How many Writers it Takes to Change a Lightbulb?

how many writers does it take to change a lightbulb?
If you use this at your next party, and don’t lie, you know you will, you may thank this dude, Mike Pope, a technical editor at Microsoft in Seattle.

Q. How many writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. Ten. One to change it; nine to think they could have done it better.

Q: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: But why do we have to change it?

Q. How many editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Only one; but first they have to rewire the entire building.

Q: How many editors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: I can’t tell whether you mean “change a lightbulb” or “have sex in a lightbulb.” Can we reword it to remove ambiguity?

Q: If you want to change a lightbulb, how many editors do you need?
A: The way this is worded does not conform to our style guide.

Q: How many senior editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: You were supposed to have changed that lightbulb last week!

Q. How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. The last time this question was asked, it involved senior editors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.

Q: How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Copy editors aren’t supposed to change lightbulbs. They should just query them.

Q: How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: File a bug on that and we’ll triage it.

Q: How many localization program managers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Sorry, we already handed the lightbulb off, so we can’t change it.

Q: How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but it takes at least three passes.

Q: How many copy editors does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Depends on just how married the author is to the old lightbulb.

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How to harness the Power Of The Big 6 Social Media Platforms

As the marketing power of social media grows, it no longer makes sense to treat it by observing from the sidelines. In less than a decade, social media, in many ways, seems to have “taken over the world.” This statement is not exaggerated. As one of the largest social networking sites in the social media universe, Facebook boasted more than 750 million people actively using its service. After all, if Facebook users constituted a country, it would be the world’s third largest and will soon grow twice as large as the population of the United States. We know that both B2C and B2B businesses use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Companies certainly know what social media is and its ability to amplify word-of-mouth effects.
engagement

Yet the vast majority of executives have no idea how to harness social media’s power. Companies diligently establish Twitter feeds and branded Facebook pages, but few have a deep understanding of exactly how social media interacts with consumers to expand product and brand recognition, drive sales and profitability, and engender loyalty.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Myspace. Google Plus. LinkedIn. YouTube. Vine. Foursquare. Tumblr. and much more. There are more than 400 unique social networking sites currently active across the globe, hosting trillions of conversations and billions of gigabytes of data. Over the past few years, small businesses have begun to harness the power of these networks to talk about their brand, engage customers, drive leads and even ramp up sales. But there are a few hard-and-fast rules that business owners should adhere to if they want to avoid going from social hero to hapless zero.

engagement
Social media is here to stay when it comes to marketing. Most businesses use it for brand exposure and increasing website traffic. Often overlooked is the power of social media for lead generation. Some businesses get it and others don’t.

What you need to know to make it work for you.

The key word describing the difference between Social Media and conventional communications is
engagement. The premise of Social Media is a dynamic, interactive conversation between you, and your customers. This interactivity is at the core of both the benefits and the risks of Social Media. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to implementing a successful Social Media strategy. As such, this article focuses on providing executives with ideas, challenges, and guidelines on how to use Social Media to advance the mission of their organization. No matter what industry your business is in, social media can enhance your sales, marketing and public relations efforts.

    The 5 Levels of Social Media Engagement

  • OBSERVING
  • Level 1: Observing – watching the conversation from a far & simply “lurking” to decide if it’s interesting/valuable enough to join.

  • FOLLOWING
  • Level 2: Following – following the brand in some way, i.e. following on Twitter or Liking on Facebook.

  • ENDORCING
  • Level 4: Endorsing – actively sharing your content with others, i.e. retweeting, sharing via Facebook, etc.

  • ENGAGING
  • Level 3: Engaging – interacting in a limited fashion, such as clicking through to read your content, viewing a video, or Liking a wall post.

  • CONTRIBUTING
  • Level 5: Contributing – actively participating in the conversation and interacting with your brand, i.e. tweeting to your brand, posting on your Facebook wall, or commenting on a blog post.

engagementWhat social media engagement represents is a two-way dialogue between brands and customers. The primary rule of engagement is: If you want to increase engagement, be engaged. Like most people, social media users don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Start by giving before you expect to receive.
The rapid evolution of digital, mobile and social technologies has propelled the financial industry into an era of transformative agility and adaptability.
Consumers expect highly personalized products and services, delivered in real time. Instant gratification means no more waiting in long lines, no more trudging through shopping malls, no more cash purchases. Even tangible goods are fading into services delivered thru social platforms.
Peter Drucker was right when he said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer”. This is the goal of every business: to create and keep customers. This principle survives Digital. Digital helps you keep this focus by giving you more ways to know your customer better.
Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Based on their love of all things Digital, Millennials are introducing a whole new value system to the marketplace.

What Is the Number One Cause of Writing Failure?

FEAR of Writing Challenge

Do you ever get to that point where you hit a brick wall with your writing? No matter how hard you try, you feel like you’ve covered all the bases and there’s nothing useful left for you to write about?

Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. Writing is a tough game and there will be days where the inspiration just isn’t flowing.

Writing is frustration it’s daily frustration, not to mention humiliation.

Failure in writing is not like failure in business, where you lose money and have to fire everyone and remortgage your house. When you’re a writer, most of the time, people don’t depend on you to succeed. Although you may starve if your books don’t sell, or your agent might yell at you for producing something that three people will read, failure in writing is more of an intimately crushing day-to-day thing.

O.K., minute-to-minute. Measured against your ideal of yourself. When I talk with authors who have given up on writing it’s usually because of at least one of the following seven reasons – sometimes more than one. Although while doing each of these doesn’t guarantee success they do go a long way toward improving your odds of real success.

  1. Skip the marketing

    Marketing yourself and your writing is an absolute must. That means more than just a website, although these days that’s a must. Your marketing doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, but it does need to be consistent. Not sure exactly how to market? No worries, we aren’t born knowing that either. There are a ton of marketing tips and techniques on the internet, just do a search for it.

  2. Fear.

    1. Yep, it’s the “F word” that’s blocking you from writing.

      Fear affects us all more than we care to admit, and it’s especially insidious for writers. Writing online is one of those activities where you’re really putting yourself out there, and the critics are always waiting to pounce. But as we’ll see below, failure and mediocrity are not the only things we fear.

      Most fear works at the subconscious level and manifests itself in the form of procrastination and writer’s block. We want to write that novel or business book, start that killer blog, release that article or white paper that boosts our business authority… and yet we keep putting it off.

      I don’t like to waste time on regret, because, well, it’s a waste of time. But looking back, I see I’ve wasted so much time in my writing life because I let fear hold me back.

      And the truth is, every time I push myself in a new direction, I’m still afraid. I don’t think that ever changes—it’s just part of the game.

      The key is to not let it stop you.

      Here are the main ways fear holds us back as writers, with a few tips for looking fear in the face and sitting down to work. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s doing what needs to be done despite fear.

  3. Fear of Failure

    Countless psychological studies have shown that the fear of failure is the number one barrier to personal success. We fear failure because we don’t separate tasks from ourselves, and therefore our self-esteem is at risk every time we attempt to do anything we really want to achieve.

    In other words, we’re afraid of being humiliated, because at the subconscious level, we link failure to humiliation. So how do we get over our fear of failure and its misguided companion humiliation?

    • Admit you’re afraid to fail.
    • Realize that every time you fail, you’ve become a better writer.
    • Recognize that each failure brings you one step closer to success.
    • Relish the learning experience, and reject the illusion of humiliation.

  4. Fear of Success

    Why in the world should we fear success? That’s what we want, right? Well, the way we idealize success can cause us to subconsciously avoid it, because we know from experience that success brings unexpected changes along for the ride.

    We worry that we don’t really deserve success, or that success will bring increased expectations that we won’t be able to meet. We’re afraid our friends and family will be resentful or jealous, and that the responsibility that comes with success will overwhelm us. In other words, our vivid imaginations talk us out of doing the things we need to do in order to succeed, just so we can avoid unexpected change.

    Remember these things to fight back against the fear of success:

    • Change comes whether you succeed or fail. Why not succeed?
    • Babe Ruth held the home run record and the strikeout record simultaneously. Keep swinging for the fences.
    • You own your labor, not the fruits of your labor. Do what you love and don’t worry about the consequences.
  5. Fear of Rejection

    Our fear of rejection is the most obvious and overt of all the influences that keep us from writing. The high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse among those who seek the writing life can often be traced directly back to the simple fear that our work is not good enough, and that a rejection of it is a rejection of us.

    How do we avoid our fear of rejection? Easy, we don’t do anything. That may be one way to solve the problem, but it leads to an unfulfilled life and self-destructive tendencies.

    • Remember, you’ll never please everyone. You only have to find and please your audience.
    • Treat writing as an exercise. The fact that you can’t bench press 500 pounds today doesn’t make you less of a person, but you can work towards it, right?
    • Feed on rejection. Make it your own, and put it to work for you to become better and stronger.
  6. Fear of Mediocrity

  7. Writer Dorothy Parker couldn’t meet a deadline to save her life, because she said for every five words she wrote, she erased seven. Our fear of mediocrity manifests itself as perfectionism, and perfectionism prevents us from simply putting things out there and resolving to get better over time. With that approach, we fail to achieve anything at all.

    Right now, if I think about it, I’ll realize that this article is never going to be good enough, no matter how long I spend on it. In fact, what the hell am I doing writing a blog anyway? Is this what I was put on this planet to do?

    Then I take a deep breath, and move on to the tips for dealing with the fear of mediocrity.

    • No one will ever be perfect, so let it go.
    • Action beats inaction every time.
    • Accomplishing anything feels better than accomplishing nothing.
  8. Fear of Risk

  9. Is it really better to be safe than sorry? Sometimes, yes. But when it comes to your writing dreams and goals, being safe is a fate worse than death. Not only do your dreams die, but you get to live the rest of your life knowing it.

    Our brains work against us here. We’re designed to embrace consistency, safety and familiarity, but those who dare to seek unfamiliar territory claim the spoils. In truth, no matter how much you achieve, you’ll need to keep pushing into new areas and purposely scaring yourself, so just get used to it.

    • What’s the worse that could happen? Often, it’s not really all that bad.
    • Risk-taking breeds self-confidence. Every time you survive, you thrive.
    • Look before you leap? Just jump.

In Summary

Yes, writing is scary stuff. But compared to being eaten by a lion while out foraging for food, you’ve got it good. Understanding that you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to writing is invaluable, because you can conquer that enemy just by deciding to.

Treat your writing like the business it is. Unless you’re independently wealthy, and maybe even if you are, if you want to make a consistent good income from your writing you simply must approach it in a business-like manner. You need to write regularly and the best way to do that is by setting up a schedule you can follow.

Writers often fail at these seven items because they don’t feel as, what, creative? But that’s a cop-out. Marketing can be creative, finding creative ways to be in business is just part of the game. If you want readers and you want steady income you’ll learn to handle each of these well. All it takes is time and practice!

In writing, failing is not dramatic. There will be no news headline: ANOTHER WRITER FAILED TODAY.

You see, failure isn’t personal, or permanent, or pervasive — unless you choose to make it so. Failure is only ever temporary, and an isolated result brought about by the choices you made within the given circumstances.

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So … just do it.

What Makes Up the Characteristics of Good Writing?

There are many characteristics of good writing, no matter what type, and in this article, you will learn some of the elements of good writing. By offering you some strategies for making your writing more effective, helping you to write with accuracy and clarity.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD WRITING

    Knowing the characteristics of good writing is important if you need to explain a variety of topics. Use KISS

  • Keep it clear – it avoids unnecessary detail;
  • Impartial – it avoids making assumptions (Everyone knows that …) and unproven statements (It can never be proved that …). It presents how and where data were collected and supports its conclusions with evidence;
  • Simple – it uses direct language, avoiding vague or complicated sentences. Technical terms and jargon are used only when they are necessary for accuracy;
  • Structured logically – ideas and processes are expressed in a logical order. The text is divided into sections with clear headings;

Developing good writing!

To reflect the characteristics of good writing in your own work, you need to think about the way that you write and the language that you use. A good author will have given consideration to the following choices in writing, making decisions that improve the effectiveness of the writing.

Choosing the words

To make your writing clear, accurate and concise you should consider carefully the words that you use, and the ways in which you use them.

Technical terms

In most scientific writing you will need to use some scientific or technical terms in order to be clear and unambiguous. However, use such terms only when you need to do so and do not try to impress the reader by using unnecessary technical jargon or lengthy words.

Abbreviations

Abbreviations can be a very useful way of saving time and avoiding repetition, but they can be confusing and might not be understood by everyone. Use standard abbreviations where these exist, and reduce your use of abbreviations to an absolute minimum; they are rarely essential.

Choosing a ‘voice’

Scientific writers have a tendency to use passive rather than active expressions; stating that a was affected by b uses the passive voice while stating that b did something to a uses the active voice. The following example shows a sentence written in both the passive and active voices.

  • passive
  • The experiment was designed by the research officer

  • active
  • The research officer designed the experiment

    The passive voice is particularly useful when you wish your writing to be formal and depersonalised:

  • passive
  • It was agreed that the experiment should be…

  • active
  • We agreed that the experiment should be…

    information about the agent is obvious or unimportant:

  • passive
  • Extra solvent was added to the flask

  • active
  • The technician added extra solvent to the flask;

    you do not know the identity of the agent:

  • passive
  • The water pipe was broken in three places

  • active
  • Something/someone had broken the water pipe in three places

    However, the use of the passive voice can lead to clumsy and overcomplicated sentences.

  • passive
  • Difficulty was experienced in obtaining the product in a high state of purity

    is rather convoluted way of saying

  • active
  • The product was difficult to purify

    which is a much clearer and more straightforward statement.

    In general, the active voice is clearer, more direct and easier to read, but the passive voice can be more appropriate in particular circumstances. What is most important is for you to be aware of how you are writing, and how the voice that you choose affects the tone and the meaning of your words.

Personal or impersonal?

Writers often try to avoid the use of personal expressions or statements in order to make their writing seem more impartial and formal. The following sentence has been written with both personal and impersonal expressions to highlight the contrast between the two writing styles.

  • impersonal
  • The explanation for this phenomenon may be found in…

  • personal
  • We/I believe that the explanation for this phenomenon may be found in…

    However, used indiscriminately, writing impersonally can result in clumsy statements through an excessive use of the passive voice. This can lead to ambiguity or inaccuracy in your written work, for example:

  • impersonal & passive
  • It was decided that the temperature should be raised gives no information about the identity of the people who made the decision.

  • personal & active
  • We decided that the temperature should be raised avoids ambiguity and makes the sentence sound more direct, but uses the personal and rather informal we.

  • impersonal & active
  • The research team decided that the temperature should be raised is clear and direct.

    Think carefully about your use of impersonal and personal expressions, taking care to ensure that your writing is always clear and unambiguous.

    Using tenses

    Scientific writing frequently uses the past tense, particularly when the main focus of the writing is to describe experiments or observations that took place prior to the time of writing, for example:

    • The data were analysed.
    • The solution was decanted.
    • The temperature was recorded.

    However, the past tense may not be appropriate for everything that you write and sometimes you will need to combine different tenses in the same piece of writing. For example, the use of different tenses can help to clarify what happened or what you did in the past (past tense), what you conclude (present tense) and what will be an issue for the future (future tense). The following sentences show how different tenses can be used to achieve clarity in your written work.

    Sentence length

    Sentences that are too short and poorly connected can be irritating to read. Conversely, sentences that are too long and rambling are difficult to follow and are likely to be confusing. Use a sentence length that allows your thoughts to flow clearly. As a general rule there should be no more than 20-25 words in any one sentence. You may be able to reduce your sentence length by:

    • cutting out unnecessary words
    • like might replace along the lines of

      now may be just as appropriate as at the present time

      we can now turn our attention to could perhaps be cut out entirely;

    • dividing complex sentences into separate phrases or sentences.
    • If a breakdown occurs it is important that alternative supplies are available and the way that this is done is for the power stations to be linked through the high voltage transmission lines so that all of them contribute to the total supply of energy and an unexpectedly large demand can be handled.

    • can be re-written thus:

    If a breakdown occurs it is important that alternative supplies are available; this is done by linking power stations through the high voltage transmission lines. All of them thus contribute to the total supply of energy and an unexpectedly large demand can be handled.

    The experiment was carried out in a sterile environment (past tense for a statement of what happened). It is particularly important to avoid contamination (present tense for a statement that is a general ‘truth’). It will be necessary to ensure that the same conditions are replicated in future experiments (future tense for a recommendation for the future).

    An appropriate use of past, present and future tenses can contribute to a clear and unambiguous writing style.

      I like to use a shortcut code I made up when writing. Keep it SIMPLE.

    • Substantive process (the steps of the writing process, such as taking notes to use while
      writing or creating a story map to plan it out)
    • Irrrelevant information (information offered by the authors that didn’t relate to the
      questions; unsurprisingly, this was found to have no impact on their writing skill)
    • Motivation (the role of effort in strong writing and ways to maintain effort in the face of
      challenges)
    • Production processes (the mechanics of good writing, such as writing neatly and spelling
      words correctly)
    • Learn to enjoy the tidying process. I don’t like to write (I like to have written). But I love to rewrite. I especially like to
      cut: to press the DELETE key and see an unnecessary word or phrase or sentence vanish into the electricity.
    • Engage your reader. (Continue to build.) Every paragraph should amplify the one that preceded it. Give more thought to adding solid detail and
      less to entertaining the reader. But take special care with the last sentence of each paragraph—it’s the crucial springboard to the next paragraph. Try to give that sentence an extra twist of humor or surprise, like the periodic “snapper” in the routine of a standup comic. Make the reader smile and you’ve got him for at least one more paragraph.

    Summary

    Writing well requires as much care and thought as the experiments or research that are written about. This study article has defined a number of characteristics of good writing, and has highlighted some of the key choices that authors must make if they are to write with accuracy and clarity. I hope you find it useful and enjoyed reading it.

Meaningful Content Various Ways To Create It

The online world is a prominent source of both influence and information for consumers today, and a majority of your customers will jump on the web to search social media site for information and assistance. It is a “noisy” world on the internet. Write powerful headlines and provide meaningful content that inspires a prospect to read more.
You can be that “go-to” source for relevant information and achieve these goals by putting several practices into play.

Meaningful Content Various Ways To Create It

If you desire to create meaningful content which is sought-after and, indeed have a more meaningful back-and-forth conversation with your readers.
With all the various types of content, you could potentially create, let’s quickly review why content is so important for your web presence.
Online reviews from satisfied customers, the frequency and quality of your posts and the value of the content you share will all help a prospective client form a positive impression of you. These habits help you gain the trust of potential clients and build a stronger, longer lasting relationship.
Here are my top tips to help you create meaningful content that gets results, and makes a difference to the lives of your customers.
We all create and quickly look for information, and in a snap of a second, we decide whether it is interesting or not. But who reads what we write? If you run a social business or sharing economy enterprise you might be scratching your head right now, pondering why is it that no one is reading what you write.
Social media and blogging can be a waste of time or the cornerstone of success.
Because we are in the midst of a meaningful content movement. From both the creative and technological side, modern media is undergoing a paradigm shift away from vapidity and towards to deeper meaning. This fundamental shift is no more apparent than on the Internet.

Cutting Through The Clutter

content9

      Content may be king, but without Context – no one will pay attention.

Value your Content

  • Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone.
    Social media users don’t have the time or the attention span to listen to a long-winded version of your story. We suffer from the need to tell our audience everything, instead of what really matters. So find out what’s important to your audience and just say it. Avoid overwhelming them with too much content.
  • Avoid Confusing Your Audience.Understand the Role of ContentContent can play an important role in attracting and engaging prospective clients, if your topics are meaningful to them and delivered consistently.
    Using industry knowledge to generate a following and grow your community is invaluable. But it can also be a curse in social media. Industry terms, jargon, and acronyms become second nature to you, but they clutter your content. Think strategically about how to present your knowledge, but create it with your general audience in mind. Remember, they have to grasp whatever it is you’re saying. Try not to assume that everyone knows as much about the topic as you do. Too much information can be a curse on social media if your audience can’t understand or relate to your content.
  • Mix up your Content
    When we think about the social content we think of tactics: blog posts, images, podcasts, webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics and others. An important aspect of these platforms is storytelling. In order to create meaningful content for your audience, it must strike an emotional cord. So put the notion of sell, sell, sell aside in exchange for tell, tell, tell. Social media is a fantastic place to tell your organization’s story and build loyalty around your brand. Next time you draft a piece of content thinks about how it relates to your brand’s story and find a way to distinguish yourself as unique. In a landscape where meaningful content is few and far between, the details matter. Be brief, know your audience, and tell your organization’s story. That is how you can create meaningful content.


In today’s technology-driven world, companies are under more pressure than ever to create meaningful and engaging tech-savvy content to boost their bottom lines.
Your goal here is to connect your business to the customer’s interests through content topics and ideas. Remember that we’re looking for qualified leads from visitors you expect to convert when they arrive.
Once your audience is well outlined, brainstorm content ideas with the appropriate teams in your organization. Your marketing and managerial teams will likely be in attendance for this meeting, but an often-overlooked yet crucial inclusion for this step is your Sales team.
They are the direct point of contact with your customers, on the ‘front lines’ so to speak. Your sales crew can most likely contribute valuable information about what works, what doesn’t, the types of problems and questions your customers have and much more.
With your brainstorming board assembled, collaborate to collect a sizable handful of content ideas. Create a list of content types (such blog articles, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) that fit best with your business, as well as a list of specific topics. The bigger your pool of topics and ideas, the longer you can run the campaign before reconvening.

4 Step Process to Meaningful Content.

      • Powerful Headlines.
        It is a “noisy” world on the internet. Write powerful headlines and provide meaningful content that inspires a prospect to read more.
      • Using Analytics to Create Better ContentWhat do you think of when you think of Google Analytics? Usually, it’s search engine optimization. It offers a wealth of information that can boost your content marketing campaign for free. Make it a daily habit. Check in every day to see your top pages, or even better, set up Google Analytics to receive a daily email with the report. Many of us use analytics to measure the activity that has taken place on our website, but analytics can help you better plan that content as well.
      • Relevant and Interesting.Relavent content adds value to the conversation, positions the brand as a trusted advisor, and is authentic and believable. More often than not, there’s something you can create to supplement the existing content out there on the internet. The online content should be relevant to your target audience of prospects and clients. As you write, keep your ideal client in mind. Address common questions or concerns you talk about with your clients. Although it’s good to write about current events, you should also make sure to write content based around timeless topics regularly as well, as they continue to be useful to readers long after you produce them.
      • Engaging Content and What it Means.Do you want to develop engaging content? Before you can do so, you need to understand what engaging means. Content comes in all shapes, sizes, and topics. The best content is interesting, informative and awe inspiring. A blog post or article must address a need or a problem/pain point in order to be useful for prospects and clients. You have the opportunity to create local, personalized content based on the geographic locations of your visitors.

What problem(s) is this region facing? How can your content answer their questions, which may be specific for your location? Writing and sharing content online that is Powerful, Useful, Relevant and Engaging (P.U.R.E.) is the best way to build your personal brand and successfully grow your business.
Your online content needs to engage your target audience and call them to act (i.e. contact you to request more information or an appointment).

 

How to Make Money Writing for Social Media

How to Make Money with Social Media

How to Make Money with Social Media:

A complete Guide on Using New and Emerging Media to Grow Your Business.
Becoming aware of the emerging writing niche while getting paid by companies to write on social-media platforms is just one of the benefits you’ll gain from this article.
As a writer, you are probably already using social media to promote your published work or you should be!
Lots of writers use social media; There are hundreds of social media platforms, which means there are many options beyond Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube just to name a few.
This astute merchandising guide brings together both practical strategies and proven execution techniques for driving maximum value from social media marketing.
I thought I would address a mistake that I see SO many companies making with their social media strategies: ONLY selling their products and achievements on social media. The 80/20 Rule: Sell your product/services/achievements 20% of the time, but the other 80% should be free original, valuable or entertaining content. Companies that are not creating original, fun and entertaining content are really missing the mark on social media.

Effective social-media marketing helps build successful businesses.

If you’re in charge of social media management for your company, it’s time to up your game in 2016. It requires more than the random postings about your great sale, latest product or a shameless plug in the local paper.
Social media marketing is easily a full-time job, and for good reason. You already know about our main mission to provide our readers with advice on social media.
We’ve written how-to guides, shared different templates, and have created many lists to cover important topics in social media marketing. However, we know that for people in charge of social media management, especially in small businesses, don’t always have much time to browse through an extensive blog archive. To give you a hand, we’ve compiled this guide of social media marketing tips that will help you to optimize your social media strategy in 2016 and beyond.
These social media tricks are not complicated and can help you enhance your business’s social media presence, improve your engagement rate, and help you reach new customers.
These social media tips are not complicated and can help you enhance your business’s social media presence, improve your engagement rate, and help you reach new customers.
hashtags

    How can this list help your business:

  • By looking at the popular topics of conversation, you can create content and start conversations based on the information people currently desire.
  • Twitter searches are a great way to find information that may be difficult to come across using a search engine. After all, crowdsourcing information can often provide more authentic answers than sponsored or SEO-laden content. So if you’re looking for some competitive insight, campaign ideas, holiday deals or just some inspiration, look at the conversation around these hashtags.

What does social media success look like?

It’s not about quantity of fans, followers or likes. It’s about making a measurable impact on your business’ bottom line, and you can’t do that through social media without first creating a connection with your audience.
To help guide you on the quest to social media marketing victory, we rounded up the advice of some experts on how businesses can spark and grow relationships with the people in their social sphere.
1. Choose the right platform Take some time to see which platforms are best for your business and limit them to five max. No full-time employee has time to manage anything more, and you may find you’re a better fit for an underdog platform than Google.
2. Use analytics There are also hundreds of tools to analyze your social media campaign success and failures. Use them. Many are free and part of the site itself, while others provide a third-party analysis. Don’t just collect reports; read them, translate them and turn them into action.
3. Post timely Know the best days and times to post for your industry and demographics. For many businesses, this is Monday through Friday at around 10am and 4pm. However, this will vary depending on who you’re targeting. Do your research.
4. Build a relationship Don’t just preach at your audience, but engage them, get them involved and always promptly reply to outreach. Social media isn’t a soapbox, but a tool for engagement. It’s a two-way street.
5. Use images People are becoming more attracted to images such as infographics or easily digestible videos like those on Vine. Make use of color, but don’t overdo it. If you make a video, make sure it’s professional and high quality.
6. Make social media special Offer truly desirable things like discounts and giveaways solely to people who follow you on social media. They should be getting something out of being your fan or liking your page.
7. Only bite off as much as you can chew It’s all about quality, not quantity, and there’s no point joining every site that pops up just to spread yourself too thin. Choose your best social media matches and give them the attention they deserve.
8. Don’t treat it like a personal site Just because you have 1,000 Facebook friends on your personal site and they always like your inspirational posts doesn’t mean you’ll succeed as a business poster. These are two entirely different arenas, so respect the difference.
9. Hire a social media manager In an ideal world, you’ll make room in the budget to hire an experienced social media manager full-time. They can work magic and in a fraction of the time anyone else can. It’s a real job (and deserves a real salary).
10. Know when to call it quits If you’re just not performing well on a particular site no matter who’s to blame, know when to end it. Just like any other bad relationship, nobody is benefiting from dragging it out. Fix it or quit it, but make a choice.
11. Build business alliances Figure out other businesses that complement yours but aren’t direct competitors and show them some love on social media. You’re all in this together, and you never know when you could use an ally.
12. Don’t entertain the trolls
Once your social media following gets big enough, you’ll have a few trolls and baiters. Handle them professionally, and know when to publicly respond, when to let it go, and when to delete their comments. Each action has a time and place.
13. Don’t sync your phone If you’re still the one overseeing social media for the business, it can easily turn into a 24/7 project. Don’t let it. Don’t sync your business social media sites to your phone, unless it’s a business-only phone that’s turned off at a certain hour. Taking work home with you is never healthy.
14. Don’t use it as a sales platform It’s pretty obvious why a business is on social media: To improve sales, whether directly or through building customer relationships (which will hopefully lead to more sales). However, this isn’t a direct sales platform so don’t treat it that way. Instead, foster relationships and provide information or entertainment for free.
15. Flesh out your profile Fill out every possible corner of your profile, whether it’s the brief requirements of Google+ or the massive ones of MySpace. This is where your business’ personality is developed and it’s important for brand reputation and management.
16. Build social media into your business plan Whether you’re a startup or a solid corporation, you should still have a business plan in place for growth. Implement social media into it and set goals for different time periods. This is how you’ll see if social media is worth it for you.
17. Make fans want to see your posts
This seemingly simple advice is the toughest. What would you want to see as a fan or friend? Find “sticky” posts that have viral potential and people want to share.
18. Make it easy to share Along with number 17, make it as easy to share your posts as possible. Link them to a landing page on your website, another social media site (Facebook and YouTube play together nicely) or your blog. If it’s easy for someone to just click and share, they’re more likely to do so.
19. Strike a personal/professional balance You don’t want to get too personal, but you don’t want to seem stiffly professional either. This is a precarious balance to strike, but when done well, makes fans think they “know you” in the right way. Don’t let emotions get the best of you and save that for your personal site. Remember The 80/20 Rule
20. Grammar matters Check, double check, and have someone else check each and every things you put on social media. An embarrassing typo can cause a world of hurt and is easily avoidable. Have you ever left the “L” out of “public service?” Some guffaws are just too easy.

Begin with the end in mind

21. “I don’t care if you’re big or small. B2B or B2C. New or old. Enthusiastic or suspicious. You need to know how and why you’re getting involved with social media so that you can rightsize your resources, relationships, and expectations. A social media strategy allows your company to focus on being social, without worrying as much about doing social media and the tactic du jour. It provides guidance (and math) that help you make better and more effective decisions in the social universe.”
22. “How do you want to use social media to help your business? What goals do you want to achieve?Make your goals as concrete, measurable and achievable as possible. For example, if you currently get five new leads a month, setting a goal to get 100 new leads in the next 12 months is more realistic than setting a goal to get 5,000 new leads.”
23. “Before you hop on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Instagram – get hyper-focused on your audience. Who is your target market? Understand their area of expertise, what they’re talking about online and how you’ll use content to make a connection. You’ll also want to do an online audit of your competition to see how (or if) they’ve reached your target audience and where opportunities still lie. The key here is to cater your content to the specific needs of your audience. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.”

Tell an interesting story

24. “Don’t be a brand that only talks about itself. You know the ones. They spend far too much time being promotional as opposed to social. No one is saying you can’t toot your own horn on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. I am saying, though, that one of the best ways to attract new fans, followers, and business in general is to be known for helping others in as many ways as possible. Your turn will come.”
25. “People want to engage with interesting stories and brands, and they want to find topics and companies that they can relate or aspire to. It’s important that your social media content and conversations are true to your personality, your brand, your customers and your business.”
26. “Instead of blending in with your competitors by slightly repurposing the same old topics that you all have written about recently, come up with your own topics that offer your unique take on situations. Show your audience that you’ve got something valuable to offer and you’ll see your audience come back again and again.”
27. “Your prospective clients know where to go to find your product catalogs and deals. They often look to social media to provide them with very different types of material. Rather than rehashing the same exact information from your website or store, why not take the opportunity to have conversations instead? Look for users who are a part of your target demographics and connect with them. For example, a home automation company might seek out users hoping to find ways to control their appliances from their smartphones. Use short interest keywords to discover these prospective contacts and post information that can enrich their lives.”
28. “Be transparent. You don’t have to give away all of your business secrets. Take customers on a behind-the-scenes tour, actively solicit feedback, and introduce employees.”
29. “Social media shouldn’t be used as a stopgap; it’s an opportunity to engage with your customer right then and there. Equip your social media person with the tools and knowledge to respond directly, or let them find out the answer if they don’t know and communicate it with confidence.”
30. “Engagement goes beyond addressing customer concerns. The real power is in building relationships with both customers and advocates. By monitoring topics relevant to your business, you’ll discover opportunities to engage with potential clients and advocates.You can start by simply complimenting someone for an article they published, or sharing some of their content with your audience. Sometimes just offering to help with a challenge someone is having can be the start of a great relationship.”

How To Make Your Content Valuable Enough To Be Unique

Why unique content gets you found.

It’s never too late to start worrying about creating unique content. It places your brand at the top of the social media market as a thought leader – someone people trust and admire. Unique content helps you push the boundaries. It challenges the status quo and inspires your team to become better at creating your own unique content.

Unique, unique, unique; can’t be said enough.

To help you get started we take you through each step required to build a meaningful audience that adds value to your business.

For those of us who are content creators, nothing swallows valuable time as achieving the main goal of grabbing attention long enough to make them interested. If your content kicks off with something that has color, drama, and a unique content approach, then they are more likely to stick around. Also, more appealing images are likely to make your content more sharable. The trick is how to accomplish this with consistent results.

How Unique Does Content Need to Be to Perform Well?

Consistent, unique content such as articles, blog posts and infographics drives traffic and increases customer conversions, but without an integrated content management system (CMS) in which to easily post unique content causes many businesses to struggle to stay up-to-date. A CMS streamlines the process of publishing and updating content because it doesn’t require any knowledge of programming to operate.

What’s the meaning of unique content?

Writering bloggers know images can have a huge impact on how readers perceive their posts and sometimes, it helps to start with the image, and build the rest of the content around that.

What do you mean by saying “unique Content”?

People always say that you have to write unique content if you want to have chances for SEO or generally speaking chances to succceed in internet marketing. But when you say “unique” content do you mean to write something with your own words that already exist or to write something that nobody has ever written for? If the answer is the second one then an average person will miserably fail to make money online because there are a ton of information in every field. It’s practically impossible to write something that no-one has written before. Even if you write content off-the-wall you’ll almost certainly have been influenced by what you’ve read and therefore will repeat phrases and so on. However, when marketers talk about ‘unique content’ they normally mean content that isn’t curated from somewhere else, even if it’s spun. For SEO you could broaden that further and say that anything that passes the Copyscape test is ‘unique content’ in that it isn’t identifiable as a copy elsewhere on the ‘net. But that is stretching the definition somewhat!

unique content

Unique Written Content + Relevant Image = Good

You’ve perhaps heard of visual content? The term seems to be everywhere these days. We come across it all the time as we’re curating content, and it seems that social media strategies now consider visuals as required elements. Sixty-three percent of social media is made up of images. That means nearly two-thirds of the updates you see on social media are visual content.Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without.This oft-cited visual content stat is evidence that visuals have been vital to online success for some time. Ninety-four percent equates to almost double the views, and the boost is noticed across all topics and categories. Find out why you need unique images for your content, and how to create them. You might be wondering, since I mentioned that there are many sources of ready to use images already available, why you would want to spend the time creating your own. Here are just a few good reasons.

  • Stock photos are generic and widely used. Anyone can buy and use a stock photo for less than a dollar, which means many images appear on the Internet hundreds, or even thousands of times. If you’re goal is to create unique content, why top it off with a generic image?
  • Creative Commons image use can backfire. Many Creative Commons images are licensed specifically for non-commercial use. Non-commercial is open to interpretation by the owner of the image, therefore, if you use their image on a blog owned by a business or a blog that generates revenue, it may be considered commercial usage.
  • People are more like to share images they’ve never seen. People who love sharing images on sites like Pinterest are more likely to share yours if it’s something they’ve never seen before that is either useful or simply visually appealing.

Here are just a few good reasons.

  • Images for your blog posts are important for many reasons.
  • They illustrate important points to your readers, make social shares of your posts stand out in the newsfeed, break up text to make the content easier to read, and encourage people to share your post for no other reason than they like the main image.

While there are many sources of ready to use images available, you should consider creating unique images on your own. Captions can help you turn almost any image into one that is relevant to the piece of content you are writing.

Far too many companies are trying to produce content that would go viral, have a huge impact, will rank the website higher and will convince the target audience to buy a product or to sign up for a service. Accordingly, content writers are being bombarded with keywords and they are trying to accommodate those keywords adhering to a certain density, all the while trying to ensure that there is some helpful information and some literal sense in the piece.

It is time for companies to be pragmatic and they should understand what a piece of content is meant to achieve. One article is not going to change the fortune of a company. One article cannot impress the entire target audience. One article is not going to make your website rank first on search engine result pages. Content is supposed to connect and that is all a company and writers must focus on.

  • Have a Reason
    Let us not think of content marketing strategies for a moment. Let us focus on any one piece of content, say an article. The first question one should ask is: why is the article being penned? What is the primary purpose of the article? It cannot be just another droplet in the ocean. It cannot be clueless. It cannot be mundane or bland. The article needs to have a purpose. That purpose could be solving a problem, letting people know of a certain development, notifying readers of a certain accomplishment or just a factual guide. The purpose could be anything else, as long as it is relevant and helpful. The article must then be written with the aim of catering to that purpose. Having keywords and all the optimization requirements come later.
  • Connect With the Individual

    When a company publishes some content, it is not going to be read out loud at Times Square, it will not be read by a group of people at a social gathering and the article will certainly not find a place in academic or professional curriculum. The article will be read by one individual who would possibly be alone at the time. Connecting at an individual or personal level is the key to have an impact.

  • Captivate the Audience

    An article should have a captivating headline, the layout should be professional, the wording must be suitable for the target audience, it should be readable and interesting and there should be a relevant start, middle and end. Without these attributes, just having keywords would not guarantee anything.

3 Content Marketing Assets Every Salesperson Should Keep in Their Back Pocket for 2016

Technology research firm, Gartner, Inc. defines content marketing as the process and practice of creating, curating and cultivating text, video, images, graphics, e-books, white papers and other content assets that are distributed through content management systems, media platforms, and the social graph. The very definition proves there are a wide variety of content assets available for use today.

Given the change in the way today’s buyers research and purchase products and services, the content marketing methodology enables salespeople to leverage the power of content and further reduce the painful process of cold prospecting to generate new leads.

In fact, according to Hubspot, a marketing software platform, these methods generate 3 times as many leads vs traditional outbound marketing.

Depending on which stage of the buying cycle prospects are in, salespeople are wise to have three specific content assets readily available.1. Use blog content for information seekers.Buyers who are in the awareness stage of the buying cycle are looking for solutions to a problem they have or perhaps an opportunity exists of which they can take advantage. Blog content that is both relevant and delivered in the right context increases lead generation and conversion rates significantly.

unique content

Here are a few key stats:

  • Among business that blog only once a month, 57 percent acquired a customer as a result
  • Companies that increased blog frequency from 3-5 times per month to just 6-8 times per month nearly doubled their leads
    of businesses that blog daily, 82 percent reported gaining a customer through their blog

1. Blogging is a proven content asset that works 24/7 to pull in leads who are searching for specific answers to problems they’re experiencing. A recent Demand Gen report states that about two-thirds (67%) [of buyers] rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions.

2. Salespeople that produce content or leverage existing content assets are better positioned to engage buyers earlier in the buying process. This early access will help you get a better understanding of their problems and offer specific solutions.

For those prospective buyers looking for answers, keep a few links to helpful blog content handy and available to share.

3. Keep an inventory of videos to educate and explain.Leveraging video assets can be a great way to provide educational information to buyers. While video can be useful at any stage of the buying cycle, it is extremely effective for buyers in the consideration stage of their purchase. These buyers have identified their problem and are researching methods to solve it.

Some interesting stats on video consumption provided by Forbes:

  • 78% of consumers watch online video every week
  • 75% of business executives watch work-related videos, at least weekly
  • 59% of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video

There are a few types of video that work well for salespeople. These include explanatory videos, especially if your product requires educating the end-user. Q&A videos are useful to buyers who are considering your solution, yet have questions. Start with your most frequently asked questions first. Email videos are a great way to increase email open rates and also provide valuable content to prospects in a unique way.

The goal is to be prepared to offer up a video for prospects looking for a reason to choose you.

4. Offer case studies as endorsements.Buyers who are in the decision stage of their journey have usually narrowed down their options to a few key solution providers and are looking to make a final decision. There are several content types that salespeople could use at this stage, but case studies help influence buyers by showing how your product or service has previously solved a similar problem.

Done properly, case studies should identify customers who have successfully used your product or service. These are customers who have approved the use of their brand in your collateral; thereby providing an endorsement of your solution.

It’s a given that case studies should be made available through your website. In addition, case studies in .pdf format should be readily available for a salesperson to deliver to a potential buyer at a moments notice.

Content marketing enables salespeople to generate more leads, by meeting buyers at their immediate point of need. As a salesperson, if you haven’t adopted content marketing yet, there’s no better time than 2016.

Use these assets and abandon the frustrating, cold prospecting methods of years past. Keep a few blog posts, videos, and case studies in your back pocket and improve your sales for 2016. What content assets do you recommend for salespeople?

Tips and Inspiration to Write

I hate to sound maudlin, but it’s a phenomenal feeling when you know you’ve built up a few karma points by helping someone learn something new.
In mentoring young or new writers, one of the reasons I started this blog was to put all of my ideas, favorite tools and resources in one place. What has emerged over the past year are a number of posts that offer the practical tools and resources I use.
I’ve also written a number of posts to ignite your creativity and inspire you to write.
Christmas is almost over. I’m not entirely sure how that is possible since it seems like we just finished wrapping all the Christmas presents. But, I look at my calendar and realize a little over a week we’ll be saying hello to January and a new year.
Maybe you have big plans for 2016. Perhaps you set a few goals and even determined this is the year you’ll write your book. And now, as January is rushing in, you are beginning to feel a little discouraged and maybe even uninspired. I admit the grayness of our weather these past few weeks leaves me yawning and wishing for a nap most days.
But here’s the deal: we all feel uninspired sometimes. And it’s not just writers … musicians, painters, home decorators all face the same struggle. Sometimes the creative juices don’t flow.
That’s when discipline kicks in. When we force ourselves to write some words today. When we outline a chapter or develop a plot line. We keep working because we realize that’s what creating is: WORK. Rewarding and beautiful, yes. But also just plain hard work sometimes.
Here are three simple ideas for finding writing inspiration when you’ve stared at the blank screen long enough!

1. Pay attention! This sage counsel from The Write Practice is great. {And by the way, if you are not subscribed to their blog, you should. Their writing exercises are wonderful.}

2. Look up quotes! One of my favorite ways to press forward is to do a quick search on Goodreads for quotes on a specific topic, like writing. Sandra Peoples of Next Step Editing also shares great quotes on her blog, Facebook page, and her writing Pinterest board.

3. More books, fewer blogs! When I’m struggling to write or just feel uninspired in any area, I have learned the best response is to unplug. Copyblogger offers that same counsel as his #1 suggestion in 10 Pathways to Inspired Writing.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes you just have to get the words down.

Inspiration hits and your fingers can’t move fast enough. And, if you’re like me, you spend enough time not writing and looking for inspiration, when the words come freely you definitely want to take advantage of it. At this moment, I have over 25 posts in draft — most of them are a few sentences or a quote or even a bulleted list. When my muse shows up, I try to shower her with attention so she’ll give me as much as possible.
Over time, many of these drafts will be expanded and work their way into my editorial calendar. Some may turn into a post for another site or a column for the newspaper where I write. There might even be an idea scratched out that turns into a series.
There are other times when I have to get the words down. I read an article and feel compelled to write a response. A situation occurs in my life and I write to process. The words pour out and a whole post is written. And my instinct is to hit publish right then.

But I usually don’t.

Why? Because sometimes you {and I} need to wait before we hit publish. How do you know when you should wait? What posts need at least 24 hours to simmer and what posts can be served up immediately?

There are several reasons why publishing immediately may not be the best idea. But there are 2 reasons to wait 24 hours before hitting publish I think apply most often to bloggers.

Editing

When I speak of editing, I’m not only considering grammar but also factual editing. When I work on posts for Design by Insight, my goal is to offer you the very best information available. Doing so requires time for research and making sure I have a clear understanding of the factors relating to the topic I’m discussing. This isn’t to imply all our posts need to be perfect before posting; but, taking time to edit and rewrite for clarity — especially on complex or easily confusing topics — is a gift to your readers.

Emotions

It happens to all of us at least once, I think. You read an article or post and something ignites inside you. A compelling need to write your response, whether you agree or disagree, overwhelms you. Or maybe you are dealing with a trying person or situation personally. You simply must process your feelings or beliefs about the circumstances. So you write. Not a thing wrong with that. Go ahead and write. But, the wisest course of action is not to hit publish immediately. Instead, take a day to let your emotions settle and give yourself time to process the whole situation. Then reread your post, edit or rewrite as necessary to convey your message with dignity and wisdom. Or maybe, when you read over your words, you’ll decide not to publish at all. That’s fine too.

Words have power. We must be careful to wield them with restraint and honor. I often tell my daughter to remember what she posts on social media can be deleted from the screen but never from the minds of those who see it. We are wise to remember that same truth as bloggers also.
As bloggers, we want to be intentional about creating content that is valuable to our readers … which makes it more likely to be shared.

How do I increase my website traffic?

There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at some of them. Effective guide on how to increase website traffic. Learn these proven internet marketing strategies you can use for acquiring and increasing website traffic fast.

  1. Advertise. …
  2. Get Social. …
  3. Mix It Up. …
  4. Write Irresistible Headlines. …
  5. Pay Attention to On-Page SEO. …
  6. Target Long-Tail Keywords. …
  7. Start Guest Blogging. …
  8. Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site.

You increase your website traffic through “traffic driving tactics.”

These tactics include:

  • Blogging — Writing blog posts (“blog articles”) that feature your target keywords is a great way to help your website rank in search engines for those keywords. These posts are also great for sharing on social media and sending out via email.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Get the technical aspects of the way your website is built in order so it’s easy for search engines like Google to crawl. This includes technical, buzzword-y things like setting up 301 redirects, optimizing meta descriptions and page titles, and fixing canonicalization errors. This also includes improving the overall usability of the site for the user.
  • Social Media Marketing — This includes participating in conversations your customers are already having on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. By posting helpful content on social media, you can help drive those social media users back to your website.
  • Email Marketing — Sending helpful, informative emails to a qualified email list will drive those people to your website to learn more information. Sending your list a quick email telling them about a new blog post on your website will drive them to your website to read a blog post they may have never known about.
  • Referral Traffic — When you create helpful content (such as blog posts, webinars, or eBooks), and you tell the world about it (via social media and email) other websites may then link to it (as a reference). You will in turn receive traffic from their websites (and links!).

These tactics, implemented successfully, can increase the quality of traffic visiting your website. And the key here is quality traffic. Not all traffic is created equal. Therefore not all traffic is quality traffic. Inbound marketing focuses on driving quality traffic only. When you drive quality traffic, the statistics are hard to ignore:

  • Companies who blog as part of an inbound marketing strategy have 55% more website traffic than those who don’t.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not.

Implementing all these tactics together as a part of one comprehensive strategy is known as an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing strategies are focused on generating quality content that will rank high up on search engine results pages, be shared on social media, and then emailed to a dedicated email list through a trusted email service provider (ESP).

How do I improve my website’s conversion rate?

Good question. Let’s say you’re driving more traffic into your website, nice job! And let’s say your website converts at a 2% conversion rate. To get more leads out of your traffic you need to improve your conversion rate.

There are many ways to improve the conversion rate on your website, here are three examples:

1. A/B Testing

Quick: are your website visitors more likely to click red buttons or green buttons?

I bet you don’t know.

How about this one: would more website visitors fill out your “Contact Us” form if you did not ask for their phone number on it?

I bet you don’t know.

Don’t feel bad. Most businesses don’t know these things. They have not paid attention to how visitors behave on their website. But they should. By testing two different versions of the same website pages, business can learn what elements of a website will drive more leads.

Do you have forms on your website with a button that says “Submit?”

According to online lead generation research, website forms using the button text “Submit” have lower conversion rates than those who used other wording like “Contact Us Today” or “Click Here.”

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Occurance-by-Submit

Can you believe it? By simply changing the wording on your website’s buttons you can improve your conversion rate and thus the number of leads you generate.

Additionally, adjusting certain elements such as removing the navigation bar, writing better headline copy, and adding customer reviews, a website’s conversion rates can increase over 100%. Check out these 12 case studies: 12 Surprising A/B Test Results.

A/B testing certain elements on your site will allow you to convert more of the website traffic you already have. That’s the beauty of A/B testing. It seeks to convert more of your existing traffic, therefore getting you more conversions without needing to send more traffic. Most in the inbound marketing world refer to this as conversion rate optimization.

2. Add Testimonials and Case Studies (Social Proof) To Your Website

Your website visitors want to know that you’ve been successful with your current customers or clients before they buy your product or services. By adding testimonials and case studies to your website, you show your website visitors that others have come before them, are happy with you, and trust you. It adds validation to your business.

This type of validation is known as social proof. This is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others because they believe those actions represent successful behavior. Basically, if other people are doing it, and those other people are trustworthy, then they should be doing it.

For example, if your target buyer is an HR director, they will feel more comfortable with your business after viewing testimonials and case studies featuring other HR directors they can relate to. These testimonials and case studies essentially serve as references for your business.

Here’s a case study on how one business received 64.53% more downloads by using testimonials on a landing page.

3. Add Micro-Conversions

Most B2B websites offer their visitors one opportunity to convert and it’s usually via their main “Contact Us” form. That’s typically the only form on the website.

Let’s say out of 100 website visitors, 2% of them fill out that contact form, and because that one form is the only conversion opportunity on the website it sets the conversion rate for the entire website.

But what if you added another form on your website? Let’s say this new form allows your website visitors to download a recent whitepaper, eBook, or webinar you created. And in order for your website visitors to download and view any of these items, they must first fill out a form providing their name, email, job title, and company name. Bingo, you just created a brand new conversion opportunity. A brand spanking new way to generate lead information from your website, without requiring those visitors to fill out the “Contact Us” form.

We call these things (whitepapers, eBooks, webinars) “micro-conversions,” because while they may not have filled out the main “Contact Us” form, they did fill out a form that provided your sales team with enough lead information to follow up on.

Let’s bring it back to math, you have 100 website visitors:

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 4 Leads

Now let’s say you added all three of the new micro-conversion strategies (whitepaper, eBook, and webinar):

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% eBook Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Webinar Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 8 Leads

There it is. By adding more opportunities on your website for visitors to convert, you generate more potential leads.

With that, here’s what your new website lead generation equation looks like:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Lead-Generation

Now that you understand the basics of how to get more online sales leads through your website, you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of inbound marketing.

And like all other companies, everyone depends on these leads to thrive and grow. We understand the importance of having an effective lead-generation strategy that leverages quality content and thought leadership. This is what makes us among the top inbound marketing agencies.

Contact us today to learn even more strategies on how to increase website traffic and improve conversion rate to create more leads.

The Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Celebrate the New Year with the perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Time for you to start going over your checklist and make sure everything is in place for your 2016 marketing strategy.

Online marketers have many options as they create and refine their web content strategy.

Content Marketing Strategy consists of unique keywords and Meta description that enhance ranking of your website on Google Search Engine. Our SEO strategies and content writing experts select unique and relevant keywords for your website. These keywords must also be commonly used by people while searching on Google search engine. We use this type of keywords to provide you better results for your website.

Did you know that Twitter has some distinct communication networks? Well, social media has shown no signs of slowing down and it can be hard to keep up with all of the updates and trends. This infographic illustrates 10 surprising facts about social media that many people will be glad to know.

Content is one of the most important pieces of marketing and sometimes you can hit a roadblock. It’s not easy to come up with great ideas, especially ideas that will grab your audience’s attention and keep it. Here is an infographic that can help you get through the roadblock and on your way to writing great content.

Originally posted by Copyblogger.com, click below to see the full infographic.

In the “olden” days of Social Media (back in 2007) most of the literature encouraged business owners to become personally involved. After all, it was social media. Seminars, webinars and workshops taught people how to use the social sites themselves. Engagement needed to be personal and immediate. This was a new type of marketing that allowed people to interact personally with a company.

However, as sites like Facebook and Twitter grew to the millions and hundreds of millions of users, the “noise” on the sites became overwhelming. In order to reach a target audience, it was necessary not only to post things that would be “liked,” “shared,” and “commented upon,” it was also necessary to post regularly and consistently. Interesting, informational, funny and original content was the currency of this new medium. Third party apps and ads were being developed with steeper learning curves. It became important to have engaging Facebook cover photos and Twitter backgrounds. Many business owners simply did not have the time or talent to keep up. Some of them never really understood the concept of posting anything but advertising messages. Some business owners abandoned their pages altogether.

When it became obvious that social media marketing was here to stay, traditional marketing companies seemed to transform themselves overnight into Social Media Marketing companies, offering to take over the social media campaigns for companies. Many of the newly minted social media marketing companies did not fully grasp the online networking model, and continued to use traditional marketing tactics on the social sites – often with disastrous results. Many companies saw their authenticity and unique “voice” lost.

Today’s true social media marketers understand that there is a delicate balance when it comes to inbound marketing techniques. These professionals stay current on each platform’s rules and norms, have the ability to design cover photos that not only fit in the space, but fit the company’s brand. They understand and use the apps that help clients succeed on social sites. They keep current on what type of content is working on the sites and how to present it. Most importantly, they regularly monitor the site and are quick to notify the client of posts that specifically need the client’s attention (complaints, questions, etc.)

Smart social media marketers also know when a company is best-suited to handle their own pages. Owners of very small businesses, who have more time than money, can be taught to become active and successful on social sites themselves. They may need help designing and setting up the sites, and guidance on content, but they don’t need to pay high prices to a marketing company to post content and monitor the site. However, once a business is successful enough to keep the owner busy, hiring a dedicated and knowledgeable social media management company can be a very smart move – one that will pay for itself in social currency and real revenue.

Why Infographics Are Not Enough For Successful Global Content Marketing

No one can deny the rapid rise in the popularity of infographics. No wonder, since they are graphically attractive, they solve user problems of information overload and they make great webpages. Oh, and then there’s that point about infographics being great for link building too!

Personally, I love looking at infographics − they make life bearable to those of us who would dearly like to win back time. But are they really the right solution for global content marketing strategies?

It’;s true, your average infographic can be translated to communicate the same information to speakers of different languages − although you should never forget that when translated, different languages have different lengths and this needs to be considered right from conception.

Is Widening The Concept Of Infographic Necessary?

In my view, the concept of “infographic” needs to be widened − and we need to retrace our steps on what content marketing is all about.

Let’s remind ourselves that our chief obligation is to liberally give away information which will make our target audience feel that we (or our clients) are genuinely the authority on the subject we’re interested in.

Here’s a definition based on my own experience:

“Global content marketing means sharing relevant knowledge with people in a target audience through the language they speak, the information channels they prefer, the trust anchors they believe in and shaped in a way they respect, to win their confidence in the author’s credibility.”

Of course, in many cases the author will be the brand and the communication channel will be a web page, and we also must remember that as search engines evolve, the importance of the quality of the content delivered by websites can only grow.

A Framework For Success In Global Content Marketing

A Framework For Success In Global Content Marketing

As the above chart shows, there are some key factors to consider before fleshing out a content strategy. Firstly, the appropriate method of delivering content may be hugely affected by the languages involved in the targeting. A particularly important factor to note is whether or not the speakers we aim to reach will all be mother-tongue speakers of the language or second-language speakers.

So, let’s consider a particular scenario. Let’s imagine we were launching a product which was to be sold right through Europe and the European Union with all countries launching at roughly the same time.

This creates a situation where speakers of many different − but relatively similar languages − will be viewing the content at a similar time. In addition, many speakers of languages other than the target language will come across the content.

What Should Our Conclusion Be For This Scenario?

A graphical approach may be the most appropriate. However, if the target audience was located in a much more diverse range of locations − such as Asia and Europe combined, the conclusion may be different.

Think Channels In Global Content Marketing

Think Channels In Global Content Marketing

At the beginning, I commented that infographics were simply not enough to rule the world in terms of effective authority. I believe we need to define the additional information sources listed below to complete the picture − and there may be more. Feel free to suggest these in comments!

  • Infographic
  • Infopage
  • Infowidget
  • Infoapp

You might at this point think I’ve lost the plot! But let me explain. Infographics already has a tight definition, but what exactly is an “Infopage”? You could argue that every page is an “Infopage” but my point here is that to deliver credible content to some people you will need to deliver information in a textual rather than a graphical format.

I’d also like to add that, unlike a typical “landing page,” an “infopage” has a sticky quality which brings people back rather than generating a direct and easily measurable conversion.

In other words, the measurement of success might be a high bounce rate − but a high level of returning visitors!

Some Cultures & Professions Really Do Like To Read Text!

There are also some cultures which would expect a “busy” page of both text and graphics and would consider a cheesy infographic to be less than authoritative.

For instance, if this is an economic discussion site, a scientific papers or a “how to write novels” website, your audience is likely to be looking for more text and less graphic − noting that in most situations even a text information page will contain some graphics. Meanwhile, if it was to be targeting Korea, there would be a greater expectation of a busy page with mixed text and graphics.

“FAQ” pages, which by the way are extremely popular with users, are a very good example of infopages in this context! Why, oh why, oh why, do we not learn from the success of our FAQ pages and repeat it when there is so much evidence that Q&A sites, such as Quora, are so hugely successful?

Credibility, Crediblity, Crediblity… Even On The Move

Just as important is the fact that if we are to achieve full credibility for our information brand, we need to deliver that information to users who prefer to access in a mobile or “disconnected” environment.

This could be because the target audience was based in a location where mobile content was easier to get hold of − or because the target users needed access to information when they were out and about. This would apply, for instance, to construction staff or people anywhere.

For me, an infowidget is simply a widget added to content which provides some additional functionality which “proves” beyond all doubt that our author or brand really does know what he’s talking about. After all, that is what we’re trying to achieve.

There have been many contributors which have offered a diverse range of ideas, tools, and guiding principles on how best to handle web content, including tips on how to achieve better conversions.

Here are some of the best practices that they’ve shared:

1. Use templates to save time and effort

For your content strategy for the Web, you can save time and stay organized by taking advantage of a suite of invaluable templates.

You’ll find everything from a content mapping template to a social media conversation calendars. In addition, the post references additional tools recommended by contributors, including a content questionnaire and a template to track keywords.

2. Manage the process by breaking it into steps

Managing a web content strategy requires a wide range of skills and processes, not to mention considerable ongoing efforts. But it’s easier to stay on task if you start by defining goals and following some effective, established best practices. The five Phases for streamlining the process, providing relevant deliverables and advice for each:

  • Phase 1: Research Overview
  • Phase II: Analysis Overview
  • Phase III: Strategy and Design
  • Phase IV: Content Creation and Testing
  • Phase V: Maintenance

For example, we recommend existing content and competitive analysis reports. We also believes a readiness report is worthwhile. It’s described this way:

The readiness analysis is an optional spreadsheet for a smaller project, but it is a necessity for larger ones. This document evaluates the readiness of a content strategist, a team or a company for conducting the project successfully. This document should look at the three Rs: resource readiness, process readiness, and technology readiness.

3. Try a creative approach

The web content you produce can be presented in many different formats.

Businesses need to decide whether a non-traditional or humorous approach makes sense for their web content strategy. Marketers should ask questions like, “What style will best represent your business?

With your web content strategy, you need to be mindful of how far you push out the content because of a number of opportunities throughout the web, including social channels.

4. Avoid overextending your reach

Acknowledge the pressure to extend the reach of your business.

In the current culture of “share everywhere,” it’s essential that companies start to take a more holistic approach when deciding what, when, where, and how to connect with various stakeholders across the social web. Four key content imperatives:

  1. Create a holistic system that allows you to communicate with stakeholders across a number of social channels, drive conversation, and influence customers.
  2. Engage with more customers through a wider online presence by allowing more people to contribute content throughout your organization. Be sure to remove any technology or process roadblocks that inhibit the expansion of your contributor pool.
  3. Don’t view your corporate sites as “the central point of engagement.” Instead, look to the edge of your network while delivering fresh, compelling and timely content that engages users and keeps visitors returning to your site.
  4. Listen to your target audience members and their online conversations. Build your web content strategy based on the insights that you gain. To complete the cycle, constantly test new ideas, and dump what doesn’t work while further optimizing what is working.

If you’d like to hear some additional voices chime in on the topic of content strategy for the Web, search out some additional articles. How do you effectively manage your website strategy? Please share what’s been working for you.