lightbulb creative agency secrets content marketing

A Masterclass In Content Marketing – When You’re Out Of Ideas.

I was reading my Facebook feed and a US based content marketer of my acquaintance posted this request.

“OK, we write blog posts every month for a beach client. We’ve been writing for him for several years and the team is getting a little brain dead trying to drum up fresh ideas. Would love your help. They are a family-friendly vacation rental company (houses for a week, no weekends). Please leave your brilliant suggestions below & thanks!”

I couldn’t resist the challenge – but first, I started to read the answers she’d already garnered from her community.

What did I find out?

That there are a ton of creative folks whose minds are happy to help out when asked.

And so instead of stunning you with my amazing insight, I’m going to reproduce below the long list of suggestions made about what content to write about for a beach client.  And show you how you can adapt and learn from this list for your own business content marketing. 

How to use this content insight for your business

  • First, print out this article onto paper (old-fashioned, but helpful for this exercise).
  • Pick up a writing instrument (mine’s a fountain pen with liquid ink).
  • Draw two columns alongside the list of articles.
  • Go though the list and in the first column write down the underlying theme of the article title.
  • Then in the second column write down what an equivalent theme would be for your business.
  • Lastly, brainstorm 3-5 topic titles for each theme you write down for your business.

Have you got over one year’s worth of content already?

Here’s how to make the most of your archive and to lock good content into strong keywords and hashtags that convert.

The goal of content marketing is to get your website found, your brand recognised and aligned with the reasons people buy from you.  Creative Agency Secrets does local marketing.  I have many local marketing keyword phrase-laden articles on our website.  So when the local “grease monkey” in Pukekohe (don’t try to pronounce that if you’re not fluent in Maori) searched online for a local marketing agency, we showed up in the list, he called us; we’re meeting on Friday.  This is a marketing tactic that works and starts dialogue. And you can do it.

But if you think that ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ is the tactic, you’re wrong. 

You must understand why people buy, what attracts them and then double down on the tactics and topics that already work for you.

Get canny with advanced content marketing

Make a keyword theme map with a few hundred keywords you’re probably not targeting. The keywords should dictate the content you write.  Use an independent, non-Google, non-Bing keyword discovery tool like SBI (we have an account and can do this for you).

Now you have that keyword theme map, which of the keywords are on page 2 of search results that could benefit from relevant, internal backlinks on your site? 

Also, does your business-model actually need new content? What does any single, new piece of content do for the business? Instead, how about focusing on the 20% of content that is already producing results and instead of writing more – promote that content more aggressively?  

Re-purpose the content that converts and share each piece more often also put it into every format (i.e. image square, image rectangle, video, audio, cinemagraph, infographic, ebook, slideshow, podcast guest) to maximise both its impact and its re-useability.

If the location is a very small place that is not overly commercial use the social content which is already being shared by visitors by searching “nearby” or local name hashtags.  The smart folks at from Socialize.co.nz demonstrated this to the Paeroa Chamber of Commerce members.  They brought up content on social media that tourists and visitors were sharing.  This already had the place name tagged on photos and other socially shared content.  If local business owners re-shared that content, while tagging each other, they could build up some serious momentum around the town name on social media.  And all this without creating any original content at all.

So thanks to Karen, she has helped us write your masterclass on advanced content marketing. 

46 Content Article Suggestions for a Beach Client

  1. What to pack (by season, by age of child, when Grandma is staying) 
  2. Activities for road trips 
  3. Kid friendly restaurants/ attractions 
  4. Road trip checklist to make sure your vehicle is road ready
  5. Beach fashion
  6. What to do when the weather is less than perfect
  7. First aid tips
  8. Disaster relief while on vacation at the beach
  9. Books to read on a beach
  10. Local beach walks
  11. Easy meals
  12. Meals using local ingredients and where to buy them
  13. Newest spots to check out this year… There are always new restaurants opening
  14. A feature on Oregon inlet fishing charters… My next door neighbor will be on the newest edition of wicked tuna, on fishin’ frenzy.
  15. The history of the area is also very interesting… And there are a wide array of topics, from casinos to shipwrecks, to boat building.
  16. The different types of architecture you can find out here is neat, too… Flat top houses (there is a tour each year), nags head style cottages (what do each of the different ornamental elements on them mean?), life saving stations, etc
  17. Beach nourishment is coming to the northernmost beaches this year, too. What is beach nourishment?  They are dredging sand from the ocean and pumping it onto the beach to widen them.
  18. Top reasons people didn’t go to the beach, but should have
  19. How to make the best sand castles 
  20. Top 5 reasons not to bury a sibling in the sand 
  21. Food that goes best with sandy fingers 
  22. Beat the heat with these 3 things 
  23. How to avoid sand spurs
  24. Top 3 things kids really want in a beach vacation 
  25. Top 3 things adults really want in a beach vacatio, 
  26. Don’t leave___ until you have eaten the____ 
  27. What NOT to do when you’re at the beach (leave the work and technology at home) 
  28. What to do when you want to sit on the beach and your spouse doesn’t
  29. Fun stuff off the beaten path
  30. Volunteer options when you’re staying at the beach (relax and do good at the same time)
  31. Best place to get coupons to save money on local attractions
  32. Do this, not that (places to go, places to avoid, etc.)
  33. Top movies to watch on netflix while you’re at the beach
  34. How to tell if you shouldn’t wear a bikini or speedos
  35. Top reasons to visit in seasons other than summer. There are lots of events in the spring and fall 
  36. Sea glass and shells are best found in the winter months
  37. The Secret to finding the best shells and sea glass
  38. Best places to take your kids out to eat
  39. Which restaurants are best for a date night
  40. Art projects for the beach
  41. 10 things to bring with if driving to save $$
  42. What to do in the rain
  43. Playing card games for 5-8 year olds
  44. Camps or other activities they can do
  45. Fun community activities if you want to meet others
  46. Where to shop for food
  47. Best source of local restaurant discounts

Push Notifications: Is this the death of email newsletters?

In the world of Digital Marketing, there is a constant need for innovation to stay ahead of competitors and create the next novel experience in order to sell to customers. We saw it first with the use of email marketing communications in the 90s which was a bandwagon – everyone jumped on board and our in-boxes got swamped with newsletter.

Nowadays there are a plethora of services available to the digitally savvy, but how effective are they, and are they likely to oust the tried and tested methods?

So our thesis is that email newsletter subscriptions are falling because we get too many of them. EdgeRank removes the free postings by businesses on Facebook and Twitter is too crowded.

BUT people want high quality content.

So how can we deliver content from our website without using a newsletter or social media?

To answer this question, let’s look at a relatively new service to enter the market, Push Notifications  and how they compare to our most powerful channel at present, the good old fashion email/newsletter subscriber list.

So before we go any further, what exactly are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are simply alerts that pop up on your computer or mobile, on demand when the publisher releases something of interest to you.

“Hmm well this sounds kind of invasive though…“

I hear you. Pop-ups generally are annoying and frustrating, however these alerts only appear when you opt in to the list. A cookie is placed in your browser and each time the publisher wants to send out a notification, every browser containing that specific cookie receives the alert, regardless of whether they are browsing the web or not. In some ways they are less invasive than the hassle of having to enter your contact details to download an eBook. 

To find out if Push Notifications were a worthy substitute or indeed even a necessary supplement to our tried and tested marketing methods, we asked ourselves the following questions:

Are consumers growing weary of newsletters and email marketing?

I recently unsubscribed from at least 5 different brands’ emails because of the constant bombardment of marketing material. If others are finding themselves doing the same, does that pose a risk to the future of email marketing communications? And if so, are Push Notifications a smarter way to engage?

Are people still interested in content?

The old adage that ‘content is king’ may have held weight in the past, but do customers actually want to receive endless articles and information related to products they might purchase? With every brand under the sun fighting for your attention as a consumer, how much is too much?

My answer is yes. Emphatically. Good content gets liked, shared and commented upon.

Will people actually engage with these invasive interruptions?

My initial thoughts are yes, if used sparingly. Too much of anything can be bad. I feel the key to making the most out of Push Notifications is moderation. Subscribers aren’t going to respond well to being pestered several times a day while they browse the web. But they may be interested in what’s been going on if it is restricted to once a week, for example. Similar to SMS notifications, users must interact with the push notification in order to view it or close it. Compare this with email, where readers can simply delete, filter, file or ignore without having to open the message at all. Push notifications by-pass this barrier to opening email by displaying the message title straight away. 

You have to respond one way or another!

Would Push subscribers never have joined the email list anyway?

Perhaps. Even if there is no clear preference for one over the other, having both allows your brand to capture your audience’s attention in a medium that works for them. Without having to provide an email address, we may never know who has opted in to Push Notifications, which makes communicating outside of Push challenging unless we can cross-match against other subscriber actions.

With email and push running simultaneously, which one performs better?

We ran Push Notifications for the second half of February on a client website. Our provider of choice was OneSignal – a service that promises to remain free forever! An interesting claim, but what’s the REAL cost? I suspect Edward Snowden would fall off his стул (chair) in frustration  – let’s save it for another day.

Results from Push Notifications test

  • At the beginning of February, we had 5,334 email subscribers. At the end of the month, that figure had risen to 5,426 – a gain of 92 subscribers.
  • Push Notifications began on February 15th. Two weeks later we had 63 push subscribers.

Our Push Notifications were promoting the same material as our emails, so which one performed better?

Our blog article “Plan, Develop and Write – Content Training Workshop” was published on both. The newsletter received a respectable open rate of 30% and a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 1.4%. The Push Notification received a surprising CTR of 21.43%!

The Push list is much smaller than the email list; that is a significant difference.

This was obviously only one campaign and we have not yet built up a data set large enough to draw significant conclusions.

So do we think Push could supersede email? Well the jury is still out on that one, we’ll continue to test them both and come back with our conclusions in the future.

In the mean time, what do you think about Push?

Plan Develop and Write – content workshop training

There’s a training event run by The Online Academy coming up next Friday 3rd March in Auckland.

 

Content marketing workshop

 

Learn more at The Online Business Academy – how to Plan, develop and Write content that will rock your brand.

 

 

Marketing segmentation icons

How to use brand icons to drive sales

My philosophy of marketing is that every part of your marketing toolkit that you’ve spent money developing should be working hard to generate sales for your business.

Creating a strong visual identity is a given.  But what about extending it into other marketing areas?

We have been experimenting using content marketing to reinforce visual identity branding and the USPs (unique selling points) and key points of difference of the brand.  Here’s how.

Your business philosophy

When applying content marketing tactics we find that the effectiveness is enhanced when the content is aligned with either buyer personas, pipeline stage, business philosophy or point of difference.  These all help to bring a prospect closer to purchase.

A strategic marketer will help you define a positioning can demonstrate continual advantage and which you can defend against competitors.   

Helping your prospective clients to recognise this positioning and then to relate their experience or their expected buying experience to it is the job of the tactical marketer.

Once you’ve established the philosophy positioning, identifying each part with an unique visual identity or icon is a neat way of enabling the customer to recognise elements in your content marketing and their relation to each other.  From this, they can navigate to find other related content pieces on the same theme or topic.

Case Study – the sports coach website

This client identified five buyer personas and now has a unique landing page for each one.  Their website has over 20,000 pages because they have been blogging since 2007.  This means new visitors find navigating the site challenging.  We identified a deep resource of ‘evergreen’ content which was not getting traffic and so not getting read by visitors.  From this we evolved a segmentation strategy built around a landing page and a visual icon for each visitor type.

Rowperfect Customer segmentation as icons

Customer segmentation as icons

The landing page includes links to the most popular evergreen articles and also gives guidance for the visitor on where to look for similar content. 

Case Study – the marketing agency

At Creative Agency Secrets, we have 8 icons which are all steps in the new business development process. On the blog sidebar are our list of categories – the first eight are numbered and each relates to one step in the process. 

Working on our own blog, we needed to reduce the bounce rate and encourage deeper browsing.  And so we leveraged our 8 Step New business Development Process.  This identifies a clear set of stages for a tactical marketer and a framework for their marketing year planning.  Each stage has a small icon and links to all the blog posts written about that topic.

Marketing segmentation icons

Marketing segmentation icons

It’s easy to read, easy to cross-link articles and also to reference more than one icon in each blog post.

Case Study – the financial advisor

Selling services is often harder than products – defining a clear point of difference is even more challenging for the marketer.  Collaborative Consulting was set up in response to the same-ification of the financial advisory marketplace.  The founder, John Milner, uses his long experience to advise clients differently from others – he calls these the Six Max Factors.  And using a simple graphic, each one is named and ordered.

The goal is to enable readers to become familiar with each icon so they quickly recognise them and can relate to the marketing content more easily.

This tactic will serve to reinforce the firm’s investment philosophy, remind readers why they chose Collaborative Consulting as their advisor and set the firm apart from competitors who are less explicit about the foundations of their advice and investing activities.

How to spot an opportunity to use icons

The key insight a marketer needs to bring to using logos as a sales device is to discover

  1. Is the company able to articulate its USP?
  2. Can you split that USP into several subsidiary elements?
  3. Does your content marketing strategy allow the use of visual and written elements?
  4. Can you measure changed customer and prospect behaviour as you make these changes?

That’s a great starting point – off you go!

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

What to do when your content is used without permission

Sometimes you find out that someone has reproduced your work without permission. There are scales of bad-ness here, ranging from plagiarism through to lack of attribution.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

What should you do when you find out?

The answer depends on a few things – if you are a world famous published author and public speaker, you may respond differently from if you are a blogger or a business or a startup. The picture above is Rachel Marie Martin – a Mommy Blogger at findingjoy.net who has suffered multiple abuses of her intellectual property.

Aim for a Win-Win outcome

My suggestion is for you to ring them up and ask to speak to the person who published and instead of complaining, tell them you know they’re using your intellectual property without permission – and ask for something in return.

This should be of value to your and your business. This could be a booking from them to use you as a trainer in exchange for using your articles. Or get them to run an advert for your services free in the next 3 months newsletters. Or an agreement to use more of your articles with express sales offers.

Complaining can work

But in my experience it puts peoples backs up and you are less likely to come out of it smelling of roses.

My preferred tactic is to let them know you’ve found out and then ask for a favour in return – which they should feel obliged to agree to doing.

How to find who’s using your material

The best way is to set up Google Alerts for your name, your brand name and other search strings which can easily trace back to you. I am lucky that AFAIK I’m the only Rebecca Caroe in the world (yay) so easy to find. Be creative – you can also use Google Search Console to find incoming links to your site and linkbacks in blog comments usually get tracked too.

Good luck… and of course a last resort is the Cease and Desist letter (but avoid getting legal if you can).

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

Learn How to Growth Hack your Website in May

What it means to Growth Hack.

Growth Hacking is a new phrase meaning to aggressively make a step-change in business success.  It’s not just a cute phrase, there are specific techniques which can make significant improvements to website success.

You define success and we’ll teach you how to make it happen.

What is your #1 marketing and sales problem?

Get the answers about how you can growth hack your web success with USA experts Dan Morris and Rachel Martin during May 2016.

Face to face consult or small group workshops.

Email [email protected] with your #1 marketing and sales problem.

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

Rachel Martin website GrowthHacking expert

 

 

Wordpress Multisite for marketing creative agency secrets new zealand auckland

WordPress Multisite for marketing

I went to the Auckland WordPress user group meetup yesterday and there was a great talk by Dee Teal aka “Web Princess” about WordPress multisite installations.

These are many websites created in a network and managed centrally.  A neat addition to the WP functionality.

Here are three of her slides.

I think this is a really useful new feature set and have already mentioned it to a client.  If you would like to know whether multisite is suitable for your business – get in touch.

Domain structures for WP Multisite

Wordpress multisite URL structure options

WordPress multisite URL structure options

How to tell if Multisite is right for what you need

Not every network or group of websites should use Multisite – an agency with a long client list for example should not do this because extracting one site and removing from the group is time consuming, plus all user data is shared across all sites and that conflicts client confidentiality.

wp, multisite, wordpress

Checklist for WP Multisite. If you tick any of these DO NOT USE.

 

Skills you need to administer WordPress multisite

The systems administrator needs to have these skillsets and expertise in order to manage the network successfully.

wordpress, multisite,

What you must be able to do for WP multisite

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

Are you new to digital communications, work in marketing or as a web admin? Good. You’ll want to hear this:

Your online activities for your business can significantly monetize your audience!

Maybe you knew this already but, if you’re here, you may need a little help getting to that point. Lucky you, we have just the thing! The Audience Industries NZ tour is coming to town!

How Audience Industries Will Help You Drive Revenue Online

The Audience Industries program is made up of 4 separate curricula, which together cover everything you need to know about increasing your online profitability.

Let’s focus on the most widely applicable course, the Sequoia curriculum. With 6 modules and 4-8 hours of your time, learn how to turn around your online efforts in simple ways that will make a huge difference to your business.

  1. Learn your audience’s ladder of value, where they came from and when they’ll be ready for you.
  2. Keep the audience coming back for more with pro marketing.
  3. Build the ultimate audience with every word you write.
  4. Stand out so your audience can find you.
  5. Find out how to get your audience from each of your social media platforms to you.
  6. Don’t sell yourself short. Your knowledge is worth a lot more. Start to understand pricing, format and what to expect in the future.

Intrigued?

I thought you might be. When it comes to your business, what you’ll take away from the Sequoia course will be invaluable. There’s no question.

Dan Morris and Rachel Martin

Founders of Audience Industries and your online marketing gurus for the tour, will be arriving on our shores in May to share their marketing expertise with us.  Are you in or near Auckland, Dunedin, or Wellington? If so, read more about the tour and book your spot now while the going is still good!

If you want to improve your online revenue for your business, don’t let this tour pass you up. Book now and take the first step towards maximising the potential of your website.