Microcontent – Use Short-Form Content to Amplify Your Message

Information OverloadIs your audience (clients, customers, readers) feeling overwhelmed by the the amount of content and information being delivered to them day in and day out? I hear this cry of frustration daily, yet as an online entrepreneur and author, you know content is the backbone of your business.

Without a steady stream of blog posts, articles, free reports, etc., your prospective clients will have trouble finding you. The content you create is essential for getting found by your ideal clients so they can get to know you and how you can serve them. So, what do you do? [Read more...]

Profitable Content Marketing – Do I Need a Call to Action at the End of My Content? (Really?)

Guest post by Jeff Herring
Call to Action - Click HereQ: Do I need a Call to Action at the end of my article content?

A: I must admit, I was a little surprised by this question. It came from someone who had purchased an entry level resource from me, and the purchase came with a bonus strategy session.

In the book “Made to Stick” authors Chip and Dan Heath talk about the “curse of knowledge” – thinking that just because you know something means every one else knows it too.

So this question was another gentle reminder to always carry somewhere within you a “beginner’s mind” so you can make the most difference with your students.

On to the answer

So the answer is absolutely yes, you always want to have a call to action at the end of your article content. Here are some reasons to back up my absolute yes:

1) Even if you are creating content and/or articles just to see your name in print, you are doing your readers a disservice by not showing them a way to get more from you. Why? Because if you are creating content in the most powerful way, then your reader is going to be attracted to the way you approach and solve problems. The natural result of this is that they are going to want more from you. So why leave them hanging?

2) If one of the goals of your content creation is to create traffic, then of course you want a call to action. Asking the reader to go to one of your profit sites (opt-in page, sales page, blog, etc) is still a great way to generate endless waves of traffic from your articles.

3) If one of the goals of your content creation is to build a list, then of course you want a call to action. In world full of options for paid traffic, (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more) I still believe new list members who are earned instead of bought make the absolute best lists.

4) And I’ve saved the most surprising reason for last: If you create content that helps someone to take the next success steps, and do not offer a way for them to go further with you, then you are simply working for your competition.

Why?

Because your reader will learn from and move forward with you, but then you leave them hanging. So then, when they read something on the same topic from one of your competitors, who offer them a way to go further, they will choose to invest with your competitors.

And you don’t really want to do that, do you?

Jeff HerringI’ll show you step-by-step exactly how to create a profitable Call to Action on this Results Now Webinar:  ”How to Create a Profitable Call to Action: The Secret to Getting Your Prospects to Do What You Want Them to Do” on Thursday July 11th at 4 pm EDT – Join us here => http://JeffHerring.com/denise

Click here to register for webinar.

Social, Mobile and Content – The Trifecta of Digital Marketing [Infographic]

When you’re building your digital marketing empire, there are three kinds of content you must create…
  • Text
  • Visual
  • Micro Content

Text Content

Text is obvious. It’s about content marketing, using text-based content in order to take advantage of getting found via organic search. Content marketing is generally defined as creating and sharing media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. It’s not usually about selling, but communicating and educating your audience consistently and delivering ongoing value, so they WANT to buy from you when they are ready.

Visual Content

Keep calm and blog on!You can’t argue with the power of an image or video to get attention and drive action from your audience. “A picture’s worth a thousand words” and all that, right? There are stats all over the Web (see infographic below) about how effective images are at grabbing your audience’s attention and telling your story, resulting in much higher engagement and follow-through on calls to action.

Micro Content

The opposite of long-form content like blog posts, white papers and reports, micro content is the status updates, quote images, Vine videos, Instagram photos that grab attention and act as effective lead generators, driving traffic back to your site (when done with a strategic plan in mind). Micro content is easy to create and takes less time than writing an article.

CREATE Online Marketing LabThese types of content form the “C” in the C.R.E.A.T.E. formula Ellen Britt and I revealed at our recent teleseminar, 6 Steps to C.R.E.A.T.E. Your Digital Empire (listen below). Content is the first step.

Next, social is critical for amplifying your message, and mobile is increasingly where your audience can be found. In Ellen Britt’s interview with Gary Vaynerchuk for The Future of Ink, Gary talked about the “Stream Economy.” For simplicity’s sake, think of that as mobile (you can listen to the interview here). Did you know there are more than one billion smartphone users in the world? That’s mind-boggling!

The day after we delivered the teleseminar, I ran across the infographic below. It’s a great illustration of why it’s important for you to pay attention to what’s going on in the digital marketing arena and jump on board (if you’re not already).

digital-marketing-trio-600x3003

(Source: SlickText)

Ellen Britt and I are launching a one year content marketing mastermind program called The C.R.E.A.T.E. Online Marketing Lab. Listen to the teleseminar where we reveal the complete C.R.E.A.T.E. formula, and then contact us immediately if you would like to learn more. At the time of this post’s publication three spots are filled and we are accepting a maximum of ten members.

11 Ways to Use Content Marketing to Build Visibility and Buzz for Your Event

content-syndication“Content Marketing” appears to be the buzz word for 2013. While the word, or phrase, may be showing up everywhere, the concept and practice has been around for years. Business bloggers have been practicing content marketing since the early the part of the twenty-first century.

Content marketing goes way beyond blogs now. As I’ve been working on the marketing for the inaugural Digital Publishing Online Intensive, it struck me how many ways  Ellen Britt and I are using content to get the word out about the event.

If you’ve got an online event or a live in-person event that you’re promoting, here are 11 content marketing tactics you can model to build the buzz. NOTE: this may seem self-serving because I’m using my own event as an example. I want you to see how we are repurposing content in multiple formats, posting on many platforms, and using various tools to reach people.

1. If you’re hosting a multi-speaker event, have each person create an audio tip about their topic. Post the audio tips on the sales page so prospects can get a sense of each speaker. To make it easy for the speakers, we created a special number on AudioAcrobat that the speakers could dial in to and record their tip.

Kathleen Gage audio tip

2. Transcribe the audio tipsPull out one or two sentences and create a quote image you can post on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

Kathleen-Gage-quote

3. Create a video from each speakers’ tips. Upload the video to your Facebook page or group. Then upload it to YouTube. Remember that transcript? You can also upload the text file with the video so you have captions with your video.

 

4. Use excerpts from the transcripts in blog posts, tweets, articles and press releases.

5. You’ll probably have head shots of your speakers, right? Create a video with the images to introduce them to the public. [Video created by Lou Bortone]

 

6. Create a photo album on Facebook with images of the speakers.

7. Post speaker photos on Pinterest and Google+. Remember to include a description, title of their session and the URL to register for the event.

8. Want to use more video? How about hosting Google+ hangouts with each speaker? Or use an app like Qwiki (iphone only) to make a video, like Ellen Britt did when she attended a conference along with six of our featured speakers.

9. Need a digital brochure? I recently discovered Glossi, a platform for creating digital magazines. It is so cool and you do not have to be a designer to use it. Check out the brochure I created with speaker bios and the online workshop schedule:

10. Want to go mobile? Using the the photos and text from other content, I used a free app called Yapp to create a smartphone app for registered participants. When they install the app, they’ll have the schedule at their finger tips, along with links for all the speakers. We’ll also be able to send reminders about session start times when the event starts.

yapp

11. Last, but hardly least, use your blog! Invite each speaker to submit a guest post relating to their speaking topic. It’s a great way to introduce your existing audience to your experts and their topics. Your speakers get a lot of exposure, you get juicy content, and your audience gets informed and inspired about what they’ll learn when they attend your event.

What You Need

If you study this list, you’ll see most of the content is used multiple times. The audio files are repurposed into transcripts that are used as tips, tweets, status updates, quote images and blog content.

Most of the tools are free. Use this list of free image sites for creating quotes. Yapp is free. Glossi is free. Qwiki is free. AudioAcrobat requires a fee. Your biggest expense though, is going to be time – the time it takes to create the foundational content and collect your image assets.

I know some people will look at this list and say, “This is a lot of work! I don’t have time to do all this.”

Well, if you want your event to be successful, you have to calculate how much you’re willing to do to make it happen. Personally, if I’m going to all the effort to put together an event and  invite my colleagues to speak, then I’m going to do everything I can think of to make it successful. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes energy and yes, it will take a bit of a financial investment.  What are you willing to do? Create a plan that accommodates your time and then find the resources you need (a VA), and execute.

This list of tactics is not complete. What do you do, that you’ve found to be really effective, to get the word out about your events? How do you use content to create buzz for your programs? Post your tips in the comments below!

The Content King is Dead: Long Live the Empress of Experience

This is a guest post by Tea Silvestre of  ProsperitysKitchen.com.

(How to create kick ass content that gets put to use, rather than just downloaded and forgotten)

There’s a glut of information available on the web today – and now that everyone’s building their lists with a free download, our hard drives all have a bad case of infobesity.

Don’t lie. You know yours does, too.

I’ve seen a variety of statistics on the topic, but most agree that somewhere in the neighborhood of 85% of all web content and info never gets put to use.

Makes you say, “hmm.” Doesn’t it?

Here’s the awful truth: if you hope to attract and retain new clients, you need to be able to show prospects your value via the real outcomes you’ve helped past clients achieve.

And there will only be real outcomes if those folks take action.

It’s a vicious circle, and one that’s bound and determined to continue…at least until you figure out how to get all those folks who download your kingly content to do something with it.

Experience vs. Content

Alright. So we’ve established that content by itself is no longer King of all the Interwebz. Useful for attracting visitors, yes. But marketing King? Nope.

The thing that’ll make or break your business – especially if you don’t have a brick and mortar shop to call your own – is your ability to create an engaging experience for your readers, visitors and prospects.

Lucky us. Technology makes this easier and easier every day.

So why are you still relying on a PDF or a blog post when you could create a 3-dimensional, multi-media experience?

If you read Denise’s blog at all, you already know you need to have strong calls to action at the end of your blog posts. That’s because every time you ask a reader to do something (and they follow through), they are that much more likely to take the next step. And the next. And the next…

Every little action – even if it’s just clicking a button — can add up to something quite profound for your reader (and potentially profitable for you). With that in mind, what we want to aim for then is content that’s highly interactive. And yes, asking for a comment to a blog post is a great start. But we can do better.

Beyond the Content: Engaging Your Website Visitors

These suggestions aren’t necessarily new – but if you’re not using them, it’s time to seriously consider starting. And while there are probably many more ways to create engagement with your prospects, these categories specifically encourage community and group interaction – something that’s proven to get and keep people more engaged than if they’re passively reading or watching something on their own.

1.       Host regular interactive events – These might be Twitter Chats (use the TweetChat.com interface to make things easier); Google hangouts; or even podcasts (BlogTalkRadio is a great way to get started). These types of events are better than traditional webinars or telecasts because they’re more inclusive of audience feedback and encourage conversations rather than just one person speaking in one direction (to a passive audience). Just be sure to publish the event time/hashtag invite prominently on your site with a link to instructions for first-timers and include a way to follow up with participants.

2.       Create interactive or collaborative content. Yes, our blogs are supposed to be interactive by virtue of the comments – but try to think outside the comment box. Use email to spark conversations that you continue on your site (via video, podcast or blog post). Let email readers know that you’ll expand on their responses or compile them into a post on your blog so you can continue the group discussion.

Another option is to let readers create something personal using a template of some sort (remember Office Max’s elf-yourself campaign? You could do something similar with a simple Powerpoint slide) that they can download/alter and then share with their friends and colleagues.

For video tutorials, bump things up a notch by asking viewers to answer a multiple-choice question in the comments. There are even special plugins that will allow you to embed calls to action with a video. (EasyVideoPlayer is just one example.)

3.     Gamify your content. Gamification is a big topic and there are lots of great resources on the internet to learn more. The idea is to add game elements and design to something that isn’t usually thought of as a game. For a blog, this might mean running a contest or holding a competition. You could have readers enter by answering a question in the comments; or use a plugin like PunchTab to manage entries and encourage social sharing.

Another option is to use a short quiz or poll that gives your reader customized information and rewards them for taking action (even if it’s just finishing the quiz).

A Case Study in Progress: The Test Kitchen Project

In preparation for my Prosperity’s Kitchen program (a 12-week reality web series/competition/online marketing class that premieres this January), I’m running a gamification experiment with a small group of my loyal blog readers (see The Test Kitchen Project).

The idea is to see what types of missions they find most engaging so that we can build even better ones for the Prosperity’s Kitchen contestants (this is important as they’ll be competing for a $10K prize package).

We’re just two weeks into the 8-week experiment, and so far the results look good. Nearly 75% of those who raised their hands to participate are actively doing so – tackling fun missions that focus on a fellow player’s real-life marketing challenge.

Enticing these readers to play a new game each week (facilitated in a private Facebook group) hasn’t been too difficult. The fun factor is definitely there.

But beyond the fun, I made the WIFM (What’s-in-it-for-me) factor clear:

  1. Get free help with a current marketing challenge
  2. Have the chance to earn and win prizes
  3. Possibly learn something new in the process

The rules are simple and promote things like collaborative sharing of ideas, earning points and badges, as well as random (surprise) rewards.

The games help the players to learn from new content and implement ideas that I write about on my blog. To date, we’ve focused on email list building, downloadable giveaways, and sales pages – all things that my readers would like to get better at doing themselves.

Could You Gamify a Free Download?

To be honest, I haven’t figured this one out, yet. Instinctually, I know that we’ve got to change HOW the free information is delivered. That a simple PDF or even a video isn’t going to cut it. A simple call to action is no longer enough.

Perhaps our downloads are replaced with games, quizzes or some other dynamic activity (like the gamified tribe example above).

What do you think? How could you change up your content so that folks are more likely to take action and follow through? Ideas are everywhere.

Share yours in a comment below so we can help each other build more engaged and enlightened readers, customers and loyal fans.

Tea Silvestre (aka The Word Chef) is a gastronaut, marketing coach and the producer of the ground-breaking web series, “Prosperity’s Kitchen.” Learn more and apply to compete at ProsperitysKitchen.com

photo credit: theilr via photo pin cc

photo credit: Ally Mauro via photo pin cc