How do you best organise your digital marketing activity and what tips do you have for beginners? 49 well-known, experienced bloggers in the online and SEO industry shared their opinions with us (and we threw in the other half), and here we are at the halfway point in our series, where we share another ten of these great pieces of advice with you.
If you missed out on the first or second instalment, don’t worry, you can find them here and here. Take a look before reading these great tips, or dive straight in here to see what industry experts have to say about organising a great content strategy.
Bookmark the page, refer to it again and again, and look out for the next installment coming soon.
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One of the first things that I do within any inbound marketing campaign is spend time to really understand my buyer persona. I'll run focus groups, do user testing and gather insights from secondary research on websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, etc.
From there I'll put together a list of needs that my buyer persona has and perform some detailed keyword research around each of them. The idea here is to get a scope of the amount of people with the same need so that I can prioritise which need should be fulfilled first.
Starting with the highest priority need, I'll create content that specifically solves the problem my audience is having whilst also targeting specific keywords that are searched for frequently in the search engines. This matches both the need of your buyer persona and your business need for a sustainable traffic source.
An example would be my SEO campaign case study. Readers of my blog would ask me all the time if I could share a blueprint for how I plan and execute successful SEO campaigns. There is also a significant amount of search volume around terms related to this content - it's a win for my buyer persona and a win for me.
Megan E. Stubblebine
Currently I’m using a handful of different services to help organise any and all inbound marketing activity. I must admit I am always trying out new ways to organise information in the products I currently use as well as researching new platforms to help streamline the process.
It must be the SEO in me but continually adjusting and optimising is a huge part of finding what works best for you.
Right now I am using Google Keep to create checklists, internal notes, and as a place to jot down my thoughts. I like Keep because not only is it accessible on any device but the supporting mobile apps are easy to use and sync without issue.
For overall document storage and collaboration within documents Google Drive is by far my favourite. Documents that are stored on the Drive are accessible anywhere and at any time. Drive allows for local access and editing as well as access and live editing and commenting within the cloud.
Drive has all but eliminated the aggravation of having several versions of the same document saved in your files. I find it best to organise files by project or marketing channel rather than by date.
From a project management standpoint Basecamp is our agency go to at the moment. Basecamp is great for a more formalised “to do” structure that can be assigned to different team members with due dates and supporting documentation.
It also allows for some document storage and communication about a specific assignment that will then be archived for reference in the future if necessary.
A tip for beginners is to break down projects into small pieces. Whether you intend on assigning out these pieces or not small pieces and assignments generally contributes to the project being delivered on time, on budget, all while meeting or exceeding expectations.
Instead of following rules of thumb created by experts for doing inbound marketing I do this kind of marketing with my own concepts.
First I plan how to bring visitors on my blog without giving them a shout. For this purpose I pick targeted long tail keywords accurately related to my message and then create a blog post that never gives an impression as if it was written just to cover a focused keyword.
Secondly I try to give as much exclusive info as possible in my contents, be it published on my blog, social media or other blogs. For example, right now I am giving my opinion in this roundup post just to help visitors of this blog as much as I can to influence them visit my blog if they take benefit of my advice here.
Thirdly I try my best that every visitor on my blog does not have to think “what to do next” after visiting a given post. He has a valid and lucrative offer to give his contact details to let me help him more in future.
Fourthly, I convince each subscriber that every solution does not lie in free products or if it does it can never be a quality solution. With this message I successfully convince my blog subscribers to go for a premium product and leave it up to them if they buy from me or from somewhere else.
Last but not least, I firmly believe a customer can always be our customer if we plan beyond selling a product and keep providing our customers value for free until we send another sales pitch to them.
I think if newbies follow all the above tips and select the best tools to achieve above target they can get more results with inbound marketing as compared to outbound marketing.
My inbound marketing strategy is fairly simple, I create content I know my audience will like.
I have two methods to help me find out what they will like. The first is to look at which posts are already popular and create something similar or a new post which expands on the topic.
The second method is to directly ask my audience what they’d like to see more of. At the end of each weekly email I send out, I ask my audience if they have any travel related questions (I run a travel blog).
The newsletter goes out to 4,000 people so I always receive a few great responses from people asking questions. I then turn these questions into detailed blog posts.
This works well because my readers are getting a personalised response and they appreciate the time I take to reply. But it also fills a gap in the internet.
The reader who asked the question will have already searched for a response online but was unable to find a sufficient article about the subject – so I’m providing them with an answer they were previously unable to find.
My second strategy is to create content I know my readers will share. This content is often less detailed but it’s the kind of blog posts they want to share with their friends.
Getting organised is something that can make or break an inbound marketing campaign. With so many moving parts, it is easy to get lost in the weeds when setting up the various elements. Personally, I like to begin every project by mapping out the overall strategy.
This starts with understanding the client and understanding their customer, which leads to a detailed persona research process. From the persona research, I usually have enough info to begin keyword research.
Armed with all of this data, we can begin putting together the specific next steps for the campaign. I use Asana to detail all of the individual projects, tasks, responsibilities, and timeline. Another tool that helps me stay organised at this level is Trello, which is used for more high-level idea formation and tracking.
Then, it’s time to get tactical. Depending on the project, we often have to build new landing pages, optimise existing pages, create social media content, write blog content, and much more.
This takes the bulk of the time, but it is where the rubber meets the road. If all you do is formulate the strategy but never implement it, you can get lost in the clouds.
From all of this, here are a few key tips I’d recommend to beginning inbound marketers:
Understand each project from every side before you create anything or come up with any strategy. Go through the checkout process if it is an ecommerce site, make a donation if it’s a non-profit, call for more info, etc. You need to see what the existing buyer’s journey looks like before you can optimise it.
Lastly, make sure you’re tracking and measuring everything you’re doing. Set a baseline so you know what kind of impact your campaign will have. If you don’t measure every element, you’ll never be able to fully understand what worked and what didn’t.
Since “inbound marketing” is really a culmination of a number of different industries, mainly: SEO, Social media, Content marketing, UX, and a few others
The way I organise it really depends on what I am doing.
Globally, I organise everything with Basecamp. Each client is assigned their own “folder” and within each folder I store all of their information, logos, relevant images, needs, etc.
We also store and organise most of our SEO projects in Basecamp as well. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Inbound and outbound links
- Previous crawls
- 404 reports
- Some login information
- Monthly reports
- And notes from our technicians
We’ve found that Basecamp is really great because it is really easy to use, has a low learning curve, and can seamlessly integrate with a lot of our other tools such as Google Apps, etc.
Other ways we organise our inbound marketing is through Hootsuite. Hootsuite can not only manage our day to day postings for each client, but stores everything we’ve done and are about to do in an easy to use interface. It doesn’t break the bank either, which is nice.
Finally, the last tool we use to organise our efforts is Microsoft Excel. We have tons of Excel spreadsheets that we use to organise and keep track of conversions, sales funnels, and everything in between.
As you grow online and your inbound marketing needs increase you’ll find yourself struggling – literally – to catch up with your inbound marketing tasks. What I do and I think most people do is, I keep a to-do-list.
A to-do list is the most effective way to keep the things that you have to do in one place and never forget them. I personally use an application called QuickMemo+ that I downloaded from Google Play that helps me have my to-do-list on my smartphone.
Whenever I want something to add or change, my to-do list is right there for me.
My to-do list though is kind of different from most other people and these are my tips to beginners out there:
- Keep your to-do-list small: If you manage let’s say 5 websites and you are responsible to generate quality content, it is natural to get many tasks that need to be done. If you write them down, you’ll notice that these tasks will often be more than 20.
This big number of to do things will overwhelm you, although you wrote them down. Whenever you look on your to-do list you will get confused and distracted. My tip is, try to write only 5 things on your to-do list and after you complete them write 5 more and so on.
- Don’t move further unless you complete your 5 to-do things that you wrote down in the first place. If you jump over them, and start doing other stuff, you will again feel overwhelmed, resulting in a stall on your efforts.
- Outsource, baby: Don’t be afraid to outsource tasks to other people. You can’t do everything by yourself. For example, I like to outsource my content creation and infographic work and I focus more on marketing them.
I build my inbound marketing campaign around a few set activities each day. I publish posts to my blog 3-4 times weekly and create 1, long form video in the form of a live Google Hangout to draw in readers who'd like to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
Beginners, number #1: enjoy the marketing ride. Have fun.
Because most marketers struggle due to "doing-itis"; they frantically run around, do a bunch of stuff, and expect some positive results. Not gonna happen.
Follow your inbound marketing fun to shine brightest for others. Blog if you enjoy writing. Record podcasts if you love to gab.
Publish videos on Youtube. Build your campaign on a foundation of enjoyment. Watch your creativity and network skyrocket.
I think the best way to stay organised with your inbound marketing activities is to work off an editorial calendar just like newspapers have always done.
You’ll always want to work a few weeks out before your publishing date. This will give you ample time to research, write, publish and market your content.
I always also like to have a few spare pieces of content available as a back-up in case someone misses a deadline or an emergency comes up. I use a simple Google Sheets document to track my release calendar.
I’ll research keywords, topics, blog titles, and the offers I’m pitching all along the different parts of the buyer’s journey.
I’ll make any graphical requests from our designers for the content early and have ample time for revisions.
We use Slack here at HealthJoy to communicate with each other and Mixpanel / Google Analytics to track our success. We use Buffer to publish our posts to social media.
I organise my activity based on output for expected input using the 80/20 principle.
There are certain tactics and strategies within inbound marketing that naturally have a higher impact than others, so prioritising those high-leverage tactics is one of the ways that we at SimpleTiger gain fast results for our clients in a low amount of time – in an industry where typically time is a necessity for growth.
For beginners I would say read as much as you can, but also immediately get in to the grit of the work both with clients and by breaking and building your own thing.
If you have your own site to play around with, and to discover things with, it makes the learning curve that much faster to conquer and get past. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to get into the inbound marketing scene as a serious contender.
We hope you enjoyed this part of our series. Look out for next week’s instalment coming soon.
We also appreciate your shares and comments, so don’t be shy - give us your feedback at the bottom of the page.
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