5 Solutions To Blogger’s Block

The desire to start a blog, or any business for that matter, tends to stem from passion. There’s a subject you know a lot about and you want to talk about it, and you want to leverage this knowledge to promote your business or build an online community.

At first, the topics and inspiration come to you easily. There’s plenty of material you want to go through and items you want to discuss. You never struggle to put words into your content management system. Over time, however, conjuring up ideas for a new post can become far harder than you ever thought possible. You’re running out of steam, struggling with loose concepts you don’t really care about just for the sake of a post, and then you finally run out of ideas altogether. 

You’re probably familiar with the concept of writer’s block; the idea that there is a point at which a writer just can’t seem to keep going with their work. Blogger’s block is no different. It’s a phase you enter when you are thirsty for inspiration but there doesn’t seem to be a drop to drink. Your blog and its readership wait for the lightning bolt of inspiration to strike, but you just keep coming up empty. As a result, new traffic may slow down on your site.

So, rather than letting your blog fall silent to the point it is invaded by digital tumbleweed, here are a few options to get you back on track.

#1 – Stop Blogging!

Even if your blog is a source of income or a major part of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to take a break from it every now and again.

There’s nothing to be gained from sitting over your keyboard, panicking about the fact that you’re not coming up with anything. There’s even less to be gained from publishing something just because you need to publish. If you do that, you’re undoubtedly going to be compromising the quality of what you write.

Rather than continuing to go around in circles, give yourself at least two days away from your blog. It might be just what your mind needs to get the creative juices flowing again.

#2 – Edit Old Posts

bloggersblock

You probably have posts on your blog that are a few years old and might not be quite up to your current standards. Blogging is always evolving, and you might find yourself embarrassed by your archives if you look closely enough. If you go back and edit these historic posts to be more SEO friendly or improve the picture quality, you not only help your blog, but you could also find yourself coming up with fresh ideas.

You might even find that you now think differently about a post you wrote before, or have developed a better technique, having developed as a writer over the years. This gives you an immediate launch into writing a new post that reflects how you feel in the present.

#3 – Look At Other Blogs (Within Reason)

When authors need to shake writer’s block, they often read some of their favorite novels in the hope of unblocking themselves. It makes sense to translate that to blogs, but do be careful not to be too directly influenced.

Competitor’s blogs and industry news are often the best sources of ideas for new blog posts that will be relevant to your readership or target market, but it’s important not to copy them directly.

If a blog has just written “10 Things I Love About Summer”, don’t write “5 Reasons Summer Is The Best Season.” It’s far too close to the source material.

However, something topical involving summer (outfits, makeup, styles that work well in summer, for example) would be considered inspired-by rather than a direct copy. Ensuring you don’t focus on individual posts but rather the blog as a whole can also help with this. See if you can muster up thoughts and emotions from the entire blog, then expand on these in your own writing.

#4 – Browse Forums

blogbubble

Forums might not be as on-trend as they used to be, but there’s still plenty online to use as fodder for blog posts. Find a forum that is relevant to your niche, then dive on in and see what people are talking about.

A great way to do this is to look for questions forum users are asking about your niche. You can then write a blog post in response to those queries, even if you never publish your reply on the forum itself. If one person is asking the question, it’s likely someone else is too, so you’ll scoop up traffic from Google searches and break your block at the same time.  

#5 – Write About Not Being Able To Write

It might sound odd, but it works. Often the problem with blogger’s block is not in the words themselves, but your attitude to the words or even how you feel about your blog as a whole. Writing that out can be hugely beneficial, especially as it might be the first time you see the real causes on screen. Maybe you have been feeling dejected with your numbers not growing, or you’re concerned about the quality of your images — all real issues that can cause a block in your mind.

At the very least, this post will inform your readership of what’s happening and why there are no new posts. The fact it might help you shake the block once and for all is just a lovely potential bonus.

Blogger’s block is an inevitability, but that doesn’t mean there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. If your creativity can suddenly dry up and cause a block, there will always be a way to get it running again. It might take a few false starts and sputters, but eventually the walls will come down and you’ll be able to blog freely once more.

Stephen Van Delinder is a Co-founder of Reputation Resolutions, a company that serves individuals and businesses in restoring, building, and maintaining their online reputation and brand. Armed with certifications in Digital Marketing from New York University, Google, and Microsoft, Stephen applies his knowledge of online reputation management to help people and businesses look their best online.

Original post: 5 Solutions To Blogger’s Block

How Can Personalization Help In Content Optimization

Most marketers have this wrong assumption about content marketing. Perhaps, you are one of those marketers which think that your job is done after you have published your work. But the truth is; the real work begins before and after you have successfully published your article.

As a marketer, it is also your job to optimize your content. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the nitty-gritty technical details about the SEO or keywords or the Meta data.

In this content-driven digital world, content optimization is now more about how the quality, the relevance and the connection you can build with your audience through your content.

Content Optimization Influence How Content Is Consumed

How well you optimize your content has an impact on how your content is delivered to your readers. If you optimize it right, you increase the likelihood that your content will reach and consumed by the intended audience.

A study revealed the top three factors that make content effective are relevancy, engagement and storytelling and call to action. With these factors in mind, content personalization is something that is getting more and more valuable in content optimization.

Optimize Content With Personalization

Content personalization involves analyzing accurate audience data to create and deliver relevant content that will stir their curiosity, encourage engagement and compels them to do an action.

According to statistics, about 74% of customers feel frustrated if the website content is not personalized. Nowadays, you have to be real. Not everyone is the same. Your target market may be of the same generation but their buying behavior is not the same. Their purchasing journey varies because of various factors such as location, culture and interests.

Laptop And People

So whether you are creating our content for lead generation, for engagement or for brand awareness, it is crucial that you create a personalized content. Create a content that a specific group of audience can understand and related to so you can send you message across.

But amidst the hype of personalization, how marketers can utilize it in content optimization is still a conundrum. So to help, here are some pre and post-publishing steps that will help you start you content personalization strategies.

THE PRE-PUBLISHING PROCESS – UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE

Basically, the pre-publishing process is the steps you need to follow before you start creating your content. It is vital to understand who your audience is and how or when they consume your content.

Systematize Your Data Gathering

If you keep on gathering data here and there without any systematic process, you will end up cluttered with various data which seemed to have no use.

A systematic data gathering needs technology to maximize and organize your efforts. Strategically, you may use a CMS which provides effective CRM features and allows you to be connected to data sources, thus, giving you a useful and seamless way of gathering user’s data.

Moreover, a systematic data gathering goes way more than just observing your users behavior. It is more than just surveys and statistics. It involves various factors such as online real-time behavior, social media activities, demographic information, activity on your website and a lot more.

You need to figure out how to align these factors to create a systematic and organize approach in data gathering.

Segment Them With The Right Data

After you have successfully gathered the significant data, you need to segment your list. Group together those with similar attributes. You need to be aware that you have different types of customers. Identify each key factor that makes each of them different with one another. You need these key factors to help you create an experience map needed for the next step.

Creating An Experience Map

Each group of target consumers has a distinct behavior which sets them apart from another. You have to determine and understand what they are to create an experience map.

An experience map is your guide to content creation. Using each distinct features of your audience you can create a map of their specific purchasing journey which increases your chance of transmitting your message successfully through a personalized content. You should be able to take your content to the distinct purchasing journey of your target consumers; from awareness to consideration to decision.

THE POST-PUBLISHING PROCESS – DELIVER, GATHER RESULTS, INNOVATE

The publishing process itself is difficult but getting to the post-publishing process could be another headache. But unless you can deliver to content to the right audience, your published content can only do so much.

Use The Right Automation

In content delivery, using the right automation is the light at the end of the tunnel. It allows you to reach out to your target consumers. With the right content marketing tool, you will efficiently and effectively attract your ideal consumers as they consume your content.

Choosing the right marketing automation is not as complicated as it seems. You just need to find the one that uses the data you gathered in order to reach out to your specified audience. It should create a delivery pattern based on your data to send your content across.

When choosing your automation tool, keep one thing in mind; it should help you deliver the right content to the right audience.

Measure, Analyze And Reinvent

At the end of your campaign, you need to have a solid way of measuring and analyzing your audience response. This is a critical element which is not just about clicks or about page views. This is the stage where you need to track data about how your audience responds with your content base on how you segment them.

You need to measure your content’s performance in each group of audience. You have metrics to track to help you find some loopholes and determine areas of improvement. Then, leverage the data and insights you gathered to figure out your personalization strategy’s weakness and improve them for your next optimization campaign.

Important Tip: Always Be Human

As a marketer, perhaps you came across this advice several times already. But how well do you understand this step? Being human is more than just profiling your audience. It is about giving your audience a genuine human interaction and content personalization is all about being human.
You need to significantly provide customers with answers to their questions through your content. If you put consumers at the center of your optimization campaign, you will know what they looking for and give them what they want.

Understand that personalization is a consumer-centered strategy which helps you humanize your brand. In personalization, you don’t just talk with your audience; you also have to listen to them. It enhances a two-way communication between consumers and brands. This way, brands can fully understand them and create a compelling and personalized content that help people in their goals.

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days when your target market is treated in general. It may have worked years ago but as the demand for your market changes so does you marketing approach.

Nearly 100% of consumers surveyed said that they have been discouraged from completing a transaction because of incomplete or incorrect content. Your content no matter how well you craft it would be useless if it does not reflect the needs and wants of your target market. With these in mind, it is safe to say that accurate and personalize content is more important than ever.

Personalization when done right can boost your optimization campaign. There is no doubt about that. The only reason why some marketers fail is that they don’t really understand how content personalization works. But with these tips put into work, hopefully, you can create a personalized content for your next content optimization campaign.

Al Gomez is the man behind SEOExpertPage.com, Dlinkers and UnliDeals. With more than nine years of experience in digital marketing, he enjoys supporting smartpreneurs like himself achieve online success. Connect with him on Twitter (@dlinkers).

Original post: How Can Personalization Help In Content Optimization

4 Creative Ways to Promote Your Site

Promotion of a site can be a time-consuming and expensive task. This is especially tough if you have reached the initial stage of users and are looking for organic growth. We have compiled a list of 4 creative ways to promote your site that will engage your users and bring in more.

1. T-shirt giveaways for readers

T-shirts are like walking billboards and who wouldn’t want a fair bit of advertisement? T-shirts have a long lifespan and are extremely flexible for customization. You can literally print anything on T-shirts and get any t-shirt designs you wish for.

A well-made T-shirt design will ensure that users will keep it for a long time. A survey states that if a T-shirt is fun, functional and trendy, then people will keep it. This is why you should give out T-shirts to your readers and users to make sure they spread the good word about you.

If you are wondering how to create a custom t-shirt design, then you should go for crowdsourcing! You can use a crowdsourcing site like DesignHill to get the best T-shirt designs from hundreds of apparel designers.

Some of the unique ways in which you can give away the T-shirts to your readers –

-Conduct a contest in which readers can tag their friends to win it
-You can get your readers to like your social media pages, and lucky winners can get free t-shirts
-Perform a task or activity to get the T-shirt
-Reward a fan or reader by sending a T-shirt

You should make sure that T-shirt designs are relevant to your product yet interesting. Your readers do not want to literally wear a walking advertisement for you. If your T-shirt design looks extremely promotional, then your reader will not wear it, hence not serving your purpose.

2. Partner with local businesses

A business cannot thrive without the support of a business community. If you are looking to grow your business, then it’s time you partnered with local businesses. Partnering with other businesses is easy, but you have to do it the right way.

Find potential partners
You have to make a list of all the businesses that could be your potential partners. Several businesses have many arms so make sure none of them competes with your business! You want to partner with businesses which complement your product/service.

Reach out to them and execute campaigns
When two businesses partner for growing a business without a formal merger it is important they are on the same page. Engage with businesses which have a similar philosophy and business ethic. Here are a few ways in which you can work with your partners to promote your site –

Cross promotion – Both the parties have to equally promote each other’s products. Sit down and finalize on the communication strategy and design for these promotions.

Events – Combining resources is the best way to maximize impact. You can create events together which will satisfy and engage your target audience.

Rewards – You can give away each other’s products as rewards. For instance, you can give your t-shirt designs to a local football club; while the football club can give you discount coupons for your customers to avail their membership.

Assess the performance
Not all partnerships work out, some of them become too difficult and a drain of your resources. Run a campaign and take a step back to assess how your partnerships worked. If the partnership has brought in more users and business, then continue else put a stop to it!

3. Run a contest for readers and subscribers

Online contests are a very popular way of increasing traffic to your site. In fact, a survey found out that after an effective contest campaign, sites increase their fan base by almost 34%! This is because contests are a fun and exciting way to engage users and promote your site.

Here are a few contest ideas you can use –

-Create a slogan for your site
Name a new product or service that you are going to offer on your site
-Upload their photos and tag their friends for a particular theme contest
-Challenge contests are an extremely popular where you can coax your followers to participate in unique challenges
-Caption contests which can be funny or humorous
-Upload videos where the users have to perform a certain activity, and they have to get maximum likes to win it
-Crowdsource for new ideas on products, varieties or other customizations
Quizzes and guessing games

You can add a condition that maximum likes or shares on entries will be considered as a parameter for winning the contests. Here are some prize ideas that your users will love and spread it among their community –

-Giveaway customized t-shirt designs
-Free products and services including 1-month trials
-Cash or discount offers on services, products, and subscriptions
-Chance to be featured on the site as well as advertising
-Free trips or customized prizes

You can even continue leveraging the contest after it is done by posting about the user and his prize. You can develop that story over the next few posts so that your users trust your contests and participate in them the next time.

However, make sure you are transparent in your communication regarding the contests. Your users and fans should not feel let down with your promises. Else they will quickly review and brand you as fraudulent!

4. Reward influencers and customers who recommend you on social media

Your audience is going to be important to you always, whether you have 100 users or 1 million users. It is the relationship that you have with your users that will change as your audience grows. One of the best ways to engage with your users is to make them feel important by one to one interactions.

If you are a big brand with many users/subscribers, then you can do these activities to engage users –

On Facebook – Share the reader’s feedback or post by putting it on your timeline. Tag the reader so that they will get a lot of followers in turn. This will also ensure other readers promote your site too.

On Instagram – Repost their Instagram post and tag them. Shareability and discovery are difficult on Instagram. By the repost, you show importance to your reader and their thoughts.

On Twitter – A retweet by a major brand will enhance the value of the reader’s tweet immensely. Other accounts will also start tagging your site.

If you are an upcoming brand with new users being added every day, then your strategy will change. It is unlikely that readers will recommend your site right away. In such a situation drive focus on influencers. In a survey, it was found that over 71% users were likely to purchase based on social media referrals.

On Facebook – Tie up with influencers and ask them to review your site. You can give them your products or have any other similar deal

On Instagram – With the recent addition of Instagram Stories, influencers are able to make more impact. Send free products or special deal discounts which they can, in turn, give away to their users

On Twitter – This is a completely open platform and can make or break your brand. Retweet and hashtag effectively to create maximum positive impact

Do you use any other creative ideas to promote your site? If you do then let us know in the comments below.

Original post: 4 Creative Ways to Promote Your Site

Increase Your Blog’s Appeal By Adding These 3 Spices

If you’ve been dreaming of making it big with your blog, and gathering millions of loyal subscribers who can’t wait to get your next email, you’re in good company. Everyone wants their blog to be successful, but only a handful achieve it. Not because there’s a secret formula they’re keeping secret, but because they know the ingredients required for success.

Although it seems complicated at times, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to have a successful blog. Here are three simple steps you can take to spice up your existing blog and make it more desirable to your readers:

1. Write only when you have something to say

One of the most common pieces of advice given by expert bloggers and marketers is the frequency at which you should post new articles. Some say you need to post articles daily, while others say you can get away with posting a couple times per week, which is still frequent. Almost no advice out there will tell you to post sparingly.

Posting frequently sounds like a strategy backed by some technical reason or logic, but it’s really not. The intention behind frequent posting is nothing more than keeping a steady stream of content in front of your already-distracted visitors so they don’t forget about you and move on.

That advice was created to help people with mediocre content achieve mediocre success. Truth is, more content doesn’t equal more target readers. When you have high quality content, people don’t need to be convinced to read your articles, and you don’t need to keep putting your content in their face. A truly successful blog will have visitors who voluntarily come back for more.

People don’t read, they scan

Studies like this one from the Nielsen Norman Group show that people don’t read web content word for word. Instead, they scan for keywords. Even when an article is interesting to them, they only read a portion of it. Chances are, if you’ve been publishing articles to stay on top of your weekly quota, they’re probably not even being read.

Posting less frequently isn’t a strategy itself, but it’s a side effect of the ultimate strategy of publishing articles only when you have something of value to share.

When your content is delectable, and people actively want to consume it, posting less frequently will cause people to anticipate your next post and become excited when it’s published. When people want your content and wait for it, that’s a true sign of success.

2. Write about creative projects related to your niche

Whatever your niche is, some creative mind out in the world has started a humanitarian or art project related to it. Finding those people and writing an article about their creative projects is a wonderful way to give your readers something fun to read.

For example, if you’re in marketing, you could write an article about an artist doing portrait mosaics out of business cards and flyers! Engaging readers with creative content makes them feel good.

You want your blog to stand out, so the more unique your content is, the better. Another example of creative articles can be seen on the Clunker Junker’s blog. There’s an article written about an artist from Poland who used scrap metal to build scale models of various supercars. His models are hauntingly beautiful, and contain so many small parts that it’s hard to imagine how he was able to do it.

Don’t just look around at other blogs in your industry to get ideas. Think outside the box and bring creativity through art to your blog.

3. Share something mind blowing

To really spice up your blog, write about something generally only known inside of your industry that affects other people. Buzzfeed is a master of this strategy! Or, write about something commonly known but from an uncommon perspective afforded by your industry.

For example, Dave Asprey published an article on his Bulletproof Coffee blog about the reason many organic farms aren’t renewing their official, organic certification. According to the article, in some states certifications are moving from a set yearly fee to a percentage of gross annual income, making it impossible for smaller farms to renew certification. While these farms still produce certifiably organic produce, unless consumers investigate, they’d never know.

Most people go to the grocery store and think that unless food is labeled organic, it’s not organic. This article gives people the incentive they need to do more research and not be fooled by labels (or the absence thereof). That produce you’ve been avoiding because it’s not organic could, in fact, be organic.

Original post: Increase Your Blog’s Appeal By Adding These 3 Spices

10 Rules A Blogger Can’t Ignore For Better Traffic

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” –Brian Clark

The Internet is full of traffic. How do you attract at least a part of it to your blog? You have been working so hard to maintain the quality of your blog, but when will the analytics bless you with better numbers?

It is not that your blog drives traffic only if you are lucky. However, you can’t promote it carelessly or expect it to be read widely just by ensuring a great topic. Only patience and systematic efforts will get you the desired traffic. Look at these factors one by one, and you will be convinced that you can open the gates to the traffic you need.

1. Quality content

Everything you need to know about creating killer content (can be put) in 3 simple words: Clear. Concise. Compelling.” –Demian Farnworth

This is, of course, the basic requirement. So besides regular study and proper research, fresh topics and interesting treatment, get your content reviewed by professionals to make it error-free before sending it online. You will add value to it by making it relevant. Also make your content SEO friendly.

Google Analytics tells you which of your topics are getting more viewers, their location, language, and preferred devices. The blogs they like will highlight the areas in which you are strong and you will know where to focus for more traffic.

2. Captivating headline

On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. –David Ogilvy

A headline is like a preview of a blog. The signboard to the shop a blogger has started. In this busy market, only a catchy headline can lead a reader to the display of blog he has created. A reader is generally looking for a problem solver, so titles such as ‘How to stay young even at the age of 50′, ‘10 Steps To Stay relaxed using Outsourcing’, and ‘The Ultimate Guide to…’ are the best click-baits to land them on your blog.

3. Visual bait

If content is the king, visuals are what make it kingly. Time and again the importance of the visual element has been proved. Any information which comes as a visual treat naturally gets more likes, shares, and ultimately more traffic. Some of the most popularly engaging visual contents are:

-Quotes
-Current affairs
-Stats
-Questions
-Infographics
-Memes

4. Promotion

There are two ways to promote your blog. Organic and Paid.

Under the organic promotion, attach the blog link to your email signature. Invite the receiver to read it. Because it goes with each mail you send, it is a good reminder, and sooner or later every receiver will click it. Mail others who you know would be interested in the topic. Then there is Facebook, Twitter, and other to regularly put up your link. If you are regularly interacting on various social forums, your blog will definitely get noticed.

Paid promotion or pay per click services, of course, gives you a wider and definite reach, but you need to decide wisely on who you want to read your blog, and strategize accordingly.

5. Bring in influencers

Mention a big brand or incorporate an influential person’s quote with a back link to their names. Cite an example using their name. This creates chances of that person or brand promoting your blog – knowingly or unknowingly — in the process of their branding exercise, such as tweets or status messages.

6. Keep in touch

Blogging is an online exercise, so you must regularly socialize on the internet. The most popular club is Twitter. It is a place where you will find both old and young, intellectuals and non-intellectuals. Tweet your posts there. You can also leverage an occasion by retweeting a past post. Make your content easily shareable. Facebook too brings you views, but far less than Twitter.

7. Keywords

Keyword is one of the keywords in promoting a blog. There are popular keywords, but big agencies are already fighting for it, so no point wasting your time there. For you, the best bet is long-tail keywords– search phrases made of more than 3 keywords. They are focused, cheaper due to less competition, and are easier to target. See these examples:
Health food — health food plans for children below 8 years
Hot pot – electric hot pot car adapter

8. Frequency

(Superheroes) can disappear for months or years and then burst back onto the scene with a climactic display of their impressive powers. Okay for superheroes, not okay for your content. It might feel boring and constraining, but publishing consistently brings results.” –Amy Harrison
People need regular reminders of your blog. You can’t pop up once in a while and expect people to promptly visit your blog. You need to decide how regularly you wish to write and stay committed to it.

9. Guest, guest

Be a guest. Bring a guest. Visit others’ blogs. Be their guest blogger. Bring a guest blogger to yours. Your reputation will help them, similarly, theirs will help grow traffic to your blog. At the same time, never neglect the quality. Be patient and careful. Beware also of spamming as it attracts painful penalties.

10. Loading time

Loading time is a major factor that affects ranking for marketers. Since you are promoting your blog, you must ensure that it has a good loading timing. Smooth loading of a page makes for a good user experience and brings a user back to the page.

Conclusion
There are no lines in the sand in the blogosphere except for those who draw those lines in an effort to get attention. –David Risley

No great blogger is awesome on his first day. He just keeps honing his blog writing skill, unfailingly follows rules he has learnt, and with his persistence, creates value that makes his blog awesome.

Original post: 10 Rules A Blogger Can’t Ignore For Better Traffic

8 Ways to Cut Costs on Content Creation

Most of the businesses we talk to that are getting their content marketing programs up and running are struck by one of two conclusions early on:

1. They start off with budget expectations that are too low and are surprised that they can’t find reliable writers and creative team members at those rates, or
2. They start off with high quality expectations, and are surprised by the unexpected costs required to produce it.
 
The most successful B2B marketers are dedicating over 39% of their marketing budgets on content. But on the other hand, 65% of businesses believe content marketing just isn’t affordable. And what’s worse, is that mid to large B2B companies in the US are spending approximately $958M each year on inefficient or ineffective content.
 
Content marketing can be one of the most effective and practical marketing methods when it’s done right, but there is more pressure than ever on organizations to be strategic about creating content. In order to break through the clutter, it needs to be the right copy for the right audience, all while staying within the means of a budget.
 
So where is that middle ground? How can companies launch an effective content strategy within the means of their small budgets? Follow these tips:

Benchmark Your Current Efforts

Before diving into a cost optimization strategy, it’s important to audit your current content marketing strategy. If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, how will you know if it’s worthwhile to pursue a particular topic or channel?
 
Start with analyzing your website:
-How many pages do you have?
-How much traffic are they getting?
-What’s the conversion rate?
-What is the focus keyword?
-What is your rank for that keyword?
 
Next, take a look at your content offers and catalog each:
-Content offer title
-URL
-Type of content
-Publish date
-Stage if the buyer’s journey the offer is intended for
-Visits
-Conversions
-Shares on social media

This practice can potentially help you uncover gaps in your content, allow you to focus your efforts, and ultimately save time.

Repurpose the Good Stuff

After determining which content offers have resonated with your target persona in the past, there’s no reason why you can’t repurpose it. Pull a chapter or two out of an eBook and turn them into blog posts. Or vice versa: Compile a few blogs with a common theme into an eBook. Got those few evergreen blogs from 2013 that continue to bring in traffic that converts? Promote it again on social media!

Plan Ahead

Fail to plan and you plan to fail. And we know that content is more than just blogging so it’s important to map out your content strategy for the following months to expose any gaps, allowing you to budget more accurately. Set SMART goals and plan your strategy and calendar backwards from there. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Quora to do keyword research to come up with your topics and titles.
 
Pro Tip: Try to avoid using a blog title generator. They usually produce pretty generic headlines. You’re better off spending some extra time to come up with unique topics and titles that resonate with your specific personas.

Master Your Photography

Eye-catching photos are a must for complementing your content marketing efforts. 67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online. Not just for eCommerce businesses, quality photos draw the reader in and contribute to the “shareworthiness” of the content. But hiring a professional photographer for every new piece of content can get expensive, and we all know how cheesy and unoriginal stock photography can be.
 
Keep your costs down by mastering photography in-house. Focus on investing in the right equipment and lighting and you’ll be able to save money and time into the future.

Weigh the Costs of Creating Internally vs. Externally

Companies often handle some content projects in-house, while hiring external agencies for other projects. It depends on the company’s:
-Budget
-Content needs
-Size and skills of the internal team.

Once you’ve got your content strategy mapped out, break down the costs of creating content internally and externally for each project to get a clear picture of the best route.

Use Templates

Having a skeleton for your content pieces that allow you to drag and drop new content can help your team save time and make content creation more streamlined. Here are some examples of content formats we frequently build templates for:

-List posts
-How-to’s
-Thought leadership articles
-Checklists
-Video scripts
-Marketing emails and newsletters
-Infographics
-Case studies
-eBooks and guides
-Whitepapers and datasheets

Explore Design Tools

You’re probably no stranger to design tools like Canva and PicMonkey, but there are several others that allow you to do some pretty advanced stuff, without needing to hire a designer.
 
Thinglink allows you to create images with clickable elements. With this technology, you can create:
-Infographics with links to more information or sources
-Interactive maps
-Social media images with clickable elements.

Leverage Free Video Production

Creating video content is becoming much easier for organizations with the help of social media. Businesses are taking advantage of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories to deliver content to directly their audiences where they’re spending time. These types of videos are recorded using a Smartphone, require little to no editing making them cheaper, faster, and easier to share than heavily produced videos. As people’s attention spans get shorter (eight seconds!) businesses and marketers can continue to capitalize on these shorter more budget-friendly videos.

Once the Content is Created…

Use Marketing Automation

Once your content is created, automation tools can help distribute it to the right people at the right time, thus saving your team time. A study on content consumption indicated that people spend an average of 17 hours per weekday consuming content! Marketers can’t possibly allocate 17 hours a day to creating and sharing content, which is why automation is a must. Marketing automation also allows businesses to create personalized content faster and more affordably. Rather than crafting 1,000 different emails, many marketing automation tools allow you to leverage smart content to create an email with customized messaging.

Create “Aggregated Pages” to Make Your Content Easier to Find

After your content has been promoted on social media and email, it shouldn’t get lost forever. Create a resources page on your website for customers and sales managers to quickly find your content.
 
Quality content will save you time and money and should pay for itself over the long term. When your content speaks to your audience, provides value, and turns the reader into a lead, you’ll likely be earning revenue from your efforts, which you can invest back into your budget.
 
Which aspects of your content creation are the most costly? What areas have you successfully cut costs while maintaining desired results?

Andrea Moxham is a contributing writer at Content Harmony. She is a creative, driven marketing and communications specialist with a proven track record in developing lead generation content. Her entrepreneurial spirit and experience with inbound marketing, social media, communications, and design help her connect clients with new customers.

Original post: 8 Ways to Cut Costs on Content Creation

How I got 150,000 organic views to my video on Facebook in just 2 Days

I was wondering and exploring about the tricks and tips to drive traffic to my recently started blog website, Metrosaga.com. With two years
of experience in copywriting and advertising, I am not a newbie to blogging and digital marketing. I used to blog for an e-commerce startup called Bro4u and have written more than 200 articles on various categories like home decor, lifestyle, city life, health and more. It was a great experience to explore and write on various topics and as a writer, I believe in the quote said by an Indian writer, Mr.Yeshwanth Chitthal that says, “ I do not write what I know. I write to know.’

Having said this, I believe in creating the content that my audience loves to read. So, without making much delay, I’ll quickly jump to the
point and share my experience of how I got 1,50,000 organic views to my video on Facebook in just 2 days.

No Big Followers

Firstly, I would like to say that my Facebook page has only 5000 followers and I have not spent a single penny on my video. One day, I
read that videos are the easiest way to reach masses and Facebook prioritize video over a blog article or an image post. With this thought in my mind, I went on to create a simple video but my immature video making skills tried to stop me but I didn’t.

I thought, what if I convert my article to a video. So, I took one of my highly viewed article ‘10 signs you are living in Namma Bengaluru’
(Bengaluru is a metro city of India where I live in) and converted it to a simple slideshow video.

Converted my Article to a Video

As I didn’t have video making/editing skills, I chose to do it using an Android App and luckily I got one called ‘Slideshow Maker’. Within 20
minutes, my video was ready. What next? I posted it on my Instagram handle and I just got 5 views as my fan following on Instagram was too less to mention.

This point in the life of a marketer is crucial. If plan ‘A’ doesn’t work then switch to plan ‘B’. My plan B was Facebook. In my 2 years of
experience, I had figured out that FB group marketing is one of the effective ways to drive viewers

I quickly drafted engaging lines and posted the video on my FB Page and then through the page, I started sharing it with the relevant FB
groups. That’s it. People started reacting to it and the rest is a miracle for me. One of the popular Bangalore pages has shared my video
and I got 1,50,000 views, 2k shares, 200+ tags and 58 comments. The video went viral and literally, I couldn’t believe it.

You can visit Fb Page of Metrosaga to view the video.

Let me share what went right with this video in 5 simple points

1. Relevant Content to relevant audience

Always ensure that you are writing for your audience. Identifying the target audience for your creation plays an important role. Whatever
you create, promote in the place where you think your audience are there. If your audience wishes to eat Burger then just prepare a burger. Do not try to feed them a Chicken Curry.

2. Keep it Simple

While writing or creating a video, make sure that you keep things simple in it. Do not use jargons. Speak in a language that your audience
will understand and relate to.

3. Brand vs Information

A video which has more brand orientation to it will rarely go viral. Always create your content strategy in a way that it delivers a useful
information or make people move emotionally. If you are telling an interesting story or if you are sharing unknown facts then people will definitely engage with your work. Always, the content and brand should be in the ratio of 9:1. Do not try to impose brand or try to advertise more. It is good to dedicate the last slide for your brand and the rest of your video should talk content.

4. Video Headline and the Cover image

If people are clicking on your video then 90% of the share goes to your headline and the cover image. Spend more time on your headline
and the cover image.

5. Ask the influencers to share your video

There are social media pages with good followers who might share your video/blog. Approach the relevant pages and request them to share your work on their page. This will help you to reach a wider audience in no time.

I hope that you found this helpful. If you wish to check my blog then visit Metrosaga.com.

Original post: How I got 150,000 organic views to my video on Facebook in just 2 Days

Earning Revenue through Blogging: The Basics

The moment you have developed your blog and it is attracting traffic, the next step is finding ways to monetize it. It is obvious that you have either witnessed or heard about people who have made fortunes through blogging. Others will not mind giving their readers an opportunity to know about their achievements.

To begin with, let us look at some of these great ways to monetize your blog:

Affiliate marketing – This marketing technique is performance-oriented. Being a blogger, you have links redirecting to services or products provided via an affiliate program of another company or business. In case a visitor clicks on the link and makes a purchase, then you will be paid a portion of the cost of the service or product.

If you opt for an affiliate marketing plan, you must ensure to:

-Advertise only those products that are related to your niche
-Only advertise services or products you have personally tried and give suggestions
-In order to avoid contradicting your readers, include a disclaimer on your site

To become an affiliate marketer, you may begin by joining popular programs like:
-LinkShare
Amazon Associates
ClickBank

Besides these popular programs, you could also opt to be an affiliate to businesses with programs for one or a few products. For instance, another blogger may become an affiliate to a program for eCourses or eBooks related to your niche, thereby giving you a chance to make money as it is something your readers are looking for.

Google AdSense – Some individuals focus on self-hosted blogs specifically for ads and Google AdSense stands out as one of the main ad networks on the web. This technique allows you to earn money by simply placing ads on your website. This can be done in two ways:

Impression-based – This relies entirely on page e.g. every 1000 views on your page will earn you a certain amount of money
Click-based – This is where you are paid a certain amount of money when a visitor on your site clicks on the ad. This could vary from $0.01 to more dollars.

While AdSense works with self-hosted WP blogs and free Blogger blogs, remember that it is not compatible with unpaid WP blog. However, you can still monetize it using WordAds through a custom domain.

Course/services – You can set up a unique scholarship opportunity by simply coming up with an online training for a fee. You may choose to create 2-month training via automated emails or a complete package that allows learners to study at their convenient speed. Besides, you may also choose to offer specific services. For instance, as a blogger, you may also join freelance writing platforms and get paid by writing for others.

Consulting – Yet another great to get paid for your visitors is through consulting. These services allow you to earn money by simply giving comments to users. Thus, if you have a blog concerning social media, you may host a Skype session to talk about your customer’s social media plan and charge a certain amount of fee e.g. $75/hour. You may also choose to Skype-call or send a detailed report through email regarding how to better the plan.

Paid banner-ads/reviews – In the event that your site is attracting a considerable amount of traffic, you are likely to lure sponsorship from a certain business. This normally happens in two ways:
-Banner ads
-Sponsored posts or paid reviews

Just like the name suggests, these are the banner-like ads appearing you place in your sidebar. You will be paid monthly by the sponsor of the ad to ensure the ad stays on your site. On the other hand, paid reviews involve getting paid for writing a review concerning a certain product sent to you by a certain business or company. It is not necessary for the review to be positive.

Visit https://adsy.com/get-paid-to-blog to get more information regarding the methods you can use to monetize your blog.

Original post: Earning Revenue through Blogging: The Basics

Increasing Your Visitor Count and Search Rankings Through Engaging Content

Marketing is a huge expense for companies of all sizes, from small startups to bustling corporations. It is also a huge gamble. Many marketing strategies have some level of uncertainty to them, which could lead to budget-breaking failure. By publishing content that actually engages potential customers, any entrepreneur can bring thousands of new visitors to their website.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay, you don’t have to. Take it from Girish.

Girish is the founder of Freshdesk.com. This help desk software came onto the scene in 2011. It was in that year that Girish published an article that went over his experiences as an entrepreneur. He went on to share this article on Ycombinator. In just two days, this led to more than 30,000 new visitors to the Freshdesk website.

As an entrepreneur, you know that new visitors are just the beginning. You need conversions: people who actually sign up for your service or product.

Freshdesk.com saw 175 new signups within those same two days.

Okay, but that is a help desk software. Does publishing engaging content actually help other businesses?

To find out, our company gave it a shot. We thought, “Hey, why don’t we share our startup story?” We purchased lightingshoes.net, an eCommerce website that sells LED shoes. We wanted to see if, and how engaging content could impact our light up shoes business. The results were incredible, but before we get to that, we should talk about what it took to get those results. These tips can be applied to any startup or business model.

Get Involved

When you are creating content, it is important to understand the communities that your content will reach. Each community lends itself differently to different types of content. You need to figure out which communities will have the most interest in your startup or other business, and then write content that centers around the wants and needs of that community.

Hashing out what each of these communities respond positively to does not have to be rocket science. You just need to do a little bit of research. Look at content published by others that was well received. Find out what sort of content is the highest rated on each community. Many of these communities have comment boards and voting systems. Look for posts that received high votes, and then look through the comments to see what worked well for past content pieces.

Create A Blueprint

When I was in school, we learned about a technique called mind-mapping, and I’ve found this is one of the best ways to create a blueprint for your content. On a piece of paper, I write something like “blog post topics,” in the middle, and then create branches off of it. These branches will be based on the popular posts you saw on the relevant communities, but changed a bit to fit your startup or business.

Take the Freshdesk.com post, for example. While a light up shoes company isn’t exactly the same as a help desk service, we were still able to benefit from writing about our startup story. You might also want to consider writing about solutions to problems that your potential customers have, or even address relevant news pieces of the time.

Now, it is time to take one of those ideas and run with it.

Create Polished Content

Copying a well received piece of content will get you nowhere. That content already exists, and has already been read by the community. Just like with your social media content on Facebook and Twitter, you need to be sure that you are adding value to the community in some way.

You need to truly “WOW” the community in order to write a piece of successful content. Think about how you can call them to action, or make them try something new. If readers see your content as unique or personally relevant, they will grow as people, and hopefully grow along with your business as loyal customers.

Capture Their Attention
Writing a headline is easy. Writing an attention grabbing headline is difficult. There are already numerous websites that will teach you about this, but here are the quick tips:

-Don’t be a generalist; be as specific as possible.
-Reveal the benefit of reading your content right away.
-Make the reader curious, but don’t just write click-bait.

A good headline leads to more readers. A bad headline will keep readers away from even the best content.

Don’t Walk Away

Creating content can be tiring, and many people are ready to take a pause once they have published their material. This is a major mistake on most communities. If you spent any time looking at Reddit, you will have noticed that involvement is extremely important. You could spend several hours responding to comments about your content.

Not all communities work that way though. IndieHackers, for example, is not huge on comments. Even so, you should still engage with those who took the time to write the few comments that may appear.

Analyze Your Results

Now that you have published your content and taken care of any comments, what kind of results can you expect to see? Well, here are the results from our experiment with the light up shoes website:

-Our light up shoe company saw 3,257 new visitors via Reddit and 951 visitors from IndieHackers.
-SEO results were outstanding. We went from being outside of the top 50 all the way to number twelve for our main keyword (LED shoes.) We also broke into the top 50 for 222 other keywords that we weren’t placed for before.
-We received two sales that came from traffic from the content. We saw 11 new sales as a result of our new and improved SEO rankings.
-We had some new PR possibilities. One reader was actually part of the team that submits suggestions for the well known “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” segment. They let us know that they loved our product, and would be submitting it for this year’s list. While nothing has come of this yet, just the excitement has pushed us to keep creating engaging, targeted content.

Many marketing strategies are a gamble, but content creation is different. If you follow all of our tips, you too can publish engaging content and see increased traffic to your website

Original post: Increasing Your Visitor Count and Search Rankings Through Engaging Content

Cool Design Elements That Turn Your Website into Nightmare if Overused

Let’s be honest, everybody wants to own a modern and stylish website that will quickly catch an eye of your potential clients or customers and be the best in their deal. Needless to say, it is an understandable desire. Seeing that today I’m going to tell you about several cool options that one can use to make their site more qualitative and entertaining but not only this… Actually launching a stylish website is a real must-have for today, as such step gives one a quick chance to develop their business and become their own boss.

That is why now you can find a plenty of various recent features that different companies propose to use to set up a cool site. Still, remember that measure is a treasure and keep in mind that sometimes even the most gorgeous and inimitable options or design elements may easily turn your online project into a real nightmare, when they are overused. But do not worry, as I’m here to assist you on the way to your dream and today I will show you 5 things that one should use wisely. Are you ready to meet this helpful list? I’m sure you are, as you are on this page right now. Thus, let’s start!

1 Background Images

Without a doubt, background image WordPress designs are a cool thing that both brings a charming design to your online project and shows your best products to its guests. That is why this feature is pretty popular today. What should you know about it? Well, first of all such images should have a great quality, as if they are don’t your website will look unprofessional. Secondly, these photographs shouldn’t have many details for your visitors to focus on the site’s subject. And here we go to the most important point: background images shouldn’t be overused. Actually, such step will definitely make any website uncomfortable for its guests and we all know that comfort plus beauty is an undeniable formula of success. What is more, I suggest you not to use extremely bright pictures if you would like to post some text on this place of your page. To continue it will not only create a diversion but also can make your text unreadable.

2 Background Videos

What is more, one may get the same problem with background videos when they are overused. In addition, there will be too much motion for those customers that would like to focus on the subject of your online project. Here you can see a winning example of website with the option in question.

Check it out on TemplateMonster

3 Cool Banners

Yep, banners are useful! They quickly attract the attention of your potential customers and tell them a lot of info about your products / services, (e.g. special offers, new items, discounts, etc.) so worthy banners are always in trend. Still, just imagine how your website will look when it has a lot of banners. All in all, people will be bored with a huge amount of advertisement (even if it will be the most advantageous one) and they certainly won’t like such project. To continue, don’t make your banners too big and never use such awful thing as clickbait.

Check it out on TemplateMonster

4 Newsletter Pop-up

To make a long story short, it is a powerful and flexible plugin, which is popular because it gives one a possibility to make lightbox pop-ups that help them to get more newsletter subscribers. Consequently, such step will also help you to promote different products, show new media or deliver special offers to the guests of your online project. I’m sure you have seen this problem a million times while surfing through the web space: some of the website owners overuse the feature, so their customers see the window that proposes them to subscribe 5 or even 10 times per day… Unquestionable it is an irritating thing that will not help one to increase their audience. Moreover, it also makes people unsubscribe, even if they wanted to get the letters from your site before.

5 Counters

As you may know, counters are another popular feature that is used for many websites. What can I tell you about it? Yes, that’s right: do not overuse it. Believe me you don’t need to put counters everywhere, so just make a stand-alone section for them. As a result, people will see the numerals they are interested at and will not look aside at the same time. To illustrate, below is another screenshot of a modern website template, which shows the best way of using counters.

Check it out on TemplateMonster

As you can see there are a lot of popular and helpful features that can literally turn your online project into a nightmare when they are overused. Thus, do not try to get all the trendy options that you will put everywhere. Be sure, it is always better to use 3 – 5 modern options that are appropriate then 10 features that will definitely overload your long-awaited website. To sum everything up, remember about comfort! Not sure if your site is good enough for its users? Well, just log out of your admin panel, enter your page as a client and try to buy something or find some needed information.

Doing this you will see all the disadvantages of your online project and realize that nobody likes stylish features that disturb their work. Found some minuses? Oh, don’t be upset, as now you know about them, so you can easily fix the situation and increase the popularity of your online business. Just stay unique and remember that there is nothing impossible for a modern person!

To finish with, what do you think about the features mentioned in this post? Maybe you have already seen the descried problem as an owner of a website or its guest and now have your opinion to share? For these simple reasons, don’t hesitate to leave all your thoughts and questions in the comments below this post, as I am always happy to hear from you!

Original post: Cool Design Elements That Turn Your Website into Nightmare if Overused