Tag Archives: Twitter

More than 140 characters on Twitter; how is it going to impact content marketing?

Content marketing on Twitter with more than 140 characters

Most people I have come across (especially on Twitter) flinch at the thought of people being able to write more than 140 characters on Twitter. In fact, many believe that a big reason why Twitter succeeds is because of its 140-character-limit. If people are allowed to type more than 140 characters, they declare, Twitter will become just another spam-filled platform where long streams of text will clog the timelines and most of this text will make no sense.

The inherent strength of Twitter is of course it’s short messages. The entire format has evolved around this state of brevity. Even in terms of usability, it is easier to quickly scroll through shorter spurts of text rather than long paragraphs. Yes, images and videos are there that often occupy lots of space, but you can disable them in almost every Twitter app that you use on your mobile phone or tablet.

Twitter would like more long form content published on its website just like Facebook and LinkedIn, according to this Re/Code update. The company is working on building a “product” that will allow people to use the social networking website to post more than 140 characters or long form text. It isn’t very clear whether it will be the users of the “product” who will be able to post long form content while the remaining Twitter users go on using 140 characters, or the facility will be available to everybody.

Longer content means people spending more time on the website and more time on the website means greater ad revenue, or at least this is how the conventional logic goes. Up till now, as you know, long form content is published elsewhere – your own website or your own blog, Medium, WordPress.com, Tumblr and even Facebook these days – and the URL with a small textual description is published on Twitter. So basically Twitter is constantly sending traffic away because the whole purpose of publishing your URL on Twitter is to send people to that URL and consequently, leave Twitter. People are not staying on Twitter longer unless they are engaging in some ongoing conversation. If they come across blog posts and articles on Twitter itself, they won’t have to leave the website.

What does an ability to post more than 140 characters on Twitter mean to content marketing?

In simple terms, there will be another platform at your disposal where you can publish content to promote your business. The true purpose of content marketing is to help people while letting people know from where the help is coming. Marketing messages don’t sell. Relevant, useful content does. So the same philosophy will apply on Twitter when you decide to use its ability to publish long form content for content marketing.

But isn’t it a big hassle to post content on different networks? You might already be publishing long form content on LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium? Of course, then there is also your own blog. After all how much content can you publish?

Personally, I wouldn’t suggest my clients to go for all platforms. For B2B marketing, yes, LinkedIn is important and it is worthwhile to invest in content marketing over there and publishing long form articles and blog posts specifically written for LinkedIn. But for Twitter? I’m not very sure. You may call me a power Twitter user but I mostly use it for political, social and cultural interactions, not for business purpose. For business purpose I use my own blog as well as LinkedIn and I believe the same applies to most of my clients.

Not much data is available regarding how much business Twitter exclusively generates for advertisers and marketers.

Also, I’m not saying that for content marketing you can totally disregard Twitter’s ability to publish long form content. It is hard to predict how everything will evolve. But as of now, even if you decide to post longer blog posts and articles exclusively on Twitter, keep in mind that the audience is used to quickly browsing through shorter updates. The sort of attention people pay to tweets might be totally different from the sort of attention they pay to posts on LinkedIn or even Facebook. So start experimenting with first, one paragraph, then a couple of paragraphs and then maybe a few more paragraphs.

I often suggest my clients to publish long form content on their own website and on LinkedIn and then use their other social media profiles to promote that content. You may do the same with Twitter.

It also depends on your audience. For example if you are an author promoting your books then Facebook would be a better platform and you can start building content over there along with on your own website. If you write business-related books then LinkedIn would be a better platform for you and you should focus on creating long form content on LinkedIn. If your experience of having interactions on Twitter tells you that you are going to get good response by publishing long form blog posts and articles on Twitter, then sure, go ahead.

Is content marketing the only marketing left?

This is something Seth Godin said in one of the interviews he keeps giving on various Internet marketing forums, that content marketing is the only marketing left.

Many people tend to disagree, but they don’t get the import of the thing. They always equate content marketing with something that necessarily has to do with the Internet. Of course a major part of content marketing evolves on the Internet, but it goes beyond the realms of the world wide web.

Content marketing in its truest sense means two-way engagement. Unlike conventional advertising you are not simply broadcasting promotional messages using various channels (print magazines, newspapers, TV, radio and even some form of Internet advertising), you are actually trying to reach out to your target customers and clients. First with the arrival of the contemporary Internet and then with social networking and social media, the dynamics of how people consume content (information, education or advertising) have gone through a paradigm shift. It’s no longer about passively receiving messages. Now people immediately respond to those messages and also create their own messages.

This, is a big difference. People talk to businesses and they talk among themselves. Your business and your brand must be talked about in order to remain relevant. This can only be achieved by engaging content, and hence the relevance of content marketing.

Again, although I mostly deal with writing, content, it can be anything. It can be a video, and info-graphic, an audio, a presentation, a PDF file, your postings on social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. It can be images and videos on Pinterest and YouTube.

The biggest reason why content marketing is the only marketing left is that people “search” on the Internet before doing business with you. People no longer buy your products and services after seeing your advertisements and flyers. They log onto their favourite search engine, and they search for your product name or your service name (and various other combinations involving your product name or your service name), and read and view information and opinions about it. If not their favourite search engine, then they use their favourite social networking website (most such websites like Twitter and Facebook are making search a big part of their offerings) to know what people are saying about your product or service.

Conventional marketing brings you brand awareness. Content marketing brings you brand involvement, and this is what you need in the current scenario. You want conversations to happen around your brand and business, and if possible, positive conversations. This happens when you create and promote content people can share, respond to or react to.

Content marketing also gives you an ability to measure various aspects of its effectiveness. Take for instance blogging. At a particular time, using analytics tools, you can easily find out how many people are reading your blog posts, from which geographic regions, at what particular time of the day, during which days of the week, etc. By actively engaging them in your comments section you can even get more information.

The same holds true for social networking websites like Facebook. The amount of information its analytics can give you is unparalleled.

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.

How to fire up your web content strategy

Content StrategyWeb content strategy basically constitutes of publishing what your target audience is looking for, and then making it easily findable.

Are you publishing content on your website or blog for a particular reason? There are two ways of publishing it on your website and leveraging its potential:

  1. Publishing regularly hoping that it will generate enough buzz that will eventually turn into business
  2. Regularly publishing and streamlining it according to your business needs, continuously analyzing the performance of your content and taking follow-up steps

The second way of publishing is what you basically call “web content strategy”. You publish content with a certain intention and continuously try to make sure your web content strategy achieves what it is intended to achieve. Here are a few things you can do to fire up your web content strategy.

What do you want your web content strategy to achieve?

This is a very important question. Don’t simply publish content on your website just because your competitors are doing that. For an effective web content strategy you must need to know what you’re achieving and what are your long-term and short-term goals vis-à-vis publishing content on your website. Do you want to

  • Improve your search engine rankings by publishing keyword-rich content?
  • Make your prospective customers and clients more aware of your products and services?
  • Make your prospective and current customers and clients more aware of the overwhelming benefits of your products and services?
  • Want to keep your visitors engaged?
  • Strengthen your brand presence?
  • Rake up socially relevant issues?
  • Educate and inform your visitors so that they can make better decisions regarding what they should be buying and investing their money in?

Frankly, there can be 1000s of questions you can ask yourself before publishing content but the basic idea is, you should know precisely why you are publishing. The more clear you are, the better direction you will have.

What sort of audience you want to cater to through your web content strategy?

Last year I partnered with a client who wanted to address an audience who remains at the forefront of technology: people who would buy the first iPhone or the iPad or who would start using a pioneering service without waiting for someone else. For instance, people who started using Facebook and Twitter in their early years. The direction of the content was totally different.

So before going ahead with your web content strategy you must know who you’re talking to on a daily basis and then produce content accordingly.

What format of content your audience prefers?

I am a content writer but this doesn’t mean I always recommend text as the most preferred format of producing and publishing content. Different types of content formats can play a crucial role in your overall web content strategy such as video, audio-visual, audio, graphics, images, presentations, slideshows, and of course, text. The format of your content depends on your audience preference and the devices they use. If your audience prefers reading, by all means provide text. If they are more visual types then provide them images and graphics. If their devices can handle streaming video and they prefer that, then provide it.

Make sure that you stay away from the “me too” approach. Just because an XYZ website uses video doesn’t mean that you should use it too. Maybe it works for them, maybe it will, or maybe it won’t for you, or maybe it doesn’t even work for them but they still use it. It’s important to understand what format actually clicks for you and then produce plenty of it.

What channels you use to spread your content?

No matter how outstanding content you’re producing unless people know about it they are neither going to consume it nor promote it. You need to spread your content using proper channels. It can be your website/blog that enjoys lots of traffic. It can be your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It can be Youtube if video is your primary content format. Nurture different channels and then use them to engage your audience and distribute your content.

How do you track the performance of your web content strategy?

Without tracking performance you are simply throwing darts in the darkness. You need to know whether your web content strategy is delivering or not. Although you won’t have enough data to analyze within a couple of weeks, and you need some ground for scientific analysis, once that initial hurdle is crossed, you need to constantly evaluate how your content performs with different parameters.

You can analyze individual webpages/blog posts in terms of

  • How much traffic they were able to generate
  • What important keywords and key phrases they were able to attract traffic for
  • How many people retweeted and shared them
  • How many people left comments
  • How many people explored further pages of your website after entering through those particular pages/blog posts
  • How many back links were they able to generate, etc.

Please note that these webpages and blog posts may also have indirect effects such as getting you more Twitter followers and Facebook likes and there are surely tools to measure even these indirect effects.

In the end, web content strategy is not your backyard activity. It requires lots of effort, understanding of your own market and figuring out a slew of different matrices.

Twitter Lists: list to follow

Twitter has added a features that allows you to create a list of your favorite people you’re following and would let others follow them with a single click. Currently, as this Mashable blog post states, this feature is available to a select few, but gradually it’ll be available to all Twitter users.

This I think is a nice way of recommending people and this will help you gain more followers. Also, as it happens in almost every sphere in life, this features is firstmost being offered to well-known Twitter users, but the good thing is, if they recommend you in their list, it’s much more beneficial.