content marketing

  • Video and Social Media Marketing: Which Platform Will Boost Your Brand?

    I’m sure you’ve noticed it yourself. Given the choice between watching a quick video online, or reading a long swath of content, which would you choose? If you’re like 59% of the senior executives interviewed by Forbes Insight on the subject, you’d prefer the video. It’s no wonder, then, that video marketing is growing by leap and bounds. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and it’s true, as the right image online draws exponentially more eyes than a simple headline ever could, no matter how carefully crafted. But according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. 1.8 million! That’s a pretty bold assertion, but the stats bear it out – using video in online marketing delivers a powerful ROI. Especially in the realm of social media marketing, where videos help posts rank higher in the algorithms determining who sees what in their newsfeed, as well as drawing more interest and engagement from audience members, combining the natural appeal of video with the power of social media. Online shoppers who view a video about a product are 64% more likely to buy that product from that business – and 90% of those…

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Content Marketing Tips for the Five Stages of the Consumer Buying Decision Process

    If you’re a content marketer who got her start in writing, rather than marketing, then the consumer buying process might be something of a mystery to you. Maybe you’ve heard of it, along with other terms like “sales funnel.” Well, marketers are as bad as any other professional when it comes to jargon, and that’s basically what these two terms are. The consumer buying process is just a breakdown of the steps people generally go through before making a purchase. Different people may call each step something slightly different, but in general the stages are: awareness, evaluation, preference or alternative evaluation, purchase, and repurchase or post-purchase behavior. And the sales funnel is a way to visualize how your audience shrinks as you get farther into the buying process. (In other words, lots of people may want to know about your product and take a step to do some research into your product, but a lot fewer will actually end up making a final purchase.) Ideally, you want to be able to target people in every stage of the buying process. So how do you make your content marketing work for everyone? The answer is to create targeted content for people…

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  • A Day in the Life of an MZ Content Writer

    We have a pretty unique work set-up here at Marketing Zen – although we do have a physical office in Dallas, most of our team members work remotely. This leads to all kinds of questions from people intrigued by the idea of an almost completely virtual company. We have to admit, it is pretty darn awesome to be able to work from home, from Starbucks, even from different countries (yep, sometimes team members just decide to fly over to Spain, or maybe India, and work from there for a month or two… We’re looking at you, Imran and Frank!). And since there’s so much interest in how it all works, we’ve decided to lift the veil and share our day-to-day with you in our new blog series, detailing a day in the life of team members in each department of MZ! The Content Team The first department we’ll be dishing on is the Content Marketing Department. Not to brag or anything, but our writers have been published in print and online publications, have ghostwritten books, and have had their work featured on outlets like Inc. and Forbes, just to name a couple. On top of having amazing writing chops, they…

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  • 12 Days of Christmas Day 5: Crowdsourcing Content

    It’s Day 5 of our 12 Days of Christmas campaign and the very first weekend of December. Happy December everyone! We’d like to share with you trend number 5 – crowdsourcing content. In today’s video we talk about taking advantage of crowdsourcing content to fulfill your content needs. Scroll down for a transcript. Transcript: Hey Zen Nation! It’s Day 5 of our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway where you get a double treat – not only do I share my future predictions for 2016 with you one day at a time, but you also get a chance to win some fabulous prizes by subscribing to Shama TV on Youtube. It’s as simple as that. Every day one lucky winner gets a $25 Amazon giftcard and one winner at the end of it gets the grand prize of the Amazon Fire HD, it’s very cool. All right, trend number five is: crowdsourcing content. As content becomes more and more important – and we’ve seen that over the last few years – and will continue to be more important, businesses have to start looking at how we can take advantage of crowdsourcing content, getting content from their audiences, from your customers, whether in the form…

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