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The Friday Fix - March 27, 2015

Given that it’s the last Friday in March, I feel it’s time to stop being blown away by the fact that it’s 2015 (What!? When did this happen!?) and instead to just be thrilled by the fact that it’s Friday…Friday Fix Day!  There was music and strobe lighting in my head when I wrote “Friday…Friday Fix Day”…did it translate? No?  Hmmm…maybe it’s my storytelling?  Or, perhaps I’ll take a word of wisdom from the “37 Tips for Writers” we cover this week.   I definitely plan to apply the tips on getting into giving audiences what they want (hint: it’s not more cow bell) along with other essential wit and wisdom for standing out from the content crowd.

blogging for content marketing

When Does Blogging Become Content Marketing?
While Mark Hillary’s article, which is actually a book excerpt, has more of a pedagogical approach, the essence of the message is the same.  This (when blogging becomes content marketing) is important because we currently function in a climate where organizations have and use blogs as do bloggers but both seem to blur the lines and occasionally cross entirely over into content marketing.  So, where does the transition occur?  Read on to clear things up.

Steps for Successful Social Contests
Not only is Brad Kuenn advising on how to fill a void in content marketing staff capacity, he’s also providing clever insight on how to use contests to light a fire in your content marketing if you will.  Contests can be cheesy, but they can also be clever.  Here, Brad guides you on using hashtags, appropriate branded-prizes, and other things (what, I’m not giving away the whole article here) to create a contest that will simultaneously bolster your content marketing strategy. It’s a #winwin.

One Colossal Content Checklist: 37 Tips for Writers
I’m attracted to Mindy Weinstein’s article for two reasons: one is the stock image that kind of looks like Harry Potter being attacked by dementors through a tablet (can someone get J.K. on writing that short story for Pottermore?  Okay, thanks.); two is that it’s a list for writers that Mindy promises isn’t like other lists (“That’s what all of the lists say,” I cry as I slam my locker and run to Social Marketing 101).  Mindy’s list is the real deal as she implores real writers to do what they do best: be honest and dig deep. Obviously, the details provide better direction; this is a list that won’t break your heart or leave you two-stepping all alone at the prom.

How and Why Content Marketing Will Build Your Business
In this piece, Amy Power (great name!) goes beyond the typical list of what you must do to succeed or get started or reinvent the wheel in content marketing; she delves into the how and why of what works explaining how and why you can expect certain results with certain approaches.  For those who are new to content marketing and are learning the ropes or who aren’t quite sure of what outcomes they can expect with a given strategy, this piece is for you.

what is social listening

Social Listening and Analytics: The Key to Improving Content Marketing
I love that Jeff Zabin starts his piece with a quote.  He uses the quote, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink” from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to describe the conundrum that occurs when content is produced, but it fails to satiate audiences’ thirst.  Jeff goes on to explore social media’s role in rectifying this situation, so everyone can eat, drink content, and be merry (hmm…I think I botched that quote a bit).

Ten Reasons Your Content Marketing Campaign Isn’t Working
So, I started running again to lose the last 1,500 lbs (not a typo), and I feel like despite my dedicated efforts to a regimen of coffee, exercise, and negative thoughts, I’m not getting anywhere.  If you feel about your content the way I feel about my abusive partner, the scale, then Adam Roseland’s incredibly well-spotted advice is for you.  Relative to content, he points out some common yet crippling flaws from a failure to outsource blog writing to overly broad content topics to a failure to post regularly.  Being as busy as you are, you might think these things aren’t hurting you (just as I feel that skimping on the Pilates isn’t hurting me), but they are.  Read Adam’s article for the details on where to tighten up.

Jeff Israely: Good Content Marketing Benefits from a Smart Publisher’s Touch
Former Time magazine foreign correspondent, Jeff Israely, continues what is apparently a series of commentaries on Nieman Lab’s startup.  In this piece, Jeff uses a few anecdotes to analyze and explore the publisher / advertiser relationship.  It’s a compelling read particularly as Jeff suggests that perhaps content marketing isn’t so new after all (just the modes in which we go about it).  Jeff concludes poignantly with the point that what’s novel in content marketing will work well for those who do it properly and will be detrimental to those who don’t.  

3 Paths to Involve Employees in Content Marketing
The majority of the rhetoric relative to content marketing in the workplace has been pertinent to getting senior company members on board; however, Jonathan Blank flips the coin and ponders the other side, which is getting employees involved in content marketing.  Among the challenges are getting employees to understand content marketing and what’s important such as the ability to identify audiences and goal planning (to name two).

A Decade of Content Marketing
You know when you are speaking to someone with a little grit under their nails; they’ve been in the trenches, and they know what they’re talking about.  In this piece, Peter Himler exudes the air of a wizened battle-worn trooper as he details his days from being a PR strategist and how that label and profession saw a sweeping transition into content marketing over the course of a decade.

You’ve Heard of Banner Blindness; Get Ready for Content Blindness
Mark Bergen brings the latest from Austin’s 4A Conference in which a topic of discussion was content blindness.  To explain, Mark compares to banner blindness, which is where consumers literally become blind to advertising banners.  It’s like living next to the airport or the train station.  Eventually, you don’t even notice when a 747 whizzes overhead or the F-train rattles your windows.  Well, the same thing is happening in terms of content.  As noted by other pundits, there’s an oversaturation of content, which leads to consumers overlooking it.  While Mark doesn’t attempt to resolve this complex issue, he does contribute positively on how to address it in this piece.

Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn







Finding your Target Audience by Discovering their Content Needs

In order to put the right type of content together, you need content that will educate your prospects and build their trust. It’s important to establish your target audience and discover their needs before attempting to deliver content that is valuable to them.

Depending on your company, you might have a lot of different audiences – if you are just starting to build on your content portfolio, it can be an overwhelming challenge to speak to everyone at once. That’s why it’s important to keep your content simple at first and start answering the basic questions in your industry.  Get comfortable with the content creation process and begin to expand from there.  This also allows you to keep refining your content and specific audiences as your business grows and as your ideal customer evolves.

The web is full of tools that determine what people are talking about, what they're searching for, what their community does or does not like, and how your brand’s content could fit into the mix. In order to establish your target audience, you must identify their interests, their desires, and especially what they need to fulfill those needs and interests.  

Utilize Answer Sites to Create Desired Content

Before making a purchase or selecting a service, people ask questions and diligently research before making a choice. These questions can reveal some very distinct trends and help you generate a long list of content ideas that the audience is looking for. The first step in creating useful content that will attract visitors is establishing what your target audience is asking.

Answer sites can be a goldmine for discovering what your customers are talking about. By searching for questions that include your keywords at answer sites such as Yahoo! Answers, Quora and, you can discover what people are asking about and what common problems you can solve using content.  Answer sites allow you to get real time feedback from consumers about your industry. Try asking a related question about your product to see what kind of response you get from the answering public. The responses can give your company very informative marketing data.

Yahoo! Answers is one of the more popular answer sites, getting massive engagement with millions of users. With Yahoo! Answers, you can browse by category and see what questions are newest, trending, or have received the most answers. Try searching for keyword phrases related to your industry and browse questions that are being asked. For example, when I searched for the keyword “dog toys” some of the top questions were:

1.       “What is the best dog toy?”

2.       “Do all dogs destroy their toys?”

3.       “Does your dog like squeak toys?”

If I sold dog toys, these questions would give me a few ideas about what people are asking about in the market. I could simply use the questions as the title for a blog post and then use the content to answer them these commonly asked questions.  

The idea is to not only help solve the issues of my target audience, but establish myself as a trusted resource by publishing useful content. The next time they come looking for dog related answers or products, my company is the one they will trust and use. If optimized correctly, the content should increase traffic rank well in the search results, if not directly influencing a sale.

A Simple Google Search Can Lead to Important Clues

Take a close look at your current Google Analytic metrics. These patterns should tell you a lot about where your customers are coming from, where they are in their buying process, or what content they search for.

Google has many search options that make it a great tool to discover and brainstorm content ideas. Using my dog toy example, let’s type “dog toys for”. Before I finish typing, Google Suggest will automatically recommend relevant phrases for the search. 

These aren’t just random phrases; Google’s algorithm acknowledges these terms because people are frequently searching for them. Scroll down to the bottom of the results pages and look at the titles under the “related searches” section. Here are more awesome content ideas: 

Once again, this quick and easy search generated many different content topics for your blog or knowledge section.  Do this over and over for your keywords – before you know it, you will have a better understanding of your target audience and what they are searching for. 

Closely Watch Engagement on Social Media

Perhaps the most useful tool for discover a target audience and their needs is social media. Social media channels have the power to reveal in real time your potential customers’ interests and requests. This makes it one of the most valuable marketing tools for your business.

Research through social media is an effective way to better understand how your potential customers think. In addition to understanding what they’re talking about, you’ll also see how they say it, giving you a great sense of the language they use to describe your products and how they perceive your market. By paying attention to the conversations around the topics and concepts relating to your business, you’ll spot trends in what people are saying, what content they respond to, and what generates the most engagement.

Every social media site has its own community culture and etiquette. Each site brings a different kind of demographic data. Even if the same person is active on multiple social media sites, they behave differently on each site. Let’s use the 3 most popular social networks – here’s what to look for:

·         Twitter:  What #hashtags or trending topics are booming in your industry? What are people talking about and asking for?

·         Facebook:  What type of content gets the most Shares and Likes in your industry? Are you posting as much content on Facebook as your competitors?

·         LinkedIn: How is your company viewed compared to your peers? Do you contribute or publish content that establishes your brand as a thought-leader in the industry?

If you do not have much engagement on your social channels, take a close look at how the audience communicates with your competitors' social channels You should be able to get a clearer view on what type of content your audience likes to comment on and share, and this will be valuable information to have when researching or creating new content topics later in the strategy.

To remain competitive you must keep abreast of social trends. This requires that you keep close watch on your competitors' social profiles to see how they engage their users, and you need to check back often. As you create content, continue to engage with social networks to keep current with the changing social trends. That way, you can engage your potential customers’ right where they are, acting as a resource for their needs.

Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane. 
Connect with Brad:  Twitter   LinkedIn   Google+



The Night Before Christmas on 30A

It takes a community to tell a great story. We are so fortunate to find our home on Scenic 30A in Florida, surrounded by the wonderful people that make this place so warm, welcoming and perfect. Thank you for inviting us into the embrace of the 30A community this year.

Happy holidays!