As attention spans become progressively shorter, more and more businesses are vying for consumer attention. Each day, people are inundated with emails, social media posts and text messages from a rapidly-increasing number of companies, media outlets and general solicitors. With a plethora of different forces demanding their attention, it’s no wonder so many consumers are suffering from acute media fatigue. For small businesses, feeding into this problem can be incredibly tempting. After all, if all of your competitors are engaged in rampant consumer-hounding, you’re liable to feel left behind if you don’t follow their example. However, doing so may actually hurt you in the long run and turn your company into yet another easily-ignorable blip on your customer base’s radar. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to keep them engaged without becoming an annoyance.
Make Sure Your Social Media Updates are Relevant
Whenever a current or prospective client follows your company on social media, they trust you to provide them with tweets and Facebook posts that bear some degree of relevance to what your business does. Relevant updates include posts about new services, pricing plans or business hours. Sharing random photos of your staff, re-posting other people’s updates ad nauseam or simply posting for the sake of posting are examples of unnecessary posts. If making these types of posts becomes a habit, your accounts are liable to blocked and unfollowed en masse. With this in mind, make sure every social media update you post is of some benefit to the audience at whom it’s targeted.
Don’t Abuse Email List Privileges
Much like when a prospective client follows your company on social media, the sharing of an email address represents a certain degree of trust. Similarly, bombarding your email listees with endless messages represents a betrayal of that trust. Sending daily messages – or more than one message a week, for that matter – is practically guaranteed to get your messages ignored or blocked altogether. As Forbes points out, there’s no value in sending your subscribers content they don’t want. Even if each email update contains a pertinent piece of information, people don’t want their inboxes flooded with your messages. Furthermore, emailing listees too often is likely to get your messages labeled as spam by many popular email clients. To increase the likelihood of your messages receiving the attention they deserve, stick to one email update a week – if that. This will ensure that listees remain in the know without feeling suffocated by constant email updates.
Make Communication Easy
When getting in touch with a company requires a tremendous amount of effort on the part of clients, potential customers are likely to feel overwhelmed. For this reason, it’s imperative that you make yourself as accessible as possible to current clients, as well as those thinking about giving you their business. The contact page on your company’s website should feature a readily-visible, easy-to-use email template, and any queries submitted via social media should be responded to within 12 to 24 hours. Being easy to talk to can go a long way; in winning over even the choosiest of clients.
Whether they’re at home, at the office or out on the town, consumers are bombarded with media on all sides. A diminished attention span is the inevitable result of having to constantly split one’s focus between litanies of competing elements. Becoming part of this problem isn’t going to serve your business well, nor will it help you stand out in an enviable manner. Provided you take the previously-discussed tips to heart, engaging consumers without overwhelming them shouldn’t prove terribly difficult.
If you’ve researched content marketing, you know the importance of uploading compelling and relevant content to your website’s blog on a regular basis. New updates not only increase your site’s search engine optimization, but they also provide visitors with a reason to come back to your site often – and perhaps to buy something while they’re there or get your brand back to the forefront of their minds. However, it’s difficult to keep coming up with new content several times a week or even on a daily basis. That’s why repurposing content can be so appealing – but you need to do it correctly or the effort may backfire.
Make It a Part of Your Marketing Plan
The Content Marketing Institute reports that 44 percent of small business plan to make finding better and more ways to repurpose content one of their priorities in 2016. That’s because when done right, it can not only save your marketing team time, but it can also become an effective component of your marketing strategy.
Develop a Repurposing Plan
According to Curata, 60 percent of companies repurpose content sporadically and without a plan, compared to 22 percent that have a specific plan to optimize repurposing. While repurposing sporadically isn’t necessarily the wrong choice, you’ll find repurposing far more effective if you go into it with specific intent. Start with some of the following strategies:
- Searching for guest post hosts (see below)
- Rewriting portions of the content and republishing the content as “updated”
- Rewriting the introductions and conclusions only to vary the content and avoid search engine duplication issues when posting the content on varying marketing websites
- Expanding on a piece of content and developing a series based on the themes; for example, you might post a piece about how your business plans to try a new strategy and then later in the year re-post that as well as a follow-up piece revealing the results of the strategy
- Cross-post and cross-promote content on social media
The easiest way to repurpose content is to let it serve as guest blog content. You won’t have to make any changes at all to the content, so long as your host adds a tag stating that the piece originally appeared on your website. Contact websites relevant to your industry or sites that largely share the same demographic as your business or brand. Request a link back to your website in the content and in your author bio. Even if only a percentage of other web hosts respond positively to your guest post request, it still takes less time to contact them than to research, develop and write a new piece of content. Plus, it expands your reach to new potential visitors to your site.
Repurposing content can prove not only time-saving, but even a boon for your website if you know how often to rely on it and how to do it properly. Small businesses with a small marketing department – and companies and bloggers without marketing departments at all – can make the most of repurposing. This is true even when you buy content from a professional for exclusive use. You own that content and can repurpose it in perpetuity.
The Internet is a visual medium, and although updating your website or social media profiles with fresh content is key to search engine optimization, pairing written content with relevant images is even more essential to attracting repeat visitors. However, it’s not enough to stick generic images up on a page and hope they stick. Matching the images to the content is a skill that all content producers must master if they hope to make their original content go further.
Define the Thesis of Your Content
Images make content more popular with visitors. Kissmetrics reports that content with relevant images receive 94 percent more views than content without relevant images. The most important point is that the images be relevant. To define what makes a relevant image, you first have to define the thesis of your content. To do so, ask yourself:
- What am I trying to convey through this piece?
- What message do I hope the reader will walk away with?
- What was my aim in writing this piece?
Some online content, like academic papers, has the thesis clearly defined at the end of the first paragraph, but other marketing and news pieces don’t require such a defined statement in the piece itself. However, it’s important you at least can state your piece’s thesis in a sentence or two. For example, “People with bad backs will sleep more comfortably with my company’s mattress.”
Get a Stock Photo Site Subscription
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 55 percent of content creators plan to prioritize creating more visual content. The first step to creating more visual content is to have access to a large amount of it. A subscription to a stock photo site is ideal because you can use an often unlimited number of the images copyright-free. When it comes to finding images for a specific piece of content, distill your thesis into search terms. For the example above, you might choose “bad back,” “mattress” and “comfortable sleep.” These search terms will narrow down the stock photo site’s selection to the best matches. You might also add search terms to narrow down the kinds of models, like “seniors” and “men,” if applicable to your content.
Look for More Natural Images
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, don’t just pick the top few. Spend some time browsing the selection to pinpoint the most captivating images. Some look more posed and fake than others, and you might find more natural-looking images, ones that seem almost candidly taken (but with a quality camera), to be more effective. Some sites rely on cartoons, graphs and illustrations, but keep the tone of your site in mind. If you generally avoid comedy, don’t use a cartoon. Conversely, rely on a cartoon if humor is part of your content’s tone.
Taking your own images or paying a professional to take them can add value to your posts, but you don’t need to rely on original images if it’s not within your budget or you don’t have the equipment to tackle the job. (Poor quality photos can, after all, backfire and make people less likely to return.) What’s more important is making sure the images speak to the content so they emphasize your content’s message instead of distracting from them.
With each passing year, content creation becomes progressively more important. You can bet your chief competitors are pulling out all the stops to produce marketable content, and your company can’t afford to be left in the dust. Blog posts, videos, interviews and feature articles are all things upon which your crew should collectively refocus their efforts. Fortunately, crafting this type of content isn’t the arduous undertaking certain companies make it out to be. With 2016 in full swing, take care to utilize the following str
ategies when creating content that will put your business on the map.
1. Reach out to Key Figures in Your Industry
Is there are certain figure in your industry you’ve been dying to work with? Someone whose brain you – and your target audience – are eager to pick? Someone whose very name will generate massive amounts of web traffic? If so, consider reaching out to this person and seeing if they’re interested in aiding your content creation endeavors. For example, the figure you select may be interested in composing a guest blog or providing you with an interview – or possibly even both! Not only will this collaboration lead to an increase in web traffic, it will make scores of first-time visitors aware of your company’s existence. As a professional courtesy, make sure to offer your collaborator a fee for her time.
2. Give Equal Attention to Prose and Substance
When creating content, many companies make one of two mistakes: emphasizing prose over substance or emphasizing substance over pose. Pieces that fall into the former category tend to sound very nice despite offering little in the way of substance, whereas those that fall into the latter category come off as rigid and oftentimes confusing. Ideally, the writers in charge of crafting your blog posts and feature articles should be able to devote equal attention to prose and substance. However, if you don’t have any writers who fit the bill, consider tasking multiple wordsmiths combining their efforts. In an effort to strike the aforementioned balance, have your company’s most creative minds and most knowledgeable techies proof and edit each other’s work. Additionally, as Entrepreneur’s Brie Moreau advises, both parties should meticulously research the target audience before setting to work on the content.
3. Be Consistent With Updates
After reeling in visitors, it’s imperative that you take measures to keep them coming back. To wit, if a first-time visitors really enjoys one of your blog posts or feature articles, chances are she’s going to revisit your site with the expectation of seeing new content. However, if content updates are few and far between; you can’t count on holding her interest indefinitely – particularly if she only recently became aware of your website. As such, take care to post at least one new blog post, article or substantial piece of content each week.
Content creation is only going to become more important as the year wears on. Instead of cutting corners and producing material that’s unstructured or thoroughly skippable, make sure your team puts their best foot forward on the content creation front. Regardless of your business’s size or scope, putting proven content strategies into practice is sure to yield noticeable rewards.
Your website serves as the online face of your company. Its overall design, content and functionality are direct reflections of your team’s web design efforts. In other words, if the site looks great, contains first-rate content and loads flawlessly, prospective clients are sure to like what they see. Conversely, sites with outdated aesthetics, seldom-updated content and laggy load times are liable to draw visitors’ ire. Furthermore, in order for any modern-day website to flourish, it needs to be optimized for mobile browsing. As Statista reports, mobile device Internet user penetration in the U.S. is projected to reach 75.2 percent by 2019. This means that if your company’s website isn’t equipped to operate on mobile devices, you have a big problem. As you’ll find, mobile browsing optimization has a number of far-reaching perks.
Increased Visitor Retention
Calling modern-day Internet users fickle would be an understatement. With billions of websites at their fingertips, your company’s site has only a few precious seconds to capture the attention of prospective customers. According to Kissmetrics, a sizable majority of Internet users have reported abandoning sites indefinitely in response to long load times – and if your site hasn’t been optimized for mobile browsing, chances are it’s not going to load properly on smart phones, effectively losing you a ton of new business. On the flip side, optimizing your site to load instantly on mobile devices will set the stage for high levels of visitor retention and increased web traffic.
A Wider Audience for Your Web Content
If your team puts a great deal of effort into creating engaging web content, it stands to reason that you want that content to be seen – and appreciated – by the largest possible audience. As Digital Current’s Art Enke reports, blog posts and other content play a central role in capturing visitors’ attention. Unfortunately, if your site lacks mobile device optimization, there’s a good chance your content won’t be properly displayed to people viewing it on smart phones. Reading blog posts and features articles on un-optimized websites requires a great deal of zooming, image enhancement and, most importantly, patience – a quality many Internet users lack. If you want mobile device users to see your content, make sure that viewing it on a smart phone isn’t a cumbersome chore.
Heightened Consumer Engagement
These days, the average person has a plethora of Internet-ready devices within easy reach at all times. Not surprisingly, a fair number of them frequently engage in multi-screening – the practice of moving between multiple screens to accomplish a single task. As such, if your site is able to load effortlessly on a traditional PC but gives off a laggy performance on a smart phone, multi-screeners aren’t going to appreciate having their flow interrupted.
Although a number of companies are dragging their feet when it comes to mobile device optimization, they’re essentially digging their own graves. Now that mobile browsing accounts for the majority of worldwide Internet traffic, no business can afford to ignore the growing prominence of smart phones and tablet devices. In light of the many perks it offers, there’s no reason your team should put off mobile device optimization any longer.
With businesses of all sizes using SEO to their advantage, your company can’t afford to be left behind. If you’ve never tried your hand at search engine optimization, jumping in at this stage of the game is liable to seem daunting. Fortunately, there are a number of tips you can utilize to make your SEO experience as seamless and hassle-free as possible. Provided you put these pointers into practice, you should have no problem becoming acclimated to the ins and outs of search engine optimization. Countless competitors are growing their enterprises through SEO, and it’s high time your company got in on the action.
Engage in Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Regardless of how ingenious your SEO strategy is, a brand new site is not going to receive a lot of attention from popular search engines. Google, for example, favors websites that have a substantial number of visitors under their belt. For this reason, it’s recommended that new sites enter into pay-per-click (PPC) advertising arrangements with prominent search engines. According to Search Engine Land’s Pauline Jakober, PPC advertising can be tremendously beneficial for both new businesses and established brands. Per this arrangement, a link to your company’s website will be prominently featured alongside search results whenever certain keywords are searched for. Each time someone clicks on your link, you’ll be expected to pay the search engine’s parent company a previously agreed-upon sum. In some cases, this venture can prove rather costly, but the traffic it generates is often worth the expense.
Encourage Visitor Feedback
Keyword integration is arguably the most popular form of search engine optimization – not to mention one of the
most widely-used forms of online marketing period. With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to populate your site’s content with keywords and phrases that people might enter into Google when searching for businesses in your particular field. Although there are numerous ways to ascertain appropriate keywords, few are more effective than interacting with your company’s target customer base. This is why you should encourage visitors to share the words they typically use to describe your business. To provide them with a little incentive, consider offering special prizes or discounts to everyone who offers feedback.
Hire Professional Content Writers
Many people believe writing high-quality web content is easy – until they actually try their hand at it. If no one within your organization has experience writing SEO-focused website content, it’s in your best interest to enlist the services of professional content writers. In addition to creating engaging content, these people will organically insert any keywords and phrases you choose into the articles and blog posts they create. If you’re pleased with the work these writers produce – and you’re frequently in need of new web content – you may want to consider hiring a few of them fulltime.
If you don’t have much experience with search engine optimization, being hesitant to roll out SEO strategies is perfectly understandable. Luckily, when it comes to search engine optimization, it’s never too late to enter the fray. Before setting your next SEO efforts into motion, remember to take advantage of the previously-discussed tips.