Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’

SEO companies aren't magiciansTo my knowledge, most SEO experts don’t have a degree in quantum physics, aren’t proficient in calculus or even have a degree from Hogwarts school of magic. But clients seem to think a search engine optimization company can work magic. (Though, based on the sales pitch you hear from the SEO telemarketers, they would make you believe they can.)

Everyone today is searching for the easy button – that quick fix that will catapult their site to page one of Google. And there are lots of SEO companies out there promising to do just that, when, in reality, they are just taking your money. The truth is Google is slowly whittling away at the tactics used by most of these companies. Link building, blog commenting, and optimizing anchor text, all common practices, are now being penalized by Google’s latest updates.

That spells bad news for the SEO companies that are looking for the fast buck. For the business owners, it’s both good news and bad. The good news is, the playing field is being leveled so that your competition can’t cheat the system as easily. The bad news – now your site must stand on it’s own merit. If you want to be at the top of Google for “Money Saving Widgets”, you better have the most authoritative site on “Money Saving Widgets.”

easy-buttonThe easy button you’ve been searching for is content. Every time I tell a client that they need to create content, you see a dejected look, a “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that” look. Creating content conjures up unpleasant memories of high school English. “Where am I going to find the time to write content?” “What am I going to say?” “Everyone knows what our business does.” Here are some suggestions to help you start creating content:

1. Create content that educates – A website/blog is the best source for educating your customers/clients. Regardless of the subject, people want to make sure they are making an informed decision and your content can reinforce those decisions.
2. Create content that entertains – We buy based on emotions, then justify it with logic. Content that entertains the reader taps their emotions and forges a bond between your site and the reader.
3. Tell a story – Storytelling is an effective content strategy. Readers can immerse themselves into the story line and identify with the characters. Consider a testimonial type of story that demonstrates how your company solved a problem. Readers will remember you for your problem solving skills rather than your list of services.
4. Forget the sales pitch – If your content is done right, you won’t need to have a sales pitch. A sales pitch immediately shifts the focus from the reader to “me, me, me”. The harsh reality – no one cares about you or your business. They care about whether you can solve their problem, increase their profitability or make their life easier. If your content gets that message across, you will never need a sales pitch.

So as you’re looking for that elusive shortcut to the top of Google, remember, there is no shortcut. The easy button is only in commercials. If you are committed to forging your way to the top of the search engines, you need to be ready to start creating dynamic content and keep creating dynamic content. Like any sporting event, the playing field will be dominated by the person or team that is the most dedicated, consistent and prepared.

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19
Apr

The Marketing Magic Bullet

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Ninja Marketing

“Anthony Sullivan here with the Marketing Magic Bullet. This amazing product is guaranteed to make you number one on Google and Bing, get you 5000 Facebook likes, 10,000 Twitter followers, make your YouTube videos go viral and literally blow up your blog with traffic, all for the amazing low price just $19.95+ shipping and handling.”

Okay, so maybe this sounds a little far-fetched, but I would be willing to bet if you saw this ad on late-night TV you would be digging for your credit card in a heartbeat. As business owners we are desperately searching for a one-stop solution to our online marketing dilemma. We long for those days when we turned our advertising over to a yellow page, tv, radio or newspaper rep and forgot about it.

Today’s marketing landscape is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the fact that the cost can be very minimal or even free. The curse is the time and effort that it requires. Business owners are now required to learn a new set of skills.  Skills like marketing, copyrighting, videography and public relations, to name just a few.

During a recent workshop I was conducting, many of the questions the participants asked revolved around how to quickly reach a large number of people. It’s a common theme, whether it’s a workshop on e-mail marketing, social media or blogging. Participants come with the hope that they will learn some secret formula that will let them e-mail 5000 new potential customers or build a huge Facebook or Twitter following that will instantly buy their stuff. Instant gratification, instant payoff.

If you want the magic bullet, the secret formula to online marketing success, here are some suggestions.

  1. Trade your salesman’s hat for a teacher’s – Become an educator.  Teach your customers about your product or service, what makes you different and how your product/service can solve their problem.
  2. Be a giver rather than a taker – Provide your existing and prospective customers with valuable information they will thank you for.
  3. Share the wealth – If you would like to double your followers, give your existing contacts an incentive and a reason to share your information. Let’s face it, the average consumer isn’t thinking about you. While they could easily share your content, it never crosses their mind. Why don’t you ask them to? Why not give them a good reason to share?

So at least for now, until I can strike a deal with a good pitch man, the Magic Marketing Bullet isn’t on the market. You’re going to have to put in the effort yourself to create good content and build solid relationships and engagements if you want a successful online marketing presence.

Does anyone have Anthony Sullivan’s phone number?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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18
Mar

Use Your Inside Voice – Writing Blog Content

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Ninja Marketing

Writing blog contentAs you’re writing your blog, keep in mind the audience you’re addressing. Unless you’re writing to 12th grade English teachers or for the Washington Post, don’t worry about the grammatical format. Write for your audience. And most importantly write in your own voice. You are most effective when you write like you are speaking.  Here are some ideas to express your inner voice.

1. Talk To Your Audience – Rather than imagine writing your blog for thousands of people to read, imagine writing it for your ideal client. Or better still, imagine that you’re talking to your best friend. The personal nature of this type of writing will create an instant connection with your reader. They will feel like you are speaking to them directly.
2. Avoid Tech Speak – Unless your audience is the technical person, avoid using industry terminology and use consumer language instead. For example, if your blog is about online security for personal computers or small businesses, don’t use terms like “risk assessment” and “business continuity”, but instead use “virus protection.” On the other hand, if your target audience is the IT person, then use industry terms. You wouldn’t talk over the head of the consumer so don’t write over their head.
3. Use Humor – If you can get a smile or a chuckle out of your audience, your article will be more memorable. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. A funny story or even a slightly snarky approach gives the reader the message you enjoy what you do.
4. Vary Your Content – Keep your readers on their toes. By varying your content you keep them interested and anticipating your next post. If you use humor one time, ask and answer a question the next. Some other types of content you can use are videos, charts or graphs, lists, industry related reviews, or guest blogs.
5. Be A Problem Solver – Unless you’re blogging in the entertainment industry, your readers typically have a problem they want to fix or want a solution that will make their life easier. If your post can solve their need, your social capital as the expert goes up.

Most important – be yourself.  If you write your blog as you, it will be easy to maintain a consistent message from one blog to the next.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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29
Jul

Blogging In The Shower

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Some people sing in the shower but I do my best writing and blogging in the shower. Of course the paper does gets a little wet.

Last night while meeting with a group of social media enthusiasts, the question came up about what do you write. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. In fact I could probably retire if I had a dollar every time I heard it. But the truth is so many “experts” write about, or speak about the importance of writing blogs, articles, or e-zines. The cold hard facts are this: most business owners aren’t writers.

If you look up business owner in the dictionary I’m pretty sure the definition says a person that works 12 hours a day, seven days a week. So the thought of creating a regular routine of writing for a blog or website doesn’t conjure up good thoughts. Where is the time going to come from? What am I going to say? And who’s going to read it?

Assuming you can block off an hour or so a week to write your blog, does that mean you’re going to have the light bulb go off with an insightful or witty idea? That’s where my shower moment comes in. Your moment might be driving to an appointment, or working out at the gym or just before going to sleep. So the key is to jot a note down that will remind you when you’re ready to write.

Here are a few other ideas to help you build your content library.
• As you read newsletters and trade journals in your industry, watch for ideas that your customers or clients would find interesting or helpful. Either save the article or jot down the main points so during your writing time you can re-spin this article with your take on it. A word of caution: don’t just reprint the article. While people might find this information helpful it’s not your information so you’re not getting credit for being the expert.
• Think about 10 frequently asked questions about your business. That’s a natural choice for articles.
• What are 10 things you wish your customers knew or would do.
• How to tips – if you’re in a service related business give your reader ideas how they can save money, save time, improve product life or any number of helpful hints.
• Be a resource – in my case, since my readers are interested in online marketing, it stands to reason they would probably be interested in tips on keeping their computer running from an expert in my network. While I am not the originator of the content, I’m the one that gets the thanks for passing that information on.
• Use a guest blogger – along the same lines as the idea above, inviting a guest expert to contribute is a good way to keep the volume of valuable information flowing through your site. Plus it’s a good way to expand your reach into your guests network.

So until they make waterproof paper that works in the shower keep a regular note pad handy or your smart phone. For smart phone users you might try Evernote. This app will let you write or voice record your ideas for you to later retrieve from your computer or phone when you’re ready.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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