Content Marketing: Tips and Tools to Create Compelling Content To Attract Prospects And Search Engines Anya Ciecierski Director of Marketing, CAL Business.
Keynote Title Content Marketing: Tips and Tools to Create Compelling Content To Attract Prospects And Search EnginesAnya CiecierskiDirector of Marketing, CAL Business SolutionsCo-Founder, ERP/CRM Software Blogs What is Content Marketing?Content Marketing means creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of finding and converting prospects into customers. Today people are not waiting for you to find them. They are not going to call you as their first step. They are actively researching and educating themselves. And the main place they look for this education is online.By the time they contact us they are generally much more educated and further in the process than they used to be. Those are the prospects we want and that close faster. Content you and I can provide includes white papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, case studies, blog posts and articles, website content, microsites, newsletters and more. And in my opinion places like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In are all important places to promote that content.Todays MarketerThink of it this way.Sometimes we have heard that some folks in sales and marketing are farmers, slowly nurturing their crop of prospects and some are hunters, interested in the quick sale.I think another analogy that fits todays marketers is the fisherman. And the bait we use today is CONTENT. Like white papers, infographics, blog postsAnd today we have TWO audiences we are trying to attract prospects AND search engines. Because where the search engine goes, the prospects follow. Bait:Blog PostsWhite PapersCase StudiesInfographicsVideosPodcastsNewsletterseBooksWebcastsPress ReleasesSo today I am going to share my experience with some of the bait that I am using to attract prospects AND search engines.Like fisherman, we put our content out there and then often times we wait. But if that bait is good, it will attract a nice big prospect that we can reel in. And what is nice for us is that we can use that same bait over and over again and can attract people we may never have expected. This is much different than a direct mail piece.I believe there is different types of content that is effectively for different stages in the buying cycle. But today I am going to primarily focus on attracting new leads, that initial contact.Another nice thing is the cost Cost?120 Marketing Stats Charts & Graphs (PDF)But does it really work? Does it Work?CAL Business Solutions Facts: FY09 vs FY12Website Traffic up 175% (avg. 3,500 visitors a month)117% increase in search engine traffic (74% of total)85% increase in referral link traffic 4,692 referral links from ERPSoftwareBlog.com since FY09Yeah But I Want LEADS!!285% increase in leads from website59% increase in closed deals from websiteCAL Business Solutions is a Connecticut based Microsoft Dynamics GP partner. CAL has 19 employees, focuses on local clients and works with a very limited marketing budget. In the past CAL focused their efforts on traditional outbound marketing, but in FY09 started to focus on SEO and group blogging. CAL has seen dramatic results and now focuses almost exclusively on inbound marketing. Content marketing is cheap. High in time and low in cost. Patience pays off. Can use over and over again. The GoalCreate unique, engaging, quality information people want to readWhat can you say that will make people think:This company is honestThis company really knows their stuffThey are easy to understandThis really makes senseThat sounds just like my business issueThis is someone I can trustThey could help meThis is a company I want to work with!They sound smartNot promotional, not salesy, not boringContent worth reading usually:Appears under a headline that attracts and pulls in the audience, andIs genuinely useful, focusing on problems readers actually care about, andIs formatted to engage and hold attention, andIs at least moderately entertaining. What are you good at?What do you cover with new prospects over and over again?Cover industry trends and news - subscribe to Google Alerts/blogsAnswer a common question - browse Dynamics Community, Linked InFocus on vertical marketsGet your company involvedReach out to partnersInterview successful people in your industry How to tips (blog posts and videos)Repurpose old content (newsletters)Dynamics white papers (stats, quotes)Summarize/give your opinionTell what NOT to do Curate a listPress Pass for eventsCustom features/projectsLocal newsI Have Nothing To SayKeep an ideas fileI dont have time. Ok, I get that. Not everyone can churn out content all the time. You can choose to make it a priority yourself, see if you can hire help or outsource. But if not then this is my advice: Cornerstone content. Cornerstone ContentInvest time and resources to create at least one piece of timeless QUALITY content that is your GO TO call to action, anytime. Example: CAL White Paper: 30 Questions Every CFO Must Ask About the Cost of Accounting Software www.calszone.com/30questionsDoes every piece you create need to be amazing? No! Many of the blog posts I write are nothing amazing, I just do it for search engine optimization and backlinks. BUT I intersperse that with content that I really work hard on.We created this white paper several years ago but it is still valuable. I can drive traffic there anytime. Use it as a standard call to action when I have nothing specific. The more I use it the more SEO value it has. Page has authority.Thousands of downloads Copywriting TipsWrite the way you speakWe will articulate how social technologies fit into Microsofts vision and strategy for proactive, agile and forward-looking business solutions that facilitate people getting the right things done while delivering better customer experiences.It is also important to note a social strategy is contingent on culturally embracing the concepts in conjunction with the software tools themselves. Business professionals need to become more productive in order to achieve their desired performance levels. As such, they are constantly trying to evaluate which actions will drive successful business outcomes.Dont bore your audienceThere is so much content out there so competitive. Competing for attention, you need to grab it and hold it. Copywriting TipsWrite the way you speakInject personalityCut in halfKill the jargon and acronymsRecord/TranscribeProofreadOutsourceProfl Proofreader: email@example.comHubspot Training GuidesWrite the way you speakInject personalityCut in halfKill the jargon and acronymsRecord/TranscribeProofread - like making a good first impression - you may not get a second chance. Using poor grammer makes someone seem less intelligent - even if they speak 5 languages and have a Phd.Outsource Optimize Your ContentHeadlinesKeywordsLinksYou can have great bait but if nobody can find you, you wont get any fish. So you need to be where the fish are. You need to get FOUND.Great content will naturally attract readers, clicks and backlinks. But you want more than that. You want to attract the search engines.In this session we are focusing on how to get your content found online. So you need to get found by the search engines, so they can bring the fish to you.A basic overview of how a search engine works is this. 1.Crawling - Youve likely heard of search engine spiders that crawl around the web looking for content. These are actually bits of computer code that find information on a web page, read it, and then tirelessly continue along their journey by following links from your page to other pages. The spider periodically returns looking for changes to the original page, which means there are always opportunities to modify the way a search engine sees and evaluates your content down the road. If for any reason the spider cant see your content, or doesnt understand what its about, your page cant be indexed and ranked. 2. Indexing - The spider is not just casually browsing content, its storing it in a giant database. This is called indexing . The spiders goal is to save every bit of content it crawls for the future benefit of searchers . Its also gauging how relevant that content is to the words that searchers use when they want to find an answer to something. 3. Ranking - The final critical aspect of search technology is the way the engine decides to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. This is based on a complex set of rules. Spoonfeed the Search EngineBrian Clark Founder of Copyblogger said: Search engines have come a long way since the early days of the web, but theyre not as sophisticated as you might think. Its not that search engines are dumb; its more like theyre bright little toddlers who need information delivered to them in a way that works for them. Think of it this way. You wouldnt set a bone- in ribeye and steak knife in front of a 4 -year -old and expect him to have at it. Youd present the food in easily chewable bite- sized chunks with appropriate utensils. Likewise, you might write an article about accounting software using metaphors, entertaining analogies, and smart synonyms. You know youre writing about accounting software, and most reasonably intelligent people know it too. But if you dont use the words accounting software in certain locations and frequencies along with other SEO copywriting best practices, both you and the search engines are out of luck. The toddler goes hungry and youre frustrated and likely dealing with a mess. Thats not to say you want to serve up keyword stuffed crap.On the contrary, you must create that ribeye-steak content that engages people first and foremost , while also spoon -feeding search engines what they need . The end goal is always to let other people find you with the language they use when searching. How do you do this? By knowing your keywords. Know Your KeywordsSpeak the same languageBe realisticBe targetedGo longUse them everywhere (but dont stuff)Google Keyword Research ToolOften times we THINK prospects use certain language and search terms. But in reality what they are using might surprise you. We have been in this industry so long it is perfectly normal for us to spout off phrases like Business Intelligence, marketing automation and document management. But are these the phrases our prospects really use? Or do they say things like reporting, analytics and paperless office?1)You need to know, what are MY prospects typing into the search engine when they are looking for me?Copy that wording. For example, do people actually say business solutions or financial management software. Are they more likely to say accounting software or even ERP software.2) Then ask yourself, can I realistically be top of the list (or at least the top page) for that keyword?For example you are not likely to rank highly for a single word, but a full phrase. For example, very little chance of ranking #1 for Dynamics GP. Competing with MS and companies with much bigger budgets. You are more likely to rank high on keyword phrases that focus on geography or expertise. For example, Connecticut Dynamics GP partner And dont forget Great Plains3) Then ask, which traffic is the most targeted?Traffic is great, but we want leads! The phrase Dynamics GP for Distribution may have MORE searches, perhaps you will even have better success if you get more targeted, such as Dynamics GP for industrial parts distribution . Or if you are an ISV can you really zero in on key search phrases for your product. There will be LESS traffic but it will be more qualified.Some experts say you dont want to focus on just getting product related search traffic. They reason that if someone already knows your product name then they are further in buying cycle and you want to get them before. That sounds valid. So if you sell CRM, dont just optimize for Dynamics CRM, do lead tracking software or lead scoring in CRM system. BUT I also disagree. Because if someone is just starting to shop for ERP software, I think they will go to the larger websites to compare packages. I dont think I will rank for compare ERP software or best distribution software . That is up to the vendor. But when they are ready to buy, I want them to find me. Make their short list and THEN come to my partner website to actually buy. However, my blog post, writing on a specific feature or pain point they have, THAT might make them look at my product for the first time. My website wont add software to short list but my blog post might. Like feed lot tracking. And you talk about how great GP and your company is on that specific thing. Enough to sway them?There are lots of tools to help you do this Example: Keyword StuffingOur marketing solutions services software is ideal for enterprise organization marketing software solutions looking for help with their marketing email automation.CAL is a Connecticut based Microsoft Dynamics GP partner focused on Microsoft Dynamics GP for Connecticut companies. Microsoft Dynamics GP is powerful, affordable ERP/accounting/financial management software used by Connecticut companies looking to upgrade their ERP/accounting/financial software.Dont write JUST for search engines. You wont win. Might get traffic but not keep it. Headlines & Titles#1 Most Important Engaging & Catchy BUT Clear & TargetedWhat is it aboutWho should read it What will they get out of it.Keywords!What are first 72 characters?Not just blog posts. Title of your white paper and infographic. Title of your video.STAND ALONE - What is it about and who should read it and what will they get out of it.Comparisons (vs), How To, Numbered ListsKeywords: writing a killer keyword-enhanced headline makes it more likely that someone will simply use your title to link back to you. Since link anchor text is a significant component of search engine algorithms, putting the right keywords into your headline can give your content a significant boost. Google AlertsYou should try to keep the length of your title under 72 characters for search. Full title will be visible in search result, increasing chance of click. Examples: White Paper TitlesThe Connected Enterprise Embracing Social Technologies to Drive the Dynamic BusinessEmpowered People, Simplified Processes, and Connected EcosystemsInnovating with the Microsoft Business Productivity Infrastructureversus7 Secrets the Healthiest Project-driven Organizations Know That You May NotThe Sales Tax Survival Guide24 Wildly Creative Ways Companies Are Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Drive Revenue & Serve Customers Examples: SEO Optimized TitlesBefore: CRM 2011 Read Optimized FormsAfter: Make Dynamics CRM 2011 Pages Load Faster with Read Optimized FormsBefore: Microsoft Announces Perpetual Licensing for Dynamics GPAfter: Microsoft Dynamics GP Price Rising Oct 2012 - How To Be Grandfathered In At Lower CostBefore: Microsoft Dynamics GP Wow Moments: Use Smartlist Builder to Find Data FasterAfter: How to use Smartlist Builder for Microsoft Dynamics GPBetter: Insider Tip: 3 Reasons to Buy Microsoft Dynamics GP Before Oct 2012 to Be Grandfathered In When New Pricing ReleasedMake Dynamics CRM 2011 Pages Load Faster with Read Optimized Forms (66 characters) Links/Anchor TextAdd links on keyword phrasesLink to interior pagesLink to relevant pages1:100 ratioLink to build relationships Links/Anchor TextClick here for free white paper: 30 Questions To Ask About Cost of Accounting SoftwarevsClick here for free white paper: 30 Questions To Ask About Cost of Accounting SoftwareFor each link ask: Is This a Phrase a Prospect Would Type into Google To Find Me? Dont Forget The Hook!CALL TO ACTIONBiggest mistakes I see is that are using not using good bait that appeals to prospects AND not using a hook. Without a hook you are just throwing your bait into the water. You are feeding the fish, and they appreciate that, but you are not able to reel them in.Your hook is your call to action something that gets your reader to take action that connects them with your company. That could be visiting to your website, signing up for your email list, attending an event, giving you a call. But something allows you to reel them in.A strong call to action accomplishes 3 things:Tells the prospect what action to take, how to take it and what benefit it gives them.What should your call to action be? Be SelfishWho knows what this means?Usually we think of this in terms of prospects they want to know whats in it for me. So we are taught to describe our products and services based on benefits and not just features.But in this case I want you to be selfish. Whenever you create a piece of content I want you to ask what is in it for me? What is my goal? So often companies produce great content, especially great videos, without giving enough thought to that question.Try to make your goals be specific. Not just I want to attract people to my website. How does that help you? What do you want them to do? there?How about I want to get people to give me their email address for my e-newsletter. Now the content you create will include this a call to action.For me, my basic call to action is to get prospects to fill out a Quick Quote request or give me their email address for email nurturing. If they actually call and ask for a meeting, that is a home run. This does happen but I gotta be realistic. I will give some more specifics on this as we go through tips on each section. Reel Them InYour Website Should Be:Something you are proud ofEasy to customizeFull of contentCalls to action everywhereIf you have a terrible website you cant reel them in. My Bait:White PapersBlog PostsCase StudiesVideosInfographicsAudio/Podcasts White Paper Tips - Writing1) Write rough draftCreate an outlineConvert every point (statement) in outline into a questionAnswer questions as if answering an email (friendly tone)Call to action at end2) Send to professional editor/writer3) Choose a GREAT title4) Send to proofreader5) Send to designerPublisher Designer: firstname.lastname@example.orgPerry Marshalls Quick Start GuideWhat do you cover over and over again?What questions are you always asked?EDUCATIONAL NOT SALESYOr outsource the whole thing. Barb Levisay Marketing for Partners $3750. The Partner Marketing Group $2500+Write quickly, from the gut, edit later.Not complex White Paper Tips - DesignChoose easy to read fontsWide marginsMake it easy to read online AND printUse charts and graphics as much as possibleBreak up text with subheads and bullets (easy, digestible info)Call out quotesWhite Paper Design That Sells (PDF)Roger Parkers White Paper Design That Sells: talks about margins, merit of 2 column design, type size and font, line spacing and even how to proofread. White Paper PromotionLanding PageProvide teaser contentDont ask for too much info on formBlog Posts Submit to Directories (MSDynamics World example)Tweet, Linked In, Outlook SignaturePress ReleaseAudio MP3 file Email & Direct MailTell clients, colleagues, referral sourcesVoice 123 Profl VoiceoverAudio Acrobat Host AudioVisitInsights Web Visitor TrackingBroadlook Profiler Company Lookup(www.voice123.com for voice (example $75 for CRM Blog white paper 20 min recording and www.audioacrobat.com to host file)Multiple blog posts and guest posts Blogging GoalsDrive traffic to your post (and your website)Raise organic search results of your website Fresh keyword filled contentExtra trafficEstablish yourself as an expertRaise Organic Search Results of Your Website By Strategic Use of LinksDrive Traffic To Your Post (and Your Website)Establish Yourself as an ExpertI blog for SEO.There is no better want to consistently have fresh content that google sees regularly. You cant change your website pages that often.When someone is looking for a Dynamics partners in CT where do I want my company to show on the search results page? Who Would You Call?Raise Organic Search Results of Your Website By Strategic Use of LinksDrive Traffic To Your Post (and Your Website)Establish Yourself as an ExpertCAL dominates search rankings.Competitor doesnt show until #10 on Google. All red arrows are from blog posts. Blogging TipsBlog regularly (editorial calendar)Get others involved (colleagues, partners, guests)Build community relationships (trade links)Keep an ideas fileDont worry about lengthTry to be firstRaise Organic Search Results of Your Website By Strategic Use of LinksDrive Traffic To Your Post (and Your Website)Establish Yourself as an Expertwww.textbroker.com Writing ServicesYou want people to link to you.Build relationships by giving links, posting comments. The more powerful your blog is the more leverage you have. CAL Blog Strategywww.erpsoftwareblog.com Group blogs = less effort + more benefitAverage 3 posts per month4,692 total referral links ($14,000 Adwords PPC savings)CAL blog for existing customer postsTo have your own blog you really need to have something interesting to say, all the time, in order to get consistent traffic. Sure, it helps in terms of SEO to have more content on your site. But it takes a lot of work.We have a CAL blog too for existing customer info.For our company, group blogging is more realistic. We post approx. 3 articles per month. Because site gets so much content and links from other members too, we get tons of eyeballs on our post. That site much more likely to rank high in search engines that my lowly CAL blog. Case Study TipsSelect ClientInterview project managerInterview client (Record/Transcribe phone call)Write based on standard templateChallenge Solution Benefits QuotesSend to designer Promotewww.freeconference.com Recordwww.speakwrite.com TranscribeTPMG $900-$1300 Promote Case StudyPrint for sales callsWebsite (with short URL)Blog posts!Extract testimonialsSend to referral sources (including Microsoft)Press releaseMailing/email blast prospectsClient newsletterProspect newsletter SHORT VideosDemos/FeaturesHow To TipsEventsCase StudyMeet The TeamWhat is Your Goal?Web pages with video attracted 2-3x as many monthly visitors, doubled time on site, and achieved a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines.MarketingSherpa, December 2011You should be using video marketing because:The technology and equipment is cheaper than its ever been. Cost is no longer an excuse. Online video Is booming Most people doing video are doing it wrong, in my opinion. (controversial, I know). But that will change quickly, which is why NOW is a great time to get started. Short Videos goal = 2 minutes, 5+ is too muchStick with ONE main goalGoals:Go Viral = TrafficSubscribe Video Call To ActionAt BEGINNING and end of video:Tell The Viewer What Action To Take: head over to my website at calszone.com.and subscribe to my free monthly GP Tips e-newsletter.Tell The Viewer How They Can Take The Action: by clicking the link below the video.theres a subscribe button on the right hand side of every page of the website.Tell The Viewer Whats In It For Them: Subscribers get access to a new Dynamics GP tip every month and as a thank you for entrusting me with your email address theres a sequence of five GP tips videos that will be delivered to your inbox over the next few days which are exclusive to subscribers.You should be using video marketing because:The technology and equipment is cheaper than its ever been. Cost is no longer an excuse. Online video Is booming Most people doing video are doing it wrong, in my opinion. (controversial, I know). But that will change quickly, which is why NOW is a great time to get started. Short Videos goal = 2 minutes, 5+ is too muchStick with ONE main goalGoals:Go Viral = TrafficSubscribe Video TipsCamtasia or ScreencastBlue Snowball USB microphone ($65)Professional editing (Kill Your Darlings)Promote on:Website (transcribe)Blog Postswww.oneload.com syndicationYoutube.com Screencast.comVideo Editing & YouTube Designwww.baumgartcreativemedia.comBumpers consistent on each siteBy 30 seconds into an online video up to 33% of viewers have moved on; at 1 minute 44% have left (regardless of the clips length) and almost 60% have abandoned by the 2 minute mark. YouTube TipsOptimize for SEOTrueView Google Adwords for YouTubeSet up your channelWelcome video (focus on goal)Delete info not related to goalMake it easy to get to your websitePlaylistsEvery video should be in at least 1 playlistCreate playlists for SEO your video plus 3-5 popular videos from othersVideo responsesEach video can be used ONCE for video responseBuild relationships (like a guest post)The Content Marketers Video PlaybookVideo SEO Optimizationdave@interactivelimited.com Make title keyword rich and compelling (no spam words)Welcome video auto start InfographicsComplex info presented as a graphic perfect for visual learnersInfographics are outstanding for bringing life to content that would otherwise be dry, uninteresting or unshareable-Microbrand MediaInfographic Design email@example.com People are visual learners more so now than ever, given the amount of stimulation out there. At the end of the day, the main use for infographics is to create content that can potentially go viral and drive traffic, links and exposure to a Web site and the brandDONT forget the hook the call to action. Website/Download Infographic Faux PasDesign Dark background and small textFancy but hard to decipher charts and graphsNo transitionsMessage Charts and graphs that arent compellingNo reason for beingMarketing Value No reason to shareNo call to action Infographic TipsSources To Build a Swipe Filehttp://visual.ly/ www.coolinfographics.com www.good.is/infographics Infographic templates and artwww.graphicriver.netwww.istockphoto.comwww.thinkstock.com Find a designerwww.elance.com Barb Levisay firstname.lastname@example.org Infographic PromotionBlog Posts (Use Infographic in the title)Provide embed codeShare via social mediaSubmit to directories Ask other bloggersPosters print and mail to prospectsBlog Posts (Use Infographic in the title)Make sure you have embed code on landing page (so people can copy and use on their own websites)Tweet, Link, Plus one and Like the page on the group blogs or on your site from all the social media sites you belong to.Mention the infographic in comments around the web and send links out on emails.Embed the graphic in any relevant blog you have access too just by grabbing the code and pasting it into the html editor.Submit the embed code to infographic blogs around the web like Visual.ly & CoolInfographics.com (note: Dave does not recommend paying for links in these directories)Be creative print the infographic on cardstock or laminate and mail to prospects PodcastingAudio Blog PostsExample: www.vicinitymanufacturing.libsyn.comRecording: Audio BoothDistribution: www.libsyn.com VoiceOver: www.voice123.comHost Audio: www.audioacrobat.com Apply for iTunesTrack Results44 Google Analytics (free)% Increase in total visitors# of referral links (compare to adwords)# of leads generated from website (ASK!)# of closed deals from website leadsAnalytics Goals:Repeat visitors: 15%Organic traffic: 40-50% of totalReferrals: 20-30% of overall trafficBounce rates going down over time-Intro to Inbound Marketing Analytics PDFGood Luck!45 Q&A46 Download Extra Session Resource SheetAnya Ciecierskianyac@calszone.com email@example.com THANK YOUPlease complete your evaluation.