Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Part 4 – Content is King



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: blogger.com
When we started our journey in content marketing, we never envisioned our blog would grow to 35,000-plus page views on average each month.  We wrote articles because we wanted consumers and businesses to understand the sea change that was taking place in Internet marketing.  From our humble beginning of one blog a week to the phenomenal following our blog has acquired, we’re amazed and grateful for what has transpired.

Understand that our blog’s growth is not some random, viral occurrence.  Its remarkable growth is based on excellence, consistency and science.  We measure everything we try and we keep the elements that works.  



To access and read the other three articles in this series, type the word "marketing" in the search bar at the above right of this page.
 
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There is no doubt that blogging is now becoming the new go-to medium on the Internet for printed content. More and more people are turning to blogs for their information.  There are numerous routes to access these blogs: search engine news services, social media, curated posts, RSS feeds, and of course, all the major news networks, reporters and columnists provide blogs.  Blogs also provide more credibility than search ads, banner ads, and in-column news ads.  Yet many businesses are slow to adopt this dynamic medium.  Whether it’s because it’s time-consuming or requires specific skills to pursue, nonetheless, there’s no doubt blogging will be in every business's future in one way or another.  This article provides the lessons learned and best practices we’ve developed in 15 years of writing articles and blogs.  More importantly, it covers the marketing secrets we’ve developed over the last five years during the explosion of information that blogging has provided.  So read on to learn Working the Web to Win’s  lessons and best practices about blogging.  

Blogging and Current Content

 

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If you’re not providing a unique, authoritative blog post/article each week, you’re missing out on a huge audience and tons of visitor traffic. Google and other search engines place a significant value on this kind of authoritative content.  More importantly, most people do, too.

Unique content is king.  A newly written, high-quality, relevant, timely and published article/blog post will outperform most curated blogs or other recycled articles both on your blog site and in your social nets.  This unique, authoritative content is the most valuable item you can post to your social networks.  It proves you‘re adding value to the world and that you’re sharing your knowledge and expertise, thus making you a credible source of information.  

You Need to Check out Blogger

 

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If you’re going to use a blogging platform, we recommend Google’s Blogger for three important reasons. First, it’s owned by Google, and we believe Google likes, understands, and knows how to index its own properties.  Secondly, Google indexes Blogger every day, which means your blog content will be entered into its search engines daily.  And third, it’s easy to use, has built in analytics, and has wide industry support for plugins and add-ons that work very well.

Long Copy is Better than Short

 

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For the longest time, I was told that people only read short blogs and articles.  However, my current research and that of others directly contradicts this idea. We’ve found that the key elements to getting your article read are its “quality,” “relevance,” “timeliness,” and “usefulness.”  Also, your ability to get your message out through various distribution channels plays an important role.  Articles of any length will be read and shared if they are of good quality.  If they contain all four of the previously mentioned elements, all the more so.  

I can tell you from our own experience that medium to long-length articles receive as many, if not more, reads than their shorter counterparts.  Especially if they are of an “evergreen” nature and provide a comprehensive view of a given subject.  I believe this occurs because long articles are like getting a free eBook without having to pay for it.  As a matter of fact, longer articles lend themselves to the production of a full sized eBook.  It doesn’t take long to produce enough content to create a full-sized eBook, if you consistently write high-quality articles in related subject areas over a years’ time. If you wrote 52 articles in a year (that’s one per week, you’d have enough content to create a book of 100 pages or more.  You can then use this book as a money maker on Amazon.com, or at  Barnes and Nobles, or as an incentive to get prospects to give you their contact information.


Consistency Wins in Audience/Follower Development

 

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Consistency is extremely important.  We’ve found that our clients who are able to consistently meet social media postings and blog publishing deadlines out-perform clients who don’t ― as much as four to tenfold.  When a client drags their feet on approving an article (that we’ve ghost written for them), or they try to micromanage the creative process by being too restrictive about the content, the production process comes to a stop.  This also stunts their audience growth and their fan base’s perception about the company’s consistency and credibility. Readers like regularity. 

If you like a product (a blog is a product) and you anti-up for it either by subscribing to it or just looking for it on Twitter, and then suddenly it doesn’t show up, the news medium itself loses credibility.  In other words, if I put money in a vending machine and nothing comes out, I’ll go to a different (better) machine.  Also, consider the fact that your blog articles are authoritative content for all your social networks.  No blog, no authoritative content.  And no authoritative content means you’re not adding much value to what your are posting.  Adding value increases your credibility in your clients’ and prospects’ eyes.  One last benefit of consistency, it facilitates building a larger library of published articles that will keep on working for you years into the future.  The larger your library, the more recyclable content you have to work with.

Principles Outperforms Trendiness 

 

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Evergreen articles will generally out-perform seasonal or non-evergreen articles at almost a five-to-one ratio.They’ll also keep producing page views more often, long after other the types of articles’ draw has faded away.

Clients who have a large number of evergreen articles in their library can take advantage of recycled posting in a big way.  The articles still need to be high-quality, timely and be relevant to their fan base.  Once a client reaches around 28 evergreen articles, they can begin recycling their previous articles in their social posts.  This will easily double the number of blog page views they’ll receive.  When their library of evergreen articles reaches 90+ posts, they can recycle them daily.  This will make a really big impact on their total page views and can produce 10 times the page views than their previous efforts.

Multimedia is the Smart Bomb 


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Combination campaigns that use lots of multimedia venues (at least five elements) coupled with lots of social posts, will more easily produce Page One organic position than any single, dual or triple element campaign. We design our campaigns to attack the competition’s weaknesses.  If they’re weak in video,  we produce more quality relevant videos.  If the completion is weak in social posts or blogging, we attack those venues.  However, we will always do this with a multimedia approach with at least four elements in play at once (assuming the client can afford four elements).

Email Marketing = Touch Marketing When Implemented the Right Way


Don’t neglect direct email marketing.  This is one of the best touch marketing elements you can engage in.  It’s very important that you don’t spam people by sending them unsolicited email.  It can not only get you branded as a spammer (which can carry hefty fines) it can also get your domain name blacklisted as well.  If you use email as an informational touch piece (i.e., an email newsletter) you can use it to build credibility and to remain top-of-mind with your customers and prospects.  Make sure that the bulk of your newsletters and email contain useful information, not just a sales pitch of your latest specials. Build trust by creating content that is 90 % informational and entertaining, with the last 10% including product and service specials.

Video Content Marketing Adds Sizzle to Your Blog

 

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Today, video is more important on the Web than ever.  YouTube has become a social network with billions of views per day.  Now that people can leave comments and share their videos, it has become more viral than ever before.  Many businesses are ignoring this venue because of the perceived time and cost it takes for quality video production.  This means it’s also a huge opportunity for many businesses to out-position their competition because many just aren’t posting video content.  A great way to create videos is to make short vignettes (90 seconds to three minutes long) that follow the content in your blogs.  This makes your video a “vlog” and a great add-in for your blog.  This type of cross pollination expands the effectiveness of your articles and also give you a new social network and medium to grow an audience with.

Facebook believes in the importance of video and has spent a considerable amount of time and money revving up their infrastructure to handle video.  Facebook’s video views are now starting to rival YouTube’s and surpass other video portals such as Vimeo.

Our "Social Slam Dunk" ... Check it Out. 

In this article, I provided many examples of the lessons learned and best practices we’ve discovered in our many years of Internet publishing, blogging and content marketing.  Using these best practices will help businesses avoid the most common mistakes and allow them to take advantages of tips and techniques that produce the most bang for the time invested.

You can find more than a dozen articles about Internet marketing and how it has evolved on our blog site by entering “Blogging” or “Content Marketing” in the search box, at the top of this blog. I also recommend reading the “How to Use Storytelling to Save the Day - 3 Secrets to Content Marketing Success,” “Blogging Secrets of the Pros,” and the “The Magic Formula for Blogging Success: a Training Series for Bloggers,” just to name a few.  Thanks for sharing your valuable time with us.To access the other articles in this four-part series, simply click on the following direct links: Part 1 – The Big Picture, Part 2 – Website and SEO Principles, Part 3 – The Social Media Dynamic, and Part 4 – Content is King.  Thanks for sharing your valuable time with us.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.



Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Part 3 – The Social Media Dynamic



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: popularresistance.org

Social media is a revolution whose time has come.  Without a doubt, the advent of social media has dramatically changed the landscape of the Internet forever.  The changes are many and constant.  Despite all the wonderful benefits social networks bring, few business understand the benefits, much less understand how to use this medium. This article will expose the many mistakes and myths business have about social media and social networking.  The reader will come away with many useful tips and techniques that will help their business make the most of this evolutionary resource and marketing medium.  Pay close attention to the most common mistakes.  Implement proven techniques to grow your networks and spread your positive message, as we explore the best practices and lessons learned from the last seven years of the social media revolution.

Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Part 2 – Website and SEO Principles

Compiled from 20 Years of Marketing Success 

By Hector Cisneros


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Did you know that most of the websites that exist today were created more than four years ago? And, for the most part, many website developers and designers haven’t upgraded what they consider to be key elements for a web page. Many still consider large banners at “the top of the fold” to still be important, most leave out critical home page elements needed to convey trust and credibility to visitors.  This article is part of a four part series to help clients create a unified and coherent marketing campaign. It delves into the best practices we’ve discovered during our successful marketing campaigns over the last 20 years. We put particular emphasis on the important changes that have taken place online in the last five years. So let’s jump right in a look at the best practices we’ve discovered for web page setup and pertaining to SEO.

Internet Marketing: Lessons Learned and Best Practices Part 1 – The Big Picture


Compiled from 20 Years of Marketing Success 

By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: gopixpic.com
Today our world is evolving at breakneck speeds.  All aspects of our lives are changing right before our eyes. The Internet, in particular, is moving faster than most segments of our lives.  Marketing has moved on from a single dimensional communications medium to a world of multi-dimensional and bi-directional communications mediums.  Newspapers, TV, radio, magazines and even billboards are moving to the Internet as part of their communications draw.  People have access to their computers, (smartphones and smart devices) 24/7 and use them everywhere they go. 

Marketing Your Blog in the 21st Century – Part 3 of Blogging 101



By Hector Cisneros

Photo Credit: hongkiat.com
How do you get found in a world of billions of competitors?  That’s what most bloggers ask me when I meet with them to discuss their marketing needs. Most blogs are like billboards in the desert. Few, if anyone, reads their great literary works because their blog is like a needle in a mountainous hay stack.


This article will explain how any blogger can market their blog and articles to numbers that are objects of most writers' wildness dreams.  It will share with the reader how to maximize their blog’s ability to get found, get shared and get read, all in less than 180 days!  We have used this method for our blog and many of our clients’ blogs as well and it has always worked.  With the information listed here we have grown our audience from nothing, to over 25,000 page views a month, (or 300,000 page views a year) employing this method.

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First, some basics: Your blog and articles have to have certain characteristics.  They have to be of sufficient quality; proofed for grammar and spelling; look good with pictures and other multimedia elements; and they have to be focused, concise and provide useful information or content that entertains.  (See the previous articles in this series, “The Magic Formula for Blogging Success: a Training Series for Bloggers - Part 1  and “Learning the Tricks of the Trade - Part 2 of Blogging 101.”)  Once your commitment and quality is up to snuff, you will need to increase your numbers.  What numbers you may ask? Your B.F.I.S.G.E. numbers!  This stands for Blog posts, Followers, Influences, Sharing, Groups and Email.

Getting the Numbers on Your Side


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Blog posts – How many blog posts you create and publish will help determine if you’re successful.  You can’t have lots of page views and loyal readers without something for them to read.  The two articles I already mentioned will help you with this.  So will reading “How to Triple your Blog Post Views in 60 Days or Less.”

Followers – You need lots of social network followers to read and spread your message. Actively invite followers in all of your social networks to follow you and do the same for them. Adding just 25 new followers a day will net you around 2,000 new followers a year or more.  If you want to learn more about growing a following read “The Twelve Secrets of Social Media Success” and other articles listed in this blog.

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Influencers – Every industry has its leaders.  Today, it’s easier than ever to find who they are.  If you use Twitter or Facebook, do a search on some of the keywords for your industry and make a note of those people and companies you find that have a large following. They are the influencers.  Be nice to them, promote them, ask for their opinions, and share your work with them. You’ll be surprised at how being helpful to them, in turn, usually ends up helping you. Check out my previous article, “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century - Take Two” to get more ideas.

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Sharing by back-linking – Every author wants their blogs and articles to be accepted and read. Help others find their audience. The law of reciprocity will reward you for doing so. This is especially true if your related articles listed are of good quality and the authors are industry influencers.  Get a blogging buddy.  Find a way to guest author on each other’s blogs.  Make this a habit and grow this guest blog circle.  Share their work along with yours; sometimes rubbing shoulders with others in your industry (even competitors) will pay huge dividends in the growth of your following.  A great book I recommend is the “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  It’s worth the read and the audio book is very well acted.  Get it, you'll thank me.


Groups – To get lots of exposure, you need access to lots of people.  The problem with growing your social network organically is that it takes time.  Most of the larger social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ have groups you can join without actually having these people following you.  These groups can be huge (hundreds of thousands of people), and by joining them, many will read your posts.  Remember to reciprocate and engage the members.  Don’t try to sell to them, ask their opinion and help them whenever you can.  I talked about groups for the first time in my article, “How to Leverage LinkedIn for Business & Career Enhancement.”  It covers many of the ways I use LinkedIn to share my knowledge and connect with others.  Check it out if you love LinkedIn, it will help you make the most of that network.

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Email marketing – Email marketing has been around for a long time now. And to some extent, its reputation has been tarnished by people who abuse this marketing medium.  Having said that, email still works and it can work magic for many who use it as a touch marketing medium with opt-in clients and prospects.  What definitely doesn’t work is spamming people.  As a matter of fact, that’s a good way to get your domain and blog blacked listed.  Make sure your email newsletters and email blasts provide useful content.  Don’t try and hard sell your subscribers. Educate, entertain and encourage them to come back. Along with this, add in a compelling offer for your free eBook or product special at the end of your mail piece. Do this at least once a quarter.  We do it weekly for our BlogTalkRadio show and blog, and it will help grow your following and reputation.  

Other Methods


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How to Use Conventional Media – We still recommend conventional advertising for many businesses. We ask our clients to evaluate its effectiveness and return on investment, but most importantly, we ask them to connect their conventional advertising to their web presence.  Make sure your TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboards and other conventional advertising media direct traffic to your blog or website by listing their URLs on the advertisements. 


Promoted Post and Pay Per Click/View – Finding a great place to promote your blog, or website is easy today. You need not look any further than the social nets you're already a member of.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others all provide cost-effective means for promoting your blog. Clicks can start as low as 50 cents.  Also, there are many sites that you can buy banner space or other promotion.  Some of the directories we use to promote our business include Klout, Twitter Counter and Tweinds.  Plus, you can also negotiate banner space (or even swaps) with other bloggers. This, along with guest blogging on a regular basis, will get you additional exposure.

30 is Your First Magic Number


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Once you have built a library of about 30 evergreen articles, you’re poised to make your first leap in growth. Frequency is the name of the game here.  However, you can’t just all of a sudden start hammering your audience with dozens of the same post curated in twelve different ways without losing some followers.  Once you reach 30 articles, you can post an article one to three times a day with different curated introductions to it to increase your page views.  Also the frequency of newly released articles will make a big difference.  The minimum you need is one new article each week.  Two are better and creating three new authoritative published per week is the bomb.  Recycling your published articles is a must because your social networks need constant feeding. Understand that within each social network are subgroups of members that use the social networks at different times of day.  Experiment with posting during different times and with different curated intro verbiage.  Measure everything and then stick to what works best until your research tells you otherwise.

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To keep growing you’ll need to double your number of blog posts.  Each time your published library doubles, you can increase the number of times you recycle your posts. Your long-term goal is to provide around ten different authoritative, high quality, evergreen recycled posts per day and about two to three new authoritative blog posts per week (which also get posted to your social networks).

I’ve been asked, “Is there a limit to how far this method can take you?” My answer is, “The only limit you have are set by you!” The marketplace is growing and the marketplace does not set a growth limit. In essence, there are no limits ― you do the math.

In this article, I listed the steps needed to grow your blog's audience into tens of thousands of followers.  I covered the quality needed, more than eight marketing techniques, and the methodology, resources and schedule you’ll need to adhere to, in order to be wildly successful. 

If you'd like to read more articles like this, check out:

Blogging secrets of the Pros
Six Cardinal Rules for Success in Social Media Marketing
Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets
Leveraging the Internet in the 21st Century
How to Grow your Twitter Flock - 14 surefire Tips for Explosive organic Growth

You can also type “Blogging” or “Social Medial marketing” in the search box at the top right-hand side of this blog to find even more.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, coworkers and associates.  If you have something to add related to this article or have a different opinion, place them in the Comments section below.  It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

On behalf of all of us at Working the Web to Win, here's wishing you and yours a very Happy Holidays … Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and of course, a Merry Christmas!

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.


Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business. Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on Ezine Online and is an active blogger (including ghost writing). He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above. He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.