Tag Archives: Social Media

What is news content marketing and what are its benefits?

News content marketing

News content marketing is writing, publishing and distributing highly interesting and relevant information and updates about your company/organisation or about related events taking place elsewhere. This is something slightly different from publishing content simply to educate your customers and clients and provide them product or service-specific information. A good example of news content would be

  • Your company or organisation has bagged a very big client
  • You are expanding your operations to other cities, states or countries
  • You are branching out into new services or products or adding new features or attributes to your existing services or products
  • Your business has gotten a new website or a new blog
  • Your organisation has won an award
  • Someone new has joined your organisation
  • Your office premises has acquired something new, like computers, new-age furniture, landscaping material or anything interesting you would like to share with your clients and customers
  • A small fire broke out but it was quickly brought under control (or unfortunately, was not)
  • Something interesting happened near the building
  • Your area is going to experience inclement weather
  • There was a power outage where you have your office
  • A stray cat wandered into your office premises and decided to make it its new home

The list can go on and on once you get into the groove.

Do you know people are obsessed about reading news, especially online? While conventional newspapers are winding up, demand for news is rapidly going up. Most of the links you come across on Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr, come from one or another news website. How is this tendency of people to consume and share as much news as possible beneficial to someone wanting to leverage content marketing?

What are the main hurdles you face while trying to implement your content marketing strategy?

  • Lack of an audience
  • Lack of enough fresh content
  • Lack of content writing ideas
  • Very low frequency of content publishing
  • Expense of getting the content written or generated is quite high

All these hurdles can be in one way or another taken care of via news-related content marketing. For smaller daily or weekly news you can have a separate section on your website itself (something like “Latest News”) and for more significant news distribution you can use one of the various press release services available on the Internet. You can also spend your time networking with influential journalists working with major news outlets like the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Tech Crunch, Mashable, etc. so that twice or thrice you can get some major news about your organisation published over there.

Why you need a Facebook page and how to increase your fans with quality content

Increasing Facebook page fansCreating a Facebook page is a great way to build a community around your product, brand or identity. More than 99% Fortune 500 companies have a Facebook presence (it differs from company to company how much they engage their customers and clients via their pages).

It takes a few minutes to create a Facebook page but it can take months to get a decent number of fans. Creating a page over there can be as simple as using its default features or as intricate as creating an interactive Facebook app to take your presence to an entirely different level.

Lets quickly go through some benefits of having a Facebook page.

  • It can act as your landing page: Since you can make your Facebook page as interactive and feature-rich as any other web page you can easily create a landing page for your product or service. Since you cannot create multiple pages you will have to take down one page in order to create another. Or you can have different tabs as different landing pages and then randomly decide on which tab people should land when they visit your page.
  • It can help you build a community around a product, service or idea: Just as birds of same feather flock together people of similar interest try to find people like them. There are many gadget companies that create Facebook pages to post interesting stuff about their gadgets and then have interactions with their fans. You can get valuable feedback from your fans. Some of those fans can turn into your evangelists and promote your product, service or idea on their own timelines, websites and blogs. The basic idea behind building a community is developing a kinship with your fans and having regular interactions with them to maintain a buzz around your presence.
  • It can act as a press release: Whether you’re launching a new product, testing a prototype, or giving an offer on your various products or services, you can announce that on your Facebook page. A good thing about releasing your news on your Facebook page is you will get instant feedback. So if you have just launched a product, you can include a link to the purchase page of that product and you can immediately see your sales soaring. Provided you have a considerable number of fans it can be a great PR tool for you in case you get some bad press.
  • Your Facebook fan page can help you build an audience: Suppose you are an artist or a writer and you want to build your own fan base. Just imagine what a boost you will get if you have 10,000 fans on your Facebook page. A good thing about having more fans is there is a greater probability of you getting more fans much faster. As a writer it will certainly give you an edge when you are negotiating with publishers or looking for agents. People who have become your fans will be more eager to buy your books. Similarly, if you are an actor people who have become your fans will be more eager to see your movie, and hence it will be profitable for producers and casting directors to prefer you over another actor who doesn’t have a solid Facebook presence.

These are some selective benefits and there can be a long list of other benefits of having a Facebook page.

Getting more Facebook fans with quality content

Quality Facebook contentEventually it all boils down to what sort of content you post on your Facebook page. Remember that you have to engage your audience. Your content must be inspiring, informative, provocative and thought-provoking. Since they have liked your page they expect you to say something authoritative, knowledgeable and useful. You are like a thought leader. They look up to you.

Publishing content on your Facebook page differs from field to field. It depends on your audience. A Paris Hilton audience would be totally different from, let us say, a Salman Rushdie audience (yup, I’m stereotyping here but that’s the reality). So you have to understand the dynamics of your audience and post your content accordingly.

A professional content writer can help you study your audience and then create your Facebook page content accordingly.

Three things get you a greater number of fans on Facebook:

  1. Regular posting
  2. Sticking to the interest of your fans
  3. Interacting with your fans however much possible

Regular posting

Regular posting gives you constant visibility. Timelines on Facebook move very fast. No matter how popular you are if you don’t post for a couple of weeks nobody really misses you unless your presence is indispensable. So you have to appear in the timelines of your fans as much as possible. There are different frequencies for different types of audience, 4-5 postings everyday is the least amount of content you should create and post.

Regarding creating quality content, it doesn’t always have to come from you. If you come across an interesting link that you think your fans will find useful, post that link. If you find something controversial, post that and invite your fans to give their comments. You can also share stuff from people you are friends with on Facebook and other social networking websites. Use different sources to keep your Facebook page timeline buzzing.

Sticking to the interests of your fans

Your fans follow you for a reason. If you are a writer, they expect literary content from you or something related to your writing pursuits, or whatever is happening in the field of literature, writing and publishing. Of course you can also express your views on whatever is happening in the world at a particular time, but you should maintain a ratio of 80:20 – 80% your subject and 20% general interest.

Interacting with your fans however much possible

Social networking is after all 1-1 interactions. If you just post and never respond to your fans’ comments people gradually begin to lose interest, especially when they are addressing to you and they don’t get a reply. It gives them an ego boost when you personally reply to their quarries especially if you are a budding celebrity. If you are a business then people will most probably comment about how fantastic or how lousy your product or service is. Try to respond to positive and negative feedbacks as early as possible because timeliness makes your conversations more effective and relevant.

So keep on posting relevant, quality content on your Facebook page and see your fans growing with great speed in a matter of a few months.

As a business person or as an artist it is not feasible to focus on your core area and also focus on your Facebook page. Sooner or later you will need professional help, especially when it comes to regularly posting quality content on your Facebook page.

Why a blog is important for your small business

Business blogging

Do you publish a small business blog? As a small business if you don’t have a blog you are losing out on many aspects of online marketing, SEO and social engagement.

Having a small business blog has many advantages. Small businesses normally don’t have big marketing budgets and they have to depend on individual effort in order to survive and thrive. Blogging kills multiple birds (I don’t endorse killing of birds for entertainment and leisure purposes, in fact I loathe such acts) with a single stone. Once you have set up a small business blog and accumulated some high-quality blog posts

  • Your website begins to rank higher on various search engines
  • Search engines index and rank greater number of pages and blog posts from your website
  • Your overall keyword density improves
  • You have useful content to share on your social media and social networking profiles
  • Your followers and friends get more opportunities to promote your links as you publish fresh content regularly
  • You establish yourself as an authority due to the expertise you constantly share through your small business blog
  • Search engines and social media websites begin to regard you as an authority and hence attach more importance to your content
  • You engage your visitors in meaningful conversations and hence improve your recognition and identity and consequently, strengthen your brand

Having a small business blog is easy

You can either set up a business blog under your existing domain name (something like //yourwebsite.com/blog) or you can have a separate domain name for your blog and put your main website link there. Although there are many free blog hosting services that you can use; I recommend using WordPress for your small business blog because it gives you full control over your blog in terms of layout and content. Besides, you can freely download it and install it on your server. This is more important especially now when online services are randomly shut down by even reputed companies like Google..

Provided you already have a website and you want to host a small business blog under your existing domain name, it doesn’t cost you much. You can either do it on your own, or you can hire somebody who is comfortable installing WordPress blogs. The benefit of hiring someone experienced is that within a couple of hours you are ready to go.

Maintaining a small business blog demands some time and investment

Of course as a business tool a small business blog cannot be 100% free. Either you yourself will have to create content or you’ll need to hire a content writer for that. Initially, in the fit of enthusiasm you can create a few well-written blog posts but eventually you will need to look out for an experienced content writer who can take over your blog and make sure it always has fresh, relevant and useful content.

Rather than quantity focus on quality

For your small business blog it is very important you don’t get swayed by the keyword hoopla and focus on the broad quality of your content. Getting 100s of keyword-centric blog posts may get you lots of traffic, but if that traffic doesn’t convert into business, you are simply wasting your money and effort. Instead, invest on high-quality content that not only ranks higher on search engines and performs better on social media and social networking websites, but also improves your conversion rate.

Besides, these days you can be penalized by search engines like Google for over-using your keywords. So use your keywords whenever they are necessary and don’t needlessly stuff them. Even your content writer must know that. Sometimes people indulge in keyword stuffing unknowingly and if your content writer is doing that, you will need to remind him or her not to do it.

Does having a small business blog actually help you?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you think your small business blog will immediately increase your business, it may not happen. It is a publishing platform. It helps you build a communication tool that can help you in whichever way you want. There is traffic, and then there is targeted traffic. Targeted traffic to your small business blog will always have a greater conversion rate compared to non-targeted traffic.

The success of your small business blog also hinges upon your clarity of purpose. Do you want to build an audience that will eventually turn into your customers, or do you want to straightaway sell your products and services via your blog posts? To be frank, whether it makes sense or not, on the Internet people are turned off if you are directly trying to sell them. Of course everybody understands that eventually you need to make a living, and nobody resents that. But if you are providing quality content, just provide quality content through your small business blog. Don’t try to trick people into buying your product or service just because they have come to your blog to read your blog posts.

Yes, your small business blog can increase your business. Use it to increase the level of credibility. Use it to develop a strong readership base. Encourage people to subscribe to your e-mail updates and try to engage them as much as possible. Remember that it is the level of engagement and recognition that will eventually encourages them to do business with you, and this you can be easily achieve by publishing a regular small business blog.

Why content marketing is important for your business

Content marketing is a misunderstood terminology. It has got nothing to do with conventional marketing where you keep on pushing your messages and then wait for response.

There is often some confusion regarding why you need content regularly and why it needs to be marketed through proper channels. Unlike your brick and mortar business, the game is totally different on the web. You cannot compete on the Internet on the strength of your money, market reach and off-line reputation. You need to have a presence, and you need to have a convincing presence, and only high-quality content gives you that presence.

On your website or your blog, you cannot directly communicate with your visitors unless you are constantly online and are using a webcam or a chat interface to talk to individual visitors (this is feasible, but only up to a certain point). Your web pages, and what they contain, become your representatives, your voice on your online presence. So your content helps you communicate.

But this is not the only reason you require ongoing content and subsequent content marketing. You also require content to

  • Strengthen and establish your brand
  • Generate traffic from social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook
  • Improve your search engine rankings
  • Establish yourself as an authority
  • Keep your visitors/customers/clients informed
  • Provide answers to the most common questions regarding your business
  • Keep on communicating with your prospective and present customers and clients so that they remember you when they need the product or the service you provide
  • Give your visitors a reason to visit your website or blog regularly

Why content marketing

After you start publishing on your website, people need to know about it. Since there are zillions of pages and blog posts on the Internet it is practically impossible to publish 50-60 odd web pages or blog posts and then expect the traffic to pour down from all over the Internet. Some people may have 500-600 web pages or blog posts, and some may even have thousands of them. So in terms of quantity and quality, you are in a constant competition on the Internet, and the good thing is you need to compete constantly. Why I say this is a good thing is because then everybody gets a chance to compete on the strength of his or her ability to produce and market high-quality content. This way, even while working from your basement, in your undergarments, you can compete with as big a company as Forbes by producing better content and marketing it properly.

In order to compete, along with publishing relevant information you also need to market it. You need to highlight it and promote it where people can see it. Here are a few things you can do in the effort of content marketing without spending much money:

  • Search engine optimize your content: Although this comes under search marketing, basically it is content marketing. With the help of your content you are trying to promote your business on various search engines. If you are able to optimize your content, it is going to rank well on major and minor search engines and this can bring you tons of traffic. Choose the right keywords, pack your articles and blog posts with as much information as possible, and make them as helpful as possible.
  • Write for other websites and blog posts: You can publish articles on article directories (although they are losing their charm over search engine rankings because there are 100s of such article directories). A better thing to do is write blog posts as guest blogger for reputed blogs. This might not be easy so first you will have to interact on the blogs and let the blog publishers become familiar with you. Many start-up companies use this content marketing tactic with great success by publishing blog posts on tech blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch.
  • Maintain an active social media presence: This may include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. These days your website may get traffic from multiple sources and you need to maintain a vibrant presence over these places. Regularly interact with your friends and followers on social networking websites and generate content for social media websites like YouTube and Tumblr. Lots of content is shared and passed around using these platforms and you never know which of your links might go viral.

These are but a few ways you can carry out your content marketing effort. As mentioned above, content marketing is important for your business because first of all content is important for your business, and second, you need to make as many people aware of the existence of your content as possible.

The benefits of having a Google +1 button on your website

Although this has got nothing directly to do with content writing and content marketing, since it can help my clients I have decided to write on this topic. Frankly, I haven’t really started using Google Plus as regularly as I use Facebook and Twitter, but the Google +1 button is slightly different from the social networking platform Google is trying to promote.

What is the Google +1 button?

You can see the Google +1 button on the top of this blog post (most probably on the right hand side at the top).

It can be used like a “thumbs up” act by your visitors. If you’re familiar with how the Digg button works, with every click, the number of people who have “plussed” your link increases. On Digg, the more diggs you have, the better is your chance of getting on Digg.com homepage and all of sudden increasing traffic to your website by hundreds of thousands. I am personally not very impressed with the sort of traffic you get from Digg.com but that is just a difference of opinion I guess.

The Google +1 button achieves almost the same thing, but instead of helping you get to the homepage of Digg.com, it helps you improve your search engine rankings. It is something like page rank: the more “trusted” websites and blogs link to you, the better your search engine rankings get.

The Google +1 button is a step closer to “humanizing” search engine results. So far, almost all the search engines have depended on ranking algorithms to rank various links. Although these algorithms are mathematically sound, after all they are algorithms, and whenever you have algorithms, people can devise workarounds.

But if actual human beings start recommending web pages and blog posts by clicking on the Google +1 button it increases their relevance in the real sense. Then Google doesn’t have to depend much on its algorithms and its search engine results are more validated and relevant. So if you have a Google +1 button on your website, you are allowing your visitors to help you improve your search engine rankings. When they click on your Google +1 button they recommend your link to Google.com – “Rank this link well, it is definitely good!”

It is like “social search”. This concept has been introduced by many newcomer search engines.

Some even say Google.com immediately crawls your web page and indexes it the moment you install the Google +1 button on it. I’m not particularly sure of that. Anyway, if you regularly publish content on your website or blog, your content gets indexed within a few seconds or a few minutes of the new content appearing on your website or blog.

Another benefit of having a Google +1 button on your website or blog

The Google +1 button also allows you to post the link you are presently on directly to your Google Plus profile. It is like, Facebook or Twitter plug-in that allows you to straightaway post the link under your profile.

How to install a Google +1 button on your website or blog

The direct way to install the Google +1 button is by heading to the official Google webpage dedicated to the button. This page has code snippets that you need to insert into your website. The first code snippet is for the button to appear wherever you want it to appear, and the second code snippet is the required JavaScript that you will be putting within the <head></head> section of your website.

If you manage your blog or website with WordPress (as I do) you can simply install a plug-in to display the Google +1 button. This is not the only recommended plug-in – you can use whatever you prefer. If you’re using a social media plug-in as you can see on the left hand side of this blog post, it might already be coming up preloaded with the Google +1 one button feature.

Here is a small video on the Google +1 one button (from Google.com):