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55 Ways to Enhance Your Content In 2015
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
If you have been conducting any type of digital marketing over the past few years, the one item that you should have become very intimate with is your content and more importantly, the need to produce high quality content.  The fact of the matter is that content is the lifeblood of your website.  It’s the message from your content that helps educate users about your brand, your products and services and most importantly, how you can solve their problems.  Content marketing is not something that is new to marketers; I mean advertisers have been doing this for years.  What is new is the digital marketplace and how the ability of people to consume content has changed.  In the digital age, we have access to copious amounts of data and content like never before.

The good folks over at b2bmarketinginsider.com produced a great list of some content stats that you might find interesting.  Here is but a sample:
  • 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.  - AOL / Nielsen
  • 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors.  - The Corporate Executive Board (CEB)
  • Emotional marketing messages are twice as effective as promotional ones
  • 78% of CMOs think content is the future of marketing. - Demand Metric
  • The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds.  –Statistic Brain
  • The number of web searches on the term “Content Marketing” is up 400% since January 2011.   – Google Trends
  • Another study found the three biggest challenges for content marketing to be limited budgets (27%), limited staff (25%), and generating new content (21%).  - iMediaConnection

So content marketing is not going away; in fact, it’s growing.  Looking at what some of the main challenges are for content marketers, I thought that a post about different options to enhance the content on your Web properties might be of value.  Some of these options can be used regardless of the type of web site that you deploy while other options are more specific for a certain type of site like an ecommerce site or sites within specific industries.  Nevertheless, these options can help you enhance your content so it’s more engaging to your desired audience.  Why 55?  I happen to like the number 55 and I bet the number caught your attention over say 50 or 10.
55 Ways to Enhance Your Web Content In 2015
These options are in random order and are in no way sorted by priority.
  1. Start a blog – in 2015 if you don’t have a blog, you are missing a great opportunity to quickly populate content on your site. The difficulty in producing a blog is in the resources required to maintain and contribute to it.  However, blogs can be well received by your audience and can be a great mechanism for building quality links to your site.
  2. Update your existing content with additional content – perhaps you have some older pages that have not been updated in a while.  Consider adding some fresh content to revive some of your stale content.
  3. Add new images – consider updating the images on your pages.  Be smarter with the images that you use as part of your content.
  4. Incorporate video – posts with video tend to get as much as three times as more inbound links than content without.
  5. Share some stats – people love statistics. If you can add some statistical insight about your industry, brand or products, users will easily consume this content and will be more inclined to share it.
  6. Produce FAQ content – provide answers to frequently asked questions about your brand, your product/service offerings or about your industry.  This content is highly informative and is often shared by users.  Keep in mind that your FAQ strategy could consist of a multi-page build out where you have specific landing pages for each question that this asked.
  7. Tell your brand story – build trust by communicating the story of your brand.  Also known as “brand storytelling”. you can build loyalty by developing the story of your own brand.
  8. Share your customer’s stories – share both the good and the bad.  An amped up testimonial can go a long way in building credibility and trust.
  9. Debunk industry news – share your opinion on current news from within your industry.
  10. Update your product descriptions – forget about those vendor / supplier generated product descriptions. There is way more value in writing your own unique product descriptions.  This option can add freshness and uniqueness to your online content.
  11. Create How-To Videos – video content can be very engaging; how to videos even more so.
  12. Create Video Tutorials – similar to above but in more of a series.
  13. Create Video News Releases – do you see where I’m going with this?  Video content is highly consumable.
  14. Interview industry gurus – interview well known resources from your industry to get their thoughts on industry topics or breaking news from your field.
  15. Create an infographic – based on some share worthy data.
  16. Re-write a previous article – revisit some of the “legacy” articles on your site and update them with current data.
  17. Produce a news release on a new or updated product offering – share company news around a new product launch or upcoming product design.
  18. Make some predictions – specific to product/service usage or around upcoming industry events
  19. Discuss some of the latest industry trends – share your thoughts / opinions on industry events.
  20. Blog Post: Pre Event – prior leading up to a company or industry event preface the event and describe what will be taking place.
  21. Blog Post: During Event – post your experience at the event and support with social media and video.
  22. Blog Post: Post Event – a summary of the conference or event.
  23. Enhance Category Content – let say that your site is an eComm that sells outdoors clothing.  You could enhance your content for various category level pages by adding commentary on the latest fashion trends specific to these categories.
  24. Add product details – add more in-depth information on the product details.  This is especially great for ensuring your content that may have been scraped by other sites is unique and fresh.
  25. Create a Top Ten List – top ten reasons why… Users love this type of content, especially if it helps them find the answers to what they were looking for.  Top Ten reasons why you should develop a content marketing strategy.
  26. User Generated Content – and I mean true user generated content where a client or customers shares their story of using your product/service or shares their experience with your brand.
  27. Comparison Content – comparison charts or tables are very useful.  Whether you sell insurance or sell automobiles, presenting comparison data is often what the user is looking for to help make their purchase decision.   Many site owners worry about comparing competitor information; well you don’t necessarily have to do that. You can compare your own product offerings.  Keep in mind that it can be challenging when crafting words to make your brand or product seem more superior to other products on the market.
  28. Start a forum – to let users to communicate with one another in an environment that you can somewhat control.  Be prepared to share the good and the bad.
  29. Produce educational content – on how to use your product or service or on how to get the most benefit out of engaging with your brand.
  30. Add Geo Specific Content – have more than one location?  Consider building out content for each location.  Not only will this help with local search optimization efforts but you can bolster the authority for the given topics that you are trying to gain visibility for.
  31. Create a checklist – this type of content is easy to produce and can be very engaging.  Checklists can be of great value to your site visitors. Let’s say for example that you have a travel site.  There are a number of checklists that you could produce including “Things to do on the way to the airport” or “10 items to pack when planning for a vacation”.
  32. Feature an “Ask the Expert” section on your site – think of this as a more detailed version of your FAQ content.  One of the frequently asked questions can become a topical page unto itself.  Your resident expert can provide a detailed reply to a common issue or question that your audience may have.
  33. Produce some Research – share whitepapers on research that you have completed.  This type of content can be great for lead gen and generate a lot of repeat traffic to your site.  Mediative has used this approach to add some great research content to our site.   While the majority of this content will be in PDF format, you will want to create an HTML landing page to convey some of the key findings.
  34. Feature an image gallery – a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well, not always but having an image gallery makes a lot of sense if you sell a product that users need to study visually before purchasing (think of an automobile, camera, cell phone, article of clothing etc).  Add your images to an image sitemap and submit to Google to help you get better visibility in Google’s image search by allowing the Engines to more readily access your image content.
  35. Conduct a monthly Webcast – you could use Google+ and create regular Hangouts. Here you can conduct a conversation with your audience.  You could discuss new product features or discuss upcoming events.  You could even use this to reply to FAQs.  Once your Hangout On Air is over, it’s easy to keep the conversation going. The recording will be publicly available on Google+ and on your YouTube channel ready to be shared.
  36. Take some of your offline marketing material and turn it into online content – if your offline messaging is different than what you are doing online, you might want to transfer this into some good old HTML.
  37. Produce an online newsletter – sure you use them for email campaigns but what about utilizing this content on your actual website.
  38. Showcase your latest efforts or company awards – just do not be too obnoxious with this.  Sharing your accolades can help build trust with site visitors, especially if they are first time visitors to your site.
  39. Charitable / Environmental Content – have a page (or series of pages) about all of the charitable events that your organization supports.  Discuss how your digital footprint is better for the environment and how your organization is working on eco-friendly initiatives.
  40. Enhance your About Us section – this is a great opportunity to promote your brand and to describe the history of your organization.  Don’t waste this opportunity.
  41. Enhance your “team” content – most organizations have a page or pages that feature their executive or management team.  Why not be creative with this and have each team member submit their top 5 favorite websites, their top 10 songs or top 5 books?  This can be highly engaging content.  Prior to becoming a part of Mediative, we used to share everyone’s Top 10 Songs lists while we were still Enquiro.  Clients thought that this was great and always commented on this.  Not only could they put a face to their agency but they learned a little about the people they were working with.
  42. Produce a list of top content pieces – whether it is a list of your top 10 blog posts for 2015 or your top 10 articles on <insert topic here>, people will have an opportunity to re-engage with this content.  The net impact could be additional social engagement (Shares, Likes, Retweets), more feed subscribers or more repeat visitors.
  43. Interview a Colleague – people identify with people so why not share some insight into people at your organization?  The one issue here is that should these people leave your organization, this content may have to come down.
  44. Leverage your YouTube Channel – many organizations throw all of their video content on their YouTube channel.  Well that is great for your YouTube traffic but it may not translate into traffic to your actual web property.  Why not feature some of your video content on your own website?  Add it to a key landing page or maybe to an older article.  Video can help re-engage your audience.
  45. Create a Knowledge Center – where you can add articles, white papers, checklists, and any other resources that your users find to be of value.  This type of content can provide fresh and timely content for your audience and can be a great way to enhance topical themes on your website.
  46. Enhance your search results pages – while most of the time search results provide a dynamic page or URL, there are CMS systems that can produce a “static” appearing URL for search results pages.  This is a prime opportunity to enhance the content on these search results pages.  So rather than just showing the current inventory based on that search query, why not add some copy to the top of the search results page to reassure the user that you have what they are looking for.  Let’s say that you sell automobiles or parts.  Your site is most likely structured with a category-sub-category structure.  When a user searchers for “John Deere tractor parts”, the search results page could be populated with some commentary stating that your site “… features a great selection of John Deere tractor parts from axles and headlights to tires and hitches…”  Something that can be a little generic but gives the user an idea that you have inventory of the item(s) that they are looking for.  All of a sudden instead of a plain old listings page you know have some copy that helps build trust and engagement with the visitor.
  47. In-Depth Articles – in addition to your regular articles, why not deploy articles that are longer than your typical articles to present a greater level of information for your audience?  Google has begun to show in-depth articles within their search results.  While based on algorithmic search, there are measures that you can take to help your articles appear in the in-depth article results.  For example, be sure to leverage schema article markup and authorship markup.  Use proper pagination and use organization markup to specify your logo.  More information can be found here.
  48. Add User Guides – people love “how-to” information so no matter what your product or service is, there is always an opportunity to instruct people on how to use it.
  49. Revisit historical data – compare the past to the present.  This can be great to remind users of some of the great improvements that your brand has seen over the years.
  50. Create Seasonal Articles – each and every month there are numerous “awareness” campaigns.  For example, in March it is National Nutrition Month and Sleep Awareness Month.  If you are in a related industry, you could feature a post each year to discuss some of the latest stats or initiatives that are going on specific to that type of awareness.  Here is a list of some health related awareness topics by month.
  51. Create a “Customer of the Month” page – almost a bit like a “glorified” testimonial, consider sharing positive stories about your “customer of the month”.
  52. Debate a recent industry article – have a different opinion on the latest industry developments?  Why not share your thoughts via a blog post or article?
  53. Build out your Features/Benefits Content – provide additional feature and benefit information for your users.
  54. Reproduce portions of PDF Content in HTML – if your site features a lot of PDF material, you may want to consider re-purposing this content and placing it into static HTML pages for your users.  This will also help with the search engines in the crawling, indexing, and ranking of this content.
  55. Produce an industry “State of the Union” post/article – discuss the current state of the industry and what or how your brand is looking to remain competitive as an industry leader.  Of course you do not want to share any “trade secrets” but you can communicate your brand’s position with regards to latest developments in the industry and how your organization is dealing with these events.
So now you have 55 content ideas that you can incorporate into your content strategy.  What’s next?  Well, you have to revisit your content strategy of course.  What makes sense for you and what doesn’t?  In addition, it never hurts to reference things to keep in mind when writing content for the Web.  We are in an information-driven world and as a result, it is not about whether you need to “do” content marketing; it’s more of a “what’s next with content marketing” and how do we provide the right content to our audience?

Your content strategy means that you need to understand your audience; you need to be the go-to resource for your audience and you need to provide some element of uniqueness.   Producing new content that provides value to your audience will help you build those relationships and help you position your brand as a leader in the digital space.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, July 21, 2015  
Leveraging Testimonials to Build Brand Trust
Monday, July 20, 2015
I have been fortunate to work with some tremendous clients. Clients that are marketing savvy and engaged. It’s part of what makes my job so enjoyable. I've had people ask about how to leverage testimonials and what their approach should be for incorporating it into their content. It’s great to see folks out there looking to improve their content and potential engagement with their audience. And I happen to be a big fan of testimonial content.

Now portions of this post are an opinion piece from yours truly. IMO every single page on your website has the potential to be an intersection or point of contact for your audience. In fact every piece of content that you produce, whether it is a web page, a video, a tweet has the opportunity to be an intersection point with your audience. So it becomes somewhat obvious in the value of having testimonials dispersed through your web properties. Having your customers share their success stories can go a long way in building brand trust. Yes, I know that you cannot please everybody all of the time and I know that you are bound to have some negative feedback about your brand or service offering.  It is going to happen; it just means that you are human.
Testimonials are the original form of user generated content. That is they are the oldest form of users providing feedback about a given product, service or brand. Remember the old Faberge Organic Shampoo commercials where they’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends?

Word of mouth can still be the best form of advertising. Testimonials, in digital form, can act as good old fashioned word of mouth advertising. In fact, what better way is there to build brand trust? They say that good marketing is about psychology. It is about understanding your audience and being able to address their needs. The perception of your business may not be what you think it is. Consumers may have a different opinion about your brand, your products and the level of service that you provide.  Let’s look at an example. When it comes to trusted brands, how many of you think of Kentucky Fried Chicken? My guess is none of you. However did you know that KFC was recently named the “Most Trusted Quick-Service Restaurant Brand in India? It’s true, The Brand Trust Report 2015 study, which is one of the most in-depth studies conducted about brand trust around the world, named KFC as the top “fast food” brand in India. The report is a result of “13,000 hours of research with sociologists, communication experts and behavioral scientists. Issued annually the 2015 study assessed 19,000 brands from which the top 1,000 were selected for the report.” Who knew that KFC was one of the most trusted brands in a country that is predicted to become the largest consumer market in the world by 2030? There is no question that trust in your brand is important… a good testimonial will help you build brand trust.

10 Ways to Leverage Testimonials on Your Website

Have you ever stopped and thought about just how many forms of testimonial options are available out there? There are a number of different ways to include testimonials on your website and in your marketing materials. Here are some of the common methods for leveraging testimonials on your webs properties:

  1. Dedicated testimonial landing page – or series of pages featuring client testimonials. This is the traditional approach that you see on many websites. There is still some value in this especially if you do a great job in promoting and communicating your testimonial page.
  2. Customer Reviews– there are a variety of options for presenting reviews on your web properties. This form of User-Generated Content (UGC) must be managed carefully so that it is not faked or contains hyper negative reviews that can be damaging to your brand.  Amazon is a great example of being one of the leaders in leveraging reviews on their web properties and Apps. Reviews are quite easy to integrate into your content. Common software options include:
    1. Bazaar Voice - http://www.bazaarvoice.com/
    2. Power Reviews - http://www.powerreviews.com/
    3. YotPo - https://www.yotpo.com/
    4. Additional Services  can be found here
  3. Case Studies / Client Success Stories – depending on the nature of your business, case studies can be a powerful sales tool that can increase engagement with your brand.
  4. Video Testimonials – another form of testimonial that can be promoted on your social platforms (including YouTube) in addition to being featured on your website is the video testimonial. Videos testimonials can be great especially if they go viral or become shared through social channels like Facebook. SalesForce is an example that comes to mind of a brand that includes video testimonials on their website.
  5. Customer Snippets – aka customer quotes which are simply documented cases of customer feedback that you are allowed to share on your web properties, are another form of testimonial. These snippets may have come from surveys, call center feedback, tradeshow feedback or simple feedback that you have solicited from your clients directly. It is important that you get permission where necessary, especially if you will be incorporating their full name. 
  6. Photos – displaying images of your customers using your product or service can also build trust with your audience and can be easily promoted through your social channels.
  7. Feeds – you can share customer feedback via a feed from your blog comments or from your latest tweets. This can be a simple plugin or widget that can display this form of testimonial on your website. Of course you have to be prepared to share the good and the bad so this option may need to be monitored regularly. 4 Ways to Embed your Twitter Feed.
  8. Customer Reviews on third party sites – ask your customers to review you on third party sites such as Google+ or Yelp. You can link to this material or even feature some of this commentary within your own testimonials on your website.
  9. Blog Comments – allow blog comments on your posts and be sure to reply to both the good and the bad. Eliminate spam comments and focus on the positive to help build trust with your audience.
  10. Forums – this is a format of testimonials that we advise to proceed with caution. Hosting a forum can be a great avenue for soliciting customer feedback on your brand and service offering. However, you cannot please everybody all of the time. So you will need to moderate. Due to this level of resourcing, forums are not a viable option for all sites.
As you can see there is a wide array of testimonial formats that you can incorporate on your web properties. Of course you will want to use your discretion of where, when and how often to display testimonials. 

In closing, testimonials are one of the most cost friendly and easiest ways to promote your business and your brand. Ensure that you have a means of compiling and taking inventory of your testimonials. Use different types of testimonial content throughout your website. Experiment with video, case studies and twitter feeds to see which content users most engage with and contribute to. Chances are you have had a content strategy for quite some time, but have you included testimonial content as part of your content marketing efforts? If not, there is no better time to start.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, July 20, 2015  
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Name: Jody
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