You have the marketing of your blog to consider. You also have a few contracts on the side, for search engine optimization (SEO) of client sites. This is great! You are a success!
But, while you are serving everyone else’s needs, you sometimes do not have enough time to address your own blog. When you do, the content does not seem to rise to the same level as that of the content that you may be helping your clients to obtain and publish.
Possible Solutions to Your Problem
Oh, there are many solutions that you could incorporate into your blogging process and content production process. However, which one is right for you?
For example, you could hire writers and create a writing staff for your blog. But, you could also hire other positions, like a technology person for your WordPress site, and maybe you have already done this in both cases, as well as other roles to support your SEO blog.
The challenges are that either you are paying less and receiving lower quality, or you are paying through the nose.
If you have unlimited funding, hiring a staff of qualified individuals may be the best option. Of course, that includes paying them a sufficient salary (don’t be stingy, if you want quality). If you want the quality of your content marketing to remain at a high-quality level, then the amount you pay for it is also going to reflect that.
You also want to include the content marketing aspect of ensuring that that same writing staff is mentioning you on other blogs, including articles that sing your praises, throughout the internet, bringing that traffic back to your site. That is one of the reasons that you would not want to be stingy on who you hire (or how much you pay them).
Expanding on our “Ideas List”
It also helps if ideas flood your mind and you are inspired by your own expertise, for example, as an SEO Expert.
In November (2016), we shared tips on how to prove that you are an SEO Expert. This included the SEO and Advanced SEO courses offered by Simplilearn.
However, not all of us can depend on the genius of our minds to flow out ideas at incredible speeds, let alone to convert those ideas into content and then promoting it, etc. So, we need another idea, in addition to our ingenious ideas (or hiring staff to do it for us).
MyBlogU >> Practically Writing the Content For You!
Originally, I set out to have this article mostly about RSS and RSS applications and services. What I found is that I cannot seem to write any article about developing content without singing the praises of MyBlogU (and no, no one is paying me to say this — It is my personal/professional opinion!).
MyBlogU, developed and owned by your very own Ann Smarty, is a magnificent platform. It is a place where you can share tips and ideas with other writers, helping to develop that article idea list that we talk about further in this article. But, more than that, it is a place where you can collect interview responses from experts.
You have all seen them, right? The round-up articles? The articles cover a topic and include tips and responses from multiple experts in the field. Here is an example, on the seochat.com domain, using MyBlogU >> How Infographics Can Improve Your SEO!
Well, MyBlogU.com helps you to put that together, making the work almost non-existent because Ann’s site does it for you!
So, while MyBlogU may not fit in the list of RSS applications, we cannot deny its rightful place under the topic of creating mind-blowing content for your site. If you haven’t already checked it out, bookmark it now so that you can be sure to visit the site later. You’ll be glad you did!
The Simple, Yet Flexible Solution of RSS
One favorite method to get fresh ideas for the content for your site is to access an RSS from one of your favorite SEO sites. Examples of those sites, related to an SEO blog, may include this site (SEOchat.com), searchenginepeople.com, searchengineland.com, as well as searchenginejournal.com (to name a few).
RSS feeds for the domains mentioned above:
In some cases, including those sites listed above, the RSS Feed (or just “feed”) is located by clicking on the RSS symbol, shown in the image, above, to the left of the Twitter bird.
However, there are cases where the site has a built-in feed, and you have to find it using a manual method. There are site owners who have feeds and do not necessarily know it or use it. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to find those RSS feeds manually.
It isn’t guaranteed that you will find it. If a feed doesn’t exist, you are not going to locate the feed. However, there are other options, even if it means that you bookmark the site and visit it frequently (not ideal, but an option nonetheless).
Some Introductory Discussion about RSS
Oh, let’s take a sidebar and differentiate between two RSS topics. First, there is the act of reading an RSS feed of another site or blog. That is what is most important for this article.
However, while we are on the topic of RSS feeds, it might not be a bad idea to ensure that you have yours set up for your site, encouraging others to use your incredible content as their idea-inspiration tool. So, we have included some information to help you in that area (under the Sidebar in this article).
To give some perspective, to help orient us to the two different aspects of RSS, let’s mention a couple of Google apps that you may have heard of in the past. One is the Google Reader, which is no longer available. That is the ability to read the RSS feed and the one that most directly relates to this article.
The other is the application that converts your feed (that already exists if you use WordPress for your blog) into a feed that others can read. This is not directly related, but the highly recommended so that others can subscribe to your feed.
What Is RSS?
Not sure about this whole RSS thing and what it is? Here is an exceptional article on the subject of RSS. Also, it mentions a free option of FeedBurner. Amy (the writer) does an excellent job of explaining why some of us are concerned about using FeedBurner. I don’t intend to be biased here, but she states it very well in her article. Still, FeedBurner, assuming it is still around when you read this, is a free (or at least was) option and worth considering if your budget is really tight.
Remember, FeedBurner is the “sidebar topic” of getting your site ready for others to use it to inspire them.
Even though RSS was quite popular a few years ago, it has not gone away. Oh yes, there was quite a bit of popularity during the Google Reader days (hey, I used Google Reader faithfully), but there are still ways to get a similar experience.
Some of the options that we recommend, for reading feeds, are free and others are not. Most of the options that I have found have been reasonably priced. This is helpful for our pocketbooks.
Ok, let’s get on with the explanation of how to use RSS services. That way, all of this babble makes more sense! Before we do that, let’s cover the sidebar. As we mentioned, it is about getting your site in a position where others can subscribe to it. This is our sidebar, and then we will continue with the methods for reading feeds so that you can inspire those ideas (the main gist of this article).
Sidebar: Using an RSS Service for YOUR Site Feed
My favorite RSS service is FeedBlitz, who offers a reasonably priced service, but oh so many options.
Some of the options available in FeedBlitz include:
- email subscriptions for your site (automated);
- email marketing for your business;
- consolidation of things like autoresponders, list management, eCommerce, etc.;
- integration with social media marketing options.
I couldn’t have said it better than the way Brian Clark puts it, here (from the feedblitz.com site):
Reading Method 1: Using RSS-Based Systems
Here is an example of one of the articles obtained from using seo.alltop.com:
A fresh perspective on SEO for B2B companies (from seo.alltop.com using RSS feeds).
Interestingly, Alltop.com also uses an RSS service. In Alltop’s case, the RSS service is feedpress.com. That isn’t something that you have to know (fortunately) to visit their site. Remember, this is a case of mentioning a site that uses RSS feeds to compile a list of reading material for you, automatically. You don’t have to do anything to set up an RSS feed for it because the service did it for you! You just read what Alltop produces for you.
The key thing to remember here is that there are sites out there who are already compiling/aggregating content sources for you, so you do not have to do it yourself. Alltop is just one example, and we specifically mentioned their SEO topic aid.
Method 2: Manually Reading Site Feeds with an App (Hosted or Downloaded)
RSS Feeds, in their raw form, are not naturally easy to read. However, on the positive side, we have come a long way, so quite a few reader options are available, and in many cases, your OS (i.e. Windows 10, Apple, etc.) has a built-in process of leading you to the available options.
When you read the RSS, it is the readable version and not the RSS in its raw form. Doesn’t make sense? That’s ok because these days, that is generally taken care of for you so you don’t have to get techie.
There are two different ways that you can manually read RSS feeds with an app. It could be a web app (called a hosted solution), like feedly.com. It could also be an application, like RSSOwl (available for multiple OSs, including Windows) or NetNewsWire for Mac (shown below).
If a feed is not available (or even when it is), another option is to use your browser to subscribe to a site. It may not officially be an RSS solution, but who cares what we call it as long as it gets the job done, right?
One thing that is helpful, regardless of what method you use to READ any feed, is understanding the setup. Understanding how to set it up to be conducive to your needs is a requirement for effectiveness. Here is a tutorial for Feedly, but you could adapt the steps to other methods, as well.
Let’s Put it All Together Into a Simple Step-by-Step How-To Listing
- Determine how you are going to record your content ideas (i.e. Notepad, Spreadsheet, or even as drafts in your WordPress blog).
- Determine which method you are going to use to obtain these ideas (i.e. your feed reading choice).
- Now, go through your chosen feeds (from Step #2) and be inspired in a way that helps you create ideas for the content for your site. Obviously, don’t copy, but allow yourself to think freely and to see what is popular (i.e. comments / social shares). In this way, you can see what your SEO target audience is looking to read AND get ideas for your site. Add the ideas to your list (created in Step #1).
- When it is time, write the content, or have it written, based on your idea list from this method.
- The final step is to promote it. Check out this OnPoint Internet Marketing article about backlinks to find some unique promotional tips. To your advantage, it is not your norm, but instead, tips that will get your mind-blowing content to the audience that will likely share it for you!
It sounds simple enough (and actually is simple), but experience says that this method helps. Sometimes, I find that coming up with the ideas for the articles is 50% of the work and the writing is the easy part.
Granted, I don’t expect that everyone is like me, but I am pretty sure that getting an idea list going, using methods like the RSS reading method, will help you to gain the success of producing content that your audience cannot resist.
Gather your content ideas list, write it, promote it. Sit back and enjoy your success. 🙂
Content marketing is a cornerstone of modern brand promotion. In fact, a 2016 study found that it costs 62 percent less than traditional forms and generates about three times as many leads. With numbers like this, it seems like every business is working tirelessly to create captivating messaging that will springboard into the mainstream.
As great as the concept sounds, getting into a rhythm of producing high-engagement brand messaging is not as easy as it looks. Even further, once you reach a certain level of quality, the last thing you want to do is backslide.
Once a company begins to gain more traction in the marketplace, a team will be needed to meet demand. This is a time when it’s VERY easy for a strategy to crumble. The more minds you have working, the harder it is to keep everyone’s visions in line.
Keeping this in mind, the entire entity of content marketing requires a superb level of coordination to remain competitive. Let’s discuss some foundational practices for keeping your team working towards the same goals as a single, efficient unit.
Involve everyone in the planning stage
As a manager, your job is to take ownership of projects. However, in order for a team to work as a fine-tuned machine, everyone needs to be present during the planning process and contributing to the big picture.
The truth is that the workplace is a much different environment than it was 30-40 years ago. The top-down dictatorship style of planning projects isn’t nearly as effective as it once was. Employees today need to feel valued in order to stick around. Remember, people leave bosses, not companies.
A good manager is one that works to bring out the very best in each and every member of the team. This process all starts in the planning stage. Be sure everyone has a voice, and ideas are shared freely.
Now, as great as this concept is, it can sometimes turn out to be a difficult task being that many companies these days allow employees to work remote. When this is the case, it’s wise to invest in interactive platforms like GoToMeeting:
Tools like this help ensure everyone is on the same page – whether they are physically present for the planning stage or not.
Promote transparency in task delegation
Once a solid plan is nailed down and the overarching goals are understood, the time will come when tasks need to delegated appropriately.
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to increase revenue by improving your customer service process. In this case, you will need information and data on some of the common issues and roadblocks of that department.
This would likely require someone to scour the web and pinpoint trending concerns most people are having when interacting with brands. With this knowledge, you would then need your creators to craft appealing content addressing these issues in accordance with brand messaging.
In order to get tasks done well, you and your team must embrace transparency in the workplace. If not, certain details can easily slip through the cracks.
For this purpose, it’s strongly recommended to implement a campaign management system. Tools like Workzone are built with a task-driven mindset with transparency being foundational aspect:
For instance, everyone involved in a project or campaign is able to look at the main dashboard and see exactly which projects are on the table, who is working on them, and where they stand in terms of progress.
This dashboard is ideal for small marketing or creative teams, and remains so all the way up to enterprise departments. With clear statuses on campaign goals, Workzone goes beyond simplistic to-do lists like Trello while steering clear of complex ICT project management tools like JIRA.
Transparency in delegation is much easier said than done. Do yourself a favor and look into a software that tackles this challenge for you.
Find a communication alternative to email
As great as email is for external communication, the same cannot be said for in-house interactions.
For one, people tend to get bogged down with more emails than they know what to do with. Therefore, it is all too easy for correspondence between coworkers to get lost in the shuffle.
Content marketing is very much a group effort. As all good leaders will tell you, communication is the key to a high-performing team. To make sure crucial messages don’t get overlooked, companies are wise to look into a form of communication exclusively for employees.
Consider introducing an instant messaging app; the wildly popular Slack:
This tool is well-known for being easy to use in businesses of all sizes. It’s designed for quick group messaging, cross-department communications, file sharing, and integrates with a lot of other popular apps like Google Drive, HubSpot and even Giphy.
Prioritizing emails and organizing an inbox is a task in itself. Keeping in-house correspondence separate is crucial for getting your team to accomplish goals without unnecessary delays.
Encourage teamwork and collaboration
One of the most important ingredients to successful content is consistency. For this concept to become a reality, you must create a strong culture of teamwork and collaboration.
Your content team should share the same vision and be walking on the same path to get there. If you are producing material in vastly different tones with divergent messaging, this is a big red flag your squad is not working as a unit, but a group of individuals.
The best way to create a motivating environment is to keep members in the loop while openly discussing certain issues or concerns related to goals. Programs like Yammer are great for team building and learning more about the visions of everyone involved:
Yammer is essentially a private social networking site you can set up for your company. This interface currently has over 7 million users from more than 200,000 different companies. It’s designed for people to stay updated on all aspects of the company and collaborate on projects across the board.
An open platform like this is perfect for content teams to continuously develop their unified approach. Good, consistent work is a direct product of sharing a collective pool of knowledge.
Managing a content team can be one of the most complicated tasks in the business world. You are dealing with a plethora of different creative and analytical personalities needing to work towards one collective vision.
Success in content marketing depends heavily on the systems and tools you employ. The common successful theme is based around a culture of open sharing and tight-knit communication. Producing compelling brand material is all about finding the perfect balance of these concepts.
According to RuthAnn Wiesner, "if content is king, then Instagram is its own castle". As to why Instagram matters that much for business, here is a list of reasons compiled by Socialbakers:
- 300million monthly active users (MAU)
- 75million daily active users (DAU)
- Top 25 Instagram brand profiles receive 110 times more engagement than on Twitter
- Over 1Billion Likes Daily
- 3,600 new photos shared every minute everyday
Instagram Insights for Business
The visual platform itself is proving to be a good marketing tool for marketers and brands alike. As of August 2016, Instagram announced its release of Stories, aiming to take a swipe at Snapchat´s successful video messaging tool. In short, a platform that features plenty of opportunities for small and medium-sized business and just about any brand looking for a return on investment for their efforts.
Getting Your "Insta" Stories for Your Business
To get it up and running you need an "insta" business account. You can create one from scratch or upgrade your personal one. To upgrade, click the turn wheel icon in the upper right section of your profile and hit "switch". Warning: personal accounts can’t benefit from Stories at the moment.
Benefits of Insta Stories
Is there anything else besides the fresh social marketing perspective? You bet!
Stories allows your business account to be easily discovered by followers and non-followers. You also get access to Analytics, which gives a better insight to what works and what converts across your visual strategy.
Insta Tips and Tricks
It’s all about creating engagement and a sense of community with your followers. To do that, you need to transform your Instagram business channel into a visual storyteller. Here is what you can consider:
- Show personality
- Less is more: keep it 80% non-business and just 20% products/services
- Have call to action elements
- Follow back and engage
- Comment on other users’ photos
- Tag customers for contests and celebrations
- Use hashtags
- Say thank you
- Don’t over-abuse the Direct Messaging options J
The Greatness of Community
Additionally, photograph events and capture video with customers interacting with your products and services. Do not forget call to action elements such as life hacks, product reviews or suggestions for upcoming product launches, promotions and giveaways. Implicate your community members!
Getting Help from the Popular Kids
Follow back, engage and comment with #influencers of Instagram. Tagging users is a great conversation starter, however don’t overuse it.
There is no limit now for using hashtags, but don’t overdo it either, as it sends out the wrong message. Alas, keep the hashtags relevant. Don’t use only the hashtags that get massive clicks, but also the ones that get less, but more targeted traffic.
Harnessing the Power of Instagram Photos
Instagram is all about the "instant" visual: image, video and now story. How you choose to tell your story is more relevant than you think. This blog post from Yotpo showcases the uniqueness of "insta" stories:
- Instagram photos convert better than other types of visual content
- Instagram pics also convert because customer trust photos from previous customers
- Using Instagram has a positive effect on increasing e-comm conversion and engagement
- Instagram photos can be used in marketing materials
- Using Instagram photos allows you to repurpose valuable content, integrate user-generated content
Additional Practices and Curation Tools
To get a grasp of how existing businesses are succeeding, first check the Business Instagram page. Proceed by giving a chance to either of these curation tools to help you filter through stories, or to create better, more appealing stories for your insta business.
This is an Android and iOS photo-editing mobile app with high quality filters, with a free download button. You can use this part social network and photo editing platform to really set yourself apart from the rest.
Available on both iOS and Android OS, this is more than just your average photo editing mobile app. You can fine-tune photos by applying effects with a brush instead of filtering the entire image. Extra: save groups of filters as a template after the initial use, and reuse them Shakira style, "whenever, wherever".
This is an in-house Instagram goody, which allows you to create 1-second videos with no audio. Essentially super short GIFS that loop back and forth. Vinederful, in a way.
Before You Go…
Bottom line: Instagram is more than just a photo-editing & social sharing tool, proving that businesses can convert and strategize through the power of visual. One perfect example of insta success is National Geographic. Thanks to a large network of photographers their images never fail to tell a great story.
Not sure about your own Instagram marketing strategy? This infographic illustrates elements you can integrate for higher success rate.