Blog

Content Marketing Do’s And Don’ts

Content marketing is rapidly becoming a very popular method to build authority, rank in the SERPs, and increase traffic. As content is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the core of every good online business, it should definitely be high on your list of webmaster priorities.

High quality content is an absolute must for any SEO campaign – it’s a must of any marketing campaign, for that matter. Excellent content builds the necessary foundation for online success.

Now that we’ve understood that content marketing is a powerful business asset, let’s take a quick look at the do’s and the don’ts of any successful content marketing campaign.

Do Update A Blog Regularly With Researched, Valuable Content

Blog

Image credit(s): Stock.xchng

Blogs (just like this one), are very important assets, both for online and offline businesses. Originally, the term was weblog, i.e. a web log. The concept started out as an online journal of sorts, but has since then quickly evolved into a very valuable marketing asset.

Blogs are an excellent way to connect with your customers and clients on a regular business. Moreover, they’re also excellent channels by which to gain new prospects and leads. For example, if you are able to rank your blog posts on the first page of Google every time (you might need our help for that), then you’ll be able to generate a lot of traffic.

If you blog on topics relevant to the products/services you offer, then the traffic you get will be very targeted, and therefore very interested in what you offer. I’ve seen just how a blog attracts clients in my own experience countless times.

Don’t Blog Low-Quality Content

It’s all very well to have a regularly updated, search engine optimized blog. But, if the content you publish is of low quality, and does not really add value to the Internet, then you are missing the point.

Customers should come to you because you provide value. However, before they buy from you, they need to know that you have a track record for providing value. If all you blog about are the exact same, rehashed topics that have already been blogged about on the existing plethora of weblogs, then you are not giving your customer reassurance that your product or service is unique, valuable, and useful.

If you publish low quality content on your blog, that could well turn away potential prospects.

What you should do is research every post, discuss an original topic or throw a new light on an old one. In any case, the level of English (or whatever language you choose to blog in) should be the highest possible.

Do Make Content Syndication A Focus

Content syndication happens when bloggers see fantastic blog posts, copy them, and post them on their own blog with attribution to the original source. The original blogger gets targeted traffic plus a backlink, while the syndicater gets free content for their own blog.

In 2014, content syndication should definitely figure high in your content marketing strategy. Indeed, syndication is bound to be the future of SEO. Just one fantastic article can get syndicated many times over to different networks.

Unlike what you might have heard, posting duplicate content on your own blog does not hurt your search engine ranking. In fact, approximately three quarters of the web is made up of duplicate content (according to Google). What does hurt rankings, however, is if duplicate content has been posted several times over on one blog.

Be forewarned: only the best articles are syndicated. Also, syndication will require some very active promotion on your part. That includes constantly e-mailing webmasters in your niche to find out whether or not they would like to syndicate your content.

Don’t Go Crazy With Article Directory Marketing

Content Marketing

Image Credit(s): bigevil600

Anyone who tells you that submitting articles to article directories in exchange for a backlink is a great SEO strategy is still living in 2007. It simply doesn’t work like that in 2014 and beyond.

In 2011, a Google update killed article directories – it basically spanked them off the face of the SERPs. Article directories do NOT bring any sort of traffic to your site. And the backlink? You’re more likely to get penalized by Google for having a backlink from a penalized site.

The real use of article directories was actually never to drive traffic to your site. Rather, they were meant to be a place where webmasters can scout around for useful content that they can syndicate on their own blog. In essence, submitting articles to directories is merely a way to get your content syndicated and improve your blog’s visibility and authority.

Do Create Press Releases

Press releases are an excellent way to create a buzz around your business in a short time. They’ve just grown to be popular in Internet marketing circles in recent years. Although there is no proven SEO benefit from press releases, the resulting branding benefits are huge.

Press releases, however, are not meant to be completely centered around your product or service. Each press release should discuss a unique topic. If you do offer a bit of a “generic” product or service that a thousand other marketers are selling, do your best to do something that hasn’t really been seen before.

Use statistics and other relevant information from reputable sources to backup your claims as to why prospective clients need your service/product. Don’t turn it into a sales pitch, but do your best to create as much awareness of your product as possible.

Do Create & Publish Infographics

As opposed to text-based blog posts, infographics are much more syndication ready and shareable, due to their visual nature. Not only so, but infographics are great ways to make readers love your blog. They are quick and easy to read, easy on the eyes, they cooperate with the short attention span we humans have, and they’re persuasive.

Keep in mind that infographics can be very expensive to outsource, and quite time-consuming when you don’t know how to create one.

Don’t Let Your Blog Be Based Totally Around Infographics

Yes, infographics are great ways to build your brand, increase traffic, and generate awareness, but they are a tactic that should not be overused.

Infographics are quite special. The publication of one on your blog should be a special, almost sacred event. Besides that, some people like to read some good ol’ text – don’t let images completely dominate your blog.

Do Guest Post

Guest posting is probably the best ways to increase a relatively new blog’s exposure due to their nature. The concept behind it is simple – you publish a post on a popular blog in exchange for a link to your site/sales funnel/squeeze page. They are the perfect way to grow brand-spanking-new blogs to superstars in a matter of weeks.

You should definitely be guest posting, and doing quite a bit of it if you are new to Internet marketing.

Don’t Guest Post Just For Links

What Are Backlinks

Image credit(s): Stock.xchng

Nothing irritates a blogger more than to know that someone is just trying to take advantage of their PR for their own site. Don’t guest blog for the backlinks. Rather, guest post for the resulting traffic, branding, authority, and even money (if you link to your sales funnel and set it up right).

Don’t make your bio overly promotional, either. Just a quick few words about what you do is quite enough – most bloggers won’t allow any more than that.

Do Track Your Content Marketing Efforts

Every guest post, syndication, link, and so on should be recorded and tracked. Recording your content marketing data allows you to come back to it, find out what you did wrong, and remedy it in the next steps of your campaign.

Don’t Just Haphazardly Waltz Through Content Marketing With No Tracking

If you don’t track your content marketing efforts, then you essentially don’t know if you’re making process, or if you’ll ever get where you want to be.

A simple Excel sheet and a few extra minutes per day is all it takes.

Do Outsource Content Marketing

For all its benefits, content marketing is still a very time consuming and very difficult project to undertake. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of Internet marketers out there who understand content marketing a whole lot better than you do, and some of them offer content creation services.

If you are not able to sustain content creation in-house, then you should definitely start thinking about expanding and outsourcing the “menial” tasks, such as writing the content, promoting it on other blogs, and getting it syndicated.

You should look at outsourcing not as a cost for your business, but rather as an investment. If a single 2,000 word article cost $200 to outsource, but was syndicated many times over and ended bringing you $100 in revenue every month, then you’re looking at a 600% ROI per year. Wouldn’t you make that investment again … and again … and again?

Don’t Hire “Just Anyone”

Outsource Content Creation

Image credit(s): Stock.xchng

The fact of that matter is, you’ll find that every Tom, Dick, and Harry all offer writing services. Of that trio, however, the reality may be that only Tom actually has a halfway decent writing ability – Dick and Harry falslely advertise their services.

That reality is only too true in the Internet marketing realm. You’ll find literally tens of thousands of “writers” out there. You’ll also find that upwards of 95% of them are nothing but hoaxes.

Always go for writers who speak flawless English (it doesn’t matter if they are natives, so long as their level of English is as good as or better than a native’s), who have their own website, a proven track record (past achievements are a must), and nothing but positive feedback for clients.

Also, don’t try to skimp here, because you’ll only end up paying for it in the future. That might come in the form of a decrease in reputation (due to low quality content), a low ROI (vs. a higher ROI had you paid more), or a poor experience with the employee.

Summing Up

Content marketing is, quite literally, the new SEM in 2014. If you haven’t already got a move on in your content marketing efforts, then it is most certainly time you did.

Content marketing is certainly not easy, and will require a lot of planning, tracking, and yes, even money. In the end, however, you’ll find that your benefits are quite worth it.

Conversion Rate

16 Reasons Why Your Blog Doesn’t Convert

Conversions are just about everything in Internet marketing. If you’re not making conversions, you’re not getting subscribers, sales, or revenue. You might be able to drive hoards of traffic, but in the end, you won’t make any money since your visitors aren’t converting.

Here’s a bit of troubleshooting as to why you’re not getting the conversions you need.

1. Not Giving Something Away

If you want opt-ins, if you want user engagement, if you want conversions, you need to give something away. And you can’t just be “giving” away rebranded PLR. Whatever you give needs to be of high value, and needs to be something that your readers will actually appreciate.

First off, your blog (if you have a blog) needs to be of the highest quality content possible. It should really help people out, and not just restate what you can already find plastered all over the Internet.

Secondly, if you’re looking to increase your opt-ins, i.e. subscribers, make sure that you have an incentive to subscribe. Give them free access to an eBook, video tutorial, interview or something of that sort after they subscribe.

2. Not Building A Relationship

If you want to take your readers to a point where they do more than just reading your e-mails/blog posts and they actually buy your products, then you need to have a relationship building process going on first.

You can build a relationship by interacting with your readers. Not just in the blog comments, but also in their e-mail inbox (respond as fast as possible if they ever ask you a question), on social media (thank & follow them if and when they share your post to their network), and wherever else you can think of.

All the while, be thinking of how you can build a relationship with your viewers and how you can get closer to them and build trust.

3. Your Blog/Website Is Not Reader-Friendly

Color Conversions

Courtesy Doug88 via Flickr.

There are user-friendly blogs, and then there are NOT user-friendly blogs. The former gets a whole lot more conversions than the latter.

Typography (your fonts and how they look) play a huge role in conveying messages to your readers. HubSpot showed colors play a huge role in conversions – a red call to action button converted 21% better than a green one did.

Pick your design and colors very carefully.

4. There’s No Opportunity To Interact With The Site

Probably the worst things you could do to hurt your conversion rate is to have comments turned off on your blog posts or to have no social sharing plugin setup that makes it easy to share your posts/website.

The more you can do to interact with your viewers, the better.

5. There’s No Picture Of You

How Faces Impact Conversions

Photo courtesy Epsos via Flickr.

People feel much better buying from a real person rather than from a faceless mask behind the computer. Use a professional, smiling photo of yourself on your blog and watch your conversions skyrocket.

Again, you’re building a connection with your readers. An emotional and physical connection – your face is now registered in their brain. Needless to say, that’s a good thing to happen.

6. You Talk In The 3rd Person

Always, always, always use the first person point of view in your blog posts. The only instance where you might not want to use first person (and 3rd person instead) is if you’re blogging/writing for a major company like eBay, Amazon, Apple, or that sort. If you are an Internet marketer selling a service, or if your brand isn’t that big yet, go first person.

Using words like “I, you, we, us” helps to build a connection with your readers and interact with them.

7. You Don’t Look Cool

A sleek blog design that makes everything easily accessible and “just a click away” helps readers to navigate your system. Also, people like to look at a cool design, increasing engagement and decreasing bounce rate.

Yes, that means investing in a premium theme or even a custom blog design. Be sure to use one that fits in well with the message you want your blog to convey. For instance, if you sell comics, your blog design will be drastically different from what you’ll want if you sell packaging equipment.

8. People Don’t Practice What You Preach

Or, in other words, other people haven’t got results from your services/products. If you’re selling an eBook guide, and people aren’t actually implement the techniques/strategies discussed in the eBook, why should others buy it?

If you don’t have proven results from people who have practiced what you preach, then you can count on a <1% conversion rate.

9. You Ask For Too Much Private Information

If you’re trying to build a list, the only piece of information you really need is their e-mail address. Believe it or not, but their first name is completely unnecessary to market a product to them.

True, asking for a first name and using it in your autoresponder messages might help you build a better connection with your list, but the decrease in conversion rate isn’t worth it in most cases. The less forms people have to fill out, the more likely they are to fill out the essential ones.

10. Where’s Your Track Record?

Where’s your proven track record backing up your product? Going back to the hypothetical case where you’re selling an eBook – you need to have case studies and experiments to back up your strategies that say “hey, my strategies really do work. By doing XXX I was able to increase my revenue by $X,XXX every month”.

It’s great to have testimonials from former clients, but your own track record should reflect what you teach positively.

11. Your Traffic Has No Focus

The moment anyone visits any page or post in your site you should have a specific purpose for them. In most cases, that purpose will be for them to subscribe to your mailing list. If that’s your goal, then everything your viewer does from the point he steps onto your site should be concentrated on getting him/her onto your list.

On the other hand, if you want to start selling and profiting from them right away, then channel your traffic straight into your sales funnel. But whatever you do, your traffic has to have a focus and purpose.

12. Traffic Targeting Is Everything

That said, some traffic converts better than other traffic. If you sell skateboards, 50 year old females won’t convert as well as 18 year old males.

SEO traffic is reputed to have high conversions. Traffic from social bookmarking (think StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg), on the other hand, is notorious for low conversions and high bounce rates. Target your traffic so that you are only getting the highest quality traffic that is very relevant to your offer.

13. It Isn’t Easy To Convert

If there’s a bug in the system, or if there is something that somehow stops your visitor from being able to do what you want him or her to do (i.e. subscribe to your list or buy your product), then you are losing out on a hefty percentage of leads.

If subscribers are your goal, ensure that opt-in boxes are pretty much all over the place. They should be able to get into your funnel process with just one click.

14. Your Name Doesn’t Carry Any Authority

Michael Schumacher’s name carries authority. Rand Fishkin’s name carries authority. Muhammad Ali’s name carries authority. Does your name carry authority in your niche?

If you haven’t been able to brand yourself to a point where you’re held in high esteem by the people you want to market to, the best way to build your authority is to leverage the existing authority of others. Interviewing people in high places, guest posting on their blogs, and doing whatever you can to associate your name with theirs does wonders to increase your authority and popularity.

15. Your Site/Blog Is Very Vague About What You Do

The very first moment someone steps onto your site, they should know what your site is all about. For example, on our site, our domain name, our logo, and our homepage lets visitors immediately know that they are visiting the website of an SEO service provider.

If you provide business consultancy, don’t blog about anything other than business consultancy (yes, that means you can’t blog about your pets). Don’t stray from your topic – keep your entire site laser focused to your purpose.

16. You Haven’t Split Tested

If all else fails, then it is time to turn back to good ol’ split testing. See what version of your sales page converts. See what doesn’t.

See how the color of your call to action button impacts your conversions. See how your typography, logo, theme, blog posts, etc. impact your conversions.

Test, test, test, then test a bit more.

Summing Up

If your website isn’t converting, and if you are not making money yet, you are doing something wrong. Probably one or more of the above sixteen problems.

Concentrate on fixing them, and you will be good to go for countless more conversions.