The Evolution of Content Marketing: What We Can Learn From the Past?

Content marketing is one of the most popular long-term marketing strategies that, if done right, can significantly increase brand awareness and brand loyalty. It’s a highly effective tactic. It costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while at the same time creating 3 times more leads. Content marketing comes down to offering people relevant info related to your industry on a regular basis. You do promote your brand through content, but the emphasis is not on advertising, but instead on providing value for those who consume the content. The ultimate goal then is to slowly and spontaneously turn your audience into your customers.

This strategy has been around for a long time, although it’s gained real significance on a global scale just a decade or two ago. Let’s have a brief look at the history of content marketing and then we’ll try to point out to a few valuable lessons it can teach us.

Pre-internet era

It’s possible to trace the roots of content marketing to as early as 19th century. It was far from being as widespread as today, but a few standalone examples have showed the way to the marketers of the future and basically relied on the same principles as content marketing nowadays.

In 1895, Deere & Company started publishing The Furrow Magazine, which provided farmers with valuable pieces of advice and information on topics related to agriculture. And by 1912, it had more than 4 million readers. This was a great marketing move for a company that produces agricultural tools, machinery and equipment, and has done wonders for the image of the brand.

Other early examples of this kind include Michelin’s Guide from 1900, Jell-O’s booklets of recipes from 1904, as well as Procter & Gamble’s radio drama soap campaign from 1930s. All these were a huge success, but these content marketing attempts were still just isolated examples rather than a trend. This has all changed with the emergence of the internet.

Online opportunities: 1990s-2010

The trouble with content marketing was the lack of channels for such a long-term marketing effort. Anything more than a few inches of a printed page or a 30-second TV ad was simply too expensive for most companies. And for content marketing to be done right, you need your own channel where you can regularly publish new content that normally has to be long enough in order to be really relevant and informative.

With the emergence of internet, the circumstances have changed radically. People started using the power of blogs and social media – channels that are basically free and that you can use to publish an unlimited amount of content. This event is often referred to as “democratization” of content marketing. It has opened the door for the real expansion of this marketing strategy in the last decade.

The golden age: 2010 – ?

The explosion of online channels and opportunities has resulted in the explosion of content marketing as well, since 88% of B2B companies reportedly used it in their marketing efforts in 2015. Today, more than 2 million blog posts are published every day and this has resulted in a lot of noise and poor-quality content.

Thus, in order to stand out, it has become extremely important to deliver first-rate content, and both brands and top content marketing companies have recognized this. Moreover, Google’s algorithm updates guarantee low rankings for low-quality and short-form content, which has put additional emphasis on creating top-class, long-form articles that provide real value.

Another novelty that 2010s have brought is the way content is promoted. Companies have realized how useful influencer marketing and paid ads are. Furthermore, the amount of content produced every day is such that you have to invest in promotion in order to be noticed, no matter how good your content is. This has been reflected in the fact that companies today spend a lot more money on promoting the content than on creating it.

Lessons to be learned

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Source: burst.shopifycdn.com

When we look at the history of content marketing, one constant becomes obvious immediately. The most important condition for this type of marketing to be successful is simply providing purposeful and interesting content that answers your audience’s questions. This is becoming more essential as the amount of available content grows.

Another constant is the necessity of careful targeting and narrowing your niche. You can’t and shouldn’t let the topics become too dispersed or completely irrelevant for your products and your industry. Stick to what you do and know best and tell stories that will not only benefit your audience right away, but that will also do good things for your business on the long run.

Furthermore, you ought to take advantage of the fact that content marketing has been “democratized”. It has apparently always been effective, but it was too expensive to be done properly. Today, you have all the necessary tools at your disposal basically for free and a multitude of channels ready to be utilized. And with careful targeting and distribution of the content, the resources you’ll have to invest in promotion can also be minimized.

At the end of the day, the ultimate message is to not be afraid to employ new strategies and put innovative ideas to work. Stay in touch with the latest trends and take chances. Some particular rules and practices applied in content marketing are going to change constantly and you have to be familiar with them and put them to use. Currently, these trends include the use of videos, strong links with journalism, as well as employing latest technological tools to analyze your content and feedback. So do your homework, see what works for you and include it in your strategy starting from today.

Guest author Meaghan is a web designer who is also quite passionate about digital marketing. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics and collaborating with other bloggers. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.

How to Rank in Google Using the Best SEO Practices?

There are numerous methods to rank in Google. Ordinarily, Google and other search engines use many similar algorithms to determine a website’s ranking. The most extensive and popular method to rank your website in Google is by exhibiting proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Digital marketing evolved as a result of the Internet revolution. SEO, for anyone who doesn’t know, is one of the branches of digital marketing or online marketing. Who knew something like SEO would become popular in the days of conventional marketing.

Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs are commonly used to refer to Google’s pages. In the SEO community, you will encounter a very typical question that says: how high do you rank in SERPs for a particular keyword? However, you must not be dazzled and remain firm on grounds that lead you to your destiny. In this article, we will cover simple yet authentic SEO methods to improve website rankings. Furthermore, you must keep these three things in mind for a better SEO: the quality and amount of the content (off-page content), backlinks, and things you can do to improve within the website (on-page content).

Method 1

Natural Optimization is the Best SEO Practice

  1. The Hunt for Keywords

Google Keyword Planner is a tool that helps you search for the right keywords. You must get familiar with this SEO tool so you can use it to your benefit. If your website is about beauty products, you can search for keywords specific to the beauty industry. In addition, they must have a higher monthly search volume i.e. many people type in that particular keyword in Google search regularly. It is a ‘best SEO practice’ to do ‘keyword research’ at the beginning.

  1. Google Trends Manifest Changing Priorities

‘Google Trends’ is an online facility showing the changing behaviors over a period of time. You see, keywords don’t always remain the same. As a general rule, the priorities in industries keep on changing giving birth to newer search phrases. Therefore, you mustn’t hold on to the same set of keywords forever. Keep vibrant and maintain your website according to the recent trends.

  1. Mobile Optimization is Essential in the Age of Smartphones

You must optimize your website for the mobile audience. Mobiles are handy instruments and quickly becoming the leading search devices leaving behind computers & laptops. If your website doesn’t load quickly on mobiles, Google won’t rank it higher in SERPs. Nonetheless, getting your website AMP-friendly will make it run like a horse in derby race. It becomes responsive to user’s commands.

  1. Adopt Google As Much As You Can

Ensuring your businesses are part of Google Plus and have ‘Google My Business Listings’ will definitely push the rankings upward. Google, by far, is the most popular search engine in the world. We must respect that and adopt Google as much as we can.

Method 2

Content Creation

  1. Content Must Not Be Plagiarized

You must write highly relevant, error-free content for your website. Google appreciates the uniqueness and rejects any plagiarism. Distinctive content creation is easily the best SEO practice. Keep it simple, to the point, and don’t forget to add keywords you want the search engine to rank you for. You mustn’t sell any wrongful information either so the users get what they want.

A graphic designer can help you with the outlook of the website.

  1. High-Quality Content

If your website is in English, not making any grammar, spelling, and sentence structure mistakes can help you earn a good position in SERPs. On the contrary, if you are simply copy-pasting content, Google knows and it will penalize your website for doing that. Your website may never be able to rank.

  1. Significance of Images

Whether you are writing on your website or promoting your website, never forget to add images to the content. Tag them with your targeted keywords which is one of the best SEO practices.

  1. LSI Keywords

You can use lsigraph.com to find the related LSI keywords against your targeted keywords. Use them throughout your content. Google appreciates those pages that include the LSI keywords. But don’t add those that are not relevant. You must use those keywords which are the most relevant to your data.

Tip – Don’t overdo keywords. Keyword stuffing can cost you.

  1. Which Keywords to Select?

You must target those keywords which have less competition. For instance, instead of choosing ‘beauty salon’, you can choose a longer keyword such as ‘beauty salon in Brentwood’ because long-tail keywords are generally easier to rank for. But it must have some searches. Targeting longer keywords is part of the best SEO practices.

Tip – Google Adwords can tell you about the competition of keywords.

  1. Sitemap – A Must SEO Tactic

A ‘sitemap’ is like a complete guide to your website and a ‘best SEO practice’. It is like a road system of your website leading people to the right products or services. Click through rate (CTR) increases by 1 % after creating a sitemap. Google likes sitemaps and you shouldn’t ignore anything that it likes to move up the rankings.

Guest Author, Fizza Arshad, has a passion for writing on various subjects.

Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

Essential Advice When Setting Up A Website for First-Timers

If you’re one of those people who thinks that designing a website from scratch is a difficult thing to do that requires coding and design skills, then think again. Content management systems (CMS) have created user friendly website-building that can be accessible to everyone, even when you don’t have the technical knowledge. There are many tips to make your business more professional and one of these is to have an attractive website to entice new customers or readers about what you have on offer. But, where do you start? Here’s some advice for first-timers thinking of starting a website.

Which CMS and hosting company to use?

Your first decisions are going to concentrate on which CMS and hosting company you should use. There are many to choose from but undoubtedly, the most popular is WordPress. Although all of them offer the possibility of setting up a website with your own domain name for a few dollars, WordPress is one of the easier website-builders to use: templates are fully customized and yet you can adjust them to suit your style and needs accordingly. Once you’ve decided on a template of which many designs are free and varied, and domain name, your next task is to select a WordPress hosting provider to use. Try not to be overwhelmed by the basics of web hosting and choose a faster provider for an enhanced performance.

What are you trying to achieve?

Now that you have a website name, CMS and hosting provider, you next need to plan how you intend to convey your information, images and products, if you have any. By setting out a plan of action, it will be easier to clarify the goals of your website as you delve further into your design. Are you building a website for business? Or a blog site for pleasure? Who do you expect your audience to be? When thinking of the layout of your new website, these are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself so that you have a clear idea of what message you want to convey to your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the individuals who will be likely to click on your website and try and determine the priorities that people want when visiting your site.

How are you going to plan your pages?

This aspect of website building should incorporate a fun element as you create and plan the content of your pages. Think about whether you want to impress your visitors with beautiful images on your homepage, or if you more concerned with providing them with detailed information about what your site is about. Look at other websites who offer a similar service or product and get some inspiration around designing your pages. Remember that once you have uploaded images and information, you can tweak them along with background colors, fonts and sizes until you reach the precise look you are going for.

Creating a website doesn’t have to be a complicated or daunting affair, and once it’s completed your next step is to get it out there for people to see your marvelous creation.

How to Make your Small Business Instagram-Worthy

Since 2010, Instagram has allowed users to share their photos and videos. They can connect the Instagram account to other social media, use hashtags and geotags to enhance the visibility, as well as Stories feature since 2016. Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it is for individuals and businesses to decide which social network is perfect for marketing. However, Instagram is special because it uses visual engagement to attract and gain followers.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, just that you need to adjust your strategy. Over time, business world recognized its potential and now it finds it to be a great opportunity to reach the target audience. With statistics like 700 million monthly users, Instagram has quickly taken its rightful among Facebook and Twitter. With that in mind, here is some advice how to run a successful Instagram profile for a small business.

1.    Build a business profile

First, your business needs a proper profile. This means that you have to create a one concentrated on your business completely, like the name, category, short description using keywords, add website and location. This will be enough information for Instagram users to know who you are and what you do. You have only 150 characters to present yourself, so use them wisely.

2.    Display brand personality

Even though you’re a business entity, you still need a brand personality to attract the followers and get them to know you better. This is not hard. It’s all about the message you send about yourself like being funny or serious. This is the feature you will have to use all the time in your communication with your audience on all social media platforms and your website.

3.    Use aesthetics

Aesthetic in your posts will set the visual standard and must be in line with the brand personality. This means that you have to choose a colour palette that you will use. A photo planning apps can help you with this, like Planoly. This app is will keep your visual elements in check and will help you see how your images look one close to another before you publish them on Instagram.

4.    Don’t leave out location and hashtags

Hashtags and geotags are important if you want to reach a wider audience. Every post must include them, no exception since they will put you in the spotlight. They will help Instagram users find you and follow you. You can use custom hashtags which will authenticate your business and help with contests and giveaways.

Geotags are important for the local followers. For example, if you’re a restaurant, the local followers will have the chance to see your profile and visit you in person.

5.    Dedicate to visual quality

Since Instagram is all about the visual elements, you should use only the high-quality image and videos. It’s all about the lighting and clarity. You can choose one place which is perfect for taking photos or hire a professional photographer which can be pricey. Quality includes everything that is important for creating excellent photography, and that means creativity as well. Moreover, images and videos are perfect for the promotion of your brand personality and presenting yourself.

6.    Post diverse content

Posting the same content will bore your followers and chase them away. That’s why it is important to diversify your content to be interesting. Use photos and videos alternately, ask customers to send you their content, and publish it with your own. Write something funny, meaningful or informative, and you can even present your employees through your posts.

7.    Communicate with customers

Communication with the customers is one of the backbones of business dealings today. If you start answering their questions, noting their reactions publicly and acknowledging them, you will create loyal followers and customers. For example, you can place HD Booths on your premises. This way your customers can take a picture, so you can post it on your Instagram profile tagging them and writing something about them.

8.    Present your product

Don’t forget that you are working on growing your business and find as many customers as you can who will choose your product. However, the audience doesn’t like when you try to sell them something directly, so allow yourself to be creative. Allow them to try your new product through giveaways and offer discount codes from time to time.

Don’t forget to use calls-to-action on Instagram too with “learn more”, “comment to enter the contest” or “check the link in our bio”. This will help you get to marketing goals while still having fun.

Finally

Instagram is a different but less burdening platform to promote your business. It will be as fun for you as for your followers and can be a significant boost in your marketing campaign. Use all these recommendations here and you’ll reach your customers and gain a loyal following in no time.

 

Bio: Nina is a digital nomad, yoga aficionado and a travel enthusiast. She’s passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. If you wanna see what she’s up to you can find her on twitter

 

 

 

 

What Do You Need? A Blog. When Do You Need It? Now

Even today, with the power of Google neatly tucked into your pocket or handbag, people still don’t get why having a blog is a super-duper important part of running a business. Unfortunately, it is always the small business owners that find themselves wondering why it is important. We’re not saying they still think blogging is something teenagers do in the hope of becoming the next internet star and thus spend their lives taking selfies on red carpets instead of working, but they usually don’t quite get how it is worth the investment. And that’s what it is, right? Creating top-notch content on a weekly basis is a mega-investment of time and money and skill.

But it is totally worth it. A content publication strategy is one of the most valuable marketing approaches your little business can make and that’s because it will make a noticeable difference to things like where you show up on Google, the leads you get and the sales you make (spoiler alert: these are pretty important parts of business). Anyway, the best way to launch a content publication strategy is from a business blog. From there, well, you can use it as you like, from posting it to your LinkedIn page, to adding it to your email marketing campaign and even linking to it from social media.

Of course, we don’t expect this overview of a blurb to be the winning smile that sees you drop off the fence. After all, caution is a healthy part of being a business owner. That said, blogging is such an awesome tool to use, we have decided to pull together a list of the top benefits it can – and will – have on your business.

  1. Hello, Search Engine Traffic

Everyone that wants to be a success wants to be found at the top of search engines. That’s a fact. And it is also the reason why you need to have a blog. Think about it. The more content you have on your website the more chances you have of getting found. That’s because there will be more pages on your domain to be indexed (translation: great news for visibility). If you went fishing with one rod, and the person on the pontoon over from you has one-hundred rods, who do you think is going to land more fish? So, yeah, start yourself a blog and watch your organic traffic grow like crazy thanks to increased web traffic. Keep adding more fishing rods to your arsenal.

  1. I Wanna Be A Thought Leader

There is no better way to establish yourself as an expert in what you do than having a blog to back that up. It is your chance to show the world (read: your industry), that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about and even sharing industry related tidbits. Why is authority important? That’s simple: it gives people yet another reason to trust you and, in a world where everything is online, trust is like a warm, fuzzy hug (but one that converts people into clients and customers). It doesn’t matter what your niche is, having a blog gives you that extra bit of weight. It could be that you are a customer service specialist, in which case it is time to start a customer service blog. It could be that you run a content marketing agency that specialises in managing business blogs, in which case a content marketing blog of your own is super-duper important. There really is no niche too small.

  1. Time For Tighter Relationships

Having a regularly updated blog is a great way to connect with the people visiting your site in a way that you can’t otherwise. Before, people that came to your site could only read your generic “About Us” page and scroll through your “what we do” gallery, which is made up of stock photos. But having a blog gives them a better chance to connect, whether it is asking questions in the comment section under each post or by sharing what you’ve written on their own social media pages or simply using your opinion to start a conversation, whether that be in a forum or a wine bar. At first, it may seem a little deflating because (as Google analytics shows), only your mom, your sister and your mom’s boyfriend are reading it. But after a while, you’ll find you become the go-to resource in your market and that’s because your content is helpful, informative, engaging and trustworthy. It has built a rapport between you and potential-slash-new customers (#winning).

  1. Get Creative, Become Human

We mentioned your (probably) bland “About Us” page, which isn’t a dig because your about us page needs to tell people what you do, and tell them as clearly as possible. However, you don’t want to run the risk of sounding dull or robotic or boring. That’s where a blog flies in to save the day like some sort of neighborhood superhero. It gives you the chance to show the more personal side of your brand; make people smile and laugh and nod their head in empathy and feel like there is a warmth to you that your competitors are lacking. A blog gives you the opportunity to go beyond “look at these products we sell” and a) give people a reason to buy your products, b) touch on issues that your brand is concerned with, c) embrace a cause as part of your marketing and d) share information and opinions on the things you are passionate about. No matter how cleverly-written the rest of your content may be, your blog will always be the best voice you have and that is because it will have the most personality to it. Seriously, never underestimate the power of likeability.

  1. Social Media Boost

Here’s a quick plate full of food for thought: what is the point in having social media pages if you don’t have any great content to upload to them? (That was rhetorical by the way; the answer is there is no point!) Of course, you could get around this by sharing other people’s content but, at some point or another, your brain will go, “hang on a minute, why am I sending my leads elsewhere?” and that is where your blog posts will swoop in (yet again!) to save the day. It is just one of the best ways to use your social media following to boost your website traffic. Period. Fact. The end.

4 #Blogging Tips That Actually Work

If you’ve ever searched for blogging tips online, you’ve most probably come across at least a dozen of them advising you to post your content frequently, to share your content on social media, and to keep blogging no matter what. Although these are some valid points, they’re pretty straightforward and offer little to no real insight into the most important aspect of blogging, which is of course writing. In addition, the fact that you can find these tips literally anywhere and everywhere you look just goes to show how poor that advice actually is, as the same things are usually said over and over again, without any solid advice ever being given. This is why we’re going to focus on four concrete tips which will actually have an effect on your blogging and improve your content as well as your overall readership.

1. Find relevant content

First of all, you need to find what’s worth writing about. Certain niches are more popular than others, you need to find the ones that not only fit your style the most, but those which are also trending at the moment. Hence, keep an eye on Reddit, Quora, and various other social media platforms for current hot topics and ideas to write about. Moreover, who exactly are you writing for? Your content might be better suited for young, rather than old, people. Therefore, you need to target them and tailor your content accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to please everybody as it’s an impossible task. Instead, you should focus on finding your tribe in order to provide them with relevant and interesting content to their liking. This is how you establish a community of your own, and increase their loyalty. You want to build a relationship with your readers, it’s not just a one-off thing, you want them returning to check on your new content.

2. Guest blogging

Another thing, a lot of people make the mistake of only posting content on their own blogs, totally neglecting the concept of guest blogging. It’s not only an excellent way of sharing your content, but it’s also an amazing way of expanding your general readership. This is because, when you guest blog, you get someone else’s audience apart from your own, thus effectively doubling the amount of readers your content receives overall. There’s lots of ways you can find blogs where you can guest post, either by manually searching the web for blogging opportunities, visiting relevant forums and blogs, or by contacting bloggers that fit your particular niche. Yet, the most practical way of doing this is by simply using an advanced link prospecting tool to help you find sites to reach out to. Get better results and save valuable time in the process by sorting and filtering through different metrics in an automated manner and find the perfect blog for you to guest post on. Otherwise, you might end up on spammy websites that might hurt your general reputation.

3. Write quality content

Don’t get fooled, the internet is a vast place, the topics you’re posting aren’t as original as you may think. Especially so if a popular topic is in question. This is why you should always strive to create the best quality content you can, in order to stand out from the crowd. You achieve this by writing about the things you know well. Likewise, if you’re not so familiar with a certain topic, you need to do a lot of research beforehand to get all of your facts straight. Once you have the necessary info, you then need to present it in an interesting and meaningful manner. Try to be concise and to the point as much as possible, avoid filler content and don’t spin your points. Stay informative and offer sound advice to your readers, educate them about a particular product instead of just selling it to them. Back your facts up with concrete statistics or infographics instead of pulling them straight out of your head, this will give a lot of credibility to your claims. Furthermore, the most important thing is that you stay true to your voice, pretending will only get you so far.

4. Use eye-catching headlines

Finally, this is by far the most important thing you need to focus on while blogging. Yet, you might be wondering why I put the most important thing last? Well, this is because the title should always be the very last, and not the first, thing you write. The reason being that is, once you’ve finished your main text, you have a rough idea of what the article is about and therefore you can find a title that suits it. Let’s face it, people click on article titles and not on the articles themselves, and if they don’t grab their attention they won’t bother visiting your article in the first place. Hence, you should only employ article titles which spur your readers’ curiosity and encourage them to take a peek, such as how to-s and x ways to do titles.

In conclusion, remember to always do your research on hot topics and concrete facts before writing your articles. This way you’ll maintain top-notch quality whilst still being relevant to your target audience. Also, don’t be shy and give guest blogging a go, as it’s an outstanding way of increasing your overall viewer count.

 

alex

Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Google Says Freshen Up Your Content

While there are – probably – dozens and dozens of ways in which Google likes to rank the content on your website, none of them has become more emphasized than “freshness”. So, in order to get straight into it and not beat around the proverbial bush any longer, here are some of the most important ways in which the god-that-is-Google tends to determine how fresh your content is.

Date Of Inception

Every single web page is going to be valued based on its inception date, something that holds less and less value as time goes on. Just so you know, the inception date is the time when Google first becomes aware of this new content, which tends to happen when the crawlers first detect it on your website or when Google finds a link to this content.

A Matter Of Updating

This is something that has gotten a little bit more attention over recent months. Instead of just rating your content on when it was first uploaded, Google also ranks your content on how regularly it is updated. Content that gets tweaked regularly has more value than content that never changes. Let’s say you go back through your content and change a sentence. Whoop-di-do. However, if you drastically change the main body then you will be having a much bigger impact on this freshness thing.

Frequency Of Changes

Ask those in well-respected SEO services, and they will tell you another huge proponent in the hunt for a better rating is the frequency in which your content gets updates because that is what will keep the Googlebots coming back to crawl your website. Let’s use some examples. Let’s say you have a blog that gets updated once a week as a means to keep your customers in the loop with what you are up to. Okay, that’s once a week something new gets added. Compare that to a major newspaper where their entire body of content gets altered daily and you see which one is more valuable to Google.

New Pages, Please

Another great way to improve the freshness of your website is to create new pages. This is something that a blog manages to do better than anything else because you are not only creating new pages regularly, you are also adding pages that are high in original content. That’s epic. That’s going to get you a freshness score to be super-proud of. You don’t need to go mad on this front, but a new page every so often will have a big impact.

Linking Plays A Lovely Role

Just so you know, the freshness-o-meter is not restricted to your page’s only. It also has a lot to do with the external links that you are using. These tend to wield a lot of power when it comes to measuring freshness. That is why you should always include a cocktail of internal links, outbound links and, if possible, links on external websites that link back to you. Google loves link-building because it makes you look relevant or, to keep with the word we have been using, fresh.