Tag Archives: cpa marketing 2014

20 TIPS FOR PRODUCING BETTER CONTENT @@

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Producing quality content is like competing in the Olympics: if it were easy, everyone would do it. With the bar set high in an increasingly saturated Internet, here are 20 tips that will help whip your content into shape

know your goal

Creating content means putting in hard work, so knowing what you’re working toward is vital. Are you improving brand perception? Building a following? Engaging your customers? Before you write another word this year, focus on what you hope to accomplish, and your efforts will benefit for it.

know your audience

Purpose is only part of the picture; your words must resonate with those whom you hope to reach. Since your company and content cannot be everything to all people, identify the audience you wish to write to, and understand their unique circumstances, perspective, and mentality.

find their home

Each audience interacts in a different way. Younger individuals are finding a home on Instagram, Vine, and Twitter, while professionals are actively using LinkedIn. One platform or combination of platforms is likely to resonate more than others, so determine where your audience exists, and focus your distribution there.

interact

Content is not simply about a single impression, it’s about building a following, and engagement is what facilitates this loyalty. With the proper social networking channels identified, become a part of the conversation. Answer questions, provide follow-up, and get the ball rolling in order to give your work extra social momentum.

watch analytics

Some pieces will resonate more than others, but gauging that success can be challenging. Fortunately, tracking analytics and even social networking metrics have developed to provide a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t. Monitor site traffic, likes, comments, bounce rates, and return visitors in order to glean a deeper insight into the effectiveness of content.

make adjustments

Once informative data is obtained, its value lies in its application. Once you’ve determined what your audience likes, build more success from that insight. If your holiday fashion lookbook was a success, prepare one for the Spring and Fall as well. Your audience will tell you what they want, it’s your job to listen.

take requests

Speaking of telling you what they want, sometimes the easiest way to create resonant content is to simply ask. Readers love the opportunity to shape the direction of the publications they rely on, so soliciting their input is an opportunity to farm ideas, increase engagement, and satisfy your base, all in one fell swoop.

identify your specialty

Writing quality content doesn’t take a PhD in one subject or another, but your unique perspective in your industry means that that’s effectively what you have. Your insight is what should drive your content, allowing you to deliver information that no one else can. Don’t miss the opportunity to use your own strengths when it matters most.

find your voice

In addition to your specific knowledge, your business is not the same as others. You have different staff members, a different approach, and, as a result, a different voice. Rote fact sheets and information have their worth, but readers want a human face, and adding your voice to the work will keep them from feeling bored.

deliver value

Content on the Internet is rarely, if ever, consumed without purpose. Readers and viewers don’t spend their scarce time digesting media unless they believe they’ll get something out of it. With each piece, make sure you satisfy that need by delivering something of worth, whether it’s gardening tips or stock picks.

keep it short

The Internet reader is busy, and unless they came to you looking for a long, academic discussion, they’re likely just looking for something digestible. With this in mind, it’s important to keep things readable. That’s not to say you should cut out any value, simply condense your information so that readers get what they want, efficiently.

keep it light

Along with manageable length and a relatable voice, Internet reading should generally be light. Deliver substance, but avoid subjects or tone that are too heavy for casual readers, unless the content calls for it (which it rarely does).

use lists

Readers spend time reading, of course, but every piece you create requires an investment by you and yours. With this in mind, choosing the right format can help cut the time required of both parties down. Bulleted and numbered lists avoid the need for challenging transitions, saving you writing time, and present information in a scannable format, allowing readers to find what they want and move on.

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How To Develop A Local Marketing StRat@@

For many small businesses, salvation has come in the form of local Internet marketing efforts. Never before has it been easier for a local business to get their name out to customers, giving them a much-needed edge over nationally marketed competitors. But local marketing isn’t something that happens by accident; to make the most of it, local businesses need to go on the offensive and push their brand harder than ever. Here are a few tips to help maximize your local marketing campaign.

Marketing in the past used to mean buying space in the Yellow Pages and ads in the local newspaper. But today more and more people are looking to the Internet to find new businesses. Over the next 3 years, businesses that have and maintain web presences are expected to grow 40% more than sites that do not have websites.
A common excuse for not having a website is the costs associated with creating it, but even that is becoming less of a hurdle. In 2011, Google launched a promotion to build websites for small businesses for free as a way to bring them into the 21st century. Even without this promotion, the costs of building a website can cost as little as $1,200 dollars which will quickly pay for itself.

Once you have a site, the most important step is to connect your business with your region using the correct keywords. For example, focusing on the keywords “hardware store” is almost useless; “hardware store Albany, NY” can help draw people who are looking for a local hardware store nearby (assuming you own a hardware store in Albany, NY). The advantage that local stores have over large businesses is that the local site can focus on a particular area. Programs like WordTracker or Google AdWords will show you the level of competition for each keyword and suggest variations that may offer you more success.
Once you have the keywords decided, the next step is to implement those across your site. Add them to your site’s title tags, meta description, images, and header tags; anywhere search engines are looking.

Use sites like Google+ and Bing Places for Business to their full potential. These sites often are favored by search engines and require very little technical know-how. Your business will then show up on sites like Google Maps and Bing Maps. All that’s required of you is fill out the pages with as much information as possible about your business. Creating a profile on sites like Yelp! is also an important step. Because Yelp! pages are constantly updated with reviews, they show up at the top of search results pages and can drive significant amounts of traffic.

In SEO, links are a great way to boost your site’s reputation. Getting reputable, published sources to link to your webpage boosts your search rating significantly because they are, in essence, vouching for your site. One of the most common methods of link-building is to have a local blogger link to your site; keep in mind, the bigger the blog, the more it will affect your SEO. With that in mind, when link building focus on quality over quantity. There are plenty of services that promise to link to hundreds of sites across the web, but search engines aren’t that blind anymore. As a result, these packages are usually just a waste of time and money.

Mobile Marketing is the quickly becoming one of the most important methods of marketing for local businesses. 97% of mobile users have used their device to search for local stores and services and over half are not targeted to a specific business. Also, the majority of customers who search for local businesses act upon the search results within the hour, which means the returns on a well-made mobile site can be seen very quickly. While mobile is an emerging market trend, many sites have failed to capitalize on it which means having a well-designed mobile-friendly site could put you miles ahead of the competition.

While it may seem archaic, word-of-mouth marketing is still an extremely effective way to increase awareness of your business locally. Connect with other local business owners and ask to hang flyers or put business cards in their shops. In the same way that link building from reputable sites will boost your SEO, getting a word-of-mouth recommendation from local shop owners that are trusted in the community can boost business, and referral bonuses can increase loyalty among customers.

There isn’t one end-all-be-all fix to local marketing. Successfully spreading the name and reputation of your business takes time and effort, but will pay off in the end.

Should Startups Get “Patent Troll” Insurance?@@

A patent lawsuit can be a deathblow to a startup – whether a patent troll or legitimate issue to be adjudicated, the cost is not only crippling but the uncertainty of outcome makes their business nearly unfundable to outside investors. Ditto finds themselves subject to two lawsuits – one is clearly a patent troll, the other more complex – but whether they’re in the right or not, it puts them in a very tough position. That’s why they’ve taken to Indiegogo to crowdfund help.

IANAL but I did participate in several lawsuits during my time at Google, including the 2012 notable ruling against Eolas for an “interactive web.” It was such a bullshit patent but many companies – even large ones – just chose to pay the shakedown fee, err license, instead of fight because of the cost and risk in pursuing litigation. Google went to the mat and put lots of time and resources into fighting. Thank goodness they did. One less parasite. But startups can’t afford to do this and are left often with no choice other than close up shop or settle out of court.
 
What are some ways that startups can deal with this risk while we as an industry work for patent reform? Could you purchase insurance against IP lawsuits? Should large VC firms signal they will protect their startups by helping to chip in money to fight frivolous lawsuits? First Round Capitalbacked a lawsuit to prove a point. I don’t know if there’s an easy or obvious answer but feels like an industry solution would be better than leaving companies to one-off fight on their own.Image