Author shama

  • 6 Steps to Creating a Documented Content Strategy for Your Brand

    Even though most of us digital marketers know that content marketing is deeply important for our digital marketing strategies, there’s a strong temptation to simply wing it, and see what happens. We’ll think of a topic that would be great for a blog post one morning, write the post that afternoon, and post it before we sign off for the day. We’ll see an interesting article and tweet it to our followers, whether or not it fits into a larger strategic plan. We’ll reply to a few Facebook comments and share the blog post we just wrote with our followers. Then we’ll start this process all over again the next day. While this may be content marketing – in a sense – it’s certainly not strategic. It’s reactive, a fly-by-night approach to what should be a much more thought-out and planned process. After all, if you’re putting resources into creating and sharing content, you ought to be striving for the highest ROI possible. And while this reactive social behavior is a part of attaining that, it’s certainly not enough on its own. So what are you waiting for? Here’s a 6-step process to creating a documented content strategy. 1. Put the brakes…

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  • Is Content Shock Real, and How Will It Affect My Content Marketing Strategy?

    Every now and then, we digital marketers hear the term “content shock” whispered around the water cooler, or we read it in an article shared with trepidation among content marketers on Twitter. If you’re not familiar with the idea of content shock, it basically means that we’ve hit the point of diminishing returns with content marketing. There is so much content being created and shared every day, every hour, that a piece of content that might have been effective 1 year ago may today be hardly a blip on your audience’s radar. Content shock doesn’t get as much attention as it should because, well – it’s scary. It means change. It means strategizing in new ways. It means looking at our content marketing strategies with fresh, unbiased eyes. That’s a hard thing to make ourselves do. So let’s get real. How is content shock really affecting your brand and your content marketing strategy? How can you adapt to the times without throwing out the entire content marketing playbook? Content shock is real, but you’ve probably already adapted – to a certain degree Here’s the bad news. Yes, content shock is real. Your well-researched, abundantly backlinked, visually pleasing blog post that you…

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  • A Complete Guide to Crushing Your First Snapchat Takeover

    If one of your brand’s target audiences is young adults, then this blog post is for you. Snapchat, the social media messaging app that lets users post images and videos that disappear after a brief period of time, is dominated by younger demographics. A full 60% of Snapchat’s 300 million total monthly users are under the age of 25, while 26% are between the ages of 25-34. This means that Snapchat can be a hugely effective tool for getting your brand message out to a younger, highly engaged audience. While there are plenty of ways to use Snapchat to your advantage, for the purposes of this post we’re going to focus on one tactic: Snapchat takeovers. What is a Snapchat takeover? Snapchat takeovers are a way to get your brand message out to a whole new set of eyes. The way they usually work is that a brand will give an influencer access to its Snapchat account for a set amount of time – usually a day. The influencer then “takes over” the account, sharing their own images and messages with the brand’s followers as a Snapchat Story. There’s plenty of cross-promotion leading up to the big day, so both the…

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  • What is Shadowbanning, and How Do I Know if It’s Happened to Me?

    There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Instagram “shadowban” that’s been affecting some users. It may sound like the title of the next James Bond movie, but it’s actually fairly simple. What it means is that Instagram is making some users’ posts invisible without the users knowing. For businesses that use Instagram to promote their brand, this is obviously a real problem. Being shadowbanned can lead to a plummet in engagement. But we hasten to add: The act of shadowbanning is not an attempt by Instagram to censor your posts. It’s actually part of a bigger cleanup job that Instagram is doing to make Instagram content better, more relevant, and less spammy. Now back to you. Why is the shadowban happening, and how can you tell if it’s affected your account? Check your engagement levels The biggest reason you’d notice that your account might be shadowbanned is that you’d see that noticeable dropoff in engagement mentioned earlier. This would be because your posts aren’t showing up when people search for a hashtag, for potential reasons we’ll get into later. Now, a drop in engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been shadowbanned. It could mean that there’s a legitimate…

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  • Paid or Organic Social Media Marketing? Do You Know Which to Use . . . And Why?

    Quick, answer these questions. Which is better, a hammer or a screwdriver? Is a sauce pan better than a skillet? Should you use paid or organic social media marketing? The answer to all three questions is the same in every case: It depends. The tool you use depends on the task at hand, the results you want, and how you want to achieve those results. Source: Search Engine Land If you have an online business presence (and if you don’t we need to talk), social media marketing is mandatory. If you don’t have some kind of social media presence, you could be on your way to irrelevancy. A major part of social media marketing is understanding the two different types: paid vs. organic. Really, though, putting it this way sets up a false dichotomy that lands you in an either-or fallacy. Like most things in life, it’s not “either-or,” but “both-and” – depending on what and how you want to invest in your marketing efforts. Let’s take a look, then. Paid Social Media Marketing Here’s the short definition. With paid social, you invest money in return for a better chance at getting fast results. The most important advantage of paid…

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  • Why Quality Content is the Backbone of Any Inbound Marketing Strategy

    Many brands that are new to inbound marketing struggle to understand just why content creation is such an invaluable element in any inbound marketing strategy. Why do we need blog posts? What real value does this ebook provide? How do we know when the content is working? We get these questions all the time, and we understand how difficult it can be, at first, to “get” content marketing. So we decided to put some of our answers into a blog post. Here are the reasons why quality content is the backbone of any inbound marketing strategy. First: what’s “inbound marketing”? Inbound marketing involves using tactics that help potential customers find your brand. In other words, you’re not expending energy and resources sending marketing messages out to people who may not even be interested in your what you have to offer. Instead, your focus is on strategies that attract customers to your website. That means creating great content, sharing relevant posts on social media, optimizing your site and content for SEO, etc. This is a fundamental change from the way that companies used to understand marketing. Today, people don’t want to be interrupted. They don’t want banner ads advertising something they’ve…

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  • Mapping the Social Media World with 5 Incredible Infographics

    If you were tasked with mapping the social media world 10 years ago, you’d have a pretty simple job on your hands. You’d have a few social networks, like Facebook and MySpace, that people mostly used to share pictures of their college-aged selves and sound clips of themselves playing guitar. There would be Twitter, which most people didn’t really get until users started updating it during natural disasters. Add to that LinkedIn, and a few blogging sites, and you’d be pretty well covered. Today, however, the social media world has exploded in both size and complexity. Now, most of us digital marketers won’t need to know every social network, of course. Many won’t be relevant to our work. Some may be gone for good next year or next month, with new ones to take their places. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent exercise to take a look at how these networks and platforms are being mapped by some of today’s top digital strategists. For one thing, you might find a new platform that’s just perfect for your brand. But just as importantly, you’ll be able to see how these various social networks are fitting together, and what role they’re playing in changing…

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  • Creating Stellar HTML Emails – Tips from Our Email Marketing Pros

    When it comes to designing effective HTML emails, even the most competent designers and marketers can find themselves feeling frustrated. While it’s true that email clients like MailChimp and Constant Contact have made it much easier to design nice-looking, readable emails – even if you have absolutely no HTML skills – there are plenty of tips you can follow that will help you take your emails to the next level. Here are a few from MZ’s own email marketing gurus. Don’t go wider than 600 pixels Making your readers scroll side-to-side is the kiss of death for your emails. Not only will it make your brand look amateurish, it will also prove really annoying to everyone who gets your emails, making it way more likely that they’ll just send them straight to the trash. To avoid this, 600 pixels is a good standard to stick to. In addition, keeping things consistent will make it more likely that your emails will show up well across all email clients (and there are hundreds, even though most people only use one of the few big ones). Keep important stuff on the left side Eye-tracking studies have proven that people tend to focus more…

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  • 50 Pro Tips for Boosting Your Reach and Converting More Customers

    We digital marketers set all kinds of goals every day – get more Facebook likes, increase our Instagram followers, achieve a guest post on this or that influencer’s blog. But the big goal – the one that all those small goals are helping us work toward – is to convert more customers. In the end, that’s what we want for our brands. We want more people to purchase our product or sign up for our service. With all those smaller tasks on our hands, it can be easy to lose sight of how each individual goal supports the bigger one. That’s not to mention how easy it can be to lose sight of what should come next. To help you out of your digital marketing rut, here are 50 pro tips for boosting your reach and converting more customers. Content 1.Start a blog. A blog is really a non-negotiable in today’s digital marketing landscape. Why? Because fresh, shareable content is what will give people a reason to come to your site. Once they’re there, hopefully they’ll become a customer. 2. Write a whitepaper. Whitepapers, in case you’re not familiar with them, are authoritative reports detailing important issues, policies, features of…

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  • 10 Medium Accounts Every Marketer Should be Following

    Whether or not your own brand posts on Medium, there’s a lot that this unique social media platform can offer marketers. If you’re not familiar with Medium, it’s a platform for individuals and businesses to post long-form content. That could be anything from a short story, to an opinion piece, to a deeply technical blog post complete with graphs and charts. For whatever reason, Medium isn’t always the first place we marketers think of to look when we’re searching for the latest and greatest writing about our field. However, the platform is home to some excellent users, as well as publications, that every marketer should be following. All Things Marketing and Entrepreneurship The name says is all – this publication is all about marketing and entrepreneurship, although a quick skim over the most recent posts shows that it definitely leans more toward the marketing side of things. Larry Kim, the founder of WordPress, is a prominent voice here, writing about content marketing, mobile digital marketing, and offering advice on building and running startups. A bonus: You’ll also find plenty of unicorn memes. Another solid contributor is Joei Chan, whose pieces on SEO and email marketing are great reads. Rand Fishkin…

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  • How to Take Your User-Generated Content from Good to Great

    If you’re on the fence about purchasing a new product, whose word are you going to trust more: the brand that’s trying to sell you the product, or a regular person who’s already made that purchase and loves their item? Yeah, we’d trust the regular person too. That right there is why user-generated content, or UGC, can be so powerful. Used correctly, it can be the content marketer’s best friend – but only if you know how to make that content great. So how do you inspire your followers to create content that grabs users’ attention? That turns those on-the-fencers into loyal customers? Just follow these tips, and you’ll see your UGC go up in both quality and quantity. Commit to building a strategy. Tons of brands share what their followers post, but not nearly as many have a clear strategy that helps them decide when, where, and how to share that content. Engagement, of course, is key to a successful social media strategy, but engagement by itself isn’t a strategy for encouraging user-generated content. Instead, think of your UGC strategy like any other marketing campaign. First, you need an objective: do you want your UGC to inform, or to entertain…

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  • Why You Should Up Your Paid Social Ad Spend This Year

    Google’s been announcing some major developments in the past few months. In November, they announced that the search engine would be moving toward mobile-first indexing. Then this June, Google’s Senior VP of Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, posted an announcement that the search engine had joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an organization that works to improve the online ad experience. The Coalition released a report recently detailing guidelines for creating better ads – in other words, ads that people don’t find annoying. Google pulled some of these guidelines for a post on their DoubleClick blog, which you can read here. And while we won’t go into all the details, suffice it to say that what people find least annoying are ads that blend the most seamlessly with the content they’re consuming. Maybe it’s just us, but that sounds like paid social ads, in our opinion. Now, it’s important to note that the DoubleClick post refers not to paid social ads, but to the more traditional digital ads that we all see, on content publisher sites, especially. However, the takeaway is highly relevant:  Internet users today want ads that don’t interrupt, that are relevant to their interests, and that are immersive. …

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