Creating an Effective Content Strategy

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So, what is a content strategy? It’s a detailed approach to the content you’re going to publish daily, weekly, and monthly. A content strategy takes several key marketing factors into consideration. Let’s take a look at those considerations so you can get started creating an effective content strategy to market and grow your business.

It’s Always About the Audience

Regardless of the goal, marketing channel, or content format, the very first thing that goes into an effective strategy is your audience. Your content needs to speak to them. It needs to grab their attention and inspire them to take some type of action with your business.

What’s the Goal?

Speaking of taking action, what do you want your content reader/viewer/listener to do once they’ve consumed your content? What do you want your content to achieve? Goals, of course, range from list building to sales.

Multipurpose

Your content doesn’t have one path. An article can be clipped and shared as social media posts. A video can be transcribed and reworked into a blog post. Decide what you can do with your content.

Test a Variety of Formats

Consider creating a variety of content and testing what your audience responds to. This includes memes, infographics, video content, webinars, articles and more.

Channels and Integration

We’ve already mentioned repurposing content for a variety of formats and channels. When you’re creating your content calendar, make sure to plan how you’re going to integrate your content into your other marketing initiatives. For example, maybe you’re launching a new product and holding an online webinar to promote the launch. Images from the webinar could be used on Instagram and Facebook. The webinar link can be shared on your blog, and so on.

Creating Your Strategy and Following Through

The key to creating an effective content strategy is to commit to re-evaluating your strategy on a monthly basis. Your content plans and calendar, as well as your audience response and analytics, will likely dictate changes or modifications to your strategy. Additionally, as your business changes and your marketing plan evolves, your content strategy needs to support you.

Create your strategy then create a schedule to follow up, reassess, and adjust as needed. A content strategy is a must for a competitive business. If you’re missing one, then you’re likely missing valuable opportunities to connect, engage, and sell.

Finding Influencers to Promote your Business

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There are a number of ways to find social media influencers to help promote your business. It can take time to do the research, but the results can be well worth it in terms of growing your traffic and subscribers, and ultimately making more sales.

Who are social media influencers?

Social media influencers might be celebrities with a huge following, or individuals with a large following who focus on one particular niche or industry. Influencer marketing can help you tap into your target audience in a whole new way, and quickly, too. If you’ve been struggling to get traffic, subscribers and sales, the potential audience size could help you grow your business strategically without spending hours creating and publishing content.

Successful influence marketing starts with finding the right influencers.

Doing your research

Top influencers include niche bloggers and micro-influencers, those who focus on a particular niche. In terms of bloggers, think of the blogs related to your niche that you visit regularly. Do they publish information and/or reviews about particular product and services? Do they accept guest blog posts? Is it a high-quality site that is well-maintained, with fresh new content on a regular basis?

If you answer yes to all these questions, note down in a spreadsheet the URL and contact information of the site owner.

Next, see if these sites or owners have a strong presence on social media. If they do, check their follower numbers. Start to follow them.

Also, check to see if they have a related Facebook Group. If they do, apply to join.

Set a goal

There are a few questions to consider before trying to promote your brand or business through influencer marketing:

Who are you trying to connect with/impress? Think of the ideal customer in your niche. Where do they spend time and what influencers are they connected with?

How can you measure your success to determine whether or not you are getting a good return on your investment?

Some goals that are measurable:
  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Sales
  • Followers

You can look in your various reports to see how the numbers go up.

You might also have less measurable goals:
  • Build brand awareness so your target audience starts to get to know who you are
  • Grow your company’s credibility within your industry, and your client base
  • Grow your own authority as an expert in your niche

Decide who to target

Different social networks have different audiences. Facebook and Twitter are good for older age groups, Instagram and Snapchat with the 18 to 30s. Pinterest is almost 90% women. LinkedIn will connect you with professionals. Decide who your target audience is and plan an influencer campaign on the best platforms.

Use the right tools

There are a number of tools that can help you find the right influencer to work with. They include:

  • Buzzsumo: This tool shows you what is trending and also has detailed influencer data. Try their 7-day free trial to see how useful it is.
  • Followerwonk: A free tool that will help you find Twitter influencers.
  • Hootsuite: This tool is known for helping users post content to all their social media accounts from one single dashboard. But it is also useful for influencer discovery and management. Once you have found influencers and started to work with them, it will offer you reports on your results.
  • Google Alerts: Set alerts related to influencers, your niche, your products and your brand. Each alert will send you links to appropriate content so you can see what’s going on in terms of your marketing and locate more influencers.

Growing Your Instagram Following

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Instagram is one of the hottest social media sites these days. It’s the go-to place for many 18 to 30 year-olds, and now even the older demographic is getting on the trend. Being owned by Facebook, you know Instagram is determined to be successful.  Therefore, it can be an ideal place to market your business if you know the rules of the road when it comes to building an organic (versus paid) following at the site.

An organic, or natural, following develops naturally through your publishing content, which your target audience then sees and interacts with. If they enjoy your content enough, they can Like your page. Once they have done that, each time you post something, they should see it in their newsfeed.

Instagram is rapidly growing to the 500 million users per month mark, so if you are not already marketing there, it is time to start building an organic following.

An aesthetically pleasing page

Optimize your page to make it as interesting for your target audience as possible. Include a mini-biography to tell people why they should follow you and what they can expect.

Consistency

Try to post every day. Some marketers will post more than once a day, but Instagram is a bit different from other networks. It will show every relevant post since the last time you visited your account, so if you post a lot, your followers could get overwhelmed.

24 Hour Rule

Posts last only 24 hours from the time the person visits their account. If you want to save your best content, like an introduction to your company, pin it to your page.

Engage with your followers

Don’t just ignore them. It should be a two-way conversation and interaction. Offer useful information or a perceptive, personalized comment.

Use hashtags, but don’t overdo it

Use hashtags (#) to join in conversations about particular topics, but don’t list so many that users see lines and lines of nothing but hashtags.

Encourage your site visitors to interact with you on Instagram

Provide a link they can click to do so easily.

Cross-promotion

Encourage followers on other sites to check out your unique content on Instagram, such as images, videos and stories.

Encourage followers to share your content

Memes and videos work well.

Use emojis

Emojis are searchable on Instagram, so your content can be found depending on which you use.

Brand your content

Make all of your content look similar. Add an URL to all of your images.

Recycle your best content

At the end of each month, check to see which content got the most engagement. Plan to repost them in the future for the benefit of new followers since the last time you posted that content.

Offer shares in exchange for shares

Agree to share content with others working in your niche in exchange for a share on their account. This will work really well if they are an influencer with a large following and you think your content would be a good fit for their audience.

Run contests and giveaways

Offer good prizes and ask the winner to tag you in a post to show what they have won. This will bring even more followers to your page.

Create interesting memes and quotation graphics

These should be highly shareable with your target audience.

Don’t be afraid to promote others

It shows you know your niche, and they might also be willing to return the favor.

Influencer Discovery Tools

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Social media influencers can serve as a useful shortcut to help you market your business. But first, you have to discover them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help.

What is an Influencer?

An influencer is someone online, such as a blogger, or at a social network, who has a large following online and is working in relation to a certain niche or industry. The goal is to find influencers related to your niche and connect with them. Through the connection, your company can become more visible.

Influencer Discovery Tools

BuzzSumo

This free tool will show you the top social media posts related to keyword searches, such as the niche or industry you are working in. You can read the content to get inspiration and discover who has posted the content. You can create a spreadsheet with all of their details and then start to follow them to see what kind of content they post.

If they make recommendations about products and services, chances are they might be a good fit for you. Interact with the content they post by being helpful, not spammy. When you have increased visibility this way, you will be ready to contact them to ask if they would be willing to share your content. Track your communications with them on your spreadsheet, and note down if they charge money for a mention.

Influencer.co

This site allows individuals and brands to list themselves as an influencer and post sample content. There are free and paid levels of service. The free service will allow searches and people to contact you, and vice versa, but will limit the numbers. The paid option will give you unlimited access but can be very pricey for a small business.

Social Blade

Social Blade allows you to look up businesses and individuals by company or username to see how they rate in terms of followers and content. They rank sites A, B, C and so on. You can see the number of followers, level of activity at their account, and more. It’s a good place to also check your own actions while you are at it to see if you can improve your rankings and become an influencer yourself.

Zoho Social

Zoho Social is a useful tool for tagging and then interacting with influencers on social media. You can locate and tag them using keywords and then connect with them easily. The lower tier of service is less than $10 per month.

Trendspottr

This tool costs around $50 per month, but is full-featured and can help you find and track influencers. You can plan content based on the top content you find, and which campaigns you would like and which influencers to promote.

FollowerWonk

This tool will help you find top trendsetters on Twitter in order to grow your business with niche-related content.

HypeAuditor

This tool assesses the quality of the following on Instagram accounts. For example, Justin Bieber may have nearly 70 million followers, but only 3 million ever actively engage with his content. This tool can, therefore, help you determine if the person with a large number of followers really is an influencer, or may have bought followers.

Reaching Key Influencers & Audiences

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To build your brand and increase awareness, one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is to leverage the power of influencer marketing. But to grab their attention and gain endorsements or recognition, you have to establish yourself as a credible brand that the influencer’s audience would be interested in.

There are many different ways to reach key influencers. You can and should post often, you can and should engage with them online, and you can and should engage with your audience.

Most of us default to one type of content. For example, you might prefer to share images online and you may stick to Instagram. However, if you want to reach key influencers and grab their attention, you will have stronger results if you vary your content formats and social channels.

Share Across Channels, Carefully

Did you know that your Instagram posts can be shared on Facebook? The opportunity to “Cross Post” is available between other social channels as well. When appropriate, share posts across channels. Keep in mind, however, that it’s not always appropriate.

For example, you might share a screenshot of your latest blog post on Instagram, but that same screenshot is going to look quite flat and uninteresting on Facebook. On Facebook, you’d be better off posting the first few paragraphs or a key paragraph and sharing a link to the post. When you post on one channel, ask yourself – before you publish – if it would work on other channels as well. If the answer is yes, then cross post.

Fit the Content to the Channel

You post videos on YouTube, right? You can also post videos on Facebook and Instagram. But on Instagram and Pinterest you post images; long-form content posts generally don’t do well on these social sites. And on Twitter, you post short posts, but on Facebook, you can share longer content.

So the key to remember is to embrace multiple channels, making sure your audience is present on those channels, and to fit the content format to the channel. Yes, there may be some overlap and that’s when cross-posting is a good strategy. Otherwise, take your message and communicate it in different formats.

For example, you might create a three-minute video for YouTube, share a quote from the video on Twitter, with a link to the video. On Facebook, you might share a few transcribed paragraphs or a key point and link to the video, and on Instagram, you might share a screenshot from the video or 30-60 second highlight with a link to the video in your bio. So you can share the same message across multiple channels, but each message is geared toward the medium. This is all, of course, keeping in mind that your audience is present on those channels.

Why Cover Multiple Channels?

You could focus on one channel and become the expert on that channel. However, it’s generally better to diversify, at least a little bit. And if you’re reaching the same people on multiple channels then you’re simply reinforcing your message. It helps you strengthen your brand awareness and credibility amongst key influencers.

Influencer Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

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Influencer marketing has become a major focus of marketing campaigns around the country. Companies have realized that word-of-mouth marketing from social media influencers carry a lot of weight. Influencer marketing campaigns generate a high return on investment. In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, marketers received $7.65 in earned media value for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. That’s a pretty good ROI. When you’re getting ready to create your influencer marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to know how promotions are different from your typical marketing campaigns.

Relationships are KEY

The biggest difference between an influencer marketing promotion and a typical marketing promotion is that your focus is largely on the relationship that you have with the influencer. You, of course, want the influencers to be interested in your products or services, so they have to be relevant to your industry niche.

Additionally, you want to make sure that they’re not promoting your competition, so there is some research involved. Some influencers will promote anything for a fee. It’s probably a good idea to steer clear of these folks. Their credibility will be damaged over time and their audience will stop paying attention. Instead, make sure you’re building a relationship with someone that promotes with transparency and authenticity.

Whether your influencer marketing efforts are organic or paid, or a combination of both, it’s important that the person representing you reflects your values and the values of your audience. Conflicting messages can harm your brand.

Not Always Planned

With organic influencer marketing, you’re not going to know when someone is mentioning your brand online. This means that it’s important for you to create real-time systems to both track your brand and to respond. If an influencer mentions you, you want to be able to engage and respond immediately to get the most from the mention.

Using Different Tools

Any marketing tactic requires tools for you to measure and track your results. Influencer marketing means you’ll probably be using specific codes for your paid influencers to use so you can track results or sales from their posts. You’ll use tools like Sprout Social or Tap Influence to find and engage with influencers. And you may use UTM codes for tracking your influencer results.

Strategy is different too. While your goals may be the same or similar, how you arrive at those goals will be different. Influencer marketing is most closely related to word-of-mouth marketing, but there are still many differences. Create your strategy first, keep relationships at the forefront, and know how you’re going to track results.

3 Mistakes to Avoid with Influencer Marketing Campaigns

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Influencer marketing is at the top of most business marketing strategies. The power that influencers can wield to help an organization increase their reach, awareness, and conversions is unprecedented. When a marketing tactic is this powerful it’s tempting to jump right in and get in on the action. That, however, would be a mistake. Let’s take a look at why it is important to create a solid strategy, and three mistakes to avoid with your influencer marketing campaign

#1 – No Goals

What is a strategy without goals? It’s an idea, nothing more. It is critical to establish goals for your influencer marketing campaign and then to set key performance indicators (or “KPIs”) to support your goals. KPIs are your measurements. They answer the question, “was this tactic successful?”

Common influencer marketing goals include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Brand awareness
  • Sales/conversions
  • Increasing exposure
  • Growing followers
  • Product launch

#2 – Wrong Influencer

There are many reasons why people choose the wrong influencer. They may choose someone because they fit the budget. They may choose someone because they’re flashy and have a huge audience. While budget and reach are important considerations, it can be a mistake to focus too much on them.

When you’re looking for influencers to both pay and to connect with (depending on whether you’re choosing an organic or paid influencer marketing tactic), it’s important to make sure they are 100% relevant to your audience. It doesn’t matter if they have a million followers. If those followers aren’t going to buy your product or service, then you’re wasting your time. And if your current audience doesn’t know or care about that influencer, then again… more time and energy (and possibly money) wasted.

#3 – Lack of a Long-Term Approach

Lastly, it’s important to remember that influencer marketing isn’t a one and done tactic. It is something that improves over time. It’s about building relationships and establishing trust and credibility with your audience. Don’t make the mistake of being shortsighted. Start small with your strategy, stay true to your mission and values, and grow your influencer marketing relationships and strategy. This gives you the power to adapt and leverage what works. Treat influencer marketing like your other marketing tactics, set goals, measure results, adapt and improve.

Improving Your Reach

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With any marketing plan there are a variety of goals. Companies and brands want to increase conversions, boost traffic, grow their list, become an authority, and of course improve reach. Reach is defined as the total number of different people or households exposed, at least once, to a brand during a specific time period.

With social media you may think it’d be easy to increase reach. However, that’s not always the case. Reach is important because it helps you connect with more people who may be interested in your products or services.

There’s a lot of competition on social media, and you can post day after day and grow your audience, albeit slowly. The good news is that there are some proven tactics that help you reach a more significant number of people. Let’s take a look.

Sweepstakes, Drawings, and Contests

Have you ever noticed those posts on social media where you’re required to like or share or comment or tag someone to enter? Guess what? That is designed to help increase reach, and followers. If the entry is to tag two friends to win a prize, there’s a good chance those two friends who are tagged are new to your content and boom, you’ve just increased your reach. It’s not a tactic that you should use every week or even every month, but it can be an effective part of your strategy.

Invitation or Encouragement to Share

There are other tagging options that are effective and perhaps a bit more passive. You can invite someone to tag a friend. For example, “tag a friend who could use this”-type posts pop up often. You can share information and invite readers to tag friends who may be interested as well. Depending on your niche, you can also encourage sharing to spread the good news, whether you’re promoting a launch or sharing important information.

Earned Media and User Generated Content

Encourage or invite your audience to tag you in content, to talk about you, and to create content for you. For example, you might invite followers to share photos of themselves using your product and to tag you in the photo. (This can also be a contest tactic). Their friends will see their content and you’ll expand your reach.

Influencer Marketing

Finally, influencer marketing can help increase your reach. When a social media influencer talks about your company, thousands (perhaps millions) may be exposed to you for the first time. You can pay influencers to post on your site or to talk about you. It can also happen organically. If you do use this tactic, be sure to have plenty of valuable content on your site and ready to publish so you can leverage the recognition.

Event Influencer Marketing

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Event influencer marketing is all about inviting one or more influencers in a particular niche or industry to headline the event. The chance to network with them is a key selling point of the event, as is the opportunity to increase one’s knowledge of influencer marketing best practices and network with other online marketers.

 

Harnessing the Power of Influencer Marketing 2.0:

Marketing group MSL in London offers free one-day events based on key topics in marketing, such as influencer marketing and New Rules, New Talent.

 

Playlist Live:

Playlist Live is an annual video marketing event with a full day of courses and an entire weekend of events. It is held in Orlando, Florida each spring.

This year, a second event will be held in the Northeast, Pop Up Playlist Tri-State in Secaucus, NJ, from September 21 to 22, 2018 at the Meadowlands Expo Center.

If you want to take your YouTube Marketing to the next level, it’s worth a visit.

 

The Social Shake-Up:

The Social Shake-up includes interactive sessions, case studies, panel discussions, fireside chats and clinics on almost every aspect of social media marketing, including influencer marketing. The keynote speaker is always a top influencer in social media.

The next event will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, May 6 to 8, 2019.

 

Influence This:

Influence This is a gathering of many of the top influencers in Canada. They offer an annual meeting and workshops in Toronto, with many opportunities to network with influencer and top online marketing professionals.

 

VidCon:

VidCon is the largest video marketing conference, with workshops on YouTube and Facebook video marketing and more. It has three tracks, Community, Creator and Industry, so you can go just to engage with influencers, master your video-making skills, or network to form new alliances and strategic partnerships.

It is held annually in Anaheim, California, and the next event is June 20 to 23, 2018.

 

Content Marketing World:

This huge gathering offers more than 120 sessions and workshops on what makes great content, and how you can create it. It will be held September 4 to 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. If you create content or want to implement a new strategy for your content, this is the place to network and learn.

 

The Tastemaker Conference:

This conference is held in Salt Lake City, Utah from September 14 to 15, 2018. It is a food blogger conference for culinary content creators and foodie influencers. Learn how to create your own successful food blog, network with influencers, and learn all you can from the 25 speakers and instructors.

 

Influencer Marketing Show 2018:

This show will take place in London, England, from October 15 to 16, 2018. It will cover how brands, agencies, and influencers can work together to make the most of their marketing campaigns. Speakers will reveal tools, tips and strategies and how to use metrics to get the best return on investment.

 

Social Fresh 2018:

This conference will take place at Winter Park, Florida from December 5 to 7, 2018. It will focus on the hottest new trends in social media marketing and offer the opportunity for networking, connecting with influencers, and special industry-based training for the finance, higher education, hospitality, and non-profit sectors.

Top Social Media/Marketing Influencers

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Determining the top influencers to follow will mainly be determined by what niche you work in. But if you want to learn influencer marketing best practices, your first place to start is to follow the top social media and marketing influencers online. Model your activities on theirs, and above all, see what they have to say about successful influencer marketing.

 

Here are a few of the top influencers you need to connect with:

Gary Vaynerchuk

Vaynerchuk has used social media to grow his family’s wine business from $4 million to $60 million. With all he learned from the experience, he formed his own marketing agency and manages social media marketing for many Fortune 500 companies. to social media marketing.

His follower numbers are impressive:

Instagram followers: 2.7 M

Facebook followers: 2.5 M

Twitter followers: 1.61 M

LinkedIn article followers: 1.4 M

YouTube subscribers: 985 K

His show on Facebook, #AskGaryVee, is an ideal opportunity to connect with him since he opens up to answer social media questions.

 

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki has become the chief advocate of a range of Fortune 500 companies that are lifestyle brands, such as Mercedes Benz, Apple, Nike, Audi, and Microsoft. He writes and speaks about entrepreneurship, social media, and marketing and has a huge following thanks to his books such as The Art of the Start and The Art of Social Media.

His number of followers is dazzling:

LinkedIn followers: 2.6 M

Twitter followers: 1.51 M

Instagram followers: 65.6 K

Facebook followers: 450 K

YouTube subscribers: 5.7 K

 

Neil Patel

Neil is the co-founder of marketing tools KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg. He has worked with Viacom, HP, and Amazon to help them grow their business. He is an excellent teacher, offering case studies on exactly how he gets results.

He has built his business and social accounts from scratch, look and see yourself:

Facebook followers: 916 K

Twitter followers: 278 K

LinkedIn followers: 211 K

YouTube subscribers: 26.5 K

If you are looking for an online marketing “mentor,” start studying all his material.

 

Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas started marketing online in 2008 and has quickly grown his site to more than 5 million visitors per year. He is from Australia, but travels the world giving lectures about the wonders of online marketing.

Check out his incredible social following stats:

Twitter followers: 560 K

Facebook followers: 100 K

LinkedIn followers: 26.3 K

Instagram followers: 18.1 K

He is another marketer who holds nothing back when it comes to outlining his success methods.

 

Mari Smith

Mari Smith has been marketing online since 2007 and is an expert on all things Facebook. She offers training and has written a couple of bestsellers about how to make the most of social media.

Check out her following stats:

Twitter: 575 K

Facebook: 204 K

LinkedIn: 31.5 K

Instagram: 27.5 K

YouTube: 12 K

Follow her to get invaluable social media marketing tips and tricks.

 

Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield offers high-quality digital training products and teaches her followers on Facebook and Twitter how to make more money online. Forbes has named her one of the Top 50 influencers in social media marketing.

Check out her following stats:

Twitter: 152 K

Facebook: 254 K

Instagram: 57.2 K

YouTube: 8.8 K

Visit her on Facebook for webinars and Q and A sessions.