Content Marketing Services: The Power of Storytelling

People love reading and listening to stories, and it’s all because of one reason: it’s easier to relate to a story. Many brands use the storytelling approach to win the attention of online users and drive more traffic. Instead of just having a single web copy to explain the dimensions and specifications of a product, marketers use stories to address the needs of customers.

Here are a few ways to use storytelling to promote your products and services:

User-generated Content

User-Generated Content

Notice how user-generated content gets more attention than branded content. Why is this so? Because customers trust real people. They trust the experiences shared with them by other customers through blogs and videos. These are unique and come with a relatable story. In turn, customers who share these experiences become mini-influencers that benefit your brand.

User-generated content works in your favor by being the bridge between your business and your consumers, helping you gain customer trust. Customers want to be involved, and they want you to listen to what they have to say. As part of your online marketing efforts, encourage your customers to post reviews about your product or service, but don’t forget to show your gratitude for their participation.

Content Personalization

According to survey, 48% of B2B companies agree that personalized content is more effective than “unpersonalized” content.

Personalizing content according to your locale and target audience provides you the leverage to get your message across clearly. This means identifying your target market and working with that profile to offer them content that they will find useful and relevant to their queries. For example, refer to customers by their name when sending emails. It can be something as simple as that, but you reap good rewards in the form of better conversion.

YouTube

YouTube

Your YouTube channel can generate persona-specific, segment-specific, or lead-specific content. Videos don’t need to be long. With a few minutes, you can drive your brand’s message across and encourage viewers to act on something.

Another way is by sharing user-generated content in the form of reviews and unboxing videos to encourage user engagement while boosting the interest from other people. Most of your customers look for reviews before they choose a brand. Neil Patel himself says customer reviews improve trust for your brand.

Infographics

Storytelling can also come in the visual form, and one way to do this is through infographics. This kind of content is easy to digest and includes only the most relevant information. Visual data is not hard to interpret, especially if you are showing trends and statistics. By using appealing design elements, you can can make the content more interesting; this is why many marketers use infographics to drive traffic.

Instead of using stop words and product descriptions that might only confuse customers, go straight to the point. Inform and explain — show why the customer should be buying your products or getting your service.

Podcasts

Podcasts

Part of good storytelling is exciting your audience with what comes next, and you can achieve this through podcasts. Podcasts work like videos because they are both non-text content. Podcasts also generate a good number of listeners, especially if you break down big points into a series of episodes. If you want to make your audience tune in for the next podcast, use cliffhangers as a call to action. Lifestyle Business magazine, for instance, features a monthly podcast with a CTA, and it results in more site traffic and email subscribers for speaker Tyler Basu.

Podcasts are a good way to share information with your target market, but they usually supplement other forms of content. If you choose to add podcasts in your content marketing plans, have supporting content, as well.

Your business could garner a bigger client base if you give it a good story to build its content around.

The power of storytelling is not limited to the written form. Your business could garner a bigger client base if you give it a good story to build its content around. And the good thing about a great story? There can be spin-offs, too. That guest post you wrote could be your next infographic. So, start tweaking that website and brainstorming for pieces of a story that you can tell in different forms — you will not run out of good content to market any time soon.

What Great Writers Know about Articles that Drive Traffic

article-writing-look-for-your-audienceSearch engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC), conversion, keywords – so many terms remind you of what you’re supposed to do to help your site gain online traction. Sometimes it’s not even just your own website that you would like to get customers’ attention; you want every post you publish to get as many reads, shares, and likes as possible.

The primary purpose remains the same: target an audience, attract them, engage them, and then convert them.

With all of the terms you have to remember and all the things you have to do for your website, it might be easy to forget one of the things that matter the most: how you write. Before video became popular, the internet had always been about reading. Even with the rise of virtual reality and 4k video, and the evolution of blogging into vlogging, there simply isn’t a way to replace good, ol’ article writing.

Some of the most successful online entrepreneurs started by writing good articles — blog posts that became viral, answered a need, and touched a lot of people. The big question is, “How did they do it?”

You can’t just write an article right now and expect it to get a hundred thousand likes and shares overnight. But you can at least give your articles and blog posts a fighting chance at becoming viral.

Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

First things first: who are you writing for?

If your answer is “everyone”, you probably don’t have a firm grasp of who your target audience is. The first rule when you’re learning how to write an article is to determine whom you expect to read your work. Even a traditional blogger who only intends to use their blog as a personal journal has an idea about who’s likely to visit their blog and read what they have to say: family, friends, people in school or at work, fellow bloggers, etc.

The first rule when you’re learning how to write an article is to determine whom you expect to read your work.

When you write articles, you need a steady traffic of readers because you want to be seen as an authority in the subject you write about. Although this is one way to improve search engines’ opinion of your website and brand, real people are still your primary target.

In determining your audience, the task becomes simpler if you already know your market. And no matter how useful your offering is to just about anyone, there is always a specific demographic that you intend to touch — they’re the reason you need to write articles in the first place.

Demographic, geographic, and psychographic variables all have a place in your intention of narrowing down your target. Hitting that target goes both ways: your article has a higher likelihood of exposure as you can direct it better, and your audience appreciates your article more because it answers their need.

Use keywords

There is still some debate as to whether keywords play a role in article writing. The use of keywords in writing is not new; it predates the internet. But now, it’s not just people who use keywords to find what they need; search engines look for keywords in websites to help people find what they need faster and more accurately.

Keywords still play a huge role in search engine optimization.

Keywords still play a huge role in search engine optimization. Whether your article is a guest post in another website, or an entry in your website’s blog page, keywords matter. For guest posts and other off-page articles, keywords are more about mentions and linking to your website, lending it much-needed authority. For on-page blogs, it’s another way to establish your authority by showing people and search engines that you know what you’re talking about and care enough to write about it. Of course, the links to appropriate pages within your site help provide context to your topic and keyword.

Keyword research is a part of the job. Just because you know what you’re writing about doesn’t mean you know which keywords will work. This is why keyword research and article writing are industries in themselves. You may have to work with your SEO company to figure out which keywords are good for your articles.

If you’re fairly technical, you may also do this yourself using Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner and similar tools.

Google Adwords - Keyword Planner

Source: Google Adwords

Here’s a tip: you can use your keywords as the basis for your topics and make your article more targeted. You won’t have a problem inserting your keywords if your topics are written around them. The article doesn’t have to be about the keyword, but it can be closely related.

Write effective titles

People who are just starting out in SEO and online marketing often ask whether a blog post’s title is a ranking factor. The answer is yes. It is a ranking factor. The meta description, however, is not. What the meta description intends to accomplish is to increase your click-through rates (CTR). A good title is both a ranking help and a click-through magnet.

Here is a short list of hacks for writing your titles and making your posts extra-attractive to your audience.

  • Make it about experience or expertise. It can either be your own experience or expertise, or someone recognizable. Examples: “What Kevin Durant’s Move Means for the OKC Thunder”; “What I Think about a Clinton Presidency”; “How I Convinced 10 Investors to Give Me Money”; “What Zuckerberg’s Next Logical Step Should Be”.
  • Make it about your own opinion. This works particularly well when you have a fair amount of success and authority in the field you’re in. Examples: “Why Green Cars aren’t Green”; “7 Myths About Smoking You Shouldn’t Believe”; “What You Probably Don’t Know about Parenting”.
  • Make it about giving your audience something to learn. People love learning something new. Examples: “The Only Guide You Need for Gardening”; “7 Ways to Become More Productive at Work”; “How to Save $500 a Week”.
  • Make it about work. This is the kind of title you use for an article that gives some insight into a job, a business, or anything about work. Examples: “How to Build a Startup”; “Why IT Professionals Earn More”; “7 Reasons to be a Paralegal”.

Don’t waste your reader’s time

This is about your style of writing and your word choice. There are words that are notorious for not adding anything useful to what you’re trying to say. They waste space and time. Weak writers like to use these words to hit their word count. Want to find out what these words are? Check out this list. Chances are every writer is guilty of using a good percentage of these words. Now is the time to change that.

If you want to make the most of your audience’s time, write effective content.

Work with your SEO team

Optimizing your articles for search engines gives readers a better opportunity to find them more quickly. To make this happen, coordinate with your SEO team. This is something you can do even before you write the article — right around the time you and your SEO team come up with the best keywords for the article.

With these article writing tips, your posts have a fighting chance at being noticed, read, liked, and shared. Whenever it becomes a chore to write, remember one simple fact: your readers can benefit from what you know. Write for them with passion and with knowledge, and everything else will fall into place.

Getting More Value with Re-Optimized Content

Content Optimization

Content optimization goes beyond keyword usage and SEO methodologies. While new content can drive traffic and reach a wider audience, this is not always the answer. A better approach would be to re-optimize your old content.

Why do you need to re-optimize those old blog posts instead of just creating new content? It’s simple. Some of your old posts might have already gained traffic from the time they were published. It will be easier to rank these old blogs instead of creating new ones and starting with a clean slate.

A study by Hubspot shows that 76% of blog traffic comes from posts published a couple of months before. This shows that you will still be getting traffic from the previous posts you published even if you don’t create new blogs for a certain time.

 

What’s Wrong with Your Content Strategy?

Before you adopt a new strategy and re-optimize your old posts, you should look at what you were doing wrong. This will provide you a clear idea of why your content is underperforming and why you’re not gaining as much traffic as you projected.

Here are a few aspects you need to work on:

  • Putting too much attention on high-volume keywords

If you’re a small business, it doesn’t make sense to run your campaigns with high-volume keywords that will slam those of bigger businesses. You’re more likely to lose most of your traffic to the competition.

  • Having no clear content distribution plan

Content marketing should be a two-part strategy: creation and distribution. You have a ton of distribution options; your content marketing success depends on channels that will reach your target audience.

  • Over-optimizing

Using too many keywords on your web content will not only make it look unnatural, but also cause penalties. Stay away from the fluff and avoid over-optimizing your site.

 

A New Take on Your Content

Re-optimizing your content should focus on intent and quality. You need more than just a refined keyword list and a revised publishing calendar to jumpstart your strategy if you are planning to re-optimize old content.

1. Build Authority and Trust

Quality content revolves on authority and trust. These two factors work side by side when it comes to gaining more conversions. The question is, “How do you gain the trust of visitors and make them see you as an authoritative source with your old content?”

Here are a few ways you can achieve this:

  • Be objective: If you have blogs that are too sales-y, tweak the tone to get a more objective, balanced feel. Show infographics and cite authoritative sources to make your blogs more credible.
  • Expound your content: Your blogs should be detailed and in-depth. Some of your underperforming content might just be lacking facts that can back up your points. Expound on these facts to provide more focus and relevancy to your content.

2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

As long-tail keywords are more specific and descriptive, they deliver more targeted traffic. For example, a person looking for Disney family vacations already tells you what they want to see on search results. These are less competitive than broad terms, which make them easier to rank for.

This does not mean you have to stuff your old content with long-tailed variations of your keywords. You need to replace the main target keyword you’ve used with the long-tail version and insert them appropriately in your content. Make sure the long-tail search terms are relevant to the topic of your content, as well.

3. Use Better Visuals

Perhaps one of the reasons your old posts are underperforming is due to lack of appeal to visitors. Visuals make way for interest and engagement. Blogs get more views when they have a photo or video. They also get more shares on social media than posts with just plain text.

If you run an online store, use visuals to drive more engagement to your pages. Don’t simply put visuals; choose wisely. These should be in context with your content and should provide value to readers.

4. Highlight the CTAs

Your content should drive traffic further the conversion funnel. What better way to do this than highlighting the call to actions on your content.

Good content should be clear on what action it wants visitors to take. Do you want them to subscribe to a service? Do you want them to browse through your product selection?

You can highlight your CTAs by including making a pop-up banner, positioning conversion buttons on the sidebar, or including the CTAs on the copy itself.

After re-optimizing your content, you just need to remove the publishing date and re-share them to your target audience. Don’t forget to monitor the performance of re-optimized content, so you can better align your online strategies and gain traction for your traffic.

Top Publishing Hacks Revealed: Digital Marketing in a Blink [Seminar]

Being at the forefront of the SEO industry, we have been invited to speak at another digital marketing event earlier this month: the Digital Marketing in a Blink Seminar for Digital Marketers.

If you have never been to one of these seminars, we highly recommend you go; it’s a great opportunity to learn the top trends happening in the marketing world and connect with professionals to build your network.

Content marketing has been a very popular term in the industry, but few really know what success looks like and what the recipe is for that success. It’s because of our successful content marketing that Clayton was invited to speak at the event, and talk about content marketing with his deck, “Top Publishing Hacks Revealed”.

He discussed the history of content marketing, the early citing from the 1800s, the anatomy of good content marketing and how to truly engage users through valuable content and headlines.

Clayton provided examples of differences in old content marketing tactics and how they differ in quality and value from the material that we should be producing today.

Creating high value content is as easy as making it simple, digestible, and straight to the point. Providing a clear message that sparks emotions before selling an idea is the key to successful copy. A great resource that Clayton provided was one by Simon Sinek.

You can find Clayton’s deck here:

Changing of the Guard: Content Marketing Invades SEO Territory

Content marketing is catching fire as of late and beginning to dethrone search engine optimization (SEO) as the premier tool to own Google SERPs. Thanks to certain algorithm updates by the Internet giant, content has successfully taken the driver’s seat to steer you toward search rankings. Not that other web elements have lost their value, such as links and web design, but the substance of the pieces found on your site or other cyber places linked to your main online real estate practically dictates most, if not all, metrics affecting your search standings.

 

In a Nutshell

In essence, content marketing is a strategy of producing high-quality pieces with long-tail keywords to establish brand awareness, credibility, social media exposure, and authority on the Internet. “High-quality” means the content must be well-researched, expertly-written, informative, and, most importantly, unique.

Based on the current Google algorithm, putting your efforts on creating high-quality content would actually build a significant number of organic links and generate thousands of social shares on its own. This lessens the need to make links manually and pay for social signals, thus saving you energy and money.

 

Traffic-Driving Content Has Many Forms

Blogging is the initial step of a content marketing strategy, but you’re not limited to a blog post to attract visitors and boost your traffic. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout says there are 15 types of content you could produce to effectively achieve your online goals, ranging from visual content to informative pieces. While you don’t have to try them all, the key is to use the type of content that best suits your idea.

 

SEO is Not Dead and Never Will Be

No matter how many experts say content marketing killed SEO, there’s no way this could happen. SEO is an ever-changing landscape and always will be. Content marketing may be your ace in today’s fierce search ranking battle, but as long as Google uses algorithms to determine which site goes first in the SERPs, then optimizing the program will always make sense. In fact, relevant on-page SEO elements should serve as the foundation of our content marketing strategy, helping us continue to employ the best SEO practices.

Content marketing presents unique challenges, but it opens a world of opportunities for you and your brand to make an imprint online. Harness its power, and it will pay dividends later on.

Bill for “Google Law” in Israel Drafted and Scheduled for First Reading

Israel is planning to levy taxes on search engine companies in favor of local content publishers. The Financial Times reports that Israel lawmakers have finished drafting a bill that requires search engine companies to pay taxes for what they earn when they run other publishers’ content.

Israeli lawmakers want to impose a levy on Google and its rival search engines for their earnings in locally generated content

Israeli lawmakers want to impose a levy on Google and its rival search engines for their earnings in locally generated content

Israeli Content Makers are “Suffocating”

The bill proposes to levy 7% of earnings from online advertising, which search engines must pay to the local content providers. The proponents of the bill did not name specific companies, but the bill is said to be nicknamed the “Google Law,” indicating that Google will be one of the companies taxed by the Israeli government should the bill be passed.

Sponsors of the bill have noted that Israeli content marketers have been generating much online traffic – relative to the size of Israel’s population. This, says Labour party member Erel Margalit, is “suffocating” the content marketers, which in turn makes it difficult for them to earn a living.
The first hearing for the bill is set sometime in February or early March. According to reports, more than 30 of the 120-seat Knesset parliament support the bill.

“Favorable, Not Hostile Business Climate”

The outlook of this bill being passed as a law is not clear, but the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has given a statement that somehow shows he does not support the bill. According to him, Israel needs to “ensure a favorable – and not hostile – business climate for these companies.”

Meanwhile, Google has managed to avoid or water down similar legislations in other countries. “We believe that innovation and commercial cooperation is a better way forward than new legislation,” says Google spokesperson Paul Solomon. He further explains that Google works with publishers to create new technology that increases their traffic, revenue, and engagement rate. Given their success in other countries and the seeming lack of support for this bill, it looks as though Google and its competitors might be able to avoid this levy. We’ll keep you updated on the status of the bill as more news arrives.

Meanwhile, we’d be glad to help you devise a content marketing plan that maximizes your current resources. Talk to us today to get started.

Matt Cutts Tells Guest Bloggers for SEO to “Stick a Fork in It”

Google has sent out multiple warnings about reasonable guest blogging and the proper practices that should go with it. It was just last Friday that Moz released a blog warning people about the dangers that come with guest blogging, and now Matt Cutts has spoken: he is discouraging guest blogging for SEO.

Matt Cutts in one of the Google Webmaster Help videos discussing guest blogging

Matt Cutts in one of the Google Webmaster Help videos discussing guest blogging

“Stick a Fork in It: Guest Blogging is Done”

In his personal blog, he talked about the decay of guest blogging for SEO. He cited the fact that guest blogging was becoming more and more spammy over time because of people offering money to get links from guest posts.

“Back in the day, guest blogging used to be a respectable thing, much like getting a coveted, respected author to write the introduction of your book. It’s not that way anymore,” Cutts began explaining. He then proceeded to quote a spam email message offering to pay him money for posting guest blogs on his page.

“Someone sent me a spam email offering money to get links that pass PageRank. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines,” he noted.

“Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking ‘guest post outsourcing’ and writing articles about ‘how to automate guest blogging’.”

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

Proper Guest Blogging

To clarify, Cutts isn’t discouraging guest blogging entirely – just guest blogging for SEO. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t rely on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy,” he explained earlier in his blog.

He clarified later on that he was only referring to guest blogging for SEO in his post. “There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.),” he explained. “Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.”

In the blog and in his comments afterwards, he mentions instances when guest blogging is an acceptable practice:

  • If you have high-quality blogs with new and relevant information to share
  • If you know a guest blogger personally and are willing to vouch for the person when they post on your blog
  • If you are willing to nofollow the links on your guest posts
  • If you are doing guest blogging for the reasons mentioned awhile ago and not for link building purposes

He also provided his previous videos for reference on guest blogging warnings:

What This Means for You

You need to check if any of the guest blogs you have right now are in danger of being flagged as spam. Any blogs that have dofollowed links and keyword-optimized anchor texts are candidates for this.

You’ll also need to focus on creating and publishing your own high-quality content while you build relationships with industry influencers that will vouch for you when you contribute a guest post to their blog. This way, you’ll be building your reputation as a reliable information source.

Finally, if you really need to include a link in your guest blog, make sure to nofollow the link as Cutts recommends. This will send them a signal that your intent is not to build links, but to provide useful information to that blog’s readers.

We’d be glad to help audit your guest blogs and other links and identify which ones may be flagged as spam. Talk to us today and we’ll help you develop a content marketing strategy that builds your brand effectively without having to resort to spam.

Matt Cutts Advises Webmasters Not to Worry about Duplicate Content Too Much

Many webmasters and SEO specialists treat duplicate content as a major and serious issue, but the latest Google Webmaster Help video may help put them at ease. In this video, Matt Cutts answers the question: “How does Google handle duplicate content and what negative effects can it have on rankings from an SEO perspective?”

Cutts repeatedly stresses that duplicate content “does happen”, and that about 25 or 30 percent of the web’s content is actually duplicate content. “It’s not the case that every single time there’s duplicate content it’s spam,” he says, and that “if we made that assumption, the changes that happened as a result would end up probably hurting our search quality rather than helping [it].”

Throughout the video, Cutts mentions examples of duplicate content that aren’t spammy, such as blog post that quotes text that is sourced from a different article.

He clarifies that Google looks for duplicate content, and tries to group it together, treating all duplicates as one piece of content. Then they determine which page to show, and “crowd the other result out.” Users who want to do exhaustive searches will still be able to see these other pages by editing their filters to see all results. “For the most part, duplicate content is not really treated as spam,” Cutts says. “It’s just treated as something we need to cluster appropriately; we need to make sure it ranks correctly.”

Another point Cutts stresses is that Google still reserves the right to take action “if you do nothing but duplicate content and you’re doing it in an abusive, deceptive, or malicious, or manipulative way.” A blog composed entirely of posts from RSS feeds, for example, is more likely to be viewed as spam. Even the Google Webmaster Tools Help page on Duplicate Content stresses this point: “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.” If you aren’t massively copying content in an attempt to manipulate your rankings, you don’t have anything to worry about.