3 years ago on
Content Marketing Checklist to Follow in 2018
Content marketing strategy is the foundation of success in digital marketing. It aligns all your content campaigns and content pieces in one direction. It ties in all your efforts for maximum effect.
It is different from content plan which only details the content topics, timelines and actions to be taken. Content marketing strategy on the other hand, answers broader questions of how you will achieve your marketing goals through content marketing.
An effective content marketing strategy must answer fundamental questions before directing and content creation actions. Without answering these clearly, your content marketing strategy will fall flat and simply fail.
But once you have done this groundwork, you can easily come up with content that is valued by your audience and brings in leads and customers regularly.
So here is the checklist of questions to make sure you are on the right track for your content marketing strategy.
1. Do I have a Clear Objective?
Answering the ‘why’ before setting out to do content marketing (or anything really) is important. ‘What’ and ‘how’ you build your content depends on your purpose of content marketing. Your reason could be to get leads, attract traffic or simply build a brand authority online. Whatever the goal, it must be SMART.
- S – Specific – clearly defined and narrow enough
- M- Measurable – quantified if possible
- A- Achievable- has to be realistic
- R – Relevant – relevant to your business and overall marketing strategy
- T – Timely – have a timeline
An example could be “Getting 50,000 unique visitors to our site by this quarter end.”
Once you have a clear objective many other decisions such as content topic, target audience, content format, etc., become clear.
2. Do I Know my Audience?
You cannot come up with a content strategy without knowing who your audience is. Everything you do has to appeal to your target audience, so if you don’t know them you are pretty much shooting in the dark.
You must know your visitors/ readers/ customers like the back of your hand. Ask yourself if you can answer these about them:
- What are their pain points?
- What are they searching for?
- Where are they searching for it?
- What is the buyer’s journey?
- What are their hopes and fears?
Yes. These are intimate questions and you should know your audience intimately. Without knowing this you risk building content that nobody even wants to read.
3. Does my Plan have Visual Content?
Every content strategy is not the same and in fact should be different depending on your business. However, visual content is form of content that must be a part of every strategy today. It’s too profitable to leave out or ignore. After all, video content will make up 80% of all traffic by 2019.
This means that your content plan must have infographics, videos and images in it. Visual infographics not only explain your point easily they are also more fun and are shared 3x times more than any other form of content.
Video platforms like YouTube are also turning out to be a good source of website traffic. It is a great way to attract new visitors and get them curious about your offering. So invest in video channels early on and pay attention to video search optimization.
4. Is My Content Optimized for Mobile?
Mobile traffic is another trend that is here to stay for good. More than 60% of traffic not comes from mobile and so your content must be optimized for mobile audiences.
With Google Hummingbird update it has become even more important that content creators serve the mobile traffic first.
This means content built for small screens, shorter attention span and competing with continuous notifications from other apps.
To make the most of your time your headlines must be grabbing and content length just right to hold attention. Content should also be scannable with bold headings and big fonts.
5. Does my Strategy have Feedback built into it?
Content marketing is an ongoing strategy and does not end at publishing content. There is the whole process of moving visitors along the funnel and growing your loyal following online. All of this requires continuous monitoring and feedback from audience.
Your strategy must be flexible enough to make changes too. This does not mean changing your purpose and objectives that we mentioned earlier, but the ways to achieve them can change.
For example, you make see that influencer marketing is not working as well with your audience and decided to concentrate on email marketing only.
Of you may decide to concentrate on lead conversion rather than on lead collection.
All of this is only possible if you are listening keenly to your audience. Data on visitors, email subscribers and conversions will also give you insights into what you need to improve upon.
6. Do I have the Resources?
One of the major factors impacting your success in content marketing is the long-term commitment you have for it. Content takes time to show returns and cannot be done with a short-sighted vision.
If you do not have the right resources for it, you will run out of fuel and patience to succeed at it.
You must ask yourself what resources you need to implement your content marketing strategy. Usually this includes staff time, skill training, budget, effort and management support.
For medium and large sized companies, management support becomes very important. This is because great content requires inputs from all departments and a decent budget.
If the seriousness is not driven from top-bottom then nobody in the company is going to support you with information, time and feedback.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing strategy is the glue that holds all the content making activities and gives your plan a direction. You must set your purpose clear before you set out to make any content.
Researching your audience is essential as it answers questions on what content to create, how to create and where to promote it.
Visual format, mobile optimization and feedback loop as some of the other things to complete the checklist on content marketing strategy.
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3 years ago on
How to Host Webinars to Increase Conversions
Deciding on the format of content is one of the key aspects of content marketing. There are many formats that your content can take.
This includes blog posts, podcasts, video, e-book, webinars, etc. How do you know which one is best suited for you?
Well the best format depends on your target audience and the stage of buyer’s journey they are in. Webinar is known to give great results in converting leads to customers.
According to Content Marketing Institute, over 60% of marketers are using webinars as a part of their content marketing programs. In this blog we will talk about webinars and how you can use them to convert more customers
What is a Webinar?
Webinar is just like a seminar event except that it is conducted online. It is a presentation that is done live for the people who sign up for it.
Presenter and attendees are also able to communicate through live chat.
What makes a webinar unique is:
- It gives a personal touch
- It gives you more focused attention as it is live
- It gives you more time. A typical webinar is between 45 mins to 2 hours
- t gives you a chance to resolve objections in real time
- It builds relation through a two way communication
- You can reach anyone across the globeYou can see that a webinar keeps your audience more involved than a blog or video post. It is the closest to meeting to your leads face to face.
What are the conversion rates for Webinars?
For this reason webinars also have a high conversion rate. Whereas email marketing has a conversion rate of 3-5%, most webinars convert between 10- 20% of attendees down the line..
Companies like Adobe, Buzzsumo and KISSmetrics have confirmed above 20% conversion rates through webinars.
How to Use Webinars in Your Marketing Funnel?
Webinars can be used at two stages in a digital marketing funnel. Firstly, they can be used to connect with your visitors.
Webinars can even be used as lead magnets to convert visitors into leads.
Secondly, they are especially effective in the conversion stage, the last stage of marketing funnel.
Someone attending your webinar has set aside an hour for you, which means that they trust you to deliver value.
Most of the webinar attendees are hence qualified leads that are ready to buy.
How do I host a Webinar?
Hosting a webinar is not difficult. There are many webinar software that are user friendly and intuitive.
Here are the steps to follow to host a webinar:
1. Decide on the Topic and Presenter- Pick a burning question that your readers have or a pain point they face in their lives. A headline that speaks out to the visitor is half the job done.
2. Make your presentation – Make you presentation ready. A BIG mistake for any marketer would be treat your webinar as a sales pitch. A webinar is first and foremost a valuable training session for your attendees.
Remember they signed up to learn what you promised in the title, not to buy your products and service. Make sure you are giving tons of value in return of one hour that they have allotted to you.
3. Choose webinar software – There are many options to host your webinar like Webinars on Air by Google, Go to Webinar, Cisco WebX, Mega Meeting etc.
Go to Webinar is the most popular one with impressive features and reasonable pricing. It has a free 7 day trial and a monthly fee of $79 after that.
The software is easy to use with intuitive design. They allow you to share your screen with attendees, set up email notifications and reminders, take polls and surveys, chat with attendees and view webinar dashboard.
Practice a mock presentation a few times for successful live webinar.
4. Promote Webinar- Start promoting your webinar on social media, web-site pop-ups, email lists and any other channels you may have to reach your audience.
Make sure your topic matches your audience’s requirement. For example, a high school student is more likely to sign up than an undergrad for a webinar on ‘How to prepare for SAT Entrance’.
5. Host Webinar and Follow up- Use the tips shared below to host your webinar. Most of the attendees don’t sign up immediately but do end up buying up from you eventually.
Add the attendees to your email marketing list and follow up with your offer within 48 hours. Nurture these leads over time by sending webinar recording and other valuable content.
Tips to Host a Successful Webinar
- Be well rehearsed
If you are a B2B company share your company story along with your personal story too.
Learn all the functions of webinar software and make sure you know how to get over technical setbacks even if they occur. Being well rehearsed will also make you sound confident.
- Arrive before time
Arrive at least half an hour before the scheduled time. This will give you time to check if everything is working.
It is also a good opportunity to strike up a conversation with people have arrived early and are eager to start. Ask them about their expectation from the webinar.
- Keep it interactive
The beauty of a webinar is that you can get direct live feedback from your attendees. Keep your webinar interactive by asking questions and also receiving questions.
Keep moderators on your team who will answer questions in chats and keep everyone engaged. Take names of people who are responding, mention geographies from where people are logged in. All this will make attendees feel connected and part of a live event.
- Bring your personality
An event is way to know each other personally. So share your story and connect with your audience.
Tell them how you landed up here and highlight the similarities between you and your audience.
If you are a B2B company share your company story along with your personal story too.
- Keep it Light
One hour is a long time to ask for focused attention from your audience. If your presentation is long and boring they will either exit or drift off.
So keep your webinar light and entertaining. Use a lot of stories, short videos, jokes and real life examples.
There will be parts where you will be giving heavy information, but make sure you prepare your audience and spread out the heavy material throughout the presentation.
The rule of thumb is to keep no more than three slides of heavy concepts.
Hosting your first webinar may seem like a difficult job. However, it is easy once you get used to it. With a conversion rate of 20% you are sure to do more of them once you get started.
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3 years ago on
What Content Marketers can do differently in 2018
Content marketing has emerged as the top marketing activity today. Every business is bullish on content marketing and is investing even more into it this year.
Here is the result of survey conducted by Smart Insights asking 850 marketers to pick the most important marketing activity.
As you can see all marketers are aggressive on content marketing. This has increased the competition marketers face despite great content.
In this blog we will discuss what you can do differently this year to stand out and pull more traffic through your content.
• Long form in-depth Content
There was a time when a decent quality 650 word blog post had a chance to rank on page one on Google. This is not the case now. Ranking high on Google requires quality backlinks, domain authority, time and so much more.
When it comes to blogs, think of long form anchor posts of 1500 to 2500 words. These should be like a helpful guide covering A to Z of your industry or topic.
Anchor posts are blog posts that are the pillar of your site and pull in tons of traffic consistently. Do not expect to get traffic within a month.
It is typical to see your traffic rising after 6 months of posting. Do everything to make your content really helpful for your audience. Use infographics and videos to explain concepts.
Any content which does not make your reader say ‘ Wow! That was helpful’ has little chance to rank in top three searches. This is how you can differentiate your content and rank higher on Google in 2018
• Go niche
Differentiating your content in an already overcrowded web can be challenging. In any industry there will be in- depth blog posts that have been on the web for five years or more.
How can you possibly compete with those pieces? The answer lies in narrowing the focus of your content.
Write about nutrition for dancers instead of writing on general nutrition. Focus on long tail-keywords that will have less competition.
For example, instead of writing on ‘ladies shoes’, focus on ‘office shoes for working moms’. This way you will not only rank higher on search engines but will also attract highly targeted visitors that are easier to convert.
• Semantic Search
Google no more relies on just keywords to rank results. It uses something known as semantic search.
Semantic search takes into account the intent of the searcher.
This means weighing in the context, location, searcher history, language style and device.
That means Google now understands that a user typing in ‘green dress online’ is more likely to purchase the dress online than if she had typed ‘green dresses’.
For marketers this means that they have to be more aware of the context of searchers and conditions under which they are searching. Content should now match situations instead of just keywords.
• Target Google Featured Snippets
There is something better than position one on Google search. It’s position 0 .
You may have noticed that Google also gives the answer to your queries in a highlighted search box above all search results.
This gives the searchers the answers at a glance without having to go to another page.
Ranking in featured snippets increases your traffic and decreases bounce rates. The great news is that you don’t even have to rank number one on Google to be able to feature in rich snippet.
To increase your chances to be featured in a rich snippet make sure your content:
- Has a structured format with sub-headings
- Keep your answers to the point, short and snappy
- Mark up your article with structured data
- Answer popular questions asked
• Explore other formats of Content
Audio podcasts have made a big comeback last year. There are more than 42 million people who listen to podcasts weekly in the US alone.
‘How to’ searches on YouTube have gone up by 70% in 2017. YouTube is also the second most popular search engine after Google.
The trend is clear. Users prefer video and audio form of content and marketers must produce this if they want to reach their audience.
Bringing it all together
Content marketing is here to stay as the most profitable channel to get leads. However, digital marketing landscape is changing continuously and marketers must concentrate on long-form quality content and niche topics to stay at the top.
Understanding Google’s semantic search and featured snippets will help to reach more audience. Lastly, experimenting with fresher format of content such as podcasts and videos will differentiate you from the other content.
Above all, it is important to keep experimenting in digital marketing. New trends emerge quickly and demand agility from content marketers.