unfortunately, many social media marketing strategies for B2b don’t get the results people want, because not enough time is spent strategizing how to use the various social media platforms. A good social media strategy must include:

  • A plan for using targeting keywords
  • Optimizing for social media searches as well as search engines
  • Determining which groups and chats to join
  • Creating a list of companies to specifically target for relationship building
  • Marrying social media strategy with existing marketing campaigns
  • Determining which tools will be used to create and promote posts
  • Establishing the importance of knowing the purpose of each post (e.g.: establishing expertise, generating conversation, relationship building)
Newsletters

When used effectively, email newsletters are a great vehicle to establish thought leadership, to keep readers interested and informed, and to drive people to your website. Here are a few best practices for E-newsletters:

  • Include an Easy to find Unsubscribe Link in Each Email – Hopefully most recipients won’t use it, but you want to make the process easy for those who do.
  • Open With a Brief Disclaimer That The Recipient is Receiving the Email Because They Subscribed
  • For Lengthy Articles Include The Intro in The Email Then Link to Your Website For The Remainder of The Post
  • Each letter should contain between three and six articles on a variety of topics
  • Include some visual or video content in each newsletter
  • Provide a link to view the newsletter online for those who are not fans of HTML email
Videos

The use of video content in B2B marketing is becoming more and more popular as people realize it’s potential to generate leads, boost SEO, and create engagement. However, in order to get the most benefit from video marketing there are a few guidelines you should follow:

  • Each video should have a single purpose, it should be short, and it should get right to the point. Here are a few examples.
    • To introduce or demonstrate a new product
    • To give a brief history of your company
    • To introduce key people in your organization
    • To market directly to a specific organization or demographic
  • Know who each video is going to target – your goals will be different depending on who will be watching your video
  • If the video is part of a larger campaign – coordination is key
  • Remember that the sweet spot for video length is between three and five minutes
  • Invest in good production quality
Images and Photos

Trust increases significantly when people are able to associate faces to names. This is as true in B2B as it is in B2C. This is why one of the wisest use of photographs in B2B content marketing is to simply include photographs of yourself and your team on your website, social media, and blogs. In addition to this, blog posts and articles that contain visuals are attractive to visual learners, and they can help you to illustrate a point in a picture that might take you several paragraphs of text to make. This is why graphs, infographics, pictures, and illustrations get lots of shares and result in a lot of engagement. Of course, one of the best ways to use images to ensure that all of your products are present on your website with a high resolution photograph and a great description. A final note about images in your content; give your files meaningful names. For example, use chrome_tailpipe_harleydavison.jpg instead of chtphd_123.jpg. You’ll get better SEO results.

Microsites

A microsite is a smaller website that you create for a specific purpose. For example, some companies create microsites for different countries if they are selling products and services on an international scale. You can also create microsites to go with various marketing campaigns, to tell the story of an important project, or to highlight a particular product or service that you really want to push. If a customer really wants to learn more about a campaign or product, routing them to a microsite gives them a highly focused experience without a lot of distractions. You will also find that it is more cost effective to quickly construct a microsite than it is to add a new page to your existing website. Finally, there are proven SEO benefits to creating microsites as your content will be highly relevant to users perform keyword searches.

Infographics

Yes, infographics were included in the blurb about images and photos. However, this visual means of conveying information warrants its own section as well. Infographics are a great tool for present readers with a lot of information in an easily digestible way. Infographics also make it easy to explain complex ideas and topics. Learning to create good infographics takes a bit of time and effort, so it is important to be sure that you get the most benefit out of them as you can.

  • Be sure that creating an infographic is a good idea
    • Your audience should understand and be receptive to infographics
    • The infographic should add value to your blog post or web page
    • The infographic should meet a specific need such as
  • Target your infographic towards people who are likely to share it on social media
  • Remember your branding when creating your infographic
  • Be prepared to go through several iterations before your infographic is ready for public consumption

As you and your team become more skilled at creating infographics, you can consider using more advanced techniques such as creating interactive infographics. With interactive infographics, various elements of the infographic are clickable, and will take readers to more in depth content or even landing pages.

Mobile Apps

If you create a mobile app or purchase one from a developer, you can provide existing customers with a convenient and portable way to make purchases, review orders, research products and services, and consume mobile friendly content that you make available through the app. However, the creation, testing, deployment, and maintenance of a standalone app takes a lot of man hours and almost always involves a significant cash investment. When everything works well, both you and your customers (potential and existing) will be glad you made the effort. If it doesn’t work well, you will have a costly and embarrassing mistake on your hands. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your mobile app will be a success.

  • Test thoroughly through every step of the development process and do not put anything into production without Beta testing it with a select group of consumers
  • Have a maintenance plan in place before deployment
  • Seek user feedback on the look and functionality of the app
  • Develop for a true interactive experience
  • Provide users with offline functionality
  • Don’t limit your app to mobile users
  • Use analytics to track downloads and the ways that users are using your app
Branded Content Tools

Branded content tools are tools that you provide to users, usually via your website or a downloadable app that provides them with a solution to problem or some type of useful functionality. For example, if you visit the website of your local grocery store, they might have an online tool that allows you to search recipes. Then, when you select a recipe you want, a shopping list and cooking instructions are made available to you. That is a branded content tool. One way that you can implement branded content tools in your B2B marketing strategy is to provide your visitors with a simple set of calculators that they can use to determine cost, money savings, and time savings if they elect to use your products.

Conclusion

Too many B2B content marketers assume that their marketing efforts are limited compared to those in B2C niches. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are still as attracted to elements such as images, video, interactive tools, and mobile friendly options when making purchasing decisions for companies as they are when making purchasing decisions to themselves. As long as you know  your customer and your brand, you can use almost every one of the digital marketing tactics here to expand knowledge or your brand, build relationships, and generate leads.

The post 9 Digital Marketing Tactics And How to Use Them Wisely appeared first on Ron Sela.

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Your employees can become an integral part of your marketing campaign through employee engagement programs. Giving them the opportunity to share your content and engage with your audience can be beneficial both for the employees and the company.

Benefits of employee advocacy:

  1. Amplified reach
  2. Increased credibility
  3. Shorter sales cycles
  4. Employee engagement
  5. Relationship building

Companies with engaged employees are 202% more efficient than those without.

And with the power of your engaged workforce, your company can increase your social reach by a whopping 561% and eventually increases your company’s bottom line.

It’s a straightforward win-win.

Choosing the right employee advocacy program and activities can be a tough choice. There are numerous platforms that you could use and each of them has their own benefits. Let’s take a look at 4 such tools and how they can help you:

DrumUp

DrumUp’s employee advocacy platform is one of the simplest to use and this makes it easy to activate your employees as social advocates. DrumUp also has a social media management app that can be integrated to make the best of the content you share. Some of the main features of the platform are:

  • Keyword Based Content Curation – DrumUp provides fresh content on a daily basis. The content is based on your keywords and is taken from high-ranking and reliable sources. It’s algorithms make sure you get the most relevant content recommendations. The ones you select can easily be added to a common stream that you can invite your employees to access. Employees can then share this content on their social media channels via the same platform and become recognized for providing good information. This opens the door for employee engagement and builds trust towards your company.
  • Multiple Social Media Account Management – DrumUp lets you add multiple social media accounts to your dashboard. Employees can use this to broadcast content and company messages to a bigger audience. The more they share, the more likely they are to start engaging with other users and build connections. Thus, employees become powerful in their own right and even better brand ambassadors for the company.
  • Advanced Scheduling – One of the platform’s best features is the scheduling options it provides. Employees can choose to auto-post content from the company’s feed, post curated content with a single click or completely customize the scheduling. With auto-posting, they just need to add feeds and the social accounts they prefer, everything else happens automatically. One-click scheduling lets you add comments and hashtags to content that you’re sharing. The platform also gives employees the option to create and share custom content.
  • Content Library – Employees can save content for later posting by adding it to their content library. They can schedule this content to go out whenever they want and reuse it later when they need to. Content can be added to the content library by choosing the option while creating a custom post or by clicking on the star option while scheduling recommended or queued posts.
  • Gamification – DrumUp lets you add a little fun to the employee advocacy program by making it a competition. Employees get points every time they share content. These points are tracked on a leader board that is fully transparent. The top performers can be given incentives as you see fit on a monthly basis or however you like. A little friendly competition can boost morale and increase participation.
Dynamic Signal

Dynamic Signal is an employee advocacy program that focuses on employee engagement. Their platform is called VoiceStorm and is designed to give employees the best experience. It gives employees safe content to share on social media and is suitable for both beginners and pros.

  • Personalized experience – VoiceStorm provides information to employees based on multiple factors including their role, location, interest and seniority. Department heads can monitor the content that their employees receive and limit content from certain sources. They can choose to have employees receive only internal messages, third party content, videos, PDFs and more. Employees can follow their company on various channels to stay up to date on the latest news.
  • Real-time notifications – VoiceStorm makes you are connected with your employees by allowing you to send messages to all or only certain employees. You can send messages through notifications, email and text messages allowing everyone to stay internally connected and up-to-date. Once you send the messages, you can track whom it was delivered to and who read it. Socially active employees can use this to communicate changes in strategies and plans immediately or correct errors.
  • Analysis – Employers can keep track of everything their employees are sharing and see stats related to the number of employees that are participating, the number of views the content is generating, and your employees’ interactions with the audience. You can also add automated disclosures and blacklist certain words to prevent your employees from sharing bad content. This makes it easier for employees to share as they don’t have to worry about stepping out of line by mistake.
  • Gamification – Like DrumUp, Dynamic Signal provides a gamified platform where employees get points for sharing content. You can take it a step further and have multiple leaderboards for different aspects like sharing, views, and employee engagement. If you feel like you’re employees are slowing down, the platform produces automated reminders, reports, and digests to improve employee participation. Employees can also provide feedback through surveys, quizzes, and other activities.
  • Integration – VoiceStorm can be integrated into multiple social media channels, enterprise platforms and has Single Sign-On support. It is available in more than 15 languages and makes employee advocacy an easier process.
LinkedIn Elevate

LinkedIn is the world’s most preferred network for professionals. They introduced their employee advocacy platform, named LinkedIn Elevate, in 2015 and it has since taken off. The platform is perfect for connecting with other professionals and sharing. It has 3 main features:

  • Content From LinkedIn – The tool has a great algorithm that recommends content from both LinkedIn Pulse and Newsle. Employees will see content that is relevant to their interests and since LinkedIn is very reputable source, the content will carry value. Employees also get content recommendations based on their roles and can target audiences with specific content. This also helps them improve employee engagement.
  • Sharing – Elevate makes employee sharing easy through their various desktop apps along with their Android and iOs apps. The app is help employees reach as many people as possible by posting when most of their audience is active. This is common amongst most social media apps but with a powerful site like LinkedIn, sharing at the right time can have huge benefits.
  • Employee Adoption – With LinkedIn Elevate you can track employee adoption wit ease. The platform is aimed at building a habit of sharing among employees and motivates them through built-in promotions. It also provides social proof through metrics like profile views so they are ready to share more. LinkedIn Insights can help you recognize your most social employees and regions which allows you to plan and change a strategy a you see fit.
  • Full Funnel Impact – Unlike other platforms, Elevate goes beyond the simple metrics such as who shared what and whom you’re engaging with. Employees can track the number of likes, comments, profile views, and connections. For Employers, it provides them with all of the above stats as well as who’s following the company page and job views. Employers can also track the impact their employees’ sharing has on the bottom line like leads, hires and sales.
  • Social Enterprise – Elevate is focused on making your business grow. To that effect, they offer 1 month of free service to help you set up the platform and plan out your employee advocacy program. To help set you on the right path, you get coaching from experienced professionals, regular performance reports and access to LinkedIn Insights.
Getting It Right

Having socially active employees supports your human resources department and is great for your company but you need to make sure your employees understand what they’re doing and why. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Start your employee advocacy program in stages – start with small groups, make sure they are well-versed with the program and then expand. Do not try to rush in and involve as many people as possible – it can be a nightmare for both you and your employee.
  • For your employees to be good representatives of your company, they need to believe in it and share its core values. A good work culture and environment are key to a successful employee advocacy program. The more genuine they are while promoting the company, the more likely they are to be engaged and gain leads.
  • Giving your employees freedom is also necessary. Employees need to know that you trust them so while you may keep close tabs on what they share, do not restrict them too much. Have a set of general rules in place and make sure your employees understand them, the rest can be as per the employee wishes.
  • Your employees need to understand and maintain the brand image throughout the program. Employers have to take careful measures to ensure that everyone is in tune with the brand image and acts accordingly. Brand image affects how employees share and communicate with each other – If all your employees engage as per their own perception, consumers are likely to get confused.
  • Make sure to help your employees as much as possible. Help them understand the process and how marketing on each social media platform works. This will give them a better idea of the what to share. The same goes for engagement, show them how to find good leads, influencers and the basics of employee engagement.
  • Set realistic goals for your program. Not just the end goal but smaller goals that you and your employees can achieve along the way. The common goals are good for motivation and team morale. They also help you analyze your strategy and make changes when it isn’t working.
  • Provide incentives for well-performing employees. With tools like DrumUp and Dynamic Signal, you can reward the toppers of the leaderboard with small gifts on a weekly or monthly basis. This will motivate them to perform better and make them more consistent.
  • As the program develops, you can expand your employees’ horizon and give them the chance to create their own content. This is beneficial to the company and employees can provide valuable- information and fresh perspectives on current topics. It also gives employees the opportunity to develop their own skills.
  • Set up a social media advocacy panel that can help out employees who have doubts/concerns even after the training. This will motivate the employees and help them get additional information on any particular platform or resource. This panel can consist of experienced professionals who understand all the platforms and tools.
  • For every employee advocacy program, there are 2 metrics that everyone must track – reach and influence. These results can be shared with team leaders and employees to strategize their sharing and engagement. This will help get better results. There are tools that allow you to track analytics that are more in-depth – these can be used as you please.
  • Make sure that everyone in the organization is using the same employee advocacy platform to avoid confusion. A uniform platform is easier to implement and track. It also keeps everyone on the same page and the program gets massive exposure.

Organizations with socially empowered employees have a better bottom line than those who don’t. A recent study has shown that users are more likely to buy services/products recommended by someone they know rather than official brand pages. This is the main advantage of employee advocacy and why it works so well. Your employees reflect on the organization’s culture and common goals, you have to work with them to gain their perspective and make them understand yours. Common goals and perceptions are the  core of any successful company.

The post 3 Killer Apps to Increase Employee Engagement on Social Media appeared first on Ron Sela.

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