Blog Writing Tips for High-Impact Results

These blog writing tips will help you publish high-impact articles that find a relevant audience. You need more than clever content; you need a good presentation that pays attention to structure, format, and SEO.

1. Pick a central keyword or phrase. Think about what terms a potential reader might use to find your content. (research what people are using in searches with Google’s keyword planner). Know your main keyword and three to five variations BEFORE you start writing.

2. Structure your article; an outline helps tremendously:
• Core thesis
• Supporting point and evidence
• Supporting point and evidence
• Summary/so what/what to do next

3. Article length matters—aim for between 301 and 500 words. If your article is shorter it hurts your SEO. If it is longer, you most likely don’t have a tight, focused, high-impact idea. Consider breaking a long article into a multi-part series. That actually helps SEO and encourages reader engagement.

4. Revise with keywords. Go over your first draft and sprinkle keywords throughout. A rough rule of thumb is to use the keyword once every 100 words, and then use:
• In the headline
• In the first sentence
• In at least one subheading
• Use variations throughout as needed

5. Add a visual and make sure you have clear copyright ownership. Visuals can be photos, illustrations, graphs, icons, logos. Name the image file name the central keyword. If “naming products” is my keyword, I change my image name from IMG_20150805.jpg to Naming_Products.jpg. Make sure the alt-text also contains the keyword.

6. Add at least one outbound link to some other source or resource—with the anchor text containing the central keyword.

7. Provide metadata that includes a title and description for Google that uses your keyword: Title of 55 characters and description of 115 characters. Be sure to use the keyword in your post URL and on all alt-tags on the page.

8. Include social media posts for Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. It makes sense to write this important content at the same time you are writing your blog. Use an active statement that invites a click.

Good example: Get advice for naming products from brand naming expert Lisa Merriam with important “do’s and don’ts to avoid product naming problems.”

Not so good example: Lisa Merriam offers good advice about how to name products in this month’s blog entry.

Now that you’re ready to begin writing high-impact content, make sure that coworkers, who are also writing for your blog, have access to the same toolbox. Share this information with your colleagues to help them along on their content creation journey.

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This article was written by Lisa Merriam from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Let Your Data Guide Your Marketing – 5 Ways to Transform Your Business with Better Data

Marketing data lies at the foundation of every successful marketing strategy. Data tells us who are best customers and prospects are, how to target them with the right offers and through the right channels, which messages will drive the most conversions, how to improve customer retention, and numerous other marketing initiatives. With the right mix of data, you can ensure that you are delivering the most optimal results for your business.

In order to create the perfect marketing strategy, you first need to fully understand who your customers and prospects are. This type of insight needs to go beyond data such as name, address, phone and email. Consumers expect you to know who they are, what they want, which channels they like to shop through, and the best time to communicate with them. This type of insight can only be achieved by utilizing your internal 1st party data and combining it with rich 3rd party data sets, both offline and online.

Here’s a look at 5 ways you can transform your business with better marketing data.

Pay Attention to Data Quality

Marketers talk about the importance of good data, but in reality, records often contain incomplete or wrong data. Records may be missing basic data elements such as name, phone number, or email address. Data also erodes quickly and if you are paying attention to the quality of your data, chances are that much of your data is outdated.

The 2016 B2B Marketing Data Report by Dun & Bradstreet evaluated the state of B2B data and found some pretty shocking statistics. A gap analysis showed the following missing data elements in overall record health:

  • 87% – Missing Revenue Info
  • 86% – Missing Employee Info
  • 82% – Missing Website Domain

Let Your Data Guide Your Marketing – 5 Ways to Transform Your Business with Better Data

B2C data is also plagued with errors, such as missing fields, outdated information or inaccurate entries. According to an Experian Data Quality Report, on average, U.S. companies believe 25% of their data is inaccurate. Poor data quality, for both B2B and B2C companies, is a direct result of not having a data management strategy in place. Additional finding from the report reveal that 66% lack a coherent, centralized approach to data quality. When a data management solution is in place, 64% of companies use third parties for their data quality strategy.

Use Data Enrichment to Append Your Records

93% of the Experian study respondents think some form of data is essential to their marketing success. Marketers stated that the top three types of information essential to marketing success are:

  • 54% – Contact Data
  • 44% – Sales Data
  • 38% – Demographic Data

Marketing Data Enrichment

While existing data can be cleaned and corrected, missing data continues to be a constant battle for marketers. To gain these additional insights, 94% of companies use a third-party to append and enrich their data sets. The top three data sets businesses append are business data, geolocation data and demographic data.

Verify and Enhance Your Web Form Data – in Real Time

Data gathered through your online web and registration forms provide valuable information into customers and prospects that are actively showing interest and engaging with your business. By capturing this data and integrating it into a lead nurturing system or other type of outreach program, businesses can covert these form fills into sales.

In addition to the email address, the top types of data marketers want to know include:

  • 59% – First / Last Name
  • 53% – Role/Title
  • 39% – Company Name
  • 32% – Phone Number

Contact Data Online Forms

Of course, the data collected is only useful if it’s accurate and people actually take the time to complete the form. Often times, human error can lead to incorrect data or users will falsify information on purpose. Many users also won’t fill out a form if it’s too long, so marketers are forced to choose which types of data are most important to collect.

A real-time verification service can be added to web forms or order entry systems to verify and correct this data at the point of entry and to shorten web forms. For example, email addresses can be validated as deliverable including auto correction of some common typos. Web forms can be shortened to only require a phone or email address and additional information can be populated such as address, email, or alternate phone numbers. In addition to identification information, any number of data elements can also be appended in real-time, such as gender, ethnicity, occupation, marital status, or vehicle information.

Put Your Data to Work

Consumers share tons of personal information and they expect you to collect as much of it as possible to customize their experience. You may have collected all the relevant pieces, cleaned and added missing information, but this data needs to be turned into actual insights to be useful.

Marketers must be able to answer questions about their customer and prospects such as:

  • What do my customers look like?
  • What products have they purchased and what is their purchasing behavior?
  • Who are my best customers and what will keep them loyal?
  • What is the best way to reach my customers and prospects?
  • What patterns may indicate unhappy customers and how can I mitigate attrition risk?

The deeper your understanding of your customers, offline and online, including their buying habits and lifestyle preferences, the more accurate your predictions of future buying behaviors will be – and the more successful you will be at delivering the right offers to grow your customer base and lifetime value.

Integrate Data Across Both Offline and Online Channels

Today’s consumers use multiple channels from initial research of a new product or service to final purchase. With the introduction of so many new digital channels, marketing hasn’t caught up and data strategies are often divided between the offline world and the online world. It’s not uncommon for a company to have a digital advertising department, a social marketing team, and a separate team dedicated to offline or print strategies.

However, consumers don’t differentiate between channels and expect their purchase experience and every brand interaction to be seamless, whether they are offline or online. Research by Reponsys shows that customers tend to spend 30 seconds or less absorbing digital content, which makes it especially important to reach them across a variety of channels. Other research by Multichannel Retail shows that 40 percent of consumers said it was “very important” to have purchase choices both offline and online.

A VisionCritical study of leading social media platforms has found that social media encourages both offline purchases as well as online sales. Digital marketing can be used to boost trade show traffic. Or a print or TV ad can supply a Twitter hashtag to drive the conversation to social media, while calls-to-action can direct viewers to online programs. The point is that marketers must reach consumers across multiple channels. By using analytics and incorporating segmentation and rich third-party data sources, marketing messages can be tailored to appeal to a consumer’s online and offline preferences.

According to a report by Forbes Insights and Turn, “Data Driven and Digitally Savvy: The Rise of the New Marketing Organization,” organizations that are “leaders” in data-driven marketing report far higher levels of customer engagement and market growth than their “laggard” counterparts. In fact, leaders are three times more likely than laggards to say they have achieved competitive advantage in customer engagement/loyalty (74% vs. 24%) and almost three times more likely to have increased revenues (55% vs. 20%). Effective marketing strategies rely on a powerful platform of data to power the right connections with the right audience at the right time.

To learn more about how to use marketing data to target and acquire consumers across channels, download our ebook, The Keys to the Kingdom: Making Marketing More Data-Centric.

Keys t the Kingdom: Marketing KPIs

 

 

This article was written by Larisa Bedgood from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

How to Get Noticed By Influencers Without Looking Like a Stalker

Let’s face it, you want visibility and profile and you’d probably fall over yourself if an influencer took you under their wing and shared your voice with their tribe—right?

For many people it’s a prized moment—to get the nod from someone who has a huge following, someone who is well respected, admired, a mover and shaker in their niche.

Think it’s just a distant dream—you’re wrong.

Influencers are within your reach

It is absolutely possible to get noticed by influencers but it comes down to doing the right things in the right order and for the right reasons. And, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a journalist, a social media influencer or an authority in your niche. The same rules apply. Want to blog for The Huffington Post? It’s within your reach.

In fact, it’s much simpler than you think. But, the vast majority of people over think it, over complicate it and, crucially, go about it in completely the wrong way. Of course, you need to know what to do but it’s just as important to know what not to do so you don’t make a fool of yourself or look like a stalker.

How not to approach an influencer—or anyone—for that matter

OK, this is going to sound a bit odd. But, just stop trying so hard. It’s never been easier to access people, whoever they are, by using the Internet. Blogs, online contact details and handy ways for working out email addresses can all give you the information you need. The people you want to reach are all reachable and that is part of the problem. It’s why so many people make a complete fool of themselves – because it’s all too easy and just turns into a numbers game.

Well, contact enough people with your template email and you’ll get a response, right? Well, that’s a bit like throwing paint at the wall hoping that you’ll get a perfectly decorated room. Yes, some of the paint will stick but it won’t look nice and there could be an awful mess to clear up.

OK, I’m not an influencer but if I get emails from people saying ‘love your stuff, have re-tweeted you. Now, will you re-tweet me and can I write on your blog about the health benefits of goji berries?’ then, can you imagine the rubbish that influencers get bombarded with each and every day? Stuff that isn’t relevant, stuff that isn’t interesting, stuff that isn’t timely, stuff that isn’t up to standard, stuff that is just part of a mass email blast.

It’s all about people

The issue boils down to this – this person you want to reach out to is, well, just that—a person. So, you need to treat them like one and not just another name or number on your list. Respect them, respect their time. If you’ve reached out to an influencer and not heard back then it could be for any number of reasons. But, more than likely it’s because you’ve made the fundamental mistake of putting your own needs before theirs.

I’ve found that influencer connection comes when you are genuine about connecting and giving and expect nothing in return. In fact, you should probably think about it as a stepping stone approach. First and foremost—share your knowledge, your story, your insight, your experience as it relates to the work that the influencer is doing. No more or less.

So, let me give you an example of how this worked for me. And, how you can make it work for you.

Reaching out to Arianna Huffington

I’d gone through the usual channels of pitching to blog on The Huffington Post and the results? Crickets. My pitch had gone into their pitching inbox never to be seen again—and no contact name for me to chase up. So frustrating. But, I’m not one to be beaten.

So, I brushed myself off and got on with other stuff but it lingered at the back of my mind. Then, I saw an interview that Arianna Huffington did with Marie Forleo where Arianna spoke about her book Thrive and of a time in her life when perspective changed for her following her collapse from exhaustion. She became much more focused on appreciating what was important in her life.

That message resonated with me quite strongly. And, to put it simply, I felt compelled to email Arianna—not to pitch but just to thank her for sharing her story, her message and also to share my own ‘life change’moment. The result? I was invited to blog for The Huffington Post. You can do that too.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in putting yourself out there. Of course, you want more profile and visibility, more coverage, more guest blogs published, you want more traffic, you want more people jumping on your list and more potential customers knocking at your door. And, you know that getting in front of other people’s tribes can help you accelerate that.

But, sometimes, you just need to stop pushing so hard and simply to share because you want to. That’s a much better approach than trying to ram your pitch down someone’s throat or asking for something before you’ve even made the slightest connection.

Put yourself in their shoes

Think about how you would like to be approached by someone who tells you that they have retweeted you and immediately asks for something in return? Or, by someone who simply gives and shares to be helpful without expecting anything? So, how exactly can you ‘give’? There are so many ways, like:

  • sharing their content on social media
  • commenting on their status updates and tweets
  • commenting on their blog
  • answering questions they pose
  • sending them information, resources and insight related to their podcast or blog post
  • emailing them with suggestions for podcast interviewees of guest bloggers
  • sharing your successes from using their tips, training, and products
  • responding to their email newsletters
  • sharing your story as it relates to their story and what they are, or have been, doing
  • connecting them with people who can help them

But, the key lies in wanting to help because that is the type of person you are. Ulterior motives soon get found out. So, be genuine and you’ll find that the opportunities will come knocking at your door.

In a nutshell: If you want to reach out to influencers then simply give without expecting anything in return—and give—so that it benefits them first and foremost. That is sure to set you apart.

 

This article was written by Debbie Leven from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

How to Research and Find Ideas for Phenomenal Content

If you’re a content marketer, you play psychologist, writer, and creator. You know what people want and how they think. You write in a way that draws people to (and through) the article. And you’re always looking for inspiration, which means your brain never turns off.

Regardless of the brand being represented, every content writer eventually reaches a point where every idea seems pointless. Inspiration eludes them. They feel devoid of creativity and wonder, “Will I ever be the confident writer I used to be?”

The answer is an emphatic yes! You are still that writer, and you just need something to spark new inspiration. And we’re here to show you how to do it!

Go Back to the Basics

If you feel like you’re churning out articles just to fill blank space, you’ve forgotten the whole point of content creation. Remind yourself why you are writing in the first place:

  • You want to capture interest. You can’t write successful content without looking at your metrics. Which articles get the most traffic? Which have the most user interaction (e.g. comments or clicks on internal links)? Does success seem to depend on the topic, or were those articles written in a particular style? Did they have a particularly catchy title or interesting hook? Whenever you write, keep these successes in mind and optimize your content accordingly.
  • You want to elicit emotion. Once a user’s interest is caught, you want to make them feel something. It could be excitement, motivation, encouragement, self-worth, satisfaction, or trust. Decide how you want the user to feel when they read your piece, and appeal to that. This is where the psychologist in you comes out.
  • You want results. There are a hundred ways you can measure the success of your article: Traffic received, traffic funneled, newsletter sign-ups, comments, purchases. Figure out your goals and nudge the user in that direction.

Capture interest. Elicit emotion. Get results. You can do this.

Talk About It

Do you feel stuck in your own brain? The best way to get out of a futile mental cycle is to get out. Get out of your office and go talk to someone – anyone – about it.

Why? Because talking forces you to organize your chaotic half-baked thoughts into words. Sometimes just vocalizing the struggle will make you suddenly stop and say, “Never mind! I know what to write – Gotta go! Thanks!” leaving your friend bemused and you inspired.

Talking can also give you insight into your audience. Ask for advice, even if your friend doesn’t know anything about the topic. The perspective of a novice (who could be a potential customer) might just show you the most effective way to reach your audience.

Break It Up, Write It Down, Flesh It Out

Break it up. Look through your past content, especially the most successful articles. Is there an element that could be expanded upon in a new piece? If so, write it. And don’t forget to link the articles to each other so the reader will stay on your site to get more information.

Write it down. It’s hard to come up with ideas while you’re staring at a blank document with a deadline. But write down ideas as you go about life. Even seemingly unrelated experiences can jog an idea – Facebook posts, overheard conversations, news stories. And when your articles are inspired by real life, they connect better with your audience.

Flesh it out. You’ve broken down previous articles for ideas; you’ve jotted down overheard sentences. And now you write an outline, flesh out a draft, add some pictures, and make it pretty.

More Resources

  • Search a reputable academic website for your topic. You’ll get tons of new ideas and great sources. Check out Google Scholar, Jurn, and Refseek.
  • Check out what questions people are asking related to your topic on Quora, Yahoo Answers, or Answers.com.
  • Get ideas directly related to your market from sites like Crayon, or use Social Mention to search what people are talking about on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites.

You know the drill from here. Get out the coffee. Find what’s already been written on your topic and offer something unique. Tell stories, cite famous people, and link to good sites. Google like crazy. own your topic, and be the successful content writer you always were.

Inspiring content is also a great way to win influencers over and extend your media reach.

 

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This article was written by Jonathon Ohayon from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Social Sidekick 6/5-6/11

Bueller? Bueller? Don’t forget to celebrate the anniversary of Ferris’ epic day off on 6/5 in between rocking out for Prince’s birthday, the CMT Music Awards and Bonnaroo. As Ferris wisely said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Sign up to get Sidekick delivered to your inbox so you never let another life—or a social media holiday—pass you by.

Celebrate the Month of June 

//COMMUNITY//
LGBT Pride Month 

//FOOD//
Soul Food Month, Candy Month, Iced Tea Month, Dairy Month, Seafood Month, Steakhouse Month

//FUN//
Great Outdoors Month, Camping Month

 

Sunday, June 5

//HOLIDAYS//
Cancer Survivors Day, Hot Air Balloon Day, Gingerbread Day, World Environment Day 

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Mark Wahlberg, Pete Wentz, Kenny G, Adam Smith

//TV//
Feed the Beast (10 PM, AMC) 

//POP CULTURE EVENTS//
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1985) 

 

Monday, June 6

//HOLIDAYS//
Thank God It’s Monday Day, Drive-In Movie Day, Yo-Yo Day, Russian Language Day, Applesauce Cake Day

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Paul Giamatti, Nathan Hale, Jefferson Davis, Natalie Morales

//TV PREMIERES//
Angie Tribeca (TBS, all day), Barbarians Rising (9 PM, History), Cake Wars (9 PM, Food), Rizzoli & Isles (9 PM, TNT), Devious Maids (9 PM, Lifetime), UnReal (10 PM, Lifetime)

//THIS DAY IN HISTORY//
D-Day (1944) 

Tuesday, June 7

//HOLIDAYS//
Chocolate Ice Cream Day, VCR Day

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Prince, Liam Neeson, Allen Iverson, Tom Jones, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Bear Grylls, Emily Ratajkowski, Dean Martin, Iggy Azalea, Fetty Wap

//TV PREMIERES//
Casual (Hulu), Bert the Conqueror (8 PM, Travel), Dark Woods Justice (10 PM, Discovery), My Giant Life (10 PM, TLC)

 Wednesday, June 8

//HOLIDAYS//
World Oceans Day, Best Friends Day, Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day, Upsy Daisy Day 

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Kanye West, Julianna Margulies, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joan Rivers, Maria Menounos, Nancy Sinatra, Jerry Stiller

//TV EVENTS//
CMT Music Awards (9 PM, CMT) 

//MELTWATER WEBINARS//
Healthcare Searches: Fulfilling Literature Requirements (register here)

 

Thursday, June 9

//HOLIDAYS//
Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day, Jerky Day, Donald Duck Day

 //FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Johnny Depp, Natalie Portman, Michael J. Fox 

//TV PREMIERES//
Ladylike (10 PM, MTV)

 //ALBUM RELEASES//
Band of Horses, “Why are You OK”; Fitz and the Tantrums, “Fitz and the Tantrums”; Garbage, “Strange Little Birds” ; Nick Jonas, “Last Year was Complicated”; Peter Bjorn and John, “Breaking Point”; The Monkees, “Good Times”

//MUSIC EVENTS//
Bonnaroo (6/9-6/12)

 

Friday, June 10

//HOLIDAYS//
Kamehameha Day (observed), Herbs & Spices Day, Iced Tea Day, Black Cow & Root Beer Float Day, Ball-Point Pen Day  

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Kate Upton, Sasha Obama, Judy Garland, Shane West, Elizabeth Hurley

//MOVIE RELEASES//
WarCraft, Now You See Me 2, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Experiment

//TV RELEASES//
Voltron: Legendary Defender (Netflix)

 

Saturday, June 11

//HOLIDAYS//
Gin Day, Corn on the Cob Day, German Chocolate Cake Day

//FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS//
Shia LaBeouf, Hugh Laurie, Gene Wilder, Jacques Cousteau, Vince Lombardi  

//TV RELEASES//
OJ: Made in America (9 PM, ABC), Hell on Wheels (9 PM, AMC), The American West (10 PM, AMC)