How do you best organise your digital marketing activity and what tips do you have for beginners? We put that two-pronged question to 49 of the most well-known, active and experienced bloggers in the online and SEO industry (with half a contribution from us), and they came back with some great advice and top tips for you.
Over the last three weeks we have shared these great pieces of advice in ten-tip instalments, and this week we bring you ten more great ideas that will help you organise a winning digital marketing content strategy.
Missed the first three instalments? Don’t worry, you can see them here, here, and here. Take a look, bookmark the pages, refer to them again and again, and look out for the last instalment coming soon.
We also appreciate your shares and comments, so give us your feedback at the bottom of the page.
I try to keep everything accessible and organised using different tools and platforms. A big part of my time is spent on content writing. Therefore, to make everything accessible on every platform, I write all my articles directly in Google Documents. This way, I can easily find them on my computer, phone or tablet. It’s also easier to share them online and get comments from my co-workers or partners. I also create reports and keep track of my actions using Google Spreadsheets.
For my inbound marketing tasks, I use both Trello and Wunderlist. It’s just impossible to be productive without having a to-do list. Another important role in keeping everything organised is keeping track of all my actions. Doing so helps me understand which ones are better and on what I should concentrate more.
For example, when I do a lot of email outreach to promote my articles, I use Monitor Backlinks to see when my campaigns have been successful and I earned new links. If my campaigns are not giving the results I want, I can try different strategies and get better at it. I’m always on the look for finding new tools and ways to save time and automate more processes.
For inbound marketing beginners, my advice is to create a solid plan for the coming 3 or 6 months and make sure they stick to it. This plan can include the articles you want to have written for your blog or maybe set your target to reach out to more people and promote your products. No matter what your final goal is, it’s important to have a list of tasks that are well prioritised.
Fervil Von Tripoli
I always start any inbound marketing project by defining the goals and target of the campaign before doing any grunt work. It always helps me have a solid idea of what I want to achieve in that particular project.
As much as I can, I turn it into a more specific, realistic and quantifiable value – be it number of leads to generate or X sales in Y month, ranking of 5-10 target keywords, earn 10 links to DA 30+, etc. Once the goals and targets are established, drawing an inbound marketing strategy of how to obtain goals will be much lighter.
The next step would be identifying my target audience and market, and finding out where the largest concentration of these people is on the web. Social media is one of the best places to search for your audience, and here’s why any business should exploit it.
After “getting the feels” of my target audience, I would want to listen to their common problems and what they think would be the best solution for that. Do some brainstorming on what you could offer your audience. If they need some help or a guide in doing keyword research, then you create one.
To sum it up, we could break everything into 5 major steps:
- 1. Defining goals of your inbound marketing campaign
- 2 . Defining your market and audience
- 3 . Find out where your audience lives
- 4 . Understand their problems
- 5 . Create solution for your audience’s problem.
Setting up processes is key for an inbound marketing strategy to be successful. The key is to split up different elements of the overall each process into roles that are clearly defined and can be rolled out across multiple campaigns. For example, for the creation of a piece of content & promoting it, if could look like this:
- Finding facts relevant to the content
- Finding other similar articles to link to within the content
- Becoming a ‘mini-expert’ on the topic in question
- Writing the introduction, actionable points, conclusion keeping the reader engaged.
- The creation of relevant images to use in the post including featured images, graphs, perfecting the layout, etc.
- Planning which social media to particularly push your content on
- Testing different headlines to find the one that gets the most engagement.
Email Outreach Prospecting
- Sourcing influencers who have written about, shared or linked to similar pieces of content to what you have created
- Finding email addresses of the influencers
Email Outreach Sending
- Creating personalised emails to each influencer to get them to share your content
- Responding to replies to build rapport for future campaigns
Some people will be able to do more than one process, but the key is to be able to roll it out multiple times following the same processes for exceptional results.
The best tip for beginners is to always be testing. Different headlines, different strategies, find that works best for you and then double down on doing more of it.
When it comes to inbound marketing I try to organise it based on the platform. For email marketing through Aweber's platform I have an eBook and a newsletter. On my YouTube channel I have videos and comments. All of these assets can be checked through my iPhone. They are all really simple assets but important because they help me connect directly with the customer.
And because inbound marketing these days is about organic interaction with the customer I let these assets carry their own weight through organic discovery from Search Engines (my assets don't need me to push them forward too much, aside from manually sharing to social media).
Then if one particular asset isn't helping people enough, or if it's too disruptive (bad in inbound marketing) I'll pause it or make it private. I paused my newsletter about 6 months ago for example because too many emails made people annoyed.
Gotta cut off the fat. It's really hard for me to know exact numbers on how well my inbound marketing assets are performing but it doesn't matter at the moment because I need to focus on making new content.
As long as I'm reaching new people every day, things are working :)
As a consultant, I have a limited amount of time to handle my own inbound marketing - I am always focused on helping others. That doesn't mean to say that I ignore this activity though.
It all has to start with attraction. What is going to make you stand out amongst the crowd and why should someone take notice of what you say? But then, how much is too much and at what point are you starting to look like you are too active or even desperate?
- Walk before you run. There is very little opportunity for someone who wants to jump in with both feet - trust and reputation take time to build, so look at the best places where you can maximise your exposure and start to get your name known. With this, you will find that when someone asks a question and you answer, they might then visit your site. We are inherently nosey as a race, so you will gain benefits by doing this. My favourites are Quora and MOZ Q&A.
- Be social, but don't be annoying. Get to know the industry experts in your field. Engage in their conversations but don't spam them. If you are on Twitter (one of my personal favourites), then set up feeds for specific searches. I use Tweetdeck to monitor all of my activity and engage with others. I can, at a glance, see when someone asks a question and hop in there with an answer.
- Google Alerts. Something of a must for anyone in all areas of marketing. Google alerts will notify you via an e-mail as soon as something you are interested in gets found. You can set the frequency of the alerts to best suit you and they are a doddle to set up.
- Be a blogger. No matter what field you work in, if you can produce good articles, you can gain numerous benefits - but stand out with what you are writing and be consistent.
Here are a few tips that we used to execute our inbound marketing strategy on a budget.
1) Consistency is everything
People often confuse consistency with regularity. Contrary to popular opinion, if you have a blog, the world won’t crumble if you fail to produce content weekly / monthly / daily. Consistency is about committing to creating content (even sporadically) but also keeping the standard of that content at or above your existing work. Sometimes, keeping a rigid schedule can be like having a strict diet or gym routine; you miss one day and feel so demotivated, you give up on the rest of the week. If you fail to keep a schedule with your content creation, just remember that consistency is ultimately what matters.
2) Plan ahead to remove emotion
Emotion and passion makes you a better writer but a terrible content planner! We’ve probably all had that situation where we’ve had an idea for a great piece of content and slowly lost motivation as time goes on. You start to second guess the piece before you’ve even produced it and before long it seems like a bad idea! Plan your strategy ahead, and automate delegating tasks like editing or promotion to eliminate second-guessing and fear of the work you inevitable have to do whenever you create a piece of content worth sharing.
We use WorkWare.io (http://workware.io) to document everything that needed to be done and to then assign tasks to our team of assistants to ensure the job would always be done right and on time.
3) There’s more to content than blogging
A blog is probably the go-to way of getting content out on the web, but focusing too heavily on blogging will make you lose sight of all the other great opportunities. While video and podcast interviews might work well for some marketers, written content and long guides might work better for those who are less outgoing. Likewise, for a B2B audience, whitepapers and webinars will probably outperform image sharing or social promotion.
I set realistic goals for myself. For example, a current goal is to publish a new piece of content twice a week. Every Tuesday and Thursday. After a while it becomes a habit. I know that I have to create something twice per week so I get to work.
I use only a few tools in order to keep focused. I use Simplenote (this is where I keep notes. Very lightweight and easy to update on the go), Google Docs (to write and edit articles, but also to share and review content within the team), Trello (to keep the upcoming content calendar and a list of ideas available to everyone) and WordPress (my content publishing software where all the finished content goes).
You should set realistic goals for yourself and make sure to deliver on them. Create a routine for yourself whenever possible. I have a to-do list I go through before posting a new article in order to make sure it's optimised. I have a routine for things I do as soon as I publish a new piece of content in order to drive traffic to it.
We organise our inbound marketing campaigns using project management software, both Trello, and Asana. We'll also use Google Doc's for blog topics and assignments.
We tried other software designed specifically for inbound marketing campaigns, but for us, it didn't work quite as well, and we couldn't justify the monthly cost.
Most beginners, and many others, have trouble understanding the meaning of “inbound Marketing” because people throw around the phrase without explaining the mindset.
It's not a system to push people to you, that would be traditional marketing screaming about the product and “making the phone ring”. Better to think of persuasion and seduction. We know that people won't chase you if you are chasing them (think High School dance). Applied to marketing, anything you do to sell lowers the chance that your prospect will desire what you sell.
It's a paradox. How are you supposed to sell if you can't sell? Easy. Be so awesome that your prospect will chase you. This means more than sending a brochure or link when asked. It means caring about the prospect and their needs, wants and desires. Usually they are NOT looking for “the best way to buy” (Of course, if they are, take the order).
Treat people like you would treat a good friend. Just two words you need to remember. LISTEN (find out what they want) and LOVE (give them the best you can, like you would a family member).
One last thing. Customers like discounts and low prices. LIKE, not LOVE. They crave connection, rapport and someone who understands. Be that person, and the rest is common sense.
Inbound marketing activities and strategies consist of a variety of content and can be everything from creating an eBook, white paper to blog subscriptions.
The main task is basically to pull your audience into your website with content that is of interest to your visitors.
The content could include deliverables that inbound marketers using every day such as: Blog posts, Blog subscriptions, eBook downloads, Social media postings, Regular newsletters, Email campaigns, Calls-to-Action, Landing pages with lead forms etc.
Every month I organise and try to make use of cost-effective inbound marketing activities to increase profitability at minimum cost.
Some tasks are done daily or on a weekly basis, such as social media exposure while other tasks are performed monthly such as email campaigns.
But a variation on all the above points can give you inbound marketing activity a boost without significant cost. All the above points are in my opinion, suitable for both beginners and more advanced marketers.
We hope you enjoyed this fourth part of our series. Look out for next week's fifth and final instalment.
We also appreciate your shares and comments, so don't be shy - give us your feedback at the bottom of the page.
Can't wait until next week to get all 49.5 tips? Want to download them all in one go? Well you can here.