Last updated 2 years ago
Content marketing is a great way to establish your knowledge and expertise within an industry. Once you’ve established a content hub and set up all your social media outposts, the fuel for your web presence is quality content. It goes without saying, but one of the main goals of creating content is to grow your readership and expand awareness of your brand. So, here are seven easy content secrets that can help you get more readers.
1) Snatch Catchy Headlines.
One of the most important elements of any post is its headline. Just like the subject line of an email, the headline is what helps someone determine whether it’s worth their time to keep reading. But coming up with a great headline can be challenging. So, find great headlines from print publications and observe what works for them. After looking at a few month’s worth of magazine headlines, you’ll probably notice some patterns emerge. Try rewriting headlines around topics and themes you care about using magazine headline formulas.
2) Use Title Case.
Underscore a great headline by setting it up with authority by using title case. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to punctuate a headline, but title case is a good way to reinforce the authority of an article. Essentially, this means capitalizing the first and last word of the headline, along with all primary words and prepositions and conjunctions with four or more letters. An added benefit of title case for headlines? It will be automatically optimized for social sharing on sites like Twitter and Facebook, helping gain more readers from social networks, too.
3) Harness the Power of Lists.
One of the most popular content types, a list is an easy, helpful way to format content. The good news is lists are also very popular and often shared socially. Popular numbers for list posts are 3, 5, 7 and 10, but large- and uncommon-numbered lists are effective as well, because they can generate attention in and of themselves.
4) Create Compelling Subheads.
One tip for great web writing is to break your copy up into short, easy-to-digest sections. You can start with the headline and then outline sections with short, compelling sub-headlines. Not only does this make your content easier to write, it also makes it more scan-able and sharable, hallmarks of great web content.
5) Use Question Marks.
How can you get people engaged with your content? Headlines and subheads phrased as questions can be a great, simple trick to draw the reader in and get them reading. Just use them sparingly so they pack as much punch as possible!
6) Find a Unique Twist on a Season or Theme.
Using themes, metaphors, and seasonal elements to create content is a great way to build readership and facilitate social sharing. Official and unofficial holidays, hot topics, internet memes, pop culture tie-ins, and other themes can help you add some life and character to your content and make it more timely and relevant. For example, in her post Green Eggs and Facebook, blogger Pam Moore used quotes from Dr. Seuss to share social media advice, adding a creative take on the subject and spurring hundreds of social shares.
7) Create Quotable Content.
Another content trick that’s useful for adding new insight and ideas is to harness the power of other people’s voices. You could host guest bloggers, publish subject-matter expert interviews, or quote and cite industry experts or statistics published elsewhere online. Not only does this add a fresh perspective to your site, it can also add authority and credibility. Plus, when other people are featured on your site, they’ll promote your content, extending reach to new readers.
Do you have any go-to content creation tricks, tips, or ideas you use to gain readers? Share them in the comments section! If you enjoyed this article, please re-tweet, like it on Facebook, or post it to LinkedIn.
About the Author: Tiffany Monhollon writes about social media, marketing, and small business success as the lead blogger for ReachCast, a service that helps local business owners develop their web presence.
Last updated 2 years ago
Today's guest post is written by Simon Salt. His book on Social Location Marketing will be published in Feb 2011.Simon is CEO of marketing communications agency IncSlingers. He is an author, blogger, writer and entrepreneur – though not always in that order. He has been published online by Mashable, Read Write Web and other high profile websites. He speaks nationally on the topic of social media and works with major brands as an online brand advocate.
Small business owners rarely need to be told the importance of customer relationships. Without them, their businesses wouldn’t grow, and they wouldn’t still be in business. It is often mystifying to the small business community how excited large business seems to get every time a new piece of technology appears that promises to “bring them closer to the customer.”
But striving to get closer to the customer is something that businesses of all sizes are constantly trying to do. With the rise of the social consumer and their sense of entitlement, the pressure to at least appear to be getting closer to the customer is constantly increasing. As if there weren't enough moving parts in the social media world, now marketers and business owners have a new tool to try and wrap their heads around - Social Location Sharing.
Sometimes referred to by the more generic term Location Based Sharing, Social Location Sharing apps allow users to actively share their location with their network. In doing so, they are promoting the name of the location, including photos, reviews, tips and comments – all from their smart phone.
The ease of use, for both business owner and user is one reason why I would say that Social Location Sharing is the most significant piece of technology to impact the way we all do business since the social media revolution began.
From a marketers perspective here, are some others:
- The time investment is lower than any other form of social media
- The people you are communicating with are already in your establishment or at places you go to
- The cost of entry to use these tools is zero
- The platforms are starting to provide good metrics
So where do you start: Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, SCVNGR, etc? They may all seem to be the same type of tool. First, know your customer. Each of the tools appeals to different market segments. Foursquare focuses on competition and tends to attract male users, while Gowalla focuses on design and appeals more to women. Second, get to know the platforms. Sign up for them, and play around with them. They are all different and all offer different variations on the same theme. Last, be honest about how much time you have to spend using location-based services as a marketing tool. Don’t start using something you don’t have time to use well.
As a good entry point for small- and medium-sized businesses with a physical location that is open to the public, I strongly recommend Yelp. The free tools they provide for businesses are better developed than any of the other platforms, and the Yelp community of users is more stable than the others. Yelp might not be as “sexy” for the media as Foursquare or Gowalla, but they have been around longer and with a user base of 25 million, they are significantly larger than any of the other apps.
Overall, remember that like any other social marketing channel, Social Location Marketing works only as well as the effort you put into it.
Last updated 2 years ago
In case you missed the streaming coverage of last week’s Mashable Awards gala, here’s a glimpse of our very own ReachCast GM Alex Hawkinson and ReachLocal CTO Jeff Hagins accepting the award of Best Social Media Service for Small Business. From the Zumanity theater in Las Vegas, Alex shares his award acceptance URL: rockthecastbox.com!
Last updated 2 years ago
We are excited to announce that ReachCast™ received the Mashable Award for Best Social Media Service for Small Business! As the top source for interactive marketing news and information, Mashable is a valued resource in the social media arena, and we are honored and excited to accept this award. To be selected as one of the year’s top tech and innovation advancements by these awards, which this year received over 1.3 million nominations and votes, is truly a privilege.
This recognition affirms our mission to bring an effective, affordable social media and web presence management solution to small business owners. We are passionate about helping small businesses evolve from having just a static web site to building a dynamic web presence that helps them get found and engage with customers where they are spending time online.
The ReachCast Story
The reality is, in today’s digital environment, consumers are now talking, listening, and engaging online more than any other activity. That means businesses who want to connect with these consumers need to be talking, listening, and engaging online too.
They need a dynamic web presence that goes where consumers are, provides a fresh stream of engaging content, and enables them to listen to and engage with consumers who are talking about them online. And, beyond connecting with consumers directly, all that social activity is valuable content that search engines love, helping boost your online search discovery, too.
We built ReachCast because in talking with many of our existing small business customers, we realized that many didn’t have the time, tools or expertise to build and manage a dynamic web presence.
With ReachCast, the unique combination of our proprietary technology platform with an expert service team helps SMBs build and optimize their Web presence for the purpose of driving online search discovery, powering reputation management, and managing social media marketing.
Want to learn more or engage with ReachLocal and the ReachCast team? You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook today, or call us at 1-888-419-5118. We would love to hear from you.
Rock the Cast Box!
Last updated 2 years ago
Creating entertaining, interesting videos can be a great asset to your online marketing plan. Videos are a quick and easy way to reinforce your brand, increase organic discovery on search engines, and connect with consumers on social media. To start creating and sharing engaging videos, follow these simple tips.
Online video is a great way to provide consumers with a realistic look into your business. Showcase your business’ personality, but being too goofy can turn consumers off and decrease your credibility. Before you film your video, write out a few key points that you want your viewers to take away from your video, and practice what you want to say before filming. But make sure to shy away from sales and marketing messages – you want your video to feel like a conversation, not a commercial.
Pick interesting topics.
Choose video topics that are entertaining or useful for your audience. Consumers enjoy seeing – and sharing – entertaining content such as an interesting story about a new product or an instructional video that demonstrates your expertise. For instance, if you own a gardening center in Houston, you could create a short video about how to plant roses in Texas with step-by-step instructions. Another approach is to create videos that answer common customer service questions, like this one from Evernote. If you find the content interesting or helpful, chances are, your target audience will too. And remember, the more interesting your topics, the more people will want to follow you and share your videos.
Keep your videos short.
The rule of thumb for online videos is to keep them around two minutes or less. If you have a lot of information or footage to share, break it up into a series of shorter videos. Anything much longer risks losing your audience’s attention. Plus, creating a video series entices people to keep checking back for the latest “episode.” What’s more, videos contribute to a dynamic Web Presence, giving consumers more content to discover when they search for your business name, products, or services.
Make them look stellar.
To create videos with the best quality, you can use an inexpensive HD video recorder, like the Flip video cam, and take the time to edit your videos with professional software. And if you don’t want to worry about filming, editing, and uploading your videos, we suggest hiring a professional to create one for you. A quick way to dress your videos up – and give a boost to your organic traffic – is by adding five seconds of branding at the beginning and end of your video. Include a screen that displays your business name or logo and a URL to your website or blog, so consumers know where to go to learn more about you.
Optimize for organic search.
If you don’t already have one, create your own YouTube channel and post your videos there. Since YouTube videos often receive prominent placement on Google, they can really improve your organic search results and drive more traffic to your business. When you upload a new video to YouTube, create a title based on the keywords you want it to show up for when someone conducts a search, such as “The Easy Way to Plant Roses in Texas.” Add a thorough description and 10-15 keyword tags about your content and your business, including your business name, to maximize your organic discovery.
Share your videos everywhere.
Now that your video is uploaded to YouTube, how do you get more people to see it? You can post it to other video sites, like Metacafe, Blip.tv, or Yahoo! Video. Also share your video on social sites like Facebook®, Twitter®, and LinkedIn®, where your fans and followers can view, comment, like, and share it. Don’t forget to add your videos to your website, blog, and Cast page, as videos have been shown to increase consumer action and conversion, like contacts or direct visits to a business.
To help you create and market your online videos, ReachLocal offers TotalVideoNow, a turnkey video production service, and ReachCast, a Web Presence Optimization service that puts more of your content in more places to get more customers. To learn more about these solutions, contact your ReachLocal representative.
Tamara Farley helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media marketing, and more as a blogger for ReachCast and ReachLocal.