Monthly Archives: June 2017

Today’s CMO: Job Hoppers or Growth Drivers?

Today's CMO: Job Hoppers or Growth Drivers?

The Wright brothers probably had an easier time conceiving flight than most of us do describing today's chief marketing officer. CMOs, who have landed in the spotlight in this age of customer experience and marketing technology, remain an enigma for many industry observers. Are they technologists ? Are they

Continue reading...

Igloo Software Unveils Solutions-as-a-Service Digital Workplace, More News

Igloo Software Unveils Solutions-as-a-Service Digital Workplace, More News

Igloo Software, a Kitchener, Ontario-based digital workplace solutions provider, last week released a Solutions-as-a-Service approach officials said will help customers achieve new levels of productivity, innovation and time to value. The company unveiled its new model at the inaugural Digital Workplace Experience  conference in Chicago.

Continue reading...

5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Groups to Benefit Your Blog

5 Types of Facebook Groups for Bloggers

When you think of using Facebook for your blog, what comes to mind?

Declining organic reach? Pay to play? Sharing endless memes just to get engagement? Posting your latest blog post only to hear crickets?

But hang on, didn’t all the conversation move from our blog comments to Facebook? Well, yes, that’s where a lot of conversation is happening because that’s where a lot of our audience hangs out now, somewhere among the 1.28 billion people who login to Facebook daily to spend their (on average) 20 minutes.

3 days ago Facebook ticked over the major milestone of 2 billion monthly users, over half of whom use Facebook groups. That’s right, more than 1 billion people are using Facebook groups. That’s where the conversation and community is happening and it’s something you can easily create for your blog.

Here’s how you can move to where the conversation is and develop community for your blog in 5 different ways with Facebook groups.

1. Groups for your eCourse or other Education

One of the most common uses of Facebook groups by bloggers are ones set up to support a course or an event. Before Facebook, many bloggers used private forums on their blog, or used comments following the course content for any conversation with participants.

Now, most bloggers use Facebook to set up a group where their course participants can ask questions and support each other as they move through the course.

One of the main considerations is what to do when the course ends.

Do you close the group?

Do you step out and let the participants stay in touch and manage the group themselves?

Do you keep the group and add new intakes of course members to the same group?

The latter is a great way to manage a group for those courses that have a definitive start and end date with the blogger providing a lot of input during each course intake. In between intakes the blogger can pull back a bit and let the conversation be more self-sustaining.

This is how blogger Nicole Avery (also our productivity expert for ProBlogger) manages her Planned and Present course, which is great for members who may not have completed the course at the same pace as it was delivered. Nicole provides evergreen access to the course materials and having an ever active group of members means you can jump back in at any time for the support you need.

planned and present ecourse.png

An alternative is to close each group as the course ends, or move the members to more of a self-managed alumni group. Consider this if you feel like managing a group full time may burn you out.

For an evergreen course where people can join and start the course at any time, or for a free group like the ProBlogger Community which has an education focus, be prepared to be ‘on’ all the time. Having a structure and content plan for your group will help you manage it. As it grows you may need to consider asking moderators to help you as admins for the group.

2. Mastermind and Membership Groups

As bloggers we are usually flying solo, or working in virtual teams. Gone are the chats around the ‘office water cooler’ and Friday night office drinks. You can’t just stop by desk of a colleague or set up a brainstorming meeting in the boardroom.

In recent years, blogger masterminds meetups have become really popular – either as a component of an event like Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank event (where Darren spoke a few years ago) or as events themselves. They give bloggers the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and use the collective experience at the table to help advance each member.

With the cost and logistics of getting together on a regular basis being a barrier, many masterminds are now organised online through the use of regular group video calls like Skype or Google Hangout. A Facebook group is a great way to organise the group and provide opportunity for interaction between mastermind sessions. I’m part of a small self-organised mastermind group of bloggers that has started using a Facebook group to supplement our regular calls. It’s far more interactive than contacting each other via email.

Dan Norris Mastermind.png

Another type of Mastermind group that works well, without the structure of video meetings, is a larger collection of members who pay to be part of the group. A good example of this is Dan Norris’ Mastermind Group (above) which started as the 7 Day Start Up group. Dan initially started a free public group, which grew quickly and became very busy. Dan then offered a smaller group which members could join for an annual fee. This has resulted in a group of quality members with a breadth of experience who are there to learn from and help each other. The difference is that they have skin in the game, they’ve paid to be there and are not just dropping in and out to promote themselves or solicit.

3. Create a Support/Community Group for your Readers

Blogging Facebook groups don’t have to be about blogging and for bloggers. This type of group is less about you and more about your audience. Starting a group for your subscribers or readers helps to bring the conversation back to your own turf. When comments started migrating from our blogs to Facebook posts (which quickly disappear into your feed history), many bloggers mourned that shift. Conversation was fleeting, and if you looked at the blog it didn’t look like there was a community anymore.

A Facebook group for your readers creates a new home for conversation, and as a closed group, often a more honest and transparent interaction both with your readers and between them. When the Facebook algorithm reduced organic reach of pages, many bloggers started groups as a way to promote their posts and salvage traffic to their blogs.

veggiemama.png

Stacey Roberts of Veggie Mama started her group thinking it might fill the gap of falling organic reach, but it evolved into something much better. The Veggie Mama Gang is less about her blog and more about her readers supporting, entertaining and generally hanging out with each other. Sure, the talk occasionally reverts to recipes, but it has become so much more than that. For Stacey it has allowed her to get to know her readers in a much more real way, and she enjoys the connections being made between readers too – a hallmark of great community.

Stacey doesn’t actively promote the group – it’s a secret group which her readers can join by emailing her.

4. Groups for Reader Feedback

Closely related to a community group for your blog, is a group with a more specific brief. One that helps you garner feedback from your readers on something you are creating. Kelly Exeter from A Life Less Frantic has used Facebook groups to help her write her books.

Overthinkers Anonymous.png

Kelly Exeter is currently working on her fourth book, Overthinkers Anonymous. This group is for fellow overthinkers (she is one too) who are interested in the interesting things she turns up during the researching for and writing of the book.

Kelly invite her regular readers to join the group and provide feedback on things like concepts that she’s trying to articulate through to preferences for book cover artwork. It’s a great collaboration and her readers feel a part of the development of the book, and therefore the final product. It’s both crowdsourcing and marketing perfection – creating something based on what people actually want and is relevant to them.

Similarly, you could create a group to invite readers to be beta-testers of a new course you are creating, or to discuss ideas for posts that you can write for the blog. There really is no limit on what you could ask your community for feedback on. At the end of the day, involving them in the process is the most valuable part.

5. Groups to Grow your List

Back in the day, your blog was where people discovered you, either via a search, social media or a referral from a friend. These days the way someone first discovers you is just as likely to be a Facebook group. When someone finds a community they feel a part of, they’re more likely to invite others to join. With the bonus of Facebook suggesting groups to other friends, a Facebook group is a great way to curate potential subscribers to your blog and email list.

Jill and Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five use their Facebook group as the top of their funnel. Instead of driving people to sign up to their email list, Jill and Josh actively promote their group. You can see here on Twitter where they’ve created a domain which is forwarded to their Facebook group.

screwtheninetofive twitter optin.png

Their rationale is that you’re more likely to warm up to them and what they offer in a group, as part of an evident community, than being solely on the receiving end of an autoresponder email series. The next step is to earn your email address, once you’re already warmed up and engaged with them in the group. You can learn more about how they’ve done this via this great interview with Natalie Sisson.

 

Styling You Everyday Style.png

Nikki Parkinson from Styling You also uses a group to grow her community and facilitate her popular #everydaystyle challenges. Whilst you can join it directly via the Groups button on her Facebook page, she also uses the group as an opt-in for her email list. If you stumble on her group you’ll be prompted to sign up to her email list via one of the questions available to group admins when people request to join.

Both the Screw the Nine to Five and Styling You Everyday Style Community pages are sizeable, thriving communities. Darren interviewed Nikki on the podcast recently where she revealed there is a comment every 5 seconds in the group and she has 3 personal assistants moderating and managing the group. The Screw the Nine to Five group has grown to over 45,000 members and has become so noisy that Jill felt it ‘lost the magic’ because of people using it as a platform for their own self promotion, rants and research. So Jill and Josh are closing their group and starting a new one on July 1.

One of the biggest issues for them was the amount of “admin time required to delete all of the ‘bullsh*t’ posts” (Jill is quite sweary!). So, if you’re considering a larger group that isn’t gated by purchasing a product or course, then you will want to ensure you have firm rules and expectations set about how you want the group to run. You can check out the new rules Jill has put in place for their new group here. Facebook has also announced new tools for admins to manage their groups, including Group analytics, membership request filtering, removed member clean-up, scheduled posts and group-to-group linking.

So, are you ready to start a group for your blog? What type? Maybe you already have a group? Tell us about it in the comments below.

The post 5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Groups to Benefit Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Why You Need A Content Marketing Strategy For Your Blog And Social Media Posts

In today’s digital marketing landscape, a growing number of social media platforms and channels are competing for a limited number of marketing resources. Many brands are realizing that they can’t have an active presence across every single platform, and that they need to be strategic in how they create content for different channels. That’s why you need a content marketing strategy for your blog and social media posts.

Create one unified brand identity

In the rush to create new content for social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just creating as much content as possible, and waiting to see what “pops.” The basic thinking here is that, if you create enough Facebook, Twitter and Instagram content, something is going to go viral sooner or later.

The problem here, though, is that you might be creating the wrong content for the wrong customer. Or, you might be spreading your resources so thin that you are no longer staying true to your overall brand identity.

Say, for example, you are a brand that prides itself on having a customer-centric focus and responding to all customer inquiries quickly and professionally. So what happens when you’re failing to check your Twitter feed, and a long string of customer requests are being left unanswered? That reflects negatively on your brand.

Stay on schedule

Creating a content marketing strategy can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like. For example, some brands actually come up with a content calendar, where they think several weeks ahead about the type of content that they would like to post. This helps to keep everybody on the team updated on what type of content will be appearing soon, and helps to ensure a smooth, integrated marketing strategy.

But you don’t need a formal calendar to make a content marketing strategy work. All you need is a basic framework about how often you are creating content. For example, 1 Facebook update per day, 2 tweets per day, and 1 Instagram photo every Friday. This makes it possible for different members of the team to handle social media responsibilities, without wondering: What in the world am I supposed to post today?

Boost your ROI

Yes, social media has an ROI, just like any other form of marketing. And that’s where a content marketing strategy can help you generate the highest possible return. As part of any content marketing strategy, you’ll determine certain basic metrics — such as the number of new followers or the level of engagement — you can track. Then, over time, you can see how much you are moving the needle on these metrics. If you are seeing your Facebook followers “stuck” at a certain number, which might be a real clue that either you’re not updating the page enough or you’re posting content that’s not resonating with customers.

By setting up a content marketing strategy, you’ll have real insights into the performance of your social media campaigns. And, best of all, you won’t wake up one morning to find out that one of your team members stayed up late last night, firing off a series of tweets that are completely off-brand.

Accountability in marketing means one thing: can you deliver on what you promised? Get this Guide to Advertising Accountability to see how revenue accountability can cut marketing costs by reducing waste and dramatically improving your ROI.

Guide to Advertising Accountability

Image credit: Pexels

Practical Tips to Move You Toward Your Content Marketing Goals

Practical Tips to Move You Toward Your Content Marketing Goals

This week is all about good, old-fashioned pragmatism. It’s about the specific tactics you can use to start getting the results you’re looking for — sooner rather than later.

On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman gave us some suggestions on timing when you want to approach that busy influencer with your killer idea or humble request.

On Tuesday, Jerod Morris let us know about the launch of Sites, a new podcast that helps you build the website you need to reach your goals.

And on Wednesday, I outlined specific steps you can take to gain momentum when no one knows who you are (yet). Your “1,000 True Fans” aren’t going to show up overnight, but there is a path you can take to get to them.

Over on Copyblogger FM, I talked about the “killer and the poet” — and what to do if you need a little boost in one of those two roles.

And … did we mention the new Sites podcast? I’m rather partial to the one that Jerod recorded based on my Digital Sharecropping post. 😉

We have four episodes for you at this launch. Each episode of Sites focuses on one of the four pillars of a successful website: content, design, technology, and strategy. The episodes are punchy and focused, and will get you right to the information you need.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe – lao tzuWhen to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

by Stefanie Flaxman


It can be scary to put your story out there on the web. It's also empoweringHow to Build a Better WordPress Website … One Week at a Time

by Jerod Morris


you don't have to just wait for your audience to stumble across you7 Ways to Find Readers and Subscribers When No One Knows You Yet

by Sonia Simone


Advice for Poets, Advice for KillersAdvice for Poets, Advice for Killers

by Sonia Simone


The Simple 3-Step Process to a Winning Content Marketing StrategyThe Simple 3-Step Process to a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

by Jerod Morris


How Great Design Can Help Your Content MarketingHow Great Design Can Help Your Content Marketing

by Jerod Morris


Is WordPress Hosting Really That Important?Is WordPress Hosting Really That Important?

by Jerod Morris


The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing StrategyThe Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy

by Jerod Morris


How Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part TwoHow Merriam-Webster Lexicographer and Author Kory Stamper Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


The post Practical Tips to Move You Toward Your Content Marketing Goals appeared first on Copyblogger.

5 Surmountable Hurdles to Collaboration Success

5 Surmountable Hurdles to Collaboration Success

We invest in digital collaboration tools, therefore we see collaboration as the outcome, right?  Unfortunately, the answer is largely a resounding no. Over the last year, I have been running workshops for multinational organizations on how to overcome collaboration's hurdles.

Continue reading...

5 Surmountable Hurdles to Collaboration Success

5 Surmountable Hurdles to Collaboration Success

We invest in digital collaboration tools, therefore we see collaboration as the outcome, right?  Unfortunately, the answer is largely a resounding no. Over the last year, I have been running workshops for multinational organizations on how to overcome collaboration's hurdles.

Continue reading...