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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
To grow a successful business online you need to build  a list. The faster you do it the more money you'll make
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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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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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Create a new internet marketing product by interviewing an expert

Create a new internet marketing product by interviewing an expert

A focused interview (on Skype) can be every bit as good as an ebook

This morning I called my good friend Igor Kheifets on Skype.  For a change this wasn’t to have a chat or pick his brain for advice on internet marketing – I was to interview him. With a view to creating an mp3 that we could turn into a product.

We were due to do the interview over a month ago, but both of us got busy and had to put the date back. The lull of the post Christmas period allowed us to schedule the long call and on Boxing Day, while most of you were still nursing overeating disorders, we got stuck in.

We spoke for just under an hour about list-building. At the end of it, Igor commented that we’d perhaps gone a little too broad – as a result our focus was less than 100%. That said, we did cover a lot of helpful content on the subject of list-building – it was the kind of conversation I wish I’d been in on when I first started internet marketing. Still, we both agreed we could go one better, so we scheduled a second call, agreeing to sharpen our focus and theme.

So this morning we got back on Skype and did Call Number 2. Igor was very happy with the interview and said he was keen to add the produced recording as a special bonus to his next product. I anticipate doing the same for my next launch – Be My List Building Buddy, which should me out mid-late January 2012.

The whole event was something of a step forward for me. It was the first interview I’d done using Pamela (to record Skype) having in mind to use the recording as a product, not a giveaway or an experiment. It was my first interview with an internet marketing expert… and, happily, it went very well for both parties! So, naturally, I plan to do more. In fact, Igor has said we should do a series. Sounds like a good plan to me!

If you can keep an interview tightly focused on the subject you’ve chosen, you can draw a lot of very useful information from an expert. Too many interviewers, in my view, allow their interviewee to go off-track. The call becomes too ‘chatty’ and before you know it, you’re listening to a pitch. We didn’t want to do that. There’s no pitch at all in our call, it’s 100% content.

Using Pamela is easy

Recording on Pamela – I use the Professional version, as it allows you to record for over 15 minutes – was easy. The finsihed recording is available as an mp3 which you can then edit and produce.

To improve on the sound quality, I set the  two-way call recording mode to: ‘Save sound in stereo mode’. When you’re in Pamela, just go to Tools > Options > Advanced and click on the second option half way down the page, as you see in the screenshot below. The stereo option will make it easier for you to ‘clean up’ in post, which you can do in Camtasia.

Really, I don’t know why I took so long to do one of these. Technophobia, perhaps – yet one more bit of technical crap I had to get my head around – but of course it was easy. Even the sound quality was near perfect. We nearly broke up once or twice, but considering we were on the ‘line’ for nearly an hour and Igor is based in a village in Israel and I’m in London, I was amazed at how clear our voices remained throughout.

Why do Skype calls with experts?

Interviewing experts in your niche is a great way of:

- Creating a product (or the basis for one)

- Building a working relationship with an expert

- Associating your name with said expert

- Pleasing said expert, who may later be happy to help you in a more direct fashion

- Building your ‘public speaking’ confidence

It’s also a lot of fun!

Get on Skype and create an internet marketing product

If you’re in internet marketing and stuck for an idea for a product… do an interview. Don’t know an expert, go to the blogs of some experts in your niche, get to know their work… and write them a proposal. You’d be surprised how many people will consider your idea. After all, unless you’re a complete dolt, it’s good publicity for them.

But make sure you’re prepared. Don’t just wing it. Igor’s my friend, but he wouldn’t have taken kindly to spending an hour with me just chewing the fat. Me neither, come to that. So, for our first interview (the rehearsal), I wrote out about 8 or 9 questions I would put to Igor and sent them to him so he had an idea of what we’d be covering. After the rehearsal we discussed strengths and weaknesses of what we’d done and agreed on a sharper version for the next, definitive interview. You may not be able to do a second interview with your chosen expert, but the point is: be prepared. Even if you’re a nobody, if you can look sharp you will grab the attention of an expert – unless, of course, he’s right in the middle of a product launch!

And when you do the interview, keep it moving, keep it interesting. Always have in mind your audience. Are you providing valuable information or just stroking each other’s egos? Essentially, you should be teaching here, not just marketing yourself. Well, if I think about it, you should be aiming to blend the two, seamlessly.

 

From Skype Call to Webinar

 

Doing a Skype interview is a great way to warm yourself up to the slightly more daunting prospect of conducting a webinar. Maybe not daunting, but you know what I mean…

Now I really have no excuse not to go to the next logical step and start doing webinars for real. So far I’ve only done a couple – with my kids!

Given I’m a senior copywriter, I think I’ll be setting my sites on internet marketers known for their copy skills… “Hey Frank, how’s it going?”

Finally… the best internet marketing interview I’ve come across <==

 

 

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The List Connection Review

I liked the way The List Connection’s creator Mark Acutt takes you through the thinking process behind list-building.  His course pivots around the importance of connecting with your subscribers on a deeper level than just offering hot (or even mediocre) products. You’ll notice TLC also stands for tender loving care, which underlines the connection Mark says we must make with our subscribers if we are going to make good money online.

He shows you how to segment your lists and why you should. Mark is big on ‘ethical’ email marketing – which is fine, although he doesn’t define ‘ethical’. He reveals a neat strategy for engaging with his subscribers which is non-evasive and, done well, could even be alluring; although quite time-consuming to set up – if the product retails at $17 or more it’s probably worth the effort and, arguably, essential if you’re marketing anything at over $27.

He takes the reader through a campaign he rolled out targeting the weight loss niche, taking the reader from research to emails. Personally this was less useful to me at this point in time as I do nothing in that niche – but useful insight for anyone working in that niche.

As a copywriter – and this perhaps just a side point – I was really impressed with the structure and eloquent flow of Mark’s sales page –  made a refreshing change from the typical hype fest of most internet marketing sales pages.  If you want to check it out click The List Connection.

 

 

 

 

 

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The List Connection Review

The List Connection Review

Make a list connection  and give your subscribers some tlc (tender loving care) – that’s the central message to Mark Acutt’s new product, The List Connection.

It’s a valid message.

If all you’re doing is pimping your list, as Mark puts it, (quite strong language for sending offers to people who’ve opted in to your list, but anyway), you’re not making a connection, you’re not building trust… you’re not building a business – or, at least, not the right way.

It all makes good sense.  Except: the thinking seems to damn ad swaps outright on account of the fact that some of the swaps you agree to will subject your list to a few poor quality offers. However, if you cut out swapping, you would have to build your list almost entirely by solo ads and free traffic, such as opting in to your blog’s giveaway. Solos almost invariably put you out of pocket in the short term – so that’s hard for most newbies – and SEO traffic is typically made up of speculative and information-fishing traffic, not buyers. Ad swaps are still a good way to build your list, provided you don’t overdo it. So, for me, Mark’s strategy is certainly an ideal worth aiming for, but not entirely reflected in the reality – as I know it, anyway.

Also, there are a number of marketers I know who swear by the strategy of blasting their lists: only those who buy get the kid-glove treatment by being segmented off to ‘customer lists’ within an autoresponder, the rest are left to fall away. And these marketers – the ones I know anyway – are very successful with this strategy.

For me, it’s a question of balance: you need to keep adding to your list because it’s the fresh subscribers who tend to buy from you more than the rest (with the exception of your customers), and yet you also need to establish a rapport and trust.  I’d be first to admit I don’t always succeed achieving a balance –  it’s tricky.

Later in the guide Mark reveals a neat strategy for engaging with his subscribers which is both non-evasive and, done well, could even be alluring – although quite time-consuming to set up, if the product retails at $17 or more it’s probably worth the effort and, arguably, essential if you’re marketing anything at over $27. I’ll begin incorporating it into my marketing very soon.

He takes the reader through a campaign he rolled out targeting the weight loss niche, taking the reader from research to emails. Personally this was less useful to me at this point in time as I do nothing in that niche – but useful insight if that’s a niche you’re working in or want to work in.

As well the initial PDF, Mark sends you a series of emails over the course of a few days that provides you with a sort of template email campaign. I’ve received the first one – and it’s great stuff for the weight loss niche, but not all that relevant for anyone in the internet marketing niche. His email example is long and, for IM, way too long in my opinion. The only long emails I read are those from Rich Schefren, which are very well written (probably crafted by his copywriter) and exceptionally motivating. I’m more the Frank Kern school of 3 short paragraphs and a motivational PS.

Overall, this is well worth the (low-price) purchase and maybe even a must if you’re doing anything in the weight loss niche. Mark’s a sensitive marketer and it’s good to have a few of those around!

If you want to add some TLC to your list, check out The List Connection. <<==

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It’s time to stop wasting your money on web designers

We have all made the mistake before, hiring expensive web designers that end up being no more helpful than a free website that you could have found online.

There’s a cool tool I found that will give you the instant ability to create and embed all types of graphics that are fully loaded with your text and customizations for any web page or blog online. The all-in-one system gives you the power to create sales graphics for all your web pages.

The best part is all of your graphics are saved online, and when you edit them they update live no matter where you have uploaded your embed code. This will save a lot of time, if you’ve ever had to update your graphics then you know what I mean.

Ready to fire your web designer and starting graphics in seconds? It’s really that simple. Period.

There is nothing more to it. Just download your copy, upload to your FTP and create unlimited graphics that are guaranteed to convert and look 100x better than other mucher harder to edit graphic templates available online.

Check out the SalesGraphicsPro creator for easy salespage graphics.

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Alex Jeffreys

The Ultimate Alex Jeffreys Interview Review

Alex Jeffreys

Alex Jeffreys

If you haven’t heard of Alex Jeffreys, it’s probably fair to say you haven’t been in internet marketing for all that long. He started on ebay and then set up a very successful coaching program which drew notice from big names like Mike Filsaime and Rich Schefren. To look at, think of a Geordie version of Bruce Willis – but chattier.

This guy can honestly say he’s an ordinary guy – born on a fairly rough council estate in Newcastle – and has the tats to prove it.

Interviewer Anthony Tilley is a seasoned internet marketer and he’s popped round to Alex’s house to do this one.
The first thing you notice is the interview is every bit as good as a professional TV interview. Looks to me Anthony was using two cameras to get seamless cutting of his very talkative talking head.

I’ve seen Alex live at one of his seminars with Dean Holland in London and he’s full of energy, totally down-to-earth and credible and instantly likeable. And he’s the same here. Good humored, self-aware and eager to inspire other marketers.

The main take-out here is this: ‘success comes by way of association’. So get a mentor, who’s already a name, or a bit of a name, if you can’t afford ‘the name’.

Alex says his students rode on the back of his success and, in turn, his success grew because his students were successful. Perhaps we all know this, but there’s no harm in hearing it said by a man who practices what he preaches – and has become highly successful in the process.

If you’re looking for ‘ninja’ tactics etc. you’ll probably have to sign up to Alex’s coaching program – you won’t find them here. That said, it’s an enjoyable and lively interview.

If you want to check out the interview for yourself, here’s the link: The Ultimate Alex Jeffreys Interview . Especially inspirational if you’re new to IM.

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The Basics of List Building

List building has become a popular tool used by online marketers to get more subscribers to increase the likelihood of making more sales. This article gives basic information about list building so as to help you understand how this can help you in your business.

What exactly does list building entail and how can it help online marketers get more subscribers? List building is essentially collecting the names and e-mail addresses of your potential customers through your company website. As you may have noticed, some websites have a small box that asks people to register their e-mail addresses so they can receive the newsletter or something similar, such as information about promos, product launches, and such. To make it more enticing for customers to sign up to their mailing list, a lot of online marketers offer freebies to those who will be subscribing to their lists, such as free products, e-books, discounts on their products, and other such goodies to increase their interest in joining the mailing list.

Once your subscribers have registered to the mailing list, you can then send them information relevant to your niche. Common content of mailing list messages include informative articles about or related to the products and services of the seller, promos, discounts, and launches of their own products, and other such information that is relevant to what the website offers.

List building is a great tool in marketing, because you are targeting the people who are already interested in your product, as opposed to shoving advertisements down peoples throats, regardless of whether they want to buy what you’re selling or not. The key is to keep your customers’ interest so as to build their trust and make it more likely for them to avail of the products and services that you’re offering.

Click here if you’re interested in finding a list building tool that can help you get more subscribers quickly and easily

 

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