Tag Archive | "ideas"

8 Content Distribution Ideas to Meet Your Brand’s Goals

Posted by AlliBerry3

There’s a lot to consider when creating a content strategy in 2019. Not only is there more competition than ever online, but there are so many types of content and ways to reach your target audience. Do you start a blog? Do you podcast? Should you focus on research studies or whitepapers? How do you really know what to do?

But before you do anything else, you need to define what goals you want to accomplish with your content. 

I’ve written previously about the importance of having an audience-focused content strategy before — and it’s still relevant. Every single piece of content you create needs to be mapped to a goal, otherwise, it’ll leave your audience wondering why they should care and what to do next, assuming it even reaches your target audience at all.

But the work doesn’t stop there. Once you have your goals and your brand’s unique angle nailed down, you’ll also need to prioritize your means of content distribution. This is especially important if you’re just starting out — you should zero in on a few key distribution channels and master those before you expand into others, or you risk spreading yourself too thin and sabotage your chances of success in any of them.

This post will help you zero in on what distribution channels make the most sense for your goals, and how to create content that will perform well in them.

Content goal: Brand awareness

If you’re a new brand or a lesser-known brand in your vertical, it’s crucial to expose your audience to your brand and demonstrate how it can solve their problems. There are many distribution options for brand awareness, and they all involve using external platforms in some way to help you connect to a larger audience of people.

1. Syndication

If your brand publishes a large volume of daily content that covers broader, news-worthy topics, content syndication can be an effective way to get your brand in front of a new audience.

I work for a new affiliate marketing venture called The Ascent by The Motley Fool, and our coverage of broad, personal finance topics makes us a natural fit for content syndication. From Flipboard to Google News, major news outlets are always looking for money and finance-related content. Even though the SEO value is limited for content syndication, as links are typically no-followed, this is still an effective way for us to fulfill our brand awareness goal of reaching a wider, qualified audience. Just be sure any syndication partners will provide a canonical tag back to your site to ensure you don’t end up with duplicate content issues. The Fractl team did an impressive piece about understanding the networks of news syndication if you want to learn more.

Content created for syndication typically has a timely slant to it, as that’s what major news outlets are looking for from syndication partners. Whether it’s a finance topic related to an upcoming holiday (i.e. 7 Personal Finance Lessons Learned in 2018) or something happening in the news (i.e. How to Financially Prepare for the Government Shutdown), it needs to be a gripping headline with information valuable to a reader today. It also needs to be quality content, free of errors, and not miles long.

Answer the headline entirely, but eliminate the fluff. And don’t forget to include relevant links back to your site, so you can get this larger audience to visit your website.

Musts for Syndicated Content:

  • A catchy headline
  • A timely topic
  • 1,000 words or less
  • Links in the content back to relevant content on your site

2. Sponsored content or guest posts

If your own website doesn’t have a great following, engaging in sponsored content on a more prominent website can be valuable for building brand awareness. The type of sponsored content I’m referring to here is online advertorials or articles  that look like normal articles, but are tagged as “sponsored content,” typically.

BuzzFeed is a prominent platform for brands. Here’s an example of one of their finest:

At the bottom, there’s a pitch for Wendy’s with a link:

Because visitors can see that this content is “sponsored,” they are naturally more skeptical of it — and rightfully so. To create a quality native advertising piece, you’ll want it to be genuinely helpful and not overly promotional. It’s already clear it’s a promotion for your brand, so the content doesn’t need to reinforce that further.

This above example clearly does not take itself seriously. It provides a quiz that is on-brand with what a BuzzFeed visitor would expect and want to see. There’s no overt promotional play for Wendy’s in the quiz.

If you don’t want to pay for a sponsored content spot on another website, you could also look for relevant sites that take guest posts. This post you are currently reading is an example of that: I’m not paying, nor am I getting paid to publish this post with Moz. But, I am getting more brand exposure for my team and myself. And Moz is getting unique content with a fresh perspective.

It’s a win-win!

If you do pitch a site for a guest post, make sure it’s compelling and in line with what their audience wants. Keep it helpful and not promotional. You will need to establish trust with this new audience.

Musts for Sponsored Content or Guest Posts:

  • A budget (for sponsored content)
  • Content is not promotional, but helpful or entertaining
  • A pitch and link to your site at the end of the content

3. Paid advertising

One of the big advantages of utilizing paid advertising is that you can see results right away and get your content in front of a qualified audience, whereas, organic takes longer to see growth.

To get your content to perform well in paid search, it’ll need to be more niche and targeted to the keywords you’re bidding on, otherwise, your quality score will suffer. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all have their own forms of a quality score that takes into account a number of factors, including your expected CTR, landing page quality and relevance to your ad, and ad text relevance. This might mean you’ll need to develop more landing pages to cover your topics than you would for a page created for organic search. That’s not an issue from an SEO perspective as long as you no-index your landing pages.

For example, the query “podcast software” gave me a really relevant ad for Buzzsprout.com, not only using my keyword in the ad but also providing relevant extended links below.

Once on the landing page, it also gives me exactly what I’m looking for. The language varies slightly to “podcast hosting,” but it clearly answers my intent.

Similarly, both Facebook and Twitter have a ‘relevancy score’ that acts as the quality score. These social platforms are measuring your expected engagement rate with an ad, which indicates how well your content matches the needs and interests of the audience you’re targeting.

What this means is that, like with paid search, your content needs to be more niche and customized to your audience for higher performance.

So many different types of content can work for paid advertising. Visual content can be incredibly powerful for paid advertising — whether it’s through video or images. There’s no better way to know how something will perform in paid marketing than through testing, but it’s important your content has these primary components:

  • A catchy, keyword-aligned headline
  • Standout images or video
  • Content that supports your hyper-target audience and keywords

Goal: Organic acquisition

Organic traffic is often an appealing distribution method because prospects qualify themselves through their relevant search queries. Not only do you want to have targeted content for key search queries, but it is also important to build domain authority by acquiring relevant, authoritative external links.

For this, I have included two important tactics to achieve better results organically for your brand.

4. Blog posts

Blog posts are among the most common ways to rank well in organic search and acquire featured snippets. My team has almost exclusively been focused on blog articles up until this point, as it’s relatively easy and efficient to produce at scale.

There are many types of blog posts you can create, both for more the discovery phase of a prospect, as well as the mid-level, narrowing down phase in the customer journey. Some blog post ideas that tend to perform well include:

  • How-to articles
  • Question and answer articles
  • Comparison articles
  • Best of articles
  • First person stories (ideally from a customer perspective)

The key to successful blog posts is to have a targeted topic informed by keyword research. The Moz Keyword Explorer or SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool are great places to find topics for your blog posts. I have found both with The Ascent, as well as in my previous role at Kaplan Professional Education is that having blog posts that target specific long-tail keywords tend to perform better, and are more likely to pick up a featured snippet. However, the best way to know for your vertical is to test it yourself.

In my experience, writing using the inverted pyramid technique works wonders for featured snippets. Answer the query broadly and concisely at the beginning of the article, and then dive into more details further into it. It’s a technique from journalism, so readers are used to it and search engines seem to really take to it.

Musts for Blog Posts:

  • Have a target keyword/topic
  • Follow the inverted pyramid technique (cover the topic broadly and then narrow)
  • Contain a call-to-action

5. Original research

If acquiring external links is one of your SEO goals, conducting original research can be a powerful tactic for achieving success. What makes original research so powerful for link building is that you are the only source of your data. If you publish data that is unique to your organization or conduct your own survey or focus group and report the findings, it provides new data with unique insights to glean from it (assuming your methodology is solid, of course).

Here is a great example of original research about how frequently brands produce original research (how meta!). It also provides great data on types of original research brands do if you want to learn more. This original data came from a survey of 700 marketers, and it worked. It got linked to by all kinds of prominent industry blogs like Search Engine Journal, Content Marketing Institute, Orbit Media, and now, this one too!

If you don’t have any data that you can or want to publish from your organization directly and you don’t want to conduct your own surveys, there is also the option of mining official sources in your industry (government or census data work well in many cases) and finding a unique take and interpreting it for your audience to understand. Often, there is rich data buried in technical jargon that people don’t know about, and your original perspective can add a lot of value to your audience.

For example, my team published this secondary research during the government shutdown in January. All of the government data in this piece is accessible to anyone, but it’s time-consuming to find and difficult to interpret. Our writer’s original take on it surfaced important insights that journalists incorporated in their shutdown coverage.

Remember: Putting your own research out there won’t necessarily acquire links on its own. Even if you are a well-known resource, your efforts will be better served with outreach to relevant journalists or bloggers. If you’ve got the resources to dedicate to outreach, or the ability to hire an agency to help, this can be an extremely effective strategy that can help to build the authority of your entire site.

Musts for original research:

  • An original take with supporting data
  • A solid research methodology (explained in the content)
  • An outreach strategy with custom pitches

Goal: Lead generation

If generating leads is your goal, your content will need to be compelling enough for a prospect to give you their contact information. They know what’s in store for them by giving you their email or phone number, so they won’t sign themselves up for marketing messaging for just average content.

6. Whitepapers/E-books

Although we just talked about original research for link acquisition, original research can also be an amazing way to generate leads if you want to put your research behind a sign-up wall. While the basic principles remain unchanged, find a topic you can create a unique study on, and execute it using a solid methodology. You should focus on the prospective leads you are trying to attain and create a research study or whitepaper that is irresistible to them.

At Kaplan Financial Education, I developed e-books for each licensing prep product line. Using survey data that I gathered from previous Kaplan students, the intent was to help better prepare future Kaplan students for their journey through licensing and starting their career. The setup for creating this type of lead gen content was pretty simple: I pulled a list of previous customers and sent them a short survey via Survey Monkey. I asked:

  • What do you wish you had known when you were preparing for the licensing test?
  • What advice do you have for new professionals?

After gathering over 100 responses, I extracted the data and grouped them into themes, pulling direct quotes for future insurance professionals. This is still successful lead gen content because it’s evergreen — it tells real stories from real people who have gone through the licensing process and started a relevant financial career. Prospective students can better understand what they are getting themselves into.

At the time, this kind of advice from so many qualified professionals didn’t live anywhere else, making the e-book exclusive content. Qualified prospects were willing to download it for it’s exclusivity and saving them the time of having to conduct multiple informational interviews.

Ideally, when you have lead gen content, you’ll want all of your free content to naturally lead into a call-to-action for your whitepaper or e-book. That way, any traffic that you attain through organic or paid advertising will naturally flow into the download. Creating a pitch at the end of your articles is a good habit to get into, as well as linking within your articles as appropriate.

It’s also a good practice to only ask for the minimum amount of contact information that will allow you to market to these leads. If you plan to send them emails, only collect their email address, for example. The more information you require, the lower your conversion rate tends to be.

Musts for whitepapers and e-books:

  • An original take with compelling data specifically targeting prospective leads
  • A solid methodology (explained in the content)
  • Enticing content that leads users to the lead gen download
  • Minimal contact information required to download

7. Webinars

Webinars that provide informative content for prospects can be an extremely effective medium for lead generation, particularly if you are using visuals to help explain concepts. The “in person” element also allows prospects to build a relationship (or the illusion of one) with the presenter(s) because they can hear and see the speaker live. You can also play up the exclusivity angle with webinars because the content is only available to those that choose to attend.

Types of webinars that work particularly well for lead gen:

  • Demonstrations or how-to’s
  • Panel discussions about a relevant, timely topic in your industry
  • An interview with an industry expert
  • An in-depth presentation with a fresh take on a timely topic

Similar to e-books and whitepapers, you’ll want to collect the minimum possible amount of contact information on your sign up form. If you only need an email address or a phone number, stick to that. The more you ask for a life story, the fewer sign-ups you’ll receive.

Musts for webinar content:

  • Unique, relevant topic to prospects
  • Content that is designed for a real-time, audio and visual medium
  • Minimal contact information required for sign up

Goal: Revenue

Of course, any content program’s ultimate goal is to drive revenue. Content that leads to conversion directly, though, is often not given as much attention as some of other forms of content.

8. Product pages

Regardless of whether you sell your products online or not, your product pages on your website should be focused on driving action to purchase.

To do this, you should keep your pages simple. Each product, no matter how similar, should have a unique product name and description to keep you clear of duplicate content issues. Focus on what the product is and how it will ultimately improve the life of a customer in a brief description. Bullet points in the description help the user scan and digest the important features of the product. Ian Lurie at Portent recently wrote about utilizing Amazon Q&A to inform what common questions people have about your product, and answering those in your product page bullet points. If you can do that, that’s a winning formula.

Include images of the product, and if necessary, video too for a more holistic view of the product. And add a trust signal. Common trust signals include reviews, a customer quote, or a statistic about how the product helps customers.

Most importantly, you need a prominent, clear call-to-action. It should stand out, be above the fold, and have clear language about what will happen in the next step.

Must-haves for these pages:

  • Product Description
  • Visual of product (image, video)
  • Call to Action
  • Trust signal – ie. a quote or review, statistic, etc.

Of course, these are just some of the most common goals I’ve seen in content strategies — there’s plenty more goals out there. Same goes for types of distribution for each of these goals — I’ve only scratched the surface. But if I listed out every possibility, you wouldn’t have made it this far through the post! 

Over to you!

These are just some common goals that have proven effective to me with clients and brands I have worked for. I’d love to know what you think, now: 

  • Do you agree with my points? 
  • Do you have other tactics that work for any of these goals? 
  • What different content goals do you have if they weren’t mentioned?

If you’ve got other suggestions or ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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A Cool New Resource for Developing and Sharing Your Ideas

My husband once had the chance to ask novelist James Ellroy where he got the idea for one of his…

The post A Cool New Resource for Developing and Sharing Your Ideas appeared first on Copyblogger.


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SearchCap: Future of search & SMX Advanced ideas

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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3 Reasons Why Good Ideas Are a Real Threat to Good Writing

Ahh, the elusive “good idea.” Writers spend a large amount of time thinking about them and looking for them. It’s an undeniable part of the creative process. So why would I consider them such a pervasive threat to good writing? The answer is simple. Good ideas are just part of what it takes to produce
Read More…

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Countdown to Launch: How to Come Up with Great Testing Ideas

Posted by ChrisDayley

Whether you are working on a landing page or the homepage of your website, you may be asking yourself, “Why aren’t people converting? What elements are helping or hurting my user experience?”

Those are good questions.

When it comes to website or landing page design, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of potential elements to test. And that’s before you start testing how different combinations of elements affect performance.

Launching a test

The good news is, after running thousands of tests for websites in almost every industry you can imagine, we’ve created a simple way to quickly identify the most important areas of opportunity on your site or landing page.

We call this approach the “launch analysis”.

Why? Well, getting someone to convert is a lot like trying to launch a rocket into outer space. To succeed in either situation, you need to generate enough momentum to overcome any resistance.

To get a rocket into orbit, the propulsion and guidance systems have to overcome gravity and air friction. To get a potential customer to convert, your CTA, content and value proposition have to overcome any diversions, anxiety or responsiveness issues on your site.

So, if you really want your conversion rate to “take off” (see what I did there?), you need to take a hard look at each of these six factors.

Prepping for launch

Before we dive into the launch analysis and start testing, it’s important to take a moment to review 3 important testing factors. After all, no matter how good your analysis is, if your test is fundamentally broken, you’ll never make any progress.

With that in mind, here are three questions to ask yourself before you dive into the launch analysis:

What is my business question?

Every good website or landing page test should answer some sort of important business question. These are usually open-ended questions like “how much content should be on the page to maximize conversions?” or “what does the best-converting above-the-fold experience look like?”

If your test is designed to answer a fundamental business question, every test is a success. Even if your new design doesn’t outperform the original, your test still helps get you get some data around what really matters to your audience.

What is my hypothesis?

Where your business question may be relatively broad, your testing hypothesis should be very specific. A good hypothesis should be an if/then statement that answers the business question (if we do X, Y will happen).

So, if your business question is “how much content should be on the page?”, your hypothesis might be: “if we reduce the amount of content on our page, mobile conversions will increase.” (If you’re interested, this is actually something we studied at Disruptive Advertising.)

What am I measuring?

We hinted at this in the last section, but every good test needs a defined, measurable success metric. For example, “if we reduce the amount of content on our page, people will like our content more” is a perfectly valid hypothesis, but it would be incredibly difficult to define or measure, which would make our test useless.

When it comes to online advertising, there are tons of well-defined, actually measurable metrics you can use (link clicks, time on page, bounce rate, conversion rate, cart abandonment rate, etc.) to determine success or failure. Pick one that makes sense and use it to measure the results of your test.

The launch analysis and countdown

Now that we have the testing basics out of the way, we can dive into the launch analysis. When performing a launch analysis on a page of your site, it is critical that you try to look at your page objectively, and identify potential opportunities instead of immediately jumping into things you need to change. Testing is about discovering what your audience wants, not about making assumptions.

With that being said, let’s countdown to launch!

6. Value proposition

To put it simply, your value proposition is what motivates potential customers to buy.

Have you ever wanted something really badly? Badly enough that you spent days, weeks, or even months figuring out how to get it for an affordable price? If you want something badly enough (or, in other words, if the value proposition is good enough), you’ll conquer any obstacle to get it.

This same principle applies to your website. If you can really sell people on your value proposition, they’ll be motivated enough to overcome a lot of potential obstacles (giving their personal information, dealing with poor navigation, etc.).

For example, a while back, we were helping a college optimize the following page on their site:

It wasn’t a bad page to begin with, but we believed there was opportunity to test some stronger value propositions. “Get Started on the Right Path: Prepare yourself for a better future by earning your degree from Pioneer Pacific College” doesn’t sound all that exciting, does it?

There’s a reason for that.

In business terms, your value proposition can be described as “motivation = perceived benefits – perceived costs.” Pioneer Pacific’s value proposition made it sound like going to all the work to get a degree from their college was just the beginning of a long, hard process. Not only that, but it wasn’t really hitting on any of the potential pain points an aspiring student might have.

In this particular case, the value proposition minimized the perceived benefits while maximizing the perceived costs. That’s not a great way to get someone to sign up.

With that in mind, we decided to try something different. We hypothesized that focusing on the monetary benefits of earning a degree (increased income) would increase the perceived benefits and talking about paying for a degree as an investment would decrease the perceived cost.

So, we rewrote the copy in the box to reflect our revised value proposition and tested it:

As you can see above, simply tweaking the value proposition increased form fills by 49.5%! The form didn’t change, but because our users were more motivated by the value proposition, they were more willing to give out their information.

Unfortunately, many businesses struggle with this essential step.

Some websites lack a clear value proposition. Others have a value proposition, but it makes potential customers think more about the costs than the benefits. Some have a good cost-benefit ratio, but the proposition is poorly communicated, and users struggle to connect with it.

So, if you’re running the launch analysis on your own site or landing page, start by taking a look at your value proposition. Is it easy to find and understand? Does it address the benefits and costs that your audience actually cares about? Could you potentially focus on different aspects of your value propositions to discover what your audience really cares about?

If you think there’s room for improvement, you’ve just identified a great testing opportunity!

5. Call to action

If you’ve been in marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard all about the importance of a good call to action (CTA), so it should come as no surprise that the CTA is a key part of the launch analysis.

In terms of our rocket analogy, your CTA is a lot like a navigation system for your potential customers. All the rocket fuel in the world won’t get you to your destination if you don’t know where you’re going.

In that regard, it’s important to remember that your CTA typically needs to be very explicit (tell them what to do and/or what to expect). After all, your potential customers are depending on your CTA to navigate them to their destination.

For example, another one of our clients was trying to increase eBook downloads. Their original CTA read “Download Now”, but we hypothesized that changing the CTA to emphasize speed might improve their conversion rate.

So, we rephrased the CTA to read “Instant Download” instead. As it turned out, this simple change to the CTA increased downloads by 12.6%!

The download was just as instantaneous in both cases; but, simply by making it clear that users would get immediate access to this content, we were able to drive a lot more conversions.

Of course, there is such a thing as being too explicit. While people want to know what to do next, they also like to feel like they are in the driver’s seat, so sometimes soft CTAs like “Get More Information” can deliver better results than a more direct CTA like “Request a Free Demo Today!”

As you start to play around with CTA testing ideas, it’s important to remember the 2-second rule: If a user can’t figure out what they are supposed to do within two seconds, something needs to change.

To see if your CTA follows this rule, ask a friend or a coworker who has never seen your page or site before to look at it for two seconds and then ask them what they think they are supposed to do next. If they don’t have a ready answer, you just discovered another testing opportunity.

Case in point: On the page below, a client of ours was trying to drive phone calls with the CTA on the right. From a design perspective, the CTA fit the color scheme of the page nicely, but it didn’t really draw much attention.

Since driving calls was a big deal for the client, we decided to revamp the CTA. We made the CTA a contrasting red color and expanded on the value proposition.

The result? Our new, eye-catching CTA increased calls by a whopping 83.8%.

So, if your CTA is hard to find, consider changing the size, location and/or color. If your CTA is vague, try being more explicit (or vice versa). If your CTA doesn’t have a clear value proposition, find a way to make the benefits of converting more obvious. The possibilities are endless.

4. Content

Like your value proposition, your content is a big motivating factor for your users. In fact, great content is how you sell people on your value proposition, so content can make or break your site.

The only problem is, as marketers and business owners, we have a tendency towards egocentrism. There are so many things that we love about our business and that make it special that we often overwhelm users with content that they frankly don’t care about.

Or, alternatively, we fail to include content that will help potential customers along in the conversion process because it isn’t a high priority to us.

To really get the most out of your content, you have to lay your ego and personal preference aside and ask yourself questions like:

  • How much content do my users want?
  • What format do they want the content in?
  • Do mobile and desktop users want different amounts of content?

As a quick example of this, we were working with a healthcare client (an industry that is notoriously long-winded) to maximize eBook downloads on the following page:

As you can see above, the original page included a table of contents-style description of what readers would get when they downloaded the guide.

We hypothesized that this sort of approach, with its wordy chapter titles and and formal feel, did not make the eBook seem like a user-friendly guide. There was so much content that it was hard to get a quick feel for what the eBook was actually about.

To address this, we tried boiling the copy down to a quick, easy-to-read summary of the eBook content:

Incredibly, paring the content down to a very simplified summary increased eBook downloads by 57.82%!

However, when it comes to content, less is not always more.

While working on a pop-up for Social Media Examiner, we tested a couple different variants of the following copy in an effort to increase eBook downloads and subscriptions:

Just like the preceding example, this copy was a bit wordy and hard to read. So, we tried turning the copy into bullet points…

…and even tried boiling it down to the bare essentials:

However, when the test results came in, both of these variants had a lower conversion rate than the original, word-dense content!

These results fly in the face of the whole “less is more” dogma marketers love to preach, which just goes to show how important it is to test your content.

So, when it comes to content, don’t be afraid to try cutting things down. But, you might also try bulking things up in some places — provided that your content is focused on what your potential customers want and need, not just your favorite talking points. Our suggestion: challenge whatever you have on your site. Try less, more, and different variations of the same. It should ultimately be up to your audience!

3. Diversions

Unfortunately, having a great value proposition, CTA and content doesn’t guarantee you a great conversion rate. To get a rocket to its destination, the launch team has to overcome a variety of obstacles.

Same goes for the launch analysis.

Now that we’ve talked about how to maximize motivation, it’s time to talk about ways to reduce obstacles and friction points on your site or page that may be keeping people from converting, starting with diversions.

When it comes to site testing, diversions could be anything that has the potential to distract your user from reaching their destination. Contrasting buttons, images, other offers, menus, links, content, pop ups…like cloud cover on launch day, if it leads people off course, it’s a diversion.

For example, take a look at the page below. There are 5 major elements on the page competing for your attention – none of which are a CTA to view the product – and that’s just above the fold!

What did this client really want people to do? Watch a video? Read a review? Look at the picture? Read the Q&A? Visit their cart?

As it turns out, the answer is “none of the above”.

What the client really wanted was for people to come to their site, look at their products and make a purchase. But, with all the diversions on their site, people were getting lost before they even had a chance to see the client’s products.

To put the focus where it belonged—on the products—we tried eliminating all of the diversions by redesigning the site experience to focus on product call to actions. That way, when people came to the page, they immediately saw Cobra’s products and a simple CTA that said “Shop Our Products”.

The new page design increased revenue (not just conversions) by 69.2%!

We’ve seen similar results with many of our eCommerce clients. For example, we often test to see how removing different elements and offers from a client’s homepage affects their conversion rates (this is called “existence testing”).

Existence testing is one of the easiest, fastest ways to discover what is distracting from conversions and what is helping conversions. If you remove something from your page and conversion rates go down, that item is helpful to the conversion process. If you remove something and conversion rates go up – Bingo! You found a distraction.

The GIF below shows you how this works. Essentially, you just remove a page element and then see which version of the page performs better. Easy enough, right?

For this particular client, we tested to see how removing 8 different elements from their home page would affect their revenue. As it turned out, 6 of the 8 elements were actually decreasing their revenue!

By eliminating those elements during our test, their revenue-per-visit (RPV) increased by 59%.

Why? Well, once again, we discovered things that were diversions to the user experience (as it turns out, the diversions were other products!).

If you’re curious to see how different page or site elements affect your conversion rate, existence testing can be a great way to go. Simply create a page variant without the element in question and see what happens!

2. Anxiety

Ever have that moment when you’re driving a car and you suddenly get hit by a huge gust of wind? What happens to your heart rate?

Now imagine you’re piloting a multi-billion dollar rocket…

Whether you’re in the driver’s seat or an office chair, anxiety is never a good thing. Unfortunately, when it comes to your site, people are already in a state of high alert. Anything that adds to their stress level (clicking on something that isn’t clickable, feeling confused or swindled) may lead to you losing a customer.

Of course, anxiety-inducing elements on a website are typically more subtle than hurricane-force winds on launch day. It might be as simple as an unintuitive user interface, an overly long form or a page element that doesn’t do what the user expects.

As a quick example, one of our eCommerce clients had a mobile page that forced users to scroll all the the way back up to the top of the page to make a purchase.

So, we decided to try a floating “Buy Now” button that people could use to quickly buy the item once they’d read all about it:

Yes, scrolling to the top of the page seems like a relatively small inconvenience, but eliminating this source of anxiety improved the conversion rate by 6.7%.

Even more importantly, it increased the RPV by $ 1.54.

Given the client’s traffic volume, this was a huge win!

As you can probably imagine, the less confusion, alarm, frustration and work your site creates for users, the more likely they are to convert.

When you get right down to it, conversion should be a seamless, almost brainless process. If a potential customer ever stops to think, “Wait, what?” on their journey to conversion, you’ve got a real problem.

To identify potential anxiety-inducing elements on your site or page, try going through the whole conversion process on your site (better yet, have someone else do it and describe their experience to you). Watch for situations or content that force you to think. Odds are, you’ve just discovered a testing opportunity.

1. Responsiveness

Finally, the last element of the launch analysis is responsiveness—specifically mobile responsiveness.

To be honest, mobile responsiveness is not the same thing as having a mobile responsive site, just like launching a rocket on a rainy day is not the same thing as launching a rocket on a clear day.

The days of making your site “mobile responsive” and calling it good are over. With well over half of internet searches taking place on mobile devices, the question you need to ask yourself isn’t “Is my site mobile responsive?” What you should be asking yourself is, “Is my site customized for mobile?”

For example, here is what one of our clients’ “mobile responsive” pages looks like:

While this page passed Google’s “mobile friendly” test, it wasn’t exactly a “user friendly” experience.

To fix that problem, we decided to test a couple of custom mobile pages:

The results were truly impressive. Both variants clearly outperformed the original “mobile responsive” design and the winning variant increased calls by 84% and booked appointments by 41%!

So, if you haven’t taken the time yet to create a custom mobile experience, you’re probably missing out on a huge opportunity. It might take a few tests to nail down the right design for your mobile users, but most sites can expect big results from a little mobile experience testing.

As you brainstorm ways to test your mobile experience, remember, your mobile users aren’t usually looking for the same things as your desktop users. Most mobile users have very specific goals in mind and they want it to be as easy as possible to achieve those goals.

Launch!

Well, that’s it! You’re ready for launch!

Go through your site or page and take a look at how what you can do to strengthen your value proposition, CTA and content. Then, identify things that may potentially be diversions, anxiety-inducing elements or responsiveness issues that are preventing people from converting.

By the time you finish your launch analysis, you should have tons of testing ideas to try. Put together a plan that focuses on your biggest opportunities or problems first and then refine from there. Happy testing!

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The Best Place to Consistently Find Winning Content Ideas

For the fourth night in a row, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to the sound of a bird outside my window squawking in a unique, almost understated, way that echoed through my apartment as a clicking noise. On this particular night, I was accompanied by a pounding headache — but neither Squawking-Clicking Bird nor
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Email Marketing: Five ideas to increase your email’s perceived value

There is no perfect formula to keep customers interested in your email marketing. However, there are some tactics and ideas you can use to make them perceive and understand the value your emails are offering to them, to get them through from open, to clickthrough, and finally onto conversion.
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Quality Over Quantity: Repurpose Your Best Ideas and Distribute Them Far and Wide

"This is how you increase the likelihood of reaching new audience members with your best work." – Jerod Morris

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but …

Your audience does not need your ideas.

Sorry to disappoint you.

It’s true though.

Your audience is exposed to plenty of ideas. Everywhere they turn online and offline, they are bombarded with ideas. Ideas, ideas, ideas. Mostly filler and fluff.

Think about yourself. Do you need any more ideas to consume and consider?

No.

What you need are someone’s best ideas. And what your audience needs — in fact, all that your audience needs — are your best ideas.

  • The ideas that cut through the crap and clutter to make a difference
  • The ideas you’ve thought through, spent time with, and sculpted
  • The ideas that are closer to finished products than initial impressions

And you should invest more time distributing these premium ideas further and wider, in different ways and in different places. You shouldn’t simply hit Publish and then run to the next idea.

This way you can meet more of your current audience members where they are and you increase the likelihood of reaching potential audience members with your best work.

Let me show you an example of how I’m doing this on one of my sites …

It all starts with a blog post

Given my responsibilities here at Rainmaker Digital, and being a new dad, I don’t have a ton of extra capacity for side projects.

So when I do have an idea worth sharing over at The Assembly Call, I want to maximize the impact and distribution of that good idea. I can’t afford to spin my wheels.

In the immortal words of Sweet Brown:

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

This is why I’ve shifted my strategy and begun taking one well-thought-out idea and repurposing it into several different types of content, distributed in many different places.

The idea is given birth in a blog post. Why? Because I do my best thinking when I’m writing.

Writing forces me to clarify my thoughts in a way that I’m never able to by simply ruminating, or even talking.

I need to sit down, think, write, edit, think a little more, edit a little more, and chisel the idea from rough stone into something smooth and polished.

A lot of the fluff, filler, clutter, and crap gets removed, and then I feel much more comfortable turning the idea loose in the world.

(This process also makes me more prepared to speak extemporaneously about the topic in the future — a very useful side benefit for a project that involves a podcast and radio show.)

You may be different. You may thrive working it all out in your head. You may find that you clarify your ideas best by talking them out. I urge you to learn what works best for you and follow it.

But for me, it starts with writing. Hence why I began a blogging series titled “3-Point Shot” — where, basically, I take a topic of interest to IU basketball fans and come up with three useful observations about it. Simple. Consistent. Repeatable.

Sometimes I know what the observations will be before I start writing. But usually the process of conducting basic research, and then synthesizing it into three clearly articulated ideas, reveals new insights that are useful to me and, in turn, to my audience.

I write the first draft. Sometimes I rewrite or rearrange parts. Then I edit and proofread. Soon thereafter I hit Publish. The entire process usually takes 60–75 minutes.

Now I have a blog post, usually in the 1,000–1,250 word vicinity, that I can distribute via social media, use to attract search traffic, and send to our email list.

One piece. One format. A few distribution channels.

All done? Hardly. I’m actually just getting started.

The beautiful part of this strategy is that the most difficult and time-intensive part is now done. I developed a high-quality idea — it’s not just something I slapped together in 15 minutes as a cheap traffic grab.

Next, it’s time to leverage this fully-formed idea into a blitzkrieg of distribution.

The blog post becomes a podcast episode (and video!)

Keep in mind as we go through this example that the specific steps and channels that work for me over at The Assembly Call may not necessarily be the steps that you need to take.

That site is built around a podcast, and we’re also trying to grow our YouTube audience. Therefore, getting content out to our podcast audience and publishing more content to our YouTube channel are priorities. That might not be true for you.

But the big idea that I’m describing here — combining the power of quality over quantity with repurposing and smart, widespread distribution — will work for you. Just take the basic principles and apply them to your situation.

The next basic principle for me is this: turn the blog post into a podcast episode … and there just so happens to be a way that I can do that while simultaneously creating a video version too. Score!

When time is of the essence (and when isn’t it?), you have to take any chance you can to work smarter, not harder.

So here’s what I do:

  • Double-check my microphone cables and settings, and do a test recording. (Always, always, always do a test recording!)
  • Open up my Assembly Call episode template in GarageBand, so I can record locally.
  • Create a YouTube Live Event to broadcast the recording live.
  • Open up the blog post in a web browser, so I have it ready for reference.
  • Tweet out the link to the YouTube Live Event, so anyone who is interested can watch the live recording. (For what it’s worth, I’ve never had fewer than 16 people watch live online, and occasionally that number is up in the 50s and 60s.)
  • Hit Record in GarageBand, hit Start Broadcast on the YouTube Live Event, welcome the audience, and start reading the blog post.

From time to time while reading, I’ll interject something extra — the kind of comment that might have been a footnote to the written piece. But for the most part I just read the blog post verbatim, trying to sound as casual and conversational as I can.

I was worried when I first starting doing this that our podcast and YouTube audiences wouldn’t be too enthused about this content since it’s just me (without my co-hosts) and I’m basically just reading something they could get on the blog.

My worries proved to be unfounded. The response has been unequivocally positive.

I’ve received numerous tweets and emails thanking me for finding a way to deliver this written content in the preferred consumption medium for podcast listeners, which make up the majority of our audience. These folks would never get to see or hear the content otherwise.

And it is so easy to do. The entire time investment to record and post the podcast is about 30–35 minutes:

  • 5 minutes to set up
  • 15–20 minutes to record
  • 10 minutes to publish the podcast (the YouTube Live Event is automatically archived on our YouTube channel for on-demand viewing)

Furthermore, while our blog posts only publish in one place — our blog — we are set up to distribute our podcast episodes far and wide, with only a few button clicks required.

Every episode goes to:

  • iTunes
  • Google Play
  • TuneIn Radio
  • Stitcher
  • iHeartRadio
  • Spreaker
  • SoundCloud

This doesn’t even account for the many individual podcast apps that scrape places like iTunes for podcast feeds. (For example, I use Podcast Addict on my Android device, and The Assembly Call is available there even though I never signed up or submitted it there.)

And here’s a fun, little side benefit …

One of my favorite bonuses about tweeting out links to podcast episodes over blog posts is that people can consume the content right there in their Twitter feed.

Look at this tweet. All someone has to do is hit the play button, and the episode will play right there in the Twitter feed. Less friction, less distance between my audience being intrigued and then actually consuming my content.

Turn one quality blog post into a traffic and attention engine

So if you’re scoring at home, we’ve now gone from one blog post, one distribution channel, and a few traffic sources to:

  • A blog post
  • A podcast episode
  • A video
  • At least 11 different distribution channels
  • Countless traffic sources

And here’s the crazy thing … it could be more.

I could:

  • Repurpose the blog post someplace like Medium, or as a guest post
  • Create a slide presentation for SlideShare
  • Find additional video channels besides YouTube
  • Extract clips of the audio for a service like Clammr
  • Make clips or GIFs from the video to post in visual channels like Instagram

And on and on.

The main reasons I don’t do those are a) time and b) because I’d get diminishing returns.

I’ve tried to be strategic about investing the limited time and effort resources I have for this project into the channels that will deliver the best and most immediate returns. SlideShare, for example, isn’t going to do much for a sports audience, but it may be a great option for you.

What’s been the impact of all this? It’s only been a month, but already:

  • I added 400 new email subscribers
  • We doubled our YouTube subscribers (in just a month!)
  • Traffic to our blog increased by 31.91 percent
  • Podcast downloads in just March of 2017 (the majority of which was during the off-season, when attention is usually lower) were nearly equal to the combined total of January and February

What you should do next

Ask yourself if you’re maximizing the distribution of your best ideas.

Not your best blog posts, but your best ideas.

Because if you have an idea that’s a winner, but it’s only distributed via text as a blog post, then you’re missing out on a wide range of additional attraction options.

Can you turn your blog post into an audio recording? Can you then turn that audio recording into a video — even if you just use a fixed image rather than filming yourself (like I do here)?

Or, if you have a great podcast episode, can you go the other way and turn it into a blog post? If you already create transcripts for your podcast episodes, this is incredibly simple to do.

The bottom line is that rather than focusing on the quantity of the content you publish, you should invest more time in creating fewer, higher quality pieces of content … and then find efficient, scalable ways to distribute these high-quality pieces to as many nooks and crannies of the web as you can.

You’ll reach more people with your best ideas in the way they’re most comfortable consuming content.

And there’s no better way to build an audience and authority, brick by brick, than that.

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5 Lead Generation Ideas to Help You Increase Your Website’s Conversion Rates

Posted by lkolowich

It’s been years since the power’s shifted away from marketers and advertisers and in favor of Internet consumers. Now more than ever, people are empowered to choose their own experiences online. They’re actively avoiding ad content — and instead of living by advertisers’ rule books, they’re deciding what to click on, what to read, what to download, and what to buy … and what not to.

And they have a lot of choices.

When inbound marketers like us are looking to generate more leads from our website, we need to think not just about how to capture people’s attention, but how to capture it in a way that makes people want to learn more from us. A smart lead generation strategy includes creating valuable offers and experiences that fit seamlessly into the context of what people already like and want to do online. It’s the consumer’s world; us marketers are just living in it.

People read calls-to-action that say things like “Sign up here!” as basically synonymous with “We’re gonna spam you.” If you’re recycling these same old lead generation tactics over and over again, it’s quickly going to become white noise. But calls-to-action that fit into the context of what a person’s doing already? That’s smart marketing.

If you want to increase the conversion rate on your website, you need to get smart and creative with your lead generation tactics. Asking for blog subscriptions and gating high-quality content like comprehensive guides, ebooks, and whitepapers behind landing pages still works, but you have to be smart about where you’re offering them on your website. And they shouldn’t be your only lead generation plays.

There are many ways to get creative with lead generation to make sure you’re reaping the benefits of the traffic you’re working so hard to get. Here are some lead generation ideas for B2B and B2C marketers to try. Test them out, tweak them according to your audience’s preferences, and share your own ideas you have in the comments.

1) Put your calls-to-action in people’s natural eye path.

CTA placement can have a profound effect on the number of leads you’re generating from your site. And yet, not many marketers are spending a whole lot of time thinking about, testing, and tweaking CTA placement to optimize their conversions. Many claim that as long as they place their primary CTA above the fold, they’re good to go. (Side note: Even though putting primary CTAs above the fold is often considered a best practice, even that is still up for debate.)

Start your CTA placement tests by putting them where people’s eyes naturally go on a webpage. An eyetracking study found that when people read a webpage, we naturally start by looking in the upper lefthand corner of the page, and then move our eyes in an F-shaped pattern.

f-pattern-eye-tracking.jpg

[Image credit: Nielsen Norman Group]

Here’s what that looks like:

f-pattern-wireframe.jpg

[Image credit: Envato Studio]

You can capitalize on this natural eye path by placing important information in these key spots. Here’s an example of what that might look like on a website:

f-pattern-with-content.jpg

[Image credit: Envato Studio]

Notice how the business name is placed in the top left, which is where a person would look first. The navigation bar takes over the #2 spot, followed by the value proposition at #3 and the primary CTA at #4.

Does this order look familiar to you? When you’re browsing the web, you might have noticed that many of them put the primary CTA in the top right corner — in that #2 spot. Here are a few real-life examples:

prezi-business-homepage.png

[Prezi’s homepage]

uber-homepage.png

[Uber’s homepage]

barkbox-homepage.png

[BarkBox’s homepage]

In the last example from BarkBox, you’ll notice that the secondary CTAs still follow that F-pattern.

Keep this in mind when you’re placing your CTAs, especially on your homepage and your other popular webpages — and don’t be afraid to experiment based on how it makes sense for your own marketing story should be told.

2) Use pop-up and slide-in forms the right way.

Pop-ups have been vilified in the last few years — and quite understandably, too. Far too many marketers use them in a way that disrupts people’s experience on their website instead of enhancing it.

But pop-ups do work — and, more importantly, when they’re used in a way that’s helpful and not disruptive, they can be a healthy part of your inbound strategy. So if you’re wondering whether you should be using pop-up forms, the short answer is yes — as long as you use them in an inbound-y way. First and foremost, that means offering something valuable and relevant to the people visiting that site page.

When you’re considering what type of pop-up to use and what action should trigger them, think about how people are engaging with your pages. When someone reads a blog post, for instance, they’re typically going to scroll down the page to read the content. In that case, you might consider using a slide-in box that appears when someone’s scrolled a certain percentage of the way down the page.

Here’s a great example from a post on OfficeVibe’s blog about how managers gain respect. While I was scrolling, a banner appeared at the bottom of the screen offering me a live report of employee engagement — an offer that was perfectly relevant, given the post was aimed at managers.

officevibe-banner-pop-up.png

It felt helpful, not disruptive. In other words, it was a responsible use of a pop-up.

Similarly, someone who’s spending time reading through a product page might find value in a time-based pop-up that appears when a visitor’s been on the page for a certain number of seconds, like this one from Ugmonk:

ugmonk-pop-up.png

The most important takeaway here is to align what you offer on a pop-up with the webpage you’re adding it to, and make sure it’s actually adding substantial value.

If you’re looking for a good free tool to get started with inbound-y pop-up forms, I’d recommend you try HubSpot Marketing Free. We built the Lead Flows feature within this free tool to help marketers generate more leads across their entire website without sacrificing user experience.

3) Add anchor texts to old blog posts that align closely with your gated offers.

It’s common for business bloggers to add an end-of-post banner CTA at the end of every one of their blog posts, like this one:

hubspot-banner-cta-example.png

In fact, you might already be including CTAs like this on your own business blog posts. At HubSpot, we include an end-of-post banner CTA on every single one of our posts, and we also add slide-in CTAs to blog posts that prove themselves to convert visitors into leads at a high rate via organic traffic.

But let’s admit it: At first glance, these types of CTAs look a little bit like ads, which can result in banner blindness from our readers. That’s why it’s thanks to a recent study conducted by my colleague Pam Vaughan that our blogging team has added one more, highly effective lead generation tactic to their arsenal: anchor text CTAs.

In Vaughan’s study, she found that anchor text CTAs are responsible for most of our blog leads. On blog posts that included both an anchor text CTA and an end-of-post banner CTA, she found that 47–93% of a blog post’s leads came from the anchor text CTA alone, whereas just 6% of the post’s leads came from the end-of-post banner CTA.

What’s an anchor text CTA, you might be wondering? It’s a standalone line text in a blog post linked to a landing page that’s styled as an H3 or an H4 to make it stand out from the rest of the post’s body copy. On HubSpot’s blog, we’ll typically put an anchor text CTA between two paragraphs in the introduction, like this:

hubspot-anchor-text-cta-example.png

What makes anchor text CTAs so effective? Let’s say you search for “press release template” in Google, and you click on the first organic search result — which is currently our blog post about how to write a press release, which I’ve screenshotted above.

As a searcher, the next thing you’d probably do is quickly scan the post to see if it satisfies your search. One of the first things that’ll catch your eye is an anchor text that reads, “Download our free press release template here” — which happens to be exactly what you were looking for when you searched “press release template.” There’s a pretty good chance you’re going to click on it.

This is where relevancy becomes critical. The anchor text CTA works really well in this case because it satisfies the visitor’s need right away, within the first few paragraphs of the blog post. The more relevant the anchor text CTA is to what the visitor is looking for, the better it’ll perform. Simply adding an anchor text CTA near the top of every blog post won’t necessarily mean it’ll generate a ton more leads — and frankly, you’ll risk pissing off your loyal subscribers.

If you decide you’d like to experiment with anchor text CTAs, be selective about the posts you add them to. At HubSpot, we typically add them to old posts that rank well in search. We purposely limit our use of anchor text CTAs on brand new posts — because most of the traffic we get to those posts are already leads and some of the biggest fans of our content, whom we want to have the best possible user experience. (You can read more about anchor text CTAs here.)

4) Support the launch of a new campaign with a launch post and other blog posts on related topics.

Every time you launch a new marketing campaign, posting the good news on your blog should be a key part of your launch plan. It’s a great way to let your existing subscribers know what new content, products, and features you’re putting out there, and it also helps introduce these launches to brand-new audiences.

At HubSpot, we’ve found the best strategy for promoting campaigns on the blog is to write one official launch post, followed by a handful of follow-up posts that are relevant to the campaign but are written in the style of a normal blog post. We typically scatter these follow-up posts over the weeks and months following that initial launch.

When done correctly, launch posts and their supporting blog posts have very different formulas:

  • A launch post is between 150–300 words long. It includes a captivating introductory paragraph on the general topic or pain point the campaign is about, followed by a paragraph or two describing how the offer can help and a list of 4–6 bullet points on what the offer includes. It includes one or two in-line text CTAs leading to the campaign, followed by a banner CTA at the end of the post.
  • A supplemental blog post can take on any post format and length typical of what you’d normally publish on your blog, such as a how-to post, a list-based post, or a curated collection post. It includes an end-of-post banner CTA leading to the campaign, and an anchor text CTA in the introduction, if applicable.

Let me show you an example. Earlier this year, HubSpot partnered with Iconosquare to write an ebook on how to use Instagram for business. A few days after we launched the offer online, we published a launch post on HubSpot’s Marketing Blog specifically promoting it to our own audience. Here’s what that launch post looked like:

hubspot-launch-post.png

Notice it has a brief introduction of the topic, an introduction of the ebook as a helpful resource, a bulleted list of what’s inside the ebook, two in-line text CTAs pointing toward the ebook, and an end-of-post banner CTA.

Once we published that initial post, we published a series of follow-up blog posts about the same topic — in this case, Instagram for business — that supported the launch, but promoted it much more subtly. These posts covered topics like:

In each of these cases, we used keyword research to find long-tail keyword phrases related to our offer topic, and then wrote blog posts related to those highly searched terms and included CTAs to our offer.

The goal here? Both to expose our own audience to more content related to the offer and to expose our offer to a new audience: specifically, people who were searching for related topics on search engines, as we’ve found visitors who find our posts through organic search tend to convert at higher rates.

When you’re planning out your next campaign, be sure to include both a launch post and supportive, follow-up blog posts like these — and plan them all out using a blog editorial calendar like the simple one HubSpot’s blogging team uses with Google Calendar.

5) Use social media strategically for lead generation.

Top-of-the-funnel marketing metrics like traffic and brand awareness isn’t all social media is good for. It can still be a helpful — not to mention low-cost — source for lead generation.

In addition to promoting new blog posts and content to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites, be sure to regularly post links to blog posts and even directly to the landing pages of offers that have historically performed well for lead generation. You’ll need to do a lead generation analysis of your blog to figure out which posts perform best for lead generation.

When you link directly to landing pages, be sure the copy in your social posts sets the expectation that clicking the link will send people to a landing page, like Canva did in this Facebook post:

canva-facebook-page.png

Contests are another way to generate leads from social. Not only are they fun for your followers, but they can also teach you a whole lot about your audience while simultaneously engaging them, growing your reach, and driving traffic to your website.

In addition to posting links to lead generation forms, you’ll also want to make sure you’re using the real estate for lead generation that’s available to you on the social networks that you’re using. On Facebook for example, use the feature available for Pages that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page. It can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to lead generation forms like landing pages and contact sheets.

dollar-shave-club-facebook-CTA.png

Here are more lead generation tips for Facebook, and for Twitter.

In addition to optimizing your webpages and social presence for leads, always be looking for opportunities to increase the traffic of your highest-converting pages by optimizing these pages for the keywords they’re already ranking for, and linking to these pages internally and externally.

I hope this list has helped spark some ideas for lead generation tactics to test for your own audience. If you’ve tried any of the tactics I’ve listed above, tell us about your experiences in the comments — and feel free to add more ideas to the list.

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2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas

two ways to make your content unforgettable

Have you ever read a blog post, listened to a podcast episode, or watched a video and thought:

“I kind of get what this person is saying — and I think I agree — but it’s difficult to follow their main points. The content feels incomplete.”

When content consumers have reactions like that, it delays them from sharing your content and subscribing to get more — ultimately increasing the chances that the content will be forgettable.

Conversely, when your content resonates with your target audience, your platform becomes a resource those individuals will remember and return to.

If you want your reader, listener, or viewer to share and subscribe, rather than hesitate and move on, incorporate the following two elements into your content creation process:

  1. Structure
  2. Intrigue

Below, I’ll cover what they are, why they complement each other, and how you can put both of them to work in your own content marketing.

The roles Structure and Intrigue play in your content

Here are my definitions of Structure and Intrigue, for the purpose of this article.

Structure: The intentional order in which you present the message of your content and its supporting points. It’s an outline that ensures your content is complete, without logical fallacies or misleading phrases that cause confusion.

Intrigue: The fascinating details that make your content unique. These are the characteristics that make people say, “I love that website” or “I hate that website,” rather than “I don’t remember that website.”

Why they complement each other

Structure isn’t always the most exciting subject to talk about, but it’s a part of all winning content. It’s vital to set your Structure before you infuse your content with your personality.

Think of it like this:

You need a strong foundation before you stamp your content with your special brand. Your audience will appreciate your unique qualities and creativity much more when you intentionally plan the Structure of your content.

No matter how effortless smart content may look, it takes a lot of effort to produce a cohesive content presentation. The right Structure gives you the security and freedom to be creative with confidence.

Once that foundation is in place, you’re well-positioned to add Intrigue and give your audience a reason to consume your content rather than look elsewhere on the web.

For example, if an issue arises in your industry or a big event happens, where do you go to get more information? Which person or website do you want to hear from?

When you want an opinion or analysis from a specific person or website, that specific person or website doesn’t just produce “content”; they produce value that you’ll use to learn more about a topic.

And they’ve achieved that highly regarded status in your mind because they’ve balanced Structure and Intrigue.

Plan your next piece of content with Structure and Intrigue

After you write a draft of your content — whether it turns into a blog post, podcast episode, or video — use the steps below to assess and refine its Structure and level of Intrigue.

Structure

  1. Summarize your main message in one or two sentences, on a piece of paper or text file separate from the draft of your content.
  2. Locate where you introduce this clear message in the beginning of your content.
  3. Identify the logical sequence throughout your content that walks your readers, listeners, or viewers through the information you want to communicate.
  4. Reinforce your main message in a different way at the end of your content.

If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down the best Structure for your content. What type of presentation will help your audience understand your ideas? How can you clarify your intentions?

Intrigue

  1. Summarize the aspects that make this content stand out in one to two sentences, on a piece of paper or text file separate from the draft of your content.
  2. Locate the parts of your content where you add your voice and fresh perspective — especially in your headline or title.
  3. Identify how you help your audience with innovative solutions or approaches to their problems, showing them that you offer something special.
  4. Reinforce your brand by concluding your content in a memorable way that will inspire your readers, listeners, or viewers to return the next time you publish.

If you have trouble with any of these steps (particularly #3), you likely need to spend more time nailing down your USP. What makes you and your content unique? What types of benefits, community, or style do you offer that others don’t?

Content designed to convey your winning difference

See how each of the Structure and Intrigue steps above complement each other?

They need each other to effectively demonstrate your winning difference and satisfy the audience that will build your business.

What’s your method for turning ideas into satisfying content? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 2 Key Factors that Distinguish Satisfying Content from Forgettable Ideas appeared first on Copyblogger.


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