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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

Image sourced: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

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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