Posts Tagged ‘Content Marketing’

Saturday Sidecar: Client interviews – Getting the Scoop

Written by Gina Blitstein on September 8, 2012. Posted in Saturday Sidecar

Sidecar drivers often need to conduct interviews with clients before they begin working on a personalized project. Collecting enough of the “right” information from clients is paramount to fulfilling their needs; it also makes it easier for you to do your best work on their behalf. This sort of interview usually occurs when embarking on a new project and is intended to establish what needs to be done, when, how and for how much.

Here are some ways to make the most out of a client interview? 

Convert Email Archives to Content Marketing Asset

Written by Debra Leitl on February 23, 2012. Posted in Email Marketing

Convert Email Archives to Content Marketing AssetIf you have been running email marketing campaigns for some time now, you have probably built up an arsenal of quality content in your email archives.  You are also probably asking yourself “What am I going to do with all of these files?”  In most cases, your email subscribers can refer back to older emails that they found useful but what most email marketers do not realize is they have a valuable content marketing asset in their email archives.

How To Use Action Verbs In Your About Us Page

Written by Debra Leitl on September 28, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

How To Use Action Verbs In Your About Us PageVerbs make your About Us page content; sizzle, sexy, engaging, vivid, hot, powerful, or persuasive. You can pick your favorite. Action verbs represent doing, will do, or has done actions in a clear concise fashion. Smart B2B content writers use action verbs as a their weapon of mass capture.

Action verbs take a standard call to action statement and turns it into a compelling reason for the reader to take a step toward conversion.

Do You Need a Little BizSugar?

Written by Debra Leitl on August 26, 2011. Posted in Social Media Marketing

If you’re looking for another online avenue for B2B lead generation, look at BizSugar.com. BizSugar.com is a content aggregator website and social sharing website devoted exclusively to small and medium-sized businesses. All of the articles and information on the site are submitted by users, and they all directly relate to small or medium-sized business issues and needs.

The site works similarly to digg.com, in that users submit articles and content, with a little summary and tags, and readers can “vote” or “give a little sugar” to the articles that they feel are truly useful to the small to medium sized business owner. Unlike digg, BizSugar is highly focused and targeted: submitting content that doesn’t help the target audience won’t help your business either. In order for your content to rise to the top of the aggregator feed, other site users have to vote on it. Relevance matters.

B2B Lead Generation via BizSugar

BizSugar can help small and medium sized businesses generate leads by sending traffic to the websites highlighted in its aggregated stories. You can submit your own content to BizSugar, so it makes sense to submit your best blog posts, guest blogs, articles, and other content from your site. BizSugar does not post the entire article on its site, but rather a summary of the article. In order to read the entire article, visitors must click over to the site upon which the original article appears.

Once people are on your site, you have the chance to convert them to solid leads. And, because the audience for BizSugar is highly targeted, people who look around on the site are more likely to be a good fit for your product or service. The site offers a wide variety of content categories, including:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Franchises
  • Global
  • Legal
  • Management
  • News
  • Technology

Each section has sub-sections, so people searching for specific information can find it easily. If your business caters to a niche market in small business, submitting content to BizSugar is worth it.

Networking on BizSugar

BizSugar is a community, just like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sharing sites. While you can submit your own content, it is also a good idea to submit content from other sites as well. That way, you will not come across to other community members as completely self-promotional. Balance promoting yourself with promoting others. The others might just be able to help you with the B2B lead generation you need.

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Google Instant Previews Update

Written by Debra Leitl on August 25, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

In case you haven’t noticed, Google has been paying a lot of attention lately to the mobile user and has been launching experiments across multiple mobile platforms in an effort to reach the influx of mobile consumers. There are several new launches which have occurred since January of this year with the latest ones being launched as recently as August 2011 for both mobile and PC users. If you have not heard the buzz around Google Instant Previews here are a few of the initiatives that Google has revealed:

Instant Previews and iOS Safari

Google Instant Previews which you can currently use on Windows and Linux to preview web pages without having to leave the search engine results page is now being made available to Safari which is iOS’s browser. The interesting feature about this portable version is it provides you with the capability to swipe each preview from your search query similar to using the tab feature in the Safari browser.

Google Instant Previews Features

Regardless of the type of Web browser you are using Google has added some handy features to Instant Previews that allows you to get to where you are going in less time. Although you can still use Instant Previews to view a web page before clicking through when you click on the magnifying glass you can preview other results that are relevant to the website you are previewing.

For some of the website previews the relevant parts of the page you want your visitors to see first will appear as text over the image of the web page to highlight your search query and where it appears on that particular web page. If you come across a preview that is not relevant to what you are looking for Google provides a way for you to remove the page from your search query results.

Google Chrome 13 Instant Preview Update

PC Magazine recently featured an article about the release of Google Chrome 13 which implements more than 5000 updates one of which is Instant Pages and print preview. Although Instant Previews represents a significant breakthrough in terms of download time, Instant Pages will load the page faster when you click on the search results.

Additionally, Google added Print Preview to Chrome which it also plans to add to Mac in the not too distant future. This feature utilizes a PDF viewer which is built-in to the Google Chrome browser and offers an easy “Print to PDF” option.

The third notable update is the new Omnibox feature which combines the URL address window with the search box. All you have to do is start typing a portion of a website address URL into the address box and then search the dropdown menu for the website you are trying to access.

It still remains to be seen what will happen in terms of search engine optimization with regard to the latest developments in Google Instant Preview. Many of the modifications that Google is making to address the increase in mobile device usage may dictate what online marketers will be required to change in terms of the SEO strategies they use as mobile commerce progresses.

If you use Google on your mobile device to search the web “raise your hand” in the comments below.

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Show a Little T&A in Your Blog

Written by Debra Leitl on August 10, 2011. Posted in Social Media Marketing

Anyone can set up a blog and be up and running within a very short period of time.  Hence the reason there is so many blogs online some of which are successful and others which are just okay.  Since almost anyone can figure out how to set up a blog it is what you say in your blog and what you do to build relationships that makes a huge difference in your blog’s success. 

There is a lot to learn if you want to create a successful blog however, if you begin by keeping two aspects in mind you will be light years ahead of the pack.  The two aspects are trust and authority.  Why? 

Showing Trust

Creating an air of trust is what will keep your readers returning for more.  After all, where do people go when they want to get the best and most valuable information? Of course to someone they trust. 

You can create a community of trust in your blog by consistently offering valuable information and showing interest in the community that reads your blog.  If you are constantly pushing your products and services this sends up a red flag that screams, “Click the back button!”  Only after you have earned the trust of your readers will they consider making a purchase from you. 

There are blogs online that offer inferior content and are loaded with product advertisements.  When you first reach the blog the impression you get is that they are merely out to make money on affiliate products or their own product.  On the other hand, if the blog is well established with great content and offers product suggestions you will be more likely to listen to that person’s recommendations. 

Showing Authority

Part of offering quality content is showing authority on your subject matter.  You have heard the old adage, “Knowledge is power.”  Well, it’s true and if your readers sense your confidence and authority on your chosen topic, they will come back looking for more. 

Just think about some of the blogs you see online where it is clear that people are talking the most about what they know the least about.  Does that type of content grab you and make you want to return?  Probably not.  On the other hand, if you come across a blog where it is obvious the person knows their subject matter you will return to find out what else they know about the topic. 

Contrary to what some people online believe, trust and authority can come through in printed words and people can easily sense what you are about when they first visit your blog.  Additionally, if you make your readers feel like they are a valuable member of the community that is the icing on the cake. 

Moral of the story:  Carefully plan your blog by considering the needs of your readers and know your subject matter before you launch.  The rewards will come back to you tenfold.

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Artful Storytelling via Email Builds A Strong Brand

Written by Debra Leitl on August 2, 2011. Posted in Email Marketing

Anyway you look at it everyone loves a great story and one that they can relate to on a personal level.  Storytelling almost always guarantees that you will break the ice and build a rapport with your customers especially if it relates to their interests and style of interaction.  This is why storytelling in your email marketing campaigns proves to be very effective in engaging your readers and maintaining their interest in what you have to say. 

So how do you engage in artful storytelling in your email messages and how can you be sure that your story will interest your readers?  The answer to this lies in your ability to know your readers and some of the things that spark their interest.  Here are a few tips: 

Listen to Your Reader’s Conversations

Tune in to your social media site, forum and your blog and listen to your readers interact.  What are they saying?  What seems to be their personality type?  Do they enjoy humor?  What types of experiences have they shared?  What kinds of things do they say when they interact with other customers? 

Listening to your reader’s conversation is a goldmine in itself for coming up with story lines for your email messages.  The more you know about what grabs your readers the more successful you will be at telling a story that they can easily relate to.  This not only builds instant rapport it also helps your email recipients to remember what you said in your message. 

Tell Your Own Story

Come up with story lines that highlight your life’s experiences and then relate them to the topic of the email message.  Email messages that are relevant to real life experiences bring your products and services to life in the minds of your customers.  You may even find that they will be more inclined to share their stories and they will feel like they know you better as well. 

Integrate Humor

People are more open when they are relaxed so you must talk to your customers like you are sitting on the barstool next to them. This means integrating humor where it is appropriate.  As a word of caution, always use humor in good taste and avoid using off color humor that may offend some of your readers.  Good clean humor when used appropriately in a story can leave a lasting impression on your customers. 

Keep Track of Current Events

Stay on top of what is going on in the news and then use this information to craft a story that your customers can relate to.  There are many places where you can get news stories from different categories that will help you come up with an idea for a story.

Pay Attention to the Experiences of Others

Remember to pay close attention when other people tell you about an event that happened in their daily life.  More often than not, there are others that can relate and it may spark a creative idea for an email message to your subscriber list. 

If you learn the art of storytelling and use it appropriately you will build lasting customer relationships and build confidence in your product which will make the eventual sale seem effortless.

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Cornerstone Content B2B Self-Publishing

Written by Debra Leitl on June 29, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

B2B information products offer many benefits in addition to enjoying the passive income that results from selling knowledge. Some of the advantages of offering a B2B information product include the ability to provide a need to a market that is less saturated than the B2C market depending upon your industry. Information products also involve substantial effort put forth upfront but then you can enjoy the benefits of ongoing income that complements what you do with your business.

In the past, you were required to work long hours on a publication in hopes of finally getting your work accepted and published. This was often easier said than done with no guarantees of reaping any rewards for the effort that you invested. Thanks to the Internet and digital information, self-publishing is becoming more widely accepted plus the chances of reaping the benefits of your efforts are much better. It is also more cost effective than submitting your manuscript to hundreds of publishers and hoping by chance they accept your work.

If you are unfamiliar with self-publishing, here is a brief overview that will provide you with the information you need to begin looking into this option for your business.

What is a B2B Information Product?

B2B stands for ‘business to business’ and a B2B information product is a product that offers useful information for people in any industry or field of business. Similar to a B2C (business to consumer) information product, a B2B product can offer valuable information to other business professionals in your field knowledge where you have special expertise. This is knowledge that other professionals may not otherwise be able to obtain in the business to consumer market.

The information product you offer can be created in the form of an electronic download, hard copy with CD/DVDs included, video course offered online, ebook, PDF document, or any other format that allows you to easily deliver your product to the online community.

Help Others While Increasing Your Income

Everyone knows that knowledge is power but the problem with business professionals is that they are so busy serving their clients that their income is restricted to the number of customers that they serve. By sharing valuable knowledge from one business professional to another you are helping others succeed while adding a passive stream of income to your revenue. This prevents you from getting burned out serving clients and allows you to take a break while you add value to the lives of others in the process.

Promoting a B2B Information Product

The easiest way to make your information product available to your customer base is to offer it from your business website and through an automated payment process such as PayPal or Google Checkout. You should also provide a professional presentation and format the product in a way that reflects the quality of the content you provide.

To successfully promote your information product you must be known in your field for being knowledgeable in your subject area and have your name out there by offering a lot of free content online. Once you accomplish this you can successfully promote the product to other professionals in your industry who have a need for the information you offer. You can do this by following a marketing plan, networking online and promoting yourself in professional networking events offline.

As a closing thought, if you are not sure where to begin when it comes to your industry you may want to invest in a mentor that is highly skilled in B2B self-publishing to help you hit the ground running.

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Small Business: Hire a Content Producer

Written by Debra Leitl on June 21, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

If you are starting a small business online or you already have a small business, the Internet is all about quality content.  The type of content you offer is going to be a key factor in determining the quality of your audience, search engine rankings, visibility on social media sites, and much more. 

The problem that most business owners run into is that quality writing and original content can be time consuming to do right and most business owners want to concentrate on growing their business instead.  Looking at it from another perspective, a lot of business owners do not like to write or their skills are in areas other than writing. 

Here are a few tips on hiring a content producer for your small business: 

Cheaper is Not Always Better

If you are running a small business on the Internet, content is not an area where you can afford to cut corners.  If you choose a content producer simply because of price you may end up paying more than you bargained for if the job is not done correctly.  Additionally, content producers sometimes offer cheap prices because they know they are copying the content from another location. 

If the content ends up being inferior or is not original in quality it could cost you potential customers and poor search engine rankings, not to mention the expense of having to hire another content producer to get the job done right. 

English as a Second Language

If you advertise that you are looking for a content producer that speaks English make sure that English is their native language.  Most content producers will tell you that they speak English but they speak it as a second language.  This means that they may not understand the informal use of subtleties that are present in the English language.  As a result, you will end up hiring another content producer to straighten out the content so it is acceptable by the search engines and readable by your website visitors. 

Clarify Your Instructions

When you hire a content producer make sure they can follow your instructions and that they are interested in delivering what you need.  There are content producers that will appear to listen but then they think their way is better hence they end up creating a product that does not suit the needs of your business. On the other end of the spectrum make sure you are being clear with your instructions otherwise you could potentially end up with a final product that is nothing like you expected. 

Experience is Better

Although everyone has to start somewhere, when it comes to content hiring someone with experience is better.  If the content producer is well established and has a diverse set of skills, they will also add new dimensions and fresh perspectives to your business which provides more value for your money. 

Personality Fit

If you are hiring a content producer over the long term it is important to ensure that the writer’s personality is compatible with your own.  If you hire a content producer that is easily offended when you ask for changes or something different then you have a long road ahead of you.  Most content producers will be interested in producing what you need and should be flexible when you express your thoughts. 

If you hire the right content producer you will find that the investment is well worth it.  More often than not, you get what you pay for and this rule also applies to website content.

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Small Business Content Marketing – Measuring Success

Written by Debra Leitl on June 10, 2011. Posted in Search Engine Marketing

Posting content infrequently across the Internet is not enough to achieve success with content marketing.  One you have a dedicated content marketing strategy in place it is necessary to measure the success of every marketing channel you are using to ensure your time is being spent wisely and that you are getting results from your efforts.  Here are a few elements of your content marketing campaign you can use to measure your success:

Number of New Page Views on Your Site

When you post content on content marketing sites such as blogs, article marketing sites, social bookmarking sites, and any other location online you generally use the content as a precursor to specific information on your website.  When you create a link from the content to your website you can use your analytics program to measure the incoming traffic on those pages.

Lead Generation

The content you create for the purpose of lead generation can be measured by the increase in visitors that arrive on your opt-in page from content you posted online.  Again you can use your analytics program to determine the origin of your leads and how they found your web page.

Number of Readers and Impressions

If one of your content marketing channels is article marketing sites, most of these sites provide you with a way to view how many people looked at your article and how many editors have re-published your content elsewhere on the web.  This concept works similar to PPC advertising and allows you to measure the success of your content.

Number of Inbound Links

If you post great content online and in the major directories you can measure the success of your content by the number of links you have pointing to your content and your website.  For example, if you post an article to 6 different directories and then start measuring the results you may see a number of instances logged by Google within a short period of time that either link to your content or your main website.  You can also measure the inbound links to your site by using whatever analytics tool you use as part of your link building strategy.

Reader Response

If you create useful content you will find that your target audience will respond with comments and questions which is a sign that the content generated the interest of your intended audience.  At this point you can use this as an opportunity to engage with your audience and start establishing long term relationships.

These are a few of the ways that you can measure the success of your content marketing campaign.  Depending upon the resources you are using you will probably come up with additional ways to measure the progress of your content marketing strategies.

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