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Your Social Media Prescription: The Cost of Social Media

13May

This has been republished courtesy of Doctor’s Life Magazine – take a look at the online version here.

Well, it’s free! Sort of. We all know the importance of social media, and to utilize it effectively, you’re going to have to spend either time, or money! It’s up to you as to which one you use! Currently ALL of these powerful social media sites are free to use. Sure, there are options that they utilize to try and get your money, from paying for (promoting) your posts, upgrading your account (you probably don’t need to do this) and with e-commerce options. But basically there’s no charge for using these platforms. But we all know the saying: “Time is money.” To optimize, populate (with a targeted audience), and fill your site (with content that moves your audience to action) takes some time, effort, and planning. Many businesses out there are seriously vamping their following, their sales, and reputation as thought leaders using social media—all the while using social media as a vehicle of P.R. and brand awareness—with speed racer proportions! Are you up to the challenge?

Social media platforms are a constantly changing and evolving medium. With that in mind, although we consider ourselves “specialists,” one can never be an “expert,” as all of us are constantly learning these changes, updates, tweaks, and new applications within the platforms. But the general principals with social media, as we mentioned above are:

Optimize your site. Make sure your images mirror your website so that your brand carries through. After all, this is a living, breathing, evolving version of your website. Make sure you fill it out completely—people expect it to look as professional, and it is a reflection of you and your business. Be sure that it has your location, contact info, hours and that all the links work. Also, be sure that you aren’t utilizing a personal page for your business.

Populate it with people that you feel might be interested (peers, current and potential clients and supporters, industry leaders, and more). Don’t be a wallflower here—reach out and follow/like/connect with at least 10 new businesses or people a day, and leave a comment on their site, letting them know you like something they have posted (if you do, remember – be genuine).

Fill your site several times a day with great content (comments, quotes, pictures/videos, questions, tips, news article links, announcements, new products/services, upcoming events/appearances, achievements, links to your blog/website).

Engage with your audience. If someone likes or comments on something you’ve posted be sure to thank them, and maybe even encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or blog “for more great tips like this.” But make it easy for them—include the link that will bring them there. Bit.ly is a great site for shortening and customizing a link. Check it out. (Tip: Always test a link before you send it – for example I recently wrote an article that was published in Doctor’s Life Magazine, and we posted it on our website. I created a short link, but every time I share it, I test it to make sure it’s still valid, or that I didn’t mistype it. Check it out: bit.ly/SocialMediaRx

With that in mind we recommend that everyone complete a simple marketing plan to ensure that you know what you have to do each day and get it done. Much like a diet, exercise plan, or even a road trip, having a pre-written plan or map in front of you makes you much more likely to stick to the proper route and reach your goal more efficiently and effectively.

What about the cost? Well, with the platforms being free of charge, what you have to think about in terms of cost is the time factor, and who you will have do all of the above actions. Here are your options:

1. Do it yourself

2. Office manager / marketing manager

3. Receptionist / entry level person

4. Outsourcing

Doing it yourself is a great option, as this is your reputation and business that you’ll be promoting. However, it does take you away from what you do best—running your practice.

Having an upper management person take over your social media is also a good idea, as they usually have a great understanding of your business, products and services, vision, and goals in mind, but it also takes them away from other duties, and if it’s your marketer, it takes them away from other sales duties, and face to face activities. Additionally, these people tend to be your higher paid employees and if they’re constantly being interrupted or aren’t proficient with social media – the added time equals more money out of your pocket.

An entry level person may seem to be a good alternative, they are more economical, sometimes are younger and more proficient on social media—but remember, this is your reputation we’re talking about. Will they deliver the business acumen, professionalism, and deep-digging, laser-focused campaign that you need? Will they be on top of the latest applications and logistics with these platforms that change daily?

Outsourcing to a company that specializes in social media may be your best bet! A common misconception is that hiring firms like ours to perform your social media marketing campaign is just too expensive. Having an in-house person do the work, or hiring someone may also include you having to pay for their benefits, taxes, insurance and when that person is out sick, someone else has to do the social media or it doesn’t get done.

Our services provide everything listed above so that you and your business can have 100 percent social media management, optimization, engagement, and monitoring taken care of—all for the cost of 4-10 venti coffees a day, depending on the services you choose!

Now, it’s obvious, no one drinks that many coffee’s a day, but it’s not out of the question for your sales/marketing rep to bring that many coffees and bagels to the offices that they call on. In fact, I utilize a caterer that specializes in pharmaceutical rep lunches. I asked them what the range and average is that pharma reps spend on lunches—I was surprised that the range was between $100-$500 per lunch, and the average is $150-175! Many times you have to feed the entire office in hopes of getting to the ONE decision maker that they need an audience with. With social media, you can get directly to that target or decision maker without all that hassle.

Think of that in terms of other more “traditional” means of advertising and P.R.—billboards, print and TV ads, trade shows—are all great ways of getting your name out there – however with social media, your message can change several times a day, is portable (it can be shared across the world with the push of a button), looking at peoples comments and the logistics – you are able to see what your following likes to hear about, and most importantly – you can connect with that laser focused target audience – people that WANT to be educated by, entertained by, and engage with YOU.

When outsourcing your social media, you may ask how we learn about you, your practice, your business, what sets you apart, what we can post, and to whom—this is where we excel. In the beginning, we have our clients complete a short questionnaire that gives us our parameters to start, and then we give you the option to pre-approve the posts that go out in your behalf. Our team of social media strategists meet regularly to discuss your campaign, how to improve, manage, and innovate your campaign. We also check in with you if anything comes up that is beyond our scope, is a referral, or can be put in your sales funnel for follow up by your sales and marketing team.

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5 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

10May

Depending on which way the wind blows, I’m always changing my mind as to what my favorite social media marketing vehicle is.  Some days Facebook.  Others Twitter.  But if we take the good days with the bad, I am always a fan of LinkedIn.

Marketing and branding using LinkedIn is such a powerhouse for both B2B and B2C businesses.  The powers at LinkedIn are not only constantly enhancing the platform, but the conversations and engagement amongst users seem to flow much more smoothly than anywhere else.

With that said, is your profile really saying what you want (and need) it to say?

Whether you are just starting out or a LinkedIn veteran, the list below contains 5 elements that will help you not only create/enhance your professional profile, but gain more visibility and credibility with your target audience.

1.  Professional Photo. Make sure that the photograph that you are using as your profile picture reflects your professional acumen.  My rule of thumb is to be dressed in your profile picture as a potential client would see you in person.  Ensure the photo is up-to-date and is the correct representation of what you look like.  Networking offline with someone who looks nothing like their online photographs can be tricky.

2.  Create a Link List. Link lists are extremely useful.  On a simple Word Doc, paste the links to your website(s), blog(s), social media profile(s) and anywhere else that you want to be found online.  When you go through and edit your LinkedIn profile, there are numerous places where you can cut and paste this info.  My top tip is to customize.  Click “Edit Contact Info” and in the “websites” section add your own websites.  Choose “Other” and you will be able to customize the link people see.  So instead of just “Facebook” your audience can see “Like My Facebook Page”.  Create a call to action. Also don’t forget to add your Twitter links!

3.  Incorporate Your Resume/CV.  I’m a huge proponent of making sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out completely.  In order to do this, you must add your past professional experience.  While it can be a bit of a task to complete, make sure to add all of your previous work experience with keyword loaded copy.  Also, if the company has a page on LinkedIn, you will be able to choose it from a drop-down list enabling you to show their logo on your profile.  This is a great credibility builder as well as a visibility builder.  Don’t skimp on the details!  A one sentence job summary is a thing of the past!

4.  Dust Off Your Keyword List.  Another slightly boring but very powerful tool, adding keywords to your profile can get overlooked.  Get the list of keywords you are using to promote your business and go through your LinkedIn profile with a fine-toothed comb.  Is there anywhere you can add some of these?  A great section is your professional summary (generally found towards the top of your profile).  Why keywords?  Well….how are people going to find you on LinkedIn?  Of course your name and company, but isn’t the whole purpose of marketing on LinkedIn to pop up in the searches of potential customers?  Keywords enable you to do this.

5.  Ad Files.  There is a great feature which allows you to easily and quickly add files, photos, videos and more directly to your LinkedIn profile.  You will see a box that plainly says “Add a Link” and “Upload a File”.  Find files that you use to promote your business, videos your have done on YouTube, pdf giveaways and more.  This is a great and easy way to enhance your profile while selling and building credibility.  Want to add an even more impressive element?  Send prospects the link to your LinkedIn Profile to get more information…just make sure to tell them where to find your downloads!

When it comes to LinkedIn this is just scratching the surface, but all of these elements will enable you to create a profile that is easier to find, impressive and credible.  So get started and reap the benefits today!

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Why Your Boss Doesn’t Understand the Value of Social Media Marketing

8May

Like me, I’m sure that you have an interest in social media marketing – whether active or passive.  You are eager to learn more about how it works and learning the value it would have in setting your own marketing plan alight!

You are seeing how your direct competition are using social media effectively and feel a bit left behind.  You feel like your company is cutting-edge is every other marketing category, but see yourself as a dinosaur in the social media sphere.

If any of these reactions are ones that you have had – rest assured that you are not alone.  For example, when potential clients call us convinced that our social media marketing campaign will elevate their status online, their boss is always the one sticky point in getting the campaign off of the ground.

What’s funny about this scenario is that I have been on both ends of the table: the employee trying to convince the superior, and the superior trying to be convinced by the employee.  I’ve experienced how my intent has shifted when I crossed the desk and had to make smart decisions about risk for my company.

What I have learned about this change from marketer to CEO is there are different aspects I am more focused on when one of my employees presents a marketing idea.  For example, if they tell me that we need to create promotional magnets for my company, they need to really sell me on the value.

Which brings up a great point.  ROI.  This is something that the boss always wants to hear about.  I’m in a different position though due to my marketing background.  I know that ROI has many different implications and definitions.  For example, the ROI on a direct response advertising campaign versus the ROI of a promotional magnet.  Measuring these two against each other would be seemingly impossible for many organizations, no matter how sophisticated their systems are.

What you need to do is show the boss the true ROI of social media.  It is more than a dollar for dollar comparison.  The outcomes that you get from this investment is more than your boss will be able to grasp.  So make it easy, make it solid and make the case!

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Ok, I Understand the Power of Content Marketing – But Now What?

7May

There is absolutely nothing worse than having all of the passion in the world for something, but not knowing how to take that first step.

In this case I’m talking about content marketing.  Content marketing is a powerful aspect of your overall marketing strategy and something that will not only take your search engine optimization to the next level, but will also help you reap the benefits of your social media marketing strategy.

So you have a blog on your business website and are ready to get writing.  You’ve knocked out 4 or 5 blogs and it was easy as pie.

But now you are getting a bit dry on ideas.

You are not alone.

When you have to consistently write about topics, after awhile you will begin to experience fatigue with the subject.

So how do I renew my vigor?

As I always say, it takes a village to raise a blog.

Here are some content generation ideas that you might want to try out:

*Google Alerts:  by setting a Google Alert for your given topic (for example “running tips” if you were running a sports apparrel store), Google will trawl through all of the new results on a daily basis (or more/less frequently as you choose) and email you with the results.  These are great ways to come up with topics that are not only topical, but also hot off the press

*Your Staff:  one of the most underutilized and most powerful forces, are people within your organization.  Let them know that you are always looking for new ideas for the company blog and would appreciate them forwarding on/telling you about anything they think would be a great addition.  Note: this is not a one-time practice.  You will have to continually remind them about this as their busy day to day life can push them away from being as vigilant as you would like them to be.

*Competitive Analysis:  this one is simple.  Look at what your competition is writing about and see how successful it is.  I’m not suggesting copying or plagiarizing their content, but look to see what topics seem to be working for them.  Then write some original blogs and articles with those topics in mind.

*Social Media:  do a social media search for your topic and see what comes up.  I suggest using Twitter and LinkedIn for this as they tend to give you the most relevant results.  See what people are talking about, see what they are asking about.  Find some hot topics and create a blog or two around them.

*FAQs:  another missed opportunity for many organizations when it comes to their content strategy is the power of writing blogs and articles that address questions or objections that they get from potential consumers on a regular basis.  For example, if you were a plastic surgeon who administers botox, perhaps a FAQ would be “If I use botox, will my face be frozen forever?”  Then the surgeon could write an article about “Botox: What You Can Expect” or something along those lines.  This will not only answer the question, but you can share this link in the future with any potential clients who may have the same question.  And believe you me, this impresses them.

Use the above tools and methods for dragging yourself out of the creative doldrums.  Remember, blogging can be a tough subject – but perseverance and thinking out of the box will keep you, and your blog, fresh.

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Blog

6May

Like many businesses, you have been trying your hand at social media.  You have been building your LIKES on Facebook, your connections on LinkedIn and your Followers on Pinterest and Twitter.  You have been putting out updates on a regular basis: either quotes, statements, sharing pictures or video, or sharing articles that you think your audience would enjoy.  Sounds like a great strategy, right?

But why aren’t more people coming to your website?

You have been doing everything right.  You have been engaging, you have been getting liked, followed, commented and Retweeted.

But why aren’t more people coming to the site?

Because you are not directing them to your original content, written and posted by you, on your own website!

Social media marketing gives you the prime opportunity to not only brand yourself as an expert and generate more visibility for your brand in less time than many other marketing channels, but it also enables you to influence the buying decision of your consumers.

What your potential customers are looking for on social media are helpful hints that will help to enhance their professional and personal lives.  Who knows how to do this better than you?  Your business fits a need and your expert opinion will help satiate this in your potential and current customer base.

And this brings me to the power of blogs and why you need to have one.

Your blog will contain information pertinent to your business and address topics that are related and of interest to your target market.  For example, if you are an assisted living facility, your blog could be focused around topics that would interest the person searching for a facility such as yours.  You can obviously write about upcoming events and announcements, but go a bit further.  Write about aging topics such as dementia and caregiving.  Write about healthy food choices for seniors.

Are you a tax attorney?  Write about new tax laws and how they affect your target client.  Write about how a family of four can easily manage their monthly budget.  Write about investment opportunities that people can explore.

I think you get my drift.

Now, write an update on social media and share the link to this article.  And…don’t do it just once.  Share the article every so often.  Ask your connections to share the article.

Now you may say “OK, I’ve done one….but where’s the traffic?”

Unfortunately posting and sharing one blog is NOT a strategy.  You have to regularly write, post and share these.   If you are looking for a strong content marketing strategy, I suggest writing at least one blog a day or 4-5 per week.

Immediately I’m sure this turns off many businesses.  But the plain fact is that there is enough content within your industry to generate meaningful posts on a regular basis.  Also, imagine the SEO implications of having keyword packed content being added to your website almost daily.  This is a HUGE powerhouse and a wonderful value of having regular blogs done.

The second turn off I’m sure is double barreled: “I don’t know where to start and am not that strong of a writer.”

With every problem there is a solution.  If the water main broke in your building, would you fix it?  If there were more sales orders coming in than you could handle, wouldn’t you hire support staff?

If the design of the blog and the writing are out of your wheel house, find someone to help you get the ball rolling.  There are designers and copywriters out there that can get right down to the brass tax of your message and formulate blogs seemingly overnight.

Next objection: but no one knows my business like me.

True.  But think about how many books out there, best-sellers, are nearly written 90%-100% without the “author” being involved.  This is the skill of a solid copywriter with experience.

My point is that if you are trying to make the most out of your social media campaign, a blog is really the cornerstone of success.  Beyond social, it is also a powerhouse when trying to enhance the SEO capabilities of your website.

If this is out of your area of expertise, talk with someone who has experience with blogging and writing.  They will be able to point you in the right direction.  The bottom line is that sometimes it takes a village to raise a blog.

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RT This: The Power of Getting ReTweeted on Twitter

5May

Twitter has continually been one of the most mysterious and misunderstood marketing channels for many businesses.  The speed of the information, the suitable content to share, the millions of users, the terminology: what does it all mean?

Although with that said, I’ve seen many companies drastically change their opinion of Twitter in recent years.  They have begun to understand that taking it for face-value can be unwise and can actually hurt the competitive nature of their business online.

A better approach to Twitter marketing is to look at the huge opportunities that Twitter holds.  Not only are there millions of users, but the members of your target market (not to mention your competitors) are there interacting, discussing and setting appointments.

How do I know this?  Managing and executing countless Twitter campaigns over the years, my clients were able to get more hits to their website, set media appointments, get full penetration during live events/exhibitions, set sales calls, qualify leads and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To drive this point home, I want to talk about the wonderful RT.

I think one of the most interesting and misunderstood aspects of Twitter is the ReTweet (otherwise known and further referred to in this as RT).  The power of this alone should make a Twitter naysayer listen a little closer.

Imagine if you had a market on Twitter of 50 followers (which are similar to LIKES on Facebook, but MUCH more powerful).  You wrote an update sharing your latest blog.  Someone searching Twitter for information about the topic of your blog comes across your “Tweet”.  They like the content and decide to share it with their audience and RT it.

They have 100,000 followers.

You just got the potential number of eyes that would see your Tweet from 50 to 100,000.  Also, the person who RTs it was an opinion leader in your field or maybe even a prominent media outlet.  Imagine the credibility this will give your Tweet.

I’ll stop there.  If Twitter is a marketing channel that you have been avoiding, just think about the power of this ONE aspect of the whole experience.  This alone could help you reach more people than a typical print advertisement or television advertisement. Not to mention the endorsement that you would receive from a trusted source.

My advice?  If you are not using Twitter, it may be time to reconsider.

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Facebook Tagging: A Quick Way to Double Your Exposure

4May

Of all of the topics that I speak and write about, Facebook is the one I am  asked the most about.  As its popularity continues to thrive (aside from reports to the contrary) and grows and evolves, to many marketers it continues to grow more mysterious by the day.

I’m always asked what my top tip is for Facebook, but it is always hard to just choose one.  As there are so many facets to a Facebook marketing strategy, I’d like to give you one that really does give you the most play for your money and time.

Tagging.

Facebook tagging has been around for awhile now and you have probably seen it in action on your personal profile on Facebook.  Tagging is when someone writes or replies to an update and mentions someone in the update.  For example, say you wrote an update and got four comments.  In one of the comments you see your name in blue in the response.  When you see this – it is a tag.  The tagging in updates is a more advanced version of tagging someone in a photo (which I’m sure we have all done or tried at some point).

In order to tag a company or person, you must first be connected to them or LIKE their page.  Then you simply type the @ symbol and begin to write their name.  This will generate a drop down list of companies/people to choose from.  Don’t see what you are looking for?  Type more or less of the name you are searching for.  When you find it, click on the name and it will then be added to your post.

So…what does this do for me?

The answer: a lot.

If you are trying to get your business in front of influential referral sources, potential customers or persuasive partners, write an update, mention them in the update and tag them.  Even share one of their most recent updates that your audience would be interested in, tag them and then thank them for sharing the wonderful information.

Going to their office or event?  Tag them in real time while you are there or after you leave saying how great it was to meet them or what you thought of the event.   See a potential customer do something wonderful in the media?  Congratulate them with tagging.

Tagging will enable you not only to to get in front of the company or person you are tagging, but also in front of their entire audience as well.  So for example if you only have 150 likes on your page, tagging a person with 150,000 likes could multiply the exposure of your post by 1,000.

To get comfortable with tagging, I always suggest trying it out on your personal account with friends first before doing it for your business.  Once you get the hang of it, try it to in your Facebook Page marketing strategy with some current clients or potential clients.

Use tagging when relevant and make sure that the update is well-written.  Over tagging can be spammy and can also turn off your current Facebook connections.  Monitor the success against your other non-tagged updates to see what works and what doesn’t.

This will be just the tip of the iceberg as Facebook continually evolves, so it is good practice to become familiar with this immediately – while gaining more exposure to your updates than you have before!

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Your Social Media Real Estate: And Why Your Competition Wants It

3May

Over the years, we have had many potential clients come to us in a flurry of panic over what was being said about them and/or their company online. People were bashing their service, putting down their products, plagiarizing their content and even discrediting their CEO.

All of these clients were anxious for a quick fix to a situation that had spun way out of their control. In PR this is what they would call “Damage Control”, but in the social media marketing world this is what I would call “Reactive Marketing”.

But how can a brand make sure that they are not being bad-mouthed online?

If you are not even Googling your company name or your CEO every so often – we really need to talk. Every time you do something, offline or online, there is a reaction from your audience. It can be positive, negative or indifferent. But whatever that reaction is, you need to make sure that you can find as much out about it as possible – not only to protect yourself from bad word, but to also analyze the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and messaging.

First off, if you are not on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter yet – you really need to get on the bus folks. People are already having conversations every day about you, your brand, your competitors, or related subjects. Why wouldn’t you want to see this? Wouldn’t it make you more effective if you knew exactly what your target market was thinking?

Also, if you have not claimed a Facebook Page, Twitter Account or LinkedIn Company Page for your business, you are leaving yourself open to a world of woe. For example, we had someone come to us who had a horrible situation on Facebook. They had not created a Facebook page, but a group of disgruntled ex-employees had on their behalf. They were touting it as the “official” page, but were posting only horrible, terrible, frankly shocking content about the establishment. Working directly with Facebook (which are not the quickest movers on urgent topics like this) it took us nearly two months to get the situation sorted out.

That is two months worth of reactive marketing on Facebook in order to get this silenced.

We’ve had businesses come to us saying that someone has already claimed their Twitter account name. “Who would want to use my brand name in their Twitter account”? The answer – your competition. And guess what. When they took that name, you can’t have it, effectively losing your brand name on Twitter.

The point here is that if you are not monitoring yourself online and on social media sites, you are opening yourself up for a world of hurt. I’m not saying if you are not jumping into social media marketing head-first you are going the way of the dinosaur. Social media marketing is a wonderful growing asset to any marketing department, but you need to be fully informed before jumping in. I’m saying that you need to get in there and secure the real estate before your competition does.

While it only takes a few minutes to create an account on Facebook, it can take 2 months or longer to try to reclaim your business’s identity when it is stolen. Something to think about.

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Facebook Branding: What You Need to Know to Get Started

3May

When marketing your business online, branding is one of the key factors that you need to keep in the forefront of your mind.  Keeping a consistent brand across all of your marketing collateral can help build not only a stronger overall brand, but also a synergistic marketing machine.

So why is it when you throw Facebook into the mix does branding continuity begin to suffer?

Let’s think about your marketing materials: your website, your brochures, your business card, your promotional sheets, your landing pages.  When you were formulating your messages and branding, I’m sure that you took into consideration how it would flow through every aspect of your marketing.  You want your logo to be consistent, your brand colors to be consistent, your message consistent, your contact information consistent.

And why did you do this?  So that when you begin marketing your brand, it is easily recognizable, has impact, has credibility and easily conveys the message of your business.

The hard fact is that if your business has a Facebook Page – this is now officially another part of your marketing collateral.  Which in turn means that it is another branding opportunity and one that you need to make sure that you can brand effectively.

How do you do this?

First, don’t over-complicate the task.  Here is the simple way of auditing your Facebook presence for branding.

Open your website in one window and in a separate window, open your Facebook Page. Now look at the two: notice what is different in terms of the branding, imagery and message.

In particular, look at the following (as these are the main areas where I see many companies miss the mark):

  • Cover image:  Do you have one?  Does it have the same branding message, imagery, colors, etc as your website?
  • Logo:  Is your logo pixellated?  Is it the same logo design as seen on your website?  Is it too small to be read or too large to be fully seen?
  • About Page:  Does it have the following sections filled in: about, mission, company overview, general information and your contact info (including website)?

When dealing with your visual brand on Facebook, the above three items are what visitors to your page will see FIRST.  So if any of them is not consistent with your overall brand, visitors may feel confused or think that you are not looking at the official page for the company….and more.

Take a minute and audit your Facebook Page against your website and overall branding.  Make sure that your visual and written message is consistent.  This will create another fully functional branding hub for you to pour content into.

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Keywords: The Forgotten Piece of the Content Marketing Puzzle

25Apr

If you are interested in marketing your business online, I’m sure that you have seen the surge in articles heralding the importance of generating original content in addition to having a solid content marketing strategy in place.

Having consistently updated content published on your site is crucial to getting more traffic from social media sites and search engines while creating a power of influence over your visitors.

I’m sure that this is where you might think we would start talking about how to write blogs and market them.  This is not the case.

What I want to talk about here is what you need to do BEFORE you put pen to paper (do people still do that?) and begin formulating your first blog.

Keywords.

With all of the fervor over the power of content marketing, one aspect that I don’t think is stressed enough is the use of keywords when writing your content.  Keywords are how people will be able to find you, your business, your services and your products online when searching for you – plain and simple.

Keywords also help you target the RIGHT market that you want to attract to your business.

Above and beyond this, keywords can make your website a powerhouse in Google (as they play a crucial role in SEO) and when used throughout your marketing materials (offline and online) can create a continuity with your overall strategy.

I have a two step process for keywords – in order to keep it simple and to get you to begin to formulate your first list.

First, write down who your target consumer is.  Then write down what your key product/service offering is.   Now you will have a good idea of who will be searching and what they will be searching for.

Second you want to formulate your list of keywords.  A quick way to see what keywords you are currently using is to use a tool such as Wordle (http://www.wordle.net).  This will provide a good baseline to grow from.

Then think above and beyond what you think “keyword” means and think more about how your target market would search for you on search engines like Google.  Come up with a list of keywords (such as “elders” or “seniors”), or keyword phrases (which are short phrases like “assisted living facilities florida” or “senior memory development”) that you think your target market would use to try to find you online.

Need some help?  Use the Google Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS ).  This will help you come up with some good ideas that are a bit more out of the box.  Also, it will help you with coming up with more competitive keywords and keyword phrases that have high search-ability, but low competition with others in your market.

The point here is to come up with a solid keyword list that you can begin to use when formulating and executing your content strategy.  The more relevant keywords that you pack into your blogs or updates, the more chances that you have in not only showing up in Google searches, but also social media searches for your topic.

Even better?  This can constantly evolve with your business.  I would suggest taking a look at your keyword list every month to see if it needs tweaked.  A great tool to see how your keywords are working for your website (and social media) is Google Analytics.  If you are currently not using this wonderful tool to monitor your website, I would suggest that you install it now.  It is free and helps you see where your traffic is coming from and what potential customers are using to find you.

While the above task can be taxing, in the end it will truly help your content strategy get off and running with a bang!

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