Building a Content Strategy

Content must support your brand

As any entrepreneur or marketer knows, branding is important. With every field filled to the brim with competitors offering similar services and features, branding gives companies the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack by expressing their business philosophy, their objectives and, in some cases, how they plan on reaching their goals.

Branding is the reason logos came into existence, as companies and organizations sought for simple visual representations capable of achieving instant recognition. Ultimately, effective branding requires self-definition, and in this digital age of constant interaction and unquenchable desire for new information, building a content strategy for your blog can help you define your brand, which will strengthen it and make it a considerably more attractive resource for your audience.

Here are five steps to help you devise an effective content strategy for your brand:

1. Set goals

Consider what you want to accomplish both in the short term and the long term. Articulating your objectives will give you a clearer picture of how your brand and content strategy should work together. For blogs, success is often measured in the number of hits a site gets, so creating a list of goals relating to traffic is a great place to start and the easiest to quantify. Statistic analysis tools can help you track and measure daily visitors, specific page views, keywords and referral sites, among other metrics. Google Analytics, in particular, lets users add goals to their profile. From there, Analytics tracks and measures data pertaining to those goals and includes that information in reports.

2. Define your audience

Content must always be tailored to your audience, so it’s important to define precisely who you imagine and want to be a fan of your blog. Topics, style, images and language all depend on the preferences of your target demographic. Who are the people who come to your site? What are they looking for and why? What are their online behavioral habits? Once you’ve established this, you can begin to generate content that will appeal to your audience from a thematic perspective, as well as through execution.

3. Create content people will want to share

One way that blogs increase site traffic and expand their reach is through referrals. Referrals can come from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or other blogs and websites, and they are a great way of introducing an unfamiliar audience to your blog. Featuring well-written, creative, and timely content not only will get people interested, but also sharing with their own networks. If you can, factor in strong visuals because as many social media pros will tell you, visual storytelling has become everything.

4. Be an information resource

In today’s online landscape, the best service you can do for your brand is to build trust through information. Since the Internet is overflowing with blogs and websites, one sure-fire way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack is to establish your blog as the go-to resource for quality content and relevant information.

5. Communicate your brand’s value

You want people to view your brand as better than your competitors, because once they do, they’re willing to change their behavior to accommodate it. Whether you’re selling products on your website or trying to increase site traffic in order to obtain advertising or investors, you need to show your audience that what you feature on your blog is specific to your brand. Look for well-respected and appropriate platforms to help generate publicity and awareness, such as social media sites, to help build your reputation.

 

Bio: Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the accredited online mba program offered through the University of North Carolina which also some of the nation’s leading executive MBA programsHarrison also sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. When he’s not working, Harrison switches his focus to great food, watching any sport that’s on TV, all things Disney, and traveling. You can find Harrison on Twitter @KratzPR.

 

 50 Ways To Grow Your List Faster
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SEO and Social Media: Making it Work for Your Business

If you’re working on an SEO strategy that doesn’t leverage social media, you’re missing out on an important component of search engine ranking. Due to the ever-growing popularity of social networks, organic search results are now affected by online social activity. Social media is more than a branding tool; when used correctly, it can be a highly effective form of link building.

Social Media Signals

Social media signals are the mechanisms that social networks use to share content. Tweets, likes, comments and +1′s are examples of social media signals. Google has confirmed that signals from social media websites like Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn play a role in determining how pages are ranked in search engine results.

You can increase the number of social media signals related to your website or blog by posting content that’s guaranteed to be popular with readers and providing social media buttons that make it easy for users to share links to your site. Search engine ranking will be additionally enhanced when your content is relevant to your industry and employs SEO strategies related to keywords, tags and the correct balance of text and images.

Personalized Search

Personalized search refers to the influence of geographic location and social media relationships on search results. You’ve probably noticed that search engine results often target your local community. Major search engines like Google and Bing are extending this concept to social media. When you’re signed into Google+ or Facebook, search engine results will take into account signals and recommendations from your friends. Because people trust suggestions that come from their social media circles, this area has a huge potential for influencing website traffic.

If you have any lingering doubts about the importance of social media in any SEO strategy, consider the fact that Google has added a social media report to Google Analytics. The tool allows marketers to monitor and measure their social media reach with data about the amount of traffic coming from social networking sites. You can also use Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content are generating the most social media buzz. Business owners and marketers who question the value of time spent on social media outreach can now monitor the results of their efforts and fine tune their focus.

Incorporating Social Media and SEO

Here are ten tips that will help you incorporate social media into your SEO strategy:

  1. Create profiles for your brand on major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.).
  2. Focus your energy on social networks that are the best fit for your product or services (e.g. Pinterest for a silk-screening business).
  3. Encourage visitors to your website to share your content by prominently displaying social media sharing buttons.
  4. Keep your blog and website content fresh and relevant.
  5. Produce or purchase high-quality content and promote it on your target social networks.
  6. Invite guest contributors and encourage them to share their content. Author guest posts on other sites and share those too.
  7. Form social media relationships by become involved in the community that’s related to your industry.
  8. Observe social media etiquette by keeping your comments positive and avoiding excessive self-promotion.
  9. Build a following by sharing content from other websites that are relevant to your social media community.
  10. Make social media sharing a daily activity.

 

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, aMasterofLaws offered through Washington University in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

 

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Getting SEO and Social Media To Work for Your Business

If you’re working on an SEO strategy that doesn’t leverage social media, you’re missing out on an important component of search engine ranking. Due to the ever-growing popularity of social networks, organic search results are now affected by online social activity. Social media is more than a branding tool; when used correctly, it can be a highly effective form of link building.

Social Media Signals

Social media signals are the mechanisms that social networks use to share content. Tweets, likes, comments and +1′s are examples of social media signals. Google has confirmed that signals from social media websites like Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn play a role in determining how pages are ranked in search engine results.

You can increase the number of social media signals related to your website or blog by posting content that’s guaranteed to be popular with readers and providing social media buttons that make it easy for users to share links to your site. Search engine ranking will be additionally enhanced when your content is relevant to your industry and employs SEO strategies related to keywords, tags and the correct balance of text and images.

Personalized Search

Personalized search refers to the influence of geographic location and social media relationships on search results. You’ve probably noticed that search engine results often target your local community. Major search engines like Google and Bing are extending this concept to social media. When you’re signed into Google+ or Facebook, search engine results will take into account signals and recommendations from your friends. Because people trust suggestions that come from their social media circles, this area has a huge potential for influencing website traffic.

If you have any lingering doubts about the importance of social media in any SEO strategy, consider the fact that Google has added a social media report to Google Analytics. The tool allows marketers to monitor and measure their social media reach with data about the amount of traffic coming from social networking sites. You can also use Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content are generating the most social media buzz. Business owners and marketers who question the value of time spent on social media outreach can now monitor the results of their efforts and fine tune their focus.

Incorporating Social Media and SEO

Here are ten tips that will help you incorporate social media into your SEO strategy:

1. Create profiles for your brand on major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.).

2. Focus your energy on social networks that are the best fit for your product or services (e.g. Pinterest for a silk-screening business).

3. Encourage visitors to your website to share your content by prominently displaying social media sharing buttons.

4. Keep your blog and website content fresh and relevant.

5. Produce or purchase high-quality content and promote it on your target social networks.

6. Invite guest contributors and encourage them to share their content. Author guest posts on other sites and share those too.

7. Form social media relationships by become involved in the community that’s related to your industry.

8. Observe social media etiquette by keeping your comments positive and avoiding excessive self-promotion.

9. Build a following by sharing content from other websites that are relevant to your social media community.

10. Make social media sharing a daily activity.

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for at WashULaw, a Master of Laws offered through Washington University in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

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Having a life while running a business with Empower Network

Having a life while running a business with Empower Network

Or even having a wife – if you’re a guy, that is. I mean, internet marketing can be one of those addictive pursuits like watching sport… or going to the pub… and watching sport… stuff that kind of pisses off the wife or girlfriend from time to time…

Empower your blogging

So it’s good news when you come across an internet marketing business that gets results quicker for less work.

That’s what Empower Network promises you – women included, of course. According to co-founder Dave Sharpe, this is about creating more of the New Rich – ‘a class of people who earn ‘mobile income’ and can travel the world, doing as they please……with no restrictions of time…’ Not so new, actually, but anyway, the message is there’s still good money to be made from blogging. In fact, even better money if you blog to a downline.

Huh?

Yes, Empower Network is sort of a MLM-meets-blogging program. And this is how it works: you sign up to their basic package, paying your sponsor – the guy whose link you went through – $25. From then on in, you pay a few cents less than $20 per month as a kind of admin/hosting fee for the blog and hosting they provide. Now that you’re in, you can sell the same Empower Network package to your subscribers – and your cat if he has a credit card. They pay you $25 and after 4 sales you are more than $50 better off than when you started out.

Naturally, you’re not going to get rich selling packages @ $25 a pop, however. That’s why Empower Network offer you various other packages which come with more training, more insider tips and conferences and so on. If you’re ‘all in’, you could soon be joining many of their high-earning members – that’s to say a nice, sipping-pina-coladas-by-the-pool $10K a month.

Dave Wood has something of the cult leader about him, something of the entrepreneurial hippie, the maverick. You do listen to him – even if he does talk hundred miles an hour. He has this ecclesiastical zeal about him that makes me, a sceptical Brit, somewhat wary. On the other hand his business model – on paper, at least – looks pretty convincing… provided you are committed to blog every day.

You can’t be a ‘wuss’ if you’re in Empower Network

“…every time you go out there and you put your creativity on your blog, you put a video on your blog, you write a little bit on your blog, you learn a little bit about blogging,” co-founder Dave Wood tells you in one of the 8 training videos you get upon signing up. “You just keep getting a little better and a little bit better… you keep having more presence and more presence…people start liking, people start sharing…” and the Lord shall shine upon thee, my son… No, he doesn’t actually say that. You almost feel he wants to – but he’s a internet marketer, remember.

Most importantly Dave Wood passionately wants you to come through – just as he and the other Dave (a self-confessed former alcoholic and drug addict) did too.

You kind of like these guys…

“…most people ain’t core,” Dave Wood says, by which he means ‘committed’. “Follow the 8-core commitments,” he advises, and you will be successful. “Just do it… Blogging changed my life… I lived in a doddamm van and I started blogging… How many times do you have to blog a week? 7. Cos you ain’t no wussy. What’s a wussy? A wussy makes excuses. A wussy blames their problems on other people… How do you succeed? Follow the 8-core steps. We’ll help ya.”

So there you have it. If a sceptic like me is prepared to give it a shot, you’d best not be a wussy now. Get yourself powered up at Empower Network!

I nearly forgot, when you sing up under me, I can send you an entire email campaign you can load up to your autoresponder and send out to your list. That right there saves you a lot of time, does a good job of recruiting and informing your list and generally keepng wheels well oiled.

I have a couple of friends making serious money with this platform – they’re ‘all in’.

If you’ve been blogging months and months – even years and year – and you’re still wondering when the hell your site is going to load up with the sound of k’ching, click Nic Empowers You and take action.

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Should marketers be concerned with the Facebook App, EnemyGraph?

From the very beginning, social media has been known as a channel that helps people connect with old friends and make new ones. And although it has the reputation of being one big happy party, negativity rears its ugly head every now and then. Maybe it is the rude wall post from the jaded lover, or the late Saturday night tweet made by the disgruntled employee who probably had one too many. But even then, most people like to think of social media as a friendly medium where everything is peachy. That could all change if the makers of a new Facebook app have their way.

Introducing EnemyGraph

Created by a research group from University of Texas at Dallas’ Emerging Media and Communication program, EnemyGraph is a Facebook app specifically designed to allow users to  make enemies. So instead of liking something, users can now express their dislike of a person, place, company, or brand. Who or whatever a user specifies as their enemy is then posted online for all their friends to see. The EnemyGraph app has only been live for a short time, but it is rising in popularity fast. So far, Fox News, Rick Santorum, and Twilight are among the things that Facebook members using the application are not too fond of.

Marketing Implications of EnemyGraph

EnemyGraph doesn’t necessarily bring game changing implications to the table, but there may be cause for marketers to be concerned. For example, if your company suffers through a stint where the customer service is less than stellar, an application such as this could give that unfortunate period more attention than you would probably like. If EnemyGraph were able to take off, even to the point where the concept was adopted by other vendors, marketers who have regular interactions with the public would have to go above and beyond to keep their reputation intact.

Up to this point, most of the discussion surrounding EnemyGraph has been about all the damage it could inflict on the reputations of online businesses and even users. And while it does have the potential to ruin a company’s reputation in record time, this controversial app appears to have some marketing value as well. For marketers, the benefits of EnemyGraph may lie in its potential as an effective research tool. A company looking to learn more a specific market could use the tool to find out what people do not like and leverage those insights to devise an approach they are more likely to be receptive to.

Just Another Fad?

The creators of EnemyGraph definitely appear to be on to something, but is it a trend to watch, or just another fad destined to flop? That all remains to be seen. Dean Terry, director of the program the group of researchers created the app through, seems to think it could grow and better suit the needs of users. If that happens and EnemyGraph picks up steam, marketers may have to pay much closer attention to their brand management strategy.

This post was written by Chiko Noguchi, who is a best-practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of email templates

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Kindle Ebook Publishing in the Internet Marketing niche


Secrets To Growing A Hugely Profitable Email List

 

My first very own Kindle. Well, I had to do one. Of course the idea is to write, or have written for you, as many Kindles as you can, but for now I’m settling for just the one: “Secrets To Growing A Hugely Profitable Email List”.

Boy it took a while. Not so much the writing of it, because the book was the result of sticking together two ebooks already written on the subject of email marketing. OK, not just gluing one end to the other, obviously – a little trimming and editing was involved, but all in all that wasn’t the main job.

I couldn’t format the damn Kindle. I tried two software kits, but wasn’t getting anywhere, not all that surprising given how lousy most instructions and Help menus are. But anyway, I thought sod this and went on to Fiverr.com and got someone to do it for me for $25, much less painful. I’m not entirely wowed by the formatting that came back, but at least the pics aren’t in funny places and there are no huge gaps between headlines and text, etc.  Let’s say it was perfectly adequate. You can keep on perfecting and perfecting, it was time to move to stage 2…

So I signed up as a vendor on amazon Kindle, rooted around for things like IBAN and BIC codes (you can find them on your bank statements), wrote a description of the book… designed the cover, got it made by a Mac Monkey… and finished in a state of mild stupefaction that I’d actually managed it. As always, your first time with anything is a bit of a pain.

Next stage – PR. That’s what I’m doing now. Looks as if I might have to set up a mini site devoted to this Kindle publication. Or at least a page. Am just going through a list of sites that help distribute your press release. Won’t that be fun. But it has to be done. Or else who will know my wonderful Secrets Kindle even exists. Hm, maybe I’ll outsource again…

Thought this list might be useful to some of you:

Here are a few websites to help you build your list:

Media Post http://mediapost.com – extensive directory for US media

NewsLink.org http://newslink.org – directory for a number of countries

ABYZ News Links http://www.abyznewslinks.com/ – directory for a

number of countries

 

You can submit your site to a few online newswires and news websites.

Some require payment, some are free but have an option to upgrade to paid:

 

PR Web http://prweb.com – They do a great job, but only offer a paid

PRLog http://www.prlog.org – One of the best free distribution sites

because it allows anchor links and has a high page rank.

PRZoom http://www.przoom.com/ – submit your press release for free.

oFree-Press-Release http://free-press-release.com – free press release

distribution center.

PressMethod http://pressmethod.com – free press release distribution

center.

PRFree http://prfree.com – free press release distribution

24-7PressRelease http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/ – free service.

 

The Kindle Kraze

I realize I could have cut my first Kindle up into at least 2 Kindles
and charged the same for each ebook – but I wouldn’t have been
comfortable doing that.

Unbeatable value is the only way to go, in my view.

So, if you like the idea of learning about list-building on a Kindle, just click

“Secrets To Growing A Hugely Profitable Email List”


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Liz Tomey’s Tax Man Blowout

Tax Man Blowout just went live. Here’s a video directly from Liz Tomey (the queen of PLR) showing you exactly what you’ll be getting in this package.

It’s a quick video, just over 7 minutes. I can’t believe she was able to fit everything you’re getting into this video because there is just SOOOO much!

Check it out!

The key thing to note about Liz’s PLR – it’s hers, it’s not a re-hash, and it’s quality.

More urgently, it’s only available until April 24th at midnight. Bonuses are being taken away daily, and the price is going to double in just a few days,
so don’t wait around! Grab it now!

Find out more by clicking LizT

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Be My List Building Buddy pre-launch interruption

Clearly there’s a ghost in the machine. Actually several machines. First my Samsung laptop goes into meltdown, then my Dell… then the Vaio’s left hinge herniates… the zoom function on my Sony HD cam ceases to work, the Samsung goes again, this time it’s the battery, then the DVD player, the printer and the external HD… I mean, what the fuck is going on, man! All in the space of 2 1/2 months?! 

Yep.

Generally, I don’t like to make excuses, but all of a sudden I don’t seem to have any choice but utter a few… excuses, if only to keep myself from going crazy.

When will I ever be able to launch my new product? I ask myself. I pray to the god of micro chips and other electrical stuff, to please give me a break… just for one week, let’s say 10 days, that’s all I need to launch my latest product – Be My List Building Buddy.

I can’t remember when I last spent so much of my time fixing stuff. To run a launch, you can’t have things breaking down every five minutes. You need continuity and flow. It’s like a convoy rolling out. No mines, please. I come in peace, bringing useful advice to all list-builders…

I go to pick up the Samsung on Thursday. The repair shop charged me 60 quid just to take it in – a ‘service charge’ they call it. They call two days later to say it needs a new battery. Yeah, I already knew that. What about that other techno mumbo jumbo you were talking about when I brought it in? No, it’s not that. How much for a new battery? 90 quid.  I look up batteries on amazon… less than 40. Icall back and say, Hey, I’ll get my own battery. OK, sir, that’s up to you. Damn right it is. Looks to me like they’ve just banked 60 quid only to tell me what I thought what was the problem in the first place. How long would it take them to make such a diagnosis? Quick peak under the hood… sniff sniff… oh, it’s the battery…. 20 minutes ‘labor’? So that’s 180 quid an hour! I’m going to have to some serious words when I go to pick it up. They won’t be getting my business again unless they cut that bill right down to size…

You see what I mean? Distractions. When I’m trying to stay focused. Well, I managed to shoot a couple videos yesterday to go with the pre-launch pages, so I’m inching forward, you could say.

The problem with computers going down, even supposing you have other computers to work from – which I do, luckily enough – is that the computers you rarely use feel different, the folders and files are in different places, the Skype conversations are all totally different, a couple of files here and there seem to be missing… or hiding… it gets you thinking, doing a launch isn’t just a set of tasks you have to see through, it’s like a state of mind, a fragile membrane of concentration….

Well, assuming no more interruptions, I should be back on course by the end of the week. Fingers crossed. Toes too.

Perhaps I should outsource more…

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“This is literally the link building endgame!”

I just downloaded Chris Munch’s early bird freebie report introducing his new product, launching Monday 27th February – his ‘endagame’ for link building called ‘Hook Pigeon’.

Given that Google has ‘slapped’ thousands of marketers for ‘artifically’ building links to their sites, this has to be an interesting proposition. Munch is hinting that the best solutions now have to be found virally – which of course means, in large part, via social media.

In his early bird report he says he’s ‘systemized’ his method down to ‘quick-fire campaigns that can be done in as little as thirty minutes, as well as much bigger aggressive campaigns’ that have helped him overcome many problems like:

• how to structure content to get attention and action
• how to create awesome viral content without writing more than 20 words
• how to get people to want to share your content on Facebook, Twitter and more
• how to get blogs and news sites to link to your site out of choice
• how to ‘seed’ your content
• how to go viral off other people’s content (no creativity required)
• how to channel this powerful energy to force rankings higher for specific
keywords
• how to leverage Google traffic into the long term for passive profit
• how to never have to worry about getting traffic again

The Hook Pigeon method is all about ‘flooding your site with traffic in a way that makes Google believe you are genuinely providing value, not merely playing funny games.  As a result of applying Hook Pigeon, your rankings will shoot up, he says. This in turn will build trust… and more links to your sites.

Chris says he has brought in over 150,000 unique visitors in a 48 hour period, with ‘targeted long-term traffic from Google that just keeps coming year after year!’ That’s no mean achievement. This looks like it could be a gamechanger in linkbuilding strategies.

Go here to get on the early bird – early pigeon? – list.

If you’re reading this after Monday, February 27th 11am EST Click Here.

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PC Meltdown Holds Up Be My List Building Buddy Launch

Oh, boy, don’t you love it when your damn hardware packs up just as you’re getting ready to launch a product.

A few months ago my daughter came into the kitchen waving her arms about and mangaed to knock a bottle of wine across the table in the direction of my 17 inch laptop. I sat there, watching in horror as a good bottle of Pinot emptied itself all over the keyword, glug glug glug.

“You twat!”

Of course it was my fault, she said, for leaving the bottle on the table.

Don’t you love women. Even at age 11 they learn to blame the stupid male. She had a point, but still, ‘Sorry’ might have been nice.

Still cursing like a trooper, I up-ended the laptop and dabbed furiously with sheet after sheet of Kitchen Towel. To my amazement, the laptop worked when I next switched it on… for all of 10 minutes. Whereupon it died. Of alcoholic poisoning.

The repair shop quoted me for the cost of replacing a new keyboard. I sighed a sigh of relief – could have been worse. 6 months later the laptop died on me again. Diagnosis: keyboard needed replacing and previous ‘spillage’ had ‘corroded part of the motherboard’. You never want to hear the word ‘motherboard’ uttered when you’re asking about a repair job on your pc. It’s the equivalent of ‘acute myocardial infaraction’ in computer speak.

Turns out that bottle of Pinot was easily the most expensive I’ve not entirely consumed – around £300.

So anyway, I get the pc home only to have it die on me yet again within 48 hours. I make a trip back to the repair shop where they tell me the new hard drive has failed. Probably because it came from a dodgy factory used by Samsung when their main factory in Thailand was hit by the floods. So now global warming comes into the equation. Luckily the repair people hadn’t discarded discs holding my saved data and could replace the HD and load back the data – so I’m spared further ruin for the time being.

Although I have external hard drives and the use of my kids’ pcs, which contain a lot of duplicate content from my main pc, these computer issues have seriously messed with my schedule. The worst has been the never-ending task of digging out product keys, etc. and reinstalling software. It’s made me realise how attached you can become to your number one computer, its unique interface, the feel of the keyboard – and how uncomfortable you feel setting about major tasks, such as a WSO launch, working on a less familiar machine, cluttered with kids homework, games and strange images from Alien movies.

I go back to the Samsung repair shop on Monday, hopefully for the last time for a good while.

Then its back to the pre-launch of Be My List Building Buddy – an in-depth look at strategies and tactics for building a list.

I will be cloning myself some time later in the week. If I have time.

 

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