Category Archives: Pinterest

How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy across Paid, Earned and Owned Media

To effectively market your content, you must have a strategy that includes the use of paid, earned and owned media. Bombarding your target audience with only paid advertising or relying solely on your owned media such as your website or social media to spread the word creates major blind spots in your overall marketing plan. It also leaves a lot of missed opportunities on the table where you could have reached a broader audience if you had spread your efforts out into all three types of media.Promotion Plan

Before you can sit down and build content marketing strategies using paid, earned and owned media, you must first understand the differences among the three. Let’s take a closer look at what each type of media brings to your marketing strategy.

Paid Media

Most obviously, you can purchase advertising through almost every social media platform. Facebook provides the ability to create highly-targeted ads that appear either in users’ newsfeeds or on the sidebar. You can also promote your tweets or buy clicks on StumbleUpon or Reddit. Carefully consider your target audience and the type of social media that they are most likely to use.

Aside from social media, you might choose to use Google AdWords to boost your SEO or pay for placement on another website or blog. Using all of these tactics can be quite costly to implement. Determine your budget for this piece of your marketing strategy and do you research on what form of paid media will give you the highest ROI.

Earned Media

Out of the three categories, earned media can be the trickiest piece to implement successfully. The simplest reason for this is because you are really not in control. You are asking for other people to share your content because they find it to be of value, but you are not paying them to do so.

Some options for earned media include submitting your content as a guest contributor to a blog or website that’s relevant to your target audience. You should also share the content multiple times and in various ways on social media (sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Linkedin and Pinterest are especially effective) encouraging readers to share with their networks. You can also attempt to spark discussion (and sharing) in Linkedin groups. You can also pitch your article to a blogger or professional writer who may be interested in featuring a review or op-ed piece of the article.

Owned Media

Finally and most obviously is promoting your content on the media that you already own and control. This includes your social media, email lists, website and blog to name just a few common assets. This is low hanging fruit that you should always take advantage of as part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

For example, if you publish an article, create a home for this content on your website and publish it on your blog. Then promote these links on your social media accounts (for Linkedin you may consider publishing the entire article on your profile as well). Finally, incorporate some of the content of this article into an email blast to your lists to offer valuable and relevant information tailored to what is likely to interest them. By consistently marketing your content across owned media, you will maximize its impact and fuel your website and social media with fresh, high-quality content that will increase your SEO.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different ways you can promote your content across paid, earned and owned media, now is the time to get started creating your own diverse strategy that uses a little bit of each. Most importantly, remember that even the best marketing strategy still needs high quality content in order to be successful. Provide valuable information and give your readers every opportunity to find it!

How have you build an effective media campaign including paid, earned and owned media? Share your experience by commenting below!

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Filed under Branding, Business Strategy, Marketing, Pinterest, PPC, Reddit, Sales, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Twitter

Seven Social Media Mistakes

thumb downIn this day and age, social media is the quickest way to stay in touch with friends and family all over the world. With at least five popular platforms, social media is also turning into another way for businesses and individuals to promote themselves to others. Whether you’re just starting to dip your toes into the world of social media or you’ve been active for a while, there are certain guidelines to follow. An article from Business Insider (based on a survey of sorts conducted by a small business consultant by way of LinkedIn) helped narrow down the list of social media mistakes that are regularly being made.

Don’t post too often! Sometimes, often when people get bored or have time to kill, posting on Facebook or sending a tweet on Twitter becomes an hourly activity. Not only does this clog newsfeeds, it takes away from productivity. Think how much more you could get done at work if you weren’t posting every hour on the hour, even if it’s just a quick comment on something. While you want to actively post if you’re promoting a business, don’t post multiple times each day—keep it in moderation. However, do make sure to check your page often. Many times customers will post to your page or send you a message consisting either of praise or a complaint. More often than not, these comments go completely unnoticed and are left without a response.

Don’t avoid posting—followers do want you to be active on social media! Posting once or twice (at most) a day will suffice. Sometimes business only post once or twice a week! Followers may be more likely to interact with you if they see your name once or twice in a newsfeed where they see other names upwards of four times. Keep in mind that commenting on posts is very different from posting in itself—customers will be happy to receive a response from you on something they posted on your page, whether they gave negative or positive feedback.

Don’t post or share irrelevant information or content. If you’re a small business owner, say an online store specializing in clothing, don’t share political content or science-related articles via your business page. Instead, share a link to a new product you have in stock. Customers and followers want to hear about things relevant to them—they made the choice to follow your page, so make sure to consistently post things pertaining to your page.

Don’t limit your social media activity to just one forum. Many businesses create a Facebook page and think it is sufficient social media coverage. There is also Twitter, Instagram, G+, and LinkedIn (just to name a few). Why limit yourself? The only thing that could happen is your business could grow!

Don’t overshare on personal matters. Even if the focus of your time on social media is your business, you will likely end up making a page for yourself. When that happens, keep the private details of your life private. On each page, you represent your company, so your followers don’t need to visit your company’s page, find the link to your page, and see that your relationship just ended and you were out on the town the night before. Yes, posting pictures is fun, it’s a way for people to see you are enjoying life, but keep in mind all the people who could view your page. Each social media site offers a privacy setting, some even offer a way  to change who can see what you post—use these settings. Do not toe the line between what should remain personal and what should remain professional.

Don’t link to articles or products if the content isn’t complete! Everyone has come across it at one time or another—click on an article and begin reading only to notice grammar mistakes, simple spelling errors, or captions that are completely missing from pictures. It’s frustrating for the reader and it’s not going to give your company a professional image.

Don’t get involved in social media for the wrong reasons. Many companies are heavily involved with social media, but don’t jump the gun—work on building your company first, focusing on creating the relationships. After you have a solid customer base, progress to social media as a way to stay connected and keep customers updated. Creating, building, and maintaining relationships is a big focus for companies with social media activity.

It may seem daunting at first, but remember to start small and build your social media reputation as a small extension of your company. Keep the focus on your customers and your company, not on your personal life. With this list of basic social media mistakes, you’ll be able to build a strong social media profile to better connect with your customers and grow your business!  ~Hollysocial media icons

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Filed under Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

The 10 Most Popular Social Media Sites and Why They’re Successful

Humans are social by nature and the multitude of social media sites tries to meet that need. Their popularity is measured by the number of unique visitors that each site has each month. With so many sites what makes the top ten stand out from the crowd? Each site identifies a new way for the members to connect with each other and makes it as easy as possible for them to make that connection.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user mkhmarketing

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user mkhmarketing

1. Facebook – The most popular site with an estimated 900 million unique visitors each month. This incredible popularity comes from the wide range of ways that users can share information and connect with other users. Facebook has also taken full advantage of APIs and allowed their users to embed external content on to their personal profiles.

2. Twitter – Short tweets have become big news with an estimated 310 million unique visitors each month. Twitter’s popularity is based on the immediacy of the internet. Users can post short updates about their lives and easily keep their followers up to date on their daily lives. The final component of Twitter’s success is the ability for users to follow their favorite celebrities and feel as if they have a small connection to these incredible people.

3. LinkedIn – This is the first social media site with a specific audience in mind. This site is dedicated to individuals looking for professional networking. LinkedIn gives its users ways to publish their skills for potential employers to find. There is also a feature which allows the users to ask for an introduction to individuals through a mutual contact. Asking for introductions creates a method of networking that very closely resembles networking in person.

4. Pinterest – Pinterest owes its popularity to focusing on one function and then performing that function extremely well. On top of doing that single function well it is also simple to use so that no one will be intimidated by complicated methods of sharing information. Pinterest also focuses on what its users want their lives to be in the future instead of what they are right now. The focus on future hopes and dreams provides another type of connection that other social media sides do not address as plainly as Pinterest does.

5. Google+ – Google+ allows the users to customize circles of connections who all share the same interests. It also allows users to stay connected through all the Google applications instead of only on the Google+ site. The strength of Google’s software also allows its users to have video chats with multiple people at the same time. Finally by building a strong profile on Google+ individuals are building up their Google authorship and increasing web traffic to other sites created by the same individual.

6. Tumblr – Tumblr represents a combination of the immediacy of Twitter with the informative nature of blogs. Users are given the strong connection that comes from blogs as well as a much more social aspect that comes from easily sharing information to other users. Users are able to create customized profiles to highlight their individuality in a more visual way above and beyond the content of the blog itself. One difference between Tumblr and other social media sites is that the content can be found by individuals who are not Tumblr users.

7. Instagram – Instagram capitalizes on the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Instagram is targeted at the millions of mobile users who enjoy taking and viewing pictures on their phones and tablets instead of a traditional computer. Instagram also focuses simply on the images themselves and provides a simple method for viewing beautiful pictures. Instagram also provides a simple way for users to share their pictures across many social media sites without having to upload the same picture multiple times.

8. Flickr – Instagram may focus on quickly sharing pictures Flickr allows users to better organize and display a large collection of images. Instead of searching through cluttered news feeds or unorganized albums pictures can be easily organized and shared. Above sharing beautiful images Flickr boasts a large collection of communities focused on all aspects of photography from specific locations to the color orange.

9. Vine – Vine allows users a platform to post their short looped videos with the immediacy of a Twitter news feed. The incredible popularity if this app has created many Vine celebrities who are able to tell their stories in seconds. Vine, like Instagram, has capitalized on the number of people using their phones as cameras and has given them a simple way to display their creativity to other mobile users.

10. YouTube – YouTube has long been a popular site to search for a wide range of information. With 100 hours of video posted each minute there is a wealth of information to be found. YouTube also appeals to the new trend of video logging which is similar to the traditional blog but using a visual medium. Now YouTube is taking steps to become more social by allowing users to post videos as comments and increase their interaction with others who are watching the same videos.

Knowing why each site is popular can help you know how information is shared and who it is shared with on each site. This knowledge will help you create social content that others will appreciate and share.

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Filed under Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

What can we learn about marketing from CNBC’s marketing of The Profit?

Donald Trump. Mark Cuban.

Mr. Wonderful. 

Kevin oleary make up

In the last eight months, a new business teacher has emerged to entertain weary and wanna-be entrepreneurs.

Who is this new profit?

Marcus Lemonis- and his show, The Profit.  (Do you think the show’s name was purposeful?)

Lean in. We can certainly learn a lot about marketing from a network marketing machine trying to launch a new television show.

To start, watch CNBC’s The Profit.  It’s a newer show trying to build an audience in its second season.  At its start in August 2013, the show weighed in between 248,000 viewers and 254,000 viewers, but as of March 18, 2014, the audience grew to 415,000 in the 10 pm time slot thanks to the Worldwide Trailer Sales episode .

What has the series been doing to build its brand?

 

Airing Interesting Content

Piggy-backing off of the success of Shark Tank, the premise of The Profit is that accomplished businessman, Marcus Lemonis, can save failing businesses and ultimately generate profit, if current owners are willing to sell their majority shares for Lemonis’ infusions of cash, instruction, and hard work.  The Profit’s Worldwide Trailer Sales episode, for example, while controversial, ranked well with general audiences because it was a lesson in what not to do in business– don’t air dirty laundry in front of co-workers and employees.

The Profit team also delivers related business insights and advice via video and articles through the show’s CNBC web site.

Knowing your niche and casting stories that are interesting and insightful are integral components to success.  If you sell a service or a product, focus on delivering the best possible quality product.  Hire a team that understands how to deliver the type of content that’s needed for each channel. You can drive segmented audience traffic to your website or store, if you deliver a story that’s relevant, engaging, and right-sized for your customers.

I once had a college professor spilt our class into thirds.  Some of us were producers and had to conjure up show names and premises.  Some of us were advertisers trying to decide where we wanted to place our advertising, and the rest were sales people.  All of us voted on what shows we would want to watch.

The lesson?  In a public university college class, the most outrageous titles always won the popular vote and usually those had to do with sex, models, and alcohol.  Nice, straight-forward, and generally wholesome programming usually bombed.  Advertisers soon learned that they had to weigh exposure to more viewers against their brand’s image and associations.  Sales people didn’t want to get stuck selling low-rated shows to advertisers, so they pitched work more often with those producers who had a string of titles that resonated with audiences.  I learned that what I thought would go over big (nice, educational shows) didn’t and, in looking back, some of the voting was probably influenced by certain frats hosting the party that night.  The content has to fit the audience and be justified with numbers.

When I saw the Worldwide Trailer Sales Inc episode of The Profit, I had déjà vu.  That crazy episode- with the foul language and bad behavior, had all the makings of a winner in the ratings.

 

Real-Time Engagement on Social Media

So, after the show, @marcuslemonis stayed an hour longer to tweet with fans.  Without ruining the show for you (because it ends rather abruptly), this technique helped viewers to sort through reactions. What a great idea!  Use social media to start, clarify, or end conversations.  How?  Create a video or blog post about your service or product.  Then, expand upon the conversation in another channel.  Ask viewers to migrate there with you.  You’ll influence search, loyalty, and engagement with this technique.

Producers of the Profit received some decent feedback about the March 18, 2014 show and I suspect a sequel to the Worldwide Trailers episode was even discussed.  If not, the feedback was valuable for fine-tuning Season 3 criteria and upcoming episodes.  Test the market place for your product or service with feedback obtained from social media.

If anything, Twitter gave Lemonis the opportunity to share feelings and thoughts about the show.  He worked on developing relationships with his emerging fan base.The profit tweets

Lemonis uses his Twitter account to promote upcoming shows and to build his personal brand.  He asks for entries for The Profit’s next casting season and promotes contests that give fans chances to ask him questions and to meet him for lunch.

Is your CEO using Twitter to rally the troops and to promote your brand?

 

Create Memes

The Profit Facebook page employs another search marketing tactic.  It features memes.The profit meme

Take professional pictures of scenes from your story and add wording to those pictures to create memes or info-graphics that link to your website. People are more likely to share pictures and those shares- especially on G+ and Facebook can influence search engine results.  Pinners are even creating boards with sayings from the show!

What are your company’s sayings?  Take snippets of the CEO’s best speeches, add them to pictures, and ask the team to pin ‘em.

Lemonis and The Profit are also on Zeebox.  What’s Zeebox? It’s a place where TV fans go to hang-out with cast members and fans of their favorite shows.  The conversations in these micro-communities give producers feedback and insights, while feeding additional information to fans.

 

Create Videos

The Profit shares about ten full-length episodes on its website. It then breaks those videos into smaller tidbits with inserts of business advice from Lemonis.  You can do this, too.  What is your company’s story?  Its mission?  What does it do well?  Educate your customers, your employees, or your partners with a YouTube channel filled with useful videos.

 

Cross Promote other Channels

If you own other properties or are in relationships with partners, promote each other.

Lemonis tweets to Shark Tank investors, interviews with CNBC, and appears on CNBC’s Power Lunch.  The Profit even sponsored a Nascar raceLemonis is also visible promoting the show with interviews like this one with the HuffPost. Stories and interviews are cropping up on blogs like Inc., My Web Writers, and Ken McCarthy.

The result?  More exposure.

Growing ratings.

Increased profits for the companies vested in the show.

 

Marketing Take-Aways

What can you learn from the marketing of CNBC’s new show, The Profit?

  1. Know who you are and what you want to say to customers.
  2. Promote your mission in sound bites and actions through tweets, posts, memes, and videos.
  3. Be available. Stay engaged with customers.
  4. Cross promote. Find like-minded partners and help each other by interviewing and promoting each other.
  5. Provide relevant content that your niche will actually want to digest and share.

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Marketing, Pinterest, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Social Media contests, Twitter

12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

My Web Writerseaselly_visual

It seems like there are infographics to cover every topic. There are even infographics about infographics. What if you have information that you want to tell others, but there is no premade infographic that has all your information? It’s time to make your own. Stumped on how to do that?  Follow these 12 steps to create your own.

Infographic Prep Work

1.      Plan it Out. Know what information you want to give to your readers. Keep your message short, simple, relevant, and original.

2.      Be Specific. Give your readers more than superficial details. Go in depth. Be sure you have correct information. Correct and specific details build your credibility.

3.      Balance Information with Graphics. Infographics shouldn’t be too wordy, but they do need words to get your point across.

4.      Grab Attention with a Headline. Your headline brings in readers. Make it snappy!

5.      Keep Attention with Sub-Headlines. Sub-headlines draw your readers’ eyes through your infographic. Give your audience reasons to keep reading.

 6.      Match Your Tone to the Information. You do not want to detract from your message by making light of a serious topic. Humorous information loses appeal if it is presented in a serious tone.

You’re half way there!  Once you have the information portion of your infographic lined up, it’s time to focus on the graphics.

Designing Your Infographic

1.    Find a Template. There are many websites that offer free templates that you can use, but most of them require you to register with them.  The three largest sites are infogr.am, piktochart, and visual.ly.  There are also templates that work with Microsoft PowerPoint from this blog post. No matter where you get it from use a design that catches the eye.

2.    Choose Your Colors. Use color wisely. Too many colors look chaotic, but too few look boring.

3.    Choose Your Fonts. This is not the time to use every font you can. Focus on readability and restrict yourself to only a few font choices.

4.    Create Your Graphs. Just like with the sources for templates, there are many websites that create graphs for you. Microsoft Excel is also another source for graphs if your information is already in a spreadsheet.

5.    Create Space. As you are putting all the pieces together remind yourself, infographics that share too much information look messy. Allow some open space around your graphics for a more readable finished product.

6.   Put it Out There. After you create infographics, they won’t go viral overnight. You’ll have to work to get them noticed. Share them on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.

It may take a few tries to create the perfect graphic. If you have a relevant message and are using good information people will want to share it. ~Megan

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Filed under Content, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pictures, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr

Advanced LinkedIn Tips for Writer Research

By My Web Writers

LinkedIn is often thought of as purely a job networking site, but today’s LinkedIn can be a writer’s secret researching friend, too. We’ve dug into the LinkedIn site and found some advanced ways that it can help writers research people, articles, and stories:

Use it to Network

This is perhaps the most obvious way to use LinkedIn for research.  The network is filled with professionals and experts in every field imaginable. The key is not being afraid to ask about what you’re researching. Many writers are surprised to find that the experts are more than happy to offer material or guidance on where to find information on their area of expertise. They will probably have plenty of ideas that you never even thought of! Personally message an expert and see if they can help you out.

Join a LinkedIn Group

There are LinkedIn groups on just about every subject possible. Consider joining a group or even just taking a look at what others have been sharing. LinkedIn will suggest some groups you may like, you can join a group already established, or you can create your own group. Using Groups on LinkedIn is a great way to research. You’ll have an entire network of people ready to answer your questions or at least give you advice on where to find the best information.

Create a Poll

On your LinkedIn homepage, click on “More” and then “Polls.” Type in what you’re researching to see if anyone has already posted a poll about your topic. If they haven’t, create your own poll and see what types of responses you get. Not only can people participate in your poll, but they can comment on it as well. This is a great way to do research and your poll is open to all of LinkedIn, getting a wide range of responses for your research.

Use your Posting ModuleLinkedIn Research

If you have question you want to post to your network on LinkedIn, consider posting it in your “Posting Module” on your homepage. This is almost like a “status update” or a “Tweet.” You can decide if only people in your network can respond, or if it is open to anyone. You might be surprised at the number of responses you get to the question in your Posting Module.

Current Events

LinkedIn Today holds the latest news on the topics you’re researching. Most of this information is coming directly from the experts, not from the general news media. Use LinkedIn Today to research what the professionals are saying about your topic. You’ll find some articles and information that you might not find anywhere else.

LinkedIn might not have the actual information you are looking for when it comes to research, but it can definitely point you in the right direction if you know how to use it. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts for help, and take some time to do some digging in Groups and LinkedIn today.  ~Natalie

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Filed under Pinterest, Research Tips, Writing Resources

The Latest on the Ever-Evolving Pinterest

By My Web Writers

Back in November 2012, Pinterest released, Business Pages, a new feature geared towards businesses and marketers. These Business Pages are not brand pages like what one would expect to find in other social networking sites. These pages actually look the same as the other pages. There are a couple features that set Business Pages apart from other Pinterest pages.

PinterestFirst, website authentication is now part of the sign up process.  Also, businesses are able to enter business names when signing up for their accounts instead of dealing with the hassles of entering individuals’ first names and last names. There are new terms of services for businesses (before this launch, Pinterest was strictly “non-commercial”).

Why should businesses be excited? The evolution indicates possibilities for the future. Pinterest is undoubtedly expanding their reach by adding more business and marketing related tools.  The added features could bring brands on board to further merchandise goods through business pages. Will Pinterest be the next Amazon?

Researcher Eric Gilbert from Georgia Tech and Loren Torveen from the University of Minnesota recently teamed up to use statistical data to answer the question of “What drives activity on Pinterest?” They used their data to …

  • help understand the motivations behind Pinterest activity,
  • determine what roles gender plays among users of Pinterest, and
  • investigate the factors that distinguish Pinterest from other social networking sites.

Gilbert and Torveen ultimately found that:

  • Female users have more repins, no matter what their location geographically.
  • Men tend to typically have more followers on Pinterest.
  • There are 4 verbs that set Pinterest apart from Twitter: “use,” “look,” “want,” and “need.”

Gilbert noted that “You can use the word ‘this’ after all of these verbs, reflecting the ‘things’ at the core of Pinterest. Many press articles have focused on Pinterest’s commercial potential, and here we see verbs that illustrate that consumption truly lies at the heart of the site.”

If you were thinking about using Pinterest for marketing, all systems are “go.” According the researchers, a recent market survey “showed that a higher proportion of Pinterest users click through to e-commerce sites — and when they go there, they spend… more money than people who come from sites such as Facebook or Twitter.”  In fact, Venture Beat reports that Sephora’s fans on Pinterest spend 15 times more through Pinterest than from Facebook. Additionally, shoppers on Pinterest average spending at $140-$180 each checkout, which is truly remarkable when compared with the $80 from Facebook and $60 on Twitter.

WorldSo, who should you be marketing to on Pinterest as Business Pages accelerate and features change on the site to appeal to businesses? Well, moms are 61% more likely to visit and spend time on Pinterest than the average American, according to a recent Nielson report. Internet Marketing reveals that for those U.S. Pinterest users, they are more likely to be pinning from the Midwest.

Oh, and that Georgia Tech and University of Minnesota research collaboration also gave us this takeaway:

“After conducting this research, if I had to choose where to put my money and marketing, Pinterest would probably be my first choice.”  ~Sara

Other Posts You Might Like:

Managing Social Media in a Crisis- Best Practices & Case Studies

Using Social Media to Help Brand Your Company

What is the Real Value of Pinterest to Your Business?

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Filed under Business Strategy, Merchandising, Pinterest, Social Media