Archive | August 2015

How to Successfully Publish Online

WritingAlthough we always tell you that ‘Content is King’, nothing trumps the story that you tell, the information that you share, and how you showcase your expert status, a recent ‘Linked In’ publishing survey shows some very interesting facts about what people like to read.

Think about how many blog posts and articles are published on Linked In, the business-based social media site. Of course, we are following a lot of writers here, as part of our online branding exercises, and the amount of published work is truly enormous: Think of how many people you are following, and groups you belong to, and how many articles are you notified of daily? Now multiply that by a factor of twenty for writers and publishers such as us – not including the articles we ourselves are adding to the number.

Any kind of survey based on the amount of written and published work that this site emanates is worth looking at, after all these are great business writers with a lot of fans, right? Well a recent survey on thirty thousand ‘liked’ articles on Linked In show some very interesting trends that you would be good to run your next article through. If they do well on such a widely read and respected community such as this, these points will obviously add to the impact of your posts on other sites, too – including your own.

Your title should contain 40 – 49 characters, and you should include 8 images. Those articles with this number of images in them are shared almost three times more than those with less. Don’t rely on video-pictures produce more shares, and the optimal amount of Headings you should use is five. Also, don’t rely on a question in your title – they perform worse than straight statement headings.

Your article length should be between 1900 and 2000 words, and you should remain neutral: Just report the facts, don’t come down on one side of an argument – let the reader read what they need to. These two points together guarantee you over 100% more views than any other article length, and by staying neutral you have almost a 75% chance of more shares.

Don’t get too technical, because the most shared articles are easily read: in fact you just need to be eleven years old to understand the best shared posts – and also, you need to be liked. Simply put, the more likes you have, the more your article will be shared by others. Finally, publish on a Thursday. More posts are read from Thursday through Sunday than any other combination of days of the week, and this is consistently proven.

Not only trying to match these facts and figures, but testing your favourite writers’ articles through these filters probably shows the same things: Successful posts ‘look’ and ‘feel’ a certain way to readers, before they even start reading them. It’s time to ensure that yours fall into this category, too – and these points prove what you need to do!

Content Marketing lessons from ‘The Big Boys’

BrandsThe amazing growth of blog site aggregators such as Digg over the last few years have given us some incredibly valuable figures on what actually makes a successful post. These sites have average daily site visits measured in the tens of Millions to a variety of content, and these figures can be mined to show the current state of the Blogosphere, and what is being not only looked at, but studied and shared by readers across the Globe. By asking questions of those that produce content on their own sites, and always seem to appear on these aggregator sites, we can find out not only what works now, but also the road taken to get this far.

Here are some of the most popular answers we have received from our questions:

1. Try, try again, and re-brand your posts.

Just like any other business, you have to ‘use your elbows’ and find yourself space online. Publishers like you to have a strong track record of successful posting and sharing, and they will trust these tried and trusted writers, rather than a newbie with a good one-off idea. The bad news, here, is that you have to persist and keep on persisting to create your own space with Publishers. A more positive way of thinking of it is that this job is getting easier with every post you write.

Why, because every completed post adds to your online Resume, so this year will be easier than last year to be heard. Remember that every writer started with their first post, it’s just that the online stars have continued to write, edit, and market, until their posts are shared as a matter of course.

A great way to do this is to maximize your exposure with different headlines. Your headline is the reason that people are reading you. Sure, the graphic you chose to accompany your piece helps, but your headline is the open door that people will walk through, if they like what they see. So, who are you talking to, what do they want to hear, how can you help them, and how can put that in multiple headlines? Sometimes over 20 headlines can be use with the same post to ensure that you are reaching as many readers as possible. Try and knock it out of the park with every headline, and then re-write them for multiple audiences.

2. Large Listicles, and proper testing

Buzzfeed features large list articles and picture collections known as ‘Listicles’. An example, that we have all seen all over the ‘net is. “100 Tips to Make Your business grow”.

Break this down: Here is a subject that you can use. It has so much information promised, that you should be able to use at least some of it. A list promises lots of one-line information that you can access without too much work. In other words, you won’t be here long, and you will end the exercise with new, fresh information. Finally, the subject matter is vague enough to help everyone, from the one-man tailor business around the corner, to the Marketing Manager of a Multi-National company.

Now, you have to test it. Think of a popularity contest, and there can only be one winner. Take your best five headlines, and re-word, re-work, and re-publish them, until you get a clear winner. In the past, I have let a headline ‘go’, because I felt it was the best I could do. Within a week, I had re-written them ,and re-published them, and the difference in Analytics was three- or four-fold. This may not mean much if your post gets ten views, but if you get it on a huge aggregator site that receives 10,000 views, then the total is eye-popping. Look at online tools to help you with Headline Testing – there are a few out there.

3. Stack images, and make your article shareable.

If a picture or graphic works, how do multiple pictures work? Think of infographics. They are extremely popular, because – just as I wrote above – they promise more of what the reader likes: Information in a fast, easy format that is good to look at. One of the most popular posts of 2014 on Buzzworthy  with ‘stacking images’ has been shared over 15 Million times! How’s that for an engaged audience?

This also shows the power of re-sharing. How many times have you seen a shared item on Twitter , for instance, that has been re-tweeted, and is just a collection or list of pictures? It promises something that can be done quickly, and the reader will learn something from it. Don’t forget – of course – to add a share button, or CTA.

These are just some of the writing, testing and sharing possibilities open to you. They work, because those writers already streets ahead of you are doing them. It’s time to add these ideas to your writing, so that you can become one of ‘the Big Boys.’

The Value of online, off-topic, Communities.

Crowd Of PeopleSo we’ve all read a million articles about social media marketing, but can you build a brand online? Better yet, should you build a brand online, and why is branding more important than marketing?

Marketing is great, but if no one likes what you have to offer, then your marketing efforts are worthless! Building an identity for a product, service, or content, and instilling a recurring image in prospects will pay off in multiple ways. To show this more clearly, here’s an example of building the brand online, rather than just promoting it.

A gaming company wanted to spread the word about their brand, and realized that their customer base was always online. While your prospects may not be there at present, they are there for some reason, so the following Case Study still applies.

Our gaming company started its own community on Google +. If most prospects are online anyway, keywords that they use will attract these consumers that want to keep up with new products, gossip, graphics, etc. Don’t think that your prospects aren’t like gamers. Look at the success of the social site Instagram. People like looking at pictures and information of what they like. By starting an online community, it is your choice what to add to it, but you know that you will attract those that enjoy the subject (Which should be your Unique Sales Proposal), and you can find out more about them from their own profiles and posting history. Facebook and Linked In also offer the same opportunity, but – of course – they come to the industry with different viewpoints: Either fun, or professional.

Your own brand, your online communities are, and should be, named differently but your plan should be to make both names recognizable to those that will become members of that community. You do not want to link the two names, but you do want to place the idea that the moderator of these communities may be a brand name, but it is also a fan of the product, or service, and its power. Even if your brand name isn’t well known, yet, you want to place these ideas into the experience of your prospects.

You are going to share information with your communities, but not sell your brand. To become trustworthy, the last thing anyone wants is to be sold to. There is nothing wrong with accepting some of your competition into the community, in fact you can learn from them, if they do. You are there to listen to your communities, what they feel, and what they want.