Posts

5 Great Content Tools For Improving Your WordPress Blog

Content marketing nowadays rules a business’s marketing strategy, but good content is still hard to come by. Running a blog can help any business owner capitalize on site visitors and build their brand reputation. The advantages are numerous: an effective blog will appear higher in search engine results pages and keep guests engaged. Regardless of the type of business you own — whether it’s a personal brand aimed at attracting new clients or an e-commerce business — you’ll need a blog to support you. Your blog is the centre of all your content marketing efforts, and not only does it provides fuel for SEO, but increases your potential for customers discovering you online. Therefore, choose a catchy and relevant name when you buy a domain name.

In fact, one HubSpot study from 2015 found that businesses who blog are much more likely to get new customers, and marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment. Whether you’ve chosen shared web hosting or a dedicated server for your WordPress blog, your content needs to take centre stage.

We’ve compiled some WordPress tools can help you make the most of your blogging content efforts.

1) ThingLink

With ThingLink, you can turn images into layered content that expands information. There are many use cases for this. In product marketing, users can deconstruct products to demonstrate to consumers how different aspects of its work. This is a great way to show how tech-based products operate; interactive elements allow users to click on different parts for a better understanding of the various parts operate. In e-commerce, you can also use it for creative interactive lookbooks. Take a look at the ThingLink blog to see how other businesses, like Allstate, are using this tool to create interactive media.

2) BuzzSumo

Running a blog is one thing, but ensuring you have the best ideas for every blog post is another. When it comes to your blog, it’s important to stay on topic and maintain a fresh content cycle. BuzzSumo helps you achieve this. Start by entering a topic into the search engine bar, and you’ll receive the most popular posts sorted by social shares. This is a great tool for beginners, who aren’t sure where to start, but it’s equally as good for bloggers who need ideas to add to the editorial calendar. With topics sorted by social shares, you can also glean insight into what’s popular in your industry or niche.

3) Atomic Reach

Atomic Reach offers uses with an AI-based tool that helps users understand what makes their content stick and what’s hurting it. Submit your writing, and the tool grows with you, providing telling information based on your target audience. Based on your topics, it lets you know what the best channels are for social sharing, publishing, and aids the entire content creation process.

The company’s founder, Bradley Silver, summed up the platform in an interview, saying: “Atomic AI enables anyone publishing digital content to pinpoint the readability level of their audience and guides them to write content specifically for that audience. When you match your content readability level with your target audience you see significant increases in overall engagement.”

The content maximization breaks down the reading audience into five different categories based on the subject matter and offers real-time insight into how to better the content and when and where to publish it.

4) Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer

Every blog post needs a perfect headline. But not everyone can create catchy titles that attract the masses. For some additional help, try the free online Headline Analyzer tool, which factors in several variables like length and word balance, and spews out a score. It will also show you what your headline will look like in search engines and email marketing subject lines. After all, the headline is the key to getting visitors to actually read your content and should be given special attention.

5) Infogram

Infogram is a plugin that allows users to add visually stunning interactive charts and graphs to their posts. The interactivity aspect allows readers to sort the data as they see fit. Whether it’s a financial chart or a geographic map, there are plenty of themes and design options to help creators import versatile creations. This also entices the visitor to stay on your page longer, and the longer a visitor stays on a page before leaving, the more valuable it appears to search engines.

Hope that gives you enough to try out on your own blog.

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

Do you need help with your finance literacy?

uoamoneyquizCase Study: University of Auckland Finance Quiz

One of the more exciting projects we have had the pleasure of working on recently, was for the University of Auckland. The goal was to help educate first-year students and encourage them to seek out and engage in smarter finance decisions. Now, unless you are an aspiring investment banker, learning about finance is probably as appealing as putting your hand in a bee’s nest.

So how could we help the University put the fun back in Finance?

We decided the best way to achieve this would be in the form of a ‘finance quiz’. Unlike something one might find on a credit card application or a tax return, this quiz would be worded and styled in a way that resonated with the student population and would hopefully encourage them to find out more information in the areas they were weakest.

As is often the best way to communicate with students, humour and relatability were key requirements. Picturing what might appeal to the broader student population was a fun challenge, forcing me to think back a few years to my undergraduate studies (I don’t think my mental maturity has changed). Although I am surely a poor representation for the collective student population, I feel we were still able to convey situations that most students can relate to. In case I found myself on a ridiculous tangent, we also had representatives from the university and focus groups of students to guide the direction.

What did we do?

The quiz was composed of 10 questions and 5 ‘finance’ personality types, originally provided as a guide by our Accounting/Finance clients, Love to Grow. Each question was adapted to accurately relate to current student issues. The character types were developed to be funny, but identify potential shortfalls in each student’s knowledge, which would encourage them to seek out more information. Although the final text was ultimately unrecognisable compared to the original, our aim was that the message would remain useful as an indicator of each student’s financial situation.

Check out some examples below:

finance quiz question CAS

finance quiz question CAS

And the results…

finance quiz result CAS

“Boom! You’re a go-getting super badass, with the wind in your hair and explosions in your rear view mirror. Life is sweet right now, and you totally know it. But it’s worth thinking about a safety net – just in case your luck runs out on the next roll of the dice! Start playing the long game using our money tips.

finance quiz result CAS

“Okay, you’re not frivolously wasting your money away, but you’re not doing anything useful with it either. There’s no sense in making sacrifices if you’re not getting anything out of it. Gone are the days of stuffing money under your mattress for safe-keeping. You need to put it to work! Be smart with your money. Check out some financial pointers.

 

Due to the nature of the project, we had to strike a balance between what was cheeky and fun, and what might be perceived to cause offense. This resulted in a generalised and somewhat ambiguous character break down.

Thankfully, through some crafty wordsmithing, we were able to combine the light-hearted and cheeky self-assessment, in a way that would not upset any students and still provide a valuable resource for those who needed help.

It was a fantastic opportunity to work together with a team made up of such diverse skills. We hope that the students who take the quiz will find it valuable and fun to play!

Thanks University of Auckland for the opportunity and Antoris & Luc Design for your help on this project!

The finance quiz itself has been published publicly on the UoA student financial resources page. Try it for yourself and let us know what you think!

Podcasts – 7 Reasons Why Marketers Need Them

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 Asia/Pacific Podcasting Conference, held here in Auckland. It was a fantastic two day event that showcased a number of talented speakers and presented some interesting ideas towards the future of podcasts.

Asia-Pacific-Podcast-Conference-logo

We use some sort of variation of podcasting with a number of our clients, and the buzz remaining from the Asia/Pacific Podcasting Conference got me thinking:

Is there substantial value to be gained from adding a podcast to your marketing mix?

I would argue yes, absolutely. Let me explain why…

podcasts are taking off1 – It’s going to be huge!

Podcasting is currently experiencing massive amounts of growth around the world. There are over 1 billion subscriptions to over 250,000 podcasts right now. With technology constantly improving, it is becoming ever more popular among the digital savvy.

2 – But, it isn’t as common as blogging… yet.

Which is a good thing. As more people start podcasting, competition increases and therefore, so does the overall quality of podcasts. Can you afford to wait until your competitors are experts before you join the race? As an early adopter, you have free reign to influence this goldmine of a marketplace as you like! Being seen as original and a pioneer can do wonders for your brand’s credibility.

3 – It is incredibly easy to do!

Sure, you have to feel comfortable on a microphone and possibly a camera too, projecting yourself to what could be… millions of people! But you could record your podcast from your bed if you wanted, never having to see these people hanging on your every word, which should help alleviate some of those nerves!

Worried that you don’t have anything to talk about, or don’t know enough about a subject to be an ‘authority’ on it? Fear not! Some of the greatest podcasters out there started out not knowing what they were talking about, but they did it anyway because THEY wanted to learn. In the process, they helped educate their audience and became known as the authorities in their chosen topic!

4 – You need but a few resources to get started.podcast equipment

Actually, all you really need is; an idea, a passion for that idea, a webcam/microphone/laptop/smartphone, maybe a co-host or guest and you’re basically away! It couldn’t be simpler. With ever-improving technological advancements, it’s getting quicker and easier to publish your content online without the assistance of a film crew or recording studio.

This also makes it incredibly time-efficient to produce a decent show as well! If you know what you’ll be talking about and a rough idea how to use the equipment, you can put together a clean, engaging show in a few hours! Obviously, this is dependent on how much editing and fine tuning you may need. You can be sure though, with practice, that time will get shorter and shorter as you perfect your craft!

5 – People engage in it.podcasts build community

Who has time to read lengthy blog articles anymore? Well, still a lot of people. But the point is, a podcast, if done right, will entertain you in a way that words on a page cannot. We lose so much emotion and sentiment in text, but those elements are carefully preserved when you listen to two people passionately discussing a topic.

Podcasting also allows for direct contact with your community/audience. Who wouldn’t become a raving fan of your show if you were personally shouting out to them? The very nature of a podcast immediately makes the listener/viewer feel like a part of your conversation and therefore, more likely to engage with your brand.

Podcasts should also be fun!
Yes, it may be difficult to make something like tax accounting sound fun, but at least it gives you a stage and a spotlight to express your personality or your brand’s character. This alone may be enough to sway any potential customers from a competitor and into your corner.

friends6 – Podcasts feel genuine.

Podcasts are typically independent of any large branding agencies and thus are ‘uncorrupted’ by the guise of corporate advertising. That’s not to say they are all without their own agendas. However, people seem to respond better to marketing sales pitches when they are delivered through a conversation, instead of being forced upon us by advertising agencies. This creates a unique environment for you to promote and sell your product/services without feeling like an infomercial.

7 – Versatility.

Podcasts can be enjoyed in places where reading a blog cannot! Your commute to and from work, while you sweat out the kilometres on the treadmill at the gym, while you walk your dog, cook dinner, sit in the bath or simply drown out the distractions of your surroundings.

microphoneAre you ready to start podcasting yet?

As businesses look for new platforms to compete for and connect with their customers, podcasting is sure to experience a major growth spurt as marketers seek to capitalise in the near future. In an industry driven by building ‘community’ and offering tailored experiences for their customers, podcasting offers both one of the most engaging ways of connecting and creates the perfect platform to deliver incredibly high-value content.

Of course, these aren’t the only reasons to get into podcasting. Check out these interesting statistics: Big Time Podcasting Statistics and Demographics if you need further persuasion.

If you previously discounted the idea of adding a podcast to your marketing mix, perhaps now is the time to reconsider.