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Content Marketing

Google Search - Event Listings

Visibility for your events is more important than ever, as Google has added some search perks specifically for events. Why is that vital for yours? Because Google Event Packs, Carousels, and Knowledge Panels all are displayed at the top of Google’s results. Right where users always click first.

How to Appear in Google’s Event Pack, Carousel, or Knowledge Panel

Google’s Event Pack

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The Event Pack contains one to three events above the organic results, as you can see.

Users search on “Concerts,” “Festivals,” “Nightlife,” “Shows”, “Parties” or other events and the Event Pack appears: you want to be in the first position, which gets the highest click through rates.

Google’s Event Carousel

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The Carousel can contain 16 results on desktop and four on mobile, and, again, appears above the organic listing.

Knowledge Panels for Events & Performers

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A user types in a performer’s name and reaches the Knowledge Panel, which also contains event listings.

The Difference Between Event Pack and Carousel

When your user clicks an event in the Event Pack, they go to a page Google has indexed – if this is your event, they’ll be on your event page. This is the most desired result.

If they click on the Carousel, they end up on another search results page like the one they’re on now, with the current Event as the search.

How to ensure your event appears in Google’s new event displays

Schema Markup

You must use schema mark-up on your pages, specifically:

  • Event pack
  • Carousel
  • Knowledge graph/panel
  • Rich snippets

Important areas you need to have marked up:

  • Location (venue)
  • Location Address (venue address)
  • Name (Event Name)
  • Location name (venue name)
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Image
  • Description
  • Offers
  • Offers availability
  • Offers price
  • Performer

Using Google’s schema mark-up (Start date, Event Name, Description) can allow you four good links to your events as follows:

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Marketing your event using content, images and keywords

To ensure your event gets the best publicity possible, you’ll need bright, interesting content and really good, high resolution photos.

Optimize that event name by using keywords that users search on! Use the city where the event will occur, for example. The clearer you are, the higher you’ll appear in SERPs.

How do I make sense of Google’s new Event strategies?

Unless you’re a coder, the best way to bring attention to your events on Search is to contact Sanctuary. It’s what we do, who we are. We can do the tricky coding, the content, keywords and more to ensure your event shows up as high as possible in Google’s search. Contact us for more information!

Optimizing Events for Google Search: Boost That Attendance!
We're Open Again

In times of crisis like we’re currently experiencing with COVID-19, it can be hard to determine the best way to position your company. Through these difficult times you might be asking yourself… what’s the right thing to say? How do you say it? Is it even acceptable to be marketing in times of crisis? What will your customers think?

You don’t want to be perceived as capitalizing on a tragedy! Understanding what tone will strike the right chord to strengthen your company’s position and allow you to serve your clients, your employees and your community is of the utmost importance.

Changes in Tone & Messaging

At this point, you’ve most likely received emails and have seen commercials from just about every single brand you’ve interacted with throughout your lifetime. They’re telling you how they’ve enacted changes within their business, how they’re helping the community and their customers through these “unprecedented” times. People are already starting to tune out the messaging just based on language and tone alone. We’re still seeing a ton of great huggy-feely stuff out there like “#InThisTogether”, but some words and phrases are just turning into noise at this point because there is so much saturation. Just like any other advertising or messaging efforts, you want to avoid fatigue.

Our attention spans are so short, so what are people really interested in talking about? So far, only 13% of Americans polled by Morning Consults strongly feel that companies shouldn’t be advertising during the pandemic. But messaging perceived as explicitly self-serving, situation insensitive and situation impractical should be avoided. So the generality of this is that people are okay being marketed to, as long as your intention with it is right and you are offering services that they can use. People still want to be communicated with about what you have to offer as long as you’re doing it with the right intent. This means it’s time to start thinking forward and offering creative solutions to people’s problems.

Businesses Are Starting to Reopen

Many states across the country are starting to reopen businesses as part of phase one in the process. There WILL be restrictions on how many people can be in one place at one time, but the overall feeling is about respectfully and cautiously “getting back to work” and we’re already starting to see some of that messaging. In the coming weeks, what should businesses be doing to prepare for that? Our strategy team highlights some things to consider in our latest roundtable discussion.

  • It’s all about list prep, offer prep and developing creative.
  • It’s important to note that individuals have been impacted differently than businesses. Therefore, B2C and B2B might need to approach reopening differently.
  • People are doing even more research and information gathering during this time, so they’re already about 90% confident in their purchasing decision for whenever they do feel comfortable making a purchase.
  • Put great information and great vibes out there so once the lid has been lifted your business is ready.
  • People are getting tired of hearing “we’re all in this together”. This messaging is getting fatigued at this point. Avoid focusing too much on the stress of this situation.
  • Reopening is the end of the beginning. Now we have a new normal to usher in, so the messaging should shift to that.
  • People are still going to be fearful doing business - Need to reiterate to your customers how you’re going to keep them safe.
  • Think creatively and outside the box. There’s a ton of new offerings, not just new communication tools.
  • You might not be going back to the same job you had before, you need to be flexible.
  • The way people were utilizing your site could be way different at this point. What can we learn from analytics about online behavior that could help us make decisions moving forward?
  • Think deeply about the mental state of your buyer personas so that you can set up different profiles and come up with a great offer that appeals to them.
  • Hyper customization has been extremely important and one of the primary trends we should be focusing on. The current environment is going to force a lot of people’s hands on this.

Watch the full roundtable discussion to get more great insight!

Positioning Your Company in Difficult Times
Mobile First

Until now, Google has been indexing the desktop version of a page’s content, even though most people search from their phone and receive mobile results. What happens when the mobile version of a site has less useful content than the desktop version? There’s an issue, because Google’s algorithms were evaluating the desktop version—and presenting those results to the mobile searcher.

Beginning in September 2020, Google is going to primarily rank pages from their mobile version. So, if your mobile site is different from your desktop site and has less information that adds SEO value, that could mean you’ll lose valuable traffic. Additionally,

How Webmasters Should Prepare for a More-Mobile-Focused Index

If your site is responsive or dynamically served, your content is the same across mobile and desktops. You are in good shape. Otherwise:

  • Ensure that your mobile and desktop content is identical. If it differs, you should likely begin making changes to your site. If you intend for your mobile page to have less content than the equivalent desktop page, be aware you can lose traffic when your site is enabled mobile-first indexing.The easiest way is to ensure your site is built responsively from the start, or create a mobile site. Your SERPs won’t be great without one—the time has come!
  • When developing a mobile site, think about the user’s experience. That screen is small, so your design will be different than that for a large desktop screen.
  • When adding structured data to your mobile site, be sure it’s relevant to your content and ensure Googlebot can access your mobile version by running the robots.txt testing tool.
  • Use the same meta robots tags on both desktop and mobile versions.
  • Ensure your mobile version is added and verified in Search Console.
  • If you’re going to build a mobile version of your site, be aware that a broken or incomplete mobile version is far worse than if you’d just maintained your desktop version. If you want Google to crawl your urls, don’t use ‘disallow’ on them.
  • Take care with copy for your mobile site as well. According to Yoast, use larger fonts and plenty of white space; “...you’ll need to have mobile-friendly copy. This means short sentences and compact paragraphs.”
  • Don’t lazy-load primary content! Obviously, Google won’t load content that requires user interactions such as clicking or swiping.

Questions People are Asking About Mobile-first Indexing

Does mobile-first indexing add mobile pages to a separate mobile index?

No. There’s still only one index, to which Google adds content.

Will only my mobile site be ranked now by Google?

No. Your mobile version will now be primary.

Wait! How will mobile-first indexing change strategy and ranking factors going forward?

There’s a feeling that Google won’t be so dependent on URLS and links, but rather that API-like entity of structured data. If your pages contain relevant structured data now, there’s no need to worry. If not, you might want to look into adding structured data to your site.

Don’t Panic! Sanctuary is here to help.

If this is far more than you yourself have time to do, remember that we are always here to help you implement any changes needed, and beyond that, come up with a solid digital marketing strategy to help increase leads for your business. Contact us today!

Google’s Latest Update: Mobile First Indexing
How to Reach a Quarantined Audience

If you’re like us, you’re most likely doing your best to socially distance yourself to help flatten the curve of this pandemic we’re facing. There’s no doubt about it, being under quarantine is tough. If you have kids at home trying to get through school, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’re still probably wondering how many times you can mow the yard or binge watch TV before it seems weird. While we’re all on some sort of lockdown, that doesn’t mean business has completely stopped. Now more than ever, we need to do everything we can to survive and strengthen our relationships with current customers and prospects.

Digital marketing is a powerful tool to not only stay connected with your current customers, but reach out to new audiences and engage with potential customers. In times when people are being ordered to stay at home, they are on their phones, tablets and laptops even more, making digital the best route for engaging with potential customers and staying connected with existing customers.

Digital tactics like paid social media advertising and paid search campaigns can help get your business noticed by the right people, and ultimately get your more leads—even during a pandemic! In our latest roundtable discussion, we talk about how best to reach B2B and B2C audiences while they are staying at home. Here are some key takeaways if you’re afraid of having a good time with us:

  • Direct email, marketing email, webinars, blog posts, video demonstrations, social ads, organic social content are all the top channels to focus our attention to
  • Increase and improve your social media presence both organically and with ads
  • Run Google search ads to stay visible for potential customers still looking for your products and services
  • Utilize Google My Business profile to update your hours and communicate COVID-19 related announcements
  • Communicating with clients and prospects during quarantine is less channel specific and more messaging specific
  • Don’t be afraid to over-communicate with your current clients and prospects at this time
  • Think outside of yourself - put yourself in the client’s shoes and understand what they’re going through right now
  • Shift your tone. Messaging should be empathetic, patient and compassionate. It’s all about transparency, authenticity, vulnerability, recognition that we’re all going through similar challenges
  • Set expectations for orders, communicate the current status of the business, set expectations for the service they’re getting, etc.
  • In a way we’re being forced into rapid adoption of technology. The way we communicate is going to change now and most likely moving forward

Watch the full roundtable discussion to get more great insight!

Roundtable: How to Reach a Quarantined Audience
Search Bar with Pointing Finger

Google made an announcement earlier this year that featured snippets, which were once considered “position zero”, now count as position one on the first page of search results. This means that if your webpage is picked up to be used as a featured snippet, your listing will not be repeated in the first page of organic search results—the featured snippet is the only chance for users to click through to your website.

Google’s announcement reads as follows, “If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat it in the first page of results. This declutters the results and helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show…”

What does this mean for organic ranking?

Previously, position zero was thought of as a coveted position, because not only did you get position zero, you also got a position in organic results. Now with this change, it appears that the old position zero or featured snippet is being treated as position one out of ten. MOZ has an article with screenshots that really help show this change in action.

Is this change good or bad for CTR?

You might think that if your web page shows up as a featured snippet, you’ll get more clicks because it’s treated as the top, trusted answer. However, people generally read featured snippets to get a quick answer and move on, which could mean less clicks to your website.

So, what can you do to find out if winning the featured snippet has a good or bad effect on your website traffic? Only tests will tell…

There are ways you can play around with this to see how much it affects your traffic. If after winning a featured snippet you find that your traffic is decreasing, you can opt out of them by implementing a nosnippet tag to block Google from pulling your content for a featured snippet.

This will be a very interesting time for us as we monitor our clients’ rankings, as really only time will tell what the impact of this really is. The bottom line is that it’s always good to be answering your users’ questions and creating rich content, as that generally increases search visibility.

Increase Traffic and Results

At Sanctuary, we’re focused on the great results we get for our clients. If you’re struggling with getting traffic to your website, and ultimately with getting more leads for your business, the Sanctuary team can help! We know how to utilize your website to increase results. Contact us today to talk!

Google Featured Snippet Update: Position Zero is No More
Kelly Brown from Sanctuary and Patrick Warczak from Freedom Health LLC

Patrick Warczak is an experienced marketing professional with a demonstrated history of developing and managing brands, sales promotions and business development programs in a variety of markets, with special emphasis in the animal health and animal feed industry. He is the VP of Marketing at Freedom Health, the producers of the SUCCEED Digestive Health Program for the equine industry.

Freedom Health’s focus is on finding, perfecting and delivering superior, innovative products that address real and significant health-related issues for animals and the people who care for them. Their dedication stems from their concern for animal well-being, a deep understanding of animal and nutritional science, and a willingness to explore innovative approaches and ideas.

Freedom Health qualifies as an essential business because they practice in the healthcare and agricultural industries. They have the ability to stay open legally, but the question they had to ask themselves was, should they? That decision came down to a balancing of two competing forces:

  1. They have customers and horses that rely on their products.
  2. The health and welfare of their employees and society at large.

The stay-at-home order is about stopping the spread across the state, country and world. That weighed heavily in terms of the health risk. Therefore, just like many businesses during this pandemic, their production is now paused. However, they are trying to get ahead of the curve and be more proactive rather than reactive. Patrick was gracious enough to sit down with us and share how Freedom Health has managed through the current crisis and is preparing their organization, distribution network and customers to get back to business. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation with Patrick:

  • The key during crisis mode is trying to accommodate the individual customers and communicate with them across the board as well as maintaining and strengthening relationships.
  • Use this opportunity to nurture those relationships. People want to talk more than they did before. Talk about things that have less to do with your products and services. Let the customer drive the conversation.
  • Stay true to your business ethics, operating on self-interest is still and will always be the right choice. Health and safety come first.
  • Even when back up and running there’s going to be a slow recovery. People are more likely to ask themselves, “is this an essential product or expenditure?” Where do things fit into the ecosystem of our financial future?
  • If you operate in the immediate self-interest of the company, you’re likely to run that company into the ground.
  • How customers feel about you is just as important as whether or not you fill this particular order on this particular day.
  • From the standpoint of communicating, honesty with your customers can’t be overstated.
  • When communicating, inform but don’t overdo it like you’re the most important one. Don’t be overwhelming or harassing. The nature of the communication should be direct, honest and positive.
  • Crisis communication strategy is “here’s what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how this affects you.” Finish with positive affirmations.
  • Evaluate appropriateness  Avoid Strong, direct selling messages.
  • Just as important to communicate internally with your management team and coworkers as it is to communicate externally.
  • The companies that continue to advertise, at least at some level, come out stronger.
  • We’ve now learned that global pandemics and other sorts of crises can actually happen, we have the experience of seeing what we did wrong and what we can do better.

Watch or listen to the full interview to get more great insight!

 

Watch the Video

Listen to the Audio

A Conversation With Patrick Warczak
News article on mobile phone

Google recently published an article on best practices for news coverage with Search. In these uncertain and constantly changing times, it’s important to make sure you’re getting news out the right way so people actually see it when they need to. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep customers informed on what’s happening with the business.

Have you noticed how news articles sometimes look different in search results? Adding Article structured data to your news posts page can make the content eligible for an enhanced appearance in Google Search results, which helps it stand out to users.

How to mark up news posts with Article structured data

Adding structured data to news and blog pages can enhance your appearance in Google Search results. Your articles could appear with rich result features such as headline text and large images that help draw people into your content.

Different features that may show up depend on how you code your content. Google presents two options:

  • AMP with structured data - AMP pages with structured data can appear in the Top stories carousel, host carousel of rich results, Visual stories, and rich results in mobile Search results.
  • Non-AMP web page with structured data - Non-AMP article pages that include structured data can increase the likelihood of appearing in search results with rich result features.

Find examples here to help guide you on how to code your content.

Mark live videos with BroadcastEvent

You might want to share news in a more interactive way that’s not just an article or blog post, and there are ways to make your video content stand out as well.

Make your live video content eligible for a LIVE badge in Google Search results by marking your video with BroadcastEvent. It’s recommended to use the indexing API so that the video content is crawled frequently and stays more relevant in Search results.

Ensure your content is up-to-date with cache and related AMP components

For any content that is frequently updated, you want to make sure that users are seeing the most up-to-date version. When people click on an AMP page, it triggers Google to clear the cache and serve fresh content to the next user. You can also force the cache to be cleared by sending an update request to the Google AMP Cache.

AMP Components to Include

  • <amp-live-list>: Add live content to your article and have it updated based on a source document.
  • <amp-script>: Run your own JavaScript inside of AMP pages for more engaging, interactive content like maps, graphs and polls.

Get Help Adding Article Structured Data to Your Website

If you know you need to be pushing your news content more heavily but aren’t sure how to implement this structured data, we’d be happy to help! We can also help build up a blog and news strategy if that’s something your company wants to focus on. Contact us today!

Add Article Structured Data to News Posts to Help Them Stand Out in Search Results
Monitor with Download

Free white paper or ebook downloads are nothing new, but it’s how you frame them that could make a big difference. Content Marketing Institute recently published an article on what they’re calling a “content upgrade”, which is a piece of gated content or some kind of resource that users can access as an upgrade or bonus that accompanies the content of the page that they’re on.

The idea of offering bonus content is that if you present people with resources on topics they’re actively reading about, you can not only position yourself as a vital resource and knowledge center, but you can also watch conversion rates on key landing pages and blog posts climb!

The Psychology Behind Bonus Content

People love free content, but it seems less valuable when it’s generalized or offered everywhere. When someone is on your website and they’ve seen the same offer for a free template download pop up on three different pages, it starts to become an annoyance rather than something helpful. Offering a bonus or upgrade feels more exclusive and specific to what they’re already interested in, making it more enticing.

Someone who does a great job of pairing valuable resources with specific blog posts or landing pages is HubSpot. If you head to this blog post on responsive emails, you’ll eventually see a popup offer to download an email marketing planning tool.

FreePlanningTool

Types of Content You Can Offer as a Bonus or Upgrade

The type of content you create and decide to offer as a bonus or upgrade to a larger piece of content (whether it’s a landing page or blog post) can be anything from a simple checklist to an extensive case study that details an innovative solution you were able to provide.

If you’re going to “gate” content, or ask users to provide you with information before they can access the content, you have to keep in mind that it needs to be valuable enough. People are hesitant about giving up their personal information, and they’re less likely to do so if it takes time.

  • Template
  • Checklist
  • Guide
  • Report
  • Case study
  • List
  • Chart
  • Infographic

Process for Creating and Gathering More Conversions from Bonus Content

You’ll need to pull in nearly the whole marketing team to pull off bonus content. Once your strategist figures out what the highest ranking pages are on your site, it’s time for the content team to plan out bonus pieces to create, and then it’s off to the design team to make the vision come alive! Don’t forget about programming to make that special popup happen on the right page!

  1. Look at the highest ranking pages on your site.
  2. Identify resources that could be created to extend or enrich the content on that page.
  3. Create the resources and add them to those pages in a graphic or popup callout.
  4. Get more emails!

Improve Your Content Strategy with Sanctuary

If you’re thinking that bonus content would work well for you but you’re not sure where to start, we’d love to dive in and come up with a content strategy that makes sense for your business. Contact us today to learn more.

Create Bonus Content/Content Upgrades for Higher Conversion Rates on Key Landing Pages and Blog Posts

content-pyramid-iconOver a decade ago we were preaching “content is king” – long before the field of content marketing was an actual thing. Sure good design, great page layout, and mobile friendly design are important. But it’s great content – and the presentation of that content – that ultimately sells your business.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of publishers at a seminar in Orlando on various digital marketing topics. One of the sessions I facilitated was an open discussion on “riding the jump to mobile” in which we discussed how mobile, especially in that particular industry, is really driving the approach to how we plan and present websites. One of the participants asked a great question; one that we hear frequently from the businesses with whom we work:

“People keep telling me that pages need to have less and less copy, especially for mobile users. Is that right?”

The answer? Sometimes – but not always!

It’s a commonly perpetuated myth that users don’t want to read; that all website pages should be short and visual with little copy. Instead, we are finding that website visitors will consistently spend a good deal of time reading long and in-depth articles if the topic interests them or meets a specific need. Long-form content, or articles over 1,000 words, are making a strong comeback – largely as a result of the mobile explosion. Users no longer prefer to click around to other pages or navigate through a series; they want to get all the information available with one click.

Not all of your website copy should be treated the same. Here’s a glimpse into how to take a strategic approach to planning your website copy.

Strategic Approach to Planning Website Content

A helpful picture for planning your website content is to think of it as a pyramid. At the top you have the least amount of information, as you go down a level it grows, and at the bottom it is most expansive.

content-pyramid-small
Download Graphic as a PDF

The key approach to remember here is that you provide bite-sized chunks on the main pages of your website – a sampling of what is available and important – and use it to entice readers further into the site. The deeper you go, the more specific detail and in-depth information you give on individual topics. And if you have plenty to say that is valuable to a customer, don’t be afraid to use as many words as are necessary to do it as you get deeper into the site.

These high quality, descriptive, detailed, deep pages are great for searchers who have specific questions and often want to learn all they can – without having to make a phone call.

Best Practices for All Website Pages

No matter the approach, poorly written or formatted copy will kill a visit no matter how few or many words it contains. Here are three best practices you need to keep in mind that apply to all the pages of your site.

Pages Should be 250 Words Minimum

When it comes to developing best practices for copy and search optimization, what Google says is generally what goes. And for good reasons: Google owns the search market, and in the vast majority of cases the largest single source of traffic to your website is Google.

Google is clear that each page of your website should have a minimum of 250 words of unique copy (so not counting header, footer, or sidebar material). If it doesn’t make that minimum, it will be held back in the search results.

Format for Readability

HTML markup such as headers and subheaders are critical for search engine optimization and for your readers. Using shorter sentences, paragraphs of alternating length, and good organization and formatting makes your content easy to scan and enjoyable to read. Make good use of:

  • An engaging page title (be descriptive and convey action)
  • Headers and subheaders
  • Bullet and/or number points for lists
  • Link to other pages on your site when you mention topics that are covered in more depth elsewhere
  • Bold sentences that convey key ideas
  • End with a specific call to action related to the page’s topic

Good formatting is key on short pages and long-form articles alike. Need an example? Follow how this post is formatted!

Write Quality

Every page of your website should be well-written, unique, and convey important information, key messaging points, benefits and differentiators, calls to action and your unique personality. Cookie-cutter or typo-ridden pages waste your time and your visitor’s time. And ultimately they drive potential customers away.

Great Copy is Strategy, Not Just Writing

Website content that converts visitors into customers requires strategy, not just well-written copy. And it certainly requires more than simply copying and pasting from a brochure or other materials.

Want to get started with a strategic plan for how you write and present your business through website content?

Contact Sanctuary Marketing Group today for a free assessment. Our team of strategists and writers will help you develop a content plan that grows your business.

Shorter Isn’t Always Better: Strategic Approaches to Mobile Copy

Emails, are you sick of them yet? On any given day I can expect to receive between 30-50 emails, and I know people who receive two to three times that amount per day. With all of this information to filter through it’s easy to see how promotional emails can get lost in the mix.

So as a small business owner or marketing manager you may be asking yourself; “Why bother putting in the effort if no one is going to see or open my promotional emails?” Good question.small-business-email-marketing

Here are 10 eye-opening facts about Email Marketing that you should know:

  • The total number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase to over 4.3 billion accounts by year-end 2016. – Radicati Group
  • Email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States. – Direct Marketing Association
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25. – EmailExpert
  • Companies utilizing email in lead nurturing campaigns generate 50% more sales-ready leads and at 33% lower cost. – Hubspot
  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion. – McKinsey & Company
  • 91% of consumers check their email at least once per day on their smartphone, making it the most used functionality. – ExactTarget
  • Marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention. – Gigaom Research
  • You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. – Campaign Monitor
  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. – Monetate
  • Email’s ROI was 28.5% compared to 7% for direct mail. – Chief Marketer

These statistics show that email campaigns – done correctly – can indeed produce tangible results. Email shouldn’t be ruled out as a valid marketing tactic, no matter how personally annoying they may seem.

 

Wondering whether or not an email campaign could be beneficial for your business? Sanctuary Marketing has a team dedicated to delivering results through email marketing campaigns. Contact us or gives us a call to see if this might be the right marketing tactic for your business.

 

Email Marketing Campaign Stats

There is a network of marketing professionals that spreads across the United States, bound together by the same mission of educating and equipping others in the marketing world. This network is one of the largest families of volunteers that works day and night to host conferences, connect professionals, research the industry and much, much more. This network is called the American Marketing Association and I am proud to be a part of it!

 

American Marketing Association What is the American Marketing Association?

The resounding calling of the American Marketing Association is to be the most relevant force and voice shaping marketing around the world; an essential community for marketers. How does an association comprised entirely of volunteers live up to such a high calling?

Consider for a moment the variety of tools, tactics and theories that comprise marketing in general (and we’re talking both digital and traditional marketing here). From paid ad placements to organic social media efforts and local mailings, there is a lot that a marketer has to understand when trying to execute. Then there is the discussion of return on investment (ROI), wondering if all of your hard work paid off for your business. And on top of that, nobody knows what the next marketing trend will be?

Now imagine a marketing association comprised of thousands of professional marketers, each person with their own expertise and experience. This team is broken into local chapters and thrives on planning and executing events, like speaker luncheons or speed networking for college students. Now you’re starting to get the idea of why the American Marketing Association is so important; With a team like this, I don’t have to worry so much about keeping up with what is trending! I get to meet up monthly, seeing new faces or reconnecting with colleagues, and learn what is and isn’t working in the professional marketing space.

 

American Marketing Association Leadership Summit

Speaking of being brought up to speed on the latest trends and collaborating with other professionals, I wanted to make mention of the annual conference designed for American Marketing Association board members. I attended the conference this year as the incoming President for the Akron/Canton Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Every year, the conference brings hundreds of marketing leaders together in Chicago and consists of three days of learning what it takes to succeed in the marketing world in your local chapter. My favorite part of the weekend is what is called LOUD TABLES and is made up of over 30 tables, each with a different topic like Social Media Marketing or Hosting Events or many others. A timer is set for a short period and everyone bounces back and forth with what they’re learning and what is working for them in their own environments.

I’d encourage you to take a look at this thread to get more of an idea of what the community actually looks like at the American Marketing Association Leadership Summit: twitter.com/hashtag/amasummit

Of course, I’m only scratching the surface on what the AMA is about and why I enjoy being a part of the Akron Canton AMA. You’re welcome to contact your local chapter or even email me directly if you have any questions!

The American Marketing Association

Evergreen contentWhile the tools and rules of online marketing constantly evolve, one truth remains: content is core to an effective website marketing effort. For a site to attract potential customers on search engines or social media in particular, high-quality, engaging, fresh, relevant, and regularly updated content are key. That’s a lot of pressure on you when it comes to web copy, and also the reason that “content marketing” has emerged as its own field within the industry.

For many businesses, starting a content marketing effort is overwhelming. Writing is hard, knowing what to write is harder, and getting people to read and act the most difficult of all. Here’s the good news: focusing your efforts on evergreen content makes all this easier and provides better bang for your buck in long-term value.

Here’s a look at what evergreen content is, the long-term value it offers, and a few tips on how to do it well.

What is Evergreen Content?

Evergreen content simply refers to content that is always relevant to your audience, that is sustainable and lasting. Like evergreen trees, these articles remain vibrant and useful 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for many years to come. Write them once, and watch them grow and expand slowly and steadily, giving life to your business long past their publication dates.

Evergreen content is not news or topics tied to events, trends, contests, cultural fads, seasons, holidays, or people.

Evergreen content is typically educational articles, how to’s, lists, product reviews, or tips, for example. While these still have to be positioned correctly to be evergreen, these types of topics best lend themselves towards long-term relevancy.

Patience is a Virtue, or the Long-Term Value of Evergreen Content

Writing about topics that are trendy or newsy or pop culture can be good for getting lots of shares and likes on your Facebook Page or Twitter account, and even clicks to your website. But their short-term affirmation doesn’t usually equate to long-term value.

Evergreen content is needs-based and timeless. It’s the reasons why you are in business, and what will continually bring you new customers. As a result, evergreen content:

  • delivers for years to come from search, not just a few days on social.
  • typically addresses real and immediate needs that potential customers have, thus hitting them further along in the buying cycle.
  • naturally positions your product or service as the remedy for the need.
  • can become a reference for other writers on the same topic, increasing your credibility along with backlinks and visitors clicking through from other sites.

One of our long-time clients is a small business that sells a digestive health supplement for horses. They have done extensive research and pioneered studies on GI ulcers in horses, with a special focus on ulcers in the equine colon which were previously unheard of. We wrote an educational blog series in late 2010 for horse owners that detailed the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ulcers in horses as well as taught about the well-known stomach ulcers and less-known colonic ulcers.

The results? This series of five evergreen articles received a handful of visits per month when they were originally released. Four years later, they own the search results for terms related to ulcers in horses and those five articles together bring over 1,000 new visits to the website every month. Additionally, we posted the colonic ulcer article as a “Throwback Thursday” on Facebook recently, and it generated another 800 visits that day (plus 40 shares, 67 likes, and 30 comments). Scores of websites, commenters, and forum posters have shared the link to this article over the years, as well.

This is a great example of how the effort put into a great piece of evergreen content continues to deliver years later. Immediate impact is always nice when you’ve worked hard on a piece of content, but don’t get discouraged as you wait to see the long-term effects.

Tips for Doing Evergreen Content Well

Be encouraged. Contrary to what some say, writing great content isn’t always that difficult. In particular, evergreen content isn’t hard if you know your audience, their common concerns, and your business’s unique position on the topic.

Simply start by thinking about your customers (the actual people who buy from you). What were the needs and concerns they had that led them to your company? How did your product or service meet that need in a unique way that caused them to choose you? What things do you know or bring to your market that no competitor does? There are your topics. You know them well. And they are directly tied to your business’s growth.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start writing:

  • Keep it simple. If someone is searching for a “how to,” they are a beginner and require an entry level explanation. If they were an expert on a topic, they wouldn’t be searching for it.
  • Keep your topics narrow and specific. Don’t try to cover the entire topic in one article, rather write separate articles on the “causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention” related to the need.
  • Link frequently to other pages or articles on your website when mentioning a topic you’ve already covered.
  • Know your positions and messages that make you stand out. Write about common topics, but make those your core message of the articles.
  • Don’t make it a sales pitch. Let the context of your surrounding website make the pitch for you. If the article is truly helpful, the reader will be interested to see what else you have to offer and start clicking around.
  • Stay ahead of the curve and project where your industry and audience concerns are going, don’t just rehash time-worn topics.

How Sanctuary Can Help With Developing Evergreen Content for Your Business

Writing for the web still requires a particular finesse and understanding of online technology and best practices for your content to attract visitors that convert into customers. If you are looking for help with planning and implementing a content marketing strategy, contact Sanctuary.

The Value of Evergreen Content to Small Businesses