Last week we brought you the first instalment of our top tips from 49 (and a half) experienced bloggers on organising great digital marketing content. We hope you found it as helpful as we did, and look forward to bringing you this second selection of great advice that will help you build an effective and successful content strategy.
Ready? Here it is:
I rely purely on the basics to organise my inbound activities:
- Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) to learn about crawl errors on my website and see how well it ranks
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find promising keywords and kwfinder.com to gauge the keyword difficulty
- Draft is my go-to editor. It is distraction-free, supports Markdown, and publishes directly to Wordpress
- Google Analytics to monitor the impact of my marketing on traffic and conversions
It is nice and lean and it works for me - what more could I ask for?
As far as tips are concerned, I have a few of them for you:
First of all, “write great content to get links and traffic organically” is BULLSHIT! Even epic content will get buried under tons of fresh content produced daily if it lacks proper promotion.
Do not write great content without thinking first about:
- 1. What audience will be most interested in reading this?
- 2. Does that audience line up with the audience you are trying to market to?
- 3. Which influencers want to spread the word about it?
Just having content is like standing on one leg: It’s hard to stay upright and walking any distance is a struggle.
When you are just starting out, consider where you can place that content as a guest post. You do not have much reach with your own blog yet, so getting it in front of a different audience is a big win for you: Bigger audience, a juicy backlink, and a relationship with an influencer in your niche.
Secondly, when you have written your content send it to 2-3 friends (NOT influencers just yet) for editing - or hire an editor if you want to give your article an extra touch. After that initial editing run, send your article to the influencers you identified earlier and ask them for feedback. Do not ask for anything but their honest-to-god feedback as an expert.
Contact the rising stars - i.e. influencers with a bit of an audience, but not yet superstars - first. They are just that more likely to reply. Incorporate the feedback you get into your article. Often times the experts will make you think about interesting new angles to your article. This further improves your article.
Make sure to thank each influencer in your article - ideally with their names linked to their Twitter profile or website.
Finally, you now have an article that is ripe for publication: It’s a well-rounded, epic piece of content and thanks to your influencer outreach it has a fair bit of promotion built in already.
With such a piece of content it is easy to get a guest post on a big website in your niche. Send them a friendly email and include your draft in the email. Very few publishers can refuse an epic article that lands right in their lap ;-)
Inbound Marketing is about bringing future customers to you, rather than you going out to try and prospect them. The best way to do this is with amazing content (Step1) that you then put in front of your target market (Step 2).
Once this is done and you are getting the traffic (from search, FB, social, video or PPC for example) you then need to capture those visitors and convert them into leads.
This is the easy part, you can see for example on our new SEO content site that we have opt-in forms in our posts, as you scroll down, also inside the content where we give away PDFs in exchange for an email, etc.
You want to ensure what you are offering as a ‘bribe’ in exchange for an email perfectly fits the content it is offered on, as that is what your visitor is interested in.
To manage all of this you need a powerful backend system. The great news is that systems are getting smarter and more powerful. Prices are also dropping.
A strong tip for beginners is understand and get ’segmentation’ right from the get go. This means only sending targeted messages to your leads, and segmenting them based on their circumstance and showing how your service covers that need to them.
This will massively increase conversions as well as stick rate (if you use segmentation as part of your onboarding campaigns).
The problem with most businesses that we work with is they really don't have a strategy in place - without a strategy it's difficult to "organise". This doesn't need to be a ten-page document, but you should know where your audience lives and the types of content they interact with.
A little bit of market research goes a long way. Find 10-15 websites/blogs and 10-15 social profiles that have massive followings in your niche.
I can't think of a single business I work with that doesn't have a shoulder niche that isn't massively popular. Trainers - fitness, dog walkers - dogs, pest control - home and garden, coffee shop - coffee.
Once you figure out where your audience lives, organising your inbound marketing gets easy, it's all about consistency. It doesn't matter if you're blogging, building a Facebook page, building a Facebook group, an IG page, a Pinterest page, a Vlog, a Periscope following, Snapchat etc.
Figure out the one thing you can do every day to If you're a busy business owner with too much to do and too little time, set aside 20-45 minutes each day, depending on the task. That 30-45 minutes is only for theone"1" thing and that one thing should lead to growth.
For example, I've been having lots of success with IG pages, so I've started yet another IG page for a fishing site (www.flannelfishermen.com).
All I do is post one picture daily, follow/unfollow pages, comment and like photos. Boom I'm done, 20 focused minutes a day. I'm not browsing through pictures or aimlessly flicking through pins.
The same goes for blogging, Vlogs, Facebook or anything else it needs to be focused with a basic schedule. 20 minutes every day of focused work is far better than sitting down one day without a clear purpose and spending 8 hours once a month.
Without at least some organisation when it comes to your content marketing efforts online, well, you'll fail here, and I can guarantee that!
And not only do you need organisation, what you really need is a schedule and plan of attack.
Now let's look at getting organised with our content marketing efforts, and throw a little schedule in there to boot for the beginners out here…
Content marketing is the centre piece of your web presence online. From your "static pages" to your blog posts and all the other multimedia created around them and for them, it can get a little maddening to say the least.
But, content marketing is a must nonetheless, because without it, you're not here, you're not relevant, and you are definitely not going to succeed here.
I take a very organised approach, even down to the actual minutes and hours I spend a day doing certain things for my business.
We all try to compartmentalise our content marketing efforts, but the fact is, like life, things will, and do, happen that can throw us off here and there. When that happens I suggest this; "roll with it."
Getting back on schedule is easy once you have created a habit out of it, trust me, I stick to my organised schedule, each and every day.
The first thing a beginner to content marketing should do, is not worry about organisation, as much as you should be worried about creating habits…
Habit, will by natural laws, create organisation as you learn to better optimise your time, your content, and your chances of success.
I am old fashioned when I get to organising my inbound marketing...I get out a slab of rock and a chisel. OK, maybe not that old-fashioned. But an Excel table is enough to keep me organised.
When new content goes up on my site, or when I post to any other site I write for, I pull out my list and start ticking off each social media channel and each amplifier as I use them.
I might not use every one every time (that would be boring), but they are all these on my list to pick and choose from.
On occasion, if I am working with other folks, I might use Zoho, which has an online, sharable table just like Excel.
Sue Anne Dunlevie
When I was first starting out, I didn’t have a system of organising my inbound marketing activity. I just wrote blog posts and did some very basic SEO and that was that!
Then, as I learned more about blogging and inbound marketing, I started to set up pipelines - basically funnels that would lead a reader through my blog.
For instance, I do guest posting to get more traffic and subscribers to my site. Here’s the pipeline I have set up for guest blogging:
- 1. Short bio at bottom of guest post (here’s a screenshot from the post I did for Be A Better Blogger)
- 2. Which leads to the free Lead Magnet opt-in form
- 3. Which puts the subscriber on my email list and gives them my best content
I have multiple pipelines like this - for my blog posts, for webinars, etc.
My best advice is to think of your inbound marketing as a pipeline and set them up as soon as you have even one.
We keep things basic. We use a Trello board for tasks and keep conversations about specific tasks within each card.
Only the people that need to know about them are assigned.
Time is easily wasted with poor communication as well, so having a central place to see and share information is crucial. Waiting for somebody to send the keyword research info when you can already access it within Trello or even Dropbox will hurt in the long run.
If it’s a big project, we usually hook it up with Slack, which is our communication tool of choice.
For keeping track of outreach, we do a mix of Buzzstream and Google Sheets for double checking with clients.
It’s really easy to go overboard and lose track of things because there’s so much.
I recommend using a productivity “system” of sorts, like scrum. This will help your team focus on tasks that really need to get done and it’s easy to keep track of short and long term goals.
Having someone be the manager of all activities is vital to keep everybody in check.
Inbound marketing covers a big scope and it’s easy to get lost. Have a system and tweak it to until you get to something that works for you and your team.
For inbound marketing, we focus on search engine optimisation and keywords. In other words, we use content marketing, so the right audience/customers find us time and time again.
How do we organise it? It really depends on what the keywords are. We usually would have a list of keywords we want to write content for, and work through them.
Beginners should focus on a mixture of content marketing, and outreach/promoting that content. I know outreach isn’t exactly classed as inbound marketing, but the more authority and links your site has, the easier inbound marketing becomes.
First of all, make your website relevant to your target market. It goes with searching what your market wants and answering the question "What's in it for them" if they go to your website.
Second, develop really good content that is "worth shareable", never underestimate the power of social media in this. Play with your target keywords and make sure that you are developing your content wisely.
Third, make use of Buzzsumo, in reality people love stories and you can only gauge the success of that story by checking out how far and wide it has reached.
Fourth, connect to influencers and get their point of views on hot topics in your industry and interview them on your website, use ninja outreach on this (so far this is the best tool I've used bar none).
The way I see it, inbound marketing is only as good as what you can give. So have the mentality to give value first, your readers will not fail to recognise this in the long run.
If you want to learn more about successful inbound marketers read the interviews I gathered in my website Marketing Manila.
Organising my inbound marketing activity is supported by a number of platforms, depending on what the specific marketing is.
For example, I use Wordpress as my blogging platform, share the content via an email newsletter serviced by Aweber, as well as link out to the article on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter using Buffer, all while tracking traffic using Google Analytics.
Thankfully a lot of the organising is self-sufficient as each platform provides their own tools, you simply log in and use their own service.
Unfortunately, there is no consolidated way to do all of this, however Buffer does a good job at measuring what content gets clicked on. As for tips, I would get to know the tools that are available to you and see what works for your goals.
We hope you enjoyed this part of our series. Look out for next week’s instalment coming soon.
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