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.



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.

Social Posts – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 

 

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First and foremost: No one ever subscribed to a social network to be sold to!  They joined to connect with others, find useful information, share news and be entertained.  It’s all about them. Many businesses continue to believe that their social posts are supposed to be all about who they are or what’s going on with their company.  This is true if you are Marvel Comics, a rock star, a best-selling author, celebrity or a hot product, but for most social posts, it’s all about what the subscriber wants. Even when we’re talking about celebrities posting about themselves, their fans want to know about the celebrity; it’s about what the fans want, not what they celebrity wants.  The point of this best practice is that you must give people what they want.  If your posts are bland, boring, or all about you, your followers’ growth will be slow and painful.  You need to make a change or you will never grow your organic following to any kind of significant numbers.

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Speaking of growing a fan base ― this requires actively posting to your social nets every day.  Your post will need to include a mix of high-quality, curated and recycled, as well as new, authoritative content.  It also requires action, inviting new fans, active engagement of existing fans, and active management of that fan base. Ignoring any of these elements will slow the growth process down.  Active inviting has to happen every day. By inviting as few as 25 new followers a day, you can grow your network by as many as 2,000 organic followers in one year or more.  To grow even faster, you will need to engage in some form of social network promotions.  These can include pay per click/view in the top five social networks and can also include related social network directories. Also:

  • You must be willing to follow users and let users follow you back
  • Give them what they want
  • Feed “the beast” daily
  • Feed "the beast" at different times
  • Numbers are important
  • Actively invite at least 25 new followers every day

Let Others Toot Your Horn to Increase Your Credibility

 

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Being found and shared on the social nets is the primary way your content achieves ranking on the search engines.  This is also the best way to show up on consumers' radar today.  Pushing out your content to your social nets is very important.  However, if you have only a few followers, your blog and social sites will be like billboards in the desert.  It’s more important to encourage others to push your content out to their social nets.  This gives you more credibility, coverage, and produces more followers faster than just pushing it out to your social nets.  The tricky part is getting other influential social players to push out your material for you.  Ideally, you would find a half dozen like-minded businesses who don’t compete with yours directly, but are related, which are willing to help other businesses read their blogs, comment on them, and share each other’s blogs to their social nets.

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This is where Working the Web’s proprietary, award-winning methodologies such as “Team Tech,” “Social Slam Dunk,” “Blog Blast” and “Club W Cubed” play an important role.  Team Tech subscribers help each other by regularly reading, commenting on and pushing each other’s content out to their own social nets.  Working the Web to Win has a substantial following of 75,000+ subscribers.  We push our clients’ content out to our tens of thousands of followers, thus giving them even broader distribution.  On top of that, we’re members of many social networking groups.  Many of these groups have a large number of members and allow us to post our messages (and our clients’) to the group as a whole.  This is very important if you only have a small number of followers.  It is also an important posting strategy for any business using social media as a marketing tool.


Anyone can Create a Content-Generating Machine

 

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Creating and maintaining a brand using an Internet radio or WebTV show is a very cost-effective means of garnering a Page One position and building a brand.  Of course, this requires support from a full multimedia campaign that includes active social media engagement in the top five social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).  It will also need SEO-rich search engine elements, Landing Pages, a weekly blog (at minimum), daily social posts, press releases, electronic newsletters, and Search Directory engagement to get it off the ground.  A conservative estimate is that the actual cost of this kind of campaign is significantly less than any of its analog counterparts (i.e., regular broadcast TV, or radio) for producing the same kind of positive branding results.

 Social Marketing Campaigns Needs to be Dynamic

 

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Static Internet marketing campaigns often miss opportunities to take advantage of newly discovered keywords, trends, current events and other emerging traffic patterns.  That's why having a flexible marketing plan that allow for tweaks, changes, element swapping and fund reallocation is important. Any fixed plan is great when your research was right on the money.  For example: if your SEO efforts are not providing good results, it would be beneficial to move your marketing revenue to other elements of your campaign, say blogging or social media promotions.  It also means that if you’ve been concentrating on Facebook and your results dry up, you want the flexibility to move your money over to LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.  This is important because few companies actually do pre-marketing research, so fixed plans leave them at a disadvantage.  We feel so strongly about this concept that all of our marketing campaigns are Flex Plans.  These allow Working the Web to Win’s clients to take advantage of emerging trends and shifting market traffic.  This provides our clients the advantage of getting the maximum return on their marketing dollars.  It also reduces or totally removes the risks associated with any marketing campaign.

In this article, I laid out a map of the lessons learned and best practices we’ve developed while managing ours and dozens of clients’ social media accounts over the last seven years.  I outlined the common mistakes and myths that business have about social media and explained why these can cause missed opportunities.  I also discussed the best ways to grow and market your business when using social media for business.  Now that we know what works, what lessons we’ve learned, and what are the best practices, businesses owners need to remember that social media is all about our followers.  

You can find more than a dozen articles about Internet marketing and how it has evolved on our blog site by entering “social media” or “social networking” in the search box, at the top of this blog.  I also recommend reading the “The Twelve Secrets of Social Media Success” and the “Seven Secrets of Social Media Magnets,” 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.

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours.

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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