All posts in Content Marketing

  • Chaney Marketing Group Helped Client Increase Visits From Search by 1053 Percent

    Bizzuka, a web design and development company based in Lafayette, LA, turned to Chaney Marketing Group for help in crafting a content marketing strategy. The results of our efforts paid off in spades. The company has seen growth in organic search traffic by a phenomenal 1053 percent.

    1. We Started with Strategy

    To achieve these results we created a strategy that involved the following steps:

    1. Identify key marketing messages the company wanted to communicate;
    2. Develop Bizzuka target audience personas;
    3. Determine content themes and topics based on target audience needs and interests;
    4. Align content with the purchase journey and sales cycle;
    5. Determine content types;
    6. Assign measurable objectives and ways to track performance against those objectives.

    We worked with Bizzuka to identify the goals the company wanted to reach in terms of traffic and multiple measures of conversion, choosing aggressive but attainable numbers.

    Blog search visits graph
    Graph represents the daily number of visitors to the Bizzuka blog from search engines only. Visitors increased 1053%  during the period Nov 2012- Nov 2013 (6,783) over previous period Nov 2011- Nov 2012 (588)

    2. We Targeted Specific Keywords 

    We researched highly-trafficked keywords related to Bizzuka’s business and developed a thematic framework for creating content around them.

    An online search implies a need for information. Our research on people’s needs allowed us to craft useful content that answered their questions and provided them value.

    3. We Determined Content Types

    The main channels used to create content were three Bizzuka’s blogs. One focused on practical marketing how-to tips, another shared company news and information, and a third focused on business leadership and innovation. In addition, we created a white paper and ebook, which were distributed through the website and social media.

    4. We Set Up a Content Calendar

    Calendaring provided Bizzuka with the opportunity to serialize posts over a period of several weeks based on a few major themes, which are divided into more specific, keyword-oriented topics.

    5. We Increased Post Volume

    Because blog posting was a key to Bizzuka’s success, increasing post volume from one to 12 times per month resulted in the majority of traffic growth.

    6. We Identified Others Who Could Create Content

    At the outset, 90 percent of the content created was written Chaney Marketing Group. Over time, we were able to incorporate posts from Bizzuka employees, along with guest posts from influential, well-known digital marketing experts. This served to further amplify the level of production.

    Reaping the Rewards of Increased Traffic

    While earning higher traffic as a result of a strategic approach was a win, it was not an end in itself. In order to provide the greatest benefit, an increase in traffic had to result in a higher number of conversions, with the endgame being to generate revenue.

    (In Bizzuka’s case, “conversion” consisted of completing a form, which enabled the company’s salesforce to engage a prospect in person.)

    The good news is that the massive traffic increase lead to a 566 percent increase in leads over the previous year – an all-time company record.

    And once customer lifetime value and recurring revenue were factored in, inbound leads for 2013 contributed nearly $500,000 to Bizzuka’s revenue.

    Creating a strategically-focused content plan combined with an increase in production of high-quality content targeted to the needs of its target audience certainly paid off for Bizzuka.

    Contact us today to learn how we can achieve the similar results for your business.

  • 5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Needs to be More Social

    This is a guest post from Alex Clifford, Content Marketing Executive at Virally, a company that empowers marketers to run hosted content marketing campaigns, make content more social, and gain deeper insights when their content goes viral.

    Alex Clifford

    Alex Clifford

    The internet is an ocean. It’s full of people to catch and as a marketer, you’re the fisherman. Ads used to bait loads of customers into your net, but you now have to use better bait – content marketing. You’re producing blog articles, guides and videos to help bring them towards you. But how can you make your content marketing more effective?

    Put on your overalls, start up the boat, and let’s head off on a voyage. Let me show you why your content marketing needs to be more social.

    1. People aren’t on your website, they’re on Facebook

    Your customers spend their time on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, not your company website. You company website is unlikely to be a hub of traffic. So if your content doesn’t reach social networks it’s like fishing in an empty pond. You’re limiting your reach.

    2. People trust their friends more than you

    Fish swim in schools to thwart their predators. They trust each other. They’re likely to follow the moves of their friends if they’ve recommended something. Social networks are how your customers communicate with each other. It’s how say “the coast is clear”. If your content is recommended by their friends, they know they can trust your company.

    3. Your content needs a viral reach

    If you only promote your content on your site, it’s a drop in the ocean. Literally. It’ll go nowhere. Once you have social tools embedded into your content marketing campaign, people can pass it on. Then their friends can pass it on. Then their friends can pass it on. Suddenly your content can ‘go viral’.

    4. Some of your contacts have more influence than others

    The Codfathers. These are the people you need to be talking to. People listen when they speak. They’re trendsetters. They’re the fish at the front of the school. They lead. By having content which spreads via social networks, you can find the key influencers and talk to them directly, about issues among their school.

    You can build relationships with these key influences to get more sales.

    5. You need to nurture your leads

    People will take your bait of great content. But how do you turn them into customers? You need to nurture them along. You need to feed them more and more great content, until you catch them as a customer. With your content spreading socially, you can continue to deliver valuable content. Then convert them.

    Use social networks to catch more customers with your content

    Content marketing is immensely powerful. You can win a lot of attention, leads and new customers with it. However if you want to catch more people, you need your content marketing to use social networks more.

  • Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 1

    Effective marketing in the digital age mandates that you create engaging content for your customers, prospects, and social network fans and followers to consume.

    First, let’s define what we mean by “content.”

    Content can be anything – Facebook status updates, Twitter tweets, videos, images, or blog posts. The key point to keep in mind is that web is driven by content. If you expect to gain the attention and trust of customers and prospects, then you should think like a publisher and commit to creating great content.

    Setting the content plan in motion requires four steps: determine your content focus; determine the types of content you wish to produce; determine how often you can publish (or post) content; and create a content calendar for the purpose of scheduling your posts.

    four step content process

    Content Focus

    The first order of business is to determine your content focus. By “focus” we mean the direction in which you want to take your content, as well as its tone. For example, content can be educational in nature with “how-to” posts, helpful tips and product-related information.

    Or it might be entertaining using humorous videos, photos or light-hearted status updates and tweets. Alternatively, is could promotional focusing on sales promotions, discounts or special events you host. Better yet, it could be a combination of the three. Regardless, your goal is to create content that stimulates engagement among fans and followers within social media.

    Some other ideas to consider: focus on content that is thought provoking or that demonstrates your knowledge and thought leadership. Also, focus on content that is consistent with the mission and culture of your business.

    Content Types

    Once you’ve determined the content focus, next think about the different types of content you can produce. That will depend, in part, on the social media channels you are using – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc – but don’t limit your thinking to one specific channel. In fact, it’s best to provide a mix of content in the form of videos, photos, blog posts, Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets.

    Each social media channel has its own unique features and benefits. No matter which social media channel you choose, it’s best if you understand how your customer is using them. Social networks like Facebook can be a strong reach and high efficiency platform that serves as a hub for all your social media engagement activities.

    Video and photo sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr can serve as places to archive content which gets distributed through other channels. And blogs can become niche-market penetration tools to reach individual audience segments.

    Posting Frequency

    Next, determine your posting frequency – how often you plan to post. Part of that determination will be made based on the amount of time you have to create content, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. To some extent, the more content you create the better off you are. That being said, here are some suggested guidelines:

    • Blog posts should be written at least once per week.
    • Facebook should be updated on a daily basis.
    • Twitter posts can be more frequent, up to 3 – 5 times per day.

    As it applies to Facebook, express your core message within the first 90 characters, as longer posts tend to be truncated. Twitter allows for up to 140 characters, however.

    Third, post at the optimal time. Only you know will know what’s right for your business, and that often comes as a result of trial and error. Optimal posting times can be determined by the level of engagement you have with fans and followers, so it’s important to pay attention to when you post, as well as the types of content you post. For example, videos tend to receive more engagement than text-based posts.

    Facebook provides an analytics component called “Insights” that can help you in determining optimal times to post there. As a rule of thumb, many retailers find that posting between 8am and 2pm works best.

    People engage with Facebook the most between 9pm and 10pm and the 18-24 age demographic is the most engaged during this time.

    A tool called Edge Rank Checker can help you determine the best times to post on Facebook.

    Content Calendar

    Once you know where you want to post content, the focus and types of content you want to produce, and have determined the posting frequency, the next step is to develop a content calendar to schedule your posts. One person even referred to it as a “conversation” calendar. What I’m referring to is a calendar whereby you create a series of content entries for use on social networks.

    Calendars can be created on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis and can be done using a spreadsheet or, preferably, a social media management application designed for that purpose.

    Here is an example of a content calendar (click the image to enlarge) using a spreadsheet based on a monthly posting schedule. At the top of the spreadsheet is a field to include the name of the month, along with a field for listing the major theme for that month, should you choose to use one. This could include such themes as holiday sales, special product promotions, marketing campaigns, or anything else you choose to emphasize.

    Content Calendar

    In the left-hand column are the social media channels that will be posted to. The subsequent columns set forth posting schedules on a weekly basis for each week during the month.

    A better way to manage your social media engagement activities, including creating a content calendar, is through the use of social media management applications designed specifically for this purpose. I refer to these applications as “tools.”

    These tools enable you to more effectively and efficiently manage every aspect of your social media engagement from content creation, to content syndication, to community management.

    For example, rather than writing a blog post, then going to Facebook, Twitter or other social networks to repost the content, these tools automate the process for you. Further, they provide a single dashboard through which you can engage with your fans and followers and administer each of your social media channels. In other words, let the tools do much of the work for you and save the valuable time needed to run your business.

    Some of the tools I recommend include:

    Each of these software applications is available for use in multiple languages and is affordably priced. Some, like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, are free to use as the base level.

    One of the best and most affordable tools I have found is Sprout Social. It performs just about every operation and function you would ever need. Using it you can:

    • Publish & schedule updates across social channels with a single click.
    • Monitor your brand and competition across social channels and the web. This is especially useful when doing research on where your customers and target audiences maintain a presence online.
    • Connect with highly targeted customers through the discovery tools it provides.
    • Measure the success of your social media engagement with reporting
      and analytics tools.
    • Collaborate with other team members, assign tasks and set permissions.
    • Monitor Foursquare Check-Ins and visitor loyalty, and
    • Manage it all on the go with a mobile version of the application.

    Of course, there are many other such tools available, some of which may be better suited to your own language or the country where your business is located. The best way to find them is through a keyword search on search engines using terms like “social media management software.”

    In terms of social media engagement, content is king. Engaging content can set you apart from your competition, help establish you as a thought leader and knowledgeable expert, keep your business top of mind with consumers, and can provide the leverage needed to keep your customers coming back time after time.

    Check out my new ebook - Social Media for Small Business, Vol. 1 - the first in a 7-part series on using social media to market your business. 

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  • Social Publishing Evolution: From Posts to Feeds and Streams to Topic Pages

    The more I read about content curation, the more I believe we’re experiencing a publishing evolution.

    Back in blogging’s early days, posts consisted of lists of links, which later morphed into lists of links annotated by commentary from the blogger. Still later, long-form posting came about giving guys like me the opportunity to bloviate ad naseum.

    With the onset of social media came feeds and streams, which amplified the noise level to such deafening proportions that it could be the equivalent of standing next to the speakers at a Deep Purple concert!

    LA freeway trafficTo put it another way, we’ve gone way beyond the information super highway and ramped onto the LA freeway system during evening rush hour!

    Even better, combine driving LA freeway traffic with Deep Purple playing on the radio at full blast and you get a picture of what I’m talking about.

    “What? You can’t hear me? Wait, I’ll turn it down. That’s better. Now we can talk.”

    Something has to be done about this and, thankfully, it is. It’s called content curation and its focused on organizing web content in such a way that crowded passageways become more navigable. It may not be enough to turn our content consumption into a Sunday afternoon drive on a scenic byway, but it does reduce the stress quite a bit.

    ReadWriteWeb Editor Richard McManus says that such topically organized content, which he refers to as topic pages, are the “next big thing.” And they are the next big thing because they have to be the next big thing or we will all go stir crazy due to the cacophony.

    In his post, McManus references Medium, which happens to be the next technological apparatus to foment from the fertile minds of Evan Williams and Biz Stone. (When you consider they literally put blogging on the map with Blogger, then followed up with the micro-blogging sequel called Twitter, it’s probably smart to pay attention to this latest creation.)

    But, Medium is one of but many curation tools designed to organize content into topical pages. Currently, I’m learning the curation craft using Rebelmouse, Scoop.it and Paper.li.

    I believe that expert curators will become the next Internet superstars because they will do for us what we won’t do for ourselves, and that is undertake the arduous task of organization on our own. Think of these people as digital librarians organizing content into a sort of Dewey decimal system that makes it easier to find what we’re looking for and become more productive as a result.

    If McManus is correct in his assertion, curation is the “new black.” I’m ready to embrace it and do my best to curate content the members of my tribe will appreciate. What about you?

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  • Scoop.it: Content Curation Platform Review; 13 Things I Like and Three I Don’t

    This post is the second in a series on content curation and deals with content curation platform Scoop.it. In subsequent posts, I will examine two other such platforms: Rebelmouse and Paper.li. NOTE: The first post in this series dealt with curation fundamentals.

    Lately, I’ve been testing three different content curation platforms: Scoop.it, Rebelmouse and Paper.li. In this post, I review what has become my curation platform of preference, Scoop.it.

    Scoop.it

    Thirteen Things I Like About Scoop.it

    Scoop.it offers many features that commend it as a highly useful curation platform. Here are thirteen:

    1. Visual format – Scoop.it makes use of graphics to draw attention to each article shared, which is in keeping with a shift toward the Pinterest/Instagram inspired visual orientation of the web.
    2. Two column layout – By presenting stories in a simple two-column format, Scoop.it offers a more orderly layout than does its competitor Rebelmouse, which, aside from the featured post, I find a tad too cluttered. (That may be due to my left-brain orientation, however. You’ll have to forgive the fact that I come from a family of accountants.)
    3. Customization options – Scoop.it offers users the ability to customize header and background images in order to give it a more branded look and feel.
    4. Free and premium levels – Scoop.it offers three levels: free, Pro ($13 per month) and Business ($79 per month).
    5. Multiple topics – Depending on the level chosen, users can curate up to as many as 15 different topics.
    6. Profile page – The platform offers a profile page that, among other things, serves as an index to showcase all the topics a user is curating.
    7. Multiple source options – Scoop.it gives users the ability to draw from a number of sources including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Slideshare, Google News, Google Blogs and Google Videos. In addition, users can search content based on keywords from the above sources and can pull in content from RSS feeds, Twitter users and lists, and Facebook pages. Scoop.it has what it refers to as a “suggestion engine” that does just that, suggests content based on the keyword information given it.
    8. Bookmarklet – Scoop.it provides a bookmarklet that enables users to curate any content found on the web.
    9. Multiple sharing options – Once a topic has been selected and a page set up, Scoop.it makes it easy to share content through a variety of social networks including Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WordPress and StumbleUpon. Scoop.it also incorporates the use of Buffer, the new social media management app.
    10. Commenting – Not only can users share posts, they can also leave comments and express their “thanks” by clicking a “thumbs up” icon. (Think of this as a similar expression of affinity as the Facebook Like.)
    11. Rescooping – As if that’s not enough, with a single click, Scoop.it curators can “rescoop” content found on other Scoop.it sites. Users can follow other Scoop.it curators as well.
    12. Analytics – Premium users have access to analytics that include such metrics as total views, visitor and reactions. Users can also see who has followed their topics, and which users are the most engaged.
    13. Post creation – Through an easy to use HTML editor, Scoop.it enables users to create original content, which can be syndicated to any of the sources listed above including a blog. It’s no WordPress, but for something short that you want to create quickly and on the fly, it’s not bad.
    14. Tagging (This was added subsequent to publishing the post) – I like the fact Scoop.it provides categorization and taxonomy via tagging.

    Those are the features I particularly like. Click here to see the complete list along with pricing.

    What I Don’t Like About Scoop.it

    With its many features, there are few things not to like about Scoop.it. Nonetheless, I’ll give it a shot.

    1. Lack of email newsletter creation capability - In order to make Scoop.it a true full-service content curation platform, I wish it offered the ability to create a newsletter to use in sending to my mailing list. Minus that, if I want to incorporate email marketing, I’m forced to use other tools such as FlashIssue, Curatehub, XYDO or an ESP like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. (UPDATE: Scoop.it says they are working on incorporating email.)
    2. Lack of advertising options – To my knowledge, there is no way to monetize Scoop.it through the use of advertising. I would like to see the platform provide the ability to insert display ad units.
    3. Suggestion Engine page – Each time I choose one of my topics (which are accessed from the toolbar at the top of the page), I’m taken to the “suggestion engine” page. I would prefer going straight to my topic page instead. It’s a minor inconvenience, but requires a second click.
    4. Schedule posts (I added this one subsequent to publishing this post) – I wish there was a way to schedule updates so they would be added over the period of several hours, similar to the way Buffer does it. Due to time constraints I have to do all my updates in one sitting, which means that several articles are added at the same time. (Just learned this is available in the Business version. Unfortunately, at $79 per month, that’s too rich for my pocketbook.)

    Conclusion

    Due to its many features, as well as its free and low cost options, which are perfect for small businesses, Scoop.it has become my preferred content curation platform. Currently, I curate three topics: Social commerce, content marketing (with an emphasis on curation) and Pinterest marketing, and plan to add others as time allows. Also, time permitting, I hope to provide a guide in the form of an ebook that details how to set up topics and make use of all the platform has to offer.

    Have you tried Scoop.it? If so, what do you think of the platform? What improvements would you suggest be added?

    Scoop.it Video

    Scoop.it Screen Shots

    Scoop.it user profile

    Scoop.it User Profile

    Scoop.it Community

    Scoop.it Community Members

    Scoop.it Suggestion Engine

    Scoop.it Suggestion Engine

    Scoop.it analytics

    Scoop.it Analytics Dashboard

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