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How To Make Your Content Shareable — 8 Key CharacteristicsPhoto by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

If content creation resembled cooking, you’d be reading the following recipe for shareable content:

3 tablespoons of value + 4 tablespoons of visuals + 3 teaspoons of fiber and a sprinkle of emotions.

Fiber being ingredients such as bullet points that make content easy to digest.

In reality, however, creating content does not boil down to such a straightforward recipe. All these ingredients mentioned though do serve as pointers on a shareable checklist that guides you when you write content.

Let’s dive into each of these characteristics and see how they help attract shares:

1. The first layer of shareable content: it discusses something that solves the reader’s problem

Your content should have only one mission — addressing your audience’s concern. Content that solves a problem or discusses an issue that interests your audience is vital for attracting attention.

For example, a topic such as, “how I write an email,” would only get you a handful of reads. However, writing content on “15 Email Writing Tips That Will Help You Polish Your Emails” will gather more attention.

Why?

Because it solves a problem (improving emails) and provides a solution for it (email writing tips).

Mike Myers summarized this point well on the #CMWorld Twitter Chat,“Secrets of the Most Shareable Content” hosted by the Content Management Institute.

A1: Shareable content solves a problem for the intended audience so well that it makes them want to share that solution with others. #CMWorld

 — @mikemyers614

Let’s take one of the examples of shareable content.

Nested Bean, a babies’ sleepwear company, produces content that solves its audience’s problem such as in this post, 10 Tips for Surviving the 4 Month Sleep Regression, which received 5k total shares according to Buzzsumo:

How can you find what interests your audience?

What do you do when selecting a gift for a rather picky friend? Ask her directly or ask someone who knows her choices closely.

Follow this tactic when preparing content for your audience. Ask your customers what troubles them or ask the customer service team (hint: someone who closely knows them) as it regularly solve their problems.

Alternatively, use tools such as Buzzsumo and Google Trends to learn what’s trending. Social listening can also help you understand what troubles or holds your audience’s attention. Quora and social media channels are great places to listen to your audience.

Once you get the key idea of what you want to write, use Answer The Public for ideas of how you can work on the topic.

Here are suggestions that Answer The Public made for my key topic of ‘shareable content’ for this post:

2. Now that you’re planning to solve a problem, focus on actually solving it

Just as having an idea and executing an idea are very different, picking up on what’s interesting and writing on it are different matters.

Golden tip for providing valuable content and solving your reader’s problem: step into the reader’s shoes.

Ask yourself:

  • What questions can the reader have?
  • Is my content answering those questions?
  • What experience is my content creating for the reader?

Therefore, keep in mind what Ann Handley advises in her book, Everybody Writes,

“Relentlessly, unremittingly, obstinately focus on the reader.”

Content that gives a full-blown answer to the reader’s problem is more likely to get shares than content that makes a lazy attempt at offering value.

More value checks the utility box off the shareable checklist, which we’re going to discuss below.

3. Make sure your content is relatable for the reader

If you step down from your position as a content producer and step back into your reader’s shoes, you’ll understand why relatability is another pillar of shareable content.

You only share what you can relate to. A very simple example — someone who is in love is more likely to share to lovey-dovey quotes as compared to someone who has recently wormed their way out of a breakup.

People also share content that they hope will add value to the life of their readers. A study by the NYT Insight Group highlighted that 94% of the individuals assessed the usefulness of the content before sharing it.

The underlying reason is simple — sharers want to share value with their audience.

On the #CMWorld the twitter chat, social media strategist, Caitlin Kinser, shared the following:

@CMIContent A1: Shareable content gives the sharer "social currency." In other words, it's beneficial for them to be sharing it because it improves others' view of them as helpful, insightful, interesting, funny, etc. People share content that makes them appear "cool." #CMWorld

 — @caitlinmarie89

So how to make stories shareable at this point?

Create content that is well-researched and aligns with your audience’s problems. Try the “how-to” format for addressing frequently asked questions. Or, share tips for explaining a complex concept.

4. Take into account the psychology of shareable content: utility, inspiration, entertainment

A report by researchers at UCLA learned that ideas that generate more “buzz” are ones that associate with specific regions of the brain.

This indicates that you have to tap into neurology for producing share-worthy content. Three chief factors can help please the brain:

Utility: This refers to content that is useful. It helps solve problems such as, 5-Minute Crafts videos that are widely shared on Facebook.

Inspiration: Things that inspire us and poke at our curiosity and creativity also tend to increase motivation to share.

TED Talks are a great example. The following talk received a lot of social love in contrast with its companion videos on Twitter:

Only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life." @SusanDavid_PhD https://t.co/k30Id9YZuf

 — @TEDTalks

Note that the video addresses a very common issue — stress. And, it piques curiosity by insinuating what emotional courage can do for us. With the content it covers, the video scores well on both the utility and inspiration features of shareable content.

Entertainment: Entertainment is another factor explaining the psychology of shareable content.

But this one shouldn’t come off as a surprise considering BuzzFeed’s success with viral content is common news.

Any piece of content that encourages laughter or leaves the reader amused hits the share-worthy mark.

Jonah Berger, author of the book Contagious studied 7,000 New York Times articles to learn what got shared the most. He noted that positive news is likely to go viral.

Berger also found that content, which elicited high-arousal emotions like excitement, astonishment, delight, frustration, anger, awe, excitement was shared more than low-arousal emotions such as sadness.

Moreover, research by Ipsos concluded that:

  • 61% of the online shares went to interesting things
  • 43% of the shared online content comprised of funny things
  • 29% of the content that generated buzz was unique
5. Stir some emotions as well. But which ones?

The psychology of shareable content makes it clear that tapping into the right emotions can earn social attention.

So which emotional chord should you strike? Joy? Sadness? Excitement?

Research published in the journal of Psychological Sciences, highlights that the answer is not so straightforward.

We may think that positive emotions such as happiness come under ways to create shareable content. That’s only partly right though. Because, strong negative emotions such as anxiety can also ante up shareability levels.

So, it must a strong emotion that encourages content sharing.

Alas, that’s not the answer as well because a strong emotion such as sadness can reduce the likelihood of sharing content.

Marco Guerini of Trento Rise and Jacopo Staiano of Sorbonne University studied 65,000 articles on two news sites to find the emotional pattern behind articles that went viral.

They noted that content, which aroused emotions within the Valence-Arousal-Dominance (VAD) model received the most social shares. In other words, individual emotions didn’t affect the social shares on the articles.

The VAD model is frequently used in psychology to sort emotions. As per this model, each emotion exhibits the following emotions:

  • Valence relates to the negativity or positivity of an emotion. Example, happiness has a positive valence and fear has a negative valence
  • Arousal refers to the excitement or relaxation incited. For instance, sadness is low-arousal, whereas, anger is a high-arousal emotion
  • Dominance that ranges between feeling in control and submission. Admiration is a high-dominance emotion but fear is a low-dominance emotion

As per this study, the articles that gained the most social shares were tied to high dominance feelings that made the reader feel in control such as admiration.

This is the reason why articles such as 17 Reasons Why Your High School Best Friends Will Be Your BFFs for Life (+230,000 Facebook shares) dominate your Facebook newsfeed.

Folks over at Harvard Business Review dug deeper into the research. They concluded that “viral content tends to be surprising, emotionally complex, or extremely positive.”

Such an emotional blend is likely to be effective in driving home shares because it triggers the right combination of dominance and arousal.

Key takeaway

Keeping it simple, stir high dominance emotions with high-arousal emotions. Make sure that the content spreads positivity. If it has an element of surprise, bingo! More social shares.

In other words, strong emotions that evoke positivity and energy can result in higher share volumes.

6. Create engaging content to hold reader’s attention

Did you know that brightly colored flowers that attract bees as pollinators didn’t always have such engaging colors?

Fossils indicate that petals used to be a pale, dull yellow. With time, the colors evolved to become more bright and engaging for the bees. In other words, flowers grew to become more attractive for their audience, the bees.

You need to follow the same steps. Create engaging content that hooks readers because bland content won’t do.

The clickbait title you chose may get you a click, but it won’t hold your reader’s interest.

Moz and Buzzsumo paired up to examine 100,000 posts. They concluded that more than 50% of them got 2 or less Facebook interactions (likes, comments, or shares). Moreover, 75% of these articles had zero external links as shown below:

SourceHow can you engage your readers?

It takes a lot to write engaging posts with storytelling being the chief tool to hold attention. Besides, you need to sound like a human, draw up some analogies, and try to make the piece fun to read instead of boring.

For example, this piece on When Twenty-Six Thousand Stink Bugs Invade Your Home by Leslie Bulion talks about bugs, yes bugs, in a mind-blowing manner.

See for yourself:

7. Make your content readable so it is easy to consume

Even if your content is engaging and conversational, your reader will be instantly repelled if he meets a wall of words.

Long paragraphs, even longer sentences, and no reading breaks. Imagine yourself running through the field like that. No breaks to breathe or sip quaff some water. Would you make it to the end?

I wouldn’t. The reader wouldn’t either. So, you will have to make your content easy to consume to improve your visitor’s reading experience.

Content readability, how readable it is, is what makes quizzes, videos, and list-based articles shareable.

Moz’s study with Buzzsumo that we picked from above concludes that videos and list posts achieve high shares on average. They also shared, “entertainment videos and quizzes are far more likely to be shared than linked to.”

Econsultancy also looked into their archives and found that their 25 popular posts were lists.

How to get to work here?

Just as you cut a cake into slices before serving it to your guests, slice your content into short paragraphs. Keep each paragraph’s length to a maximum of 3–4 lines for making it reader-friendly.

Other steps to make your content easy to digest include:

  • Write shorter sentences: Trim your sentences to contain no more than 21 words. Trust me, you’ll get there. I did, too.
  • Use active voice instead of passive voice. Active voice cuts the extra words from your sentence and is easy to read as well
  • Use bullet points and subheadings: Both of these make your content scannable, therefore, easily digestible

Since we don’t want to shift our current topic from shareable content to readable content, I’ll link the ways you can make your content more readable here.

8. One last element to hold attention: Add visuals

Although words can be strong, they stand on crutches without visuals supporting them. Visuals can flip the game in your favor.

Here’s why:

  • People are likely to remember only 10% of the info they hear. However, they retain 65% of the information if it is presented with a relevant image and some written content
  • Folks understand visual content 323% better than written instructions
  • Content with visuals gets 94% more views than text-based content
What sort of visuals should you include?

You can pick from several multimedia formats such as videos, screenshots, infographics, GIFs, and more.

Here’s what other marketers are doing:

Source

Of these, HubSpot reveals that infographics are three time more likely to be shared than other visual content. So, you can add those to your content for boosting its shareability.

To recap

You’ll need several ingredients to prepare shareable content. To reiterate, make sure your content:

  • Addresses your audience’s problem and solves it by providing value
  • Is relatable and taps into one or all of these characteristics: utility, inspiration, and entertainment
  • Taps into emotions. Remember: high-arousal emotions (think: excitement, awe, and delight), surprise, and positivity are the best
  • Is easy to read and skim-able
  • Uses simple language that sounds human and engages the reader
  • Packs visuals such as screenshots that help the reader understand your content better

Originally published at inkandcopy.com on February 18, 2019. Masooma Memon is a freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. Follow her on Twitter or read her thoughts here.

How To Make Your Content Shareable — 8 Key Characteristics was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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An email marketing exposé.Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Standing in the shower the other night and a line from a song popped into my head. Not just any line though. The kinda line that stops you in your tracks when you first hear it. A line that makes you go “WTF. Did he just say what I think he said?”

The line:

“Forty, shaved, sexy, wants to do it all day with a gun-toting trigger happy trannie named Kinky Renae”.
– The Whitlams

Have you heard it? It’s from No Aphrodisiac by The Whitlams.

In 2006, I was lucky enough to attend an intimate concert by The Whitlams at The Australian Defence Force Academy. About 150 of us mingled in the mess hall until the lead singer, Tim Freedman, sauntered on stage, carefully sat his glass of red atop the baby grand piano and started to play.

He’s a musical genius, and watching him was an experience I will never forget. It was without a doubt, one of the best evenings I had while in the military.

Even though I love their music, I must admit, I haven’t listened to The Whitlams for, gosh, going on two years. My albums are at home in Australia and I don’t have their music on my iPod, so it’s been at least that long.

So why does a line suddenly pop into your head years after you last heard the song?

I think it’s because it’s a damn good line. It’s my favourite in the song because it’s so unexpected, witty and ghastly all at the same time.

In contrast, I highly doubt any of Rihanna’s shit will splash upon my face in the shower…

Wark wark wark wark wark wark.
– Rihanna

… really?

How about her other song…

Whaaaaaa, whaa whaa.
– Rihanna

The first thing I think when I hear her latest noise is “turn that shit off”.

The fact is, Rhianna can put out utter crap and still sell a million copies because she’s Rhianna. It’s ridiculous, but it’s just a fact of life.

I’m not Rhianna though, and neither are you. In fact, I’m not even in the league of The Whitlams; you’re probably not either (sorry). If I’m honest, I don’t even aim to be. I don’t want to be famous, I just want to make a decent living so I can build my dream house, grow a veggie garden and give my girl the small holding (a.k.a. lots of animals) of her dreams. You probably want your own version of the same thing, right?

So how do we get it when we’re not Rhianna or even The Whitlams?

Here’s the secret sauce…

Be interesting. Be entertaining. Be memorable.

It’s that simple.

Take a look at the last email you wrote.

Did you tick those boxes? Or was your email as exceptional as page 17 of The Financial Review?

If it’s the former, keep up the great work.

If it’s the latter, you’ve got two choices.

1. Up your game.

2. Handball the responsibility to someone else (like yours truly).

Either way, it’s time to take your email list from ‘tick and delete’ to ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’ waiting for your daily dose of sex, drugs and rock & roll to pop into their inbox like a line of an old song hits you outta the blue when your standing in the shower.

Find out how I can help here.

Hey, I’m Tara Fitness (yes, it’s my real last name). I’m a criminologist and former personal trainer turned writer building a unique freelance writing service on a rock solid foundation of self-care, self-belief and self-discovery.

Originally published at www.tarafitness.com.au on February 20, 2019.

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A gun-toting trigger happy trannie named Kinky Renae. was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Mobile Apps are the major reason why smartphones are persisting. It has become such an indispensable part of our routine that it rules almost every activity that we perform in our daily lives.
Mobile Apps keep modifying each and every year. There are a variety of gadgets available in the current market. There are almost 24 billion mobile devices working worldwide right now.

Mobile App Trend Predictions for 2019 — DigitechtipsMajor Mobile Technologies will be in 2019

Other than the internet of Things and artificial intelligence, augmented Reality goes to be pushed ahead by tech giants like Apple and Google. AR is going to influence mobile interface heavily. Then comes Machine Learning. It knows what we want, thanks to the data collected by the programmes about our actions and the conclusion of that collection. There area unit a variety of chat-bots that have started using Machine Learning.

What’s Going to be New in 2019 for Mobile application?

Different Analytics and research done by companies predict that there will not be anything really new in 2019, but we expect some up-gradation in the technologies that we are currently using in 2019.

Some Major Trends to Look Out For in 2019

  • Mobile Commerce — Selling products on mobile devices is a growing trend. This trend aims at growing the mobile payment systems and maximizing them in such a way that all the transactions in the future are done online, without any hard cash or cards.
  • Instant Apps — Instant apps are set to change the way we experience mobile apps. Cloud technology will be made a part of this in order to allow to use mobile apps without and downloading and making our phones lighter and leaving more space. This can help us in using our mobile device space for other things. Making use of Instant apps will transform the whole mobile experience and will make it easier for not just the users but also developers.
  • Service Apps — Service apps like the ones for cabs, beauty services, cleaning etc are growing a lot and are all around us. Imagine making an appointment on one of these apps. Even though we have already been doing with apps like Uber, this is said to grow even more in the future. Geolocating systems play an important part in this. The quality of service apps have also improved largely. They not only focus on providing services but satisfying a major need of the customers with great efficiency.
  • IoT — Internet of Things is said to take a leap in the next year and will show major growth. Smart homeware will be largely influenced by IoT technology. The main aim here will be to make household systems work automatically and efficiently. You set standards on the app and the functions are performed accordingly. IoT has not been used efficiently. It is still in the initial stages and has a lot of potential to grow and be used in ways that can be radical for improvements worldwide.
  • Security — There is very little trust among smartphone users. Do we really believe that all our data on our mobile apps are safe? Mobile app developers need to work heavily on security. This year a lot of major apps have suffered this problem and this needs a strong solution. Keeping our mobile apps and our personal information on them is extremely important. Strict security measure for mobiles phones must be laid out and taken care of.
Originally Published on Mobile App Trend Predictions for 2019
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What I always tell brands during our first session.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Nowadays everyone has a great idea they are developing. They all believe in it. Wether they are Harvard graduates or high school drop outs, many startupers leave everything to invest all their time, money, connections, and efforts into their dream project, their baby, their golden ticket for a sweet exit: their start-up project.

I have been to start-up incubators/accelerators, and met and talked with many startupers. All had great ideas. Everything was mapped out, every phases, the financing, the various activation phases... I was impressed. But the one point they all failed was about their content marketing strategy. They thought that because their idea was fantastic, once launched, their awesome product was going to take off, because well… it is a pretty sweet idea. Wrong!

None had clearly mapped out how content and marketing would come to interplay with their activation strategy, and how most of the time, before even promoting the product, awareness should be raised to the problem that the product is bringing a solution to. So at my big surprise, not many really budgeted this crucial part in their plan.

While some of you might think I state the obvious here, keep in mind that some entrepreneurs are business people, but not marketing people. On that note, you would be surprised how many internal heads of marketing department (even of big companies) are lost with what to do with the content once it is made, which I will explain shortly.

Here are some of my top points to get you and your project on the right track, mixed with some hard, cold facts.

1. A website alone is not enough

Gotta have content. Content today is multi-use. First, like I mentioned earlier, it creates awareness about the problem you have a solution for. Today, there is so many ways to create content. You can blog, create an Instagram account, a youtube channel, It does not have to be big, but it has to be smart. If you’re selling a service, then blogging or micro-blogging might be the way to go. You have a shoe brand? Create an Instagram and do pictures of the product in situation that matches the identity of the brand. While you can start with a simple shot of the shoes on neutral background, you quickly want to move to pictures with people wearing your shoes. Hiring professional photographer could give a real push, and mark of quality to your content. If you have quality content, then the potential customer will think you have a product of quality.

You sell a service, wether it is insurance, or healthcare, blog about it! You can write a series of articles tackling interesting topics linked to the service you are selling. For instance, when I started to teach martial arts non-profits, I stumbled on an article about the 10 things to make sure you do when you create a dojo. The article was full of good pointers. Turns out it was on the blog of an insurance company selling insurance to martial arts school. I ended up asking for a quote.

2. Don’t forget about videos

If applicable to you, know that 72% of customers online make a purchase after seeing a video. Today, video is the medium of choice. So while you don’t need to make a full Hollywood production out of it, invest in video. Saying that, also note that 83% of consumers worldwide prefer YouTube to watch videos and when posted on social media video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined. Statistically, videos allow longer consumer retention on your website, which means higher chance of making a purchase (73% to be exact).

Same as for our shoe example, if your content looks like it was shot with your flip-phone, your product is not going look super trendy. Though those days, I am pretty sure Brooklyn hipsters would enjoy a flip-phone they can hook on their waist next to their walkman.

If you don’t have a comm/marketing team, it is best to hire a creative production agency. Those guys know what is going on in the media industry right now, what is trendy or not, and can pitch you different ideas tailored to your budget. At least, that’s what we do at the Fabulous Agency (shameless plug). Jokes aside, the advertising industry is changing, and so is the traditional advertising agency model. While not having the same volume of clients and “prestige” of the Big 4 (WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, and Interpublic Group), there are more and more “boutique” agencies (marketing and creative)that are more affordable because we don’t have the same overhead as the big guys. And it’s ok. Because everyone needs video today. Down the line, interesting partnerships can be created with influencers and other businesses. And it does not necessarily has to be with Tony Parker. Though Tony Parker could help with your exposure.

3. Post regularly and plan it out

Whatever you do, you MUST post regularly.

For one, it will ensure a higher SERP score. For that, Google favorises websites that update regularly with fresh content (meaning no copy and paste from somewhere else). The SERP score is how the Google algorithm decides to display your site where on the Google search results page. A higher SERP score means a higher chance to be displayed on the first page. And since most people do not look past the first page, you want to put all the chances on your side.

Part deux, posting regularly makes people want to come more regularly on your page too, because they know you are posting a new article every Thursday morning, or a new explainer videos on Saturday mornings. Like I explained earlier, the longer the consumer spends on your website the higher chance a purchase can be made. So this obviously, only works in conjunction with quality content.

This is the exact reason why in the corporate world more and more content writer or brand manager positions are created. If you cannot afford one for now, the best is to schedule time just to generate enough content (wether they are pictures or articles), make a bank of them, and then create a release calendar to ensure regular and steady posting.

4. Creating a base that follows you ( = potential customers) takes time

Creating those social media accounts also weighs in for your general web presence and referencing. It takes time, and do not give immediate results. So do not get discouraged. Like the post, social medias and interactions need to be worked on a regular basis.

5. What everyone fails to understand…

Coming back to what I was saying at the beginning, and this is true for bigger companies too, the sine qua non for all this content to be efficient, bring you a following, bring you sales etc… is that it must be sponsored! Meaning you must buy advertising space online to make sure your content is seen by the relevant people you are targeting e.g your potential customers. This is not 2002, virality does not exist anymore. It is sponsored. In a world over-saturated with online content (good and bad), no one is going to see your content if it is not sponsored or if you don’t have a following. Then what is the point in investing time, effort, and money into it in the first place? But if you don’t do it then no one will come to your website, and you are not going to make any sales.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I did a consulting session with an important client that had an internal production house doing all their video/photo content. Except they did not sponsor the content that was released. They had low view count and ROI. At the same time they heavily invested in traditional media, so they had exposure. In a situation like this, the only benefit of the content is for the people redirected from the traditional media logging on their website and seeing the content there. And various PR use of course.

Today with 2/3 of Twitter being fed by bots and the whole Facebook controversy about fake accounts, it is hard to know where to sponsor. While keeping ourselves updated on the current trends and online best practices, only through trial and errors in conjunction with analytics of the campaign can you have a good assessment of how to proceed.

6. Don’t buy followers

The worst thing you can do for your online presence is to buy 1000s of followers from those shady websites. It might be cheap, but it ain’t worth it. It is very easy to see who “fakes” their web presence. You can have a lots of likes, but if you have zero comments, you bought likes! If you have 20 followers, and have 15,000 likes, you bought likes! If you have average 20 likes on your last few posts, but you have 10,000 followers, then you bought followers.

Plus, now you have online tools such as https://socialblade.com that analyse any handle you give them and shows followers loss and gain. You can see if the growth is organic or not. So no cheating.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

On one case, I had to analyse a model influencer’s following for a potential campaign, and discovered she bough 35,000 followers. No engagement on an influencer’s page means your product will get no exposure. For that person, she shot herself in the foot, because any agency wanting to partner with her for a campaign will go through the same process as me, and get to the same conclusions. The only way this influencer can get out of this is by starting from scratch.

Another case, and this is for a major site that I cannot disclose for obvious reasons, I was asked to suggest video concepts, and to do so I first did an analysis of their social media implementation. Non-only did I discovered they did not sponsor their content, but also they did a major youtube subscriber buy-out!! The person who hired me was not even aware of it and did not believe me.

So don’t buy followers.

7. Be emotionally intelligent

It is not about you, it is about the people you want to serve. People today do not respond to traditional advertising. The buy this car, it has this feature etc… do not work.

Today whatever type of content you make needs to be emotionally connected to your audience target. No one has time to hear a sales pitch. A car is a car, a phone is a phone, we know what these do. It’s about brand building, and in our consumerism society it means which values and emotions are associated to your brand.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on UnsplashThe take-aways
  • Don’t skip on content. Content is the new way to advertise without being and ad. It has to be educative and/or entertaining, but mostly emotionally connected to your target audience.
  • Make quality, not quantity;
  • Post regularly;
  • Pair quality content with targeted ad sponsoring;
  • Video content generates higher sale leads than any other types of content;
  • Don’t buy followers!

Co-founder of the Fabulous Agency, Fabien is a branded content expert and consultant living and working in Manhattan, NY.

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101 Content Marketing for Start-Ups was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

HypeAuditor has just released “The State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Exploring influencer fraud on Instagram” and this is the most complete research on influencer fraud so far.

For this study, they have analyzed over 4M influencers and over 500M posts on Instagram.

The average Engagement Rate on Instagram is growing

If we compare the average Instagram Engagement Rate in 2018 and 2019, we will see that it has grown.

It’s not a good idea to compare ER of bloggers with а significant difference in followers count. HypeAuditor divides all influencers into five groups.

How Engagement Rate changes over time

The chart shows that ER has increased by 22–25% for all groups of influencers, except influencers who have between 5K and 20K followers, their ER increased only by 6%.

Over 60% of influencers use artificial methods of Instagram growth

The study shows that only 39.98% of influencers are fraud-free. The most authentic are influencers who have between 1K and 5K followers, 53.78% of them are fraud-free.

Percentage of Fraud-Free influencers by followers number

The lowest authenticity rate has influencers who have over 1M followers and between 20K and 100K followers. But in the first case, we believe it’s due to the big amount of spam on Instagram, in the second, due to inauthentic methods of growth.

The lowest rate of fraud-free influencers was detected in Italy (33.34%), Germany (36.72%), and India (36.02%).

More than 22% of influencers has suspicious growth anomalies

Almost a quarter of influencers use artificial methods of audience growth that are overwhelmingly dominated by followers (bots) buying.

The chart below indicates that over 15% of influencers use follow/unfollow method to grow their follower numbers.

Percentage of influencers who use Follow/Unfollow by followers numberOver 38% of influencers use suspicious methods to grow their engagement

The study describes in detail two methods that influencers use to grow their comment numbers:

  • Comments buying, and
  • Comment Pods.

Comment Pods or Boost groups are groups of Instagram users that commit to consistently engaging with each other’s content in order to increase impressions and engagement.

Pods’ members communicate with each other via Instagram DM’s, Telegram, WhatsApp or Facebook groups. Every time someone in the pod publishes a new Instagram post, they share it in the group message thread. Instagram pod members will then click on the post, like it, and leave a comment.

Over 22% of nano-influencers (who has between 1K and 5K followers) use comment pods.

Percentage of influencers who use Comment Pods by сountry

We’ve also noticed a widespread Comment Pods in Italy (17.34%), Germany (15.82%), France (13.84%), and Russia (13.01%).

It’s just a small snippet of what you will learn from HypeAuditor research. Download your copy of the full report and learn valuable insights that can help enhance your influencer marketing strategy in 2019.

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With the change the lifestyle, busy schedules and stressed day jobs, people have turned themselves towards the virtual love and belonging.

Spending time on social media gives a sense of satisfaction that you still have some life left in you. In a way to connect with people online when you cannot connect with them offline. Bridging the distances, sharing harmony and making it a virtual hangout.

With ever-changing needs of human evolution, the need for Social Networks has changed as well with time. Established platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have become just “Too Generic” for anyone to find the right value for time spent.

“Facebook usage in the USA has dropped 8% since 2017”

And the story is almost the same for all “Generic” social networks around the world. People have had enough of irrelevant content and people around them. They want an alternative, a better way to spend their time online.

Evolution of Niche Social NetworkEvolution

Like the name suggestion Niche, Social Network aka Custom Social Network aka Niche Community Network is a kind of Social platform built around the needs and pain points of a Niche Community. For instance, Road Trippers Club is a community built around travellers. It helps connect people fond of Roadtrips and helps them plan, share, network and make the most out of their travelling experience on road.

Similarly, Bhopu is a Unique Area social platform that connects you to your neighbourhood. It keeps the society well connected, organised and helps them take collective actions on the betterment of their area.

Niche Social Network gives you an extremely relevant, more fun and extremely powerful way to connect with the right audiences and provides a unique set of tools specifically designed to meet the needs of the community.

While getting a customised platform itself is a big reason there are several other reasons as well why people are shifting towards Niche Social Networks.

Too Much Spam:

Niche Social Network Have Lesser Trash

With the existing platforms gone too generic, people share random stuff and as a result, your feed is flooded with math equations, religious posters, good morning greetings and so much of so many things enough to annoy you for the day within moments.

Niche Community focused on a concentrated audience avoids such scenarios as content expectations for members and very much in sync as against to generic social networks.

Value Addition:

Value Addition from a Niche Community

When you join a Niche Community Social Network, a Lot of Experts from the same domain share their experiences, tips, resources, network and lot more. These social networking experiences directly complement the domain knowledge and experience you have.

Stronger Bonds:

Niche Community Family

One of the greatest benefits of small niche communities is the relations that you build within the community. A niche community is like a big Happy family minus the disputes over ancestral wealth. It’s easier to connect and grow your network as you don’t have to find a needle in the haystack and rather the complete stack is full of needles very much like yourself.

Tailored Experience:

Niche Communities are built to best match your Niche Needs

Every Social Network Big or Small is trying to personalise the experience for individual users to make them feel as engaged and connected as one can be. The problem with the Generic networks is that they cannot really customise the platform so much. Niche Community, on the other hand, can do this to a much deeper level. For Instance, if someone from the LGBTQ+ community wishes to create an account on Facebook they will have to choose from either Male or Female irrespective of their gender, While SquadSocial customised this experience for the user by providing a comprehensive list of 48 Genders and an option to define one of their own.

Having said that, there are some amazing Niche Community Social Networks which are absolutely killing it out there. Here are some you might be interested in

RoadTrippers Club :

Pleasure of Roadtrip

We all love travelling or at least most of us do. Facebook along with other platforms despite having features like events and groups do not have the information well organised to cater to the needs of travellers. Thus a need of a platform where Travellers can connect, collaborate, plan and celebrate their travel experiences. RoadTrippers Club is a road travel club for road trip enthusiasts, beginners and those who love hitting the roads. They call it camaraderie on four wheels!.

Squad Social:

LGBTQ+ community just had enough of Generic social media platform where they have to think twice before sharing anything. It’s so difficult to find similar people from the crowd so big and the system so generic ignoring the actual needs of the community. There were dating apps for the LGBTQ+ community but none of them solved the problem of connecting with the community. SquadSocial aims to be the platform where queer people to connect with each other and the wider queer community, both online and offline.

Dribble:

If You Are Into Design, You should be on Dribble

Every social network is full of Media posts but Dribble is where the best of designs get to showcase their creativity and reach masses. It’s home to World’s best designs and a great source of inspiration for designers in making.

PatientsLikeMe:

Connect with Patients Just like Yourself

Families will always love, no doubt. But no one can truly understand the pain you are in other than someone who is going through the same or has been affected by it in the past. Families and Doctors do try their best but PatientsLikeMe helps you connect with patients with similar health issues. You do not only get the moral support from the people suffering like you, but it also empowers the community through sharing healing solutions, answers to your queries and so much more.

CafeMom:

photo courtesy: freepik

Mom’s are so much consumed in bringing up the little ones that they miss out on a lot of great stuff going on out there. CafeMom brings all such moms together in a community where they can feel they belong. CafeMom meets the emotional and practical needs of every mom with an honest, gritty, funny, wise, practical and uplifting spirit that mirrors motherhood itself. They lift up the voices of all moms and make them feel confident, hopeful and understood. Like a good friend, Making life better for Moms.

Bhopu:

Over the past few decades, the culture in societies has changed so much that most of us do not even know the name of our neighbours. This disconnect has resulted in extreme isolation in society. In the past few years, people realised this gap and started forming communities like kitty parties, society festivals and more. Yet the gap is just getting big to fill through these initiatives. Bhopu saw this and decided to fill this gap and bring families together through a social media platform just for society. A close, knit, a connected platform for People to share with people around you, ask for suggestions, collaborate on common problems and more.

How Does It Affect Your Brand?

Alright Varun, you told us social media is changing and you told us why it is changing and then you also told us where are people going now. But how is this all going to affect our brand?

Well, it does in two major ways.

  1. You Need To Change Your Branding Strategy:

As per your niche, you need to identify where your filtered audience is and focus on attracting them there rather than advertising on generic platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. This shift will help you save a lot on your advertising budget and also give you higher conversion rates. Isn’t that something you would be happy about? YAY!!

2. Opportunity To Give Your Customers Something They Would Love:

People want newer, better, more relevant platforms to spend their online time. What would your target audience want? A Traveller would spend more quality time on RoadtrippersClub than on facebook and a Designer would rely more something they see on dribble then on twitter.

I will be writing a Follow Up Article to understand How your brand can get equipped to these changes and be ready for the shift. Meanwhile, If you liked what you read, share the love with your friends and family as well.

About Varun:

Varun is a Product Manager in Vinfotech Pvt. Ltd and specializes in Planning, Monitoring and Delivering Custom Social Media Platforms for Clients worldwide. To Know more about Custom Social Media Platforms and Varun, Feel free to reach out to varun@jainvarun.in or through any social media channels below 🤗

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It’s no secret that converting targeted leads into paying customers requires effective and optimized landing pages. Even if your top-of-funnel marketing strategies (like your PPC ad campaigns and paid social campaigns) are extraordinary and drive a lot of traffic to your website, having poorly designed landing pages can negatively impact your customer’s user experience and your organization’s bottom line. To avoid this, marketers and designers need to collaborate to ensure that they are giving their landing pages the attention and care they deserve. Through landing page optimization and data analysis, you can convert more customers and increase your company’s revenue.

Here are three landing page tips that can help your organization’s conversion rates:

Keep Your Design Simple

Digital designers and marketers often overcomplicate things. However, when landing pages are convoluted, it can be frustrating, confusing, and exhausting for potential customers. A simple, navigable, and clear landing page should suffice your customer’s needs. Simplifying your design, CTAs, and overall messaging will significantly improve your landing page and motivate your customers to purchase your product or service.

Let’s take a look at some simple yet effective landing pages:

Shopify

Shopify’s landing page is beautifully laid out and simple. Their value proposition, “Sell online with Shopify” communicates what their platform can do for their target audience. Additionally, they create a navigable, straightforward, and transparent experience for their users through their appealing layout and design.

Airbnb

Airbnb has a clear value statement and a concise CTA. They also have an elegant layout that leads the customer to that highlighted CTA.

While both companies have well-thought-out photographs, designs, layouts, and copy for their landing pages, their real strength comes from knowing their target audience and what their needs are.

Generate Leads Through Lead Magnets

Digital Marketer defines lead magnets as, “an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.” Digital Marketer goes on to say that the goal of the lead magnet is to maximize the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer. Lead magnets differ from a traditional blog or social media post because they usually contain a lot more information and provide more value. For example, a lead magnet can be proprietary data that your organization has collected about a certain industry. It can also be a detailed eBook that contains information about complicated subject matter that your business is knowledgable about. Some companies even offer “freemium” software tools to potential customers.

Giving away free material to your target audience helps your brand seem more trustworthy and credible. According to Neil Patel, giving away free content can potentially help your business grow by 290%. Furthermore, a Demand Gen report found that 47% of consumers will view three to five pieces of content produced by a brand before they purchase their product or service.

While these results may not be feasible for every industry, it’s safe to say that consumers do their research. If you can create a landing page that helps them do this research, it will pay off for your organization in the long run.

Analyze Your Landing Pages

Collecting and analyzing valuable data on your landing pages is an integral part of your success as a digital marketer. You should always look for ways to improve your landing pages, however, this is easier said than done. Google Analytics can give you a basic overview of how your landing pages are performing but in order to succeed you need more data. Fortunately for all of us, there are great software programs we can use to gather some amazing insights into our customer experience on our landing pages.

Try using the following:

  1. Heatmaps: Heatmaps track where your customers are clicking on your website. This can help you determine if your site is easy or difficult to navigate.
  2. Split Testing: Split testing software allows you to adjust, optimize, and fine-tune your landing pages based on data from A/B tests.
  3. Live Insights: Through live insights, you can look at real-time data to see how your customers are moving through your funnel.

Many software programs can help you gather additional data. It’s important that you do your research to see what software program is a good fit for you and your company.

Keeping your design simple, creating lead magnets, and analyzing data can help you optimize your landing pages. It creates a better user experience for your potential customers, and it generates new opportunities for growth. At the end of the day, you should always have your customers in mind when you create any landing page. If you do that, you can increase your profits quickly.

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Pebble beach by Waferboard on Flickr.You just want the perks

Let’s cut right to the chase. You have said it, or someone in your company has. You want to show your true colours. Stand out from the crowd. Reveal your heritage. Unleash your true potential. Be unique. Be special.

But it turns out, you can’t. Here’s why.

You don’t know how

You are a business owner, a marketing intern or somewhere in between. You finished high school, maybe got some business degree, and started working. I might have missed some details, but that’s likely to be the big picture.

You feel as if you’re a unique individual, but this is a construct of your mind. You think you’re different because you spend so much time being you, and so little time being someone else.

If you look at a pebble long enough, it will start looking special to you. You will notice details you missed at first. Bumps. Cracks. Textures and slight changes in hue. That’s one unique pebble to you. But could you ever find it on a shingle beach?

Back to you. You dress business casual. You’re on Facebook but also LinkedIn. You watch TV and Netflix (but not too much), have a political opinion and either like craft beer, wine or both.

The exact combination of what you wear, your Facebook profile, your musical interests and that hobby of yours are definitely unique. But from a distance, all the things you do are normal. Even if one thing is weird — everybody has a few quirks. So regardless of the combination, you don’t stand out.

You are a pebble on a shingle beach.

This is the exact opposite of special. This is the mode — the most common entity. Everyone does what you do. And everyone says they want to be special. And everyone believes they can be. But none of them know how.

Because being special is not something you can sign up for. There’s no application form. There are no boxes you tick to become special. No Wikihow, no checklist, nothing. Special is another dimension, and the boundary is uncrossable by those looking for the entrance.

You either are, or are not.

And if you’re looking to be special, you are definitely not.

You don’t know why

A decade ago you read Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, and some of Malcom Gladwell’s work as well. Your childhood idols were all very special individuals. Peers talk about standing out and being different. Family members brag about that one bold thing they did back in college.

So you figure it must be good to be special. Being special has become a goal for you and everyone else.

But why be special? Because special people get attention, right? They are talked about. They are idolised. They are adored, revered if you will. You want that too, for yourself or your company or your product.

So you don’t really want to be special, you want the perks of being special. The attention, the fame, the feeling that you matter.

You don’t have the balls

Being special is tough shit. It means the world is not ready for you. You face rejection, not being accepted, having to explain — or worse, prove yourself, time after time.

People aren’t understanding. They like things that they know. They dislike things that are new and different. When you’re special, you’re new and different ergo not to be liked much.

And you know it. You aren’t so welcoming to special people either. You have ridiculed the different, the divergent — everyone has. So you’re scared. And whenever there’s a chance to stand out, you pull back. You opt for the safe route. You tell yourself that you’re being responsible, not accepting that you’re just lacking the balls to really stand out.

Better safe than sorry — everyone, all the time
You don’t listen

So when people — designers for instance — show you ways to stand out, you don’t listen. You come up with excuses. “My boss won’t accept this”, “Our target audience won’t be able to identify with that”, “I love it but I’ll never get everyone else on board”.

And in the end you’ll justify your scared choices to yourself and your colleagues. You might even try to sell it to them as if you did make a bold move. “Our logo is now pink. All the competitors have blue logos. No-one has ever done this before in our market.”

So next time, don’t say you want to be special, different or unique. Because all the people who say they do — by definition can’t.Thanks for reading The Marketing & Growth Hacking Publication

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The growth of modern election marketingPhoto via Wikimedia commons

You can’t get much simpler than “I LIKE IKE.”

On the Flesch–Kincaid readability test, the phrase scores 119.2, which is pretty much off the charts for ease of understanding.

It took a brilliant person to put those three words together.

The slogan of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidential run was created by Peter G. Peterson, who went to school at MIT, graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University and received his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School.

Peterson, who died in 2018 at age 91, became a secretary of commerce and the Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, as well as a billionaire.

He was also smart enough to know that simple doesn’t mean stupid.

Raised in Nebraska, Peterson was born as Peter Petropoulos to a Greek immigrant family who owned a local diner. After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in marketing, he became an advertising executive and rose to director of marketing services at McCann Erickson in Chicago before he was 30.

Peterson was working for Chicago-based market research firm Market Facts when he created the idea for the “I Like Ike” slogan. In his research, Peterson would start with a formal questionnaire and the “latest interview and motivational research techniques.”

Then Peterson put aside the official survey and talked informally with participants about their feelings on Eisenhower, who they called by his childhood nickname “Ike.” That’s when he said people were most relaxed and shared their most personal, revealing answers.

Peterson found that voters trusted and felt comfortable with Eisenhower — even if they couldn’t say why.

“I felt it was correct to focus on Ike’s persona of likeability and trust more than his specific views on the Taft-Hartley Labor Act, for example,” Peterson wrote in his autobiography.

There were other clues that Eisenhower’s appeal seemed more emotional. In Minnesota primaries, more than 100,000 people voted for “Eisenhower,” “Isenhowr,” or “Ike” as a write-in candidate when he wasn’t even on the ballot yet. They liked him enough to vote even if they couldn’t spell his real name.

Peterson felt so confident in his findings that he bet some of his business colleagues $500 — which he couldn’t afford at the time — that Eisenhower would beat Adlai Stevenson in Illinois, where Stevenson was governor. And this was long before the days of FiveThirtyEight.com.

Stevenson, for his part, was known as an “elegant campaigner who raised the political discourse” by journalists. But he was also dismissed as an intellectually aloof “egghead” by much of the electorate.

Of course, Peterson was right. In 1952, Eisenhower won the popular election by a landslide and “I like Ike” campaign went down in history as one of the best political campaigns. Peterson was rewarded for his role with an invite to Eisenhower’s inauguration.

Later in life, Peterson became critical of both parties and politicians who he said were focused “not on the next generation but on the next election.” He poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the nonpartisan organization Peter G. Peterson Foundation and contributed to think tanks of different political stripes, according to the Washington Post.

But in some ways, his lasting legacy has to do with the election slogan.

It’s tempting to always draw parallels to elections of today. We need to remember, of course, that each election has a variety of factors influencing the outcome, such as Eisenhower’s military record and appeal to both parties.

But as you watch this election cycle unfold, pay attention to the marketing: Who has the simplest slogan — and if it’s working.

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We’ve all heard about keywords and their importance in SEO. However, negative keywords are equally important, especially when you’re launching with a PPC campaign.

Whenever you’re starting your own Google Ads campaign, you need to target keywords. You select keywords so that you can get more clicks and conversions from your ads.

However, one aspect that many businesses fail to consider is negative keywords. Using them allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. But before we get into how the negative keywords help you, let’s first define what a negative keyword is.

What Are Negative Keywords?

Simply put, negative keywords are the keywords for which you don’t want your ad to be displayed. They are the exact opposites of keywords. Using them allows you to eliminate the searches from people who aren’t looking for your products.

A lot of Google Ads campaigns cost too much due to unwanted clicks that don’t give any returns. As an advertiser, you’d have to pay for all clicks, even those which do not result in a conversion. This can waste a huge chunk of your marketing budget and can be frustrating.

Using negative keywords can help you reduce this wasted money.

There are two types of negative keywords — campaign level and ad group level keywords. Campaign level negative keywords are those for which you never want your ads shown. Ad group level keywords will not show your ads for a particular ad group.

Match Types of Negative Keywords

To understand negative keywords better, and to use them effectively, you need to figure out their match types.

Broad Match

When you’re using broad match, negative keywords will be matched to multiple versions of the phrase. Many of these are not be the exact words that you are targeting. They may not be relevant to your business as well.

For instance, if you’ve use the negative keyword, “sports shoes,” your ad will not appear for searches with the entire keyword. Even if the order of words is reversed, (in this case, “shoes sports,”) your ad won’t appear in the results.

However, if any query has only a part of the keyword, your ad will show up in the search results. So in this case, searches for only, “shoes,” or “sports” may show your ad in search results.

Phrase Match

On the contrary, phrase match keywords don’t restrict your ads as much as the broad match ones.

If the query contains the exact phrase, such as, “sports shoes,” your ad won’t show up. Even if the query has more words than your keyword, like “black sports shoes,” your ad will not appear. However, if the order of the words is changed, such as “shoes sports,” your ad will show up.

Exact Match

The third type of match is exact match. In this case, you have complete control over which search queries you want to eliminate. When you add these keywords to your account, the ads won’t show up only when the query has the exact same words.

Even if there’s a single extra word, like “blue sports shoes,” your ad won’t show up. This allows you to specifically eliminate that exact keyword.

However, the same doesn’t apply on the Google Display Network and YouTube. In these campaigns, only the exact match is considered.

How to Find Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are just like keywords. For this reason, many of the ways of finding them are similar to those of finding keywords.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to find negative keywords.

Keyword Research

One of the best ways of finding them is through keyword research. For keyword research, you can use tools such as the Google Keyword Planner and KWFinder.

Image via KWFinder

While keyword finders are typically used to find keywords that you want to bid on, they can also be used to find negative keywords. Whenever you search for a particular term, you’ll find a list of related keywords along with their search volume and competition.

If you can spot terms that aren’t related to your business, you can add them to your negative keywords list.

Search Terms Report

Yet another way of finding negative keywords is through the search terms report. This report shows you the actual queries that people use on Google which trigger your ads.

Once you have an idea of which queries trigger your ads, you can start finding the related keywords. You can then divide them into the negative and positive keywords based on their outcomes.

One way to do this is by sorting the results by the highest impressions. This can give you an idea of the most popular search queries for your ads.

You can then further refine this by finding the keywords that have better conversions and click-through rates (CTRs). When you find that terms aren’t performing well, you should consider adding them to your list of negative keywords.

Competitive Research

Another way of finding negative keywords is through competitive research. All you need to do is perform a Google search of your keywords.

All results that appear on the first few pages of the search are the ones that Google feels are relevant. When you skim through the results, look for keywords that aren’t transactional and add them to your list.

Tools

You can also use tools such as Ubersuggest and the Keyword Tool to find suggested keywords. These keywords can be used to find keywords which may not match your business. Then you can negate them.

Image via Ubersuggest

Google Search Predictions

When you type a search query into Google, it shows you a list of suggested search queries. When you see this list, you can find some keywords that aren’t related to your ad. You can add them to your negative keyword list.

Misspellings

People may make some typing errors when they are searching on Google. When this happens, your ads might get listed for even these searches. A great way to stop this would be by looking for misspellings of your negative keywords. You can add them to your list too.

Website Analytics

You can use tools such as Google Analytics to find analytics data for your website. This shows information about which keywords your website is ranking for. You can look for keywords with high traffic and low/no conversions and add them to your list.

The keywords that don’t provide conversions are just wasting your money.

How to Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are mainly used in two different ways. The first being the traditional use while the other, the protective use.

1. Traditional Use

The traditional use of negative keywords is to stop your ads from appearing for certain keywords. If you’re looking for people who are searching for flights, you must exclude people searching for “Best Airlines.”

This can be achieved through the use of negative keywords. This traditional use can help you improve the relevance of your ad.

2. Protective Use

The other use for negative keywords is not to stop your ads from appearing in search results. They are instead used so that your ads can be triggered for a specific campaign. The protective use of negative keywords makes sure that Google shows searchers the right ad.

When searchers are looking for something very specific, you can remove all broad match negative keywords. This will help you beat all the other broad match competitors and reach your target customers.

While negative keywords can help you avoid unwanted clicks, you should use them judiciously. An extremely long list of negative keywords will restrict your reach. This can, in turn, affect your ability to reach your target audience.

For this reason, you should curate your list very carefully. This can save you a lot of marketing money.

Advantages of Negative Keywords

Through negative keywords, you will be able to save money. Using them also offers a host of other benefits, including:

More Relevant Ad Groups

When you eliminate the keywords which aren’t relevant to your business, you will increase the relevance of your ad groups.

When the size of your ad groups is reduced, you will be able to come up with more relevant messages. These messages will relate better to your group of keywords which, in turn, will be more relevant to your audience.

Better Click-Through Rate

When the relevance of your ads is improved, your audience will find them more relatable. This means that there will be less wasted impressions on your ads. That translates into a higher percentage of people who will be interested in your ads.

When the percentage of people interested in your ads increases, your click-through rate will increase as well.

Increased Conversion Rate

The use of negative keywords ensures that your ads won’t be displayed for specific search queries. That means that your ads will only be displayed for the terms that you think will bring in conversions.

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Avoid Harm to Business

When your ads appear in search results for the wrong reasons, they could harm the reputation of your business. This is mainly because your ad won’t provide anything helpful to the person who has conducted the search.

At the same time, your bounce rate will also increase as the person will navigate away from your website.

Increased Quality Score

When your CTR increases, your quality score will also improve. This can help you reduce the overall cost of your campaign.

Google’s quality score shows how beneficial and relevant your business is to people. Quality score affects both the position and the cost of your PPC ads on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This ensures that your ad is only visible to your specific target audience which may be interested in your product or service. Not only are they more likely to click on your ads, but they are also more likely to convert.

This way, negative keywords can not only reduce your costs but can also drive an increase in revenue.

How to Add Negative Keywords

To add negative keywords to your Google Ads, you need to head to the “Keywords” section. This will be found in your ad group, campaign, and account.

The page displays the keywords that you’re bidding for but doesn’t show the queries that triggered these keywords. If you want to see them, you can click on, “Search Terms.”

Image via Wordstream

This page will show you the following:

  • Search Term: This shows the queries that were used by searchers on Google. These are the queries that triggered your ads based on your keywords.
  • Match Type: This will show you the match type of the search query through which the keywords were matched.
  • Added/Excluded: Shows the action that you’ve taken on the search query. This can include added to account or added as a negative keyword.

To add negative keywords, you need to select that particular search term. When you select the search term, a box opens up that shows the option, “Add as a negative keyword.”

Once you’ve done this, it’ll prompt you to choose the level of assignment of the keyword as well as the match type. After that, you need to click on “Save.”

Keyword Lists

While exact match keywords might seem like the best option, they won’t make your ads very effective. You need to have a mix of broad and phrase match keywords for your PPC campaigns to be successful.

The downside to such campaigns is that you might be competing for the same impressions in different campaigns.

Let’s say that you sell clothes for men and women through your ecommerce business.

When you don’t negate the word “men” in your women’s clothing campaigns, you will end up with ads of men’s clothes for a women’s clothing search query.

If that happens, it will negatively affect your CTR. If people don’t find the ad relevant, they will likely not click on it. And if they do click on it, they won’t find anything relevant in it, and they’ll bounce quickly.

The way to stop it is by using negative keywords.

However, adding negative keywords through search queries is a big task. Instead of doing so, you can simply create a list of keywords which you don’t want to show your ads for.

To create negative keyword lists, you need to click on the tool icon and select, “Negative Keyword Lists.”

Image via Wordstream

You can then create a new list and add the terms that you want to eliminate along with the accuracy of the match type. Once your list is ready, you can go to your campaign and add the list to the campaign. Then Google can show your ads for the right search queries.

The lists can also be added at the ad group level for further control over your ads.

Keep Scrubbing Regularly

Your job is only half done if you’ve added negative keywords only once in your campaign after setting it up. You may have planned your campaign well but as new data appears every second, things change on Google.

Search terms can change and your competitors may modify their tactics as well. This may lead to your negative keywords bringing you irrelevant traffic or impressions. To avoid this, you should keep scrubbing for new negative keywords on a regular basis.

I recommend doing negative scrubs on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This can help you optimize your campaigns and reduce irrelevant traffic. When you do it on a regular basis, the task won’t be as time consuming as well.

If you have a large account, a weekly scrub might not be the most efficient one as it may contain a lot of queries.

To avoid wasting time in this case, you should focus only on those queries that carry a high risk with them. You can sort the search terms report by CTR and find the ones which have little to no clicks. These are the ones you should be targeting.

Stay Organized

You should keep your negative keywords organized. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a lot of them. You should do this so that you don’t end up with duplicate negatives.

Google has a limit for the number of negatives that you can add, including:

  • 20 shared negative keyword lists
  • 5,000 keywords in every list
  • 10,000 negative keywords in every campaign
  • 5,000 negatives in Display Network and YouTube

If you end up with duplicates, you might miss out on some necessary negatives. To avoid this, you can use campaign level negative keywords. Shared lists can also help you stay organized.

Final Thoughts

Negative keywords are just as important as keywords for your PPC campaigns. They help you optimize your ads and get them in front of your target audience. They also help you reduce the cost of your ads and increase your CTR, conversion rate, and quality score.

Using a combination of broad, phrase, and exact match negative keywords can help you optimize your ads. Forming keyword lists and scrubbing for negatives on a regular basis can help you beat your competitors.

Originally published at Shanebarker.com.

About The Author

Shane Barker is the Founder and CEO of Content Solutions and Gifographics. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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