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Content Amplification

Content Amplification is the buzzword for digital marketing in 2015, and understanding what it means is the first step to putting it to work for your business. Let’s start by breaking it down:Content Amplification

Content = This word has 7 or more different meanings, however, for the purposes of this discussion we are only going to concern ourselves with two of them. “Content” is:

  • something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.
  • substantive information or creative material.

Amplification =  (amplify) to increase in volume of sound or to make something louder.

The sole purpose of amplifying anything is to reach more people, after all, that’s why we turn our amps up to 11!

In a nutshell, amplifying content is making your creative material reach more people online. You want your content to reach as many people as possible because each person it touches is either a potential sale or a potential referrer of a sale. It’s not enough to just create content, publish it and hope it brings in traffic. You have to work actively to get the word out.

So where do you start? Well, if you haven’t read “How To Amplify Your Content” by Chris Auman I’d recommend you start there. It’s a lengthy read chock-full of ideas to get you started — including The Sanctuary 7 Phases of Content Amplification.

Three Ways to Amplify Content

It all starts with a great piece of content. 5 Tips to Nail Planning Your Content Marketing Campaign can get you started in the right direction. Once you have an optimized piece of content ready for launch, there are three basic methods you can use to amplify it:

  1. Owned Amplification (You own the channel). These are your own social media channels, sites and email list. Hopefully, you are already engaged in different channels and have created some sort of following. This is the perfect place to start. You have a built-in audience that will (if you’ve done your homework) find your content engaging enough to share. Be sure to be creative with each channel and tailor the message in an appropriate way. Each channel has best practices, so be sure to follow those.
  2. Paid Amplification (You buy exposure). Don’t be afraid of pay-to-play amplification. Often paying for distribution can be a quick way to gain some traction for a campaign. Depending on your budget level, there are many options to choose from. Promoted tweets, boosted Facebook posts, content amplification services and more are all available. Do your research and find the best option to meet your budget.
  3. Earned Amplification (When others promote your content). It’s hard. It can be time-consuming. Earned amplification comes from doing amazing work. If your content is less than awesome it will be hard for others to share. Sharing something means attaching your name to it, and no one wants their name on junk. Think of it as quality link building, because that’s what it is. You want to gain a quality link, and most people want to give a link to quality content, so you need to produce quality material. You won’t be afraid to ask for a link if you are proud of your work.


What is Content Amplification in a nutshell?
Getting your strong, quality, content in front of the right people. Check out our Content Amplification Checklist. An easy to follow checklist that covers each step in the amplification process.

Content Amplification in a Nutshell

Perhaps the biggest challenges in launching an inbound marketing campaign as part of your Web Marketing Strategy, is coming to grips with  the sheer volume of content you’ve committed your company to.

It isn’t an insurmountable task. It just seems that way. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The key to ensuring success in achieving the lofty goals you’ve set…. breaking down the process into easily digestible tasks.

Ideally, you’d focus on only those tasks to which you provide the greatest value within short bursts of focused time. Everything else? Delegate. We addressed this topic in a recent post: How To Create Great Blog Content in 9 Simple Steps.

Another key is getting visibility on the work at hand so you can manage the content creation process effectively. This will allow you to delegate, monitor the quality and sleep well at night knowing with confidence your blog content will go out on schedule…and be something you’re PROUD of.

Enter the Editorial Calendar.

The Editorial Calendar (or Content Calendar) has been employed by publishing houses and news agencies for years. Think about it.  The Wall Street Journal isn’t starting from scratch every day hoping they can fill 50+ pages of content.  Yes, they are a daily news organization feeding the latest business news to you within hours of it happening.  BUT how many of their content have been in development for weeks or even months in advance?  I wouldn’t be surprised if Walt Mossberg and All Thing Digital have their editorial calendars blocked out for the next 3-6 months.  Guaranteed, they’ve got something on the books for the next generation of iPad and are gathering relevant information they’ll need when it comes time to sit down write the article.

It’s how every publisher ensures quality… by giving themselves just enough lead time to do the hard thinking, research, editing, and refinement to deliver timely and engaging content. (more…)

Marketing Planning: How To Create An Editorial Calendar

Part 4:
Sanctuary Marketing Group Founder, Chris Auman and Online Marketing Strategist, Jason Jividen field common questions received from our customers seeking to improve their Online Marketing Strategy.

Question: What could make Search Engine Optimization Better?

Answer: People look at SEO in many cases sort of magic trick, or as a sort of universal key or somehow its gonna solve the problem – not the case

Most important thing to remember about Search Engine Optimization is that we are massing an audience. Now when have that audience and bring them to the door, the next most important thing you can do is figure out what to do with them?

Often time when SEO falls apart its because the site itself is NOT optimized to convert that traffic that they are building into customers

As we get better at directing traffic towards a specific purpose and action, SEO becomes infinitely more important because as you connect a targeted audience to exactly what you are trying to do for them…and THEN you can bring them to your front door.

Now you’ve got something that can raise the bottom line on and dramatically change your business.

VIDEO: Using SEO to Improve Conversion

Application-MarketingBy Tom Murphy – Online Marketing Strategist, Sanctuary Marketing Group

Now in the year 2011, it’s a pretty safe bet that nearly every company has some sort of website.  The question is, how much are they taking advantage of that website?  It has become glaringly apparent that a common weakness in many websites that I’ve come across is a roadblock between their company and the consumer.  That is, they don’t speak the language of the consumer.

 

Think of the last time that you visited a website and thought to yourself, “what the heck does this company do!?” or “What would I use that for?”  My guess is that it probably wasn’t very long ago.  You see product photos and all these product numbers but don’t have a clue what they’re used for or how they’ll solve a problem.

The Common Mistake

Lets be honest, companies love their products and love all the industry jargon that goes along with those products, but it’s not practical information for the consumers looking for a solution. Consumer’s go to the web because they are looking for something in particular – they’re looking for solutions.

For example, let’s say I need to start packaging golf tees.  Your company might have the perfect product for me to package golf tees, but I will never know it unless you tell me that product can do it.

If I’m on your website, more than likely I see “the G9000” and “the r4500” and all the specs that go along with those machines.  Nowhere do I see it boldly stated “this is what the G9000 is used for and what problem it solves.”

How does this relate to conversion and sales?

With the proliferation of web searching and the shrinking of corporate and government structures, many web searches are no longer performed by engineers and experienced product managers.

Often times, especially in the manufacturing and building industries these searches are initiated by staffers whose expertise may be in accounts payable, or administration – not engineering or manufacturing. We can’t discount the everyday Joe Shmoe that hops on the web to go surfing for something that caught his attention while sitting on the couch at night. (more…)

Speak the Language of the Consumer: Application vs. Product Marketing

Part 3:
Sanctuary Marketing Group Founder, Chris Auman and Online Marketing Strategist, Jason Jividen field common questions received from our customers seeking to improve their Online Marketing Strategy.

Question: When you have discovered a link that someone is pointing to you, is it advantageous to link back to that Website?

Chris: The value there would be if that is content that is related to what you do. Not all links are created equal. If you get a link from some random site and you make widgets and they make a completely different type of widgets, that link may not have as much value as another Web site in your same industry.

Jay: If it is related content and you feel it’s of good quality, it could add value (indirectly) in that you’re providing more information for your readers even though it doesn’t add direct SEO value or weight.

Chris: Yeah, what I would say it has to be related and what you can do is incorporate that link with a keyword on your page and if they are a highly regarded, reputable site that linking is going to build some sort of weight on your page too.

Additional notes:

  • There may be some indirect value in linking back to a site that links to you, even if there is no direct SEO value.
  • The link presents and opportunity to establish and build a relationship among related businesses in your industry that may share the same customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization is just on component of a successful online marketing campaign.
  • Linking to high quality, related sites can increase the chances that customers will find you organically — whether through a Google search or through the network of connections formed by one valuable site, leading to another valuable site, leading YOUR valuable site.
VIDEO: Does it Make Sense To Link Back To Other Web Sites?

Sanctuary Marketing Group Founder, Chris Auman and Online Marketing Strategist, Jason Jividen field common questions received from our customers seeking to improve their Online Marketing Strategy.

Question: You guys have been talking about content, can you actually describe what you mean by ‘great’ or ‘highly useful’ content?

Jason: When you are looking great or highly useful content you are really looking at it from two aspects. One, how much information does it provide about what you do to your visitor. And, two, from an SEO standpoint, what words are we using to define that content.  By that I mean,  it needs its to be appropriately informative and it needs to have the key words there that are most used or most commonly used by your potentials or your target audience.

Chris: And in regards to linking to sites and what makes content ‘highly valuable’  — there is difference between content and really good useful content where people actually get value out of it. That’s why having the key words in there and targeting it towards a specific SEO goal is good, but just creating well written useful content around the key phrases you are going after… people finding your your content from a search  and and say, ‘Yes, this exactly what I needed.’ Then word will spread as they are going to share that content with people, they are going to link it to from their site, and their social networks…so that’s the goal.

How Do You Create Content That Will Perform Well for SEO?

A recent poll by MarketingSherpa reveals where many online B2B (Business-to-Business) Marketers are finding the most success.

The poll reveals the the top 3 tactics to be:

  1. Implementing unique landing pages for various marketing campaigns
  2. Optimizing design and content for conversions
  3. Regularly optimizing Web sites for SEO purposes

I found this most interesting in how closely tied the top 3 tactics were to one another and to traditional Direct Marketing tactics.

The key to each of these tactics centers around designing relevant content for the end-user. Unique landing pages for a specific marketing campaign should be designed to draw on the key elements that drew a visitor to the site in the first place.  Continuing the conversation from an external marketing campaign allows you to convert the visitor to buyer. And a good SEO campaign is centered on presenting content that is both focused and consistent with the needs of the person searching for information in the first place.

The main point being — successful marketing is about have a ‘one-to-one’ (vs. a one-to-ALL) conversation with your target market.

For those from the Direct Marketing world it correlates to LIST, OFFER, & CREATIVE being the priorities in a successful marketing campaign.

LIST – being the Search Engine Optimization component (keywords = list selection).

OFFER – what is the unique offer you’re making to the people finding your site targeted on those specific keywords.

CREATIVE – optimizing design through clear ‘calls-to-action’ to increase the chances you will convert Web site visitors to buyers.

Top Web Site Design Tactics Online Marketers Employ

According to a recent survey of conducted by MarketingSherpa ,64% of business expect to invest more in 2011 than in previous years on their Web site. Judging by the source, we take this to mean increasing conversion and sales effectiveness of the Web sites overall.

On the whole, more companies were planning to INCREASE spending on online marketing efforts such as Search (SEO / PPC), Social Media, Email, and Online display ads) and DECREASE marketing budgets for ‘traditional’ media channels.

That’s not to say more money is being spent online than offline, just that more companies are planning to increase the spending compared to their 2010 efforts.

Still, the trend continues. Advertising dollars will continue flow to the media channels that can deliver the right audience for the product or service in question.

And while the shift from traditional media will continue to increase, we don’t expect it will go away anytime soon.  An effective Web marketing strategy will incorporate the strengths of ALL the media in your marketing arsenal and continue to push ROI higher across the board.

Tuning your marketing mix to eek out the best return across the entire portfolio is a process of testing, measurement and continuous improvement. It’s a never ending challenge but if done correctly, it can yield tremendous increases in both sales and profitability.

64% of Marketers Expect to Increase Spending on their Web sites in 2011

According to a September 2010 study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, ‘58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing.’ In fact, on any given day 21% of adults perform some form of product research in advance of making a purchase.

What does this mean for your business if you’re a local retailer? For one, it means a better informed customer who, if they haven’t already determined the exact model, color and style for their desired product, have narrowed their choices down to 1-3 possibilities.

This can greatly expedite the sales process. It can also win you a lifelong customer if you take a consultative selling approach.

Here are some ideas to use this trend to your advantage:

Welcome the Informed Customer The next time a prospective customer enters the store with a stack of print outs of the information they gathered from the night before, don’t roll your eyes. You may have valid concerns that they’re coming in with misinformation that you need to correct. Embrace them as the customer you NEED to win over.

After all, if they went online BEFORE they bought, chances are they’ll go online after…and that means whatever their experience…(good or bad)…they will share it. (more…)

58% of Americans Perform Online Research Before They Buy

In these days of ever changing technology and lightning fast communications, it is vitally important to stay ahead of your competition for the attention of every single customer.

Face it: No one is getting the bulk of their retail information from the television or the newspaper any longer. They get all of that from their computers and from their mobile phones.

Everyone needs to be able to reach out and connect with their customers whether they are going to shop online or come to a physical location.

In fact, stores that have physical locations might benefit the most from the following tips.

(more…)

Seven New Marketing Ideas for the Local Retailer

Google is hungry. How do you consistently feed the beast?

The problem with content is that it has to continually be created or it becomes stale and boring, and no one will want to read it. For most companies it is not a lack of information that they face but a lack of the time to write it down or a lack of motivation to get their projects started. Having an editorial content plan can make the difference between having good, fresh and interesting content and facing down the procrastination demons or being stuck with either no copy at all or the boring stuff you have had for a while.

Content is king in the world of the successful online marketing campaign and an absolute must to get the benefits of search engine optimization. If you know that you are going to drag your feet because you are either overwhelmed by the size of the task at hand or you simply hate writing, this is the process that you need to take so that you are not only able to handle things better but so that you are never faced with a mountain of writing ever again.

Before getting to the process itself, think of this for a moment: Most people, when faced with a writing task have one or the other of these problems. Either they have nothing to say and stare, panicked at a blank page or they have tons to say and no time to write it down. This process can help with those issues as well.

(more…)

How To Create Great Blog Content in 9 Simple Steps

The dynamics of mass market advertising are forever changed. We have to accept that.

According to a 2011 Pew Research Study, the Internet is slowly (but surely) closing in on television as the main source of national and international news for Americans. In 2010, the Internet SURPASSED television as the main source in news for people younger than 30 years old.

But this is just one indicator of a trend that, by now, should be all too obvious.  Where the audience goes, so follows the advertising dollar.

What does this mean for your business and it’s online marketing efforts?  One word: Opportunity.

Sure it was great when a Don Draper-ish character could come up with a catchy slogan, broadcast it on one of the big three networks, and feel confident every consumer that mattered received the message.

But there were cons to that approach as well.  For one, very little room for testing and failure.  You either spent big or you went home.  What’s more…unless your product or service had mass market appeal, you were really left to your own devices in reaching your target demographic.

Response rates for direct mail are continuing to sink; where once a 2% rate was considered standard, now you’re lucky if you see a .5% response rate on a large direct mail effort.

So while we could mourn the loss of the golden age of marketing, the real winners will be those marketers who figure out how to capitalize on the shift in how consumers spend their time and gather their information. (more…)

How will the shift in news consumption affect your marketing efforts?