What Every Beginner Should Know about Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the key areas of a complete, strategic digital marketing plan. However, for those who are coming to content marketing from a background of traditional marketing, it’s important to understand the different ways in which content can be used to grow and connect with users, followers, and customers.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when creating a new content marketing strategy. However, as long as a few key points are kept in mind and followed, creating content and sharing it online can be a relatively affordable and very effective way to grow business.

“Content” is Not Just Blog Posts

When many businesses start thinking about implementing a content marketing strategy, they usually think about and focus on writing blog posts. However, there’s a lot more to content marketing than just publishing blogs. Content can include:

  • E-books
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters

Depending on the type of business you have and the type of customer you’re targeting, certain kinds of content may be more suitable than others. Blog posts don’t work well for some topics. For example, if you wanted to publish content on car maintenance, a video showing how to change the oil or replace an air filter would probably be easier to understand, more helpful, and less boring than simply trying to explain it with words.

Publishing the wrong kind of content could lead you to missing the mark completely—it may not be the case that you’re coming up with bad content ideas, but rather you’re publishing them in a non-ideal, less effective format. As such, it’s usually wise to use a combination of different content types, depending on the topic you want to discuss. Many businesses today regularly publish blogs along with monthly newsletters and video content to be shared on YouTube or Facebook.

Content should be Audience-focused, Not Sales-Focused

The sales message may not always be clear at first glance when looking at a company’s blog or YouTube channel—content marketing is more subtle than direct ads after all, but that doesn’t mean it’s less effective. The needs of the audience should always be front and centre for any content marketing strategy, and serving an audience with valuable content is the key to its success.

Let’s take a babies and kids’ clothing brand, for example. A traditional marketing approach would be built around driving more traffic to the website and stores by promoting products, offering incentives such as special discounts and add-ons, and upselling and cross-promotion of products at the time of sale.

Content marketing, however, looks at the customers of the brand (parents, mainly mothers of a certain age range) and the type of content that would be helpful to them and not necessarily directly related to the product. That might include topics such as parenting advice, baby care, ideas for family trips, and kid-friendly recipes. While some blog posts might highlight selected products or inform readers about special offers and promotions, the majority of the content should be informational, with the aim to be as helpful as possible.

A post about helping your baby sleep through the night, for example, won’t directly market clothing items sold by the brand. But, if it’s valuable enough, it will be shared by those who read it and find it helpful. In this way awareness of the brand grows and more traffic goes to the website, and some of that traffic may result in purchases and loyal customers.

You can see this concept at work on the blog of designer children’s clothing label Children of the Tribe. While a lot of their content is product-focused, they also use their blog as a way to build a backstory behind the brand with travel stories and interviews mixed with helpful information such as dealing with challenges as a new mum. The resulting content forms a kind of online lifestyle magazine that’s enjoyable to read and showcases the aspirational ideals of the brand.

Content Marketing and SEO Should Work Together

While being helpful, informative, and engaging should always be the aim of any content you produce, it’s also important to optimise it to drive more views towards your website. Here’s where SEO or search engine optimisation comes in.

To explain SEO in a simple way, imagine you have a website for a professional cleaning company and want to target people searching online for “carpet cleaning services in Sydney.” On a basic website, Google and other search engines will only analyse the content describing your services, which might amount to around five pages. However, if you have a blog section with hundreds of posts about subjects revolving around carpet cleaning advice, products, and services in Sydney, there will be a lot more content to parse, and there’s a higher chance that search engines will look at your site as a good resource for people searching for, well, carpet cleaning services in Sydney. This will help drive your site and its content to the top of search result pages, leading to more traffic.

SEO techniques can also be helpful for figuring out exactly what kind of content to produce to meet the wants or needs of your target market. Tools like Google Analytics and AdWords can be used to gain insights into the problems and interests of your ideal audience. For example, if you own a real estate agency and discover through these tools that there are a lot of people searching for tips on improving their investment property, you’ll known that creating content focused on this subject is a smart move.

Social Media Presence is Vital

Several years ago, it was relatively easy for any website to reach the top of Google search listings by using SEO techniques alone. Things have changed, however, and it’s no longer enough to focus solely on SEO. Nearly 80% of Australian internet users use social networking sites, and 59% check in at least once daily.

Social media has become a part of our everyday lives, and ignoring it in terms of content marketing will have negative effects on a business. Even if you’re publishing massive amounts of valuable content, it will all be for naught if nobody can find it. Apart from SEO, one of the key ways to promote your content is through social media.

The power of social media is that it allows content to be shared much faster and many more times than through normal links—a funny video or an excellent blog post posted on Twitter or Facebook by an influencer with many followers may be shared thousands of times within minutes and have the potential to go “viral.”

Promoting your content on your social media channels should be an integral part of your overall content strategy. By doing so, you not only have the opportunity to alert followers about new content but can also promote older posts to get the most out of them.

Quality is Key

Content should be valuable to your followers in one or more of the following ways:

  • Helpful
  • Informative
  • Entertaining
  • Insightful

By making sure any content you publish has at least one of these characteristics, you’ll be more certain that it meets the needs of your audience and is shareable to encourage even more buzz around your brand.

Humans are visual creatures, so content should also look good. This means creating and editing content that’s easy to view, read, and understand—both on desktops and mobile devices. High-quality content should be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, and it’s worth putting in the time and budget to get it right.

A half-hearted blog with poorly-written articles or a YouTube account with videos that render poorly on smartphones won’t be appreciated by your audience and will discourage them from checking out your other content. Worse, they can also have adverse effects on how your brand is perceived online, creating a negative reputation surrounding future content you create.

Content marketing isn’t a quick fix by any means nor is it a one-time wonder solution for all your marketing problems. Rather, it’s a strategy that requires careful planning, constant attention, creativity, and resources that, when done right, will definitely produce results.

For those new to content marketing and digital marketing in general, it pays to seek the help of experts to get started on the right foot and avoid being overwhelmed. We at Curate Bee are in the business of helping SMEs develop and maintain an awesome online presence through careful planning and the right use of digital tools and online platforms. Through our experience and expertise, we’ll help you reap the rewards of your digital marketing plans sooner rather than later. Click here to know more about how we could be of service to your business.

Writing content title tips

Is Your Content’s Title Interesting Enough?

The role of your blog, eBook, whitepaper, or video’s title cannot be downplayed. If it doesn’t hook your audience, chances are they aren’t going to go any further with it.

In fact, you have only about five seconds or less to grab their attention and get them to read, watch, or listen. In other words, the title is your content’s chance to make a good first impression. This shows just how valuable titles are when it comes to attracting more eyes to your brand’s content. As such, it’s always wise to put ample attention to crafting good titles as part of your content marketing strategy. If you go for boring, mundane titles, fewer people will consume your content, no matter how good they are inside.

Optimising Titles for Search

Titles also have serious implications beyond attention. It’s usually a good move for the title to contain your focus keyword or keywords for improved search engine optimisation (SEO) results. Briefly defined, SEO is the practice of getting more online traffic from free, organic, and editorial search engine results. Putting the right keywords in the title could be the difference between your content appearing high on the first page and it being relegated to page 2 (and beyond) of search engine results.

Using keywords also informs your reader as to what the topic of the content is. If they don’t feel it’s relevant to them, they’ll probably just ignore it. But don’t just stick keywords inside the title without thought; it should look and feel natural and not forced for the sake of increasing hits.

Using keywords specific to an industry or product can help improve search engine results as well. Doing so lets a reader know immediately if it’s relevant to their needs. This is especially important for businesses in niche markets since they need to make their content stand out as well as be relevant to their target audience.

In terms of title-building, if you want to make it more interesting (thus, increasing your content’s chances of being read), here are a few things you must take note of:

Use Curiosity

Curiosity is a great way to grab attention and to set up the specific and valuable information you’re going to share through your content. One way to use curiosity is to go with words such as ‘who’ and ‘why’; these are terms often used in questions and you using them gives the impression that you’re going to provide answers. In fact, headlines which contained the word ‘who’ actually generated a 22% higher click-through rate (CTR) than headlines without it.

Aside from using specific words, you can use phrasing techniques to pique your audience’s curiosity. Phrases like ‘how to’ and ‘tips on’ set up a ‘promise’ to the reader that they’ll learn about something if they read, listen to, or view your content.

Keep it Short

Brevity is typically a good rule to follow in building your headlines. If they are too long, they’ll be cut off when posted on social media, which will confuse your target audience. Studies on CTRs indicate that eight words is the optimal length for creating a title. With only a few seconds to gain a reader’s interest, it’s better to be more to the point rather than add fluff words. Titles shouldn’t be wordy; they should be concise and tied to the key message of the content.

Use Punctuations

Punctuations can also impact your title’s click-ability. Using them can make a title more interesting, engaging, or even elicit a bit of controversy and mystery. Posts with a colon (:), hyphen (-), or a dash (—) actually received 9% more clicks compared to those without punctuations. Be careful with using punctuations though. Be sure you know how to use them and apply them the right way to your headlines. A mistake could negatively impact not just the perception of your content but also of your brand as a whole, especially if you’re aiming to be a thought leader in your field.

Value Accuracy

Your content should accurately portray what the content’s focus is. Make sure it reflects what the content contains; think of it as a sneak peek. Avoid using titles that misrepresent the content and mislead the audience. If they learn that you’re misleading them through your content’s title, they’ll avoid reading your other content in the future and label your brand or site as dishonest or not trustworthy. Nobody likes being ‘clickbait-ed’ after all.

If needed, you can try adding a bracket before or after the title to avoid confusion on what the content is all about. A recent study of over 3.3 million paid link headlines showed that those which used the brackets [Podcast] and [Infographic] performed 38% better than headlines without them. Using brackets this way makes it even clearer for the audience in terms of what your content exactly offers. For example, if they want to view an infographic about a certain topic, adding [Infographic] to the title makes it easier for them to know that your content might have what they’re looking for.

Ask a Question

Many blogs, brands, sites, and publications often use questions as content titles, and for good reason. Questions basically summarise what the reader can get out of your content. Also, titles in the form of questions can attract more attention and add a bit of dramatic flair, making readers more curious about what your content is all about.

However, as much as possible, you should also provide at least some form of an answer. Readers don’t want to be ‘left hanging’. They don’t want to feel excited over something that will leave them feeling underwhelmed after. If you don’t have specific answers to the question you used as your title, make sure your content is good enough that they’ll be able to extract value out of it, such as a nugget or two of information.

Last But Not the Least: Be Creative!

When combined with the aforementioned tips, a little bit of creativity will help you create titles that not only accurately represent your content, they stand out too, in an online sea of filled with ‘ordinary’ headlines. Your target audience will recognise this, which is a big positive in your efforts to get more views for your brand’s content.

Title Examples that Won Plenty of Views

Income, a blog for web entrepreneurs, shared 10 of their headlines which collectively garnered over 10 million views. The list revealed different headline strategies such as using “How to” titles, asking questions, and adding a bit of controversy. Listed below are a few of them to give you a better idea of what a good title could look like:

  • 21 Ways to Dominate YouTube: The Ultimate Guide
  • Parenting Guru: From Chaos to Access
  • Are You Too Clever For Success?
  • Want To Immediately Reverse All Your Health Issues?
  • 10 Reasons Civilization May Collapse Because Of Organic Foods

Got that? Now go ahead and start creating better content titles! As with any other discipline, you’ll probably encounter a bit of difficulty in the beginning but, don’t fret! As they say, practice makes perfect.

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Here’s How To Make Millenials Read Your Content

Millennials, generally described as those who were born between 1982 and 2004, account for a large portion of the online audience, with 15-35-year old users making up over half of the global internet population.

As such, they’re a highly important and influential group when it comes to digital marketing. This age group also has significant spending power, and with it comes a great opportunity for brands to harness this power through digital marketing. Although their disposable income may not be as high as those of older generations, millennials still account for 28% of consumer spending, and almost half of them say their purchasing decisions are influenced by social media.

Unlike the generations before them, they’ve grown up with the internet being a normal part of daily life and with mobile devices making information accessible anywhere at any time. They’re used to technological convenience and often expect instant gratification. For these reasons, they consume online content differently compared to previous generations. So, if you’re aiming for a digital marketing strategy for your business, given the aforementioned facts, it’s wise to make Millennials part of your plan as well.

Part of your online strategy should be creating content that will appeal to Millennials, and you can start on this road by following these simple tips:

Make it Visually Appealing

Studies have shown that younger online users will actually avoid reading content if it’s unattractive in terms of appearance and layout. As such, publishing visually attractive content is important if your business is targeting Millennials. You could start by using high-quality images, infographics, and videos, especially since content containing images or videos is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than plain text content.

Aside from making it visually appealing, make sure that your content can also be viewed and renders properly on mobile devices. As many Millennials access the internet mainly from their smartphones, mobile readability is highly important.

Make it Shareable

Millennials love sharing content on social media. This is good news for businesses, especially for small and medium businesses using content marketing, as it makes it easier for others to find their content and increases awareness and buzz around their brand. This means that creating something shareable not only attracts Millennials, it also increases your business’ chances of being viewed by a wider audience on social media.

The types of content most commonly shared include:

  • List posts
  • How-to posts
  • Amusing or entertaining content
  • Content that inspires emotion
  • Long-form content (over 1,000 words)

Following this list as a base for your content strategy increases the likelihood of more Millennials knowing about your brand, and your content being shared online.

Make it Highlight Key Information

It’s frequently claimed that Millennials have a short attention span when in actuality they’re just research-focused and don’t want to waste time hunting for key information in a lengthy piece of content. Making this information easier to view and extract increases the chances of the whole article being read and also provides visual breaks in the text, enhancing its visual appeal.

Drawing the reader’s attention to key facts, quotes, and statistics not only makes it easier for the audience to read the article and find out the main points more quickly, doing so also provides an ideal hook for social media sharing.

Make it Clear and Informal

It’s best to ditch the formality when you’re writing for Millennials, even in a B2B context. Business buzzwords are seen as being old-fashioned, and formally written content can be very off-putting and intimidating to read for a younger audience. Aside from writing in a more informal style, most content marketing tips highlight the importance of being concise and straightforward. To make sure your content is easier to understand, use subheadings so that the reader can get the gist of the article with a quick scan.

It’s a myth that Millennials don’t read as much as older generations; 18-29-year-olds actually read more than older age groups. However, Millennials read in a different way compared to their parents and will scan quickly through an online page to determine if it contains useful content, rather than immediately reading it from start to finish.

To avoid the reader getting bogged down in the details, provide links to additional information and keep your content focused on the core topic.

Make it Topical

Another common myth about Millennials is that they are less interested in news than previous generations, when in fact 85% of them say keeping up with the latest developments is important to them.

Many millennials also pay for at least one news app or digital subscription. While they’re not as likely to sit down and read a newspaper, it’s just as important for younger people to stay informed on important topics such as politics, social issues, and world events.

Social media plays a big part in the distribution of news for Millennials, with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram commonly being the primary gateways to discover news topics for them. It’s therefore important that a good proportion of the content you produce is newsworthy or linked to topical subjects in one way or another. This increases the probability that it will be shared online and takes advantage of Millennials’ preferences for consuming news stories via social media.

Make it Authentic

There’s no pulling the wool over the eyes of a Millennial. They’ll sniff out hidden marketing messages and insincere content in an instant. Your content should be backed by facts, statistics, and references from reputable sources. A recent survey about news consumption revealed that Millennials view having references and links as the most important aspect in deciding whether or not a piece of content is useful.

Millennials also have a deep distrust of advertising, and only 1% claim to be influenced by online ads. This means that it’s important to create content that is truly useful and valuable and not a thinly veiled advertisement for your brand.

Creating content for Millennials isn’t hard, but it does require a different approach compared to writing for other demographics. By using the aforementioned tips and advice, you’ll be boosting the chances of your content being read and shared on social media by Millennials and possibly being converted to a sale or new business opportunity.

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We Answer 6 of the Most Common Content Marketing Questions!

There’s no denying it: Content marketing is here to stay. For SMEs without the marketing budgets of large corporations, it’s one of the most effective ways to grow your business and build a solid presence online.

But what is it, exactly?

Content marketing relates to the information you share with your audience online. This includes blog posts, social media content, video marketing, and webinars. If you’re new to content marketing, it can be overwhelming—but we’re here to help!

Here are six of the most common content marketing questions (and the answers to each one!) to get you started on your journey of bringing effective and engaging content to your target audience:

1. How will content marketing benefit my business?

According to the 2016 Digital Australia report, the average person spends over 10 hours each day on their devices. Each time they go online, they’re consuming content—making it the easiest way to reach your target market online.

Ultimately, the goal of content marketing is the same with any other marketing activity: To increase your bottom line.

When it’s done right, content marketing will increase your revenue and help you achieve your wider business goals, but there’s more to it than that.

Some of the key benefits include:

  • Helping your business climb the search engine rankings, resulting to more visits to your website
  • Increasing your reach and visibility on social media
  • Increasing trust within your audience and establishing your business as a thought leader.

2. How long will it take for me to get results?

There’s no magic number when it comes to getting results from content marketing. Some established SMEs might notice an increase in traffic straight away. For others, especially those building their online presence from scratch, it may take a little longer.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy. To get the best results, it’s important to develop a consistent approach. With a consistent approach, most businesses can expect to see some results (e.g. increased site traffic, social media followers, business leads) within six months from implementing their content marketing strategy.

3. What type of content should we be creating?

Content marketing is often split into two main categories: on-site content and off-site content. It’s a good idea to create both, as they will benefit your business in different ways.

On-site content relates to the content you share on your own website. This includes things such as blog posts, downloadable ebooks, and on-site videos.

Off-site content is the content you share elsewhere on the Internet, including guest blogging and social media posts.

It’s usually a good idea to include different content types in your online marketing plan, and experiment a little to find what works best with your audience.

You should also aim to include a mix of topical content covering the latest industry news, trending topics, and events, and evergreen content which will continue to stay relevant long after you hit “publish.”

4. How much content do we need?

Again, there’s no magic number when it comes to how much content you should be creating. As a general rule, the quality of the content is much more important than the quantity of the content you produce. It’s a better idea to create high quality content that adds value, rather than trying to rush content through just for the sake of getting more out there.

Search engines and social media algorithms prefer high quality content as well. Taking longer to produce quality content may seem counterintuitive, but it will increase your reach and engagement, making it more worthwhile in the long run.

That said, it’s important to stay consistent. How much content can you create on a regular basis? If you’re short on time or can’t afford to outsource your content marketing efforts, set yourself a target that feels manageable. From there, you’ll be able to manage your content schedule better, and see how much content you need to create to actually get results.

5. How do we know it’s working?

When it comes to content marketing, metrics are very important. Yet keeping track of the results is something many small business owners seem to overlook.

To avoid this, make sure you have tools such as Google Analytics set up properly for your website. This will help you keep track of the results, and determine which content is the most popular with your audience. You’ll also be able to tell where your traffic comes from, which can help you measure social media growth and search engine optimisation (SEO).

Over time, you should see your website conversions increase, too, as your readers become your customers.

6. What’s a brand voice, and how do we get one?

Your brand voice is like your business’ personality online. When you have a clearly defined brand voice, you ensure consistency in the content you produce, and a way to set yourself apart from other brands.

When creating your brand voice, consider how you would like your audience to see you. If you’re going for friendly and approachable, using stiff, formal language in your content isn’t going to cut it. Similarly, if you’re a business that requires a certain level of formality and professionalism, using lots of slang and colloquialisms probably isn’t the best choice of language to convey your brand image.

To determine your brand voice, spend some time thinking about your business’ core values and how you plan to demonstrate them online. From there, you can create a framework for your content writers to follow.

Ready to get started with content marketing, but need more support?

Getting started with content marketing can be tricky and even intimidating for the uninitiated. This is exactly why, especially for SMEs, employing the help of experts is a great way to get started. Here at Curate Bee, we specialise in helping brands enhance their presence online through our digital marketing tools and expertise. Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more about our services, or take a look at more content marketing advice from our blogs.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Evergreen Content

“Evergreen content” is a popular buzzword in the online marketing industry. But what is it, really? Put simply, evergreen content is content that still holds its value even after months or even years have passed since it was published. It is not beholden to current trends or topical content; rather, it provides information that will continue to be of interest to readers over time.

Due to their nature, evergreen posts hold great potential in attracting hits from search engines and in generating consistent traffic to your business’ website or blog. However, many businesses, especially those which are digital in nature, are still belittling what evergreen content can bring them in terms of online marketing rewards.

Of course, that shouldn’t be the case—and here are the reasons why you need to include this type of content in your business’ digital marketing arsenal:

Stay at the Top of Search Engine Rankings

Although each search engine’s ranking algorithm is slightly different from the others, one thing that they all have in common is that they love evergreen content. This type of content tends to get more backlinks from other sites and blogs, making it more valuable to the search engines which, in turn, results to them sitting at the top or near the top of many search results. These posts also generate a lot of traffic over time, which also speaks positively to the search engines.

Having a strong search engine ranking is crucial to gaining readers and potential new leads from your online content. Most readers do not go past the first page of search results when looking for information, so you want your site’s content to be right there at the top. This leads to more site visits which, in time, can result to more conversions.

Encourage Social Sharing

Evergreen posts are more likely to be shared on social media, even well after they have been published. While topical posts usually only receive significant amounts of shares in the time immediately after posting, evergreen posts continue to be shared over the long-term. What this means for your business is that your post will have a better chances of reaching new audiences with every share, no matter how long it has been since you published it. This is value that cannot be ignored for your digital marketing efforts.

Boost Site Traffic within Your Blog

On your company’s blog page, you likely have a widget or section in the sidebar that lists your most popular posts (if you don’t, you really should have one). This tool encourages your readers to stay on your site longer and read more of your content, thus solidifying your brand in their brains. Because evergreen content brings in a lot of search traffic, these posts will usually be your most popular. They’ll gain even more traffic by being visible alongside your other content.

Most people only stay on a particular site for a few minutes before navigating to another site. The longer you can keep readers on your site, the better your chances are of turning them into customers. As they have already invested a larger chunk of time reading your material, they will be more inclined to choose your business over your competitors.

Establish Your Authority

Evergreen content provides a great opportunity for your organisation to provide your readers with the background information they need to understand your other content and what your business does or offers, in general. Much of evergreen content is geared towards beginners to a topic, so you have a unique chance here to set your business up in your readers’ minds as an authority in your particular industry. This way, they’ll have confidence that the information you provide is solid and valuable for them.

Topical content is great and often has a chance to go viral, which can be a great boon for your business. However, it does not complete the whole picture. You need evergreen content as well to form the foundation of your business’ content marketing. Without it, you’ll likely only receive large amounts of traffic to your post in the period immediately after you hit the publish button. No new posts equals no new traffic. With evergreen content, on the other hand, you’ll generate consistent traffic as your online readers search for the information you provide.

Get Expert Help with Your Content and Digital Marketing Strategy

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your online marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of digital marketing agencies. We at Curate Bee have the digital tools and expertise to jumpstart your content marketing efforts and help you gain a truly effective online presence for your business.

5 Important Steps to Win with your Evergreen Content

Digital marketers know that evergreen content keeps bringing readers back to your website. Wikipedia pages are a great example of evergreen content—that which remains fresh or relevant, and doesn’t lose appeal with time.

News articles, blogs on current affairs, and quarterly statistical reports are some examples of content that might be popular for a period of time, but are not evergreen. List based content like FAQs and How-to articles for beginners are some that never go out of style and will constantly bring visitors to your website. Let’s look at 5 important steps to win with your evergreen content:

1. Choose your topic, content, and keywords wisely

Choose the topic of your page or article with care, as it’s one of the first things that will catch the attention of your target audience, especially in the search engine results. Once you’ve come up with your title of choice, you can then follow the tips below to ensure that your content is engaging enough to prompt more people to read and share it:

  • The tone of your writing should be conversational and approachable, and should be aimed at the beginner rather than the expert reader.
  • Go into the topic in detail, and this means the length of the article would probably be on the longer side. This piece references top digital marketers like Brian Dean and Neil Patel, who often put out longer articles on topics of their expertise.
  • Add links to other resources when necessary, to ensure that the reader can use your page as a central point of information on the topic.
  • Keywords should never limit the scope of your writing, but it is essential that they be interspersed well within the article. This helps not just in SEO, but also in keeping the attention of the reader.

2. Updating and highlighting is key

Just because evergreen content is meant to stay relevant doesn’t mean you should let it stagnate with time. There may be some new pointers or trends that would be useful to the readers of your article, and you should make sure to update the article with these whenever possible. More frequent updates on your website would also contribute to your SEO ratings.

For the times when there are no updates to a subject, you can find other ways to keep an article highlighted on your blog or website. One way is to add links or tabs on the main page, so that readers could easily access the evergreen content. An FAQ article is a good example of this, as it can almost always be referenced from every page in the website.

3. Share, but be smart about it!

Sharing on social media is an effective way to improve readership of your evergreen content, but this must be done with a strategy in mind. Facebook and Twitter will bring in readers for a short period of time, but attention on these social sites is ephemeral, and your article will not stay in the attention of audience for long. Pinterest and Google+ are platforms that are much friendlier to evergreen content, according to the Content Marketing Institute. It’s also wise to use interesting/catchy or stunning photos (or both!) to capture the attention of users, especially if you’re planning to share the article on social media. Collections on Google+ can be used to gather your evergreen content into sub-topics to make them more accessible.

4. Stay flexible and connect to your audience

We’ve already mentioned that evergreen content is aimed more at beginners than at experts. What are some other ways to connect with your readers?

  • How-to articles could provide a download or print option, to make it easier for DIY-ers to save or print out a page for reference when necessary.
  • Step-by-step tutorials could include photos and infographics for every step, keeping readers more visually engaged with your content.
  • Mobile now represents 65% of digital media time, and this figure is only going to get higher in the next few years. As such, it is essential to keep your pages mobile-friendly.
  • Include “like” and “share” buttons that are easily visible to the reader. This adds to the possibility of social media engagement which in turns contributes more hits for your content.

5. To date or not to date?

Some writers believe that content that stays relevant does not require a date on the article. This makes sense for how-to articles, tutorials, and FAQs, for example. There are many cases of smartly-written evergreen content—including movie reviews and parenting articles—that are constantly searched due to relevant topics and keywords, and will keep coming up in search results, even with an older date attached to them. It is up to you as a brand or a writer/editor to make the call and choose what works for you. Some content experts advise to leave out the date, and add it later depending on feedback from your readers.

As with most websites, evergreen content will not be the only type of SEO content on your site. You would also need to write currently relevant and trending articles to provide a well-rounded experience to your readers. Evergreen content however, will only increase in importance, and if planned and used well, will remain a constant source of traffic to your pages.

It’s time to stop pitting inbound and outbound marketing against each other

Rather than comparing inbound and outbound marketing, companies should combine these two approaches in their strategy. This will allow them to shape their messaging according to the needs of their target audience, and get more customers on-board.

Which is better, an inbound or an outbound marketing strategy?

This is often a question that surfaces in marketing discussions. And most of the time, inbound marketing emerges as the winner. In this digital age, inbound marketing is said to be more effective and efficient than an outbound approach. Outbound marketing or the traditional style of using television, print ads or direct mail to pitch your company can turn away your audience, and is often costly. Thus, inbound marketing appears as an ideal alternative.

But what exactly is inbound marketing?

With inbound marketing, companies use helpful or interesting content to gain the attention of their audience. Content can be presented in the form of blogs, videos or eBooks. Your content may help solve your prospect’s problem, or provide them with insight on a topic that they wanted to learn about. This can encourage your audience to begin interacting with your company. For instance, a topic you tackled in a blog is further explained in your eBook. You can offer your audiences a chance to download the eBook in exchange for providing their contact details in a sign-up form. Those who signed up can give you a glimpse on who is interested with your business. Engage them and be responsive to their questions, and eventually they are more likely to purchase your products or services.

What makes inbound marketing better than outbound is that it is a smarter approach in attracting customers to your business. Instead of constantly bombarding your audience with ads, you allow them to decide on whether or not to interact with your company. This can help you win their interest and their trust, and turn your prospects into customers. As a result, your client base will continuously expand, and promote sustainable growth for your company.

Furthermore, inbound marketing is generally cost-effective, especially with the medium that is used to distribute content. Posting blogs or videos online costs nothing, as compared to placing ads on TV or newspapers. However, these online posts can continue to draw in prospects long after you have created them. In addition, you can track the return on investment of the content that you post to know which of them is the most effective. This will allow you to refine your strategy, become more efficient and maximise your investment on content.

Does this mean we should abandon outbound marketing all together?

Not exactly. In fact, some principles of outbound marketing can enrich your inbound approach, especially on maximising the impact of content. Drawing from the same messages pasted on billboards, posters and print ads, you can also repurpose pieces of content when they are relevant to current events. This will save you time on content creation while making the most out of your previous work. The emphasis of outbound marketing on branding is useful too. Make your brand unique through interesting colour schemes and fonts, and use these in creating your content. This will leave a lasting impression on your prospects and help you stand out.

Furthermore, you may need to combine outbound and inbound approaches to fully address the diverse needs of your potential customers. For instance, some of your target audience may prefer reading blogs to learn about your business, while others appreciate posters or print ads. Depending on the nuances of your target demographic, you may need to blend inbound and outbound techniques for your marketing plan to be on point.

In fact, it is helpful to combine both approaches in the event where your inbound marketing has moved past its peak. Using an outbound method, partner with third-party media sources that can send your message across a wider audience. When they provide you data about your prospective customers, analyse it with the use of integrated marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This will help you in identifying qualified leads, as well as for computing the return of investment (ROI) of your marketing strategy.

Two is better than one

So, we cannot simply say that inbound marketing is better than outbound, or vice versa. We need to assess how they can complement each other to improve our overall strategy and drive business growth. Thanks to technology, inbound and outbound approaches can peacefully coexist in social lead targeting. This includes using automated technology to search the social web and identify the attributes of your ideal customers; including their industry, work functions, blog postings and the forums that they have participated. Using this social web profile, you can determine the people that will likely be interested with your business, and contact them or send them ads. Through their profile, you can also create content that is highly relevant to their needs or their interests.

One such company that gained from using social lead targeting is graphic design company Visually. In one of its early attempts in marketing, the “growth hacking team” at the enterprise used their intuition to identify potential customers. This approach did not fare well, so the company tried its hand at social lead targeting. Visually used automated search technology to analyse its customer base. Eventually, it was able to identify the characteristics of its ideal client, and create a profile. When it is considering doing business with other companies, Visually checks if they possess these attributes and if they match the profile. As a result, its outbound sales grew by 250%.

What we can learn from this experience is that outbound and inbound approaches can work together, instead of being pitted against each other. With technology, both of them can be used to enhance the marketing strategy, reach out to the right customers and drive business growth.


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How to Make Your Content Marketing Strategies More Google Hummingbird-Friendly

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Ever since Google released its Hummingbird update in 2013, the face of online search has changed significantly. Gone are the days where creating keyword-laden articles and blog posts is the norm. Today, you have to change your content marketing strategies if you want Google Search to positively rank your articles or blogs. But how do you exactly make your content marketing tactics more Hummingbird-friendly?

Over the last few years, Google has been putting emphasis on the need to put quality content on your site for it to rank. If you have been doing this, then you’re definitely ahead of the game. But with the Hummingbird update, it was said that Google has started to rank content based on user search intent and the context of the content itself. There are also certain types of content that are more likely to stand out and get the search giant’s attention. Here are some tips to help you develop such types of content and improve your content marketing strategies in the face of the changing search landscape.

Choose content topics that aren’t too time-sensitive.

If you want your articles and blog posts to have more staying power and, therefore, have more SEO juice, consider creating “evergreen” content. Breaking news is only of interest for a short period of time. On the other hand, “evergreen” content, or those with topics that aren’t too time-sensitive, can be relevant to online searchers well into the future.

Because they don’t have expiration dates, such articles and blog posts will only grow stronger in authority, ranking, and traffic over time. And something that ranked well over time has been crawled repeatedly. This gives the content the opportunity to remain visible and to meet the objectives of the new Hummingbird update.

Address “natural” questions.

Creating content for natural questions and queries your existing or potential users might have is one of the best ways to make your content marketing more Hummingbird-friendly. This can be done by creating “How to” types of materials.  When building this type of content, however, avoid using too much jargon or obscure titles.

For instance, if your site is offering cooking tips, try to structure the title of your content to match a question. So instead of using the title “Experimenting on Different Cheesecake Recipes,” you should try using this one: “How to Make A No-Bake Cheesecake In Under Ten Minutes.” It is more relevant, specific, and it addresses a question a potential user might ask.

Go in-depth.

True, most users turn to Google to answer quick questions.However, research has shown that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. This is one of the primary reasons why in August last year,Google introduced new search results for users looking for in-depth articles.

With the search giant basically giving a nod of appreciation for those who take the time to create long and detailed content, this clearly shows that in-depth articles are the type of content Hummingbird favours. As such, you should try creating detailed content that provides new ways to answer existing problems. To make it much easier for you to come up with such materials, you can conduct surveys, assimilate data from various sources, or include the results of tests you have conducted yourself.

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