Content Marketing

  • 5 Tips for Writing Enthralling Long-Form Content

    When blogging first made the jump from a way to share your personal thoughts with an anonymous, internet audience to a bona fide digital marketing tool, the overriding strategy was: shorter is better. Since then, things have changed drastically. In those early days, people just weren’t that comfortable reading on screens for more than a few minutes at a time. And the same was true for writers – we didn’t really know how to write for online media yet. It was a brave new world, and readers and writers alike had a lot of exploring to do. Today, that’s all changed. There’s tons of data on the differences between how people read online versus how they read traditional media. There’s so much data, in fact, that marketing data collectors like Buffer and SumAll can tell you how many characters you should use to optimize a tweet, and how many words should go in a paragraph if you want maximum readership. They even created this awesome infographic, excerpted below, to give you a quick guide for consultation. via Buffer Social And as you can see, when it comes to blog posts, shorter isn’t so great anymore. Instead, 1,600 words, which translates…

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  • How to Create Epic Content: Writing Tips for People Who Hate to Write

    So you’ve just been put in charge of your company’s brand-new blog, and the director has given you total creative control. That’s exciting news, right? Except for one tiny detail: you’re not a writer. In fact, if you’re being totally honest, you don’t even like writing. Now that the written word has become such an integral part of the digital marketing plan, lots of people are finding themselves in this very situation – especially at smaller and mid-market companies, where the resources to hire a full-time content writer may not be available. This can be very tough on the person who’s been designated to run the blog, especially if there’s not much money for freelancers. When you add in the fact that the optimal length for a blog post, in terms of SEO and shareability, is 1200 words at a minimum, as MZ’s CEO Shama Hyder relates in her new book Momentum, handling a company blog as a non-writer looks even more daunting. So how do you handle your new role when you’d rather be doing…well, anything else besides stringing sentences together and worrying about grammar? How do you create a well-written, informative, entertaining blog that people want to read…

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  • How to Write Engaging Content for Even the Most Boring Industry

    If someone asked you to come up with a list of boring industries, what would you include? Lighting fixtures? Plumbing? Electronics manufacturing? Housecleaning? We get it. Writing meaningful content about plumbing issues can seem like a near-impossibility. And when you’re the one tasked with writing that content, it can lead to an uncomfortable number of hours spent staring at a blank computer screen. However, it can be done! We’re including lots of tips on how to do this below, but first you have to embrace this one, basic truth: no industry is truly boring. So how do you get at this intriguing, non-boring side of the industry you’re writing about? The tips below should help you out. Research the industry (or product, if that’s what you’re writing about) until you have a good idea of how it works, the trending issues related to it, and what customers seem to love or hate about it. If you’re someone who works in the industry you’re writing about, you already have a strong grasp on all kinds of topics that would make great blog posts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn more. In this case, it might be helpful to look at…

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  • 5 Steps to Developing an Outstanding Brand Voice on Social Media

    Your social media posts say a lot about your brand. But are they saying the right thing? Because social media has become such a vital part of digital marketing, many businesses have found themselves creating hasty profiles on three or four social media platforms, and posting what they can when they can – sometimes, simply just to maintain a presence on the channel. While this is a fairly common situation, even among large enterprises with lots of resources, it’s hardly ideal. The problem is that you’re not telling a unified story. You’re not speaking with a defined, recognizable brand voice. And that means that you’re missing out on a major opportunity to connect with your customers. How do you go from having a haphazard social media presence to one that clearly identifies what your brand is all about? The key is developing your brand voice. Follow these five steps to get started. 1. Delve into your company’s culture. Your brand voice is really an expression of your company culture, so a good place to start is to spend some time defining that culture. Is your company youthful and on-trend, like PopSugar? Or is it established and traditional, like Farmers Insurance…

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  • Gated Content for B2B Companies: Pros, Cons, and How to Use It Wisely

    Any digital marketer worth her salt will tell you that if you want your brand to succeed in today’s market, you have to be creating content. Blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, infographics, podcasts…when it comes to content marketing, the options are many. The point of creating all this content, of course, is to get it in the hands – or on the screens – of consumers, who will be much more likely to become your customers if you give them something great to read. So if that’s what you’re trying to do, then what’s the whole idea behind gated content? Why would you ever erect a barrier between your potential customer and something they’re trying to access? After all, marketing is generally about removing barriers to purchase, isn’t it? That’s certainly true, but in some cases, putting up a gate that consumers have to pass through to get to your content can work in your favor. The trick is knowing what content should be gated, and what kind of gate you should use. What does “gated content” mean, anyway? When it comes to content, the term “gate” can mean a couple of things. It can mean a paywall, so that people…

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Product-Based Businesses

    In the olden days of marketing – like, 20 years ago – designing a marketing plan for your product-based business was pretty straightforward. Mostly, you had to show how much better your product was than its competitors. That could mean running a taste test with random consumers and then telling people about it. It could mean paying a celebrity to wear your product to a major event. It could even mean just spending tons of money on commercials in which an actor looked really happy eating/using/looking at your amazing product. That is somewhat of a simplification, sure, but in general, that was the idea behind product-based marketing before the digital age. Today, things are different. Consumers are way more savvy. They can price-shop for products just like yours across the entire internet, which basically means the entire planet. They’re wary of the hard sell, and want to feel in control of the purchasing process. On the marketer’s side, the channels through which you can reach consumers have exploded. It’s not just TV, radio, and print anymore. You have mobile ads, browser ads, mobile apps, email, social media, live chat, text alerts…you get the idea. When you add in the fact…

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  • 5 Awesome Digital Marketing Strategies for Niche Businesses

    While the internet has changed marketing for businesses of every shape and size, perhaps one of the most transformed over the past couple of decades has been the niche business. Pre-internet, niche businesses had to have products or services that would appeal to enough people to support the cost of advertising – which meant that many potential niche products never saw the light of day. Today, the situation is different. Niche products still have to make enough money to support their advertising costs, like any other business, but those costs have gotten so much lower, and ad reach so much wider, that the niche product and service market has boomed. Just think about some of the niche products or services you’ve come across in the past few years. Print-on-demand T-shirts. Super-exclusive (and expensive) matchmaking services. Every subscription box service out there, from Blue Apron (meals and recipes) to Birchbox (beauty products). The reality now is that if you want to create a line of handmade journals targeting 28-35 year old mothers of gifted kids in Laguna Beach, California, you can do it – and with the right digital marketing strategy, you can probably even become profitable. If this sounds like…

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  • 6 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

    A strong business relationship, like a strong marriage, requires a lot of give and take. Your agency needs to have the knowledge, expertise, and moxie to give you the strong digital presence that businesses need to succeed. They have to stay on top of the latest developments in digital marketing, and be ready to try new strategies when the old ones don’t work. As a client, you need to communicate your needs openly and clearly. You need to be responsive with feedback. You have to trust your agency enough to let them seek out opportunities to build your brand, and when they do, be able to let them know what you think. Of course, just as in marriage, there’s also an undefinable element that can make a business relationship not just good, but great. It’s a sense of fit, of “clicking” – of knowing that you and your agency won’t have trouble staying on the same page. This isn’t something you can find out from an agency website. When you’re thinking of hiring a digital marketing agency, you’ve got to start by asking them the right questions. In addition to asking about things like their client base, history of success,…

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  • Winning the Hashtag Wars: How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Reach and Strengthen Your Brand

    Hashtags can have a huge effect on your content and, therefore, your brand. How can you use them strategically to strengthen that brand and increase..

  • 21 Common Questions About Content Marketing Answered

    Next up in our “21 Common Questions Answered” series, in which we answer the top questions we commonly receive about various aspects of online marketing, is the topic of content marketing. (Check out the previous posts in this series for answers to your questions about email marketing and social media marketing!) The importance of content in an online marketing strategy has undergone a meteoric rise over the last few years, so it’s only natural that businesses have questions about just how to harness this marketing tool. And as usual, we’re here to help. So without further ado, here are the answers to 21 common questions about content marketing: 1. What is content marketing exactly? Content marketing turns traditional marketing on its head. Instead of focusing on a company and its products or services, it focuses on the consumer’s needs first. The goal of content marketing is to provide valuable, genuinely helpful information to consumers for free, in order to create a relationship with them based on trust, which eventually leads them to make a purchase.  2. What qualifies as content? When most people think of content marketing, they think of a blog. And blogs are certainly one of the easiest…

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  • 51 Online Marketing Tactics That Get Results

    Here’s the thing, you guys. Every business is different, and the internet marketing strategies that work for one company may not suit the goals of another, and vice versa. (That’s why it can be a real plus to have an experienced online marketing agency on your side, like, say, for example… Marketing Zen!) So, to help out as many businesses as we can in one fell swoop, we’ve compiled this huge, humongous, gigantic list of 51 different online marketing tactics, so that you can wade through them all and pick and choose which ones would do the most good in your particular situation. Again, not every tip will work in every situation, so choose wisely. Take your company’s internet marketing resources into consideration when planning your online marketing activities, so you are only taking on as much as you can reasonably handle. And keep your business goals in plain sight the whole time, so that each and every tactic you implement will be in their service. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, here is our list of 51 online marketing tactics that get results. 1. Write a blog. Having fresh content on your business website is…

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  • How To Increase Your Company’s Blog Traffic by 2587%

    Okay, okay, we know. 2587%?! Where on earth did that number come from? And how in the world can it be possible to boost blog traffic by such a ridiculous percentage? We’re sure you’ve seen the posts from marketing gurus across the web… How I increased my blog traffic by X%…. How our company boosted blog traffic by X visitors per month in only X days… So what we here at Marketing Zen have done is simply put together a list of those marketing gurus’ secrets and advice, so that you can find them all in one place, and put them all to use in driving traffic to your own business blog. Using a super-scientific formula and a little pixie dust, we added up all the numbers from each guru, and voila! 2587%!    Here’s the thing. Blogs are the cornerstone of a company’s content marketing strategy.  Each blog post that you’re able to create and publish is another mechanism that will help draw in both current and prospective customers. For small and medium sized companies, blogging might seem like an unnecessary part of running a business. On top of all of the other operational activities, business owners might be…

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