How to Repurpose the Content on Your Business Blog

In an effort to attract new clients and build up their professional reputation, there are many small business owners who pour a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money into the content they have on their blogs. But, once they hit the publish button on a new piece and promote the content they worked so hard on (or paid a lot of money for), they move on to the next article, video, or graphic.

Simply forgetting about this older content in favor of new stuff, means they are throwing all that time, money, and energy down the drain. Moreover, if the content is evergreen (meaning, that is focused on a topic that is continually relevant to your targeted readers and viewers) and it struck a cord with customers, community members, and potential clients when it was first published, then it is an untapped resource for future lead generation and reputation management.

Put another way, if you are maintaining a blog for your business and you are not making an effort to re-use or repurpose some or all of its content, then you might as well spend your time and money elsewhere!

Repurposing Content is an Essential Part of Blogging in 2016 and Beyond

So what are savvy business bloggers doing differently? They aren’t just creating more and more content. Instead, they know how to reuse their current content in order to reach the greatest amount of potential customers and fans.

Think about it for a moment. How many people or business professionals in your target audience spend a significant amount of time on other platforms or sites online? If they are not getting to your blog, then it makes sense to go where they are in order to catch their attention. This is the goal. If your content consistently provides these people with real solutions to their problems or useful insights into the things they are interested in, then you would almost be doing them a dis-service by not reaching out to them in the places where they are.

While creating content on your blog is an important tool to start building a relationship with prospects, it shouldn’t end there. Next comes the repurposing of that content. Repurposing means repackaging one piece of content across various media channels. In each occasion, the content is added to, or sometimes a section or a topic is taken out and highlighted, expanded upon, or tackled from a different angle.

The goal is to get the most amount of exposure and value from the original piece by reaching the maximum amount of prospects and driving more traffic back to your own website.

The other side benefit to this is that all this content floating around the web will create a kind of organic link wheel to your website. This will help your site’s SEO, since the number and quality of links are still an important ranking factor for organic search. This means, repurposing content will also make it easier to rank for relevant keywords.

5 Simple Ways to Repurpose Content

Now that we are on the same page about why repurposing content is so important, here are five simple things you can do to a current article to extend its reach:

1. Create slides that offer a summarized version of your article

2. Turn your article into a PDF with embedded links and upload it on to document sharing sites

3. Take one aspect of the article and expand on it in a new post on sites, such as LinkedIn publishing, Medium, or Business 2 Community, and then where possible, link back to the original article on your site.

4. Find a interesting, quality image and attach it to the article. Then share this image with a summary of the post on platforms, such as Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook.

5. Create a short video that summarizes or builds upon one point brought up in the article.

Of course, these options are just suggestions. There are many, many ways to repurpose content, and you should use the strategies that work the best for you, your business, and your target audience. The bottom line is that you work so hard on creating on good content, that you want your content to also work for you. Repurposing is one of the best ways to do that.

How to Use the Internet to Promote Your Business Without Getting Distracted

Remember a few years ago when social media marketing was being touted as a cheap promotional strategy that would level the playing field for small business? How times have changed! Today, using the Internet and social media to promote your business has become a necessity that typically turns into a costly draw on your time, energy, and money. Countless businesses are involved in Internet marketing in some way, and the sheer amount of competing noise can be overwhelming.

targetThough there is nothing cheap or easy about online marketing if you want to be effective, you can still get some real results without draining your budget and without compromising too much of your time. The key is going in with the right approach, recognizing what online marketing allows you to do (as well as what it can’t do), and knowing how to keep yourself from getting distracted.

These days, the majority of small businesses that conduct successful online marketing campaigns typically share a few common qualities:

They have a plan with measurable goals. Before you create even one online profile, send out one tweet or status update, or write a blog post, you need to be very clear about what you are trying to accomplish with your online marketing as well as if your goals are realistic. Are you trying to build relationships, sell products, or generate leads? All of the above? Once you’ve answered that question, you then need to create a detailed plan of action that describes how you will use Internet marketing to go about accomplishing those goals.

They are clear about their available resources. As mentioned above, successful online marketing takes a significant amount of resources. So, you need to be very clear at the beginning about what you can afford to dedicate to your online marketing efforts. What is your available time? What is your budget? What skills or qualities do you and your employees have that can be used in your online marketing? Do you have any good writers? Is anyone good at making connections? Creating engaging images? Conducting a webinar or hangout? Take stock of these resources and give some thought about how you can best use them.

They know where their target market hangs out. Stop spending your time on platforms that don’t convert! You need to find out where your target audience hangs out online and determine the best ways to reach them there. What kind of content will attract their attention and get them interested in your business?

They maintain an online marketing schedule. Another great way to help you stay focused on the things that matter is to create and maintain an Internet marketing schedule. This schedule will include any content marketing initiatives as well as social media marketing tasks, such as posting content, commenting, and connecting with other users. Make an effort to keep to the allotted times, and look for ways to automate the activities that don’t necessarily need direct input, such as scheduling status updates.

They keep their online marketing efforts fresh, yet focused. The online world changes very quickly. Techniques that were once working can suddenly stop being effective, while new openings and opportunities are being created. That’s why you need to be making the effort to monitor the effectiveness of each strategy and create some space to try out different techniques and platforms. Your goal with this is to be keeping and tweaking the strategies that are working, while putting a stop to the ones that aren’t. But, keep in mind that these efforts should be in moderation. If you remember the overall online marketing goals that you set for your business mentioned above, then you’ll keep yourself from taking on much more than you can chew and chasing every new and shiny strategy under the sun.

In short, successful online marketing is a process that is unique to your business and your target audience. There is no magic bullet; there’s no one guaranteed successful technique or platform. You need to just roll up your sleeves and figure it out. Don’t let this put you off, though. If you get it right, you can significantly improve your brand awareness, boost your sales, and create loyal customers, and these results will be exponentially greater than the resources you put in.

What Gmail’s New Unsubscribe Feature Means for Your Email Marketing

It seems that Google is extending its well-known crusade against spam to its popular email platform, Gmail. It all started a little under a year ago with Google’s introduction of the tabbed inbox. One of the most notable (and controversial) aspects of the new setup is that it automatically decides what your most important email is and sends it to the “Primary” tab in your inbox, while simultaneously shunting lower-priority messages (ie those from businesses and marketers) into the “Promotions” tab.

gmailAt the time, many email marketers expressed their dismay at the changes, since it seems the new setup lowers email open rates for those who manage a subscriber list.

Now that acceptance has set in, Google is once again shaking the email marketing world with the introduction of a new Gmail unsubscribe tool. Up until this point, Gmail users had to hunt for an unsubscribe link typically found at the bottom of promotional messages. Now, a new button will appear alongside the subject line of these messages. This means that users don’t have to leave Gmail (or even open the message) in order to unsubscribe from the list.

While it’s easy to see how all of these changes can improve the user experience, does it mean the death knell is being sounded for email marketers?

Far from it.

What it means is that any businesses looking to use email marketing to reach their customers must now consider how valuable and desireable their content and messages really are. Because the truth is if your content is interesting to the people you are trying to target, then they will actively wait and look for your emails. But, it means you need to be putting in the necessary time and the effort to connect with these people and understand their wants and needs. In other words, the relationship part of the customer experience is all the more important now- not just in your email marketing, but in all your promotional efforts.

So, in a way, the changes to Gmail represent a great opportunity for email marketers and the businesses behind them, because it practically forces businesses to look at their customers as people and not just email open rates, click throughs, sales conversions, and other such numbers. And, that is a very profitable proposition.

6 Content Idea Generators for Your Business Blog

These days, if you are doing any kind of business online (whether you are processing sales or are just doing some marketing and outreach), chances are you will be involved in some form of content marketing. For many businesses, this means maintaining a business blog. But, having to constantly create content may be a challenge, especially if you need to do it several times a week.

writing-on-laptop-1197801-mIf you are in need of a little inspiration, you may want to check out the following 6 content idea generators. Each one of these tools can help spice up even the most mundane content plan. Of course, you shouldn’t just rely on content generators such as these to come up with the titles that will make your audience take notice. Knowing your audience and your industry well is the key to generating exceptional content.

But, if you feel a bit stuck lately, and you just can’t shake the writer’s block, then you can give the following tools a spin and see where they take you:

1. – Enter a keyword related to your business or that you want your blog to rank well for, and click “Generate Titles”. You’ll then get a list of existing high-ranking titles using that keyword.

2. – This is a new tool by the inbound marketing platform, Hubspot. Fill in the three fields with nouns related to your business or on something that you’d like to write about, and get back several relevant blog post titles

3. – Answer 18 simple questions about your products and services and get back hundreds of great ideas for blog posts, articles, tweets, white-papers and e-books.

4. – Enter a noun or a verb and receive a page of title ideas including lists, bests, and how to’s.

5. – Enter your keyword and select one or more of four styles: Controversial, Fun, List, or Shocking. Then press “Submit” to see your title suggestions.

6. This tool definitely wins the award for being the most creative. You only get one title each time you click, but they are interesting and quirky and can easily lead to some colorful topic ideas.

Know of any good content title generators that didn’t make it on the list? Share them with us in the comments below.

The Biggest Mistake Business Owners Make on Google+

If you have been paying any attention to the clash of the social media titans, you’ve probably heard about the explosive growth Google’s newish social network, Google+, has been enjoying- especially over the past year or so. While many in cyberspace have been quick to criticize for Google for practically force feeding G+ to the masses, there’s a growing movement of people who are starting to realize that there is an important trend silently playing itself out.

Google PlusWith it’s introduction and continued development of G+, Google is really ushering in a new era in the creation, exchange, and consumption of digital information- one that will increasingly rely on multi-media platforms and be influenced by your online profile as well as those in your network. It’s what is commonly known as the “social web.”

The key take away here is that Google+ is not just another social network; it’s just one part of a bigger user experience, and because of this, business owners in particular cannot afford to ignore it.

Many people already know the power and influence of having an optimized local search presence. These days, that means if you run a brick and mortar business, you need a Google+ business page, or your visibility online will be extremely impaired.

But, there’s more. Google+ has a number of amazing features, specifically, it’s searchability, and it’s Hangouts On Air, which offers a pretty seamless user experience across several platform’s and mediums. Plus, did you know that you can actually embed a Google hangout within a sales page? Imagine the potential over there…

That said, the biggest mistake small business owners make with their G+ accounts is that they don’t optimize them, and use them, or at least, they don’t use them enough. Whatever you think about Google, it almost doesn’t matter. There is a reality to doing and/or advertising a business online, and if you’re not going to subscribe to Google’s way of doing things, then soon it will just be somewhere else, like say Yahoo!.

Even if you don’t have so much time to put into G+, you should definitely make it a point to completely fill out your business profile and include in it important keywords. You should connect it to your business website and any other sites where you contribute content. You should also update it every now and then with fresh content. That little bit of effort will already put you several steps ahead of countless small business owners who have avoided G+ completely.

And if you have a bit of time, explore some of the new features, like Google+ Communities. Even if your peers aren’t on G+, there’s nothing to stop you from bringing them there. In many cases, you may even have a richer experience than you would on other platforms, such as Facebook.

So, the bottom line is, whether you like it or not, Google+ needs to be a part of your online marketing mix, and hey, you may just find it to be a pretty useful place once you get there.

How to Run a Successful Adwords Campaign for Your Small Business

Anyone who is experienced with Internet marketing knows that with the right approach running a Google AdWords campaign can be an excellent way to drive traffic to a website. But, many advertisers make the mistake of thinking that Google will do all the work for them; they also underestimate the level of ad blindness that Internet users have these days. You see, Google Adwords is not as effective as it used to be.

logoSo, how can you avoid the common mistakes and maximize your Adwords campaigns? Here are 7 key points to keep in mind:

Choose and manage your keywords wisely. This is where a lot of advertisers get off track, and there are several things to consider. First, make sure your keywords are targeted to users who are in a place to conduct the desired action you are looking for, whether you are looking for people ready to buy a product or service you sell, or they are looking for the information you are offering and will sign up with their email addresses to get it. You should also pay attention to negative keywords. AdWords lets advertisers choose those keywords they do not want their ads showing up for. When choosing the keywords you want make sure you also consider broad match, phrase match, or exact match keywords. For example, if you run a small business selling handmade soaps, you probably aren’t interested in showing up for searched like “laundry bar soap” or any soap-related queries that don’t directly relate to what you sell. Finally, make sure the ad copy ad copy matches the keyword you are targeting. The more the text matches the keyword, the more likely people will click on it.

Write ad text that is compelling. Bland or boring ad copy simply won’t do it these days. But this doesn’t mean it has to be sensational, either. Work on crafting simple, relevant, calls-to-action, that are closely connected to the keywords being targeted as well as the desired action you want users to make.

Measure and track conversions. One of the keys to success in online marketing is staying on top of your campaign’s effectiveness. This includes things like reach, click-throughs, and conversions. You need to be constantly collecting data, analyzing it, and using that information to determine where you are making mistakes as well as what you are doing right so you can direct your resources to the strategies that are paying off.

Think about the landing page. Another big mistake that advertisers make with AdWords is not directing customers to a well-crafted and tested product or category page. Instead, they direct anyone who clicks on a ad to their main homepage. This is especially important if you are directing people to an ecommerce site with many products and categories.

Don’t overlook the power of remarketing. If you are already getting a significant amount of targeted traffic to your site, then remarketing is definitely something you should be looking into. Remarketing lets you tag the users who visit your site and then gives you the ability to show relevant follow-up adds as they visit other sites, the goal being to get those people to re-visit your site.

Pay attention to what the competition is doing. Another mistake a lot of advertisers make is not paying attention to the ads their competitors are using. You need to know who is competing with you, what keywords they are using and how, what the ad copy is like, and how they have set up their landing pages. In order to get some of this information, you should check out a site called iSpionage, which will give a lot of useful information about the way your competitors are carrying out their Adwords campaigns.

Have reasonable expectations. As I mentioned at the start of this post, an Adwords campaign will only be successful with an investment of a significant amount of time, effort, and money. You have to do your research, test things out, and have a big enough ad budget to tweak things until you get it right.

Running a successful Adwords campaign is a process, but if you are willing to dedicate enough effort and resources into this process, chances are pretty good you’ll come out winning.

How to Properly Outsource Your Content Marketing

Marketing a business today takes so much more time and effort than it used to. Your target audience is being bombarded with messages both online and off, and as technology becomes a bigger part of the marketing equation, the rules just keep changing.

ID-100146171Content marketing in particular has become an enigma to many small business owners who are still trying to figure out how to set up their websites and use social media properly. Yet content marketing, done well, can really help you to build brand awareness and create an online audience of current and potential customers. Doing content marketing properly, though takes a great deal of time, effort, and skill.

For this reason, many small business owners choose to outsource some or all of their content creation and marketing. But for a significant amount of these business owners, their efforts don’t work out. The truth is outsourcing your content marketing is not so easy to apply effectively nor does it make sense in all situations.

If you are thinking of outsourcing your content marketing, here are some important points to keep in mind:

Make sure you understand what content marketing can accomplish. Even if you will not be creating the content yourself, you still need to have an understanding of what effective content marketing allows you to do across different mediums and platforms.

You need to be actively involved in the process. You also need to be actively directing and analyzing the content marketing process from beginning to end if you want it to be effective. Don’t be tempted to just leave it to your outsourcing providers. It’s the biggest mistake you can make! Don’t forget that the content you promote as how you promote it will directly reflect on your business.

Choose your hired content marketers wisely. It’s very easy for a company to claim they they are content marketing experts; it’s much harder to prove it. Therefore, you really need to exercise your full due diligence before deciding on a company. Get a list of previous customers and make it a point to contact them. Request to see a sample of a documented content marketing strategy they have developed and implemented. Also, pay attention to any promises or claims they are making. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, and specific results may be hard to guarantee- especially over the short-term.

In short, outsourcing your content marketing can help your business get its name out there while freeing up your time. But you have to approach it correctly or else it can get out of hand taking your business’ brand and money with it.

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Understanding the Basics of Inbound Marketing

The growing acceptance and implementation of inbound marketing represents a definitive shift in the way businesses are approaching sales and advertising. Instead of running after customers and looking for ways to make them open their wallets, smaller companies in particular have recognized the value of creating and sharing valuable content in order to encourage potential leads and to make current customers come back for more.

sales onlineIn other words, it’s a way of doing business that is based on “giving,” something that very much flies in the face of the traditional business model. For this reason, smaller companies are coming out ahead and leveraging content creation channels, such as blogging, videos, imagery, and even audio along side social media, to level the playing field against their bigger competitors.

If you are new to the ideas behind inbound marketing for your own business, then here is a rundown of the major themes:

Focus on Content Creation and Promotion. You create targeted content that answers your customer’s most pressing questions and needs, and you make a concerted effort to share that content in ways that will get it noticed by your target audience.

Marketing as an Organic Process. Your customers will go through stages as they interact with your company, and at each stage you need different marketing actions and approaches. It’s as if you want your marketing efforts to “grow” and mature with your customers.

The Power of Personalization. Without realizing it, many of your customers are already be getting bombarded with personalized content and promotional offers every time they go online. This trend cannot be ignored. As you learn more about your customers over time, you can better personalize your messages to fit their specific needs.

Multi-channel Efforts. Inbound marketing is inherently multi-channeled because it is based on reaching people where they already are, in the channel where they will most want to interact with you.

Big Integration. The platforms that support your content creation, promotion, calls-to-action, and customer support as well as the analytics tools you have in place to keep tabs on it all, must work together like a well-oiled machine. This allows you to focus on publishing the right content in the right place at the right time.

In short, inbound marketing is definitely a new way of doing business. But, it presents a great deal of opportunity to smaller companies that understand that in order to encourage the interest and investment of their customers, they need to give in order to receive.

8 Creative Business Uses for Twitter Vine

Last week, Twitter announced the release of Vine for Android devices, putting the micro video service back in the spotlight after being introduced to iPhone users a few months ago. The app allows users to record looping videos of up to 6 seconds long and then share them with their Twitter followers.

trademark_logoThe videos can either be taken as a single shot or at intervals to create a stop animated style clip.

Even if the alloted time is relatively short, it hasn’t stopped some enterprising businesses from using the new platform to promote their products and services and connect with customers. Here are some of the most creative and appealing business uses for Vine:

1. Encourage customer participation. Vine is extremely easy to use and there’s no high-tech equipment required. Users can just click and create on their smartphones. For this reason, Vine is ideal for audience participation- especially for high-engagement interactive content like contests.

For example you could ask your audience to submit video clips of them using your products or services in the most imaginative way and offer a prize to the most creative.

2. Get customer testimonials. Vine is a great platform to highlight video testimonials. You could either choose to showcase your best individual testimonials, or you could ask your clients and customers what word or idea they would use to sum up their customer experience and collate these clips into a fast-paced, dynamic and engaging video.

3. Create video how-to’s. Vine can be harnessed to create a series of ‘how to’ videos to demonstrate how consumers can use your products and services most effectively, or how to install your products in a series of easy to follow steps. One example of this in action is Bacardi. The liquor company created a six second cocktail series with each video demonstrating how to make a different Bacardi-based drink.

4. Strengthen brand awareness. These short videos can present a creative opportunity to build your brand. You can set the tone and style of your videos to match your own unique image and resonate with your target audience, and don’t be afraid to show a little personality either.

5. Promote an upcoming product or service. You can use the platform to create a six second teaser or trailer for a new product or upcoming event. Make sure you include a link to more information or a carefully crafted landing page. You could similarly use Vines for event countdowns or other attention grabbing reminders and notices for giveaways, special deals, discounts or contests.

6. Create a unique portfolio. Why have a static portfolio when you can display your past work in an animated and eye-catching short video?

7. Show your personal side. Let your audience get to know you better on a personal level. Share behind the scenes video clips of you, your employees, and your work space. Use carefully edited clips of your team at company events or fun workshops. If you work by yourself then show customers your desk with the photos of your family and the view out your window, or tell them what you love about your business.

8. Highlight an event. You can use Vine to showcase an event being hosted by or at your business or any promotion and include a Tweet that encourages viewers to show up.

In short, the novelty of Vine is something to pay attention to, and there is little to stop it from becoming a versatile tool in your online marketing efforts.

Facebook Advertising or Google AdWords: Do You Know Which One is Better for Your Business?

As you go about allocating your online marketing dollars, you may wonder at some point if you should be pouring money into a Google AdWords campaign, or trying your luck with Facebook advertising. Though Facebook gets a lot of negative press- especially among smaller businesses looking for ROI on their Facebook presence- there are plenty of signals that the social network is aiming to be a significant player in the online marketing space. In short, you may not want to pass over it so quickly. So, if your marketing budget is tight where should you focus your funds and your efforts? The answer is that it really depends on the setup and goals of your business.

While AdWords is better for targeting people and receiving click-throughs, the whole idea behind Facebook marketing is actually participating in the social experience and building a recognizable brand. In fact, the two networks fulfill two very different goals. Both Adwords and Facebook give advertisers the ability to target their ads to a specific geographic location and include other variables, such as demographic data. But, that is where the similarities end.

If your main goal is to get your ads in front of online users who may already be looking for the kinds of products you offer, or something related, then Google AdWords is your best option. AdWords ads are targeted to people online based on data that’s been collected from their online profile, searches, and browsing history- details that speak volumes about their interests. Moreover, if someone has visited your website before, you can create ads to target those people as they browse through other, similar websites- a process known as “retargeting.”

With Adwords, when people are looking for specific solutions and/or specific information online, your job is meet that demand by bidding on the right keywords, creating compelling ad copy, and setting up an effective landing page.

With Facebook, on the other hand, the data provided in members’ profiles and activity across the network is used to help target ads. Over the past year or so, Facebook has been introducing a series of easy-to-use apps and features, such as Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, analytics capabilities, and hyper targeting that can greatly enhance a small business’ marketing return. Another attractive benefit to using Facebook advertising is that it’s a lot lighter on the budget since most of the marketing can be handled organically- you just have to factor in the added time to engage with others on the platform.

If you are primarily looking to increase your brand awareness and online visibility, Facebook may be the way to go. Brand awareness is built by establishing lasting relationships, and one of the best places to do this is in social networks like Facebook.

So the bottom line here is: If you’re selling a specific product or service that enough people are searching for online and you are looking to simply pay some money for advertising and essentially walk away from it, then Google may be for you. On the other hand, if you want to expand your branding efforts and build relationships with your customers, then Facebook may actually beat out Google as your platform of choice.

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