10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015 by Vinod Narbar

Over the past 5 years we’ve published over 380 articles about content marketing here on Online Marketing Blog. It’s a big topic after all – with plenty of opportunity to help marketers better understand the planning, creation, management, promotion, measurement and performance optimization of content.

After digging in to our web and social media analytics, I’ve identified 10 of the most popular posts on content marketing that I’m sure you’ll find useful. From our Content Marketing Maturity Model to tips, tools and measurement – the 10 posts summarized below will help you finish off 2014 in style and put your planning for 2015 in the right direction.

TopRank Content Marketing Maturity Model

Content Marketing Maturity Model from TopRank – (Lee Odden) Every business goes through an evolution of sorts as they mature in their content marketing skills. While not every business needs to make it to Monetization for every content marketing program, no one should be satisfied with Stasis. This post breaks down the journey from creating more content, to creating meaningful content to creating content experiences that will inspire your customers to buy and advocate for your brand. What else could a budding content marketer ask for?

awesome content marketing

5 Steps to Content Marketing Awesome: You Can Do This! – (Lee Odden) Content marketing can seem overwhelming when getting started, but not with this handy guide. Start with identifying audience segments, then map the customer journey as you embark on your own journey to content marketing awesome. Map the essential buyer questions and brand answers to your content plan and then get ready to optimize your content performance. Is that awesome? We say yes!

content marketing empathy
What is the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer? – (Lee Odden) Information overload is giving us all a headache, so let’s boil it down to that one most important thing to soothe our minds towards content marketing success. What is it? To find out, you’ll need to finish reading this sentence and click the link above. Go!

Visual Content Marketing eBook

Visual Content Marketing Strategy eBook – (Lee Odden) As part of a foursome of content marketing eBooks produced for the 2014 Content Marketing World conference, this collection of visual content marketing strategy tips from content marketing gurus like Pam Didner, Mark Schaefer, Maggie Burke, Carla Johnson and Jason Miller from LinkedIn really resonated with our readers. I think you’ll like it too – information plus entertainment. It’s infotainment Alice in Wonderland style.

Modular Content

Modular Content – Creative Repurposing for Content Marketing – (Lee Odden) So much content and so little time. Plus that content has to be great or no one will read, share or be inspired by it. Enter the notion of “modular content” to help savvy content marketers create and repurpose high quality content that attracts, engages and inspires customers to take action. You’ll learn how to plan for content efficiency that’s both social media and search engine friendly.

Marcie Hill NMX 2014
5 Ways To Create Great Content Without Writing A Lot – (Ben Brausen) Writing is not a skill all marketers are experts at and yet the demand for content from customers continues to rise. The solution? This liveblog of Marcie Hill’s presentation at NMX revealed her approach to using photos, infographics, video, audio and animations to engage customers – without writing a lot. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words!

Chubby Spiderman
What is the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content for Links? The Wrong Answer Could Cost You – (Lee Odden) Don’t let the chubby Spanish Spiderman fool you – he knows exactly what the difference is between acting in a way that gets tips and acting like a fool. That’s a great analogy when comparing the difference between content marketing for customers and content marketing just to attract links. It’s a must read for SEOs and marketers alike.

Mobile Content Strategy
Mobile Content Marketing – What You Need to Know: Pros, Cons, Examples, Best Practices – (Nicolette Beard) As part of our series on content marketing tactics, this post about mobile content marketing really resonated with readers. And why not? Content discovery, consumption and even commerce via mobile devices is skyrocketing. Are you ready for mobile content marketing? I didn’t think so. Read on.

Joe Pulizzi

5 Content Marketing Best Practices Most Businesses Aren’t Doing, but Should! – (Evan Prokop) The godfather of modern content marketing, Joe Pulizzi, shares his smarts at Social Media Marketing World on some of the most important content marketing best practices that just aren’t being practiced. Which are you missing?

Tom Fishburne Cartoon

Attract, Engage, Convert: How to Better Measure and Optimize Content Marketing Performance – (Lee Odden) No successful marketer creates content just for the sake of creating more content. Content Marketing by definition means creating content for a specific audience to inspire a business outcome. The model for content marketing accountability presented in this post (Attract, Engage, Convert) will give you a clear line of sight to the performance metrics that will help you understand content marketing ROI.

With hundreds of content marketing posts to choose from, this was no easy task, to narrow it down to 10. Depending on where you’ve matured your content marketing skills to, this collection of posts is either a great primer or a great confirmation of the best practices being used by some of the top marketing brands on the web.

How to connect with influential bloggers by Vinod Narbar

The key to online success is the connections you build with the right people. In a way, it’s similar to real life (aka life outside of the Internet) where the relationships you have can help you grow your business better, and faster. Online, the people you need to connect to the most are those who have the most influence over your audience and they can often be bloggers.

How-to-connect-with-influential-bloggers

Bloggers can sometimes attract massive audiences that follow not just their blogs, but also their digital footprint. They interact with them on a regular basis, and take their opinions and advice seriously. Having a good relationship with the right bloggers that are relevant for your business (and also target the same audience as you) can help you secure:

Guest posting
Sponsored posts
Advertising
Product Reviews
Contests
Generating brand awareness
Educate your target audience on certain features
Or, simply building a relationship
Blogging OutreachHowever, finding the right bloggers to connect with and getting them to write about your brand can be a difficult task. At Comms Axis we specialise in blogging outreach programmes. They are quite simply PR in the 21st Century! We work with bloggers to help get a brands story out there; focusing on influential media outlets and contacts to help build a company’s reputation and brand awareness.

Below, are a few tips, as well as useful tools that can help you gather your own list of bloggers much easier:

Check to see who you are already interacting with
You might already be interacting with other influential bloggers – whether on your own blog, or on various social networks. If you’ve already established some sort of relationship with them, and they have interacted with you in the past, it shows that they might be willing to take your relationship further. If appropriate, consider talking to them about how you can help each other.

Make sure the bloggers you find are still blogging
Not all bloggers blog regularly and you may find in your search that blogs have become abandoned and not used for months, even years.

How engaged are they?
You need to look at not just their social media networks but also their blog. Do they generate many shares or comments? Do they take the time to respond to comments? Are they simply broadcasting on social media or actually talking to people – with people responding back! For successful results you want to connect with bloggers who take the time to engage.

the right bloggersFind out how influential a blogger is
Before contacting a blogger you’ve discovered, make sure you find out how influential he/she is. The more influential they are, the more chances there are that you won’t actually be able to establish a relationship with them. The bigger a blog is, the more emails/requests they receive each day, making it very difficult to stand out. In most cases, it’s better to start with smaller blogs – they might have less readers and followers, but that also means you’ll probably have a much better chance at building a strong relationship with them that could benefit the both of you.

Tools to find bloggers
Group High is very easy to use – we wrote a full review here. You can use it to create lists and folders where you add your own lists of blogs, or search for blogs with their search function. The beauty of this tool is that it provides dozens of very useful stats, that will help you easily determine how influential a blog is, their contact information (if available), their social media links and stats, and even SEO and traffic metrics. Each blog you add to your lists has a very detailed profile, allowing you to make an informed decision, without even having to navigate away from the page.

Inky Bee is another tool designed specifically for blogger outreach. You can use it to create numerous lists, and then add your own blogs or search for them using Inky Bee. You can set up discovery jobs and get emails whenever new blogs pop up matching your keywords, or search for blogs in real time, either by blogs posts, by blog name or by tags. Once you start populating your list of blogs, you’ll be able to easily compare them based on various useful metrics, such as the size of their audience, the levels of engagement, their social media followers and even by how often they post now blog posts. You can also add a list of your clients and set up campaigns directly within Inky Bee.

AuthoritySpy aggregates multiple data sources from the web. It helps you find influencers as well as authority blogs. AuthoritySpy also enhances each result by adding authority rankings (based on Followerwonk’s social authority and Klout score). Their search results are very useful; you can run language specific as well as search for localised influencers and blogs by entering certain areas.

Blogger outreach approach
Approaching bloggers can be a very tricky subject. Many will not respond well, and many won’t respond at all. Before contacting a blogger, it’s extremely important that you do your research as thoroughly as possible. Don’t just read a few of their most recent article titles, but actually spend some time reading their articles. Most bloggers will be able to spot your honesty in your emails and will be put off if it’s obvious you haven’t read anything from their blog, or even worse, if you are pretending you’ve read it. Ensure your emails are relevant and personable and not simply a cut and paste job. Although this will take longer it will help you stand out and have a much better chance of receiving positive responses.

Blogging outreach takes time and it can often help by outsourcing to an agency (such as ours!) as they can consistently get better results, particularly if they already have good relationships with bloggers.

What are the methods you use to reach bloggers? Have you used any other useful tools for your blogger outreach? Let us know in your comments 🙂

The Unanswered Question of How Often Should You Post on Social Media? Answered by Vinod Narbar

I recently came across an infographic on Pinterest which told me exactly how often I should post on Social Media. And while there might be some vague truth behind the classification of some networks as “high volume” and others as “low volume” networks, I still think this infographic has it all wrong.

There is no general answer to the question how often to post, what is right for one person can be totally wrong for another.

There are so many factors playing important roles that answering the question with a number is totally misleading. So what factors make a difference?

The size of your account and the activity of your following
The amount of content you have to share: Good quality content, here the graphic is right, rather post less often if you do not have enough good content.
The social network in question does make a difference…
How well targeted is your following?
Who is your audience, what do they expect?

The only way to find the right answer to this question for your own special situation is trial and error. Take some hints (maybe the numbers in the infographic) as a starting point and then test, measure, adjust, test, measure adjust, repeat…

Why is this so important?

While posting too often may (or may not) chase your followers away and in the worst case they will unfollow you, posting not enough will make you miss out opportunity. After all, you will only be visible in social media if you post.

An example:

If you post 10 times a week on Facebook and the average post has a lifespan of 4 hours, there are 168 hours in a week, then the 10 posts take up approximately 40 hours out of 168 possible hours. The remainder of the week you are invisible.

Of course this is much too simplified. A post can live much longer – but it can also die much faster. And before you now head to Facebook to post every 2 min. (or 4 hours), keep in mind, that your fans might be annoyed by too much posting of information they do not want or are only marginally interested in. It cannot be in your interest to lose real fans with posting too much off topic content.

We tried many things with our Facebook page, then left it for a while and tried again. As it turned out, posting many times a day (up to 10 times), was actually a good thing for us. Interactions raised and more fans turned up. As it is, we simply could not keep up with creating enough great stories including great visuals for 10 times a day.

On Twitter this is a totally different story. The Infographic says there is no upper limit to posting on Twitter. That is dangerous – of course there is an amount of posts even on Twitter, which turns everything into spam. Still, on Twitter you can post often – very often (even though I have seen the advice of posting no more than 10 times a day on Twitter far too often). As an example look at Jeff Bullas Twitter: He posts every 10 min. – he has this much great content.

We are running 25 Twitter accounts and each one has a different posting frequency and different content to tweet.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that it is your results that count and not some numbers on an infographic. Before, you decide on a posting frequency (and a strategy) for your social accounts, make sure you know what you want to achieve and how you can measure results! If you do not do this, you will never know how often you should post.

PS: While there are many tools that allow you to set up post schedules for Twitter comfortably, I know only one tool for Facebook: Post Planner. If you are trying to work out the best strategy, it might be worth a look.

How to Check Social Media Privacy Settings by Vinod Narbar

Are you concerned about your online privacy?

Have you checked the privacy settings for all of your social media platforms?

Personal social media management is now more important than ever. As marketers, we’re usually out there promoting our business, yet we still need to be conscious of our privacy.

In this article you’ll discover how to adjust the privacy settings on your social media sites, so you share only what you want with the people you want.
Why Check Your Privacy Settings?
Content uploaded to social media platforms is not always secure, so it’s imperative to understand how to use the privacy features your social media sites have to offer.

social media privacy settins

Remember, each social media platform has its own settings, and some are more complicated than others. We’ll go through privacy settings for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media website, topping 1 billion active monthly users. There are three places to set privacy on Facebook: the Privacy tab, and your profile and photo settings.

Facebook Privacy Tab

Go to the Privacy Settings and Tools tab by clicking the lock icon on the upper right. First, change the default setting on your posts under “Who can see my stuff?” You can share things with Public (anyone on or off of Facebook) or with Friends. You can also do a custom setting if you want your default to be shared with a previously defined list or if you want to share with everyone except a person or list.

Another option is to change your settings for each update before you share it. Justclick the gray button next to the blue Post button to customize.

The Privacy tab also has a feature that many people don’t know about: there’s the capability to limit the audience for old posts. For example, let’s say you realized that you were posting publicly the entire time you’ve been on Facebook and you want to beef up your security.

Just click the Limit Old Posts button and they will only be available to friends and anyone who has already interacted with the post, including liking, commenting or being tagged in it. Note: You can’t undo this without going to each post individually to change the audience.

facebook privacy tab

Make universal changes to your default privacy settings. Decide if you want to make your Facebook posts public, just shared with friends or customized.

While those are the major settings in the Privacy tab, there are a few other things you can adjust. Further down on the page, choose who can send you a friend request and whether you want strict message filters in your inbox. Also, determine how others can look you up, including using your personal information to find you.

If you want to adjust who can tag you and who can see what content you’re tagged in, go to Timeline and Tagging. Also, the Blocking tab is helpful if you need to block a specific user from seeing your profile.

Facebook Profile Settings

Next, update your privacy settings on your Facebook profile. Click About on your profile to view your basic information. You’ll see several sections, including Work and Education, Places You’ve Lived, Contact and Basic Info and Family and Relationships. Each section has a number of items in it and each item has a privacy setting.

Just click on the icon to the left of Edit and to the right of each segment, and decide who can see that information: public, friends, custom or a list.

facebook profile settings

Review all sections of your profile and adjust who (public, friends, custom, list) can view it.

Customize each element within your profile, so your privacy is in line with your comfort level. For example, choose whether you want it publicly known that you work for a certain company, whether you want to hide your relationship status from certain groups of your friends or whether you want everyone to have to ask for your phone number.

Facebook Photo Settings

Finally, adjust the privacy for your Facebook photo section. There are two ways to handle the audience setting for your photos: by album and by image. If you upload photos directly into an album, click the audience indicator on the bottom right side of the album to set privacy. For albums with images uploaded individually (like profile and cover photos), you must click each image and enter the privacy setting there.

facebook photo settings

Adjust the privacy by photo or by album. However, for albums to which photos have been added individually, you must change privacy for each image.

Note: If you set your profile or cover photos as anything other than public, non-friends won’t be able to see them. Therefore, someone who is looking for you won’t have a picture to go on to see if it’s the right “Jennifer Jones,” before friending you. You’ll also appear as the default blank face to others when you’re commenting on a friend’s status.

Instagram

Instagram and Facebook have similar terms of use and are owned by the same entity. However, Instagram’s privacy settings are much simpler. Either anyone can see all of your pictures or only an approved list of followers can see your pictures.

Instagram is almost entirely mobile. The desktop site is stripped down to the very basics and you can’t edit the privacy of your images there. Instead, open your Instagram mobile app and navigate to the profile page by tapping the user icon on the far bottom right of the navigation menu. Tap Edit Your Profile and scroll down.

instagram privacy

Instagram is primarily mobile, so you must go to the app to change your privacy settings.

At the very bottom there’s a switch to toggle private profiles on and off. When set to private, only users you approve can see your photos.

 

Even if you switch to a private profile, your current followers stay the same. To block a particular follower, navigate to that user’s profile, hit the Settings button on the top right corner of the page and then tap Block User.

Twitter

Like Instagram, Twitter’s privacy settings are pretty simple. Either you have a private account or you don’t. To change the privacy settings on your account, open the Settings menu. Click Security and Privacy in the menu on the left side of the screen. Select Protect my Tweets if you want to approve each follower instead of allowing anyone with Internet access to read your tweets.

twitter privacy settings

If you want to be completely private on Twitter, click Protect my Tweets and then approve any follower requests.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter also gives the option to allow followers to see your location for each tweet. Also decide whether users with your email address can find your Twitter profile. After you’ve made changes, click the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Instagram

Instagram and Facebook have similar terms of use and are owned by the same entity. However, Instagram’s privacy settings are much simpler. Either anyone can see all of your pictures or only an approved list of followers can see your pictures.

Instagram is almost entirely mobile. The desktop site is stripped down to the very basics and you can’t edit the privacy of your images there. Instead, open your Instagram mobile app and navigate to the profile page by tapping the user icon on the far bottom right of the navigation menu. Tap Edit Your Profile and scroll down.

instagram privacy

Instagram is primarily mobile, so you must go to the app to change your privacy settings.

At the very bottom there’s a switch to toggle private profiles on and off. When set to private, only users you approve can see your photos.

Even if you switch to a private profile, your current followers stay the same. To block a particular follower, navigate to that user’s profile, hit the Settings button on the top right corner of the page and then tap Block User.

Twitter

Like Instagram, Twitter’s privacy settings are pretty simple. Either you have a private account or you don’t. To change the privacy settings on your account, open the Settings menu. Click Security and Privacy in the menu on the left side of the screen. Select Protect my Tweets if you want to approve each follower instead of allowing anyone with Internet access to read your tweets.

twitter privacy settings

If you want to be completely private on Twitter, click Protect my Tweets and then approve any follower requests.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter also gives the option to allow followers to see your location for each tweet. Also decide whether users with your email address can find your Twitter profile. After you’ve made changes, click the Save Changes button at the bottom.