Category Archives for Content Marketing

Where Are We Seeing Native Advertising?

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oday you can see examples of native advertising on many popular websites such as CNN.com, Huffington Post, The Onion, Fast Company, The New York Times and various local newspapers – as well as other popular online magazines and websites. The way you can spot native advertising is that it does not look like an advertisement or the old-fashioned advertorial. Instead it’s sponsored useful content that does not read as an advertisement but as useful content in and of itself that the audience will likely enjoy.

There are some experts who do not believe that sponsored posts are really native advertising. They consider them regular advertising. Copyblogger’s Demian Farnworth is one expert who defines native advertising as:

“… [P]aid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.”

But Wikipedia defines native advertising as any advertising that appears within the context of the publisher’s website based on content that is sponsored by the publisher or promoted by the creator. In other words, the content is paid for in some way. In some cases “paid for” means that a brand might donate the product that is being featured in order to promote brand awareness instead of money exchanging hands.

CNN

 Many of CNN’s stories, especially when it has to do with a new product, a movie, or a star, is likely a form of native advertising done really, really well. Even if no money changes hands... if a brand is mentioned, it’s all about brand awareness, and you can be sure that the brand solicited the story in some way.

The Onion

This is a parody site that makes its money off ads and uses a lot of native advertising to do it. With The Onion, it can be really hard to know which articles are really advertisements in some way. But, there are all kinds of native advertising going on within The Onion including paid posts, sponsored posts, and donated product placement.

Buzzfeed 

They use native ads by having companies sponsor different stories that may or may not be about the brand. They also have content written by brands and promoted by brands. It’s a really good example of a website that uses many different forms of advertising very well. A good example is a post published by and promoted by ExxonMobile entitled “What Kind Of Engineer Should You Be?” This is very informative content for the reader, plus a line of tweets mentioning ExxonMobile to the right.

Cracked

This website gets most of its ad revenue from native advertising as most of the posts are created by and promoted by other publishers. Cracked works with brands to create sponsored content, unlike Buzzfeed which allows brands to create the content themselves. They prefer to create the content themselves in order to maintain their specific standards to create off the charts, funny, irreverent and awesome content.

Native advertising is an important way for brands to get their message out to the world, create brand awareness, and get more visitors to their own websites.

Who Uses Native Advertising and How

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usinesses – from insurance companies to cleaning companies and many in between – use native advertising to make more sales and increase brand awareness. Whether you are a large or small business, you can participate in native advertising too. And you should, because it works very well to get the word out about your business. Here are examples of business who use native advertising, and how they do it.

  • Nestle TollhouseThis Buzzfeed post is a sponsored post that Nestle contracted someone to write and then promoted on Buzzfeed. This post is a list of easy to make recipes using ingredients from Nestle Tollhouse. It is both an advertisement for the brand and a useful post for cooks who want to make interesting treats.
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    Pixar MoviesThis video created by Cracked about why Pixar movies are secretly movies about the apocalypse, is made irreverently and hilariously and makes everyone want to watch the movies with a new eye.
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    Graduate Schools – This article about graduate schools with the richest alums is really a way to spread brand awareness about various graduate schools. The article is also informative in nature but secretly gets the point across about good grad schools to think of attending for you or your children.
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    Staples – This article was found through a link through The Atlantic online edition and is sponsored by Staples. It gives advice about the pros and cons of traditional and standing desks while promoting its own brand, since the article resides on their own website.
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    Walden University – On Facebook, Walden University has an advertisement that offers free information for anyone who wants to get an advanced degree. This ad appeared because the writer has searched for information regarding further education. This is called retargeting, and the fact that a sponsored post appears to the user who has searched for such information is smart.
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    Simple Green Smoothies – They are offering “Need a full body reset? Our FREE 1-day cleanse kit is a great way to get started right away. Learn how to boost your energy, shed some pounds and get glowing skin with a whole food lovin’ meal plan + shopping list.” They run this advertisement within the stream on Facebook to people who have shown interest in that topic. This gives more opportunity for someone to be interested.
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    Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance – This has a sponsored exclusive coupon that they promote on Twitter for Facebook fans. It’s a way to get more Facebook fans, but they promote it via Twitter. This is a good use of a sponsored post because it helps get more social media followers on the social media they want to use.

As you can see, the number and type of native ads that brands are using are many. This means that there is a place for your business to also use native advertising. The barriers to entry are really low when it comes to pushing out sponsored posts on Twitter and Facebook, and to use a system like Outbrain.com.

What Is Earned Media and How Does It Apply to My Business?

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here are three types of exposure available to marketers, namely “owned,” “paid” and “earned.” They are all important to the success of your business, but none is more important than earned media. Earned media is the best exposure you can hope for, and while you do not pay for it, and you cannot control it, you do earn it through your actions. Earned media is a far more trusted form of promotion than any other type of promotion because it is seen as truth.

Types of Earned Media

  • Social media – Someone posts about reading your eBook and how awesome and helpful it is to them, and shares a link to your eBook.
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    Reviews – Someone writes a product review on a third party website and links to your product.
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    Rating sites – Someone gives your website a rating on a third party website.
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    Word-of-mouth – Someone tells their friends about your products and provides the information needed for their friends to buy your product.
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    Press releases - You send out the press release, but third party websites for which you have no control run with the story.
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    Third party mentions – Unpaid third party bloggers write about your products, websites, or services without any payment whatsoever, including affiliate income.
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    Viral video – Even though you may own the video, once it goes viral it becomes earned media.
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    Viral infographics – Even though you created the infographic and are the first to distribute it, once it goes viral you no longer own what people do with it or say with it and it becomes earned media.
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    Viral blog post – You write it and share it, and then at the point it becomes viral and third parties are distributing, it becomes earned media.

As you can see, earned media can easily become confused with owned and paid media. But, if you can get it clear in your mind that earned media is information about your business that is created and distributed by third parties, then it’ll be easier to understand. The only exception is the case of information that goes viral.

Knowing this, you can somewhat direct the earned media that happens. You can direct it by providing excellent content that has a chance of going viral. Plus, always offer top-notch products and services that your customers will voluntarily want to talk about you to their friends in multiple formats. Remember - whether the discussion about you is negative or positive, it’s still earned media.

You therefore need to seek to control the story by sending out newsworthy press releases to the right contacts that will take ownership of your story and disseminate it to their audience. Provide excellent customer service, terrific products, second-to-none services and you can have some measure of control over the earned media that is out there about you.

Trends and Stats for Digital Magazines

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here are many different trends and stats available for digital magazine publishers. It’s important to keep up-to-date on these trends and statistics so that you can stay ahead of the game and publish the best magazine you’re capable of publishing for your audience. It’s clear that things are changing in the publishing world due to the easy entry into publishing through the advent of digital magazines and the different platforms to publish them.

  • Paper Is Old School – While you may consider offering print on demand, the fact is paper is less and less cool and more and more old school when it comes to magazines. There is basically no reason to publish paper magazines in the digital world today. You can get just as good results by publishing only online, especially if your distribution numbers are small. According to ZenithOptimedia Agency, print magazines will shrink by about 2 to 3 percent a year.
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    Longer Articles Work Well – Publishing longer, more in-depth articles in your magazine is a good idea. People like to take the time to read longer articles when they open up a magazine. Reading a magazine article is different from reading quick online content. You can include serious statistical pieces that go outside of the content you may normally put on your website or in newsletters.
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    Magazines Will Be More Interactive – Due to their digital nature, magazines can be more interactive than their paper counterparts. You can now include surveys, polls, videos, and audio into your digital magazine. What’s more, your subscribers will expect more interactive features in their digital publications.
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    Magazines Will Have Fewer Ads – Yet, you’ll make more money even though there will be fewer ads in each magazine. Customers are tired of flipping through page after page of ads. So, the price of each advertisement will be higher but there will be fewer spaces available. You’ll actually make more money with less work due to this, since you can also include more technologically advanced forms of ads.
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    Micro Magazines Will Become More Popular – This is where you come in. According to State of the Media, smaller more focused digital magazines will become more popular as time goes on. This is showing to be true, which is why small business owners should highly consider publishing a digital magazine for their audience as a way to increase brand awareness or another income stream.
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    Subscriptions are Easier Than Ever to Collect – Due to flattening ad revenue it’s important to consider earning through a subscription plus ad revenue model. Thankfully, due to excellent technology, you can break into the digital publishing subscription model really easily. Using software like Joomag can make it super simple.
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    Creating Serials Is Becoming Popular Again – In the old days of magazines and micro publishing books, creating stories and information that was told in serial format was popular. This encouraged customers to buy subscriptions and also repeat buying so that they could see what happened or get the rest of the story and information.
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    Multiple Revenue Streams Will Become More Popular – Ads, subscriptions, and micropayments will all be possible with digital magazines. An author can put a donate button right in their bio for a chance to collect donations or tips for their article. Having this option rather than upfront payment to authors might help you get more content for your magazine, because it’s more than likely you’ll be unable to create enough interesting well-crafted content on your own for a regular magazine.

Digital magazines are becoming more popular for formerly print magazines. Plus, the barriers to entry are so low that anyone can create and publish a digital magazine for any topic and niche that they desire. What’s clear is that there will be more to choose from for the audience, which means you’ll need to market harder than ever.

9 Trends That Will Change How You Market in 2018

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f you’re a trend watcher in your industry (and you should be), you’ll notice that times are changing for 2018 when it comes to online marketing. Gone are the impersonal days of the past where you could be anonymous and still rake in six figures. Today, your customers want to know you even more.

  • Social Media Marketing Becomes More Thoughtful – Many brands get involved with social media just because someone told them they should; then they do a really bad job of their social media campaigns, seeing little to no effect from their efforts. A good example of this is Copyblogger.com, which recently left Facebook. They left Facebook because even though they had many followers they insisted that most of them were fake, even though they had never run any Facebook promotions. This tells other brands that it’s okay to bail on social media when it’s not producing, or to start over when they figure out they are not using social media effectively.
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    LinkedIn Will Become More Important – Part of the reason is that it’s so buttoned up and less easy to disseminate SPAM, or so they say. With the advent of the ability for brands to publish posts on LinkedIn, you’ll see more content on the social media network, especially because LinkedIn is helping brands promote easier and allows everyone who is connected with you to see your content.
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    Brands Will Create More Content – Content is still king and probably always will be. Because of that, and because search marketing and email marketing still reign, brands will produce even more original content than in the past. The article marketing sites are over, as is reusing content on other sites. Original content is where it’s at and brands will take notice and produce more.
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    Visual Content Will Become Even More Important – If you’re not turning your data into infographics yet, and you’re not producing informative video yet, then you will be doing it in 2015 if you want stay ahead of your market. The technology has advanced to the point where barriers to entry are small, and customers are demanding more interaction.
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    Brands Will Conduct More In-Person Events – Gone are the days where a marketer could sit behind their computer screen and not go out and been seen by their public. Sorry, but serious marketers need to get busy getting up close and personal with their audience by hosting and going to in person events.
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    Metrics Play an Even Bigger Role – Business owners are learning that it’s important to study metrics to know where to go from here. They know that they need to know whether or not the content they’re producing is creating engagement on a consistent basis, whether their efforts are producing sales and whether or not their audience is answering their calls to action. You can’t know that without an understanding of the numbers.
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    Brand Awareness Gets New Attention – Doing tasks such as guest blogging, viral video making, in-person appearances, sponsoring others and so forth will become more important, as making people more aware of your brand takes on new precedent. Business owners will spend more money to make their brand known, through native advertising and other means.
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    Brand Engagement Becomes More Important – That Facebook page you leave idle, that Twitter page you barely tweet on, that Pinterest account that hasn’t had a board made in months... it’s all old news and needs to be updated. If you want brand engagement, you’ll have to fight for it on a regular basis to prove that you’re in it for keeps. Especially if you’ve fallen down on the job so far.
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    You’ll Pay for Reach on Facebook – The way Facebook and other social media is going, if you don’t pay for promoted posts, and then parlay the attention you get into more engagement, you’re going to lose out on the good that Facebook and other social media has to offer.

In 2018, the biggest change in how you market to your audience will be the amount of marketing you do. You’re going to have to do it more than ever before to stand out from the crowd, and more and more creatively than you thought you could be. You may even consider hiring other experts to help you improve in 2018.

Challenges of Multi-Channel Marketing

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here is no question that multi-channel marketing offers a high return on investment. It doesn’t matter what your product is – if you’re not sending your message to multiple channels in multiple ways, you’re going to miss a large portion of your audience. Reaching more of your audience translates into higher profits. But, along with these profitable opportunities comes challenges.

 

Keeping a Consistent Message

It’s tempting when moving to a new channel for marketing to change your entire personality. However, you actually want to keep your message consistent no matter what channel you’re sending the message.

Cohesive Branding

Think about brands that you know. Taco Bell, Netflix, Facebook – all of these are very recognizable to us regardless of where we see them being discussed. Even if we just see the bell we know what it’s about.

Knowing Which Channels to Use

Your audience is not everywhere, but you should be where your audience is. You’ll need to understand who your audience is and where they “hang out” to know where you should be sending your marketing messages.

Understanding Who You’re Talking to on Each Channel

While your audience doesn’t change completely based on the channel they’re using, the way you talk to them might change a little. Your message is the same, but how you say it may be different. Twitter requires you to use 140 characters, while on TV you might have 30 seconds. This requires different approaches to delivering the same message. So knowing who you’re talking to and where you’re talking to them will help.

Creating a Customer-Centric Voice

You’ve heard a lot about finding your voice, but the truth is, the voice you need to find isn’t yours. It’s your customers’ voice. Who is your audience and what do they need to hear? What do they want to know? What is it about them that makes your product work for them? It’s never about you; it’s always about them.

Making the Experience Consistent

The other challenge with multi-channel marketing is ensuring that for those of your audience who see your message on different channels, or visit you from different channels, have a consistent experience. This can be confusing and difficult if you aren’t sure who you are, or who your audience is, or understand what your product does for them.

Understanding the Metrics

Each channel has different metrics that are important and different methods for which to analyze them. Click-through rates on your website to your sales page are counted using different software than click-through rates within your newsletter. You need to understand how it all works and ties together and what it means, as well as which numbers you want to test.

Putting Together All the Parts

It can be difficult to put all these parts together into a cohesive marketing campaign. But, every channel works together as well as independently. Each should stand alone, but each should be integrated as well. This can be a big challenge for many marketers.

Finally, no matter what happens you have to continually test every aspect of your multichannel marketing effort. Nothing is ever done until you understand the results of each effort. Success or failure comes down to the numbers.

Provide High Value to Visitors

 

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hen people search for information online, they look for about the same things that a search engine does. They do the search and then evaluate whether or not the information is authentic and useful to them. If you always seek to provide high value information to your visitors, you’’ll be a lot more likely to not only attract a high quality of customers to your website, but also to keep them there. Here are some great ways you can provide that high value that people are looking for.

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    Develop White Papers - –A white paper is an authoritative paper that either persuades a consumer toward a particular product using facts, or describes problems and offers multiple solutions to the consumer. You can provide white papers on a variety of topics for your audience that will be seen as high value to your audience, whether they'’re free or not.
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    Create Videos - –A great way to provide high value to your audience is to make videos for them. You can create “how-to” videos, explainer videos, and other types of demonstration videos, or even just informational videos about topics that your audience cares about. Make them short, no more than three to five minutes. The value will be perceived as very high when it’'s information they want.
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    Write eBooks –- Another way to provide high value to visitors is to offer eBooks about the topics they care about. In this way, they can read the information on their Kindle or other reading device away from the website.  
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    Form an Inner Circle -– One really great way to provide a super high value to your audience is to create a members only area, paid or free, where people have to be approved to join. You can now do this via Facebook private and secret groups. People like feeling exclusive, and this is a good way to do it.
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    Host Monthly Webinars –- Offer periodic webinars or teleseminars for your website visitors. If you offer them monthly, based on various topics of importance to your audience, you'll up your authority quotient with your audience exponentially.
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    Conduct Case Studies -– Once you've been around long enough, you'll likely have some success stories that can be shared. Collect case studies about people who have used methods you describe. You can even collect studies about people who have succeeded using methods like yours. This will make the audience feel like they're truly getting a lot of value out of the information provided.
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    Interview Experts - –Your audience will absolutely love it if you interview movers and shakers within your niche. What's more, the more you interview experts, the more people will view you as an expert. That's how Oprah became the guru we now know today. Not only has she learned from those she’ has interviewed, but her audience sees her as an expert in a variety of fields.

Most bloggers don’'t really understand the ​​​​​power in providing value to their visitors, so they miss out. But now you know that providing high value through the various types of content you offer can increase the traffic and even improve traffic loyalty.

Quality over Quantity

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hen it comes to building traffic to your website, the thing to remember the most is that quality matters more than quantity. You’ve likely heard before that “less is more,” and that’s definitely true when it comes to building traffic to your website using methods like blogging, social media marketing and more. But, in some ways the idea of quality over quantity is not even a real choice.

The real questions you should answer are:

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    What is your purpose? - Explain the reasons behind doing what you're doing in one to three sentences. 
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    Who is your audience? - Explain who you're doing it for by creating a persona of your ideal client or customer.
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    How fast do you want to succeed? - What is the timeline of your success story?

The thing is, high quality should be a given. The next question is how much time you have to devote to producing the type of quality that you want to produce, and how quickly you want to experience success. It's all a numbers game and easy to break down if you understand your niche and industry.

A PLAN OF ACTION:

When you determine the type of traffic you want, it will dictate the type of content you create for your audience. Then, figure out how many visitors you need to get to your website to convert to a certain number of sales. Work out how each piece of content you use, and each pay per click you add, affects those goals, and from this you can create a plan of action.

That plan needs to include both quality and quantity, at least up to the point where you are generating the amount of traffic you need to generate in order to earn the amount of money you've planned to earn.

For example, suppose in your niche an average daily visitor total is 200 a day, your product costs 20 dollars and your conversion rate is 5%. This means that for every 200 visitors, you'll make 10 sales. That would be, in this case, $200 dollars per day gross earnings for your efforts. If you want to have more results, you'll need to produce above average traffic or increase the price of your product.

The best way to increase traffic is to increase the amount of activity on your website through blog posts and various other types of content that you offer your audience, but to keep the quality high. So, that's why the idea of a choice between quality and quantity is really not a real choice. Depending on your goals, you may have to do both. You're always going to need to produce high quality information or products - that's expected. But, you may bring the quantity of the content you add to your website or the development of new products up faster or slower depending on your goals.

10 Things That Should Be In Your Marketing Plan

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hen developing your online marketing plan, you have to take into account all your goals for it. You need to understand who your audience is, how to make them aware of you, and what their buying process is so that you can create the best online marketing plan for them.

Here’s what an online marketing plan will consist of.

Website Management and Updates

From the start, create a website that takes into consideration all the rules of SEO. Do this from the first page created, to every page that links in, and every article, blog post or image that you include. Everything should be something that you know will advance your marketing goals.

SEO: On- and Off-Page

Learn everything you can about SEO because getting organic traffic that you do not directly pay for via pay per click or other types of advertisements is worth even more than paid traffic. Why? Audience members who seek you out, rather than the other way around, will be more likely to convert to paying customers. They are going to be much more likely to buy than someone who reads and responds to an advertisement.

Link Building On and Off Your Website

Link building helps search engines, but it also helps your audience find your information in a more organized fashion. Take some time to consider your link-building strategy and create a plan of action going forward that will provide links from outside your website to your content, plus links within your website to more of your content.

Locally Optimize

One way to ensure that people find you, especially if you have a locally focused business, is to ensure that you use keywords that help local people find and discover you. For example, if you are a local dentist you want to use the name of your location as well as the name of your business within meta descriptions, headers, titles and tags.

Press Releases

Many people dismiss press releases as offline marketing, but today with PRWeb.com you can send out press releases online, too. This will provide information for your audience in numerous ways. You can put the press release on your website, as well as send it out to those who might want to pick up the story.

Email Marketing

No online marketing plan is complete without email marketing. Email marketing is the lifeblood of your online marketing plan and will infuse your online marketing program. With email marketing, you have a way to capture leads, turn them into customers, and more.

Blogging

Everything starts with your website or blog. All the content you create, all the products you promote, and all the services you provide, live on your blog or website. Even if you have a storefront, the website or blog is the central hub of your online existence.

Social Media

Using social media to promote your content and information to your audience is a fabulous way to get the word out. Plus, it’s a great way to engage and build trust with your targeted audience. You can have conversations, share interesting things you read, share the information that others share with you, and more.

Pay Per Click

Using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and more, you can conduct pay-per-click campaigns that get great results and are a good addition to the other types of market that you do online.

Reputation Management

Use articles, eReports, white papers, posts, messages and more to boost and manage your online reputation. This is a useful aspect of online marketing that should not be ignored.

You can make an online marketing plan in a page or two, or you can create a page for each aspect with a step-by-step to-do list of what you will do to ensure that each part of your plan is realized. The worst thing you can do is proceed without a plan.

Creating a Content Marketing Plan

Pretty much every aspect of online marketing needs content. You need content for social media posts, blog posts, guest articles, white papers, eBooks, and more. You can use many types of content to help get the word out about your products and services while educating your audience about the issues in your industry.  Taking this approach will help you develop yourself as an authority and your products and services as answers to your audience’s needs.

The best way to accomplish this is to develop a content marketing plan. You can create a content marketing plan for any type of business quickly and easily.

Set Goals for the Future – What do you want to accomplish with each piece of content that you want to create? First write down some ideas, such as increase traffic by 50 percent within 6 weeks, increase sales by 60 percent within 4 weeks, or get more targeted newsletter subscribers within a specific period of time. Be specific about your goals in terms of the exact results you want to achieve and how you will achieve them.

Assess Where You Are Today – Everyone has to start where they are today. How many subscribers do you have now? How many people have purchased your product or service to date? What type of content do you have and what types of results is it producing right now? Can you pinpoint exactly which pieces of content are getting the type of results you want? Perhaps none of your current content is getting any results. Note that, so that you know where to begin.

Know your Target Customer -Take a closer look at who you want your exact customer to be. Create a persona describing that perfect customer so that when you create any marketing content you know who you are creating it for. You may find you have several subsets of audience personas for the same product; that is okay, but looking at them will help you develop even better content.

Understand Your Sales Funnel and Your Audience’s Buying Cycle – You have your product/sales funnel, plus your consumers buying cycle to consider. Content should be created for each stage of the funnel and the cycle because each type of content has a different purpose.

Know the Purpose of Each Piece of Content – When you know the purpose of each piece of content you create, you will be able to direct it to the right person, at the right time, and put it in the right place. These actions will ensure that you receive the results you are looking for.

Create an Editorial Calendar – Once you have an idea of what type of content you want to create, get out a calendar and start writing in what needs to be written or created. For example, if you are promoting a video eCourse, you may need to produce some shorter videos along with articles to give your audience the information they need to choose your course.

Have the Content Developed – Once you have a calendar, you can just go day by day and create the content you need. Or you can send it to someone else to do it for you such as a contractor. If you want to hire a contractor, you will need to create content in advance to allow for the turnaround time of each contractor that you hire.

Promote Your Content – Do not just post the content and leave it at that. Instead, once the content has been published tell everyone about it. Promote it to your list; promote it to your social media followers. You may want to try using Twitter Ads and Promoted Posts on Facebook. Also, ensure that you set up SEO on your site using a good plugin like SEO Yoast.

Measure the Results – Using the analytics systems that you have already in Google Analytics, your email marketing software, and any other software that you use for your business, test and measure whether what you are doing is working or not.

Optimize and Adjust – When you look at the results of your work, take a look at what you can improve upon and adjust. Try changing one small thing, or doing more of something that is working really good to improve your content marketing plan.

Rinse and Repeat – Like with most things that work, you should do it again. Keep the process moving forward month after month, year after year, based on analytics and the products and services that you want to promote.

Creating and following a content marketing plan will improve your business exponentially. You will be able to stay ahead of everything based on your products and services, including planned launches and so forth. It is important to be proactive to ensure that the results that you want are obtained.

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