Monthly Archives: April 2016

Digital Transformation: An Opportunity Within Reach

Digital Transformation: An Opportunity Within Reach

Society is undergoing a revolutionary transformation in the way it communicates and interacts, and it is taking technology along with it.  Digital transformation is driven by cultural changes seen rarely in recorded history — replacement of scrolls by edge-sewn or “codex ” books, instant voice communications via the telephone,

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The Weekly Measure: Proving PPC ROI, How to Calculate Internal PageRank & Maintaining the Efficiency of a Content Marketing Operation

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5 Ways to Improve Programmatic Ad Transparency

5 Ways to Improve Programmatic Ad Transparency

The New York City-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently launched a programmatic transparency calculator aimed at providing “advertisers and publishers with a granular, partner-specific evaluation of their … costs as a percentage of their effective CPM.” It’s thought provoking. It’s asking all the right questions.

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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

It’s a rainy and cool weekend here in Melbourne, and I’m looking forward to reading something inspirational with several (ok many several) cups of tea. These have been an excellent start!

How Facebook Decides Who Sees Your Updates | Edgar

Oh. Wow. This was interesting and confusing and a complete rollercoaster of emotion. Now, if you’re like most bloggers, you’ll have set up your Facebook page to share your stuff. One of the tips shared in this article from the people at Facebook is… “avoid promotion”. Yay. Ah but all hope is not losst – they have other pretty solid tips to help you lift your Facebook algorithm game. I wrote them down in all caps.

5 Secrets of Selling to a Small Blog Audience | Be a Better Blogger

Not all of us are rolling in millions of unique pageviews a month, but we still have an audience. I think these are pretty solid ideas to help you make the most of what you do have – and I loved her take on small blogs and advertising.

How to Make Money When Your Blog is Brand New | Blog Tyrant

A fantastic and very practical guide to earning an income right from the start. Couldn’t agree more!

Five Steps to Measuring Your Social Media ROI | Advertising Age

This can be an interesting exercise to see if the effort you’re putting in actually is benefiting you. Sometimes it’s not the best strategy to just throw stuff out there and see if it sticks when your efforts could be put to better use elsewhere.

The ADHD Guide to Building a Writing Habit | Goins, Writer

I don’t know about you, but with the millions of things I have to concentrate on in a day, being consistent with writing falls by the wayside. I’m going to put some of these tips into action.

smart-subheads

How to Write Subheads That Hook (and Re-Hook!) Your Readers | Copyblogger

Really, we know most readers are skimming, and Pamela has a fantastic strategy to keep them on task.

8 Old School SEO Practices That Are No Longer Effective: Whiteboard Friday | Moz

Are you still doing these? stop!

5 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing Results Without Breaking the Bank | Entrepreneur

Because we’re not all made of cash, but effective content marketing can certainly help us make some.

Video Consumption on Snapchat More Than Doubled in Less Than a Year | TechCrunch

It’s time! Get on it!

11 Ways to Engage Influencers Before Asking For Something | Jeff Bullas

Ahhhh a bugbear of mine. I get pitches alllllll the time both here and at my personal blog, and 99% of the time they’re awful. We can change this!

I hope you found something of use this week, I’d love to hear what’s caught your eye? Did the Facebook thing help? It sure gave me food for thought.

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagram, or be entertained on Facebook.

The post Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately? appeared first on ProBlogger.

The 5-Step Process that Solves 3 Painful Writing Problems

writing tips - how to write clear, clean content

I once asked the Copyblogger community to name their biggest writing challenges.

From the many responses, a pattern developed:

  • How to get started
  • How to cut the fluff
  • How to finish

These three issues are really symptoms of the same painful problem, which boils down to not clearly understanding what you’re trying to accomplish with your writing. Don’t worry … it’s a fairly common ailment.

There’s a five-step process you can work through that will help clarify your objectives, which leads to greater clarity in your writing.

This method also helps you kick-start any writing project (and finish it) with only the necessary elements, because you’ll know exactly what you’re after and how to make it happen.

Step #1: Begin with the end in mind

The most important step in the process happens before you even write a word.

You must understand your objective for the content.

You have an idea, but what’s the goal? From a content marketing standpoint, you’re usually seeking to educate or persuade (often both, and as we’ll see in the next step, they’re actually the same thing even when intentions vary).

Having a “great idea” and sitting down to write can often lead to a half-finished train wreck.

What’s the “why” behind the idea? Figure this out first, or move on to another idea.

Step #2: Identify questions

Okay, so now you have a goal in mind — a mission, if you will.

What’s standing in the way of your mission?

The obstacles you face are the concepts your audience does not understand yet, but must accept by the time they’re finished reading. These are the questions you must answer before you can achieve the goal you’ve identified in Step #1.

In copywriting circles, we say an unanswered question (an objection) is a barrier to buying.

With education, an unanswered question is a barrier to learning. Education is persuasion (and vice versa) when you realize this fundamental truth.

Step #3: Write the headline and subheads

With your goal in mind and the questions you must answer identified, now you start to put things down on virtual paper.

Some people open a word processor during Step #2; I do everything up until now in my head. Do what works for you.

What promise are you making to your audience with this piece of content? What will you teach them? And why should they care? That’s your working headline.

Then, each of the major questions you must answer to achieve your mission (and the promise your headline makes) becomes a subhead. Your subheads don’t ultimately have to be phrased as questions, but this technique helps you compose a focused draft.

Take some time to decide if a particular question is its own subhead or part of the content below a subhead. It’s simply outlining at this point.

Step #4: Fill in the blanks

Want to write lean copy?

Answer the questions designated by each subhead, and answer only that question.

Do not digress. Do not go off on a tangent.

Just answer the question. Do it as simply and clearly as possible.

Step #5: Now … edit

If you’ve followed these steps, you’re not likely suffering from fluff.

Rather, you might find that you need to add more details or rephrase for clarity.

This is also the time to refine your language. Experienced writers can often pull the perfect turn of phrase in some places of a first draft, while in other places there are opportunities for better, more precise word choices.

Finally, review how the piece of content turned out:

  • Does your working headline still reflect the fulfilled promise?
  • Does your opening keep the momentum going?
  • Can you revise the headline, opening, and subheads so that they are even more compelling?

Over to you …

Everyone’s approach to the writing process is different. This process works for me, and I wrote this article fairly quickly using the process as a demonstration.

What works for you?

Any tips you can pass along that might help your fellow content marketers?

Let us know in the comments.


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Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on October 6, 2011.

The post The 5-Step Process that Solves 3 Painful Writing Problems appeared first on Copyblogger.

Tips on Building and Maintaining a Great Relationship with Readers

Building relationships with your readers on your blogThis is a guest contribution from Dan Goss.

When it comes to blogging, nothing is more important than your readership – if you’re publishing the best content in the world with no-one to read it, you quickly get into a Zen-style conundrum. If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it, does its content reach the target audience?

Building an honest, beneficial relationship with your readers is therefore one of the most important things you can do as a writer, and something that other blog writers often completely fail to do. Despite how uncommon it is, it’s not as hard as they’d lead you to believe.

First, you need to understand your audience.

What do they need? What do they want from your blog? A good starting point is to say “my blog is for X kind of person who wants to do Y kind of thing”.

For example, your blog could be for entrepreneurs who want to expand their customer base. From there, you know you can work towards supplying them with what they want.

If you don’t know enough about your readership to make those assumptions, change that as soon as possible! While programs like Google Analytics and Clicky can provide some insight into your readers, you’ll get the best results by far from qualitative methods like surveys and polls. If you already have a few email list subscribers, now’s the time to send them a survey or post up a poll. Your readers are the whole reason your blog exists, so get to know them!

Related Reading: ProBlogger Podcast: Two Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog

Second, publish targeted, high-quality content.

A relationship with your readers begins with you – and with your blog providing quality content. Simply put, you could be the most personable and charismatic writer imaginable, and it wouldn’t do you any good if your content was poor. However, combining that charisma with high-quality, targeted content? That’s the winning formula.

Make sure to take care over your headlines, since they’re the first thing the customer will see, and are valuable for SEO purposes – a good headline can really make or break your post.

The headline is a promise that the content must then fulfil, and that is best done using a variety of content types to engage viewers and expand your audience beyond your core readers. Different content forms, if used correctly, can reach people far outside your normal catchment area, as some people who dislike reading blogs may happily listen to podcasts, and vice versa. This content should ideally be released as quickly as your audience can consume it – and as your popularity grows, so will the demand for your work.

Building relationships with your blog readers

Encourage discussion in the comments – and respond to them.

Asking your readers to contribute and share their thoughts in the comments can be a great way to build a relationship with them, as it turns your blog into more of a conversation, a forum where people are free to share their ideas and experiences and feel included. When someone comments on your post, make sure to thank them and respond to their questions or thoughts. Interact and engage them, and you suddenly the blog is a dialogue, and you are building a relationship with the readers through one-to-one interaction. If you need to stimulate your readers to comment, a simple call for participation or comments at the end of the post should do the job!

When talking to your readers in the comments, make sure to stay positive, be as helpful as you can with any question or issue they have – and accept any criticism as gracefully as possible. Internet comments are notorious for their harsh and sometimes unjustified criticism, and writers need to develop a thick skin to deal with it. If you get confrontational or defensive, it can only end badly for you – it makes you look bad, stifles honest discussion, and prevents good relationship building between you and your readership.

Build interactions and relationships on other channels

Your blog comments are not the only avenue of conversation with your readers – you can also discuss and interact with them through an email mailing list, on twitter, via a Facebook Page or Instagram account, or on forums like Reddit. Finding the communities that your audience haunts can be a great way to build up a level of familiarity and respect, and is an excellent way not only to maintain a good relationship with your readers, but to find other blogs similar to yours as well.

Many of your readers will have blogs of their own, and where it is useful to your audience, it will be worth mentioning or linking to those blogs. Once you’ve found blogs that fit your niche, working with those authors to build your blogs together and connect across the board can often mean reaching an entirely new reader-base and will allow you the chance to build a relationship with some of your most active readers. Don’t be afraid to jump in and become part of the community – at the end of the day, that’s how really great relationships are made!

Dan Goss is the editor and chief content writer for Customer Service Guru, a UK-based site working on improving customer relations, customer experience and business practices the world over. When he isn’t writing, he can be found at your nearest coffee machine.

The post Tips on Building and Maintaining a Great Relationship with Readers appeared first on ProBlogger.

Thoughts, Ideas, Quotes, and Insights from MME16

We have come to the end of another successful Modern Marketing Experience. Brands, CMOs, Modern Marketers, and vendors gathered for three days in Las Vegas. Below are some of the things we heard, learned, and thought about.

It Really is All about Customer Experience

Sometimes it is easy to cynical about Las Vegas, especially if you are not into the whole party all night thing, but there is something they do very well. Customer Experience. Every major hotel has one simple goal. Let's provide everything you need on your vacation so that you never have to leave the property. Fine dining, shopping, extravagant shows, lounging by the pool, late night partying, and games of chance.

There is a simple lesson here for any business. Think about serving your customers in a new way. Imagine that you could provide everything they need, so they didn't need to go anywhere else and work with any other company. It may not be entirely realistic, but how does it work scaled down to your industry or product category? Can your offerings be so complete in their needs to serve your customers that it generates a level of loyalty that you just haven't seen before? Remember, in Vegas, the house always wins. They must be doing something right. Jeffrey L. Cohen, Director, Content Strategy, Oracle Marketing Cloud

"We wondered, could we fundamentally re-imagine how we do this? We knew we needed to change the way we talk to consumers. And in walked technology." – Eric Reynolds, CMO, Clorox 

"If we don't disrupt ourselves, we're going to be disrupted." - Nick Cerise, CMO, Western Union

"Personalization at scale is the biggest challenge at Sears." - Ryan Deutsch, DVP, Digital Marketing, Sears

Digital Transformation and the Modern Company

I’m in Vegas this week, as a guest of our friends at Oracle, for their Modern Marketing Experience event focused on the Oracle Marketing Cloud. The event is all about digital transformation and how companies of all kinds – B2B and B2C – are making the leap to digital transformation and a focus on customer experience. Read more - Shelly Kramer, Co-founder, V3*Broadsuite

Lessons for CMOs

There were two panels specifically for CMOs: The Age of Brand, Agency, & Customer Collaboration: How to Make It Work and The CMO Solution Guide for Building a Modern Marketing Organization. In the former we learned that the roles of key players in the brand/agency relationship have shifted greatly over the past 2 years, while data and how to disseminate it was identified as a key component in making the relationship work successfully. In the latter the panel spoke to the need to strike a balance between having the right people within a given organization with the right technologies. Two words at the heart of each of these discussions were people and technology.

Despite the rapid (and ongoing) proliferation of new technologies and the functionalities they deliver  — organizations must never lose sight of the fact that it is people, their employees and customers, who ultimately make the difference. - Steve Olenski, Senior Content Strategist, Oracle Marketing Cloud

"People have a responsibility with what they post on social media." - Zach King

Basking in the Glow

Modern Marketers spend so much time heads down in their jobs and they don’t often step back to acknowledge the great work they are doing. And the Markie finalists are doing some great work. It really is an honor to be a finalist with these other companies, but to win a Markie is something special. It’s great for our work to be recognized by the Oracle Marketing Cloud. - Nikki Candito, Marketing Manager, Eaton

"This is the beginning of the end of advertising as we know it." - James Cooper, Editorial Director, Adweek "Now the right message to the right person at the right time also has to come in the right place and in the right context." - Rebecca Lieb, strategic advisor, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist

"Focus less on what product you should be selling, and focus more on what customer need you're fulfilling." - Andy Kennemer, VP, Omnichannel Marketing, Abercrombie & Fitch

People Want to be Involved

They want to feel like they are part of something. Let them in. Include them. From conferences like this one, to written content, to video, involve your customers, fans, followers. Don't focus on product. Focus on creating experiences that people will remember. - Lauren Harper, Sr. Manager, Global Social Marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Put Content Where the Business Is
Competition for buyer time and attention couldn't be higher and as more companies jump on the content and social media bandwagon, companies are hard pressed to stand out.
 
We feel this at our agency as our blog attracts 2,000% more traffic than our company website. Yet, the website is far more effective at attracting attributable business inquiries. We know clients are educating themselves through our blog content but not taking the next steps to make inquiries there.
 
Creating a "best answer" destination that serves the interests of the entire customer lifecycle has become a major initiative. Combining our stand alone blog with the company website into an agency digital magazine will provide an engaging content experience that is integrated with agency services, case studies and end of funnel content. At the same time, this content hub will be optimized, socialized, publicized off site and influencer activated. Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing
 

"I am not who I say I am. I am who YOU say I am." Tyra Banks

"Use what you have to get what you want." - Tyra Banks

"Aloha" - Hunka Hunka Modern Mark

So that you can keep thinking about how to impact your business with technology, download the guide to Transforming Marketing Technology.

How to Get Employees to Fill In Their Directory Profile

How to Get Employees to Fill In Their Directory Profile

“Can my manager make me fill in my profile?”  The Guardian featured this question in a workplace column called "Dear Jeremy." The profile was for the person's intranet (which sounded a lot like a SharePoint My Site) and the reader worried that strangers would see their personal information.

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