Archive for September, 2011

Facebook Posting Techniques that Really Work

Posted in Business, Facebook on September 29, 2011 by wolfwomyn

This is an older article that I’m re-visiting as I’ve had a few questions.  Enjoy

 

There’s a fine line between a scientific approach to marketing on Facebook and a haphazard shotgun approach.  For those of you who prefer not to “point and shoot,” a new study from a San Francisco-based social media strategy firm offers an in-depth analysis of the top 20,000 Facebook Pages and up to a quarter million posts in an effort to determine the most useful posting techniques.

In the just-released report called Engagement and Interaction: A Scientific Approach to Facebook Marketing (link opens a PDF file), Momentus Media,  provides answers to the seven most frequently asked questions by Facebook page administrators:

  1. When’s the best time to post? While weekends and off-peak hours from 2pm to 5am are the times when page admins are least likely to add a new post, those are the posts that receive the highest interaction rates.  Thursdays, on the other hand, shoulder the highest number of postings during the week and the lowest interaction rate.  And since a high level of postings results in a lower interaction rate from users, it only stands to reason that posting in off-peak hours means you’ll gain more interaction from fans.
  2. How many times should I post per day? You’d think too many posts would offend your followers but the report suggests frequent posting increases interaction.  As you might suspect, fewer posts reduce the chances users will see them.  And while unsubscribe rates go up after three posts per day, they level off at higher frequencies.  The secret is to find that balance between optimizing interaction and managing unsubscribes, which is going to be different for every business.
  3. What type of content elicits the most interaction? By far, photos generate the highest interaction rate for the six varieties of content, with status updates ranking No. 2.  Others — in descending order — include video, music and links.  The fact that links are at the bottom is interesting, considering they are posted the most often.  Photos rank at the top because they’re visual, easy to digest and they elicit emotion.
  4. Should I ask fans to Like or Comment on my posts?  Absolutely.  Just by taking advantage of a “Like” call to action boosts your interaction rate by 216 percent.  Momentus Media analyzed 49,266 Page posts, comparing interaction rates for posts with “Like” and “Comment” calls to action and those without.  And while only 1.3 percent of status messages had a call to action attached, those who used “Like” or “Comment” showed a huge boost in interaction rates.
  5. Should I ask my fans questions?  You’d think that by asking questions you’d get a better interaction rate, but such is not the case.  However, Facebook page admins looking to achieve the highest comment rate should pose questions and then directly ask for fans to reply with comments.
  6. How long should my status messages be?  According to this study, size does matter.  While there’s a higher posting rate for shorter posts (especially those that stay within the 140-character limit for cross-posting purposes on both Twitter and Facebook), interaction increases as the length of the status message increases.
  7. How long do my messages remain in the Newsfeed?  In the first hour of a Facebook status update, half of the users who will click on the post will have done so, with 90 percent of the clicks occurring within nine hours of the post going live.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Five Ways to Keep Subscribers From Hitting the Spam Button

Posted in Business on September 27, 2011 by wolfwomyn

There’s the legal definition of spam—as outlined in CAN-SPAM—and then there’s the real-world definition used by many of your subscribers: any piece of email I’d rather not receive. Even recipients who went to your website, signed up for your newsletter and confirmed their subscription might hit the spam button over an irrelevant message.

To help marketers keep that from happening, Marla Chupack offers this advice at the Email Transmit blog:

Manage expectations. Use a confirmation email to tell new subscribers what they can expect, the value your messages offer, and how often they will arrive. Recipients are less likely to think of your email as spam if it’s exactly what you said you would send.

Make it easy to unsubscribe. “Always have an unsubscribe link in the footer,” Chupack suggests, “and consider adding it to the header or some other more noticeable place.” There’s no upside to unengaged or hostile subscribers; it’s much better to have one less address on your list than one more spam complaint to an ISP.

Avoid generic “from” addresses. A message from donotreply@companyname or sales@companyname looks like spam even when it isn’t.

Survey subscribers about content and frequency preferences. You don’t have to guess; give subscribers the chance to tell you what they’d like to receive.

Write subject lines that accurately describe an email’s content. “Using a misleading subject line can make recipients [want] to ‘get back at you’ by clicking the spam button,” she notes. And can you really blame them?

The Po!nt: Spam is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t give subscribers any reason to think your terrific message is nothing more than spam.

Source: Email Transmit thru Get to the Point – Email Marketing

Do You Make This Keyword Research Mistake?

Posted in Websites on September 22, 2011 by wolfwomyn

As you probably know most people rely on search engines when they need to find any kind of information these days. That is why  keyword research is so important, because it allows you to  understand what your target visitors and customers are looking for, how they are searching for it, and how frequently they are doing so.

Here is a practical example to help you understand the concept.  Suppose you just a wrote a post on your blog titled “20 Funny Images of Babies.” What if you changed the title to “20 Funny Pictures of Babies,” however?

From the user’s point of view, both titles are too similar to  distinguish, and should not really make that much of a difference.  However, if you pick the second title mentioned, you’ll have a much higher chance of receiving traffic from search engines, because the term “funny pictures” is almost 40 times more searched on than the term “funny images.”

How do we know that, however? It is simple, we used an online keyword research tool. There are some paid tools available on the market, but we don’t recommend that you spend money on them. The  best and most reliable keyword research tool is a free one, and  it is provided by Google itself. It is called Google AdWords Keyword Tool, and you can access it here:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Whenever you input a keyword there, the tool will tell you how many people search for that keyword every month (along with some other data, like the amount of advertising competition for the keyword).

It is very exciting when you find keywords that get hundreds of thousands of searches every month, but that is exactly what leads online marketers to the mistake we mentioned earlier. The mistake is to assume that you should always target the keyword with the  highest number of searches.

Why is that a bad idea? Because the number of searches a keyword gets only tells you half of the story. The other half is how many webmasters are competing to get traffic from that keyword. In other words, you need to evaluate both the traffic potential and the  competition for each keyword.

If you only target the high traffic keywords, you’ll probably have a hard time getting any traffic, because your posts or websites will not rank well for these keyword. If you pick keywords with lower  traffic and lower competition, on the other hand, you will not get a  stellar traffic, but at least you’ll get some traffic.

In the example we used above, therefore, you would also need to  analyze the competition for both “funny images” and “funny pictures” before choosing which one you should target. If you believe your site is strong enough to rank for “funny pictures”, go for it. If  you are not sure, perhaps it would be wiser to go with the less
searched “funny images”.

The bottom line is: target keywords you are sure you can rank for,  and gradually make your way up to the competitive ones. If do this the other way around you’ll get frustrated and end up wasting a lot of time.

 

Source:  Daniel Socco

Do You Know The “Build Today Profit Tomorrow” Strategy?

Posted in Small Business on September 21, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably heard about the launch of the Starcraft 2 game. The first version of this game was considered by many the best strategy game ever made, so there was a lot expectation for the sequel.

Long story short Starcraft 2 broke a lot of records, and it  generated a lot of buzz online. Just consider that the term
“starcraft 2” is searched by over 2 million people monthly, and  related keywords like “starcraft 2 demo” or “startcraft 2 review” have over 50,000 monthly searches.

That is a lot of traffic for people who created websites in this niche. But you know which websites are the ones that are killing it  right now? The ones that started being built 12 or more months ago.

That is right, some people started building a “Starcraft 2” website over one year before the actual launch of the game. And it is not  like they purchased the domain and left it there. They were updating it with new content every day, promoting it, getting backlinks and so on.

This strategy works because Google will see the very first websites to talk about a certain topic as the authorities in that niche. If you start building a website about “Starcraft 2” today you’ll have a very hard time competing with the folks who entered the niche first.

As you can see the “Build Today Profit Tomorrow” strategy works very well with products that are going to be released in the future and that are likely to attract a lot of attention. Examples include games, new Windows versions, new Apple products and so on.

You can also apply this strategy to seasonal events like the Soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games. In fact there are people building sites for the 2018 England World Cup already! That event is 8 years ahead, but if they manage to secure the top Google spots for related keywords they’ll earn a lot of money with it.

If you have some time available, give this strategy a shot, as it  can be very profitable.

 

Source: Daniel Socco

4 Steps to Increase Your Blog Traffic

Posted in Blogs on September 14, 2011 by wolfwomyn

One of the most common complaints that I hear from bloggers is the fact that no matter how hard they try, they can’t grow their blogs past 100 or so daily page vies. Those early days are indeed the hardest, because you need to put hard work in without the certainty of achieving results.
If you are in that same situation, here is a simple strategy that will certainly increase your blog traffic and make you break the 1,000 daily page views mark. In fact, the strategy could be used even if your are already over that number but have reached a traffic plateau lately.
Just make sure to execute the 4 steps as planned and to spend the two hours and a half every day (obviously if you have more time available you can expand the time spent on each of the four steps proportionally).
First Step: Killer Articles (1 hour per day)

Spend one hour brainstorming, researching and writing killer articles (also called linkbaits, pillar articles and so on).

Notice that your goal is to release one killer article every week. If that is not possible aim for one every 15 days. So the one hour that you will spend every day will be dedicated to the same piece. In other words, expect killers articles to take from 5 up to 10 hours of work.

If you are not familiar with the term, a killer article is nothing more than a long and structured article that has the goal of delivering a huge amount of value to potential visitors. If you have a web design blog, for example, you could write an article with “100 Free Resources for Designers”. Here are some ideas for killer articles:

  • create a giant list of resources,
  • write a detailed tutorial teaching people how to do something,
  • find a solution for a common problem in your niche and write about it, or
  • write a deep analysis on a topic where people have only talked superficially

When visitors come across your killer article, you want them to have the following reaction: “Holy crap! This is awesome. I better bookmark it. Heck, I better even mention this on my site and on my Twitter account, to let my readers and friends know about it.”

Second Step: Networking (30 minutes per day)

Networking is essential, especially when you are just getting started. The 30 minutes that you will dedicate to it every day could be split among:

  • commenting on other blogs in your niche,
  • linking to the posts of bloggers in your niche, and
  • interacting with the bloggers in your niche via email, IM or Twitter.

Remember that your goal is to build genuine relationships, so don’t approach people just because you think they can help to promote your blog. Approach them because you respect their work and because you think the two of you could grow together.

Third Step: Promotion (30 minutes per day)

The first activity here is the promotion of your killer articles. Whenever you publish one of them, you should push it in any way you can. Examples include:

letting the people in your network know about it (don’t beg for a link though),
letting bloggers and webmasters in relevant niches know about it,
getting some friends to submit the article to social bookmarking sites,
getting some friends to Twitter the article, and
posting about the article in online forums and/or newsgroups.

If there is time left, spend it with search engine optimization, social media marketing and activities to promote your blog as whole. Those can range from keyword research to promoting your blog on Facebook and guest blogging.

Fourth Step: Normal Posts (30 minutes per day)

Just like a man does not live by bread alone, a blog does not live by killer articles alone. Normal posts are the ones that you will publish routinely in your blog, between the killer articles. For example, you could publish a killer article every Monday and normal posts from Tuesday through Friday. Here are some ideas for normal posts:

  • a post linking to an article on another blog and containing your opinion about it
  • a post informing your readers about a news in your niche
  • a post asking a question to your readers and aiming to initiate
  • a discussiona post highlighting a new resource or trick that you discovered and that would be useful to your reader

While killers articles are essential to promote your blog and bring new readers aboard, normal posts are the ones that will create diversity in your content and keep your readers engaged.

Source: Daniel Socco

Use This Checklist Before Publishing Your Posts

Posted in Blogs on September 8, 2011 by wolfwomyn

How many times have you published a post, only to find out you forgot to proofread and that many typos slipped through? What about when the links you included are broken, when you used the wrong keywords, or when you forgot to optimize the post title?

As you can see, there are many things one should check before hitting the “Publish” button, and most of us forget about them. That is why I decided to create “The Blog Post Checklist,” with a list of things you should check before publishing your post. You’ll find it useful especially for those long, linkbait type articles you publish once in a while (what I call “killer articles“).

Below you’ll find a description of all the checks

 

Source:
Daniel Scocco ~ Daily Blog Tips

1. Did I read the post after writing it?

Common sense as it sounds, most people don’t read what they just wrote before publishing it. This is a mistake, because unless you read your article as an integral piece you won’t be able to tell if the whole thing makes sense, if the paragraphs and sentences are in the right order, if the arguments are solid and so on.

Before anything else, therefore, read what you just wrote from top to bottom.

2. Is the post as complete as it could be?

If you want to generate as much traffic as possible and to get as many backlinks as possible, you need to make sure that your post is as complete as it could be. If you completed the previous check you should also be able to evaluate whether or not you could add more sections and explanations.

For example, you might be writing a software review, and your post is focused on the features of the software. What about the installation process? What about the compatibility of the software with other programs? These are all aspects you could include, making the post more valuable to potential readers. If you want to read more on this topic check these 10 tips to write popular posts.

3. Did I research the related keywords?

Keywords rule search engines (and the web, as a consequence). If you want to maximize your traffic you need to use the same keywords that most people use. First of all because this will make your post easier to understand. Second because it will help with the search engine optimization.

For instance, you might be writing a post about gaming notebooks. But should you call it “gaming notebooks” or “game laptops”? After using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool you would discover that the term “game notebooks” is searched by 8,000 people every month, while “gaming laptops” is searched by over 60,000 people. This means that the latter is much more widespread, and you probably should go with it.

4. Did I craft the title carefully?

The title of your post is the most important part. Even more important than the body of the post itself, because unless the title grabs the attention of visitors, they won’t read the post.

First of all make sure your title has an emotional hook. For example, you could get the reader excited by offering something of great value (e.g., “100 Photoshop Tutorials to Become a PSD Ninja”), or you could get the reader curious by making an unusual statement (e.g., “5 Things Chuck Norris Can Teach You About Marketing”).

Second, remember to use the main keywords of your post in the title, as this will help with the search engine optimization.

5. Did I proofread it?

I know you have already read your post once to make sure the ideas make sense and the paragraphs are in the right order. However, you’ll need to read it once more, to proofread it.

This time focus on spotting grammar and spelling mistakes. Here are a couple of tricks you can use for this purpose: read your article backwards or read it out loud. Both of these methods will allow you to focus on the single words, making it easier to spot the mistakes.

6. Did I link to one or more of my older posts?

Linking to older posts inside your blog is a practice that helps both human visitors and search bots. It helps human visitors because it lets them explore your archives, possibly complementing or expanding on the information they have just read. It helps search bots because it lets them crawl your site more efficiently, and it also helps them to understand your content (through the link anchor text).

Before publishing the post, take some time to find older posts you can link to.

7. Did I link to external resources when appropriate?

Do not be afraid of linking to external websites. You’ll not lose PageRank, and you’ll not lose readers.

If your content is solid, you’ll only be enriching it by linking to relevant external resources. If you mention a particular tool in your post, for instance, link to it. If you mention a term that readers might not be familiar with, link to the respective Wikipedia entry.

8. Did I make sure all links are working?

All it takes to break a link is to omit a letter, a dot, or to add an extra http:// heading. For example, if you write http://www.siteyouwannalinkto.co the link is not going to work. Similarly, if you write http://http://www.siteyouwannalinkto.com the link is not going to work either. The impact on the user experience, however, is quite significant. If your visitors can’t click on a link you mentioned and find the website they’ll get frustrated.

Before publishing the post use the “Preview” feature of your blogging software and click on all the links to make sure they are working and pointing to the correct URL.

9. Did I credit any sources I might have used?

If your post was inspired by something you read somewhere else, credit it. Similarly, if you used information that came from a particular website or blog, make sure to mention and link to it. This will be fair with the original author, and it will also be useful to your readers, as they will be able to track where everything is coming from.

One post that inspired me to write this one was 13 Questions to Ask Before Publishing a Post On Your Blog, by Darren Rowse. Even though I had read it back in 2008, the idea probably kept wandering in my head, until I finally decided to write my own take on the issue.

10. Did I include an enticing image?

If an image is worth a thousands words, why not use one in your post? Images are a great way to entice people to read the rest of your post. They can also help with the search engine optimization, and bring some traffic from Google image search.

11. Did I optimize the permalink?

Most publishing platforms and software allow you to edit the permalink of each post you publish. You should use this feature to make sure your permalinks are concise, and that they contain your main keywords.

Apart from making the permalink look cleaner, this will also help with your search engine optimization and possibly increase the amount of traffic you’ll get from Google and company.

12. Did I add one or more elements to engage readers?

Every blog owner should be trying to build a community around his blog, and engaging readers with your content is one of the best strategies to achieve this.

Practically speaking you could ask them a question at the end of the post, include a poll, make a call to action, use their feedback directly in your post and so on.

13. Is this a good day for traffic?

Even if you have written a masterpiece, you’ll not get the best possible result if you publish it on a Sunday. The best days for traffic are usually Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But make sure to track your traffic numbers, so you can be sure of the best day for your blog.

Second, keep an eye on international holidays. If you live in the UK, for example, you should check the list of US federal holidays and avoid publishing your killer article on any of these dates.

Honor Thy Content: The Five Commandments of Editorial Excellence

Posted in Small Business on September 6, 2011 by wolfwomyn

Here’s a basic truth of content marketing: Your work must be in publishable condition before you hit the “post” button. “Publishable condition” means your podcasts should be as professional as your favorite radio shows, your videos as polished and entertaining as the shows you watch on TV, your articles as well written as the magazines you read. Well, your stuff should at least aspire to reach that level of professional excellence.

“Are you kidding?” you say. “I can’t compete with all that professional content!”

Sorry, but you have no choice: The Content Wars are on. “The one who has the most engaging content wins, because frequent and regular contact builds a relationship” and so offers lots of opportunities for conversion, says Joe Pulizzi, the unofficial godfather of content marketing (as quoted in Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (Wiley 2011), co-authored by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman).

Like it or not, your content battles, every moment, to break through the daily avalanche of contemporary media and claw its way to its intended audience. To succeed, it must be as strong as you can make it.

The most direct way to create first-class content is to hire a professional writer or videographer. But if your company can’t afford to do so, don’t worry. There’s another, more cost-efficient path: The Five Commandments of Editorial Excellence.

1. Be patient

People—marketers included—generally hate to write. When forced to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, most of us race through the task… and in our haste we don’t necessarily do our best work. If you’ve ever been in a college composition class, you know what I’m talking about: One very fast draft, maybe a quick proofread, and then, boom, “Here’s my paper, professor!” So much rushed writing is, to borrow from Shakespeare’s Richard the Third, “Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before [its] time / Into this breathing world scarce half made up.”

Marketers write quickly for a specific reason: They have an enormous amount to accomplish. They are burdened with so many tasks—regular tweeting and blogging responsibilities, making sense of analytics reports, crunching numbers to prove ROI to Sales, writing copy for a new print ad, and making sure the printers get the right colors on that cursed brochure—that they can certainly be forgiven if they don’t devote hours to their prose. Right?

Not really.

Take. Your. Time. Too often, we launch content into cyberspace before it’s ready for the journey. In this superb video monologue, Ira Glass talks about This American Life’s extremely long gestation process: “Often, the amount of time finding the decent story is more than the amount of time it takes to produce the story.”

Don’t just blog about your company’s latest hire or newest promotion. Take the time to find interesting and relevant stories. Every company has something unique to offer. Put some effort into figuring out what makes your firm special.

2. Be a reviser

First-draft excellence is what we call, in the writing business, an accident. As novelist William Styron once wrote, “I get a fine warm feeling when I’m doing pretty well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell.”
In the real world, one must write and revise, write again and revise again, to produce anything of quality. Note: This process applies to everyone who aspires to excellence. Even Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, depends on it. Watch as he types, erases, and retypes a poem about jazz great Charlie Parker.

You must always ask yourself, “Is my content as good as it can be?” As Dr. Seuss once told his biographer, “Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, ‘You can do better than this.'”

3. Be purposeful

Look carefully at your content. If, on honest reflection, it doesn’t serve your audience’s needs, rework it. If after rewriting your article (or redoing your podcast or video) it still doesn’t provide true value, into the trash it goes.

Mastering your content also means understanding your constituents. You might think, for example, they want just a laugh, but in fact they may be seeking something deeper. “Viral videos aren’t just about being funny,” the CEO of College Humor recently told New York magazine. “They’re about identity creation. You send the video to your friends to say something about yourself. You’re saying, ‘I get this. Do you get it?'”

Learn to identify the value your content should provide (a software company might want to give readers a sense of online security, whereas a solar-energy provider might want to help readers live “greener” lives), then ensure that your content truly achieves its goal. If it’s hard for you to keep this tenet in mind while creating content, write it out. Before you begin your blog post, identify not just the topic you’re working on but precisely how this piece will help your readers. Then, compose your piece and reread the thing—paragraph by paragraph and sentence by sentence—to see whether you’ve truly achieved your goal.

It’s more work, but it will pay off if your goal in content marketing is an authentic relationship with an audience. But if you simply want to produce five blog posts per week, regardless of how many comments or tweets or “likes” you get, just keep grinding it out.

4. Be clear

Let’s not talk about the ugly, jargon-strewn landscape of business writing: You know all about that. Instead, strive to make everything you write crystal clear.

One of the greatest how-to articles ever written is “Politics and the English Language,” by George Orwell, and it’s also the best guide to writing clear prose. If you want to write well, read it and adhere to Orwell’s instructions. Here are Orwell’s points amplified and put into context for content marketers…

Clichés. When you talk, for instance, about letting the cat out of the bag, one sees neither the sack nor the frightened pet fleeing for her life. Stamp out your clichés as though they were cockroaches.

Passive construction. Your writing should feature strong active verbs and subjects. Passive verbs weaken your points, your prose, and your Web presence. Instead of writing “The lousy Web copy was written by the dude with the fauxhawk,” try this: “The dude with that moronic fauxhawk wrote the lousy Web copy.”

Wordiness. Orwell said it best: “If it is possible to cut a word, always cut it out.” Look at the copy on your website and identify every word you can cut. You may be surprised at how many wasted words we employ.

5. Be yourself

In the Content Wars, authenticity always wins. People love to talk about the importance of differentiating one’s product in the traditional marketplace—it’s no different in the content marketplace.

If your website sounds like every other robotic piece of Web copy and cliché-encrusted press release, few will listen. But if you learn to write the way you speak to your living, breathing customers, you have a chance of creating great content.

Look at Gary Vaynerchuk. Listen to that guy talk! He may shout a little much, but the man is smart, passionate, original, and people dig him. He’s got the right idea: He’s selling his services as a wine expert in his own voice.

Does your company have its own voice?

It sure does. Your business speaks to customers in its own way. A successful company acts as a professional problem-solver—some take the tone of doctors, others that of plumbers, shrinks, or IT geeks—and their communications should have a similar tone. Look to your salespeople or customer-service reps, and notice what it sounds like when they successfully engage customers. (It might be worth your while to eavesdrop on a sales or customer-service call.) Isolate that particular tone and import it in your content. Do your customers appreciate your sense of humor? Bring some laughs into your content. Do they feel comforted that you’re as solemn as an undertaker? Then wipe off every trace of smile in your stuff.

Cultivate your authentic business voice, and import it into your content. Very important point: Avoid mimicry or gimmickry. As English Department favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Imitation is suicide.” Whatever you do, be yourself.

Source:  Ken Gordon
Published on January 5, 2011