Zerys for Agencies Blog

Revolutionize the Way You View Your Content

Posted by Ronald Neef

shutterstock_231340918If you're in marketing, you already know how important content is. While traditional advertising remains an integral part of any comprehensive marketing strategy, it is no longer the only component, nor is it even the primary one. Simply put, in today's marketing environment, content is king.

Good content comes at a price, however. Owners of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in particular, question the value of devoting a great deal of time, effort, and/or money to not only developing content but refreshing it on a regular basis. The initial cost often puts people off and they end up creating content for their websites and/or social networking sites on the cheap. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

What about your website's content?  Do you feel good about how it represents your company? Do you have a business Facebook page? Does it convey the personality your brand? Is blogging a part of how your enterprise communicates with consumers? Perhaps it's time to take a critical look at your current content and assess whether it's performing as well as it should.

Content marketing, whether it be via a website, social media, or blogging, is intended to accomplish one very simple thing: Convert consumers into customers. Effective content marketing does so by connecting with the consumer, communicating information the consumer finds to be valuable (engaging), and then by calling the consumer to action in a meaningful way, all of which can cause the conversion you want.

In order to be effective, your content marketing should address the following items:

  • Who are you? How does management perceive the company and is that perception consistent with how the company is viewed by the consumer? One way to check if there is a disconnect is to survey existing customers to find out how they see the organization. Perception is, of course, reality. The question is: Whose perception and whose reality? Once that's answered, then developing the desired online persona can proceed.
  • Who are you talking to? In other words, who is your target audience? Which consumers do you want to reach? Resolving this particular issue will also impact what message is ultimately conveyed.
  • How does the target market access information online? Are the consumers you are trying to reach more likely to visit your website, Instagram account, Facebook page, or perhaps even stumble upon your blog? Again, your choice of medium most likely to reach the intended audience will influence the type of content required.
  • What resources is the enterprise willing to devote to the development and management of content? A business might opt to have someone in-house handle all social media and website content or it may find that an independent writer is more appropriate given the time and money required.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat. Many SMBs take the steps necessary to create some pretty compelling new content but then make the mistake of considering the job done. New content doesn't stay new. It becomes stale, at which point it essentially becomes content without any content, so to speak. Effective content management requires that it be refreshed on a regular (if not frequent) basis.
    • Consumers are hungry for information and updating your online content gives them a reason to keep coming back to your social network or website. The more traffic your various web-based modalities can generate, the more exposure your brand receives and the more opportunities you have to connect with consumers and convert them into your customers.
    • Put another way, vibrant content generates traffic which generates buzz which generates more traffic
    • Effective content involves good storytelling and good storytelling evokes emotions that cause a reader to become more interested, more engaged, and more invested in the story and the brand it represents. If strong enough, a consumer's emotions can even outweigh logical and practical considerations in buying decisions.  Emotional attachment can create a sense of loyalty that is often communicated to friends and relatives who may, in turn visit your website or social media sites.  More traffic, more possible conversion targets.

One final suggestion: Content inventory should be taken as objectively as possible. The exercise is no time to defend the work that was done or justify why certain decisions were made. Those factors are irrelevant to the task at hand: Creating the most compelling, engaging, informative and useful content possible so that consumers want to become your customers.

Throw the Content Rules Out the Window!

Posted by Jennifer Gemmell-Adams

shutterstock_203013697Content marketing is the process of using content to answer a question, solve a problem, meet a need, or fulfill a want that your intended audience may have.  Even if you are writing a dry product description, you are still providing answers and information.  While the world of content creation and marketing may seem a bit convoluted and complex, it actually isn't, and one of the first things you need to do is throw your content rules out the window.

Content rules exist in proliferation.  You are given advice and guidance on how to write, what to say, how to phrase it, who to write it for, and what style or format to use when you write.  While those "rules" can help those who are looking for in-the-ballpark information on creating content and using it for marketing purposes, those content rules should not be considered written in stone or inviolate.

When it comes to content creation and doing so successfully, there is really only one hard-and-fast rule you need to live by: create content for your audience, not for yourself.

Imagine that you are looking for information on the Internet and you come across a blog or website with information on a moderately technical subject about which you are interested.  You open the page and begin to read, only to discover that most of the information either doesn't apply to your particular situation or is filled with so much technical jargon that you'd need a dictionary to decipher it.  People encounter this dilemma every day when they are looking for something online, and they do so because those who create the content don't really know how to do so.  Why don't they know how to do so?  Because they are following the wrong content rules!

Part of the content development process is to identify your audience.  Who are they, what do they want, how do they make decisions, and what will move them to enter your sales funnel?  If you don't know these things, you simply cannot create content that will entice them to look further into whatever it is you are offering.

You can follow all the content rules that exist today and if you aren't making your audience the most important part of your content development process, you've already lost your marketing battle.  The rules no longer apply, which is why you were supposed to throw them out the window when you started reading this.

Know your audience.  Intimately.  After you get to know them, then you can create content that they'll find engaging, appealing, informative, and - most of all - valuable.  That's the only rule you really need to know.

How to Create Branded Content That Your Audience Will Read

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock 236672323One of the first pieces of advice that you will come across when learning how to create content for a business is to avoid purely self-promotional pieces and focus instead on information that is useful and interesting to your audience. However, content also needs to lead to conversions, which means getting your brand message across, and the best way to achieve this is through branded content. This is not a contradiction: it is possible to create branded content without constantly advertising your company and its products or services.

1. Find Inspiration from Your Audience

Go beyond simply answering questions that your followers pose on your social media pages and find what they are consuming online overall. Use your knowledge of their passions and interests to create content that links aspects of this culture to your brand — and try to start a conversation flowing instead of simply selling yourself.

2. Tell Stories

People are addicted to stories, particularly ones that include characters to which they can relate. By telling stories that feature the personas of your target audience, you increase the likelihood that readers will become customers. If you are stuck for ideas, HubSpot has a number of examples of how major corporations have used stories for their branded content.

3. Be Unique

Everything you create for your content marketing strategy should be unique, but this is extra important for branded content. The style and context of your posts should mean that it would be impossible for any other company to use them; for instance, your content may reference your core values or relate directly to your niche market.

4. Use the Right Tone

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when creating branded content is to write posts as if they were sales pitch. Instead, use a conversational tone of voice and directly address your readers — never write from the point of view of a corporation pushing a sale on customer. Aim to pique your readers’ interest in a topic rather than force information upon them.

5. Learn from Your Successes and Failures

Even the most experienced marketers struggle to know how successful branded content will be before testing it with consumers. Carefully monitor pieces for engagement to create more in a style that your audience likes and avoid wasting your time with content that will probably fall flat.

Oftentimes, emphasizing the opinions and personality of your company is sufficient for creating branded content. By providing your readers plenty of posts filled with information that they want or need, you set yourself up as a source of trust. Later, you can begin to include more heavily-branded pieces that directly market your products or services but will still receive plenty of engagement.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 

Tags: branded content

Developing Content for Clients: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Posted by Ronald Neef

shutterstock 149611889If you are reading this, you don't need to be told about the significance of content marketing. You know how important it is. You also know that not all content is created equal. Some of it is great. Some of it is, quite frankly, not so much. Writing interesting, effective content is more of an art than a science; there really is no template, so to speak, for success. Even having excellent writing skills is not, in and of itself, sufficient to guarantee that your content will be compelling and call your readers to action which is, after all, the reason for writing the content in the first place.

Concerned that the content you're developing for clients should or could be better? Questioning your effectiveness? If so, here's something for you to consider: Are you asking the right questions? When you meet with clients or accept an assignment to write content, are you sufficiently focused on what the point of the assignment is, or are you too caught up in demonstrating how well you write? If your content falls flat at times, then perhaps it's time to go back to the drawing board before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys.

Content writers sometimes have a way of losing sight of the primary goal: Providing material that attracts the target audience of consumers, engages those readers, and ultimately converts them into customers. So how do you do that? How do you ensure that your content meets the needs of your clientele? By simply asking the questions that will help you focus on the destination of your content and the direction it should take to get there.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Who are you?
    • When discussing the writing assignment with the client's representatives, ask them to describe for you who they are, what they're about, what they believe in, and how they perceive their organization and want the organization to be perceived publicly?
  • What do they do? What do they want people to know about what they do?
  • Who are they trying to reach?
    • This is critical. Is the intention to reach a broad audience or do they want the content directed at a specific demographic?
    • Ask clients to identify whether they wish to reach consumers or so-called influencers. Each requires a very different style and message.
  • Is the content to be conveyed via social media, blog, organization's website, or a combination of media?
  • Given what the company knows about it's market, do the majority of consumers access the Internet via PC/laptop, mobile devices?
    • This impacts how content is formatted. Failure to format content to be mobile friendly is very counterproductive.
  • Is the intended audience highly educated and/or technologically savvy?
    • Determines how sophisticated and technical the information can be.
  • What is the point? What is the purpose for this specific content? Is it for general information purposes, to make an announcement, or is it part of a specific marketing campaign.
    • These are all considerations for determining the tone and length of the material. In other words, is the client building a brand or simply selling a product or service?
  • Is SEO a primary consideration?
    • If the client makes extensive use of analytics, work with your contact(s) to develop keywords that can be used frequently without becoming repetitive, awkward, or both.
  • What writing style does the client want?
    • Formal
    • Very formal
    • Professional
    • Factual
    • Informal
    • Very informal
    • Conversational
    • Witty/humorous
    • Silly
    • Excited
    • High, medium, low
    • New/research/reporting style
  • What is the preferred narrative style?
    • 1st person ("We", "About us")
    • 2nd Person ("You", "your", "you're")
    • 3rd Person ("Consumers", "shoppers", "many folks")
  • Should the content refer to/compare with competitors?
    • Is the message to contain "humble bragging"?
    • Does the client want you to draw a stark comparison with clearly identified competitors?
    • Alternatively, should the content merely address distinction between your client and the industry in general?
  • What is the content's "expiration date" expected to be?
    • Content written without consideration for its useable life has a tendency to become stale. Companies often leave it posted for too long.
    • Remind your client of the importance of refreshing content. You want create a perception that it's worthwhile to visit your online presence on a regular basis because there's "always something new going on".
  • Are pictures, graphs, images, etc., desired and appropriate?
    • Infographics have become very popular because they effectively convey information in an easily digested format.

Asking the right questions will help you develop content that will help your clients build their brand. That's your job, after all.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock  

Are You Making These Common Social Media Mistakes?

Posted by Robin Kastengren

shutterstock 134112389Everyone knows that social media is the place to be to make connections with current and potential customers. Why, then, are so many companies getting it wrong? Maybe they are following bad advice or they just are not sure what to do. Maybe they do not even realize that they are even getting it wrong. If you recognize any of these mistakes, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. 

1. Doing Everything Yourself

While it is great that you have taken the initiative to keep your company's social media accounts up and running, chances are that your interactions would be much better if you worked as part of a team. For one thing, a professional writer should be helping you out with everything you post--even those itty bitty 140-character Twitter posts. At the very least, you should have a second set of eyes to scan your posts for typos, misspellings, and content that could be misunderstood. Second, coming up with fresh ideas and new things to say every day can be impossible, and you could end up on autopilot. If a few other people provide their input, your content is far more likely to be unique and engaging.

2. Failing to Focus 

Even if you have a whole team assembled to work on maintaining your company's social media accounts, you still have to make sure you are focusing on the right ones. The only thing worse than having no social presence at all is to have a thin presence on too many outlets. One sign that you have too many plates in the air is posting the same content to all your channels. While this is not always a bad idea, if that is your only plan, you need to re-prioritize.

3. You Want to Talk About You

The 80/20 Rule applies to more than just sales and business, it applies to social media, too. If you spend more than 20% of your time on social media carrying on about you, your company, or your products and services, people are going to get bored and move along. Instead, look for topics that relate to your industry, and sift through industry news outlets and blogs to find interesting stories. Don't be afraid to add something seemingly irrelevant from time to time, too. The occasional cartoon or joke might help show your human side.

4. You Are Too Wordy

Using too many words and not enough images is deadly on social media. People might stop to read a wordy post from time to time, but the vast majority of people will simply scroll through all those pesky words until an image catches their attention. Then they will go back and see what the associated text is all about. Never post anything to social media without an image or you are wasting your time. The exception, of course, is Twitter. You still have to refrain from being wordy, but resist posting too many pictures as people like to scroll quickly through their updates without too many interruptions.

5. You Have No Follow-Up

Posting a bunch of stuff and hoping for the best might work for your personal Facebook account, but when you are managing a business social media account, you have to follow up with the numbers. Stay on top of the number of followers and fans you have, and check in on how many people are clicking the links you are sharing. If you do not know how well your previous posts have done, it is impossible to know what to keep doing and what to improve.

Social Media is Very Forgiving

One of the most frustrating aspects of social media is the short attention spans of its users. On the other hand, this can be a great asset if you have been falling down on the job. As long as you have not committed a terribly embarrassing blunder, most people will only notice and remember what you are doing right now and will forget about anything that went wrong in the past. It is never too late to start over. If any of these mistakes apply to you, start over today and start seeing results right away.

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Does User Generated Content Have a Place in Your Strategy?

Posted by Laura Holton

shutterstock 196549964User generated content (UGC) refers to any content created by Internet users that links to your brand. This can be an entire blog post, podcast, or piece of fan art or something smaller, such as a comment on your social media page or a forum, a review, or a video. By combining UGC with your current marketing strategies, you can strengthen your relationship with customers and improve the likelihood that prospects will convert.

Who Can Benefit from User Generated Content?

UGC has a higher success rate in certain types of companies than others, particularly those who have a large customer base of Millennials. With Millennials, UGC is 20 percent more influential on purchasing decisions than other types of media and 35 percent more memorable than branded messages, found Crowdtap. In addition, Huffington Post reports that Millennials spend 30 percent of their media time consuming content created by their peers. With UGC, you can tap into some of that time.

How to Gain User Generated Content

In many cases, UGC for your brand already exists — you just need to find it and receive permission to use it. Here are some examples:

  • Reviews. One of the most effective types of UGC is the review. A Forrester Research study found that 70 percent of consumers use reviews and ratings to choose a product or service and 76 percent are more likely to make a purchase if they see at least 10 positive reviews or ratings. An added bonus is that reviews tend to rank highly in Google search results.
  • Images. Photos of consumers using your products demonstrate your brand’s popularity and show how products will look and work in action. If you find such a picture on a social media site, leave a comment complimenting the user and asking if you can reuse the photo. If you are lucky enough to find something on Twitter, all you need to do is retweet.
  • Emails and comments. Occasionally, you may receive emails thanking you for your service from satisfied customers. This no longer needs to be just an ego boost for your company; you can also share the content (once again, with permission) as a blog post. This can also work for short comments and private messages you receive on your social media pages. Post comments as a list of testimonials on your website and share new ones on social media. These two techniques even B2B companies can use to benefit from UGC.

If you lack readymade content, you can always ask users to create something for you through a competition or just as an opportunity for them to receive visibility. For instance, you could ask customers to share their experience with your brand and feature the best submissions on your website or blog.

Pitfalls of User Generated Content

Of course, UGC is not without its share of disadvantages. Here are a few to consider before deciding to incorporate UGC into your content strategy:

  • No SEO. As users rarely have any knowledge of SEO, content will not be optimized for high rankings in search results (with the notable exception of reviews).
  • Low credibility. Unlike the team who usually creates your content, users of your products and services are not experts and may even distribute inaccurate information or advice. It is important to think about what type of content users are qualified to create for your brand.
  • Low quality. You may struggle to find usable content, as users may lack the skills to write, photograph, or shoot videos that meet your normal quality standards. Editing, if at all possible, can be very time consuming.

User generated content can be a great tool to influence your audience and enable you to gain the trust of new leads. However, adding UGC to your content strategy is more appropriate for some companies than others. Carefully consider if UGC would be a help or hindrance and, furthermore, decide what type of content would be suitable for your brand before getting started.

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The Evolution of Content: Which Types of Content Are Right For Your Clients?

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

describe the imageWhen content first became a focus for online businesses, the process was typically pretty simple. Putting together a couple of catchy paragraphs that incorporated popular keywords was a successful way to get websites listed on the first pages of search engine results. But nowadays, it takes a variety of different types of content to get a website noticed on the World Wide Web.

Static words just aren't enough to capture the attention of information seekers and problem solvers anymore. It's important to incorporate a variety of methods and techniques if you want your clients' content to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few effective options to consider, and how they'll get you the buzz that you're looking for:

Infographics

Most people are visually driven, making infographics an awesome accompaniment to written content. Infographics are more likely to be shared on social media networks than basic content without them, which leads to lots of organic links and therefore higher search engines page ranks. If you're creating content that is hard to curate photos for, or your content contains lots of statistics or figures, infographics are an excellent option. Infographics are also a great way to spice up bland or confusing information.

Virtual Podcasts

Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most prevalent marketing mediums online now that folks can tune into their favorite content on demand, thanks to apps like Stitcher. These apps allow users to sync podcast episodes to their devices while they sleep and when they're on the go, which keeps them engaged and interested. Whether you're outlining the benefits of certain products that you're affiliated with or you are interviewing experts within your industry, giving a voice to the brands you promote is easy to do through podcasting.

Videos and Vlogs

One of the best ways to engage with your audience is through video content. Like infographics, videos provide a unique visual aspect to your content that is memorable and interactive. Video marketing is a powerful tool for gaining notice from those who don't want to take the time to read an article or sift through pages of how-to guides. You can build some trust among current and potential customers and establish authority through videos that focus on current events, keep up with industry trends, and show people how best to use the products and services up for offer.

Surface Scratchers

There's nothing wrong with publishing articles that simply scratch the surface of topics your audience is interested in, but this basic content should be accompanied with resources that make it easy for readers to delve deeper into the topic. Short, succinct articles that touch on a specific subject can be paired with a newsletter that promises more information, a how-to eBook offered at a special discount, or a link to products and services you offer that help to fill in the gaps of your content.

For example if your promoting banner printing services, you could publish an article about the type of content businesses should consider including on their signage and then direct them to signup for a newsletter that offers insight into effective fonts that can be used for their banner content.

In Depth Insights

Of course, no content marketing plan is complete without some in-depth insight to round things out. Your long form content should offer something that your competitors don't – unique insight backed up with obscure statistics and little known facts that is sure to impress even the most discerning of audience members. Your word heavy articles should provide actionable information that readers can use themselves in their every day lives.

Offering valuable information that other may charge for is an awesome way to create trust and reliability within your reader community. Readers shouldn't be able to understand the information provided to them by simply scanning the page. When creating in-depth pieces, it's important to make sure that it is well researched and can stand on it's own as an authoritative industry voice.

Your niche can probably benefit from all of these content options as long as the content is relevant and trending. Even the most mundane of industries can inspire content that is interesting and engaging. Promoting window screens? Show people how to grow seasonal flowers on the window sill, and remind them how important new screens are for keeping bees and other pests out of the house.

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4 Unique Ways to Promote Content on Social Media

Posted by Steve Lazuka

shutterstock 189811238Social media has taken the world by storm. It is the new form of word-of-mouth advertising. That is why every business is trying to leverage this communication channel in its marketing strategy. You want to get ahead of the curve in deploying social media resources in your marketing so that you become more effective than your competition in reaching your audience.

Content Marketing and Social Media
Social media marketing works best when used as part of a strategy known as content marketing. Your business creates content that positions you as a valuable information resource for your audience. When people see that you are an expert problem-solver in your field, they will turn to your business when they have a need. Once you create excellent content and post it to your blog, you will need to promote it on social media.

The key question is how to effectively promote your content on social media. To be successful, you are going to have go beyond the basics of just sharing your link with an image. Here are four unique ways to promote your content on social media platforms:

Post Your Content Multiple Times
The more times you post your content, the more likely it is that your audience will see it and share it. Of course, no one wants to see the same thing multiple times, so you want to vary the way you present this content. Here are some things that you can vary:

  • Headlines. You can change the headline of the link that you are sharing. Developing multiple headlines gives you a number of different ways to hook your readers into clicking on your content.

  • Images. You can change the image that accompanies the link. It is no longer enough to have one good image to accompany your link. It is best to find several images and share them in combination with different headlines.

  • Message: You can vary the message that accompanies the link. Different text can highlight different features of the content. Some messages might try to highlight benefits while others might focus on the problem that the content will solve. The more messages you craft, the more ways you can try to appeal to wide variety of readers.

You should also develop a schedule for sharing each piece of content. You might consider sharing three times the first week, two times the second week and once in the third week. Some people recommend sharing even more frequently, so experiment and find out what works best for your audience.

Paid Social Media Advertising
The day of using social media as free advertising are over. The value of relying solely on organic social media is rapidly shrinking. Moving forward, you are going to need to consider paying to promote your content on social media. Here are a few best practices in this area:

  • Use attractive images that show user experience and not just an image of the product. People respond better when you show them what they are going to get.

  • Use clear and direct text. Many social media sites favor ads with images, so keep the text simple.

  • Make sure there is a clear next step. You want to let your audience know what you want them to do.

There is a lot learn about paid social media advertising, so make sure that you are educated before you invest. You need to investigate which social media platform is right for you and what advertising options are available there.

Create Brand Advocates and Ambassadors
One really powerful aspect of social media promotion is that you can harness your social media connections to promote your content. When your employees, customers and other strategic partners come on board to promote your content, you amplify your reach exponentially. There are software tools that help you to manage and reward brand advocates for sharing your content.

Build Relationships with Strategic Partners
Whether you are a blogger or an online retailer, you want to build relationships with strategic partners. You can develop these partnerships with other exerts in your field. Online retailers might find strategic partners in the same niche who are not direct competitors. By identifying these influencers, developing relationships with them and contributing to their marketing, you can win their support. They, in turn, can help you promote your content and expand your audience.

Creating great content is just part of effective content marketing. Creatively promoting your content with social media is an important part of a successful marketing strategy.

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Creating a Better User Experience With Content

Posted by Rachael Gerkensmeyer

shutterstock 197328569Content has always been considered king when it comes to developing and marketing a website. For a long time this meant creating articles, reviews, and product descriptions packed with target keywords that the search engines could pick up on and include in their results pages.

Unfortunately, this tactic would typically overlook the end user, whose experience should be the number one priority if you're trying to build a trustworthy brand and increase your profits. But because of the many updates Google has made to their algorithms in recent years, balancing content that offers a positive user experience and that also gets ranked well in search results is pretty easy to manage.

Sure, you still need to decipher which keywords to base your content off of to give Google and other popular search engines an idea of what your content is about. But whether you're posting on a blog, writing descriptions for your products, or simply trying to introduce your business to the world, you'll also need to create a unique and rewarding user experience for your readers.

The more helpful and engaging your content is, the more likely your readers will be to stick around and read what you have to say. The longer readers stick around, the more often they'll share your content and buy your products and services. And all of these actions are tracked by search engines, indicating to them that your website has something of value to offer – and therefore, your site is more likely to show up on the first page of search results for your chosen key terms.

As you can tell, search engine placement and user experience work hand-in-hand to get your website the attention it needs for success. When users appreciate your content, so do the search engines. When the search engines are happy with your website and rank it well, more readers find your content. And when your website is filled with awesome content, your business looks really good to customers, investors, and competitors! Here's what makes for engaging content that generates an optimal user experience:

Short and Direct Content Development

Create your content as if you are having a conversation with your readers. This ensures an easy-to-read flow that can be quickly digested and easily comprehended by a wide range of audiences. Tell a story with your words, but don't spend an entire paragraph setting up the scene. People shouldn't have to reread sentences to get a firm grasp on your message. Test your content on readers before publishing it on your site.

Actionable Content that Makes a Difference

Your readers should be able to actually put your message to use in their own lives somehow. If you're selling cosmetics and your content is about choosing a fall color for the eyes, tell readers how they can test shades at home with the right lighting, palettes, and mirrors. If you are promoting a clothing line, give readers tips on how to mix and match their old pieces with new ones. Helpful, actionable content helps to position yourself as an authority figure in your industry and demonstrates your experience and enthusiasm for the topics you're talking about.

Clear Credibility Built into the Content

It's important to build credibility within your content so readers know that you've done your research and can trust what you have to say. Anytime statistics or numbers are used, it's a good idea to link to a study or reliable website that backs up your claims. Your ideas, insights, and even your tips and tricks are typically trusted more when authority websites can backup your information.

Adding one or two valuable links to your content can significantly increase your brand's credibility. You can even link to other pieces of content within your own site to show readers that you've spend time covering the topic before.

Clean and Easy to Read Content Structure

Your content's structure is just as important as its words. Readers should be able to scan the content structure to get an idea of what is covered, and to quickly find the aspects that appeal to them. Clear subheadings are important because they break the content down into comprehensive elements, and short paragraphs are needed to keep the content display nice and clean. Adding graphics to the mix is a great way to break the text up and make it more pleasing to the eye.

Implementing these tips and tricks into your quality content is sure to make a positive impact on your success.  

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Content For a Mobile World

Posted by Rebecca Geller

shutterstock 101753896As mobile Internet use continues to rise, optimizing content for a mobile world is a must when companies want to stay at the top of search results and maintain high click-through rates when posting content via social media websites. Businesses that have mastered the art of maintaining an online presence using traditional content marketing methods may still be struggling to keep up with the changes that need to be made to optimize content for mobile users. Here are some valuable tips that help your business come out on top when it comes to keeping up with the changing ways that consumers access content.

Add HTML Markup Later

Creating content first and adding in HTML markup later is a best practice when mobile content is so important. Markup could make content unreadable on a mobile device, so it makes sense to focus on the content itself before worrying about layout issues and presentation. The same content can then be used for both mobile and desktop platforms.

Avoid Separate Pages

Mobile users do not want to click "read more" or arrows to get through page after page of content. Instead, mobile users prefer scrollable content that does not require new pages to be loaded over and over again. If separating content into pages is a must, make sure that mobile users are able to swipe to get to the next page instead of having to click a button and wait for the next page to load.

Define Your Audience

Optimizing content for mobile use is difficult to do if you're not sure who your audience is and why they are accessing content through a mobile platform. Figuring out the target audience allows businesses to cater the layout and topics in a way that appeals to the mobile user. For example, a company with a line of food products may offer recipes that are optimized for access on a mobile device to allow readers to keep the recipe handy as a grocery list while at the store.

Choose Graphics Wisely

While clear, high-quality pictures and relevant videos can help boost content views on a computer, these same images would make it difficult for mobile users to access the content at all. When choosing graphics to accompany mobile content, keep in mind the limitations of the average user's mobile device. While visual examples or accompaniments can be used, keep these additions minimal. 

Keep It Simple

Simplify the layout of the website as a whole to help users navigate to the content they want to read. One-column layouts allow mobile users to easily scroll through content and re-size it to their needs.

Do Not Limit Mobile Users

While content should always be optimized for mobile users, give them the option to view content on the full website if they would like to. Some mobile users have high-tech tablets or mobile phones that can handle the added graphics or have bigger screens to easily view content. These users may be frustrated if their access is limited to the mobile version of the website.

While it is important to optimize content for a mobile audience, your company may be struggling to get started. Use these tips to improve the layout, load times and ability of mobile users to access your content to improve number of views and provide consumers with the information that they need to make a purchase decision.

Sources

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/11/07/10-steps-to-creating-a-mobile-optimized-content-marketing-strategy/

http://insights.wired.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-optimize-your-content-for-mobile-users#axzz3RjzqG3ze

http://www.yottaa.com/blog/10-ways-to-optimize-your-content-for-mobile-reading

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