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Content Marketing in 2014: Trends You Need to Understand to be Successful

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bigstock-new-year---next-and-previou-48446960 Last year around this time, I deemed 2013 the “year of content marketing” and I think I was right. Content marketing has existed for a lot longer than a year, but in 2013, this form of connecting with customers and promoting your business exploded. Today, it seems like every small business, large corporation, and even solo entrepreneur is talking about content strategy.

But the internet stands about as still as a troupe of river dancers. Let’s take a look at major trends in content marketing and what you need to know to succeed in 2014.

Trend #1: Mobile is where it’s at.

According to reports, 22% of the world’s population now owns a smartphone, up from just 5% in 2009. Of course, in many countries those rates are even higher; some companies even have an over 100% subscription rate, meaning that many people have more than one smart phone.

Admit it: you would break out in a cold sweat if you lost your phone. Actually, most of us would feel sick if we just forgot our phones at home. We live and die by our phones, sad as that may be.

So, if your content isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a huge market. A huge, geeky, obsessed market. Do you have a responsive blog theme or a mobile website? What about an app? How do your readers interact with your content via their mobile devices?

Get ahead of the curve. Don’t just make your content mobile friendly. Customize it for the mobile audience to make the experience as good as possible for your mobile users. If you go above and beyond to provide a great user experience, you’ll outpace your competitors. The sad fact is, most content creators are still doing the bare minimum when it comes to creating mobile content.

Trend #2: Content curation is as important as content creation.

Over the past few months, one phrase has popped up on my radar more and more: Miley Cyrus

Just kidding. The phrase I’m really talking about is content curation.

No matter how big your content creation team, you can’t keep up with consumption. That’s where content curation comes in. Your audience doesn’t want to know you as just the person (or company) creating great content. They also want to know you as the person (or company) recommending great content.

If you’re afraid of promoting your “competitors,” you’re thinking about the situation incorrectly. When you share someone’s great content, you get some of the credit, even though you weren’t the creator. You build your brand as the expert in your niche/industry. You do have to be careful with what you promote (you don’t want to send customers away), but don’t be so scared that you only promote your own content. A true leader in content marketing curates as well as creates.

Trend #3: Having a Director of Content on your team is increasingly important.

As your business continues to create more and more content, it will become important to have someone on your team who will manage it all. Your Director of Content should have a diverse set of skills, in order to be able to both create content and come up with a strategy for your content that makes sense for your business goals. This person should also work closely with (if not oversee) your social media team and email marketing team, and they should have open lines of communication with all departments in your business. I recommend hiring someone with the ability to time travel if you can, but content marketing is a big, time-consuming job.

In 2014, I believe it will also become increasingly important to boost your Director of Content’s budget so they can pay for contributors and designers. I know a lot of businesses who aren’t spending much on content beyond their Director of Content’s salary. While there are sources of free content out there, the right Director of Content can stretch even a small budget to give you an amazing return.

Is your business too small for a Director of Content? Then you Director of Marketing better have a strong, strong grasp on content marketing.

Trend #4: Guest posting is bouncing back in new ways.

Over the last three years, guest posting went through some weird transitions. Three years ago, as a freelancer, I had clients knocking down my doors to pay me to publish guest posts on others’ sites on their behalf. Then, things changed. Too many low-quality writers inundated the blogosphere, and most bloggers couldn’t keep up with requests, most of which were for crap posts that didn’t add anything of value to the blog. On top of that, readers began to cry foul as some bloggers published more guest posts than posts of their own.

Many blogs locked down like Fort Knox, no longer accepting unsolicited guest posts. Some blogs decided not to accept guest posts at all. But in the last few months, I’ve seen a bit of a shift. Bloggers are not on guest post lock down like they have been in the past, but what they’re looking for is changing. It isn’t just about quality content anymore. It’s about filling a gap.

No blogger can be an expert on every topic in their niche. So, many bloggers are extremely receptive (and in some cases actively looking for) people who can write about topics where their own knowledge is weak. In my experiences, bloggers are even looking for monthly contributors, not just one-time guest posters.  If you want to make guest posting part of your content marketing strategy for 2014, start looking for those gaps and pitch bloggers on filling them.

Trend #5: The best content is entertaining, not just educational.

In past, we’ve drawn lines in the sand. This content was entertaining. That content was educational. Increasingly, though, I think readers are demanding both.

Entertaining doesn’t mean your blog has to be ha-ha, laugh-out-loud funny, but it does mean that you have to have a little special sauce spread on your posts. Maybe you add some personal stories to help people understand a point. Maybe you improve your writing to add some clever phrases. Maybe it means that you aren’t afraid to be a little goofy sometimes.

I used to say “it depends on your niche” but I don’t think that’s the case any longer. I think your educational posts have to have a little pizazz. Boring content just isn’t cutting it anymore.

So there you have it, my top five trends for content marketing in 2014. What trends do you see for content marketing this year?

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Why Blogs Are the Future for 2014 and How to Prepare Your Blog for the New Year

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blogs are the future

As the calendar inches ever closer toward the new year, there’s never been a better time to talk about blogging. Everywhere you go these days, someone’s saying something about how many blogs there are and how the blog world is over-saturated. Could these ideas actually be true? Are blogs over, or is 2014 a good time to start your own? What will 2014 hold for blogs—how will things change, and how will they stay the same? If you already blog, how can you prepare your blog for the next season?

To help answer those questions, let’s look at what the experts are saying about why blogs do matter—along with strategies for making the most of your blogging efforts.

Blogs Still Matter

Despite what you may have heard, blogs are not done yet. “The need for an online presence has never been stronger,” says Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Watch. “[But] the landscape has never been more competitive.” Whether you’re thinking about improving your business’s search results or looking to become an authority in a specific niche, blogs are powerful, especially when you know how to use them. Below, consider what experts are saying:

  • “Extremely Relevant.” In February 2013, Clayton Lainsbury wrote at the content marketing site Crowd Content Resources that “intelligent marketers still know that blogging is extremely relevant if you apply it properly in a social and mobile driven world.” His point is that the world is online—and blogging gives you a way to reach it.
  • “There’s No Better Way.” In an April 2013 blog post at Social Media Today entitled “Blogging is More Important Today than Ever Before,” author Nicole Beachum said, “There is not a better way to add relevant content to your website on a regular basis than to utilize a blog.” Citing reasons like search engine optimization and keeping up with the competition, Beachum goes so far as to say hiring a professional is a savvy step.
  • “Effective Marketing Strategy.” According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 Report for B2B content marketers, 62% of marketers still see blogging as an effective content strategy.
  • “A Public Record.” There are intangible benefits to blogging, which is something personal bloggers like Lisa Endlich understand well. For individuals as well as businesses, blogging offers a place to chronicle your story and connect with like minds.

How to Blog Strategically in 2014

Based on a Google Talk given in October at PubCon 2013, staying ahead in the blog world is simply a matter of knowing what to expect. With that in mind, here are some tips for making the most of your blogging efforts, at least in terms of search results, next year:

  • Focus on Quality: Search engine algorithms are always changing, but one bottom-line principle stays the same: High quality content works. Rather than worrying about how to trick the search giants, focus on publishing the highest quality content you can.
  • Benefit Your Reader: If you aren’t answering the #1 reader question of “Why should I care?” you’re sabotaging your own blogging efforts. Look at your blog right now—what does it offer? What do your readers gain? Why should they come back? Make those answers crystal clear in order to prepare your blog for the new year.
  • Blog Like You Talk: As voice searching grows in popularity, blogs that are written the way people talk may rank higher.
  • Niche = Authority: The more specific and focused your blog topic, the better your chances of becoming an authority in your field. Rather than blogging about food, for example, blog about gluten-free, dairy-free recipes. Rather than blogging about lifestyle, blog about being a stay-at-home dad of twins in New York City. Look for ways to specialize, and you become more valuable.
  • Make the Most of Social Media: Social profiles are not only good for building relationships, but also they help you increase online authority. Search engines look at social activity—how often your blog is mentioned, linked to, etc.—to determine ranks.
  • Know Your Goals: Gone are the days when all you hope for with a blog is a reader. Moving forward, bloggers will need to determine their exact goals (Conversions? Subscribers? New leads?) to quantify success.

Your Thoughts

Will you or your business be blogging in 2014? What changes are you making to prepare for the new year? What changes do you think are important?

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Could Guest Posting be the Perfect PR Launch Pad for Your Business?

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bigstock-Public-Relations-Word-Cloud-39228943 Expert. It’s a short word that conveys a lot of meaning. Whether you are working in a company or are an  entrepreneur, you likely want to be known as an expert or authority in your field. The big question is how to take your skills and knowledge turn that into expert status.

While social media acts as a platform for experts, if you are just starting out it can be difficult to cut through the clutter. Twitter alone has an average of 58 million tweets per day, so you may have a hard time getting your four or five tweets a day noticed by anyone.

Even with amazing content and ideas, to break into the expert realm, you should consider to adopting some classic PR tactics.  When you think about PR it may feel a bit old school.

PR often gets overlooked in favor of the latest and greatest platforms but there is a reason it has been around for so long. It works, especially in a world super focused on social media.  When PR is used in conjunction with social media, it can help you put your name on the map that much faster.

Guest Posting as Your PR Launchpad

For new or lesser known experts, authorship programs where you place guest blog posts offer a proven and practical way to support marketing and business goals. Sure, you can tell everyone you are an expert, but having articles you’ve authored on the top blogs in your niche says it for you.

As a strategy, guest blog posting has taken a few minor hits as several high profile blogs announced they would no longer take guest blog posts. Then  in July 2013, Google announced it was making changes to its link building scheme, and certain types of links in guest posts would be penalized. What all of this means is that if you insert links into your articles they need to add value. This change is positive for guest posting programs as it helps improve the overall quality of guest posts.

Despite these developments, rest assured, guest posting is alive and well. For would-be experts, writing and placing guest posts is truly the perfect way to get started with PR. You can control the message, test out story ideas, and do it all on a shoestring budget.

Building Your Street Cred

It is no accident that when you land on a top blogger or podcaster’s web site that they have the logos of blogs or media outlets where they’ve featured.  By guest posting, you can quickly build up a portfolio of your work to showcase on your site either by using logos and/or creating a press page.  That information acts as shorthand for prospects and influencers when they visit your site. With a quick glance, they can see you are respected within your industry.

For speaking engagements, conference organizers can see you have a track record providing new ideas and stimulating discussion on timely topics within your industry. One of their goals is to showcase speakers that draw attendees, so if you have  been out there creating buzz, you are going to be much more appealing as a potential speaker.

Plus, guest posting can expose you to new audiences and connect you to key players in your industry. While you should always guest post without expecting anything in return, throughout this process you will build relationships with bloggers and editors and become better known in your industry. Over time, more people will read your work giving you an even bigger platform as an expert.

All of this helps to open up doors you may not have imagined. Great businesses are truly built one relationship at a time and a well-written post may result in a dream client or a show organizer wanting you to speak at their event. You just never know.

Preparing for the Media Spotlight

As you have been guest posting when you start pitching mainstream media, you’ll have far more credibility as an expert source.  When they Google you or visit your web site they will quickly be able to get a sense of who you are. The writer, editor or producer will see you’ve been out there talking about related topics and understand that you are a credible source for a story.

Pitching mainstream media can be intimidating, especially starting out. Through guest posting you will have a chance to refine your message and build confidence sharing your stories. When it’s time for you to pitch the media, you’ll have the confidence you need to sell the story or pull off a killer interview. In short, you’ll be ready for your big break in the mainstream media and be able to make the most of it.

Guest blog posting offers any expert an ideal platform for building awareness and credibility than can act as a key building block for other PR opportunities. PR should not be overlooked but serve as a complement to social media or other marketing efforts.

How has guest blog posting help build your expert status? Share in the comments below.

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10 Easy-to-Fix Content Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

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Content Mistakes

Over the past few years, content marketing has emerged as the answer to a lot of our online marketing challenges. And because it works, we all do it—but not all of us do it as successfully as we’d like.

Granted, there’s no fool proof marketing plan that guarantees success. The only guarantee we have is that we’ll make mistakes and hopefully, learn from them. Unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t even realize we’re doing something wrong…and that’s where the trouble starts.

Below are 10 easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes you may not even know you’re making.

1. Not Reusing Content Effectively

The beauty of content marketing is in its reusability. Just because you’ve written a blog post doesn’t mean its life expectancy is limited to that post alone.

Expand on the topic and write a short ebook, report or white paper on it. Turn it into a presentation, a podcast, or even a video. Better yet, invite an authority on the subject and interview them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Editor’s note: You can also do the reverse and take other content, like ebooks and presentations and turn them into blog posts. For example, every year, we turn the presentations at NMX into several blog posts, like this one we published based on Dino Dogan’s session at NMX 2013.

2. Using Jargon

Using industry jargon is a big fat “no” in content marketing and most of us know it. But we still end up using it in our content. We forget that our audience might not have the same understanding of the subject that we do.

Sure, we live, breathe and sleep our respective niches – but our readers don’t.

So go through your existing content and weed out any jargon used in your copy and replace them with layman terms.

3. Ignoring Your Current Audience in Favor of Attracting a New One

This phenomenon used to be a classic customer service mistake but it’s found in content marketing too now. A lot of times, content marketers are so focused on gaining new readers/followers/subscribers that they ignore the ones they already have.

Find a balance between the two but always give more importance to your existing audience. After all, retaining an audience is a lot easier than attracting a new one.

4. No Email Subscription Option

Is your content marketing strategy too focused on social media? Do you measure the success of your content in terms of social shares?

If yes, then it’s time to step back and think about email subscription. Social shares are fleeting. Once someone shares your content, they’re gone. There’s no way to contact them again or even find out who they were in some cases.

Email subscription on the other hand gives you the foot in the door you need to make a lasting impression.

HubSpot does this brilliantly. They have visually appealing call-to-actions for email sign ups after every post they publish.

5. No Incentive or Bribe to Encourage Sign Ups

Here’s the thing. Folks who sign up for newsletters don’t do it because of your stellar content. Well some do, but they’re very rare. Most of them sign up because they want to receive something in return. Something they can only get if they sign up for your newsletter.

Jon Morrow used his free report “52 Headline Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For Writing Posts That Go Viral” to get 13000 email subscribers for his new blog before he wrote the first post.

Crazy, right?

Your audience is more likely to do what you want if you give them an incentive. So make them an offer they can’t refuse.

For even more tips, check out this post on getting more email subscribers.

6. No Automation in Place

Even if marketers have their email subscription and incentive in place to capture leads, your subscribers will forget about you if you don’t follow up.

Even if they think the free report/ebook/ecourse etc. they received was brilliant, they won’t seek you out unless you do so first.

Email auto-responders are the best way to do that. They keep your audience engaged even when you don’t have the time to talk to them. It also saves you hours and hours of time you’d otherwise have spent coming up with content ideas.

Spend time creating an auto-responder series relevant to your subscribers and then watch as they become more and more engaged with your content.

7. No Guest Blogging

Content marketing isn’t worth the time, money and energy you invest in it if you don’t have authority. One of the fastest and most effective ways to build authority is by guest posting on reputable blogs.

Find popular and well respected blogs in your niche and reach out to them for guest blogging opportunities. Plenty of popular blogs accept guest posts and even have guidelines listed for them on their website.

Want more advice on guest blogging? Check out the following posts:

8. No Branding

Your online marketing efforts can’t be successful until you get your branding right. And having a great logo, professional web design, and stellar content is all well and good but that’s not the whole equation.

Your branding needs to be on every piece of online property you have your name on. That includes everything from the background and cover photos of your social media profiles to your email signature.

Here’s a tip not many people think of. If you’re investing in stock photos, get the right license and brand them as well. This way, when someone tweets, shares or pins your photo, folks will know at a glance who the content belongs to.

9. No Clear Call to Actions

The whole aim of producing, publishing and marketing content is to get people to take a specific action. Yet so often, we forget to include a call to action. We assume that since it’s a blog post, readers will comment. Or just because it says “free report”, folks will automatically sign up to download it.

If you want your readers to take action, you have to prompt them to do it. Figure out what action you want a particular piece of content to encourage and then spell it out.

10. Ignoring Smaller Tools and Tactics

Content marketing isn’t just about the big things like blog posts, newsletters, freebies and guest posts. It’s also about the small things you do to prolong the life of your content.

Don’t shy away from using different tools within your content that encourages sharing. Occasionally give away a freebie for the price of a tweet or a Facebook share. Include a “Click to Tweet” link in your blog posts, ebooks and other content to make it easy for people to share it.

Take a quote from your content and put it on an image to make it more share worthy. The Write Life does a great job of doing so in their posts. They then use those photos in their Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ updates.

What’s other easy-to-fix content marketing mistakes have you seen people make?

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Influencer Driven Content Marketing: Lee Odden Explains this Powerful Tool for Businesses

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lee odden Last year, you couldn’t walk ten steps down the hall of any business conference without hearing the words content marketing. Bloggers have been doing it for years, but the idea of content marketing and how it can help your business has been thrust into the spotlight.

More recently, however, the mummers I hear center around a different buzz word: influencers. Influencers aren’t the people in your industry who start trends or break new ground. They’re the people in your industry who spread the trends and report the news. They turn a kernel of an idea into something everyone is talking about. So, business owners are starting to realize the advantages of connecting with influencers and turning them into brand advocates.

But what happens when the worlds of content marketing and influencer marketing meet? As Lee Odden suggests, the result is something even more powerful. In a post on his TopRank blog, Lee writes,

“Influencer driven content marketing is one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with performance measurement and business outcomes should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.”

Working with influencers not separately, but as part of your content strategy, means doing more than just connecting with the right people so they talk about your business. It means integrating them into your plan for spreading educational, inspirational, and entertaining content. Influencers don’t even need to mention your brand to have a serious effect on your bottom line.

Let’s go over three steps to get started with influencer drive content marketing:

  • Step One: Identify the influencers.

These are NOT necessarily the people with the most social followers. Quality is more important. How likely are those followers to do what the influencer says? I know people on Twitter with millions of followers who don’t have the influence that someone with ten thousand has.

In addition, someone who has a ton of influence may not be right for your specific needs. How likely is the audience to be looking for the kind of content you have to share? The more targeted the audience, the better.

  • Step Two: Determine the type of content you can create.

Every influencer will be different, and your budget also plays a factor here. One of the best options is to have an influencer create content for you in the form of blog posts and videos, but the bigger the influencer, the bigger your budget needs to be (unless you have something else to trade, like free service/products, a large audience, etc.).

You can also look at ways to create content that puts more of the work on YOU. Interviews, for example, are an awesome way to have an influencer create content for your brand without you needing a huge budget. You can also quote them in your blog posts (like I’m doing in this post for example) or do case studies. Most influencers will share content where they are featured.

Lastly, you can also create content that answers questions an influencer poses online. In this case, you’re targeting that influencer, but in an indirect way. This is the easiest option, but also has the lowest potential of an influencer sharing your content.

  • Step Three: Reach out to the influencer and begin building that relationship.

When you publish a post that features someone or answers a question, let the influencer know. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making (and a mistake I’ve made in the past) is creating awesome content, but being too humble or shy to reach out to the people who should be spreading this content. Don’t spam people with links, but let them know when you’ve published something of value to their audience, especially when it features them.

Also important: if you’re paying for an influencer to create content for you, make sure you discuss promotion as well. If a large parenting blogger writes about your brand of cereal but doesn’t tweet the link or pin an enticing image, that post might go unnoticed. Always set clear expectations not just for the content creation, but also for the promotion of the content.

Don’t Forget About Our Giveaway!

I’m featuring Lee today not only because his advice is super smart, but also because we recently announced that he’ll be presenting a keynote at NMX 2014 in Las Vegas this coming January. If you missed the keynoter announcement, check it out for more information about all five of the keynote speakers we announced.

To celebrate, we’re giving away previous sessions from all of our keynoters. Yes, they are completely free! Get access here before time runs out!

A Hard Truth: Google Doesn’t Care About Your Awesome Content

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Recently, Google introduced a new search feature called “in-depth articles” The idea behind this feature is that mid-way down on the first page of search results for more popular keywords, you’ll find older, but extremely relevant, content that serves as a “guide” to the topic at hand.

Google wants good content, not necessarily new content. When you hear bloggers talk about “pillar” evergreen posts, this is what they mean.

Learning More about In-Depth Articles

Ana from Traffic Generation Cafe wrote a really great piece about this announcement, which you can find here. I really recommend giving it a read if you want to get started writing content for Google’s new in-depth article feature. In this post, she also points to another interesting and extremely helpful post on the topic, from Mark Traphagen. In one of the comments, he writes,

 

We tend to think of Google as being really, really smart and almost omniscient. And compared to other data retrieval systems, it is leaps and bounds ahead. But the reality is that properly indexing, evaluating, and ranking the billions upon billions of pages on the web is more enormous than most people think. And at the end of the day, even Google ends up taking easy short cuts.

We have to face the reality that Google doesn’t care about “surfacing the little guy” or “reduced access to legacy content.” Their business model is built upon getting something useful to the searcher withing the top few results or ads. They may say they want to rank the “best,” but at the end of the day, how can they even successfully judge that, and if users are happy with what they are getting in the top few positions, then it works for Google.

What really struck me about this statement was how right Mark is about Google not caring about “surfacing the little guy.” In fact, I would go as far as saying that Google doesn’t care about your content at all, even if it is awesome. They aren’t some altruistic being whose job it is to find great content and make sure the world sees it. They’re a business performing a service, and that service is giving people answers to their questions based on whatever keywords they type into that little box.

Google doesn’t care if your piece was more well-written or insightful if the search results are already full of relevant, quality content. Their aim is to consistently show good results, even great results, but they don’t care about showing the best results.

This post sounds a little bitter, but I promise it’s not. What I’m trying to get across is this:

Awesome content is not enough.

At least, it isn’t for Google, especially for their new in-depth articles. Awesome content will make readers love you, but search engines care about relevant more than awesome.

So, What Can A Blogger Do to Get Some Google In-Depth Article Love?

Actually, it isn’t as hard as it sounds. Google might always cater to large sites they know and trust, but just because you’re not The New Yorker doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live on page two or three of the search results.

I’ve never given much thought to SEO. I always thought that writing great content was always the best SEO tactic I could use. And I still think that’s the case. But recently, some SEO experts taught me a little about basic keyword research (shout-out to the team at DragonSearch!) and it has made all the difference. In addition, here are a few tips Google has given us about getting your content flagged as an in-depth article:

And ALWAYS write awesome content, even if Google doesn’t give a rat’s patootie. At the end of the day, people matter more than Google. Google will help you get found initially if you cater toward their algorithm, but people will share your in-depth content if it is the best they’ve seen.

 

5 Mistakes Your Small Business is Making on Twitter

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business on twitter

As a small business owner, it can be challenge to keep up with best social practices. One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “What am I doing wrong?” If you’re not seeing the results you think you should from Twitter, here are a few mistakes you might be making:

Mistake #1: Broadcasting Without Interacting

The entire point of social media is to promote your business, right? Well, yes…but in a social way. It’s about more than just broadcasting. Sure, you can send out tweets that include links to your website or blog, but you also want to interact with your followers. Jump into relevant conversations. Be helpful when someone asks a question. Follow others in your industry and those who are potential customers. If you aren’t using the “@” reply function often, that’s something that needs to change. Southwest Airlines is a great example of a company doing this right. They are constantly retweeting and replying to their customers.

Mistake #2: Blurring the Lines Between Personality and Personal

When using social, I think it’s great for the personality of your company to shine through. You aren’t just a giant logo. There are real people behind your social account. But there’s a difference between showing your personality and getting personal. If you’re a business or brand on Twitter, you don’t need to tweet out pictures of your meal or rants about your flight being delayed. Save that for your personal account. Keep your Twitter interactions relevant to your business. Bill Gerth (and Frank Eliason before him) for Comcast does a great job at this at @comcastcares. Talenti Gelato (who we profiled here) and GrubHub are also awesome at letting their personality shine through while still making it about their respective businesses.

Mistake #3: Going on Hiatus

If you can’t commit to tweeting daily, get off of Twitter. No, really. It looks bad if someone asks a question on Twitter and you don’t reply quickly. An abandoned Twitter account is worse than having no Twitter account at all.

Mistake #4: Promotional Updates

Promotional updates are okay. After all, you’re using social media to promote your business. However, if you’re only promoting yourself, your tweets can get old quickly. A really great option is to start a blog and also promote your links to education or entertaining topics. If you run a lawn care company, don’t tweet yet again that you’re available for landscaping. Tweet a link to your post on the “10 Best Celebrity Yards” or “How to Get Rid of Summer Garden Pests.” Get people reading on your site through content marketing and then sell them on your products or services once they’re a fan.

Mistake #5: Not Following Relevant Hashtags

Lastly, are you following hashtags in your industry? Hashtags (using the # symbol before a word or phrase) allow you to see what people are saying about a specific topic. Following these hashtags allows you to identify problems, jump into conversations, and find new followers (and potential customers). Always be listening to what your target market is saying.

What’s the biggest mistake you see businesses making on Twitter? Leave a comment!

How Does Blogging Help You Boost Traffic and Generate Leads? [Infographic]

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Whether your company blogs or not, it’s important to not disregard its significance. Blogging has three proven ways to help boost your brand and market your business. They are proven to generate traffic, leads and help spearhead your social media marketing efforts. Blogging takes effort, but as this infographic shows, time spent implementing a blog strategy can pay dividends. They key is to remain consistent and blog often!

Blogging-IG-Blogworld

17 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Hosting Webinars

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Brilliant Bloggers is a bi-weekly series here at NMX where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every other week, we’ll feature a brilliant blogger, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Hosting Webinars

When people talk about content marketing, they typically mean blogging, podcasting, video, ebook publication, and social curation. However, content marketing is really any kind of free informational or entertaining resource you give away in order to highlight your own skills and products/services. It’s selling without really selling.

One often-overlooked form of content marketing is the free webinar. Webinars can be recorded or live, but in both cases, they are an online presentation or class given at a specific time, usually in order to capture leads (i.e. people have to give you their email address and other information to attend).

This week’s Brilliant Bloggers is all about the art of hosting a great webinar. They can be a lot of work if you do them well, but the reward is great, since they can attract thousands of attendees without you having to plan a live event. And lest you think webinars are only for business, you can also consider hosting one if your a blogger or podcaster, as they can drive traffic and help you become known as an expert in your field. You can even sell access to a webinar as a way of monetizing.

Brilliant Blogger of the Week:

aliza sherman by Aliza Sherman

Some webinars I attend are great, but I identify with this post by Aliza Sherman because most of the webinars I’ve attended are pretty horrible. What separates the good from the bad?

Aliza outlines several tips in this post that can help you ensure your posts are beneficial, not a chore for people to attend. If your webinars are good, they can solidify you as an expert, promote your products/services, and help you capture leads, so definitely check out her tips before you host your next webinar! (And don’t forget to follow Aliza on Twitter at @alizasherman.)

Even More Brilliant Advice:

  1. 6 Tips for Hosting a Successful Webinar by Sharon Dunigan
  2. 8 Ways To Boost Your Business With Webinars by Lewis Howes (@LewisHowes)
  3. 10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar by Chris Peters and Kami Griffiths (@TechSoup)
  4. 18 Tips on How To Conduct an Engaging Webinar by Olivia Mitchell (@OliviaMitchell)
  5. A Five-Step Process for Hosting a Webinar That Generates Sales by Greg Digneo (@GregDigneo)
  6. Be the Webinar Host with the Most – 4 Tips! by Jill Bastian (@jillieb3)
  7. Hosting A Webinar – Equipment You’ll Need by David Crawford
  8. How to Host a Great Webinar in 6 Easy Steps by Dan Taylor (@mountaindan)
  9. How to Host a Successful Webinar by Kelly Noble (@Stellar247) and Paul Serwin (@LeverageSuccess)
  10. How to Host a Webinar by Marketing Zone (@marketingzone_)
  11. How to Setup and Promote Your First Webinar by Ellie Mirman (@ellieeille)
  12. Public Speaking Tips for Webinars by Patricia Fripp (@pfripp)
  13. Running a Successful Webinar: 10 Presentation Commandments by Deborah Sweeney (@deborahsweeney)
  14. Seven Tips for Hosting Webinars that Rock by Carol Tice (@TiceWrites)
  15. The Advantages of Hosting a Webinar by Marissa Buie (@marBuie)
  16. Which is the One ‘Free Meeting Webinar Service’ to Rule Them All by Natalie Sisson (@suitcasepreneur)

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about hosting webinars? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Brilliant Blogger Topic: Video Podcasting

I’d love to include a link to your post in our next installment– and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

5 Ways to Avoid B2B Blogger Burnout

Author:

falling from chair Whether you write about GPS systems or accounting software, you know blogging about business-to-business (B2B) topics gets boring quickly. As time goes by and you keep pushing for new topic ideas and trying to find more time to write about them, you often find yourself feeling uninspired, bored, or otherwise wishing for a way out. So you have to ask yourself: How can I avoid this problem in the first place?

To help answer that question, here are five ways to avoid getting burned out as a blogger!

Keep Up with the Competition

A little healthy competition can be a good thing. When you watch the other guys churning out quality content time and time again, you know it’s possible. What’s more, you’re challenged to try to keep up. Hopefully you’re already following a variety of other blogs in your industry, but if not, do some research and subscribe to a handful of the best. Then use them to keep yourself motivated.

Seek Out Inspiration

Finding inspiration goes hand-in-hand with eyeing the competition—by continuously taking in relevant content, you set yourself up to be inspired. Follow blogs in your industry, media outlets relevant to your field, interesting users on social media, and so on. Anything that serves to cultivate fresh ideas and concepts is worth using.

Get Help

When it comes to blogging, your load gets lighter when you ask for help. Who else on your team could contribute? If you’re a one-person operation, could you enlist guest bloggers? What series could you launch and then ask colleagues to contribute content? By delegating part of your blog work, you free yourself up to stay inspired.

Think Outside the Box

When you’re stumped for new topic ideas, don’t quit blogging—think about a blog post that’s different from the ones you’ve been doing. If you typically share your thoughts, why not post a roundup of other articles from around the Web? Or perhaps you might interview an industry authority, review a relevant book, or create and post a unique infographic. By letting yourself think outside the box, you expand the ways blogging can work for you.

Plan Ahead—and Be Realistic About It

Setting an editorial calendar for your blog, in which you plan a month’s or a quarter’s posts ahead of time, may sound daunting. The truth is, though, that knowing what you need to write ahead of time is half the battle. It’s harder to feel uninspired when Friday’s topic and synopsis are right before you. Likewise, when you set your schedule, be realistic about it. If you know you are only able to write once a week, set your calendar accordingly. This not only helps you avoid frustration and burnout, but it also gives your readers clear expectations about when you post.

What do you think? Have you experienced some sort of blogger burnout from time to time? What could you do about it? If you’ve tried one of the above strategies, has it helped? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Image Credit: Bigstock

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