Tips for writing for the Web-Content Strategy

content strategy

1. Know your goals and objectives! Make sure you are familiar with the brand, speak to all the stakeholders and ask them for their goals for the website, and if it’s a large company, get no more than three goals off each department. You may need to refine them for different sections of the site. The sales team might want something different from management or marketing, so it’s good to get all the departments behind one overall goal for the site.

2. Use interviews to identify what needs changing or what content is required. It will help you create a better content strategy. Interview the stakeholders involved and research them before speaking with them about their aims for the site.

3. Identify the target audience; the more you narrow it down, the easier it will be to target the most important people in your strategy. Narrow them down by demographics-age, gender, location. Are they highly educated? Tech-Savvy? The more specific the better. You may need to do your own research or speak to the marketing department about their research.

4.  Create an inventory. Do an analysis of what is already in your site so you can understand what you already have and how it needs to be changed. Make an excel list of all the pages in your site and their function.

5.  Do a content gap analysis to list all the gaps in the content that’s on your website, what needs to be updated and brainstorm ideas for  new content. Know the goals and objectives for your content and the formats you want to use for each piece of content. When you brainstorm ideas, ask your customers or different departments about what they would like on the site. Feel free to add to your gap analysis at any stage of the process. Create a comprehensive list of content that you would like to appear on the site, not all of it will make it from an idea to reality, but it’s important to make a wishlist.

6. Do a content matrix by combining your inventory and your gap analysis. The content matrix will be different to other companies depending on your goals. You should also include elements such as: where the content is to be published, due dates, meta-data, languages, testing and the review process-who is involved. Prioritise the most important content and place importance on deadlines.  Here is some inspiration.

7.  A Style Guide- You can use an official reference and then edit it according to your own preferences. Consistency is paramount, and if you are in a large company, then digital brand guidelines should be used as inspiration for your style guide. Include elements such as tone of voice that reflects your message-is it formal or informal? It may change depending on the subject.  Design style guides should also be used as a reference point for things such as logo, fonts and colours on your site.

8.  Create and editorial calendar. Think in terms of different events and occasions throughout the year that may affect your business. First, think about the seasons and think about seasonal events and trends such as Christmas and Valentine’s day. Research newspapers and magazines for inspiration. This helps you schedule content in advance and you can use it  along with software for social automation to share your content across different platforms.

9. Factor in content for mobile devices from the very beginning of your content strategy. Make sure it will be readable and that your contact details are formatted in text rather than in a graphic. Make sure you include a map and address to your location. If you have a responsive site this can help save time as you only need to make one HTML page respond to different screen sizes. If you have an adaptive site then you need to make sure the most important information will be prominent and easy to read on smaller screens.

10.  Write good, useful content that speaks to your target audience. You can write content that is both optimised for search engines and make it compelling and useful for your users. Use you researched keyword phrases in your content and use them in different ways to get the most out of them and avoid keyword stuffing. Use your keyword phrases on your content pages to explain what each page is all about. Use your most competitive keyword phrases on your homepage, and use short succinct taglines.  On product pages, you will need to get more specific and detailed and you can use your less competitive keyword phrases. You can use both plurals, singulars and different tenses of the same phrase on the same page.

11. You can optimise your blogs and articles  by using keyword phrases and promote what your company is about, use keyword phrases that you would naturally use to make it sound informative and readable without sounding like you are just stuffing them with keywords. Ensure all your articles and content make sense to your users.

12. Avoid using keywords in graphic or flash or use alternative text or alt tags.

13. HTML tags. Use keyword phrases in your title tags, meta descriptions tags, Header tags, anchor text and alt tags for image navigation. Be careful to use your keyword phrases only where they makes sense and don’t just put them in for the sake of it.

14. Make sure your content fulfills your user’s needs by giving them the information they need. Think about what your audience is looking for and write the content for them while keeping the search engines in mind.

15. Get links to your site! What other sites say matters to Google. Having a great website with good content is critical to link popularity.

16. Use social media to promote your content. Social Media Marketing is vital to getting your content shared. You can also use it to monitor what people are saying about your company. Always respond to negative feedback, you might be able to turn it around and give great customer service and manage your reputation at the same time! Be authentic and open to criticism. Start by research competitors and see what they are doing and if your target market is engaging with them.

17. Measure your success. Rankings are not the best way to measure results as they can fluctuate depending on various factors at any given time as Google search results are often personalised. Instead of ranking reports, use Google Analytics to measure your success by looking at website conversions. Make sure each page on your site has a conversion point such as calls to action or just points of action. for example, make sure your contact form, once submitted, goes to a new page with a new url such as a ‘thank you’ page. This thank you page can become a goal in Google Analytics.

18. Make sure all the copy on your site facilitates a good user experience. Write short, succinct headings and summaries and make sure the most relevant pages are easy to find. Research shows users usually scan pages to find what they are looking for, so it is vital that you give them the information as quickly as possible whilst getting them to do what you want. Limit each paragraph to one idea and make it easy to find information. Make your web pages searchable and text should be broken up into easily scannable, short summaries. you can include your keyword phrases where they make sense.

19. Make sure blogs, articles and press releases are informal and enjoyable to read. Use outbound links to credible sources and know who you are writing for. Again, with writing blog posts you want to impart information, so don’t take forever to give this to your readers or they will get bored! You can use your blog and articles to promote your own products and always include a call to action with each one, you can link to old articles, your social sites or different parts of your page. Fast loading times are hugely important when it comes to hypertext links, people will get frustrated if they don’t get where they want in a timely fashion. Use graphics to compliment your story, simple infographics are great and can increase the sharability of your content!

Useful resources:

http://searchengineland.com/

http://www.linkspiel.com/

http://www.copyblogger.com/

http://www.marketingwords.com/blog/

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10 tips for Google Adwords for Small Businesses

1. If you are starting out and you have a small budget, then begin with Google Search.

2. Keyword selection is paramount to getting a high quality score. If you are a small business in a competitive industry then focus on longtail keywords, which means narrowing it down from say ‘restaurant’ to ‘Japanese Restaurant in Dublin that serves Ramen’.

3. Target your customers, or potential customers. Find out who these people are and reward them with coupons, discounts or great deals.

4. Use your analytics reports to find out what times, days, your ads have least effect. With enhanced campaigns you can now budget in percentage increases and decreases which let you find out the most profitable times.

5. Optimise your website by making small adjustments and changes necessary to work with your ads, your landing pages should be sending the same message and call to action as your ads and motivate people to buy that product or service. Good copy and usability is essential here.

6. Get smart! Make sure your website is optimised for smartphone viewing, no one needs to tell you how important this is so just do it!

7. Conversion Tracking. Track your leads and sales to find out what the return is on your ads. If your not getting a return, then maybe you need to try something else with your ads: different keywords, better landing pages etc.

8. Always link your Adwords with analytics as it can tell you how much your visitors are worth, where they are coming from and where they leave your site.

9. Group your ads together by theme, for example; one group could be ‘shoes’ and the other ‘dresses’.

10. Use ‘Adwords Campaign Experiments’ to try lots of different scenarios for your ads by time, date, demographic etc.

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Get Some Exposure for Your Business Through Images on Social Media


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stockvault-orange-cat140083 Lighthouse

The power of  images in our society is now more prominent than ever, and they are consistently used to attract, engage and provoke a reaction, and with people taking, sharing and discussing pictures across the world on platforms such as Pinterest, it is vital for your business to leverage this powerful medium. Images on your business’s social media platforms are a great way for you to communicate your brand’s message. In other words; tell the story of your business or product through an interesting and captivating visual. We don’t need conduct any more research to make us realise the power of images and it is often said ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so the one question you might ask yourself is, are your images worth a thousand words? If  not  it’s time for you to tell your story and capture your audience by entertaining, engaging and enlightening people through images.

Some  nice examples of companies and organisations using inspiring images on social media;

npr on tumblr

The Perfect Palette on Pinterest

Today Show on Instagram

55 Brands Rocking Social Media with Visual Content

Essential Tips

Decide on your story-What are your business goals? Use the answer to create a story that reflects your brand and engages your target audience

Start small-Begin with one social media platform and become master of it.

Be creative-Create a hook or theme related to your business and use it in your images, use colour and be creative with the space. Use faces, pictures of people are more interesting than product shots.

Involve your fans –Who are your audience? What would they find interesting, useful or funny. Add your  website or logo so they know its you.

Optimise the space and sizing- Use the recently released Social Media Cheat Sheet by Lunametrics to help create the optimum size for your images and take advantage of the space offered on different social platforms.

 Use any free tools available to you: Tools like instagram, gimp 2.0, picmonkey can make dull images look great, there are lots more great free photo editing tools, just Google them!

Optimise them: Make them visible to Google by using keywords in your captions and alt tags. Read my post on meta-tags below..

Make them shareable! If you are creating great images people will want to share then make them shareable! Make your images shareable with social sharing buttons such as Digg, facebook, twitter etc.

Don’t forget Intellectual Property Rights..Especially if you are using a professional photographer or your customer’s pictures. Make sure you have permission to use them across your social media channels.

 

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Content Marketing-Why it’s Essential!

Put simply content marketing is a tool for both B2C and B2B  marketing where you create and share content that’s valuable to your customers. It is now an essential form of marketing due to its reach and targeting abilities, it’s also low cost and a great way to promote your overall brand message without pushing it into people’s faces! Instead of bombarding your customers you can now connect and engage with them by answering their questions and giving advice and news that they are interested in. If you target the right people, you can get them to promote and share your business for you, saving you money you could have spent elsewhere on advertising.

Here are some reasons why you can’t ignore Content Marketing:

  • Saves money from costly advertising campaigns
  • Being real and honest and providing useful content means people will open up to your message or story and listen
  • Provides a limitless audience without bombarding people with advertisements they will probably ignore
  • You can listen to your customers and get great feedback
  • Builds trust with your customers
  • Writing case studies can help customers understand your product or service better
  • Drives traffic to your site and boost SEO value
  • You can distribute your content through lots of channels including your social media channels

These reasons only scratch the surface of why it is essential to use this invaluable marketing tool, of course the key to content marketing is creating good quality content that will be useful to people,  for example information they can use and apply to their lives or something entertaining that they find amusing or humorous, you can produce the content in-house or outsource it to freelancers who write to a high standard using the information you provide them.

Resources and Examples

http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2156596/brands-content-marketing

http://mashable.com/2012/07/27/refinery29-marketing/

http://www.slideshare.net/mprofs/b2b-content-marketing-2012-benchmarks-budgets-and-trends-north-america

http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/12/content-marketing-essentials/

http://www.dreamgrow.com/social-media-and-content-marketing-trends-for-2013/

 

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SEO Optimisation for Blogs-Basic Tips!

SEO

SEO

Since I am in the early days of blog writing I have largely ignored optimising it for SEO, but considering my blog is about marketing I should probably start thinking about it! Thankfully the WordPress theme I am using has a lot of it built-in and I have probably been doing it without even realising it, but I have found some handy SEO tips that could help get more exposure for your blog. Although SEO optimisation is important for any business blog especially the main thing to concentrate on is keeping the content interesting without purely focusing on stuffing it with keywords, if it’s not well written and provides no useful/interesting information then no-one is going to read and share it! A good quality, well written blog has the potential to keep people coming back to your site and readers will want to link back to it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something really exciting or new, it can be a new twist on a subject or a topic from your own perspective, as long as it’s easy and fun to read and gives the reader something back for their time the content will do its own work. Another thing to note is that your blog won’t become instantly popular, it takes time and work and dedication as does all digital media marketing but SEO should help speed up the process! Here are some basic tips to get started!

Basic Tips for Blog SEO:

Keywords:

Research keywords that are relevant to your blog, what do people click on and what has the most relevance to your business? Use keywords related to your business that rank high in search engines, you can use Google Insights to search the best keywords for your blog posts.

Use your keywords in the Title Tag-But first, what’s a title tag?

The tag defines the title of the document and is in all HTML/XHTML documents,  it appears in your Browser, your internet search results and sometimes on other websites like Digg and StumbleUpon.

When you’re optimising your blog page tag ensure you use keywords in the title tags on your web pages, even if you are not a well known brand you can use your company name in the title tag combined with a few descriptive phrases related to your business.  This will help people find you in a search for your product or service.  Good keywords to include are your business location and industry. For example, if your company is  Mario’s Pizzas based in New York a good title tag would be ‘Mario’s Pizza New York’, including the location will be a handy way for people in New York to find you, or if  Mario’s pizza isn’t well known you can put the company name after the highest ranking keyword, such as, ‘Pizza in New York at Marios’, because it will yield higher search results from people looking for pizza in New York .

Blog Post Titles

Optimise your post title tag with keywords, placing important keywords to the front.  It is also important that the title is relevant to your post and specific. If your blog is about Kangaroos make sure to mention this in the title. For example; using ‘Kangaroos, Wild in Melbourne’, keeps the most important keyword to the front.

The Content

Ensure you surround your keywords with descriptive text that relate back to your keywords. Stuffing your content with a tonne of keywords will be a detriment to the content and Google doesn’t like the overuse of keywords, instead, use them tactically, get them in where they’re needed and use your writing skills to refer to them.  Link to other pages on your blog or pages on your website using the keywords, and don’t forget to share links from other websites that may have information related to your blog, for example, here I am inserting a link to a Jeff Bullas Article on Content Marketing. ‘Content Marketing’ is my keyword phrase here.

Images

Any images you insert into your blog will have a file name, title and alt attribute. This alt attribute basically explains what the image is of or what it is depicting. It is important the image contains the keywords as long as they are relevant. Here is a nice little article that goes into more detail about optimising your images for SEO.

In summary, dedication, quality, passion and  some basic SEO is a good recipe for a great blog. Don’t expect instant blog success, it takes time and hard work, but it will pay off and it will not only get people coming back to your site it will create a better awareness of your brand and the people behind it. Another great tip for success is to actually look at what popular bloggers are doing, a personal favourite of mine is Seth Godin’s blog, in fact, here is a blog about Seth’s blog that you may be interested in and has some unconventional but pretty good advice!

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Telling a Story Through Your Website

Telling the story behind your brand and the journey of your business through interesting web content can be a great way to enhance awareness. Recently, Coca-Cola turned their corporate site into a digital magazine called ‘The Coca-Cola Journey‘, that features content such as interviews, features, blogs and photos on a range of subjects as well as the usual business features of the site like job postings and executive biographies. This New York Times article articulates the reasoning behind the project and how the digital media  team have become news editors and content strategists working with photographers, marketers and public relations to run an online magazine. The format enables consumers to read a range of articles in different categories such as sports, health and entertainment, get updates on news related to the company and watch videos, comment on blogs and use other interactive features. Apparently there also might be some room for articles that might highlight some issues that put the company in a bad light but I assume they won’t be publishing anything that could jeopardise the brand! As far as a marketing exercise though it’s a good one, there’s stuff I would read about on there without necessarily inspiring me to rush out and buy a can of Coke, but would still bring me back to the site so it’s a good way to keep up their brand awareness by engaging consumers. This post has an annoying title but it got my attention. It’s also a fun and visually more interesting way to navigate a corporate website which can often be tedious and un-inspiring. I think even a small business website can create interesting content and present it in a format to promote engagement, there are so many issues and topics people find interesting that you may not realise have a connection to your brand, and you might find people more engaging when you reach out to them and tell them your journey.

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My Ten Favourite Social Media Tools for Business 2012

There are tonnes of great free tools out there for businesses, especially small businesses to help track, manage, monitor and analyse your brand’s reach on social media. Below is a nice list of ten social media tools I have tried for myself and liked, not to mention they a free so no harm giving them a go!

1. Social Mention

A great way to keep in touch with your brand’s presence on the on the internet from all over the world, could provide some very useful insights for your brand.

2. Wordpress.com

Of course I have to mention this one, I started my blog this year on WordPress and love using it, of course its possible to publish much more complex sites using WordPress but I like how pretty much anyone can use it.

3. stock.xchng

For free imagery, no worrying about copyright infringements!

4. tweetreach

Measures the impact of your Twitter campaign or hashtag.

5. Socialseek.com 

Socialseek.com monitors all the latest news about a brand on social media sites including video, tweets, photos etc and you can make one for your own brand or business.

6. Google Blogs

Find blogs on any subject with news from all over the globe including those mentioning your brand or business.

7. Hootsuite 

Handy for managing multiple Twitter accounts and has great smartphone apps.

8. Crowdbooster 

Crowdbooster manages your activities on Facebook and Twitter and lets you know the best times to post or tweet based on previous engagement with your audience.

9.Buffer

Buffer is a great way for small businesses to manage their social media content by letting you pre-programme the best times to share Facebook posts and tweets.

10. Google Alerts

Alerts you by email when your business is mentioned.

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