‘I’m done writing rubbish’, I told my client and when he asked about the kind of ‘rubbish’ I was talking about, I told him.
It’s the stuff that people don’t read, no one cares about, the search engines have ditched, and are comprised of cyber trash that lies in the rotting pile of words on the internet.
The world has changed and the new daunting demands show us that we need to change or we’ll die together with the trash we’ve produced in the past.
Thankfully, we now know more about what search engines like in terms of content and can angle and produce them accordingly so that both search engines and users/consumers like them. There’s no panacea formula but there are proven methods.
So, here’s what to do with your content every time you produce them.
1. Video Content Reigns Supreme…for Now
It goes without saying that videos reign supreme now because everyone from Google/Youtube to Instagram seems to favor this type of content. It forces people out of their comfort zones to produce good, helpful, entertaining, funny and watch-worthy content.
The moral of the story is that search engines are pretty much done with crap. They want people to pour brainpower, hours, skills, talent, and effort into producing good stuff. And videos seem to fit the mold well.
Worry not if you’re camera shy because there are many other things search engines and social media algorithms like.
So, first off, start with a podcast or video, whichever you prefer, because as long as search engines can determine with certainty that there are humans behind it and considerable effort has been put into producing the useful piece of content, you’re already in a safe zone.
2. Proof-read, Sense-Check, and Rewrite
Spend some time on it. Although we know there’s a deadline looming ahead, rushing it through could be the biggest mistake you’ll make. Sense-check it before posting, run it through Grammarly or ProWritingAid (two of my favorite go-to apps for content editing), and read it again.
If you have the people for it, be it a friend or a colleague, get them to run a critical eye through it. Nothing beats a critical eye and skeptical mind when it comes to editing. We all loathe it because sometimes it brings us back to the drawing board but if that’s what it takes to produce quality content, so be it.
All too often, we are so focused on just producing content, ANY content, for our websites, blogs, and social media sites, that we end up being too pleased with it. In the end, we might have sidelined the audience. It happens.
Don’t produce something that EVERYONE will like. Instead, focus on producing content that the people you’re trying to please will like. Keep your focus.
3. Content for New Audiences
Most of us in the world of internet marketing is already on the PPC campaign and Facebook promo bandwagon, so, how can we forget about targeting new audiences?
Before you publish the brand new content, think about the following:
- Are new audiences going to get what you’re trying to tell them? Are they going to be impressed?
- What’s the hook? What’s in it for them?
- Is there enough data, proof, or experience backing up some of the claims you’re making in the content? If yes, who and what are they?
- Is the content ambiguous? If yes, change it
- Does it evoke an emotional response from whoever is reading or watching it?
- Is it personal? Is there a story behind the content and are you telling it right?
- What’s the real reason you’re posting it and why?
With so much information out there on the internet, it’s hard to be ‘unique’. I sometimes wonder if there’s such a thing anymore. But if you work on content that tells a story, touches a nerve, or is innovative, you’re onto something.
Hitting the right nerve will, of course, on social media, produce that ‘like’ response.
4. Break it Down into Smaller Bite Sizes
With the main idea behind the podcast or video, you would already have chunks of content ready to be broken down into smaller pieces. These smaller bite-size pieces can be used to produce even MORE content!
Assuming you’ve produced a piece of content for ‘how to make your own hardwood table from scratch’ on Youtube, I am sure you would have grazed tinier topics like ‘what kind of wood is good for tabletops’ or ‘how to make a coffee table’, or ‘how to sketch out your DIY table’.
These are already smaller topics you can tackle on the spot with the same content. Just make sure you have enough information in the main long-form content for the sub-content.
The sub-content can be in the form of:
- Fancier, shorter videos
- Social media content for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin or Snapchat
- Blog post
- Advertorial/Editorial pieces
These short-form content should then be spread throughout respective social media platforms.
5. What social media platforms are you focusing on?
The answer is very simple – where is your audience congregating? Which social media platform are they most active in?
That’s where you should be.
- Facebook – approximately 75% of adults in the United States use Facebook at least once a day, that’s 7 in every 10 adults in America. A large percentage of them hold at least a college degree – according to Pew Research
- Instagram – Instagram has users from the top three countries in the world, namely the United States of America, Brazil and India, with the most engaged users making up groups males between 18 to 24 years old – according to BrandWatch
- Youtube – Youtube has content ranging over 80 languages with a whopping 96% of them from the 18- to 24-year-old age bracket. It continues to rack up 1.9 million logging-in users every month – Hootsuite
- Twitter – Almost half of Twitter’s users are from the United States while Japan (37%) and the United Kingdom (14%) follows close behind). The user demographic is surprisingly high for those aged between 55 to 64 for Twitter – Statista
- Linkedin – The platform has 303 million active users every month, with 70% of its users coming in from outside of the United States. 40 Million of them are students and recent graduates and 57% of them male – Omnicoreagency
- Pinterest – People who use Pinterest range between 18 to 49, making it the demographic with the vastest age range. Despite strong competition, it enjoys 250 million active users and registers a total of 3 billion pins on its boards – Omnicoreagency
- Tumblr – One of the most popular microblogging sites in the world with 164 million blogs and 72 billion posts, it brings in the most unique visitors from the stranger in our midst, Seoul, with nearly 1.7 million visitors every month – SearchEngineJournal
- Whatsapp – 1.5 billion users from 180 countries make it their primary method of communication, be it personal or professional. India dominates the market as the biggest user of Whatsapp with an estimate of 200 million users – BusinessOfApps
Take a good, long look at the people who are using these social media platforms and strategize your marketing game plan. If you’re into B2B, Linkedin and Youtube seem to be your best bets. If you’re aiming for a younger demographic, experts agree that having a strong following and presence on Instagram and Twitter would do your business good.
And this goes without saying but if you’re trying to get really personal with people of the mature demographic, Facebook is your go-to.
6. Email blasts
Every time you have new content up on your website or blog, blast it out not just on your social media sites but also out to your current customers and subscribers to your blog via email notifications.
The thing with EDM, Electronic Direct Mail, is that we don’t want to bombard people with too much email. We all understand how easy it is to abuse the system and people get tired of receiving too many emails from everyone although they might have subscribed to the notification in the first place. Remember, as easy as it is to subscribe, unsubscribing is easier.
They might have understood the fact that you WILL send them notifications, mostly sales pitch, but they do not expect to be abused.
Many people continue to send out email notifications regularly whenever they have an update or promotion going on. It’s a never-dying CRM tactic that determines, schedule up and track marketing campaigns.
The wonder of EDM today is that you can automate the whole process without having to manually write or send them.
For instance, if a new visitor to your website starts subscribing to your newsletter today, you can schedule reminders and sales pitches to them within day 3, 7, 10 and 14 after the date they sign up for the newsletter. These pre-written email reminders will be sent out to the new subscriber automatically.
Such marketing automation is popular because of the vast array of tools and software there are in the market which ranges from Microsoft Dynamics to Hubspot. Not only are these tools handy in the department of lead generation and relationship marketing, but they also score really well for cross-selling and customer retention too.
7. Native advertising
Back in the days, before social media, advertising companies and corporations used to rely heavily on print media relations and advertising features. Companies pay a hefty amount of money every month to get an article out in a print media, often as an advertorial. Readers’ Digest in known for their Advertorials and people make no bones about it because we know that’s where the bulk of the company’s profit is coming from – the advertisers.
Native advertising, however, has evolved, although it retains its primary feature. You can run an article as a promoted content on a popular website or promote your products or brands via social media influencers’.
As an example, Cancer Research UK recently caught up with the buzz and paid for articles to run as promoted content on Buzzfeed. You can have a look at the list of articles here.
We may not have the kind of deep pockets these companies and organizations have but we have ways to get in touch with people who matter – the writers, editors, journalists, and reporters. Many websites accept pitches, articles, feeds, information, and affiliations. Journalists were using Twitter hashtag #journorequest to track down the latest information, and bloggers, publishers, and influencers were glued to Pitchbox because of its data-driven coverage.
Whether it is paid or free, I think we should pay heed to methods beyond social media, search engines and emails too. Reach out to people not en mass but personally.
Hire someone to scout out relevant websites and blogs, reach out and propose an idea. You could either let them know that you’ve written about them and would appreciate an acknowledgment, or you could ask the price of publishing your article. In fact, suggest some of your content you think they might want to link to.
This is time-consuming, I know, but it works better because we want to be on ole Google’s list of good kids. When it comes to search engines, we don’t have to wait until Christmas to find out we’ve been bad.
8. Consider small-time advertising
Some companies have tens of thousands of dollars to pump into their PPC campaigns and others don’t. I know too many that don’t and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. How many of us are actually making millions of bucks every year? Not many.
However, it was reported that social media advertising has become one of the largest moneymakers of the advertising world today, commanding up to $23 billion in revenue in 2016.
The reason social media and PPC campaigns are doing so well is that that’s where people are and it’s easier to target your audience now than ever before. You don’t have to pour thousands of dollars into advertising on Google, Facebook or Instagram tomorrow.
Just take into account your budget and the kind of ROI you’re looking at. That’s the first simple step. And from thereon, decide on how much you’re willing to spend on each platform.
It’s a matter of testing things out, shaking up the campaign once in a while, switching campaigns around, playing with keywords and images, and measuring the effectiveness of each campaign.
You can use tools and software beyond Google Adwords and Analytics to measure each outreach. The top-ranking ones right now are:
- Facebook insights
As a recap, here’s what I think needs to be done whenever there’s new content.
1. Start with long-form content like this article, a Youtube video or a Podcast
2. Transcribe your video/podcast into written format to publish them separately for a different audience
3. Proofread, sense-check and rewrite if necessary. Don’t skip this step!
4. Don’t forget about writing for and targeting new audiences. Impress their socks off!
5. Publish long-form content on website/blog/social media platform
6. Break it down into bite-sizes to capture/recapture the audience and publish them in form of gifts, short videos on Instagram or Tumblr
7. Determine the social media platform your consumers are congregating at
8. Write, design or schedule email blasts to your current subscribers
9. Consider native advertising to see if other publications are interested in tying up with you, accept promoted content, or is open to the idea of forming an allegiance
10. Consider small-time advertising.
As mentioned, there’s no crystal ball to peer into. There are, however, tools and software to use to help you determine how successful each of them are.
Use the facts to decide whether you want to continue pumping in cash into advertorials, social media advertising or Google Adwords. The ball is in your court.
If you’d like to get in touch with me about what you’ve read or seen in this article or website, please feel free to email me at marshamaung at gmail dot com.
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