Blogging

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • How to Brainstorm Content: 6 Tips to Catalyze Ideas

    Are you a content writer? If you are, then, we’re offering you a high-five, up top! Why? Because writing content is hard work. Beyond that, if you are writing for the same client consistently, you’re going to need to be able to come up with unique content, whether it’s on landing pages, blogs, email newsletters, or anything else. But if you’re a content writer and a content marketer, you’re also going to have to make sure that your content can be easily found. What does that mean? Having a great strategy for search engine optimization (SEO). But even with a great strategy, it’s hard to constantly be coming up with fresh ideas for the same client and their same target keywords again and again. So, what can you do? Simple, you brainstorm. Or, is it simple? That’s just the thing. In order to be competitive and create truly good content that is going to have great SEO and result in a fantastic ROI for your client, you’re going to need to become an expert at brainstorming. That’s where Marketing Zen comes in. If you know us, you know our content, social media, and search teams are always working together. That…

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  • 4 Basic Rules for Approaching Influencers

    You’ve probably heard the word “Influencer” floating around the web lately. Yes, now those we follow and learn from have a name. While these influencers are members of our industry that we find authoritative, what’s cool about how they’re changing the industry is by creating a community. Labeling different companies, organizations, and people in industries who have an impact as “Influencers” is allowing us to have conversations with them and engage. It’s helping us build our followers and network to build stronger relationships. One of the ways we’re building relationships is to reach out to influencers about posting on their website. This can be intimidating at first and so we wanted to give you some tips on the best way to go about your approach. Be Real Working on the internet has us interacting with screens most of the time. That said, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t still capable of sniffing out a phony. When you approach an influencer, be honest about your motives (which should be genuine). Make sure that you stay on brand in your message. If your influencer goes to your website and your social media channels and sees that the site has a certain sort…

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  • Influencing Influencers – What Seed Content Can Do For You

    Top of mind for most marketing directors is the eternal quest to create relationships with influencers. Capturing their attention, forging a relationship, fostering good will – and getting them to share your content. Every content marketer knows this is the alchemy that turns base metal into gold. But achieving this transmutation is often easier said than done. Value Is The Measure And it comes down to a simple reason: how can you even approach a famous (and busy) influencer without seeming self-serving and off-putting? Ask not, O despairing creator of content, what value you seek to gain, but what value you bring to the relationshi Knowledge Is Power Capturing the attention of influencers is first and foremost a matter of understanding those influencers. What matters to them? What do they care about? Not knowing their passions and peeves can mean that generic emails and other clumsy attempts at contact will bounce higher than a rubber ball. Like a general planning an extended campaign, your first concern is climate and terrain. Stalk those influencers whom you hope to woo; understand where they’re coming from. Once you can grasp solidly what they value, you can plan on bringing that value to the…

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  • 8 Ways To Ruin Your Branded Content

    Brand content is among the most useful online marketing tools. A recent study by Online Publishers Association revealed that “web sites featuring branded content outscored internet industry norms 41 out of 43 times across a wide range of advertising metrics.” But branded content is a two-edged sword: do it poorly and you’re almost worse off than having no content at all. Here are some of the most common traps the unwary marketer can succumb to. Don’t listen. The modern consumer wants dialogue with business, so relaying on outdated advertising that only talks about the company and products in hyper-glowing terms is a safe bet to alienate consumers. Hard sales tactics couched in the language of self-flattery is marketing suicide to an age jaded and skeptical of marketing claims. Listening to customers’ concerns gives you the means to gather data and make informed decisions with accuracy and speed that marketers of a generation ago could only dream about. Write primarily for SEO. You’ll never fool anyone. Focusing on keyword density is not going to be the portal to quality content. Instead focus on developing an authentic voice to share useful information about your products and services. Consumers use internet searches and…

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  • A Blog’s Not Just a Blog: The Evolution of Content Marketing

    It’s a question just about everyone gets on a regular basis: What do you do? And as someone who ghostwrites client blogs for a living, the right answer has often eluded me. If I say I’m a writer, people automatically assume I’ve written a book, or that I write for a magazine. It’s a response that instantly elicits a high level of prestige and respect. But while I have written for magazines, that’s not what I do now. If I say I’m a ghostwriter, people usually need clarification. They have a vague idea of a ghostwriter as someone who writes a book for a famous person who couldn’t string two words together on his or her own, but then gets none of the credit – still a respectable job in their eyes, just one that keeps a writer out of the spotlight. Interestingly, though, if I say I’m a blogger, all I get are polite but disinterested – and sometimes even dismissive – responses: “Ohhhh….” or “Huh. Really? Ha-ha!” “Blogs” have become so ubiquitous, and “bloggers” so numerous and varied, that most people associate the terms with mediocre-quality writing and an inflated sense of self-importance. My own parents told me…

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  • How To Successfully Market Music Online

    Today we’re excited to have the opportunity to share a blog post written by one of Marketing Zen’s content marketing interns, Matthew McFarlane. Matthew is an English major at the University of Missouri – Columbia. In this article, he gives musicians insight into how they can increase their fan base through online marketing.   With the advent of the Internet and the current ability of its users to share music, legally or illegally, the way artists and bands market their music has changed dramatically. The ability of an artist to expand their listening base and find more fans across the country, and even the world, has increased exponentially, but the way those fans consume their music has changed as well. Without using the Internet to their advantage, an up-and-coming artist can be hurt by its disadvantages, namely piracy. Let’s take a look at some of the more creative ways a band or recording artist can make use of online marketing. Social Media Using social media to connect with fans is a must. There is no easier way to expand your fan base and keep them updated as to what you are doing. Someone who hears your biggest song might use Shazam to…

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  • Yankee Google: A 4th of July Tribute to Online Marketing

    Sing the following to the tune of Yankee Doodle. And yes, that song will now be stuck in your head for the next week. You’re welcome. Happy 4th of July from all of us here at Marketing Zen! Yankee Google went online To advertise his business. He stuck a logo on his site And hoped for lots of visits. Refrain: Yankee Google, write a blog, Yankee Google – keywords! Mind your social media, And hand your site to tech nerds!   Yankee Google asked MZ Just what on earth to do: There was no traffic to his site He needed a real coup!   Refrain: Yankee Google, write a blog, Yankee Google – keywords! Mind your social media, And hand your site to tech nerds!   MZ helped him fix his site And write some awesome content. They set him up on social, too, And grew his fans’ engagement.   Refrain: Yankee Google, write a blog, Yankee Google – keywords! Mind your social media, And hand your site to tech nerds!   Then they landed him some gigs Guest blogging for some websites. He soon was known throughout the land As the guy with all the insights!   Refrain: Yankee…

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  • MZ Featured Content Marketing Intern: Matthew McFarlane

    Here at Marketing Zen, we’re pretty much obsessed – we eat, breathe, and sleep online marketing, and absolutely love what we do! So it’s only natural that we’d want to share the fun with the next generation. Our internship program gives college students the chance to dip their toes into the waters of web marketing, and learn valuable skills to help them land their dream jobs when they enter the workforce Today, we’d like to introduce you to Matthew McFarlane, one of our promising young content marketing interns. We’ll let Matthew tell you himself how he’s enjoying the experience. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! My name is Matt McFarlane, I’m from Alton, Illinois and I go to the University of Missouri- Columbia (Mizzou). I’m currently about to enter my senior year and I’m an English major with a minor in Italian Language. 2. What is something unusual about you that makes you unique? This past semester I studied abroad in Perugia, Italy for four months. I got to travel all over Italy and Europe, meet incredible people, and experience some unforgettable settings. It was really just an amazing experience for me. 3. How did you first hear…

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